SOCIAL SECURITY AND HEALTH CARE: “Love Your Country, But Never Trust Your Government”

By Elois Zeanah

As Thomas Jefferson stated:  Love your country but never trust your government.  Social Security and Health Care fixes have been kicked around for decades by politicians.  Fixes could be reasonable and straightforward, but that’s not government’s way.  Politicians and bureaucrats want more power and control.  To achieve these, they must take more liberty and freedom from citizens, find a way to placate special interests and campaign contributors, and then mask their agenda in humanitarian terms and misleading titles and demonize opposing viewpoints.   

Government Resists Simple, Meaningful Reforms to Expand its Power and Control

There is no reason for government to takeover health care insurance except to gain more power and control over the everyday lives of Americans.  Meaningful reforms that increase efficiencies and cut costs are possible without an overhaul of our health care system that could destroy the best health care in the world.  These will be presented in a following article. Similarly, a straightforward fix to Social Security is no mystery. 

Other countries have successfully solved their problems by personal account retirement plans.  Given the crisis in Social Security that could dwarf the crisis in health care by its impending bankruptcy, Social Security should become the latest “emergency” and take precedence over health care.   One model for a fix is Chile’s model. Chile previously had a “pay-as-you-go” Social Security system similar to the United States and suffered similar problems.

Social Security Reform in the U.S. could Follow Successful Models Elsewhere Chile’s model should be studied because of similarities with the United States.   In a March 19, 2005 Cato Letter, “Empowering People:  Chile’s Success with Social Security Privatization,” Jose’ Pinera, Chile’s former secretary of labor and social security and co-chairman of the Cato Institute’s Project on Social Security Privations, wrote:

“In 1980, the government of Chile decided to take the bull by the horns.  A government-run pension system was replaced with a revolutionary innovation:  a privately administered, mandatory system of Pension Savings Accounts.“After 16 years of operation, the results speak for themselves.  Pensions in the new private system already are 50 to 100 percent higher – depending on whether they are old-age, disability, or survivor pensions – than they were in the pay-as-you-go sytem….“The success of the Chilean private pension system has led seven other South American countries to follow suit.  Three years ago, Argentina (1994), Peru (1993), and Colombia (1994) undertook a similar reform and the new system is already working.”

Other South American countries are following.  To emulate Chile’s successful retirement program, other countries like China are studying Chile’s model  “It is possible that before entering the new millennium, several other countries, including all those in the Americas, will have privatized their pension system.  This would mean a massive redistribution of power from the state to the individual, thus enhancing personal freedom, promoting faster economic growth, and alleviating poverty, especially in old age.”

Ah, therein lies the problem. 

Government’s Appetite for Power is Never Satisfied

The powerful heartbeat within government is like the beast whose appetite is never sated.  Government wants to consume our personal freedoms with seductive freebies.  Government must make Americans dependent on government to become all powerful and all controlling.  Freebies by the government always cost consumers more in the long run (because of tax subsidies) than private industry.  At least, private industry is bound by laws, whereas government is not. 

If government had never stolen $11 trillion and counting of our FICA taxes and had secured our Social Security contributions in a trust fund, our government retirement insurance would not be near bankruptcy today.  Instead, government pulled a bigger Ponzi scheme than Bernie Maddof who ripped off $50 billion.  Maddof gets caught and prosecuted.  Government steals over $11 trillion, gets caught and gets off without even an investigation.

There are straightforward solutions to Social Security and Health Care.  But we won’t get these unless Thomas Jefferson’s words of warning are heeded:  Love your country, but never trust your government.

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