Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by apropos of nothing » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:04 pm

swingdoc wrote:I dunno. I think its because of "opportunity". And I see higher taxation as one of the major risks to limiting individual opportunity and reinforcing class separation.
Depends on who is being taxed, doesn't it?

In terms of the opportunity, you're right. It was a land of opportunity because the opportunity was made by redistribution. Was it a land of opportunity before WWI? No, not especially. You had industry barons and working stiffs. What changed? The start of taxation to pay for infrrastructure.


There's only so far you can argue with history.

Take the IMF. Always espouses cut and cut austerity programs for the recipients of its aid. Privatization, limiting of social programs, cuts in infrastructure spending.

Okay, well let's see. Argentina. Utter economic collapse. Bank and food riots. How did it get back on its feet? Blowing off the IMF's advice and money altogether. By becoming a bad credit risk.

Venezuela has been able to grow an economy by installing social services.

China is the largest expanding economy in the world. They've gotten to be that way by being a stateist, communist country with a command economy. I'm not holding them up as a paragon of virtue, mind you. I'm just saying that they hardly follow the capitalist prescription for generating a strong economy. And yet...


I'm just not buying it. I think the whole tax-cut/privatization mindset is a ploy (yup -- a snare) by the power-elites to gain a stranglehold over labor.

And everybody's buying it. They're all so tuned into the TV news that they actually think that any blue-suited power-broker in DC or on Wall Street has their best interest at heart.

Dude they care about one thing. That's the bottom line in the short term. And they'll do whatever is neccesary to get y'r dollars to play with.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Mr PC » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:09 pm

apropos of nothing-

I dunno, babe. I'm way far away from your world-view and I don't buy your arguments. Our disagreements are so fundamental I don't know where to start.

All I will say is keep your love-lights shining, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars--

PC

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by apropos of nothing » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:16 pm

Admittedly I get a little worked up.

:nonono:

Still thermodynamics is on my side man.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Mr PC » Sat Feb 05, 2005 11:21 pm

apropos of nothing wrote:
Still thermodynamics is on my side man.

:D :D

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Fieryjack » Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:20 am

I trust corporations a great deal less than I trust the gummin
I'm glad somebody has faith in our government and its employees. Personally, I believe there is a lot more more talent, intelligence and accountability in the private sector. There will always be bad apples everywhere, but you don't have to look far to see abandoned government buildings, crooked politicians and wasteful government balance sheets. Thats accounting 101.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by swingdoc » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:03 am

apropos of nothing wrote:Depends on who is being taxed, doesn't it?

In terms of the opportunity, you're right. It was a land of opportunity because the opportunity was made by redistribution. Was it a land of opportunity before WWI? No, not especially. You had industry barons and working stiffs. What changed? The start of taxation to pay for infrrastructure.
Hmmm. I think we all kinda want the same thing for society and humanity. But our interpretation of history and means to get there are clearly different. Also, I'm not sure its an "either /or" proposition (total privatization vs socialism), rather like someone mentioned earlier its a compromise between the two.

SO here's my dissertation:
Historically, countries have been ruled by strong central governments which stay in power by removing the opportunities of the people by inhibiting their fiscal power through heavy taxation. Now granted, in most of these societies, the majority of the money stayed with the rulers, and little was fed back into the society.
When the US left Great Brittain, a strong central theme of the new government was individual freedom, including individual fiscal freedom. They knew of the dangers of heavy central governement taxation. They didnt arrive here and set up a 'share everything commune.'
Now, of course there is a need for central government. And it needs money to function. And eventually some people will become dependent on this government and society to exist because of various reasons. But, that should be the exception and not the rule. By taxing people hard, it creates the environment where dependency on the federal government is the norm and the rule, and indivual opportunity is more and more limited.
Once the power is out of the hands of the people, and the laws are all in place that indivuals dont own really anything, and central government owns, takes and redistributes, then historically its a story of oppression.

