Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Social Security Trust Fund

I was told by one of my friends a few weeks ago that the Social Security Trust Fund really exists and it has a board of directors. This is different from what I believed for years. I always thought the money collected for Social Security went into the general fund that Congress could allocate in their budget. I thought I would take a few minutes to see what kind of factual information I could find about our Social Security money.

To begin with, there is a Social Security Trust Fund, but there is no “lock box.” The Trust Fund is an accounting device within the Treasury Department. There is never any money in the trust fund and there never has been any money in the trust fund. It is basically a fund filled with IOU’s. Social Security payroll tax goes to the Treasury Department. When the government sends your Social Security check, the Treasury Department puts a credit memo in the Social Security trust fund and at the same time makes a debit memo for withdrawal, then makes a distribution. The two amounts are identical; thus no money is actually in the account.

Here is the real kicker. Congress is allowed to borrow money from the Social Security Trust fund and insert an IOU, with no means or plan to repay the money.  Congress can spend the money any way they choose and leave it up to future generations to pay the IOU.

Looking further there is indeed a Social Security Board of Trustees. They are known as the OASDI Board of Trustees. OASDI is an acronym for Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance. It is a six-member board that includes the Secretary of the Treasury as the managing trustee, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Commissioner and two others, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. As near as I can figure, their main responsibility is to be a signatory on the annual Social Security report generated by the Treasury Department.

We currently have more money being paid out each year to retirees, survivors and people on disability than the money coming into Social security from payroll taxes. This is a serious problem and no administration wants to be tainted by admitting the problem and trying to solve it. It keeps getting worse and worse.

Incidentally. Medicare is managed the same way and it presents a similar problem.

My conclusion is, as long as the government is responsible for the Social Security funds deducted from payroll checks, they will spend the money and they will deplete the fund. Government cannot be trusted with our money. The only solution is a “lock box” for every individual that is held in private firm paid by the government on our behalf. The firm should invest the money in such manner that the value increases. Some brave President needs to accept this challenge and meet the problem head-on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Progressives and Democrats

I read that ABC news has banned American Flag lapel pins for their news staff on air. In Tallahassee, FL the elementary school students are being given notes to take home for parent signatures giving their child an opt-out option for saying the pledge of allegiance. If they opt out the student does not even have to stand while the pledge is being said by others. All over our country governments are banning flying the American flag. The Obama administrations has changed the language in the oath taken by naturalized citizens to have broad latitude for the reasons new citizens can choose not to defend this country.

Why are these thing going on? What is behind it?

There is a worldwide push of a progressive agenda that is almost never disclosed in entirety. The term we are using right now in the United States is “globalist” or “globalism.” Most Democrat leaders are globalist progressives who work very hard to hide their agenda from the Democrat voters in this country.

The biggest progressive players are the United Nations, George Soros and the Bilderberg Group. George Soros is one of the biggest players in a globalist push. He spends hundreds of millions annually to achieve his goals. Most of the Trump protesters are payed for by George Soros.  Are you familiar with the Bilderberg Group? If not, look them up. They are big players in what is going on in our world. They hold annual meetings with secret agendas and agree not to reveal the topics of their discussions. The group consists of most of the ultra-wealthy people and many influential politicians in the western world.

The progressive goals are open borders worldwide, pushing the climate change agenda to redistribute wealth from wealthy countries to poorer countries. They do not recognize hard work or individual desire to create a better life. They want social justice where everyone has the same outcome, regardless of their willingness to contribute.

Most Democrats do not pay enough attention to what is going on to even realize what is happening to their own party. They only know what they are told by newscasts and newspapers working to support the Democrat agenda.

Now back to my first paragraph. Why are these anti-American things happening? The answer is simple. Our Constitution is a hindrance to the progressive agenda. In other words, America as it has existed for 240 years must be destroyed. That is right. The progressives want to dismantle the most successful government in the history of the world and replace it with a socialist government similar to the European countries. In other words, all Americans are expected to be equally poor with only a class of elite leaders with wealth.

I am resisting. They cannot get rid of our Constitution if they do not get rid of the guns. The American people will not stand for it and they will fight back. They cannot get rid of our Constitution as long as the masses of people still have the Judeo-Christian values our country was founded on. Obama goes all over the world telling the lie that the United States was created on Muslim values. They have to diminish and destroy Christianity to get rid of our Constitution. I encourage you to pay attention.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Friendship and Elections

It is unfortunate that friends have disputes, but they always have and always will. That is the way of the world. Electoral office has always been a source of division. This presidential election cycle has been the worst I remember concerning divisive rhetoric. Friends and relatives and husbands and wives are at odds over their preferred candidates. Bad news. Collectively we need to tone down the language.

I do not like it when the Facebook commenters resort to name-calling. I have to admit, I have gotten caught up in the arguments myself and resorted to less than complimentary language. I am sorry I let that happen to myself and sorry that I would do that to a friend. Friends do not have to agree on everything, but it does help if they are tolerant of each other’s opinions. I apologize to anyone I may have offended during this election year.

Arguments often cease to be about who is right and wrong. They become about who is willing to argue the longest and who insists on getting the last word. I remember a time when the way to win an argument was with the facts and the truth. That no longer seems to be the case. Our news media and biased websites clutter the atmosphere with misinformation. In politics facts and the truth do not seem to have any value. I often give people facts and they accuse me of fabrication. I explain the data is from government databases and they do not believe the government either. Well, now.

