Devastating Social Security? July 25, 2011March 24, 2017 CORRECTION Until I deleted it Friday around noon, I included a paragraph about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp paying no taxes. Turns out, Reuters got this wrong. REPUBLICANS PREVENTING MILLIONS FROM VOTING The enormity of this just keeps growing. Women – as noted in here – are particularly disadvantaged. It is outrageous, and – because so many Republican candidates for President don’t “believe in” the global climate crisis or universal health care or regulation (or evolution) – it threatens our well-being. Imagine how different the world would have been with Gore instead of Bush. No war in Iraq, no massive tax cuts for the wealthy – and thus no doubling of the National Debt and shredding of the national balance sheet. Bush wrecked our financial stability. And wasted eight years in dealing with our energy crisis (remember Bush’s tax break for buying Hummers?) and global climate change. How many more such body blows can we take? Think of it this way. Say you and a dozen crew mates were on an orbiting space station with the capacity to maintain a liveable environment indefinitely so long as you stayed within certain parameters. But that if you taxed the system too much, it could get thrown out of kilter and spin out of control. Well, we are on an orbiting space station – a very large one – and there are 7 billion of us dumping more than 60 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Faith in God alone may not suffice to keep our systems in balance. When God created the heavens and the Earth, He also created chemistry, cause, and effect. If Michele Bachmann’s team gets its way – even though the nominee will presumably not be she – the “end of days” crowd just might be headed for their rapture after all. And still I know people who, because they always have, vote Republican. And lots of people who would vote Democrat who now, per the link above, won’t be able to. CVV Aristides’ Chris Brown: “CVV reached our previously stated target price of $17.08 Friday morning [up about 45% from its first mention here and 65% from a subsequent mention.], so I suppose we are due for an update. I agree with ThinkEquity that there are several potential very large revenue opportunities which the company may begin to win in the next 12 months. I disagree with ThinkEquity’s modest earnings estimates for FY11 (43 cents) and FY12 (48 cents); the company will be hiring aggressively, but has so much of an order backlog at good margins that they would have to ramp operational spending phenomenally in order to earn that little. Some small tech companies think nothing of burning cash, but CVV’s management has a long history of profitable performance even when revenue was low, so it’s hard for me to envision that margins will suddenly collapse. In short, current backlog and the pace of recent orders justifies the current valuation. The 2Q earnings report (likely August) may be a positive near-term catalyst for the shares, and any large, game-changing sort of order (there are at least a few possibilities out there), could drive the value of the business much, much higher. I can’t think of another company as well-positioned in emerging hypergrowth industries, let alone a pure-play, at a reasonable valuation.” DEVASTATING SOCIAL SECURITY? Here is the article that led me to suggest Friday that we not freak ourselves out if some modest, sensible Social Security tweaks are included in a budget deal. It is entitled, “Gang of Six Plan Cuts Social Security Now, Devastates It Later.” Any plan that would devastate Social Security is a terrible plan. I think all Democrats know that. But I’m reminded of President Clinton’s 4.3-cent-a-gallon hike in the gasoline tax and a woman I saw on the evening news who was truly freaked out, saying it would devastate her family. (It came to about $30 a year.) The article says that in 10 years, because of a change in the inflation calculation, benefits will be 3.7% less high than they otherwise would have been. That’s not good, and not something anyone should be eager to see happen. But it is not 10% or 25% – or even 5% – so I think it’s not “devastating.” When we could afford it – or thought we could afford it – we generally sweetened Social Security benefits to seniors*, which was a great thing to be able to do. But if, in a national crisis (and make no mistake, we are in a national crisis), we need to be 3.7% less generous looking 10 years out . . . well, this is one of the unfortunate things that decades of Republican military spending and tax cuts for the wealthy have brought us to. Maybe only those seniors who voted Republican should have to take the 3.7% hit, but that’s not how our system works. It’s important to note that as soon as the long-term health of our economy is restored, Congress can – and should – simply reverse whatever is agreed to now, if anything is, and return to the politically popular track of sweetening benefits. That’s why the projection that, 30 years out, this change will see benefits 9.2% lower than they otherwise would be – while not something to be agreed to lightly – is kind of meaningless. If we can restore our economic health, we’ll have plenty of room to restore more generous benefits, and a huge voting block of seniors calling on Congress to do just that. What I hope will be the happy paradox of this situation is that if, as part of a grand bargain that would, for example, let the Bush tax cuts expire we make long-term adjustments to the entitlement cost curves, and thereby help to get our national finances back onto a solid footing – and keep our credit rating triple-A and persuade the world to lend us money for badly needed job-creating projects to modernize our infrastructure – then all of this will improve the chances that we’ll prosper in the decades to come and won’t have to use the less generous inflation calculation after all. At the moment of course, only one side is willing to make the grand bargain, while the other side seems bent on protecting the wealthiest of the wealthy and making certain the Obama Presidency fails, thereby to regain the complete control it had from 2001-2006. Which is why the other side is working so hard to make it difficult for the young and the poor and the disadvantaged to vote. *And separate from Social Security, but still very much affecting seniors, we recently added the prescription drug benefit and are now closing “the doughnut hole,” which will be a much bigger gain for most seniors than this less generously calculated cost of living adjustment will be a loss.