So a tea-party-ing buddy of mine posted something on facebook about hating social security, and I got into a debate calling people on facts, claiming social security was morally superior to not having SS (because you're helping people, right?), and asking how they expect to handle those who are bankrupted prior to retirement for various reasons. Though no one has given me any answer on the "accident insurance" side of SS, on the whole, it's been productive.
I'm stuck, though, on the most recent post on the morality of SS:
“Why is it morally bankrupt?”
In any industrialized nation, it is only a fraction of a sliver of a minority who are unable to support themselves, and even in the days before America’s entitlement state or social security, they didn’t starve in the streets. Most turned to friends and family. Many others turned to voluntary social insurance programs run by private mutual aid societies, like the Security Benefit Association and some people turned to private charities. If Americans a century ago could flourish without an entitlement state, how much easier would it be today, when even most “poor” people own cars and plasma TVs? The entitlement state was never needed to ensure that the unable got fed. It is and always has been geared, not to the unable, but to the unwilling: to that entitlement mentality that expects payment “according to his needs.” And by rewarding that mentality, we foster that mentality. The entitlement state is geared to the unwilling at the expense of the willing and able. WHAT COULD BE GREATER EVIDENCE THAT IT IS MORALLY BANKRUPT?The basic principle behind the entitlement state is that a person’s need entitles him to other people’s wealth. It’s that you have a duty to spend some irreplaceable part of your life laboring, not for the sake of your own life and happiness, but for the sake of others. If you are productive and self supporting, then according to the entitlement state, you are in hock to those who aren’t.
What made America the noblest nation in history was that it was the first country founded on the idea that each of us has a right to live and work for our own sake, that it’s our own job to try to make the most of our life, and that the government’s sole purpose is to protect our freedom to do so.
I guess I just want some clarification on the historicity of this and the logic behind having SS to begin with. Is it a safety net or a mandatory retirement fund?