Day: April 26, 2012

Mitt Romney And American Society: In The 1950s! Mitt Romney And Foreign Policy: In The 1980s!

Now that Mitt Romney has the GOP Presidential nomination, we are realizing that he is back in the 1950s, as far as American society is concerned, and back in the 1980s, as far as American foreign policy is concerned!

One might wonder, what does the author mean?

Well, socially, Romney’s family is a 1950s family: a dutiful wife who has never worked for pay, only as a mother and housewife; having a large family of five children; the five sons being well behaved and never getting into trouble; no question of unhappiness or conflict or divorce; very religious; and living a comfortable, suburban life! This is the image of the 1950s, when women knew their “place”; when children did not use illegal drugs or get drunk or even smoke if they came from a “good” family; and minorities were seen, but not heard, and there was very little direct contact with them.

Well, foreign policy wise, Romney is in the 1980s, with the image of the Cold War under Ronald Reagan; with the Russians called the Soviet Union, and seen as an “evil empire”; with the Soviets controlling Eastern Europe, including the nation of Czechoslovakia, and Eastern Europe enslaved by the Russian armies.

Top aides to Romney have used the term “Soviet Union” recently, as has Romney, forgetting that the Soviet Union disappeared in 1991, and while Russia is certainly a nation to watch and keep track of their activities, they are certainly nothing like the old “Soviet Union”, do not control Eastern Europe, and do not even control all of the separate provinces that are now independent nations.

Also, the references to “Czechoslovakia” are truly laughable by Romney aides on foreign policy, as that nation broke up peacefully 19 years ago, in 1993, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This is the same mistake made by Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican Presidential nominee!

One would think that a candidate for President, and his top advisers, would know the true story about Czechoslovakia!

One would also think that a candidate for President would realize we are not in the 1950s regarding the family, the role of women, and the reality of minority groups in America!

So one has to say, is this what the nation wants in 2013 and beyond: a candidate socially in the 1950s, and foreign policy wise in the 1980s Cold War mentality? One would hope the answer is NO!

Oh No! Speculation About 2016 Democratic Presidential Nomination Already? And Involving New York?

It is hard to believe, but Politico has published an article speculating about two possible candidates for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016 almost seven months before we settle who will sit in the Oval Office on January 20, 2013!

And get this: the two political figures mentioned are both New Yorkers, a state thought by many to have no role in the future of Presidential races, but anyone thinking that would be wrong!

The two are Secretary of State and former Senator Hillary Clinton, wife of the 42nd President, Bill Clinton, and Governor Andrew Cuomo, son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, himself the subject of much speculation for President in the 1990s, but never running.

Speculation is rampant, although Hillary denies it, that she might be tapped for Vice President in place of Joe Biden, or that she will just retire for two years, write a book, relax, and then come back and run for President, but with Andrew Cuomo not allowing that to stand in the way of his own ambitions.

And then, outside of the Politico article, there is speculation that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York will also wish to move ahead and seek the Presidency in 2016!

Imagine New York being a center of Presidential speculation, and we don’t even know if the President in office will be leaving in 2017 (Barack Obama), or be finishing his first term in office (Mitt Romney)!

The Hard Reality: The Need For Long Term Reform Of Social Security And Medicare

Anyone who is a progressive or a Democrat is proud of the fact that it was a Democratic President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who gave us Social Security in 1935.

Anyone who is a progressive or a Democrat is proud of the fact that it was a Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson, who gave us Medicare in 1965.

But hard reality is setting in, that something major must be done to promote sustainability of both Social Security and Medicare, as Social Security is now believed to be starting to operate in the red in 2033, and Medicare in 2024.

That is a danger sign that requires serious negotiations and acceptance of a need for major changes in both programs for the long term future.

The answer is not privatization, however, but rather recognition of the longevity of American lives and work careers, and the realization that payroll taxes on both programs must increase.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill negotiated a bipartisan agreement on Social Security which raised the retirement age to 66 for people born in the mid 1940s through 1959, and to 67 for those born after 1960. The agreement affected people with a long time to retirement, so was easy to adjust to without much controversy.

What must be done with Social Security would be to raise the full retirement age to age 68 for those born in 1980 and after, the beginning of the baby “boomlet” after a baby “bust” from 1965 to 1978. Additionally, those born in 1990 and after would have the age rise to 69. Additionally, all income, not just about $110,000, should be taxed, as is the case with Medicare.

As far as Medicare is concerned, the tax rate needs to be raised to collect more money, and the age of eligibility should go up to age 66 for those born in 1980 and after, and to age 67 for those born in 1990 and after.

No plan is going to have everyone satisfied, but with plenty of notice and planning, and with more money collected, and age levels raised, there is no reason why Social Security and Medicare cannot survive and prosper in the long term!