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Privatizing Social Security: good idea or bad idea?

It's difficult to mention Social Security, in any form, without the conversation becoming a little bit heated. By it's very nature, Social Security is a divisive and difficult program. That doesn't make it any less necessary than it is. It's a very important part of our society, and despite many reports and studies that point to an impending financial disaster for the program, it is the program that we have -- and we have to work with.

The benefits it provides to those who are older, disabled, or in need of that extra bit of financial help to get them by is absolutely vital. Obviously, these benefits aren't exactly distributed to people with the snap of the fingers. There is a process to everything, and sometimes that can be quite frustrating for those seeking the benefits. But, all told, this program is necessary and important.

Having said all of that, consider this hypothetical situation: what if Social Security was privatized? Would that help the system? Three counties in Texas seem to show that this would actually work. They opted out of Social Security 35 years ago, and their privatized "Alternative Plan" (AP) has apparently been functioning quite well since then.

Of course, then the question becomes "could a system like this ever work on a national level, and how would the transition be done?" That's a complex question that doesn't really have an answer at the moment. In other words, while it's nice to imagine and hypothesize, we simply have to work with the system that we have right now.

Source: Forbes, "Privatizing Social Security's Disability Program Would Help The Disabled," Merrill Matthews, April 29, 2015

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