Don’t ignore the Treasurer’s race

There are a wealth of high-profile races on the ballot this year, and, well, the contest to replace retiring State Treasurer Mike Murphy isn’t exactly one of them. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting to political junkies like me.

Murphy, allegedly a Democrat, is backing his top aide, Allan Martin, a licensed funeral director and embalmer, who has declared as a Republican. Democratic Rep. Jim McIntyre, an economics professor and former Finance Committee chair, is giving up his House seat to seek the Democratic nomination.

Also seriously exploring a run is Chang Mook Sohn, the state’s chief economist and longtime revenue forecaster. But while Sohn is reportedly planning to run as a Democrat, you’ve got to wonder about his party credentials, what with his name appearing on a petition by the libertarian Cato Institute calling for Social Security privatization:

… we support giving workers the option of shifting all or part of their Social Security taxes into individually owned, privately invested accounts, similar to individual retirement accounts or 401(k) plans. We believe that only a system based on savings and investment can provide a safe and secure retirement without burying future generations under a mountain of new taxes.

Huh. Dismantling Social Security doesn’t particularly sound like a Democratic value to me.

I’ve had my run-ins with McIntyre when he chaired the Finance Committee, but at least I know where he stands on the issues. How exactly the State Treasurer impacts these issues, I’m not really sure. But I intend to find out.


  1. 1

    Phil spews:

    Allen Martin is a lot more than just a funeral director and embalmer – he’s the Assistant State Treasurer which means he’s the number 2 person in the State Treasurer’s office and runs the day-to-day operations of the department. He was also formerly Chelan County Treasurer. So he’s actually, you know, extremely qualified to do the job. Probably loads more than McIntyre.

  2. 2


    Mook Sohn is a very impressive person. Lets not write him off because of a check list.

    BTW Sweden .. in tis own unique way .. privatized social security as a socialist device.

  3. 3

    correctnotright spews:

    @3 SJ: Privatization of SS is the republicans first step to destroy it – Sweden has a much more extensive social netwo0rk than we ever will have – so this is just a bad example or analogy.

    Privatization = destruction of SS – so don’t mimic republican talking points.

  4. 4


    Yes, invest your money in the stock market so CEO’s can earn higher incomes. And if the market goes down like it is right now and you’ve invested in the wrong companies, well kiss your security goodbye.

    Hopefiully you’re smart enough to not invest in ENRON type companies or K-Mart or worldcom or FORD Motor or any bank these days. For every winner there are many losers. Yes there’s no investment for security like investing in the stock market lottery.

  5. 5

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    Yes, let’s remember Sweden.

    They have a top income tax rate of 60 percent – OUCH! BTW incorrectnotright, that’s one of the highest in the world

    Next Sweden’s total government spending greater than half of it’s GDP.

    BTW the private sector isn’t creating many jobs.

    Getting rid of a useless worker (called redundant in Europe, example: YLB) is very difficult.

  6. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    Yesterday I pointed out how miserable the DJIA has performed during the seven years of the Bush administration. With today’s 300+ point loss (driven by reports on slowdowns in the manufacturing sector), the DJIA has LOST and incredible 7.72% during the past seven years.

    Even Jimmy Carter, who presided over a -0.87 DJIA loss during his four years in office, which the Republicans called an “inexcusable performance” showing the “bankruptcy of Democratic fiscal management”, lost less than 1%, and thereby looks considerably better in comparison with Bush’s -7.72% over seven years.

    If the current rate continues, we can look foward to the DJIA to drop below 12,000 before the month ends, and settle below 11,000 by the time Bush leaves office. I sincerely hope that’s not the case.

  7. 7

    rhp6033 spews:

    Yep, the Bush “privatization” program is just an attempt to hand over the remaining one-third of the Federal Treasury to the big money guys. They are frustrated that they haven’t been able to loot the ENTIRE federal treasury yet, and time is running out.

  8. 8

    ArtFart spews:

    5 There is a school of thought to which “useless worker” is as much an oxymoron as “compassionate conservative”.

  9. 11

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    Hey ArtFart: Where is this school of thought kept? In your head? In your butt? I used The Eugenics_Project(YLB) because he blogs while on the man’s time!

    If that isn’t redundant, what is?

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Given that something like 80% of Americans can’t afford to set aside anything for retirement and will have only Social Security to live on after they can’t work anymore, who is going to support these people?

