Wednesday, February 28, 2018 1:00 am
Judge candidates yourself
Recently political ads have been appearing on television that are produced and paid for by a group called Americans for Prosperity. This is an outside advocacy group funded by the super-wealthy Koch brothers, trying to manipulate our vote for their personal gain. I would encourage all voters to evaluate individual candidates based upon how the candidate would best serve Hoosiers rather than out-of-state billionaires.
Social Security outlay ever more unsustainable
When did we stop teaching economics in schools?
On Feb. 14, The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Page reported that 50 percent of Americans want to increase spending on Social Security and 5 percent want cuts. (They don't say how the government can afford this.) The Social Security trustees report that the fund will exhaust its reserves in 2033, and recipients will see a 25 percent decrease in benefit payments. Some people will state, I paid into this and deserve to receive it. Unfortunately, the government spent what you paid in and left an IOU to cover it.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, individual payments (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps) as a percentage of federal spending were 47.7 percent in 1990 and are expected to increase to 69.2 percent in 2019.
From 1960 to today, the government had five surplus years in 1969 and 1998 to 2001. If an adult during this 57-year period put spending on their credit card for the 52 deficit years, they would probably have, and deserve, a negative FICO credit score. China is rumored to have stopped purchasing our bonds and started selling much of what they have, so we can expect increases in our deficits as we will have to increase the interest being paid.
The national debt is about $20 trillion and is estimated to be $35 trillion in 2035, excluding any additional deficient spending between now and 2035. If rates return to the historical average of 6.3 percent, the debt grows to about $90 trillion by 2035. But who knows what additional spending will be necessary (?) by Congress.
How do we solve this problem? I don't know and at 78 (in 15 years I will be 93) I would love to, but probably will not, be around to see how Washington does solve it. If you don't care about inflation, the Fed can just print more money. You can't tax the wealthy enough to get it. Defense spending was 26.5 percent of the budget in 1989 and will decline to 15.6 percent in 2019, so you're not going to get it there. Foreign aid is only about 1 percent, so forget about getting it there, either. It's a Class A question as to what spending will have to be cut.
I remember in the late 1990s seeing a few articles about the youth rebelling when they have to pay the taxes necessary to fund their parents' and grandparents' Social Security, Medicare and so forth. If you're older than 25, better start funding that IRA or 401(k) to the max permitted or be prepared to live a lot worse than you would want to.
Gun buyers' ID
If you have renewed your driver's license recently you know that the requirements are: 1) a birth certificate or unexpired passport, 2) two items to prove your current address and 3) your Social Security card. While there are other options, these three would generally apply to naturalized citizens. Why not apply these same requirements when purchasing a gun? Wouldn't that go a long ways toward keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them?
No one is suggesting taking your guns away, just better control over who can own them.