Social Security: Saving Failure

by | Feb 11, 2005 | Welfare

It's wrong to force people to pay into a coercive retirement system, run by the government at a poor return rate, when they could be making better and more profitable decisions on their own.

President Bush laid out a pretty clear case as to why Social Security as we know it must go. In a few years, the program will be paying out more than it takes in unless, of course, we expose ourselves to unlimited tax hikes.

At the same time, President Bush argued that his plan to partially privatize Social Security is justified on the grounds that it will save Social Security. This contradiction raises an obvious question: Why eliminate what deserves to be saved? If a welfare transfer program – which Social Security largely is – deserves to be saved, then you don’t turn the money over to private individuals. Instead, you simply give the government more money (through higher taxes) and you give the government more control in the process. This is clearly what the liberal Democrats would like to do, although none – except for Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean – will dare say so aloud.

The real problem here is that you can’t evade the moral issue involved. It’s wrong to force people to pay into a coercive retirement system, run by the government at a poor return rate, when they could be making better and more profitable decisions on their own. It’s wrong to call Social Security a “savings” program when it’s coercive in nature and, in actual fact, transfers huge sums of money from the working, non-retired to the retired and other groups covered by the program (such as drug addicts). Most of all, it’s wrong for government to take money from private individuals in the first place, whether that money is taken from Peter to pay Paul, or from Paul to pay Paul.

If President Bush fails at his attempt to partially privatize Social Security, it won’t be because it’s too radical. It will be due to the fact that he wasn’t radical enough – “radical” in the sense of getting to the root of the issue. The root of the issue is that the initiation of force is always wrong. The government had no moral right to initiate Social Security in the first place. Because it was bad from the start, it sooner or later had to go bankrupt. Social Security will never be saved because it cannot be saved. Nor does it deserve to be.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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