Thursday, August 26, 2010

Politically Incorrect does not mean Inaccurate

Observing an injustice, or a manipulation, or propaganda.... that is highly charged or politically incorrect or inexpedient does not make that observation inaccurate.

Irrespective of our personal prejudices, observations are either factual and accurate or specious and inaccurate. Remember Copernicus?

I firmly believe that each of us is responsible for our own actions - not the actions of others that may look like us, believe like us, or possess the same anatomical symmetry... nor is it a personal attack to make an observation. This is not to say that each observation's interpretation will prove accurate - that is THE beauty of the blogsphere... Intelligent folks can assemble for intelligent discussion.

So...

Today's assertion is that the elderly in the West, and in America in particular, have ripped off the younger people, taken complete and disgusting advantage of those too young to vote, and have knowingly f***ed up the system with their well organized political special interest group(s) (and you know how I feel about special interest groups).

Here is an excellent article on one way to dismantle Social Security while maintaining the semi-worthy goal of FORCING people to save for their old age (as a Libertarian I chafe at that, but one must function in the world we live in). Forcing people to save for their OWN old age is a far more defensible position than what we now have, and that is FORCING young people to subsidize old folks lack of savings.

What stands in the way of solving this nightmare? In a word, the ELDERLY. It is truly amazing what each of us can convince ourselves of, and the elderly have convinced themselves that they deserve something for nothing and that it is right and fair to strip their children and grandchildren, and many future generations, to the f*&^*ing bone.

Reducing S.S. benefits right now is the fiscal answer. Not waiting 15, 20, or 25 years. Right now. And then reassembling a system around mathematically sound principles, not political principles that assure future disaster. This could happen, but it would require a political will far greater than that which might ameliorate the energy issue... and we have not exactly taken that issue on, either.






21 comments:

Anonymous said...

The size of the general economy that generates the wealth has shrunk, or perhaps was never there. Perhaps the money generating bubble machine just goosed the system for a while. In any event, everyone who collects from the government expects to continue to collect at 100% while the underlying economy dwindles. This is true for welfare programs, Social Security, government payrolls and pensions. It can't continue. Either we cut benefits or the ROTW will, by deciding that we are the next Greece.

Regards,

Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

After 56 and 6 months in the Federal govt. (ending on December 31, 2023), I will be eligible for a very generous pension of around $3,400/month (plus other stuff). Now, you can talk all your want about how I didn't pay in much for the pension. But the fact remains ... I have made my retirement plans partially based on that number. I will seriously work against any politician who tries to muck with it, and so will other Federal people. That is not rational, but there it is.

There is also problems with forcing people to save for their retirement ..

1) What return are people guaranteed, if any? Investing the savings in what? The end result cannot be determined in a free economy.

2) Suppose there is a famine or a large increase in some disease that was not predicted, and food and health care costs go way up. Our "savings" accounts would fall victim to that.

3) The SS system is not a straight-line system. The poor get a little more than they should get, and the rich get a lot less than they should get. It is an equalizing system. You gonna mess with that too?

We apologize to the young for robbing them blind. Nevertheless, the impossibility of predicting actual retirement numbers 30 years forward means the SS system is pay-as-you-go and inherently unfair. The old people, if they feel guilty, can always write a check for their SS payments to the Treasury Dept. The address is in the tax booklets.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Bur;

Not the issue. The issue is math. Certainty principal. Probability theory. What you, I, or the masses want is of little consequence...

bureaucrat said...

Overflowing in natural gas ...

(Marketwatch) "Natural gas for September delivery lost 5 cents, or 1.4%, to $3.82 per million British thermal units. That's the lowest close since late September 2009.

Natural-gas prices were flat in early trading but sank into the red Thursday after a weekly report on inventories showed a rise on the higher end of expectations.

In addition, the report also showed a worrying increase for natural gas in storage in the East Coast as producers compensated -- too much, some traders say -- for draws in the recent heat wave.

The days of natural gas futures above $5 "are definitely gone" in the long run, said Hamza Khan, an analyst with the Schork Report in Philadelphia."

bureaucrat said...

Who the hell do you think is running this country? :)

James m Dakin said...

