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 holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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