I don't see it as forcing SP off the list. Would you as a SP walk away from a free gift of $600 from the WTS in these times?
I see your point, and to a large extent agree with it. Not so much for the $600, but more for the "free" health care coverage (not so free - they have to work 130 / 120 hours per month to get it). The SPs are covered pretty well - depending on their age, such coverage could easily be worth more than $1000 per month.
But what's good for the SPs is not necessarily good for the Society. The Society likes to have SPs out there pounding the pavement and "encouraging" the local congregations, but it really really hates paying the $600 / month stipend PLUS $hundreds more on health care PLUS $hundreds more on auto expenses. And as these guys get older and older, they'll have more and more health problems - that's why they got kicked out of Bethel in the first place.
The Society can get +/- 75% of the benefits of a Special Pioneer from a "plain old regular" pioneer - and they pay exactly $0 to the regular pioneers.
They'd prefer that all the SPs become regular pioneers...but they are also very conscious of their image. They realize it would look really really horrible to kick out 50-something long-timers from Bethel and not "take care of them" somehow. So they set up hundreds of them as SPs.
HOWEVER....wouldn't it be nice if those SPs quit on their own? That way, it's their decision, not the Society's. The Society looks oh so wonderful for "taking care of" those guys when they left, but gosh-darn-it, "Satan's old system" and its economic woes just happened to "force" those SPs off the list after a couple of years.
If you're a football fan, it's kind of like the Jim Zorn situation in Washington. The Redskins owner continually humiliated the head coach, stripping away his responsibilities, trying to get him to quit so he wouldn't have to pay the remainder of his contract. Of course, the coach just refused to quit, preferring the guaranteed money from his contract. But others in his situation likely would have quit.
Sure, the SPs get benefits from the Society, but it's not easy. Try living on $1200 / month, even with reduced auto and health care expenses - it's not easy. It's not a life of luxury, and small unexpected expenses can wreak havoc on their extremely tight budget.
With the added economic pressure of this cutback (and more to come?) from the Society, many SPs just won't be able to continue, despite the remaining incentives from the Society. They'll go off the SP list and look for some sort of job that will at least somewhat pay their bills, all the while praising the Society for "taking care of them" for so long.