    The answer is that if you eliminate Social Security, as Republicans want to do (from their point of view, why not? after all, they’ve already got theirs), we’ll either have 80% of the elderly population living under bridges, or we’ll have to support them with a massive taxpayer-funded welfare program.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I challenge any Republican reading this board to show me a privately-run pension program that has paid every penny of promised benefits on time for 70 continuous years. They can’t, because such a private program doesn’t exist. Just ask the United Airlines pilots what happened to their pensions, or ask the ex-Enron employees how they’re doing living on their private retirement accounts.

  12. 17


    All of you need to realize that defined benefit programs are dead. Since people are living longer and not volunteering to commit suicide for the greater good, defined benefit programs’ cost have risen to levels that cannot be supported. It’s is impossible for a company or the government to provide a plan that provides a comfortable living to retirees without putting-away astounding amounts of money for each individual potential retiree.

    All social security does is provide a pittance as to what it takes to comfortably live on. It’s a cruel joke that people actually think the government is there to support them in their old age. They’re suckers if they don’t aggressively pursue retirement planning with vehicles like IRAs, 401Ks, 401Bs or other existing plans.

    Social security witholding includes survivors’ benefits, diability and retirement. Employers and employees contribute to social security but have no control over the money once it goes into the government cauldron. Younger workers shoud at least have the opportunity to control where their social security retirement is invested. If they choose to participate fully in social security and have their retirement portion invested in the government’s plan, then fine, so be it. But they should be alloew the choice if they choose to take responsibility for those funds and invest them privately.

    What the chearleaders for the current system fear is that sophisticated young folks will take their retirement contributions and strike out on their own. Only dupes will stay with the current plan. Let’s stop lying to ourselves: social security has turned into a system of wealth redistribution, rewarding those that don’t plan for the future with a paltry retirement and hindering those that want to take care of their retirements without the government being involved.

    When it comes to social security, I’m pro-choice.

  13. 18


    @5 Puddytat

    Well, if you were a Swede you could choose to come here whre retirement investments require a huge part of yourincome, education can 4-6 years of a workers wages PER year of college, and then there is our health care system.

    My bottom line is where can I live the best. Howsa about it Mistuh?

    BTW .. if we have a true free market of countries, we can each choose where to live! If you wanna move to an unregulated capitalist system, welcome to Brazil.

  14. 19


    Roger ,,

    As usual you make great points.

    I suggest hoever that just because a radical reprican supports something is a poor reason to discard the idea.

    I am sure you are correct that George ibn George (his new name in Bidet), has something of the sort you describe “in mind.” BUT, I do not think that is true of people line O’Neil who have written about the idea.

    Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to hear such ideas discussed sine references to what God wants. Hell God seems to have a pretty cushy retirement program and ya don’t find lots of impoverished ex clergy,

    One reasonable idea, it seems to me, is to take the FICA out of the general budget. From there it is not a huge leap to allow some personal management. The question ios how much? ONE intersting model is the TIAA system that makes you choose bonds vs. stocks.

    So waht might one gain in this way?

    1. a sens eof ownership
    2. an inducement to increase savings
    3. a fuind, like Swedens, that might be used (wisely?) to invest in shared American goals .. like a basketball tam for every town over 100,000 people?

  15. 20

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    SeattleJew: Working with a Swede right now on a project. He gave me the info.

    So hows dem apples…

  16. 22


    @1 Puddy …

    hunhhh?? info??? You just pewd the usual miasma.

    I could care less what the marginal tax rate is that they pay or I pay, what is important is how much is left to pay for my needs.

    As for whether they are making jobs as fast as we are, I have not looked recently. I suspect we are in such deep shit now that our growth of worthwhile, non burger flipping jobs may be colliding with the population of Fiji.

    As for the worker problem, I know that but what is the point>? The US has some pretty bizarr issues as well … like all the capital here tied up in obsolete factories or the mis-education fo our kids. It would be wunnaful wunnaful IF we could take the best stats from every country in the world as our own.

    HOMEWORK for the lil Puddy tat

    BTW, ask your friend if he speaks swedish. I hear the kids there are so bright is that they pick it up in the third grade as their second language?

    My second fave way to tease a Swede is to ask about the royal Eugenics program. Ask him how they chose the new Queen. BTW, didja know that in Swedish there is only oje word (two endings) for King and Queen! True gender eqillaity at the royal level!

    Staying with royalty, ys might ask him howsit that a French family rules Zweden> Can’t they find a Swedish family? The Wallenbergs???

    Nother swedish issue I like is the claim by the goofball king to be the emperor of all the Russ! I have urged some KGB friend of mine (us commies keep in touch) to move to have Russia rejoin its mother land. Imagine . swedish brians, swedish women, swedish rationality ,,, ruling over the slavs!

    Is this racism or what?

    Last ting, ask your colleague to translate:


  17. 23

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    SeattleJew: Puddy didn’t do post #1.

