“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, January 7, 2011

About That "Fairness" Thing

Liberals, especially Wonderboy, make much of "fairness." To hear them, it's not fair if one person in America is poorly-off while anyone else is wealthy from the sweat of their own brow.

But let's consider another type of fairness for a moment.

What about fixed-, defined-benefit social transfer payment programs? How are they fair?

Sure, most well-intended Americans want to help the less well-off. But  consider what has happened since our idiotic Congress, in 1932 or thereabouts, enacted Social Security.

Between that program, and its descendants, Medicare and Medicaid, the US Congress bestowed upon society fixed-promise payment schemes, regardless of the means of the country to afford them.

Yet, ironically, even paradoxically, those working Americans who pay taxes to fund these programs are exposed to all sorts of income risks. Being America, few of us are guaranteed jobs, or lush unemployment benefits if we lose a job.

So we have the bizarre situation, which, in my opinion, only Congresses full of mediocre civil servants who couldn't make a living the honest way- working in the private sector- have designed welfare programs which require fixed payouts from taxpayers who assume all the risk.

Any sensible person would have designed the three programs differently. Ideally, they'd have been individual-account, defined contribution schemes from the start. Further, and this is the really important part which I've never seen elsewhere, annual payout levels would be contingent upon the relative health of the US economy, in real terms.

By this I mean some benchmark year, with a benchmark GDP/person, GDP growth rate, and price level, would be used from which to calculate a standard real dollar benefit/person for each program. Thereafter, the effects of the three measures would attenuate how much money each payee received each year.

This way, we wouldn't have the current fiasco, whereby the country's infrastructure and defense spending, to name two important governmental tasks, are subject to cuts due to budget deficits, but social welfare spending is seen as fixed, sacrosanct, and on auto-pilot.

Why shouldn't the country's poor bear as much burden as the taxpayers funding their generous stipends via Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?

It seems only right that all society's members bear the pain of recessions and inflation. That nothing in the federal budget is fixed and off-limits during periods of financial pain.

Doesn't that seem truly fair?

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