3 Things 9-13
09/13/2021 Although MAS is a financial services company, not everything published herein will be about numbers or investing. But no matter the topic, we hope for three things: 1) That you find the time you spend engaged worthwhile. 2) That you’ll reach out to us for help in any of our areas of expertise if something we discuss creates an urging in you to do so. 3) That you’ll share this with somebody new each time you read it. Thing One Social Security Is Not Secure Most of us have heard by now about the impending insolvency of the Social Security Trust Fund, the “account” from which all social security benefits are currently paid. The latest projections have it “running out of money” in 2034. If it does, a large portion of current beneficiaries will be thrown into poverty since, according to the Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, the percentages of seniors in poverty excluding and including Social Security benefits are 38% and 10% respectively. The chart below, which is sourced by the Social Security Administration, explains the possible ways of shoring up the finances of the Social Security Trust Fund before it goes insolvent and has to take dramatic steps. It frames the issue in terms of, if we do something now (2022) to fix the problem or if we do something when the money runs out (2034). The three things they propose to either do now or later are: raise taxes, cut benefits for all beneficiaries, and cut benefits for new beneficiaries. As you can see in the chart, if we raise taxes now, they’ll have to go up by 25% and if we wait, they’ll have to go up by 34%. If we cut benefits for all beneficiaries now, we’ll have to cut them by 21% if we wait, we’ll have to cut them by 26%. If we cut benefits for only new beneficiaries now, we’ll have to cut them by 25% and if we wait, that just won’t solve the problem. The likelihood of benefits being cut now is slim and none. And the same odds hold for cutting the size of our government by an amount large enough pay for the Social Security entitlement. So taxes will likely go up and benefits will likely get cut for most people. Some of the “rich”, which has a dangerously fluid and definition, may get means-tested out of receiving any benefit at all – even though they’ve contributed the maximum through their working years. Saving and investing are critical now for you and everyone you know. Spread the word!
Thing Two Crime In Education Here’s a list of dollar figures, see if you can figure out what it is: $28,004 $25,653 $22,406 $17,228 $17,112 $16,453 Figured it out? Well here it is again with names and a bit more context: 2019 Per Capita Public School Spending By School District $28,004 - New York $25,653 - Boston $22,406 - Washington D.C. $17,228 - San Francisco $17,112 - Atlanta $16,453 - Seattle Now, consider that these school districts are among the top 100 in the country (by size) which are tracked in the National Assessment for Educational Progress. And then further consider that NOT A SINGLE ONE can say that the majority of their black eighth-graders are proficient – that is, performing at grade level – in either math or reading. While you’re doing all that considering, note that in some of the top 100, the performance is not even close: Bringing up the rear are: Detroit 4% are proficient and 5% are proficient in math and reading respectively. Milwaukee 5% and 7% for math and reading respectively. Just so you don’t feel like all is lost, here are two bright spots: Charlotte, NC is the best in math for young black kids at 24%of the student body proficient. Boston is the best for young black kids in reading proficiency at 24% (Imagine that for a moment. The best school districts are failing roughly three-quarters of young black kids and their parents.) Despite these consistently horrific results and the evidence that charter schools (in the same buildings in some cases) are showing much better results and have parents clamoring to get in, the school administrators, the unions, and a segment of the political class (all Democrats), are all conspiring to keep the current system intact. They’re arguing for doing away with the tests that expose the poor performance and for putting poor-performing kids in high-performing schools by race instead of demonstrated preparedness. And, of course, they’re arguing for more money as a solution to the problem. Go back and review the money chart above consider that the average charter school is funded at 61% or less than its non-charter counterpart. What would you do with 100% or even 61% of any of those amounts if you could get it to spend annually on your child’s primary education? Do you think you could get better results (not for everybody, just for your kid) than the government is getting? I guess it’s not actually criminal that you don’t have that choice since there aren’t any statutes written to that effect, but it should be. Shouldn’t it?
Thing Three Just A Thought “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.” – John Stuart Mill