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Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Entitlement Reform Plan

liability n.  pecuniary obligation [Merriam-Webster]

Tom Knapp, I wrote about "unfunded liabilities that current law already imposes on American taxpayers".  Your response -- that "the US government has no obligation whatsoever" -- misses the point by changing the subject from the taxpayers to the tax collector.  A fantasy that the U.S. government might wake up one day and cancel all these "promises" does not change the reality that my daughters are currently on the hook for those promises, according to current law.  Unless you know of a way for my kids to escape this legal pecuniary obligation, I'll continue to call it what Merriam-Webster says it is: a "liability".

Calling them "unfunded promises" instead of "unfunded liabilities" lets the nanny-staters off the hook. These pecuniary obligations are the result of current laws -- laws enforced with handcuffs and guns.  To call them merely a "promise" is like saying that a person falling off a cliff merely has a "plan" to hit the ground.

Your Social Security plan is not radical enough for me. :-)  Here's mine: Any entitlement that is purportedly financed by past payroll "contributions" should be capped at the lifetime sum of all the beneficiary's (and their employers') "contributions" plus interest plus inflation.  For Social Security old-age and survivor benefits this is straightforward to calculate for each participant, and any individual should be allowed to opt out and take any unused accumulated contributions in the form of long-term Treasury bonds. For SS disability insurance and for Medicare the benefits for an age cohort should be capped at the "contributions" of the age cohort plus interest plus inflation.  Where individuals or a cohort are currently receiving more than what they've contributed, the excess benefits should be reduced to zero over N years, and the affected beneficiaries may resort to whatever safety net exists for Americans under 65.  I'd set N at about 20.

I don't see how you reconcile 1) your plan for blessing receipt of stolen goods by today's seniors with 2) your desire to repudiate the national debt.  I repeat my earlier comment to you: How do you as an ex-Marine view veterans’ benefits? If people should be punished financially for lending to The Omnimalevolent State, then surely they should be punished financially (at least!) for taking up arms for The Omnimalevolent State.

Michael, Libertarians generally believe that the fact that a weapon was not used does not mean that possessing it made no difference.