These articles are pretty commonplace today, documenting the nearly bi-partisan support in Congress and the Obama Administration for cutting back on Social Security benefits, which has been dubbed "The Grand Bargain". (Odd how social benefits can be cut but military spending, or corporate welfare, is the sacred cow of the budget talks?)
The problem with The Grand Bargain threats is that for the great majority of Americans, SSI is going to be all that they have to retire on. Pension plans (defined benefit plans) are a relic from my grandparent's and my parent's generation, save for the few who work in the public sector or in a trade union. The majority of my generation is left with defined contribution plans (401K and Roth IRA), which are loaded with hidden fees that cut into the returns, as Martin Smith documented on PBS's Frontline earlier this year:
I firmly believe that my generation will not do well in retirement. Even if my peers already have a 401K plan at work and have started an IRA, it won't be enough to withstand rising costs of living and increasing job turnover that's become more commonplace in today's economy. When people are out of work, they often drain some of their retirement funds just to survive. 401K plans act more and more like a rainy day fund rather than a savings account for old age.
When my generation reaches retirement, with limited financial resources, I think many of us will be moving in with our children, helping raise the grandchildren. Call it couch surfing or multi-generational housing. It's going to be commonplace all across the country as people struggle financially into old age.