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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » State of the Union: Part Five (Page 1)

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Author Topic: State of the Union: Part Five
WarrsawPact
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This is just to start the commentary.
I'll start my next post now. What did you think, esp. regarding Social Security and foreign policy?

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Zyne
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I didn't listen, intentionally. I think we're ****ed.
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WarrsawPact
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You're always fudged the second you stop listening.

Anyone else notice Dick Cheney get pinker and then red, then take some pills and immediately started getting less red and eventually back to pale?

Bush and Cheney were smirking at every time the Republcians stood and the Democrats didn't.

I'll mention more details as others respond.

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FiredrakeRAGE
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WarrsawPact -

I can see why they were smirking. I thought it was pretty amusing myself. I never understood the entire 'clapping after every sentence' thing anyway. Let the guy speak, critique what he says later.

--Firedrake

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Zyne
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No, it's better if I read about it in the words of people I actually respect (all-a-y'all) or in the sterile transcript. That man's voice alone makes me want to eat glass, kill SUV'ers and set pretentious houses on fire.
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Mr Xin Ku
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quote:
That man's voice alone makes me want to eat glass, kill SUV'ers and set pretentious houses on fire.
And people wonder why I think I need to own a gun for self-protection! [Wink]
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Tezcatlipoca
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Well Zyne, I hope you follow that list of things you want to do in that specific order. [Smile]
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potemkyn
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Watching the State of the Union reminds me of watching a bad high school play. It's not that the kids don't know their parts, it's just that they know that they are supposed to be acting the part, instead of just being the character. The President spoke, the majority audience cheered, the miniority audience stood still, but it was all so...fake. No one was really angry or really concerned, I'd be surprised if there was more than a dozen people who really cared and paid attention throughout the whole speech. The insanely often applause was written in for tradition's sake, the stoney silence from the Democrats was written in to appease the disenfranchised, and the President delivered his carefully crafted and unrevealing speech.

Potemkyn

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Star Pilot 111
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It was a nice gesture to honor the dead soldier of the mother and father. If you look at it from his perspective.

But it made me angry, because we did not have to attack Iraq. The inspectors final report stated, there were no WMDs, and guess what?
Their son is, still, dead.

And he continues to draw attention away from his blunders, thanks to the Bush advisers and strategists.

Matthew 23 : 27-28
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers,
which indeed appear beautiful outward,
but are within full of dead men's bones,
and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear
righteous unto men, but within ye are
full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

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The Drake
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I thought the Democrat catcalls were immature, until I saw the Republican fingerwave.
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musket
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quote:
You're always fudged the second you stop listening.
Now if only Dubya would take that to heart...
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Musket -

I'm willing to bet that Pres. Bush does listen a lot of the time. He just does not feel that the best course of action is to do it as some of the speakers suggest. Using Social Security as an example, I'm willing to bet that he has heard the arguments for financing and renovating the old system. He probably just feels that some degree of privatization is a better idea.

--Firedrake

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RickyB
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Some degree? Tell me, what happens when a whole bunch of people invest two thirds of their social security taxes UNWISELY? Hmmm? They won't be guaranteed their benefits. They'll be screwed. Remind me again how this is better?
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Dagonee
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quote:
That man's voice alone makes me want to eat glass, kill SUV'ers and set pretentious houses on fire.
Let me guess, a pretentious house is any house that's nicer than yours?
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Everard
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"I'm willing to bet that Pres. Bush does listen a lot of the time."

In the 5 years he's been talking, I've yet to hear him once address someone who disagrees with him in a manner that suggests he understands what the person disagreeing with him is trying to say. This suggests to me that he might hear, but doesn't listen.

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Doug J
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The same could be said of you, Everard.
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Doug J
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And has been if i recall.
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SC Carver
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I have been told since high school (15 years ago) social security would be bankrupt by the time I retired. I have never expected to get anything. So if they want to give me some of my money, that I thought I was just throwing away, back to me I'm all for it.

As far as people loosing it all. I think Bush said his plan was to only offer funds of bonds and safe stocks. If those loose enough for 2/3s the people to go bankrupt then this country will be in a major depression and we will have many major problems, not just SS.

We obviously need to get more details, but something needs to be done and I don’t see the democrats offering any solutions. They are just telling us to stick our heads in the sand.

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Everard
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Yes, its been said that I'm not understanding why people disagree with me. But I don't think anyone on this site has ever said I never understand why people disagree with me. And I think the people who've had serious problems with whether or not I understand them, are for the most part, people who accuse ALL the liberals on this site with either not understanding them, or being grade A morons.

