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Taxes: Y Asks Why, Boomers Ask Why Not
Investor's Business Daily Editorials ^ | 10 April 2007 | Robert Samuelson

Posted on 04/10/2007 7:21:00 PM PDT by shrinkermd

Cassandra Devine knows how to solve the coming "entitlements" crisis, preordained when the 77 million baby boomers begin hitting 65 in 2011: Pay retirees to kill themselves, a program she calls "transitioning."

Volunteers could receive a lavish vacation beforehand ("a farewell honeymoon"), courtesy of the government, and their heirs would be spared the estate tax. If only 20% of boomers select suicide before the age of 70, she says, "Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid will be solvent. End of crisis."

OK, Devine is a 29-year-old fictional blogger in Christopher Buckley's satirical novel "Boomsday." Infuriated at the injustices awaiting her generation, she becomes an instant media celebrity with a gift for incendiary rhetoric. "Someone my age will have to spend their entire life paying unfair taxes, just so the Boomers can hit the golf course at 62 and drink gin and tonics until they're 90," she tells one TV reporter.

Her plan, once in cyberspace, incites spontaneous uprisings. In Florida, "several hundred people in their twenties stormed the gates of a retirement community. . . . Residents were assaulted as they played golf."

Buckley, born in 1952, is a boomer himself, and his novel is in the best tradition of Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745 (the writer who once suggested that the Irish relieve a famine by eating their young), of using the absurd to discuss moral outrages. Buckley's comic tale revolves around two truths usually buried in our dreary budget debates.

First, a generational backlash is inevitable. It may not come as attacks on sunbathing retirees, but the idea that younger workers will meekly bear the huge tax increases needed to pay all boomers' promised benefits is delusional. The increases are too steep, and too many boomers — fairly wealthy and healthy — will seem undeserving.

Consider: In 2007, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid constitute 44% of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. To pay all future benefits could (depending on assumptions) easily require tax increases of 30% to 50% by 2030. Many retirees are quite comfortable. About 42% of Americans 65 to 75 have assets (homes, stocks, cash) worth $250,000 or more; 23% have annual incomes exceeding $69,000, says the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Second, boomers will want even more benefits. Buckley imagines them clamoring for subsidies for Botox, grandparent day care and "giant flat-screen plasma TVs (for boomers with deteriorating eyesight)." Their actual demands may be less exotic and more expensive: closing the "doughnut hole" — a gap of coverage — in Medicare's drug benefit; more lenient tax treatment for retirement accounts; more payments for nursing homes.

Out in front will be the 38 million-member AARP, the nation's most powerful interest group. In the past four years, notes National Journal, it's spent $88 million on lobbying. AARP says that in the last election half the voters were older than 50 and a quarter were its members.

AARP's new public-relations campaign (slogan: "Divided We Fail") misleadingly aims to project an unselfish and high-minded image. In practice, it means AARP will support higher government spending for all age groups, which (of course) will increase taxes further for tomorrow's workers.

For example, AARP urges the expansion of SCHIP, a program of health insurance for poor children that, ironically, illustrates the nation's twisted priorities. In 2007, SCHIP will cost $5.7 billion; Social Security and Medicare, $1 trillion. Well, maybe SCHIP should be expanded, but only if — a test of AARP's real commitment — cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits pay for the expansion. A doubling of SCHIP would require cuts of about one half of 1%.

Social Security and Medicare are an essential part of the social fabric. Millions depend on them. But the vast benefits — paid too early and too indiscriminately — have become disconnected from genuine need. Unless the two are reconnected, these successful programs will tear at the social fabric.

It is unfair to blame only baby boomers for not acting pre-emptively to curb the known costs of their retirement. The "greatest generation" bears equal responsibility. Politicians have done nothing, because voters — present and prospective retirees — have wanted them to do nothing.

Still, boomers deserve special disapproval. "Baby Boomers," says Buckley's Devine, "made self-indulgence a virtue." Sure, that's a stereotype, but for opinion leaders and politicians, it is uncomfortably accurate.

