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Old 03-23-2004, 05:32 PM   #15
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ok..a couple of things: TR was no "republican", in today's sense, OR in his own days. He was one of the most progressive president's we've ever had. the current SS system was HIS idea, but only came about through is younger cousin, Franklin. The repubs of the day hated him as much as the repubs of today hate clinton. The reason he became prez in the first place was a ploy to get him out of the way. They gave him the VP slot to shut him up, and render him impotent. that all backfired when they shot McKinley. TR was only a "Repub" by birth, having been born into a wealthy family.

SS is not a pension plan into which you "invest" your earnings, to reap a dividend of sorts at a later date. it is simply a "Tax" that supports the current government programs. there's no "drawer" in Washington with your name on it, in which your money sits earning interest or anything like that. for some reason, that's the way people look at it, but it isn't so, and it never was. when it was instituted, most people never lived long enough to get anything from the program. The few that did considered themselves lucky (and they were) to have lived that long. Average life expectancy was 62. The idea was to keep these few people from starving to death for the last couple of years of their lives...not support a lengthy retirement.
The problem now is that modern medicine has been able to extend life...but not youth. So we live longer...but nor more able to work a 40-hour week than the 60-somethings of the 1930's. So what do we do? The "pyramid scheme" only works if there are a few people at the top, and lots and lots of people at the bottom, but the shape of the pyramid is changing.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:33 PM   #16
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Okay, since this thread was split I'll eat my previous statement and throw another couple cents into the coffer.

Personal feelings, prejudices and bias' aside, there are certain responsibilities that we as the voters have to our government and, ultimately, to each other. The most important of these is to educate ourselves on the subject matter and the candidates who seek public office and to vote our conscience. Far too many people don't vote at all and far too many who do vote do so without first knowing what is at stake when they punch their cards.

With easy access to information via the internet today, their is no logical reason, in my mind, why voters can't do their homework and learn somehting about the people and issues that they are pldeging loyalty to at the booth. Granted, information on the net is liekly to be as tainted as that which may be presented in other forms of the media. But it is our responsibility to do our best to sort through the fluff and find the heart of truth in these matters.

Politicians today are, essentially, no different than those of the last century or the one before that. They really get a free ride once on board and they will do everything they can to stay there. Who wouldn't? The difference in politics today may just be that we, as the voting public, don't require as much of them and don't hold them accountable for the things they do, or don't do. After all, this country has a far greater populace and the seats of government reside behind a much denser buffer of bureaucracy than was the case even fifty years ago.

The parties have changed, too. Once upon a time, the Republicans were a fiscally responsible, environmentally conscious and pro-human rights organization. Just look at the likes of Abraham Lincoln and, again, at Teddy Roosevelt. Over the last half century this trend has shifted and the Democrats began to embrace those ideals to a larger extent than the Republicans - witness the work of men like John F. Kennedy and (perhaps with the exception of his successor, Lyndon Johnson) all of the Democratic administrations that have followed. Sure there remain key issues which each party has incessantly run on for the past several decades (gun control and pro-life for the Republicans; healthcare and social security for the Democrats), but the scales of balance have shifted none-the-less with the Democrats ending up a bit more centred and the Republicans a bit more to the right.

No matter which party, if either, your ideals best align with, there can be no question that we have issues IN THIS COUNTRY which must be dealt with - and soon.

Oil is a problem, so is pollution. We have the means of positively impacting both available to us right now. Hydrogen-based alternative fuels and the engines to combust them are reality. I can only presume that they haven't been made widely available to the public because some huge corporation(s) stand to lose loads of money on oil sales in the process. Haliburton maybe? I don't know. But these are the questions that we should be demanding that our elected officials answer.

Our failing economy - another problem. Whether you want to believe it or not, one reason that our economy continues to defy recovery is because of our deficit spending. All of us are guilty of deficit spending at one time or another - ever carry a balance on your credit card(s)? So how does a government deficit spend? It seeks loans from foreign banks - loans which accrue interest. It prints more currency - which devalues the dollar (also known as inflation). When the value of the dollar becomes unstable, investment banks sell their dollars in favor of more stable forms of currency (just as one might sell a failing stock in order to cut his losses). When this happens, the economic failure is accelerated and stock markets crash.