I think it would also be fair to say Bush has a significantly greater responsibility to his opposition then I do, since he's the President of the United States... not the President of The People Who Voted For Me.

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Richard Dey
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It takes a great deal of intelligence to understand grade-A morons, Everard -- even grade-B morons like the President.

I tried to listen to his speech but obviously I'm not smart enough to comprehend how soc-sec allocations can be directed profitably into the market ... I mean profitable for me. What the hell is 'a safe security' in time of war? War bonds that pay peanuts? What great profit may be made in any investment deemed to be safe?

I had the impression that the president is going to play parent to me, the child star making more money than the parent. What is an organization trillions in debt dictating to me, who made the money in the first place, how best to invest it? The entire scheme is an attempt to bail out an unwise parent, not to secure financial security of their children.

I sat in on meetings of a $42B bank contemplating the purchase of a $40B bank (which I could see right out the window); 9 weeks later the $40B went bankrupt. A former president of the $42B bank had once asked me,

"You ever play craps, Dey?"

"Good heavens, Mr Brown," I said (clutching my imaginary pearls). "I'm from Wellesley Hills ...!"

"Well, it's like this ...," said the old man, getting down on his hands and knees and throwing dice against the paneled wall. "Banking is just like craps except there's more zeroes."

That's a true story and though he was then, like the president now, a lame duck and thought a bit whacky, he was absolutely right. MORALISTICALLY, why are we encouraging our workers in the lower brackets to be gambling with futures which by the government's parental dictum claims they cannot manage on their own?

In the late 1940s and 1950s, hundreds of thousands of women went to work for a year to get life-time soc-sec benefits. Who allowed that? A good funds manager?

Why should the American citizen be obliged to prop up the market? Why can't he, like those who don't need social security, invest abroad? Is the new scheme going to restrict citizens to investing in noninternationals? Will he be able to divest himself of failures? And just how does the president seek to secure cheap trades? He's got to be joking. Has he never heard of the free market?

The godly is in the rhetoric; the deviltry in the details.

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
I'll start my next post now. What did you think, esp. regarding Social Security and foreign policy?
I listened to the speech on the radio. I don't think the partial privatization plan for SS makes a lot of sense, but there's not a lot of technical details yet to work with. It seems like it'll cost a lot up front to change over to private accounts. Plus, the returns are higher in the stock market (theoretically) due to greater risk.

As for foreign policy, I guess we'll see how that pans out. This is the second president in a row who I think overpromises in that area. But the SOTU speech was certainly less radical than his inaugural address.

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WarrsawPact
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quote:
Tell me, what happens when a whole bunch of people invest two thirds of their social security taxes UNWISELY?
From what I've seen of the proposed plans, it's not even possible to invest unwisely. The initial plan is to limit your options to one of several stable packages of stocks and bonds depending on how much risk you will take... and the options federal employees get are extremely good. The options you get as a federal employee aren't all in Enron; they're well-diversified and well-managed. They don't crash unless we have another Black Tuesday (1929).

Secondly, it's very misleading to call it two-thirds. I don't even know where you got that number.
Firstly, you're paying 6.2% on your payroll to SocSec. The plan is to allow 2% out of that -- less than one-third -- to be invested in these very secure stock-bond options.
That doesn't even account for the fact that your business is also matching the money you pay, which means less than one-sixth of all SocSec funds will be diverted into such accounts. Two out of every 12.4 cents.

If it's so damn risky that it's not worth it, ask how many people you know own 401(k)s, mutual funds, etc. Ask them why they're taking such a terrible risk. Voluntarily.

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Godot
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quote:
Originally posted by WarrsawPact:
[QUOTE]If it's so damn risky that it's not worth it, ask how many people you know own 401(k)s, mutual funds, etc. Ask them why they're taking such a terrible risk. Voluntarily.

They are taking the risk because:
(A) They have no other, better option than putting it under their mattress, and/or,
(B) The risk is minimized because they know that, at the very least, they have SocSec when they retire, or get disabled, or die.

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The Drake
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As framed in Bush's speech, he's saying that we must balance Social Security for the long term - and do so without raising payroll taxes. He very clearly put everything else on the table. I think that's a very sensible starting point.