    I will have to ask him tomorrow. I’m not there now.

  18. 24

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    SeattleJew again you miss the point. What’s new? That’s why I didn’t answer you. Go back and see what I was posting about. Start at the thread top. I know you can do it.

  19. 25

    Marcel spews:

    Mr. Anti-Sweden:

    Sweden is a democracy.

    If the people over there did not like their system, they would change it.

    They do have right wing parties, who argue like you do. But they never win elections and dismantle the system over there. Oh yes, they do adjust it from time to time; but most people like having a secure retirement, national health care, a lack of homeless people on the streets, a lack of crime, a great role for women, and even very broad second home ownership, and generous vacation and family time.

    If you are trying to scare us with a 60 % marginal tax rate to point to Sweden to argue that a high-tax, high-service state is a failure, you fail miserably.

    Meanwhile we are all familiar with the low tax states like Bangladesh, Nigeria, Guatemala and other examples of the Infierno, with bitter class war, extreme poverty, extreme violence, and other things that make life nasty and wretched for the vast majority of people in those countries.
    And the rich have to live behind walls topped with broken glass bottles and employ bodyguards.
    These states are virtually tax free as they are so corrupt no one pays taxes. Except the poor of course pay sales tax.

    It is clearly the low-government, low-tax states that are failures.


  20. 26

    rhp6033 spews:

    Puddy (@ 10, above), asked me for a link to back up my claims that under the seven years of the current Bush administration, the DJIA had lost over 7%, a substantially worse performance than during any previous president in the past quarter century, even worse than during Carter’s four years in office.

    Well, I wasn’t using a website per se for the numbers. I was simply looking up the closing DJIA for the day before inauguration for each president, beginning with Carter, and putting them in a spreadsheet to calculate the differences and percentage changes. By using percentages as a basis for comparison, instead of just points, it helped to offset the differences in value caused merely by inflation. I didn’t go back further than Carter because those numbers weren’t available on the website I was using to look up the historical DJIA data:


    So my first inclination was simply to post the link to the historical numbers, and let Puddy figure it out for himself, like I did. But before I did that, I thought perhaps I had better check the numbers, one more time. It would be real embarrassing to have Puddy point out a minor mistake, and then use it as an excuse to argue that it’s all a liberal plot to discredit Bush and the “great job the Republicans are doing with the economy”. So I pulled out the figures, and checked the numbers again.

    “Dang. That can’t be right.” I look up the numbers again.
    “Dang. It’s still wrong.” Maybe the formulas in the spreadsheet got corrupted. Check everything again.

    Then the sinking realization hits. I made a data entry error in the spreadsheets. I’m not sure where it came from, but the wrong number was put into the column for the ending DJIA of the Clinton administration, which also constituted the starting number for the Bush administration. After correcting this number, it appears that Instead of losing 7% in value, the DJIA actually gained 14.84% during the seven years of his administration, all but the last of which was while the Congress was also under Republican control.

    Now, that doesn’t mean that a 14.84% gain over seven years is any great feat. It would, in fact, get most CEO’s fired, since it would be an annual average gain of little more than the rate of inflation (reported yesterday at more than 4% last year). This is especially true if the figure seems to be getting quite a bit worse of late. Seven years is more than long enough to overcome any problems left behind by the previous administration, to allow your policies to have an effect and to see the results, and to overcome any temporary one-time problems beyond your control. In fact, if we have another five days of losses like yesterday (Wednesday Jan. 17th) which aren’t recovered in a subsequent rally, Bush’s DJIA numbers will indeed be lower than Carter’s.

    But I have to admit that I made a mistake, as much as it galls me to admit it, and in fairness I am reporting that mistake here, in the same forum where I originally published my erroneous figures. I will also post this to a more current thread, since quite a few people never bother to go back to the old threads. (Note to myself for future use: get all calculations vetted before posting).

    The corrected rankings (in order of performance) are as follows:

    Clinton (8 years) + 225.37% (avg. + 56.34% p/y)
    Reagan (8 years) +135.13% (avg. + 33.78% p/y)
    Bush I (4 years) + 45.57% (avg. + 11.39% p/y)
    Bush II (7 years) + 14.84% (avg. + 3.71% p/y)
    Carter (4 years) – 0.87% (avg. – 0.22% p/y)

    In conclusion: mia culpa (or however the heck you spell it).

  21. 27

    Puddy The Prognosticator... spews:

    RHP6033: You are a man I can respect. I knew something was amiss because another web site said how come the Dow went up but we had nothing to show for it.

    You have to admit he received a retracting economy.

    Thanks for your honesty. We surely can break bread some day!