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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

www.NationalView.org's Note From a Madman

September 22, 2008


Could SSI Fix the Economy?

So you want to fix the economy, do you? More to the point, you want this current lending-fueled bubble-bursting to go away. Well I have the answer for you.

Eliminate the Social security Insurance (SSI) cap.

As it stands now, the Social security Insurance cap stands at just over $100,000. This means that each and every American earning $100,000 or more pays only $6,200 per year (excluding the employer contribution) towards their US government-connected retirement fund. Whether you earn $100,000, $1 million or $100 million per year the maximum amount you'll be forced to contribute to the SSI "lock-box" is a mere $6,200.

To put it in perspective, someone earning the medium income of approximately $43,ooo per year pays $2,666 in SSI, or Federal Withholding taxes. An income earner of $100,000 pays $6,200. Both are paying the maximum of 6.2 percent. The problem arises when one realizes that an income earner whose salary is one-quarter of a million dollars pays that same $6,200, just 2.8 percent of his or her salary. And Wall Street CEO's, who may earn up to $20 million or more pay a mere three-one-hundredths of one percent towards the Social security trust fund. Certainly they're not paying their fair share.

And that brings me to my point today: With a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry looming as foregone conclusion to a problem which could have been avoided with a little common sense regulation (a dirty word in the Republican and NeoCon lexicon), we should look to those who are gaining the most from this bailout for help in repaying it. We have to raise their Social Security Insurance taxes to help us get back to financial stability.

This isn't what you might call a plan that everyone would find acceptable. Although the practice of borrowing from the SSI trust fund has been done for many years now, it would have to continue in order to get us back on track. And with an influx of the kind of cash that eliminating the cap would cause, we could borrow from the fund while wall Street pays us back, and pay us back they must.

Additionally, as a part of the answer to fixing the financial industry's collapse, we should hold those who benefitted the most to task. They should forgo their giant golden parachutes and bonuses. We should force all CEO's, and other major financial officers, to resign their positions if they want the US middle class help in keeping their companies afloat. State-appointed guardians should be put in charge until such time comes that these companies are back in the black and the middle-class jobs which would be lost are safe, or at least safer.

With each and every month of growth by these major financial institution, a percentage of their profits have to go back to us, the US middle-class tax payer. Otherwise any bailout plan would be no-deal. Certainly we, the taxpayer, holds the cards in this situation and we should play them.

The bailout of the financial industry isn't a choice but a necessity, if for no other reasons than the jobs which would be lost if those institutions were to go under. That doesn't mean, however, that we should write them a blank check for a major portion of our national treasury. Checks and balances, things which have been sorely lacking since January 2001, need to be put in place before we hand over this cash to those who played so loose and so fast with our nation's future.

Last week a regular reader to this newsletter had mentioned to me that one of the goals of the 911 terrorists was to destroy the US and other western nations' great financial institutions. it's why they chose the World Trade Center as their chief target.

They could have just waited and saved themselves the trouble, along with 3,000 innocent lives - the bush administration and the Republican Majority-led Congress were there to do it for them.

From Another Viewpoint
Now imagine this: The Bush administration, with the support of those like John McCain who supported the idea, pass their version of the Social Security Revitalization Act in 2005. The first thing President Bush attempted to pass with what he termed the "mandate" of his '04 win was this act, the major portion of which would have taken two-thirds of the 6.2 percent paid into the SSI trust fund and sunk it into the market.

That's the same market which crashed last week.

Had we been "allowed" to take our money and do with it what we pleased, as the Bushies recommended, all of us would have been looking at our "investments" and been crying foul with our savings and retirement accounts losing up to half (and maybe more) of their value.

John McCain had voted for privatizing Social Security even before it was en vogue.

A "centerpiece of a McCain presidential bid in 2000 was a plan to divert a portion of Social Security payroll taxes to fund private accounts, much as President Bush proposed unsuccessfully,"
-The Wall Street Journal, March 3, 2008

McCain may tell us all today that he was only kidding, been taken out of context or has simply changed his mid, but the truth is that had he been elected way back in 2000, much of yours, mine and our Social Security Trust Fund money would have gone down the tubes in the current greed run-amok financial scandal - because that's what it is, a scandal - that we have today.

Ask yourself this question: If you were unlucky enough to be retiring just as this crisis was hitting your privately-handled Social Security retirement fund, what would you do? Certainly the $700 billion bailout of the market wouldn't include your nest egg.

Maybe you can get one of those new jobs the administration and McCain are always touting. I understand McDonalds is hiring.

And if that weren't bad enough, McCain wants to do to your health care what he, his financial wiz Phil Gramm (the author of the mortgage bill that is nearly bankrupting us), and President Bush have helped do to our financial markets. Here is the whole quote - the one his campaign keeps saying that Senator Obama is "taking our of context" - in its entirety. judge for yourself:

"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation,"

The only question which remains is, "Do you want fries with that?"

-Noah Greenberg

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-Noah Greenberg