With respect to privatization, I'm less in favor of it now that I hear about the extremely limited choices that will be available. Speaking as someone who has competently managed 401k and Rollover IRA accounts for many years, I don't like having five funds selected by the government - that doesn't sound like choice to me. But the bigger flaw in privatization is that since this account can be willed to descendants, it CLEARLY TAKES AWAY from the pool of available funds - compounding the solvency problem. I just don't see the great value in this part of the President's plan. Philosophically, I still think that people should run their own pension funds, and the idiots who lose it all can live in the street.

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FIJC
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quote:
"Watching the State of the Union reminds me of watching a bad high school play. It's not that the kids don't know their parts, it's just that they know that they are supposed to be acting the part, instead of just being the character. The President spoke, the majority audience cheered, the miniority audience stood still, but it was all so...fake. No one was really angry or really concerned, I'd be surprised if there was more than a dozen people who really cared and paid attention throughout the whole speech. The insanely often applause was written in for tradition's sake, the stoney silence from the Democrats was written in to appease the disenfranchised, and the President delivered his carefully crafted and unrevealing speech."
I think it's good that nothing extraordinarily new or exciting was revealed last night. The President has been very clear about his agenda and goals (his mandate) since the day his campaign started last year. His ownership society theme, I think, is brilliant, and one that clearly encourages individual liberty and responsibility. The past few weeks, I was worried that he wouldn't lay any specifics on Social Security reform on the table. I feared that if he didn't do this, there would be no chance of actually reforming the system. He did go into a reasonable amount of detail last night and was very impassioned about it. That is mainly what I was looking for last night, and I got what I wanted to hear.

quote:
"(B) The risk is minimized because they know that, at the very least, they have SocSec when they retire, or get disabled, or die."
At the very most, Social Security should only be depended upon for 1/3 of one's retirement funds.

[ February 03, 2005, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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LetterRip
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FIJC,

quote:
At the very most, Social Security should only be depended upon for 1/3 of one's retirement funds.
And the problem is there are plenty of people who lack either the knowledge or adequate income to plan such.

Also I recently read about half of fortune 500s (or was it 100s?) have dropped pensions. There i also the problem that a low of companies have used pensions to as a tool for stock manipulation, have underfunded pensions, etc. - so the stock holders and management made all of their money, but now the pensioners are either screwed or the public picks up the tab.

There are also a number of other 'Get out of jail free' cards for corporations to avoid paying out pensions.

LetterRip

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FIJC
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Then I think that someone should seriously look into opening a Roth-IRA, if they haven't already, and just pouring more money into that.
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LetterRip
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FIJC,

quote:
Then I think that someone should seriously look into opening a Roth-IRA, if they haven't already, and just pouring more money into that.
And exactly what funds does someone making say minimum wage have to 'pour into' a Roth IRA?

Most of us here are fairly well educated (all though many are through self education) and have some idea of financial planning, what sort of financial planning skills do you think the average American has? (A hint, what is the current state of US savings, US debt, and US bankruptcy). You sound like Marie Antoinette, 'Let them eat cake'.

LetterRip

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Adjudicator
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If nothing else the privatization scheme will be a huge short term, and possibly long term, boost to the stockmarket and the American economy.

The money which currently is either immediately spent (as soc sec is a pay as you go system) or invested in gov bonds to fund gov debt (the trust fund) will go into private corporations and fund huge growth for private companies. With all of that money looking for a home we would likely see an immediate internetesque economic boom as companies build infrastructure, hire new employees, fund expansion etc.

The government would likely reap a huge windfall in taxes from all of this growth and spending, similar to the Clinton years when we actually had a budget surplus.

The funneling of private money into soc sec could stave off/ make up for the current huge problems in the trade deficit and the use of the cheap dollar to fundthe US deficits.

The only real problem that I can see in such a climate is the sam ething that occurred in the internet bubble- with all of that easy cash around companies could spend it very foolishly and end up crashing once the extent of the overspeculation becomes apparent.

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Godot
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I can only speak for myself, but I'm pretty ignorant about financial planning. We have some $$ in a 401K from prior jobs, but neither of our current jobs have 401K's.

My wife and I and our two sons live comfortably, but I took a lower paying job so I could work nearer home and spend more time with my boys.

Perhaps my wife and I should make ourselves "uncomfortable" and sock more money away for retirement, but it just wouldn't be that much.

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Godot
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Adjudicator,

I would like to think the picture you paint would come true, but more likely those companies earning the windfalls would simply buy out other companies, make the shareholders richer and pay higher CEO salaries. Little would translate into benefits for the employees/people.

