19. March 2005 · Comments Off on Too Many Choices? · Categories: Politics

Virginia Postrel has a couple of interesting posts about choice, and Social Security privatization, here and here. The gist of it is that, given too many choices, consumers are inclined to become overwhelmed. And surely, the number of choices in the market for investments, something which might only increase greatly with massive new injections of capital from SS privatization, is enough to be somewhat daunting to all but the most sophisticated investors.

On FNC’s Cavuto this morning, the subject came of a Democratic “plot” to kill SS privatization, because the Jackass Party is simply afraid of the electorate learning that it had power in being responsible for it’s own wealth. I reject this, just as I reject all the kooky conspiracy theories to come from the left. But I am confident many liberals believe a large portion of the population is simply to stupid to be trusted to invest wisely for the future. This Thalerist theory of Behavioral Economics serves to reinforce that viewpoint.

I see this all as a great canard. When SS privatization finally comes, I have little doubt that it will be much more than an expansion of the federal Thrift Savings Plan, albeit with a broader selection of investments. Plenty of restrictions will be put in to avoid speculative investing.

But I also reject the mantra preached by Democrats, that the current SS system is “guaranteed” benefit system. It is a massive gamble – a gamble on the whims of every government in power until the day you retire – and even afterwards.

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