A financial adviser I once worked with, as the market went down and our portfolio did too, smiled and said, in his Oxbridge English accent, 'At these times, you have to keep in mind the difference between fluctuation and loss.' Well, if you rely solely on equities, timing is everything, and if your timing's off, you're in big, big trouble.
They originally introduced Social Security, of course, so old folk wouldn't starve to death. It's comical, or would be if it weren't so tragic, to hear all those bootstrap-pulling-up righties talking about fixing everything with savings--health, retirement, social safety nets. Pensions gone, or raided and cash-stripped in M&As, or in equities and now low. Consumer spending driven by debt on 25%/yr credit cards, home equity loans, now slowing, and, oddly, in a 65-70% consumer-driven economy, recovery ain't 'zackly going full steam. So, more savings will solve everything. That way, less government spending, a lower deficit. And, of course, the social, fiscal, political, medical, educational answer for everything, lower taxes.
Makes absolutely no sense, even if constructed on an entirely non-ideological base, as if we didn't, in fact, have any obligations to each other as human beings. None whatever. None.
Did I say it makes no sense? Let me, then, say it makes no sense...