The three-legged stool

Atrios in USAToday:

Some people who have objected to my proposal for increasing Social Security retirement benefits have done so on the basis that this is something people should be personally responsible for. Essentially, life’s a big test, and one element of that test is a lifelong commitment to amassing significant personal wealth that can be drawn down in your twilight years. If you fail, well, better luck next time. Except …

But there’s no need for retirement income to be in this special category of things we must be personally responsible for. We are not personally responsible for many things in our lives. I didn’t build the roads I drive on, or purchase the buses that stop regularly on my corner. I have little to do with the hiring and management of police and fire personnel or air traffic controllers.

Our hopefully somewhat democratically accountable governments provide many things for us. There are economic arguments about the areas where government should be more or less involved generally and ideological disagreements about the appropriate role for government. There will probably always be disagreement about just who should pay, and how. But there also practical arguments. If there’s broad political agreement on a particular outcome, such as that most people should expect to have a reasonably comfortable retirement, then the question is how best to achieve that. I don’t think 75-year-olds should face economic ruin and homelessness for any reason. I am not alone in that opinion. How do we ensure that?

Social Security was envisioned as one leg of a three-legged stool of retirement, along with employer pensions and private savings or insurance (though the metaphor itself was devised after its creation). The problem is that two of those legs have shrunk significantly. This is not a stool one can comfortably sit on. This is not a stool most people will be able to sit on at all. The system, as envisioned, is failing.

We can goad and cajole people into saving. We can provide incentives for people to save for their retirement, and penalize them for raiding those funds before they retire. We can subsidize employer contributions to retirement funds.

But we have been doing all of these things for decades, and they haven’t worked. The majority of people nearing retirement will not have sufficient funds to retire with anything resembling economic security and comfort.

You can’t make this shit up

Again: Carl Jung, genius!

The former wife of a top official with the National Rifle Association in New York says that “years of domestic violence” caused a judge to bar the NRA field representative from carrying a gun.

The New York Daily News on Wednesday reported that police has confiscated an arsenal of 39 firearms from the home of Richard D’Alauro in 2010 because of a confrontation with his then-wife at their Long Island home.

Suffolk County records showed that authorities filed misdemeanor charges against Richard D’Alauro for assault and endangering a child after the incident on Sept. 1, 2010. At the time, police confiscated 39 weapons from the NRA official’s home, including at least 16 handguns.

Richard D’Alauro later pleaded guilty to a non-misdemeanor harassment charge after admitting that tried to “harass, annoy or alarm” his wife with “physical contact.” Due to a protection order, D’Alauro cannot purchase or own a firearm until Oct. 3, 2013.

Maribeth D’Alauro told the Daily News that calling the confrontation an assault was “an accurate description,” and she is terrified at the thought that her former husband will be able to own guns again.

The former wife said that she had been “too afraid to ever call the police on him” after “years of domestic violence.”

D’Alauro is a “bully” who used the same tactics on her as the NRA uses to intimidate lawmakers, Maribeth D’Alauro explained.

Ooh shoot

I just love knowing that idiots like this get to carry guns:

Dr. Deidra Blackmon, a Grapevine veterinarian, was the designated driver Saturday for a night out with two girlfriends in the Fort Worth Stockyards, an associate said Monday.

As they headed home about midnight, Blackmon pulled into a convenience store on Saginaw Boulevard and went inside, police reported.

While she was gone, one of her friends threw up in the parking lot near Jeffery Hansana’s car, police said.

A few minutes later, and within a mile of the store, Hansana drove up to Blackmon’s Lexus and fired three to five shots at the moving car, investigators reported.

Blackmon’s passengers heard the shots, and “believed Blackmon drove into a field as an evasive action — that is, until the front-seat passenger saw blood on the victim,” Saginaw police Chief Roger Macon said.

Hansana, with his girlfriend in the car, drove away, police said. A passing motorist heard the women’s screams and stopped to help.

Blackmon, 33, had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at 1:03 a.m. Sunday at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website.

“A few words were exchanged in the parking lot between the women and a female” with Hansana, Macon said. “I don’t believe [Hansana] said a word during that exchange.”

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