Death to Social Security!
Would that it were a battlecry I actually heard. I would vote for a politician who uttered those words.
I recently read an article from www.salon.com entitled “Why has the Post series created so little reaction?” that was about the corruption of our government and how it has empowered and enriched a corrupt elite. It was more heartening to me than disheartening. I have long argued that capitalism is something we haven’t a shadow of; our government is corporatist. It is designed, owned, and operated by major corporations. Capitalism would destroy these entities. They are as hostile to the ghost of real capitalism as any socialists ever were. Our corporatist system is functionally socialist in a lot of ways, from the way small producers are uniformly squashed in favor of larger (and supposedly more capable) entities, to the chilling effect that economic restrictions have ultimately had on other freedoms. And to continue that last little reference, Friedrich Hayek once said that socialism can not be implemented without means that socialists will not approve of. I do not think corporatism suffers that problem.
Of course, this all must seem an odd digression. Where does Social Security come into this picture? Well the article also mentioned that there is a drive among the ‘billionaire class’ to cut Social Security. This is the only place where the criticisms in the article really miss the mark. It is hard to overstate this case – Social Security, as done in the USA, is not ultimately beneficial to anyone. It may have provided short-term benefits to some people, especially those who got into the program early. And for those who are presently beneficiaries, I am sure they would suffer to lose the income stream now. However, the program has eaten capital throughout its entire history and it will continue to do so as long as it exists in whatever form it exists in. By providing an illusion of late-life safety, it even discourages effective planning and saving. It shortens the already short time-horizons of Americans. And I know this idea is terribly long out of fashion, but I dare say the program is bad for our national spirit.
Social Security has done nothing for social justice. Instead it has damaged our economy. It has damaged our ability to plan for the future. It has damaged our ability to function independently of government. It has even, by consuming capital that could have gone to industrial and technological causes, held back our sciences. And as capitalism has been the engine to lift humanity out of poverty wheresoever some piece of the market was allowed unburdened to function, so I say Social Security has even left poverty that much more prevalent in our society. It is a bitter legacy for liberals that has become a strangely holy pig in the public trough.
It was a bad idea implemented poorly. It doesn’t even come close to providing income commensurate with the expenses of aging! That’s why I called it an illusion of late-life safety. The entire program is a foolish pyramid scheme and it is long overdue to go away. I don’t care who exactly slaughters the holy pig. As much as I abhor the corporatist, corrupt, overcentralized government of our modern age, exactly what the motive of those who kill Social Security is seems irrelevant to me. The death of the program is an interest shared by very nearly the entire country. Rich and poor alike should rejoice to see Social Security vanish from America, and were it up to me, the event would be heralded by parties in every city street.
And just maybe, if this program is cut, people will come to realize how unreliable this corrupt government of ours really is. That will be a valuable day in American history.