Government is controlling our lives. We are skeptics of remote government employees making decisions that control our retirement, health care, education, employment and, in some cases, the way we live our lives. We all need security, health care and safety, but bureaucrats must go to the extreme to avoid being criticized. Once they're in control, there is essentially no appeal.
Furthermore, having government manage our necessities is risky. For decades, governments have taken on future obligations without making provisions to cover the costs. The governments of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy are examples. Harrisburg, Pa., Vallejo, Calif., and Jefferson County, Ala., are in bankruptcy. In Oklahoma, the pension plans for our teachers and state government employees are substantially underfunded, with no solution in sight.
We've known for years that Social Security will eventually default. Last year, U.S. bonds were downgraded. A tidal wave of government defaults will come in the next 10 years; many people won't get what they expect in the way of retirement and health care.
The solution is to empower individuals to manage their own affairs. People prefer to make their own decisions. Health care, retirement and unemployment compensation must be severed from the government and employers. Instead of requiring employers to buy unemployment and health insurance and set aside funds for retirement, we should require that they, along with the employees, fund an employee-owned account.
The funds would be tax deductible for employer and employee. Withdrawals would be taxable and in lieu of FICA it should be required that employers and employees each contribute 10 percent of an employee's salary to the fund. Employees could buy health insurance from the fund and if not, health care providers would bill the fund directly and have the ability to force payment — although no other creditors (or government) could invade the fund. It is the property of the employee and can be inherited by heirs.
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