Sunday, August 14, 2011

Talk Thursday: Garbage – or a whole lot of things that don’t fit together

It’s day two (sort of) of my vacation and at 5am I’m awoke and couldn’t sleep, despite having taken 9mg of melatonin last night. So at 6 this morning I drug my awake head and tired ass out of bed and began my first cup of coffee. Sadly I could have slept in, I wanted to sleep in, but nada. That folks is garbage. Yesterday morning, I slept in until almost 10am and then spent five hours at work.

Friday night we went to Ducky’s fortieth class reunion. I had a great time and despite me just about having to break his arm, I think he enjoyed it too. He’d gone to his tenth, but not the others. After all these years I was able to put faces with stories. After all these years a part of Ducky’s life was there to be touched, people to like, and missing pieces to be put into their places. It was a wonderful evening.

In my youth and early years I embraced change. The reality of me is that I like knowing roots, touching roots, revisiting roots and sadly yes sometimes I miss certain aspects or friends of my youth. In the years between I’ve learned that not you can’t go back, in reality I don’t want to go back, and that just like me people grow and change, but not at the same rate or in the same ways as I. Just a few years out of high school a friend and I met up for an afternoon together, we’d already both been divorced, I had a kid, she was still living the independent reckless abandon of a life we’d had in high school, each had a focus so different and the fit wasn’t the same. I miss her (and several other old friends), but we did not grow “up” together, we just grew apart and she will be a fond memory forever, but we don’t exist any more.

Miseray is getting married Friday to the Brit, after eight years they are doing it. I delight in the soon to be son in law (unlike the Bosox) he is charming, responsible, and touchingly human. He treats Miseray like an intelligent equal, all the while protecting her. I love him and thank God for him nightly. Pictures to come. They’ve been planning and paying for this wedding for close to a year and a half. It’s been a year and a half of battling her mother (whom is the definition of Trout Pout – without the plastic surgery and enhanced lips – really think down gapping mouth with runny lipstick- oh god the horror) who has tried to dominate every aspect of the wedding to her specifications. She did it when the Cat woman got married so it was expected. My contribution to the wedding is standing back and out of the way, to be a support system and give my love, I also made Miseray’s something blue – a blue pearl and opalite anklet and matching bracelet set.

Sunday we are taking Burp on the Rogue River Jet Boats. Years ago (and a different husband) we took Psam on the jet boats, it is one of my very happy memories of her childhood and that marriage. Ducky and I always try to find events to build and create memories for Burp, and of late I’ve been trying to get him to photo blog about various things experiences and events. His birthday is Wednesday so that makes the timing, just right. Tomorrow is his next mini swim meet, my first, I can’t wait. Hopefully, pictures to come.

In the midst of all of this I have been trying to ignore the status and bottom line of my 401K. Growing up my mother use to tell us plan for the future, there won’t be Social Security when you get old. Well SSI has been running in the red for several years and with several years to go until retirement I am glad I heeded her words. Now if congress would get out of politics and get back to the job they are suppose to do we Americans would be able to survive. But instead, they play their partly line politics and throw their constituents under the bus. Social Security is bankrupt and now Congress, with a little help from the inept folks at Standard and Poors, has destroyed the retirements of millions of Americans. Thankfully, my 401K is diversified both domestically and globally and I’ve several years until retirement, but what about those Americans who have been planning, saving, and looking forward to their golden years? They have been fucked by the system, again. Garbage.

Last week, Wienie Rat Face (as Natalie has named him) was sentenced to life in prison for a rash of crimes. Thank you to the jury and judge in Utah for dolling out (for once) an appropriate sentence, Warren Jeffs (aka Wienie Rat Face) will never see the light of free day again. The world should rejoice.

In high school history we are taught that empires rise, get too big (aka a law unto themselves) and then empires fall. Welcome to the fall. America rose from the clay of a new world with new thinking. America prospered. America got to big for it’s own britches. America is a law unto itself and we will fall. We have not learned the lessons of history. We have not honored the intent of our fore fathers. We have not lived up to our potential. America has stepped over the sick, poor, elderly, and down trodden of our country to help up the sick, poor and down trodden of the rest of the world. We have picked up a big stick and yelled in a loud menacing voice, “Not on my watch,” to a world that took with one hand while whispering nasty no no’s and taunting names about us behind the other hand. We will not learn before it is too late. I love my country, but to survive we need to take several steps back, regroup, rethink, and respect. We don’t need to be the world police, we don’t need to be the world bank, we need to take care of our own business.

