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Socialist Security

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Social Security is the third rail of U.S. politics. President Joe Biden has recently made great hay out of Rep. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) daring to even hint that this sacred program could be altered in any way, manner, shape, or form. Nor have the Republicans dared to challenge our president on this matter. Instead, they have contented themselves with utter and total denial that they had any plans in the offing along these lines. Social Security changes aren’t on the table, they aver. They have no plans of altering even a jot or tittle of this holy program.

Well, there’s no compunction on this score, at least not from the present quarter. This socialist nostrum should never have been started in the first place, and it should now be torn down, root and branch, and salt sown where once it stood.

Why?

There are two main reasons. First, it conflicts with an even more important third rail in our political system: democracy. Social Security states, in effect, that the American public is either too stupid, or too short-sighted, to save not only for a rainy day, which may or may not ever occur, but also for their old ages, which will indeed take place, God willing.

But if they are so flighty, so unreliable, so un-mensch-like, as to not be able to save, on their own, however, can we trust them to the ballot box vote? On the other hand, we do endow the general public with this sacred privilege. Even obviously low-information voters are allowed to pull the lever in the voting booth. In so doing, we’re undermining our other basic premise: that the brains of the public are deader than the proverbial doorknob when it comes to saving for eventualities.

You just simply can’t have it both ways. You can’t, logically, state in the same breath that the electorate is too short-sighted to save for their retirement and, yet, should indeed be allowed within 100 miles of a voting booth. Who says logical contradictions can’t exist in the real world? If this isn’t one of them, there’s no such thing.

Second, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Bernie Madoff, properly, went to jail for this crime of his. The people in charge of the Socialist Security program should join him there, since their acts are indistinguishable from his. The payments made to present retirees aren’t predicated upon their own past contributions to this system. Rather, they went to finance the retirements of the previous generation. Instead, their benefits are financed by the following generation, those still in the labor force. If that isn’t the exact definition of the classic Ponzi scheme, then nothing is.

A third difficulty, a relatively minor one, is that under present institutional arrangements, this program will become bankrupt in a matter of a handful of years, not decades. The New York Times estimates this as of 2033. This is due to demographics. The present generation is too large compared to the one which comes afterward. The program could be “saved” by lowering payments to the levels of money coming in, raising the age of retirement, or some combination of both. There are riots in France over one attempt to ameliorate this threat: postponing retirement payments from the age of 62 to 64. Another possibility is to claw back some of the payments, via taxation.

Presumably, one or the other or all three of these alterations will soon be implemented, notwithstanding the current fracas between Biden and the Democrats and Scott and the Republicans. For the last thing our masters in the ruling class want to do is preside over the bankruptcy of this evil system.

Why evil?

This is because it’s paternalistic. It’s an insult to compel people to have regard for their futures. Paternalism is justified only for children. They must be made, for their own good, to brush their teeth, drink their milk, look both ways when crossing the street, etc. But to treat adults in this cavalier manner is simply beyond the pale, at least for a civilized society, which we, patently, are not. At least not as long as this abominable system persists.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.



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