Wednesday, January 12, 2005

pinions of buddy don: arithmetick

i been readin this here book name of my life by former presdint bill clinton. on page 537 thays a comment wurthy of quotin:
In later years I was often asked what great new idea my economic team and I brought to economic policy making. Rather than give a complicated explanation of the bond market/deficit-reduction strategy, I always gave a one-word answer: "arithmetic." The American people had been told for more than a decade that their government was a gluttonous leviathan swallowing their hard-earned tax dollars to no good end. Then the same politicians who told them that, and served up tax cuts to starve the evil beast, would turn right around and spend themselves to reelection, leaving the false impression that the voters could have programs they didn't pay for, and that the only reason we had big deficits was wasteful spending on foreign aid, welfare, and other programs for poor people, a tiny fraction of the budget. Spending on "them" was bad; spending and tax cuts for "us" were good. As my fiscally conservative friend Senator Dale Bumpers used to say: "You let me write $200 billion a year in hot checks and I'll show you a good time, too."
i wish thay wuz sumbidy in mr bushs administrayshun that could do arithmetick. in sted, we git this kinda thankin:
  1. the social security system is in crisis -- crisis! -- on a counta how in 2018 twill start sendin more to our citizens than tiz a'takin frum em in taxes.
  2. dont matter nun how way back in 1983 mr greenspan n mr raygun cunvintsed the people to let thar payroll taxes be raised to whar, with jes three wurkers fer ever social security recipient, ye still git a surplus of near $100 billion most years.
  3. that money wuz put into a trust fund of u.s. treasury notes, the safest investment thay is (on a counta how the point of social security aint to git rich but to keep frum bein destitue with nuthin, n fer that, ye trade higher rates of return fer safer, more secure investments.)
  4. mr bush spent that money by usin policies that reduced a huge surplus to the largest deficit in our cuntry's histry.
  5. now he dont wonta half to pay it back on a counta how all his budgets are writ on the assumpshun he kin use that money fer other thangs.
  6. but ye caint default on a treasury note, so sum kinda way they gut to cover the differnts, witch they gut em a magick plan (lack voodoo economicks or trickle down theories that caint pass no arithmetick test neethur) to let the folks thats payin into soshul securty quit a'doon it jes when thar money is needed most!
  7. in sted, the plan is to borry more! so in sted of havin to pay off the trust fund that mr bush dun wasted, he thanks he kin jes borry more n twont have no effeck on nobidy, speshly not the interst rates n bond markets.
  8. corse, to cover the eggspentses frum that borryin, thay gut em a plan to cut benefits by up to 45% by 2052, witch is when the cbo sez twill no longer be able to pay off the benefits promissed since the trust fund wood be all used up n thay wood be that other huge debt to pay (with near 40 of interst tacked on top), n how else ye a'gone pay it but by cuttin benefits?
so to make up fer owin too much, we gut to borry a bunch more, cut benefits on the mos successful gummin program ever, take the small risk that has a small return n spread that risk over all the individuals, whar the theory is they git a better return. ifn thay wuz innybidy in the bush administrayshun that knew arithmetick, they could splain why ye git a better return on equities than bonds -- thar much riskier! ye dont git loser in bonds, but thays minny a story bout folks losin thar shirts in the stock market.

whut it all boils down to is takin our soshul securty n givin us a 401(k) plan in return.

innybidy member how that wurked out at enron?

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