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Many on this board have posited that Social Security should become a defined contribution, rather than a defined benefit system, i.e., that contributions would be defined (i.e., confined to a certain prescribed annual amount), but investment choices would (at last) be controlled by the individual contributor. Then, and only then, would we all be freed from the paternal guidance of Uncle Sam and we would be unshackled to trade our own retirement funds in whatever manner we deemed appropriate. All this, of course, assumes that the individual contributors (whether you, me, or whoever--especially the whoevers lacking any investing expertise whatsoever, perhaps 98% of Social Security contributors) have the street-smarts, patience, steely-eyed lack of greed and fear (ala Alan Greenspan and his ilk) to triumph 20 to 40 years down the road.

Maybe the recent "unpleasantness" (to use a euphemism) and its aftermath presents an opportunity to reevaluate rigid ideological positions. If the readers of this board have, for the most part, experienced dramatically different results than supposedly superior intelligence and education would have led one to believe should have been expected, then what would be the expected result for the 98% who lack such education, experience and hubris. The following thoughts from Paul Krugman might stimulate us to reconsider our prescriptions, particularly for those who do not have the investment experience, time, and financial resources that we do.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/04/opinion/04KRUG.html

vez
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If you were limited strictly to government bonds you have a higher return on your investment than the government currently receives.

BD
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The following thoughts from Paul Krugman might stimulate us to reconsider our prescriptions, particularly for those who do not have the investment experience, time, and financial resources that we do.
>>
You take your economic/investing/gov't policy advice from Paul Krugman?!?!?!?

To "protect" the ignorant, Krugman would rather have a Social Security destined to cause the government to increase taxes by (under most assumptions) a large amount or increase government debt to levels that will make you wish Reagan was in charge again. This system also shortchanges the poor (who never have any choice) and blacks (who don't live long enough to enjoy their social security benefits).

OR we could have a stock index/gov't bond system, where people would actually get something back from Social Security, and even build heritable wealth that they could pass on to their children/grandchildren (something that would truly help the poor, especially poor minorities who generally have few assets like a house or investments).

I know which "choice" I want to make.

Krugman's an expert at setting up the straw man (in this case a ridiculous retirement system at Enron forcing employees to invest only in their company's stock) and punching it down to "show" that Social Security should remain in the purview of the federal government. Bravo Paul.

David

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The possibility that some people might be stupid, is not sufficient justification for prohibiting people from being intelligent.

That is my fundamental reason for wanting individuals to control their own retirement funds, including SS.
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How 'bout this radical notion: The government can keep every dime I've paid in to Social Security, if they don't take it out of my paycheck ever again!
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clout100,

How 'bout this radical notion: The government can keep every dime I've paid in to Social Security, if they don't take it out of my paycheck ever again!

That's exactly what they'll do, if you die tomorrow, isn't it?

Phil
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How 'bout this radical notion: The government can keep every dime I've paid in to Social Security, if they don't take it out of my paycheck ever again!

That's exactly what they'll do, if you die tomorrow, isn't it?


Except for the survivor benefits paid out to Phil's dependents (if any).
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Except for the survivor benefits paid out to Phil's dependents (if any).>>
>>
OR you could take the taxes you pay out and buy insurance, save money, and still end up with more than Social Security gives out.

David
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How 'bout this radical notion: The government can keep every dime I've paid in to Social Security, if they don't take it out of my paycheck ever again!

That's exactly what they'll do, if you die tomorrow, isn't it?

Except for the survivor benefits paid out to Phil's dependents (if any).


No dependents, no spouse.

Phil
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How 'bout this radical notion: The government can keep every dime I've paid in to Social Security, if they don't take it out of my paycheck ever again!

That's exactly what they'll do, if you die tomorrow, isn't it?

Phil <<<<<<


Social security is the older generation mugging the younger generation.
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Social security is the older generation mugging the younger generation

Can I ask what your age is?

Bryan
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Can I ask what your age is?

