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Retirement Planning > Spending in Retirement > Income Planning

Ugly American and proud of it

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We should be more like France. They take time to smell the roses, have an older and more mature culture, and aren’t beholden to materialistic pursuits. I’ve heard this insecure line of thinking for longer than I can remember. It’s an offshoot of the more extreme version peddled by many in academia in the early 1980s, that we should be more like the Soviet Union, right before their economy collapsed and we began a quarter century of unprecedented GDP growth. France, mind you, had an unemployment rate between 8 percent and 12 percent for 20 years. It was as high as 40 percent for those 26 years of age and younger. This despite their safety nets and “humane” social system.

We can argue all we want about whether or not this administration has a socialist agenda, but only the most dissonant ideologue would argue we didn’t take a major leap in the European socialist direction Sunday. We lost a bit of what makes us unique, rock-n-roll, obesity and blue jeans aside.

The bill has passed so now, according to Speaker Pelosi, we can find out what’s in it. So far, not good. The Medicare donut hole will not be closed, just shifted around. Anyone making more than $85,000 per year will see prescription costs increase. According to the Wall Street Journal, companies are already warning employees of rising costs.

Part of the problem from the beginning was that no one reconciled Washington’s definition of rich and poor with that of the rest of us. Thus, $85,000 per annum is well above what the beltway crowd defines as rich. So when they speak of helping the middle class, don’t count yourselves or your clients among them. And this goes double for the supposed “benefits” they’ve now bequeathed.


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