Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday politics

Curiosity got the better of me again last night. I thought of my observations of a couple weeks back when I went to vote in the primaries. How all the yard signs basically pointed out to who win that election.

Last night, I did another very unscientific survey as a drove through the neighborhood. The route was off of the Hoan bridge, around the bend on Russell and then down Superior Street in Bay View. This time I counted all of the Tom Barrett signs in comparison to the Scott Walker signs. I was a bit surprised by what I saw in the race for governor.

Barrett signs outnumbered Walker signs 8 to 7.

Only 8 to 7. In a pretty liberal part of town.

That is pretty amazing, especially when a far left guy running for state senate probably has close to 20 signs in the area. It would appear that people trust Walker to come in and fix the budget like he did in Milwaukee County.

It tells me that people really don’t have faith in Tom Barrett. If I take into account the signs I saw in the northern suburbs, Walker will be the next governor.

Having mailed in my absentee ballot, I have made an effort to make that happen. For the record, I did not vote a straight party line. I did vote for one Democrat. He does a very good job and I like not just what he says but what he does. If he runs for County Executive he would probably get my vote for that job too.

Speaking of politics, there is a new ad by Russ Feingold on TV. Feingold jumps on the false assumption that Ron Johnson wants to privatize part of social security. Feingold says that is off the table. Well Russ, you need to be honest with people when you run these ads. Because you are taking away something from the people when you use this fear tactic.

This notion of privatizing social security is a falsehood. It comes from Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America. In the Roadmap, Ryan suggests offering a choice to people below the age of 50 (?). They can establish a private account and have it tied to the market (assuming both stock and bond markets) or they can stay with the system as it is now. This account would allow you to allocate only a portion of what is being paid to SS.

No one is forcing everyone to make a change. It is quite the opposite. It is called CHOICE. Russ Feingold doesn’t want you to be able to choose what you do to make your retirement better. He wants to keep raiding SS for other projects instead of having an account with your name on it and real money in it. He likes government control.

The choice is quite simple. Take a conservative investment like Vanguard’s S&P 500 fund which has returned just over 10% on average annually since its inception in 1976, or a more conservative stock dividend based fund at just under 5%. I looked at the calculations of approximately what I have put into SS over the years and come up with just over 3xs the amount.

The approximate return on SS? 1.4% You would end up with about 1.2xs the amount of money as it stands with SS.

Using the market returns of 2008 and 2009 to scare people is just plain wrong. I used a 25 year basis which included a lot of ups and down.

You tell me Russ, which return would you rather have? 5 or 1.4? Would you rather have people paying into a system that will still be around when they retire or may collapse in 10 years and they get nothing?

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