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February 02, 2005



Same old Jim, all rhetoric, no facts.

That's why you are the one with the blinders and you are the one who will suffer as your money is taken away from you. 10% in the stock market, eh? It's that simple... Is that what tech investors in 2000 received for their hard earned investments? How about those who bought Enron and Worldcom?

How much is it going to cost us to turn SS into a brokerage account? Where are the trillions of dollars going to come from to privatize? Are brokerages going to buy this stock for free? That's what I thought... you have not the slightest clue. That's why your bank account in U.S. dollars went down 50% against mine that's in Euros and Aussie dollars. I'm happy for you... go on doing what you do.


Jim, when it comes to foreign policy, I would guess that none of us are experts. But when it comes to money, several of us are in the business. Your ignorance is plain and you're so far out of the league of being able to have an intelligent discussion on this that I don't know why you'd even bother.


...and the stock market has not out performed Social Security over time. Okay, thanks self proclaimed Elites.



Since you asked, (kind of), the political reason why privatization is so important is because Wall Street is one of the only major Bush contrubutors that has not been fully repaid. Most favors have gone to the oil and gas interests. However, Wall Street contributed millions also.

Firms like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch
have estimated the approximate profit from privatizing to be somewhere in the $5 billion dollar range. Not bad in a post-tech wreck age.


So is that why Clinton wanted to do the same thing?



When there is a little something called a BUDGET SURPLUS, there's no need to fix something that isn't broke. But even if there were, funds would be available to pay for it.


Jim said:

>And by the way, not one economist in the whole world thinks tax cuts are a good thing. I talked to all of them.

In that case, you're obviously aware of the following data from the Urban-Brookings Institution tax Policy Center

* In 2004, the middle 20% of all US households will receive 8.9% of the tax cuts
* Millionaires, comprising 0.2% of US households, however, will receive 15.3%.
The tax cuts will bestow $30 billion on a mere 257,000 Americans.
* By the time the tax cuts are phased in fully, the wealthiest 1% of US citizens will receive 39% of the total tax savings.

For example, your wonderful president received $30,858 in tax savings for 2003. The CEO of Pfizer, who contributed $200,0000 to Bush, received $224,214 in tax savings in 2003.

You also know that according to the IRS and the General Accounting Office, tax enforcement against big tax evaders have fallen 60% since 2000.

And of course you also know that after releasing the 2004 Economic Report of the president, members of the administration tried to distance themselves from the ludicrous job growth predictions (460,00 per month) by backing off its own numbers and stating "The president is not a statistician."

The manufacturing sector has lost 2.8 million jobs since Bush so his solution was to reinvent the definition of manufacturing jobs.

According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, those with an average salary of $35,300 got $400 from the Bush tax cuts. WOW !!!!!!!!!!!

Don't forget Bush's proposal to cut $3 billion from the Earned Income Tax Credit, one of the few things that actually does help working parents with incomes less than $35,000. And the elimination of the child tax credit for 12 million children of low income workers. But I guess they can't balance their checkbook because I know you talked to them all.

Naturally, you also know that the division of wealth is far greater than any Democratic nation on Earth. 40% of US wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. I suppose you are among those elite few that you call us all, right Jim?


Rodi, why do you even bother? Really! There are people worth educating... those who realize that they don't know enough and want to learn facts. Then there are jokers like Jim, who know nothing and just want to get under your skin. Let him support Bush with blinders on. I work on Wall Street and I don't mind taking $5 billion off of people like him. I used to care about their well being, but screw that.

My friend Bush helped me make a 100% profit in oil stocks, CVX, APC, HAL, and making Exxon the largest company in the world within one year! Even better, I was paid a 3% dividend the whole time, of which I got a tax cut on thanks to Bush and if I sell, I get another whopping capital gains tax cut thanks to Bush.

The president is a genius! He got imbeciles like Jim to think that he was saving the world while he gave himself and his friends a infusion of money that just keeps on giving. Even better, he got Jim to defend him and worship him while he was getting jacked at the pump and jacked on tax day. Now Jim wants to give us his SS money! Whoo hoo! Let the party go on!


I just come here to keep the sight going. You guys don't say anything unless I say something that irks you.

Well I'm off to bed.

Be sure to say your prayers guys. "Dear Karl Marx, we thank thee for this big pot we share...."


