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Social Security Private Accounts Will Hurt Younger Workers  (May 2005) The Bush social security proposal to create private accounts has generated interest among younger workers. Ironically, it is the younger workers who will lose the most if this scam becomes law. 

The Bush Administration is misleading the American people by saying that the Social Security Trust Account is going broke. What is not mentioned is that the program was “broke” when it began. The first recipient retirees had not contributed to the program. The program did not begin as a high yield account. Rather, it was agreed that it was in the national interest to provide a steady income to help lift retired workers out of poverty. The program began as a sacred pact between the government and its citizens: Do the right thing by the current retirees, and the government will make certain that benefits will be there when it is your turn to retire. Congress established that the revenue to pay for the program would come from taxes levied on the current workers. In return, the government promised to provide a retirement income for the current workers once they reached retirement age. For most of its 70 years that the social security program has been in existence, the amount of revenue collected has been calculated to provide just enough to cover the obligations of the retiree population.

In fact, until 1980, the surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund did not exceed $20 billion. Then, in the mid-1980s, Congress decided to address the twin facts that retirees were living longer and the aging baby-boom population would increase the resource demands on the social security system as they retired. click here to read more . . .

Why the Democrats are Losing  (January 2005) The Democrats continue to lose elections because they keep learning the wrong lessons.

For instance, in 2000 the Democrats ignored the fact that it was mainly personality that got Bill Clinton elected back in 1992. The Democrats should have learned the importance of the roll that personality plays in elections after the Reagan victories. However, if the Democratic Party had believed that the sitting President Bush was vulnerable, it would not have even given Clinton the opportunity to be its nominee. The fact that Clinton turned out to be an intelligent, motivated public servant was a fortunate circumstance.  Ignoring the personality factor, the Democratic Party fielded Al Gore in 2000, then John Kerry in 2004 as its lead candidates. These men are intelligent, motivated public servants whose public personalities are unacceptable for the President in a society that embraces Paris Hilton as the IT girl and screen idol Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor.  Lesson One:  It’s the personality, stupid.

During the heady days of the 2000 election season, traditional Democratic issues did not seem relevant.  There was a belief that anyone with a hot stock tip or a clever Internet idea was days away from becoming a millionaire. Why worry about health care or social security when we are all going to be rich?  In this climate, the Democrats attempted to sell the notion, “If you want to live like a Republican, vote Democrat.”  That idea went over as well as Al Gore’s personality.

According to the exit polling done after the 2000 election, 53% of the votes cast were by people earning $50,000 or more.  What most people do not realize is that despite “everyone’s getting rich” hype, in 2000 less than 28% of the population earned $50,000 or more. Lesson Two: The richest quarter of the population determines elections. If you do not make significant inroads within this group, you will lose. click here to read more . . .

September 2004 Letter to the U.S. Congress Are you aware that the tax cuts have failed to help most of your richer constituents? Yes, I said richer.

An analysis of the tax-cut movement initiated under the Reagan administration and continued by the current administration reveals several startling facts about the richest one-quarter of the population. Between 1976 and 2000:

• The income taxes paid by Americans earning between $50,000 and $500,000 increased by about 3%. It was only the 31% DECREASE in the taxes of the Superrich (those making $1 million-plus) that made it seem like all of the Rich have done well under tax reform. Taxes paid by the $75,000 to $500,000 group increased by almost 4%.

• The $50,000 to $500,000 group paid $14 billion more in taxes than they would have paid under the 1976 rates, while the $1 million-plus group paid $102 billion less.

• In 1976, the Rich had an after-tax income that was twice the national average, while the Superrich had an after-tax income that was 11 times the national average. By 2000, the Rich were still receiving twice the national average, but the Superrich were receiving 59 times the national average.

• The after-tax income of the $50,000 to $500,000 group increased by only 28%, while the after-tax income of the $1 million-plus group increased by 591%.

The above figures get even bleaker for the Rich when the effects of the 2001 and 2003 tax legislation are considered. When the tax cuts are fully implemented, the Superrich will average an additional $175,000 in tax cuts. While the Rich will average $3,200 on paper, most of that money will disappear once the Rich have recalculated their return using the alternative minimum tax. Little of the $175,000 of the Superrich is affected by the AMT because 50% of their income is sheltered through capital gains and dividends, and the balance is already taxed above the AMT threshold. click here to read more . . . 

Cash Flow Hides Declining Prosperity for Majority  -  Most Americans have lost ground despite the booming economy. Regular paychecks have allowed many to feel richer than they really are. Under this false sense of security they charge, lease, and refinance their way into massive debt. They are no longer building a financial base, which will weather the next economic downturn. The best they can manage is leasing a life-style that can collapse during a personal economic reversal. During the period from 1979 to 1998 personal bankruptcy filings increased from 196,976 to 1,379,249 per year -- more than a 600% increase. If this trend continues, over half the adult population will be declaring bankruptcy at least once in their lifetime.

Congress Sneaks Past Another Tax Increase -  Despite all the rhetoric from Congress about wanting to cut taxes and give working families a break, they have done it again. Both houses of Congress have passed another stealth tax increase that will adversely affect nearly all Americans. They are smart enough not to call it a tax increase, but it will cause everyone’s taxes to climb more with each passing year.

Hijacking the American Dream   - Are we going to allow the American Dream to be hijacked by those among us who believe that the increasing consolidation of wealth and power into the hands of a tiny fraction of the population is best for America? Their relentless effort over the past twenty years to dismantle the progressive tax system is doing just that.

Wealth Distribution  -  One of the key indicators of the financial health of individual Americans is the distribution of wealth (i.e.: who owns what share of the personal wealth pie). Back in the 1970s, before we had 100 million computers and readily available software to do the calculations effortlessly, the government had no problem presenting a wealth of detailed statistics.

Where's the Prosperity?   - Why is the incumbent vice president of an administration that has presided over eight years of unprecedented economic prosperity still struggling in his run for president? His campaign should be a walk in the park, yet his major opponent is still holding his own despite constant gaffes that make Dan Quayle seem like a Rhodes scholar by comparison. The pundits give Gore’s personality or his connection with the Clinton scandal as the reason for voter resistance to the Vice President’s presidential bid. These might be the reasons people are giving to pollsters for their loyalty to the Bush-Cheney ticket, but they are not the real reason. The real reason is simply money.

An Open Letter to Congress - To claim 'the rich' are benefiting from the tax cuts is to buy into a fallacy. This fallacy has distracted us from the truth about what is taking place. This is not simply a 'rich vs. poor' issue. Though they are better off than many Americans, the richest third of the population believe they are paying too much in taxes and don't think they are making much economic progress.