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Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: socialist democracies on 05/10/2014 18:34:56 MDT Print View

I just wanted to add that Switzerland, topping the Global Competitiveneess Report, has very very low corporate taxes, even compared to the US. It is also a highly decentralized country, but it has managed to blend social programs with encouraging businesses..

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
social security on 05/10/2014 18:37:43 MDT Print View

Those who criticize social security do so from a position of very significant ignorance about the plight of the elderly and the disabled prior to 1935.

More than 50% of the elderly lived in poverty, were sent to actual Poor Houses, and the disabled were simply put in institutions. The market crash of 1929 and the subsequent bank failures literally wiped out all the assets some families owned; and since women rarely worked outside the home, when a husband died there was not a cent in income that went to the widow and her children.

Those very unfortunate folks who lost all of their savings during the most recent crashes (and no, they were not caused by the government. The government, yes, even Bush, had nothing to do with all credit default swaps and the subsequent housing crash) - what in the world would have happened to all those folks without social security???

My own mother was laid off as an adjunct professor from Purdue University 2 years from her retirement. She is too young for medicare, too young for social security, but too old for anyone else to hire her. So she is currently burning through every last cent she's saved so hard to accumulate to bridge her to social security in 2 years. What about her? She barely made 30k a year, paid off her house, is driving a 12 year old car, doesn't buy clothes, hasn't taken a vacation in 20 years...she is the literal epitome of a money saver. By the time her SS kicks in she will have NO savings left (since the housing crash and subsequent stock/bond market pretty much wiped out a really nice chunk of it right as she needed it - no time left to recover from those nice ups and downs you speak of).

What would happen to her without social security??

Don't forget, social security keeps an entire demographic OUT of the labor market to make room for new people. Since our job creators only seem to like to create jobs overseas, it sure limits what they are doing here.......perhaps my mom can take YOUR job..........

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Flaming on 05/10/2014 20:05:24 MDT Print View

"Those that don't or lose the formula are generally punished by the market. Unless of course they have government contracts."

Or happen to be banks that are "too big to fail."

"Everybody loves the socialist democracies. They tax the piece out of everyone, have no class mobility and won't hardly let anyone immigrate into their countries."

They're crawling with immigrants, primarily from countries in the Middle East/Balkans where our enlightened policies have spread so much death and destruction. There are plenty of plenty of wealthy people in those countries, just not as obscenely wealthy as the .01% here, the taxes can't be too unreasonable. Besides, look what the people get in return: Health care, free schooling, maternity/paternity leave, social security sufficient to guarantee a life free from want for the elderly. You don't exactly see folks from those countries banging on the door of the US Embassies in their countries trying to get visas to come here. I'd say we could learn a thing or two from them. I know, they're social democracies, with the exception of Switzerland and Singapore, but I have yet to hear from any of you freedom loving folks a good argument against social democracy. Even Switzerland and Singapore pursue policies that provide many of the benefits of what is called socialism.

"Their populations are very small, they provide for no common defense and usually have large natural resource assets."

Which to me indicates there's a lot to like about small. The only countries in the world that are currently doing a decent job of providing a decent life for their citizens are small: Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Singapore. Only one, Norway, has a large natural resource asset, in the extractive sense. All of them are doing a superb job of utilizing their most precious resource, their people. What, exactly, bothers you so much about them?

All have ample military capabilities, leveraged by agreements, formal or tacit, with larger powers, with the exception of Sweden and Switzerland, and no one in their right mind has messed with either one of them in a very long time.

Edited for content.

Edited by ouzel on 05/10/2014 20:10:00 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
For profit companies on 05/11/2014 09:07:24 MDT Print View

"Most for profit corporations fight tooth and nail for Customers. They work to deliver Customer centric products/services that entice the Customers to part with their hard earned cash. Those that don't or lose the formula are generally punished by the market"

Oh, you mean like Lehmann Brothers, Goldman Sachs, etc all investing against their customers' best interests?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/goldman-bet-against-securities-it-sold-to-clients-1953406.html

No, you must mean the pharmaceutical companies and how they ALWAYS publish even bad results and ONLY sell drugs that are known to be effective:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2013/01/18/pharmas-reputation-continues-to-suffer-what-can-be-done-to-fix-it/

Oh I know! It must be automakers and their commitment to safety over profits:
http://www.autonews.com/article/20131028/OEM11/310289981/despite-quality-improvements-costly-safety-issues-continue-to-dog

Nah, it really must be the private medical insurance industry!!! Yeah, that's it!!! Those guys TOTALLY look out for their customers and make decisions based on sound medical evidence and not money........ahem.

Shall I go on???


They aren't necessarily punished by the market - it tends to be only legislation and regulation, or lawsuits, that push them to action (see all three citations).

