[ExI] pensions

spike spike66 at comcast.net
Thu Sep 6 01:03:23 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Damien Broderick
> At 07:48 PM 9/5/2007 +1000, Stathis wrote:
> >The social security system in Australia is relatively simple: everyone
> >gets the aged pension if they pass a means test...
> ... baffled or infuriated Americans readers (an editor
> should have noticed and pulled me up) because somehow I'd assumed the
> Aussie paradigm was a widespread default. It had escaped my parochial
> notice that for USians the govt-provided pension is a form of
> state-backed individual savings account, with (of course) no means
> test... Damien Broderick

Ja I confess I was puzzled by this, but didn't press the issue, since THE
SPIKE is a book about future tech, not government pensions.  The social
security system in the US was set up during a time of intense debate on
welfare.  We have a sizeable population in the states who would fall dead of
starvation face first in a shallow grave before accepting a dime of welfare.

The social security system was set up not as a welfare program but rather as
a forced savings for old age.  Consequently it has no means test for
collecting benefits; in that system any means test is specifically
forbidden.  Politicians have occasionally suggested a means test.  Result:
they have been thrown from office unceremoniously. 

Damien your comment above is understated sorta.  Even the term
"govt-provided pension" makes me squirm a bit.  True, the government sends
the checks, but we the people sprovide that money, our own money, earned
when we were younger, dumber and poorer than we are when we retire

To each according to her ability, from each as little as possible.


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