Republicans unserious about the budget

I don’t even bother to read our friend Stefan Sound Politics much anymore unless somebody of substance who occasionally gets attributions wrong, like David Postman points me in that direction. Of course, when I do link on over to read what Stefan Sound Politics has to say, I’m constantly reminded why I rarely bother to read him in the first place.

Stefan Eric Earling accuses Democrats of being “unserious” about Social Security reform, and yet he throws out a paragraph like this:

They continue to claim the so-called Social Security Trust Fund means everything will be fine for decades. Wrong. The special T-Bonds in the Trust Fund are simply an IOU from one government account to another. They’re an IOU that will no doubt be honored, but they’re not an asset you can cash at the bank or sell on the bond market like a regular-issue US Treasury Bond. Redeeming the special bonds means raising taxes or cutting spending to pay for them. Even the MSM is starting to understand that.

So… um, what you are telling us Stefan Eric, is that our government won’t be able to afford to pay back the trillions of dollars it has borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund without raising taxes or cutting spending to pay for it, right?

Hmm.

So then, it isn’t really Social Security that’s heading towards insolvency due to incredibly shortsighted, irresponsible and unserious fiscal policy, but rather, the federal government.

Stefan Eric and the Republicans aren’t trying to fix Social Security. No, they’re trying to use Social Security “reform” to cover up the mess left behind by the most fiscally irresponsible administration in US history. If President Bush and the GOP congressional leadership hadn’t turned record budget surpluses into record budget deficits, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Blaming this looming budget crisis on Social Security is nothing but creative accounting.

People like Stefan Eric see privatization as a twofer: they get to dismantle the crowning achievement of the New Deal while covering up the financial disaster created by their party’s failed policies at home and abroad. And the rhetoric they employ is dishonest as usual.

If Stefan Eric wants a “substantive national debate” let’s have one on our current fiscal crisis, and figure out how we’re going to pay for this administration’s policies and programs instead of passing the cost off to future generations. Are we really at war? Then let’s raise taxes to pay for this war the way we have all previous wars, or dramatically cut services elsewhere, forcing our elected officials to pay the inevitable political price. Let the Republicans tell Americans that we can’t afford things like education, health care or even Social Security at home, because we have to pay hundreds of billions of dollars a year fighting “The Long War” in Iraq.

Let’s have that debate, Stefan Eric. But don’t tell me Democrats are “unserious” about Social Security while Republicans blithely run up the largest budget and balance of trade deficits in US history.

UPDATE:
Well, so much for trusting “somebody of substance like David Postman.” Postman wrote:

Stefan Sharkansky says “Cantwell’s social security stance hurts my head.”

So I read the post on (u)SP, but didn’t bother reading the byline. Turns out it wasn’t written by Stefan after all, it was written by Eric Earling. (Whoever he is.) Doesn’t change my point, but I’ve updated the post accordingly.

Comments

  1. 2

    Tree Frog Farmer spews:

    rhp@129 Very well said. I would add that the sockpuppet sometimes known as RancidButtPutty is generally one of two things: 1) a bloviating example of cut-n-paste propaganda techniques or 2) a psychotic religionist spewing the most egregious talibangelist BS.

  2. 3

    ArtFart spews:

    RE: #18…We’ve already had a taste of the scenario you’ve described. Witness the runup of the stock market in the late 90’s with the “high-tech” hysteria fueled to a great degree by the 401K and IRA funds people put their money into over the preceding 15 or so years in response to the constant drone of dire predictions about Social Security and the collapse of the old social contract between corporations and employees that blew away most peoples’ expectations of staying in the same job long enough to collect a pension.

    If Social Security actually does get significantly “reformed” (a right-wing euphemism for “looted and pillaged”, the primary result will be that Wall Street will get one last hit from the bong several times bigger than the last one. Put all that money out in the open and most of it will once again be poured into dubious enterprises and cockamamie schemes, or siphoned off by the theives and shysters in the Armani suits. Also, just like the last time, the higher we fly, the harder the landing’s gonna be.

  3. 4

    rhp6033 spews:

    RR at 73 said:

    “In other words, the CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVE agenda of keeping people “over a barrel” so they’ll have to work cheap”.

    This comment brought back memories of a documentary on the Great Depression – I think it was broadcast about ten years or so ago. In it, a (now elderly) witness recounted how the big local companies tried to block distributions of food aid to the poor and unemployed in her area. “If they have food to eat, they won’t work!” was the company’s complaint.

    Of course, with unemployment so high, obviously they would work just about any job that could be found. But in the absence of a minimum wage law, what the employers wanted were workers so starved that they would work at any wage, just to get a few scraps of food to eat.

    I used to think that this attitude was a horrible anachronism, and that we had learned better by now. Apparantly I was wrong. The Republicans haven’t accepted the past century or so of political and social progress. They aren’t content just to erase the reforms of Kennedy and Johnson, or even of Franklin Roosevelt. They are trying to get back to the days before TEDDY ROOSEVELT and the trust-busting he pioneered.

    If you want the U.S. to return economically to the days of the 1880’s, then just keep voting Republican.

  4. 5

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    More baseless ad hominem (ad Oryctolagem?), no substance on Social Security.

  5. 6

    For the Clueless spews:

    Like ASS, Puddybud is a black hole for right-wing propaganda – it all gets sucked in and Puddybud gets more dense.

  6. 7

    LeftTurn spews:

    From Crooks & Liars…

    It does not look good for Tom DeLay and the Texas GOP.

    Today was the big show for Texas Republicans who are vying to keep DeLay off the ballot and handpick his successor. And they lost.

    After the Democrats filed their initial suit, the GOP made a motion to move the case from state court to federal court. They thought they’d find a sympathetic friend there in Judge Sam Sparks, who was nominated to his position by Pres. George H. W. Bush in 1991.

    In his opinion, Sparks doesn’t sound like he was ever the least bit convinced by DeLay’s scheme to be declared ineligible (we’ve posted the opinion for you to read here):

    Political acumen, strategy, and manufactured evidence, even combined with sound policy in mind, cannot override the Constitution. The evidence presented in this case provides no basis for [Texas Republican Chairwoman Tina] Benkiser’s declaration that Tom DeLay was not eligible to remain the nominee of the Republican Party under state or federal law… there is no evidence that DeLay will still be living in Virginia tomorrow, let alone on November 7, 2006, the only day that matters under the Qualification Clause of the United States Constitution….
    DeLay was chosen as the Republican nominee by the voters in the Republican primary, and he is still eligible to be the party’s nominee. He may, of course, withdraw as is his right, but neither political parties, state legislatures, secretaries of state, nor the federal courts may rewrite the United States Constitution.

    Looks like the republicans have been bitch-slapped again!

  7. 8

    Disgruntled spews:

    To Harry @ 12 – I am not a Republican. I was merely stating the facts about the SS trust fund (it is a fiction) and the concept of people being owed SS benefits by the government (also a fiction).

    That said, I completely support the basic idea of the government providing a safety net for seniors – a living wage for seniors, if you will. If I were emperor of the US, I’d probably means test SS and raise the retirement age, but I wouldn’t junk it. However, I would remove the arbitrary line between SS income taxes and regular income taxes, and end the regressive SS income tax system in favor of higher regular income taxes, which would be more progressive.

    – Disgruntled

  8. 9

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    These are desperate times for Metro Detroit home sellers. The desperation tumbles from the numbers: a 43 percent increase in homes on the market. A drop in the median selling price in every Metro Detroit county. Flat overall home sales after years of steady growth. Desperation screams from the ubiquitous “For Sale” signs peppering Metro Detroit streets…

    Comments:
    I may have to move soon…and dread this happening.

    People still have to BUY houses in Detroit? I assumed free housing was probably an entitlement by now, in America’s most-liberal “progressive” Democrat city. No worries. Detroit will still vote 115% Democrat.

  9. 10

    Libertarian spews:

    FDR was trying to create something that “no damn politician” could ever take away when he worked towards the social security system. Unfortunately, the policians have managed to ge their hands in the cookie jar, both Rep and Dem.

    A word to the wise: social security will be, at best, a small sum of money in retirment in realtion to living expenses. Take care of yoursleves first and don’t trust in government.

  10. 11

    rhp6033 spews:

    Libertarian at 20:

    Yep, you have to take care of yourself as best you can. If the Republicans stay in charge much longer, there won’t be much left anyway.

    But I get the feeling you didn’t read my entire post. Because of the demographics, there is a real danger that even the most prudent of us private investors will find our savings dissapear as the baby-boomers start selling off their investments to fund their current consumption (i.e., food, medicine, and a place to live, an occasional golf game, etc.). So you have to go beyond the simplistic concept of savings and investment to which we have become accostomed.

    The reason we need to get out of debt (including mortgage debt, as well as credit-card debt) is because I expect we will be living under considerably less income in retirement than we expected. Current advisors say you can live off 60% to 70% of your current income, due to reduced taxes and costs of working and commuting. But if the value of our retirement plans are halved, then we may find ourselves having to live off 30% to 35% of our pre-retirement earnings.

  11. 12

    spews:

    Would that be this Eric Earling? Who’s probably also this Eric Earling.

    Do his statements on (u)SP represent official malAdministration policy? Unless he specifies a disclaimer, they could be so construed.

  12. 13

    rhp6033 spews:

    While we are talking about demographics, lets talk about older people working past the traditional retirement ages. Lots of proposals to “save” Social Security advocate further increases in the retirement age.

