Specifically regarding SS payments; we've been telling people for over eight decades that SS was their money, that it was guaranteed, and that they 'paid into the system' and would would be taken care of by Uncle Sam. Dependence on SS doesn't really show they are idiots, only that they trusted their government.
I have NEVER heard SS explained as anything other than 1 leg of a 3 legged stool, SS, pension, and personal savings. Can you please provide ANY documentation released from our government that implies anyone "would be taken care of". You should have 80 years of documentation, so it should take you all of about 10 seconds, right? I find this claim ridiculous and distracting to the real issues.
I will provide a statement that is probably closer to the evidence: There has NEVER been a government official statement that recommended SS as the only source of income for any person or group.
If you find 1, I will rethink my statement. If you find several references, many going back as far as the 1930's, I would consider agreeing with you.
There may be people, many in fact, who believed that SS payment will be enough and saved nothing. I believe this was an irresponsible decision. Many could have spent less and saved more, or even something. I went without a cell phone for 12 years because I did not like the cost and it was not worth it to me. I found my price ($0), and now I have one in FIRE. They could have made those same choices and saved instead.
These would be people that would plan on spending less than the average person. You know, like people on these very forum. Where they differ from "us" is that they did not take ANY precautions or plan for the future. I think overall they might be more similar to us than meets the eye.