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Alpha_ProgDes

Where all your US tax dollars go?

47 posts in this topic

[url="http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_exclusive/20110415/pl_yblog_exclusive/a-taxpayer-receipt-calculate-exactly-where-your-tax-dollars-go"]Breakdown of US tax dollars.[/url]

If you ever wanted to know, well here it is. Also, if we're revamping SS, we should revamp the military too. Together they take 41% of tax revenue.
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I don't know much about SS, but we already spend more than any other country in the world when it comes to military, we have bases that need funding all over the globe, and we exercise our military power to get involved with middle East affairs, aside from just Iraq/Afghanistan. Either i don't know what you mean be "revamp" (improve? make better?) or i don't see why.

Though, for a while i've been under the impression that 30 cents of every dollar went to military and according to this, it's only 20. And the same amount goes to SS! I'm actually surprised to see education be only ninth on the list because i've always been under the impression (still am) that education needs more funding, when it's already getting a large portion of the tax. I mean, No Child Left Behind always seemed like a survival of the fittest battle for schools, but now i know that they're fighting over what little money is available (not that that makes me feel any kinder towards the act).

This gives me a bit more perspective on several political issues. Thanks for providing the link!
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Education doesn't need more funding, it needs to work smarter. I know that's a cliche and usually a lame excuse, but it really does apply in this case. The US spends more per head than any other developed nation, [i]it doesn't need more money thrown at it[/i].
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[quote name='Splinter of Chaos' timestamp='1303016543' post='4799381']
I don't know much about SS, but we already spend more than any other country in the world when it comes to military, we have bases that need funding all over the globe, and we exercise our military power to get involved with middle East affairs, aside from just Iraq/Afghanistan. Either i don't know what you mean be "revamp" (improve? make better?) or i don't see why.

Though, for a while i've been under the impression that 30 cents of every dollar went to military and according to this, it's only 20. And the same amount goes to SS! I'm actually surprised to see education be only ninth on the list because i've always been under the impression (still am) that education needs more funding, when it's already getting a large portion of the tax. I mean, No Child Left Behind always seemed like a survival of the fittest battle for schools, but now i know that they're fighting over what little money is available (not that that makes me feel any kinder towards the act).

This gives me a bit more perspective on several political issues. Thanks for providing the link!
[/quote]

The bulk of education spending in the US comes from state and local governments, not the federal government. In fact, the federal government provides only 9.2% of the nation's total education funding.
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[quote name='Splinter of Chaos' timestamp='1303016543' post='4799381']
...
Though, for a while i've been under the impression that 30 cents of every dollar went to military and according to this, it's only 20. And the same amount goes to SS!
[/quote]

I think that's a matter of aggregation. Assuming the values linked in the source are correct (and good chance that they are), it really determines how one adds up the numbers. Here are some of the categories:
Defense (20.2%)
Veterans Affairs (3.1%)
Law and Homeland Sec (2.4%)
Managament of Fed Employees and Buildings (1.4%)
Diplomacy and Embassies (0.4%)

Defense is straight forward, but Veterans Affairs should be tallied into that as well for military. A good portion of Law/Homeland security should as well, and the other two categories have some cross-over, just looking at definitions. Also, injuries to vets probably play into the Medicare total some (correct me if I understand this one wrong).

If Medicare plays any significant part in veteran aid, I'd say 30-ish percent is probably pretty close to accurate.
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[quote name='Strange Loop' timestamp='1303022305' post='4799393']
Education doesn't need more funding, it needs to work smarter. I know that's a cliche and usually a lame excuse, but it really does apply in this case. The US spends more per head than any other developed nation, [i]it doesn't need more money thrown at it[/i].
[/quote]
That rings true. After all, we also spend more on health per capita than any country, and yet we are not the healthiest. But we have a lot of schools closing down, especially in (separate, but equal) poor neighborhoods. For example, Detroit just lost half of its schools in order to balance its budget. Of coarse, maybe that doesn't mean schools need to be more funded, just separate but equally funded.

