The Corner

Re re re: Maggie Gallagher is “Right”

I incline more to Michael Walsh’s side of this debate – that we need urgently to move the meter in the direction of reality on this issue. The fact that Rick Perry’s statement of the obvious is even “controversial” is testament to how diseased our public discourse is. Nevertheless, Maggie concludes by saying we should cut everything else until we’ve “fully funded Social Security for the next 50 years“:

 A pension plan with an army. From a libertarian perspective, is that so bad?

Assuming that’s a serious question, I’ll rise to the bait. Taxing young people ever more onerously to prop up entitlements for older generations who enjoyed all the benefits of a prosperous America their grandchildren will never know is a great way to sever what little is left of the social compact. Think Wisconsin State Fair writ large: Mobs of the able-bodied preying on the more walker-intense quartiers of Florida. Seniors with terrific government checks but terrified to venture out for Parcheesi Night at the Lodge, because the parking lot isn’t as well lit as you might like. You better hope your gated community is seriously gated.

In my new book, I have a throwaway line about a world in which “hospitals are prone to sudden power outages, tragic but economically beneficial.” If you want a society in which you’ll never quite know whether the night-shift cleaner is going to “accidentally” unplug you, then “a pension plan with an army” is a pretty good way to guarantee it. Whether or not, as Maggie says, 25-year-olds vote for Social Security, more and more Americans understand that we have looted the future to bribe the present, and that Social Security is Exhibit A in that indictment.   

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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