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I recently had a discussion with an older cousin of mine in his 50s. He was telling me he would like to see the welfare state gone, deregulation, smaller government, and all the other standard stuff Conservatives want for the future. Then he was telling me how my generation is footing the bill and tough luck for you guys. Live with it while I benefit because you guys didn’t vote the other way in very large numbers. I have heard this same line of argument or reasoning multiple times before. And I explained to him that this position towards millennials as on the hook for paying for the Boomers’ and Gen-Xers’ tab is immoral.
First off, Social Security and Medicare are the biggest welfare programs in the country. People get mad when I say it, but it is true. It was sold to the country as a government-run savings account, but that isn’t the case. People generally take out more than they put in and these programs are bankrupting the nation. Medicare alone will rise from about $615 billion at present, to a little over $1 trillion in just the next seven years. The rise in costs is far beyond anything that was put into it. This is welfare, pure and simple. It is robbing the young and their future to pay for the old. It is robbing the future of this country. That is what is happening. To complain about Uncle Sam stealing or taxing all the time while cashing these checks and enjoying medicare is hypocrisy to the 10th power.
Yes, you got fleeced. The government forcibly took money out of your paychecks for decades to fund unsustainable programs that are robbing the future of this country you hold dear, and the futures of your kids and grandkids, whom I also hope you hold just as dear. You lost that money and what was done to you is unjust. But to then turn around and fleece your progeny because you got robbed does not make it right. It makes things even more unjust and puts in jeopardy the economic well being of your progeny and this nation. I am 26 years old. These programs will not exist at all when I am old enough to be done working or can work no longer. But if I had the choice right now or in the foreseeable future, I would tell the government to keep the money they robbed from me, as I will not jeopardize or steal my descendants’ future. Many conservatives have bought into the idea that we should just accept the New Deal and Great Society as already here. I reject that, totally. The New Deal and Great Society have given us decades of nothing but highway robbery and phony promises. As I reminded my cousin, Millennials didn’t invent Social Security or Medicare, and we have nothing to do with — or to gain from — these programs that will soon break our country.
This is the evil of statism. This is the evil of collectivism. The statists create conflict and animosity between poor and rich, male and female, black and white, young and old, etc., etc. This is what happens when self-reliance is done away with and you force one generation to sacrifice their well being for that of another. To say — as my cousin essentially did — “Enjoy your future, Millennials!” is nihilistic and destructive. It isn’t Conservative. Fighting for the next tax break or reduction in corporate taxes, deregulation, or any other financial matter is a pittance compared to what ending these programs means.
So please, do everything to end your dependence on these programs. Do everything you can to shut the door on them permanently, even if it means you lose money. The future of this nation and your descendants will greatly benefit from it. It means you didn’t force your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to sacrifice their well-being long after you’re in the ground. If conservatives really stand for self-reliance and individualism, they need to stand against intergenerational redistribution and collectivism.
I have heard too many conservatives argue along the same nonsensical and nihilistic lines as my cousin did in defending these programs. That is unworthy of anyone who claims to hold the values of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.