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Entitlements, Fiscal Cliff, Tax Cuts, Gun Ownership, Retirement, Pensions, HealthCare and Health Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Regulations, Legislation, Big Pharma, Big Chemical, Big Agriculture, Global Oil Oligarchies, HI-B Visas, Domestic Terrorism, The War in Afghanistan, Wall Street, Global Investment Firms and Banks, International Commodities, Gold, Silver, Platinum, Petroleum, Chemicals, Copper, Hogs, Cattle, Corn, Wheat and of course Hedge Funds, Derivatives and Futures, Welcome to the Age of Aquarius..Part II with I-Pods, Androids, I-Pads and Smart TV’s and Smart Droids and various Drones that track our every movement and/or our click on any technology. All of these issues are diversions….important…but diversions!
When Treat Williams played the draft dodging, pot smoking, sex crazed 20 something back in the 70’s in the then shocking stage show “Hair”, the story line was about the misuse of our youth. Sending our young college age kids to a war that didn’t make a bunch of sense. It told the story of how inefficient and how unscientific people were selected to become cannon fodder for the huge global war machine that created jobs for non-participant civilians so that they could feed and clothe their wife, parents and kids. Everyone had a job in the 70’s. Everyone made enough money for one man to work at a job that provided a rent or mortgage payment, food on the table, perhaps a new car every two years and even money to send their kids to college. Kids had time on their hands, girls or guys to choose from, the birth control pill, money to spend on Spring Break, Muscle Cars and rent that was affordable. People got old working. Steel Workers, Coal Miners, Construction Trades, the AFL-CIO provided middle class jobs and wages through collective bargaining, the Teamster Union made sure that truckers made good wages and goods got to market, Farm Subsidies guaranteed that small farmers could compete with the bigger Industrial giants. ADM, Dupont, Monsanto, Alcoa and others provided the goods for the “Masters of War” that Bob Dylan talked about.
People retired in the 70’s at 65 years of age. The payments were small. Most people died by the time they were 72 or less from heart disease, cancer, alcoholism, dementia or car accident. The young took the old people’s jobs. The old stepped aside to make way for the young, their kids, their grandkids or the kids of their friends. The Carter Administration brought a age of “expecting less” – “the case for reduced expections” Jimmy said. A time when foreign oil dependency meant that Arab OPEC, the Philippines, South America and others provided the United States with cheap oil for cars that got 10 miles per gallon and had in some cases over 375 horsepower. Jimmy said no to the Olympics in Russia….because they had invaded Afghanistan. In 1980, came the Reagan Revolution and a renewed optimism that America “could do”! The “Fall of the Wall”, “Perestrioka and Glasnost came to the USSR” and soon the Russians and the United States were buddies after a Cold War that separated them for over 40 years. Soon, even German Re-Unificiation became a reality and for about two years…there was Peace in our time!
Today, we have a Black President. An earth shaking reality to some. Most people live to be 88 years of age, if they take good care of themselves. Lots of people stop working when they are 40 to 50 years of age. Many Public Employees no longer work until they are 65, but retire after 20 years of service – go on to another profession – work at that for another 20 years and get two pensions. People that work until they are 65 have become a vanishing breed. The ones that work passed 65 in many cases are drawing two or three pensions; i.e.: Someone joins the Military at 18, draws retirement at 43, takes a job with the Public Sector and draws another retirement at 63, draws Social Security at 65, then works as a Consultant for another 10 years at an inflated wage from the City, County or State. Some work on Boards of Directors, Commissions and other paid Public or Private positions. These people are called: “Capitalists”. We are more prone to call them”Liberal Socialists”, that use the Capitalistic System to drain it from the top.
Many Public Adminstrative Bureaucrats have been indicted for wrong doing. They are allowed to keep their State or County or City Pensions and Benefits no matter how egregious their felony wrongs and penalties. Jerry Sandusky comes to mind along with a variety of so-called Educators and Bureaucrats that have used their positions of power to literally rape, pillage and plunder those under their care or position of power. This is wrong! Pensions, Retirements and other perks should not be sacrosant. If someone is convicted with a life sentence or a sentence of death – they should lose all those so-called earned perquisites until they are released and have paid their debt to society. What could make that happen? Our Congress or Legislature stepping up to the plate and making that happen with a new law that makes sense. All that money accumulated during incarceration could be place in an Escrow Account. Untouchable, until the person has died or released. All money in that Escrow account upon the death of the felon……would be split between the family of the felon and the state of last residence. This is not Space Science!
We are all going to live longer and there needs to be some limits on how many pensions, retirement payments or equity positions that do include stock options or executed future property assignments – such as Family Trusts, Company Trusts, Assigned Trusts, Institutional or Co-Ownership Trusts to start. Today, we definitely live in a tiered society. Many folks in American will never accumulate or ever acquire anything in their lifetimes to include even the ownership of a their own home. When they get sick, they will not be able to afford anything but Public Assistance in the form of Obama Care, which may include rationing for the elders in our society. A lung transplant for those over 80 years of age are rarer than “hens teeth” for example. Those that have used the system well and have all the advantages into senior age and will find Private Home Care, Personal Selected Provider Doctors and more choices in what care they do receive at end of life.
The debate rages on whether the Congress should raise the retirement age for Social Security. They say that in 2032 the system will run out of money. Of course it didn’t bother the Congress to give out $4 Trillion dollars to our Banks and Institutions during the fiscal crisis, but Social Security is different they say. This not the Age of Aquarius that was promised to the “Baby Boomers in the 1970’s”. There has been a lot of dirt and dust between “then and now” and perhaps this is really the time to mention: “Means Testing” as one of the primary fixes for Social Security. In the 1930’s Social Security was designed to be called “Old Age Assistance”. It was designed to help the great “underclass”. If the Congress was to “Means Test” the Social Security System and place all relegated payments into an interest bearing Escrow Account…..that could be drawn on by the participant should a change of financial condition become apparent – what is wrong with that? Deferring payments of Social Security for those that currently bring in double the currently assigned “Poverty Level for Annual Wages” seems not only equitable but also sends a message to those who currently are double or triple dipping with Pension and Retirement Payments and Perks.
Computers have changed our world and now is the time to use that technology for the good of society. System complexities have become endemic, but also it has simplified operations without much effort. Two basic changes to Social Security need to occur by any Congress that should try to convince us that they care: (1) Earmark all receipts into Social Security expressly for that purpose! No borrowing from the fund and (2) Means Test all recipients including those that apply at 62 for the lower value annual payment. Re-configuring the Cost of Living calculation or raising the retirement age is not acceptable. Means Testing is….
This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius……Part II.