Should We Save Social Security?
October 23, 2007
Irvine, CA--Last week the first baby boomer applied for Social Security, marking the beginning of what the government calls a "silver tsunami" of retiring baby boomers--more than 80 million over the next twenty years--who threaten to overwhelm the Social Security system. According to the government's latest estimates, Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it takes in through taxes by 2017, and by 2041, the system is expected to go bankrupt.
According to Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, "As politicians and pundits desperately search for ways to save Social Security, it's time to ask: Should Social Security be saved?
"The basic principle behind Social Security is that individuals have a right to unearned retirement income. To pay for these unearned benefits, the government seizes money from workers and transfers it to the elderly. This is a perverse injustice. Why should a twenty year old who is struggling to make ends meet have to finance someone else's retirement? Why is it parasitical for a young person to live on the dole, but an inalienable right if he waits until he's 65? Why should those who conscientiously save for retirement be forced to sacrifice a chunk of their income to support those who were not as responsible?
"There is no such thing as a 'right' to someone else's labor or money. The 'needs' of the elderly do not justify turning the young into part-time slaves. Instead of looking for ways to save Social Security, we should be designing a plan to phase it out entirely.
"Some claim that without Social Security the streets would be lined with senior citizens unable to pay for their homes or their food. But this fantasy ignores the fact that, before Social Security, there was no epidemic of starving old people. Individuals planned and saved for their own retirement. Those few who genuinely couldn't support themselves relied on their families and on private charity--they did not demand the government reach into other people's pockets to provide them with goodies.
"Social Security should not be saved--it should be abolished."
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