Posts tagged "teaching students critical thought"

Invest In China: Equity Markets

China’s economy may be growing at the rate of almost 10% a year but its domestic capital markets are in a dismal state, forcing the private sector to disproportionate reliance on foreign investment for capital (particularly hard currency). Its domestic bond market is underdeveloped, its banks are saddled with bad debts, and both the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets have performed poorly in recent years.

China’s stock exchanges (excluding Hong Kong’s) were originally created with the idea of raising funds for inefficient, poorly performing state-owned entities (SOEs) that the government for political reasons did not wish to abandon. In this way the stock exchanges could shoulder the burden previously borne by domestic banks (who would extend SOE loans that were often never repaid). Because of this history, we now see listings dominated by inefficient SOEs that free float no more than one-third of issued shares, thus ensuring continued government control. It also ensures that private shareholders have no say in management, leaving SOEs with fewer incentives to reform. Foreign investors are hampered by the bifurcation of shares into two types (leaving about two-thirds of shares off-limits to foreign investment) and rigid investment quotas that China imposes on overseas capital.

China is caught between two unpalatable alternatives – if it offers up its stake in the SOEs, it cedes control of to private interests and faces the possibility that those who cannot market their shares will fail (since a government bail-out would defeat the purpose of listing in the first place). This would increase already high unemployment rates and lead to unpredictable political consequences. On the other hand, as long as it maintains control of the SOEs and uses the equity markets to fund them, share prices are likely to remain anemic, depriving China’s private sector of the capital in needs to thrive at home and invest overseas. Foreign investors are hoping that China will soon take decisive action to resolve this dilemma.

Despite these difficulties, China’s equity markets have recently attracted a surprising amount of interest from institutional investors abroad who see buying opportunities in low share prices and are persuaded by government promises of reform. China has raised some overseas investment quotas recently (they are specific to each investor), and there is talk in the air of unifying the share market to allow foreign investors greater access. Many analysts predict a brisker pace of reform as soon as China’s banking sector is opened up to foreign competition in 2007 in response to China’s WTO commitments.

David Carnes
http://www.articlesbase.com/business-articles/invest-in-china-equity-markets-64109.html

36 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - August 3, 2015 at 7:29 pm

Categories: Government Reform   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why does Obama oppose critical thinking about the horse series in schools?

You start with a horse and end with a horse. All the different horses existed contemporaneously. They started as horses and ended as horses. And yet this is the kind of argument that students hear to defend evolution. Is he horsing around slamming the door of critical thinking on the faces of students when he should be opening it

why hasn’t man evolved to be impervious to UV radiation and political rhetoric then.

39 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - August 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Categories: Critical Thinking   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

United We Stand

Almost everyone has heard the phrase or principle that a “house divided will fall”. The problem is not everyone agrees with it and some could care less if the house (name it) does fall. Barack Obama though has the opportunity that no president I know of since John F. Kennedy (yes that also includes Ronald Reagan) to UNITE our nation and even beyond our borders, the world.  <!–more–>

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I said more than a year ago that Obama has the opportunity to bring racial reconciliation to our nation (not that he solves all problems!) and healing internationally (by virtue of his name if nothing else). Don’t hear that I am saying that he will, but that we have a WINDOW- an opportunity in spite of those who spread divisiveness, discord, and outright antagonisms as their daily menu.

Can you say Hannity & Rush?   :-(

“He’s a man of the people,” said Vicki Starcher, who traveled from Norfolk, Virginia, to help set up the temporary store during the inauguration. “I think the difference is with Obama, he has so much of the younger backing, BET … and the hip-hop community,” co-worker Jasmine Robinson chimed in. Ebony said Obama was one of the Top 25 Coolest Brothers of All Time, alongside Tupac Shakur, Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z and Marvin Gaye. I’m not cool with all of those comparisons, but whatever! 