    But in what capacity will those older workers find work?

    For those of us who were born just beyond the “peak” of the baby boom, the prospect of higher earnings in our final years of work seemed quite attractive. As our older brothers and sisters retired ahead of us, it would open up positions in companies, allowing us good promotions (and presumably higher pay) in those final years, correct? Also, as the available work force declined due to retirements, the wages for experienced and trained employees would rise quite nicely, huh?

    But instead, we are seeing that older workers are losing their jobs in numbers out of proportion to those of younger workers. Especially those in highly-trained professions – engineers, accountants, etc., the presence of grey hair has been the death knell for those suffering from any corporate restructuring. Unless protected by seniority provisions in a Union contract, many workers in their 50’s are finding their jobs are dissapearing, instead being filled by younger, less expensive workers, or out-sourced completely.

    So if we raise the retirement age, what will these older workers be doing? It’s one thing for a person in their late 50’s to try to find a job which will tied them over until they can retire at 65, 66, or 67. It’s quite another for them to find significant work which will support them and their family for the next fifteen years – until they are 70, or beyond.

    Also, this is a favorite proposal of those who spend their workdays in a comfortable office, working on a computer. It is quite another to thing to propose to a 60 year old construction worker, mechanic, or anyone else who works outdoors and uses their body to produce actual products to put in another ten or fifteen years or so before they can retire. In many cases, the spirit is willing, but the body has already given out.

  13. 14

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    Those fuckers who got a tax cut in the past six years, stick it to them.

    Commentby Harry Tuttle [Karl Marx and Hillary agree!!]

  14. 15

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    BTW, I do have an individual SS account. I disagree intesely with the “facts” you present.

    Here’s a fact. Fuck with SS and blood will run in the streets.

  15. 16

    Libertarian spews:

    …The Social Security trustees have invested the surplus the only way they’re permitted by law — in U.S. government bonds. In effect, they have lent the money to the federal government. …

    Commentby Harry Tuttle— 7/6/06@ 2:06 pm

    OK, Harry, I’d like to see how many shares of this government bond fund are owned by me. You know the answer: none! You and I and everyone else are entitled to NOTHING from social security. How about a “certificate of ownership” at least? Then maybe I could delude myself into thinking there really WAS something to social security.

  16. 17

    Libertarian spews:

    The best thing we can do is (a) to balance the federal budget now, and (b) personally invest our money in long-term businesses, perhaps overseas, and © reduce our personal debt to a bare minimum, as RR suggests.

    Commentby rhp6033— 7/6/06@ 12:04 pm

    ….

    Wow, rhp6033, it sounds like you’re advocating PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! What a concept!

    1. Plan for your OWN retirement.

    2. Get out of debt, especially credit card debt.

  17. 18

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    Typical wingnut tactics. You can’t talk intelligently about Social Security, so you focus on one of you whipping boys, Paul Krugman, who has the audacity to point out that Emperor George has no clothes.

    No wonder 80% of the population is against you on SS. You cheer on a SS wrecking crew, that people want retired.

  18. 19

    tmw spews:

    Even the Libertarian candidate for US Senate, Bruce Guthrie, understands that we have to fulfill our obligations to seniors by funding SS. From his website:

    “Most politicians offer one of two solutions: cut benefits, or increase taxes. Neither of these ideas is acceptable.

    We can maintain full benefits if we get our priorities straight. By ending the War in Iraq, cutting corporate welfare, and making a few short-term sacrifices, we can ensure that America will meet its promises to seniors.”

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Let me ask one simple question.

    If Social Security IS facing a future revenue shortfall, how does removing $1 trillion from the Social Security revenue stream to fund private accounts make the shortfall better?

  20. 21

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Conservatives and militarists both like to point out that “nature is cruel” — often in a context of trying to justify or excuse cruel decisions or cruel behavior.

    In nature, cruelty is inevitable; every living thing eats, and nearly every living thing is susceptible to getting eaten. But is human cruelty inevitable?

    Liberal philosophy argues that humans do not have to live like wild animals, but rather can use their intellect to do better than nature. Liberalism seeks to replace wild behavior with more benign social behavior; for example, replacing primitive revenge-taking with a judicial system. Social Security is a profoundly liberal idea premised on the notion of pooling our resources to take care of each other so no one has to suffer from cruel deprivation in sickness or old age.

    Why would ANYONE want to replace that system with the “law of the jungle?”

  21. 22

    Yossarian spews:

    Roger Rabbit is a total fucking idiot. He gets more loony every day. The guy needs to get another avocation to keep him away from his computer.

  22. 23

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Republican answer to social security: give the money to us (large stock brockerage firms), we will invest it for you, and after taking a substantial cut for ourselves we will let you bear the risk. Gee, 10% of even half of SS tax revenues will help fund our retirement in a very high style! If you lose all your money, we will just shrug our shoulders, and say… “Gee, that’s too bad, but that’s the risk you assumed. Now, let’s talk about getting what money you have left into options….”

    The real problem is that nobody has every really come up with a good idea of what to do with any (temporary) excess funds in the social security system. Investments make sense on a “micro” scale (you, me, or our business), but on the “macro” scale we are looking at here (a nationwide savings of substantial wealth to be consumed in the future), it by completely different principles. It’s a bit like Bill Gates pointing out that his wealth is all just “on paper” anyway – if he tried to sell all its stock, the value will plumit to the point where he wasn’t a billionaire any more.

    We can’t just leave it as “cash”, that doesn’t help anybody, and it’s really just saved as data entry digits anyway. When Social Security invests in treasury certificates, we are merely loaning money to the the government which promise to pay it back to the social security system, with a little bit of interest, later. But who is going to pay that money? The future U.S. taxpayers, of course, from the general fund. And if there is no money in the general fund, to pay the debt, then what will they do? Raise taxes or cut expenditures, as Goldie pointed out.

    That’s why the solvency of the federal budget is so important. It’s going to take a big hit over the next thirty years or so, as the baby-boomers retire, so it needs to be operating on a balanced budget already – you know, like we had at the end of the Clinton presidency. If we start making SS payments to baby-boomer retirees while we are still deep in the red, then our economy will be in real trouble.

    Now the Republican answer is to allow individuals to invest the money, or at least a major portion of it. There are several problems with this scenario.

    First, Social Security has always been a “pay as you go”, “defined benefits” system. If you are going to change it to a “defined contribution” and “prepaid” system, then you’ve got a VERY LARGE transition group to worry about. These are the folks that paid during their working career for their parents’ retirement, and expect their children to do the same for them. The Republican proposal tells the children “to hell with your parents, just start saving for your own retirement”. It really doesn’t answer the problem of what will be done with the boomers.

    Second, the idea that such large amounts of money can be invested into the stock market and then returned, with profits, upon retirement is illusory. To be profitable, any investment requires willing buyers to redeem the stocks or bonds when you need to sell. But the demographics show that that there will be a lot more baby-boomers retiring over the next thirty years, than people who will be investing. So this means that all those investments which looked so good at age 60 will suddenly be not worth nearly as much by age 70, as millions of baby-boomers try to sell their stocks and bonds to fund their retirement. More sellers than buyers mean lower prices, as any student of Adam Smith will agree. So those investing their social security funds in the stock market will find their savings dissapearing at the very time when the need them the most.

    Third, and this is a point which the Republicans skip over quite deftly, is that we already have a system were people can invest for their retirement in pretty much any way they choose. It isn’t called social security, but it goes by lots of other names – 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, Keough plans, etc. Many Americans are using those funds as their principle retirement plans, either to supplement Social Security, or as a replacement (for those who are convinced Social Security will not be available when they retire). Now, such savings are admirable and generally advised, but they will suffer the same result as I mentioned earlier with respect to Social Security funds invested in the stock market – at the time of retirement, most will find their investments declining considerably in value just when they need them the most. Now, to get into a really scarey scenario, combine those two – private savings and social security system, both heavily invested in the U.S. stock and bond markets, and you have doubled, or perhaps even trippled, the numbers of excess sellers over buyers, and the resulting decline in stock prices at the time when retirees need the money the most.

    Finally, investments of a large portion of the Social Security fund in the stock market will temporarily artificially inflate stock prices beyond the ability of the market to handle wisely the excess funds. What will be done with the excess? It will probably be paid out in large disbursements to corporate executives in bonus and stock option packages. After all, if the stock prices are rising (even temporarily), then they must be doing a good job, huh? But the inflationary effect will not be tied to long-term investments, and will only be temporary, until the baby-boomers start to cash in their 401(k)s to fund their retirement. If the money was kept in the business it would be fine, but for the most part it will be gone.

    Sorry for such a bleak scenario, but I think it holds true. The best thing we can do is (a) to balance the federal budget now, and (b) personally invest our money in long-term businesses, perhaps overseas, and (c) reduce our personal debt to a bare minimum, as RR suggests.

  23. 24

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    If you’re asking me and my ninety-five yo mother to suffer for the profligacy of the past 6 years, think again.

  24. 26

    eponymous coward spews:

    Of course, what’s not mentioned is that the projections used to assume SS goes broke in 40 years also assume lower increases in population/GDP growth than we’ve seen the past 20 years…but the projections of “Gee! Look how much more money you’d make with private accounts!” do NOT use those same lower population/GDP growth projections (unless you start doing really insane things like decoupling the value of securities from the underlying economy the represent as part of your assumptions).

