Preparing for the Bush Future
Preparing for the Bush Future
By Mary Pitt
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Cash in those ragged old T-bonds! You know, the ones that President Bush tells us are just "worthless pieces of paper" that are in the Social Security "lockbox". After three generations of Americans have had "insurance premiums" deducted from their paychecks to build up a nestegg "safety net" for their old age, we are informed that the money has been spent and cannot be used for the purpose for which it was intended because "our leaders" have spent it for something else.
This gives rise to a greater question. If the Treasury Bonds that were issued to account for the spending of our money are now no good because the money for which they were issued was spent, how about all those T-bonds that private individuals have purchased as investments for the same purpose. It is a well-known fact that even wealthy people spread their investments between income-producing stocks, speculative stocks, and "secure" investments of which Treasury Bonds have always been considered to be the very best, being based on "the good faith and credit" of the government of the United States. Some billions of dollars of such "investments" must be included in the listing of our ever-growing national debt.
We are told that every dollar of benefits that are paid out to retirees and benficiaries must be paid by the current deductions from those who are presently in the workplace and that nothing will be accumulated for their own later needs. It comes in, it is paid out, and it is GONE! Any surplus will be added to the General Fund and spent in any way the government needs it. Thus, when the rate of withholding is inceased in order to pay the current benefits, the "surplus" becomes merely a slush fund to be used for whatever purpose they decide. When George W. Bush was inaugurated, the :"surplus" of Social Security funds that had been diverted into the General Fund amounted to almost two hundred TRILLION dollars and growing. However, since it is being held in Treasury Bonds which we are now told are merely "worthless pieces of paper", the program is deemed to be a failure and should be ended.
.At the same time, the very wealthy are sheltered from paying the "premiums" on income in excess of $90,000 per year while lower income workers are "taxed" on every penny of their earnings. If this is to be viewed as a current tax to support a specific program, it is certainly a regressive one which is in direct conflict, not only with the law as it was written, but with the principles of our democracy. When the Kings of England taxed the poor to support the wealthy, the poor people who had found their way to the New World revolted and won their independence. Now we are asked to believe that this is "necessary" in these United States! The attitude of this adminstration appears to be that the future of ordinary Americans is merely a lesser problem whereas the very rich are an endangered species to be preserved at all costs.
While this administration spends our money, "like a drunken sailor" in the words of many Conservative Republicans, they are borrowing money by the trillions from foreign nations. The collateral for these loans? Treasury bonds! The very same Treasury Bonds that President Bush tells us are "worthless" and are viewed by others as "uncollectible IOU's". Normally, this deficit situation would be corrected by an across-the board tax increase and by fiscal conservatism, which is precisely the means that allowed the Clinton administration and the Republican Congress to provide, not only a balanced budget, but a surplus in fiscal 2000. Of all the things that President Bush "inherited" from the Clinton administration, this is the one thing that he never, never mentions. This administration "doesn't believe in" taxing wealthy people in order to pay the bills. This task is left to the middle class while the wealthy "grow the economy" and the working people pay taxes on whatever "trickles down".
What is an ordinary middle-class person with a little money put away for a rainy day to do now? If we are to believe the "facts" that we are fed daily by the Social Security "reformers", the best alternative is debt-free living and cash-in hand. If we all cash out the privately-held Treasury bonds, (that are very low-interest anyway), pay off our mortgages and credit cards, we will be safe when the Oriental and European creditors decide to "call their loans". This is very similar to the predicament that people found themselves in during the late 1920's when the banks had too much money out on loans to allow people access to the money they had deposited. It brought about the "banking reform" which made the government the guarantor for bank deposits, but even that is small comfort when we are informed that the government itself is nearing bankruptcy.
What to do with the cash that may be left over after the debts are paid? If the government is the guarantor of bank deposits and the government has no money, there would be the problem of safeguarding the currency, coins and precious metal that we have in reserve. Certainly not a Mason jar buried in the back yard! Perhaps a good safe, or maybe you still have that air raid shelter that the government talked you into building to protect from an atomic bomb attack back in the fifites. You know, the one that would allow you to lock yourself in and to lock everyone else out? That would be a good repository for the material of your future. You might want to consider also renting out real "lock boxes" to friends and neighbors. If we cannot trust the government, it stands to reason that we also cannot trust the banks which are controlled by the Federal Reserve system.
This would necessitate changes in lifestyle which may seem difficult initially but, when the future of one's family and business are at stake, they may be necessary. Even if you can't speak Chinese or whatever language is spoken by the soldiers from the nation that "calls their loan", you may be able to grease a few palms to make life easier under the occupation. And, only half tongue-in-cheek, if the American people decide that their own government is too irresponsible to be trusted with the people's money, maybe the international creditors will "terminate the credit cards" of Bush and Company so that they must stop looting the Treasury.