“[S]tudents often ask what can be done about the ‘problem’ of young people who don’t care enough to vote. I always say that I don’t see it as much of problem ‘because most of you don’t know anything yet. I’m OK with you not voting!’ The students laugh, but I’m not joking.“
I agree. Often, voters make decisions without considering their options or looking at the secondary effects of political policies. Take, for example, Social Security.
I was talking with a friend the other day about the relative benefits of a 401(k) versus Social Security.
We were discussing our God-given responsibilities to care for our families and, if given a choice (we don’t have one right now, but hypothetically.) how this responsibility would affect our decision whether to put all our eggs into Social Security or into a 401(k).
At my friend’s current salary, we calculated that he will put $300,000 into Social Security (including the employer portion) over the next 40 years.
Then we calculated the “return” on his investment.
Social Secuirty: If Social Security pays my friend $25,000 a year, he must live 12 years beyond “retirement” to recoup his investment into Social Security. Unfortunately, at this rate, it is not likely he will recoup his investment because his life expectancy is only 75.15 years (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html).
Although his wife will receive a small stipend, his children will get nothing from his investment. Further, $25,000 is close to or below the current federal poverty level. In 40 years, it will be even more so. In fact, it will probably be unlivable.
To be technical, some of these figures are variables. As Social Security becomes more unsustainable, benefits will be cut by increasing the “retirement” age. Also, the average life expectancy will probably be a few years higher in 40 years because of advances in nutrition and medical technology.
401(k)’s: Now for the alternative: If my friend puts the $300,000 into a 401(k) over 40 years until the age of 65, he will have $3,452,839.
Further, if he dies at 75, his wife will have plenty live off of and he will be able to pass the remainder on to his children (more Biblical mandates).
To finish up, here’s the remainder of Stossel’s quote:
“… I only started to think I knew what ought to be done after years of reporting and reading voraciously to absorb arguments from left and right. The idea that most voters vote without having done much of that work is, frankly, scary.”
Scary indeed. We live with the repercussions every day.