Saturday, April 14, 2012

Indiana Senatorial Debate: Lugar - Murdock

I watched the debate between Lugar and Murdock and found both to be flawed. I had been moving my support towards Murdock because of several votes by Lugar:

Lugar states he is for a balanced budget amendment, yet votes for increasing the debt limit. Would a failure of increasing the debt limit not be a balanced budget requirement?

Lugar stated he voted in 1983 to save Social Security. In 1983 Social Security faced the identical problem it faced in 1976, 1950 and precisely the problem identified by A.J. Altmeyer in 1943 and 1944 in his testimony before congress. The vote by Lugar to “save” social security was not to save social security, but was to kick the can down the road for some other future senator to deal with. The 1983 passage was done with the knowledge by all who voted that this would not restore full funding for Social Security for it was projected to exhaust the OASI trust fund by 2064. So the question I have for Lugar is simple: Who were you saving social security for; those who were close to retirement without representing those who were then baby boomers? Now you say changes should be made that do not affect those over age 55. Is this not the same identical stance you took in 1983?

Lugar voted for the bailouts of companies. It is my firm believer that companies that are not profitable need to go under. I have worked for two companies that filed for bankruptcy. Both companies were sold at auction. People were laid off, pensions reduced, employees who had 401K’s with company stock lost money. This is sad, but it happens. Loss was great among a few people, but society did not bail them out. In the case of banks, had banks gone under, the share holders would have lost their money; mutual funds, CEO, board of directors and others. A person who is diversified will suffer some loss, but not 100%. In the case of a bailout using taxpayer’s money, the taxpayer risked greatly for no reward. In fact it changes nothing about how companies do business. If they risk much the taxpayer is there to bail them out; legislated insurance without cost to the company.

When Murdock identified that funding the old Soviet Union’s dismantlement of nuclear weapons was “fundable” to other entities; Syria, etc. Lugar stated that was not true that there were restrictions. What Murdock said was 100% correct. If you have a budget that cannot pay for all categories you want funded, but some other entity is willing to fund one category, it frees up funding any of that one category to fund the other categories.

Murdock though during the debate clearly showed ignorance. Murdock stated funding the dismantling of nuclear weapons was funding other agendas. Yet at the same time he seemed unable to see the same applicability of this in other areas such as social security funding. He stated Social Security’s trust fund was raided or used for other government funding. Is this not identical to his term “Fundable?” Social Security’s excess tax contributions are deposited into a “trust fund.” This trust fund then invests in Special US Treasuries which are payable on demand. This allows the Social Security Trust fund immediate access to funds to pay benefits. This was done between 1971 and 1983 when the trust fund was exhausted. All the Treasury did was sell new treasuries before the demand date and exchange one old treasury with a new one. No increase in the national debt, just an ownership of that debt with a potentially higher/lower interest rate. The US treasury is responsible for borrowing up to the debt limit to cover authorized spending. When an individual, mutual fund or other entity buys a treasury note, are they interested in where the money is going to be spent? Do they have any control over where the money is going to be spent? No, there is no expectation of how the money is going to be spent. This external funding is the identical definition used by Murdock related to Fundable.

Murdock is extremely ignorant of how social security works. If he truly believes that scheduled benefits for those now age 55 and over can be maintained while changing the rules/promises of those age 54 and below, he is not qualified to be a senator who needs to understand not only how social security works, but plain simple mathematics.

Both Lugar and Murdock appear now to be very similar. This is a shame; I truly had been hoping the Murdock was a conservative. The Tea Party has made a terrible mistake in supporting this person. Clearly Murdock is not interested in serving the interest of those under age 55. His main interest like those of Lugar are those over age 55. This country has over 118 million potential voters under age 46, far more than those over age 46, yet the politicians have failed to realize this, but maybe not. If you do not represent those under age 46, they tend to get disinterested in government and not vote. This then maintains a smaller constituency you need to be responsible too. Maybe it has been the plan of politicians all along; be responsible to as few as possible.

I have feathers, does anyone have some tar? If the young want to change the direction of this country, you need to get out and vote. You outnumber all other combined voter groups. Make your voice heard, if not you will be just like the boomers in 1983, now paying the price for not letting their voice be heard.

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NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002