Enlightened ramblings of a minarchist libertarian with Objectivist tendencies

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Social Security

As most of you know Social Security, which is the Golden Idea of American Socialism, was brought into existence back in August 1935 with the stroke of FDR's pen. The original intent was to provide for retirees, but as is the want of all government programs it soon spread in its scope. In 1939, it was amended to cover the spouses and children of these retirees as well. Never enough, in 1950 further changes were made to ensure double digit increases in the benefits amounts. Still this was not enough. In 1954, "disabled" workers were added to the dole.

Surely now this would be enough. No such luck. Next in line was the creation of Medicare in 1961, which became so large and bloated that it was spunoff as its own program in 1977. Since then numerous other changes have come about, some adding to the program, some limiting it, but not since the Greenspan Commission of the early 80s has government sat down and taken a serious look at the problems of the system.

The problem is that the program, much like kudzu, has grown to envelop so much of daily life here in the US that it alone is responsible for 5% of the US's economic output. I personally find this outrageous. What I find even more outrageous is the mandatory nature of the program. I have no choice but to pay into the system. I don't know about you, but I am quite certain that would be better positioned to plan for my own retirement than the government and I definitely could better invest my money.

So why is there such a fight over the partial privatization of Social Security? The answer is because it is just a big ponzi scheme. Yep, this same plan would land you or me in a jail cell, but for the US government it is business as usual.

Pres. Bush is in for the fight of a lifetime because SS has become known as the "third rail" of American politics. Fortunately for us, he has no further political aspirations beyond his second term and can take the steps necessary to fix the problem now, rather than just passing it off for others to fix down the road.

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