Friday, May 27, 2011

Social Security: Irony for the Ages

Social refers to the interaction of organisms with other organisms and to their collective co-existence, irrespective of whether they are aware of it or not, and irrespective of whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary.
Security is the degree of protection against danger, damage, loss, and crime.

So, it would seem to follow that "social security" would provide "a degree of protection to the interactions between a group of co-existing organisms against danger, damage, loss, and crime."

Put another way, Social Security should provide all of us protection to co-exist with each other without fear that we will be attacked, without fear that our possessions will be taken from us against our will, and to rest easy knowing that we are protected from injury and criminal activity by our affiliation with each other in a collective (government).

Now, the question is, does it?  Not in the slightest!  Setting aside the actual specifics of the program, ask yourself whether the name "social security" causes those around you to relax and live a fearless life or, rather, to become upset and actually fear what the future has in store for them and theirs.

So if the program doesn't perform the function that its name implies it should, what does it actually do, what should it be correctly labelled, and what can be done to fix it?  How was this program ever supposed to work?  Well, in a nutshell, it wasn't.....

Don't get me wrong.  There were people that honestly believed it was some miraculous program and bought into it but, anyone who's read my blog knows, simply believing something doesn't make it true.  Contrary to the words that we use when teaching our children how to cross the street, the key is NOT in the "look[ing] both ways", it's in the "not getting hit by a car"!  Simply looking both ways and not seeing a greyhound bus coming doesn't mean it's safe to cross.  Opinion and intentions do not affect reality or truth.

So, how was "Social Security" supposed to work?  How was it that you could pay in some amount of money for your entire career and then have an income for the rest of your life?  If you'd have put that money into a bank account instead, you would have expected to have some modest rate of return and actually would have been owed more than you paid in.  Therefore, for this program to be better, should it not provide more than you paid in?  The economic advantage of the program is defeated if you don't get back more than you paid in because the opportunity cost of not investing that money yourself would be enormous.  So, the only time it would be beneficial would be if it was paying equal or greater interest than that which could safely be attained elsewhere on YOUR wages.

What is typically considered the safest investment option?  People have different opinions and I'm not here to have that discussion, but let's consider a couple of "safer" options.  A normal savings account and U.S. Treasury Bonds.  Let's be honest, have you ever heard of a savings account dividend of less than zero?  What about bond security?  In my opinion, when a bond is not a safe investment, other investments (besides maybe water, rations, and ammo) are not safe either.  Now, could you see a larger return than savings and bonds?  Absolutely, but the point of this exercise is to demonstrate a minimum expected return-on-investment for taking your money from you to "provide for your future" (as if you couldn't do that with the money yourself).  If the government couldn't provide at least a return equal to buying a bond, what's the point of "social security"?

So how would the government provide an increase in the value of the money taken from your paychecks?  Remember, the government only has what it takes from the productive citizens of the country.  There is no source of income that does not involve taking from others.  So, since they can't magically increase the value of what they've taken from you over your career, the only way to do it would be by investing it themselves.  Now, this is an important point.  In order to invest your money for you, they have to have somewhere to invest it.  In order to pay you back with interest, the money has to be tracked and accounted for.  In order for that to happen, it must be kept separate throughout the process.  The largest problem is that even if they would have done all of these things (and they didn't), the entering argument is still that the government can make better investment decisions with your money than you can and has the right to to take your money from you to do it.

So, since this money was not invested on your behalf but was still taken from you, the largest amount of your money that they could possibly have is exactly what you paid into the system.  That's it. That's the most they can have.  Unfortunately, they don't even have that because they didn't save it all this time in some account or "lockbox".  It was tossed into the rest of the taxation stream and spent on whatever they thought was important at the time.  There is none of your money left.  So how are people getting paychecks from the system today if their money was spent?  It sure isn't their own money that's coming back to them.  It's coming from everyone that's still working and paying into the system.

Wait a minute, so not only did they not invest your money (or even save it) to ensure a minimum return that you could have received if sticking it in your local bank account, not only are they not able to even pay you back the amount they took from you in the first place, now they are taking money from other people and giving it to you.  They are promising the workers of today the same thing they promised you and paying you with their "investment in the future" - it's called a Ponzi Scheme - and it's illegal.

So, with the number of people receiving money going up every year, the cost to the American worker also rises.  Since there is no interest involved, the net pay-in must equal the net pay-out to break even.  This means that there will NEVER be a time when your money is worth more than it was the day it was taken from you.  In fact, since they continue to drive inflation up, your dollars are actually worth less when you retire than they were when they were stolen from you.  You are LOSING MONEY with social security - there is no other way for it to work.  You cannot possibly make money when the money you pay today is turned around and handed to someone that paid before with no increase in value (and actually a decrease in value over time).  THE BUS IS COMING DOWN THE ROAD AND WE'RE ALL STEPPING OFF THE CURB LIKE GOOD LITTLE SOCIALISTS!

Stop the insanity and stop defending the immoral and unconstitutional activities of the federal government just because you wish magic really existed.  It doesn't.

Monday, May 9, 2011

"Banned" Topics Series: Discussion #1 - Abortion

So, I was having a discussion the other day about how "political correctness" has brainwashed everyone into believing that if you even talk about certain subjects, you're in the wrong.  There is a specific way to think about things, told to us every day, and if you stray from that path you will be labelled by those that are more "enlightened" as something extremely negative.  There was a time when dissent and free-thinking were valued by our society.  I fear that if we can no longer voice our views, even if they're flawed, how can we hope to make progress.  Is the logical thought that we already have all of the answers?  Is the prevailing wisdom that there is nothing left to discuss?  I believe that the opposite is true.  I believe that by stifling independent thought, we've created a nation (and dare I say world) of zombies.  So, here are some of my thoughts on the topic of elective human abortion.


