The shortest State of the Union post

The shortest State of the Union post

: I like what he says about Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and Palestine and freedom.

sotu.jpgI do not like what he says about gay marriage, stem cells, and abortion.

I have no idea who’s right about Social Security.

: Who could not be touched by the mother of a son killed fighting for freedom hugs the daughter of a man who died for freedom in Iraq.

: Afterwards, I watched Andrew Sullivan and Ana Marie Cox on CNN doing the blog boogie and then Chris Matthews on MSNBC, who led a smart and productive discussion among the net’s news stars.

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com/2004/12/ignorance-is-bliss-for-some-omar-at.html gandhi

    See Josh Marshall’s site for more info on the Social Security story:
    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com

  • http://narciblog.home.mindspring.com/blog.html Eric

    The President:

    [Social Security] is headed toward bankruptcy.

    From the CEPR: “Even after 2042 the program would always be able to pay retirees a higher benefit (in today’s dollars) than what current retirees receive.”

    Paul Krugman: “…even after the trust fund is gone, Social Security revenues will cover 81 percent of the promised benefits.”

    This is hardly a looming catastrophe. But the public would hardly stand for the effective elimination of Social Security unless the administration can manufacture a crisis that needs to be “solved.”

  • Duane Conrad

    To me, an ordinary middle-class, American, the social security issue boils down to one very simple question? Is SS a program for keeping our older people from being completely destitute, or is it a government-sponsored 401k with which the rich and savvy investors can make more money? And even if I thought a privatization plan was a good one, knowing that the President lied repeated during the campaign about NOT privatizing SS–and now thinking a euphemism such as ‘personalization’ is going to fool anyone–would be enough for me to know which way to feel!

  • http://lonewacko.com The Lonewacko Blog

    Our Leader: “unprecedented actions to protect Americans… improve border security…”
    Meanwhile, back in the real world, three million illegal aliens will sneak over the border this year, and thousands of those caught have been from the middle east. See this for examples of the chatter about terrorists sneaking over the border.
    Regarding Bush’s guest worker plan, see The Big Show on the Border for the truth.

  • Sandy P

    Well, considering I read today that there are cells in our bone marrow which could be equivalent to embryonic cells…
    And it seems the cells from our noses are the best to use for anything.
    The stem cell brouhaha might be over.

  • d00d

    Please tell me this isn’t the same gandi who posted crap talk on Martini Republic & got himeself quoted in the recent Sarah Boxer NYT article. ugg, what a wanker.
    /sorry

  • Sandy P

    As to SS – it was fine for my recently deceased 92 y.o. grandmother who never worked after she was married and never drove a car.
    But it’s time to get in the 21st century. I’m a tail-end boomer and have had 20 years of 401K, something my grandmother never had. And my mom never had that opportunity until her 40s.
    How many women will never work??? How many women will own their own business??
    My mom always worked cos she had to.
    And how stupid is it to send a 55 y.o +++ multi-millionaire congressman/woman w/the platinum retirement program I PAID FOR telling me I can’t put about $500-$1000/y away for 40 years?
    And AARP also telling me I can’t, but when I hit 50-55, can put it in THEIR managed funds in the (GASP!) STOCK MARKET????
    Besides, even FDR didn’t think this should last forever.
    We are not the workforce of 1905 thru 1975 or even 1985.
    Times changed, demo changed, it must change.
    AND the working poor get their SS contribution reimbursed via EITC.
    As far as I’m concerned, if you’re 55 and older, this doesn’t concern you. You are starting inter and intra-generational and class warfare. Butt out.
    As an additional, Oxblog and Steve Verdon also have interesting SS postings.

  • Loren

    What kind of religion is that?

  • Loren

    Ooops, wrong thread.

  • RebeccaH

    Agree on all points.

  • http://narciblog.home.mindspring.com/blog.html Eric

    Duane: Exactly! Notice how the pro-privatization rhetoric is all in terms of an investment plan. It’s all about “rates of return” and that it’s going “bankrupt.” SS is more of an insurance policy in case your actual investments don’t turn out so well.

    Sandy: Who’s telling you that you “can’t put about $500-$1000/y away for 40 years?” You can put away three times that, today! You could even put it in a wider range of investments than in the proposed SS private accounts. It’s called an IRA.

  • SloppyDawg

    I’m a tail-end boomer and have had 20 years of 401K, something my grandmother never had. And my mom never had that opportunity until her 40s.
    Well I guess it’s a good thing that they had Social Security to fall back on.
    But not everyone is like you Sandy, with a job that has a 401K, or can afford to put money in an IRA.
    I’m in that area between the Boomers and the GenXers myself. Once upon a time I was a postal worker (everybody put on your kevlar) and put money away into the Thrift Savings Plan. For me it was great cause I had my money in the really safe stuff — government securities. I borrowed from it to pay for my college education and the interest I paid on it went right back into my account. But I know some people who put their TSP funds in the S&P 500 and lost some money, too.
    Now I’m in a better job, I don’t have to duck bullets anymore, I’m in a 401K…but you know what? I still don’t want Dubya f-ing with my Social Security because whatever happens, that money may be putting a roof over my head someday.

  • AST

    Re: Social Security
    It’s basically a pyramid scheme, which can only work as long as we have a growing population of workers and stable life expectancies. Neither is true any more. It’s also a regressive tax since income over $80,000/year isn’t taxed.
    It was sold, dishonestly, as a savings plan. It’s really an intergenerational wealth transfer, but it’s too popular to drop. The best that can be done, if at all, is to nudge it in the direction of what most people have always thought it was, and the sooner the better.
    The real danger of it is that Congress treats it as a handy program to buy votes with. That’s why the benefit increases faster than the real cost of living.
    The Democrats are counting on the fact that when the (bleep) hits the fan, they’ll all be safely retired on their government pensions.

  • Del

    I had the exact same reaction as you Jeff. I was with him up until about the midpoint when he started talking about blastocysts being ‘life’, judges, gay marriage amend…
    Best moments:
    -That Soldier’s Mom getting the dog tags caught in the Iraqi woman’s cufflink, haha.
    -Joe Biden trying to start applause but ending up just clapping a couple times himself, lol.

  • http://www.perrspectives.com Jon

    From the perspective of public policy and narrative, President Bush’s 2005 State of the Union Address brought few surprises. But for sheer chutzpah, President Bush reached new heights.
    1. The Social Security Shell Game
    As expected, Bush focused on Social Security privatization. Also as expected, he continued the selective use of numbers to create the phantasm of a “crisis.” Needless to say, there was no mention of the $2 trillion cost and the serious risks of private accounts. Even more cynical, Bush in the guise of flexibility introduced politically unpopular trial balloons for Social Security, all of which he attributed to Democrats (Bill Clinton on raising the retirement age, John Breaux on ending early collection of benefits, Tim Penny on indexing benefits to inflation, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan on benefit calculations.)
    2. Freedom’s Just Another Word for…
    As I wrote prior to the speech, President Bush tried to appropriate the very terms “liberty” and “freedom” for the GOP, in part by equating his crusade for freedom abroad with the greater “liberty” provided by his domestic program at home. His admonishments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, no doubt a bone tossed to critics of his Second Inaugural, were oddly out of step. And his tough talk towards Syria and Iran (“To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder”) certainly will not calm friends or foes.
    3. Keeping It Real with African-Americans
    President Bush continued his shameless, transparent pandering to African-Americans, especially black churches. This is the same man who refused to meet with the NAACP during and ignored the Congressional Black Caucus his first term. Tonight, he promised to increase funding for African-American men and women afflicted with HIV-AIDS, use faith-based initiative funds to help churches fight gangs, and boost spending on DNA analysis for defense attorneys. As he did during his January 12 town hall meeting on Social Security, Bush wanted to keep it real for his homeboys.
    4. Red Meat for Red States
    Bush also offered his most vociferous supporters among the Spongebob crucifixion crowd the obligatory props. Despite recent news that the White House would back off the Federal Marriage Amendment, Bush reiterated his support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. The President also recycled his “culture of life” rhetoric during one of the more bizarre moments of the night; while he spoke out against embryonic stem cell research, the camera focused on the wife of Christopher Reeve.
    5. Passion Play – Iraq as Theater
    Without question, the image of an Iraqi voter embracing the mother of a Marine killed in Fallujah will dominate reaction to the President’s speech. It was very emotional and quite moving, but also no substitute for an American strategy for success.
    In a nutshell, the speech was what one would expect from Mr. Personality. But judging from the instant CNN web poll results, the 60% positive rating by viewers showed that, as usual, it seemed to work for him.
    For the details, see:
    “State of Denial”

  • http://afish.typepad.com Alison

    Boogie? I wanna to see the boogie!

  • Del

    If he would just talk ‘culture of life’ that’d be fine with me, but thats not all he’s going to do – its his judge appt’s that worry me. And he’s dead wrong when he tries to suggest stem cell therapy is trading a life for a life – that’s just ridiculous.
    Man, Im sorry I missed Wonkette on CNN- Schwiinngg!

  • Kat

    And all the Democrats’ response could manage was some guy mumbling about Groundhog Day. Duh

  • http://gmroper.com GMRoper

    Jeff: “I do not like what he says about gay marriage, stem cells, and abortion.”
    It’s not necessary that we like what each of us has to say about major issues, it only matters that we respect each others views, though I am hardly one to say that some times.
    Being anti-death penalty, I could hardly be pro abortion. Being pro death penalty, how can one be anti-abortion? If the issue is “life” than both seem to me to be at odds with that concept.
    But, I’ve been know to be wrong before, but both times it wasn’t my fault. ;-)

  • http://narciblog.home.mindspring.com/blog.html Eric

    AST: It’s really an intergenerational wealth transfer, but it’s too popular to drop

    No, it’s not. It’s a promise. A promise from one generation to another, that they won’t be destitute during their later years.