Bravo! Touching the Third Rail. Old dudes- listen carefully. It isn't about right or wrong. It is about exponential growth being impossible. But, you'll get your SS- in Zimbabwe $$$.

Dan said...

The guy is either dense or framing the debate to serve his interests. The problem for Xers is paying the boomers due to demographics. There are roughly 60 million boomers whom expect to retire on the backs of 20 million Xers. (N.b. I didn’t look the figures up but it’s close enough for illustrative purposes) however there are roughly 60 million millennials because the Xers that weren’t murdered on arrival were not so keen on killing their own kids. So it’s just tomorrow’s problem not the day after when we revert to more of a pyramid shape.

So the plan is to first tax away the ability of Xers to save in order to support boomers, then shut down the program as they start to retire. I suppose it’s to be expected of the me generation to come up with self serving solutions.

What I’m really sensing is a growing realization that the problem must be dealt with and a broad desire amongst news makers to ensure it’s done with regressive taxes and policy decisions. Don’t think for a minute that the pain will remain with the working poor, they don’t have the assets or income to deal with the problem. It will, as it must, also decimate middle class millionaires, if those whom measure their incomes in millions per month are to be made whole on the debt they own and avoid any new progressive taxes. Think about it, and read your last post a few times.

Dan said...

The biggest part of the problem really is the 40+ million abortions; sin brings its own punishment.

Dan said...

Doh! Methinks I should have swapped my first and second paragraphs for clarity. Note to self: proofread then post.

PioneerPreppy said...

Just my personal opinion but...

You bet your A$$ it was due to abortion or more pointedly self serving feminism which needed abortion like a meth head needs sudafed.

Now we have to contend with massive immigration and racially biased social engineering to make up for it.

As for social security I think trying to raise the age or cut it without some kind of pay back for the gen x'ers will spark some seriously ugly blow back.

Dextred1 said...

Dan,
Good thing I read the comments, I almost posted the same thing.

If the whole scheme is a ponzi pay as you go setup then rational concludes more payers’ equal longer life of program. Not to mention that many of those abortions were by middleclass people who would of raised their kids to be fairly well adjusted citizens and in this case many high end tax payers into this particular redistribution scheme. The Irony of course is the left destroyed their own funding mechanisms. Their obsession with on demand murder is not only their downfall, but I think that of the whole nation. We shall see.

I also think we are no approaching around 50 million abortions now. The red letter campaign a couple yrs ago estimated at 43 million then if I remember correctly.

PP,

Yes sir, blowback will be the destruction of the program by people my age. I can tell you this, everyone my age I talk to left or right already expects the program to fail us. We will not get it and soon we will be in the seats of power.

Anonymous said...

The abortion argument just kicks the can down the road It's not that I favor abortion, but economic growth is coming to an end for other reasons too.. Exponential growth is unsustainable in the long term. Period. Has abortion made today's situation worse? Yes. Would peak oil have messed things up anyway. Absolutely.

In any event, I'll agree with Bur that there is no way to privately fund retirement that guarantees a return. When you save for retirement, you buy a percentage of the aggregate economy with your dollars. Your payback is in proportion to the size and condition of the economy when your retire compared to the economic conditions when you were saving. But, as we are seeing right now, publicly funded, pay as you go plans are subject to exactly the same issues. In the aggregate, there is NO WAY around it. SS is underfunded by 26%. The Federal Government as a whole is underfunded by 50%. What about that other $140,000,000,000,000 unfunded liability? Someone is going to take less at some point.

Further, there is no political will to fix the problem, only to kick the can down the road a bit. The end result of this will be a quick collapse when faith in US bonds fails. The problem won't come because there are too few buyers at the auctions. It will come in a panic when the owners of $12T all try to sell at once.

The author of that article advocated that the government guarantee the principal. HA! Same game. Can't be done.

Regards,

Coal Guy

Greg T. Jeffers said...

IMHO... The abortion issue is its own abomination... it needs no economic impetus or rationalization... killing is G-d's work, not ours (and I am not even that religious and even I can see that...)

Coal Guy:

Of course you are correct that the gov cannot guarantee a return unless they can guarantee the growth and size of the economy and that is not possible... but I think the ideas presented in the article had many sound economic AND political thoughts.

PioneerPreppy said...

