An open letter to Walter Williams.
Dear Dr. Williams: I am a big fan of yours. Whether reading your books, or your columns or listening to you guest host for Limbaugh, I have enjoyed your gift for making economics both educational and entertaining. I read your piece “Duped by Congressional Lies” with mixed admiration and dismay. You certainly make a persuasive argument. And as one who has paid into Social Security for the better part of half a century, I can sympathize with the genuine feelings of “entitlement” that people feel about Social Security. It was sold to us as a retirement instrument, that the government managed for us (since we couldn’t be trusted to manage our own money wisely ourselves). We knew for a long time that SS was a relatively “crappy investment” at best, maybe a 2% return, and that we could have done far better managing our “accounts” ourselves.
But faced with the reality that there are no “accounts”, our money was stolen from us, and that the only way the government can pay us what it promised is to steal it from someone else, it would seem to put us on the horns of a moral dilemma.
Until I got to thinking how the government deals with the crooks that they catch. It’s called “restitution”. When Bernie Madoff was sent to jail for his Ponzi scheme, the government went to his estate, to recover as much of the stolen money as they could. In drug cases, if it could be reasonable assumed that a drug dealer’s car or house or other assets were purchased with proceeds from an illegal activity, those assets are seized and sold.
Since the government has been buying up land and other assets with the money they stole from me and my generation for years, how about some simple restitution? We bring this before a Federal judge, (perhaps under a RICO statute, since this organized crime stretched out over every state in the union), or encourage our leaders in the House to get the ball rolling and make the government sell off or deed over their assets to their victims, and fund Social Security?
Instead of forty acres and a mule, give me forty acres of western land sitting over a vein of low sulfur coal or oil shale and the mineral rights to it, and, of course, remove all those ridiculous prohibitions about recovering the nation’s wealth, and it’s possible that I might call it even! I’d even settle for a good, productive uranium mine!
Or we could open up ANWR and earmark that revenue to current and future Social Security recipients. That way, we retirees and soon to be retirees, would not be stealing the bread from the mouths of current and future generations, and might possibly give us an alternative to either working ’til we die, or subsisting on cat food and dumpster diving.
The Federal government has more land than it needs and is sitting on a fortune in oil and mineral assets waiting to be unearthed. Since it can be reasonably assumed that those lands and mineral rights were procured with the proceeds from illegal activity, that is to say the Ponzi scheme that was and is Social Security, wouldn’t you agree with me that a little restitution to the victims is in order? And that selling off government assets would be morally superior to stealing from future generations? Just a thought…
Cross posted at Proof Positive