    In 1960, half of all seniors lived in poverty. Today, it’s 10 percent, actually lower than the overall poverty rate.

    And I don’t think your claim that SS is a pyramid scheme relying on an ever-increasing number of workers isn’t correct, either. Remember, workers have two sets of dependents: retirees and children. Right now, the ratio is about 0.7, and will rise to about 0.8 in 2035. But in 1965, it was 0.95, much higher than we’re looking at for the future

  • Faramin

    : Who could not be touched by the mother of a son killed fighting for freedom hugs the daughter of a man who died for freedom in Iraq.
    Well, in land of Sope Opras (sp?) these scenes always work. Don’t they?
    They know very well how to play with US publics’ emotions to further their dirty agendas.

  • http://www.buzzmachine.com Jeff Jarvis

    Well, Faramin, finally a comment of yours I enjoy; allow me to respell the malaprop: Soap Oprahs. Yes, we’re a nation of Soap Oprahs.

  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    LOL Jeff. Soap Oprah’s indeed.

  • Eileen

    I happen to admire ‘direct diplomacy’. No one needs to question where we’re headed next. I think it was most instructive regarding what he said to Syria first: we will eliminate your status as a primary support and safe harbor for terrorists; to Saudi Arabia and Egypt next: start down the road toward Democracy – if you do, we’ll work with you and support you; and to Iran: we expect the People to handle this one for us and your country, and we’ll be by your side to support you every step of the way. It’s time to play ball. [I don’t believe he mentioned N. Korea, or I missed it. Quiet, multi-national diplomacy there.]
    Syria, be prepared to step up Now. I say no time like the present. Concommitantly, I believe we will finally help to actuate a Palestinean/Israeli dual state resolution. Condi leaves tomorrow, and I am confident she will effect some magic there.
    Nice overall planning by the State Department, DOD and the Joint Chiefs. And nice pincer move about to take place vis a vis Syria/Syria controlled Lebanon and the Israeli resolution. I am looking forward to this one…
    And specifically to the terrorists: you’re toast. I liked that, too.
    I liked renewed focus on renewable and clean alternative energy sources; reiterating to the world we will only remain in Iraq until it’s autonomous, that we are Not ‘occupiers’ and not interested in imposing our form of Democracy on other cultures; small business health insurance associations…and a lot more.
    I’m sketchy on work programs, exactly what we’ll do to secure our borders, and, like JJ, I’m reserving judgment on SS until I learn more.
    The obviously heartfelt and natural hug was quintessential – and their continued connectedness via the soldier’s dog tag? Perfect, actually.
    Geez, Faramin, you’d think that with our support for your Palestinians and also Iranians you’d be almost gleeful about now. But nah, you have to dis the hug. How utterly pitiful, indeed. Who are you rooting for, exactly, Faramin?

  • http://misterpundit.blogspot.com MisterPundit

    GMRoper, I hear you. I’m anti-death penalty and pro-life on abortion. I’m not religious so these views are mainly moral.
    I’m also pro gay marriage, but I already knew where Bush stands on this so I will just have to disagree with him there.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Okay Jeff, here’s a suggestion: just study the statements of the Democrats that the prez quoted …the quotes in the speech regarding the SS problem were ALL drawn from thoughtful liberal Democrats, saying that, well, there’s a real problem with SS.
    Please note that ALL of the Democrats he quoted have recognized – and drawn attention to – the FACT that SS has a [looming] problem; they did not question WHETHER there was a problem; the prez merely pointed out that these leading Democrats had offered solutions to the problem they [also] recognized.
    So …then what point is it that the current disagreement in Washington over the problem (of SS funding) seems to be about then? – Well, the only issue seems to be whether SS runs out of money in 2018, or 2042.
    NOT mind you, whether SS runs out of money …just when it runs out. They all agree that it’s going to run out (the non-weaselish do at least). (The rest of you can shut up: Bush was quoting Dem’s.)
    So. Let’s look at the two basic options at addressing the problem.
    The first option would be your basic Head In The Sand approach …or the “What, Me Worry?” option. Here, we ask ourselves whether we – the American public (i.e., voters) – want to screw the “tailboomers” & Gen-Xers, or our grandkids (and maybe get a twofer)? All we have to do for this is …nothing, or little, in either case; and it would help, I s’pose to die of old age prior to the spigot drying up.
    Or do we pursue Option Two, and demand that politicians show some friggin’ backbone and tackle this, NOW, so that when the problem becomes critical, the current crop of brains-full-of-mush (sorry kids, some of you are responsible voters) who don’t vote (hence, aren’t in the typical politician’s field of view) will all be able to retire with a $1,000,000 (umm, that’s a million dollars for the number challenged …and yes, that’s what the MINIMUM that your basic janitorial career retiree would be looking at, after 30-40 years or so with the private accounts option: ain’t compound interest friggin’ wunnerful? …and yes, of bloody course the amount is in current dollars) dollars in their private accounts, REGARDLESS of what shape SS is in?
    Really, doesn’t it boil down to whether we – and the politicians – continue to fiddle while Rome burns?

  • Inspector Callahan

    No, it’s not. It’s a promise. A promise from one generation to another, that they won’t be destitute during their later years.
    I don’t remember promising 7% of my income (plus another 7% paid by my employers) to anyone. You see, this scheme was here before I was born – I had no say in the matter. No one asked me if I’d make that promise.
    Also – I’m supposed to hope that the next generation of kids promises 14% of their income so I don’t become destitute? What if they don’t keep that promise? What if there aren’t enough kids to keep that promise in the first place?
    Folks can stick their heads in the sand all they want – the bill’s gonna eventually come due. We can deal with it now, or we can deal with it when it’s too late.
    TV (Harry)

  • http://www.southernappeal.blogspot.com Patrick Carver

    “No, it’s not. It’s a promise. A promise from one generation to another, that they won’t be destitute during their later years.”
    I must have been sick on the day when the promise was made because I sure don’t remember making it.

  • Eileen

    Thanks, Brandon. It did give me pause when Bush said those 55 and Older didn’t need to worry. What about the rest of us? The dems immediately ‘downplay’ it as meaning that in 2042 SS won’t be bankrupt, just 70% funded(!). Now That’s reassuring, especially for those who may be caught in the 30% unfunded group – even though we’ve all paid into the Federal government all our working lives for SS.
    And I loved Boxer’s: “We plan to work with the President, but we’re drawing a line in the sand on this (SS).” Fabulous Barbara. I’m sure we can count on you and yours to solve something or other some time soon.

  • EverKarl

    GMRoper & MisterPundit,
    The argument for being for capital punishment and against abortion would be that the Constitution provides that life may be taken, provided that the person has had due process of law. Those on death row have had a trial and appeals; those in the womb have not committed a crime.
    Please note: I am stating the argument because GMRoper asked a question. I’m not trying to persuade anyone of that position. I’m not even saying it’s my position. In this instance, I’m merely providing information because of a question.

  • Bill Hedrick

    Being pro death penalty, how can one be anti-abortion?
    OK. that’s easy. fetuses (fetii?) haven’t committed capital crimes (unless youcount existing a capital crime)

  • SloppyDawg

    The first option would be your basic Head In The Sand approach …or the “What, Me Worry?” option. Here, we ask ourselves whether we – the American public (i.e., voters) – want to screw the “tailboomers” & Gen-Xers, or our grandkids
    We’re screwing our kids and grandkids enough with a $7 trillion debt, don’t you think we should leave them with a program that will guarantee them a little something in their old age?

  • http://www.dsm.org/ dsmtoday

    SloppyDawg – We will be screwing our kids and grandkids with a $7 trillion debt, *AND* force them to pay for *OUR* retirement, *AND* force the kids of our grandkids and kids to pay for their parents retirement. That’s twisted.

  • EverKarl

    SloppyDawg,
    Comaparatively, the U.S. national debt is below that of Germany, France, Canada and Japan. And SS is no guarantee of anything. It’s a law that may be amended or repealed when it becomes inconvenient for the government to pay, e.g., the government’s decision to dishonor gold certificates when the Depression hit.

  • Syl

    “We’re screwing our kids and grandkids enough with a $7 trillion debt”
    Doesn’t matter. They can just pass it on to THEIR kids and grandkids.

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0120454/ Bill Koslosky

    Jeff:
    Regarding stem cell research and the ban on gov’t funding for producing new stem cell lines for experimentation, according to a commentary in the Dec. 30th issue of the NEJM, albeit negative, the President’s Council on Bioethics is considering strategies that could allow the use of therapeutic cloning:
    http://www.lexicillin.com/blog.htm
    (Will fix the permalinks tomorrow.)

