The Corner

The Burden of Social Security

From a reader:

Subject: Think Before Typing

Mr. Goldberg,

“…like Social Security — aren’t that intrusive…”

!!!!!!! Are you serious????? Which part is not intrusive, the taxes paid

throughout a lifetime, the dependency on the state in the declining

years, the destruction of intergenerational responsibilities? Even the

f-ing card is property of the state and can not be spindled without

repercussions. You need to spend more time with Mr. Derbshire.

Me: I’m actually pretty sympathetic to this, and I could have phrased it differently. But it’s very hard to imagine a political realignment so profound that it would yield an America without something like a Social Security card and an old-age pension, for at least the poorest old people. I’m all in favor of drastic Social Security reforms, but the facts are the facts. Moreover, even Milton Friedman would have conceded that the whole point of the automatic deduction from your paycheck is that it’s less intrusive — or at least feels less intrusive. But, I guess intrusiveness is in the eye — or pocketbook — of the beholder to a certain extent.

Update: A friend instructs me that Mr. “Derbshire” opposed Social Security reform in 2005, for what it’s worth. 

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, will be released on April 24.

Most Popular


The Dominant-Sport Theory of American Politics

I think it’s safe to assert that President Trump has an unfortunate tendency to do and say (and tweet) embarrassing things. When he does, we all join in the condemnation, and often it’s not so much for the substance as for the style. The president of the United States should be dignified, measured, slow to ... Read More

Why Does Russia Build So Many Doomsday Weapons?

While America’s ruling and chattering classes were chasing Moose and Squirrel, back on planet Earth the Russians have been busy building a doomsday bomb. As Vladimir Putin alluded to in his March 1 address to the Federal Assembly, the Russians have developed, among other “superweapons,” a Doomsday ... Read More

Enoch Powell’s Immigration Speech, 50 Years Later

The 20th of this month marks a significant anniversary in Britain. For it is the 50th anniversary of what is probably the most famous -- and certainly the most notorious -- speech by any mainstream politician since the war. On April 20, 1968, Enoch Powell gave a speech to the Conservative Political Centre in ... Read More
Economy & Business

A Trump Trade and Economic Doctrine

If the Treasury Department’s recent semiannual report is any guide, the Trump administration still doesn’t quite get it when it comes to trade imbalances. “The US government has all the tools it needs to achieve balanced trade without risking a trade war,” writes Joseph Gagnon for the Peterson Institute ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Comey–Trump Dance

I never thought the Comey book would make much news for the simple reason that it would be outrageous if it did. If Comey knew something relevant and important about the Russia investigation that we didn’t already know, he couldn’t possibly put it in his book. Let’s say he did have something big on the ... Read More