The conservative complaints with social security are that it is not a fund, but a state-expanding tax. Nothing was paid into it, and therefore it is simply a current tax to redistribute from young producers to old consumers who failed to save. And secondly, that this tax also funds an intrusive and abusive government. These are structural complaints, not complaints about ambitions or outcomes.
The original creators’ ambition for this tax was to create an insurance scheme for the minority of people who lived past 65. Except, people vastly live beyond 65 today. In other words, the tax went from low to high risk because of unforeseen consequences. The conservative objection to liberal hubris is that they are asked to absorb risk because of the STRUCTURE of this system, which is now a form of intergenerational welfare, rather than the form of insurance that it was designed to be.
The solution to this structural problem is as follows: 1) to convert from an inter-temporal redistributive and high risk tax to a low risk insured savings program. 2) To change from income tax to balance sheet tax. 3) To have the government participate in, and redistribute, profits from the use of credit money – credit money which is borrowed from and secured by the promise of labor by the average person. This set of changes would eliminate benefits at a specified multiple of the mean. It would unfund government bureaucracy. It would insert more money into the economy as investment capital, and decrease the negative effect of inflating the monetary supply on savers.
The general argument against the correction of the social security system, is that if we increase the tax by 2% and change the age slightly, that the system as it stands would be fully funded. To which I’d counter, only if that 2% comes from balance sheet weight, not income. Because for a vast number of companies that are not subsidized by the financial markets, 2% would be half of their annual profits, and this failure would have to be built into the system.
I see no reason to rely upon assumption that the 20th century, which consists largely of the greatest external advantage that a nation has ever experienced, can be used to project the future. It is not logical to ask decreasingly populous generations facing increasing worldwide competition to support a longer living and increasingly expensive class of retirees, when instead, retirees should have saved to lend money to the generations that follow. These advantage are not sustainable, and even if they are, the system currently asks all to risk in order to fund current government, rather than all to save, to insure their mutual success. The belief that we will continue our economic advantage is the myth of american exceptionalism. Savings is sustainable – in any culture. But not the assurance of worldwide competitive advantage which can be redistributed.
As an entrepreneur, I do not fear the market. I fear that the government will extort enough from the entrepreneurial class that they will abandon their belief that they can outpace the predatory state. Tax individuals not by income but by balance sheet. Progressively tax companies for market participation. Eliminate the double tax system on dividends. Increase the tax on speculative returns.
I fear that the bureaucracy, as in the UK, will become a predatory class living on a virtually enslaved population. I fear that western advantage, which was demographic, technical and military, will be neither demographic, technical, or military. And that the very institutions that were limited enough to guarantee us our freedom will be the institutions by which we are permanently enslaved and impoverished.
It is easy to rate the success of any government by the direct redistribution divided by the cost of government employees, and seek to constantly improve the ratio, just as we do for non-profits.