Tavis Smiley and Social Security hysteria

After work I went to an SMU Tate Lecture Series student forum featuring Catherine Crier, Ward Connerly, and Tavis Smiley.

It was interesting to see the interaction between Ward, an avowed red state guy, and Tavis, an avowed blue state guy. The discussion was mostly about race preferences and affirmative action. The only apparent point of agreement is that affirmative action programs should focus on socioeconomic conditions. The 10 ton gorilla, however, was how to classify deserving socioeconomic conditions.

I was disappointed with Tavis’s frequently populist and illogical arguments. Despite his agreement on the socioeconomic factor, he continued to support race factors, saying that the vast majority of people eligible under socioeconomic factors are minority. Huh? So what are you saying? Poor whites can’t get anything? Rich blacks should still receive benefits? I don’t get it.

Tavis also happens to be the host of the Tavis Smiley Show, a radio program that broadcasts on NPR affiliates. Yesterday he announced that he is not renewing his contract. At today’s lecture he explained that he felt that NPR is resistant to change and would not put forth the effort necessary to make his show a success. That seems fishy. Regardless, I have enjoyed his NPR show, and I hate to see him go.

At one point Catherine Crier interjected doom and gloom hand-wringing, citing her interpretation of Running on Empty, a scathing criticism of the fiscal state of the US. Sure, the longer certain economic indicators are ignored, the bigger problem we are facing. But a “perfect storm” of collossal proportions? Far from a certainty.

One of the biggest rationales for this “perfection storm” is a theorized generational “war” between retirees and workers. In a few decades there will only be two workers paying Social Security benefits for each retiree.

Big deal.

Reform or not, Social Security is not going to bankrupt the county. This is a country of laws, and the laws can change! (What a surprise!) In this scary future, guess which group has a larger electoral base, the workers or the retirees? Workers, 2 to 1.

The productive classes will not stand for crushing Social Security taxes. Sorry, retirees, but the losers will be those of you who did not save enough for retirement, not the workers. Retirees will absolutely be outvoted. Better start saving now!

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