Weekend Stuffs

It was a long week on the work front, so pretty much nothing in the way of blogging activities. A few random nuggets:

  • Prince (yes, the purple wonder can still get his groove on) pulled in an astounding $56.5 million dollars in 2004, which was enough to earn him top honors on the musicians making money front. As a long time Prince fan, I am pretty impressed at this remarkable commercial comeback. [source: BBC News]
  • I finally got my iPod 40GB 4G back from the Best Buy service center. The lack of service from Best Buy’s customer support really ticked me off. The service center at the local store pretty much sucks, the employees are unfriendly and in general they not at all helpful. The damage? They replaced the HDD, which has to be the most expensive part of the iPod. I am surprised that they did not just send me a new one.
  • What is the big deal with “saving” Social Security? As a 34-year old, I have no plans to count on getting a government check in my future. Instead, I put away a decent amount of coin each month into my 401(k). I am not sure why everyone does not save. Just let the damn program go insolvent, and stop taxing us for an antiquated system that is no longer relevant in the 21st Century.
  • I am inching every closer to finishing Champions of Norrath. I just do not seem to find the time it takes to finish this puppy, but it has certainly been worth the money. I have promised myself I will not get Return to Arms (the sequel) until I actually complete Norrath. For those wondering, I have completed the Arena, and about to enter the Hate Portal thing. That should be a pretty spoiler free description. I figure I will finally finish the game in 2-3 weekends if nothing unexpected comes up. Of course Gran Turismo 4 is almost here.
  • Is Google stock really worth $187.40 per share? It is amazing to watch the history of this stock, which currently has an amazing P/E of 129.96. For those wondering, I am not a big stock market player I pretty much always go the mutual funds route, so I probably have some Google stock somewhere. So what do I know? Maybe Google is actually undervalued. They are going to eventually own the data world on the internet, but I cannot stomach such a high P/E. [source: Yahoo! Finance]
  • My online OOTP6 team, the Columbus Kudzu of the IOSBL, lost in the first round of the playoffs last night 3 games to 2. This was my first appearance in the playoffs in 4 seasons, so I was disappointed to see it end so soon, but I never really had any real hope to advance very far. Over the last few years I have lost my zeal for baseball (damn labor disputes), but I love playing OOTP, especially in this online league. If you are interesting in joining a great league, take a look at the IOSBL, and put yourself on the waiting list.

All for now. Don’t forget to buy your significant other something special for Valentines Day!


4 thoughts on “Weekend Stuffs”

  1. Reason people aren’t saving is that they either don’t make enough (living from paycheck to paycheck) or live above their means (credit card debt).

    Consider that the biggest employer in the country is Wal Mart. A lot of Wal Mart employees need state assistance like food stamps.

    Thirty-years ago, the biggest employer was GM and on a single paycheck back then, a family could afford a nice home and save for college education.

    As for SS, there have been opponents of SS ever since its inception. The ones carrying the flag for the last 30 years against SS has been Cato/Heritage. They don’t want to "reform" or fix SS, they would like to scrap it altogether.

    They’re not above dishonest arguments to forward this cause. First they say SS returns are poor but SS was never an investment or a pension. Then they say things like SS is going to go bust (Bush said SS would be "bankrupt" in 2042 in the State of the Union when nobody who has studied the situation believes that is anywhere near the truth).

    Younger generations have had a cynicism about SS for a long time. In high school, before we earned our first paychecks, classmates would express cynicism about SS.

    SS wasn’t intended to be the sole source of retirement income (even though a lot off seniors currently need SS to stay above the poverty level). That is what pensions, 401K, IRAs and other investments are for.

    There are political and economic agendas behind this proposed reform. It’s a good idea to learn what those are before deciding on the merits.

  2. Listen to this from conservative Glenn Hubbard:


    And please listen to this from liberal Robert Reisch.


    I hate the conservative/liberal label. I put it in to let you know that this is opinion from two sides.

    Notice that Hubbard says SS is a "fly in the ointment", but that the big problem is the deficit (or too much spending).

    Reisch makes interesting points, specifically that SS is currently a 160 billion surplus system and will have bigger surpluses in the next decade.

    The real problem is the government borrowing from the SS fund. It’s legal and it is going to destroy the system from within.

    I believe that Bush wants to privatise SS so that the government doesn’t have to pay back those loans in the future. If you privatise and scrap the system then the money owed doesn’t matter since you don’t have to pay anymore. While I do not have any evidence to support my position, it seems the logical reason to me.

    I feel like your comment that SS is antiquated is hyperbole and there is enough of that being thrown around by the people that want to scrap the system. SS is very necessary at this point and will be for the next 20 years at least. 20 years is the minimum amount of time that you need to fund a comfortable retirement out of your own savings. And that is with good returns, modest to zero inflation, and an income that supports a savings plan.

    If the government was being truthful with us about why the system was in trouble I think there would be more talk about government reform and less about SS reform.

    Thanks for letting me respond,


  3. I thought the surplus was more like $1.5 trillion right now and in the next decade, it should go way up because these are the peak earning years for the baby boomers.

    Which is why it might make sense to boost the cap on the payroll tax from $90k.

    Yeah they’ve been borrowing from the SS Trust Fund. Clinton did it too and Gore proposed the lock box. So they’ve been borrowing and at some point, they are suppose to pay back from general revenues. The US govt. has never defaulted on its obligations. If they did, not only would SS be screwed up, the global financial markets would be roiled since US Treasury bonds and bills are widely held throughout the world.

    WSJ did a survey of countries which privatized and found that those countries which did well had a good fiscal situation and those that didn’t fared worse.

  4. wco,

    You may be perfectly right. The 160 billion is the amount the deficit was reduced by Bush. It doesn’t necessarily mean he borrowed all of the surplus. Yes, Bush is not the first Pres to borrow. Our politicians have been doing this for awhile, but I’m not sure who the first one was. Interesting that conservative radio did use to rail against Clinton for doing such a thing. Calling it smoke and mirrors. Until he got the BJ and that was all anyone focused on. Nary a peep from them when Bush does it although many fiscal conservatives are shaking their heads (see Hubbard).

    I just don’t see how anyone can look at this as a SS problem when it is obvious that overspending and the federal income taxation system is the problem.


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