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Author: NeuronFool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75540  
Subject: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/25/1998 8:46 PM
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"To each according to his need, from each according to his ability"
That was the mantra of Marxist socialism, under which millions of productive citizens in Eastern Europe lost their lives. It also appears to be one of the underpinnings of Mr. Levit's proposed solution to the Social Security dilemma.
While I definitely agree that Social Security needs to be privatized, two of the proposed changes are clearly unacceptable. They are: 1)means testing, and 2) lifting of the wage base. Under this plan, the most productive citizens would be taxed the heaviest and would get nothing upon retirement. This ammounts to nothing short of confiscation.
That said, it would be quite unFoolish not to offer a positive suggestion. What if citizens in the higher income levels (or any level for that matter) would forgo social security payments upon reaching the appropriate age, in return for an income tax credit for the corresponding ammount of money? This would ammount to a tax cut targetted in a laserlike fashion to help solve the Social Security problem.
Thanks
Blake Kellum
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Author: mcadoo11 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6284 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 12:01 AM
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NeuronFool wrote:
That was the mantra of Marxist socialism, under which millions of
productive citizens in Eastern Europe lost their lives. It also appears
to be one of the underpinnings of Mr. Levit's proposed solution to the
Social Security dilemma.


Can people please have honest differences of opinion without all the red-baiting?! I thought that went the way of the McCarthy era.

Belief in a safety net is not communism or collectivism or whatever you want to call it. Remember the other extreme is fascism. So, let's not go there...please.

mcadoo11

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Author: PeteHodges One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6285 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 12:44 AM
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A safety net is a great idea. They used to come from extended families, communities and churches.

Now that we are so sophisticated that we do not do that sort of thing anymore we are looking to the government to do it.

When the government supplies the safety net you have to a least call it socialism. You can also call it wasteful, ineffective and un-American. But do not call fair. That is just to much.

Pete

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Author: mcadoo11 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6287 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 10:26 AM
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PeteHodges wrote:
A safety net is a great idea. They used to come from extended families, communities and churches...
When the government supplies the safety net you have to a least call it socialism. You can also call it wasteful, ineffective and un-American. But do not call fair. That is just to much.


Pete,
Glad you are doing well financially, etc. I hope you pray daily that you don't get cancer, get struck on a car and become paralyzed, lose your job, etc. If that were to happen, I hope your church or family has a great oncologist, rehab therapist, etc. I never knew that churches provided such people with doctors.

If not, too bad. Just die. Great philosophy. But, I guess in your mind it is "fair". Can we at least call it fascism?
mcadoo11

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Author: TMFRfk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6290 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 11:33 AM
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When the government supplies the safety net you have to a least call it socialism. You can also call it wasteful, ineffective and un-American.

Pete,

A government-provided safety net is a great thing and not socialist. Socialism is the ownership of the means of production by government--the nationalization of industry, for example, where the telecom companies, airlines, etc. are owned by the government.

The provision of a safety net by government is fully compatible with capitalism and in fact has been and is a part of most capitalist countries, including the United States. The proper term, I suppose, is "welfare state," which many people use as an epithet, but is also an accurate description of a country with a government-provided safety net (which includes all Western industrialized nations).

Regarding Social Security, one of the problems with the program is that it is essentially a safety net program that provides support to the elderly through transfer payments from others, but has always been sold as a program that simply pays people back money that they've paid in. Hopefully any reform of the system will straighten out these conflicting justifications of the program.

Chris Rugaber
FoolMart
TMFRFK@fool.com


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Author: mcadoo11 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6291 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 11:35 AM
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Chris,
Very nicely put.
mcadoo11

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Author: tmbFool One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6296 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 2:35 PM
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macadoo11 wrote:

" Glad you are doing well financially, etc. I hope you pray daily that you don't get cancer, get struck
on a car and become paralyzed, lose your job, etc. If that were to happen, I hope your church or
family has a great oncologist, rehab therapist, etc. I never knew that churches provided such people
with doctors.

If not, too bad. Just die. Great philosophy. But, I guess in your mind it is "fair". Can we at least call
it fascism?"

Believe it or not people often do help friends and relatives in need like this. Also, there is a thing called insurance to protect yourself against the calamities you list above.

The dictionary lists fascism as a "political philosophy that exalts nation and race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader...". How do you compare disagreeing with you about the sensibility of Social Security with this definition?



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Author: tmbFool One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6297 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 3:00 PM
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PeteHodges wrote:

"When the government supplies the safety net you have to a least call it socialism. You can also call it
wasteful, ineffective and un-American. But do not call fair. That is just to much."

I dont know about the socialism part but ineffective and wasteful are certainly apt descriptions. Even for a minimum wage employee, the amount S.S. takes doesnt return a whole lot in the end. Saving 10% of $5.50/hr (instead of getting taxed 12.4% by S.S.) for 40 years at a 10% average return comes out to about $600,000. One could conservatively earn $3000/month from this amount in retirment. Can S.S. do as well for this low-paid employee (3 times their working wages)?