    Can’t have it both ways, guys. Either the economy’s going to slow down a lot over the next 40 years and private accounts won’t be so hot, or it won’t and there’s no “Social Security crisis”.

  25. 27

    Libertarian spews:

    In the 1960 Supreme Court case of Nestor v. Fuller, the SCOTUS ruled that social security entitled no one to anything. The government can end the program tomorrow, if it chose to do so. There’s no “vesting.” I think even FDR wanted something that the average worker could have for retirement that no poltician could take away. Unfortunately, I don’t see any “ownership stake” in the social security system for anyone.

  26. 29

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    So, because each individual Social Security benficiary didn’t get a piece of paper stating that the government owed him the benefits he was paying in for, the government can screw him, and China will be happy.

    Republican logic in a nutshell. The thugs of the world will out. If you are so dumb that you believe a prominse of the United States government, ha ha.

    But, a bond is just a promise,too. No less a fiction than the promise to the citizenry. Why not default on those promises, instead.

    I vote for that. And don’t bother talking about consequences. The are a great number of nuclear weapons in our arsenal to tough it out on those.

    Or are they only for the rich ‘uns?

  27. 30

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    We also have a bloated 1/2 trillion a year going to the Defense Department. Pay me, instead.

  28. 31

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “Disgruntled,” I’d like to ask YOU a question.

    If our government does reach a point where it can’t pay all of its debts, why do you assume Congress would stiff the Social Security Trust Fund first? Doesn’t it make more sense for Congress to refuse to pay foreign creditors? After all, the Chinese and Saudis can’t vote, but Social Security retirees do vote.

  29. 32

    rhp6033 spews:

    I don’t know Krugman. I don’t think I’ve ever read his writings, or those of his critics.

    But the criticisms quoted here have a familiar ring to them, and follow an recurring Karl Rove strategy. (1) Identify someone who has credibility and is publishing news or commentary damaging to the Republicans. (2) Spend a considerable period of time making attacks on his credibility. It doesn’t matter whether the attacks are true, just be persistent. (3) If his news/commentary is contrary to what the Bush administration desires, point that out as evidence of his “partisonship”. (4) As the public tires of trying to sort out the frequent charges leveled by the Republicans against him, and the more reasoned replies, start calling him “controversial”, in addition to being “partison”. (5) The game is won when the MSM starts to add the labels “controversial” every time person’s name is mentioned. After all, if there is controversy surrounding any mention of his name, he must be “controversial”, right? (6) The critic’s influence is ultimately deflated.

    In their most extreme examples, this tactic has succeded in the election of Chris Gregoire being labeled by MSM as a “contested election”, John Kerry’s war record being labeled “controversial” and after the 60 Minutes broadcast, caused the MSM to avoid any further discussion at all of George Bush’s service (or lack thereof) with the Texas/Alabama Air National Guard, despite only one piece of evidence (“the Memo”)in the entire broadcast being suspect, and the commander’s secratary confirming that it confirmed with the commander’s views and opinions at the time. We see continued attacks on any other critics of the administration – Murtha despite his war record, the Pentagon Generals who opposed Rumsfield being dismissed essentially as a group of “disgruntled former employees”, etc.

    Now notice that these tactics have nothing to do with the validity of the discussion by the original author. They are an attack on the person themselves, for the initial purpose of attacking their credibility, but with the longer-range effect discouraging criticism in general. A reporter has to ask – “Is it worth the attacks on my personal life and my professional career which are sure to follow from an article which will upset the current Administration? Even if I don’t cower easily, perhaps I should choose my battles, saving myself for a bigger story which might come along later?”

    And in the flurry of charges, distortions, and criticism flung at the writer, discussion of the issues raised in the piece somehow never get seriously discussed. If someone tries to bring them up again, they get dismissed out of hand by the Republican operatives as “being the product of a controversial, partison, liberal writer – not worthy of further discussion”.

    Great way to avoid a substantive debate, huh?

  30. 33

    Disgruntled spews:

    To Harry at #8 – to equate the “bonds” in the SS trust fund with real bonds sold on the market is silly. If the Congress decides to not completely pay back the SS “bonds” – in other words, if they choose to reduce SS benefits, the world markets would react to that the same way they’d react to a cut in the farm benefits. The SS trust fund is a fiction, as Congress can and does change the SS benefit structure as needed without roiling the world financial markets.

    However, if the Congress would choose to default on real bonds, the reaction of the world markets would be immediate and disastrous.

    SS is a government program like any other. Congress can change it at will. There are no accounts, and no individual has any contractual right to any of the money paid into it nor any future money to be paid out, just as farmers don’t have the right to a lifetime subsidy for not growing soy beans. It is the same big pot of money that SS taxes, income taxes, and other federal tax money goes in – and all that money is fungible. That is a fact, proven as Congress every year spends money taken in as SS tax on defense, agriculture, homeland security, and so on. Once the SS taxes can’t pay out enough for SS benefits, then other taxes or plain old deficit spending will be used for SS.

    We all know the cure for reducing the SS payout in the long term, should we want to do that:
    – raise the retirement age
    – means test the benefit

    We also all know the cure for increasing tax income using SS taxes should we want to do that (although it doesn’t make sense to restrict SS payouts based on SS taxes, since other taxes can all be used too for SS payouts):
    – raise the SS tax rate
    – raise the SS tax lid

    Or, we can raise the income tax and use it to pay SS benefits. It doesn’t matter – the money is fungible.

    – Disgruntled

  31. 36

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    7.

    They’ll be happy to manage them once the forest service has built roads and protected them for generations.

  32. 37

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    It is an amazing bit of chutzpah for the Republicans to claim that holding bonds backed by the United States government makes Social Security insolvent.

    Better not tell China.

  33. 38

    spews:

    MSRedneck @4,

    Thanks for point that out. Silly me, when Postman wrote “Stefan Sharkansky says” I accepted it without question. I should know better than to believe anything I read in the Seattle Times.

  34. 39

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    Of course, there is some controversy whether Eric Earling is just another Franklin-esque assumed name, like Ben’s Silence Dogood (though doing ill), that Stefan is attempting to hide behind.

  35. 40

    rhp6033 spews:

    Republican plan for national assets (national forests, parks, etc.):

    “The government is too inefficient to handle these valuable assets! Instead, give them to me for rock-bottom prices – I’ll be happy to manage them, for my own benefit! After all, my prosperity trickles down to help you folks also – as long as you are willing to work for the same wages I’ll pay my illegal immigrant labor! What! You don’t want to work for me in order to receive what belonged to all of us anyway???? You must be a drunk and lazy bum. No wonder you don’t have as much money as I do – you arent’ willing work hard enough for it.”

  36. 42

    rhp6033 spews:

    The Republicans will fight hard in 2006 to fight for control of Congress. They haven’t yet plundered ALL of our national treasure, and there’s still work to do!!!!

    But you have to wonder if the Republicans really want the job after 2008. If the past is any indication, after royally screwing up the fiscal policy of our country, they will then allow the Democrats to take charge. The Democrats will then be forced to do the politically unpopular dirty work of raising taxes and cutting spending to bring the budget back into balance by around 2016 (eight years).

    By then (2016) the Republicans will be arguing, like a drunken heir who spent his inheritance, that everything was going just fine until the Democrats cut off the bar tab! They will point to the “largets tax hikes in history” under the Democrats, then point to the first upcoming budget surplus since 2000, and argue that they aught to be put back in charge in order to “give the taxes back to the people”.

    By then enough people will have forgetten how we got into the mess in the first place, the Republicans will keep repeating the BIG LIE that they are fiscally responsible whereas the Democrats are not, and some young voters who are too young to remember the recurring cycle will believe it.

    Repeat cycle, once again.

  37. 43

    Libertarian spews:

    Don’t worry, Goldy. In less than 1,000 days, your party will be in the White House (unless the Dems are dumb enough to nominate Hillary), and you guys can “save” the world.

  38. 44

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    25.

    Since 1983, when Congress last raised the Social Security payroll tax rate, the system has been taking in more money each year than it spends on benefits. The Social Security trustees have invested the surplus the only way they’re permitted by law — in U.S. government bonds. In effect, they have lent the money to the federal government. Four successive presidential administrations (Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II) have used this windfall to keep a lid on income taxes without having to cut the federal budget.

    If income taxes are raised to pay off the trust fund bonds after 2020, it’s the wealthy who will be hit hardest. They don’t want to pay, which is why their mouthpieces in the administration are whining that the trust fund is a myth and that the country can’t afford to redeem the bonds.

    But that money was borrowed from Social Security, regardless of the jack legged murmerings of Republican pols or 28-year-old punks like Eric Earling.

  39. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If there’s no money in the SS Trust Fund, then these Republicans have no money in their bank accounts either. Show me the money, boys! It ain’t there — your bank loaned it out. If the Federal Government can’t collect loans it made to itself, then you sure as hell will never see your money that your bank loaned to strangers!

    It’s a nonsensical argument, of course — and it’s also a dog chasing its tail, because these Republicans fully that the SS Trust Fund’s loans to the federal government WILL BE defaulted — they plan to see to that!

    Bottom line — voting for Republicans who say the government won’t repay the money it borrowed from Social Security is the best way to make it true. So, if you want to see your Social Security benefits, you’d damn well better not vote Republican.