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    So. Let’s look at the two basic options at addressing the problem.
    you ignored the third option; the option that all of the Democrats you quoted thought was the solution to the problem of Social Security — raising sufficient revenue to balance the budget and pay off the privately held debt.
    And that is ALL that we need to do to make sure that providing full benefits is possible. That’s because if we have a balanced budget in 2042, in 2043 we will have a massive surplus equal to the shortfall in Social security.
    Bottom line is this — YOU should insist that your income taxes be made higher if you are concerned with burdening future generations.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    “you ignored the third option…”
    Uh yeah. What a great solution to a problem of demographic imbalance. Let’s just raise the income tax rate. Sure. That’s the ticket. That’s EXACTLY what we need to do to solve OUR SS problems.
    I’m sure you’re right, and as soon as we just tax the crap out someone (hopefully, somone else, someone with a lot of money, some filthy capitalist type whose whole existence is devoted to raising the global mean temperature at least 3.8 degrees centigrade), politicians will IMMEDIATELY start exercising fiscal responsibility, and budgetary restraint. The “lock box” will be secure. Hosannas.
    …and Jupiter will align with Mars. And peace will guide the planets. And love will steer the stars. Harmony & understanding, etc.
    In an altruistic act of kindness, I’m going to assume from your answer that your exposure to economics is drawn from (and limited to) the pen of that seminal New York Times bastion of economic insularity, Paul Krugman, and decline to engage you in further witty repartee (which would be, alas, wasted), as the execrable logic you have just twitted horribly misses the entire point.

  • HA

    Jeff,
    I have no idea who’s right about Social Security.
    Social security is a simple technical problem, but a huge political problem.
    If we keep the currrent system, then at some point down the road the benefit will either be reduced, or crushing taxes will have to be raised. So like it or not, the benefit will be reduced in the future. The Democrats won’t tell you that.
    If we adopt the President’s plan, social security will be divided into two income streams – one government controlled and one individually controlled. The government controlled stream will be lower, but the individually controlled stream will compensate for that by offering higher compounded rates of return. Of course in order divert funds into individual accounts, we will have to take on a massive debt load. Bush doesn’t want to tell you that.
    On the scare-mongering front, the Dems will want us to believe that everybody will be retiring on the eve of the next market crash, and that Wall Street parasites will consume the higher returns through fees. Both points are bogus. Over a 40+/- time period, market risk vanishes. And the fees on your typical index fund are in the order of one-tenth of one percent. Bush will try to scare us that social security will go bankrupt if we don’t adopt his plan, but that is bogus because the real outcome is merely a reduced benefit.
    The trump card in this might be the role of African Americans. They have lower life-expectancies so social security is a real rip-off for them. With inheritable personal accounts, African Americans will have an opportunity to build wealth over generations that they don’t have in the current system. Are the Dems willing to keep screwing blacks with the current social security system?
    There is also a bit of kharma at work here. The Democrat’s seditious obstructionism on national security has led them to the electoral wilderness. We to go Dems! Because of they’re stupidity on the war, they have marginalised themselves on their most important domestic issue. They don’t have the political clout to push their own reform plan, and they have put African American’s and younger voters in play. And without African Americans and younger voters, what do the Democrats have left besides a bunch of snivelling marxists?

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Actually, not everyone lives to collect SS, which is part of the original plan. Everyone pays in, life expectancy wasn’t that great when SS was put together, so a really diminished pool actually collected.
    If payments are reduced and people return to living on less, fewer will be able to afford medical care or adequate nutrition and therefore fewer will live to collect.
    Gotta love these right-to-lifers.
    Of course increased immigration will enlarge the pool paying in. Is this the back door argument in favor of relaxed immigration/naturalization?
    Anyone who has paid into SS his/her whole life ought to receive full benefits, but the proviso that under 55 workers are the only ones who need to worry insures that the huge block of voters over 55 will be somewhat less enraged. Clever.
    Beating the straw dogs of gay marriage and stem cell research insures that a lot of nervous ‘religious’ vote will be reassured.
    Good politics. Bad national policy.

  • http://wcvarones.blogspot.com W.C. Varones

    I agree with everything you say (except not knowing about Social Security — Bush is right on that).
    The foreign policy and war on terror stuff is great — so why does Bush have to mess that up by hassling gays?

  • Faramin

    Geez, Faramin, you’d think that with our support for your Palestinians and also Iranians you’d be almost gleeful about now. But nah, you have to dis the hug.
    Eileen,
    The best help your dumb president can give us is to keep his mouth shut about Iran. Every time, he spoke about helping Iranians, it worked against us and to the benefit of the regime in Iran.
    BTW, you people need help first to get rid of the gang of Washington. OH, what am I saying? You are not even capable of realizing that. So, may be we should wait a few decades until YOU gain some political maturity. But first step, stop watching Days of My Lives, or All My Children.

  • Trapeze

    Faramin, I got as far as “dumb President” and skipped the rest. You may want to get a more mature friend or relative to write your posts for you so someone may actually read it. Few of us have time to dumpster-dive for opinions.

  • Angelos

    You know that money that you would put aside in a privatized account? It’s not yours, it’s the governments. The government will use your money to pay for the privatization. It’s a less-than-zero sum game.

    If a worker sets aside $1,000 a year for 40 years, and earns 4 percent annually on investments, the account would grow to $99,800 in today’s dollars, but the government would keep $78,700 — or about 80 percent of the account. The remainder, $21,100, would be the worker’s. With a 4.6 percent average gain over inflation, the government keeps more than 70 percent. With the CBO’s 3.3 percent rate, the worker is left with nothing but the guaranteed benefit.

    You know what else is true about that money? You die, the government keeps the rest. Not your spouse, not your kids.
    You retire at 65, with $200000 in your “private” account, you buy the annuity from the government, you die at 67. The government just made a nice profit off you. Your kids and grandkids?. Fuck them.

  • http://www.glcq.com paul_lukasiak

    Uh yeah. What a great solution to a problem of demographic imbalance. Let’s just raise the income tax rate. Sure. That’s the ticket. That’s EXACTLY what we need to do to solve OUR SS problems.
    actually, all we need to do is pay our own bills rather than keep running up deficits each year. You want to burden future generations with the debt that you have incurred rather than pay higher income taxes. The “burden” represented by social security will be small compared to the burden of the massive Bush deficits on future generations.
    and there is no demographic imbalance. The number you have to look at is not how many workers there will be per social security recipient, but how many workers per dependent. And even at the worst point, that number will be far lower than it was in the 1960s.

  • Angelos
  • Kurt

    and there is no demographic imbalance. The number you have to look at is not how many workers there will be per social security recipient, but how many workers per dependent. And even at the worst point, that number will be far lower than it was in the 1960s.
    I don’t plan on supporting my kids once they turn 21. Do you? My guess is that most people, once they hit 65, will not have children that they could reasonalby call “dependents”.

  • Angelos

    ANOTHER handy-dandy explanation of how you will get screwed by privatization is here.
    And wow Kurt, talk about missing the point – the government takes your money. YOUR money. Not only do you lose money under any plan the wingers propose in their effort to dismantle SS (see above link), but there are no survivor benefits, because the GOVERNMENT TAKES YOUR MONEY!!!!
    Don’t be a freaking idiot in your blind zeal to accept anything Bushy tells you.
    And yet ANOTHER winner:
    “…in the first 20 years of privatization, it would cost $4.5 trillion dollars to shore up a system projected to run a $3.4 trillion deficit over 75 years. Bush wants to commit the government to an unnecessary extra $1.1 trillion of spending that will still result in my benefits getting cut when I retire.”

  • worrywart

    It’s no wonder no one understands the SS “problem”, it’s no doubt because we’re worst in the world when it comes to math.
    Here is the basic problem with any of the solutions probosed for “saving” social security: no one is using the same set of assumptions to judge the effects of the “problem” and the “solution”. For example, in a world where “personal accounts” net us all over $1,000,000 of retirement savings, the current social security plan would be flush with cash and not in trouble. In a world where social security is “bankrupt” in 2020, your private accounts would also be practically empty.
    So, it’s irrational to say that an expanding economy that leads to greater investment income would also lead to the demise of the social security trust fund. If we have an expanding ecomomy, we also have an expanding tax base upon which to shore up any deficiencies in the social security system.
    The proposed scheme doesn’t benefit anyone any more than the existing scheme does. If the proposal was to dramatically increase the limits we could put into 401Ks and IRAs, instead of paying SS tax, that would actually be a “personal account” because the money is yours, not the governments (how we would pay for some number of soon to retire seniors would still be a problem, though).
    So, for all of you who are for or against the president’s plan, neither plan actually solves the “problem”.
    Personally, I’m not a huge fan of social security because it places trust in the government to solve the problem of poor elderly and the physically disabled. However, it’s not clear that individually we’d be able to solve the problem with our own resources.

  • flaime

    I wasn’t touched by the hug. I would have been touched if it didn’t seem like cheap theatrics for the president, but that’s what it seemed like to me. Maybe if it had been during the speech of a decent human being as president…

  • Kurt

    You retire at 65, with $200000 in your “private” account, you buy the annuity from the government, you die at 67. The government just made a nice profit off you. Your kids and grandkids?. Fuck them.
    Do social security benefits currently flow to children and grandchildren? Do you think the purpose of social security should be to not only take care of retirees, but to take care of their kids and grandkids, too? Why not just go the the treasury and print trillions of dollars to take care of everybody!

  • EverKarl

    paul wrote:
    “Bottom line is this — YOU should insist that your income taxes be made higher if you are concerned with burdening future generations.”
    paul later wrote:
    You want to burden future generations with the debt that you have incurred rather than pay higher income taxes.
    Social Security is financed through the payroll tax, not the income tax.

  • http://www.moderatelyangry.blogspot.com Cincinnatus

    Social Security is financed through the payroll tax, not the income tax.

    What a comeback! Way to address the point!

