So I have this job monitoring the networks for Wynn Las Vegas from 10 PM to 8 AM four days a week. The major drawback is that it’s from 10 PM to 8 AM, which is sort of upside-down. The major advantage is that it’s only four days a week, so I get three whole days off each week and they’re mostly weekdays too boot. This is a good thing. Of course, monitoring the networks isn’t the same thing as fixing them. I don’t do that; I just watch for problems and disturb some poor soul who then gets to fix the trouble. Mostly things don’t break down at all, even though as some would say, the systems are largely Windows based. (Along those lines, one area of concern involves Java, from Sun. Hmmm.) My point is that I have lots of time to sit and contemplate, well, whatever I want to sit and contemplate, which is why I am thinking I’ll post something every day at least until I get a different shift or get tired of it. Or maybe I’ll post every Thursday through Sunday early morning to be accurate. One never knows.
A hot button issue for some of late is Social Security, which is said to be in some sort of crisis. I should have such crises. As seems to be normal with prognosticators, the economists predicting disaster for Social Security are assuming current trends continue. The only trend I’ve ever seen continue, even historically, is that trends never continue for all that long. For example, remember back about eight years to the “new economy?” Wasn’t all that much new about it, and that’s my point in bringing it up. The trend for stocks to go up and up was in fact just a bubble.
** Aside: Want to know how to spot a bubble? Just look for what “everybody” is doing. If it’s true about “everybody” it’s a bubble of some sort. Simple as that. ***
If you look at actual population trends as they are occuring and have occured in the past couple of decades, the picture is not at all as Shrubby has said it is. For example, as of just now, there are more children in school than there were during the famous baby boom of the nineteen-fifties. More! And the intervening generation, the ones supposedly getting screwed by the deal, why there are fewer of them. so, they of course think “oh dear we’ll pay the boomers and we won’t get a thing.” Well, I’m paying for my mom as I write. So? There will be a humongous pool of labor to pay your pension, so just settle.
Add to that fact the simple fact that as people live longer and healthier lives, they don’t want to retire at 65. I know I don’t. If I live as far past the average for my generation as did my average male ancestor, I’ll be 112 before I’m dead. 112! Frankly, I hope that isn’t the case, although most of my ancestors were vital almost up to the end, so maybe it’ll be okay. But retire at 65? Are you nuts? What in hell am I going to do for 47 years of retirement? People, even boomer people, like to feel useful. Does Bill Gates need the work? Hardly, but he works every day. So do I, and so does almost everybody, and we all hope to keep it up for a long time. Now, if Shrub wants to retire early, I’m all for it. Last year would be good, but I digress.
What I’m saying is that the two trends of increasing working age population and people not retiring voluntarily means that the Social Security system will probably be solvent indefinitely. Historically, the system was set up so that there wouldn’t be starving elderly embarassing their families and neighbors. There are no such people, so apparently it works. Prior to the system, there were a great many starving elderly who had worked for decades and were reduced to eating dog food. I am not making that up. And, truth here, I don’t ever want to have to collect Social Security (my private pension is another matter. I’ve got a contract and it was my money in the first place.) When I’m tired of being a systems guy and realtor, my wife and I are thinking of buying a B&B; sort of place in Flagstaff and running writing workshops there. If I never collect on government largess but I keep eating well, I’m all for it. Leave the Social Security to those who need it.
Besides, if you think your private investment is going to do better than the SS Trust Fund, you’re smoking unbranded stuff. You think you’re so smart, then why did you buy that “new economy” garbage? (You know you did, most of you. Statistically that’s just the plain truth.) Stocks, over 75 years in the only actualy longitudinal study I’ve ever seen (reported in the book Securities Anaylsys yielded 125% net inflation adjusted profit. Real estate yielded 103%, bonds less than 100%. Those are actual facts. My mother has been drawing social security since 1968, and has clearly collected more benefits than my working dad ever paid out. Almost everyone does, and it looks even better if you just take the raw dollars, because inflation ratchets up the payments every year. Is that something we should resent those who collect for collecting? Why? Would you rather have them begging on street corners?
The Social Security “crisis” is something made up by a pointy-haired boss (who we went and elected President) to justify his existence. That’s what pointy-haired bosses do, of course, is justify their existence. People like that run the world, and I know it. It really would be better, though, if those of us who weren’t like that quit taking what they said seriously, whether at work or in public life. That sort of nonsense really doesn’t deserve the attention it gets in the first place. I hate to even bring it up, but the emporer is naked, dammit, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a red light on a monitor over here, and I need to earn mom’s next stipend.