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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

My Take On Social Security

I know you have all been wondering what my take is on President Bush's plan to overhaul Social Security.

I love ya, Mr. President. But I can't support your "private accounts" scheme.

Here is what I understand the (ethereal) plan to be. A person will be "allowed" to invest up to a third of his or her payroll taxes (currently 12.5% of your pay) in what the government will deem acceptable as private investments. The thrust of this is to see to it that everyone has a comfortable amount of retirement income beyond Social Security. Just what those investments will be or what the rules governing their use will stipulate has yet to be determined.

Private investments are a good thing, as exemplified by the fact that most citizens have them now in the form of 401-k's, IRA's, mutual funds, etc. And if you understand that Social Security is only a savings plan with no accrued interest, you know that you will theoretically get out of it only what you put in. The same as if you had stashed it under your mattress. Stocks, bonds, treasury notes, etc. have proven to be great investments and a good source for retirement income.

I encourage everyone to invest in private accounts - early and often.

But you don't need the government to do it for you.

And private account investments will not "fix" Social Security. Every dollar that you take away from your Social Security "account" to invest elsewhere is a dollar that will become part of our federal debt. That is the amount of money that you owe yourself. The shortfall is going to amount to a staggering $2 trillion. Trillion. As in $2,000,000,000,000.

Besides, the real problem with Social Security is one of demographics, not dollars per se. We will soon have only two taxpayers for every elderly taxpayee - or Social Security recipient. The burden that will be placed on those two poor suckers is enormous - and unsustainable.

So we get back to what I've been saying all along. There are only three ways (excluding gimmicks like private accounts) to fix the problem. They are:
  • Raise taxes on those same few suckers.
  • Reduce benefits to the elderly (who will be depicted by the Democrats as being forced to choose between their meds and dog food for supper).
  • Increase the age of eligibility.

I hereby go on record recommending the third. We need to raise the age at which a person begins collecting Social Security to 72.

As a person who sees retirement approaching (on the distant horizon), I speak as one who should be looking forward to a comfortable retirement nestegg - including that which is owed me by the government in the way of Social Security. But I can't help but think of the burden that I will be placing - a harsh burden - on my children and grandchildren. I won't do it.

So, raising their taxes won't help. And increasing the federal debt by $2 trillion won't help them either. If I were king, I'd scrap the system alltogether and teach Americans how to wisely invest for their retirement. But I'm not king. I'm only a potential sponge who will be living off your hard-earned income sooner than you would care to know.

You wanted my opinion. You now have it.

Supreme Court Lunacy

Five members of the Supreme Court exhibited the complications of their advanced age Tuesday by signing on to the most bizarre ruling in United States history. That was the one in which they determined, based on the attitudes of foreigners and on what had to be a secret poll of the American people, that we shouldn't execute young murderers anymore. The Constitution, it seems, slipped their befuddled minds. They actually overruled one of their own rulings.

Yesterday we were witness to a scene right out of "The Twilight Zone." Beneath a work of art depicting Moses holding the tablet on which was written the Ten Commandments, the gerontological oligarchy that now runs this country was hearing oral arguments as to whether the displaying of those same commandments on public property was against the law. Whatever the law is anymore. Hello?
Religious Displays Debated In Court
By Guy Taylor, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Opponents of government displays of the Ten Commandments told the Supreme Court yesterday that such monuments are an endorsement of Christianity, while state officials and their supporters maintain that the displays are historical and acknowledge the roots of U.S. law.

"The Ten Commandments have an undeniable religious significance, but they also have a secular significance as a source of the law, a code of the law and a well-recognized historical symbol of the law," acting Solicitor General Paul Clement said.

In two cases expected to have wide impact on the relationship between governments and religion, the justices heard oral arguments about whether such Ten Commandments displays on government property violate the First Amendment's prohibition on the establishment of religion. (
link)
It was reported yesterday that the issue was very perplexing for the learned and esteemed members of the court. They peppered the opposing attorneys in the case with questions. What would Jacques Chirac do? Bill Moyers? Hillary? Big Bird?

Worry for your country. The asylum is making all the rules now.

The Supreme Question

George Neumyer, executive editor of The American Spectator, asks a great question.

Constitution Killers
By
George Neumayr

The Supreme Court's judicial activists are cutting off the branch on which they sit. By rejecting the law and putting their personal opinions in its place, the justices invite the people to imitate them and disregard their decrees with the same willfulness they disregard the Constitution. If Anthony Kennedy isn't bound by the framers' words, why are the people bound by his? [my emphasis] (
link)
He goes on to make an excellent point regarding the direction the willy-nilly Supreme Court decision-making process is taking us.
The authority of Supreme Court justices derives from the authority of the Constitution: once they deny its authority, they deny their own. The Roper v. Simmons decision is a stunningly stark illustration of this despotism that masquerades as jurisprudence. Despotism is not an overwrought description here: we are dealing with a lawless court, judges who obey no law save their own will. Yes, they invoke a living Constitution, but that just means the real Constitution lies dead at their feet, having been trampled beneath a juggernaut of false progress.

The Supreme Court has been holding a de facto constitutional convention for decades, ripping up the old one and writing a new one without the consent of the people. A fitting punishment for this act of hubris will come when the chaos that their own example of lawlessness has set in motion consumes them in impeachment trials or worse.

The justices conceal their despotism in rhetoric and flat-out lying. As Antonin Scalia demonstrated in his dissenting opinion, the "national consensus" that the justices cite to justify the decision doesn't exist. Kennedy and company did a shoddy job of lining up this lie, first inventing a national consensus against executing 17-year olds, then conceding that it doesn't exist by whining about America's refusal to ratify international treaties that forbid the practice.

As the Supreme Court writes a new constitution, the justices are using as their co-authors foreigners not Americans. This now routine reliance on foreign fashions illustrates their alienation from and distrust of the American people. In citing the "overwhelming weight of international opinion" in the Roper decision, the justices are in effect saying to the American people: we are right, you are wrong; since you won't support our boutique views, we will look abroad for support.

The justices spoke of "evolving standards of decency," which means evolving standards of indecency. And they speak about these standards as if they are just reporting their existence rather than pushing them into existence through judicial decree. The judges are not neutral reporters of fact but agents of activism, full of elitist disdain at the American people for not changing the standards themselves.

The Court's conveniently patronizing description of 17-year-olds in the Roper decision would have been news to Americans at the time of the Constitution's ratification: for them, many of whom didn't live to be 40, 17 was practically middle age. Since the justices maintain the practice of never consulting for the meaning of the Constitution the framers who actually wrote it, they made sure not to include in Roper the number of 17-year-old murderers executed at the time of the country's founding. The Supreme Court has zero interest in the America of the founders, indeed looks longingly to the Europe that the framers left for co-authorship in forming a new Constitution to supplant the framers' one. What Anthony Kennedy calls cultural evolution looks more like regression -- a return to the tyrannies of Enlightenment Europe.
Term-limit these old fools before they destroy this country.

Soy Condista!

It seems there is a growing movement afoot to make Condoleezza Rice our next president.
RICE THE RIGHT DISH FOR '08, SAY FANS
BY DEBORAH ORIN, INSIDE WASHINGTON


CONDI-MANIA has hit the Internet big-time.

As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice zooms like a rock star around the world, new web sites are popping up to promote her for 2008 president — and sell bumper stickers, mugs, T-shirts (regular or organic cotton), even bobblehead dolls.

"I'm a Condista!" — or the Spanish version, "Soy Condista!" — is just one of the bumper stickers available online from AmericansforRice.com, which is already running pro-Condi radio ads in the politically key state of Iowa. (link)
Count me amongst those who are definitely interested in her candidacy. What I know about her at this point is that she is the most knowledgeable expert on foreign policy on earth and is a social conservative. Unlike Colin Powell, who was wildly popular but turned out to be socially liberal, and therefore a big disappointment, Condi could be just the "ticket" in 2008.

Soy Condista!