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The Homer Simpson Approach to Social Security

The Social Security trust fund is fictional, nothing more than a collection of IOUs from the government to itself.

by
Paul Hsieh

Bio

April 12, 2011 - 12:00 am
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Blogger Tony Donadio puts it more sharply. He notes that if the next generation of workers chooses to opt out of Social Security, they would be morally entitled to do so — the fact that current workers had already paid into “the system” would be irrelevant. The current workers’ money is already gone, spent by the government, just like the money lost by Bernie Madoff’s victims. Current workers do not have a moral claim on future workers’ income any more than Bernie Madoff’s current victims have a moral right to compel new victims to cover their earlier losses.

Given the economic and moral bankruptcy of Social Security, the proper question is not how to “reform” it, but rather how to privatize and eventually eliminate it. Eliminating Social Security will not be easy, but it must be done if this country is to survive economically. The alternative is the riots and civil unrest we’ve seen in countries like Greece when their entitlement systems finally collapsed.

And just as an individual who runs into financial trouble may have to sell personal assets to pay his debts, the federal government may similarly have to sell some of its assets to make good on its debts, as has been recently proposed by Investor’s Business Daily, the Cascade Policy Institute, and the Cato Institute.

Fortunately, some Americans are recognizing both the economic and ethical necessity of eliminating Social Security. Blogger Milton Wolf writes:

As burdensome as it would be, I would volunteer myself to be the “sandwich generation” to solve it. I will pay for my parent’s generation’s retirement (through my Social Security taxes) and pay for my own retirement (through my 401K) without accepting for myself any Social Security benefits, if doing so would unshackle my children from this welfare state Ponzi scheme system that will otherwise crash hard and take America with it.

There’s ample room for legitimate debate on how quickly and by what precise methods Social Security should be eliminated. But the overall guiding principle of any such discussion must be that the government should not compel a man to pay for his neighbor’s retirement against his will any more than it should compel him to pay his neighbor’s mortgage — or his neighbor’s medical bills. Instead, the government should leave individuals free to plan for their own retirements (or not) according to their own best judgment — and enjoy the rewards (or suffer the consequences) of their decisions.

If we Americans don’t start working now to eliminate Social Security, our delay will only make the inevitable crash all the worse. And future Americans will rightly curse us for leaving them with a stack of worthless paper promises.

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Paul Hsieh, MD, is a member of the Colorado chapter of Docs4PatientCare (www.Docs4PatientCare.org) and co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (www.WeStandFIRM.org).
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