Saturday, March 18, 2006

Republican Party and 3rd Congressional District voters need to punish Mark Souder

William Larsen challenged Mark Souder to a debate three weeks ago. William Larsen has been patiently waiting for a reply from Mark Souder and his office. The silence has been both deafening and predictable. William Larsen got 28% of the Republican vote two years ago. He is a viable candidate and Mark Souder should debate him.

Mark Souder has broken several promises in the last twelve years:
1. Mark promised to serve a maximum of 12 years in office.
2. Mark promised to shrink the size of the Federal Government; instead Mark Souder has helped Government grow at the largest rates since the 1920's.
3. Mark promised to debate any opponent.

I suggest that everyone immediately contact Mark Souder's office, your local media sources, The Republican Party, and your friends and neighbors... This is an outrage and Mark Souder should be punished for it.

You can rest assured that I will speak at several American Legion Halls about this in the next few weeks if Mark Souder does not debate Mr. Larsen...

I hope The Republicans who read this blog take action. Mark Souder ducked out of his military service; it is appalling that he refuses to debate a Republican who served his country as Mr. Larsen did...

25 comments:

Craig said...

As a question of tactics, I don't blame Souder. He's going to win the primary. Why should he debate somebody he's going to beat and risk saying something he regrets?

William Larsen said...

Are you so sure?
In 2002 Larsen received 3% of the primary vote.

In 2004 Larsen received 21% of the primary vote.

This is a seven-fold increase? What did Larsen do differently between 2002 and 2004? He had no radio or TV adds, yet received 21% of the primary vote.

It is called worth of mouth. The very best advertisement.

President Bush has actually helped Larsen by brining attention to the number one problem facing America, Social Security. The problem is Bush's plan was the same old con, but simply repackaged and people saw this.

So here is it in a nutshell. Do you as a worker support paying 10.6% of your wages into a program that at most can pay those born after 1985 29 cents back for each dollar paid in? This is a zero rate of return, a very poor value that even US Savings bond beat.

or

Do you support Larsen's plan that allows the worker to keep both the employer and employee portions of the Social Security Old Age tax of 10.6% in exchange for no social security?

Keep in mind in this country there are:
36.5 Million age 65 and over
60 million age 47 and over
116 million potential voters under age 47.

If you like the status quo on Social Security, do not vote for Larsen! If you do not like the status quo on Social Security, vote for Larsen, it costs nothing and if he wins you will send a very strong message that will be heard nation wide.

William Larsen said...

I love technology, but some times, the eye reads what is not there. In my haste I thought I was choosing "word" instead of "worth."

Jeff Pruitt said...

You're making the assumption that the $80B/year (as well as the $1.65T principle) in interest is actually available and liquid - it isn't. It's tied up in US Treasury bonds. This means if/when the govt has to dip into this "trust fund" to pay benefits it will have to raise taxes substantially.

The govt has continually borrowed from this trust fund and will have to pay the piper for it. However, I don't see how your plan avoids this problem as you are actually COUNTING on exhausting the trust fund. The massive (and sudden) tax hikes that would have to take place to cash-in the T-Bonds would not go over well - especially with those in your own party.

While I applaud your effort to make social security more of a needs-based program, I must admit that I am not sold on your current plan and I don't think many other voters would be either...

William Larsen said...

To Jeff Pruitt,
Between 1957 and 1965 Social Security OASI spent more each year than it collected in social security taxes. Between 1971 and 1983 Social Security OASI spent more each and every year than it collected in taxes. In 1983 every last penny that was borrowed plus interest was repaid to Social Security all in a time of high deficits. How was this done?

The Special Interest US Treasuries held by trust funds are different. They are not marketable notes like normal treasuries. However, the are payable on demand. This means when Social Security gives the note to the Treasury Department it has several options:

One is to borrow money on the open market to repay the note held by Social Security. This method does not increase the national debt one penny. It only changes the ownership of the debt from Social Security to some other entity. No different than a person refinancing a home mortgage.

Two use current general tax revenues to redeem the notes. Payable on demand that Social Security gets to the head of the line in front of all authorized general expenditures and take what revenues if any there are first until it has been satisfied.

Three raise taxes or cut spending in the general budget.

Most of the general revenue taxes paid come from a small group while the majority of the Social Security tax comes from a large group of workers. Therefore, if general revenue taxes are raised to repay Social Security, it will affect those who pay the most.

