Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ideas on Social Security

What happened on the floor of the Senate today, 11/15/05? I know what Bush is proposing, and my counter proposal is for him to go jump in a lake.

Social Security means security for 90% of our seniors, and probably at least that percentage of our baby boomers. For many, it is or will be the only way that housing and food bills will be paid from our lower income demographics. That is the entire reason why Social Security exists in the first place.

Here are my proposals.

1. Eliminate the Cap. Right now, people earning more than $90,000 stop paying the Social Security tax for any amount over that cap. Don't raise it, don't jiggle it, ELIMINATE IT. If someone is earning $1 million, they should pay the same percentage.

2. Lock Box. Make the Social Security Trust Fund UNTOUCHABLE by any other agency. No more IOU's, no more borrowing from the surplus.

3. Adjustable tax rate. Depending on the balance in the Trust Fund, the percentage we pay in taxes may need to go up or down to be able to pay all the benefits that our seniors, disabled and dependent children need. Give the SSA the power to adjust the tax rate up or down to balance the funds INDEPENDENT OF CONGRESS or the administration.

4. The rate of return must equal the inflation rate. Right now I think we earn 1% on the money in that trust fund. If Inflation is 2.5%, we are losing 1.5%. Make it match the inflation rate, or we're digging the hole deeper.

5. Add a savings account on top of the regular FICA tax that is optional and saves money into a combination of Treasury and State municipal bonds. Give account holders the ability to manage those accounts directly if they choose, or select a pre-defined portfolio of bonds.

These changes in the way the system is designed would solve the 'crisis' once and for all. Anything else that tweaks the way calculations are done is simply a waste of time, and we will have to revisit the issue again and again, wasting more tax money doing the Republican Propaganda jig.

Message Rant

I just came back from the November 15th Organizing Kickoff that the DNC held tonight. The new mantra of "America can do better" isn't even getting out of the starting gate for me. I want to hear something more. I think America deserves more from our founding political party, the party of Thomas Jefferson.

The basic idea behind the conservative movement is that if I cannot afford to pay for a good or a service, whatever it is that I am looking at, I don't deserve that good or service. I don't deserve food unless I can pay for it. I don't deserve health care, retirement security, housing, education, etc.

I believe that Americans deserve more than what we are getting. We deserve retirement security. We deserve a good educational foundation. We deserve to be secure in our homes and private affairs. We deserve equal opportunities in the job market. We deserve a health care system that works for everyone. We deserve election systems that we can trust.

Our farmers deserve a chance to take care of their land and provide the food that we put on the table. Our children deserve a healthy and safe environment that shows them that they are cared for, loved and listened to. Our seniors deserve a chance to enjoy their time, and know that they are respected and loved. Our allies around the world deserve an America that stands for justice and equality, and lives up to that promise by actions, not words and rhetoric. Americans deserve a government that helps people when they are in trouble, and that is determined to build a strong financial, moral and legal foundation so that our people have the security to look forward into the future with hope instead of wasting time worrying or being afraid of what might happen.

Of course "America can do better". But that's a failed message right from the start because it doesn't define what American can do better AT. We have a long way to go, but we have to get the right message down, vetted and practiced.

America deserves better.