Consider Newsweek. It has a regular feature, "The Boomer Files," that celebrates boomer musicians, comedians, sports heroes and TV series. It discusses how boomers are "redefining the 'golden years' " — but not a peep about the costs for their children.

I was born in late 1945 and count myself a part of this failure. In our careless self-absorption, we are committing a political and economic crime against our children and perhaps — when they awaken to their victimization — even ourselves.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: boomers; genx; retire
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Will generation Y submit to tax serfdom? Don't count on it.
1 posted on 04/10/2007 7:21:04 PM PDT by shrinkermd
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To: shrinkermd

Pay retirees to kill themselves, a program she calls “transitioning.”


Hey, remember SOYLENT GREEN starring Charelton Heston!?


2 posted on 04/10/2007 7:24:21 PM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: shrinkermd

Sounds like Hillary care old people must die


3 posted on 04/10/2007 7:24:36 PM PDT by al baby (Hi mom)
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To: shrinkermd
Can the Second Amendment and Social Security Coexist?
4 posted on 04/10/2007 7:28:30 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: shrinkermd

This has got to be a joke.


5 posted on 04/10/2007 7:29:49 PM PDT by vpintheak (Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked. Prov. 25:26)
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To: vpintheak

It is.


6 posted on 04/10/2007 7:30:55 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: shrinkermd
Guess what?

Tomorrow morning a bright young 42-year-old and her husband and child, leave on an all-expenses-paid business trip to Dubai to discuss working with people who want her there. She is an excellent maker of wedding cakes and is in high demand. She is being offered very good money to leave for Dubai, where things are tax free.

More and more young entrepreneurs will LEAVE the USA and not pay taxes, retaining the right to return when they are older or if things go bad overseas. In the meantime the ridiculous taxes paid here, will not be paid by them.

7 posted on 04/10/2007 7:37:05 PM PDT by ikka
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To: al baby
What a dumbass this writer is! Offing boomers will do squat to solve the problem when were importing third worlders on SSI and totalization agreements with Mexico under terms more favorable than offered to American workers.

A far better way to solve the problem would be incentives for boomers to work until they are 70 (or older). Most boomers got through public schools before they we dumbed down with political correctness and, as a result, can run circles around their modern-day counterparts when it comes to reading, writing and math.

We're constantly told we must import the third world due to our coming labor shortage. We wouldn't if boomers could stay in the workforce longer. And maybe some of the people collecting welfare checks could pick vegetables and clean hotel rooms.

8 posted on 04/10/2007 7:37:57 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (Are there any men left in Washington? Or are there only cowards? Ahmad Shah Massoud)
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To: ikka
More and more young entrepreneurs will LEAVE the USA and not pay taxes, retaining the right to return when they are older or if things go bad overseas. In the meantime the ridiculous taxes paid here, will not be paid by them.

But the US taxes foreign income. How could you avoid paying US taxes, if you retain your US citizenship? If you don't retain US citizenship, how do you maintain a right to return?

9 posted on 04/10/2007 7:41:47 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: shrinkermd

These 20-somethings can thank the Democrat Party and AARP for their future problems. Pres. Bush tried to do something about it, and those fool dems chained themselves to the statue of FDR - both figuratively and literally. So, suck it up, 20-somethings, until you learn how to vote and can come up with a plan to deal with this.


10 posted on 04/10/2007 7:43:40 PM PDT by hsalaw
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To: al baby

Sounds like Hillary care old people must die
...


Hitlery takes alot of her policy and agenda from Marx and Stalin.


11 posted on 04/10/2007 7:44:52 PM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: EagleUSA

A lot? LOL, more like “all of”.


12 posted on 04/10/2007 7:47:30 PM PDT by darkangel82 (Socialism is NOT an American value.)
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To: DuncanWaring
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Thanks Wilson. Thanks FDR. Thanks Johnson.

13 posted on 04/10/2007 7:48:29 PM PDT by M203M4 (Blood, sweat, fear, tears, death. Liberty is worth all costs.)
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To: EagleUSA

I think we should outsource the problem. Ship the poor and infirm to china or vietnam where the can receive decent care at a very low price.


14 posted on 04/10/2007 7:48:54 PM PDT by staytrue
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To: qam1

Needs an X-er ping.


15 posted on 04/10/2007 7:49:35 PM PDT by Sloth (The GOP is to DemonRats in politics as Michael Jackson is to Jeffrey Dahmer in babysitting.)
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To: vpintheak
This has got to be a joke.

It is a joke, sort of. It's from a satirical novel by William F. Buckley's son Christopher. Read the article.

16 posted on 04/10/2007 7:50:17 PM PDT by Fairview ( Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.)
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To: shrinkermd; All

Why can’t anybody read the article before becoming hysterical and commenting?


17 posted on 04/10/2007 7:51:56 PM PDT by Fairview ( Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.)
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To: M203M4
Thanks Wilson. Thanks FDR. Thanks Johnson.

You forgot to thank the president who added drug coverage to the already financially unsound Medicare program.

18 posted on 04/10/2007 7:52:00 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: EagleUSA
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

"No Soylent Green Soup For You! "

19 posted on 04/10/2007 7:53:54 PM PDT by bikerMD (Beware, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a muzzle flash.)
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To: shrinkermd
I will have to look up this book. I loved God Is My Broker by Buckley.

He pulled one of the greatest pranks against the MSM ever. In 1991, while at Forbes FYI, he faxed out a press release that the Russian government was so desparate for cash that they were auctioning off Lenin's body. ABC bit on it and Peter Jennings reported it on the news.

20 posted on 04/10/2007 7:57:26 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Parker v. DC: the best court decision of the year.)
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To: staytrue

Ship the poor and infirm to china or vietnam where the can receive decent care at a very low price.


Dont let the libs hear your idea —— put NOTHING past them.


21 posted on 04/10/2007 7:59:57 PM PDT by EagleUSA
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To: shrinkermd

I was born in 1953. My kids were born in 1979, 1984, 1987 and 1990. They are all super conservative or even libertarian. They are against taxes and euthanasia and Social Security, but I wonder how many gen-y-ers will be so sanguine. I’ve always believe Terri Schiavo (and Hugh Finn, Nancy Cruzan and other poor souls) were test cases for the tough times ahead. Gulp!


22 posted on 04/10/2007 8:01:03 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: shrinkermd

The better alternative would be to actually fund retirees costs, like a pension fund does, rather than run a ponzi scheme.


23 posted on 04/10/2007 8:01:18 PM PDT by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along.)
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To: shrinkermd

We need to start personal accounts and transition SS from a government Ponzi scheme to a private pension system. countries have already done so including the UK and Chile. What we have been witnessing is a massive wealth transfer from the young to the old.


24 posted on 04/10/2007 8:02:15 PM PDT by kabar
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To: shrinkermd
Infuriated at the injustices awaiting her generation, ...

Bah. In my time, a million dollars (or a billion dollars) wouldn't even buy an iPod Nano. Now you can get 10,000 songs on a device you can carry in your pocket.

25 posted on 04/10/2007 8:03:59 PM PDT by AZLiberty (Tag to let -- 50 cents.)
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To: Paleo Conservative
But the US taxes foreign income.

Only if you are making more than $85K per year (I think that is the current limit). You can live pretty well for even $24K per year in some countries.

26 posted on 04/10/2007 8:06:33 PM PDT by ikka
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To: Vigilanteman
We wouldn't if boomers could stay in the workforce longer.

Then nobody will get promoted as the oldsters continue to hog the top positions causing depressed wages in the prime earning years of Gen X and less opportunity for Gen Y causing the need for even more labor to be imported.

It's not that simple....

Besides, they already upped the retirement age for Gen X.

27 posted on 04/10/2007 8:06:47 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith (There's an open road from the cradle to the tomb.)
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To: shrinkermd
Social Security and Medicare are an essential part of the social fabric. Millions depend on them. But the vast benefits — paid too early and too indiscriminately — have become disconnected from genuine need. Unless the two are reconnected, these successful programs will tear at the social fabric.

Just another communist. The idiocy of people is that they believed if they gave the Feds their money, the Feds would look after them. Remember when Hillary gave that speech and said she could take Exxon's 42 billion dollar profit and do great things with it? She could run the Federal government for one and a half days. If the fifteen percent of income boomers paid into SS had been put in interest bearing accounts, or invested prudently in the stock market, there'd be an even bigger labor shortage than there is now. The Federal government is a bottomless pit of promises and taxes.

28 posted on 04/10/2007 8:07:23 PM PDT by Richard Kimball
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To: shrinkermd

SS is a giant Ponzi scheme and anybody who can’t see that is a dunce. The govt. has stolen from me the last 40 years to fund it, so I’m taking early benefits and bleeding SS for all I can get. I am not going to be fool enough to put myself in a position where I depend on SS for my basic needs. If the kids want to riot over taxes, have at it. Hopefully they will lynch the scumbag politicians.


29 posted on 04/10/2007 8:08:07 PM PDT by tickmeister (tickmeister)
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To: ikka

But lots of entrepeneurs make a lot more than $85K per year.


30 posted on 04/10/2007 8:08:21 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: shrinkermd

There’s no need for anything that drastic.

Raise the retirement age (including eliminating early retirement) continuously over the next several years and double the earnings limit. That will keep it solvent. Then once that’s done, do some restructuring, like no longer linking the inflation index to the rate increases.


31 posted on 04/10/2007 8:16:07 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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To: shrinkermd
we are in ourmiddle 50's and we will not get lavish benefits from anybody....not our fault since my husbands' long career at one company came crashing down thru IMO a fraudulent bankruptcy.....

but whatever.....

we are volunteers and we know lots of people our age who volunteer, so I have the expectation that that will be a huge part of our retirement if we ever get there.....

we will not get civil servant type benefits, we already pay huge SS taxes and Medicare and Property and gasoline and every other tax imagined AND income taxes.....

so we pay, we volunteer, we help our kids pretty generously IMO....paying college costs and a wedding and getting first cars, etc....

what the H do people want from us....

you better believe we will take whatever SS benefit there is....we deserve it.

32 posted on 04/10/2007 8:17:22 PM PDT by cherry
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To: Clintonfatigued
I just wonder, since you want me to work longer, if you are already retired or if YOUR retirement guarenteed by the govt?

so easy for people on easy street to tell the rest of us to keep working til were 70....

33 posted on 04/10/2007 8:21:06 PM PDT by cherry
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To: shrinkermd

“Still, boomers deserve special disapproval.”

I and the rest of my family, certainly disagree to the utmost with the above quote.

Yes, my last name is Boomers and it is amazing how much we have made the news the last few years. :-)


34 posted on 04/10/2007 8:24:44 PM PDT by rgboomers (This space purposely left blank)
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To: TenthAmendmentChampion

believe=believed. Sheesh!


35 posted on 04/10/2007 8:25:12 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Pray for our President and for our heroes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world!)
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To: shrinkermd
First, a generational backlash is inevitable.

This Gen-X'er says it sure is.


36 posted on 04/10/2007 8:25:28 PM PDT by rdb3 (SELECT * FROM users WHERE clue > 0 (Get well Snowman!))
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To: cherry
so we pay, we volunteer, we help our kids pretty generously IMO....paying college costs and a wedding and getting first cars, etc....

I'll never get that chance to spoil my kids like baby boomers, I'll be paying for you instead of my kids.

what the H do people want from us....

It's not my fault your husband sank the nest egg into the company he worked for instead of diversifying it. Why should I have to pay for it? I've been laid off 4 times. It's a different world now.....

you better believe we will take whatever SS benefit there is....we deserve it.