    But sorry the payroll tax is an income tax. It is a tax on income. It may not be the income tax, but it is a tax on most people’s primary source of income — their salary. Now, if you have a real response to the point made say it. Otherwise, STFU.

  • http://narciblog.home.mindspring.com/blog.html Eric

    I don’t plan on supporting my kids once they turn 21. Do you? My guess is that most people, once they hit 65, will not have children that they could reasonalby call “dependents”.

    Kurt: My point was that the workers are the ones that have the dependents. Basically, their children, and their parents. It’s not the ratio of workers to retirees that’s important, it’s the ratio of workers to (children + retirees). Assuming they “cost” the same, but I don’t know enough about that to make a judgment.

  • TJ

    But sorry the payroll tax is an income tax. It is a tax on income. It may not be the income tax, but it is a tax on most people’s primary source of income — their salary. Now, if you have a real response to the point made say it. Otherwise, STFU.

    What a comeback! Way to address the point!
    Hello Mr. Pot, this is Mrs. Kettle.
    He did say “the” income tax. It seems a pretty simple point to me. Why should we have to pay higher income tax in order to save a program that was supposed to be self-funding?

  • Dishman

    There are two different kinds of numbers being used on the receipts side. One is based on economic projections, the other on demographic projections.
    According to the economic projections, SS is in some trouble, but not seriously screwed in terms of benefits per beneficiary.
    According to the demographic projections, SS is heading for serious problems in terms of workers per beneficiary.
    The two sets of projections are actually related. IIUC, the economic projections are the result of demographic projections for workers multiplied by productivity. This means that the economic projections have all the uncertainty of the demographics and the uncertainty of productivity.
    Both sets of numbers could be correct. There is, however, more risk in using the economic projections as a basis.

  • worrywart

    The LA times is reporting now that even Georgie is no longer saying the “personal accounts” will “save” social security. His new selling point is that these accounts are “a better deal”. And White House aides are even admitting to that the president’s plan does nothing to solve the system’s long term problems.
    So, for all of those who have voiced support of this plan… I ask you again, what problem are we really trying to solve? The only people who benefit from the proposed plan as it currently stands are investment bankers and people in the securities industry (who stand to make a very large profit from commisions).
    If the current social security system (as popular as it is) is really broken beyond repair, then why isn’t anyone proposing something to actually fix the problem?

  • theTruthisoutthere

    Jeff, mikel1814 at dailykos has done some searching about who the Iraqi woman really is, you probably should read it. And so should everybody else too.
    For instance her sister also blames the US for their father’s death, read about that and more here.

  • TomB

    So, for all of those who have voiced support of this plan… I ask you again, what problem are we really trying to solve?

    The problem is that SS is a program that is sold as a retirement fund, but has become a welfare program. Instead of paying into my own account, I will be dependent upon someone who comes after me to generate the money to give to me.
    That is not the way the program was devised.
    Why can’t I opt out of SS and take the money and invest it myself?

  • Dishman

    then why isn’t anyone proposing something to actually fix the problem?
    I have slightly more faith in Social Security than I do in Santa Claus. For me, the best I can really hope for is to minimize the harm.

  • Kurt

    Kurt: My point was that the workers are the ones that have the dependents. Basically, their children, and their parents. It’s not the ratio of workers to retirees that’s important, it’s the ratio of workers to (children + retirees). Assuming they “cost” the same, but I don’t know enough about that to make a judgment.
    Yeah, I figured that out eventually, thanks. Two points:
    1. I think there’s a difference between people choosing to have children and creating dependents, and having the government assign some “number” of dependents to you.
    2. The decreasing birthrate doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the long-term feasibility of the program.
    Honestly, I don’t see any way around this other than raising the retirement age. Privatization is basically rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • TomB

    Both sets of numbers could be correct. There is, however, more risk in using the economic projections as a basis.

    Agreed.
    Dishman, shouldn’t the fact that we have to look at these numbers alone be an indication we have a problem? As was pointed out earlier, SS was always meant to have people setting aside money for their own retirement, not have others prop up the program.

  • Dishman

    Privatization could alternatively be viewed as telling people to take another (much smaller) ship. Yeah, it has a high risk of not getting there, but it’s still not the Titanic.
    Tom, I’m not sure if you’re suggesting something new or interpreting my point as I intended.

  • stevek

    TomB,
    I think you have it backwards. Social Security was invented as a welfare program. In order to persuade the middle class (once upon a time, there were a great many people in this country who fell between the rich and the poor…) to accept money taken out of their paychecks for redistribution, it was billed as a “retirement” program.
    It is one of the greatest evils ever visited upon the American people by its government. In addition to creating a number by which we’re tracked all our lives, it is a lynchpin of the nanny state. Nobody has to worry – their Uncle Sam, who is infinitely wealthy (or can beat infinite wealth out of the hides of his slaves, anyway) will take care of you… in addition to setting a wretched precedent for the whole of the welfare state, Social Security has done more than any other government policy (except maybe compulsory schooling) to destroy the institution of the family.
    Social Security should just be abolished. Today. It is nothing but systematic theft. To Hades with the numbers.
    And I don’t trust George Bush any farther than I can spit him out of my mouth. His “privitization” plan is a step toward even more state intervention, and has the added bonus of throwing a monkey wrench into our system of capital.

  • TomB

    Tom, I’m not sure if you’re suggesting something new or interpreting my point as I intended.

    The second point Dish.
    It would be nice to end it, as stevek says. Essentially pick an age and tell eveyone below that number that they need to take care of their own retirement, take the financial hit on the current retirees (and maybe raise the retirement age) and then be done with it.
    I hate the idea of privatization too. It would be interesting to see how many would completely opt out of SS if given the chance.

  • worrywart

    TomB… obviously you’ve been listening to the wrong salesmen. Social Security was never sold as a retirement fund (although that’s what Bush would have you believe). You can see from Roosevelt’s own words what it’s for (from his statement on signing the SSA in 8/1935):
    “..This social security measure gives at least some protection to thirty millions of our citizens who will reap direct benefits through unemployment compensation, through old-age pensions and through increased services for the protection of children and the prevention of ill health.
    We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age…”
    Sounds a lot more like a welfare system from that statement.
    You can’t opt-out of SS because it’s a TAX, not an entitlement. I have no problem with somone proposing we *eliminate* SS (although that would be a very unpopular proposal) and replace it with something that works. The problem is that the proposal on the table doesn’t solve the problem and doesn’t allow you to keep your own money. The proposal on the table doesn’t change the fundamental premise that SS is a tax and it will continue to be a tax.
    For Dishman, I ask, do you really believe the current proposal is going to do more good than harm? If so, there are many, many economists, legislators, mathematicians, and smarter people than you or me who don’t agree.

  • TomB

    Sounds a lot more like a welfare system from that statement.

    Thanks for supporting my point.

  • worrywart

    Ok… maybe we’re not as far apart as we think, TomB. I’m for ending SS as well, but I’m not for being sold a sob story that giving money to investment bankers is going to be a better deal.

  • TomB

    Ok… maybe we’re not as far apart as we think, TomB. I’m for ending SS as well, but I’m not for being sold a sob story that giving money to investment bankers is going to be a better deal.

    Frankly, I’d rather give it to evil investment bankers than the government. Wall Street has a much better record.
    BTW, reading this:
    Social Security was never sold as a retirement fund (although that’s what Bush would have you believe).

    …is Bush the only one who calls it “the Social Security Trust Fund”?

  • Dishman

    Worrywart, I look at this proposal as a way to force people bring along their own lifeboats on the SS Titanic.
    I’m ambivalent on the “more harm than good” question.
    I do feel that the payer side demographics are very important, particularly in light of discussions elsewhere relating to “Actuarial Escape Velocity” (AEV). There is some possibility that the first Millenarian(sp?) is already alive and possibly even nearing retirement age.
    It seems to me that all the discussions of Social Security as something viable in the future rely upon The Reaper. This strikes me as both noxious and unreliable.

  • stevek

    TomB, I’m glad we agree on this point. I’ve wanted to opt out of SS ever since I first began paying into it. The whole thing is just a massive deception as far as I’m concerned.
    Itr’s also worth mention that the fears of SS opponents back in the ’30’s have been largely realized. The amount looted from payroll did increase dramatically. (If we keep it, the share will have to increase further.) Today, the 6.something% that workers pay (matched by their employers) would do an awful lot to meet the present needs of many households and businesses – it is not a trivial sum. Another great fear was that these SS numbers would one day be used to track about everything you do. Well, guess what?
    But the worst thing it’s done is to undermine the fundamental truth that individuals must take responsibility for their lives and their futures. It has gone a long way to replace the ancient American virtue of self-reliance with the modern American vice of entitlement.
    If it were the only thing FDR ever did, it should be enough for all latter ages to curse him. That traitor! They should never have built a monument to him.
    But I have to agree with worrywart up to a point, too. The ideal privitization scheme is utterly simple. The one that’s being floated out there will be enacted (if at all) through legislation too complicated for any single human to read. (This common fact is also doing much to destroy our Republic. No representative should ever cast a vote on a bill they haven’t even read!)
    But from what I’m able to gather, it will entail the government taxing you, and then ‘investing’ that money on your behalf in the market. Aside from the essential duplicity in this, it seems inevitable to me that it will lead to (even more) massive government intervention in the economy. It’s bad enough that tax money (and trade advantages that often really give the people the shaft, like price supports) is handed to corporations and industries that have in some way or other failed. (Aside from the unfairness, this will encourage failure – look at the airlines, for instance.) But if we go ahead with this ‘privitization’ plan, we could plunge into such socialyst horrors as bailouts (or competitive advantages) for those compaines in which the State has invested, or even a government-mandated ‘floor’ for our capital markets… in short, the end of free-market capitalism as we know it.

