Sunday, November 28, 2010

Government retirement security programs may become even more redistributionist

Ezra Klein has an important piece in the Outlook of the Washington Post Sunday, Nov. 28, “Good Reason to be Uneasy about Retirement Security,” link here.

He describes a basic process where the government has pawned deficit reduction back on to companies and worker, and companies have transferred the risk to individuals. He is skeptical about privatization, and admits that social security and Medicare might have to be regarded as wealth-redistribution entitlements and made much more progressive, mainly for the needy. He does give some interesting details about the history of 401(k), and says when it was invented no one had any idea that employers and government would use it as a cost-cutting device.

But he says it is a systemic problem needing big-top thinking.

Social conservatives are going to come back on this one, talking about the loss of the extended family as a motivator or personal identity.

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