I'm curious whether you have any opinions on education reform. I know of classic arguments for higher quality teachers, no more seniority, and things like that. I just wonder if that's where you're coming from.
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[quote name='Splinter of Chaos' timestamp='1303063391' post='4799534']
[quote name='Strange Loop' timestamp='1303022305' post='4799393']
Education doesn't need more funding, it needs to work smarter. I know that's a cliche and usually a lame excuse, but it really does apply in this case. The US spends more per head than any other developed nation, [i]it doesn't need more money thrown at it[/i].
[/quote]
That rings true. After all, we also spend more on health per capita than any country, and yet we are not the healthiest. But we have a lot of schools closing down, especially in (separate, but equal) poor neighborhoods. For example, Detroit just lost half of its schools in order to balance its budget. Of coarse, maybe that doesn't mean schools need to be more funded, just separate but equally funded.

I'm curious whether you have any opinions on education reform. I know of classic arguments for higher quality teachers, no more seniority, and things like that. I just wonder if that's where you're coming from.
[/quote]

I used to be pro-education spending, but after looking into it this was a somewhat upsetting conclusion that I ended up at (the "it needs to work smarter" conclusions that is).

I'd recommend "Waiting for Superman" and "Kids aren't Cars" for people interested in the issue. Really eye opening and somewhat tragic :S

edit: just a note, both the above are documentaries. Kids aren't cars is an online documentary series that can be seen [url="http://www.kidsarentcars.com/blog/"]here[/url].

Both highlight one of my least favorite parts about attempting education reform, and that's the way teachers are so willing to play the children guilt card when in reality the reasons they are playing that card are often detrimental to children's education. Moreso how ready the general public is to just accept that it must be true.
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I think that education is someplace where we can always allocate more money. But there's no question that the money isn't spent very effectively right now, as evidenced by the depressing results the US education system gets. I'm all for reform, but even with the ineffectiveness, I'm not in favor of cuts [i]before[/i] reform, and perhaps not even after.
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To many purposes, but the military budget is a big piece of the pie. Just keep in mind, the US is spending more on military purposes than all the rest of the world together! That is completly out of balance.
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[quote name='Strange Loop' timestamp='1303022305' post='4799393']
Education doesn't need more funding, it needs to work smarter. I know that's a cliche and usually a lame excuse, but it really does apply in this case. The US spends more per head than any other developed nation, [i]it doesn't need more money thrown at it[/i].[/quote]The amount spent per head is indeed a sign of an uneconomic system. Despite the high costs in the US, the average education, average level of health, is terrible compared to other nations. At the same time other nations give their citizens free college tuition and free health care, for a much lower total cost?... yet to point this out is unamerican...

You can't fix that by "[i]working smarter[/i]", because in that political climate, "[i]smart[/i]" either means "[i]communist crap[/i]", or "[i]more of the same corruption[/i]". There's too much inertia, and the problem is one of perspective/perception, not actual economics.
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[quote name='Hodgman' timestamp='1303220631' post='4800350']
The amount spent per head is indeed a sign of an uneconomic system. Despite the high costs in the US, the average education, average level of health, is terrible compared to other nations. At the same time other nations give their citizens free college tuition and free health care, for a much lower total cost?... yet to point this out is unamerican...

You can't fix that by "[i]working smarter[/i]", because in that political climate, "[i]smart[/i]" either means "[i]communist crap[/i]", or "[i]more of the same corruption[/i]". There's too much inertia, and the problem is one of perspective/perception, not actual economics.
[/quote]
I would counter somewhat, despite agreeing with you on college spending, by saying that I would rather get it working efficiently, then increase its funding. Dumping more money in a broken system will see fewer gains than fixing the system then dumping money into it, which I am for.
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[quote name='zoni2233' timestamp='1303218961' post='4800336']
To many purposes, but the military budget is a big piece of the pie. Just keep in mind, the US is spending more on military purposes than all the rest of the world together! That is completly out of balance.
[/quote]

Looking over history, it is easy to see how the presence of superpowers has altered the world.

Look at Pax Britania, Pax Romania, Pax Mongolica, and a few other major military powers that covered the then-known world; observe what they did.

The current Pax Americana is larger than any of them, covering the entire globe and extending into orbit. As with each superpower before it, the nation spends a significant investment and reaps significant rewards.

When the US is unable or unwilling to fill the role of global enforcers, history explains there are few options: Another group will take the role, or a period of horrible wars will ensue which no group can control, or society will engage in a serious retrograde.


