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Subject:  Re: Obama on payroll tax Date:  6/14/2008  4:52 PM
Author:  fleg9bo Number:  13422 of 19740

I will take my chances with the evil tax-and-spend liberals before I will with the eviler borrow-and-spend conservatives.

You've got to get your terminology straight. Those were Republicans, not conservatives, who did the borrowing and spending. Real conservatives don't behave that way. BTW, I am neither a Republican nor a conservative as the word is used today.

If the borrow-and-spend conservatives would stop looting the till, and let SS get a decent return on the bonds held, that would also change.

SS holds no real bonds. The lockbox contains nothing but IOUs. All SS benefits are paid out of current tax collections. Right now collections run higher than benefits paid. The excess--which is supposed to be stashed away in the lockbox and invested in bonds--is spent by the gov't on whatever else it wants. This has been going on throughout many administrations. As time marches on, the excess by which collections exceed benefits will be getting smaller and smaller. At the 16-year point, benefits will exceed collections.

I have heard some ===> True <=== conservatives suggest allowing people to invest the money in the stock market. Why not let OASI do that?

You don't want the gov't owning shares. Before long, it would be a major shareholder in many companies, unable to resist the temptation to mold corporate policy to fit whatever agenda is in power. What's wrong with individual empowerment? It's working well in Chile. Bush proposed individual accounts patterned after the federal employee retirement program. That program offers a small number of mutual funds with expenses as low as, if not lower than, Vanguard. Today's young people are going to get a negative return on their SS payments. 12.4% of their income invested in real investments instead of a Ponzi scheme would make a huge difference for their futures.

The question is not "How can we kill Social Security?" (Which seems to be the conservative position), but "How can we fix Social Security?" I have several thoughts, maybe you do, but I get the feeling that all you want is to kill it completely.

I want to see it fixed by being privatized. That will kill it from the standpoint of it being another failed socialist program. I say failed, because the return would be so much better if it had been private, providing retirees a much more comfortable existence. The problem is, we're so far down the track that it can't be privatized without some prohibitively expensive intermediate steps.

I advocate reducing benefits, especially at the higher end. <Gasp! What an evil liberal idea!> This would likely affect me, and you, and AM. SS was not originally intended to provide more than subsistence to the elderly poor

Means testing is inevitable. I hope they hold off on that for a couple of decades--we're going to need our SS payments to offset the coming tax hikes. Otherwise lower-income people like waiters and tradesmen and their helpers are going to suffer as millions of folks like us cut back on discretionary spending to absorb the higher tax payments.

Maybe that's why the conservative think tanks are trying so har