Coal Guy

My point about abortion isn't that the abortions themselves caused the mess but that as one factor it caused a large number of other factors and came with so much social spending baggage to replace husbands with the state and required other social engineering which just made things worse.

But yes you are correct zero growth is zero growth and due to the current economical view of the political class it causes the ultimate failure.

I just got carried away :)

Anonymous said...

PP and Greg,

Abortion is its own abomination. I was just making the point that we would still be in trouble either way.

PP

I'm with you on feminism and the welfare state. The biggest product of that whole mess is ruined men.

Greg,

There are some good ideas in the article. The problem is that there can be no guarantee of an outcome. The author still has hope for that. When people are disabused of that lie, things will be better. Other than excess reserves, there is no such thing a insurance for the aggregate. Propagating moral hazards can never lead to a better result. The author is still a true believer. I'd be a SERIOUSLY concerned about a central investment authority too. I think a pay-as-you go ponzi scheme may be preferable to a government authority with trillions to invest picking winners and losers across the globe. EEK!

I am in favor of private savings over government Ponzi schemes. The real problem in any of this is the expectation of a particular outcome. It is the expectations that need to be properly set.

Regards,

Coal Guy

bureaucrat said...

(Not that this thread has anything to do with energy, but I will mention that the crime wave that was expected in the 1990s never happened most likely because all those 1970s unwanted babies were never born when Roe vs. Wade (1973) made abortion legal. I think we can agree that the easiest way to wreck a kid is to have him/her born to parents who don't want him/her in the first place.)

Anonymous said...

There's nothing to worry about people, all the illegal immigrant workers are paying in to Social Security and will never be able to collect and they provide cheap labor to the businesses that hire them.
Perfect setup to get through the demographic bubble.
Businesses get rich on cheap labor, boomers get their Social Security.
You guys are worrying about nothing.

Dan said...

There are several ways of looking at this and before I even get started I just want to say that I agree with Gregg; abortion is a moral abomination and needs no other condemnation. Though I do take a somewhat harder stance; I see it as a contracted killing, which it is, and as such it ought to be a capital offence. While it does not need its pernicious side effects to justify its condemnation they are still existent and exert considerable force. Finally, while the demographic hole is not the cause of our current crises, it is one the leading causes that combines with the others to give us a torrent of troubles.

One way to visualize it, without tempers flaring, is to consider the Mississippi river. The water flowing into the Gulf is not caused by the Ohio River though it is the largest tributary by volume. It’s not even caused by the big 5 tributaries though they probably contribute well over half the volume; rather it is a product of the entire drainage basin, yet the Ohio River is the largest contributor. In similar manner demographics is not THE cause but is the principal cause of our financial trouble and abortion has an outsized impact on that. One place to start with getting your head around how big the impact is, is to consider that population growth is the leading cause of economic growth.

Dan said...

Anon @ 12:04,

Until recently those illegal immigrants were also the leading factor depressing wages at the bottom of the ladder. Would we have even had a subprime mess if the working poor could afford the necessities of life without debt.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dan, PP, Coal Guy:

Really excellent and thought provoking thoughts all!

Dan: What i truly hope for, one day, is that the pro-life movement will organize around providing homes for children and resources for women in need of this assistance so that they do not kill their babies... and NOT around using government agencies, police, courts... this strategy is NOT WORKING, and, again IMHO and not to offend anybody, but it will NEVER work.

That feminism has inadvertently destroyed the family and made men disposable in favor of government aid and abortion is, to me, "as plain as the nose on your face"... why is it that the fairer sex does not see it this way?

BTW... I never said I had all of the answers (my personal response has always been to demure on anything having to do with playing G-d)... I do, however, have a fair amount of the questions... and rarely do I receive a reasonable and thoughtful response to that particular question. Perhaps one of you could put it to a colleague, friend or family that leans hard in that direction. I would be happy to post their position for the purposes of having a rational, reasonable, and cordial debate (if one can even be had with a true believer... actually, on this I AM a "true believer", and I absolutely can have a civil conversation with someone form the other side).

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Coal Guy:

It is true that even the government cannot guarantee the future, and should not attempt to pretend that it can.

In my perfect form of governance their would be NO medical or retirement programs coming out of the government.... and we will probably get there, one way or another, but not until the government has robbed you and me blind.