No. of Recommendations: 9
I guess it comes down to if you consider ten years or thirty years to be "a few".
I think you have done a reasonable job of articulating the problem, which hopefully leads to some better discussion on the topic. IMHO, the proposals so far are just balloon squeezing. They move the problem around, but don't solve it. A greater and greater percentage of our economy is going toward medical care. Furthermore, a greater and greater percentage is going toward taking care of the elderly/retired. I think that is the problem, or perhaps that is the question. Can we afford to move to a society where greater than 10% or perhaps even 15% of our GNP is going to retired folk, or should we find a way to maintain that expense closer to the current 6% number?

I am concerned that the proposals I have heard actually increase that number (percent GNP spent) rather than reducing it. The general message I hear is give the people greater control over their retirement investing, and they will do a better job managing it than big brother. My concern, as stated earlier, is this really just increases the sigma (variation) in expense from person to person, rather than resulting in some overall improvement. I do believe that many here think if they invest it they will have more money to live on when they retire. If that is the case, it confirms my suspicion that the overall percentage of the economy falling into this bucket will increase.

As I have mentioned, I believe the current proposals are balloon squeezing. For every person that ends up with a greater income during retirement, there will be another person that is worse off under any of the new systems that allow greater "control".

I view SS and medicare as a safety net, not the retirement savings plan some see them as. We need to make sure they are good enough to catch people, and not much more. I think that is what we should find the money to afford, by whatever means. To the extend that the current funding provides more than a basic safety net, this is an area where we can cut spending. To the extent that the current funding levels fall short, that is where we need to raise the tax. I really don't know which case we have when...

To the extent you want to control your own retirement money, there are IRA's and 401K's, and SEPs, and SERPs, and whatnot that allow for just that. I think it silly to add YET ANOTHER program to this soup. I think it safe to assume that any money that is controlled by an individual can quickly go to zero... we have all seen it happen. As such, we need to have the safety net to catch them if they fall. To the extent that some are going to zero, others are going to very large numbers... and that is OK too... but lets not confuse the process that generates the safety net with the process that allows some to prosper and others to falter.
--Alan
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