Thursday, 1/3/13, Public Square

social security

23 Comments

by | January 3, 2013 · 6:00 am

23 responses to “Thursday, 1/3/13, Public Square

  1. As the 113th Congress is sworn in today on Capitol Hill today, the Senate will make history, swearing in a record-breaking 20 female senators – 4 Republicans and 16 Democrats – in office.

    Lets increase these numbers every chance we get!

  2. This is a good piece on entitlement spending and raises some questions worth pondering. I don’t have any confidence our congress critters will have a productive conversation since it seems winning and making sure the other side loses is their top priority, but we can have a good conversation right here and at least remind ourselves the entire world hasn’t gone batshit crazy.

    (from the link): The image of empty coffers is a powerful one: half of all Americans aged between eighteen and twenty-nine don’t think that Social Security will exist when they retire. That’s a bizarre thing to believe about an important government program. No one ever says, “I don’t think the U.S. Army will be there when I get old” or talks about the Defense Department “going broke.” We assume that there will always be a need for the military, and that we’ll end up paying the taxes that are necessary to fund it. But, because Social Security and Medicare have always been self-supporting, it’s easy to believe that they’ll just vanish if the trust funds dry up. This isn’t the case. Relatively minor tweaks to Social Security will allow it to keep paying full benefits for many decades. And, if we wanted, we could supplement funding for both programs with general government revenue. That’s what most European countries do, and, indeed, parts of Medicare are already paid for out of general revenue.

    The only way that Social Security and Medicare can go “bankrupt” is if we let them.

    So why are politicians obsessed with the question of solvency? Because it makes cutting entitlements seem inevitable, rather than a political choice. After all, if you’re in favor of cutting entitlements, that means you’re in favor of spending less money taking care of old people. That’s a tenable position, but it’s politically dicey—particularly for Republicans, since the elderly are among their biggest supporters. It’s far more palatable to argue that we simply have to cut benefits, because otherwise the programs will go bankrupt.

    There are legitimate reasons to be worried about entitlement spending. But the fundamental question is not how much longer the Social Security and Medicare trust funds are going to be solvent. The question is how much we’re willing to spend to insure that the elderly have affordable access to health care and some financial security. The political virtue of the trust-fund strategy has been to make it seem as if Social Security and Medicare run on autopilot. But it has also meant that we’ve never had an honest debate about the value, and the cost, of social insurance. That’s the argument that politicians should be having, instead of a disingenuous one about solvency.

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2012/12/24/121224ta_talk_surowiecki#ixzz2GuzzVwdG

    • Here’s something I didn’t know about Medicare: Part A (basic hospital coverage) is funded through the payroll tax deduction; parts B-D, inclusive, are funded for the most part through the general revenues.

      http://people.howstuffworks.com/medicare4.htm

      Pie charts in link show better than I can articulate.

      • George W. Bush pushed through the Medicare Drug Program (Part D) with no funding – and is one of the reasons GWB left us with a huge deficit – among other negative crappola to deal with…

        IIRC – the Medicare Drug Program was a very big gift to the Pharmaceutical companies.

  3. (from the link): I’ve spent the last four years covering the Obama presidency and tweeting about it on a daily basis from the White House briefing room. And the Twitter messages I get — thousands of them — tell me that there are folks who will believe absolutely anything regardless of whether it is a distorted or a bald-faced lie, and regardless of whether factual information is staring them in the face.

    I neither support nor oppose President Obama. I disagree with about half of what he has tried to do. But I do support trying to determine what is accurate and true and what is not. With that in mind, I deconstruct, based on four years worth of observation, the top five bogus myths about Obama:

    Deconstructing the 5 most ridiculous myths about Barack Obama
    The 44th president has long been the target of misinformation, smear campaigns, and outright, bald-faced lies
    http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/235844/deconstructing-the-5-most-ridiculous-myths-about-barack-obama

    • Sad to say – Obama has been the target of these so-called Religious Right Republicans since Day One…..and these folks do not play well with others….

      Hell – alot of these Rabid Religioius Right cannot even get along with their fellow RRR’s….

  4. rick liebst

    Often logic and reason has nothing to do with a unreasonable argument. Even when an icon of the Republican party such as President Reagan is to be quoted on the matter. In particular when it comes to arguing a point that is one being made by the political backing of the power brokers and money people of a party. The trumps of the world will not lose their home or heat if they make a million dollars less.

  5. prairiepond

    I think we dodged a bullet this time on SS and Medicare, but I think the Democrats are planning to give away the farm on entitlements during the upcoming debt ceiling fight. I saw Debbie Wasserman Shultz on MSNBC last night and she said as much. It will be their bargaining chip with the repukes in the next fight. I only hope the House is, once again, too stupid to take the deal. It’s a shame we have to rely on Tea Partiers to save entitlements. And even then, they are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

    Why does the White House constantly put entitlements on the table? As noted, SS contributes nothing to the deficit and could be solvent into eternity if they just eliminated or significantly raised the cap. Obama keeps talking about wanting more revenue from upper income people, so…why not more revenue for SS by eliminating the cap on upper income earners?

    Like I said, we dodged a bullet this time. But it’s gonna be a bumpy ride in the next go around and I fear we may not be so lucky.

  6. prairiepond

    Wasn’t Iggy a big fan of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine book? If you have not read it, now would be a good time. Disaster Capitalism means we create disasters or use natural disasters to force policy and law that would not pass under any other circumstance. Congress and the the White House have made a living lurching from one crisis, with its resulting bad policy, to the next crisis, with its own resulting bad policy.

    It’s just another way the elites govern by fear. They make us fearful with man made, self inflicted disasters, then cow us into accepting policy that puts more money in the hands of the elites.

    WHEN TF will Americans wake up?