First of all, I'd like to take back a term that has been hijacked - "choice".  Just like lowering CO2 emissions has nothing to do with "green" because nearly every green thing requires CO2 to live and actually does better when there's more, the opponents and proponents of this procedure use political correct zombie speech to avoid the ugly truth.  Here's a myth buster - nearly everyone in this country believes in a woman having a right to choose to have a baby.  What?!?  A 2004 survey reported that 1% of abortions began as rape and 0.5% began as incest.  So with a whopping 98.5% of all abortions NOT being the result of rape or incest, there was a choice made.  The rest of the elective abortions were for convenience.

Why do human beings take action?  Why do you make any decisions?  The answer is always a choice between reward and consequence.  As the rewards increase or the consequences decreases, you are more likely to choose a certain path.  As the rewards decreases or the consequences increase, you are less likely to choose that same path.  Each person will have their own risk vs. reward threshold at which their decision will shift.  Anything done to encourage a behavior must either increase the benefit or decrease the consequences.  In a free society, you make these decisions for yourself.  If someone else makes that decision for you, against your will, you are not free.  The key to this discussion is that you don't get to make decisions for other people that infringe upon their rights.

This is where the only point of contention exists, believe it or not, for abortion.  The only thing that matters is whether there is an independent life involved.  When taken to extremes, it's easy to make a determination.  On a child's second birthday, nobody says "congratulations on becoming a life".  We know it happens before that.  Similarly, nobody is going to accuse you of murdering a potential human being if you decide to not have sex.  Therefore, somewhere between the act of having sex and the child's second birthday (in my example) life is created.  The only argument that can be made is the "when".  All of our arguing and name-calling really boils down to a disagreement about when to consider the result of sexual intercourse a life worth protecting.

Some say that it occurs at conception.  This argument is typically based upon a very definite change taking place that creates something that did not previously exist.  The result is a composite of two individual human beings but a DNA and genetic analysis would show that it was not identical to either.  That is a magical moment and it's no wonder that some would believe it to be the spark of life.

Some say that it occurs at birth.  This argument has several versions and even if I try to list them all I would miss some.  The basic argument is that until it's separated from the mother, it is a part of her body.  The detractors of this approach point out many examples of premature babies being born, some in the second trimester, that are alive and well today.  Some say that if your definition of "life" must include the ability to live on your own without support, that would rule out many elderly and sick people as being "alive".  The most typical statements surrounding this belief are "It's my body" and "Women should have the right to choose".  Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, these are both dishonest statements.  First of all, it's not her body that's being destroyed (again, check the DNA).  Secondly, there was a choice involved in 98.5% of all pregnancies that desire abortions . . . the choice to have sex.  After that, there will always be another choice that cannot be removed . . . the choice to keep the baby or give it up for adoption.  So the only "choice" that they're talking about is the one where they wanted to have sex without taking responsibility for the possible outcome.  In other words, irresponsibility is the cause of 98.5% of abortions.  It doesn't matter if it's a life or not, that fact remains - it's a removal of consequences for actions and, therefore, encourages the choice and behavior patterns associated with it.

If there are only two possible truths, there are only two possible results.  In a country where we value life, where we consider it to be "unalienable", where we claim to stand for protecting the rights of innocent humans to be free from slaughter, if it could be proven that a baby boy or girl was being killed during an abortion, not only would it be the responsibility of the mother to protect that life,  it would be the responsibility of all of us.  On the other hand, if it could be proven that no life existed, that it was nothing more than having your appendix removed, that it was paramount to plastic surgery in its elective form, then we wouldn't need laws to ensure it could be accomplished any more than the other procedures require legislation.

So, here's the rub - There is no "right to kill".  There is no "right to surgery".  There is, however, a "right to life".  This was recognized at our founding and is one of the basic principles for our entire country - life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were important rights, not granted by man, according to our founding fathers.  That means that in these two scenarios, the only one that would actually be infringing on someones "rights" would be to conduct an abortion if it was a human life.  There are no possible human rights violations to not allowing an abortion as an elective procedure.  That's a simple fact that often gets lost in these discussions where people are blinded by their own faith (whether it be faith that no life exists or faith that life is present).

And that's what it really boils down to.  It can't be proven so it must remain opinion-based.  Is abortion killing or not?  The thing that I keep coming back to . . . the aspect that haunts me . . . is that the outcomes of being wrong are not equal.  In one case, if we believe it is a life and it turns out not to be, all we've done is ensured there are consequences for our actions - just like for the entirety of human existence - if you have sex, you might get pregnant.  So, if we're wrong in that respect, it's inconvenient.  On the other hand, if we believe that it's not a human boy or girl and it turns that that we're wrong, we've endorsed, allowed, performed, and supported millions of murders in the name of convenience.  They are not equal outcomes.

You should be free to choose for yourself which one you believe because there is no proof either way.  The problem is that if you choose to believe that there is a life being taken, you are ridiculed and attacked, your money is taken away from you and given to those that perform the procedure.  What happens to you if you choose to believe that there is no life involved?  The scary thing is that the truth is not dependant on our opinions - regardless of what you believe, it either is or is not a life.

All I ask is that we stop playing word games and casting accusations and really get to the point.  The one question that everyone should be asking themselves when they choose to open their mouths on this topic.  That question?

"What if I'm wrong?"