The notion that government can keep robbing Peter to pay Paul indefinitely was always unrealistic. The creation of “entitlements” did not happen in America under FDR, as many people think. Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor of militaristic Imperial Germany introduced old age pensions, workers compensation, and related state programs in an effort to placate German socialists, which were a major power in German politics.
While society agrees, generally speaking, that the sick, the aged, the orphans and the disabled should be cared for rather than left to die, that responsibility, historically, has rested upon social and moral foundations rather than legal rights. Families, more than any other institution, cared for the elderly and the disabled. Not only did families undertake this obligation, but families also made the lives of the old or the handicapped useful.
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Photo: A pensioner protests outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, against the British government's refusal to compensate victims of collapsed pension schemes.: AP Images