Wrong again, Jim. Having you support a President who rips you off and lines the pockets of himself, his supporters, and me. What could possibly be irksome about that? It's ingeniusly entertaining.

Hey, since the stock market returns 10%, why don't you invest 100% of your money in it instead of leaving any in the bank or under your mattress?



Stop writing to me. I'm not worth the time.

Though my mattress is getting pretty full.


No, Jim, you're not worth the time. But the unintentional comedy that you provide is great! You should be the star of your own reality show. Let's call it, "Jim gives Bush a Ride" about an idiot who argues with facts made up out of thin air and dares to be smug. In it, you could educate the world on how SS returns 1% and stocks return 10% and how so many Republicans who oppose privatization are Marxists.


No, let's call it, "The Mark of Arrogance". It will be about a self proclaimed Wall St. genius, who makes millions off the stock market but gives all his earnings away to the poor and downtrodden (because you do, right?) Then he proclaims "all is well" with social security. Why? Because it's the opposite of what Bush says.


OK this is way off topic, and seriously cheeky, but Mark would it be completely out of order to ask if you might have any input for me on a personal level re: investing?

I suspect this is a similar request to the ones I get hit up with all the time about helping out a friend's brother's yoga teacher's band (I'm in the music industry) but if it's not totally obnoxious of me to ask, I'd really appreciate just a couple of minutes of your time. I've been wading through loads of newspaper and magazine columns on the topic and feel as confused as ever about what to do with the money I still have in dollars.

If you're open to this, please drop me a line on maryannmelchior@yahoo.co.uk and I'll get in touch with you at your convenience. If not, no hard feelings, and please do keep up the good work on this board. Your posts have given me a some great, pragmatic data to back up my suspicions about this administration, and I really appreciate the time you've taken to get them out there.

On an unrelated note, did anyone see the special on torture in US prisons on Channel 4 last night?



Hey, this is fairly entertaining.

On a serious note, allow me to address your question of why I bother. I also work in the financial industry; started in 5 WTC 20 years ago, moved to California and now I work for a small Canadian brokerage after marrying my Canadian wife and moving to Calgary.

As I've alluded to, I am NOT a democrat; in fact, I have no party affiliation. Nor have I ever been so interested or fascinated (in a negative way) with any US presidential administration. Hypothetically, I should be exactly like you. My wife and I are middle class, make about $170K combined, own a $240K new house (that would've been $700K in California) and have a decent investment portfolio. So if anything, everything Bush does also from a financial standpoint benefits me.

But when I moved up here I had a long period of involuntary unemployment due to the limited market in this oil and gas haven. So I began reading a lot of books. As one that believes in education (reading provides a better means than college), I began to learn exactly what Bush has done and continues to do. I never considered myself overly moral or overtly political.

But I am moving back to the US after our house is paid (2 or 3 more years) which makes me very concerned about all the other issues that don't get major media coverage like environmental policies (or lack thereof), health care issues, secrecy policies, education and domestic policies.

Almost all the attention is focused on Iraq and although this is understandable, I cannot begin to stress how many things Bush has done that go virtually unnoticed in the media. These policies affect you, our kids, our grandkids and me. Economic stupidity can always be undone by future administrations and it's even possible to restore the world's faith in America as well as swinging the country back to center instead of far right. But some of the things his administration has done are irreversible and I think there are just enough people out there like Chrish that voted for Bush but question a lot of his policies. If educated, these people can make intelligent decisions that help put America back on the right path.

For example, did you know that Bush has defied and broken the Clean Air Act enacted 30 years ago? He has allowed several proven toxic chemicals to be declassified as toxic to allow industry to skirt the costs related to compliance. Did you also know that numerous studies about Global Warming that the EPA (an agency created to protect the interest of all Americans) are either changed or simply disregarded and never made public if they say anything that impedes oil and gas interests? This is a God-Damn outrage. How is possible for a Democratic government to simply suppress and classify reports that are for the public's interest?