There it is, the entitlement mentality: "We deserve it." No, you deserve to suffer for being improvident dopes.

37 posted on 04/10/2007 8:26:08 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith (There's an open road from the cradle to the tomb.)
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To: cherry

Oh, no, I’m many, many years from being retired. Chances are, I won’t be able to retire until I’m in my 70’s.

The unfortunate fact is, there are no easy answers to this problem. This is simply making the best of a bad situation. If you think there’s a better way, by all means inform me.


38 posted on 04/10/2007 8:28:20 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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To: M203M4
Thanks Wilson. Thanks FDR. Thanks Johnson.

Better thank Congress.

Just think how different the USA would be if the
Founding Fathers had included term limits in the
Constitution.

39 posted on 04/10/2007 8:40:45 PM PDT by cliff630 (whwn)
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To: shrinkermd; Paleo Conservative; Clemenza; Cacique
1. The solution of the governing class is to import more cheap labor.
Of course this is not a fix at all. These under-educated workers won't want to be a slave caste. Moreover, they will be a net drain on social services.

2. Robert Samuelson is a neo-Keynesian economist.
40 posted on 04/10/2007 8:42:20 PM PDT by rmlew (It's WW4 and the Left wants to negotiate with Islamists who want to kill us , for their mutual ends)
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To: DuncanWaring
Can the Second Amendment and Social Security Coexist?

A broader question is can the Second Amendment and Socialism co-exist? History says no.

41 posted on 04/10/2007 8:45:58 PM PDT by cryptical (Bruce Schneier can smell weak keys.)
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To: Vigilanteman
"can run circles around their modern-day counterparts when it comes to reading, writing and math.
If the boomer's are so good at math, explain our Nations fiscal picture. There either stupid or apathetic to the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of humankind that will befall their children and grandchildren.

42 posted on 04/10/2007 8:51:33 PM PDT by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by their fruity little club.)
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To: shrinkermd
Will generation Y submit to tax serfdom? Don't count on it.

As long as they have professional sports and doritos, a population will accept anything. Will they submit to tax serfdom? You betcha.

Want people to wake up? Point out that sports are a dangerous, addictive product marketed to children and get them banned. That ought to do it.
43 posted on 04/10/2007 8:56:32 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: AZLiberty
When our marginal rates rocket back up to the 70% levels of the Pre-Reagan years and my payroll tax jumps from 15.3% to over 30%, I can count my self lucky that I can download songs cheap! /s
44 posted on 04/10/2007 8:58:24 PM PDT by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by their fruity little club.)
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To: shrinkermd

boomers? give ‘em foodstamps and gov’ment cheese. give ‘em a trailer in Mojave and inventory them near the 747 grave yard.


45 posted on 04/10/2007 9:00:35 PM PDT by Porterville (All hail the Prophet Gore, an ass dressed in a lion's skin)
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To: Paleo Conservative
If you don't retain US citizenship, how do you maintain a right to return?

Easy - just a short hike across the southern border.

46 posted on 04/10/2007 9:03:01 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring; SwinneySwitch
Easy - just a short hike across the southern border.

The BP may not care if you're a poor Mexican crossing to get goodies from Uncle Sam, but I guarantee you they'll enforce the borders to arrest former citizens who "owe" taxes.

47 posted on 04/10/2007 9:10:14 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative
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To: Paleo Conservative

Work on your tan, dye your hair black, and “No habla inglis”.


48 posted on 04/10/2007 9:26:18 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: shrinkermd

So Generation Y won’t pay the exhorbitant tax burden? Ha! Who needs them.

We will have PLENTY of illegal immigrants paying taxes on their minimum wage under-the-table earnings to cover the gap, er, uh... Nevermind.


49 posted on 04/10/2007 9:55:26 PM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free
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To: mysterio
Quote: "As long as they have professional sports and doritos, a population will accept anything." And porn! Don't forget porn!
50 posted on 04/10/2007 10:00:43 PM PDT by Freedom_Is_Not_Free
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