Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Social Security: The lessons of the Patriot Act and Iraq show how quickly the nation will rush without debate

If they'd asked more questions about WMD, things might have been different.

But will the Americans ask the questions this time? We've learned in the wake of 9-11 how quickly the nation will give up its rights. Now we will see how quickly they will give up their security. The Patriot Act was rushed. So too is the Social Security debate.

There was "no time" to debate the war in Iraq. We see the results. There is no reason to expect anything different with social security.

Once a nation goes to war and gives up its fundamental rights, those decisions are difficult to undo. Do not make the same mistake with Social Security. Once it is destroyed, it will take much to repair what remains needed.

Social Security: Will it be reformed or destroyed?

An imminent crisis? Not likely. The estimates are bogus. The basis for forecasting doom are unreliable.

Who's pushing for this? The ones who are going to get a percentage, Wall Street. Analysts. It remains to be seen how much money they provide with donations.

More troubling: Social Security employees are reportedly taught to warn of problems.

It remains to be understood whether this amounts to:
  • "unauthorized practice of law";
  • violations of the investment advisors act; or
  • RICO violations
  • Are US Social Security employees giving "investment advice" without adequate training?

    - Will the US government defend them from prosecution by refusing to prosecute?

    - Is there a private cause of action against social security employees allegedly giving false, misleading, or in appropriate financial advice?

    - Are only "registered" advisors governed by the act; if so, why are "non-lawyers" then regulated by the Bar in re Unauthorized practice of law?

    - Are government employees regulated by Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, in preventing knowingly, false statements; or is their "defense" ...they didn't know they were being manipulated into proving misleading information?

    - What types of disclosure to the Federal Election Commission or the Securities and Exchange Commission would be appropriate when firms provide information and funding to government and employees in exchange for plans to privatize Social Security?

    Will the SEC, and FEC look into the apparent conflicts?

    The results from the 1990s show that both FEC and SEC are designed to be slow. They are inefficient.

    Yet, the Republicans, as we saw with the Patriot Act, will move quickly.


    It is problematic for private industry and government employees to provide financial advice to the public using unreasonable assumptions and estimates.

    There is an apparent conflict when those financial institutions that stand to benefit from these funds-transfers are providing information to Social Security.

    It remains to be understood whether there have been funds paid from private industry to political candidates in exchange for promises of post-political careers; and the specific role private industry has in providing "estimates" to Social Security.

    Social Security should be something that is secure, not squandered. Otherwise, we are simply reverting back to the 1920s: High risk, no safety net, and inaction in the face of apparent conflicts.

    They lied about WMD. They lied about Enron. They'll lie about social security.

    Buyer beware!