The problems facing our government now are not new. Every administration has had these or similar issues to deal with. What is critical in the outcome is how these situations are handled. It is in the handling of these matters that I think our present administration is failing - choosing to allocate resources to concerns which are not those most critical to our peace, security and pursuit of happiness. We have no guarantee that the next administration will do any better, but I am willing to gamble my vote that they won't do any worse.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:53 PM   #17
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Chuck,

While it is true that TR's ideologies were not in perfect alignment with the majority of Republicans of his day, there can be no question that his own convictions initially led him to the Republican party because they shared more in common than did the Democratic party. Let's not forget that TR was the Republican candidate for Governor of New York three years before he ran for the Presidency with McKinley.
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Old 03-23-2004, 05:55 PM   #18
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I disagree with the last part very much. I think this administration has done no better or worse than other administrations.

Inflation is low, the economy as is the case every deacde is slowly coming out of a recession. The 9/11 attacks only made things worse. It's a slow process. Interest rates are low and the dollar although not in great shape is holding it's own.

Everyone is so negitive when it come to the current admin. I wonder how eveyone would feel if Gore had won....would we still be having these converstations? I know I would and believe it or not, I'd defend Gore as much as I can't stand the man because there is only so much you can do in a recession that also had the worst terrorist attack in our country's history. Gore, although he might not have gone into the wildlife reserves for drilling, he would have bought more oil from the Middle East, South America or the growing and developing African oil fields which is no better than going into the wildlife reserves...problem is we need it and as much as alternate fuels are out there, they still lack what it takes to do more robust applications at a price point. Computers were the same way...when they first came out, they cost thousands, now you get get one for a few hundred and it's 5000x more powerful. It took about 7 or 8 years for that to happen. Everyone wants everything fixed right away, and that's just not how the world works. How much can you expect from a man in only 4 years? That said, I can see no issue more or less with Bush comapred to Kerry, so I'm stickin with what I know. Kerry is too much of a variable in a time when we need a strong leader who isn't worried about world opinion. You really think Libya was gonna throw away it's WMD materials had it not seen what was going on? Don't think a few others are thinking twice too. These things take time and cost money and if we need to run into a deficit to cover our behinds, I'm all for it.

Sure I'd like to pay cash for my car and Airstream, but it's in my best intersted to float it. Same holds true with programs needed. You do as much as you can, get the rest on credit and pay down the debt when the economy is booming which will be in about 2 years or less. Meaning whomever is in the White House next terem is going to reap any benefits just like Clinton did...frankly you could have put a chimp in the seat and pure Capitalism and greed would have driven the economy upward, not a sitting president. Now you have Kerry out there claiming he's gonna restore the nation. How really is he going to do that? He has given no real workable plan except for getting rid of the tax cut and possibly raising taxes. Folks say only the rich got the tax refund. I guess either I missed the bank statement that said I'm rich or I too was included in the tax cut and refund. This years taxes were far lower than last years taxes and the meager 1800.00 I wrote off from my Airstream as a second home had only a bit to do with that. Most of my capital gains were not consumed by the government as they were just 4 years ago. I was paying 30%.

That said, I still don't expect to see any money at my retirement from SS, so I've done a few different things on my own, regardless of what ape gets into office.
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Old 03-23-2004, 06:06 PM   #19
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Twinkie,

The dollar is not "holding it's own". To buy one Britsh Pound you now need $1.83; one Euro, $1.22. One year ago you could have purchased one Euro for exactly $1.00; a Britsh Pound for $1.50.

I hope you are right about our economy improving over the next couple of years. No one, particularly me, wants to pay the price for being able to say "I told you so."
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:30 PM   #20
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Enough about SS & politics, just go vote,! Can we focus on AIRSTREAMS !!
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:46 PM   #21
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Wink Relax

I think I heard on the news today that Social Security is good until 2042 so if you are over 23 years of age you are OK.

Now Medicare is slated to run out in 2019.
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:50 PM   #22
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Question airstream as a second home???

Whoa, you mean we can write off our airstream as a second home??? Did I understand that right??

Unfortunately, I'm already retired- disabled as it were. I'd much rather be able to work. so your SS money is already going to me. Sorry.

Now, my doctor has ordered me to go to fresher air in the most polluted months. My county is in the top ten percent most polluted in the USA- and I have dubya to thank for that- after all he was gov of TX when it got so worse.

So is there any benefits to taxes for me? My husband does his own taxes and he says no way for second home.
Re-building the airstream so that I can make it into a safe home is REALLY expensive- any tax deductions would be appreciated.
thanks -this is a really interesting thread! I like reading all the points of view. Silver Suz.
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Old 03-23-2004, 08:28 PM   #23
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If you don't have a second home you are writing off, you have an additional bene!