  • friend

    The current unexplained campaign against “free speech” appears to be little more than a Madison Avenue scheme to control any discussion of the President’s desire to privatize higher education.
    That is, a number of for-profit colleges have faced inquiries, lawsuits and other actions calling into question the way they inflate enrollment to mislead/increase the value of their parent company’s stock.
    In the last year, the Career Education Corporation of Hoffman Estates, Ill., has faced lawsuits, from shareholders and students, contending that, among other things, its colleges have inflated enrollment numbers. In addition, F.B.I. agents raided 10 campuses run by ITT Educational Services of Carmel, Ind., looking for similar problems.
    But there is a bigger can of worms.
    Kaplan, Inc., is wholly own by the Washington Post Company. For-profit postsecondary education has turned the company around and individuals far more powerful than Martha Steward have made millions. However, there is a nominal “Watergate” styled federal court proceeding (scandal) involving campus “free speech,” that could expose the administration’s violation of public trust
    In short, I provided the S.E.C., Department of Education, and federal courts information that appears to prove Kaplan inflated the Concord School of Law enrollment, telling investors that the

  • Sandy P

    –I’m a tail-end boomer and have had 20 years of 401K, something my grandmother never had. And my mom never had that opportunity until her 40s.
    Well I guess it’s a good thing that they had Social Security to fall back on.
    But not everyone is like you Sandy, with a job that has a 401K, or can afford to put money in an IRA.—
    Thank you. So, why can’t they have the choice to divert a little bit of their money which they are forced to put away for a smidge higher return than they would get?????
    Umm, guys? Arent the wealthiest in our society the seniors? Isn’t the greatest transfer of wealth this country has ever seen coming or begun???
    Did Roosevelt say that this should last forever????
    And isn’t choice wonderful????
    You can stay in the old plan if you wish. They can put it in CDs, bonds, or the stock market or a mix. It’s not just the market, you know.
    If you don’t want to do it, don’t.
    We need to separate SS from SSI, because SSI is being thrown into the mix. And maybe some requirements should be reviewed if not tightened up.
    And if it’s good for the feds, why isn’t it good for us???

  • Sandy P

    The Democrats are counting on the fact that when the (bleep) hits the fan, they’ll all be safely retired on their government pensions.

    Or dead so they don’t care cos they got theirs compliments of us.

  • Sandy P

    –Bottom line is this — YOU should insist that your income taxes be made higher if you are concerned with burdening future generations.–
    No one has to insist, just cut checks to SS. No need for enforced confiscation.

  • Dishman

    There’s some interest in alternative proposals, so I’ll toss one out. I don’t really like it myself on big-government grounds.
    Capability testing. When SS started, most work was phyiscal, and at that age bodies were simply too worn out. Neither point is true any more.
    I don’t think this is a decision the government could make well, nor is it one I want it involved in making. It would, however, restore SS to its original claimed intent, providing a safety net for those who can no longer work effectively.

  • TomB

    I don’t think this is a decision the government could make well, nor is it one I want it involved in making. It would, however, restore SS to its original claimed intent, providing a safety net for those who can no longer work effectively.

    Without a doubt. Unfortunately it is now seen as an entitlement, and one, which you always hear retirees yelling, “I paid for”. They’re just never clear on how much.
    Can we at least agree that it is good that this issue is no longer the “third rail”, and is actively being debated?

  • Kat

    ( providing a safety net for those who can no longer work effectively.) That is outragrous–we’d then have lazy people retiring in their 40’s feigning sore backs and stress. That would be one sure way to bankrupt SS. SS was never meant to be a long term disability plan–that is why people buy their own LTD and everyone must know at least one person abusing it.

  • Faramin

    Trapaze,
    Faramin, I got as far as “dumb President” and skipped the rest. You may want to get a more mature friend or relative to write your posts for you so someone may actually read it. Few of us have time to dumpster-dive for opinions.
    I don’t mean to embarrass you. Well, I guess you just did it yourself: DO YOU THINK AT ALL? If “you skipped the rest”, how do you know the content of what I wrote to be able to determine whether I need a more mature friend to write my posts?
    “dumpster-dive opinions”? Yeah, good point. But how do you actually live with them? I mean your opinions?

  • Kat

    Faramin, only a person with the mentality of a two year old runs around calling everything or everybody he disagrees with stupid, and then accuses others of refusing to engage in meaningful discussion. One does not have to read your crap to find out that it will be anti-American and pro-terrorist. I know you love barbaric muslim murderers and you hate Bush for going after your brothers. What else is new?

  • Faramin

    Kat,
    Faramin, only a person with the mentality of a two year old runs around calling everything or everybody he disagrees with stupid,…
    Oh, look who is talking. I could take this from anyone, almost anyone, but not you.
    I don’t expect you to understand. Otherwise, the comment that I replied to would be sufficient to show who initiated the insult. Well, you are a master yourself in that. Are you not?
    As I said it many times before, I am not in business of insulting, but I make them regret those who are. You yourself must have experienced it many times, haven’t you?
    Anyway, I knew you would jump in to bite my a**. I hope you enjoyed it.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    OMG, what happened to the State of the Union address? Hello, Jeff, there are a few of your readers who have other reasons for commenting and reading than expressing their own spleen.
    Incidentally, administration spokesmen have admitted that the privatization of social security will do nothing to alleviate the problems of the program. It’s just an ideological change, which over 55-ers are being reassured they will not have to worry about. It’s only being inflicted on those who were ‘born too late’ for security in old age.

  • angie

    Jeff, there is a lot of good information here:
    International Center for Pension Reform
    Chile was actually a pioneer of social security privatization, and the results have been quite impressive. Here is one article by Jos

  • TomB

    Looks like the Wash Post story referenced above wasn’t accurate.
    Color me shocked.
    WHITE HOUSE BLASTS WASH POST ON SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIM….
    Myth: Jonathan Weisman’s Washington Post Story today (p A13), includes the headline that “Participants would Forfeit Part of Accounts’ Profits,” which is flat wrong. The article says workers who opt for personal accounts “would ultimately get to keep only the investment returns that exceed the rate of return that the money would have accrued in the traditional system.” This statement, unfortunately, is also flat wrong. Both the headline and this assertion are completely inaccurate. The White House is seeking a correction from the Washington Post.
    Reality: Under President Bush’s plan, participants would get EVERY SINGLE PENNY OF THEIR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS — BOTH the PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST
    _____________________
    I’m still not in favor of it, but really, can’t the MSM get ANYTHING right? Don’t they know their crap won’t flush anymore?

  • Kat

    {Correction: This article incorrectly describes how new private accounts would work under President Bush

  • EverKarl

    Cincinnatus,
    The payroll tax and the income tax are quite different. FICA starts at dollar one and is capped at a particular income level. It’s a regressive tax, not a progressive one. Afaik, Democrats are not proposing we raise the income tax to address Social Security.
    Nice to see you and paul demonstrating your mastery of this issue.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Finally TWO voices raise the ONLY essential points (or counter-points, I s’pose) …the non-partisan, glaringly inescapable points regarding SS.
    Thank you Sandy P 03:57PMAnd if it’s good for the feds, why isn’t it good for us???
    …and angie 08:36PMChile was actually a pioneer of social security privatization, and the results have been quite impressive“.
    The former [Sandy P] puts the relevant context to the Honorable Mr Toad from Nevada’s prevarications during the Dem “response” (rather, lack thereof), and the latter [angie] is the real-world refutation of the partisan negative nabobs mouthing irrelevant gas in an attempt to confuse the economically illiterate.
    …at which two remarks the confusion – and the conversation – should be over. Except for the reality challenged, naturally.
    The rationally curious need read no other posts. Kudos to the two of you.

  • stevek

    We should not seek to reform what should be scuttled.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    stevek, you too have an arguably valid libertarian (no doubt) point, even though politically impractical.
    My question(s) to you would be: do you think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell of actually abandoning the thing, based upon the battle that looms to merely update it?
    ESPECIALLY given that this is a particularly “math-challenged” nation? AND that career politicians are going to be writing the bill?
    …I don’t think so, either.
    Even given the simplicity of the argument for privatization (federal & state governments AND unions specifically chose it as THEIR preferred plan, so why don’t they want US to have it), and the astonishing success of the Chilean national example, I have been slack-jawed astonished at the abysmal ignorance of the statements of the plaintive callers on the subject on local talk-radio.
    I’m hopeful, but not entirely sanguine …but if anyone can pull it off, this president can.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    No doubt the White House’s calling for revisions in other outlets’ observations is proof enough for the easily convinced.
    From E.J. Dionne editorial “Feeding the ‘Crisis'” in today’s WashingtonPost.com:
    “If President Bush believed that the Social Security situation was as dire as he says it is, wouldn’t he be willing to revisit a part — hey, a smidgen — of his own tax cut? If he is not willing to do that, could it be that he doesn’t really believe that the Social Security problem is as bad as he says it is? Are we to cut Social Security, create these private accounts and go further into debt just to make the world safe for all of Bush’s tax cuts?”
    and in same editorial:
    “Nor did Bush mention that his plan to create private accounts would require large-scale government borrowing to cover the transition costs. (If the federal government collects less from the payroll tax by putting some of the money into private accounts, cash to pay current benefits has to come from somewhere.) The White House official briefer acknowledged before the speech that counting interest costs, the government would have to borrow $754 billion between now and 2015. Over the following 10 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, privatization would add more than $2.5 trillion to the debt. And by pulling some of the payroll tax out of the Social Security trust fund, Bush would actually bring closer the date by which the fund would stop showing a surplus. ”
    Isn’t it wonderful to have the evangelical in the White House establish gambling as the basis for future generations’ income in their old age?

