If this story in the WaPo is true (it’s mostly a collection of statistics so it is, in a sense, hard for it not to be true; though, one must question whether the numbers actually reflect anything meaningful in reality. That is: the numbers can be true but useless.), then I would like to offer this explanation for why.

First, my summary of the article: people aren’t prepared for retirement.

My explanation: if you look at the history of what has happened to retirement planning (as presented in the article), you see a very clear increase in the amount of government intervention. People seem to get less prepared over time and the government does more to prepare them over time. Correlation – yes. Causation – unknowable. I would suggest that there is causation but I would also note that the issue is far too complicated to EVER find a convincing causation.

I say break the chain. Don’t continue down the part of: people need help, government helps them, people continue to need help, government continues to help them (and helps them more), people need more help, government helps them more. It doesn’t end. The cure – government help – is actually the disease.

There is an emergent order in dependency: allow people to neglect parts of their lives (because those parts are supposedly being handled by competent others) and they will.

-JD Cross