Friday, March 23, 2012

Kind to be cruel

Here's John Stossel on my favorite topic in "What is fair?"
“Think about Social Security in terms of what would happen if a private company came up with a deal like this,” Goyette said. “The president of the company says, we’ve got to sell some new policies tomorrow to pay you what you’re due when you cash in today. They’d lock these guys up.”
Goyette was referring to the fact that your payroll taxes are not invested. The money is spent right away, and the government counts on new money from current workers to pay retirees. The touted trust fund doesn’t exist.
“There’s no trust. There’s no fund. There’s no security. And the really bad thing—this is what’s really destructive—it has changed the propensity of the American people to save for themselves....We’re creating a multigenerational calamity. And it’s right at our doorstep.”
We’ve taught people to be dependent. But dependence robs us of our dignity and keeps poor people poor.
The thing is I understand the genesis of Social Security and how it was important to protect seniors in a post-Depression economy where physical labor was the main kind of work.  But little of that fits into a 21st century economy where seniors have much more wealth than younger Americans and work has become more automated and much less physical.

Now we've raised generations of Americans who have not saved for retirement because they're living on the completely incorrect notion the government will provide in old age.  They're in for a rude, rude awakening.

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