And did you know that memos went out to all National Park supervisors telling them exactly what they can and can't say to the media regarding budget cuts? In his own home state of Texas, the Padre National Seashore is one of only 2 places on Earth where certain sea turtles nest. Bush has allowed development, reversing laws enacted by the NPS to protect endangered species. In Alaska, the Tongass National Forest is the largest forest of its type in the world, a place where wildlife remains virtually unchanged since before Columbus. Bush has allowed logging interests to begin depleting the forest. Under his reign, the number of endangered species has DECREASED since 2000. And he has allowed coal companies permission to mine form the tops of mountains and then release the waste into local steams and rivers. (Another illegal act)

Don't forget No Child Left Behind. Studies show that as many as 85% of US schools will wind up failing according to this simpleton plan that punishes schools based on standardized testing. School districts have been forced to either resort to bake sales and fundraising because of all the penalties imposed on them or to outrgightly disregard Federal funding. How can the Federal government enact a law that requires a large amount of federal money to ensure compliance and then underfund it so much that no state can comply? This is illegal but the Republican controlled Federal judges say too bad. And school vouchers encourage forced enrollment in faith-based schools, another underlying purpose of the law and an ILLEGAL ONE !!!

Did you know Bush's choice for head of the Houston school board called the NEA a "terrorist group" because they will not advocate teaching Christian religious values in public schools?

These are some of the reasons why I bother. Polls released today by The NY Times show that virtually no American support the Bush SS reform. They may have re-elected him but it's my guess that very little of his remaining agenda will be accomplished. The question is can we undo some of the insanity that is the Bush war on Democracy? It seems the public is starting to at least see a hint of the lies and deceptions. As an optimist, I give Jim the benefit of the doubt that he writes one thing and says it's to "amuse" us, but he is actually thinking about a lot of the facts we present. Let's hope we can forget this decade as much as the WWII years and start new in a few years.



With regards to the environment I'm whole heartedly with you on that one. I'm dumbfounded by the actions or blatent stupidity of the Bush administration when it comes to the environment.

Yeah, I heard about the orders given to the Forestry service and was amazed they didn't have the cajones to tell the administration where to stick it. Seems to me that should be considered a violation of Freedom of Speech.

I'm equally amazed at the so-called FDA another group that serves as a whore for the drug companies and their voraciousness at greed.

With regards to the educational system and the No Child Left Behind Act I am in support of the concept. Our educational system used to be one of the best if not the best in the world and is now down with third world nations. We're graduating kids from high school who are functionally illiterate. They continue to push their flawed and failed program of Bilinqual Education even though over the past 3+ years since its elimination the kids have had over a 50% improval rating with English.
Explain to me how you teach someone English in Spanish?

A number of my aunts speak both Spanish and English and believe in the concept of Total Immersion. For them you cannot learn a language unless you are completely exposed to it.

I see nothing wrong with requiring our schools to improve their ratings. Incidentally, the schools haven't really had a cut they just did not get the increase they were expecting or they would normally have gotten. It's the same scenario that's going on here in California.
The teachers union is claiming that Arnie is drastically cutting their budget; not true. The fact is he has increased their budget by something like 2 Billion. They are complaining because they won't be getting more if there had been no cuts to begin with. Quite frankly, I would prefer to see any money the schools received be fed into them from the bottom up rather than top down. First to the classrooms and the teachers, then to the school, then to the districts. Let the districts deal with the crumbs that are left over they've become to top heavy anyway and don't seem to be doing a whole hell of a lot of good.
Jeff, nothing was said about investing in companies like Enron, WorldCom, and other's.
The politicians have the option of investing their money's into a group of investments and are profiting nicely off of them. So why can't the common Joe have the same kind of opportunity? Look at the success they've had in, I believe, its Argentina where they're doing exactly what Bush is suggesting; people are benefitting from that opportunity.

Rodi,Jeff, or Mark explain something to me and it's something I've always wondered about. SS is "supposed" to be a seperate entity that we all pay into as a supplement for retirement, correct? How is it that the condition of the Federal budget always includes the SS trust fund. "trust" fund, now that's an interesting tag to place on it. I would think that the SS funds have absolutely nothing to do with the Federal Budget unless, of course, they've been dipping into it and putting in IOU's which, of course, we all know they will never pay it back, which would explain the tie in.

So what does the Social Security funds have to do with the Federal Budget? Any and all moneys paid out to retirees are coming from the SS fund which we've all paid into so where's the connection?



