My obligatory political post.

It's an election year, so I figure I need to say something political. I hope to have very few political posts here. Why? Because I see politics as such a messed up business. There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Rebublicans. People think there is, and on the surface the rhetoric would lead one to believe that there is. But in the end they both seem to think that they know better how to spend your money than you do. I will probably end up voting Republican this year, by default, because I like their rhetoric better than the Democrats. One year I voted Libertarian (this is where I find the most to agree with), but that seems like a waste because they have so little chance of winning. In the end, however, I think politics divides people far, far, far more than it unites. Anyone that does not see the world as you do is less inteligent. I mostly choose to not go there.

As an example, look at this post(my inspiration for this) advocating a Christ centered, non-partisan look at politics. After his well written plea for a 'third door', centered on our commitment to God and where that leads us individually, the comments immediately went into why the Conservative or Liberal position was superior. Granted, it was polite and mild, but it took a unifying message and began to divide.

Mostly I just wish that Government would get out of my way. Let me fund my own retirement instead of sucking in 15%+ of my wages into Social Security and then redistributing it. Let me choose how to do my support of the poor. Let me choose where that money goes. Wouldn't a novel idea be to decree that a certain percentage of your money go to charitable work (or retirement). The government would have no hand in it except to see that you gave. Think of the charities that would spring up to compete for your dollars and care for those in need. Think of the additional good that would be done as your money wouldn't be filtered through the government expanse of red tape before reaching the needy. I'm sure there's a flaw in this reasoning, but I can't see it now. Think of it as a mix of the care of socialism and the efficiency of the free market. (Quick, somebody pop my idealistic bubble here.)

So as I contemplate the election to come, I sigh and wonder what would be if we really had a choice other than more government for our security or more govrnment for the less fortunate (to reduce the entire election and campaign to one phrase).

End of politics for as long as I can manage (hopefully a long time.)

8 Comments

Must...stop... myself...from... responding...with...irrational... Democrat...kneejerk...post...:)

You know I can't resist a good political discussion! I resisted being sucked into the homosexuality thing, but this...this is too juicy.

More later, I promise.

I tentatively await your words.

Oh, and I'd like to hear your thougths on my post on 'Gay Christians' Do it privately if you'd rather, but I do value your thoughts.

You're not going to make me regret that I posted something political, are you? :-)

I really like your idea of the govt. specifying a preset charitable contribution amount, but letting us decide who to give to. The only downside that I could see would be the formation of some kind of monstrous clearing house orginization like the United Way, who would eventually pollute the whole idea... but I still think the idea has great merit.

Question - how do we stop giving to Social Security so we can fund our own individual retirements without putting all the current recipients in financial durress??

I envisioned something like a reporting mechanism on your tax form for how much you gave and to whom rather than some other 'United Way' like clearing house. That's not much better than what we have now.

As far as SS, that's really a tough one. It angers me as I think about how hard it is for me to save I get angry thinking about how much of my money is going to someone elses retirement and how little of that I'll likely get back later. (To be fair,that has more to do with my personal weaknesses than SS, but the SS contributions don't help.) The problem is if I take my money and go home, that leaves the older generations out in the cold. The irony here is that people get prosecuted for setting up schemes like this (chain letters aren't all that different that SS in my opinion) Perhaps some sort of system where I get to invest my half of SS and the employer's half still goes into the SS 'fund' to go to current beneficiaries. That wouldn't be enough in the short term, but as time went on the burden on the system would be less because people would have their own accounts to draw from. Not sure if that's workable or not, but the system as it stands is not sustainable and I'm afraid my generation is the one who is going to get burned.

There's a lot here I want to comment on. But it will have to wait until the weekend...

Oh, where do I start?

SS: I've always thought of that like the gleanings that God urged the Israelites to leave in the field for the poor. See Leviticus 19:8-10 and Leviticus 23:21-23. The alternative to not paying it is leaving a lot of our elders with no income at all. These are the men and women whose labor and sacrifice created the stable, prosperous economy that enable us to have jobs at all. Paying SS and Medicare is quite literally the least we can do. I don't ever expect that any of it will come back. It's a shame that it is still advertised as a trust fund for our own retirements.

As far as the government getting out of the way and letting private charities take over, that sounds good but it makes one dangerous assumption: the average American gives a flip about others in need. Many do, many do not.

And if you were to establish a mandatory giving percentage (which there is no constitutional mechanism for, BTW) which is funneled to the "charity of choice" by each individual, you end up with a system where there is much money and little oversight. Such systems are rife with corruption. You'd have people starting up fake charities left and right.

And even the legitimate charities would be forced to compete for taxpayer's money. So if you have a really popular, soft-sell charity, like feeding orphans or some such, you might do well (if you could afford the advertising budget to get your message out...). But if you had a somewhat less attractive but equally important charity--say, providing hospice care for AIDS patients or clean needles for drug addicts or job training for prostitutes who want to get out of the sex industry--you might be screwed.

The nice thing about the government is that they have a constitutional obligation to provide equal access and equal protection to basic human rights for all of their citizens. There is no way to ensure this would occur if our social welfare system became relegated to the free market. Free markets do many things well, but ensuring the protection of the powerless is not one of them.

I've always thought of that like the gleanings that God urged the Israelites to leave in the field for the poor. See Leviticus 19:8-10 and Leviticus 23:21-23. .... Paying SS and Medicare is quite literally the least we can do.
I've never looked at it that way. That's really an interesting viewpoint that I'll have to give more thought.
It's a shame that it is still advertised as a trust fund for our own retirements.
It's a shame that it ever was advertised that way. It's a system to take from the current workers to give to the now retired workers. Frankly, the way you described it above would have been more honest and maybe just as easy to get passed.

My point above was that we might better serve workers not by trying to provide for them ,but by helping them provide for themselves. How to transition to that type of system from what we have now without loosing those who are now retired or soon to retire - I don't know. That would be a real problem.

You'd have people starting up fake charities left and right.
You're probably right there. That point was pretty off the cuff without much thought. Creates more questions than answers, probably.



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  • I've always thought of that like the gleanings that God urged the Israelites to leave in the field for the poor. See Leviticus 19:8-10 and Leviticus 23:21-23. .... Paying SS and Medicare is quite literally the least we c...

  • Oh, where do I start? SS: I've always thought of that like the gleanings that God urged the Israelites to leave in the field for the poor. See Leviticus 19:8-10 and Leviticus 23:21-23. The alternative to not paying...

  • There's a lot here I want to comment on. But it will have to wait until the weekend......

  • I envisioned something like a reporting mechanism on your tax form for how much you gave and to whom rather than some other 'United Way' like clearing house. That's not much better than what we have now. As far as SS, ...

  • I really like your idea of the govt. specifying a preset charitable contribution amount, but letting us decide who to give to. The only downside that I could see would be the formation of some kind of monstrous clearing ...

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