REPORTS OF MY DEMISE...
Moving, selling my house and changing jobs (not to mention the loss of my laptop - it was the property of my former employer) have kept me away. Can't promise that I'll be back regularly for awhile yet but thought I'd drop by for a quick hit.
I'm against it as I've noted here before. The interesting spin that gay activists are putting on the president's announcement to support a constitutional amendment runs along the lines of "well, conservatives think that abortion should be an issue left up to the states but they change their tune and want to interfere in state business when it comes to the right of gays to marry each other". They say this smugly as though pointing out an intellectual inconsistency in the president's position. Not so.
One of the problems with liberals is that they long ago ceased to care what the constitution says favoring instead to pretend that it is a document that is open to judicial revision whenever the fashionable issue of the day runs up against the laws as enacted by the elected representatives of the people. And so it is that they wax indignant when someone proposes that the scope of the federal government's powers be expanded the only way that it legally can be - via an amendment to the constitution.
The president's position is consistent. By calling for an amendment he is recognizing that the definition of marriage has been to this point up to the discretion of state legislatures since it was not a power specifically granted to the US government via enumeration in the Constitution. The conservative position is the same for abortion - the Constitution does not specifically assign the power over this issue to the Feds (right to privacy be damned) therefore the individual states have the authority to legislate in that area.
Homosexuals are forcing the issue into the headlines and I believe were pushing for this debate to happen. And so they will have it.
I doubt that an amendment will succeed but I don't put it out of the question. The biggest hurdle will be getting 2/3 of both the House and the Senate to propose the amendment. Getting 3/4 of the states to ratify it would probably be easier but by no means assured. But if the issue continues to be pushed by the gay community, as it almost certainly will be, the discontent of the average citizen will grow and along with it support of the an amendment.
If a vote is called it will be interesting to see how a no vote plays out politically - and the last time I checked John Kerry is still a US Senator so he'll be on record at that point.
Why is what Alan Greenspan said today big news to anybody?
For the last ten years I have assumed that Social Security would pay little to none of my retirement. The math doesn't work and only gutless politicians from both sides of the aisle can say otherwise with a straight face.
The retirement age is going to have to go up. There is no way that the system can continue to fund 20 and 30 year retirements for people. Think about it - work for 40 years paying 15% of your income into the system (including employer contribution) and retire for 30 years. Doesn't work.
My proposal is that the retirement age be raised gradually to 70 - maybe 2 years extension for people currently 50 and above and 5 year extension for people who are 40 - something along those lines. And then it will STILL need to be indexed for increases in life expectancy. Lower the COLA increases to something truly reflecting inflation. And take the cap off of payroll taxes. Currently Social Security stops taxing income above $87,900 per year - that should be abolished and the overall rate lowered for everyone. This would increase the tax burden on wealthier Americans but lower and middle income earners would get a slight break. In return, a portion of the taxes should be allowed to be invested in private accounts as Bush proposed in the 2000 campaign.
Just brainstorming. But these kinds of proposals should be discussed by our elected representatives without all of the scare tactics and demagoging. The issue is too important (although it is less important than the war). Fat chance.