Bryan <<<<<

My age is 43.
But age is not a factor here. A mugging is a mugging, plain and simple. It doesn't matter whether the person sticking a gun in your face is robbing you to feed a drug habit or to feed the poor. The result is the same.

And if you don't think this is a good example, try not paying your social security taxes and see if people with guns don't come knocking at your door.
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Social security is the older generation mugging the younger generation.

By the same kind of rhetoric public schools are the young generation mugging the old generation.

Elan
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By the same kind of rhetoric public schools are the young generation mugging the old generation.

Elan <<<<<<
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By the same kind of rhetoric public schools are the young generation mugging the old generation.

Elan <<<<<<


I agree. And I say that as a product of the public schools and as the spouse of a retired school teacher. Despite what the politicos would have you to believe, money will not fix what is wrong with the public schools. Neither will issues like prayer in school, sex education, etc. ever be resolved when funding comes from a diverse populace.

Richard
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Social security is the older generation mugging the younger generation.
======================
By the same kind of rhetoric public schools are the young generation mugging the old generation.

Elan <<<<<<
======================

I agree. And I say that as a product of the public schools and as the spouse of a retired school teacher. Despite what the politicos
would have you to believe, money will not fix what is wrong with the public schools. Neither will issues like prayer in school, sex
education, etc. ever be resolved when funding comes from a diverse populace.


I think you missed my point. To say that Social Security is one generation mugging the other is as ridiculous as saying that public schools are one generation mugging the other. We, and our children, and our parents, benefit from these services as we go through different stages in our lives.

Elan
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We, and our children, and our parents, benefit from these services as we go through different stages in our lives.

Uh oh,

I hear the Randians and libertarians sharpening their swords...

Charles
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I think you missed my point. To say that Social Security is one generation mugging the other is as ridiculous as saying that public schools are one generation mugging the other. We, and our children, and our parents, benefit from these services as we go through different stages in our lives.

Elan <<<<<<


Would the fact that a mugger tells you he's robbing you to feed the poor make it any less of a crime?

The government tells me about all these wonderful things they're going to do with the money they're taking from me, while pointing a gun at my face.

Why go to all the trouble of producing tangible results and making convincing arguments to the American public about supporting a particular cause, when you can simply lobby (read: wine, dine, etc.)Congress to pass laws that force the American people to support that cause?

Oh, by the way, I'm Libertarian.


Richard
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Oh, by the way, I'm Libertarian.

Whoda guessed?
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Oh, by the way, I'm Libertarian.

Would you believe I had already guessed that?

Did you know we've had these discussions before - in fact about Social Security in the last few months?

Would it surprise you to learn that nobody here has ever changed their mind on a political question?

Would it surprise you to learn that some of the people with political views at the opposite end of the spectrum from yours happen to have great ideas about Mechanical Investing?

Would it surprise you to learn the the quality of the MI discussions degrade as the volume of the political discussions increases?

My unsolicited suggestion is that first we get wealthy, then we argue about these political issues on the beach at Belize. Returning to the topic, that suggestion isn't really a rethink of the Belize strategy - it's a reaffirmation of that aspect of the Belize strategy. I know I'm looking forward to showing some people here how wrong they are about Social Security - but it won't matter to us personally, and it will be obvious even to them by the time we get to Belize.
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I know I'm looking forward to showing some people here how wrong they are about Social Security

Would it surprise you to learn that you could be wrong?

Bryan
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Oh, by the way, I'm Libertarian.

Libertarians bore me to death.

Elan
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I know I'm looking forward to showing some people here how wrong they are about Social Security - but it won't matter to us personally, and it will be obvious even to them by the time we get to Belize.
=======================================================================
Would it surprise you to learn that you could be wrong?

Never mind. It'll be obvious (one way or the other) when y'all get to Belize.
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Would the fact that a mugger tells you he's robbing you to feed the poor make it any less of a crime?

The government tells me about all these wonderful things they're going to do with the money they're taking from me, while pointing a gun at my face.

Why go to all the trouble of producing tangible results and making convincing arguments to the American public about supporting a particular cause, when you can simply lobby (read: wine, dine, etc.)Congress to pass laws that force the American people to support that cause?