Often it is best when multiple military powers share the costs, but again history shows the difficulties mean they tend to either merge, become unequal and have one power fall, or eventually develop irreconcilable differences leading to war.


Like it or not, the US is currently the world's sole superpower. Many other nations have incredible military power, but in a direct comparison no nation is on the same level.



If the US reduced its role in Pax Americana other nations would need to step up to fill the gaps around the globe. It could be the individual nations filling their own needs, or external nations replacing the vacuum. What nation out there today is both willing and able to fund this on a global scale? The nations of the EU are facing their own difficulties and unwilling to do much more, so it would need a collective decision. The only individual nation with enough resources is China, but much of the world is against them for political reasons. Without China or the entire EU it will be up to the individual nations around the globe, and there are many nations I would rather not see with increased military power.

If the US was to completely abandon the role, another nation would need to either peacefully or violently transition to power. Since a violent replacement seems too bloody to imagine, which nation out there would be able to peacefully expand their power to the necessary scope? Assuming the US reduced their military power to their own national borders, the power vacuum globally would be incredible. Who would fill it? Would the nations of the EU peacefully coordinate their resources to exceed the US in global military funding? The third biggest would be China, would they become the police who enforced the next global peace? Those are the top three by GDP. If none of them picked up the role, no other nation or peaceful group of nations could afford it.

That really leaves the other two negative historical options: The US would cease the Pax Americana and either method results in an incredible global power struggle that could easily result in not just the destruction of modern society but could include obliteration of the planet.



With history as a guide, transitioning out of Pax Americana without destroying the modern world would require other nations to fund military and political systems far beyond what they currently are willing to bear. Unless the major powers of the world are willing to pick up the role peacefully, massive military funding reductions would have incredible negative effects globally.
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The transition role should go to the UN for world police and peacemaker. I wonder who here will scream that's a crazy idea.....?
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1303246860' post='4800510']
The transition role should go to the UN for world police and peacemaker. I wonder who here will scream that's a crazy idea.....?
[/quote]

I wouldn't. But then again, I don't believe in borders or nations being any long term solution either...
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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1303241479' post='4800476']


When the US is unable or unwilling to fill the role of global enforcers, history explains there are few options: Another group will take the role, or a period of horrible wars will ensue which no group can control, or society will engage in a serious retrograde.

[...]

[/quote]

What?

So you're saying that the rest of the world is hell-bent on destruction, and only the humanity and goodwill of the United States can prevent global warfare in their necessary and wonderful role of "global enforce[ment]". There's some pretty sinister undertones in that...

Your post talks a lot about history showing us things, but I'd like to see some actual examples of what you're talking about.

You skirt over the US led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which are by far the most high-profile of recent US interventions. Neither of these were peace-keeping, simply US initiated assaults for purely selfish purposes.
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Something that doesn't make sense that I never thought of until now. Why is there any tax dollars going to SS, and specifically, why is the % so high? A person making $69,800 will already pay $8,655 in SS tax from his payroll. Why then are we charging that person an additional $1,430 from the federal budget?

My plan for SS: let people opt out of the benefits for half the tax. ie I can forgo my social security and keep an additional 6.2% of my paycheck, the employer 6.2% the government keeps for the people who are still drawing benefits.

A person working at 25 who puts 6% of his paycheck in an A rated bond (8% return) will have $1.2m at 65 and with 8% could draw $8k a month for life, not including any 401k or employer matching contributions.

Compare that to someone who pays 12.4% who gets social security and only gets $1800 a month.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1303249283' post='4800524']
Something that doesn't make sense that I never thought of until now. Why is there any tax dollars going to SS, and specifically, why is the % so high? A person making $69,800 will already pay $8,655 in SS tax from his payroll. Why then are we charging that person an additional $1,430 from the federal budget?

My plan for SS: let people opt out of the benefits for half the tax. ie I can forgo my social security and keep an additional 6.2% of my paycheck, the employer 6.2% the government keeps for the people who are still drawing benefits.

A person working at 25 who puts 6% of his paycheck in an A rated bond (8% return) will have $1.2m at 65 and with 8% could draw $8k a month for life, not including any 401k or employer matching contributions.

