Calling the SEC on Social Security

You have to feel a bit bad for the poor woman with whom he speaks.

The real question isn't whether Social Security is a Ponzi scheme -- or, as Paul Krugman prefers, a "Ponzi game."  (Games are fun!)

The real question is just when the government may properly force Americans to make a bad investment.  The answer probably cannot be "never," because it is often difficult to determine if an investment is good or bad:  and, indeed, some of the best investments start off as highly questionable ventures that prove out only because of a combination of faith, luck, and talent.

On the other hand, there are a few models -- like this one -- that are reliably bad investments.  There are also times when (as John Stewart notes in his praise for "faceless bureaucrats" in this clip) the investment's problems are sufficiently obvious that a taxpayer might reasonably object to having their hard-earned money soaked into the venture.

Should there be a protection for citizens from being taxed to support ventures that are reliably bad investments?  That seems reasonable to me.  The second type of case is harder to answer.

No comments: