what would you do if you were a disabled and mentally retarded orphan?
That is one of the few cases where I agree that programs like Social Security are required. Those programs shouldn't be available to the general populus, only those that really need them - the exceptions instead of the rule. This would also make such programs more easily fundable and solvent.
The only thing we're arguing about here, then, is what qualifies as "disabled" or "retarded."
We need to come up with a national approach to retirement/etc benefits that works for everybody - not just those who are both good at earning money AND good at investing it.
National programs that are extended to the general populus will never be sustainable and will result in either insolvency or the destruction of the nation and/or currency.
I would only extend benefits to those who are incapable of work, or to supplement those who cannot earn a decent basic income. Today that would be a fairly insignificant portion of the GDP.
With steady advances in technology and increased specialization in the workforce we just keep raising the bar for the kinds of skills and talents somebody needs to have to earn their own way. Eventually, not even you would have been able to hold down a job.
False. Advanced in Technology does not necessitate increased specialization. The only thing that really drives the "raising the bar" issue here is inflation and the long held beliefs that you have to have inflation - you can't keep the currency stable or have deflation.
The US has barely any inflation at all, and for anybody who works for a living a little inflation isn't a big deal. Prices go up, but so do wages. Their retirement funds might have problems, but most people don't have those anyway.
When I look around me I see tons of specialization as a result of technological advances. Nobody works as a general laborer these days.
Once upon a time anybody willing to dig ditches could earn a living wage. These days nobody wants to hire people to dig ditches - machines can do the job far more effectively. The same is true of most assembly-line jobs. Eventually I would expect machines to replace the majority of labor, including the designing of the machines themselves, the design of the products they manufacture, and the marketing/sale of those products to people or to machines that make purchasing decisions.
In the long-term the only real question is who owns the machines.