Thursday, October 23, 2014

Social Security, Bankers, and Parasites

I recently wrote an exasperated reply to a libertarian friend some time back, explaining that Social Security and Medicare do not enrich the wealthy and powerful; that they pay out everything they take in, less the civil service salaries of the people who operate them, which are modest. The libertarian "alternatives" to the social insurance programs—annuities and health insurance—all require investment of money in large for-profit financial services organizations. Since these are for-profit organizations, they invariably cost more than the non-profit social insurance programs; one might as well be paying taxes. They also turn out to be more subject to control fraud than public organizations, which at least are subject to taxpayer scrutiny.

The social insurance programs show that we don't need the wealthy for income and health care in old age, and some of the wealthy hate that. The simple idea that we don't need the 1% is threatening to them, and that is why there is so much opposition to social insurance among the very wealthy. You get the likes of Mitt Romney who made a fortune by sending manufacturing businesses to China, you get the Walton family, who made a fortune by gutting small-town business, underpaying their employees, and, yes, by sending manufacturing business to China. These are not productive. Mitt Romney complains that he believes nearly half the country is parasitic on the rich, but I suspect he believes that anyone who works for a living is a parasite. The Walton family regards employees and pay for suppliers as necessary evils. It's the Waltons and the Romneys of the world who are the parasites. Walmart pays literal starvation wages; without government support, many of its employees would be starving. Even Amazon, which provides a genuinely valuable service, is vulnerable to this charge; would there be an Amazon without hellish working conditions in their warehouses and the factories of their suppliers? Perhaps, but it would be less profitable.

Parasites. We don't need parasites.

(one sentence clarified 2014.11.29)

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

Don't know about Romney but certainly Walmart and Amazon would be every bit if not more profitable if they provided decent pay and working conditions. Slavery is not very productive. and it is not the fault of these companies that America's labour laws are still in the 18th century.