Two days from the White House, President-elect Barack Obama joined a vast throng Sunday at a joyous pre-inauguration celebration staged among marble monuments to past heroes. “Anything is possible in America,” declared the man who will confront economic crisis and two wars when he takes office. Anything is possible!

And within “anything” is a UNITED nation- for however long it lasts, we’ll take it. At least I will.

Ernie Fitzpatrick
http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/united-we-stand-727298.html

37 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - July 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Categories: Conservative Ideals   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alternatives to Divorce for Christians

Divorce for everyone is a long and painful process. Divorce does not only affect one aspect of your life, it affects all of them. In some situations, there is apparently no option other than divorce but religious or moral beliefs may prevent abused or maltreated spouses from seeking legal counsel. This is especially true for the Memphis lawyer who serves a fairly conservative community. The legal alternatives to divorce come mainly from the period before the easy availability of modern divorce. They maintain basic duties of support and the status of man and wife but relieve the spouses of the duty to live together and serve to separate property interests. In Tennessee, remember, in case of a divorce, all property acquired up to the time a divorce is filed is usually considered marital property.

The first option for those trying to avoid divorce is marriage counseling. While not a legal option, it should be your first step if nothing else to ensure a clean conscience. You may have considered this before, but simply concluded it would not make a difference. Marriage counseling is effective because it makes all the underlying issues of your marriage come to the forefront. For counseling to work, you must evaluate your marriage for improvement. You cannot realistically expect for a one time 30 minute counseling session to save your marriage. Instead, it will take time, hard work, and dedication from each spouse to commit to changing their lives for your marriage. Marriage counseling can come from your pastor, family, friends, therapist, or other counseling service dedicated to saving marriages.

The second option is annulment. Traditionally, certain acts such as co-habitation, setting up households, or being able to bear children were requirements before a marriage ceremony created a valid marriage. So if you’ve realized you made a bad decision, but are unable to seek a divorce for a religious or moral reason, then immediately seek legal advice. A divorce may not be necessary.

A third option is separation or divorce from bed and board. The legal duties of fidelity remain. A legal separation for two years without minor children gives the other party grounds for divorce and a court may sua sponte order the parties divorce, but if you cannot ask for a divorce, then this may be the only option available to you. The legal issues of child custody, support, and property can all be dealt with accordingly. A separation order can be temporary or permanent.

A fourth option is an order of protection. Unfortunately, in Memphis these are granted in the inferior general sessions criminal court unless a divorce or perhaps a legal separation is concurrently sought. This means support and custody issues frequently are not dealt with at this stage. This is an effective way to keep an abusive spouse away from the home without seeking a formal divorce.

The important thing is to contact a Memphis lawyer or a lawyer in the appropriate area who usually works with family law issues. Most lawyers aren’t just divorce lawyers but work with custody, adoption, and other family law issues. A good family lawyer will always be willing to discuss alternatives keeping your religious and moral preferences in mind.

David Sandy
http://www.articlesbase.com/divorce-articles/alternatives-to-divorce-for-christians-122053.html

6 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - July 15, 2015 at 8:53 am

Categories: Conservative Party   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Infiltrations

The one thing Targeted Individuals have to understand is the concept of Infiltration. This means that agents, hired operatives, civillian informants, etc will try to infiltrate your organizations or your life.

I recently posted an article about Infiltration of online groups. This has been happening for some time now. Many people think if they are posting online that they will not be investigated, but there are infiltrators who try to engage posters in conversations, where they get them to say things against the government, or use talk of violence, something that might not happen without the provocateur. These individuals are on most of the popular forums, and often you won’t know who they are. You might get a sense of who they are based on their postings, but that is not always the case.

Here on some things to be aware of regarding Infiltrations.

[quote]http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/security/police-hire-private-spies-to-snoop-online/2008/11/26/1227491580370.html

Police hire private spies to snoop online

THE Internet communications and websites of anti-war campaigners, environmentalists, animal rights activists and other protest groups are being secretly monitored by state and federal agencies.

