The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Definition of Idiocy

03/11/2019

I have a great deal of respect for Ric Edelman, who was one of the financial planning pioneers in the Washington area.  Having done well, he is now focused on doing good.  He sees the greatest medical disaster approaching us as the rising cost of Alzheimer’s disease, and I have no reason to disagree with him.

In addition, he sees the greatest financial disaster approaching us as the slow-motion bankruptcy of Social Security, which he sees around 2032.  He has actually endowed a foundation to motivate policymakers to actually deal with the problem — a problem that everybody wants to fix.  He estimates Social Security recipients should expect a 25% cut in benefits unless Social Security payers contribute 25% more each year.  It is a classic win-loss, zero-sum battle.  Retirees win, while workers lose.  Republicans prefer recipients take a cut, while Democrats prefer payers pay more.  Moderate Americans just want a little of both.

If everybody agrees there is a problem but have been unable to make a decision in the last thirty years, we should remember that idiocy is the doing the same thing over and over, while expecting a different result.  Management of Social Security is too important for mere politicians.  Haven’t we learned that yet?

As much as I hate to say it, this is a job for blue-ribbon panel of thought-leaders, a few token politicians, as well as some nameless, faceless bureaucrats — with binding decision-making authority.

Some problems are just too important to expect elected officials to fix!   Sometimes, democracy fails us, and we must deal with that failure.

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