“The cultural effects are profound. Before Social Security was created in the late 1930s, it would have been equally crazy to suggest that the government provide a secure and stable income for the aged by siphoning from their paychecks in the early years. Indeed, the program has had a profound effect on the way we view the role of government in society.
“Just as parents care for their young now, it was once well understood that the middle-aged have a moral responsibility to care for their aging parents. This establishes a social link between the generations, an interdependency which is essential for the continuity of values and habits of a mature people.
“Social Security has also contributed to the crowding out of private charity, an old and very serious problem associated with all state benefits. Why should private associations bother to solve social problems widely understood to be the responsibility of government?
“The great tragedy of our age is that we have forgotten how to imagine the practical workings of a free and virtuous society. We have lost faith in our ability to solve difficult social problems on our own and have instead transferred our faith to public officials to solve our problems for us.”
In 1957, the Rev. Francis Mahaffy questioned the religious argument for Social Security in “A Clergyman’s Security.” He, too, called Social Security morally unjust: “The government through its Social Security legislation uses force as a means to its ends. Can coercion on the part of the government except for the purpose of restraining evil ever be countenanced by the Christian citizen as in accord with God’s law? Compulsory taxation by the government for any other reason than to obtain funds for the proper function of government cannot be sanctioned as in accord with the moral law.”
In 1900, according to the Tax Foundation, government — state, local, federal — took 6 percent of the people’s income. Today, when one puts a price on government-imposed regulation, the amount taken by government is over 40 percent. And this ignores the real cost to society — that of turning over to the state a function that could, should and would be done more efficiently and humanely by people helping people.
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