Saturday, December 18, 2004

Max Speaks of Re-Arranging Deck Chairs...

On the Titanic...just to keep occupied, mind you, until the rescue ship [perhaps piloted by Cap'n Kinsley (thanks to Craig Newmark)] arrives:

Why in the world would we want to “put aside all the resources today” or any day for that matter to defray a cumulative cost between 2042 and 2080? Do you starve yourself for ten years in order to amass the total price of a house you’re going to buy in ten years? Don’t forget, the charming Maya is part of the “liberal” side of the debate in Washington.

Here’s a novel alternative: compare the gap for any given year to GDP for that year. That’s the actual cash needed to pay full benefits. The Social Security trustees say the cash requirement for 2045, after “bankruptcy,” will be 1.66 percent of GDP. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Less than the Bush tax cuts.

Could the economy stand a sudden growth in taxes of 1.66 percent of GDP?

The Academy is always willing to admire an artist at work, even when the art in question is that of the so-wacky analogy. Would we want to put aside some money starting right now, if we knew with about 99% certainty that we would need to move to a bigger, more expensive house in the future? Especially when we know that 1/3 of the family's work force is planning to retire at that same time?

The FLUBA Committee of Financial Prudence recommends it. Given that Medicare will have beaten SS to the punch, and there will be two retiree programs short of the funds needed to pay for the benefits promised.

And, as for any help arriving from Michael Kinsley:

I won't bore you with my mathematical proof that Social Security privatization can't work. Not quite true: I will bore you with it, but not until next week.

Well, the FLUBA's iceberg watch warns, they're still out there.

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