Picture, if you will, a sailboat challenged by a moderate storm—and its keel is missing. Without that stabilizing ballast, the craft would turn turtle with the first modest wave that came its way.
Social Security is the keel under America's Ship of State. Most retirees get a check the first of the month and spend it before the following check arrives. Month after month, this simple, basic economic cycle stabilizes our economy and has done so for many decades.
Can you picture the social chaos we'd be in today if our retirement funds had been invested in the stock market for the past few years? Retirees would have been living high on the hog in 2007, but since then the Dow Jones Index has lost almost half its value. If invested in the stock market, the income of every American living on Social Security would be almost half today of what it was just two years ago.
As a symbolic example, one month American seniors would have been living on $1,200 a month, then all of a sudden they'd be faced with an agonizing choice between medicine and food with little more than $600 to live on. That's the way the unpredictable and often turbulent stock market works.
"Let's dine out tonight, dear. Which soup kitchen would you like to try this evening?"
The effect that privatizing Social Security would have on the rest of the country would be disastrous … over and above the trauma of poverty, uncertainty and humiliation to which it would subject our retirees.
Without the stabilizing keel of Social Security as we've known it for decades, both our economy and our society would capsize. Privatization would be the problem, not the solution.