In an editorial about labor threats to pull their penson funds from investment firms that support privatization, the Wall Street Journal offers this inane criticism:
The problems with all this are many, starting with a rich irony: Unions are using the clout they've acquired from investing in the stock market to oppose a plan to let individuals invest their own tax money in the same market. According to a Tax Foundation paper, of nearly $2 trillion in public employee pension plan assets, 55% are invested in corporate equities. Labor leaders don't mind stock-market investing when it enhances their own political leverage, but for individual workers to build their own wealth is too "risky."
To belabor an obvious point, pension funds, 401(k) accounts, etc. are an addition to the guaranteed Social Security benefit. Replacing a large portion of the guaranteed benefit with stock market investments is a different matter entirely. Yet privatization advocates persist in confusing the two -- see Josh Marshall on Greg Mankiw's embarrassing TNR piece, for instance.