First, education:
Obviously, I support a better education system for the nation. But the fact remains that the Bush plan punishes school districts by forcing them to pay (up front) if they are deemed as having schools that don’t meet the simplified explanation of a "passing grade." Basing federal funding on standardized tests that do not take into consideration language barriers and demographics, but the refusing to provide the amount of federal funs that independent agencies have stated are necessary for the implantation of such standards is what bothers me.

I agree that the only way to learn another language is immersion. My wife picked up lot of Spanish from working at a dialysis clinic in a poorer area of San Francisco when we lived there. I'm all for improving schools but the fact remains that 15 or 20 states have sued the Federal Government for failing to provide the funding necessary to implement the rules. BTW, the legislation is over 700 pages long and contains dozens of clauses that force school districts to pay up. Certain states have resorted to not even reporting their numbers. For instance, Michigan reports that over 60% of its schools fail according to the plan but Wyoming reported 0%. And Colorado simply refused to comply in favor of not receiving any Federal funding at all.

School districts across the country have resorted to extreme methods to save programs due to the Bush plan including teachers working an extra 2 weeks with no pay, posing nude for calendars to raise necessary funds and canceling any and all extracurricular activities in order to avoid layoffs. the average teacher makes about $30,000 out of college, lasts about 3 to 4 years before leaving the industry and makes a salary that has increased a about 0.05% compared with the rate of inflation.

I agree the schools need help. But Bush sugar coats everything as "black and white.", "with us or against us." Teachers are NEVER consulted and investigators in Houston found that his own school districts were fudging their numbers to avoid penalties, the teaching equivalent of Enron cooking their books.

As for Arnold, as the husband of a Registered Nurse, you will get zero support of any of his plans based on his insane attack of the Nursing industry in an effort to save money. Arnold VIOLATED the law by allowing a commission to "study" the situation for 2 more years instead of implementing higher nurse to patient ratios as required by the Proposition that was passed by voters in 1998.

Turning to Argentina, you can't compare them to the US. A financial crisis erupted there a few years ago due to heavy government regulations and large deficits (sound familiar?). The difference is that in countries whose debt is not supported by the Saudis, the markets react by devaluing the currency as investors get spooked about the government's ability to repay their debt.

Onto SS, you answered your own question. As I pointed out before, Bush has 1 and only 1 primary reason for pushing reform to a system that has been shown to be solvent thru 2040. Wall Street feels they have not been properly paid back. All the items I made reference to above (logging, timber, coal, oil/gas, pharmaceuticals) have all been handsomely rewarded for their large contributions to the Bush campaign at the expense of the general public. If SS privatizes, the way it would be implemented is through large brokerage firms setting up huge accounts on behalf of the US government and then passing on the costs to both taxpayers and the government themselves. This is fee money because most Americans jump when they hear "10% returns" (Which, by the way, is 3% higher than the best possible scenario in the best of market times, tech years notwithstanding)

The fund is mostly protected from government raiding. According to the government's own agencies (GAO, etc)the system is currently taking in about 16% more than it's paying out and ironically, the more tax cuts are implemented, the more that ratio will go up. (payroll taxes, the main source of SS funding, are not being cut since average Americans, not industry, stand to benefit from that) Bush policy is actually helping the system remain solvent, yet he cries that it's broke. Back in 2002, Bush stood at Ground Zero and gave an empty promise to Wall Street that he'd "crack down on corporate crooks". In fact, he's slashed an already underfunded SEC to the point where they can only focus on shit like Martha Stewart when Ken Lay lives his life of luxury to this day.

Not sure what you mean with your Enron comment but please be more specific and I'll comment more


Jim, I really pity you. Of all the participants here, it is you who have offered absolutely nothing to the discussion on SS, clearly because you don't even understand how SS works. Yet, you have the gall to accuse people of opposing privitization strictly on the grounds that Bush is for it, when it is you who is guilty of supporting it solely because we're against it.

Rodi has essentially written a treatise filled with financial facts, many of which have nothing to do with Bush. It's actually free financial advice, there for the serious consideration if not immediate action, but because of your hatred, you can't even protect your own pocketbook.

Even your attempts to be snide are pathetic. I have no idea whether Mark gave anything to charity and further, it's completely irrelevant to anything. BUT, Rodi, Mark, and I all voted for Kerry, who's campaign promise was to raise taxes on those making over $200,000.

I can't speak for the others, but I do know that many in that category voted against Kerry specifically to keep their $30,000 tax savings. So for those of us who are doing well and still voted for Kerry... you at least know we didn't vote for our pocketbooks and would have antied up to pay for your president's record breaking deficits.

Giving to the poor and downtrodden? Well, we tried to give the money... but Bush supporters, especially those who needed it the most, didn't want it.


Chrish, to answer your question about why I brought up Enron and Worldcom... we are talking about two of the largest companies in America before they fell. They were very, very, very widely owned. In fact, many Bushies were ex-Enron executives, who probably either made boatloads of fraudulent money if they sold on time, or lost it all when they didn't.

The point is this... not even the politicians are guaranteed any kind of return from the stock market. The monetary unit that we're talking about is called social SECURITY not social RISK. It's supposed to be there in bad times.

Stocks as an entire class are risky and some are so risky that some are banned from 401k plans and the like. I can't really believe that I have to state what is so obvious... as if the stock market only goes up and never comes down.

Have you forgotten that the Nasdaq was once trading above 5,000? What if you had $5,000 in SS in 2000 and woke up in 2002 to find that it was only worth $1,300? Or if you had chosen Enron, it would be ZERO. Would you be ready to retire?

I too am not sure what you're talking about with Argentina... they just had a full blown financial crisis so bad that the government prevented people from making bank withdrawals and there were riots.


Jeff, you are way too kind. Whenever I see one of Jim's posts, I let out a hearty laugh and wonder if there aren't other ways I can't take his money in addition to $2 oil, tax cuts on everything, no-bid contracts. If only I were a bit closer to Bush, like those Saudis he's not pressuring as oil reaches yet another all time high...

Amazingly though, I don't have to do any thinking at all. The great thing about Jim is that he just keeps on giving! I'm ready, willing, and waiting to charge him set up and trading fees for his social security money so he can chase the 10% return that he's having a wet dream about.

When it comes down to it, Bush is really genius... not as a leader, but in creating a cult and extorting blood, sweat, and tears from them. All he has to do is say 9/11 and the money will come. Freedom and democracy! Cha-ching. Terrorists and evil-doers! Cha-ching. WMD! Cha-ching. Gay marriage! Cha-ching. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a patent on it...


There are a lot of substantive questions to answer and that I'll do to the best of my ability. Bear with me, as it will probably come in pieces...

Chrish, there are a lot of myths floating around on social security and it's hard for even those who are in corporate finance to figure out what's going on. Unfortunately, our politicians won't tell you and that goes double for Bush... which is why we have to do the hard work ourselves. You have to be be the judge of whether the facts fit my conclusions.

To expand on what Jeff said, SS does not exist to send you off to a lavish retirement. That, my friend, is your responsibility. What it does is provide a safety net... insurance. In the case of your common Joe... or let's call him, common Jim, who's blown all of his life savings and is too old to work, it provides some money to keep him out of poverty.

Where's the crisis? Seriously, this crisis appeared out of the blue on Bush's domestic agenda. I don't recall him saying anything about social security in 2000... in fact most have forgotten, but I vividly remember the man campaigning on tax cuts because of budget surplus projections that everyone knew were false.

Imaginary surplus, imaginary WMD, and now imaginary SS crisis! I love this guy! You have to admire the balls of someone who takes money out of the system with a huge tax relief package aimed mostly at those who don't need it and then cries that there's not enough money in SS. But everything works when you have supporters like common Jim.

Your first piece of evidence is that SS takes money out of your paycheck. Just look at your tax forms... it's all there and it's there for your co-workers too, assuming that you're not retired. It's called "Federal Insurance Contributions Act", NOT pension. It pays something if you're disabled. It pays your spouse something if you die. When you are retired, SS will be taking money from the new generation of workers...

You speak of a common myth that the IOU will not be paid. Yet, U.S. treasuries are regarded world wide as the safest possible investment based on the exact same thing as SS, the power of the U.S. government to tax us. If you try and sell a U.S. treasury today, do you really believe they're going to tell you that there's no money?

SS has worked for 70 years and is currently taking in more money than paying out, although those projections are changing because of our demographics. Bottom line... there's no crisis and even if there were one, the solution would be to raise taxes instead of dreaming up some fantasy privatization scheme.