  40. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Screw the “substantive national debate”! We don’t need no “substantive national debate”! These motherfuckers are trying to raid Social Security! We know what to do — we don’t need no debate, and we don’t need no trial. Hang ‘em.

  41. 47

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    ArtFart: Commentary here has me believing your heroes are Josef Stalin, Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler! Any questions?

  42. 48

    My Left Foot spews:

    George Bush’s administration is a bust. For proof, please Google the word “FAILURE” and choose the I am feeling lucky button or the clover leaf in the Google toolbar. I am sure my RightWingNut friends will have a cow, but there it is, all the proof I need.

    Carl Grossman
    Democrat, Proud and looking forward to my Social Security years with trepidation.

  43. 49

    Libertarian spews:

    I suppose what will happen to social security is that the government will make it “needs based.” That is, if you have some sort of pension, 401K, IRA or other retirement assets making payments to you, the government would scale back you social scurity payments until, at some point, one might receive nothing from social security. The assumption would be that those who have large assets for retirement should not get social security, regardless of how much they contributed over their working lives.

    Needless to say, most folks with Libertarian leanings aren’t too crazy about this idea. It rewards people who don’t plan for retirement.

  44. 51

    ArtFart spews:

    Let’s make an anology here…

    Suppose you screw up driving your car, hit some poor gob, break his back and put him in a wheelchair. You’ve been paying your insurance company a monthly premium on a policy that says you’re covered for personal liability up to a quarter million dollars.

    Now suppose your insurance company isn’t having a very good year, so they try and claim they have a right to do a “means test” on the poor guy you hit. Well, his back’s just as broken whether he’s rich or poor, and I’ll betcha if he’s loaded he can afford a better lawyer who’ll go after you and your insurance company and take you both to the cleaners.

    Would you feel like you got your money’s worth from the premiums you paid?

    Wingers seem to believe that there’s no such thing as individual or personal obligations, rather that the law of the jungle always applies–if you can grab it, take it and don’t give it up. No civilized society in history has ever worked that way for very long.

  45. 52

    sillyguy spews:

    “So I read the post on (u)SP, but didn’t bother reading the byline. Turns out it wasn’t written by Stefan after all, it was written by Eric Earling. (Whoever he is.) Doesn’t change my point, but I’ve updated the post accordingly.”

    Goldy is obviously blind as the byline is very visible…just trying make something out of his own misobservation…what a dork!

  46. 53

    ArtFart spews:

    The righties are so rabidly eager to take revenge for the New Deal that they’d gladly dig up Herbert Hoover and plant his rotting corpse in the Oval Office. Lacking that, they’ve managed to put something even more brainless, soulless and disgusting there instead.

  47. 54

    klake spews:

    Liberal philosophy argues that humans do not have to live like wild animals, but rather can use their intellect to do better than nature. Liberalism seeks to replace wild behavior with more benign social behavior; for example, replacing primitive revenge-taking with a judicial system. Social Security is a profoundly liberal idea premised on the notion of pooling our resources to take care of each other so no one has to suffer from cruel deprivation in sickness or old age.
    Why would ANYONE want to replace that system with the “law of the jungle?”
    Comment by Roger Rabbit— 7/6/06@ 6:06 pm
    Yeah, why not? I think Democrats should get tough with Republicans! Only I have a better idea – instead of slashing tires, which were inanimate objects incapable of doing anything to anyone, maybe they should have slashed the GOP campaign workers’ throats! Just kidding, ha-ha. Hey, if Coulter can crack bad jokes, why can’t I? Why should Republican whores like Coulter have a monopoly on making bad jokes about killing people? Republicans want a monopoly on every fucking thing! Republican whores even want a monopoly on fucking.
    Comment by Roger Rabbit— 7/6/06@ 9:23 pm
    Roger talking about wild animals you are going AC DC on your points of view in a three hour time span. The one thing about Liberal’s is that they love Karl Marks, Lenin, Stalin, and John Kerry. Now they all believe in the socialism and communism ideology to justify their short comings in life. Now Roger you should admit the government must supply for all of your short comings and the Tax payers should foot the bills. Now Roger you most of all should love thy neighbor, peace, love and share their wealth with you. Now do not pick on your best friend Ann Coulter at least she keeps her commits clean and express herself better than you did in that last paragraph. But she does have a monopoly on making clairvoyant statements that make Liberals howl for weeks and increase her bank account.

  48. 55

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I must leave you lightweights now, because it’s Mrs. Rabbit’s turn on the computer. Also, I work the night shift, and it’s time for me to hop up to Keystone Place and check out what’s growing in Stefan’s garden — and his lawn needs fertilizer, too.

    Later, trollfucks. I’m gone for now, but I’ll be b-a-a-a-a-c-k!!!

  49. 57

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Social Security This Week: January 7, 2005 (PDF, 139 Kb., 13 pp) In Social Security This Week: Cato Book on Social Security awarded ALA’s Top Accolade; AARP’s False Claims Against Reform; CBO: Diamond-Orszag Plan Would Shrink U.S. Economy; Krugman Wrong about Chilean Social Security Reform; and much more!

    http://www.socialsecurity.org/.....-07-05.pdf

  50. 59

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    The fact that PRAs offer a real, legally-binding right, while the status quo offers only cheap-talk, is a thorn in the side of status quo-ists like Paul Krugman. In a recent debate, the Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner pointed out to Krugman that Social Security offers no guarantee and turns retirees into supplicants hostage to the grace of Congress. In response, Krugman called the fact that retirees have no legal right to their retirement benefits a “fantasy problem.” Why? Because “the government can take lots of things away if it chooses to. Private property is a social institution, not a physical fact.”

    What Krugman is saying is that there is nothing to stop the government from violating its citizen’s rights, and so genuine, legally-binding property rights are only a paper assurance that adds nothing to retirement security. “Yes, the government might end up failing to pay the current schedule of benefits,” Krugman admits. But “the government might also levy prohibitive taxes, it might seize your property.” Krugman goes on to argue the real bulwark against government depredation is public opinion and political pressure. Because Social Security is so wildly popular with seniors, of which there are many, there’s little chance benefits will be “gratuitously reduced” by election-seeking politicians.

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3762

    Time to go Pellet. Enjoyed screwing up your premise!!!

  51. 60

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Nice twist Pellet on fact check, Good try. And when other economists take apart Krugman you call Gong Show? Yes Pellet rejected with certainty!

    The Great Unraveling Continues to Unfold

    Paul Krugman’s Great Unraveling continues to spool forth. Manufacturing grew at the fastest pace in two decades – again. I say “again” because this joins other news:

    I say “again”, because in November Manufacturing Activity grew at the highest pace since December of 1983 – when Ronald Reagan was President.

    Housing starts rose 4.5% in November to the highest level since February 1984, when Ronald Reagan was President (wait, I thought everyone was going homeless then?)

    Productivity grew by 9.4% in the Third Quarter – the highest since 1983, when Ronald Reagan was President.

    The Business Roundtable’s December survey of CEOs showed that 93% expected higher sales in the next six months (up from 71% in October).

    The Conference Board revised its projections of 2004 GDP growth to 5.7% – the highest since 1984, when Ronald Reagan was President.

    Reuters reported an unexpectedly steep drop in jobless claims, amid rising economic indicators.
    Of course, many of these indicators are at their highest level since they were in the wake of Reagan’s tax cuts. Reagan’s economic policies put a stake in ’70s-era stagflation, and as we remember from Calpundit’s interview with Krugman (critiqued here, Krugman’s progressivism is expressed through nostalgia for the economic condition of the ’70s. Reagan’s “crazy” policies unraveled Krugman’s utopian era (which we all remember with such. . .I guess “fondness” isn’t the right word, unless you were ensconced at Harvard). Bush has also cut taxes, and for Krugman it’s like deja vu all over again: Reagan-era economic conditions (noted above) are returning with a vengeance, but all the enlightened people know – to paraphrase Krugman’s hero, Bill Clinton, giving people a tax cut means they might not spend it right: that is, on things their betters (Clintons, Progressive Harvard Pundonimists, and the rest of the Anointed) think it should be spent on.

  52. 63

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    90

    “Well-known critics of Krugman include Lawrence Kudlow and James Cramer of CNBC, who have criticized Krugman for his views against supply-side economics.”

    Golly-gee! Supply-side fans criticizing Krugman’s criticism of supply-side economics (a.k.a. “voodoo economics”). Will wonders never cease.

    “awrence (Larry) Kudlow (born August 19, 1947), is an American conservative, supply-side economic commentator.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kudlow

    While Cramer doesn’t wear his conservatism on his sleeve like Kudlow does, Wikipedia notes, “Criticism of Jim Cramer has also expanded to the Internet. A number of websites have sprung up with the intention of tracking Cramer’s recommendations. … One such site, CramerWatch.org, actually pits Jim Cramer’s recommendations against a monkey that makes buy or sell recommendations at random. The monkey purportedly does as well or better than Cramer.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Cramer

    Hell, even David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director and supply side’s chief exponent, ultimately went public with his opinion that supply-side is snake oil. Try to pick a better example next time.

  53. 65

    sgmmac spews:

    No, Puddy, I’m not daft, I’m stating my opinion and he is always straight with me………

    You can find experts on all sides and who is to say which economist is correct?

    Everyone loved the last Fed Chair….. he was responsible for some very bad things. He also pressed Congress for a “flat tax” and other crazy things. He only cared about one thing, inflation, our economy has other concerns.