A Melbourne private intelligence firm specialising in “open-source intelligence” has been engaged by Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and the federal Attorney-General’s Department to monitor and report on the protest movements’ use of the internet.

The monitoring, which has been secretly conducted for at least five years, includes exploring websites, online chat rooms, social networking sites, email lists and bulletin boards to gather information on planned demonstrations and other activities. Many of those monitored have not broken any laws, but it is believed information about their participation in online activities is conveyed to government agencies that also deal with terrorism.[/quote]

These types of infiltrations are happening all over the Internet. Sometimes the poster will just be observing gathering information and monitoring. In other cases they will perform a similar fuction to their offline components, and they will engage posters in extreme conversations about violence, anti-government sentiments, etc.

When J.Edgar Hoover ran the FBI, the infiltration of the KKK was about 20% infiltration. The agents that had infiltrated the FBI were often responsible for encouraging acts of violence on others, or enacting those acts of violence themselves.

The FBI kept talking with Klan members. By 1965, some 20 percent of Klan members were on the

[quote]The FBI kept talking with Klan members. By 1965, some 20 percent of Klan members were on the FBI payroll, many occupying leadership positions in seven of the fourteen Klan groups across the country, states political scientist Robert Goldstein in “Political Repression in Modern America: 1870 to the Present,” [/quote]

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/3-20-2006-91543.asp

[quote]Glick lists four main methods used by the agents:

1) infiltration by agents and informers with the intention to discredit and disrupt;
2) psychological warfare from the outside, using “dirty tricks” to undermine progressive movements; 3) harassment through the legal system, making targets appear to be criminal; and
4) extralegal force and violence including break-ins, vandalism, assaults, and beatings to frighten dissidents and disrupt their movements. [/quote]

[quote]
It was COINTELPRO “that enabled the FBI and police to eliminate the leaders of mass movements in the 1960s without undermining the image of the United States as a democracy, complete with free speech and the rule of law.

“Charismatic orators and dynamic organizers were covertly attacked and ‘neutralized’ before their skills could be transferred to others and stable structures established to carry on their work.”
[/quote]

This is why new movements have a hard time getting started. The legit movements are often infiltrated, with the provocateurs, or Informants moving to the forefront of the movement.

[quote]Dr. King was a target of an elaborate COINTELPRO plot to drive him to suicide and replace him “in his role of the leadership of the Negro people” with conservative Black lawyer Samuel Pierce (later named to President Ronald Reagan’s cabinet) according to revisionist historians including Glick and Zinn, who have come to view King’s assassination, as well as Malcolm X’s, as domestic covert operations.
[/quote]

The scary part of these operations is that they will allow a movement to go forward as long as they can eventually be in control. This means that had they been successful in getting Martin Luther King Jr, to kill himself, they would have had their man already set in place to take the helm. They don’t have a problem with the movement as long as they can run the show, or have their people running the show, and their information getting out to the public.

The other thing to be aware of is that they often start groups themselves, with their own people, this way it seems like there is a movement happening, but again they are running the show.

[quote]But Glick and several other researchers argue that COINTELPRO-white appeared only to go after violent right-wing groups, and that the FBI actually gave covert aid to the Ku Klux Klan, Minutemen, Nazis, and other racist vigilantes, under the cover of being even-handed.

“These groups received substantial funds, information, and protection – and suffered only token FBI harassment – so long as they directed their violence against COINTELPRO targets,” Glick wrote.

“They were not subjected to serious disruption unless they breached this tacit understanding and attacked established business and political leaders.”

Specifically, COINTELPRO documents indicate that some infiltrators discreetly spied for years without calling attention to themselves (like the Soviet moles or sleepers) while others acted as instigators to disrupt meetings and conventions or social and other contacts.
[/quote]

Sleepers that’s a scary concept, but even as far back as Cointelpro this idea was used. To always have one of theirs at the helm, ready to take over. It’s mind boggling how this system works.

