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Why not make it a national plan and call it Social Security?

Why name it something that would come with so much baggage?

We could instead open up the THRIFT program to anyone as an alternative - but as with any investment, the larger it gets, the less likely it can find a place to invest additional dollars.

What could be safer than government bonds?

I would guess a lot of things if we are measuring based on the Sharpe ratio. I'd much rather own a 10 yr Ford bond than a 10 yr Treasury bond. Don't get me wrong, I REALLY like the idea of SS dollars being invested in USTs as a mandatory contribution with individual accounts but I'd rather give people more diversity with their elected contributions.

And how do you get Congress to keep its hands off the money?

Not a chance.
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