I found this little post on HuffingtonPost this morning and it got me thinking. I read the article Richard Eskow critiques and thought the arguments didn't really hold water. I couldn't quite put my finger on why my gut was telling me that the arguments were crap, not being an economist, until started reading Eskow's article. Social Security surpluses were put into treasury bonds. Eskow calls them IOUs that are 'both a financial instrument and a moral obligation.' They are more I think. I read a couple of weeks ago that the IMF was suggesting that the U.S. renege on its 'unfunded liabilities' such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Well, Social Security is funded--by the interest on treasury bonds and by current receipts. Let's take this a bit further and ask what would happen if the U.S. simply walked away from the treasury bonds associated with Social Security. What would that say about the 'full faith and credit of the U.S.' And what would various governments and sovereign wealth funds that have funded our deficits for the past several decades think about the safety of their own investments?
I found a post this morning on the burningplatform that posted a letter from a New Jersey businessman titled 'Why I Am Not Hiring' that also got me thinking. That is a very dangerous thing to do. Basically the businessman argues that to provide his employee, 'Sally,' with an annual wage of $44k he has to fork over $74k. Of this something like 22% of her 'paper' wages of $59k goes to taxes, medicare, unemployment, medical and dental insurance etc. He of course has to match her Social Security and pay the company's part of health insurance, etc. But I have to ask--if all of those onerous, mandated deductions disappeared, would 'Sally' receive $59k or $44k. In other words, who would get the benefit--her to the tune of a 22% increase in pay or him to the tune of a one-third reduction in labor costs? I am a cynical old bitch but my guess--it wouldn't be her.
MSNBC had this article from Business Week that was interesting about people who make the choice not to have cell phones. I can relate to most of the arguments. I want to control my technology not be controlled by it. And I want my technology to fit my life rather than fit my life to the technology. I remarked before that I don't use a PDA though have bought two of them in the past. I found that using a paper and pencil is easier than the PDA. Now ads for those devices don't even tempt me nor do ads for phones that tout PDA functions. My phone is a phone not a calendar, not an internet surfing device, not a camera even though the phone has those capabilities. It just happened to be the cheapest model that would fulfill my needs. The whole article really dealt with people who made the surprising decision to control the technology in their lives rather than be controlled by it.