[quote]Agents spread rumors, made accusations, inflamed disagreements, and caused splits. “They urged divisive proposals, sabotaged activities, overspent scarce resources, stole funds, seduced leaders, exacerbated rivalries, caused jealousy and public embarrassment to groups. They often led activists into unnecessary danger and set them up for prosecution.”

One common maneuver, known as placing a “snitch jacket” or “bad jacket” on an activist, damaged the victim’s effectiveness and generated “confusion, distrust, and paranoia.” The maneuver was used to divert time and energy and turn co-workers against one another, even provoking violence.
[/quote]

The only thing that’s changed is that they have probably become better at their tactics, and the world at large has become less aware, or completely oblivious.

In Russia this method of dissident infiltration was also used.

http://www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file744_30623.pdf

[quote]
In the Stasi’s “War on Dissent,” dissenters were the most valuable informants, and the Stasi recruited heavily within the very world it was trying to destroy, employing the very people it was trying to eliminate. As a result, East German dissident-informants often paradoxically “helped the [anti-government] movement , partly simply by swelling its ranks, but also by actively working on opposition activities.”[/quote]

Governments do go after dissidents or those they are trying to eliminate. This way if they can’t eliminate the target, they will try to turn the target. So you could actively have members of a movement who are working for both sides. They are moving the movement forward with one hand, and putting it two steps back with the second hand. It’s very frustrating, because some of these people did start out as genuine activists, but at some point, they were destitute, set up, arrested, institutionalized, etc. They decided to turn informant and work for the state.

I have come across a few of these in doing this research. At first I would judge these people harshly, but now I feel sorry for some of them. Some are happy enough to sell out, but others just really don’t know what to do. They are poor, and without means and resources. This is something groups should be aware of. Someone who is a true target today, might become a turned Informant working for the state. It’s a very scary concept, but it’s again something to be aware of.

http://security.resist.ca/personal/informants.shtml

[quote]

Some types of infiltrators stay in the background and offer material support, other informants may have nothing to do with the group or action, but initially heard certain plans and tipped off the police. Among the more active types of infiltrators can be a gregarious person that quickly wins group trust. Some infiltrators will attempt to gain key forms of control, such as of communications/ secretarial, or finances. Other informants can use charm and sex to get intimate with activists, to better spy or potentially destabilize group dynamics.

Active infiltrators can also be provocateurs specializing in disruptive tactics such as sowing disorder and demoralizing meetings or demos, heightening conflicts whether they are interpersonal or about action or theory, or pushing things further with bravado and violent proposals. Infiltrators often need to build credibility; they may do this by claiming to have participated in past actions.

Also, infiltrators will try to exploit activist sensibilities regarding oppression and diversity. Intelligence organizations will send in someone who will pose as a person experiencing the common oppression of the particular activist group. For example, in the 1960’s, the Weather Underground (“Weathermen” – a white anti-imperialist armed struggle in the US) was infiltrated by an “ordinary Joe” informant with a working class image. Black war veterans were used to infiltrate the Black Panther Party. [/quote]

You will see this a lot if you visit some online or offline groups. They profile you in many cases before hand, so they think they know what triggers to use on you. The only thing you can do is profile yourself and know yourself better than they think they know you. They will try to play off of your vulnerabilities if they can find them.

The government also used Informants on the panthers, that’s how they knew where Fred Hampton would be, and the informant might have drugged Fred Hampton, just before the assassination.

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/FBI/Fed_Bureau_Intimidation.html

[quote]
In 1976, the mothers of the victims filed a civil rights suit against the FBI. The COINTELPRO files released during the trial showed that the FBI had an informant named William O’Neal in the Chicago Panthers. O’Neal was a trusted friend of Hampton and chief of security in the Chicago chapter. Taylor described, “He was the classic provocateur under COINTELPRO, always suggesting far-out violent schemes. He turned out to be the Judas who helped set up Fred Hampton’s murder”

O’Neal fed information to FBI agent Roy Mitchell, who worked closely with the Chicago Police Department’s Gang Intelligence Unit, the squad that dealt specifically with Black organizations. Days before the raid, O’Neal gave Mitchell a detailed floor plan of Hampton’s apartment that indicated where Hampton and his fiancee Akna Ajeri (who was eight months pregnant with their child at the time of the raid) usually slept.

