I’ve had a number of folks write in commenting on the glories of private accounts and the wonders of individual ownership of assets. This seems like a good opportunity to dispel a widespread myth.
Looking at the current Social Security debate you could easily get the impression that the debate is over private accounts. That’s actually not true. There’s a pretty wide consensus in support of private accounts — stretching across most of the ideological spectrum from the right to the left. The Clinton administration had a private accounts proposal called USA accounts.
The debate isn’t really over private accounts so much as it’s about where the money comes from. Or more specifically, whether private accounts are instituted on top of Social Security or whether they replace Social Security. A very big difference.