Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Social Security and the Fallacy of Government Compassion

By David Bozeman

The chatter is becoming a roar. With the first baby boomers approaching the legal retirement age and concern mounting over the solvency of Social Security, the first solution on the table is to raise the age even higher.

Republicans such as House Speaker John Boehner, governors Tim Pawlenty (MN) and Mitch Daniels (IN) have expressed support for upping the age to 70. Bush 43 spokeswoman Dana Perrino recently proposed on Fox News phasing in, not affecting anyone now at or near retirement, an increase to age 69. Fox News analyst John Stossel, a staunch libertarian, echoes the same idea as the first solution to saving the program.

Social Security, of course, remains the vaunted third rail of American politics, the crown jewel of Roosevelt-era liberalism. Even conservative-minded Americans consider the program the one saving grace keeping the elderly out of the poor-houses. Like a national institution or memorial, it will be saved come whatever. Just the mere concept is an American value unto itself and we will make it endure, regardless of the costs or the puny payouts or the toll on the American worker.
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