Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Looking to the Past and the Future

Obie has, one hopes, been getting non-stop briefings regarding what's Really Going On and having it explained to him that voting "present" is no longer an option. To that end, he is looking to "reform" social security and Medicare in an effort to save money.

Pointing with concern to "red ink as far as the eye can see," President-elect Barack Obama pledged Wednesday to tackle out-of-control Social Security and Medicare spending and named a special watchdog to clamp down on other federal programs — even as he campaigned anew to spend the largest pile of taxpayer money in history to revive the sinking economy.

Coming from a man who promised us universal health care to get elected, he now is beginning to sound like Simon Legree (look him up).
Being the bluebird of happiness I am, I'm thinking he'll want to increase the retirement age to, say, 85. Temporarily. Until he can raise it to 100. We'll see.
My position is that social security should be phased out, as quickly as possible without pulling the rug out from under anyone. The Chilean model for retirements works far better than ours, and costs the taxpayer nothing. Better than that, it doesn't provide the congress with a piggy bank it can loot.

Economic downturns are fairly common in this country, and in the rest of the world, and models of how to handle them abound. As it happens, President Harding faced one in 1920, but had it dealt with in a short time, and ushered in the roaring twenties.

One of Harding’s campaign slogans was “less government in business,” and it served him well. Harding embraced the advice of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon and called for tax cuts in his first message to Congress on April 12, 1921. The highest taxes, on corporate revenues and “excess” profits, were to be cut. Personal income taxes were to be left as is, with a top rate of 8 percent of incomes above $4,000. Harding recognized the crucial importance of encouraging the investment that is essential for growth and jobs, something that FDR never did.
Advice that would serve well today, I think. The definition of an "economy" is people banging rocks together, and trading the results with other people for stuff they need. Money serves to make change. Government is, all too often, thugs who come around and relieve you of 20% of your banged rocks, leaving you to profit from only 80% of your labors. From the pounded rocks the government takes, we get a national defense, and possibly an interstate highway system. The rest is wasted.

No comments: