I want to urge Thom and Alex to use and explain the term SOCIAL INSURANCE as often as possible. With all the education and degrees I’ve had, I never really heard the term until just a few years ago when I checked out some OMB historical charts.
The reason I think using and explaining the term is important is this.
Millions of people accept and willingly, if begrudgingly, pay a good portion of their income for private health, car, home, and life insurance. But they want to get rid of social security, pensions and Medicare because they don’t want their money to go to paying for other people. That’s really a big reason why people vote Republican. Republicans promise to cut taxes and they see taxes as a way the government gives handouts to undeserving people (who they often perceive as people of color, or undocumented immigrants)
What those people ignore is that we all pay for others with private insurance of all kinds as well. Unless we have some big claim, our premiums basically go to pay for big claims by others who have the same insurance. If we never have accidents, never get sick or experience property damage, much of our premiums go to cover others claims.
The only real difference is that with pensions, social security and Medicare, benefits are dependent on age rather than property loss, injury, illness or death. And the goal is to take care of people rather than making a profit to be dispersed to CEOs and investors.
I believe that showin people the parallels between "social insurance" and private insurance could perhaps create enough cognitive dissonance to force them to resolve it by decreasing their animosity to social security, pensions and Medicare.
The other issue of course is control. People often have what we therapists call “mistaken” goals. They get some sense of gratification from achieving these goals, but make getting what they want in the long run less likely. POWER and CONTROL is a common “mistaken” goal. People get so hung up on being in control of how their money gets appropriated that they put themselves at the mercy of private insurers and investment people rather than be part of a social program where there is a much better guarantee that they will be taken care of. The companies encourage them to make a big issue of control in many clever ways.