Comments about Kerry's remark

I do not know which scares me more, Kerry's remark about Bush's agenda being extreme libertarianism or the comments about it. Brad S. has this to say in Hit &Run:

The rational position is that Social Security should be done away with so that employees and employers alike can take the % of salary that had been going to Social Security and turn it into a 401-k contribution.

Excuse me? Isn't this still telling workers how to spend their hard earned wages? What is libertarian about that? With 'libertarians' like this who needs socialists?

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It is said that one should

It is said that one should not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Switching the SS/FICA contribution to a private account (something in which the individual has a property right) is certainly better than a tax masquerading as a "contribution" which leaves the taxed with no property right in anything (the government can, by fiat, eliminate any social security benefit you may get, in the future, or reduce it, change it, etc).

What is more likely to be passed? A complete elimination, abrogation, and abjuration of the Social Security program, or policies that establish private accounts?

Its all about steps, and the stepping stones to getting the "social safety net" out of the hands of Government are programs and proposals such as the one you highlighted, NOT agitating for elimination of social security (which is the goal). To me, that's wishing for Rome to be built in a day.

If this were an actual bill

If this were an actual bill I would be vocal supporter - and I would still point out the problem of controlling others.

The larger problem is that many if not most of the members of our society believe that it is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to control the peaceful actions of their neighbors. This attitude must be confronted head on before any form of liberalization can occur.

I tend to agree with Dave.

I tend to agree with Dave. Many times, partial steps end towards liberalization end up as elongated tentacles of intervention. Sure the law needs to change, but in the end, attitudes and meta-contexts need to change. It's a simple principle that needs to be sold to the public - you are the sole and total determiner of what you do with your wages.

The partial privatization does not send that message; it simply says that others should control your wages in the manner that others see as 'more productive'. Which in the ends does not do much at all for liberty.

I tend to agree with Brian.

I tend to agree with Brian. (that doesn't mean he is wrong!)

Given a choice most workers would choose for the government to manage their FICA contributions. With the partial privatization, more participants are getting the freedom they desire. I believe the gradual reform of policies is more acceptable to the public and is the more realistic approach to changing things.

Good thread here. Milton

Good thread here.

Milton Friedman was a real pioneer of the idea that libertarian thinkers must acknowledge the distinction between what is politically possible and the ideal. That's the idea behind vouchers, which he really got off the ground. He knew that vouchers are just welfare by other means, but at the same time he recognized that abolishing mandatory state education was not a very realistic platform to run on.

But it would be nice if Brad S.'s first reflex were not to discern in what way the government can do the most good in managing our affairs. In that, I think our host is on to something.