One other thing for you to consider Chrish, is that privatization does not mean that you'll get to sit around trading individual stocks online with your SS money. Rather you get to pick from a few mutual funds that the government lets you choose from after they choose what companies are in the fund. I hope that idea raises serious alarm bells with you... if you were the CEO of a public company, what would you do for the chance to sell shares to every single person with SS?



I'm still thinking about what you asked. It's a bit touchy for me to offer investing advice given both what I do for a living and what I do not. Nevertheless, your request is not cheeky at all, in fact, I'm flattered that you think what I write is useful.

The what I do not is a bit easier to explain. I'm not an expert at currency or investing and I'm not a financial advisor or a broker, so I can't say that I have any history of giving this kind of advice. Even of the two Bush related investments that I've spoken about here, oil and foreign currency, I only expected modest success at the time I went in. All I knew were that the most powerful people in our country were oil men and that they were going to do huge tax cuts and lower rates like crazy.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think Bush (and Greenspan) would end up with a perfect storm of events: never ending war that's already 7 times over budget, tax cuts, record low interest rates, wild increases in money supply, no-bid contracts, no pressure on OPEC, no security in Iraq, etc.

Furthermore, I never imagined that there were enough common Jims in our country who enjoyed the punishment so much that they would want more and re-elect such an incompetent president. It takes a special type of retard not to question how a Texas oil companies, like Exxon-Mobil, already the biggest oil major, managed to double their size in two years time, becoming the single biggest company in the world while he pays double at the pump.

But I digress, you asked me about the U.S. dollar. My best guess is that the slaughter will continue in the long term and that there's a real chance of currency crisis. Because of our trade deficit, foreigners now own $2.4 trillion more of us than we do of them... so much so that they even own much of our mortgage debt. Just imagine how you would feel if you lent money to George W. and he not only spent it recklessly, but gave you the finger.

There's a lot more to this story, including free money from low interest rates, wild increases in money supply, no savings and wild spending by American consumers, and shady lending practices (0% down on a $700,000 house).

But if you want to protect yourself or at least diversify, you can trade USD for foreign currencies or precious metals, which are supposed to be a store of value. I've heard that everbank.com offers an easy way to trade foreign currencies. Luckily, gold got a lot easier to trade since both StreetTracks (under the symbol GLD) and Barclay's opened up exchange traded funds.

I hope this helps and I'll think about what if any other advice, if any I can offer. Needless to say, you must draw these conclusions yourself and take opportunities only when you think the reward is greater than the risk. If you're not a true believer, then even if the idea is right, you'll be a weak investor who is prone to being shaken out and hurt during the many roller coaster rides.


One crucial thing that we haven't talked about enough is the transition cost of privatization. I could use some help fact checking, but if I have it right, then the whole plan is absolutely ludicrous.

First, we already know that SS checks are being cut to the retired from incoming money workers send in. So what happens if this very same money is used to buy stocks? Obviously, you cannot both buy stocks and pay retirees with the same money. So Bush plans for us to borrow money from the government at 3% over inflation to pay for current benefits.

On top of the borrowing costs, someone has to pay a new government agency for monitoring the private accounts. The cost I hear is $2.8 trillion. You would have to earn an enormous rate of return from the private account to cover your loan and whatever other administrative fees there are. And if you lost money? Then I think you'd be up shit's creek.



From what I've heard, the large Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch plan on being heavily involved in the administrative aspect of maintaining the privatized SS fund. Large global custodians like State Street Bank & Trust are also salivating over the thought of acting in a fiduciary capacity for accounts that potentially have 150 million participants. Of course there will be no bidding or anything that resembles a fair market. Those that contributed the most will have first dibs, plain and simple.

Back to the comments on the choices available. Bush claims you won't be forced to invest in the stock market. Even if this is true, look how many Jims simply have no clue and just listen to Bush.

March is the 5 year the anniversary of the NASDAQ bubble. Amazingly enough, it's been 60 months since it topped out at 5080. Notice the value today remains in a trading range of 2000-2200. 10% returns are a thing of the past with the possible exception of some of the best run energy sector mutual funds like T Rowe Price or Fidelity. But even that won't continue because if oil gets past $60 or $70, the Bush government will probably wind up stepping in to somehow curtail price increases.

The point is that SS does NOT need fixing at the moment. Yet today Bush is speaking in Pennsylvania and Michigan to give speeches about why reform is so imperative. After a stop at the FBI where he decreed that "the fight on global terrorism is going well."