Compare that to someone who pays 12.4% who gets social security and only gets $1800 a month.
[/quote]
A cashier at Burger King putting 6% of his paycheck in bonds will have 1.2 m by age 65? Even if that did happen, you'd still have the same problems with that as you have with SS. Also, the taxes toward SS is probably because the gov't is taking your tax money to repay loans they took from SS in the first place. Honestly, I don't know how much of SS is actual bonds (ie. IOUs). However, the gov't has to now pay off those bonds and of course the interest that comes with them. As opposed to just getting the money directly from SS like they should be doing in the first place.
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[quote name='__sprite' timestamp='1303248544' post='4800522']
[quote name='frob' timestamp='1303241479' post='4800476']
When the US is unable or unwilling to fill the role of global enforcers, history explains there are few options: Another group will take the role, or a period of horrible wars will ensue which no group can control, or society will engage in a serious retrograde.
[/quote]

So you're saying that the rest of the world is hell-bent on destruction, and only the humanity and goodwill of the United States can prevent global warfare in their necessary and wonderful role of "global enforce[ment]". There's some pretty sinister undertones in that...

Your post talks a lot about history showing us things, but I'd like to see some actual examples of what you're talking about.
[/quote]

When it comes to the historic periods of relative peace, yes.

It isn't that "humanity and goodwill of the United States" that does it. It is the knowledge that SOMEBODY out there WILL take action.

I agree that in general nations are publicly peaceful and generally work well through politics. The general case is fine.

The difficulty comes to the exceptional cases.






You ask for actual examples. Here you go. I'm going to be back a decade or two because of my age. It is still rather recent in terms of world history:

Going back twenty years when Iraq invaded Kuwait, the question was really if either the US would get involved, or if Russia would get involved before they collapsed. If neither nation did, Kuwait was doomed.

In some ways I agree with the sentiment that this COULD be a job for the United Nations. Unfortunately we see that the UN Security Council either will not or is unable to enforce it's own resolutions.

In Kuwait, the UN resolved to do something but then did nothing. Then the US took action. They lead a coalition of nations in forcing the military back to Iraq, watching as the Iraqi military lit the oil fields on fire creating an incredible environmental disaster. It took years to put the fires out after Iraq's Scorched Earth policy and (in spite of the UN resolutions) there were global reports that it was all about US wanting oil.



Then I watched and studied in school about the Rwandan Genocide, where the UN resolved to do something and once again did nothing. The US decided not to get involved beyond the UN sanctions, and millions died, and again there was an outcry that nations should have done something.


Then, still in school I watched Kosovo, and again the UN did nothing as the country deteriorated to a very bloody war. It was NATO, not the UN, who stepped in and stopped the major fighting of a civil war. It looks like the UN (UNMIK) is trying to recover the nation, but I still wonder what would have happened if the UN or other body intervened earlier.



This "Pax Americana", not "Pax United Nations". When nations fight they don't ask if the UN is going to get involved because they know the UN has no actual power. Instead they ask if the United States is getting involved.

With the recent events in Libya, you didn't see global news articles asking if the UN was going to implement more sanctions as their leader dropped more bombs on civilians. Nobody turned to the UN Security Council to see if a resolution would be passed. The news articles at the time asked "Will the United States get involved?" When the US declined to take the lead there was a scramble. The UN response? Wikipedia shows this timeline rather clearly:
Feb 21: Libyan representatives in UN asked the UN for no-fly zone
Feb 23: France asks EU to issue sanctions
Mar 1: US Senate decides to not intervene, urges UN Security Council to pass no-fly zone
Mar 7: NATO (not the UN) begins 24-hr surveillance missions preparatory for air strikes. UN diplomat leaks that UN is preparing sanctions.
Mar 9: Canadian defense minister makes announcement that NATO is getting involved and US has placed war ships in the area.
Mar 12: Arab League asks for UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone.
Mar 15: UN finally proposes a no-fly zone, and passes it with 1/3 of the members not present or abstaining.
Mar 18: Libya claims they want a cease-fire because of the UN resolution, but keeps murdering their civilians in spite of the threats.
Mar 19: The UK and France lead the NATO-based coalition to impose the no-fly zone, citing UN authorization
Mar 20: Arab League claims a NATO-lead coalition is an affront to decency, BBC and others report that they blame the US and NATO despite their earlier statements to the UN
Mar 24: NATO officially takes over no-fly zone.

It was the military force from NATO, not the UN, that continues the missions to keep the peace.


