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Resolving social security

Observer Viewpoint | Monday, April 18, 2005

As evidenced by a recent letter to the editor regarding “privatizing” Social Security, it is more obvious than ever that Americans are addicted to government programs. Social Security is going bankrupt and the Bush apologetics have begun building a right-wing monument to the left-wing idea that people are incapable of saving their own money.

Social Security is not a “lockbox” in which a person can hide money until retirement. It is a redistribution mechanism, and the notion of privatizing it doesn’t make any logical sense. Any tax money skimmed from your paycheck now goes to pay the pensions of your grandparents. These “personal accounts” would interrupt the flow of money to the retirees, and the government will have no way to pay its debt to them. The Left would preach the gospel of higher taxes, while the Right would borrow more money from nowhere. Benefits would be cut and the retirement age would be raised.

Are you worried yet?

Our money would thus be invested in these personal accounts, which are stock in private corporations that have been approved by the government. Besides the (hopefully) obvious fact that an enormous investment bubble would result, the government would also have indirect control over a huge portion of the nation’s publicly traded companies. Consequently, the government – just like any major stockholder – would potentially have the power to appoint members to the boards of directors of these companies. Call it fascist or socialist. Either way, nothing gets better.

The only actual solution is a gradual abolition of the entire system. Unfortunately I do not have room to detail out how this could be done, but if you are interested go to www.mises.org and investigate.

The time has come for serious reform. Instead of creating one government program to solve the problems of another, it is time to admit we have a problem. Those of you on the left and on the right need to take a deep breath and say confidently: “My name is X, and I am addicted to the government.”

Hi X. Welcome to reality.

Scott WagnerCollege Libertarian PresidentjuniorApril 14