Mandatory Social Insurance Provisions - Politics | PoFo

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Classical liberalism. The individual before the state, non-interventionist, free-market based society.
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What are your (addressing self-described libertarians, in particular) thoughts on making some sort of social insurance provision, be it public or private, mandatory for the individual?

Once it becomes the recognized duty of the public to provide for the extreme needs of old age, unemployment, sickness, etc., irrespective of whether the individuals could and ought to have made provisions themselves, and particularly once help is assured to such an extent that it is apt to reduce individuals' efforts, it seems an obvious corollary to compel them to insure (or otherwise provide) against those common hazards in life. The justification in this case is not that people should be coerced to do what is in their interest but that, by neglecting to make provision, they would become a charge to the public. Similarly, we require motorists to insure against third-party risks, not in their interest but in the interest of others who might be harmed by their action.

I, for instance, would support choice in social insurance providers (i.e. a market-based approach).
Well... your quote stipulates "...once help is assured to such an extent that it is apt to reduce individuals' efforts, it seems an obvious corollary to compel them to insure...".

Isn't that the same excuse being used to justify the recent attempts at various levels of government to micromanage everybody's lives? Ban smoking, ban trans-fats, ban large soft drink cups...all because government is starting to pick up more and more of the health care tab.

So I guess I reject the stipulation. Instead of allowing more and more mandates when it comes to peoples' personal lives, I think we should reduce the amount of government help so that individual effort doesn't become an option that can be ignored.
I agree with Joe. Libertarians reject the premise of the quote.

To clarify, I have no principled objection against voluntary/charitable efforts to ease the lives of those who, either through misfortune or even irresponsibility have failed to make adequate provisions for their own old age.

I would expect that in the context of a freer society, dedicated organisations would do just that, albeit being both selective in whom they help, and able to provide a very modest standard of living. So modest, in fact, that most people would be much more motivated than they are today to be responsible and care for themselves.

Many employers, for example, may have pension plans in which employees are "opted in" by default. This would be "seen" as the responsible thing to do.
@Eran, to clarify, I don't believe the discussion here is that some individuals ought to be taxed to provide for the individuals who haven't made provisions, through neglect or indigence, but that government ought to mandate all individuals to be responsible for themselves since neglecting to do so would (or could) impose costs on others (through taxation and direct transfer).

In essence, it is the government mandating that each individual must make such provisions, if not for their benefit (since that would be paternalistic) but for the benefit of everyone else. How the individual makes those provisions is up to the individual.
Thank you.

Is the idea here to have something like Social Security (defined contributions as well as defined benefit)? Private (mandatory) pension (defined contributions, uncertain benefits)? Mandatory retirement arrangements (flexible payments, defined benefits)?

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