Wednesday, November 02, 2005

For the Children

Consider the first paragraph of Walter E. Williams latest article, "Do we really care about children?"
I cringe with disgust when I hear politicians say, "We're doing it for the children." What's worse is so many Americans mindlessly fall hook, line and sinker for the hype. Judging by our actions, Americans could not care less for future generations, and future generations will curse us for it. Let's look at it.
Now given that title and that opening paragraph, what do you think Mr. William's article is about. Education maybe? School lunches? After School Programs? The Environment?

Nope. It's about Social Security. The fact that very few politicians pitch Social Security (with a minimum entry age of 65, if memory serves) as a program for the children seems to have escaped Mr. Williams. On the other hand, perhaps he is of the opinion that we are all children at heart (I'm not, as it turns out, but many are).

In fact, most people who bring children into the Social Security debate are on William's side. "We need to destroy Social Security now so as to save future generations the trouble of having to destroy it." In fact that is largely Mr. William's argument.

He plays the usual tricks. He takes the amount due in future generations and presents it to our generation as a lump sum (without, I note, providing footnotes so we could check out his figures). This is a little akin to summing up a house mortgage, imagining you would have to pay it as a lump sum, and saying that since you can't swing that much money you shouldn't own a house.

He does recommend raising the age of eligibility for Social Security to 80 on the theory that most of us would be dead by then. Nice when they put their cards on the table like that. He could take the next step and explain that regardless of whether Social Security is solvent till the end of time or not, he thinks its a bad program and one we shouldn't have.

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