Taylor also believes that there is strong evidence that O’Neal drugged Hampton on the day of the raid. Hampton’s autopsy showed a large amount of secobarbital in his system, despite the fact that he was militantly against drugs.

Hampton was shot in the head in his bed. He never even woke up. In 1982, after many appeals, the courts finally awarded survivors of the raid $1.85 million in damages. But to this day, no police or FBI agents have ever been indicted for these ruthless murders.
[/quote]

An Informant was also able to get close to Malcolm X and became one of his bodyguards.

http://www.etext.org/Politics/Buzzkill/buzzkill.7

[quote]Malcolm X as early as 1953, when the young minister for the Nation of Islam was placed on a Security Index of people top be rounded up and detained in times of “danger to national security.” and there was at least one under cover informant present at his assassination:
Malcolm’s bodyguard Gene Roberts, who was actually an undercover cop with the New York Police Depart-ment’s Bureau of Special Services (BOSS).
[/quote]

These people in organizations have a way of rising to the top, getting into trusted positions. That is a part of the consistent M.O. that we see with Infiltrators. In researching I have not found any one surefire way of dealing with them.

The paid Infiltrators are often profiled, these are individuals that they would like to use as Informants.

http://november.org/stayinfo/breaking08/MolesWanted.html

[quote]

Carroll, who requested that his real name not be used, showed up early and waited anxiously for Swanson’s arrival. Ten minutes later, he says, a casually dressed Swanson showed up, flanked by a woman whom he introduced as FBI Special Agent Maureen E. Mazzola. For the next 20 minutes, Mazzola would do most of the talking.

“She told me that I had the perfect ‘look,'” recalls Carroll. “And that I had the perfect personality — they kept saying I was friendly and personable — for what they were looking for.”

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant — someone to show up at “vegan potlucks” throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, [b]then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement.[/b] The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to “investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.”

Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.

“I’ll pass,” said Carroll.

For 10 more minutes, Mazzola and Swanson tried to sway him. He remained obstinate.

“Well, if you change your mind, call this number,” said Mazzola, handing him her card with her cell phone number scribbled on the back.

[/quote]

This young man was originally arrested for spray painting. (There is no way to know if he was encouraged by an Informant to perform the action.)

After he served his time for the activity, he was contacted to become an Informant, which he declined. Yet they still kept pressuring him.

http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=550324

A similar scenario happened to a young man over at the Storm Front Forum. He called to find out more information about the local laws regarding Firearms in the state. A few days later he was paid a visit by the FBI. After discussing his phone call, which is what initiated the visit. He was asked to become a paid Informant to infiltrate white nationalist organizations. He was also asked to name anyone he knew who was involved in any illegal activities.

He advised that he was not aware of anyone involved in illegal activities, and that he did not wish to become an informant. Since then he has been a target of Gang Stalking, and they occasionally call him to see if he will change his mind and become an Informant, which he constantly declines.

(The best thing to do in this scenario is to get a lawyer, and give them the phone number or the card of your lawyer the next time they come calling. )

This information is from the security culture brochure. If you do get a lawyer expect even more retaliation, but it’s apparently the best method for dealing with this kind of pressure.

http://www.gangstalkingworld.com/Handbook/TheHiddenEvil.pdf

On his former website, and PDF Mark M. Rich had also mentioned that these support groups might have been infiltrated.

[quote]If you join a support group, you may also receive harassment via threads posted on message boards. Like other mediums of harassment, the topics of these threads may be about events that are unfolding in your personal life, as well as threats or insults covertly directed at you. This will probably happen repeatedly by the same person or people.

