Have you ever calculated how much you would have in retirement funds if you had invested all of your social security taxes, incrementally as you have paid them, in a safe investment portfolio, such as municipal bonds (5-6%, almost no risk), or corporate real estate (7%, slight risk). After 45 years of working most people would be millionaires. And if they die the day after they retire, their spouses or children get to fight over the money. The only difference between you, with your mortgage, college bills, and retirement worries, vs. the old money people living in mansions, is that their grandparents had enough money in the bank to set them up in a comfortable lifestyle. These people perpetuate their wealth by adding to the principle to keep up with inflation and living off the interest. The current social security system virtually assures that this will never happen to the middle and lower classes. Since we are forced to pay so much taxes, we can't afford to retire! Say at age 20 you make $20,000/yr ($1667/mo) and pay 6.2% of your income into a fund matched by your employer, and continue this practice until you retire at age 65. After 45 years in a slight risk investment (and with a 45 year term it is almost inconceivable that a "slight risk" investment would have any risk), earning 7%, you would have $783,802 dollars in the bank. (Let's forget inflation here because we will assume that your raises would at least keep up with inflation.) By continuing your 7% investment, never touching the principle, you would be able to draw $4572 in interest per month upon retirement. That's 2.74 times your pre-retirement income. A low risk, 5% investment would earn you almost twice your pre-retirement income. And the numbers simply multiply with income. Under this scenario, a retired couple would have over $1.5 million in the bank and earn over $100,000 per year in interest. Compare that with the paltry amount given back by the government in social security. But here is the real rub: after you die, all your principle can be given to your children and grandchildren, basically setting them with "old money". Comparatively, your social security investment evaporates, and some people die unable to pay for a decent funeral. The Republican plan is to transition from the system that we have now to full privatization over several decades, to allow support of the retired and retiring who have been duped all these years. You and I wont see full privatization, but maybe our grandchildren will. This is the truth that Democrats don't want you to know. By throwing crumbs, rich liberals like Kennedy and Edwards will continue to be supported by poor people. After all, a retired couple living on 100 large doesnt really care about the cost of prescription drugs, universal health care, or the current question of social security. They are unlikely to vote for a Democrat. Do the math. Be smart about your life decisions. See more at http://calculator.socialsecurity.org/.