Should the 'Smarties' Really Be Put in Charge of Health Care?

In a delicious coincidence, another supposedly scientific study telling us that liberals and atheists are more intelligent than everyone else appeared during a weekend when two dreadful reports on the tangible results of their supposedly superior circuitry arrived.

I'll leave detailed critiques of the study to others, but you'll have to excuse me for suspecting that its conclusions were reached using the same degree of experimental rigor and attention to detail last seen in attempts to "prove" that human activity causes global warming.

The Treasury Department delivered most of the evidence of the wonders done for us, or I should say to us, during the past 75 years by those higher beings on the left known as liberals, leftists, and "progressives" last Friday. It came in the form of the "2009 Financial Report of the United States Government," a 254-page, 2.4 megabyte behemoth which tells us where the nation stood financially on September 30 of last year in painstaking detail -- with a heavy emphasis on the pain.

The report's Table 1 lays out Uncle Sam's balance sheet, but also has two big line items near its bottom, under the category called "Social Insurance Net Expenditures." These really represent taxpayers' obligations to future government entitlement program beneficiaries. The first listing, amounting to $7.677 trillion, is Social Security.

Following much of the model pioneering smarties like Bismarck had initiated in Europe, that quintessential smarty Franklin Delano Roosevelt got his rubber-stamp Congress to pass the Social Security Act in 1935, primarily as an old-age retirement plan. Its early cost of 1% of the first $3,000 of individual earnings, plus a matching amount paid by employers, was modest enough, while early Social Security Administration publications promised workers and employers that their taxes would never increase.

Oops. The program's subsequent history is one of continually increasing tax rates and taxable amounts, while the roster of those forced to make "contributions" has grown to include the self-employed and many others. In 2010, employers and employees must each pay 6.2% of the employee's first $106,800 of earnings into the system. The maximum amount a person and his employer might pay of $13,243 (12.4% x $106,800) is over 220 times the program's initial price tag of $60 (2% x $3,000).