Higher paid workers of course come out even worse than this when you compare what they might have made out of their own savings.




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Author: mcadoo11 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6298 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 4:32 PM
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tmbFool wrote:
Believe it or not people often do help friends and relatives in need like this. Also, there is a thing
called insurance to protect yourself against the calamities you list above.


Believe it or not but 42 million people in this country are uninsured because they cannot afford or do not have access to health insurance. And, a friend is not going to be able to give you life-saving health care.

The dictionary lists fascism as a "political philosophy that exalts nation and race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader...". How do
you compare disagreeing with you about the sensibility of Social Security with this definition?


Thanks for making my point. It is ridiculous that either side in this discussion be deemed "socialist" or "fascist".

Socialism is defined as "a social system or theory in which the producers possess political power and the means of producing and distributing goods." I think it is extreme to say that the seeds of socialism are strewn throughout Levitt's piece on Social Security reform.

Again, thanks for making my point. For the most part, people have made good points on this board -- both pro and con. It is when folks start resorting to ridiculous name-calling and labeling that undermines any debate and disagreement.

mcadoo11

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Author: Thoughtleader One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6304 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 7:34 PM
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TMFRfk writes:
<<>>

With all due respect, you have just given Pete a 5-cent lecture on COMMUNISM not socialism.

<<<Regarding Social Security, one of the problems with the program is that it is essentially a safety net program that provides support to the elderly through transfer payments from others, but has always been sold as a program that simply pays people back money that they've paid in. Hopefully any reform of the system will straighten out these conflicting justifications of the program.>>>

Why is this a "problem"? Taxation and "transfer payments" are not conflicting terms. And I don't think SS was "sold" to the American people like a bad used car to "justify" its worth.

I found it interesting while reading your personal profile that you chose to quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society".

Which side of the fence are you really on?
--TL




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Author: PeteHodges One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6305 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 7:37 PM
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Chris Rugaber wrote

A government-provided safety net is a great thing and not socialist. Socialism is the ownership of the means of production by government--the nationalization of industry ...

The American Heritage Dictionary wrote -

so·cial·ism n. 1.a. A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods are owned collectively and political power is exercised by the whole community.

The American Heritage Dictionary also wrote -

cap·i·tal·ism n. An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.


I am writing -

To the degree that we do not have a choice about paying into SS, our representative government is telling us they "own" our production. To the degree that the our representative government is deciding how to distribute the fruits of our labors they are exercising Socialism. I did not say that was bad. I said it was socialism. FDR described SS as socialisms on more than one occassion himself.

The problem with Social Security is that it is not Capitalist Security. SS has always and continues to spend its capital, rather than conserving its capital and spending only the earnings. When people start talking about investing part of SS they are talking about Capitalist Security.

SS is not a safety net. It is bankrupting this country and that is hurting and will continue to hurt everybody. The only possible way out of this mess is with capitalism. We have to gradiently move from continuously spending all our capital, to storing up the capital and living off the income. We have to move from the Socialist view point of Government providing the answer to the Capitalist view point of the individual taking responsibility.

Isn't this what the Motley Fool is all about?

Pete

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Author: Thoughtleader One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6306 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 7:57 PM
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<<<When people start talking about investing part of SS they are talking about Capitalist Security.>>>

You make an interesting point, Pete. Let's just turn it all over to Warren Buffet and see what happens.
--TL

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Author: PeteHodges One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6307 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 8:33 PM
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TL wrote -

You make an interesting point, Pete. Let's just turn it all over to Warren Buffet and see what happens.
--TL

What an concept. We sweat blood trying figure out
how to invest the next $100. If someone came up and dropped a few Trillion bucks in your lap how would you go about investing it in equities.

The entire market cap of the DJIA is about 2.5 Trillion. That pretty much rules out the foolish 4.

I imagine a block trade of 100,000,000 shares would probably mess with the price of the stock.

If you rule out bonds and commodities it makes an interesting problem although, buying up everybodies mortgage so that you could eventually give them back the interest they are paying has a certain appeal.

I guess I should have started a new thread.

How best to invest 2 Trillion bucks?

Pete



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Author: NeuronFool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 6308 of 75540
Subject: Re: Re:Levit-to each according to his need Date: 10/26/1998 9:14 PM
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To the degree that the our representative government is
deciding how to distribute the fruits of our labors they are exercising Socialism...
We
have to move from the Socialist view point of Government providing the answer to the Capitalist
view point of the individual taking responsibility.

Isn't this what the Motley Fool is all about?

-Pete

Very Foolishly stated. I couldn't have said it any better.
Thanks.
neuronFool

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