I'd still MUCH rather prefer a government that I ELECT and can vote out of office if I don't like them rather than a for-profit international conglomerate whose only interest is profit for the CEO, board members and shareholders.

Edited by Jenmitol on 05/11/2014 09:10:19 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: For profit companies on 05/11/2014 09:17:02 MDT Print View

How about cell phone companies? I was pissed off at Sprint about something but it's sort of faded. Cell phone/Cable TV/Internet Access are sure expensive. In socialist France it's much cheaper with equal quality.

I think a combination of government and private is best. Government more into regulatory roles and private into doing work, but whatever works. And if it doesn't work then change it. Like health care.

It would be nice if Republican leaders could switch from "repeal obamacare" to "let's fix anything that doesn't work". Like make the subsidy for middle income people a line on the 1040 form.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: social security on 05/11/2014 14:42:41 MDT Print View

Jennifer,
You once again miss the point entirely.

"Those who criticize social security do so from a position of very significant ignorance about the plight of the elderly and the disabled prior to 1935."

One of my main points, is that we need to work towards returning social security to the levels it was at at the onset. When it covered a smaller portion that was truly needy and wasn't as burdensome on the rest.

As to your mother? I am completely baffled by her supposed situation. Someone nearing retirement should have had ample savings. Someone nearing retirement should have had larger CASH reserves. Any basic investor knows that you move to more liquid assets as retirement nears to avoid the risk of a crash and having to sell depressed assets. The bond market didn't have that huge one year dip. If your mother had any kind of savings (since social security is a known risk), she should have been prepared to survive 2 years. Is she unable to collect unemployment as well?

I'm sorry for your mother, but this isn't a failure of the system...

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: Flaming on 05/11/2014 14:54:57 MDT Print View

Tom,

Social democracies work because they are small. One of the arguments for more state control and less federal. Lets keep the smaller states in charge that can more efficiently manage. Even the countries that have a higher migration rate like Singapore and Sweden don't deal with near the issues we do. Also the immigration there is now starting to cause issues.

Please don't try to pretend their defense budgets approach ours. I like how you have the "leveraged by agreements" in there. Great they depend on bigger friends. Who are we going to turn to?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: social security on 05/11/2014 14:57:26 MDT Print View

I agree, bond market has not taken any huge drops. And the stock market had lost half it's value, twice, but if you ignored this and didn't sell in panic, it would have recovered and now the market is at historic highs. Real estate has also largely recovered.

It's amazing to me how many people aren't saving for retirement. Jennifer's mother is not unique. People need to know social security is just a safety net. If that's your entire income you will be just barely getting by. People need to save 10% of their income for 40 years, or whatever, and if you're spending this, you can't really afford it and will pay later when you're retired.

I don't agree Social Security is a "known risk". That's just a scare story perpetrated by people that are sore it was passed in the first place and are now trying to get rid of it.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Flaming on 05/11/2014 15:03:21 MDT Print View

"Please don't try to pretend their defense budgets approach ours. I like how you have the "leveraged by agreements" in there. Great they depend on bigger friends. Who are we going to turn to?"

A lot of our military spending makes things worse. Like the Iraq and Afganistan wars. Just riled people up so they then blow things up. or whatever, because they're pissed.

If we did the same military spending, as a percentage of our economy, as anyone else, things would be just fine.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: social security on 05/11/2014 15:34:47 MDT Print View

That's my point - for her SUPPOSED situation she did have enough to survive probably about 3 years just with just the cash. She expected to have 2 more years of savings, then her chunk of savings with SS as an added income source. Not sure how to save much more than that if you only make 27k a year anyway....

But I digress. My point is that she DID save, she DID scrimp, and she DID keep all her monies in actually very, painfully safe investments (including more than 20k in savings bonds. SAVINGS BONDS!!!). And now that she is unemployed....she is using all of that to pay for her measly living expenses (her bills are less than $1500/month) and by the time she is eligible for SS she will pretty much have burned through those cash reserves thanks to my father's heart attack, cancer scare and her chronic pneumonia.


MY point is that social security is a necessity, that simply relying on the ups and downs of investing in the private sector is not the answer. Since companies don't provide actual pensions anymore (remember those???) - not sure how it is even possible to live paycheck to paycheck and still save enough money to retire WITHOUT social security.

And I never at all understood how conservatives think we are supposed to return programs to the levels they were in the 1920s, or 1930s, or even 1970s when our population has exploded since then. My goodness, there are more than 300 million people in this country right now - what is the point of returning to the levels of 1935??

Edited by Jenmitol on 05/11/2014 15:36:32 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: social security on 05/11/2014 16:50:16 MDT Print View

That is good your mother has social security and unfortunate she isn't in better situation.

One thing is, if instead of savings bonds, she had put her money in a S&P 500 no load index fund, she would have a lot more money now. Yeah, it's more volatile but grows more over the long run.

