Thursday, January 27, 2005

And one more thing about Social Security!

During my quest to find evidence for that last post, I came across two interesting items that I thought were noteworthy.

First, this item from the Indianapolis Star. Apparently, W. has been promoting his Social Security policy to a consortium of African-American Community leaders. His selling point: Blacks don't live as long as whites do, so the new Social Security plan will give you more bang for your buck. There's nothing like a President dedicated to the health and well-being of his people. The life expectancy for blacks in America is in fact much less than it is for whites, but it's hardly a proud fact and I wouldn't be using that as a selling point, unless you're trying to sell something to the Klan. I'm not accusing the President of being racist based on this attempt to promote his policies, since he's done a fine job demonstrating that on many other occasions, but I do think we can add this to the already lengthy stupid things Bush did in office list.

Secondly, I came across this piece from the January 4th Washington Post. It's obviously not enough that Bush has a plan to divert money from Social Security to private savings accounts. As I discussed in my previous post, Social Security's demise becomes much more of an immanent problem once we start funneling cash out of the program and into the private sector. This article essentially drives home the point that in addition to private savings accounts for younger workers, Bush's plan would result in benefit cuts for existing and soon-to-be retirees.

On the Mark made a comment on one of my posts below about Bush's legacy as a fiscal conservative, saying that Bush may sacrifice some of the programs that we liberals hold dear, in order to save his legacy as a fiscal conservative. I must say to President Bush "Don't bother." Any cuts you would make in social programs now will just destroy the integrity of those essential programs, and your legacy as one of the most spendy Presidents (he's obviously shooting to top Reagan in the fiscal responsibility department) in history is locked up. All you conservatives out there who supported the President knew of this inability to do math when you elected him. We had four years of his fuzzy accounting to see what he was capable of and what probably caused his pre-gubanatorial business ventures to crash like the Challenger Space Shuttle. Yup, we all knew it and you still voted for him. Not only are you not allowed to call yourselves fiscally conservative now, but you've got a historical deficit legacy to pass on to your grandkids (who will all be born with 4 fingers because of Bush's destruction of environmental regulations). I'm sure they will be proud of their Republican ancestors for their fiscal responsibility.


Anonymous said...

Here is something else to consider. Social security taxes are based on income, right? Those earning more gross income pay more social security tax. See where I'm going with this? The people who have more money now, will have more money to put into these "personal accounts". And what's the best way to make more money in the stock market? You guessed it! Invest more money. Take a look into the future, or, to steal a line from the movie "Nerds": "...take an asymptotic line and extend it into infinity." When I do that, I see a widening rift between the retirees to have and those who have not (or those who can spend money on something besides canned pet food and ramen noodles and those who can't). In a piece I heard recently on NPR, an economist talked about how the present social security system is somewhat of a class equalizer. Not everyone receives the same, but there is not nearly as much of a disparity as there would be if we put W's "reforms" into place. It starts to look to me like just another way to help the wealthy build more wealth and hose the less wealthy while telling them how much you are helping them (along the lines of a particular recent tax cut plan). Jeff Simmons

Anonymous said...

Since I work for a financial services company, I believe I've been told by them to support the privatization of Social Security. Politically, I disagree with the stance. However, I do see the benefit to employees of financial services companies:

1. more $$ coming in the doors of the companies
2. more work needs to be done
3. more profits are made
4. I continue to have a job (yay!)
5. therefore, I am able to continue to max out my contributions (and my company's matching contributions) to my 401(k)
6. additionally, I am able to continue to purchase no-load mutual funds directly from my paycheck every other week
7. lather, rinse, repeat, and I (and I suppose Ben too) retire on my savings with no thanks to Uncle Sam because Social Security has completed failed.

The above steps only work for me as long as I continue to work at a financial services company. If I choose to pursue another line of work, the privatization of Social Security no longer benefits me (and I can think whatever I want about it politically again!!).

But what I'm looking forward to most of all (sorry Ben) is the "death benefit" that I'll be paid by the Social Security Administration when Ben dies. A whopping $300 according to the last "if you retired today" statement I received from them. Yes, thank you. The $300 should cover one flower arrangement for the funeral. Great. What's the point? It's like the great refund that Georgie sent me. I think the same summer Jesse the Mind jumped on the bandwagon and sent everyone in Minnesota one too. Keep it and invest it in something worthwhile!

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