Private Retirement Accounts

I don’t get it. Bush says we need “private personal savings accounts” for retirement. What am I missing? Is there something stopping people from setting up a private savings account NOW? I have an IRA, and the government gives me a good tax break when I put money in it. If you work for a corporation you might have a 401K account, and you get to put even more tax-free money in that.

But Bush says that we need to get rid of Social Security and replace it with private accounts. From this story:

“He [Bush] said allowing younger workers to set up personal savings accounts could bring them a better rate of return than the government gets with Social Security trust funds, which hold federal bonds. ‘We’ve got to think differently,’ he said.”

But we have private accounts NOW. So how is a plan to replace Social Security with private accounts different from just getting rid of Social Security? It seems to be little more than a word game to trick people into giving up Social Security.

And, by the way, has the rule that rate of return = risk somehow CHANGED? Bush says we would get a higher return by taking our retirement money out of bonds and putting it into stocks. But doesn’t that also mean that we then have our money at a higher risk?