Some Real Election Issues-3
September 23, 2004
Health Care and Social Security
Here is a Washintom Times article discussing President Bush' proposed immigration program. If I suppose that the 8,000,000-to-12,000,000 illegal aliens who are currently working as coolie labor in the United States are granted amnesty and legitimate immigrant status and become eligible for Social Security, then a ballpark estimate of their underfunded Social Security liability would be 10,000,000 X $10,000 a year (including Medicare and Medicaid), or about $100,000,000,000 a year I should think that most of that bill would have to be footed by you.
I have found the article that discusses the ramping costs of medical insurance as well as another article that discusses the health-care squeeze on those who have health insurance.
If, perchance, you're not already retired, what did the year-2000 dotcom crash do to your retirement fund? Who do you think got the money you lost?
For retirement estimates, I use an after-inflation return-on-investment bogey of 4% for conservative investments. That means that you can expect a return of about $4,000 per year for every $100,000 in investment capital you've amassed, after putting back enough money to keep your cash stash up with inflation. If the current rate of inflation were 3%, this would infer a total return of 7% per annum. Of course, you can probably earn somewhat more (e. g., 7%) if you spend all your retirement income rather than putting back whatever is needed to keep your money up with inflation. Or you can receive somewhat more than 4% if you buy an annuity that runs out after a certain number of years.But if you manage your money yourself instead of buying an annuity, your nestegg will remain intact, whereas it will otherwise be gone after the annuity runs out..
The Bush Administration wants to privatize Social Security. You don't think anyone would try to cheat the government out of its Social Security monies, do you...someone who would make generous campaign contributions, and hire lobbyists and "work with" legislators to siphon Social Security trillions into private coffers? Surely not! What a paranoid, leftist thought!
Can we win the war on terror? - Continued
Who decides who the terrorists are? Are the Chechyan rebels allied with al-Qaida? Can the Tamil Tigers be linked with al-Qaida? Are the terrorists whoever the U. S. government says they are? How will we know when we have won the War on Terror? When the last person our government says is a member of al-Qaida is captured?When the world's last terrorist is rounded up? Does the Republican Party have a vested interest in keeping people frightened over terrorism?
Declaring war on terror is like declaring war on disease
These are "Forever Wars". We'll probably never completely eliminate problems with insects, and we'll probably never completely vanquish pathogens. They fight back by mutating. Anyone can become a terrorist. There were terrorist organizations 100 years ago. I expect that there will be terrorist organizations 100 years from today.
Can we afford to bankrupt the U. S. economy with our war on terror?
It seems to me that the money we spend on fighting terrorism is like the money we spend on insurance policies. How much insurance can we afford? Do you have $2,000,000 in life insurance? If not, is it because it costs too much?
How much indebtedness has the current administration incurred so far?
The number I have read is a little over four trillion dollars. The tax cut, designed to stimulate the economy in time for the upcoming election, was estimated to cost a little over 800 billion dollars through 2008. The prescription drug bill for senior citizens, which is strictly a subsidization program for our indigent drug companies, struggling as they are to survive, has been estimated to cost a little over a trillion dollars over the next ten years. As senior citizens, Tommie and I haven't bothered to apply for the interim insurance card because it will be virtually worthless to us, and I think that's been the verdict on the part of 90% or more of all senior citizens. The government isn't at liberty to negotiate prices with drug companies, and drug companies are upping their prices to eliminate any cost benefits.
If you suppose that there are 120 million households in the U. S., four trillion dollars would work out to about $33,333 per household in additional debt. Unfortunately, none of this money is going into tackling problems involving Social Security, exploding medical costs, Baby Boomer retirements, the national infrastructure, improvement in U. S. technical competence, and so forth. (Note that what, perhaps, might be a majority of our scientific and engineering Ph.D.s that are awarded in the United States are being earned by students from foreign countries.)
Vice-President Cheney's 433,333 Halliburton Stock Options
Vice-President Cheney is receiving deferred compensation from Halliburton in the amount of $147,579 in 2001 and $162,392 in 2002, with payments through 2005. This is because he chose to spread his last year's pay from Halliburton over a five-year period. He also is alleged to hold 433,333 Halliburton stock options. Here is a White House statement concerning their 2003 tax return.
What the Future Might Hold
Of course, no one can predict what the future holds, least of all, I. But here are a few concerns if the Neocons are elected for another four-year term in office.
One possibility is that the U. S. might launch new wars against Iran, Syria, or North Korea. It may seem as though the United States would hesitate to launch further invasions, with our complexities in Iraq and Afghanistan, but Vice-President Cheney has assured the U. S. public that we won't swerve from our goal of bringing democracy to the terrorist-fomenting countries of the Middle East. The Neocons may wish to advance their "Project for a New American Century" agenda of U. S. global hegemony, with no other nations being allowed to reach the point of competing with us "militarily, economically, or politically". I would imagine that the administration would feel (correctly) that it had been given a mandate by the U. S. public to continue along the path it has been following.
There is talk of the possibility of re-instituting the draft so that the burden of defending freedom is shared equally by all Americans and not just by those who volunteer for service.
With the election out of the way, there probably wouldn't be a need to cut taxes or woo senior citizens, so money could be directed primarily toward the war effort and homeland security. Bolder initiatives aimed at increasing the power of the Executive Branch might be floated and passed by Congress. Of course, Republicans would be up for re-election in 2006.
Terrorist attacks that almost but not quite reached completion would frighten the electorate and reinforce their preoccupation with terrorism.
The art of the con consists of diverting your victims' attention from the swindle you're setting up to some other attention-getting activity until the trap is set.
To Be Continued