Philosophy Things

Argument From Analogy: Social Security

Imagine that if when you were a teenager, you started a savings account for yourself. You decided that if you started contributing 15% of your income every month, that it would be small enough to not hinder your on your lifestyle, yet large enough to have a big payout at the end. The idea of working hard now to relax later was very appealing to you. You worked harder each year, earning more money and consistently depositing that 15% into your savings account each month.

Now suppose that you did this for forty years. You now have a spouse, children, and your children have children. You have worked hard all of your life and decided that you finally want to start withdrawing money from that savings account. You go to the bank prepared to show all the proper identification, and the teller tells you that the money is gone. She explains that over the years the bank has allowed other adults to come in and withdraw from your account, even though they were not the ones depositing into it. The teller tries to reason with you and argues that just as you have worked hard all of your life, so have these other people and that they are just as deserving. While you naturally want the best for everybody, and you believe in helping those in need, would you also feel that it ok to let these strangers withdraw from your account, even though they never contributed to it? What about if strangers were withdrawing from it, but you still had a good amount left in your account?

Most likely your answer is that it is still not ok. You have worked hard for that money, you have made several deposits into that account your entire life and you expected that money to be there when you were ready for it. Nobody ever told you that they were going to let others take from it, and if they had you may have thought differently about creating the account in the first place.

This is what is happening with social security today. Thousands of hard-working Americans are paying into social security, but due to mismanagement and faulty calculations it is unlikely that everyone contributing will reap 100% of what is being promised to them. It is unfair for the government to continue taking from Americans when they are unsure if they will be able to pay it back. Whatever income someone earns is his or her own, and he or she should be the one deciding how to invest it.