Monday, June 16, 2008

CNN Admits Public Education Failure is Widespread and Systemmic

Of course they don't put that in the headline, but CNN accidentally admits the mandated public education program is not teaching Americans very important lessons in saving and investments.

With most Americans doing a lousy job saving for their Golden Years, Barack Obama says the government has to step in.

Of course, the only solution to government failure is to increase government spending. Obama's plan is actually a very good one if it were in place of the current Social Security plan. The article admits that putting money into an interest bearing account will allow people to retire with 6 figures saved up.
Over time, the amount socked away in these IRAs could grow into a six-figure nest egg. A 30-year-old worker who contributed $1,000 a year and received the $500 match would accumulate $143,750 by age 65, assuming a 5% average rate of return after inflation, according to Ronald Wilcox, business professor at University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.

Now, imagine if the 12.4% of salaries now taken for "savings" in the Social Security scheme were put into an IRA. Assuming Wilcox' average rate of return after inflation, a single person making $40,000 a year over 35 years (from 30 to 65 as in the above scenario), the person would have $689,119.30 in his or her IRA.

Putting this money into a basic savings account at retirement, at 3% interest, the monthly payment from this money would be $1,722.80 without touching the principal AT ALL. If the retiree wanted to use up all the money over 30 years of retirement, that person would use an additional $23,000 from the principal to supplement the $1,722/month to end up with a retirement of about $3,600 per month income for life. And this does not include any potential government "matching" funds.

This is how much retirees across the board should have at retirement. The Social Security program has cost Americans TRILLIONS of dollars of net worth.

Why do Americans tolerate this loss of net worth?

Because of a failed public education system that does not teach retirement, investment and money management knowledge. I think I learned 12 years of Shakespeare and social studies, but had maybe one class where they taught us to fill out a check. The only time interest was mentioned was during math lessons.

Our education system is completely inadequate for 21st century globalization and personal investing. Until either the public education system recognizes systemic failures or opens to competition, the U.S. is never going to solve the root of any problems while losing our standard of living.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Would We Have Won WWII If It Were Fought Today?

I have been thinking of this for some time. I watched a movie last night called "Flags of Our Fathers." The basic premise was that the soldiers who put up the famous flag at Iwo Jima were not all the guys who put up the flag and that they were famous while so many real heroes had been killed.

They wanted to come back and tell the whole story, but refrained because they were told if they told the whole story, the media would only talk about how the story was a lie and denigrate the war effort.

It leads me back to my initial question. Would the U.S. win WWII if it were fought today?

I'm not so sure we would have won. At least not the overwhelming and long-lasting victory we achieved.

In WWII, we were attacked by Japan alone. Because of the parallels to today's Global War on Terror, we would have had to conduct an immediate strike only against the Japanese, then only a symmetric response...probably a bombing of an outlying island. Would we have had to wait for a strike on a city in California before we took action? As I have watched the public opinion turn on our obligations to fight this historical war, today, I think we would have required a full scale bombing of California before we would take decisive action.

What about Germany? Well, they didn't attack us. If you parallel Germany in WWII and Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the War on Terror, then public opinion would have turned from bombing Germany. News articles would constantly come out talking about the hundreds of thousands of US servicemen killed in combat. If we are squeamish about 4,000 US troops dead today in an "elective war," what do you think of public opinion after the 200,000th US troop death in an "elective war" in Germany?

Day after day of depressing and hopeless news stories about how the Germans and Japanese are winning the war. How we have diverted resources from our main objective in Japan (Afghanistan ) to fight a battle in Germany (Iraq). How we are fighting the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time when we were fighting Nazi soldiers in North Africa early in the war.

Today's media are more interested in pointing out flaws and discussing how America is wrong in everything. I believe that having people know the full truth is a good thing and the reason freedom of the press is a very important Right. It is up to every individual to think critically and to not allow the agenda of media or other organizations to get in the way of you discovering the real truth.

We are in a large-scale fight for freedom worldwide. When Bush said you are either with us or against us, he didn't mean you had to put up a McDonald's in your country or start acting like the U.S. He was saying you are either for Democracy or you are against it. You are either for fighting with people who want to kill, murder, oppress and destroy or you are a killer, murderer, oppressor and destroyer.

Like WWII, we had allies and freed the French resistance to help us achieve overall victory. Today, we have freed Iraqi resistance, Afghan resistance, Soviet resistance and they are all now fighting with us towards complete and total victory forever. We must stand up and continue to fight with our new allies rather than fighting over how we can abandon our allies the quickest.

We have one chance to change history and do the right thing. This is our chance. Think of the millions of Iraqis who now have a country of their own and who are fighting and dying to kill America's enemies.

Think of the thousands of U.S. troops who have died for our new allies and worldwide freedom. What did they die for if we just hand Iraq to Al Qaeda and/or Iran?

What would the world look like if we had lost WWII? What would have happened to the world if we had invaded Japan only and lost the whole European continent to the Nazis (perhaps even Russia, as Germany would have only had a single front in the War)? The Nazis were much closer to developing a nuclear bomb by the war's end than we had thought. They were developing ICBMs with the goal of hitting America. Everything the Iranians are doing today, the Nazis were doing in the 1940s.

Think about that then think of how you feel about how we are fighting the War on Terror (which is really WWIII).

Which side do you want to be on when history unfolds?