Social Security The Sad Truth

Some of our 2012 Republican candidates and others have called Social Security a Ponzi Scheme, but technically it is not.  A Ponzi Scheme intent is to funnel money to the top dishonest people who started the scheme.  While Social Security is somewhat pyramidal, the people benefiting from it are not the instigators.

Social Security is really a transfer of payments.  The existing workers pay for the current people receiving benefits.  This worked fine as long as there were more payers than receivers.  As the ratio has dropped from 4 or more payers to two payers for each receiver the fiscal possibility of this continuing is becoming doubtful.  Especially since there is an automatic cost of living rise for the receivers but not for the payers.  In the 1930’s the life expectancy was much lower than it is now so the receivers are receiving longer and getting more than they ever paid into the system.

In reality Social Security is a welfare scheme that was conceived back in the depression to get people to accept it by NOT calling it welfare.   But once you receive more than you paid into the system then it becomes welfare.  It was disguised as a retirement plan and it partly is a retirement plan.  The line item on pay stubs was FICA – Federal Insurace Contributions Act.  It certainly was not insurance in the form of say an annunity that an insurance company would pay.

Initially excess money went into the treasury and was not really seen as an investment.  Later on when politicians realized it was in trouble in the late 70’s  they created the Social Security Trust Fund.  So now it really looked like a retirement plan if you did not dig too closely.   It is “invested” in Special Treasury Notes (A bit better than IOU’s but not much).

But is a real retirement plan invested only in bonds and only government bonds?  Of course not, a real investment plan must be diversified.   You need bonds from private businesses, municipalities (local governments), and some US Government treasuries, plus cash, plus stocks.

If you buy an annunity, the insurance company goes out and invests that money in a variety of places.  If you put money in the bank the bank loans the money to a variety of other people and businesses to make a profit and pay you interest.  The Social Security Administration is not a real bank.   It cannot reloan the money it can only spend it in the current year and pay back the future interest and principal with future taxes.   So those paying taxes pay for those receiving Social Security benefits.

Privatizing Social Security was one of the smartest things George W Bush proposed to do – but he chose to invade Iraq instead.  So we are in one hell of a mess here.  How do we get out of this mess.   Well let’s leave that to a future post.

In the meantime peruse http://www.ssa.gov/

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I thought I had a problem with God, but I don’t.

I have always thought I had a problem with God, but I realize I never did.  I really have a problem with religions.

I mean I don’t have a problem with Santa, or The Easter Bunny, or The Tooth Fairy, or my Fairy Godmother, or Leprechauns or other such beings. So WHY should God be a problem?

But I really have a problem with religions.   Almost all of them want to tell me that God tells them how they and other people should live.  Well telling them is no problem, but too many religions choose to threaten you if you ignore their words of wisdom from God.  And those threats or implied threats scare the hell out of me.

Some religions are not like that – Buddhists for one.   The are pretty peaceful, though I believe many martial arts came from them and other oriental religions.  They only use martial arts for defense.  Which is not so good in Tibet where the Chinese came with guns and tanks so the Dali Llama decided to exit the country.

Hold these thoughts… more later

Thoughts on souls

I don’t have any proof or disproof of the existence of souls.  The immortal kind not the one on the bottom of your feet.

I don’t believe in souls so much of this is kind of free thought statements on how I might imagine the soul to work.  If it lives after death, then it must exist in some manner that is entirely different as a living human person.  Some other dimension or universe.

If I assume souls of individual persons exist, when did they come into existence?

If they exist after a body dies, then did they exist before the body was conceived?  If they existed before the body was conceived then where did they reside and what kind of personality did they have before the body was conceived?  Could they have thoughts, did all these unassigned souls hang out in some celestial waiting room.   What did they do to pass the time?

If souls do not come into existence until a body comes along, then do they come into existence at the moment of conception where the body was a one celled being – with no brain cells?  If so then it implies the soul is not dependent on the intellect of the person.  If they are not dependent on the intellect of the person that develops then why after death can they be punished to eternal hell for something that person did?  If eternal hell and damnation can be a consequence, then it seems the soul must have some control over the body or mind of the person they belong with.   So when does the mind and the soul become one?  Is a soul formed when the first brain cell is created?  If so then the soul is fully formed before the brain is complete.

So how does the mind and soul “sync up”.  When someone dies does the soul go to heaven or is it waiting on the second coming of Jesus (that would be the first time for Jews).  Jesus said to the criminal on the cross that on that day he would be in paradise so it must be possible to get to paradise before Jesus comes again.

When the body dies, the soul supposedly lives on.  How does that happen?  How does the soul  continue, unless of course it did exist before the person was conceived?

A person’s personality is a conglomeration of his brain cells.  So when they die how does this personality  get meshed with the soul.  If a person dies with Alzheimer’s,  then does the soul have the disease too?  If not then what is the state of mind of the soul.  10 years old?  20? ???  Or is it a composite of all the experiences of the person.  Think I like the composite idea best.

So this soul stuff is kind of confusing, or else the concept of eternal damnation of the soul does not work like we think it does.

My First Frustrating Post

This guy lives in the Cincinatti Zoo and I caught this great profile to use as my icon.

The book Blogging for Dummies says you can get started blogging in as little as 10 minutes with Blogger or WordPress.   With Blogger I would agree, but WordPress.com is more complex.  Though rolling your own at WordPress.org seems to be an order of magnitude more difficult.  I am totally intimidated so far, but plugging away.  I just found a comic strip named Pluggers on comics.com and I qualify.  Hey I even cropped a photo of my own for the header.