Ruled by Merchants

I play a lot of fantasy role-playing games. In fact, I’m a friend and I are building pretty large world right now.

You get to think a lot about the “order” of things when building your own worlds.

In none of them, are the lands ever ruled by the merchants.

It makes little sense to have merchants rule. The game we play, Neverwinter Nights has a thing called factions – characters are part of factional groups – and factions feel differently toward one another – hostile, friendly, willing to protect, or flee from. Two of the other factions are Defenders (military) and Commoners.

By default, this is how it’s set up:

Merchants like Merchants and they like Defenders. They are neutral to Commoners.

Defenders like Defenders, Merchants and Commoners.

Commoners like Commoners and are neutral to both Merchants and Defenders.

We are ever increasingly – in all parts of the world – being ruled by the Merchants.

Will this help us attain our utmost in the unfolding of our humanity on this planet? Can we trust that, as Merchants, their humanity will unfold for us all?

Ack… but anyway, here’s a little blurb I got about the Social Security privatization thang – where we take an enormous amount of public money and move it into the private financial sectors.

I am not an economist or accountant. But I do know that when someone brings me something cloaked in a deception, it’s hard to believe in the true benefit of it once uncloaked.

Dear MoveOn member,

Nearly 500,000 MoveOn members like you have signed our petition opposing Social Security privatization and benefit cuts. Recently, Bush has had to back away from his rhetoric about Social Security facing a “crisis.” Democratic Senators are united in opposing the plan. Now the battle for Social Security is coming to a town near you.

The next few weeks may be a pivotal moment in this fight, as members of Congress come home to face their constituents on this issue for the first time. While he’s home, Congressman McDermott is holding a town hall meeting on Social Security to hear from the people. If enough of us show up in opposition to Bush’s plan, the whole thing could die here.

Across the country, thousands of us will be going to these meetings. Can we count on you to join us?

This is our best chance to reach our members of Congress. Even those already opposed to privatization need a boost of confidence. Local news reporters will attend these meetings to see how they go — you can help prove that there’s a large constituency for staying the course.

Attending a town hall meeting is easy. You can speak from the heart about why Social Security is so important to your family or you can use the basic talking points we’ve provided below. It’s important for your representative in Congress to see people are paying attention to this issue and watching how he votes.

Town hall meetings are happening nationwide. Find one near you right now:

We’ve come a long way since Bush announced his plan for private accounts. Now let’s take it to our members of Congress, who will make or break his plan.

Thanks for all you do.


–Tom Matzzie, Eli Pariser, Noah T. Winer, and the whole team
Thursday, February 17th, 2005

P.S. If you like, here are some talking points on the Republican Social Security plan:

George Bush’s plan would make massive cuts in Social Security benefits for future retirees in order to pay for private accounts. Privatization diverts Social Security taxes used to pay current benefits into private accounts. Without that money, Social Security benefits will inevitably be cut — up to 46 percent for future retirees.
* Privatization means trillions of dollars of new national debt. Because current Social Security taxes are used to pay for private accounts taking that money out means huge deficits — as high as $15 trillion over the next 40 years.
* The Republican plan would turn a guaranteed benefit into a guaranteed gamble. The stock market is risky and can’t be predicted — that could means millions of people don’t have the money they need when they need it.
* Social Security is not going bankrupt, contrary to the president’s claims. That is a deception perpetrated in order to create the urgency for radical changes. Under conservative forecasts, the long-term challenges in Social Security do not manifest themselves until 2042. Even then Social Security has 70 percent of needed funds.
If you can only say one thing, say: Republicans want to cut benefits and privatize Social Security which would gut a sound program and burden future generations with trillions in debt.