Where do you suppose people get their information? How do they know it is true? It appears to me people are only willing to accept information that matches what they already believe. I think we have a myriad of ignorant people making decisions on candidates based on misinformation from their own support groups. The truth no longer matters and facts no longer matter.

People seem willing to ignore faults of their chosen candidates. Some people even deny the truth about their candidate even when it is presented to them without equivocation. Interesting. Everyone has flaws. Every candidate has flaws. Denying them does not make them go away. We all make choices and what we base our choices on is as varied as the people making them.

We only have one earth and most of us want what is best for everyone. A few things I think are best for everyone. Show respect for each other. Give other people a chance to state their opinion without ridicule. Obey the law. Do not make a bad situation worse. We are all in this together.

Probably more than half the people will be unhappy no matter who our next President is. New officeholders still deserve an opportunity to use their best judgement to make things better. Many people feel that good intentions are enough. I think that is foolish. Good intentions seldom help anyone. Good actions do. I prefer someone that makes good decisions. I like leaders that surround themselves with good people and listens to their advice. A leader listens to the options and makes decisions.

Friends are good to have. Do not sacrifice any of them for differences of opinion, especially about electoral candidates. Michael Phelps was captain of the swimming team at the Olympics in Rio. He told his teammates that if they had anything negative to say, keep it to themselves. Good advice. Concentrate on positive thoughts. Let us see the good in each other and search for some good in the opposing candidates. That was even hard for me to say, but at least I am thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Beltway

We hear a lot of news stories that talk about “inside the beltway.” I think most of us know that this refers to the Washington, DC area. The beltway is I-495. The Potomac River flows through Washington and is the state line between Maryland and Virginia. In addition to DC, the beltway includes part of the Maryland cities of Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and Hyattsville. Some of the Virginia cities partially inside the beltway are Alexandra, Annandale and Arlington. The nearest big city outside the beltway is Baltimore, MD to the north east of DC.

There are a lot of people moving in and out of the beltway on a daily basis. Major highways leaving the beltway are I-395 going south to Springfield, VA, US 50 going east to Annapolis, US 29 going north, US 1 running northeast to Baltimore and I-66 going west. I-95 runs though the beltway from the south and into Baltimore, I-270 goes northwest and MD 295 is a local road inside Maryland.

The inside the beltway area is about 260 square mile and Washington, DC itself is about 68 square miles. There are about 1.75 million people living inside the beltway. People living inside the beltway are primarily government employees, contractors, lobbyists and corporate media. Things that are scarce inside the beltway are illegal aliens, refugee relocation centers and Trump supporters.

Trump has the inside the beltway crowd scared for the first time in a long time – they fear the gravy train might de-rail.  Where has he been? We have been asking for a reformer and here he comes. Republican and Democrat insiders and the national media are quaking. Some of us appreciate the irony. A non-political businessman despised by “the haves” and the takers has arrived to repair or blow up our broken political system. This may be the most fun political year in our history.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

What is American?

Please do not dismiss this question out of hand. Think about it a moment. When you say, “I am an American.” what are you saying? We have North America, Central America and South America. When you say you are an American are you thinking about being a citizen of one of the two continents or somewhere in between? Are you thinking about being a citizen of just North America? Generally, when I hear someone say they are American, my assumption is they mean the United States. That is my arrogance.

For several hundred thousand years, beings on the earth thought their clan was the universe. Then they started thinking the flat earth was the universe. Then someone realized the sun, moon and stars were not of the earth and the universe got larger and the earth was the center of it. Then some mathematicians and astronomers began paying closer attention and realized their thinking may need to be adjusted to address the empirical data they were observing. In the 15th century, Nicolaus Copernicus came along and suggested the sun was the center of our solar system in a much larger universe. He was laughed at. Think about what we know now about the universe. The point of this is that in our minds we often see ourselves as the center of the universe.

When I think about where I am and when I say I am an American, I always think the United States of America. Canadians are Americans. Mexicans are Americans. If you are from Nicaragua, you are an American. If you were born in of Rio de Janeiro, you are an American.

If you were born in Mexico and become a citizen of the United States, the terminology we use is Mexican-American. Since Mexico is part of American, the term should be American-American, but that does not make sense. For a while black people were often called African-Americans. Some black people that were born in the United States objected to that terminology, as well they should. Most black people in this country have never been to Africa. If a black person emigrates from Nigeria and comes to the United States and becomes a citizen, do they want to be known as an African-American? Do people that come from England and become United States citizens become English-American or British-Americans. I do not think so.

People used to immigrate to the United States for a better life, because the wanted to be Americans in the United States of America. Today we have many immigrants and refugees in this country that are not American citizens and many are American citizens, but not United States citizens. Some have made it clear they want to be Mexicans in the United States.

What do you think about when you hear the term American Dream? I think it means being prosperous in the United States. Do Canadians have an American Dream? Is it a Canadian Dream? The Canadians seem to be happy where they are. Do Africans or Europeans go to Canada to find the American Dream? I do not know, but it is possible. I think people from foreign countries looking for the American Dream come to the United States to find it. The United States – the land of opportunity. We all have a responsibility to keep the dream alive.