Keep in mind the yearly SS statement you get also counts on exhuasting the trust fund. Another way to look at it is this. If the trust fund is worthless, then the national debt is not $8 Trillion, but $6.5 Trillion.

William Larsen said...

To Jeff Pruitt,
Between 1957 and 1965 Social Security OASI spent more each year than it collected in social security taxes. Between 1971 and 1983 Social Security OASI spent more each and every year than it collected in taxes. In 1983 every last penny that was borrowed plus interest was repaid to Social Security all in a time of high deficits. How was this done?

The Special Interest US Treasuries held by trust funds are different. They are not marketable notes like normal treasuries. However, the are payable on demand. This means when Social Security gives the note to the Treasury Department it has several options:

One is to borrow money on the open market to repay the note held by Social Security. This method does not increase the national debt one penny. It only changes the ownership of the debt from Social Security to some other entity. No different than a person refinancing a home mortgage.

Two use current general tax revenues to redeem the notes. Payable on demand means that Social Security gets to go to the head of the line in front of all authorized general expenditures and take what revenues if any there are first until it has been satisfied.

Three raise taxes or cut spending in the general budget.

Most of the general revenue taxes paid come from a small group while the majority of the Social Security tax comes from a large group of workers. Therefore, if general revenue taxes are raised to repay Social Security, it will affect those who pay the most in general revenue taxes.

Keep in mind the yearly SS statement you get also counts on exhausting the trust fund. Another way to look at it is this. If the trust fund is worthless, then the national debt is not $8 Trillion, but $6.5 Trillion.

Jeff Pruitt said...

In 1983 there were a number of changes made (by Alan Greenspan's commission) to try and solve the future demographics problem. Namely, they raised the payroll taxes, benefits became taxable, and the retirement age was increased. Without these changes the surplus we've generated since then would not have been possible. Also, it doesn't matter that the treasuries are payable on demand because the money has to come from somewhere.

To address your funding "options":

1)There is no way the government can borrow the amount of money needed from within the US as this would cause critical (dollar-for-dollar) cuts in private lending. Therefore, they would have to borrow the money from offshore lenders, increasing the national debt. In fact, it's semi-ridiculous that the government keeps the current bonds off-balance sheet as debt is debt.

2)There is not enough money to use general tax revenues as this would completely cripple the rest of the federal budget.

3)Raising taxes and reducing spending are valid options. Interestingly, you mention the fact that raising general tax revenues would cause those that make more to pay more unlike the current "regressive" payroll tax. I must say though that I don't see how taking that path could possibly get any Republican elected.

And I'm not suggesting the trust fund is worthless; I'm merely pointing out that the money has to actually come from somewhere via the mechanisms described above.

And finally, the social security trust fund treasuries are not included in the national debt.

Again, I'm all for a needs-based approach but I (along w/ others) would be much more comfortable w/ a more gradual approach...

William Larsen said...

Jeff, the Social Security trust fund Special US Treasuries are included in the National Debt.

Public debt is defined as public debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury. U. S. Treasury securities primarily consist of marketable Treasury securities (i.e., bills, notes and bonds), savings bonds and special securities issued to state and local governments (State and Local Government Series securities, or SLGS). A portion is debt held by the public and a portion is debt held by government accounts.

What does raising the base do for SS-OASI?

What does applying the SS-OASI tax to all income do?

Between 1971 and 1983 SS-OASI was paid back every penny including interest. The US Treasury did this by borrowing on the open market. The amount they borrowed will not be much differen than that, which will be needed to redeem Special Treasuries starting in 2018 in terms of our economy.

I do not agree with raising taxes. Pay more for the same lousy benefit.

As I have said for decades, there is no painless solution.

I suggest you read Social Security: What Went Wrong?

and

Myths: The Political Tool of Choice

I am sorry, but the gradual approach will not work. We do not have time. Read Social Security's Arithmetic.

Jeff Pruitt said...

While I may disagree w/ your approach I do appreciate the discussion. This type of open and frank discussion is what we need more of - not only for social security but also for health care issues as well - which should be a much bigger concern IMO...

Jeff Pruitt said...

Also, just wanted to point out that I was wrong about the trust fund not being part of the national debt - it is. It's an off-balance sheet account meaning it's kept separate from the general fund but they do figure it into national debt calculations. Thanks for the clarification...

William Larsen said...

Jeff, though I believe healthcare is a very large issue, I do not think it is one our government should be involved in. For those who think our representatives can figure out what we need in terms of healthcare, I would really like to know their opinion.