    • I suspect – as long as Americans get their uninterrupted reality t.v. shows and the latest smart phones and their big ass soda drinks……these folks will simply not wake up – nor even care about what the real problems are….

  7. prairiepond

    Did you guys see this? Even Breitbart says Huelskamp is the poster child for GOP problems and calls him an “Intellectually lazy” Republican.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/12/21/Huelskamp-everything-wrong-with-GOP

    One of the many ROFLMAO parts is when he says Hueslkamp is from Oklahoma. WTF? Timmy is so insignificant, even to his own side, that they don’t even know where he’s from!

    Later, the author does say Kansas needs to tell Timmy to get himself together, so he finally figured out Tim hails from Kansas.

    Jesus Wept. Even his own side thinks he’s a moron.

  8. Not a bunch of difference between Kansas and Oklahoma in the world of politics — both backwards, both part of the problem. In this respect both states fall in line with the insane Southern party which has always been controlled by America’s most feral (they’ve called themselves democrats and switched to republican but they remained insane).

  9. I read this on a blog. It makes as much sense as me telling you I will be now be the Queen, but I almost spit coffee on the computer screen and I put nothing out of the realm of possibility when it comes to THE HOUSE OF CLOWNS. Empty your mouth.

    The Constitution does not say that the speaker of the House has to be a member of the House. In fact, the House can choose anybody a majority wants to fill the post. Every speaker has been a representative from the majority party.

    All it’ll take is 17 Republicans voting for someone else to eliminate the absolute majority Boehner needs to win re-election as Speaker. And who are they calling to be elected Speaker? Sarah Palin.

    The vote for House Speaker takes place Thursday at noon.

    • I would love to see these folks try that particular bone-headed move…

      What do you think the majority of voting Americans would say about Sarah Palin being the House Speaker?

      And would the defenders of Boehner even want Sarah to be the one that got the best of Boehner and the moderate Republicans?

      Michael Steele (former RNC Chairman) summed it up last night when he said – Boehner kow-towed to the small group of 50 to 70 Hard Right Republicans when he allowed this small group to dictate what the House will and will not do…

      Steele also said that the Hard Right Republicans will take hostages and stop everything in order to get what they want.

      Democrats also have their Hard Left Democrats – but the difference is, these folks will not take hostages and stop everything to get what they want. Which is why so many times the Democratic Party is seen as too willing to compromise?

      Steele also said that it will take the moderate Republicans to stand up to this small group of Hard Right before the Republican Party’s brand will start to make a comeback.

      And with that…I agree.

      Kinda reminds me of how these same Rabid Religious Right Republicans were all yammering how the moderate Muslims needed to tell their Hard Right Muslims to STFU…….

    • prairiepond

      Oh, Please, Please, Please, Please, PLEASE let that happen.

      From your lips to the Goddess’ ears.

  10. I just wonder why a bunch of white middled-aged Republican males are protecting these non-Indian males from prosecution when they take advantage of this loophole in the justice system?

    I heard a Native Indian woman tell a story of some white man who took his Indian girlfriend to what he thought was inside the boundaries of tribal land. This man beat her and left her for dead. The woman survived and because the exact location was just a few yards outside the boundary line of tribal land – she was able to push for prosecution of her attacker – and the man is now in prison for life.

    She was one of the lucky ones……but – again I ask – why do Republican males (overwhelmingly white and middle-aged, seem to want to protect their fellow males who abuse women?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/02/violence-against-women-act-_n_2398553.html

    • prairiepond

      I guess they do it in the same line of thought that there was such a thing as “legitimate rape.” Or that any fetus that was conceived as a result of rape was “god’s will.”

      These asshats make me want to believe in reincarnation just so they have to come back as poor, minority, disabled and unprotected women.

      • I agree…now that would be perfect karma…

        Like my DIL said once – let these old politicians have to be sent to a nursing home dependent on Medicaid and then see how many time their wet/poopy diapers get changed by unattentive, uncaring, underpaid and untrained staff.

        Can’t you just picture some nurse aide saying – I’m not changing your nasty old poopy diapers – you can just lay there and think about all those times you voted against helping people in need….

        NOW that would also be perfect karma….

  11. Sad news about Patti Page passing away. I remember listening to Patti Page with my aunt (the youngest of my mother’s sisters – she was quite a bit younger).

    My Aunt Linda was in senior high school when I was in grade school. I remember when we would be at Grandpa and Grandma’s house – the kitchen table would be pushed to the corner and the record player would be put on high volume and everyone would jump in and dance. Those were good times…..good memories….

    Isn’t life funny sometimes? This morning just last week, my Grandma passed away. And now I wake up to the news of Patti Page passing away and it brings back a good memory of my Grandma…

    Just goes to show you – life is full of ups and downs – how would we know we were up if we never down?

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/entertainment&id=8940471

    • My Grandma was a big Elvis fan. But my Grandpa was a big Bluegrass fan.

      My Grandma had her funeral all pre-arranged. She requested that then song ‘When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold’ be played at her funeral. That was her tribute to my Grandpa – that was his favorite song.

      We had some good times – mighty good times.

  12. prairiepond

    I probably won’t have a funeral, but if I did, this is the song that I’d want played.

    • I’ve never heard that one…..thanks for sharing!

      Whistlng and Fishing in Heaven…….my Grandpa’s only wish was to retire and be able to go fishing….

      He dropped over dead in his backyard trimming his lilac bushes. He was 64 yrs old…..just a few short months of his planed retirement…

      Sometimes life is just not fair…..

      I hope there is fishing in Heaven…..for my Grandpa’s sake.

      • BTW – I do not want a funeral – only a memorial service where there is food and drinks enough for everyone to simply have a good time – and try to think of some nice things to say about me……

        These used to be called ‘wakes’ – weren’t they?