ISSUES IN FOCUS
Week of January 25, 1999
Can you name the federal "entitlement" that constitutes the largest welfare program in America? It is a virtually unchallenged program that involves a massive redistribution of wealth, of forcibly taking money from those who have earned it and giving it to those who haven’t earned it. In spite of this, few think of it as welfare since most have grown up believing in a myth created by statists: many, if not most, believe the recipients of this program only take out what they have paid into the program in taxes. The program is Social Security and its related components, Medicare and Medicaid.
Welfare is the forcible transfer, by the state, of your money into someone else’s pocket. This same action, committed by a private individual, is known as robbery.
At their outset, Social Security payments, for the most part, do involve the individual recipient receiving money he paid into the system through Social Security taxes. However, the payments quickly become nothing more than welfare. After an individual receives an amount, plus interest, that equals the amount he paid in taxes, then the remaining payments come from money taken from someone else. In other words, seniors are receiving stolen goods, unearned funds taken, by force, from those who have earned it.
The elderly in this country have the least excuse for supporting Social Security. They are old enough to know better. In a grim irony, many in this generation fought, in World War II, to preserve our freedom, yet they are now participating in the destruction of freedom through their greed and their willingness to accept unearned money forcibly extracted from others.
In a free society, there is no such thing as an "entitlement," as Social Security is so called. There is no such thing as one person being entitled to the money of another unless he has earned it.
Retirement is not a right. You only have the right to be free to earn as much money as you can and save it for your own retirement if that is what you wish to do. You do not have the right to go to your neighbor’s door, with gun in hand, and force him to fork over some money to provide your aging parents with the luxury of "social security," of being able to quit working and live off of the unearned money of your neighbor. Yet that is exactly what Social Security does, except the gun in this case belongs to the government. Seniors, and all others who support Social Security, simply use a surrogate—the state—to do their robbing for them.
Consider some frightening statistics. There are over 43 million drawing Social Security payments, creating a cycle of dependency and a growing support for statism which, if such support continues, will eventually bring about the demise of freedom in America. Add to this escalating number the 17 million or so who are employed, directly or indirectly (through contractors and mandated programs) by the federal government and we have roughly 60 million who are dependent, either totally or in part, on payments from the federal government. And this doesn’t include an untold number of others who are on the take from all sorts of other federal programs.
I have repeatedly warned that America will eventually reach a point of critical mass, a turning point from which there will be no return. If our current trend continues, there will eventually be so many on the dole, so many on the take from statist programs, so many voting to line their own pockets with other people’s money that there will never be enough votes to turn America in the direction of expanding freedom. Social Security, as its rolls are set to explode with the addition of the so-called baby boomers, is likely the single factor that will take America beyond the brink, with no hope of saving individual freedom.
The intellectual campaign to phase out Social Security must begin. Social Security is a cancer that threatens to destroy what remains of liberty in America, once the citadel of freedom. There is little wonder that Clinton and his statist supporters have now made saving Social Security the centerpiece of their agenda. The growth of Social Security will take them exactly where they wish to go: to total power.
The forcible redistribution of wealth in this country must stop—and that includes Social Security. Your life and your money are yours. No one has a right to your money, unless, through voluntary cooperation, they have earned a claim to it. And if you wish to have money with which you can retire, do it the old-fashioned way: earn it, don’t have some hired gun—the state—steal it for you.
Let the debate begin. If it doesn’t, the sheer weight of Social Security’s swelling ranks will eventually tip the balance, ending freedom in America.
January 25, 1999
© Copyright 1999 Fulton Huxtable