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June 16, 2005

Just stuff

This and that ...

Iowa's Charles Grassley, who as chairman of the Senate's Finance Committee is a key player in the great what-to-do-about-Social-Security debate, is said to be ready to recommend that the age at which full benefits are available be gradually raised to 69 over the next 20 years or so.

That seems a lot more sensible plan than telling young people to divert their Social Security payments into the stock market and hope for the best. We're already changing the full-benefit age, long set at 65. For people born after 1960, it's now at 65 years and six months and eventually will reach 67.

What's two more years to the coming generation, given increases in longevity and health improvements likely to arise as the marriage between genetics and medicine is further consumated? Some exemptions may need to be made for people in brutal physical-labor jobs, but the desk-sitters would have little room to complain if working an extra couple of years saved the kids and grandkids the crushing financial load now projected if nothing is done.

The whole topic is somewhat academic to me. I'm good to go at age 65, if I choose. Which I won't, since I'm determined that whatever debt gets passed on to my children won't include a pile of college loans. Since I got started on the kid business later in life, I'll have to be in harness well past 65 to meet that goal -- and will need the Social Security check by the time the last degree gets handed out.


This one should be a no-brainer: Rep. Lane Evans of Rock Island and Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama are sponsoring special legislation that would save Diana Engstrom, 25, from being deported to her native Kosovo.

That's where she met Todd Engstrom, a Galva native training members of the U. N. peace-keeping forces. They later married but he was killed in Iraq before she had established U. S. residency and citizenship. She's living in southern Illinois, keeping her promise to Mr. Engrstrom that she'd rear his 12-year-old from a previous relationship. The immigration people are graciously permitting her to stay in the U. S. until the vote on the special legislation.

To repeat: It's a no-brainer.


Missouri's getting carried away with that "show-me" stuff. Starting July 1, everyone who goes for a new or renewed driver's license will have to prove they're "lawfully present" in the U. S.

More bureaucracy; more hassle. More "war on terror" nonsense.

``There's stories throughout the Web of cases where these terrorists have legal identification from somewhere,'' declared Sen. Jon Dolan, the Republican who pushed through the legislation.
There are also stories throughout the Web of cases where legislators got elected apparently without the blessing of two brain cells to rub together.

Posted by jcb at June 16, 2005 11:51 AM


I agree that most people who have retirement at least on the far horizon are more concerned with NOT screwing up future generations, than with maximizing their own cozy golden years. The pols, particularly the Bush ones, don't seem to get this.

Don't you think most people get less selfish as they age? If age really does bring some modicum of wisdom along with all the negatives, then wouldn't it be even more evident to us that some sacrifice for future generations is more important than one more cruise to the caribbean? Follow the genetics, not the money.

Posted by: Vita at June 16, 2005 09:34 PM

OK, I admit I'm in the "safe" demographic (0ver 50). But what to say about Democrats who were all for SS reform when Clinton was Prez, who now say "hey, no problem here, just move along". I began saving for retirement in the 70s, when I saw that politicians were promising the moon old people, because they vote. It's kind of ironic that I'm now one of the "old people". Our elected officials, both Democrat and Republican, need to step up to the plate here. Oh, sure, HAHAHAHAHA! Say what you will about GWB, he doesn't give a damn about polls (like Clinton) and is determined to make progress (ain't it ironic that the "progressives" are Republicans, while the Democrats are isolationist defenders of the status quo----you gotta be old to appreciate this).

As for Engstrom---I'm shocked that Lane Evans actually sponsored legislation---he must be worried about '06, and wants his name on some feel-good bills. It would be interesting to discover what legislation Lane has sponsored in 20+ years in Congress. Enquiring minds want to know! (BTW, I think Mrs. Engstrom should not be deported).

Posted by: paladin at June 17, 2005 12:45 PM

You would think it should be a no-brainer not to deport the widow of a U.S. citizen just because the marriage was cut shorter than 2 years, but I have been battling this out in Congress for over 15 months, handling dozens of widow cases (I am an immigration attorney), and I can tell you that it is difficult to get attention focused on a few widows when so many other political issues are facing legislators. See our website for more details on the "widow penalty" and efforts to change the law:


Posted by: Brent Renison, Esq. at July 15, 2005 06:23 PM