Date: February 6, 2005
Sent to but not published by Boston Globe

President Bush is somewhat inconsistent with his application of rugged individualism and the ownership society. At the same time that he is proposing to replace a chunk of social security benefits with privatized accounts he is proposing to pay life insurance premiums for all servicemen and women on active duty -- a policy that I applaud.

Where is the consistency in his proposals? Why not just give service personnel the money for those premiums and let them put it to the purposes the individual chooses. The answer, of course, is the same as the reason we should continue our present course with social security: people often let short term considerations overwhelm long term considerations, so fail to buy insurance; and the transaction costs for each individual would be prohibitive so that lower benefits would be obtained for the same cost.