The system is broken

Job losses, early retirements hurt Social Security

Yuma Sun


Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that’s happened since the 1980s. The deficits — $10 billion in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011 — won’t affect payments to retirees because Social Security has accumulated surpluses from previous years totaling $2.5 trillion. But they will add to the overall federal deficit...


The system is broken

Liberty Unbound
by Jon Harrison

The speculative excess in housing that began after about 2000 was, of course, a nationwide phenomenon, albeit more frenzied in some parts of the country than others. It constituted a classic bubble, reminiscent of tulips in Holland in the 1630s and the South Sea boom and bust of 1719-20. As in those earlier bubbles, the reckless speculation that led to disaster was enabled by government. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was relatively harmless in and of itself. But when it was harnessed by the Clinton administration to ratchet up the percentage of Americans who owned their own homes, the storm began to brew. It should have been obvious that no-down-payment mortgages, interest-only monthly payments, and adjustable rates (the instruments that allowed ’subprime’ borrowers to become homeowners) were recipes for delinquency, foreclosure, and an eventual collapse of prices. It is hard to believe that the private sector didn’t realize this, at least intuitively, but apparently it convinced itself that risk could be safely managed through the use of credit derivatives, specifically credit default swaps (CDSs) and collateralized debt obligations... (for publication 10/09)


Public schooling is like the Army

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger


The Right is in an uproar over a video that has surfaced on YouTube showing schoolchildren at a public elementary school in New Jersey being trained to sing a paean to President Barack Obama. Conservatives say that the song is no different than what schoolchildren were trained to do in Nazi Germany and Maoist China and which is still being done in North Korea. � What the Left and the Right fail to recognize, however, is that the fundamental problem of public (i.e., government) schooling is not so much the indoctrination that inevitably takes place during the 18 years that children are attending...


Obama and the Afghan abyss

by Terry Michael


Mr. President, your decision about Afghanistan is not a political choice. This isn’t a highway appropriations bill or even your healthcare reform plan, open to tinkering here and marginally adjusting there. There are potentially thousands of young lives at stake, individuals who you will send to die and be maimed. And the choice of stepping up this horror — rather than drawing it down — will engender bitter hatred from Afghans caught in the crossfire...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


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