    He was concerned about credit card debt, so he raised the amount of balance that must be paid off immediately last year. So, last year, hundreds of thousands of poor working people’s credit card payments rose dramatically and Congress passed laws that won’t let them declare bankruptcy. Right about the same time, gas prices skyrocketed. And we wonder why people can’t afford health care for their families………

    Ever wonder why credit cards companies are all moving to South Dakota????? South Dakota lets them rape and pillage all of their customers with outrageous interest payments. What happened to this country’s usary laws???????????

  54. 66

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    95

    I don’t see anything there about Social Security, Puddy. All I see is (a) an ad hominem attack on Krugman by a rightwing blog, and (b) a link to a column in which Krugman published a correction of an error in a previous column he wrote.

  55. 68

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    #98 is off topic, non-responsive, and ad hominem — GONG!!! — you’re off the show.

  56. 69

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    99

    Good work, Puttyferbrains — you shot yourself in the foot again. (Ouch!) What FactCheck actually said is:

    “Bush: I don’t think anyone anticipated breach of the levees …Now we’re having to deal with it, and will.

    “Bush is technically correct that a ‘breach’ wasn’t anticipated by the Corps, but that’s doesn’t mean the flooding wasn’t forseen. It was. But the Corps thought it would happen differently, from water washing over the levees, rather than cutting wide breaks in them.”

    It would appear, therefore, that FactCheck.org has confirmed what Krugman wrote in the NY Times.

  57. 70

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    90

    Puttybutt: Krugman a Democrat? Ya don’t say! Horrors! As you’ve pointed out, Krugman is not a politically neutral, unbiased, academe who happens to write OPINION columns for newspapers. Good work!

    Now find something wrong with his analysis of Social Security. Please show your math.

  58. 71

    sgmmac spews:

    @85

    I don’t anything about Krugman and I’ve heard 8 million different opinions about whether or not it’s going in the hole.

    I do know Roger always gives me straight, logical and well thought out answers.

  59. 72

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    RR, BTW, Klugman: NY “Upper East Side” communist [Got it?]

  60. 74

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    Klugman: big fan of Fidel Castro…….oh, and Hillary Clinton [Atlas has Shrugged, RR!]

  61. 75

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Sgmmac: Are you daft woman? Pellet gives thought out answers. Reread his posts just in this thread!

  62. 76

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    More URL WHOOPASS BITCH-SLAPPING Poor Rabbit Pellet:

    WE GET ANOTHER KRUGMAN CORRECTION! Today, one week after my National Review Online Krugman Truth Squad column called Paul Krugman on his citation of The American Prospect’s erroneous statistics, the New York Times has run a correction. Appended to the bottom of Krugman’s column today is this:

    Correction

    On Jan. 30 I cited an article in The American Prospect that reported that Indian tribes who hired Jack Abramoff had reduced their contributions to Democrats by 9 percent. Dwight Morris, who prepared the study on which the article was based, says on The American Prospect’s blog that “there is no statistically valid way to calculate this number given the way the data were compiled.” The American Prospect was sloppy, and so was I for not checking its methodology.

    Krugman is a columnist charlitan!

  63. 77

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    88, cont…….Why not slash the tires of the other party’s vans? This worked well in Milwaukee!! Oh, and in a Democrat controlled and Democrat approved district, blame the “butterfly” ballot on someone else. That will work for a while.

  64. 78

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    John Craig Herman @88 — For a guy who claims he retired rich at age 49, you sure don’t have much to say about Social Security. That, in itself, says worlds.

  65. 79

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    Finally, sue [Hymie Silverstein, ESQ] because having to show an ID to vote is racist!!! Even if the ID is free, many illegals may be intimidated. This reduced voter fraud, which compromises 10-20% of Democrat votes.

  66. 80

    Mark The Redneck Kennedy spews:

    What the fuck is this bullshit about “means testing” Sosh Security? I’m sure the fucking losers of the world would decide that I don’t “need” the money and would screw me out of my own fucking money. I put money into the fucking system for 35 years and counting, and I expect to get all of it back and then some. It’s none of anybody’s fucking business whether you think I “need” it or not. Fuck you asshole freeloaders. Make yer own fucking money the same way I do.

  67. 81

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    John Craig Herman @88 – For a guy who claims he retired rich at age 49, you sure don’t have much to say about Social Security. That, in itself, says worlds.

    Commentby Roger Rabbit [True. Savings, new worth, and 401K. Social security?? You must be joking!!!!]

  68. 82

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    You see Rabbit Pellet, you are just too stupid to know when you are outwitted:

    http://patterico.com/2005/08/2.....l-krugman/

    “In his August 22 column, Paul Krugman misrepresented the results of a 2001 study conducted by the Miami Herald and other news organizations. He owes his readers a correction and apology.

    Krugman claimed that 2 of 3 scenarios gave a win to Gore, and the third scenario involved an unrealistic standard. But the study actually concluded that 3 of 4 scenarios gave a win to Bush, and the fourth was unreliable.

    Here is Krugman’s misrepresentation:

    About the evidence regarding a manual recount: in April 2001 a media consortium led by The Miami Herald assessed how various recounts of “undervotes,” which did not register at all, would have affected the outcome. Two out of three hypothetical statewide counts would have given the election to Mr. Gore. The third involved a standard that would have discarded some ballots on which the intended vote was clear. Since Florida law seemed to require counting such ballots, this standard almost certainly wouldn’t have been used in a statewide recount.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08.....38;emc=rss

    Here’s what the study actually said:

    The newspapers then applied the accounting firm’s findings to four standards used in Florida and elsewhere to determine when an undervote ballot becomes a legal vote. By three of the standards, Bush holds the lead. The fourth standard gives Gore a razor-thin win.

    . . . .

    The USA TODAY[/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder] study shows that Gore would have won Florida by 3 votes if this [fourth] standard were applied to undervotes. Because of the possibility of mistakes in the study, a three-vote margin is too small to conclude that Gore might have prevailed in an official count using this standard.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/w.....n.htm#more

    Mr. Krugman owes his readers a correction and, by now, he knows it.

    I’ll let you know what they say. I also sent an e-mail letter to Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, who yesterday defended Krugman without mentioning the howlers in Krugman’s latest column. I told Bob that he is “vitriolic but seemingly honest” and that he therefore should have called Krugman on this egregious mistake. I admit to provoking Bob a bit (I signed the e-mail “Love and kisses, Patterico”) but that’s only because I am looking forward to the vitriol that I expect will saturate his response.”

  69. 83

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    91

    Yeah, why not? I think Democrats should get tough with Republicans! Only I have a better idea — instead of slashing tires, which were inanimate objects incapable of doing anything to anyhone, maybe they should have slashed the GOP campaign workers’ throats! Just kidding, ha-ha. Hey, if Coulter can crack bad jokes, why can’t I? Why should Republican whores like Coulter have a monopoly on making bad jokes about killing people? Republicans want a monopoly on every fucking thing! Republican whores even want a monopoly on fucking.

  70. 84

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    85

    I’m not interested in what you think Clinton said about Social Security. Quit wasting my time! I’m only interested in competent economic analysis of Social Security, stressing the word “competent,” i.e., qualified by training and experience to render an informed professional-quality analysis.

  71. 85

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Hey Rabbit Pellet: The NY Times omsbudmaned him jackASS for his lies. Can’t ya fuckin read Pellet? He may have been good at one time but fame and being donk messed with his intellect. Looks like it’s time for another URL WHOOPASS!

    From Wikipedia: “Krugman’s high profile and his relentless criticism of policies associated with the Republican party have turned him into a lightning rod for intense criticism by his detractors. A November 13, 2003 article in The Economist [3] cited political partisanship data compiled by blogger Ken Waight [4], which shows that since the year 2000 Krugman has been arguably the most partisan newspaper columnist in America and almost certainly the columnist most uniformly supportive of the Democratic Party. The Economist article said in part: “A glance through his past columns reveals a growing tendency to attribute all the world’s ills to George Bush. … Even his economics is sometimes stretched. … Overall, the effect is to give lay readers the illusion that Mr Krugman’s perfectly respectable personal political beliefs can somehow be derived empirically from economic theory.” In his May 22, 2005 farewell column, New York Times ombudsman Daniel Okrent wrote, “Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.”

    Well-known critics of Krugman include Lawrence Kudlow and James Cramer of CNBC, who have criticized Krugman for his views against supply-side economics. On his TV program Mad Money, Cramer also voodooed Krugman as a “bubble head” by bursting a helium-inflated bubble marked “KRUGMAN” for complaining about a possible “housing bubble.” Kudlow, who also works for National Review Online, has debated Krugman on the former CNBC TV show Kudlow & Cramer and on the last episode of Dylan Ratigan’s Bullseye on March 11, 2005, and has frequently criticized him on his program Kudlow & Company. Also on CNBC on August 7, 2004 on Tim Russert’s eponymous program, Bill O’Reilly confronted Krugman in a heated discussion, calling Krugman a “quasi-socialist”. Krugman replied “And you take a look at anything I’ve written about economics, and I’m not a socialist. You know, that’s a slander.” When O’Reilly responded “I said quasi,” Krugman retorted “Well, that’s a wonderful, then you’re a quasi-murderer…quasi is a pretty open thing.” [5]

    One critic, Donald Luskin, labeled Krugman’s writings “error ridden” and “partisan.” Luskin claims Krugman falsifies data and consciously incorrectly quotes his sources to manipulate a favorable view of his positions.”

