Should Social Security be retired?

"President Obama recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of Social Security and promised to protect it against 'privatization,'" writes Alex Epstein, a fellow with the Ayn Rand Center.Obama said: "We have an obligation . . . to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities, and all Americans--today, tomorrow, and forever." "Actually," Epstein writes, "we have an obligation to retire Social Security as soon as possible. "Under Social Security, lower- and middle-class individuals are forced to pay a significant portion of their gross income--approximately 12 percent--for the alleged purpose of securing their retirement. That money is not saved or invested, but transferred directly to the program's current beneficiaries--with the 'promise' that when current taxpayers get old, the income of future taxpayers will be transferred to them. Since this scheme creates no wealth, any benefits one person receives in excess of his payments necessarily come at the expense of others. "Under Social Security, every aspect of the government's 'promise' to provide financial security is at the mercy of political whim. "If Social Security did not exist--if the individual were free to use that 12 percent of his income as he chose--his ability to better his future would be incomparably greater. "We should be debating, not how to save Social Security, but how to end it--how to phase it out so as to best protect both the rights of those who have paid into it, and those who are forced to pay for it today. "This will be a painful task. But it will make possible a world in which Americans enjoy far greater freedom to secure their own futures. "Ending Social Security would not mean a George W. Bush-style 'privatization' in which the government lets us invest our money in a few government-approved ways. It would mean individual ownership, as private property, of all the money Social Security now seizes." Contributed by the Ayn Rand Center.

********** Published: August 26, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 19