I hate pensions. I don't trust other people to fulfill their promise to pay me in the future when I'm in no position to recover.

Look at advice from mutual funds like Vanguard or Fidelity, or books like John Bogel "The Truth about Mutual Funds". When you get close to retirement, shift your money to 50% bonds and 50% SP500 fund. Each year re-balance to maintain that allocation. Then, you can with high probablity, spend 4% of your savings each year and increase as inflation increases and never run out of money. Sort of like your own pension except no one can take it from you.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: For profit companies on 05/11/2014 17:31:07 MDT Print View

"Shall I go on???"

Please do, while I continue to ROTFL.

"I'd still MUCH rather prefer a government that I ELECT and can vote out of office if I don't like them"

You could pool the lifetime earnings of all us BPL liberals and still not have enough to "elect" a single Senator, much less the Prez.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Flaming on 05/11/2014 17:50:04 MDT Print View

"Social democracies work because they are small. One of the arguments for more state control and less federal. Lets keep the smaller states in charge that can more efficiently manage. Even the countries that have a higher migration rate like Singapore and Sweden don't deal with near the issues we do."

Precisely, which makes a compelling argument for breaking this country up into smaller units that more philosophically compatible and less polarized. As things stand, we can't get agree on ways to deal with our problems, and the whole mess continues to fester. Sweden is far less polarized and has the great good sense to mind its own business for the most part. It is a very well run country. Singapore is basically a one party state that by definition avoids polarization. They are also blessed with far more capable leaders that have a keen sense of national priorities based on the best good for the most people and leveraging stronger powers to maintain their independence.


"Also the immigration there is now starting to cause issues."

In Sweden, yes; in Singapore, not so much. they keep a very tight control on immigration, and are small enough to be able to effectively control their borders.

"Please don't try to pretend their defense budgets approach ours. I like how you have the "leveraged by agreements" in there. Great they depend on bigger friends."

I never said they did. They both have the great good sense to abstain from interfering in other nations' affairs in a vain attempt to control the world, concentrating instead on maintaining their own freedom by leveraging and maintaining compact, modern, highly effective military forces.

"Who are we going to turn to?"

If we would give up our dreams of empire and Pax Americana, and concentrate on fulfilling the potential of the system bequeathed to us by The founding Fathers, we would not have to worry about the need to turn to anyone. As things stand, we squander our blood, treasure, and moral credibility abroad while ignoring the insidious rot at home which will one day leave us a hollowed out shell that will either implode or slowly fade into irrelevance. Like so many empires before us. There is still time to right the situation, but it is growing short.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Re: Re: social security on 05/11/2014 18:26:43 MDT Print View

"That's my point - for her SUPPOSED situation she did have enough to survive probably about 3 years just with just the cash. She expected to have 2 more years of savings, then her chunk of savings with SS as an added income source. Not sure how to save much more than that if you only make 27k a year anyway...."

I don't know how an adjunct professor only makes 27k a year. Let's ignore the fact that the median personal income for a bachelor's degree for a person over 50 is 43k and one with a doctorate is 69k. If she really only earned 27k a year for her life, then she should have looked for a better job in my opinion or worked more. If you then admit this was earnings per year only at the tail of her career...well that is another story.

I don't see how an adult cannot (if they try) have more than 75k in cash or cash equivalents. She needed to be in stocks and mutual funds and slowly transitioned out towards the twilight of her career. If she was terminated, then she should have access to unemployment. Even Texas which you routinely bash has easily collected unemployment. She should have been able to take home 20k in unemployment (max 21,463?) to help offset that 18k in annual expenses you claim.

Also, SS pays an average of 14,748 a year to retired individuals. So for 3 years, she should have only needed 45k extra in cash as a cushion. That isn't much. Maybe this is the place for family to step in? You could postpone your PCT hike 1 year and make that much to help them out. Then she could keep her savings?

Social security is not a replacement for savings. Two people can save enough to supplement their retirement. Or fun it entirely if they are anywhere lose to the median. As Jerry points out, if she saved every year in a decent mix of investments (including the market) she would be fine. Your claim of great losses just doesn't hold water. You only liquidate the funds as you need them. By now the market is completely recovered and she should be back in good standing. If she had been exiting the more volatile stock market as she neared retirement, she would be even better off.

If you didn't have such high rates of SSI, you'd have more to save yourself...

"And I never at all understood how conservatives think we are supposed to return programs to the levels they were in the 1920s, or 1930s, or even 1970s when our population has exploded since then. My goodness, there are more than 300 million people in this country right now - what is the point of returning to the levels of 1935??"

Maybe you are missing the point? Upon implementation, the SS program covered a much smaller PERCENTAGE of the population. The life expectancy was lower, etc... So your claim of more people is pointless. We have more earning too. So what? The program was initially for a small percentage of elderly and later disabled. Life expectancy for men has increase by 5.8 years and women 6.6. There are more old people. They can work longer or get the SS later. We adjust for inflation, we need to adjust for age!

