- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Social Security taxes not money well-spent

The letter from Martha McSteen, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, is a perfect example of the "government can spend your money better than you can" mentality ("There are better solutions to Social Security problem than privatization," Sept. 6).
Her proposal to supplement payroll taxes with general revenue is the first step to admitting that Social Security has turned into an entitlement rather than the Ponzi scheme that it was crafted to be. Nothing in the Constitution supports the contention that the government has the right to use general revenue to fund a pension plan for citizens. Of course, it was questionable enough for the government to establish a system to protect citizens it deemed unable to plan for their own future. Essentially, the government forces workers and their employers to contribute to a "self-supporting" pension plan, run by the government, as if it is smarter than the people who produce the revenue that supports government.
More than 50 years ago, I read an article in Reader's Digest that pointed out that the fund being set up to hold citizen-employer contributions was a fraud because the government simply bought government securities with the contributions not needed for immediate expenses. In other words, the funds were spent immediately by the government in exchange for IOUs that could be redeemed only with additional taxes. That's exactly how the Ponzi pyramid scheme worked until it crashed.
Social Security is still a pyramid scheme, in spite of all the references to "lockboxes." The plan never has been fiscally sound. Any employer would be required to invest enough money in a pension plan to pay for every employee. Most business pension plans would have gone under long ago if the funds had not been invested in the economy in such a manner as to keep pace with inflation and grow with the economy. In addition, Social Security has been expanded far beyond its original scope. The people who have a vested interest in keeping the public dependent on the government are using scare tactics to keep the government bureaucracy in power. Letting the government invest the reserves in "broadly indexed equities funds" (as Miss McSteen proposes) is equivalent to making my 10-year-old grandson a 747 pilot for my next trip to London. (It would be, however, a tacit admission that at least part of the funds should be invested in the economy.)
The money I "invested" in Social Security during the past 30 years or so has long been spent on projects worthy and unworthy. My payments will come from payments my children think they are making for themselves. Our younger generation already believes Social Security won't be available for them. They may be right.

ROBERT HAYDON
Fredericksburg, Va.

With diversity plan, Toyota not catering to Jackson demands

In his Aug. 29 Commentary column, "Shakedown disguised as worker diversity," Peter Flaherty makes a common but erroneous assumption about Toyota's recently announced 21st Century Diversity Plan.
This plan is a strategic business decision by Toyota. It is rooted in the two pillars of Toyota's business culture: continuous improvement and respect for people. We are confident it will result in a competitive advantage.
It is not an agreement or deal with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and was not subject to his approval. Toyota was prepared to go forward with it regardless of his reaction. No benefit to any individual or organization was solicited or offered, and none was promised or delivered. The plan will benefit the minority business community, the auto industry, Toyota and the U.S. economy in general.
Some individuals or organizations may attempt to take credit for our actions or mischaracterize them to reinforce a point they are trying to make. We can't control that. Simply put, this plan is a sound business decision.
As Mr. Flaherty correctly observed, Toyota has a strong record on diversity — including procurement, employment and percentage of minority dealers. It would have been easy to conclude that we were doing enough already.
Instead, Toyota recognizes that its customer base is changing as ethnic minorities and women continue to gain affluence and purchasing power. Our goal is to expand our sales base without increasing costs so we can offer more value to all of our customers. It's important to know that Toyota's diversity initiatives do not involve significant additional spending. Instead, they will realign existing expenditures to reflect the composition of society and the new-car market.
Details of Toyota's strategic diversity plan are available at www.toyota.com. We ask that the media and the public consider it on its own merits and put aside opinions about Mr. Jackson's actions and motives. Our efforts will not overly represent or disadvantage any group. Our aim is to be fair, equitable and balanced to all and to contribute to the good of society.

IRVING A. MILLER
Group vice president
External Affairs
Toyota
Torrance, Calif.

Readers demand justice for attacks

I got home early yesterday, after Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was evacuated, and was surprised to find my 8-year-old son home from school. The school system had let children out early, much to my chagrin. I asked him about the day's events, and he clearly understood them in more detail and with more sophistication than I could explain to him. I tried to end the conversation with a simple assurance in terms an 8-year-old could understand. He cut me off and said "I know, Dad. The good guys always win, and we're the good guys." He understands, and he is confident. I trust America does and is. We need determination for the long haul, not just the quick response. And we shall prevail.

KENNETH H. PRITCHARD
Lusby, Md.Yesterday, the citizens of the United States and of the world witnessed several hideous and cowardly acts against innocents. These acts must be seen as an act of war against a free society and against the entire civilized world.
Any person, nation or organization that has participated in these abominations or provided financial or moral support for the cowards who perpetrated them should be very afraid. They have awakened a sleeping giant, as on Dec. 7, 1941.
My heart is heavy with sadness for those who have been killed. They were the victims of cowards who lurk in the shadows and nip at the righteous. But those who have committed these acts have not achieved a victory — they have only sealed their fate. They have guaranteed the victory of those that they hate. The world is turning against them, and they will soon lose everything.

DAN HAGEDORN
Richland, Wash.


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