Saturday, April 3, 2010

Low Savings Rate and Social Security

The government always expresses concern about the low savings rate in this country, but in reality it is their own fault. They don't encourage policies that promote saving. If I put money into a bank account (or other investment) and then 30% of it goes back to the government, why not just go buy a Hummer or a BMW 7 series like everybody else in America? Plus, is the government really setting a good example here when they have a massive budget deficit and federal debt is $14 trillion dollars? By way of example, living loaded with debt is a stamp of approval. It's the American way.

Social security. So the idea is that I pay into this system and am supposed to get money later in my life (which I won't because the system will be bankrupt, but let's pretend for the original sake of the program; also, the program is financed with taxes being paid by the young directly going to payments for the old - the 'trust account' is more like a checkbook, tallying up what is owed). Essentially this program is forcing me to save at a paltry rate of return (treasury bills). How about I opt out and handle my own affairs? By its very nature, this program impedes on my economic freedom. I don't need the government to hold my hand and force me to save. If I fail to save on my own, then I would get my just desserts. It's about personal responsibility. And anyway, people put too much emphasis on what this program will provide for them. The implication is, why save, when the government will take care of me?

Here's an idea, unlock the cap of 401ks and IRAs. For IRAs, why are we limited to $5k a year? If all young people were encouraged to save for their retirement now, then reliance on social security 40 years from now would not be as important and this government ponzi scheme wouldn't be such a crisis. Why is it a felony for Bernie Madoff, but an entitlement when the government does it?

A simple piece of advice for Americans: Live below your means, not above them.

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