  72. 86

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Attention, trollfucks:

    In the interest of not wasting other people’s time, please comply with 81(1), (2) before posting further on this topic.

    Thank you.

  73. 87

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    Mexico City – In a photo-finish Mexican vote count, conservative candidate Felipe Calderon was Thursday declared the winner of Mexico’s presidential election by a margin of 0.57 per cent over left-wing politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who says he will challenge the results. Four days after Sunday’s vote, the National Electoral Commission (IFE) confirmed that Calderon, the designated heir of current president Vicente Fox, received 35.88 per cent of the vote, against Mexico City’s populist mayor Lopez Obrador, who claimed 35.31 per cent. [………………Can’t you King County Democrats do something here? How about “finding” some more liberal votes, or having the NY City “Upper East Side” Jews and Palm Beach/Miami “condo” libs “double” vote in Mexico? Perhaps you could kick out any and all military votes? What the deal wih having ID to vote in Mexico? Isn’t that racist??? Well, there is no doubt the “progressive” socialists in Mexico could learn a few things from American Democrats!!]

  74. 89

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    sgmmac: Pellet will only change to another subject when he sees his mistake in a URL. Now you and I know what Clinton said about SS. I bet even Goldy remembers what Clinton said about SS It was played over and over during the last SS debate.

    But you have to remember that Pellet has a little teeny tiny brain, not much horsepower betwixt them floppy ears. He forgets pertinent facts even other moonbats post to correct him. He has this fixation that he was a high faluting lawyer type for the state. I think it was See BS who said Pellet was pasturized early for his own good! So you have to be careful or he’ll ask you to visit his imaginary armadillo; the blow-up doll one Mrs Pellet (Sybil) purchased for him to put in his crib at night!

  75. 90

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    76 – 81

    What I expected — no evidence of intelligent life; just robotic clattering of keyboard keys.

  76. 91

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    You see Rabbit Pellet, you can post that trash for all the librul simpletons here on ASSes, but for those of us whom think for a living; it ain’t goona pass muster!!!

  77. 92

    sgmmac spews:

    Roger,

    You don’t believe social security is headed for trouble? Bill Clinton said it was heading for trouble when he was President……….

    Means testing for social security might be necessary, along with raising that little cap on taxing the income.

    It isn’t your money Redneck, you may have paid for years, but it’s not yours. It is for the benefit of society and those who haven’t saved. Get over it!

  78. 93

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Rabbit Pellet: We have no worry of MTR Kennedy leaving the compound and crossing over to the dark side. The only moonbats in our family are private jet Robert Jr and hiccup Uncle Swimmer.

  79. 94

    sgmmac spews:

    Congress will NEVER agree with accounts in social security belonging to those who contribute to the system. They have been dipping their fingers in the cookie jar for years and years. I don’t remember who the first one was, but I do remember Lady Bird Johnson planting millions of trees across America with social security excess funds!

  80. 95

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Krugman, on the other hand, is definitely an intellectual heavyweight: undergraduate degree from Yale, Ph.D. from MIT, taught at those schools plus UC Berkeley, London School of Economics, and Stanford, and now tenured at Princeton; served on Reagan’s council of economic advisers; and author of over 20 books and 200 articles, including textbooks and peer-reviewed original scholarly contributions — unlike many economic pundits, he is highly regarded as a scholar within academe.

    And now a word to our trollfucks. Simply attacking Krugman as a “liberal” won’t count — that’s not analysis, it’s just blowing smoke out of your ass. If you want to take issue with what he says, I ask two things of you:

    1) List your academic credentials including degrees and relevant publications; and

    2) Provide detailed reasoning to back up your arguments, and show your math.

  81. 98

    ArtFart spews:

    #28…”take care of yourselves”….HOW? Save your money, you betcha, but where? Put it in a bank or your matress and it’ll just inflate so it’s worthless. Go try to “invest” it and you’ll have a helluva hard time avoiding putting it in the hands of someone who has every intention of not giving it back to you–and years of schooling and experience in pursuing that objective.

    Go off someplace in East Bumfuck, buy yourself a patch of ground and grow your own food? Maybe, until too many people get wind of your success and come to persuade you to “share” it, or you get sick or hurt or just old and feeble, or run out of something you can’t grow or make for yourself. If you manage to avoid those pitfalls, more power to ya. Somehow, I doubt that would work for 300 million of us.

  82. 99

    Libertarian spews:

    OK ArtFart, you’re not going to make it in retirement. Maybe you can be a greeter for Wal-Mart. If you’re lucky. Social security ain’t gonna cut it, that’s for sure.

    ArtFart, if you have ANY retirement funds at your disposal now, I’d suggest you put the into FDIC-insured assets, but no more than $100,000 with any single bank. At least your guaranteed you acrued interest and principal, and that might be enough to see you through ’til death.

  83. 100

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Oh, and one more thing, WHO employs the illegals paying FICA taxes under fake SS #’s?

    CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVES, that’s who.

  84. 101

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    40

    I absolutely agree that people should not be punished for thrift by losing their Social Security benefits. Means-testing SS will encourage irresponsible financial behavior and discourage saving and investment.

  85. 102

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    40

    Of course, if you did means-test Social Security, it wouldn’t take long for clever lawyers and accountants to figure out how to beat the means-testing rules through use of shelters, transfers, inter vivos gifts, or other strategems.

  86. 103

    Living in the 8th spews:

    SS is a giant ripoff PONZI SCHEME> The likes of which if a private company ran itself that way would have libs screaming bloody murder (and rightly so). What’s up with THAT?? Reform that turkey!

  87. 104

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “SS is a giant ripoff PONZI SCHEME” Commentby Living in the 8th— 7/6/06@ 6:38 pm

    If so, why hasn’t it collapsed? More rightwing bullshit.

  88. 105

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s striking that Bush intends to take another run at a Social Security scheme firmly opposed by 80% of the public, and in an election year, yet! This smells like a guy who knows the election is rigged and his party won’t lose its House majority no matter what the voters do.

  89. 106

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    50

    “liberals … won’t even admit that the social security system won’t be able to meet future commitments without either raising taxes or cutting benefits”

    Why should we admit to something that is a rightwing lie?

    “despite the nearly universal opinion of economists who have studied the problem”

    Cites, please.

    “voting to give social security benefits to illegal aliens who use fake social security numbers” Commentby americafirst— 7/6/06@ 5:44 pm

    If they pay FICA taxes, why shouldn’t they get the benefits they paid for? Why should citizens and legals get an undeserved windfall from the taxes paid by illegals?

  90. 107

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    42

    Not to worry, polls show 80% of the American public saw through Bush’s lies and didn’t buy his bullshit. The other 20% are the hard-core righties, mostly business owners with healthy investment portfolios, who don’t need SS themselves and hate it and want to destroy it.

  91. 108

    REP Pat Kennedy [D-Bitchslap the Black Security Guard At LAX] spews:

    BTW, I do have an individual SS account. I disagree intesely with the “facts” you present.

    Here’s a fact. Fuck with SS and blood will run in the streets.

    Commentby Harry Tuttle [………………………………………………………………………..HT, No SS funds are set aside in your name. Nothing but a Democrat shell game. Besides, it looks like the illegal aliens {“Democrats to be”] are already “fucking” with social security. I must have missed your post on this outrage. hehe, JCH Kennedy]

  92. 109

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    11

    “Disgruntled” — after reading your post @11 several times, I’m forced to conclude that nobody could be so poorly informed about Social Security, so you must be a deliberate liar.

    First, you argue that the Social Security Trust Fund is a “fiction,” because the government has borrowed all the money and the Trust Fund only has a bunch of IOUs. Well, guess what, the same is true of your bank account. The bank doesn’t hang onto your money until you want it, you know — they lend it out. So, if the Trust Fund is “fiction,” then by the same logic so is your bank account.

    Second, you argue that Congress “can and does change the benefit structure as needed.” What wall did you peel this off of?* Since 1935, Social Security has paid EVERY PENNY OF PROMISED BENEFITS — Congress has NEVER cut benefits. This is just a flat-ass lie.

    Third, you argue that Social Security “is just another program” which Congress can change at will. Well, your bank can tear up your savings passbook, too, and you can sue all they want but if they spent your money and they’re insolvent, the only thing you can do about it is go running to … um … a government program that has promised to pay you back your deposits if your bank defaults. Social Security may not be perfectly safe, but it’s safer than any privately held assets, and right now the only serious threat to your future Social Security benefits is the Republicans who want to raid the Social Security Trust Fund for money to gamble on the stock market in private accounts.

    Fourth, you claim “There are no accounts.” Another flat-ass lie! Take a look at the “Account Statement” that SSA sends you every year. Yes, Virginia, they keep track of the FICA taxes you paid and the benefits you earned; and, of course, they keep track of what’s been paid to each and every beneficiary.

    Fifth, you assert that “no individual has any contractual right to any of the money paid into it nor any future money to be paid out,” which is technically true, but this statement is disingenuous because those rights DO exist by federal statute. Now which is more rock-solid reliable, a private contractual promise to pay, or a federal statute defining benefit rights that are as fully enforceable in court as any contract? Can Congress change the benefit rights? Sure … and a carmaker or airline can tear up a contract promising pension benefits. Now it’s time for the acid test: How many private pension contracts have been abrogated? Answer, so many that the federal pension guaranty fund is teetering on bankruptcy. How many Social Security pensioners have failed to receive benefits that were promised to them? Answer, in the 75-year history of the program, not a single one.

