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rustedSoul, you sound as though intellectually you understand that there is no account with your name on it and money in it for Social Security, but viscerally you wish there were.

The way I see it, all my tax dollars go into a single big bucket, and attempts to segregate Social Security are just accounting puffery.

It is quite conceivable your contributions will exceed your benefits. I did a calculation once and it appeared that yearly benefits max out for someone whose income has been $48,000 in today's dollars. Since the maximum income for FICA this year is $72,600, you can see there is a gap. On the other hand, the amount you have to earn to collect the Social Security minimum payment is quite small. This is important for badly paid people like nannies and day care workers.

So, the formulas for Social Security payments are redistributive. If you dislike them enough, maybe you want to run for office with some Scrooge-like slogan (Are there no prisons? Are there no public workhouses?).

If you believe in the single-bucket theory of taxation, then it seems to me that the calculation of return on investment in Social Security makes no more sense than ROI on the State or Veterans' Affairs departments. That's my take, anyhow.
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