Is that enough of an example or do you need more?

It isn't that the US needs to be the policeman. It can be any nation. The point is that a policeman must take action, not debate the matter endlessly in committees with the hope that sanctions will work. Somebody needs to take action. Today it is the United States. A little over a century ago it was the British Navy. Go back through times of relative peace and you'll see it was the Roman Empire, or the Mongol Empire, or some other nation that maintained peace in the wide sphere by being both willing and able to engage in military force against nations or nation-states that abused what is often called the moral right to lead.

[quote]
You skirt over the US led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which are by far the most high-profile of recent US interventions. Neither of these were peace-keeping, simply US initiated assaults for purely selfish purposes.
[/quote]

This again?!

The case against the Iraq war was clear enough. It was a cease-fire after their 1990 invasion of Kuwait. There were many thousands of documented violations of the cease fire by Iraqi military. The UN passed sanction after sanction against the country, with no effect. Sanctions included penalties for Iraq developing certain unmanned areal vehicles, which they developed and flew without the promised UN penalty. Sanctions included requirements that Iraq allow unfettered access to inspect all nuclear facilities, yet for years they would stonewall nuclear inspectors, sometimes barring them access from records, sometimes locking them inside the facilities for days on end, all this without the promised UN penalties.

Yes, the timing for the US following up on the additional penalties the UN had promised for a decade was suspect, but this is hardly "for purely selfish purposes".


As for Afghanistan...

Several terrorist groups had declared their own vows to attack the United States, and had been doing so like a mosquito on an elephant. There were bombings against embassies and the periodic attack against US naval vessels. Then on September 11th they successfully launched an attack against the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and very nearly succeeded against the White House. There is no dispute the attacks were planned jointly al-Qaeda and the Taliban and carried out by their members. It may be going out on a limb here, but I'm thinking that sounds like a major act of war against the United States.

The US didn't say "What nation can we invade today? Afghanistan looks good." In response to the direct attack against the United States the US counter-attacked at those organizations with the goal of dismantling the group's Afghanistan base of terrorist operations. Perhaps that is "for purely selfish purposes". To me it seemed like the terror organizations were already at war with the United States, this was just the nation returning the favor.
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1303251751' post='4800539']
A cashier at Burger King putting 6% of his paycheck in bonds will have 1.2 m by age 65? Even if that did happen, you'd still have the same problems with that as you have with SS. Also, the taxes toward SS is probably because the gov't is taking your tax money to repay loans they took from SS in the first place. Honestly, I don't know how much of SS is actual bonds (ie. IOUs). However, the gov't has to now pay off those bonds and of course the interest that comes with them. As opposed to just getting the money directly from SS like they should be doing in the first place.
[/quote]

I think that would be why they'd have the option. I'm not sure if the 6% you'd still get from employers would be enough to cover the loss from the employees for paying off people who are putting in less than they take out, but I'd be interested if someone did the math. I feel like it would be pretty close.
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1303251751' post='4800539']
[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1303249283' post='4800524']
Something that doesn't make sense that I never thought of until now. Why is there any tax dollars going to SS, and specifically, why is the % so high? A person making $69,800 will already pay $8,655 in SS tax from his payroll. Why then are we charging that person an additional $1,430 from the federal budget?

My plan for SS: let people opt out of the benefits for half the tax. ie I can forgo my social security and keep an additional 6.2% of my paycheck, the employer 6.2% the government keeps for the people who are still drawing benefits.

A person working at 25 who puts 6% of his paycheck in an A rated bond (8% return) will have $1.2m at 65 and with 8% could draw $8k a month for life, not including any 401k or employer matching contributions.

Compare that to someone who pays 12.4% who gets social security and only gets $1800 a month.
[/quote]
A cashier at Burger King putting 6% of his paycheck in bonds will have 1.2 m by age 65? Even if that did happen, you'd still have the same problems with that as you have with SS. Also, the taxes toward SS is probably because the gov't is taking your tax money to repay loans they took from SS in the first place. Honestly, I don't know how much of SS is actual bonds (ie. IOUs). However, the gov't has to now pay off those bonds and of course the interest that comes with them. As opposed to just getting the money directly from SS like they should be doing in the first place.
[/quote]