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    …must …escape …v a p i d i t y ….

  • TomB

    Ruth, given the WashPost’s recent record on reporting the President’s SS plan (one article complete rewritten, with correctiion). I wouldn’t hang my hat on anything they say.
    Brandon, et.al., I was listening to the local news today and they had portion of an interview with a Democratic Congressman from here in PA. He said he and some other House Dems have come up with another plan for SS. It invlolves, get this, a REAL SS trust fund, that will REALLY be off budget.
    ***snicker***
    The only thing he left off was “And this time, WE MEAN IT!!!”
    If Bush has already gotten them to admit the myth of the “trust fund”, he’s made a good start.

  • Dishman

    Attempting to discuss this strictly in terms of money entirely misses the demographic ratios.
    Eventually, the number of workers per retirees will fall to the point where the system either breaks or is broken. We can do it nicely now, or harshly later. Younger generations may not have the votes yet, but we will.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    TomB,
    Thank you for your observation.
    Did you note that a NYT article which really seriously implied Iraq blog connections to US administration was specifically roundly criticized for its CONTENT and CHARACTER? It is CONTENT that is the problem, as with the article in the Post, which was corrected when the error was observed, as the NTY’s article has not yet been (nor apology made).
    It is the content of the reporting, not its location, that I recognize as subject to judgment.
    I have even read and cited decent reporting in the Dallas Morning News, although as Mr. Lehrer who worked there as a reporter pointed out, the editorial board is widely recognized as being heavily under the economic influence of its advertizers.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Okay Ruth …maybe my first impression was wrong, and you really are that rarity amongst knee-jerk critics of Bush, and you actually are amenable to rational discussion (hope springs eternal, I s’pose …sigh).
    So then …you were impressed with the Washington Post article’s content then?
    I want to get this clear: your disagreement with the president’s espoused concept of SS reform (and listen up, There Is No Real Plan At This Point: “plans” require DETAILS, not suggestions …and ANYONE offering detailed economic refutations based upon analysis of the content of that speech is simply blowing gas) is based upon your respect for the “informed” analysis by the Washington Post staff writers?
    Am I correct?
    Would you agree this is a fair assumption to draw from your citations?
    Okay. Well, since you’ve pointed out an article in the WaPo whose content impressed you (an article based – btw – upon an analysis by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities: which a reasonable google identified as a leftie economic org with a LONG history – dating back to 1981 – of “analysis” purporting to show how ANY decrease in ANY federal economic program that lessened subsidies for ANY economically “disadvantaged” group was horrendously “immoral” …and the CBPP ALWAYS had an “informed” economic analysis that “proved” their point, in the dozen article I perused …adding another twist to the old saw that “economics doesn’t lie, but economists do” …in proof of which I offer Paul Krugman of the NYT as an obvious example of the truism), may I then make the reaonable assumption that IF the Washington Post staff writers were to write (or be shown to have written) an article (or articles) in SUPPORT of SS reform, that you would be moved to reconsider your apparent cynical opposition to – at least – the concept of SS reform?
    Yes? Does this sound like a reasonable supposition? Would not this be fair? (I want to be fair about this, as I’m hoping to have discovered a rational diamond amongst the coal of my hopes.)
    Okay then. Hmm. Well …what have we HERE then?
    Could THIS be an ANOTHER article in the Washington Post (gasp), indicating at least moderate support for SS reform?
    Why, so IT is.
    Imagine that.
    …actually, the WaPo has a HISTORY of staff written articles SUPPORTING the concept (at least) of SS reform.
    Umm, wait? …you didn’t follow the link? Tut-tut. But. No problem. Why don’t we take a time out for you to read the MANY ARTICLES WRITTEN IN THE WASHINGTON POST IN SUPPORT OF SS REFORM ….
    **:begin LOOP
    ***FOR i=ruth reads first article
    ***TO n=ruth reads last article
    ***DO pause***
    **:end LOOP
    Back already, Ruth? Okay.
    So, now that we’ve established that the Washington Post actually has a recent history of support for SS reform …we’re led to wonder: what’s caused them to – apparently – change their support? Has something radically changed to alter the WaPo’s support for SS reform in such a few short years?
    I mean, the Washington Post quite obviously didn’t consider SS reform an odious problem in the quite recent past …even with a concept of SS reform that – in the main – is rather indistinguishable with President Bush’s [equally] nebulous (and hence, immune from a detailed economic analysis of ANY of the bloody “purported” details) call for systemic reform.
    Oh. Wait. I do see a …small …difference. The WaPo’s previous support appears based upon the call for SS reform being President Clinton’s clarion call for SS reform in the 1999 SOTU.
    My goodness, the more things change, the more they stay the same, eh dearie?
    Have we managed then, to offer a convincing, umm, suggestion that the WaPo article (and most of the peurile crap that we’ve had shoveled at us the last few days), isn’t, well, serious, but appears to be merely partisan dissembling?
    Shall we now, again, leave off the bickering over insubstantive peripheral twitting, and go for the core point? – and examine, again, the “real deal” of the issue of whether SS reform might be an idea whose time has come?
    The issue here is irresistable demographic change (to wit, the boomers). And its effect upon a venerable institution that never envisioned the possibility of such horrendous demographic distortion in its original form. This demographic change will happen.
    Look. Once again, shall we reiterate that there are two simple questions, succinctly enumerated by “Sandy P” and “angie” that are the ONLY basis for sound argument (at least, at this point), discussing the concept of SS reform:
    1. Federal & state governments AND unions specifically chose privatization as THEIR preferred plan, so why don’t they want US to have it?
    2. Is the astonishing success of the Chilean national example relevant? Why, or why not?
    And look. This isn’t about partisanship. THIS IS ABOUT US! About you and me. About OUR hopes and OUR fears for the future. About OUR financial security. And about the financial security of our grandchildren’s children.
    There’s no “Left” or “Right”, no liberal or conservative, no moonbat or wingnut here: both sides of the political spectrum have been weighing in for years, and both sides have already agreed with the concept of the need for SS reform to meet demographic disruption of the original intent of SS.
    Personally, I agreed with Clinton’s 1999 SOTU on the need for SS reform, and I agree with Bush’s 2005 SOTU on the need for SS reform.
    This isn’t about political twitting. There doesn’t NEED to be this continuuing [mis]perception of SS reform as having a “winning” side or a “losing” side. No one should be arguing about this with politically divisiveness.
    …the devil is in the details of proposed changes. And arguing about the concept isn’t merely counterproductive, it’s noxious.
    Because …if we all don’t WORK together on the issue, we shall all decidedly HANG together on the outcome.

  • TomB

    Sorry Ruth, maybe it’s the proximity to the weekend, but I have absolutely NO IDEA what you are talking about.

    Maybe someone less, er, nuanced can help me understand.
    Anybody? anybody?
    Beuller?
    BTW, they were able to find another Dem politician in favor of partial privitazion….FDR!
    “In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, “Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,” adding that government funding, “ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.””

    Not to mention Harry Ried himself:
    “Most of us have no problem with taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector.”
    OUCH!
    Now that’s going to leave a mark.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Actually, TomB, I can only recommend that you try reading for yourself. I don’t really need to spend my time explaining to you what I said if you aren’t able to comprehend, sorry if that sounds snotty but I’m not terribly obtuse and don’t need to repeat s-l-o-w-l-y.
    Brandon, you make a lot of assumptions, but I really won’t spend all my time on them.
    No doubt as an addition to SS, privatization, (which is a name that the president is now not calling his suggested system), has its benefits. But removing the basic support of social security and substituting a system which will cost several trillions to set up, (oh, you really want not to play with the plan as the president has outlined it through his commission on SS’s proposal, since it’s not a legislative proposition yet? aorry, I’m going to work with his commission’s outline), which as Dionne pointed out will cause a financial crisis which we really don’t need, on top of the medicare costs which are already over the top.
    Yes, about 50% of Chileans are employed in official status, actually I think fewer than 50% and the rest are in the underground economy so don’t have any retirement system. Those in the official economy are still in a third world country economy, their expenses on retirement are not large.
    As to all working together, that was the point of the plan. In the small town where I live, a lot of older people rely on SS entirely and live not particularly well but not in desperation. And some few handicapped, who under the president’s commission’s plan would be docked 40% of their already inadequate support, don’t have a lot of choices.
    No doubt there are changes that can be made. But even the administration is not contending that privatization is a solution to the SS system’s difficulties. It is the same rearrangement of priorities that the tax cut is, knocking away supports from our poorest to give more to our richest. Hey, if a third world country is what you really want to live in, you’re heading in that direction.
    Does it bother you that there are whole organizations that support the poor in this country? such as the United Methodist Church, (there’s a Bible they recognize that points out that ‘as you do to the least of these my children, so do you unto me’), the Save The Children Foundation, in addition to the CBPP (or whatever it is), I won’t tire out anyone with a list of names? Think of the forces they need to counterbalance, the lobbies which with all sorts of financial support have the fulltime business of working in the interest of the rich and powerful. It’s an extreme mismatch. I am unapologetic in my support of the needy who have not had the benefit of rich famiily, education given to them without effort, jobs and property that they only need to grow into.
    I am unapologetic in my support of giving everyone access to our society’s comfort, and an old age free from poverty and despair. And I do hope you realize that those who don’t have the means to buy our industries’ products will not ‘grow’ the economy.
    If you want some one who has the time to walk you through complete and entire justification for a social support system, I recommend you contact Democratic Party headquarters.