People are different, and their ability to work hard, innovate, desire, drive etc are not all the same. So it makes no sense to me that everyone should have the same lifestyle or ownership. Trying to socially construct an "everyone has equal ownership and power", basically means no-one has any, therfore they're equal. Or this is to say, the only way the government could ever make everyone equal would be to own everything themselves, then every citizen is equally without anything.
The goal of the central government should be to provide to some degree for those who cant for themselves, encourage public and local support for these people, and then the other basics such as defense, currency etc. The more people are taxed, the less they can individually support the people next door. The more they're taxed, the more they become dependant on those who tax them.
Now before you go and bash me for my "elitist, neo-con, selfish whatever", just try to understand that I probably give more of my own time and money to local charities and individuals than anyone I know. I try to walk the walk. I want to be an example that the way to an improved society is for each indiviual to use their own freedom to help their neighbor. Thats the principle the US is founded on. Not central government ownership and power.
And yes, peace, hope and charity.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by foley » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:51 am

I'm not trying to pick on you, just to clarify a few things:
swingdoc wrote:I want to be an example that the way to an improved society is for each indiviual to use their own freedom to help their neighbor. Thats the principle the US is founded on. Not central government ownership and power. And yes, peace, hope and charity.
You make a lot of good points here, and I think your desire to see our society improve is admirable. I would argue that the US is not, in fact, founded on individual freedom (see Slavery 1619-1865), nor is it founded on a sense of cooperation between neighbors (see Native American policy, King Philip's War - Wounded Knee). What America is actually "founded on" is debatable, but I think you'd have a hard time arguing individual freedom and cooperation are it's founding principles (you might try profit motive - see if that fits the pattern).

The idea that the government is the enemy of the people is not a new one, and it is not entirely false. The Patriot Act, for example, is a good example of the government's overstepping of it's bounds in the persecution of it's own people. Conscription is another. NAFTA still another.

But Social Security? New Deal and Great Society programs were designed to address the carnage brought on by Industrial Capitalism. As any economist will tell you, secure jobs are a bad thing for the market. Just this week the job numbers were far more disappointing than expected, and the Dow spiked with glee. Capitalism is no friend of the worker.

So the US Government designed programs like Medicare, Welfare, Social Security, etc. to address the chronic problems brought on by Capitalism. Many have argued (quite persuasively) that these programs were designed to squelch a nation-wide uprising of workers. Either way, they were not designed to limit "individual freedom" and I would challenge someone to explain exactly how they do that.

The fundamental idea behind conservatism is that the government is bad and the private sector is good. The evidence against this claim is overwhelming. Slavery alone should shoot this full of holes. Try immigrant child labor practices, or read "The Jungle" if you get a chance. Heck "Nickle and Dimed" will give you the modern day version.

Government is not perfect, but when it's not sucking a corporation's cock, it usually has the citizen's best interest at heart. Private-sector is only interested in increasing the bottom line. Who do you trust?

Finally, let me address this fundamental stance that "having a strong economy is the most important thing". Why is this true? Why aren't we as concerned about having a just and equitable society? Why are we willing to watch our elders die in shitty nursing homes, but we get our dander up if someone suggests the economy might go into recession? When, exactly, did a successful economy become the most important thing in the American psyche?

I would like to suggest that having a really shitty economy in a country with outstanding, free health care and outstanding, free public education would be just fine with me. It would be impossible, of course. But even if we pulled it off, it would be just fine with me.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Mr PC » Sun Feb 06, 2005 10:49 am

Foley-

Just a quick thought- To argue that because slavery existed when the country was founded, that the country was not founded on individual freedom is just childish.

The founders were born into a country with slavery, they didn't have superpowers to reorder society with the signing of the founding documents. As we all know, many of the founders were slave owners themselves.

That hypocrisy doesn't negate the meaning of the words in the founding documents. It took a lot of history for the country to live up to those words in a more complete way.

The constitution that the slave-holding founders wrote was vital to ending slavery. You don't just invent an ideal society overnight. Working from sound principles, our country has found its way to being a better one.

