And out of the gloom and doom of our everyday news and the continued ecnomic downturn come a few rays of light that really can give us some hope.
--A new study finds 50% of so-called "Millenials" (those currently between the ages of 18 and 29) do not expect to get any Social Security when they reach retirement age. http://iomechallenge.org/wp-content/uploads/NEW-iOme-Millennials-on-Social-Security.pdf And a whopping 95% percent realize that there is no way the current level of benefits will be available to them when they become eligible. (I believe those final 5% who think things can continue as they are match the percentage of Americans who aren't able to do basic math.)
I expect this study to set off alarm bells at the White House (We can't have a generation of voters thinking they can't depend on the Government to provide them with everything they want and need!!) and at the AARP headquarters (Social Security is our political hammer!! We must start running ads on MTV and Bravo immediately to try and scare these youngin's!!). But it is incredibly positive that the younger generation accepts the economic realities that their elders continue to ignore--and are adopting the attitude that they will have to be responsible for themselves. That's why 42% are already putting money away for their retirement--a sharp increase in the savings rate for those under thirty from just a few years ago.
--We hear all the time how bi-partisanship is dead in Madison. But a bill co-authored by Democrat Gordon Hintz and Republican Dean Kaufert that will allow school districts to establish education foundations that would be operated by community foundations. Finally, those people who come to school board meetings and ask to have their property taxes raised in order to save Elementary Foreign Language programs or high school courses that average about ten students a semester will have a chance to put their money where their mouths are--without increasing the burden on everyone else in the district!
Because community foundations aren't under the same tight restrictions on investments that school districts are--the money donated should see better annual growth. And with a third party involved, hopefully we won't see school board members with personal axes to grind trying to hold up the process of putting that money to use--like we saw with the renaming of the West basketball court in honor of Steve Randall.
--Finally, the Big Ten (12) has suspended Michigan State defensive end William Gholston for tomorrow's game against Wisconsin. This is not a positive just because it gives the Badgers a better chance of moving the ball against a tough defense--but because it penalized downright dirty play. If you haven't seen the lowlights, Gholston twisted the head of Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson after a tackle last week and sucker punched an offensive lineman in the face far behind another play. Amazingly, Gholston was not penalized by the refs for either of those plays. Things were so ugly that one Badger Football Blogger titled his article this week "The Badgers Need to be Ready For 60 Minutes of Unneccesary Roughness".
Michigan State itself had the opportunity to punish Gholston--but apparently beating the fourth ranked Badgers so they had a chance to get millions of dollars by playing in a BCS Bowl game in January was a higher priority than good sportsmanship. In a rare good move on its part, the conference finally stepped in and sent a message that intentionally trying to hurt your opponents will not be tolerated.
Alright--back to the gloom and doom.............