21.1.04

ESTABLISHING PROPERTY RIGHTS. Arnold Kling notes that the most effective Social Security lockbox is your own account. He demolishes the argument that setting up private accounts will impose transition costs on taxpayers.

The teachable moment in his essay is a recognition of the laws of conservation in economics. Milton Friedman once made the same point this way: suppose the government issued savings bonds to each citizen with value equal to each person's expected pension as of that date. The observed national debt would increase, but a large contingent liability to the government would vanish.

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