Socialism is all fun and games until you run out of other people’s resources. In Venezuela things were going great so long as the state could fund itself by selling oil. Great of course being a relative term. If you’re a relative of someone in the government, then things are great.
In Finland, they are running short of a different commodity: babies. Finland’s social system is similar to US social security in that it is dependent on having a high taxed worker to non-working consumer ratio. In the US, the conundrum we have run into is that Social Security was stable when there were at least three workers for every retiree. By 2030 we expect to see two workers per retiree and Social Security will run out of money.
Finland is facing the same dilemma. They are running out of workers to fund the free-loaders. They are not making enough new workers to keep the socialist ponzi scheme going. This is driving them to adopt new policies such as increased maternity leave. They are even rethinking their progressive stances on family values. Of course, when the purpose of having more babies is to support the welfare state, this strategy can backfire. Additional maternity leave means more labor is needed to fill those gaps.
While some have suggested that nationalism is the barrier to admitting more immigrants, I have a feeling the true barrier is the fear of adding more dependents to a broken system. After all, in a state built on social safety nets and transfer of wealth who wants to volunteer to go there and work to pay for it all?
Margaret Thatcher said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. In Finland, they have simply run out of other people.
Welcome to 2016. It’s the year that Dan Rather called on the media to be more biased and Brian Williams complained about fake news. And of course, both were praised and accorded credibility on the left for their laments. Fake news is the thing right now. It’s why Trump won, it’s how Russia infiltrated the brains of the electorate and forced them to vote for Trump, and it is defined of course as right wing sources only.
Just as there is an Alt-Left, there is left wing fake news. Usually it’s unrecognizable because it comes in the form of mainstream media publication. A great example came on December 9th when Ethan Wolff-Mann (yup) wrote an article for Yahoo! Finance about how Republicans are going to massively cut Social Security. Rather than citing what was proposed, Wolff-Mann cited Center for American Progress’s twitter account as his source.
According to Wolff-Mann, and Talking Points Memo who he also cites, the Republican proposal will drastically cut benefits for the poor and runs contrary to a bi-partisan effort to save Social Security through a payroll tax increase for those under the Obama threshold of what constitutes being “rich”.
Meanwhile, the actual bill is not quite as drastic and gloomy as the “press” reports. The Sam Johnson plan, which is actually different from the Paul Ryan plan, would increase the retirement age for younger workers and adjust how inflation is calculated for benefits. Aside from that, his proposal should be a dream for liberals.
The Johnson plan would reduce benefits for wealthy retirees. It includes means testing which is basically a tax on the wealthy. It also takes away cost of living increases for the wealthy. Johnson, who calls his proposal the start to a fact-based conversation, also calls for benefit increases for some.
No solution has been determined for Social Security yet. In the end it will likely be an adjustment in inflation, an increase to the retirement age, but it also may include private accounts which can earn far more and can’t be cut by the government. For all the fear mongering, we are far from a final solution for Social Security.
Perhaps a better headline would have been “Wolff-Mann Scares Seniors”.