    Sixth, you say “Once the SS taxes can’t pay out enough for SS benefits,” as if it were a truth, a fact, an inevitability. Wrong; it’s a rightwing lie. The argument that Social Security will go broke in this century has been debunked so many times that I’ll just summarize: It’s rightwing bullshit.

    Because Social Security revenues are directly related to worker earnings, future revenues can only be guessed at, by using “educated guesswork” projections of the future economy. If we have a Great Depression with 25% unemployment lasting for 10 years within the next couple decades, then Social Security will have a revenue shortfall. If the economy does as well as the ultra-rosy (some economists say “fantasy”) model used by Bush to justify his privatization scheme, then the problem for policymakers will be what to do with the Social Security surpluses. The actuality probably will fall somewhere between these two unlikely extremes. Under reasonable economic projections, future Social Security beneficiaries will receive significantly higher benefits (in real purchasing power) than today’s beneficiaries.

    Let’s return to the concept of “promised benefits.” First of all, it’s crucial to understand that Social Security benefits are not pegged to the CPI, but to average wages, which rise faster than inflation. In other words, what’s been promised is that SS benefits will rise faster than inflation. If there’s any question at all about SS’s future solvency, the only promise in jeopardy is whether SS benefits can keep up with rising wages. The promise to pay inflation-adjusted benefits equal to today’s benefits is not at risk, and the notion that Social Security might go “broke” and cease paying benefits altogether is flat-ass false, because there’s revenue coming in all the time. It would take a Great Depression with years of 25% unemployment to put Social Security’s basic promises at risk.

    “Disgruntled,” you’re nothing but a rightwing liar regurgitating the tired old rightwing falsehoods about Social Security. The only threat to Social Security is the Republicans who want to raid the SS Trust Fund for money to fund private accounts. That scheme is designed to do only one thing: Destroy Social Security. If you want to wreck Social Security’s solvency, or make future benefits depend on tax increases or general revenues, the way you go about it is by enacting Bush’s privatization scheme — because that’s exactly what this scheme is designed and intended to do. Yes, if you divert $1 trillion of FICA revenues away from Social Security, then you’re gonna have a solvency problem.

    That’s why we have to defeat the Republicans.

  93. 110

    ArtFart spews:

    The right has been screaming the same big lies about how “there’s no trust fun” and “Social Security is an entitlement” that a distressing percentage of the populace are starting to actually believe it. Bullshit–it’s down in black and white that we put a certain amount in out of our paychecks and that we get a certain amount back out from the time we reach eligible age until whenever we croak. Granted, the government can change what the paperwork says, and has from time to time.

    Some people think the paperwork should be changed so that it says we can’t start getting paid until closer to death.

    Others (like me) think that people who make more money should be paying more in.

    Still others, some of them crooks and some of them idiots, think that the government should tear up the paperwork, close down the program and not pay back any more of that money. You can sugar-coat it any way you want, but that would be saying to the world that we’re defaulting on a pretty sizeable chunk of the National Debt. If we do that, it’s also saying to the Chinese and the Japanese and the Arabs that all those US government bonds they’re buying to allow Bushie Boy to buy bullets and pay Halliburton aren’t any good for anything but buttwipes.

    How do you think those creditors are going to react to that? Do I have do draw you a picture?

  94. 111

    ConservativeFirst spews:

    Commentby Roger Rabbit— 7/6/06@ 5:04 pm

    “If Social Security IS facing a future revenue shortfall, how does removing $1 trillion from the Social Security revenue stream to fund private accounts make the shortfall better?”

    Those choosing private accounts would receive reduced benefits. Whether or not the tax revenues removed match up to the reduced benefits seems like the real issue with private accounts.

    Social Security is facing a future revenue shortfall. Do you doubt this?

  95. 112

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    44

    Oh yeah, that’s something else in “Disgruntled’s” post that I meant to address, but forgot.

    To answer your question, no.

    Social Security has worked well for 75 years as a combined earned benefit/insurance program. (Many people forget SS is really three programs — disability insurance, survivor insurance, and a retirement plan.)

    So why should we suddenly turn it into a welfare program? The apparent rationale for this is that Social Security can no longer afford to pay the promised benefits, so those with the least need for the money should be cut off first. But if the premise that Social Security won’t be able to pay promised benefits is wrong, then the rationale for means testing goes away, doesn’t it?

    “Disgruntled” @25 argues for abolishing the FICA tax, paying SS benefits out of income taxes, and means-testing SS. This is tantamount to repealing Social Security — the holy grail of rightwingers, and this statement irrevocably brands “Disgruntled” as a hard-core rightwinger.

    Social Security is an earned benefit. You earn it by paying FICA taxes. Strictly speaking, SS is not a savings account, because it’s a pay-as-you-go system, i.e., current benefits are paid from current tax receipts, and you will not get back the money you paid in taxes. Instead, you will get benefits in the future from taxes paid by other people. But regardless of how the financing mechanism is structured, the important thing is that there’s a direct, mathematical relationship between taxes paid in, and benefits paid out.

    Once it becomes a welfare program funded from general tax revenues, it’s not longer an earned benefit, but government largesse — and a lot easier to get rid of. And that’s why hard-core rightwingers want to turn Social Security into a welfare program — because if they can’t get rid of SS by frontal assault, they’ll try to take it in flank. They understand all too well that welfare enjoys far less public support than a program perceived as an earned benefit.

    My answer to “Disgruntled’s” suggestion to turn Social Security into welfare: FUCK YOU!!!

  96. 113

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    WHAT’S REALLY WRONG WITH SOCIAL SECURITY

    It works! And for CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVES, that’s a big problem! They can’t stand the fact that Social Security has worked fine for 75 years, and there’s nothing seriously wrong with it. So they manufactured a phony “Social Security crisis” for two reasons: Because they hate Social Security, and to give them an excuse to “fix” it. They’ll “fix” it, all right, if they can get their filthy hands on it.

    “The Cheap-Labor Conservative ‘Dirty Secret': They Don’t Really Like Prosperity

    “Maybe you don’t believe that cheap-labor conservatives like unemployment, poverty and ‘cheap labor’. Consider these facts. Unemployment was 23 percent when FDR took office in 1933. It dropped to 2.5 percent by time the next Republican was in the White House in 1953. It climbed back to 6.5 percent by the end of the Eisenhower administration. It dropped to 3.5 percent by the time LBJ left office. It climbed over 5 percent shortly after Nixon took office, and stayed there for 27 years, until Clinton brought it down to 4.5 percent early in his second term.

    “That same period – especially from the late forties into the early seventies – was the ‘golden age’ of the United States. We sent men to the moon. We built our Interstate Highway system. We ended segregation in the South and established Medicare. In those days, a single wage earner could support an entire family on his wages. …

    “These facts provide a nice background to evaluate cheap-labor conservative claims like ‘liberals are destroying America.’ In fact, cheap-labor conservatives have howled with outrage and indignation against New Deal liberalism from its inception in the 1930’s all the way to the present. You can go to ‘Free Republic’ or Hannity’s forum right now, and find a cheap-labor conservative comparing New Deal Liberalism to ‘Stalinism’. Cheap-labor conservatives opposed virtually all of the New Deal, including every improvement in wages and working conditions. … Cheap-labor conservatives have hated Social Security and Medicare since their inception. …

    “The ugly truth is that cheap-labor conservatives just don’t like working people. They don’t like ‘bottom up’ prosperity … cheap-labor conservatives believe in social hierarchy and privilege, so the only prosperity they want is limited to them. They want to see absolutely nothing that benefits the guy – or more often the woman – who works for an hourly wage.”

    http://www.conceptualguerilla......php?id=103

  97. 114

    americafirst spews:

    As usual moonbat liberals are so phoney that they won’t even admit that the social security system won’t be able to meet future commitments without either raising taxes or cutting benefits, despite the nearly universal opinion of economists who have studied the problem. They claim everything is fine, then, like Cantwell(D-Mexico),they make the problem worse by voting to give social security benefits to illegal aliens who use fake social security numbers.

  98. 115

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Social Security plays an important role in our economy that is often overlooked — it helps prevent the depressions that plagued the 19th-century U.S. economy with, um, depressing regularity.

    The reason is Social Security pumps a lot of money into the economy. This spending is unaffected by rising unemployment, so it helps keep consumer spending going precisely when consumer spending is most needed. And because most Social Security recipients have no choice but to spend their SS checks every month, this spending isn’t affected by the psychological factors that cause recessions to feed on themselves, such as consumer pessimism or consumers’ fears of job loss.

    Tax cuts are the traditional method of stimulating the economy out of a recession. But tax cuts have disadvantages. First, stimulative tax cuts almost always are paid for with deficit spending, which sets the stage for the next recession. Second, tax cuts only affect people who have income; and as unemployment rises, tax cuts become less effective because fewer people receive them.

    By contrast, the number of people receiving Social Security remains the same no matter what the unemployment rate is; consequently, Social Security is a more reliable and more effective way of stimulating the economy during downturns than cutting taxes.

