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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


In 2005 when Bush was pushing his Social Security “fix” that included the creation of private accounts for younger workers, Democrats were solidly against, as were many Republicans. It never came to a vote. During the same period, GWB also said his drug bill would reduce Medicare costs, citing this as a reason to concentrate on Social Security not Medicare. At the time Medicare’s shortfall was $8.1 trillion, over twice that of Social Security’s $3.7 trillion. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities did an excellent review on the issue in February of 2005. (Read Here) As usual, the reality of the situation was considered by experts to be contrary to what the Bush administration was saying. The Center made an interesting observation that the cost of the 2001/2003 tax cuts, which were $11.1 trillion, was triple the projected Social Security shortfall. Taking it further, should the tax cuts be made permanent, the amount just for the most affluent one percent of Americans would equal the entire SS shortfall. Now let me see if I get this right. We can cut the Social Security and Medicare benefits for the other 99 percent, as long as the fat-cats get their tax cuts. Pathetic! In a more recent article, the Treasury Dept. is putting out more reports that tell us what we already knew. The total shortfall has risen to $13.6 trillion, an increase of 15.3 percent. That would mean if we don’t “fix” the system soon, it could be almost 16 trillion by 2009. But Bush has stated adamantly that he does not approve of increasing taxes, nor will he agree to even revising tax cuts for the rich, much less eliminating them. The New York Times had a piece in January of 2007 that concludes the tax cuts offered the most for the very rich because that category has the most taxable income and estate taxes. Middle-income households had slight benefits but significantly lower than the upper-income group. I have a plan that would be equitable for all, while at the same time righting a wrong that has existed for years in the junk mail industry. Grant consumers control over their names and personal data, and compensate them when it is sold. The high income group gets even richer since they are regular customers of upscale junk mail items. If they lose their tax cuts…well, it’s not the same, but it’s something. For the rest of us, take back half of the $4 billion made annually from the sale of names and private information and give it to the name-holder. After all, without them, there would be no list business. Then, invest the $2 billion at simple interest, and at age 65, retirees could supplement their Social Security or other pension income an average of $607 monthly. In just one unmistakably appropriate action, we’ve solved two major problems: eliminating the identity crisis, and helping to shore up Social Security.

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