Friday, February 04, 2005

Disinformation At The Post Via Paul Krugman

My Letter to the Editor of the Post and to Lee Publishing:

I have no issue with the Post Dispatched offering different opinions on whether the proposed Bush social security reform is good or bad, risky or sound, that is what they should provide their subscibers and what we seek in our news providers. It's healthy and needed discussion. I think social security is a good and sound social program but personally think reform is needed. I think President Bush's has a good and sound proposal, bold and needed if we are to make it part of our generous and caring legacy. Taking care of our own is very important but the vehicle has to be drivable.

However, I must point out an article from one of your to be Op-Ed contributors that I feel is disinformation and will hurt your viewers from a financial standpoint if they listen to the disinformation as it was presented.

The article is from Paul Krugman, and it is a really bad piece of journalism. It is full of incorrect information and will negatively effect your readers financially. You really need to reconsider providing Krugman's offerings to the Post subscribers if you are looking out for the best interest of us.

Krugman's biased analysis of the proposed social security reform incorrectly calls the redistribution of some of our "own money" (that's key to remember its our money) a loan if they put it in a "personal account". See it's our money so if we decide that we don't want our money in "X" but rather in "Y", it's still our money and we are not borrowing from anyone. Stay with me.......

Krugman says that if you put 3% into a person account you forgo 3% from social security to borrow the money for the account. Wrong, totally wrong, again we are not borrowing money here, we are taking "our" money that we earned and investing it in a different place. There is no loan no interest, its not a loan. This is disinformation and untrue.

Krugman could not be thinking of the money taken out of the fund in his offering unless he did not do his journalistic homework, because that is not what will happen. The 3% taken out for personal funds will be made up with other tax revenues and the "traditional" social security Americans have nothing to fear except disinformation from people like Krugman. America has always found a great source for "other tax revenue" when needed, and I'm sure that will be the case here. There will be no short service of benifits for the greatest generation, but it's time to improve the retirement plan for the next "greatest generation".

We forgo a 3% guarantee in social security, for the opportunity to make by all conservative estimated 6% for that redistribution which is in fact twice what we would have made in the social security fund. That's a winner by anyone's standards when you can double your investment return. The market funds that would be invested in are the most conservative blended funds available and only those that have been qualified performers for many years. Less of a risk I think than giving it to the federal government to watch and redistribute.

I looked at the historicals, and this is what the historical reality is from 1972-2004 ( a thirty year period we are talking about in this scenario ):

Mid-Cap Stocks: 14.49%
Small-Cap Stocks: 13.57%
Equity Reits: 13.44%
Large Cap Stocks: 12.34%
Foreign Stocks: 11.26%
Micro Cap Stocks: 11.04%
Long Term US Corp Bonds: 9.08%
Long Term Gov Bonds: 8.95%
Intermediate Term Gov Bonds: 8.28%
Gold: 7.23%
30 Day T Bills: 6.15%

So, even it you invested only in 30 Day T Bills you would have doubled the social security return on your money. Even on T Bills you would have doubled your money????? But you would not be investing in just T Bills, rather a conservative blend of T Bills, Bonds and Low Risk Stocks that will probably return a 8-10% return at worst, probably more in the 12% range. If you understand even basic financial fundamentals, that pretty much tells you every thing you need to know. T Bills double your money that's easy money, the plan will probably triple your money in reality and at the lowest risk you could find in the world.

For Krugman to present such ingenious information and analysis without the very basic facts I have provided is disinformation. It's not only disinformation but also harmful disinformation that I would think that you would want to protect you readers from. Krugman has a history of taking liberties like he did in this article that equate to Dan Rather and the Rathergate Memos. I sincerely hope that is not where we are going at the Post. Providing a platform for disinformation for another liberal political agenda is a losing business proposition which you are unfortunately very familiar with.

Krugman's article that I have just Op-Ed'd did not run in your paper, however you have contracted to have him provide future articles to your subscribers, which I am one. I would ask you to reconsider that decision and not put Krugman in my paper. The St. Louis Post readers do not need someone like Krugman proving damaging financial information to them that comes from a political bias. He does not care about the people of St. Louis, he cares about his political agenda and it's a "at any cost" formula. He has spoke very poorly of the people of the Midwest and Missouri in particular. I do not understand what benefits readers like me gain from adding disinformation agents like Krugman will provide. I ask you to reconsider adding Krugman to my paper.

Steve Priest

PS: I would love to be part of the Team that provides community input on what is working, whats not working, and what we think would make the paper a more viable read from the subscription run off situation you are in today. This is the only way that the Post will increase subscriptions and bring people of views that are not ultra-liberal back to the paper. Moderate views have to be part of the subsciption re-building if the Post is to regain what it can be. I would love to be part of that Team.