PC

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by foley » Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:39 pm

Well you might disagree, but I hardly think the notion that Slavery negates the ideals of the Declaration is "childish". Place yourself in the shoes of a slave at the signing of the declaration. Is this country founded on principles of individual freedom?

Slavery was maintained in the southern states because of the Great Compromise. The Great Compromise was hashed out because of economic concerns. Therefore it is historically accurate to maintain that America has, from it's founding, sacrificed the ideals of the Declaration on the altar of commerce. You can disagree, but I would recommend a re-reading of the arguments from the Constitutional Convention before doing so.

Also, the notion that American individual liberty is a work in progress is a cop out, at best. Yes progress has been made, but only by the efforts of folks who would look more like today's "loony lefties" than anything resembling the conservative movement. And at every step of the way folks have done everything they can to stop that progress.

At the end of their lives both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. realized that the true battle has to be waged on the economic front. It is not enough to free a slave, you need to give him those 40 acres and a mule. It is not enough to de-segregate a lunch counter, you need to help the black man afford the lunch. These ideas touch on the base of the American problem: unbridled Corporate Capitalism. Programs like SS have attempted to solve some of those inequities. Granted, they haven't completely solved the problem, but dismantling the program is a giant step backwards. All the flag waving in the world won't change that simple fact.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Mr PC » Sun Feb 06, 2005 1:44 pm

First of all, time happens. Do you really think I'm saying "Surely all people have been free with full rights starting the day after the Constitution was ratified"?

The fact that the ideals in the founding documents didn't mean anything in the life of a slave at the time doesn't diminish the ideal or mean it wasn't enshrined in the papers.

No serious person of any political significance wants to dismantle SS.

Cheer up, comrade, the glass is 90% full.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by swingdoc » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:44 pm

Foley,
you do make excellent points. nice job. really.
Cheers.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by Piotr » Mon Feb 07, 2005 10:00 am

I just think if they are going to give us all private retirement accounts, then they should be commission free with unlimited trade access. If I am going to risk my retirement in the stock market the least I should get is the ability to freely move my money around without having to pay a broker. They could setup a government clearing house that would maybe charge a minimal fee for the paperwork...

Or we could just kill everyone over the age of 72...
Yours,

Piotr

piotr@thebarkmarket.com

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by kcrusher » Mon Feb 07, 2005 3:52 pm

MASSIVE Mastering wrote:
foley wrote:btw - nice job spurring the economy with those tax cuts. I personally have seen quite a benefit from that $300 check I received two years ago - my property taxes are up again!

God Bless the Conservatives! It's all they have going for them.
And this has exactly "what" to do with the Feds?

BTW - My property taxes are going up a little over 60% - THIS YEAR ALONE - thanx to the Democratic leadership of the local govt. and their spendaholism.
You know what a load of B.S that is? You know WHY the local economies have to raise taxes? Because the funding they got from the federal gov't is no longer there. Gee - I WONDER why that is - maybe because they gave all those delicious 'tax breaks' out and don't have any left to give to local economies.

This isn't a Democrat vs. Republican thing - this is a economics thing. This is happening in Republican led localities as well. Hell, it's happening everywhere.
America... just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.
- Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by eeldip » Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:22 pm

here is what the president has to say about the transition costs: (from whitehouse.gov)

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, she's asking about the cost of the transition. It's estimated about $600 billion over a 10-year period of time to get the personal accounts started on the -- the way we've suggested they grow. It's a good question.

Yes, ma'am.

Q -- really understand how is it the new plan is going to fix that problem?

THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it.

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Re: Thoughts on 'Social Security Reform'

Post by andyg666 » Mon Feb 07, 2005 4:44 pm

i like the idea of opting out of social security all together. pay nothing in, get nothing out when you're older... keep the money at the end of the week. do what you want with it. if you're a dumb farkwad and don't want to save anything, well, you're a dumb farkwad and it's your fault. maybe you want to live life to the fullest and shoot yourself in the face on your 65th birthday. i think the social security system is going bankrupt, and i don't think anything other than cutting the millitary budget by a couple hundred billion will fix it. not to mention fixing just about every other budget crisis we've got...

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