Filed under: Economy
Andrew Sullivan agrees with me:
Dylan Matthews balances Social Security’s balance sheet by lifting the contribution cap:
Currently, wages over a certain yearly total ($106,800 this year) are exempted from Social Security payroll taxes. Medicare’s payroll tax has no such cap. This has raised the question of how raising the cap could extend Social Security’s solvency….Congressional Research Service looked at this question in 2008 by evaluating three different proposals. The first would raise the cap so that 90 percent of wages are taxed (CRS estimates this would mean a cap of $171,600 in 2006) and pay higher benefits to those affected; the second would eliminate the cap and pay higher benefits; and the third would eliminate the cap for taxes but would not increase benefits…
While all proposals put a dent in the shortfall, completely eliminating the cap without increasing benefits actually creates a long-term surplus, and eliminating the cap while increasing benefits comes close. The nature of Social Security as a social insurance, rather than welfare, program suggests that the latter proposal may be more palatable, as it retains the connection between what wage-earners pay into Social Security and what they get out of it.
This is basically a big new tax on the rich. But it is also the closing of a silly loophole. In an ideal world, it would be unnecessary. Now, this reform, or something like it, seems to me to be essential.
Filed under: Education
My vote for CT governor not matter what, but here’s his education plan:
Early Childhood Education
Expand access to pre-Kindergarten programs across Connecticut, the goal being to make it universal within 4 years –> Like
Primary and Secondary Education
Innovate in learning
- Encourage local school districts to restore a broader and deeper curriculum for all students that include hands-on science, history, civics, foreign languages and arts –> Like
- Allow districts to self-fund new charter schools –> Like, but needs to realize the law of diminishing returns in regards to charters
- End the “seat time” later years of high school by allowing successful seniors to graduate early for higher education –> Dislike
- Better fund adult education for those unlikely ever to graduate –> Like
- Create a community college “grade 13″ option for those not quite prepared for college level education. –> Like, but change the name
- Promote high-quality, standard-based assessments –> Like
Innovate in teaching
- Expand access to alternative teaching programs –> Like
- Enhance teacher evaluation systems –> Like
- Champion employee release time for school-time activities (volunteering, parent conferences, etc.) –> Like, doubt feasibility / administering
- Establish a parental involvement challenge grant to promote innovation and adoption of effective parental involvement strategies. –> Like, doubt feasibility / administering
- Require local school boards to adopt policies that ensure parents can access homework assignments and their children’s attendance and available grades in real time. Many districts are doing this already, all should. –> Like
- Examine feasibility of transitioning toward a new, smarter system of funding for all of our public schools where money follows children based on their needs –> Like, but how?
- Refocus state school funding by indexing foundation aid to rising costs, adding measures of essential classroom resource equalization, and weighting more for pre-school and elementary grades where the greatest educational gains can be made –> Meh, seems to be an equity issue
- Limit school district administrative expenditures and instead offering incentives to retain and recruit classroom teachers in the face of cutbacks and a growing teacher shortage –> Doubt feasibility
Move some of the existing community colleges to four year degree granting programs –> Dislike, costs would increase negating the benefit
Build regional partnerships to increase student success –> Like, but what does this entail?
Allow optional testing in high school to gauge college preparedness levels in math and English, and tailor senior year curriculum accordingly –> Like, don’t make it optional
Maintain our commitment to financial aid –> Like, help with private university tuition too
Focus higher education spending on students and learning, not administration –> Like, doubt feasibility
Build a world class research and development sector –> Like, doubt feasibility / importance of government funds in this area
Workforce Development & Job training
Provide more opportunities for high school students to participate in apprenticeship training, earn community-college credit, or gain real workplace experience –> Like
Increase the commitment in our teacher education programs to meeting the needs of our local K-12 schools –> Like
Create a more responsive and integrated rapid reemployment and job training infrastructure that focuses on emergency services for displaced workers –> Like, but how?
Enhance economic security by expanding customized and incumbent-worker job training to help workers enhance their skills and better protect against more jobs being lured from our state –> Like, but how?
Via J.S. Mill in HC Deb 31 May 1866 vol 183 cc1554-666:
What I stated was, that the Conservative party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract this assertion; but I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.
Filed under: London
Can you solve this problem?
If I give the sum £1,330 17s. 6d., and tell the Members of this House to divide it by £2 13s. 8d., I want to know how many would do it? – Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Gladstone
Answer, so willingly provided by Mr. Hunt (MP): 658
Filed under: Life
“One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are foods if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.”
“In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.”
(both from Frank Buechner)
Filed under: Economy
A video making the rounds at work:
Filed under: Life
As “The Real Housewives of D.C.” prepares to start in August, the NYT posted an article including some views on the show and views on the city in general.
It was all talking to people who knew people who knew people. That’s the way in which D.C. works. It’s a town that’s all about the proximity to power, and it operates in these concentric circles around the White House.
The show reveals a none-too-flattering side of life in a city where connections are the local currency and what you know is sometimes less important than whom.
Filed under: Civil Rights
A friend on twitter posted about “Loving Day,” celebrating the anniversary of Loving v. Virginia (1967).
To read more about Loving Day, check out their website.
It’s kind of amazing how far we’ve come since 1967. But we really do have quite the ways to go.