The $1.2m would be for someone making $69,800, I used the same figure as the link. For sh*ts and giggles I did it again at $15k a year (close to minimum wage). Cashier would have $260k at retirement and could draw $1730 a month (and still leave a nice present for his family at death). Compared to $720 a month with social security benefits. Not as striking, and the COLA would probably even out on the monthly level after 40 years, but still interesting nonetheless.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1303258630' post='4800563']
The $1.2m would be for someone making $69,800, I used the same figure as the link. For sh*ts and giggles I did it again at $15k a year (close to minimum wage). Cashier would have $260k at retirement and could draw $1730 a month (and still leave a nice present for his family at death). Compared to $720 a month with social security benefits. Not as striking, and the COLA would probably even out on the monthly level after 40 years, but still interesting nonetheless.
[/quote]
That figure is a bit unrealistic then, don't you think? Assuming you're only considering college-education workers, not every college grad make $60K their first year or even first 3 years. And $1730 a month may be great in the South. But on the coast or metro areas, you'll still be tight for cash. Unless you have no bills whatsoever which is becoming less and less possible in this debt-driven society/economy.
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[font=arial, verdana, tahoma, sans-serif][size=2][quote name='frob' timestamp='1303241479' post='4800476']We all depend on American exceptionalism[/quote][quote name='frob' timestamp='1303257838' post='4800555']Illegal wars are just[/quote]Get off my lawn.[/size][/font]
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It also sets up some interesting problems in terms of poor foresight if people can opt in or out of SS. There are a lot of people who don't sock any money away for retirement now, despite the overwhelming goodness of the idea. Even with the striking amount of money it would generate, a lot of people my age (early 20's, just starting their careers) don't even have a retirement account, let alone fund it well.

I don't know how much of it is due to a mindset that includes collecting SS (although that's foolish as well, since it's not a huge amount of money), but what I see a lot more is people simply wanting that little bit of extra money [i]now[/i], future be damned. Many people simply don't plan ahead as much as they ought to. That's not really a reason to continue SS without any changes, but I imagine a United States with optional SS participation producing a lopsided population of elderly people, consigned to little or no money to live on because of decisions they made decades ago.

When could you decide that you wanted out? Could you change your mind later? How would that even work? I'm not saying that such a system can't work, just that it's far from a panacea, and not something that would inherently correct the situation.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1303249283' post='4800524']
A person working at 25 who puts 6% of his paycheck in an A rated bond (8% return) will have $1.2m at 65 and with 8% could draw $8k a month for life, not including any 401k or employer matching contributions.
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Having an 8% return in the long run is incredibly unrealistic. If you actually look at long run numbers, you'll realize that on average, you can't do significantly better than just putting all the money into long-term government bonds, which are perhaps half that return. Sure, some people manage to beat that number in the short run, but periodic crashes tend to cancel that out - just consider all the stories about people who lost their private retirement funds as a result of financial crises. Also, for everybody that gets lucky and gets incredible returns, there will be more than enough people who don't manage this. Finally, you are conveniently ignoring inflation, which does have a significant effect over such time scales.

So sure, some people will get lucky with private capital-based retirement funds. As a society-wide retirement system, it is a horrible idea.
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[quote name='Alpha_ProgDes' timestamp='1303262045' post='4800576']
[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1303258630' post='4800563']
The $1.2m would be for someone making $69,800, I used the same figure as the link. For sh*ts and giggles I did it again at $15k a year (close to minimum wage). Cashier would have $260k at retirement and could draw $1730 a month (and still leave a nice present for his family at death). Compared to $720 a month with social security benefits. Not as striking, and the COLA would probably even out on the monthly level after 40 years, but still interesting nonetheless.
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That figure is a bit unrealistic then, don't you think? Assuming you're only considering college-education workers, not every college grad make $60K their first year or even first 3 years. And $1730 a month may be great in the South. But on the coast or metro areas, you'll still be tight for cash. Unless you have no bills whatsoever which is becoming less and less possible in this debt-driven society/economy.
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I only matched what was on the link. $1730 a month isn't that much, but a person making minimum wage is only going to get $720 a month with social security. So given that information, I'm sure he'd much rather take the $1700. Social security is not retirement, it's not meant to be lived off. Which is why I think we are making a mistake by not encouraging people to be self-sufficient with their money. How many people cash out their 401k because they think the government will take care of them when they get older?
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