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I would like to suggest another alternative: Get the government out of the retirement/Ponzi scheme business altogether and allow adult citizens to provide for their own retirement as they see fit. I am 47 and have paid into the system for over 25 years, but I would be perfectly happy to get back what I have paid in so far (even without interest, just adjusted for 25 years of inflation) and opt totally out of the system. Allow me to receive the 15+% that I am currently forced to send to Washington (my "contribution" and my employer's matching payment), and I will expect nothing from the government when I retire at whatever age I choose.

I'll go even further. I'm 38 and I would be willing to give up all the money I've ever paid into SS and all future retirement benefits if they will allow me stop contributing. I've maxed out the SS deduction for a number of years too.

It aint gonna happen though.

There is no easy solution that will please everyone. We elect congress people to solve these problems for us, but they pay more attention to pleasing people in the short term rather than solving long term problems.

I think the only solution is to phase out Social Security (as it exists today). All the ways to do that are dependent on people NOW paying more or receiving less. IRA's and 401k plans help by making fewer people dependent on social security payments. Forced IRA's may be a solution, but that brings up all sorts of issues about who is going to manage all those accounts and how many fees are going to be collected to do it.

Another big gap is what happens to those who make poor investment choices? Does the government have a duty to provide subsistence level existence for the elderly? When does someone become eligable? This is basically the same issue as welfare, but a larger proportion of people in this group can't work.
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