Why Now?
Thursday, January 13, 2005

Let's plug in some real numbers: under Bush, a real world growth mutual fund [Jennison Growth and similar] that would be typical for retirement savings has lost in excess of one-third of its value. During the same period Treasury bills have been paying in excess of 5% per annum. Social Security is invested in Treasury bills.

So at the start of Bush's term a $100K in a private fund is now worth $66K, but the same money in Social Security is now worth > $120K. Treasury bills have a guaranteed return, while there are no guarantees with stocks.

Buying stocks is a gamble, buying Treasury bills is not. Do people really want to gamble with their retirement?

There is a possibility that you can make much more money in the stock market, than buying Treasury bills, but you can just as easily make less. In a single year, 1995, that growth portfolio made 26%, and then from 2001 to 2005 it dropped 33%.

If you bought the Dow Jones Industrial Average your $100K would still be worth approximately $100K after 4 years. Bush has pushed most of the traditional "buttons": tax cuts, deficit spending, etc. and it hasn't worked. If you don't create jobs, people can't spend money. Two-thirds of the GDP is based on consumer spending, and once everyone has maxed their credit cards, the spending is over and the GDP drops.

Another suggestion is that when you retire you can take your retirement account and buy an annuity that will provide you with a stable monthly income. Maybe, but in the case of Pacific Lumber retirees whose fully funded retirement was replaced with annuities after a leveraged buy-out, they lost it all when the insurance company that provided the annuities went bankrupt.

The current Social Security system is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. This privatization plan is backed by the full faith and credit of large businesses, like Enron, Tyco, MCI, Halliburton. Who do you trust with your retirement?

BTW, if you were wondering why Bush seems so interested in the asbestos lawsuits, guess what brilliant business visionary, while CEO of Halliburton, bought a company with a massive asbestos liability?


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