Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 333

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The aFa Short Story Challenge (Footprints in the Sand) is on final approach. Thanks to those who reblogged the challenge in their blog. I will publish my story on July 10th at 12:15 am (Eastern US). Participants will link to that post (NOT the Challenge post). For those who didn’t see the challenge, click here.

Cheers to the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra for another wonderful Fourth of July concert. Interestingly, a three-quarters moon was displaying itself directly behind the fireworks.

We are watching the latest season of House of Cards. Through episode 9 was slow – very slow! … but the pace is starting to pick up as the house seems to the ready to tumble.

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of the Seychelles Islands (in the Indian Ocean), and I don’t think I’ve encountered a Seychellian blogger … but I know two people who are currently here. From the views from this video, it appears to be a paradise.

So far, I’m comfortable with my random posting schedule.

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I wished I would have saved it, but last week I read an article that mentioned the Democrats top two strategies, which caused me to shake my head.

The previous I displayed the letter I sent to my representative (an R) regarding the health care & insurance issue in the U.S. Last week I wrote the following to one of my senators, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).

Senator Portman,
On Twitter you stated. “Let me know what you think.” about the recently proposed Senate health care. Your dilemma lies in this predicament. If you are representing your party, you should vote YES because partisanship and political gain is of utmost important. If you are representing the best interest of the people, you should vote NO because health care and health care insurance is a very serious issue that demands more than a frivolous attempt based on partisanship and political gain. Because of the importance of health care and health care insurance, doing what is best for the people requires a bipartisan effort. That is the challenge.”

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides the pros and cons of artificial intelligence.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Woman rearranging condiments in refrigerator door like puzzle in ancient tomb
Queen Elizabeth kicks off Wimbledon by serving ceremonial first ace of tournament
Man on internet almost falls into world of DIY mustard enthusiasts
Housefly drops everything to go stand on watermelon slice
Dolphin spends amazing vacation swimming with stockbroker
This stool shall pass

Interesting Reads
Understanding the latest fossils of human origins
50 things about the US Founding Fathers
Humans aren’t nutritious eating
3-D printed ovaries fight infertility
(Photo Gallery) Empty railways in America

For your weekend entertainment, here’s a fun song that you may not know that comes from my cousins. It’s an Italian classic from 1972. Although not in Italian, it’s meant to sound like English, but actually the lyrics are pure gibberish – except for two words. Enjoy! In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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On Suggestions to the Super Committee

Several weeks ago, I sent a letter to Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who not only is one of my senators, but he also was my former representative and is a member of the Super Committee. I focused on retirement, including Social Security by aiming at four points: 1) Establishing individualized, privatized Social Security accounts, 2) increasing money flow into the Social Security system, 3) maximizing avenues for individuals saving for retirement so they are less likely to seek government assistance, and 4) decreasing the tax rate for all businesses (employers).

With this focus on retirement, examining the current system of retirement accounts is part of the solution. For instance, the IRS currently limits IRA contributions based on income. To be honest, there is no good reason to limit retirement contributions in this manner. After all, Bill Gates has as much of a right to deposit into his retirement account and any middle class citizen.

With this in mind, I suggested these 11 points.

1)   Everyone 30 years or younger shall establish an individual, privatized account into which a 5% payroll deduction is automatically deposited. These accounts should be employee-directed, but with limited investment options to minimize risk.

2)  Everyone 30 years or younger shall have 1% withheld to be sent to the current Social Security fund.

3)  Employers deposit 4% payroll deduction into the employee’s individualized account.

4)  Employers also send 2% to the current Social Security fund.

5)  Raise the Social Security salary cap to $150,000.

6)  For all salaries above the salary cap, employees pay 1% to the Social Security fund.

7)  The employer’s obligation ceases at the salary cap.

8)  If they so choose, all employees can deposit into their approved IRA regardless of salaries: limited to $2000 into a traditional IRA and $5000 into a Roth IRA.

9)  If they so choose, an employee can submit participate in a 401K up to a maximum percentage established by the law. Whether or not an employer wishes to contribute to an employee’s 401K is a business decision.

10) Contributions to 401K, IRAs, and individualized Social Security accounts should have no cumulative bearing on the others, thus allowing n employee to build retirement wealth; therefore, no need for government assistance.

11) Employees currently over 30 years old continue to pay in accordance to the current system with the salary cap raised to $150,000 plus the additional 1% for income over $150,000 to the general fund.

I realize that each committee member is probably swamped with correspondence, so I do not have much hope that Senator Portman even saw my letter, let alone the committee doing something with the suggestions – but at least I tried.