A feeble example: Give SBC millions of dollars and what do they do? They buy AT&T and almost 13,000 employees will be losing their jobs.

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David Ricardo
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Adjudicator, that is a ridiculous economic analysis -- and this is coming from someone who would like to see the entire Social Security system dismantled.

Privatizing Social Security would not lead to any immediate boost in economic growth, period.

As far as economic growth goes, there is no difference between seniors spending the well-earned money of young workers versus young workers investing their own well-earned money. There is basically no impact on economic growth.

On the other hand, privatizing Social Security can have some very positive long-term incentives for economic growth. But it is definitely a wash as far as short-term economic growth goes.

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Adjudicator
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quote:
Adjudicator,

I would like to think the picture you paint would come true, but more likely those companies earning the windfalls would simply buy out other companies, make the shareholders richer and pay higher CEO salaries. Little would translate into benefits for the employees/people.

I don't think that your fears are justified. There are only so many companies which can be acquired/companies which want to make acquisitions. If the cash isn't going to fund real growth then there will be no return on investment and the money manager will get the axe.
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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
I can see why they were smirking. I thought it was pretty amusing myself. I never understood the entire 'clapping after every sentence' thing anyway. Let the guy speak, critique what he says later.
Psychology of power by pageantry, I say.

Clapping en masse ad nauseum reinfoces subconsciously what the conscious mind may eschew: that Bush/Clinton/Bush/Reagan/et cetera are/were top dogs.

Being forced top wait between mind-dulling sessions of manually created 'white noise' between grossly inflated passages of manipulative rhetoric itself reinforces that WE listen, THEY speak, WE wait until THEY deliver.

Thank god for the Internet: one can read transcripts.

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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
the President delivered his carefully crafted and unrevealing speech.
Nicely put.
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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
I thought the Democrat catcalls were immature, until I saw the Republican fingerwave.
Gotta reach out to your constituency in a language they can understand [Wink]

I wish for ONCE the Dems would bellow out elephant imitations (which, performed by less than a talented professional, sound more like passing gas than passing for an elephant), while the Repubs imitated braying donkeys.

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kenmeer livermaile
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quote:
I'm willing to bet that Pres. Bush does listen a lot of the time. He just does not feel that the best course of action is to do it as some of the speakers suggest. Using Social Security as an example, I'm willing to bet that he has heard the arguments for financing and renovating the old system. He probably just feels that some degree of privatization is a better idea.
If this were Reagan or even Herbert Hoover, I'd ponder this line of thought. But the Bushistas have always been about their fat friends' pockets as foremost ideological principle of their reign.

Of course, being President can really CHANGE a guy. Maybe Bush is seriously pondering at this time what 'compassionate conservatism' might mean? (Honestly, folks: since his reelection, I've striven to see the best in him. Even presidents of the opposing are human beings and susceptible to beneficial evolution.)

But, considering the aspect of SSI reform that requires (ahem) fiscal responsibility, I'll believe Nacy 'Bug Eyes'Pelosi never had a stich of comsetic surgery before I'll believe Bush is serious about balancing budegts.

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Godot
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I also thought the Democrats showed a childish lack of respect.
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Adjudicator
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quote:
Adjudicator, that is a ridiculous economic analysis -- and this is coming from someone who would like to see the entire Social Security system dismantled.

Privatizing Social Security would not lead to any immediate boost in economic growth, period.

As far as economic growth goes, there is no difference between seniors spending the well-earned money of young workers versus young workers investing their own well-earned money. There is basically no impact on economic growth.

Umm... maybe you missed the part where George promised that for persons over 55 there would be no change in benefits.
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The Drake
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quote:
Originally posted by kenmeer livermaile:
quote:
I thought the Democrat catcalls were immature, until I saw the Republican fingerwave.
Gotta reach out to your constituency in a language they can understand [Wink]

I wish for ONCE the Dems would bellow out elephant imitations (which, performed by less than a talented professional, sound more like passing gas than passing for an elephant), while the Repubs imitated braying donkeys.

Nice. Give them all SuperSoakers (tm) and sell the event on pay-per-view to raise money to reduce the deficit. That's what I say.

For SS, here's the Drake's plan: Outsource our seniors to India. A social security dollar will go much farther there, and the resulting drop in demand for healthcare here will drive costs down for the productive members of our society. Prescription drugs would easily be obtained - as we all know drugs are much cheaper overseas.

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