I wrote off $1800 in interest.


When I say holding it's own, it's not pretty, but it also hasn't tanked. Although Greenspan is a double edge sword, I have confidence in him. He's not all that bad a guy....lately he's got a bad rap, but in the end it really is gonna work out. Remember when home rates were 15%? Haven't seen those again have ya?

I have to believe it's all gonna work out in the end. Politicans cover their behinds pretty good. The trick is to find the loopholes that they left themselves. The rest is simply a leap of faith as I can't really predict tomorrow. But in the end, if you look at the last 3 decades as a road map, the outlook becomes a bit more bright.
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Old 03-23-2004, 08:29 PM   #24
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Re: airstream as a second home???

Quote:
Originally posted by silver suz
Whoa, you mean we can write off our airstream as a second home??? Did I understand that right??
I believe what Silvertwinkie was refering to was the interest deduction allowed on his Airstream as a second home. Trailers and boats with kitchens and sleeping qualify as a second home thus interest paid in financing can be deducted.
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:06 PM   #25
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Twinkie,

First, thanks for being my counterpart for the moment - kinda hard to have a progressive thread if everyone just says "yep, that's right."

We aren't in a depression, that's true. So you're right that the dollar hasn't tanked ... yet. Hopefully it won't. But, you and I have all the freedom in the world to "hope." Our elected officials don't have that luxury - not if they are truly leading our country, as they should be.

Mr. Greenspan has set and held our interest rate at 1% because it has been necessary in order to attempt some stabilization of our economy. He can't go much lower than that. In fact, he recently released a statement cautioning the Federal Government against its current deficit spending trend, implicating a complete collapse of economic shoring if it continues (see below).


"(Feb 26, 2004) By William Neikirk (Chicago) Tribune senior correspondent

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan ventured into the politically explosive debate over Social Security on Wednesday, urging Congress to cut benefits for future retirees to help control the budget deficit.

The central bank chairman said Congress must address the escalating costs of Social Security and Medicare to avoid rising interest rates or sharply higher taxes as the Baby Boom generation begins to retire.

"I'm just basically saying that we are overcommitted at this stage," Greenspan told the House Budget Committee.

His comments landed with a thud in middle of the presidential race and could make Social Security and Medicare major issues in the campaign. "

"We have been making commitments without focusing on our capability of meeting them," Greenspan said. "And I think it is terribly important to make certain that we communicate to the people who are about to retire what it is they are going to have to live with. And if we promise more than we can actually physically deliver, I think it will be a major blot on our whole fiscal process."


The problem is that we have stepped onto a very slippery slope. The tax cuts initiated by the Bush administration have devoured the surplus that existed at the time he took office and made it necessary to deficit spend. Add to that our high unemployment rate and the poor health of our economy in general, and we are now in a situation which makes it dangerous to raise taxes or interest rates. Thus, if spending remains unchecked and the dollar continues to decline against the British Pound and the Euro, we will, ultimately, be in a depression. That's the irresponsibility of this administration's failure to act on this particular issue.
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:10 PM   #26
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Re: Re: airstream as a second home???

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Originally posted by Davydd


I believe what Silvertwinkie was refering to was the interest deduction allowed on his Airstream as a second home. Trailers and boats with kitchens and sleeping qualify as a second home thus interest paid in financing can be deducted.
Yup...sorry should have been more clear.
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Old 03-23-2004, 09:14 PM   #27
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Well CC, as I said I respect what you say. I look at it as a mature healthy discussion. Hell, you could be right too, I could be wrong. I guess I have taken the leap of faith knowing where we have come from.

I think Greenspan's comments on SS were pretty harsh. Who really knows what will happen, but as I said if you take the last 3 decades, you'll find that the bad doesn't last very long....

The only variable that could change that is terrorism. The 9/11 stuff really hit the economy hard as if it needed more. If we take some hits and it's large and/or on our own soil, then my 2 year prediction goes out the door.

BTW, not to get far off the thread, but I hate paying $2+ a gallon for gas!

It's a whole new world.

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Old 03-23-2004, 09:44 PM   #28
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I'll just Kibbutz

Colorado_Camper and Silvertwinkie, you both are relatively young and have a major stake in the future. I'm riding the that giant baby boomer wave with a two year headstart and may not be around for the looming crisis everyone predicts and I am working hard not to be too dependent on Social Security. It doesn't seem like Kerry or Bush want to address or take on Greenspans comments. Sadly we have 8 more months of mush and smear campaigning without real substance.
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