Our basic problem with healthcare is we use more services each year. With a low birth rate, we are no longer diluting our "national age" but actually increasing it. This is what is called "aging of America." As we age, we tend to need a few more adjustments, check ups and medicine. In the past these were not available, now they are.

Those => 65 increased by 1% last year. Over the next couple of years, the rate will increase to 3.5% a year and then start to drop. Seniors consume the largest fraction of healthcare in this country. According to the CPI on healthcare costs per service, in 2005, it increased by 4%. However, I have seen where overall healthcare increases is twice this, what gives?

Well it just turns out that the increase in 1% senior population compounds the 4% CPI plus we get the compounding of cost shifting when Medicare pays just 70 cents on the dollar back down to the rest of us, results in a much higher increase overall. This results in companies dropping insurance coverage.

In terms of size, Medicare costs tax payers about $5,500 for each senior. SS-OASI costs about $12,000 for each senior. SS-OASI is twice the problem as Medicare.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

The government has screwed up healthcare in a huge way. They need to get out of health care entirely...

Jeff Pruitt said...

To William:

So 40M+ uninsured does not constitute a problem? What is your plan - it sounds like you want to bury your head in the sand and ignore it.

Emergency care for these people drive up costs - care that could probably be prevented if they received preventative care.

Opportunity cost to our economy is tremendous. How many people don't start their own business or switch jobs because they couldn't get affordable health coverage or because of pre-existing conditions?

What about companies that are competing globally against companies where health care is 100% subsidized. This lack of competitiveness is again stifling industry and is causing outsourcing of jobs - Jobs that affect people in Indiana.

The two ideas I've heard so far seem to be to repeal social security while exhausting trust funds that don't have any actual money and to ignore health care issues that affect every single american.

I respect you running in the primary, I really do, but I'm frustrated because I think you're allowing Souder to have a cakewalk to the general election by promoting ideas that the general public doesn't/won't accept.

William Larsen said...

Jeff,

Healthcare just like Social Security has no painless solution. Doctors go to school for seven years or more with no payback during that time, just debt. They then must build a practice requiring more debt. All said, how much does it take to practice medicine? I have not researched the numbers to any degree, but think about the risk associated with practicing medicine, suits, loose your license, etc. Now add in all the years to develop new technologies. A $5 million machine that has a 30 minute cycle time used 12 hours a day can be used 24 times a day. Let us assume 5 days a week. At 7% and use full life of 5 years, we are looking at break even cost of $356K a year. To break even the machine charge is $57. But then you have service and maintenance and an operator. A person making $20 an hour with benefits will cost the employer $30 to $32 a hour. This means the operator; machine charge is about $75 and most likely closer to $100. Now add in the specialist who reads the results. The problem is it does not run 24 times a day, but closer to 5 to 10 times, which means the charge went up considerably.

Let me ask you this, do you think doctors are charging too much? If not what do you think the reason for high healthcare costs are?

Healthcare total costs are increasing because we are getting old. They are compounding because Medicare shifts costs to others. Maybe the cost is high because the doctor does more tests to cover themselves. My son was sick and I took him to the doctor. The doctor gave a diagnosis and wrote a Rx. He wanted to do an x-ray. I asked him if not doing the x-ray would change his diagnosis and he said no. The x-ray may not show anything and if it did, his diagnosis would not change. I saved $150 plus the cost to interpret the x-ray.

We want healthcare, but we do not want to pay the cost for this care. Some say the solution is to use healthcare more efficiently. How do you do this?

Maybe what we do is retrace our steps that got us into this minefield to begin with?

But then the Healthcare problem has been brewing for a long time. Can you point to any politician that has a workable solution? Does Souder have a plan? How about Tom Hayhurst who is a Physician? Does Tom have a solution besides creating a task force? I too could use the 10-second sound bite and say “I am for affordable healthcare” but what does this really mean? Unless the problem can be quantified, no one has a solution.

Do I have a solution to the Healthcare issue, no? I have never said I did. What I do have is a vast experience in problem solving, root cause analysis and common sense. If you are looking to vote for a candidate that has the solution to healthcare, great, I am not that candidate. However, I can certainly apply my abilities to making sure that any plan that is proposed is scrutinized to the fullest. I will let someone else propose a solution to healthcare, while I propose the solution to social security. Someone else can work on Defense while others head up solutions to other problems. No one candidate has all the solutions.

How much more are you willing to pay for healthcare to ensure the 40 million uninsured is covered?

William Larsen said...

Previous post should have said $99K per month and $190 charge for machine.

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