The Bushies have miscalculated badly on the Social Security issue. First, they're having difficulty convincing today's what's in it for me in the short term populace that a funding crunch thirty-odd years into the future is a "crisis." (Hell, I'll be dead by the time things come to a head -- what do I care?) Second, they've badly misestimated the average American's desire for security without risk -- exactly what Social Security was meant to ensure in the first place.
You see, the Bushies and their fat-cat Wall Street friends want to convert everyone in America into one of the "investment class," by letting them invest part of their Social Security funds into private (or what they call "personal") accounts. The problem is, the average American doesn't want to be an investor. They view the stock market as Las Vegas for capitalists -- and while they're okay with playing the slots in Sin City, they're less wild about gambling away their retirement money. What they want for retirement is a big cushy ol' safety net -- the type of retirement insurance that Social Security promises -- not the high-risk gamble that the stock market presents. (And those few who have done some investing in the past are no doubt still tending their deep bruises after the market crash of a few years back; if they're like me, their IRAs and 401(k)s are still partially submerged.)
The difference is that the Bushies view Social Security as some sort of investment (and argue that your dollars can be invested better elsewhere), while the average American views Social Security as an insurance plan. You put in your X number of dollars a month, and then when you need the insurance, it's there. You're covered, and it's not about the return on your investment -- because insurance isn't an investment, it's protection. Social Security was never intended to be an instrument of investment, it was meant to be an insurance policy for when we're old. The Bushies not only see it in the wrong way, they see Americans equally incorrectly. Investment is risky (and we don't like risks), and don't you dare go messing with our old-age insurance.
But that's just my opinion; reasonable minds may disagree.