Now that partial privatization of Social Security is actuually looking like a genuine political possibility, there's been lots of thoughtful criticism of the various proposals floating around. And then there's stuff like this Bob Kuttner piece, which kicks off in the first paragraph by reminding us that:
Without Social Security, a third of America's seniors would be destitute.
Because it's incredibly useful to look at seniors whose wages have been diverted into the system their entire working lives, curtailing their ability to save, and then consider what would happen ceteris paribus if their checks stopped coming tomorrow. Followed shortly by…
With private accounts, you're in big trouble if you happen to reach retirement age when the market is down
and decide, for mysterious reasons, that it'd be a great idea to liquidate all your investments at the bottom of a market slump….
But with individual accounts, there's little redistribution except for a very meager minimum benefit, and hence more poverty in old age.
Because, as we know, redistribution is the only way people can increase their wealth. But this is where I stop reading, because I'm too young for high blood pressure.