  99. 116

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVES, of course, don’t want a broadly-based ownership society. One reason for wanting to eliminate taxes on capital gains, investment income, and inheritances — and put the entire tax burden on wage earners — is so workers can’t accumulate capital. It isn’t enough for the rich to own everything if they can’t get anyone to work. People who can make it on pensions, Social Security, or investment income won’t work for $5.15 an hour. We have class warfare in our country; it’s being waged by the rich against workers.

  100. 117

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    48

    Art, you’ve put your finger on a basic truth! The “law of the jungle” is indeed the conservative worldview. The thing I’ve always wondered is whether conservative philosophy is

    a) simply an observation and acknowledgement of what the world is,

    or

    b) an overt desire to create a “jungle” society, presumably because conservatives think they’re stronger than the rest of us and therefore will come out on top in such a society.

  101. 118

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    69

    Mark, you don’t realize it, but you’re slowly turning into a liberal and gradually coming over to our side!

  102. 119

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Well, after all the solid info I’ve posted tonight, the only things I’ve gotten back from the trollfucks is some idiot calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and Redneck breathing a sigh of relief that his beer money is safe.

    Not what I’d call intellectual heavyweights.

  103. 120

    Puddybud Michael Kennedy spews:

    Boy Rabbit Pellet: You quote from disgraced NY Times economist Paul Krugman? The same Paul Krugman who once said only one means test standard passed with Bush winning Florida and had to recant when everyone else said two? The same Krugman who was omsbudmaned by the NY Times omsbudman for his lies? Good job Rabbit Pellet!!!

    Don’t make me put another URL WHOOPASS on your floppy ears!!!

    Tell me again who loves Castro, Pellet Breath? I love that story. Tell me again the aliases Mrs Pellet Breath uses on ASSes? I love that story.

    And BTW I was waiting for the conceptguerilla post; your fall back position when all else fails with your posts. You could have used it two days ago.

  104. 121

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    There’s a crisis brewing, all right — but in medical care, not Social Security. From the Wikipedia article on Social Security:

    “From 2004 to 2030, the combined spending on Social Security and Medicare is expected to rise from 7% of national income (gross domestic product) to 13%. Two-thirds of the increase occurs in Medicare.”

    And from the Krugman interview in Rolling Stone:

    “If you really want to get scared about something that can happen between now and 2052, you should talk about Medicare and Medicaid. The entire system of private health insurance is gradually collapsing. And as the share of people getting medical insurance through their employers continues to decline, the number of people who have to rely on the government for health insurance keeps going up. …

    “So what needs to be done to shore up Medicare?

    “In our system, we have huge administrative costs — which are mostly driven by insurance companies spending huge amounts of money trying to avoid covering people. Our health-care costs are eighty percent higher than those in other advanced countries. The best way to contain those costs is to go to a single-payer system, one in which the government insures everyone. That would probably cut the cost of health care by at least twenty-five percent.

    “But there’s no way that will happen under Bush. … If he manages to privatize Social Security, he’ll try to privatize Medicare next. … The right says that what we need is more choice, more competition. But every piece of evidence suggests that health care is an area in which privatization actually raises costs. If they succeed at dismantling both Social Security and Medicare, then you’re pretty much back, on domestic policy, to the days of Warren Harding — which is exactly where they want to go.”

    In other words, the CHEAP LABOR CONSERVATIVE agenda of keeping people “over a barrel” so they’ll have to work cheap.

  105. 123

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    A December 2005 interview of economist Paul Krugman published in Rolling Stone magazine clears the fog away from a number of questions and misconceptions surrounding Social Security, and puts the issue in perspective. http://www.rollingstone.com/po.....ke_crisis/ I quote a few excerpts here under the Fair Use Doctrine.

    “What would you say to … young workers who are convinced they’ll never see a dime of the money they put into Social Security?

    “You’ve been sold a scare story … many economists say it may never run out. If the economy continues to grow at an average rate, the trust fund could quite possibly last forever.”

    “But what happens if it doesn’t?

    ” … The actual shortfall would be a pretty small part of the federal budget, quite easily made up from other sources. Once the whole baby-boomer generation is into the retirement pool, Social Security’s share of the gross domestic product will only increase by about two percent. Well, President Bush’s tax cuts are more than two percent of GDP — and they’re happening right now, not fifty years from now. So the idea that there’s this Social Security thing that is a huge problem is just wrong.”

    “But if the trust fund does run out, the government would have to raise taxes or cut benefits, or some combination of both, to keep Social Security solvent.

    “Yes, if the trust fund is ever depleted, then something will have to be done. But you need to have some perspective on the seriousness of this whole thing. On the day the trust fund is exhausted, Social Security revenue will cover about eighty percent of the cost of benefits. Right now — today — if you look at the U.S. government outside of Social Security, revenue covers only about sixty-eight percent of total government spending. So on the day the trust fund is exhausted, forty-seven years from now, Social Security will be in better financial shape than the rest of the U.S. government is today.”

  106. 124

    Mark The Redneck Kennedy spews:

    Geez Rabbit – You have agreed with me on two things in two days.

    1) No means testing for Sosh Security
    2) No taxpayer money for Sonics

    See? Librulism can be cured…

  107. 125

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I don’t see any comeback from the righties to my arguments. They must not have any.

  108. 126

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This is also worth quoting from Krugman:

    “So if there’s no crisis in Social Security, why is President Bush pushing so hard to privatize it?

    “It’s politics. Since the days of Barry Goldwater, the Republican right has really wanted to dismantle Social Security. And now they have a degree of political dominance that lets them push it to the top of the agenda — even though no rational analysis of the actual problems facing the U.S. government would say that it belongs there.

    “Why do they want to dismantle it?

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to return us to the days before the New Deal, when millions of elderly people lived in poverty. But if you really dislike the notion that the government provides a safety net for the poor, then Social Security is the prime target. … It’s been highly successful, and it’s extremely popular. It’s one of the things that makes people feel somewhat good about government — and so, therefore, it must go.”

  109. 127

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    65

    Rest easy, Redneck, we liberals aren’t gonna let your Puke pals means-test Social Security.

  110. 128

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    53

    “Social Security is facing a future revenue shortfall. Do you doubt this?” Commentby ConservativeFirst— 7/6/06@ 5:52 pm

    Yes. I believe that claim is spurious, mostly a rightwing talking point.

    The truth is that no one can accurately project what the economy is going to do 50 years from now, or 20 years from now. All we can do is run various scenarios through the computer to see what we’d get if those scenarios happen.

    Under pessimistic economic growth scenarios, we will have a shortfall in the sense that Social Security will not be able to pay all benefits that would be due under today’s benefit calculation formula. However, future benefits would still be more than today’s benefits, in terms of real purchasing power.

    Under optimistic economic growth scenarios, Social Security will have a revenue surplus and Congress may be able to cut FICA taxes while maintaining the benefits currently being promised.

    It is unlikely that Social Security will pay less inflation-adjusted benefits than today’s retirees receive, and there is no realistic scenario under which Social Security would collapse and pay no benefits, short of all-out nuclear war.

    “Shortfall” calculations and arguments have been gamed every which way to serve political agendas, and they’ve been gamed extra-hard to serve the rightwing agenda. What Bush says about Social Security is bullshit. He has been utterly dishonest in his arguments. He uses two completely different economic forecasts — an impossibly rosy one to predict the future performance of private accounts, and an incredibly pessimistic one to assert that Social Security is “in trouble.”

    Apart from mathematical game playing, private accounts suffer from a very serious flaw that Bush and other rightwing promoters of private accounts are silent about. And that is, while it’s true that private financial investments such as stocks historically have grown in value over the long haul, what they don’t mention is this growth doesn’t occur steadily but in spurts, and there are long intervals when investment portfolios stagnate or even decline. But most people can’t choose when to retire — they’re forced out of a job, or health or infirmities of age force them to stop working. What if you have to return just as the financial markets are entering a prolonged period of no growth or decline? You’re fucked, that’s what. And, of course, private investment accounts are put at risk and can be lost despite the best efforts and prudence of the investor. Then what? Do we let people starve, or will taxpayers face a gigantic new tax burden for supporting the people whose private accounts didn’t turn out well? What we can say for certain is that investment results will not be even; some people may do well, but there’s certain to be a group who will end up less able to support themselves than if they had stayed in Social Security. Should we then tax the winners to support the losers? That’s exactly what will happen if society has to assume responsibility for the support of those who did not win in the Wall Street lottery.

  111. 129

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    If there are any casual observers here, note that to factual arguments made by liberals here, conservatives offer lies and their conceptual idea of a “better” program.

    A word to the wise: Don’t vote for anyone who wants to privatize Social Security.

    An even more salient one: Never vote for a Republican.

  112. 130

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    110

    I see in today’s news that job growth has fallen back to anemic levels. The economy needs 156,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, but added only 112,000 jobs in April, only 92,000 in May, and only 121,000 in June.

    But then … Republican presidents have never been any good at creating jobs:

    Democrat Roosevelt 5.3%
    Democrat Johnson 3.8%
    Democrat Carter 3.1%
    Democrat Truman 2.5%
    Democrat Clinton 2.4%
    Democrat Kennedy 2.3%
    Republican Nixon 2.2%
    Republican Reagan 2.1%
    Republican Coolidge 1.1%
    Republican Ford 1.1%
    Republican Eisenhower 0.9%
    Republican Bush Sr. 0.6%
    Republican Bush Jr. (0.7%)
    Republican Hoover (9.0%)

    Maybe that’s because they just don’t care!