home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |
Will The Atheists' Plan Work? The End of Socialized Medicine?

print view

Not By Age, But Life Expectancy

by Christopher Chantrill
October 23, 2007 at 4:10 pm

THE GOVERNMENT’S entitlements like Social Security are based on age entitlements.  At age 62 you can get early retirement on Social Security.  At age 65 you start Medicare.  But government researchers are looking at another approach, writes Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution

The current practice of measuring age as years-since-birth, both in common practice and in the law, rather than alternative measures reflecting a person’s stage in the lifecycle distorts important behavior such as retirement, saving, and the discussion of dependency ratios.

Get the idea?  Change the entitlement for Social Security from age 62 to the age at which you have a 15 year life expectancy. 

The chaps at Marginal Revolution seem to think this is a great idea.  But I wonder.

As a 61 year-old, I really don’t want to be forced to work until 70 or something before I get my Social Security.  The fact is that most people, once they have raised their children, start to slow down.  And our brains, as well as our bodies, slow down too.  We get ready to get out of the rat race.  If only we could.

Of course, with a judicious combination of work and savings, I can adjust my work effort and income to suit myself.  But with a mechanical government program, that’s not possible.  Somebody else sets the rules.  And the rules are not necessarily in anyone’s best interest.

In fact, the trouble with the government’s entitlement programs is that they respond only too readily to the universal human willingness to live at the expense of others.

Hey!  I’ve worked hard for ___ (fill in the blank) years.  I deserve it.  The folks in Europe certainly do.

And once you have the government program in place then you are reduced to arguing over whether to juggle the benefits this way or that way, or change the eligibility upwards or downwards.  Individuals and families are not longer in control.  But the monster stays.

The entitlement problem will not be solved by mechanical means, juggling this or that parameter.  It will be solved by raw political power.

That may not be a pretty sight.


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. “Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists,” she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

Taking Responsibility

[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050

Society and State

For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008

Socialism equals Animism

Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values

Responsible Self

[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit

Racial Discrimination

[T]he way “to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,” Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Physics, Religion, and Psychology

Paul Dirac: “When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion. However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.”
John Farrell, “The Creation Myth”


Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization

mysql close


©2007 Christopher Chantrill