Friday, February 04, 2005

Social Security - reform it

The debate rages around whether or not there is a crisis looming - most of the "Not" camp falls into the "it won't happen on my watch," so who cares. For my part, even if there is no crisis coming - and I know that there is - I would still say reform the damn thing.

First off, let's call it what it is: welfare payments to the old. Really the only difference between Social Security and welfare payments is that we pay SS regardless of need, and we tend to pay more to the people who don't need it, and less to the people who do.

It is a socialist program, and whatever it was designed to do, one of its affects is that it hands control of workers and their retirements to the government. The government will decide when you retire, it will collect 15% of your compensation off the top before your employer gives you a penny, but you won't see the benefits of that money.

Of course some will claim that any change to Social Security will result in suffering and chaos. These are no doubt the same people who claimed that ending "welfare as we know it" would cause undo hardship. But you know, dealing with hardship is function of the human condition. The struggle is in part a struggle for greatness, but then the left is uncomfortable with competition, because not everyone can run the race as fast. Not everyone is interested in running the race. And luck does enter in to the equation at some points. (Being in the right place at the right time can help, even if you didn't end up there through planning.)

Since no one is advocating cutting off payments to those already (or about) to receive them, what horrors do they imagine coming from reform? The horror of accepting personal responsibility for yourself, and your decisions? The horror of individual freedom? The horror of private property? I think that some just don't want to relinquish power over the population.

In a recent conversation with a devout leftist, I was told that the average American isn't smart enough to manage their own retirement. Even if this were true - which I categorically deny - so what. You don't have a right to have the government look after you. You don't have a right to force me to give you money - whether through armed robbery or taxation - just because doing so would make your life easier. (The fact that you have the power to do so, doesn't make it right, even when you use the mechanism of law and government.)

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