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 16:48:08 MDT Print View

Well Michael, you're just demonstrating your ignorance then if you don't see how adjunct professors can only make 27k a year.

Adjunct are paid per class, generally have no benefits or retirement accounts, and try to piece together a living by teaching classes at several universities. There are very, very few tenured faculty positions available (VERY expensive) so most universities are moving towards this model. Purdue University pays $2500 per class, per semester. If you teach 4 classes each semester, and 2 over the summer, which is consider full time for the contract year, that's all of 22.5k gross. But there are rarely summer classes available.....

I myself teach orthopedics at Texas State University - the 2nd largest state school in Texas. I am paid 3k for being in the classroom 12 hours a week. That does not at all count any prep time to put lectures together, grade, etc. Average that out and I make $12.50 an hour.

Yep, that's how much your highly paid liberal elite make. Honestly.

Here is a good write up this year about why PhDs are having such a hard time:
"From 1993 to 2011, the percentage of faculty members without tenure surged nationally from 57 percent to 70 percent, according to the American Association of University Professors, a research and advocacy group. Of those faculty members, a vast majority are adjunct professors like Mr. Hoff."
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/nyregion/crowded-out-of-ivory-tower-adjuncts-see-a-life-less-lofty.html?_r=0

Here is a nice piece from the Higher Education Chronicle re the pay disparity in higher education:
http://chronicle.com/article/Adjunct-Project-Shows-Wide/136439/



And yes, my mother has a PhD. I have a PhD and a clinical doctorate.

Edited by Jenmitol on 05/12/2014 16:51:56 MDT.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 17:22:59 MDT Print View

"And yes, my mother has a PhD. I have a PhD and a clinical doctorate."

When members of the educational 1% end up making half of the median wage in this country, right down there with hamburger flippers and baristas, The Homeland is facing a threat far more dire than that posed by Al Qaeda.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 17:34:28 MDT Print View

I thought the reason higher education has grown so much recently was those greedy liberal elite professors were making so much money

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 17:40:56 MDT Print View

"When members of the educational 1% end up making half of the median wage in this country, right down there with hamburger flippers and baristas..."

Crap! Well so much for teaching CJ-101 post retirement!

I only have eight years to figure out how to coach something at the collegiate level. Any suggestions?

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Re: Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 17:54:40 MDT Print View

Jen,

I have already showed you median and average wages. I'm sorry, but your mother made a terrible career choice if she is only making 27k a year with a PhD. The article you linked gave a great example. The adjunct professor moved and made 88k a year. Adjunct professor is the bottom of the barrel teaching wise.

Also if your mother is teaching 4 classes a week...well that isn't even part time as far as hours in the classroom. Most classes are 3 hours a week, so that is 12 hours a week of work. No wonder she isn't making any money. She isn't working.

Texas State is one of the lower echelon schools in the state. I'm not sure what metric you are using to call it the second largest, but you are a bit off on that stat.

Liberal elite...whatever. You can cherry pick your stats but that doesn't change the real numbers. Average salary college professor 81k. That doesn't even take into account external earning opportunities or the great vacation schedule.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Adjunct faculty on 05/12/2014 18:24:32 MDT Print View

OMG Michael, you really think that all that goes into teaching a class is just standing in front of it??? Your ignorance knows NO bounds my friend. Grading? Lecture prep? My mother worked easily 10-12 hours a day, at least 3-4 hours every weekend day - NEVER a day off during the semester.

Did you read the NYT piece about 70% of all faculty now are adjunct?? There ARE NO tenured track positions anymore...very, very few. Each of those crappy positions has dozens of PhD applicants, even for that crappy paycheck. That is the state of the job market these days.

It's not just that easy to "get another job." She never meant to be the provider of the household, either. She was a stay-at-home mom for decades until my father lost his blue collar job and then worked really hard to start his own company. When it faltered during the economic downturn of 2000 her income was all they had - she only got that job to put my brother through school.

It's like you think everyone makes perfect decisions all the time, with nary a mistake or a path that in hindsight turned out to be not so great. If not, it's your own damned fault and you get what you deserve! Sh!t happens to people and I get so sick of greedy conservatives who just happen to have been lucky in life - or even worse, the ones who did manage to luck out with the correct decisions and be able to pull themselves out of a hole - they make it seem like everyone should be able to do it, and if not, it's a character flaw and you deserve to suffer. If you only worked harder! More hours! Got a third job!

Read a little history about poor houses, and the plight of child labor, and company stores, and company towns - that is NOT a world I care to go back to. And with the dominance of the oligarchy in our country, and their ability to convince a huge section of the population that it benefits everyone that they continue to amass large fortunes - I really see us heading in that direction. It just makes me sad.