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Thursday, March 17, 2011


Here's a comment I entered on another website to a post relating to Arnold Kling, an economist (MIT Ph.D., in fact) at the libertarian Cato Institute:

Off topic, but seeing the word "libertarian" sets me off. It's a funny thing about libertarians (as Kling says he is): in an exercise of their liberty to vote and express their opinion, an overwhelming majority of Americans have expressed their desire to have the Federal Government, our government, maintain a system set up like Social Security, one that through legally-defined benefits eliminates the risk of a down market in equities at the time of retirement (a risk a private 401 K account typically would have). They have consented to let a payroll tax be pulled out of their paychecks (and matched by employers), and in answer to the libertarians' knee-jerk reply that people should have the right to participate or not in the system, the overwhelming majority has consented to let that system serve its primary public purpose, which is minimizing or eliminating poverty in old age when a paying job is difficult to find or impossible to perform. They would prefer that the system not allow some people to opt out and make bad bets on a fluctuating market, and then come begging for help when they are old. They would prefer not being forced to make a choice when retired of feeling like a jerk for saying about their fellow seniors that it "serves them right, they had their chance" -- and letting them starve in the streets -- or reducing their own income.

So the overwhelming majority of the people in the exercise of their liberty want this system to be run by our government. However, solely from ideological beliefs that government is inherently bad, libertarians want to deny Americans the freedom to have the government do what they want it to do -- and declare their intention to use the power of government to force Americans to give up what the overwhelming majority of them want.

Explain the discrepancy, Mr. Kling. I’m sure you’ll say there isn’t one, but it sure looks hypocritical to me for someone who professes to place “liberty” above everything to deny the overwhelming majority of Americans to exercise their own liberty to have and support a Social Security system. Why should your desire not to have something done by the government override the majority who want the government to do it?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kling has given Republicans their next PR myth to follow government union workers as "welfare queens," namely social security recipients.

1:49 PM  

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