It’s only a matter of time until Social Security goes completely underwater. A Forbes estimate says the program will run out of money around 2034, and Social Security’s annual cost already exceeds its annual income. If the program is left as it is, younger Americans may never see a single penny of what they pay into it. On the other hand, if young people are allowed to opt out altogether, expenses would exceed income even further and put older Americans in jeopardy, unless other changes are made to balance the budget.
The Social Security debacle reflects the underlying fact that the Federal Government should not be this deeply involved in the lives of every American, and while there may be benefits to some type of government-run retirement program, Social Security as we currently know it never should have existed in the first place.
When it comes to fiscal responsibility, the Federal Government may be the most inept institution on Earth. The national debt has exceeded 21 trillion dollars. The Federal Government continues to get bigger and bigger. All the government does is spend spend spend—even when the bank has long since run dry.
Imagine you had a friend who ran himself into a mountain of debt. If he offered to manage your retirement savings, would you take him up on the offer? Of course not! Yet we are all in a similar situation because of Social Security, whereby all of us are forced to let irresponsible government bureaucrats manage our retirement savings. The Federal Government could have created the program as a service to any American who voluntarily chose to participate. Americans who wanted to participate in Social Security would be free to do so, and Americans who wanted to save their money privately would be free to do so. Every American would be free to weigh the pros and cons of each program and make an informed decision based on what is best for them and their families.
Instead, every American is forced to pay into Social Security, and one way or another, innocent Americans will be scammed because of terrible choices they played no part in. But this should not come as a surprise to anyone. We should have known that any government-mandated retirement system would destroy itself. Giving the Federal Government a mountain of cash is like giving college freshmen a mountain of alcohol: bad decisions are going to be made.
If a private organization mismanaged their clients’ money as the government has with Social Security, that organization would easily be out of business, as its clients would leave and tell all their friends and family to stay away from the terrible organization that lost their money. However, because Social Security is government-mandated, everyone is forced to participate, even though we know it’s terrible.
Giving the Federal Government more money and power is rarely an effective long-term solution. Americans should see Social Security as a prime example of this rule, and we should learn from it to prevent additional financial crises from occurring in the future.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.