Recent comments

  • Reply to: White House Astroturf For Social Security Phase Out   19 years 2 months ago
    The initial Social Security Act permitted municipal governments to opt out of the system - a loophole that Congress closed in 1983. In 1981, employees of Galveston County, Texas, chose by a vote of 78 percent to 22 percent to leave Social Security for a private alternative. Brazoria and Matagorda counties soon followed, swelling the private plan to more than 5,000 participants today. In the private plan, contributions are similar to those for Social Security but returns are quite different. Initially, employees and their employer were each required to contribute 6.13 percent of income; recently, the counties increased their contribution to 7.65 percent - for a total contribution of 13.78 percent. Of that 13.78 percent, 9.737 percent goes to the employee's individual retirement account, which pays a 6.5 percent average interest rate, compounded daily. The remainder pays for disability and life insurance premiums to cover the employee in case of an accident or death. Workers continue to pay their Medicare payroll taxes and to receive Medicare benefits upon retirement. But while the cost of the private program, known as the Alternate Plan, is virtually the same to the employee and employer as Social Security, the benefits are far greater. According to First Financial Benefits, Inc., which created and administers the plans: A person retiring today at age 65 with 40 years of deposits and an annual salary of $20,000 would retire with $383,032 in a personal account. Someone with a $30,000 salary for 40 years would retire with $573,782. And a person with a $50,000 salary for 40 years would retire with $956,303. A personal retirement account this size provides a much larger postretirement income than does Social Security. Moreover, retirees under the Alternate Plan have a number of options not available to retirees under Social Security. For example, those with the Alternate Plan can choose among several annuities or take their money in a lump sum. As the figure shows, under one option: A retired $20,000-per-year worker with the personal retirement account would receive $2,740 each month at current interest rates, while Social Security benefits would be about $775 per month. A $50,000 per year worker would receive $6,843 from the private plan, compared to $1,302 from Social Security. In addition, the employer's contribution pays for much more generous benefits than those provided by Social Security. The life insurance benefit is three times the worker's salary (with a minimum benefit of $50,000 and a maximum of $150,000); Social Security, by contrast, pays a one-time death benefit of $255 to a surviving spouse. Disability insurance under the Alternate Plan pays 60 percent of an individual's salary until age 65 or until the individual returns to work and is relatively easy to qualify for, while Social Security disability benefits can be very difficult to qualify for and are unavailable to young workers who have not yet worked the required amount of time. TRUTH TO THE IGNORANT!!! RB
  • Reply to: Never Mind the Social Security Numbers   19 years 2 months ago
    FDR was truly a man ahead of his time. In fact he did see that a one dimensional Social Security plan would not suffice and meet all of the needs of this growing country. In his original proposal he in fact endorsed the idea of personal accounts: This from the SOcial Security Website - The draft bill submitted by FDR differed in many interesting respects from the final Social Security Act which emerged from Congress in August 1935. For example, FDR had proposed a three-part program of old-age security consisting of: old-age welfare pensions; compulsory contributory social insurance (what we now think of as Social Security); and a third-tier which would consist of optional annuity certificates sold by the government to workers who, upon retirement, could convert the certificates to monthly annuities which would be used as supplements to their basic Social Security retirement benefit. Maybe someone should tell his grandson.
  • Reply to: No Shame   19 years 2 months ago
    Of course I didn't quote EVERYTHING that El Gringo had to say. If people want to read the entire thread, they can read it in our forum. The additional comments, however, change nothing about the basic facts here. As El Gringo has pointed out in <a href="">his latest comment</a>, the photograph from which Linda Eddy says she took her so-called "inspiration" included a byline with the name of the photographer and his news agency, so she has no excuse for pretending that she thought it was a DoD photo and for failing to ask the photographer for permission to use his work. El Gringo's comments suggest that there were people other than Eddy who also insensitively treated this photo as an opportunity to celebrate the compassion of our soldiers, while giving no thought whatsoever to the suffering child. However, the fact that other people also acted like ghouls does not in any way make Eddy's own ghoulish insensitivity any less appalling. And she's the only person who actually DOCTORED the photo.
  • Reply to: No Shame   19 years 2 months ago
    <p>Sheldon, since you have credited "El Gringo" I checked into what he's had to say. It seems you haven't included <i>EVERYTHING</i> he found out about this. The following is his own logged comment from PR Watch: (<a href= ""><b>CLICK HERE</a></b> for direct URL, comment #15)</p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">I've done some more Google Picture Searches today and I've found out that the original non-photoshopped picture has been misinterpreted by a number of webmasters who have included the scene on their respective websites. Here's a couple of examples: 1, 2 (scroll down to September 11, 2003), 3.</p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">Unfortunately, the misinterpretation of the photograph seems to have been very common in American Press. The author of the picture, Damir Sagolj said in an interview to a Slovene Magazine: </p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">" This photograph of the child was taken out of context and published on the covers and front pages of American national and local media, as if to say, see how our soldier tenderly holds an Iraqi child in his arms. I got a phone call from People, the largest American magazine, with a circulation of 22 million. They wanted to know whether this American soldier had any children of his own, what he was feeling at the time, and so on. They weren't interested in what had happened to the child in the picture, whose mother had been killed and whose father had been riddled with bullets by American soldiers."</p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">More on this photographer and a partial translation of the interview, can be found here (about halfway down the page or do a text-search on Damir)</p> <p>Regarding my search into the originallity of another 'piece of art' by Linda Eddy (the Afghan Schoolgirl, I haven't been able yet to locate the original non-photoshopped picture, although I am sure it exists. Checking hundreds of reasonably recent news-images depicting Afghan and Iraqi children, many of them with horrific injuries, isn't very pleasant so I am limitting myself to that particular task only for a few moments each day.</p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">Regards,</p> <p><font color= "CCOOOO">ElGringo</font color></p> <p><font color= "CCO"><i>ADDITIONAL NOTE from Linda Eddy: As for the search for a photo of the Afghan Schoolgirl... there isn't one. I PAINTED HER.</i></p>
  • Reply to: No Shame   19 years 2 months ago
    <p>Hello, Sheldon,</p> <p>Here is the link to the website where I found the photo:</p> <p>Do YOU see any story about it? Any dead parents? Any reference to a photographer? Any quotes from the soldier photographed? Any photo credit whatsoever?</p> <p>Me either.</p> <p>I wrongly assumed it was a photo from the DoD public domain galleries (SAMPLE OF SUCH A LINK:</p> <p>I painted it in PhotoShop. Yes, I can paint. Here are other paintings I have done:</p> <p></p> <p>You wrongly assumed I knew all about this photo, the story behind it, and that I knowingly and willfully chose to depict it otherwise.</p> <p>I didn't.</p> <p>sincerely,</p> <p>Linda Eddy,</p>