There’s a very good reason voters, when given a chance to make a clear choice, increasingly support a stronger, not a weaker, social safety net: they need that net more than ever. Over the past 25 years the lives of working Americans have become ever less secure. Jobs come without health insurance; 401(k)’s vanish; corporations default on their pension obligations; workers lose their jobs more often, and unemployment lasts much longer than it used to.
Questions: (1) Would a rational person behind a veil of ignorance who knows all the relevant economic statistics for 2005 and 1980 choose to be a randomly selected worker in 1980 or in 2005? (2) Do labor market and income volatility have anything important to do with “economic security?” (3) If all there is to economic security is a state “guarantee,” why haven’t people in socialist economies been more economically secure?