Ripped from the headlines

In this my last (Promise!) Primary Day-related post, I want to reflect on some of the news stories that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday for which the LONG, SLOW  Day of Apathy allowed me entirely too much time for idle thinking and obsessive analysis.  This is a semi-regular feature of the blog.  It allows me to share some views on the news of the day; and in this case, some of the products of having way too much time to contemplate the world around me.

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1.  Social Security Steps Up Pace to Insolvency 

The Associated Press reports that Social Security has picked up down-hill momentum towards the black hole of insolvency, lopping three years off the estimated date when – if the status quo is maintained – the program so many count on for retirement funds and disability payments will become insolvent.  The date-to-insolvency took a few steps closer because millions of baby boomers are now hitting the SS roles, the weak state of the U.S. economy, and the politicians’ reluctance to bite the bullet and fix the problem!

Lower payroll receipts also appeared linked to high energy costs as employers cut back on hours of operation so to save on energy.  56 million Americans rely on Social Security payments for retirement or for disability.  The average retirement benefit is $1,232/month, the average disability payment $1,111. 

Before I go any further, I must mention that I have no dog in the Social Security fund.  I ama Civil Service Retirement System-eligible employee of the U.S. Navy.  I do not pay into SS; I will not get anything out of the program either.  I am constantly in awe of all the people who fret about Social Security going away because of insolvency, yet they push back hard at any attempt to even open discussions on finding potential solutions.

Hey whatever … Just hope your money is still there when it’s your time to retire.

If SS and Medicare exhausts their trust funds the U.S. Government would collect enough in taxes to pay only 75% of current benefit levels for SS, 87% for Medicare, which currently serves 50 million people.

At some point, Someone in Congress will have to step up, grab America by the scruff of the neck, and shake them into coherence. Unfortunately, that person – hero that they would truly be – would then become a political eunich following the inevitable castration by the nervous herd of American taxpayers and the likes of AARP, who would rather walk around with their hands over their ears singing “La la la la la la la” than face the reality of this worsening situation.

I’m just glad I’m not counting on Social Security for my Life After Retirement!

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2. An Incredible Dream

Comcast Corporation has just released a 424-page history of the corporation entitled, “An Incredible Dream“.  The book is neither a tell-all docudrama, nor is it a casual coffee table conversation piece.  In fact, unless you work for Comcast, you will not even be able to buy it.

The book with founder Ralph Roberts image gracing the cover is intended to serve simply as an authorized history of the corporation for the purposes of integrating new hires and for use by Comcast public relations people to polish the corporation’s image by getting the facts down on paper.

The book traces the company’s beginning as a small local cable provider in Mississippi to a corporation with $50 billion in annual revenue.  Its release was timed to coincide with Ralph Roberts’ recent 92nd birthday.

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3.  Hunger Games

Saw the movie Hunger Games recently.  Very dark, foreboding movie about the cruel and vindictive penalties forced upon a fictional set of Districts within a twisted materialistic, post-apocalyptic North America.  The tribute which the rebellious Districts (13 of them, by the way) must offer each year is that of a male and female adolescent for the Hunger Games fight-to-the-death. 

It was sad, ugly, bold, and fascinating.

The competition is televised of course!  Hosted in a Metropolis populated with exotic personalities.  Think Lady Gaga  crossed with Munchkins from Wizard of Oz.  Really strange.  But a good story that pushes the mind to the “What if?” 

That’s just a little background to set up my subject.  See the movie.  It’s a good film.

Anyway on Primary Tuesday I read two interesting views on applying the movie to potential political outcomes in a given nation (i.e. here).  One alluded to The Hunger Games as a Big Government cautionary tale.  Another saw a government hijacked by greed and materialism with no services for the poor, no compassion, no justice for the oppressed. 

After thinking about it, I came up with my own storyline.

The Metropolis, with all these weird people, was obviously New York!  Maybe San Francisco, possibly LA … But definitely a Liberal bastion.  Of course this means the Leftists won the war … somehow … probably by taxing the Districts to death and then outspending them with their own money.  So the 13 Districts (13 Colonies?) rebelled and were crushed, thereby allowing the Liberals to go hog-wild on colorful clothing, wacky hairdos, and whacked out reality TV.  The Hunger Games allow the Liberals to distract all the Districts – both loyal and rebellious – from the fact that they have no Economic Plan!

Just sayin’ …

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4.  Number of illegal immigrants from Mexico drops

For the first time in decades the number of illegal aliens from Mexico living in the U.S. dropped.  Roughly 900,000 fewer illegal workers are living here.  Which just goes to show that even an illegal migrant hates a crappy economy!

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