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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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A Gift to Your Grandchildren


The response among Virginia’s public officials to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ call for closing the Joint Forces Command in Virginia reflects the depth of the financial problems our country is facing.

Most everyone knows that the road the federal government is on leads in but one direction: bankruptcy. It simply cannot continue spending more than what it’s bringing in without going broke. It can tax and tax and borrow and borrow, must as the Greece government did, but at some point the breaking point will be reached. Creditors will refuse to lend any more money and there won’t be enough money to pay for the expenditures and the debts.

The U.S. military empire — the warfare state — is a big part of the problem. Military expenditures are around 20 percent of federal spending.

So, to help with the problem, the Defense Secretary proposed to eliminate an unnecessary military program.

What happened? Virginia officials went ballistic. “National security!” they cried! “Don’t close our base!”

And don’t you know that that will be the response of every single state and locality that has become dependent on the warfare-state dole?

It really isn’t any different with respect to the welfare-state dole. Welfare-state redistributive programs amount to around 60 percent of federal spending. That encompasses such things as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, farms subsidies, corporate subsidies, and bank bailouts.

What is the response of every single class of welfare-state recipients? “Don’t stop our dole! We could never survive without it!”

So, what’s to be done?

I’ve got a proposal, one to the senior citizens of America: You lead the way. You lead us out of the socialist morass into which our nation is mired. You lead the way by calling for a full and immediate repeal of Social Security and Medicare.

Yes, I know: Seniors say, “I put it in and I have a right to get my money back.” But we all now know that that’s not how the system works. Social Security isn’t a savings account. It isn’t a retirement account. It never was those things, and there never was an actual fund where people’s money was being invested. It’s simply a welfare program, one in which the government taxes young people in order to transfer the money to senior citizens.

Medicare works the same way. Young people are taxed and the money is used to pay the medical expenses of the seniors.

The repeal of these two programs would result in an immediate reduction of 40 percent of federal spending, something that would go a long way toward placing our country on a sound financial (and moral) footing.

There are those who claim that American seniors would die in the streets without these two socialist programs. Nonsense! In fact, that’s one of the most insidious aspects to these programs — they have inculcated a mindset of hopeless dependency among the American people. They’re worse than heroin.

Would Americans survive without Social Security and Medicare? Absolutely! After all, don’t forget that our American ancestors lived and prospered without these two socialist programs for some 150 years.

Wealthier seniors don’t need the money anyway. They can survive with the wealth they’ve accumulated.

Middle-class and poorer seniors might have to continue working to supplement their savings. So what? Is that so bad? I see lots of senior citizens still working, and I don’t see them suffering for it. It keeps them in the mainstream of life.

Some seniors are incapable of working. That’s where family values and charitable foundations come into play. Bureaucrats are not the only good and caring people in society. Keep in mind that young people would no longer be burdened by Social Security taxes, which would free large sums of money to help out with parental expenses or to donate to help others.

In the absence of Medicare, insurance companies would inevitably enter the health-care arena, enabling people to continue private health-care insurance in their later years. The truly poor would depend on physicians and hospitals to voluntarily help them. That’s the way it used to be before Medicare, and it’s the way it should be now. Charity means nothing unless it’s voluntary.

What would it take for seniors to lead the way by calling for a repeal of Social Security and Medicare? It would take a resurgence of the values that once characterized the American people: self-confidence, self-reliance, a feeling of “can do,” family values, moral values, and voluntary charity. It would take a deep and abiding faith in one’s self, in others, and in freedom and the free market.

The repeal of Social Security and Medicare would inevitably lead toward the repeal of all welfare-state programs — along with the taxes and borrowing that pay for them. What better way to restore financial health and economic liberty to America?

Imagine the financial burden that would be lifted from the young people of America. No longer would any generation have the socialist albatross of Social Security and Medicare hanging over its neck. No longer would each generation look toward plundering and looting future generations in their senior years.

What greater gift could seniors give to their grandchildren than a repeal of Social Security and Medicare? Indeed, what greater gift could they give their children?

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.