Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Simple View on Kerry's Social Security Program

I thought about Social Security today and decided that it was time to explain in plain English what a Kerry plan may do to the people of America. I am using information from a few sources online regarding what John Kerry may do with social security if he is elected. The first article (and there are several more like this) can be seen in the link below

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/alanreynolds/ar20040923.shtml

This plan is quite simple and looks good on paper to those that do not make less than $88,000. For anybody making more than that, Kerry has already reneged on the statement "I will not raise taxes for anybody making less that $200,000 per year. “

I will make this example clear to understand using a business which is known publicly in my area, the great Philadelphia Orchestra. If Kerry's plan goes into effect and raises the income ceiling on social security from $88,000 to $120,000 this will significantly impact the musicians, management, and funding of this non-profit organization.

If we say that the average player makes $128,000 per year (this average is not fact). Under current law, each musician has to pay $5,456 in social security tax per year. The orchestra has to pay the same amount of money that the musicians pay, $5,456. If the Kerry plan goes through each musician would have to pay $1,984 per year more in taxes. The Orchestra would have to pay that for each musician as well. The total extra burden on the orchestra members would be $210,304 ($1,984 times 106 musicians). The extra burden on the orchestra would be same $210,304.

What would happen if Kerry decides to remove the cap on social security payments just like the government did with medicare? The average musician would now have to pay $2,480 more than they are paying now, the math is the same for the Orchestra.

Let’s put these numbers in perspective with health care. Let's say the average doctor (this is not based on fact) is paid $200,000 per year. The Kerry plan for social security if it removed the ceiling on payments would now force that doctor to pay $6,944 more per year into social security. That's fine he/she can afford it (according to Kerry), but remember with social security that the business paying the worker has to pay an equivalent amount as the worker, so your hospitals or doctors offices will also have to pay an additional $6,944 tax per year. If we say that the normal hospital employees 50 doctors, that is now a burden of $347,200 that the hospital has to recoup in costs from you!

If we keep playing with numbers lets say that the average state has 50 hospitals (this again is not based on fact, but the number is probably much higher). This burden passed to the end customer is going to be $868,000,000 per year! That is just from the hospitals (please keep in mind these numbers are not based on fact but they are probably not too far off).

The idea of raising the income ceiling on social security will impact this country to an extreme never before seen. Keep these little pieces of information in mind as you decide how you vote this year!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Bush vs. Kerry

Hugh this very important question. Here is my answer.

1. Terror threat. Kerry seems to think that all talk and love will answer the problem of terrorism. This tactic may work with a country or a government, but these terrorists have no sense of unity with anyone but themselves and their hatred for the West. No amount of talking will inspire a terrorist to stop hating. Bush understands this problem and is solving it in the best way possible, kill the terrorists, and bring the hope of freedom to those that have never possessed it.

2. Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk. I am sure that Kerry really inspires the middle class American to want to vote. Tax those who can afford it...Tax the rich...Tax the wealthy. What Kerry doesn't want you to know is that those who are rich, those who are wealthy, have lawyers, accountants, and tax advisers. Those who are wealthy can afford to spend money to AVIOD paying taxes. Look at Kerry, he only paid 15.2% federal tax on his combined $5.51 million in wages last year or about $840,500. Bush on the other hand paid his fair share (28%) or about $227,000 in taxes on their combined $822,125 last year. If you are going to talk the talk you better walk the walk.

3. Plans for Social Security. The biggest mistake Kerry has made this year is to never talk openly about his plan for Social Security. Maybe the best thing he could say is "MORE OF THE SAME!" Take a look at Alan Renolds' article on Kerry's plan for Social Security http://www.townhall.com/columnists/alanreynolds/ar20040923.shtml
Bush has a plan for social security, and it will work. Kerry does not seem to see that taxing the wealthy MORE will simply put a band-aid on this problem, not fix it. There are many more problems that we face in this decision but since I have already gone well over my 250 words I will stop there.

a BIG problem

Although I hope that Bush wins this next election, there is going to be a very large problem facing the nation. FINACIAL EDUCATION!!!
With Bush's plan to let people invest their social security dollars and to have a Health Savings Account people will be much better suited to retire later in life IF:

1. People understand the value of saving and investing
2. People understand how to save and invest
3. People will save and invest

Most Americans live life day to day without thinking about their own future. Social Security was supposed to be a problem solver and let people save for their future without having to think about it. The solution became a bigger problem. In the 70's people were able to start saving for their retirement using tax differed savings like IRA's and 401K plans. People were not "required" to start saving in these accounts and therefore most did not participate in them. Today people have the opportunity to save in a myriad of accounts that are either tax differed or tax free; however, most people do not take advantage of these programs.

