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Arthur Brooks (AEI) on SS and Medicare

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krazy kaju Posted: Sun, May 1 2011 11:34 AM

Arthur Brooks, who I believe is the President of AEI, makes a good point in this interview:

I suppose that what he is saying is fairly obvious, but at the same time many of us (or at least I was) are trapped into thinking of Social Security and Medicare as welfare programs and not forced savings programs. If we view these government programs the way that most Americans do, I believe we can make significantly more inroad with the American public than previously thought.

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Aren't all these programs pay-as-you-go? Then they're not really forced savings programs, but a form of income redistribution. I mean, they just happen to affiliate a particular tax to a particular welfare program. So what? They could single out a particular tax and say that's for welfare and it would be a forced savings program.

I agree that the public sees them as forced savings programs, and it would be wise for Austrians to take that into account.

"They all look upon progressing material improvement as upon a self-acting process." - Ludwig von Mises
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You're correct on all counts, Nero. These programs are pay-as-you-go, they aren't really forced savings programs, but that's what the public sees them as and it would be wise for us to take that into account.

What I'm saying is that it's important to realize that advocating the immediate elimination of Social Security and Medicare makes it seem like you're advocating the theft of millions of Americans. Perhaps it's wise to be a little more political, if we wish to win over more converts.

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It's not more wise, but it is more effective manipulation.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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