Monday, January 03, 2005

January 4, 2005 - Social Insecurity

Hello Thinkers!

This year I made a New Years resolution to be less of a political junkie. But since my alternative hobby, changing diapers, isn't as much fun as I was led to believe - well, lets just say it was a short fall off the wagon. In fact it was as short as making it to page B1 in my Sunday local paper. On the Sunday Forum of the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, Massachusetts congressman Marty Meehan makes his pitch as to why privatization is not the answer to fixing social security.

For the benefit of those not in the People's Republic of MA, Marty Meehan claimed some level of national infamy by standing firm and not allowing the terror attacks of September 11th - and the deaths of approximately 3,000 innocent victims - to impede his partisan cheap shots at President Bush.

So when W promotes privatizing social security, expect Marty to be leading the charge of the Red Brigade against it. In fact if Bush was going to provide free hydrogen cell cars to poor gays and lesbians funded exclusively by taxing Halliburton, I'm sure Marty would find SOME reason to rally opposition.

Back to Marty's editorial, the full text of which is at:

First, Marty educates us on some history. Pull up a chair kiddies. The master storyteller begins, "because Social Security started paying benefits at the same time it started collecting taxes, the program operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. In other words, the taxes paid by today's workers go directly to pay benefits for today's retirees." This statement, while not completely false, is at best, misleading (which effectively proves that Marty penned this piece himself). A more accurate version would read, "the taxes paid by today's workers have been shamelessly mugged by legislators from both sides of the aisle to fund pork projects, special interests and if there is any coin left over, an ever-diminishing pittance is paid the intended recipients."

But even Comrade Meehan cannot deny the bloodied state of what he calls "the most successful government program ever created." The future of this palmy institution? As Marty describes it, "the Baby Boom generation will soon begin to retire, increasing financial strains on the program. By mid-century, taxes will be enough to pay for only three-quarters of benefits."

Hmmm. Social Security will insolvent in less than 50 years? I'll be damned. I guess that DOES make it the most successful government program ever created.

So how would this Massachusetts liberal resolve the issues surrounding the most auspicious government failure ever devised? In a stunningly uncharacteristic way - tax increases.

Meehan breathlessly drools on, "Simply by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for millionaires (one of many available options to extend the fiscal health of Social Security) we will be able to keep paying benefits until 2079 and still have money left over."

I'll bet you didn't see that one coming Thinkers. Or should I call you all "millionaires" as Marty undoubtedly wants to. As you probably know, social security taxes go into the general "pig-trough", not to a dedicated "lock-box". Thus social security recipients receive their checks only after we finish paying for things like Serrano's "Piss Christ."

This should explain why Ted Kennedy, Bella Pelosi, and every other leeching liberal politician hates the idea of a privatized social security account for American workers. It has nothing to do with your best interest. It has everything to do with politicians giving up revenues that are suddenly removed from the black box of government control and influence and placed into an account - your account. Who knows, people may start getting the nutty idea that they, not Congress, control their destiny.

While all details of Bush's plan are not public, some aspects have been openly discussed. They include:

- allowing a portion of your social security tax to go to a private account
- investment options are regulated for safety and soundness, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan currently available to federal workers
- if you don't like the idea, you don't have to do it

Sounds good to me. But the liberal left, personified by Meehan, is pulling out all the stops to scare America into allowing government hands to remain deep in your pockets. Marty warns, "Over the last century, there have been three separate 20-year periods when the market stayed flat. Over the last 40 years, the stock market has suffered ten plunges averaging 28 percent. While wealthy investors can wait out bear markets, most workers nearing retirement do not have that long-term luxury."

So Marty is equating "the market" with a managed, diversified portfolio of equities. He talks about stock markets "plunges" when it is common knowledge that over the long haul, equity investments have outperformed just about every other investment vehicle available to the general public. And he ignores the provision to opt out.

Face it. Marty knows he is smarter with your money than you are and come hell or high water, he wants to prove it.

I am no economist. But I don't need to be one to know that I can get a better, safer return controlling my investments than paying for bloated government overhead consisting of federal employees that even Donald Trump cannot fire.

Meehan should be ashamed that he is playing the politics of fear to keep Americans from having the option to improve their long term circumstances. Yet in the stolid vipers nest of Massachusetts politics, Meehan is admired.

If you want to see what your social security 'nest egg' will look like once Marty Meehan gets his hand on it - well, I've got some used diapers to show you.


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