Richard

------------
I will gladly pay taxes in a country that has the freedoms we do, any day, every day.

"Oh, by the way, I'm Libertarian."

OT: Is Marion the Librarian really Marion the Libertarian?

Also, why isn't the group called "Liberatetarian"? Doesn't the group want to "liberate" us for the "tyranny" and "repression" of this government?

BTW, I really don't know the policies, etc. just want to keep our lovely OT posts "lighthearted" and conversation....

cat :)


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Would it surprise you to learn that you could be wrong?

It never surprises me to learn that I could be wrong.

It always surprises me to learn that I am wrong, though. It's usually a case of a beautiful theory being slain by an ugly fact.

There will be lots of time to see who finds the facts ugliest when we get to Belize. In this pre-wealth stage I prefer to mantain congenial community in the interest of building wealth more rapidly. And that congenial community will make the sharing of facts less rancorous, regarless of which of us find the facts ugly.
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>>In this pre-wealth stage I prefer to mantain congenial community in the interest of building wealth more rapidly.

I'm all for that.
Get rich now. Argue later. :->
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Would it surprise you to learn that nobody here has ever changed their mind on a political question? — WilliamLipp 112304

People have provided some very interesting links in this thread. I'm still concerned that we may leave a terrible legacy for generations to come, through over-population, pollution, and depletion of resources. But it seems that not only is there no conclusive proof of global warming, there may not even be any valid indication that it exists. I guess I'll reserve judgement from now on, until I see more solid evidence. Thanks for the info. — Elan 111178
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Radish,

Essentially, the issue of global warming is a scientific question, not a political one! Right?

A highly politicized scientific question, of course...

Todd
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Libertarians bore me to death.

Elan <<<<<


I agree. Many Libertarians also bore me. But so do many Republicans and Democrats. However, it's the idea of freedom that excites me. So, do something most American voters don't do: look beyond the personality and consider the message. It may excite you or scare you.

Richard
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Todd,

Essentially, the issue of global warming is a scientific question, not a political one! Right?

It seems clear to me that the global warming issue is at almost entirely political. What little scientific data there is, is rarely directly discussed.

Phil
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Libertarians bore me to death.

Elan <<<<<


I agree. Many Libertarians also bore me. But so do many Republicans and Democrats. However, it's the idea of freedom that excites me. So, do something most American voters don't do: look beyond the personality and consider the message. It may excite you or scare you.

Richard


I don't know you personally, so it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with libertarian ideas. For years I have found libertarians getting into the most vehement arguments about ideas that are the most detached from reality. I have better things to do with my time than argue with someone who insists the moon is made of Swiss cheese.

Elan
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Essentially, the issue of global warming is a scientific question, not a political one! Right?
============================
It seems clear to me that the global warming issue is at almost entirely political. What little scientific data there is, is rarely directly discussed.


Since you pointed out my message as an example of a changed political view, I'll respond.

I haven't changed my political views. Hardly anyone ever does. Having realized how politically charged is the issue of global warming, I've decided to get away from the politics and try to figure out the science beyond the politics. Once I understand the scientific aspects better I'll decide where I stand on the issue.

Elan
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Elan,

Since you pointed out my message as an example of a changed political view, I'll respond.

I haven't changed my political views. Hardly anyone ever does. Having realized how politically charged is the issue of global warming, I've decided to get away from the politics and try to figure out the science beyond the politics. Once I understand the scientific aspects better I'll decide where I stand on the issue.


The original notion I was somewhat-arguing against was "Would it surprise you to learn that nobody here has ever changed their mind on a political question?".

If I recall correctly, you made pretty definite statements at the beginning of the thread. Towards the end, you said that information posted on this board had led you to see that there's more to think about on this topic. I'm not saying you've changed your political views, but it would seem you changed your mind on a least a small aspect of a political question. (I might add that the others posting in the thread seemed to be just parroting things they'd read, and giving the issue no new thought, much to their disgrace in my opinion.)

