Sunday, February 13, 2005

Iraqi Elections

Just read a couple of interesting articles by Harold Meyerson in the American Prospect (Fighting for Islamic War) and Naomi Klein in The Nation (Getting the Purple Finger). As we know, the party that we put in power in Iraq came in a distant 3rd only ahead of the Sunnis that did not even vote. Well, the party (United Iraqi Alliance) that won is run by the clerics. They said that there will not be a theocracy like Iran, but that the country's laws would be based on the Koran. Parts of Islamic law would restrict the rights of women in matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance. Men would be entitled to multiple wives. Male children would inherit twice the amount that female children would receive. Women get to wear black on the hottest days of the year. O.K. that's their religion. They can do that if they want. But they also included in their platform "Adopting a social security system under which the state guarantees a job for every fit Iraqi...and offers facilities to citizens to build homes." The UIA also pledges "to write off Iraq's debts, cancel reparations and use the oil wealth for economic development projects." So where does that leave us? Adel Abd al-Mahdi is probably going to be the next Prime Minister of Iraq. He has signed all kinds of deals with oil companies recently andand austerity package with the IMF. But how long will the clerics allow him to pursue the an agenda that does not meet theirs? How long before they overthrow the government and impose an Iranian style government?

The reason we went to war was to save the world from Sadam's WMD arsenal (and loosely tied to terrorism), which, when the arsenal turned out not to exist, turned into a war to instill democracy in the Arab Middle East, and could now morph into a war to cement Koranic law. An unintended consequence of Bush's rush to war, certainly, but not at all an unpredictable one. And a most peculiar cause to ask American men and women to die for.

Social Security

So Bush wants to open private accounts to fix the Social Security banckruptcy that is looming on the horizon. Private accounts? Who pays the brokers fee? What's this crap about if my account is performing better than 3%, when you retire the government will deduct the money over what you put in (plus 3 percent interest) from your monthly Social Security check leaving you with almost the same amount you would have received under the current system. If your account does really poorly (below 3 percent), you are out of luck. According to Congressional Budget Office, the expected average return will be 3.3 percent, so the net gain will be zero. So what do I benifit form this plan?? What happens to the money that gets deducted? Do we pay off the national debt with it? This whole thing is a scam. First the goverment needs to pay off the Treasury Notes that it has been putting in the Trust Fund when it raids you money. Next it needs to be investing in bank securities or municipal bonds. Something that will pay interest but not from future tax payers. Then there needs to be a real lock box account that can never be touched by anone other than retirees. Then we have to creat high paying U.S. jobs. Not outsource jobs to other countries and then get Wal-Mart wages in return. If we do that, then there will be not crisis and the system will pay for itself forever.