Monday, February 7, 2005


In the news:

Do you really think that G.W. Bush is able to change the Social Security system?

In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. (, 01/20/05.)

Do you think that William McGurn will be a different type of speechwriter than Michael Gerson?

From David Kipen's article, To quote Bush, being original is hard work.

So, in a speech that mentioned freedom fully 27 times (thank you,, what are the freedoms of speech and worship -- chopped liver? Or is the president planning on "reforming" those freedoms, just as he promised to reform the Social Security Act, the G.I. Bill of Rights and -- in perhaps the day's weirdest non sequitur -- the Homestead Act. (, 01/25/05.)

Here is an excerpt from Harry Binswanger's article, President Bush's Inaugural Address: A Betrayal of the Concept of Freedom.

The "broader definition" is the statist concept of FDR's "four freedoms"--the idea of equating poverty, fear, disease, etc. with slavery. This lethal equivocation between being forced and not being given things is centuries old ("A hungry man is not free," and "The law, in the majesty of its equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor from sleeping under bridges"). (, 02/01/05.)

I asked Jonathan Hoenig for the permission to publish a longer excerpt from his article, A Nation of Laws.

As a government of laws, not of men, America was designed specifically so that this could never occur. Americanism holds that man's right to life isn't contingent on the public's vote or an opinion poll. In America, an individual's right to his life, his liberty and his pursuit of happiness are to be protected, regardless of how the political winds happen to blow.

Over many decades, however, America's foundation in individualism has been corroded. One of the most obvious examples is the Social Security Trust Fund, whose comprehensive privatization President Bush should be encouraged to propose.

On its face, the collectivism inherent in Social Security is un-American. There's nothing about the system that is admirable, noble or grand. The system isn't just immoral it's a con. If a private corporation were run like Social Security, its officers would be hunted down by Eliot Spitzer and hung up to dry as the biggest fraudsters on Earth.

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Individuals are taxed a significant portion of their income, supposedly to pay into a trust fund to secure their retirement. But there are no accounts sitting in banks with names on them. Money confiscated from your income for Social Security is not saved or invested, but directly transferred to today's retirees. The only security in Social Security is the hope that future taxpayers' income will be transferred to us, just as ours has been transferred to others.

Many proponents herald the "guarantee" and "safety" of government-run entitlements. Yet the truth is that every aspect of Social Security is up for grabs, not guaranteed and unsafe. Everything the age at which you are eligible for benefits, the level of those benefits is subject to Washington's political whim. I'd sooner take my chances with a managed mutual fund or even the S&P 500, thank you very much. (, 02/07/05.)

Third Rail