Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life


My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.


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Friday, February 04, 2005

D is for Dubya

Or Dumbass, same thing. Okay, I couldn't stomach listening to the speech last night. I did read up on it, however, and have a couple of comments.

One year, a couple of years back, Rachel and I put $2k each into IRA accounts. Those accounts are now at around $1700 each. They were supposed to be invested in a very conservative fund. My one attempt at investing in stocks fared even worse. So, if we "privatize" social security -- which I gather means giving the money to people to invest themselves, what happens when they lose it all? Sure, some will do well, but others won't. When those folks turn 65 and are unable to work, are we just going to say "too bad -- you lose"? Will we enjoy having that many more homeless people on our streets?

Aside from that, there is a fundamental philosophy change that goes along with this. My father's plan was to continue working until he was 70, then cut back to half-time. He loved his work. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way. He had to retire at 67 (iirc) and probably should have -- for health reasons -- retired sooner. He spent the last two years of his life in a nursing home. On the other hand, I have a friend who is in his 80's and is still very active. My father almost certainly did not collect all that he put in to the social security system; my friend may have already collected more than he put in and is still going strong.

If social security were changed the way Dumbya wants it changed, that averaging of input across the output would not happen. My father may have left money to his children, but my friend may have run out. By having everyone contribute to the same pool of money, everyone can draw as little or as much as they need. This may benefit some individuals, but at significant cost to our society as a whole.

This seems to be a fundamental difference between two sides of our society. The conservatives seem to be interested only in themselves and are unwilling to sacrifice even the least little bit for the sake of the common good. Liberals, on the other hand, want to place the burden of taking care of the community on the entire community. Whereas the conservatives would have the poor and less fortunate fend for themselves, the liberals believe that those who are better off have a responsibilty help those who need it. I know which side I agree with.

When I started writing this, my intent was to touch on a number of topics that the Dufus covered, rather than rant on and on about social security. I'll just have to save those for another post.

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