Thursday, December 23, 2004

Social Security Reform

After analyzing the policies Mr. Bush is adamant about pushing through to fruition, a couple of common themes surface. Those themes are profits for the rich and fear. He pushes fear like a dealer pushes drugs at an elementary school playground. He basically says if you don’t agree with him, something terrible is going to happen. He did it before the invasion in Iraq; if we don’t attack Iraq, they will use weapons of mass destruction on us. He did it again during the campaign; if you vote for Kerry, we will be attacked by terrorists. The war on Iraq turns out to be a windfall for corporations like Halliburton, with their no-bid, multimillion dollar contracts. The campaign is millions in profit for corporations that financed the Bush campaign by relaxing regulations or ignoring them altogether. A good example of this “payback” is the “Clean Air Initiative;” while allowing companies to pollute our environment, it puts millions in the pockets of corporate executives that don’t have to worry about environmental regulations and fines and the cost of upgrades that reduce the damage to our water and air and soil.

The president’s “stay-the-course” ideology is not just reserved for the war in Iraq. President Bush has shown time and again that he will stay the course to help the rich get richer while trying to fool the rest of us into thinking he is doing a good thing for us mere commoners.

Now Bush wants to privatize Social Security by letting people invest the money with private investment firms. The fearmonger is spewing the dangers of Social Security’s eminent crash and burn before 2012 and that his plan is the only one that will save the elderly and soon-to-retire babyboomers. That’s a load of misinformation (to put it nicely). These private investment firms, that charge a fee to handle your account, are basically stockbrokers and not necessarily looking out for your future. Remember the Enron fiasco? Hey, wasn’t Enron’s CEO one of ‘W’s pals?

In a report from Reuters, December 12, 2004, “Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine, of New Jersey, former head of the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, said personal accounts would undermine Social Security's long-standing role as a provider of stable guaranteed retirement benefits.

‘In any given 10- or 15-year period, you can have ups and downs in markets that could leave the retiring group of individuals at that point at great risk’” (Reuters).

Oh, and let’s not forget about the cost of privatization. It’s just a small sum (in Bush terms) of 1 to 2 trillion dollars. Where is that money going to come from? Bush will borrow it. What’s another 1 or 2 trillion on our astronomical national debt anyway? Besides, it’s the future generations that will have to worry about paying it off. We may as well begin calling them “Generation Debt.”

Even Republicans don’t want Bush to borrow the money. According to the Reuters, De-cember 12 report “U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham [R] of South Carolina said reliance on borrowing to finance [the] estimated $1 trillion to $2 trillion in transition costs would be irresponsible and could undermine Bush's tax- and deficit-cutting goals.

‘What I'm asking of the president, when it comes to the transition costs, be flexible,’ said Graham, who has proposed a temporary rise in payroll tax contributions to finance Social Security's shift to partial privatization.

‘I think it's irresponsible to borrow the whole trillion dollars,’ he told ‘Fox News Sunday.’

Bush, who has made Social Security reform a top priority of his second term, last week reiterated his opposition to an increase in payroll taxes to pay for reforms he says must include the creation of new personal investment accounts” (Reuters).

I say forget a program that is going to cost money when we can implement a plan that pays for itself from day one. Besides, there are 2 things Bush doesn’t want you to know about Social Security. First, Social Security will safely continue paying benefits through 2042. Second, there are other alternatives to revamping the system.

‘W’ says he wants to work with members from “both sides of the aisle,” yet he will not consider any plan to revise Social Security other than his own. Why? Because the other recommendations won’t put money in the pockets of the people who funded his campaign.

One alternative to privatization is raising the Social Security salary cap. Most people don’t realize that no one pays into social security after they reach $87,900 per year. So, if you make $100,000 or $1,000,000 or $100,000,000 per year, you only pay social security tax on the first $87,900. What a great deal for millionaires.

If we raise or get rid of the salary cap the increase in payments into the program would remove any fear of collapse. In fact, if the cap was removed, the income could not only save Social Security, it could pay for Medicare and wipe out the ridiculous national debt this administration has indiscriminately run up.

Instead of having a salary cap, put the cap on benefits. If a person’s pension and/or 401k and/or retirement income is more than, say, $150,000 per year, that person would not qualify for benefits.