The problem somewhat solved. MORE EDUCATION!!! Just what GW wants to do; however, the government must focus on financial education for children early so that they are not afraid of money. People need to know that having money is not a bad thing, and investing money properly can help a person earning only $40,000 a year retire a millionaire.

The government also must help low income families realize there is a way out. Financial education and support for families making less than $30,000 a year is important to breaking the cycle of poverty and welfare.

Make a government certification for financial planners. I can tell you how to invest in the stock market. Take your hard earned dollars and buy a stock. Diversify your money by buying mutual funds. There is your financial planning.

Many people believe that, and they are suckered into a market that will bankrupt them faster than they can blink. We need to be able to trust our financial planners, but more importantly, we need financial planners that do not have hidden agendas. Government can and should be able to help with this problem.

A penny saved is a penny earned, but people need to know how to make that penny earn them enough to retire on!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kerry's "Our Plan For American" Review

It is important if you choose to write any kind of non-fiction (factual) book that you supply information as to where to get your information. I don't really care if you are liberal or conservative; you must look at this book as containing little to no substance.

In the 296 pages (pages 1-123 are the actual "plan") you will not find a single footnote or endnote. Statistics provided in the book are done so without documentation except for the rare graph that does little other than create some eye candy. The "plan" information is provided without concrete goals as to how Kerry is going to get the job done. There are GOOD ideas presented in this book, ideas that I would hope both candidates would accept; however, these ideas are just words without direction.

How as a people are we supposed to believe anything said to us with out proper documentation? For instance (pg. 63) "In February 2002, the Bush administration said America, under their leadership, would create nearly 6 million jobs by mid-2004. Instead, to date, the economy has lost more than 1 million private-sector jobs under President Bush." This is a great piece of unsubstantiated information. Where do the authors get this information? Bush probably did say this, however, I cannot find the information to go and find the speech in which Bush said this. Information provided to the reader MUST be factual and backed up by good statistical information.

Another quick example (pg. 61) "In the 1990's, we had a strategy of fiscal discipline that rewarded work and invested in the potential of out people. That strategy helped lay a foundation for the economic growth that lifted up all Americans Not only were nearly 23 million jobs created but family income went up for all income groups, while poverty and unemployment fell to the lowest levels in decades and our nation went from large deficits to record surpluses." This again is great information but there are no proven facts or reference articles that are provided here. There are statistics necessary to back up this information!!! What was the unemployment rate at the time Clinton was in office? What is the considered level of poverty at the time this statistic was taken?

Please don't get me wrong. This is a very important election and I would say EVERYONE should read this book. I would also say that people should spend the time and read Bush's ideas which are on his website (www.georgewbush.com). However, you need to really LOOK at the information provided to you.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO STUDY!!! You must make the most informed decision in this campaign, do not base you decision on whether you like one guy or don't like another. Don't make a decision because one is liberal and one is conservative.

Don't make a decision based on a war that neither candidate has provided substantial information to the people (probably because most of the information is still CLASSIFIED). I could rant on one side of Iraq or the other, but without all the information my ideas would be only opinions, not based on factual evidence. Remember every day there are positive things happening in Iraq, the newscasts are much to caught up in telling us about the violence occurring in Iraq. I guess the newscasters (and the American people) are not interested in the schools being rebuild, power plants coming online, children getting fed, or women who are free to walk on the streets. There is more to this war than terrorism. Freedom is slowly taking hold.

I am a 24-year-old student and I understand money is tight. I also don't feel that a person trying to educate themselves to vote should have to pay for a book containing the views of a potential candidate. If you agree, call your local democratic office and see if they will get you a copy that is what I did. Once you get a copy encourage other people to read it, it is a fast read!

MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION THIS YEAR!!!!