Not that I wish to encourage political or religious off-topic posts on this board, but I think it's not true to say that "nobody here has ever changed their mind". I myself have seen some pretty interesting information on this and other boards.

Granted, rarely do you see the required combination: someone posting political information that's actually thought-provoking, and someone reading the posts who's got the integrity to actually give it some thought even if it runs counter to their assumptions or beliefs.

Phil
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Elan,

I agree. Many Libertarians also bore me. But so do many Republicans and Democrats. However, it's the idea of freedom that excites me. So, do something most American voters don't do: look beyond the personality and consider the message. It may excite you or scare you. — Richard

I don't know you personally, so it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with libertarian ideas. For years I have found libertarians getting into the most vehement arguments about ideas that are the most detached from reality. I have better things to do with my time than argue with someone who insists the moon is made of Swiss cheese.


I think this is partly skewed by perceptions. Like predictive dreams have been explained as it be so striking when a dream does come true that you remember those times, and forget that much more often your dreams don't come true.

Now that you're wondering how that possibly ties in...

From what I've seen of libertarian ideas, there are quite a number of them that make a lot of sense (to me, anyway, and perhaps to many people). Then there's a number of them that are completely insane (again, to me). Libertarians generally don't have to argue the ones that make sense. They wind up doing most their arguing about the ones that are at the extreme end of the Libertarian scale.

Many Republican ideas match many Libertarian ideas. But again, those matches are rarely argued. Republicans wind up arguing on the furthest-"right" ideas (often, it seems, more on religious notions than strictly political ones).

And Democratic ideas... are there any Democratic ideas? (A little humor, there.)

Phil
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Social security is the older generation mugging the younger generation.

Actually it's the government robbing from both generations.
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Libertarians bore me to death.

Elan


Why? Because they aren't sleeping around with interns?
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I don't know you personally, so it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with libertarian ideas. For years I have found libertarians getting into the most vehement arguments about ideas that are the most detached from reality. I have better things to do with my time than argue with someone who insists the moon is made of Swiss cheese.

Elan <<<<<<

You're right. Libertarians have ideas that are very detached from reality. Today's reality is that a small number of "do-gooders" can lobby Congress to pass laws to make me do or not do something "for my own good". These "do-gooders" can't make a convincing argument to the American public, so the easiest route is to lobby Congress to pass a law. It boils down to a majority being ruled by a small number of people who have no self-control. Ever have to stay after school because one idiot acted up in class? Punish the majority to save the minority?

The reality I'm working for is a society governed by dialogue, not decree. To me, this is the highest form of civilization.

Richard
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The reality I'm working for is a society governed by dialogue, not decree. To me, this is the highest form of civilization.


Good luck in your search. Somehow I think the dialogue you seek would be better received on a different message board. JMHO.

Bryan
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Many Republican ideas match many Libertarian ideas. But again, those matches are rarely argued. Republicans wind up arguing on the furthest-"right" ideas (often, it seems, more on religious notions than strictly political ones).

And Democratic ideas... are there any Democratic ideas? (A little humor, there.)

Phil <<<<<<

Lumping Libertarians with Republicans is a common error.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Democratic and Republican Parties represent the following:

Republicans.....Deregulate business, regulate society.
Democrats.......Deregulate society, regulate business.

Libertarians....Deregulate society and business.

So, the Libertarians favor neither Republicans or Democrats.

Richard
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Richard,

Many Republican ideas match many Libertarian ideas. — Radish

Lumping Libertarians with Republicans is a common error. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Democratic and Republican Parties represent the following:

Republicans.....Deregulate business, regulate society.
Democrats.......Deregulate society, regulate business.
Libertarians....Deregulate society and business.


OK, you're wrong (joking). The "ideas" of any one of those three parties fill many volumes of books. To summarize them in a single line is absurd.

I do believe that if you were to list the Libertarian ideas, and list the Republican ideas, you would find a number of ideas on both those lists. I never said what percentage would be on both; so I hardly think that counts as "lumping" them together.

But if you want to get into the specifics, I'd suggest meeting on another board, like http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=114272 or http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?bid=115665

Phil
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