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In The Mail...

I received a complimentary copy of The Great Risk Shift by Jacob S. Hacker, a political science professor at Yale. I'll be reading this book over the next several days and will be blogging my thoughts about it. Here's a short introduction to the book, from its promotional material:

The currently favored response to rising insecurity is to throw more tax breaks and individual accounts at Americans to encourage them to save and invest on their own. This may help the privileged, but it won't provide strong guarantees of economic security to ordinary Americans, who are just barely staying afloat. Nor will it stop the huge shift or risk onto these hardworking families as jobs, health care, and retirement all become less secure. Quite the opposite: "The Ownership Society" is akin to throwing a lead weight to a drowning man, on the assumption that now he will really have an incentive to swim.

If you're familiar with my attitude toward topics like social security, you should have a fairly good idea how I'll respond to this book. My interest in reading it is to have a better understanding of the motivations of "well-intentioned" advocates of the welfare state. I will share what I learn, and present the individualist counterpoint.

I do not expect to be convinced by this book. I welcome the "great risk shift" because I believe it increases my freedom and my opportunities. (For example, globalization.) I am distrustful of people who want to control my actions or my pocketbook "for my own good" or (especially) "for the common good". I think I am a better judge of what is good for me and what actions I should take than any third party.

Tiny Island