I have a theory. After reviewing everything Bush has done that rarely gets attention from the media (many of which I have alluded to in the last few days), there's actually little left to change that he hasn't already done. The big picture goal of Bush is to completely wipe out every "New Deal" form of socialized government controls in favor of a "free-market economy" that exists ONLY for corporations, industry and the wealthy.

He's already made illegal changes to the Endangered Species Act, The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, and completely revamped the nation's energy policy in total secrecy (the Federal Courts have continued to rule against everyone that keeps suing to have the minutes of Cheney's Energy Commission made public)

He's also appointed over 45 Federal Circuit Court Judges in all 11 districts with views so conservative it would make your head spin, succeeded in allowing price controls for prescription drugs and denying Americans the right to import them form Canada, enacted Medical and Medicaid reform that completely ignores the senior citizens it serves, and severely limited the nation's school budgets by enacting a policy that can’t work due to a shortage of federal funding.

There's only so munch more he can do to ensure that the next 4 or 5 generations can not undo his attack against traditional American democracy. So is it any wonder that he wants to take away one of the only guaranteed social safety nets left in order to line the pockets of the financial industry (the same industry he vowed to rid of corporate wrongdoers)

More on Medicare reform:
Some of the more ridiculous rules written into the legislation include:

- A clause that HMO's can change the prices of prescription drugs by simply posting a notice on the internet; hardly a means of information for most seniors
- Forces the seniors to choose between over 300 different types of Medicare Discount cards, all with different rules and rates. Most of the discounts go the drug companies.
- A "gap" between the amount that government pays initially and then starts paying again when a certain limit is reached. This has increased to as much as $3500 out of pocket

Mark is correct in his assessment that Bush is actually a genius by somehow successfully allowing an entire nation to bow at his every move simply by saying "terrorism", "9/11", and "moral values".

Thought you guys would appreciate the headline form The National Post the other day:

"Bush won't return Prime Minister's Calls"

(Payback for not agreeing to sign onto Star Wars)

And in case none of you heard, a Montana judge has successfully issued an injunction stopping the border from re-opening to Canadian beef imports despite the OK form the FDA and the Secretary of Agriculture. Yeah, NAFTA really helped Canada. At last estimate, $7 billion has been lost due to 24 months of lost exports due to one case of Mad Cow from a cow that was born not in Canada, but (where else)in America?

Actually, there is one more thing Bush is working on to exasperate America's stranglehold on the world, the CAFTA (an extension of NAFTA to include Central and South America) Anyone wanna discuss how much more that can discredit up the country's already tarnished reputation?


Well, I stand corrected. I commented that there’s not much left Bush can Bush do to push his lunatic policies further. I forgot about one of the only acts so radical, it’s been stalled since 2002.

Today he nominated Steve Johnson, a 24 year veteran of the EPA to head up the agency. His primary function is to promote Bush's "Clear Skies" policy. Holy irony, Batman, could there ever be an act named that is a bigger oxymorn?

Clear Skies is a Bush program is so atrocious to the environment that even the Republican Senate blocked it from passing in 2002. In short, it revamps U.S. air pollution laws, creating a `cap-and-trade' system that allows utilities that exceed pollution limits to trade credits with utilities below the limits.

In other words, allowable levels of carbon dioxide, sculpture and mercury that can be released into the atmosphere would rise so that industry can skirt existing laws passed for the benefit of the general public and make more money.

Adolph Bush's public comment is that it's a
"common-sense pro-environment, pro-jobs piece of legislation". In other words, these are some other of the few industries left that have not been rewarded for all their Bush contributions.

Not surprisingly, Frank Maisano, a spokesman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents utilities such as Southern Co. and Duke Energy Corp. in Washington, said Johnson would be a great addition to the administration's team that pushes policies like "Clear Skies." Gee, another comment from someone that represents the interests of big industry. How surprising

By the way, Bush's request for the 2006 fiscal year included a 5.6 percent cut in funding for the agency, to $7.57 billion, the second time his administration has requested less money. Budget cuts last year were restored by Congress for total agency funding of $8.02 billion

Once again Bush displays his intentions by cutting funding to another government agency created for the protection of all Americans in favor of lobbyists and greed.

Will there even be any government agencies left by the time he leaves?

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