If you want yet another example of how narrow-minded, group-thinked, and provincial the mainstream media is, a recent meme in the Washington Post is a perfect example. Lately, there has been a ton of debate in the Post about how raising the eligibility age for Social Security from 65 (for full Social Security benefits) to 67 is unfair to the poor.
And they’re correct; it is unfair. In fact, the Social Security system as it is now is horribly unjust. But while the Post (specifically Ezra Klein’s Wonk Blog) is very impressive when it comes to accumulating charts, graphs, and data — they are also a bunch of neo-fascists when it comes to diversity of thought and ideas.
Though there are five recent articles on this subject, not a single one (I could find) has the courage to mention the idea that we all know would end this injustice — and that’s to allow people (rich and poor) the option of staying in the current system or owning their own Social Security accounts through privatization.
For all kinds of reasons — habits, lifestyle, education, access to better health care — the wealthy live about seven years longer than the poor. The thinking goes that, if you raise the eligibility age by two years in a reality where a wealthy man lives to 78 and a poor man to 71, the poor will lose two years worth of benefits that will ultimately end up subsidizing the wealthy man’s retirement.
And there is no amount of social engineering that will ever change the fact that the affluent live longer than the less affluent. ObamaCare won’t change that, nor will wealth redistribution. If anything, ObamaCare will make this disparity even worse, as those who can afford to do so go outside the system, and the rest of us suffer “equally” under it. A grossly unjust two-tiered health care system is a fact of life in every country that socializes medicine.
What, then, is the answer to righting the wrong of poor people getting screwed out of the retirement benefits they spend decades paying into? The Post apparently doesn’t care about righting anything. One of its pieces on the issue is actually headlined…
…and concludes this way:
Rising income inequality is a big problem, no doubt about it, but it seems to have encouraged some people to view every public policy issue primarily through a distributional or class prism. A carbon tax, a soda tax, higher energy and fuel-efficiency standards, tougher enforcement of criminal and immigration laws, tax breaks for alternative energy and college-savings and long-term investment, public investment in airports and high-speed rail, residential zoning restrictions, revenue-neutral corporate tax reform — all of these have, or would have, the unintended effect of disproportionately helping those with more money or hurting those with less. Does that mean we should reject them out of hand?
Just about every policy you can think of has a disproportionate impact on certain classes, races, genders, regions, industries or age cohorts, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t adopt them. Sometimes what is “fairest” is doing what’s best for the whole country.
That’s rather stunning, coming from the left-wing Post, especially a writer at the even more left-wing Wonk Blog. But we have apparently reached the next phase of leftism. For decades, the left argued that we must increase the power and size of the federal government in order to help the poor and remedy inequality. But now that we’ve reached a tipping point where it is no longer possible to cover up the fact that most federal government policies (like Social Security) disproportionately hurt the poor and benefit the rich, the answer from the liberal media is, “So what?”
Here’s what the hive-minded Washington Post doesn’t even want to touch…
The injustice of Social Security isn’t income inequality or the fact that the wealthy live longer than the poor. The injustice of Social Security is that it is a government-owned program.
If Ralph Kramden spends 45 years driving a bus and croaks at 68, it is mathematically impossible for him to get back all the money he poured into Social Security. So who does get all that money? There are circumstances where some of his money might go to a widow or young children, but for the most part the government profits from Ralph’s death; it’s the government that keeps all or most of Ralph’s money.
And if uber-rich Gordon Gekko outlives the money he paid into the Social Security system, he’ll get some of Ralph’s hard-earned money, as well.
However, if instead of being forced to hand all his hard-earned money over to the government, Ralph and his employer were required to put the same percentage of his income into a federally-guaranteed interest-bearing account (or low-risks 401k)–owned by Ralph Kramden–Gordon Gekko and the government would never see a penny of it.
If Social Security was just, whether Ralph survives to age 35 or 105, it’s his money; it belongs to him. He can either enjoy all of it in his dotage, or should he die early, he can give all of his nest egg to his widow, his kids, his church, or the ASPCA.
It’s Ralph’s freakin’ money; he busted his hump to earn it, and the idea that the federal government or Gordon Gekko will profit from his early death is about as immoral as it gets.
Five articles in the Washington Post about the injustice of Social Security towards the poor and not a single one has the courage to even mention the idea of allowing the poor to own their own accounts.
Protecting The Big Government Narrative is all about enforcing the hive-mind.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC