Tag Archives: Social Security

Daily Kos: What might FDR have done about the debt limit?

I keep thinking and saying that Obama had an opportunity to do as much for the country as FDR and blew it.  And continues to blow it.  This article supports that theory.  It’s long but worth reading.

I’m becoming more and more disappointed in the President and how meekly he handles the GOP and how little he is standing firm on core Democratic principles.  When he agreed to bargain with cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he started to lose me…

This article really compares and contrasts FDR and President Obama extremely well.

Here is a brief excerpt to the article by Dante Atkins at Daily Kos:

The only recent president who has faced an economic crisis more prolonged or more severe than the one our economy faces was the progressive legend Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who faced down both the Great Depression and the Nazis with equal aplomb and bested them both, and the contrast between how Obama is handling his economic showdowns with Republicans entering his reelection and how Roosevelt handled a similar time in his presidency could not be more clear. Obama has wanted to bring the nation above politics and create a grand bargain that incorporates ideas from both parties in an attempt to prove that our country is not as divided as our politics suggests, and he has, in his own words, been repeatedly left at the altar by Republicans with no conscience who want nothing more than to destroy him and his presidency. President Roosevelt, by contrast, was ideological: he was convinced that his way of managing the economy—the Keynesian approach of government as the spender of last resort—was right, and the austerity methods of the Republicans were wrong.

Unlike Obama, Roosevelt did not accept the conservative meme that macroeconomics and microeconomics have the same fundamental principles and that government has to “live within its means like families do.” Instead, Roosevelt understood that economic downturns reduce national income and that reduced national income leads to further downturn, creating a deflationary cycle that can only be broken when government steps in to put people back to work and break the cycle—a consideration that came second to balancing the budget.

via Daily Kos: What might FDR have done about the debt limit?.

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Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath

All I can think of is Marie Antoinette’s response to being told the peasants had no bread.  She allegedly said “Well, let them eat cake.”

This is the guy who wants to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while he drinks $700 worth of wine in a restaurant.

These Republicans really do live in a different world.  They can’t imagine what life is like for most people.  That’s got to be why they do the things they do…

Or, they are just evil….

Your choice….

From TalkingPointsMemo.com:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.

It was the same night reports started trickling out about President Obama pressing Congressional leaders to consider changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for GOP support for targeted tax increases.

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the waiter’s presentation, uncorking and decanting of the pricey Pinot Noir caught the attention of another diner who had already recognized Ryan sitting with two other men nearby.

Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.

Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.

“We were just stunned,” said Feinberg, who e-mailed TPM about her encounter later the same evening. “I was an economist so I started doing the envelope calculations and quickly figured out that those two bottles of wine was more than two-income working family making minimum wage earned in a week.”

via Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath | TPMDC.

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In Debt Talks, Obama Offers Social Security Cuts

If he does this, he’s lost me….

If he supports Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts, he might as well be a Republican President.  No Democrat should ever support cuts to these programs.

I will have no patience for this type of sell out.

I truly hope this is not true…

This is wrong on so many levels:  Factually and Morally.

From the Washington Post:

President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

That would represent a major legislative achievement, but it would also put Obama and GOP leaders at odds with major factions of their own parties. While Democrats would be asked to cut social-safety-net programs, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.

The administration argues that lawmakers would also get an important victory to sell to voters in 2012. “The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain,” said a Democratic official familiar with the discussions.

It is not clear whether that argument can prevail on Capitol Hill. Thursday’s meeting at the White House — an attempt by Obama to break the impasse that halted debt-reduction talks two weeks ago — will provide a critical opportunity for leaders in both parties to say how far they’re willing to go to restrain government borrowing as the clock ticks toward an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.

Obama has already spoken to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) about the possibility of building support for a more ambitious debt-reduction plan, according to people with knowledge of those talks, who, like others quoted in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to shed light on private negotiations. The two discussed various options for overhauling the tax code and cutting entitlement spending, but they reached no agreement.

via In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts – The Washington Post.

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Democratic Party Affiliation Grows

See what happens when the GOP declares War on Medicare?

If the Dems will only hold fast in defending Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while the Republicans continue to try to destroy them, they will become the majority Party for the foreseeable future…..

As long as the economy doesn’t crash…

From Taegen Goddard’s Political Wire:

A new Gallup poll finds 45% of Americans identified as Democrats last month as compared to 39% who identified as Republicans.

The six-point Democratic edge is the largest measured since October 2009, when the gap was seven points.

via Democratic Party Affiliation Grows.

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House Republicans Propose Social Security Opt Out/Privatization

They really are coming out of the closet…

First they wanted to destroy Medicare and Medicaid…

Now, they want to destroy Social Security.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have Social Security than trust Wall Street to manage my retirement money.  And not everyone has the skills to manage their own investments.

I keep saying it:  Remove the earnings cap on Social Security contributions and we have no Social Security issues anymore.  It’s a small, easy fix and no one has to ever worry about Social Security being insolvent again.

But that’s not what the GOP wants.  They don’t want to save Social Security.  They  just want an excuse to kill it.

If the Democrats will just stand up to them and protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid- which is consistent with the Party’s core beliefs- they could take back the House and keep the Senate.  And the Presidency if the President will stand up also…

From The Hill:

House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation that would allow workers to partially opt out of Social Security immediately, and fully opt out after 15 years.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, and several other Republicans introduced the Savings Account for Every American (SAFE) Act. Under the bill, workers would immediately have 6.2 percent of their wages sent to a “SAFE” account each year.

That would take the place of the 6.2 percent the workers now contributed to Social Security.

Another 6.2% is sent to Social Security by employers. Under the Sessions bill, employers would continue to make this matching contribution to Social Security, but after 15 years, employers could also send that amount to the employee’s SAFE account.

Sessions said this transition to a private retirement savings option is needed because Social Security last year began paying out more money than it took in.

via House Republicans propose Social Security opt-out – The Hill’s Floor Action.

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Medicare Cuts Proposed by Republicans Face Broad Opposition in ABC News Poll – ABC News

I have two big concerns:

  1. Republicans don’t care about what most Americans think and will ram their agenda through anyway.
  2. People will forget this by Election Day next year and vote against their interests again

This should just kill the GOP if everyone pays attention, remembers and votes to protect their own interests instead of those of the Rich, Big Corporations and Tea Party fanatics.

Americans strongly reject Medicare cuts and broadly support higher taxes on the wealthy, underscoring the political risks in Republican debt-reduction plans. And on one key factor in the debate — protecting the middle class — President Obama retains the upper hand.

Those and other results from the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll underscore the hazards of the federal spending debate for Republicans as well as for Obama. As poorly as the president is rated for handling the deficit — just 39 percent approve — the Republican leaders in Congress do a bit worse, with just 33 percent approval on the same issue.

Similarly, while just 42 percent approve of Obama’s handling of the economy overall, fewer still, 34 percent, approve of how the Republicans in Congress are dealing with it. And the public by a 12-point margin trusts Obama to protect middle-class Americans, a theme he’s likely to sound loudly and often as the 2012 election campaign warms up.

via Medicare Cuts Proposed by Republicans Face Broad Opposition in ABC News Poll – ABC News.

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Republicans: Let’s Cut Social Security, Too

God, I hope people are paying attention to what these fools want to do…

They will not rest until they totally destroy the social safety net in America..

Do we really want Senior Citizens to end up sleeping and dying in the streets?

These guys are providing a lot of support for D.H. Lawrence’s observation:

“The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.”

I hope we yet prove him wrong by voting these people out of office….

From MotherJones.com:

For all the drastic spending cuts in GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed 2012 budget, there’s one major government program that it barely touches: Social Security. Now Republicans in both houses of Congress are preparing to dig into that sacrosanct entitlement as well.

On Wednesday morning, shortly before Obama’s big deficit speech, three Republican senators unveiled a plan to cut $6.2 trillion by paring back Social Security over the next two decades. Under a proposal unveiled by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), the qualifying age for Social Security would rise from 67 to 70 by 2032, while benefits for everyone earning more than an average of $43,000 over their lifetime would be reduced. Graham took pains to explain that he wasn’t pushing for privatization but also slammed any tax increases to shore up Social Security, saying such a move would “destroy America.” “It’s much better to give up benefits on the end side than pay taxes now,” he explained.

Graham, who’s long led GOP efforts on Social Security, said that he could only find two other senators to join him at the podium on Wednesday, given the political risks involved in tackling the issue. “It shows the real reluctance of the GOP,” he said. And while House Republicans have made privatizing Medicare and cutting Medicaid their top budget priorities, Graham said that Social Security reform needed to be moved to the front of the queue. “It’s the place to start entitlement reform. Once you fix the Social Security problem, move to Medicare,” he told Mother Jones.

via Republicans: Let’s Cut Social Security, Too | Mother Jones.

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How the GOP Is Committing Political Suicide

Great article on the GOP Budget Madness from AlterNet…

I just hope the electorate is paying attention next year and not fooled by the usual Republican Smoke and Mirrors Campaign that hides their true agenda…

It’s going to be kind of hard to run and hide from this one, though….

At first blush, it’s difficult to grasp why all but four Republicans in the House would go on record endorsing a budget plan that would cost the economy millions of jobs, effectively end Medicare and result in deep cuts to Social Security, roll back new regulations on Wall Street and raise taxes on the middle class while slashing the rates paid by big business and the wealthy. It’s especially tough to understand given that we’re entering the 2012 campaign season, and their budget has no chance of becoming law.

But that’s what happened last week when the GOP-controlled House passed a budget outline based on the radical plan hatched by Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

A poll conducted last week found that, “when voters learn almost anything about [the Ryan plan], they turn sharply and intensely against it.” And why wouldn’t they? According to an analysis by the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), the Republicans’ “roadmap” would “end most of government other than Social Security, health care, and defense by 2050,” while providing the “largest tax cuts in history” for the wealthy.

Not wealthy yourself? Well that’s too bad, because the plan would also “place a new consumption tax on most goods and services, a measure that would increase taxes on most low- and middle-income families.” According to the Tax Policy Center, about three-quarters of Americans — people who earn between $20,000 and $200,000 per year — would face tax increases if the GOP’s scheme became law.

via  AlterNet.com


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My Thoughts: On Tax Day and the Social Contract

Today is Tax Day, the deadline for filing one’s income taxes in the USA.  Even though I filed mine a while back, I still always stop and ponder our tax situation on the deadline day.

First of all, I pay a lot of taxes and I really don’t mind it.  I’m  lucky enough to have a good job, at least for now, so I don’t mind contributing to the good of the country.

I don’t mind paying Medicare and Social Security withholding taxes as they are a part of the social contract we have with the government to support today’s seniors now and ensure we aren’t destitute and without medical care when we get old.  I’ve kept my part of this bargain by paying into the system since I was 16 years old and I expect the government to live up to their end of the deal and not change things this late in the game.

I don’t mind paying taxes even though I’m a Gay man who can’t file a joint return with his partner.  I don’t mind paying taxes to support education even though we will never have children.  I don’t mind paying taxes to build high-speed rail and save our crumbling infrastructure.  I don’t mind paying taxes to prevent those people and their children not as lucky as me from starving or doing without medical care. I don’t mind paying taxes to build give poor children a head start or to create jobs by exploring clean energy and energy efficient cars.  I don’t mind paying taxes that support internet improvements and expansion so we can link the country to the world.  I don’t mind paying taxes to provide benefits to our Veterans who have served our country.  I don’t mind paying taxes to enrich our country’s cultural and artistic life.

I do mind that my taxes support unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  I do mind that I pay more taxes than Exxon Mobile, GE and Bank of America, who don’t pay any.  I do mind that my tax rate ended up being higher than the 17% tax rate that most of the wealthiest 1% of Americans paid- if they paid at all.  I do mind that so many Corporations don’t pay any taxes and spend billions lobbying Congress to keep it that way.

I guess my thought has always been that we have an obligation to give back.  It’s part of the social contract.

None of us will ever be completely happy with how our tax dollars are spent.  But we do need to realize the obligation we have to society to pay these taxes.  We also need to do our best to elect Representatives that will make everyone pay their fair share and use these  tax funds to the benefit of the nation as a whole-not just the lucky few.  That is becoming harder and harder to do as the Rich and the Corporations buy the Government piece by piece.

We have an obligation to learn the true positions of the people we elect to manage the nation’s finances.  We are not doing our duty as Americans if we fall for public relations campaigns and smoke and mirrors that hide a Candidate’s true agenda.  That certainly happened in last year’s Congressional Elections….

So on tax day, don’t resent having to pay.  Remember, death and taxes are the only two inevitabilities in life.

Just think about how you can best work to be sure everyone pays their fair share and our nations funds are used wisely.

And I know, that alone, is asking a hell of a lot…..

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Poll: Budget deal wins support, but Americans wary

Interesting numbers from USA Today/Gallup Poll…

In summary, the “public” is okay with the budget deal from last week, but most don’t want anymore cuts to Domestic spending…

They also want to rescind the Bush Tax Cuts for the Rich…

And no one wants to cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security…

I hope President Obama is willing to go to the mat for those programs…

I’m not yet convinced he will…

In the public’s view, so far so good.

By more than 2-to-1, 62%-25%, those polled say they approve of the deal, and few see it as a partisan victory. Three of four say it was a victory either for neither side (56%) or for both sides (20%).

There is less consensus on what to do next, though, and little encouragement for policymakers such as House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan who are urging bold action to control the exploding costs of Medicare.

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die,” says Gary Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego. “People want a balanced budget … but they really don’t like the cuts that are involved.”

He questions whether it will be possible for the White House and Congress to strike a grand bargain that calls on both to take some political hits. “I’m not sure there’s enough mutual trust possible in Washington these days for that kind of deal to be made.”

In the poll, those surveyed:

• Are split over whether there should be significant additional cuts in domestic spending: 47% say no, 45% yes. On this issue, there is a yawning divide between the parties. Democrats by 2-to-1 oppose more cuts; Republicans by 2-to-1 support them.

• Overwhelmingly oppose making major changes to Medicare. By 2-to-1, they support minor changes or none at all to control costs, rather than major changes or a complete overhaul. Even a third of Republicans say the government should not try to control the costs of Medicare.

• Favor imposing higher taxes on families with household incomes of $250,000 and above, as Obama has endorsed: 59% support the idea, 37% oppose it.

Still, the divide on the issue could make Republicans less likely to compromise on it. While 78% of Democrats favor higher taxes on top earners, 60% of Republicans oppose it.

via Poll: Budget deal wins support, but Americans wary – USATODAY.com.

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