9/25/2003

9-25-03 - 1

9-25-03

The conservative anti-tax crusade is destroying America. It sure feels like a vast conspiracy. They're lying to and mis-leading the American public about the way government spends and the ability to cut. The people (being badly educated by under-funded public education systems) are easily fooled into thinking "taxes bad, money good". The result is the starvation of government, which will cause it to horrendously implode. Seriously, this is not about "cutting fat" - you cannot make up $1 trillion by cutting fat - you have cut real services, like education, welfare, social security, medicare. The vast majority of these are services which help the less-fortunate to survive and improve in life. Instead, these people are going to be forced into a service class.

Which leads to be a big problem I see - America is headed for the shitter. Our government is going to shit, which means our education system is going to shit. America is the most productive economy in the world because of education. Our education system has led to the internet boom, telecom, genetics, etc. etc. Furthermore, people in mid-level jobs, like technicians, engineers, etc. are being forced out of the middle class, no longer able to buy homes, send their children to college, etc. Already things like low-level computer programming jobs are moving out of this country. All these middle-range jobs will be gone, because it's too expensive to do them here, they'll be done in the up & coming countries of the world. America will shift to a work-force of ultra-wealthy high end managers (who are usually managing a work-force that's primarily overseas), and another segment that is below the poverty line, doing the gardening and cooking and service work to maintain the high end. Sure, there will be a small middle segment of people who entertain the high end, but the vast skilled middle of manufacturing and production and technology will be gone. Eventually this will destroy America's entreprenuerial pool as well. People who have good ideas and make startups come from the middle segment; entrepreneurs are by definition people who haven't run a company before, people who aren't yet in the upper echelon, who got skilled by actually working in some field and now are starting a company from that skill. In the future these mid-level skilled people will be in India, China, Korea, etc. not America.

How could we prevent this? I'm not sure if we can. With the massive misleading and ambivalence of the American public, the callow puppet masters will have their way. It's not even clear what the solution is. Clearly we need to keep a strong support system in place, we must shore up education, make it the best education system in the world; offer cheap college to anyone who gets good grades, offer small classes and adequate funding in public schools, etc.

Medicare and Social Security are very hard problems. Clearly the insurance and pharmaceutical industries are raping the American tax-payer, and our government is protecting them. All over the world, governments are trying to force our pharma companies to sell their drugs for only small profits, and our government is viciously defending them by doing things like cutting off funding to organizations that demand reasonable prices for drugs. Social Security may be even worse. Life expectancy keeps going up, and birth rate is going down. We will have more and more non-working old people that can't support themselves. Due to our morality code, we won't just let them die, so we'll spend a fortune keeping them alive to 100, 120, 150. Japan will face this crisis well before us; by 2020 their population will be 50% non-working elderly. This is a major world-wide disaster for the developed nations, and clearly can't be sustained. Medical advances that prolong life are a big disaster. The elderly do clearly have more discretionary money than they need. Social Security should be cut down to a minimum. A lot of semi-intelligent people say "look at all the money in social security - if that was invested properly it would return a huge amount!". Um, no. The first problem with that is that the payout to the elderly is *much* bigger than the interest earnable on the principle; thus the money we pay to social security cannot go into savings to accrue interest, it must go directly to paying current recipients of social security. The second problem is that the # of recipients of social security is growing faster than the number of payers. Thus the drain on the balance is ever growing, and there's no way you could invest it and pay off the needs from interest. The money paid into social security simply cannot sit long enough to be invested and accrue any interest.

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