The Corner

Art Linkletter, R.I.P.

The television man has died at 97. He was that rare thing: a Hollywood conservative. Social Security reform was one of his passions and he chaired an organization called Team Grandparent, which supported the creation of personal retirement accounts. A year ago, the WSJ profiled him:

Mr. Linkletter notes that “young workers today, like my great-grandchildren in their 20s, are projected to receive a 0% real return on their Social Security deposits, and the system falls 30% short of being able to pay even that.” Congress, he says, should no longer be allowed to raid the Social Security trust fund and use it for other programs. And six percentage points of the tax should be put aside for a personal investment account. “Anyone can do better than a 0% return, even in the most conservative financial institution on Earth.”

The alternative, he continues, is to keep raising the tax, as President Obama wants to do. In France and Germany, they’ve raised the tax on workers to 40% and nearly 50%, he says. “Can you imagine a 50% tax on American workers? Now that’s socialism.”

And that’s a path Art Linkletter wants the nation to avoid at all costs. “We’ve become a rich country because of freedom. Freedom. The ability to speak and worship and do business and run your own affairs and have a limited government which promoted enterprise, in the early days, instead of trying to run everything — like now.”

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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