Monday Reads: Imagine there’s no country …Posted: August 13, 2012
The Olympics closed last night with a beautiful tribute to John Lennon. He was truly a remarkable man. Meanwhile, we have people with a twisted vision of the future–and little imagination–running f0r higher office here.
and no Social Security too ….
Meanwhile, we struggle to hold on to everything this country used to stand for. Here’s a post that lets you know exactly why those nuns are on that bus are protesting the nasty Paul Ryan/Mitt Romney/Republican way to burn down the entire country. I’m just going to give you the bottom line on the social security proposal. There’s more at the WAPO link.
Ryan’s Social Security privatization proposal, the Social Security Personal Savings Guarantee and Prosperity Act of 2005, which he sponsored along with then-Sen. John Sununu (whose father has been a prominent Romney surrogate), would have allowed workers to funnel an average of 6.4 percent of their 12.4 percent payroll-tax contribution to a private account. Lower-income workers would be able to divert more of their wages, as the plan allows 10 percent of income up to $10,000 and 5 percent of income up to the payroll tax cap to be diverted. By default, the private account would be invested in a portfolio set by the Social Security Administration of 65 percent stocks and 35 percent bonds. Workers could choose an 80/20 stock-bond portfolio, or a 50-50 portfolio, but would not be able to pick individual stocks or bonds. At retirement, all participants in the plan would be required to buy an annuity.
The Social Security Administration concluded that the Ryan-Sununu plan would require huge increases in general budget revenue to make up the shortfall left in payroll tax revenue. Specifically, revenue would have to increase by 1.5 percent of GDP every year, an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found, or about $225 billion at current GDP. That’s a big honking tax hike. What’s more, under the plan, investments in the stock and bond markets would skyrocket such that by 2050, every single stock or bond in the United States would be owned by a Social Security account. This would mean that the portfolio managers at the Social Security Administration would more or less control the entire means of production in the United States.
Funnily enough, Ryan also proposed a resolution in 1999 that passed the House (with only Ron Paul voting against) expressing the sense of the body that Social Security should be maintained without any changes to benefits for current retirees or increases taxes.
and Weather that we’ll die from …
BY many measurements, this summer’s drought is one for the record books. But so was last year’s drought in the South Central states. And it has been only a decade since an extreme five-year drought hit the American West. Widespread annual droughts, once a rare calamity, have become more frequent and are set to become the “new normal.”
Until recently, many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as a “threat,” sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and fires.
Future precipitation trends, based on climate model projections for the coming fifth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate that droughts of this length and severity will be commonplace through the end of the century unless human-induced carbon emissions are significantly reduced. Indeed, assuming business as usual, each of the next 80 years in the American West is expected to see less rainfall than the average of the five years of the drought that hit the region from 2000 to 2004.
That extreme drought (which we have analyzed in a new study in the journal Nature-Geoscience) had profound consequences for carbon sequestration, agricultural productivity and water resources: plants, for example, took in only half the carbon dioxide they do normally, thanks to a drought-induced drop in photosynthesis.
a brotherhood of the few …
A few numbers crunched at The Atlantic shows that “Mitt Romney Would Pay 0.82 Percent in Taxes Under Paul Ryan’s Plan”.
Under Paul Ryan’s plan, Mitt Romney wouldn’t pay any taxes for the next ten years — or any of the years after that. Now, do I know that that’s true. Yes, I’m certain.
Well, maybe not quite nothing. In 2010 — the only year we have seen a full return from him — Romney would have paid an effective tax rate of around 0.82 percent under the Ryan plan, rather than the 13.9 percent he actually did. How would someone with more than $21 million in taxable income pay so little? Well, the vast majority of Romney’s income came from capital gains, interest, and dividends. And Ryan wants to eliminate all taxes on capital gains, interest and dividends.
Romney, of course, criticized this idea when Newt Gingrich proposed it back in January by pointing out that zeroing out taxes on savings and investment would mean zeroing out his own taxes.
Hey, they are still calling him Mitt the Twit in the UK.
Some Fun stuff to take your mind off Monday:
- The National Geographic & University of Georgia Kitty Cams (Crittercam)Project; “A window into the world of free-roaming cats”. Lots of pictures from a cat’s point of view.
- Weird Grave stuff of the day: A cache of severed right hands are found in a dig of Ancient Egypt. Hey! Every one needs a hobby!!
A team of archaeologists excavating a palace in the ancient city of Avaris, in Egypt, has made a gruesome discovery.The archaeologists have unearthed the skeletons of 16 human hands buried in four pits. Two of the pits, located in front of what is believed to be a throne room, hold one hand each. Two other pits, constructed at a slightly later time in an outer space of the palace, contain the 14 remaining hands.They are all right hands; there are no lefts.
- “Baby Elephant in France Wows Visitors to Zoo: 19 day-old Rungwe is proving a popular new addition to the Beauval wildlife park in France.” How would you like to be preggers for two entire years like Rungwe’s mom?
Alright, that’s enough for me. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?