Ben Affleck came to the Capitol today to testify on behalf of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s bill calling for a hike of $1.85 in the nation’s minimum wage.

This was Affleck’s greatest role to date – playing an economist.

Affleck explained that raising the minimum wage by this much was a good idea because “no one is going to get rich” because of the action.

Why would that be a good thing?

Doesn’t the rich actor want people to get rich like him?

Why would we want to support legislation that will keep people impoverished?

Of course, Affleck reiterated what we hear so often about the minimum wage at whatever level it might be set: No one could live on the amount.

That’s the same nonsense we hear from Kennedy, Tom Daschle and Hillary Clinton.

I’m not here to argue against a minimum-wage hike today. That would be too easy. It’s clearly unconstitutional. The federal government has no business mandating wages. It’s counterproductive and actually serves to create a new serf class. It actually destroys the jobs of many it is designed to help. Such concepts as the minimum wage are antiquated vestiges of Soviet-style, command-and-control government that empowers the powerful at the expense of the little guy.

Instead, I want to illustrate to you just how liberating it would be for the lowest wage earners if government actually got off their backs – cutting taxes, eliminating programs like Social Security and ending wealth-redistribution programs of all kinds – including the minimum wage.

Let’s assume one earns the minimum wage of $5.50. Let’s assume that person never earns more than $5.50 an hour – an almost ridiculous assumption, but one I’ll make for the purpose of illustration only.

If that person works 40 hours a week, he or she will earn $220. Over 50 weeks a year, that equals an annual salary of $11,000. Saving only 15 percent of that income – less than the amount taken from an employer for Social Security – he or she will have saved $1,650 a year.

Not much, you say?

After 40 years of saving $1,650 per year, at only 6 percent interest, that person would have $266,000. At 8 percent interest, that person would have $462,000. At 10 percent interest, that person would have $830,000. At 12 percent interest, the accumulated wealth would reach a staggering $1,560,000. That’s how easy it would be for a minimum-wage earner to become a millionaire.

All this is possible if only the worker has the right to invest the money currently grabbed from him by the government for Social Security in a private, interest-bearing account.

It shows us what an absolute rip-off Social Security is.

It’s not a generous program. It’s not a program designed to benefit working people. It’s not charitable. It’s not progressive. It’s not compassionate. It’s a program designed to keep them under the government’s thumb – and nothing else.

Furthermore, the government uses it to invade our privacy, to destroy our individual rights, to track us and to squander our wealth.

Imagine a country of 300 million millionaires. It’s possible in America – only in America – if the government just got off our backs.

Social Security, thus, doesn’t help the hard-working poor. It is, like any other government program, a trap for them.

Yet, so conditioned have so many Americans become to this idea that Social Security is sacrosanct – a benefit, a right, a real meaningful perk of living in America – that there is literally no political movement to destroy it, once and for all.

Obviously, I feel for people who have been denied opportunities like this. They are already nearing 65 or they are past that age. Special accommodations need to be made for these victims. But what about the next generation? What about kids getting out of school today? Why do they need to be trapped in this class system designed to keep them from the pursuit of happiness?

Those who want to preserve the status quo will argue that Americans can’t be trusted to take care of their own needs. They need government to watch out for them. With the paltry return on Social Security investment, can anyone honestly say the government is taking care of anyone’s interest other than the government’s?

Sure there will be people who can’t discipline themselves to save. Sure there will be people who are unable to work. Sure there will be people, who through no fault of their own, don’t reach the target.

But, under the free-enterprise plan, America will be a much wealthier and freer country – one that will have more money to spend on charities that work.

Do I expect Ben Affleck, Ted Kennedy, Tom Daschle and Hillary Clinton to embrace such a plan? No way. Kennedy, Daschle and Clinton would lose their political constituency, which is based on fear and coercion. Affleck, meanwhile, would probably never work in Hollywood again.

But I do expect Americans who still believe in freedom to embrace such a sensible plan. It just needs to be put on the political agenda in terms people can comprehend.


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