They may also employ some Gaslighting, or Jacketing tactics. Jacketing was often used during Cointelpro to make genuine activists look like informants.(10) Some internet groups which help stalking victims are heavily populated with perpetrators posing as victims.(7) Some of these perpetrators seem to be very vocal & popular members of these support groups. It seems that this a damage-control mechanism put in place to corral people, manage them to some

degree, & impede the groups’ progress. These people may also help with misdirecting events, or generally keeping groups disorganized & ineffective, under the illusion that progress is being been made.

These informants/perpetrators will give you correct information, & you may not find out until later that they’re trying to traumatize you as well. You may not be able to make other group members aware of it, as these informants may be well-respected members. It seems like a contradiction. Why would a perpetrator give you valuable information?

While I don’t know the exact answer to this question, here are some possibilities:

1.They know you would have eventually found the information anyway, so this trade-off is worth appearing genuine & gaining your trust, which may be exploited at a later date.

2.Create fear & uncertainty within you, causing you to doubt your own judgment.

3.This
may further traumatize a person with feelings of hopelessness when they learn that a very well respected group member is harassing him/her.

If you think that the people who oversee these neutralization programs have not infiltrated these groups, or even deliberately created some as a catch-net in order to disrupt & minimize progress, you are probably mistaken. The people who designed this system were not incompetent & some of these support groups seem to be just another phase of the campaign. If you find yourself on the receiving end of repeated covert or overt criticism by one or more of these prominent victims, you can give yourself a great big pat on the back. This one of many layers in this system of control that you’ll encounter.

Also, some people who may have been genuinely trying to raise awareness, may have been bribed, blackmailed or simply tortured (Directed Energy Weapons) into becoming informants, & therefore, have been compromised. Some of the most outspoken victims & leaders in these groups appear to be deliberately operating within boundaries designed to slow progress. And, as in most social systems, there is envy, fear & jealously. If you choose to participate in one of these support groups, you may want to limit your exposure to certain people. However, although these groups are fraught with perpetrators, not all of them are. So you may still want to attend meetings & events as it will be a good opportunity to connect with other people. You will find many people who are very decent & you may even make some
new friends. Trust your own judgment.

I have been in contact with perpetrators posing as victims on the phone & via email that have hinted that I must not be genuine. It is likely that these fake victims have probably spread lies to targeted individuals indicating that I’m not really targeted since I don’t appear to be suffering or helpless. If you are raising awareness, then discrediting attempts such as these will be standard practice. It appears to be critical that they attempt to isolate you from group members who you may have a positive influence on. Once again, organizations were heavily infiltrated during Cointelpro & jacketing was used extensively.(10)
[/quote]

In his research in the PDF Mark had formerly covered the concept of Infiltrations as well. I am not sure if this is covered on the new site.

Infiltrations and organizations seem to go hand in hand. Even if you start out with a good crop of individuals, you still have the possibility of Informants infiltrating the group. They are prone to achieving high levels of trust in organizations, they can also be used for disruption and disinformation. They can even be used as sleeper cells for down the line.

With Infiltration the idea is sometimes to destroy the organization, at other times it is to ensure the state is in control of the organization, this is true offline and online. This is also true for personal infiltrations. Getting someone into your life so they are in a position of trust, which can be used later.

The idea is to not become too paranoid, because then you will not be able to function, however it’s wise to be cognizant of these Infiltrations on a personal and professional level.

http://milwaukee.indymedia.org/en/2005/08/203959.shtml

gangstalking
http://www.articlesbase.com/news-and-society-articles/infiltrations-704029.html

12 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - July 13, 2015 at 7:43 am

Categories: Conservative Party   Tags: , , , , ,

Proposals to Change Social Security Benefits

http://www.defendingthetruth.com/articles/4808-proposals-change-social-security-benefits.html

During many elections, we have heard proposals from politicians to alter or change Social Security benefits. In this paper, I’m going to research and analyze these proposals to find out whether or not they would be beneficial to the Social Security fund, how it will affect all of us in the future, and the current beneficiaries who receive Social Security.

