I Apologize

by Jonah Goldberg

Derb – All of this time I was working on the seemingly mistaken assumption that Paul was a real libertarian even on issues like Social Security. So when I saw that you were on the same page, I zoomed over to his site and, lo and behold, he takes the same Bismarckian position you do on Social Security. I suspect, when his supporters read that characterization, some will send me email saying “No, no, no: he thinks Social Security is bad but he has to make concessions to reality, or we’re stuck with it, or he has to get elected, or some such. To which I will respond: fine. But A) He doesn’t say that on his “Issues” page (he doesn’t even hint at it) and B) He’s not staying true to his libertarian principles (did he not run on the Libertarian Party platform’s pledge to abolish Social Security in 1988? I think he did but I am open to correction).

Then again on Wikipedia it says that Paul favors making Social Security voluntary for young people, in order to “save the system.” In the Fox News debate he said: “We need to allow the young people to just flat out get out of the system.” I’m not sure what to make of that. Then there’s this op-ed which praises Bush raising Social Security but then seems to take it back. He also writes: “We’ve all heard proposals for “privatizing” the Social Security system. The best private solution, of course, is simply to allow the American people to keep more of their paychecks and invest for retirement as they see fit.”

Anyway, I do apologize. I didn’t know what Paul’s position was on Social Security was when I originally wrote that. And now that I’ve done some very cursory homework, I still don’t.

Update: I now see that Ramesh beat me to the same point below. But I have more quotes and other word-type things.

Update II: I just got this:

Jonah,

Paul’s position on Social Security (and Medicare) is very simple:

1. Allow young people to opt out

2. Use the money we now spend overseas to ensure those still in the Social Security system still get their benefits

3. Social Security dies with its recipients

Note: Paul opposes the immediate end of Social Security not only because it is unfeasible, but because it would be punishing those who “bought in” to the current system and didn’t save because they were told Social Security would always be around. Most Boomers hedged their bets and started saving, but not all did.

I hope this clears it up.

Thanks,

Nick Bradley
Blogger, LewRockwell.com

Me: Well, it’s an answer, and not a terribly complicated one. Of course, dismantling the military and all foreign aid doesn’t strike me as a serious (as in real world) proposal, but it’s an answer. Curious whether that’s how Derb (of “rubble doesn’t make trouble” fame) would like to sustain Social Security.

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