Skip to comments.Barron's Editorial by Thomas G. Donlan
Posted on 12/24/2005 6:20:36 PM PST by andyog
... "Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later."
(Excerpt) Read more at barrons.com ...
I second that ZOT
My first IBTZ...calling all Viking Kitties
Barrons's delivered on Saturday with a publish date of Monday.
Usually in after the kitty has his fun.
And watch out for lightning.
Two in one day? I love the holidays!
Guess the NY Times offensive fell flat.
Who has that industrial-sized can of Troll-Be-Gone?
And I supported the impeachment of Richard Nixon based on his unconstitutional imposition of wage and price controls long before the Democrats demanded it for the minor Watergate affair; which hardly held a candle to gross abuses of government power to destroy political enemies by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton.
We love hit and run posters.
Welcome to Free Republic. Apparently some here didn't bother to read your comment on the article.
In Before The Zot
Makes the most sense here; pissin' in the wind like the slime.
If Barron's wants to be taken seriously as a businees magazine they better get this treasonous lefty off their editorial page.
"If Barron's wants to be taken seriously as a businees magazine they better get this treasonous lefty off their editorial page." ~ balch3
BTW - here's an article by a friend of mine that Barrons published recently:
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2005 JOHN P. MEEHAN is co-founder and emeritus chairman at ICC Capital Management in Orlando.
Investment for Social Security
By JOHN P. MEEHAN
SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM HAS DISAPPEARED with the president's plunging approval ratings in the polls. What happened? Well, the president and his advisers delivered the wrong message and shrugged off criticism without counterattacking.
President Bush promised to reduce existing benefits in exchange for the uncertainty of future returns from private investments. That looked like a bad bet. The public saw that, and they and their elected representatives rejected it soundly.
Then the White House did nothing to reassure seniors and soon-to-be seniors. There was no counterattack to the partisan scare tactics that shocked and frightened older voters -- the threat that "your present benefits will be curtailed."
Also, the message wasn't focused. It was a strategic blunder not to set at the outset a complete and exact plan that could be argued on the merits.
What has been missing are three imperative, definitive features: a clear, vigorous assertion and incontrovertible proof of the power of stock returns and their surprising lack of embedded risk; inviolable private ownership of retirement assets; and government guarantee of a financial safety net for disability and dependents of workers dying in the prime of life.
If only some visionary member of the president's Social Security commission had said, "What if there were no existing program? What would we design as a brand new system for maximum retirement benefits for all workers and their families, at little or no cost to the government, starting next year?"
The first step would be to identify those investments with the highest returns and the fewest risks. The return part is easy. Stocks are the clear-cut answer. Risk is trickier, but manageable.
Although corporate pension funds rely on them, there's a widespread political opinion that stocks are too risky for pensions, especially pensions sponsored by the exemplar of fiscal probity, the U.S. Congress.
In stock investing, risk is the possibility that prices will be lower, sometimes a lot lower, than they were when shares were purchases. This is most devastating when it comes when the owner wishes to sell and cash out. The other side of that coin is that stocks may be higher, a lot higher, and cashing out at the time of retirement can mean wealth, possibly great wealth.
Investors also face volatility, which shakes them with alternative paroxysms of exuberance and despair. This is not what most people want at a time when they enter the tranquil years of their retirement. Yet time itself soothes this beast. The longer it is confronted, the tamer it becomes. In every 40-year period since 1870, a broadly diversified portfolio of stocks has returned at least 233% of stock-invested pension money at retirement age.
Results like this make it easy to legislate a government guarantee for a minimum benefits level, based on 130 years of U.S. financial history. Even in 1974 (a seriously bad year for the stock market), a retiring worker would have had a stock portfolio worth $421 after a total cumulative investment of $40, yielding a return of more than 900%.
This year's median wage-earner made $33,748. Over the next 40 years, taxes for retirement at 12.4% of wages will total $100,000, assuming 3% wage inflation. At the end, those deposits would generate a private account worth an estimated $4 million, in constant dollars. The account can then be converted to an annuity or allowed to continue intact with an annual selected percent-benefit distribution.
The government will be able to act as guarantor of investment performance (or outsource the job to the private sector), based on the statistical probabilities inherent in the experience to date since 1870. A floor and ceiling can be set -- say, 25% and 1,500% returns, respectively. The guarantee would make good on any returns below the floor. Any return above the ceiling would go to Uncle Sam as the collector of premiums, to build reserves. Beyond a certain level of reserves, refunds should be distributed to all workers participating in the plan, or the floor or ceiling levels could be adjusted, or funds might be used to meet other safety-net needs -- related to early disability or to premature deaths of plan participants, survived by dependents.
If this program had been operating in the U.S. since 1910, the floor would never have been reached. The ceiling has been exceeded 40% of the time. Those are superb odds for the government.
The burden should be on the opposition to prove why Social Security benefits shouldn't be the personal, private property of each U.S. worker. The president said in his May 2001 Rose Garden announcement, "Personal savings accounts will transform Social Security from a government IOU into personal property and real assets; property that workers will own in their own names and that they can pass along to their children. Ownership, independence, access to wealth should not be the privilege of a few. They're the hope of every American, and we must make them the foundation of Social Security."
What he didn't say and should have said is, "Here is the complete set of plans on how to do it." That would have let partisans address specifics and not left them free to make up their own disasters.
Those interested in redistributing income should consider private ownership an essential feature of a government-legislated pension plan. It would establish one of the biggest social wealth-redistribution plans in the United States, since the institution of the federal income tax. The lower workers are on the socio-economic scale, the greater the relative financial benefits that accrue to them and their families.
With such private accounts, longevity doesn't matter. You can live as long as you like without endangering your benefits. Guaranteed, they belong to you, and after you, to your family, with no strings attached.
The old system should be allowed to run out completely, paying all promises on the books now. Borrow if necessary to complete the process. In the new plan, safety-net benefits related to premature disability or early death and dependents should be funded by ad hoc borrowing in the credit markets until sufficient reserves and actuarial experience accrue. Until then, a moderate premium charge may be levied to build reserves and amortize related debt. Safety-net benefits may be set at some fixed multiple of median wages or average annual consumer spending.
President Bush didn't think big enough. The pittance of Social Security tax he would have allowed citizens to set aside for stock investing was inappropriate. Up to 100% (less a minor premium for safety-net reserves) should be permitted. Why restrict the freedom of choice of the owners by limiting the amount they can allocate to equities? Especially when the odds are so favorable for everybody, and the retirement benefits are guaranteed for all participants.
Actually, I was asking if I made it IBTZ. Apparently I did as this still hasn't been zotted!!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.