by Fergus Hodgson
Director of Fiscal Policy Studies
In Ron Paul’s press conference regarding his “Plan to Restore America,” he recommended that individuals below the age of 26 be able to opt out of Social Security altogether.
“The proposal protects Social Security beneficiaries, but it also does something new. Because I cut so many other dollars, we can take care of the elderly, the people that are dependent on programs such as medical programs and the veterans benefits—we can protect that. At the same time, I will offer the young people of this country, 25 and under—they can get out of Social Security if they want to” (11:05-11:40).
The entire speech is worth a listen, but his response to a question about support for this plan can’t help but bring a laugh—and it’s funny because it’s so true. Question:
“President George W. Bush tried to partially privatize Social Security and got ‘smacked around,’ if you will… considerably. What makes you think that this time the idea is going to fly any better than it did when President Bush put it forward?”
“He was asking about the privatization that former President Bush offered as a ‘solution’ to our Social Security problem. That was when the government maintained accounts and would invest in securities, and I wasn’t in support of that.
What I’m talking about is opting out, sort of like a lot of good conservatives and libertarians and constitutionalists would like to opt-out of ObamaCare. And I’m just saying opting sounds like a pretty good slogan. I say opt out of Social Security too, and there [are] ways to do this when we don’t manage it – the same way opting out of all government medical programs, all government medical programs, not just the ones the opposition have created.”
Audience member response: “Any idea how many people you think, what percentage, would opt-out? Do you think it would be mostly young people?”
“Well, I listed as 25 [and] under to get started, but I’ve announced that in audiences where there were a lot of people over 25, and all they do is [nod] ‘how about including me.’ But on the campuses, I can’t remember anybody coming up and saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want you to do that. Save me. I want to pay Social Security because I know it’s a good deal. I want to retire on Social Security. Never.”