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Tom Coburn is a Big Fat Jerk


Home of the Barking Moonbat


Thursday, February 03, 2005

In response to various commentary, the SOTU ...

... and bits of news here and there, I'm busy slashing my budget, while counting my lucky stars I have very, very little in the stock market and I own my place lock, stock and barrel. My oldest brother isn't so lucky, however --- if I'm not mistaken, he has everything in the stock market.

If he weren't my older brother, I'd forward him this little piece of analysis from Brad Delong:

[...] from 1871 to 2003, the average one-year-ahead real return on stocks--the Cowles index linked to the S&P Composite--averaged 8.39% per year [...] Today the stock market's earnings yield is 4%.

And what about our current variety of private accounts? According to CBS MarketWatch:

Research shows that while a good percentage of participants have done a decent job managing their 401(k) portfolios, a significant portion has made mistakes at every step along the way, from not diversifying to neglecting to monitor their investments [...] the three-year bear market showed just how costly those mistakes can be, and many workers are still trying to dig themselves out [...] Over the three-year bear market ending in 2002, about 70 percent of all participants lost money, with nearly half of all participants losing more than 20 percent.

On the bright side, over the three-year bear market the median participant's investments declined 6.3 percent per year, while the stock market as measured by the S&P 500 lost 14.6 percent. But as some observers have pointed out, workers cannot retire on relative performance.

When Vanguard looked at the performance of retirement plan participants more recently in June 2004, the portfolio of the mean participant had gained only 2.7 percent annually over the previous five years, just barely keeping pace with inflation.

Hmmm. Not very reassuring. And odd that, in the SOTU, there is no mention of lower yields and the rather pitiful state of 401(k)s for such a large number of people. In fact, problems such as these are not simply specifically ignored in the SOTU, but contradicted.

Why might that be, do you think?

And the cognitive dissonance doesn't stop there. In fact, it goes even further:

[...]  Bush failed to acknowledge the extent to which benefits will be cut, debt will be increased and whether the Republican privatization plan will increase the long-term solvency of the program.

[...] Bush Failed to Address Benefit Cuts:  Tonight Bush said, "Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver - and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security." But, CBO Says Bush's Plan Will Cut Benefits by 45 Percent or More for Seniors [...] Bush Failed to Address Increases in Debt [...] But, The President's Plan Adds Over $4.5 Trillion in Debt [...]  Bush Failed to Address Social Security's Long-Term Solvency [...] But, a Senior Administration Official Admitted the Plan Does Nothing to Address Solvency.

Disinformation? Doubletalk? Propaganda? Stupidity and amorality? Why all the lies and evasions?

Could it be that Bush and Halliburton want to plunder Social Security to pay their bills?

You tell me.


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