“The key problem for Social Security is that, as the population ages, soon there will not be enough people paying Social Security taxes to provide benefits for every retired person.” (Dilulio & Wilson 486). This is why so many politicians have proposed changes to the current system. The people in my generation might not see any benefits when it’s our time to retire. “In 1950, there were 16 workers to support every one beneficiary of Social Security; today, there are only 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary.” (White House). If Social Security stays unchanged at this rate, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. If we ever reach this stage we will be left with two problems, a lot of people paying into the system now will be cut off of Social Security, or the government will borrow more money to pay the beneficiaries, which will increase the national debt.

“Unless otherwise stated, payment levels apply equally to aged, blind, and disabled persons.” (State assistance programs for SSI recipients, 3) I believe that if the Social Security fund only funded beneficiaries who are aged, we would not have such a low number today of 3.3 workers supporting every Social Security beneficiary. “The Budget Enforcement Act, for example, excluded the receipts and disbursements of Social Security from the President’s budget and the congressional budget resolution. Programs that have been excluded like this are called “off-budget”.” (Collender 12)

Robert M. Ball has proposed a plan to alter Social Security while arguing against President Bush’s proposal of private accounts. One thing that Ball has proposed was, “Gradually raise the cap on earnings covered by Social Security so that once again 90 percent of all such earnings would be taxed and counted for benefits” (Ball 2). I believe the means of using tax to fix Social Security will work in the short run, but not in the long. If we do take this approach, should we gradually raise the cap on earnings covered by Social Security even more in the future when Social Security has gone further into debt? Another proposed change by Ball was, “An estate tax is a highly progressive way of meeting this cost, and dedicating it to Social Security would strengthen the contributory.” (Ball 3) Now an estate tax, or sometimes called a “death tax”, is a tax on a person’s estate depending on how much he or she was worth. Again, I see a problem with this proposal because Ball is suggesting that we use another means of tax to be paid into Social Security. I personally think it’s wrong to even have an estate tax because those who are taxed an estate tax were most likely small business owners. “More than 70% of family businesses do not survive the second generation; 87% do not make it to the third generation.” (Frequently Asked Questions about the “Death Tax”)

During the 2000 elections, President Bush was widely known for his proposals to privatize Social Security. Most of the Democrat’s are against Bush’s proposals to change Social Security, whereas, most Republican’s are for Bush’s proposals to change Social Security. In order to find out whether people would be better off under the current Social Security system or a privatized system, I researched the average returns among the current system and compared them to the average returns under a private investment or “private account”.

Barbara Boxer published a “Social Security to Social Insecurity calculator” (Boxer), that calculates the average return an individual will receive under the current system compared to Bush’s privatization plan. I entered many different salaries and years and at every given circumstance, Bush’s plan resulted in a loss. I found this very disturbing considering the large amounts of research I have done last year on retirement accounts.

Dave Ramsey published a ”Privatizing Social Security calculator” (Ramsey), that calculates the return you could expect depending on the type of fund you choose, your income, and your age. Compared to Barbara Boxer’s calculator, I found this calculator more accurate because you were able to choose a fund that had an average annual return, which is calculated into how much you contribute over a given amount of years. The result from Dave Ramsey’s calculator shows how much you will receive from social security and your private accounts when you retire which resulted in a much higher return than social security.

Last year I took an economics class, which covered a great deal in investing for retirement. Some people who are against Bush’s plan of private accounts state that privatizing social security is too risky for retirement. “For individual investors who have neither the time nor the inclusion to actively monitor a stock or a bong portfolio, mutual funds have an obvious appeal. Just pick a good fund and let the managers do the work for you.” (Groz 105). At the age of 19, I visited Fidelity Investments in Braintree, Massachusetts where I was able to start my own investment portfolio. They showed me many funds that ranged from aggressive growth to conservative growth funds. I then chose a couple of mutual funds that were aggressive growth because I was starting my investing at such a young age. “Many investors draw the inference that they should not invest all their money in a single stock or bond, but rather spread out their investments among a group of securities.” (Groz 106). If private accounts were an option, I would recommend people to diversify their investments into many different funds just to limit risk.

