That brings us back to the Bush proposal. To date, it has met with a mostly unenthusiastic response from both elected officials and the public.
At the same time, it's starting to become clear that any bill that will encourage Americans to invest in equities (or anything else) would likely have a positive impact on the economy, both now and in the future.
Just as the cut in capital gains made the stock market and other financial vehicles widely popular, an expansion and encouragement of Americans to invest their own money -- otherwise only feeding the beast of Social Security -- would stimulate the economy by pumping the lifeblood of additional capital into our free market system. And at a time when the nation needs something new and exciting to propel it forward.
Plus, a program that encompasses the notion of "privatization" might start to instill in Americans a concept that so far most aren't accepting -- that of saving money for their later years. A long-term reversal of this dangerous trend would be nothing but beneficial.
The problem with Bush's proposal -- as is often the case -- is that it's so far been sold in a confusing and unimaginable way.
Even so, as it starts to dawn on Congress and the American public that the economy may be entering into another protracted period of chasing its tail, both might be receptive to the idea of some combination of private and public funding of Social Security.
If it's adequately presented to them, Bush's much-maligned Social Security reform proposal could provide immediate hope for another just in time rescue from economic doldrums.