‘[To save Social Security], Mr. Greenspan pushed through an increase in taxes on working Americans, generating a Social Security surplus. Then he used that surplus to argue for tax cuts that deliver very little relief to most people, but are worth a lot to those making more than $300,000 a year. And now that those tax cuts have contributed to a soaring deficit, he wants to cut Social Security benefits.’ – Paul Krugman

Read that once or twice more if it doesn’t grab you at first. If you have time, click the link for Krugman’s full column.

TIPS

The 30-year TIPS – Treasury Inflation Protected Securities – first recommended here years ago at 99 were 131 and change last night, plus the interest they’ve paid along the way, plus the modest ‘inflation factor’ (which is listed separately, not included in that 131 price). I have to guess this is near the top of the range at which they will trade. (Eventually, whatever happens in between, they will head back toward their eventual 100 price at maturity, April 15, 2032.)

I sold some the last time they got close to 130 and bought them back at 116 – they are in my retirement plan, which removes taxes from the equation. I may try to do that again. But to me, they are such a core holding, such a bedrock of if-all-else-fails security, it would not be crazy to just hold on. Not to maximize profit, but to sleep soundly.

Buying them here would be another matter. Although I recognize that in some sense ‘not selling’ is equivalent to buying, I am no more rational than most other humans, and so to me, holding-with-a-profit feels different from buying at a relatively high price.

MARRIAGE

‘I have only this advice to offer those of you who oppose gay marriage:
Don’t marry a homosexual.’
– columnist Beth Quinn (married, heterosexual)

Good advice.

And – if you’re as yet undecided on this topic – consider this excerpt from a recent letter to the editor:

When our son’s partner died in 1995, our son received no Social Security death benefit to help with the burial of the man he had cared for for eight years. He was told that even though he had legal documents giving him the authority to make all decisions regarding disposition of his partner’s remains, that if a family member of his partner, all of whom lived in South America, questioned his authority, he would have no say in any further decisions. He was not considered a family member according to state law and had no standing to object. He could not even have had his partner dressed in the clothes that his partner wanted to be buried in if a single distant relative had objected. The ultimate insult came when our hometown newspaper, Charleston’s Post and Courier, removed our son’s name from the list of survivors in his partner’s obituary because the editors did not consider our son to be “family” under SC law. . . . Family is not defined by law, it is defined by love…and our son’s partner was family to us.

As parents of a gay son, we wish someone would explain to us how one human being loving another human being as much as our son loved his partner in any way threatens the so-called sanctity of anyone’s heterosexual marriage. The “sanctity of marriage” rallying cry is simply a sugar-coated justification for anti-gay legislation and gay-bashing…just as “state’s rights” was a sugar-coated justification for segregation and lynching…and it is born of the same kind of hatred. It is a fraudulent issue. The institution of marriage doesn’t need protection from loving, caring gay South Carolinians like our son and his partner, it needs protection from demagogues and hypocrites like John Graham Altman III who spew bigotry and who have more ex-spouses than they have clean underwear.

James A. and Irene F. Smith

Remember, it’s not religious marriage we’re talking about here. We’re talking state-issued licenses and taxes and probate and beneficiary designations.

Tom Reingold: ‘Funny that the president should be talking about the sanctity of marriage. Sanctity means holiness. If the government is the arbiter of what is holy and what is not, then doesn’t that mean the government is taking the position of the pope of all of our religious institutions all at the same time? I’m pretty sure there’s an amendment prohibiting that.’

☞ Ah, but if you allow gay marriage, what’s next? Incest? Polygamy? Even – in the immortal words of Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania (to a reporter, no less) – ‘man on dog?’

Which brings us, at long last, to . . .

POLYGAMY

Jeff: ‘If the mayor of Salt Lake City had, in contradiction with state law, decided to heed a ‘higher calling’ and ratify polygamous marriages, would the sight of joyful groups of people celebrating their newfound societal recognition fill you with joy – or with pity for the conjoined, whose brief moment of acceptance must surely be terminated by the courts, and contempt for the mayor’s abuse of power?’

Jim: ‘Many of the arguments I hear against gay marriage – ‘It will lead to a man being able to marry two women/dogs getting married, etc.’ – are reminiscent of the arguments against giving women the vote (or blacks, for that matter). It is the responsibility of our elected officials to ‘draw the line’ on many issues. One must ask, ‘What is the purpose of marriage?’ If the answer is (as I believe it is): ‘The legally sanctioned union of two consenting adults’ – then how can one argue against gay marriage?’

☞ A couple of thoughts. First, I don’t see much of a movement for incest or bestiality – or polygamy. So I don’t know how much of a practical dilemma this poses, and how concerned gay-marriage opponents need really be. Second, a housing development or apartment building, it seems to me, might reasonably allow no more than a certain number of people in each dwelling – but it should not allow only white occupants, or heterosexuals. Similarly, it’s OK to restrict use of an HOV lane to cars with two or more passengers – but not just white passengers or heterosexuals.

There’s more to say about all this – the ASPCA may have something to say about bestiality; the geneticists, about incest; and the lawyers, about the difficulty of interpreting laws that talk about ‘spouse’ (singular) when there is more than one. (Which may be why ‘spice’ is not a word.) (Well, it is a word, but you know what I mean.)

But I’ll leave you to chime in if you think I’ve missed something important.

Anna Marasco: ‘If my two year old can understand that he can have 1 cookie, but not the whole box, then the vast majority of adults should understand the concept of 1 spouse, not 6.’

 

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