Specious Speculation


In the course of raising some valid enough questions about the funding of a Social Security transition to private accounts via debt, Paul Krugman engages in some breathtakingly tortured logical contortions:

[I]n essence, such schemes involve having the government borrow heavily and put the money in the stock market. That's because the government would, in effect, confiscate workers' gains in their personal accounts by cutting those workers' benefits.

Once you realize that privatization really means government borrowing to speculate on stocks, it doesn't sound too responsible, does it?

So, let's follow this. If the government switches from a system of taxing you in order to pay back benefits to a system in which they require you to invest the money yourself, that counts as government "speculating" in the stock market, since they "confiscate" "your" benefits in the process. So, I'm curious: if a government that had previously nationalized food, serving "free" tax-funded meals on the Smurf model, chose to cut taxes and let citizens buy their own groceries, would that count as "government speculating in agricultural markets"?