Another benefit from investing in certain types of stocks is the dividends. “Dividends, then, are a dividing up and distribution to shareholders of a portion of the corporation’s earnings.” (Groz 27). With these dividends, you can reinvest them into the stock or fund; “Compounding occurs when you get many (e.g., interest or dividends) from an investment and put it back into the portfolio, letting it grow alongside the original investment.” (Groz 183).

After doing researching and analyzing the proposals offered by many politicians, I feel that privatizing Social Security is not such a bad idea. I feel that privatizing Social Security would give people more control of their money when it comes to saving money for retirement that the government cannot touch. I understand that some people might fear the risks of investing in the stock market, but if someone diversifies and chooses funds that are somewhat conservative, there is a very small risk of having little return. Considering that Social Security today has very little return “Social Security’s inflation-adjusted rate of return is only 1.23 percent for an average household of two 30-year-old earners with children in which each parent made just under $26,000 in 1996.” (Beach), you would be better off putting your money into a savings account earning a return close to 3 percent.

“If someone’s definition of national debt excludes the debt owed to federal entities, they are not accounting for the interest on the debt owed to federal entities.” (Ruoco). Since the government’s national debt has been rising year after year which can be seen on (http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdhisto4.htm), why should I trust the government with my retirement money? This is why I support the idea of privatizing Social Security, or at least giving the American people the option to invest in private accounts.

Sources

Orr, Doug. “Social Security Q & A: separating fact from fiction.” Dollars & Sense 259 (May-June 2005): 15(6).

State assistance programs for SSI recipients. Baltimore, Md. : The Branch, 2002 Jan

Ball, Robert P (2005). “Fixing Social Security” The Century Foundation. 5/3/2005 http://www.socsec.org/facts/Check_Lists/checklist1.PDF

Beach, William W., Gareth E. Davis. “Social Security’s Rate of Return.” The Heritage Foundation. 15 Jan 1998. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Bogle, John C. Common Sense on Mutual Funds : New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor . San Francisco: John Wiley, 1999.

Boxer, Barbara. “Social Security into Social Insecurity.” Social Insecurity. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Brohawn, Dawn K., Norman G. Kurland, and Michael D. Greaney. Capital Homesteading for Every Citizen: A Just Free Market Solution for Saving Social Security. : Center for Economic and Social Justice, 2004.

(Brohawn et al. 256)

Collender, Stanley E. The Guide to the Federal Budget : Fiscal 2000. New York: Century Foundation Press, 1999.

“Frequently Asked Questions about the “Death Tax”.” DeathTax. 29 Mar 2001. The Seattle Times. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Groz, Marc M. Forbes Guide to the Markets : Becoming a Savvy Investor. New York: J. Wiley, 1999.

Hubbard, Glenn. “Happy 70th, Social Security.” Business Week August 08 2005.

Ramsey, Dave. “Making the Case for Privatizing Social Security.” Social Security Reform. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Ruoco, James. “The Impact of Social Security on the National Debt.” JustFacts.com. 1 Sep 2001. 25 Nov. 2005 .

United States. A blueprint for new beginnings : a responsible budget for America’s priorities. Washington, D.C: U.S. G.P.O., 2001.

United States. “U.S. Department of the Treasury, Bureau of the Public Debt.” Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual. 25 Nov. 2005 .

White House. “Strengthening Social Security for Future Generations.” Strengthening Social Security. The White House. 25 Nov. 2005 .

Jonathan Kingsbury
http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/proposals-to-change-social-security-benefits-87503.html

12 comments - What do you think?
Posted by mark - June 20, 2015 at 10:12 pm

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