Archive for January 13th, 2007

Total Information Awareness zombies…

Jan 13, 2007 in National Security, War on Terra

Just when you thought you were free, you open a door and the undead come through.

The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

Coming right after Bush’s signing statement, the pattern is evident.  Bush still thinks he can do whatever he wants, and is, with the hiring of a new lawyer, gearing up to spend the next two years trying to prove it.

I shall expect our shiny new Democratic Congress to start leaning hard on privacy issues, and knocking Republicans into being in the right place at the right time:  supporting them.  Do we really have to put a Democratic President in office to enlist GOP support?

It’s worth a shot, I reckon.

-jb

Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme.

Jan 13, 2007 in Health Care, Politics

Ponzi schemes don’t rely on death to trim the number of people who benefit. Ponzi schemes usually consist of selling ridiculous shit and trying to convince other people to join you, and then rely on how many idiots can be strung along while a few in the center profit.

Social Security only requires that people continue being born and eventually work. With Social Security, we have the situation of people who eventually can’t work anymore, then eventually can’t wipe their ass anymore, and far too frequently can’t remember their own children anymore. Its costs can’t be avoided, except by death and can only be paid for by those children.

One thing privatization folks have failed to demonstrate in their arguments over the years is that they aren’t pushing their own scheme. Sooner or later you still have people who made $20,000 a year sucking up $55,000 a year for the basics in a nursing home.

What a privatizer wants to do is have every dollar he pays right now for Social Security to go into a personal account so he can have a heftier return some day. Maybe he scores an extra $30,000 dollars because of a private account. Or maybe he’ll find a smart stock and make $100,000 extra dollars. That way, when he’s retired, he’ll be able to almost pay for that first bypass surgery before he comes knocking on the public teat. We’ll just trust the average person to do better.

The problem is, if you’re so damn poor that you’re bitching about taking a couple hundred bucks of your own money to invest in stocks each month, on your own initiative, then you sure as hell haven’t made much money doing it and shouldn’t be advising anybody.

-jb