Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Social Security, Not Just Retirement...

An elderly lady who is living on social security called into Air America today. She made several good points about Social Security. It is more than a retirement benefit--it is also a disability insurance and a death benefit. How will a 401K cope with those? It won't, it'll be as-is cash or a waiting game for better payouts. If a 30-year old gets hurt and can't work, social security will help them, a 401K won't. If a young woman loses her husband, social security will pay his benefits for her children until they are 18--a 401K won't.

Democracy is our political system. Capitalism is our economic system. These two systems are now in conflict with the likes of uber-capitalist "anti-socialists" who have no interest in a democratic social contract that keeps most of our children from being homeless beggars. A social contract that keeps the elderly from helpless poverty. A social contract that keeps our streets built, clean and our cops employed.

They believe all income is "your money" and the government should have little--and certainly shouldn't support those things that they've already got (healthcare, investment plans). After all, what's to stop Joe Scmoe from starting his own business? Sadly, our society would cease to function if everyone had a job that earned $50+/hr...who will work as your waiter? Your car washer? Who will cart our mounds of trash away? A tax based social contract that allows healthcare and social security for those making $15 (or less!!!) an hour is socially smart and more than fair, it is not socialism. Expecting everyone to walk the same path as you have (to earn the upper 5% of American incomes) is a kind of communism.

I think that the Americans who have no interest in keeping those that earn less than they do healthy and secure (through taxes and charity) should never call themselves ethical or the least bit Democratic. I used to think I respected this anti-socialist "philosophy", but after much consideration, I don't. It's a ficitious and ridiculous position to take in a decent society. It's basically, "I've got mine--screw you." Where is the citizenship in that?

If this is your position, go to Mexico...see how you like a society that is divided so starkly into the begging poor and super rich. Smile at the children who beg for your dollars--they, like you, would never expect their government to be fair or provide healthcare and social security. Lucky you--for now.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Relative Justice

Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death. Strangers outside the courtroom cheered. I am opposed to the death penalty but I was relieved he got it. This is because I hate racism, and if this young, white, professional male had snaked out of getting the punishment that is so often disporportionately dealt to those who kill men, but rarely women, whites but not so much black victims, I would have been disappointed. But this is wrong. I'm making my principles relative to the current justice system--practical, but not principled.

So I cried as I heard those strangers' cheers. The death penalty is a disgusting thing that is shared by our culture and our conciousnesses. There is zippo evidence that it has any bearing on crime. But we get to cheer with vindictive, judgemental hatred.

In reality, with the death penalty, we simply grant the government G_d's power to take away life (many wish to grant the government rights to "give" life by forcing women to endure unwilled pregnancies).

How can we cheer for that?

Update 2:20pm

Wow, CNN just interviewed a citizen of Modesto (where the Peterson's lived). She was clutching a copy of the New Testament and they introduced her saying that people in Modesto, "Were not eager to see more death." This woman said she mourned Laci and would now pray for Scott's life--that only G_d should take life.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bush and Social Security

I don't like to read the paper. Day after day it reveals how twisted and regressive our current President is. Today it is social security, he has drawn a line in the sand the raising payroll taxes is off the table for fixing social security. Even Republicans are confused as to why he would rule this out right at the beginning of trying to fix this enormous, nationwide problem. This means we either have to cut benefits and/or borrow money to fix it. Based on recent history--he'll borrow money.

It seems to me that more and more Americans want what they are unwilling to pay for.

Watch--he'll either say there are no options and do nothing or he will gut it. We're a long way from Al Gore's lock box.

Sad times.