  • TomB

    Actually, TomB, I can only recommend that you try reading for yourself. I don’t really need to spend my time explaining to you what I said if you aren’t able to comprehend, sorry if that sounds snotty but I’m not terribly obtuse and don’t need to repeat s-l-o-w-l-y.

    Now THAT hurts.
    But let’s run that through the translator and see what comes out the “other end”. Heh:
    “I have no idea what I’m saying either, but the WashPost really made my job tougher by admitting their error. So I have to find a way to nuance my way out of it.”
    There, that sounds better.
    If you want some one who has the time to walk you through complete and entire justification for a social support system, I recommend you contact Democratic Party headquarters.

    ***snort, chuckle***
    Please, let’s not get siily here, that just crazy talk!
    BTW, you’re ignoring FDR and Harry Reid.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    You mean the commission that picked up on, and continued the work of the original Clinton commission on SS reform?
    How …[expectedly] droll …you would bring that up as a counter.
    The end result of privatization (or whatever else we want to call it) will be inheritability of the recipients remaining SS private assets.
    Why is this little-commented-upon nuance important, you ask?
    – Simply because the gradual accumulation of inheritable fiscal assets by government mandate, and the “training” in the importance of compound interest in a fiscally responsible lifetime investment strategy to long-term personal monetary growth …has the more likely result in a nation of VERY wealthy people indeed.
    In other words, we may hope that there will be an end to the economic-dyslexia now so rampantly common, and so – entertainingly – obvious from the disenlightened dissembling pablum to which we’re unfortunately inured to …and which already results in the elderly’s dependence upon a too-small stipend to continue in dignified retirement, throughout the remainder of their lives.
    A result which is actually the negative of your “…if a third world country is what you really want…” non sequitur, dear.
    Which can be fixed, now, through a cooperative effort.
    Which apparently is going to be like herding cats to achieve.
    …and, oddly enough, one which may result in a kind of culmination of the obscure soc_ialist ideals of the Fabian Society.
    …oh well, dashed hope. Again.
    NOT, mind you, that I’m surprised.
    …but I will continue to hope, you understand.

  • http://blogs.salon.com/0003928 Sky Bluesky

    “I have no idea who’s right on Social Security.” What an astounding copout. There are two definite sides. It’s very easy to see the difference between the two positions. For someone who take other bloggers to task for not doing research, you certainly seem pretty lazy and ambivalent.
    And as far as the mother/daughter/freedom thing, your use of cliche is touching. the kid died in Iraq – fighting for freedom? fighting for George W.’s political reputation? fighting for anything at all? I can’t imagine calling this a fight for freedom – not after all the lies and fudged facts that were used to justify this war. At this point, the soldiers are geniunely fighting for their lives, but that may be all.
    And apparently the daughter of the man who died for freedom in Iraq doesn’t actually live in Iraq, and has some pretty strong connections to right-wing funders and members of the administration. (See archives of http://www.i-a-j.org.) So I’m no longer touched.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Gotta run, not a lot of time to deal with you, but just for the possibility that anyone is following this thread and missing what you don’t want to deal with…l “as you do unto the least of these my children so do you also unto me”. this was a christian society, these are christian ideals and no matter how you belittle the ‘least’ of these you are cutting yourselves off from the basis of the society you’re trying to rob. We are good people and you can’t stop the goodness of people by trying to pit the rich against the poor … sorry if you are too cheap to understand that.

  • Dishman

    “…too cheap…”
    me, I’m looking at the demographics..
    SS just isn’t going to work as it stands.
    “…to understand this…”
    The implication is that if I disagree, I don’t understand what you’re saying. You are neither omniscient nor infallible. Neither am I.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    …like herding cats.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Dishman, (and Brandon, and TomB)
    As I started by quoting an excellent editorial on the Washington Post site, not pretending infallibility, may I follow up by quoting from cnn.com:
    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond fund, is criticizing President Bush’s plan to privatize part of Social Security.
    *************
    Gross [head of Pimco] argued that it will take more than individual Social Security accounts to correct a projected shortfall and suggested the government should focus on cutting the budget deficit instead.
    *****************
    “Production can only come from employed workers and so the basic solution is to produce more workers, either through immigration or postponed retirement for the existing work force,” he wrote.
    ****************
    Although I am interested in the positive aspects of social programs (and public schools, Amtrak, the highway system, sewers and electricity) I am not basing my opposition to privatization solely on those partisan values. There are sound grounds based on economics, too.
    Maybe the advice to visit your local Democratic headquarters was wasted, but it looks from the budget proposal just released like the Republican party is throwing out granny with the bathwater. Oh, don’t like jokes? I do. Improves the tone of the discourse.

  • TomB

    Looks like Paul Krugman, who also used the phony WashPost story as a source, has corrected his screed (well, sort of).
    “My column this morning wasn’t the finest – sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
    No word why he chose to state that on atrios, and not the “paper of record”.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    TomB
    Jonathan Weisman also was on Washington Journal on C-Span yesterday, and led off explaining that the ‘loan’ terminology is erroneous. It is one’s own money. Incidentally, so is Social Security, which is why our government’s going back on the agreement to give back monies already collected (and earned) as social security in their old age makes a lot of under 55-ers indignant.
    If you watch C-Span currently, a discussion by Middle Eastern press members of the Iraqi election is quite interesting.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Ruth –
    I think I just lost my sense of humor, and patience.
    It is NOT “one’s own money” that is currently paid back that is currently being paid in! THAT is precisely the problem with the bloody program now. The money you pay in NOW is paid to retirees NOW. It is NOT kept in a lockbox NOW. It is NOT like an account-in-a-bank NOW.
    SS is NOT an “account”. SS is NOT inheritable. SS is NOT equitable. SS is NOT “like a savings account”. SS is NOT yours. SS IS A PONZI SCHEME!
    Do you even know what a Ponzi scheme is?
    Do You Understand Any Of This?
    And. If you have thought that you DO understand SS, and you do NOT understand what I just said, then dear, I am NOT being a rabid partisan wingnut evilly-plotting-to-starve-retirees (OF which group I will SOON BE one, and of which abysmal program my dear parents are dependent upon as their sole income NOW) when I TRY to inform you that NO ONE who actually understands SS could possibly have written what you just publicly posted.
    It bespeaks ENORMOUS personal fiscal ignorance to write that SS is “…is one’s own money. Incidentally, so is Social Security, which is why our government’s going back on the agreement to give back monies already collected (and earned) as social security in their old age makes a lot of under 55-ers indignant.
    If you believe that PERNICIOUS lie, and spread it in forums like this YOU are part of the bloody problem!
    The government has ALREADY SPENT ALL of the bloody money that EVERY retiree earned and paid in AGES ago.
    Good gawd woman. You sit and post the most execrable and daftly ignorant drivel …and then figure you can lecture on Christian morality and ethical responsibility?
    ENDING ECONOMIC IGNORANCE AND ACHIEVING THE GOAL OF RETIREMENT FISCAL INDEPENDENCE IS WHAT REFORM IS TRYING TO ACHIEVE!!!!!
    THE CURRENT SS PROGRAM IS NOT!NOT!NOT! WHAT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT ORIGINALLY TRIED TO ACHIEVE, HAS BEEN EXTENDED FAR BEYOND WHAT HE SUGGESTED THE LIMIT OF THE PROGRAM SHOULD BE, AND HAS BEEN DISTORTED BEYOND RECOGNITION BY ALL THE BLOODY POLITICAL ARISTOCRACY OF THE PAST 60 YEARS IN WASHINGTON.
    …and BOTH parties have been “fixing” SS for twenty years (as BOTH parties ROBBED us of the money paid in, substituting worthless Treasury bonds for ACTUAL account, and spending the “EXCESS” in profligately wasteful acts of pure evil)
    …and THE LAST TWO PRESIDENTS have recognized the need to REFORM the wholly inadequate, creaking machinery of a federal program that originated SIXTY BLOODY YEARS AGO!!!!!!
    SS REFORM IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE!
    It’s far too important.
    And YOU are quoting partisan HACKS whose primary concern is NOT benefiting the recipients of SS but most decidely IS trying to stop the slide of the Democratic Party into complete and utter irrelevance.
    …I have obviously lost it. I am picking on someone who
    obviously is in over their head and hasn’t the foggiest clue as to what ANY of this is about; and the sad part is that though I understand that she is probably sincere, and compassionate, and wants to do what’s best, I have let my impatience with her ignorance invoke an angry response.
    I’ve quit trying to herd cats here, and have started shooting them. Sad. And I know better too.
    Sigh. That’s it. Sorry Ruth; I’m sure you’re a nice person, even if misguided. I should not have responded to your silliness.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Actually, if you want to go on in that vein, you may find more satisfaction than in your need to vent.
    However … you are refusing to read what is written in your own need to answer arguments of your choice.
    Try this. Put money in a bank. It is yours. Go draw it out. No, you don’t get back your very own money. Hopefully, you have put it into an interest bearing account. It has been loaned to some one who invested it in a business or other investment, earned money, paid back interest. Oh! Surprise! Economics 101!
    Social Security taken out of your paycheck by a government that is rightly shepherding the economy will be paid back from a more prosperous time – the opposite of what it now taking place.
    So.
    Try going back to E.J. Dionne’s observation. Eliminate the unneeded tax cut, grow the economy, and your social security payment which you describe as coming up shortly will come from an abundant economy, no problem. Old ladies will have grocery money, the disabled will have their playstation II, no problem.
    The problem isn’t demographic if the economy is properly shepherded, and the economy prospers.
    If the economy is raided, as in the tax cut, its means to pay you back is decimated, (what is that I hear, you running screaming down the street?) you are indeed ‘robbed’.
    By the way, I am not depending on SS, most of my $$ are in interest bearing notes (@7%) and I do give to charity. I also wish everyone to have the security I have, which I could not have built up if I had not come from an educated and prosperous background.
    I do not think my good fortune gives me the right, and certainly does not give me the inclination, to deprive anyone of the basic necessities.
    I also do not think that any of the privileged class do themselves any favors by denying those less fortunate the means to live decently.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Semantical obfuscation.
    The money you VOLUNTARILY put in your banking account is PRECISELY your own money when you withdraw it. The interest is additional money that the bank is paying YOU because of the use that YOU allowed THE BANKERS to make of your deposit when you made the deposit. Which deposit is federally insured (to $200K maximum), in case the bank defaults on the arrangement, and is unable to return YOUR money. Upon your demise, the remaining monies in your estate may be distributed to your designated heirs.
    IF your banker only returns a portion of YOUR deposit and earned interest back to you or your designated heirs, it is because your bank has filed for bankruptcy protection.
    THAT is not what happens in SS.
    What happens in SS is the government MAKES you pay a tax. They take that tax, and give part of it to retirees, and spend the rest. That money is gone. Forever. The money is NOT sitting in an account, subject to your withdrawal, and distributable to your designated heirs upon your demise.
    The money the government HOPES to someday give you in return for your INVOLUNTARY original participation will come from the people THEN paying into the system.
    That is, IF the government has the ability to enforce the continued INVOLUNTARY participation.
    And IF there are enough involuntary participants, you MIGHT even receive most, or even more, of the money that was taken from you, back.
    But there is no “insurance” that will make your hopes happen. YOUR hope is that the government – which NEVER profitably invested the money in the first place – will return an amount of money back that they originally took from you and spent. Hopefully with COL or inflation adjustments.
    The demographic change that is happening right now makes your current HOPE into a predictable future failure to perform.
    And IF your government returns only a portion of YOUR involuntary participation back to you, what would we call that in the private sector? – For a clue, please see the above similar example in re: your banker’s default.
    As far as your magically relying upon the utterances of the philosopher (not economist) E.J. Dionne’s column:

