Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Slavery Issue of Our Time

I've had this argument a couple of times.  The other guy says that Social Security is much safer than having your savings in the stock market.  Take the market of 2008.  You could lose half your money.  How are you going to retire on that?

My answer is, of course, that you have to put your retirement off for a couple of years.  And for a white-collar or professional guy, what's the problem with that?

Because the truth about Social Security is that it is a return to the feudal age.  Under Social Security the young and the poor pay taxes that go to the old and the rich.

Let's make the difference clear.  Under a private system of superannuation, workers save money from their wages and sock it away in banks and mutual funds.  When they have saved enough, then they can retire.  If there is a nasty financial crisis that takes the stock market down, then they have to put off retirement and keep working.  On this system the monkey is on the would-be retiree's back.  If the economy is in the tank you can't afford to retire.  You have to work alongside everyone else to put it back on its feet.

Under the government's system of Social Security you pay taxes according to the government's schedule and then, at a certain age, you get to receive a pension without regard to the economy's ability to pay.  If there is a financial crisis that takes the stock market down you still get your pension at the same time but the government borrows money if there is a shortfall. We know who gets to pay for the borrowed money: not the old 'uns.  With the Social Security system you got your rights, and the government forces the workers, people probably younger and poorer than you are, to pay up.

There is a word for the government's system: Injustice.

Now there are special cases, no doubt, to justify the use of government force.  People with disabilities, genuine ones.  Manual workers, whose bodies give out at about age 45.  Widows, orphans, druggies, you name it.  But the average person these days is a white-collar worker, and that white-collar worker--I am talking about you and me--can usually work a year or two more when things get rough.  Isn't that the caring and compassionate thing to do?  Nobody would want to put the whole burden of getting out of a financial crisis on the young generation, would they?  Would they?

Jeffrey Lord in The American Spectator puts the whole thing in context.  The "slavery issue" of our time is Big Government.  The Democratic Party, for obvious reasons, is the Big Government party, but the Republicans are split on the Big Government issue, like the Whigs were split on the slavery issue in the 1840s and 1850s.  The question is: where does each and every Republican stand on this issue?  Do you stand with the Bushes and the Roves, who want to compromise the issue, or do you want to have it out, like the Reagans?

Jeffrey Lord's argument, of course, is that a Republican Party that is split on the Big Government issue is heading for the exits, like the Whig Party.

But the real problem is my friend, who thinks that Social Security is safer than the stock market.  He's not going to be willing to take a haircut on his nice safe Big Government Social Security benefits until the furnace of default threatens to burn his hair off anyway.  And then it is too late.

Let's face it.  The voters are going to want to muddle through on Big Government until it is too late.  The tragedy of the mid 19th century wasn't the demise of the Whig Party.  Who cares about a political party, anyway?  The tragedy was that the slave power was too wedded to its exploitation system, and wouldn't countenance a path to end its injustice and its disgrace.  So 600,000 young Americans had to die instead.

The same thing applies to the Big Government issue, the slavery issue of our time.  The tragedy is not that the Republican Party might get plowed under.  The tragedy is that the longer we put off reforming Big Government the more people are going to suffer when the end comes and the government goes Greece or Argentina.

Minorities and women hardest hit, of course.  That goes without saying.

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