Another reform should be that the Social Security Fund should not be used as a bank to fund other projects the budget didn’t call for. Any excess in funds could be put into U.S. Savings bonds that would safely collect interest.

I can hear the wealthy crying already if this plan were to become law, but boo-hoo, it’s about time they learned what it is like to be taken advantage of. Besides, the rich can afford it.

Finally, if you agree with these recommendations, write to your congressmen and sena-tors. Spread the word and get others talking about Social Security. Don’t let this administration take advantage of us any longer.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Air America

I don't know if anyone other than myself has experienced this, but about one or two months prior to the election I had a really difficult time getting Air America on my car radio (which is where I listen to it). The static and interference was unbelievable. I live on Long Island in New York. Since the election, I have not had any trouble and no static. Conspiracy?

Iraq - Gen X's Vietnam

I started reading 1968 by Mark Kurlansky and came across a quote by Eugene McCarthy that sounded like he was speaking today. McCarthy said that the Vietnam War was "draining off our material resources and our manpower resources, but I think also creating great anxiety in the minds of many Americans and really also weakening and debilitating our moral energy to deal with the problems at home and also some other potential problems around the world" (14).

I can see the opposition to the war in Iraq increasing with every soldier killed. Maybe we should take to the streets now, rather than wait for more men and women to die needlessly.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

What I Believe...

I believe we need leaders who will take a stand for what is right for America first, then when we have our house in order we will be more fit to help the rest of the world.

How do we do what is right? Depends on where you stand.

This is what I believe.

I believe we should get our troops out of Iraq. Do we really need to have more Americans killed so Halliburton and others can make their fortunes off of the blood of Americans? We got into that mess under false pretenses and the justification had more holes than my son's socks. Let's get out of Iraq and while we're at it, let the Saudi Royal family fend for themselves. Let's get our troops out of Saudi Arabia.

I believe we need to decrease the deficit and pay as you go.

We need to remove the tax cuts from everyone. I don't know about you, but mine was so small, I didn't even realize I got a tax cut.

Maybe someone can set me straight on this next one because I'm not sure if my info is correct. I think social security has a salary cap of about $89,000. Any amount you earn more than that you don't pay into social security. Is that right or am I totally misinformed? Anyway, if I'm correct, then we need to raise the salary cap to collect more money for the program.

After we pull out of Iraq, we could use some of the money to finance research into a new fuel source and natural power (sun, wind, water). We could also give tax breaks for converting to solor or wind power.

We could also use money from Iraq and the money from the tax cuts to fund education and health care.

Increase fines on polluters.

Give tax breaks to employers who keep jobs in the U.S.

Tax all imports to match the cost of manufacturing in the U.S. This tax could be used to pay the sweatshop workers what they should be paid.

Pass legislation to make unionizing easier.

Increase the number of police and firemen.

Increase security at ports, nuclear & chemical plants, and beef up our border patrols and technology.

But one of the main things I believe we need to do, and we won't be able to do it with our current system because most of the politicians have debts to pay for the campaigns they ran, what we need to do is pass the line item veto. The only way to do this is to remove everyone in power with a representative or senator from the American Party.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Grassroots Democracy

This is a call to anyone and everyone who wants to take America back to the American people. I'll be honest with you, I was never interested in politics until I began listening to Air America the first week it aired. I got psyched. I really thought I could make a difference. Then reality slapped me in the face and Bush "won" again.

I hear a lot of talk about how the democrats have to do this or do that to get the whitehouse back, but the only difference between them and republicans is the name. They're still owned by corporations and lobbyists. Big money will still run the country no matter who wins - democrat or republican.

I want to start a new party. A party for the working people of America. A party based on the principles of our founding fathers and the mentality of rock 'n' roll, i.e., radical thinking. The world thought our founding fathers were radical, as did the establishment when rock 'n' roll was first played on the radio.

Back in the '60's, the young people were going to change the world. They were going to take back America and re-create a society based on love and mutual respect. What a bunch of crazies. What happened to those people? I'll tell you. Most of them have sold out to the mighty dollar (which isn't so mighty any more).

So, I want to start a new party here, on this blog, and I want anyone and everyone to help me take back America.

Welcome to the American Party.

America, are you ready to rock?