    The basic point of [his] column is to minimize the fiscal problem. He does this chiefly by ignoring the $5.8 trillion the government will have to come up with to pay for benefits between 2018 and 2042. Dionne also argues that repealing Bush’s tax cuts would cover the program’s shortfall …he is, again, ignoring the $5.8 trillion …But there’s another point worth keeping in mind. The way our tax system is set up, the federal tax burden as a share of the economy rises over time. It’s projected to go up to an unprecedented 20.9 by 2018 and to 27 percent by 2078. Repealing Bush’s tax cut will yield the money Dionne wants only if we assume that the tax burden goes even higher than that. Congress probably wouldn’t allow that to happen, and shouldn’t.*

    I wouldn’t continue to look to buttress your arguments there. E.J. Dionne isn’t a gifted economist. He’s a partisan hack. He doesn’t give a crap about anything other then slowing the precipitous plunge of the Democrat Party into contemporary irrelevance. As I’ve previously mentioned. Give it up.
    The rest of YOUR argument hinges upon your infantile grasp of ROI (oh joy, Economics 101 indeed), or more to the point, your bewildering introduction of return on investment to argue AGAINST privatization. Did you purposely insert your foot in your mouth by bringing this up?
    There is simply zip-zero-nada ROI built-in to the SS program. And it is absurd if your are trying to argue that inflationary and COL (cost-of-living) adjustments are somehow an ROI.
    LET people have their own retirement investment accounts like you do, my privileged liberal class opponent, and they WILL see a real ROI. Like you.

  • http://www.thinkpeoplethink.com AndrewBB

    There’s a lot of BS in this thread and a lot of truth RE SS.
    Here’s something though who want to criticize Dems for previously being in support of SS reform. At the time they were, the country had a budget surplus. That’s the difference from then to today and the last four years.
    Simple fact.
    And yes some reform is needed, but nothing presented these days comes anywhere close to a real answer.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Yes, AndrewBB, and isn’t it amazing the lengths the crowd barking at SS’s heels will go to to establish a reason for destroying it.
    Sorry, Brandon, there is so much wrong with your long diatribes that I just am not going to waste any more time on them. If we have some one at the helm providing adequate stewardship, our resources will be safe, even growing.
    Interesting. Rev. Forbes of Riverside Church, NYC, published a semi-curse of the politics in NY that passed a raft of anti-poor legislation aimed at making NYC less attractive for poor residents – shortly before 9/11.
    He sees what the national government is doing now as terribly reminiscent, and in light of the events of 2001, fears a national calamity to follow.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    …t o t a l l y c l u e l e s s

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Poor Brandon, you do have this need to try and sway some one to your beliefs. From September, 2003, Dr. Marshall Goldman, economics professor emeritus, specialty Russian economics, refering to Putin and the president:
    “As these presidential soulmates sit down in Crawford, Texas, to compare notes, sadly they may find they have even more in common than they initially assumed. This is unfortunate not only for the Russians, but for those of us in the USA who fear that we are becoming more like what they, rather than what we, used to be.”
    Clueless, vapid: someday you may grow into some of your quotes.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    …uh, no Ruthie. Not really. – After your several nonsensical “rebuttals” (to use the term in its loosest, most ephemeral sense), you’d written enough that I realized my initial impression had been correct after all.
    Once again, I found my [previously referred to] hopes to be baseless.
    Indeed, as Tom B so aptly put it:

    “…I have absolutely NO IDEA what you are talking about.

    Although I might have amended that by substituting the “I” with a “you”.
    Logical discourse takes at least two – and fairly equal – participants …which is quite apparently not the case here …and the thread having died down anyways, I’m no longer willing to be pursue the point to someone so obviously out of their depth.
    And I’ve provided more then enough grist for thoughtful readers in earlier posts.
    I’m not that mean spirited Ruthie, nor am I a bully. And frankly – though the subject matter is rich – the “conversation” has grown, umm, tedious.
    …so …wrong, again dear. You take care of yourself, y’hear.

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    Apologies to your ‘thoughtful readers of earlier posts’ and too funny, you’re out of your depth stuff. Recognize where you’re coming from, know your type. Your beliefs are I’m sure from real needs, but they don’t hold water.
    And I do recognize and appreciate your efforts to show friendly, feeling communications, it’s just that you’re in a wrong mindset. No one in his right mind is going to take a gamble over an established investment when their own money is involved. And face it, there are people whose whole security IS involved. As I pointed out, mine isn’t.
    Maybe yours is, and I’m sorry if it is.
    If you have a really large amount of investment potential, and a financial advisor who you pay for good investments, you can pull down a good return. If the government is paying them whatever the return, you’re in trouble.
    Oh forget it, you obviously have a point of view to sell, I don’t. Have a nice life.

  • http://fairwhether.blogspot.com brandon davis

    Yes dear. We already know that the reason for your caring concern for all the …poor …people who depend upon SS for retirement, is because you don’t have the same financial concerns and worries as the rest of us.
    You’ve mentioned several times that with your many investments, at …let’s see, how did you put it … oh yes, here it is

    “…my $$ are in interest bearing notes (@7%) …I also wish everyone to have the security I have, which I could not have built up if I had not come from an educated and prosperous background.”

    …that you are able to blithely practice a lack of concern for yourself about retirement, which allows you the grace and wisdom and time to learn about such weighty matters …so we needn’t be concerned.
    What was that other thing you’d mentioned, something about the need for “…adequate stewardship“? – Well …let me reassure you, that we’re all so very grateful that we have such a compassionate, astute – and, dare I say it, enlightened – financial counselor and scion of the privileged class looking out for the interests of us poorer, less cultured, and so much less capable, folk.
    You have …finally …convinced me – yes, even me – to repent from supporting the evil of SS reform with your piercing wit, your astute observations, and with your finanancial legerdemain. Yes. At this, at the very last, I have submitted …in hopes that you will be our Champion of the Poor, in the Struggle Against Ignoble SS Reform.
    Such an aristocrat …such intelligence and learning …such unexpected noblesse oblige from someone of your social class …someone who’s altruistic wisdom shines through her every post. Bless you, Sister Ruth …bless you.
    I’m just so beside myself and filled with euphorious delight to have had the honour of knowing, however briefly, such a beneficient saint. You have enrichened the deepening twilight of my years.
    Oh, How! can I – can we – ever thank you enough from saving us from the insidious evil of SS reform?
    I’ll – sob – always …always …remember you. Adieu fair Ruth, adieu ….

  • http://RuthCalvo Ruth

    That was the best post you’ve managed.