Contrary to popular opinion, especially among seniors, there is no Social Security fund into which people have “contributed” their money during their work years. There are also no lock boxes at Fort Knox that contain people’s names and the money they have “contributed” for their retirement.
From the very beginning, Social Security has been a welfare program, no different from food stamps, farm subsidies, education grants, and every other welfare program. Under the welfare-state way of life, the government taxes people, keeps some of the money itself for performing this “service,” and then gives a dole to other people. With Social Security, the government taxes younger people and gives part of the money to seniors.
Thus, Social Security, like other welfare-state programs, is founded on the concept of mandatory charity. Younger people are forced to care for older people by having their money forcibly taken from them through taxation and given to seniors.
Libertarians stand in firm opposition to the concept of mandatory charity. We hold that everyone has the natural, God-given right to keep everything he earns and decide for himself what to do with it — spend, save, invest, or donate. Thus, we oppose every single welfare-state program, including Social Security, and call for their immediate repeal.
Conservatives and liberals, both of whom favor the welfare-state way of life, say that if we were to repeal Social Security (and Medicare) today, there would be thousands of seniors dying in the streets tomorrow.
That position, however, constitutes one gigantic insult of younger people. It holds that younger people cannot be trusted to help their parents and grandparents in time of need. It reflects a total lack of faith in young people and a total lack of faith in freedom and free will.
If Social Security were repealed today, everything would turn out fine tomorrow. Freedom really does work.
For one thing, many Social Security recipients don’t need the money. They are sufficiently wealthy and would be financially able to continue their retirement without Social Security payments.
There are some seniors who might have to go back to work. There is nothing wrong with that. I see seniors working all the time. It keeps them in the mainstream of life. It enables them to interact with young people. It beats sitting in the dark corner of one’s living room waiting to die.
There are, of course, those seniors who are incapacitated, ill, mentally or physically disabled, or who are lying in some cancer ward or hospice and who are totally dependent on Social Security. What about them?
That’s where children and grandchildren come into play. That’s where they have the opportunity to step up to the plate and help out their parents and grandparents, especially with the tax money that they are no longer having to pay to the federal government. Isn’t that more gratifying and rewarding than paying federal taxes?
What about young people who turn their backs on their parents and grandparents? That’s where church groups come into play. Or friends, neighbors, or other relatives. Or community service groups. All on a voluntary basis.
What if no one comes to the assistance of elderly people who need help? That certainly is a possibility. Freedom is dangerous, no doubt about it. But that’s what freedom is all about — the right to choose. If people are not free to say no to requests by others for help, then they cannot truly be considered free. Genuine freedom necessarily entails the right to be irresponsible, selfish, immoral, and self-centered when it comes to charitable decision-making.
When God vested man with the gift of free will, He necessarily entrusted people with the right to choose between helping people or turning their backs on people. At the same time, He was trusting that most people, when free to make the choice, would choose to do the right thing. That’s where conscience comes into play.
It’s that faith in ourselves, in other people, and in freedom that we need to recapture in America. Conservative and liberal statists say that God made a mistake when he vested man with free will. They say that people simply can’t be trusted to help their parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors, relatives, and others in times of need. They say that young people need to be forced to be good and caring through programs of mandatory charity, with Social Security being just one example.
Their programs of mandatory charity, including Social Security, constitute one gigantic insult of young people, not to mention a grave denigration of God’s great gift of free will. People can be trusted with freedom, just as God intended. It just takes a bit of faith, no larger than a mustard-seed.