I try as often as possible to not only actually cruise through my blogroll (usually by hitting high points via RSS feeds, since there are soooo very many worthwhile reads out there), skim through news, google up (or otherwise search out) reads on the internet on topic that strike a momentary fancy and read a few books a week. The books can be fiction or non-fiction (which often means “reality-based fantasy” when reading an academica nut’s view of history or politics), eBook or dead tree, new to me or pulled off a shelf or dug out of a box for a re-read. (Current book-of-the-day: an online html edition of Einstein Defiant: Genius versus Genius in the Quantum Revolution )
And then there’s “real life”… which brings me back to my post’s title that ties in very well with a brief article I recently read in Credenda Agenda (one I’d somehow missed on first reading of the issue it’s in). Here’s a taste. Speaking of the Social Security Administration,
…If any private insurance corporation handled their funds the way the government does, the board of directors would all be in chokey.
Nevertheless (for some mysterious reason), the SSA does keep track of all the payments you have made into the system, and those figures are available. We should consider retirement age as that point when the government has agreed, in a plea bargain, to start making restitution. We should therefore gladly receive the checks, cashing them all, until the amount we paid into the system (plus twenty percent) is fully restored to us. At that point, we should compose a letter thanking them for the restitution, and begin mailing back the checks.
Now, that’s a moral and ethical challenge. One most people will fail to meet. I know it may be hard to turn down “free money” when I reach SS payout age (not that far off: I’ve been getting-and trashing-mailouts from the Gray Mafia, AKA AARP, for years). But once I do and then eventually reach “payback+20%”-or whatever I compute to be a fair (just, equitable) return on the monies I paid in, I will need to have made a tough decision to either return future checks of monies extorted from working taxpayers or become an accomplice in the felonious behavior of the government.
Perhaps a better way would be to fund the entire federal government out of one pot, as the Fair Tax proposal would have us do. That way, when taxes are applied to federal adventurism not authorized by the Constitution (any more, just about 90% of everything outside defense) it would at least have the merit of being “honest theft”.