That being said, Michelle Bachman? Really, what is the world coming too? Rick Perry? Go read Buddhist in the Bible Belt’s blog it was perfection on the subject. I hate the long political seasons and the one ahead of us is going to get ugly. I am sad that Obama refuses to grow a back-bone and stand up for the platform he campaigned on and that Democrats scurry like rats in the face of opposition. I usually vote Democrat although I am an Independent, I rarely vote Republican. Give me something, someone worth putting my vote behind.

Okay, I’m done, for now


Jen said...

Actually, Social Security is not bankrupt. It has a surplus, which is growing. The trust fund surplus will peak at 3.7 trillion in 2022 and then start to decline as boomer retirements accelerate and bonds are redeemed. Unless something is done, the fund will be exhausted in 2036 (this is the break even point). However, benefits currently equal 4.84% of our gross domestic product and will rise to just 6.22% in 2035, and then decline, remaining between 5.9% and 6.0% of the GDP between 2050 and 2085. But, we have to do something about the gap between 4.84% and 6.0%.

To close the funding gap, we need to raise revenue, lower costs, or better yet, do both. By raising the cap on income subject to FICA taxes, for example, from $106.8k to $190k, we can close 31% of the gap. Raising the tax itself from 6.2% to 6.7% of employee wages closes half the gap. A gradual increase in the retirement age from 67 to 70 would close 65% of the gap.

(All these stats are from AARP Magazine, by the way. An economist I ain't.)

None of this is earth shattering, but what's happening instead is politicians are using SSI as a political football and/or a scare tactic to get votes. Nobody's interested in actually FIXING SSI. The crisis, such as there is, won't come until long after their careers are over - and they won't be dependent on SSI because they have the House/Senate retirement plan.

Cele said...

Hey Jen,
I based my comments on information reported by Fact Check (The Annenberg Project) which was based on information and comments from the CBO, instead of paraphrasing, I am just repasting a portion of what I read the entire article is here...

"Some senior Democrats are claiming that Social Security does not contribute "one penny" to the federal deficit. That’s not true. The fact is, the federal government had to borrow $37 billion last year to finance Social Security, and will need to borrow more this year. The red ink is projected to total well over half a trillion dollars in the coming decade.

President Barack Obama was closer to the mark than some of his Democratic allies when he said that Social Security is "not the huge contributor to the deficit that [Medicare and Medicaid] are." That’s correct: Medicare and Medicaid consume more borrowed funds than Social Security, and their costs are growing more rapidly. But Obama’s own budget director, Jacob Lew, was misleading when he wrote recently that "Social Security benefits are entirely self-financing." That’s not true, except in a very narrow, legalistic sense, and doesn’t change the fact that Social Security is now a small but growing drain on the government’s finances.

Payroll taxes exceeded benefit payments regularly until 2010. But the fact is that Social Security has now passed a tipping point, beyond which the Congressional Budget Office projects that it will permanently pay out more in benefits than it gathers from Social Security taxes. The imbalance is made even larger this year by a one-year "payroll tax holiday" that was enacted as part of last year’s compromise on extending the Bush tax cuts. The lost Social Security tax revenues are being made up with billions from general revenues that must all be borrowed. The combined effect is to add $130 billion to the deficit in the current fiscal year."

While it was the state of the stockmarket, my retirement fund, and my mother's comments (a staunch republican), your blog (which was excellent as always) fueled my blog.. thanks.

Jen said...

I wonder if both explanations are correct. It may be all a matter of how the accountants decide to look at it. From what I understand, Social Security doesn't borrow to pay its recipients; rather, the government borrows from the Social Security surplus when it needs funds. Course, do that enough times and SSI might well have to borrow to pay its recipients. I'd ask my uncle, who would probably know, but we'd have to wait until he wiped all the foam off his face before he answered the question and that might take a while.