Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Omnibus bills are BAD

Bad as in not good, irresponsible, bloated, over written, under powered. And sometimes bad as in evil.


Our legislators like to present these bills as complete solutions to the entire problem. It doesn't work that way.


Our problems have been getting worse and worse as time goes on. They usually don't require national legislative input until a lot of other things have been tried. Omnibus bills attempt to destroy a mountain with a really big cannon.


What we need instead is to do one of two things: rewrite the entire system, or pass a bunch of little bills that make some adjustments.


Let's take Social Security as an example. Two of the ideas that I like are simple tweaks to the system.


  1. Allow people to not receive checks if they don't need them. I'm fairly sure that Warren Buffet doesn't need his Social Security checks. By allowing the richest people to opt out of receiving checks, that frees up a little bit.

  2. Raise the maximum amount. Right now, you only pay Social Security taxes on the first $94,200 (link) - why is that? Why not raise it to $250,000?

These two items might only save 1% each. But, they are small, simple to execute, and easy to debate and pass in Congress.


We get these 2 items, and add another 8 items, then we just increased the social security system by 10%.


Here's another one: Every 3 months, raise the retirement age by 1 month. Do this until the retirement age is 2 years below the average lifespan in this country. It would take time, and people would get their benefits later, but people ar living longer and they are working longer. I've noticed that many elderly (like my parents) want to keep working.


Are these three ideas complete solutions? Of course not. They are tweaks to the system, and they are small and easily digested by people. Lots of changes in a short amount of time scare people and businesses.


These solutions would help a little, and every little bit counts.

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