“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” —Frederic Bastiat
Social security is a paternalistic program implemented by FDR and other progressives in 1935. It has many shortcomings, not the least of which is potential insolvency. This intergenerational wealth-transfer program (it’s been likened to a Ponzi scheme) presumes people are incapable of providing for their retirement without a coercive employment tax. These early 20th century progressives were similar to the ones in Bastiat’s day and today. They generally believe ordinary human beings are incapable of managing their own lives and must be protected by people of superior intelligence and wisdom; you know, politicians. These purveyors of helplessness and dependence, for self-aggrandizement and political power, take advantage of a common human weakness: a preference to live at the expense of others. Hence, they autocratically establish costly, often counterproductive, institutions of welfare, education and whatever they perceive as essential for the feeble, clamoring masses. Naturally, as a result of establishing these institutions and programs, and subsidizing these weaknesses, an amplification of irresponsibility and dependence, follows.
The results are apparent in the burgeoning number of jobless, homeless, and drug addled people. Why prepare for the future, or accept responsibility, if it’s advertised as not required? How many of these castaways and/or mentally disturbed were initially injured by compulsory state education (1), disabled by public assistance (2), broken by the drug war, (3) or maimed by state warfare (4)?
Whether the state or a rich uncle leads one to believe they will never have to be self-supporting, that individual may not develop the motivation or skill to provide for themselves, or appreciate the effort it takes to do so. If for any reason this false promise of leisure fails, that individual may become a burden on taxpayers.
Can society alone address social problems? Of course, if its concern is genuine and goes beyond a raid on someone else’s property to pay for it. Government, as an uninvited interloper, dramatically increases the cost of things society should do for itself. When will government spending and debt to sustain these programs reach the breaking point?
Who knows, maybe individual preparedness incentivized by necessity would work better than handouts and coercion?
“…It is in vain to summon a people who have been rendered so dependent on the central power to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity.”