Saturday, March 26, 2005

Today's Miscellany

Social Security: A New York Times editorial today got it right, pretty much. They continue to refer to President Bush's plan for personal savings accounts as "privatization" of Social Security, which is an intentional mischaracterization of a limited, voluntary program. Today they discussed "add-on" accounts, a separate savings program with government incentives that's being touted as an alternative to the widely-opposed personal accounts. Hard to disagree with this:

Like the Bush privatization plan, this hybrid does nothing to address the real problem: over the next 75 years, Social Security comes up short by $4 trillion. The only way to close that gap is to raise taxes or cut benefits, or both. A fair and adequate fix would include some of each, phased in over decades. By spreading the burden widely and slowly, the cost would not be unduly heavy for anyone and could be distributed in ways that reflect various groups' fair share of Social Security's shortfall.

Republicans and Democrats alike refuse to address the real problem and the only valid solution. Republicans keep playing around with the idea of personal accounts, even though most people don't like the idea and it does nothing to address the problem of long-term solvency. Democrats, meanwhile, have their heads firmly buried in the sand, trying to claim against all evidence that there isn't a solvency problem. Seems we have a serious deficit of responsible political leaders willing to make hard choices.

Drugstore Indian: I know how tired everyone is of the Ward Churchill story. But I came across an article today in the Rocky Mountain News that I thought others might find interesting. This is a longer and more detailed analysis of his career and background. He still comes out as a weirdo and a fake Indian, but for those determined to admire him there are a few supportive points. Any way you cut it, this guy shouldn't be peddling his hate while drawing a salary from the taxpayers of Colorado. Just one more quote:

"Small wonder," Churchill wrote in 2003, "that much of the world, including some of the more oppressed sectors of the U.S. population itself, have long since come to understand 'Americanism' and Nazism as synonyms."

Unpopular Wars: Larry Elder, in a column in the Washington Times today, quoted a question asked by a New York Times reporter:

At a recent White House press conference, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller called Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, President Bush's nominee for president of the World Bank, "a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in our history."

"One of the most unpopular wars in our history"? Hmmm, sounds like another editorial masquerading as a question.

Elder went on to recount public opposition to many past wars in American history, beginning with the Revolutionary War. These aren't the kinds of facts the New York Times likes to report, or perhaps even knows about. Interesting reading.


Blogger M said...

Some Dems certainly have their heads in the sand. Others know what needs to be done, but these days, unfortunately, even the mere mention of raising taxes causes the masses to go absolutely apeshit. It would be political suicide for some of those Dems to mention tax hikes (however gradual) and decreased benefits (however slight).

6:53 PM, March 26, 2005  
Blogger invadesoda said...

68% of Americans aged 18 to 29 and 63% of those between 30-39 support a plan that would allow some investment of their Social Security contributions in the stock market (link). Can you honestly say that it's likely that the DJIA index twenty years from now will be less than it is today? If not, why should my infant daughter settle for the negative rate of return from Social Security she can currently expect to get.

The main problem with the Bush plan is that it is not aggressive enough. It will require a larger percentage of Social Security contributions invested by the contributor to get the full benefit of this higher rate of return. The potential of a higher rate of return will in turn induce my daughter's generation to opt out of the receiving end of the system entirely in favor of personal accounts. So essentially you are "cutting her benefits" from conventional Social Security, because her personal account will have a higher rate of return anyway. The DJIA was less than 4000 20 years ago. Today it is over 10000.

11:27 PM, March 26, 2005  
Blogger invadesoda said...

By the way, I've seen Larry Elder's talk show a few times and I have to say he is a class act, much like yourself.

11:30 PM, March 26, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home