There was once a television commercial for a vacuum cleaner with a tagline I like: “Life’s messy. Clean it up.” My desk is messy, so I’m taking their advice today to pass on some items that have been gathering dust.
Social Security Privatization
It’s looking more and more like this dog can’t hunt. Even though each succeeding poll shows less support for private accounts, President Bush refuses to take this item off the table. As AARP CEO, Bill Novelli, put it recently:
"’If we could get the private accounts, the carve-outs as we call them, out of the way, I think we could get to solvency fairly quickly.’” This will be difficult, he said, because the White House is ‘very, very committed to them.’"
- - Bloomberg.com, 12 April 2005
Meanwhile, the cost of the president’s partisan political campaign for privatization is coming out of taxpayers’ pockets and it’s costing a bundle.
In addition to the dozens of federal employees in high and low positions who have been pressed into service, there are four new, full-time employees at the Treasury Department just to run this administration campaign blitz. And then there are the large number of trips by the president on Air Force One which, in 2000, when jet fuel prices were lower, cost $54,100 per hour to operate. There are many additional costs, enough to cause Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal.) to request a formal accounting from the Government Accountability Office.
“…not only for the cost but also ‘whether the Bush administration has crossed the line from education to propaganda.
“’No one disputes the right of the President to make his policy recommendations known to Congress and the public…Yet there is a vital line between legitimately informing the public, as the President did in his State of the Union address, and commandeering the vast resources of the federal government to fund a political campaign for Social Security privatization...Currently, no one in Congress or the public knows the full extent and cost of the federal resources being devoted to promoting the President's Social Security agenda.”
- - Washington Post, 10 April 2005
Older Folks Take To Online Dating
According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, use of online dating services by people 55 and older is up 19.4 percent in the past year, and match.com says their age 50-plus membership has tripled since 2000.
There is even a worldwide dating site just for older people - SeniorFriendFinder - which, the owner says, has 400,000 members.
Taxing Cosmetic Surgery
According to Newsweek, the state of New Jersey now levies a six percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery. Washington and Illinois, along with some other states, are considering a similar move.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m too curious to see how normal, natural aging will change my appearance to dabble in surgical or chemical alteration and most of all, I abhor the pressure by the youth-and-beauty police to camouflage aging, but I am clearly out of the mainstream on this.
In 2003, Americans spent $8.4 billion on cosmetic procedures – face lifts, breast implants, liposuction, Botox, etc. Perhaps the additional cost will cause older people to let their years shine through and if that doesn’t do it, this example of plastic surgery gone horribly wrong should.