From the book: (Excerpted from the 12 page chapter)
"There was supposed to be this "three-legged" stool of retirement. It went like this. When people get ready for
retirement they should be able to count on pensions, savings and Social Security, as the three legs, to comfortably see them through their final years. It has
worked—to a fairly respectable degree. It has worked with some variations—depending on how much a person could save and how well their pension plans
delivered. It has worked for millions of people who had nothing to count on except Social Security. Thank goodness—and thank the taxpayers. The
solution of the three-legged stool was not a fancy answer, but has worked nonetheless, for nearly seven decades. It will continue to work—assuming we are all ready
to take a beating—now that's a fair assumption."
"The 'savings' leg of the stool has taken some pretty hard hits recently, assuming the retiree had a 'savings'
leg. The 'pension' leg has been nearly turned upside-down for many retirees—assuming they had a pension. That leaves the third leg—Social
Security—it has been there, and will continue to be there, but it too, will take a beating—no assumptions."
"We've all seen a piece of equipment, or an airplane, that has a stencil-lettered warning that says "No
Step" zone. That's where Social Security is right now. We have the warnings all over the
program, have had for over a decade, and Senators and Representatives, and the President, the people in Washington, D.C., both parties included, who need to address the warnings, are deftly avoiding them as gingerly as if they
were "No Step" zones. In fact most serious students of the issue have very grave concerns about the future of the plan, unless great changes are made, and
soon—very soon. Demographically, the numbers verify the problem. The "No Step" zone."
"At no time in our history has the combination of federal spending and indebtedness—and known and expected (but ignored)
future economic pressures—encountered such a recklessness with our nation's lawmakers, as that illustrated in 2002-2003. It's almost as if some mystical
doctor had written a prescription for disaster—delay and denial on the part of lawmakers, and delay and denial, and waiting, waiting, waiting for the hammer to
fall—on each generation of Americans."
"Even though common people, retirees, pre-retirees, housewives, executives, observers, insiders in both the executive and
congressional branches, and think tank experts can clearly see the warnings and have continuously alerted lawmakers of the "runaway freight."—the people in charge do not
act as if they can distinguish red from green. The differences between public trust and political cover are going to haunt some politicians forever. But the worst
of it is—they are going to haunt the rest of us for at least the next three or four decades—unless self-reliance becomes the operative phrase—as well it
should, in the face of current and coming events. Stay tuned."