A slightly controversial topic, but this came up in our economics class, so ill try to reiterate the discussion as much as possible. With recent addresses in the State of the Union address just a few days ago, the issue of social security reform, and the nature of privatization, has come about. If we look at the actual budget of the U.S. (which can be found in any almanac or the Office of Management and Budget), the real 'crisis' may not really be in social security. The plan itself is viable if the money generated in Social Security isn't used in the general budget. The problem may thus lie in the general U.S. budget. Massive defense spending, in addition to interest from loans borrowed by the U.S., make up the majority of U.S. spending. Social Security comes in third, and privatizing it means that the standard 8% taxed will be reduced to around 4%(?), thus making the U.S. earn even less revenue (presently Social Security is a primary moneymaker for the U.S. govt and with our rising debt this may be a problem). In addition, the average American probably doesn't know enough about investment to properly manage that 4% and will most likely just cash it in (thus screwing their future). Now, we could cut all of the unnecessary bureaucracies in the U.S., but that will have at best a negligible effect when compared to the defense spending and interest on loans. So cutting HUD or the U.S. Dept. of Education will not significantly affect the current U.S. debt. According to the 1990 Almanac (slightly dated), social security had a surplus that would have accumulated (still a large expenditure but it was taking in more money than it was spending), and there wasn't that great of a problem by itself. But, social security is figured in with the general expenditures of the U.S. government, causing this crisis to occur (the money is now spent on wars of foreign intervention and other short-term goals instead of being fully allocated for seniors). Individual income taxes and Social Security are the primary means of generating revenue for the U.S. spending machine, and slashing the revenue of Social Security will only add to the problem. Corporations pay taxes, true, but it is a fraction of what the individual income taxes are. Supposing that Social Security had a surplus now like it did in 1990, and that revenue did accumulate, then there really wouldn't be an issue with Social Security (or the budget in general). Just curb the runaway defense spending and let the accumulated revenue from Social Security gradually take chunks out of the interest on the loans. We may be tackling the wrong issue here, but all of this recent hype may be for naught.