Guest Post: Open Letter To Alan Simpson & Erskine Bowles Chairmen Of The U.S. Deficit Commission – Regarding Proposed Changes To Social Security »

Yves here. The idea that Social Security is in trouble is very much in dispute (although you’d never know that reading the MSM). Even to the extent that fixes are required, some simple ones (one of the biggest, raising the ceiling on payroll taxes, plus an increase in retirement age) would do the trick.

This guest post raises a separate set of issues about proposed changes to Social Security.

First posted by Steve at The Daily Bail

Dear Esteemed Chairmen:

No huge surprise here. What’s unfortunate for you is that for years, even decades – going back to Ross Perot – the American people have been prepared for and willing to accept changes (cuts) to Social Security. You, the politicians never gained the courage to ask, but I think for the most part the general public has been ready. And since I’ve been screaming about these issues my entire adult life, and have always pushed the concept of shared sacrifice as a means to budget sanity and limited government, I’m not comfortable with what I’m about to write, but it’s inescapable after watching and recording a 32-month orgy of fiscal mayhem dominated by trillion-dollar bailouts, trillions in wasted stimulus, and trillions gifted to the military-industrial killing machine.

Fast forward from the Perot deficit awakening 20 years ago, and finally, you, the generationally-irresponsible political class seem to be facing up to the unfunded entitlement budget nightmare of your own creation – or at least you’re in the discussion phase of ‘facing it’ – and what is the societal backdrop? Seething anger over the recession, the wars, multiple failed stimulus, dollar destruction, QE, and the government bailouts of favored industries.

So against this backdrop, your Commission now recommends cuts to Social Security and a hike in the retirement age to help us on our merry way to a fiscally sane future.

Here’s my recommendation for you.

The American people are willing to sacrifice as part of a shared effort at righting our budgetary path, but they are not prepared to be sacrificial lambs led to the ‘benefits and promises slaughterhouse’ while the Wall Street Banker Pigs gorge on trillions in stealth FED and FDIC bailouts, ZIRP giveaways and a record $144 billion in bonuses – an amount equivalent to the 49th largest GDP in the world – $144 billion in bonuses being paid by criminally insolvent banks that are only still operating due to a Wall Street financed K-Street lobbying tsunami that forced FASB to change the accounting rules that now allow these same insolvent institutions of usury and arrogance to apply Faustian valuations to complete shit assets all over their lying, godforsaken, Enron resembling, off-balanced, imbalanced, bs-balanced, sheets.

Banks exist in the lala land of leveraged deferred tax assets representing most of tier-1 capital at Citigroup, of hundreds of billions of helocs at Wells Fargo worth pennies, but marked at dollars, of hundreds of billions of fraudulent MBS pumped out by Countrywide, whose liability now sits with Bank of America. This is a mere glimpse of the great banking lie that provides cover for the $144 billion insolvent bonus river that bathes the Street, all supported and paid for by taxpayers, Treasury and the Federal Reserve. Therefore, ultimately, taxpayers.

In this environment, selling ‘cuts to social security’ is not going to work, and considering the role you both played in creating the irresponsible federal spending machine that now controls Washington and has bankrupted future unborn generations, fuck you for even bringing it up.

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140 comments

  1. K Ackermann

    Oh, do I love you, Yves!

    I too add my heaps of contempt and scorn on all the dogs, liars, and cowards that pose as leadership.

    Fuck you, from me too!

      1. Ted K

        Yves,
        Daily Bail has links (not internet links but direct support for) to Santelli and the Tea Party. Is this really who you want to be tying yourself together with on social issues/programs????

        1. Skippy

          This hole thing is turning out to be like a visit to the STD clinic, whence one finds their old partners, best friends and parents in attendance.

          1. Ted K

            I much prefer the visual of seeing you at the pub Skippy. You’d be buying the rounds of course, while the female bartender fights my cheesy verbal advances.

        2. Justicia

          I think it’s important to note where populism brings left and right together. This may be the “wedge issue” that separates the the TPs from the Republican corporate welfare agenda.

          Krugman’s column in Friday’s NYT is a smoker and this is at the top of the home page:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/12/us/politics/12fiscal.html?hp

          Debt Plan Ideas Draw Scorn of Liberals and Tea Party
          By JACKIE CALMES
          President Obama’s bipartisan debt-reduction commission has exposed fissures in both parties, underscoring the volatile nature of addressing the nation’s budget problems.

        3. The Daily Bail

          Ted…I just came back to this post and saw your comment…

          I made myself pretty clear in this post…but let me lay it out there for you…the Tea Party and support for Santelli’s rant can’t be so easily stereotyped…so here are my views…

          End both illegal wars, and cut the defense budget by 50% FIRST…before any other cuts…(do i still sound like the Conservative freak you think me to be?)….

          End the ridiculous War on Drugs…

          End the Stimulus…sorry but it WON’T WORK – Liquidity Trap…

          Raise the taxable income limit for FICA…that will solve most of your SS problems…

          Means test for entitlements…IMMEDIATELY…if you’re rich, sorry, but thanks for playing…

          I’ve got more, but your attack on me doesn’t deserve any further response…

  2. Phil Perspective

    Even to the extent that fixes are required, some simple ones (one of the biggest, raising the ceiling on payroll taxes, plus an increase in retirement age) would do the trick.

    Why does the retirement age need to be raised? It doesn’t.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      All the forecasts are based on demographic and GDP growth assumptions. So you make a dire enough set of forecasts, Social Security might need some tweaking down the road.

      I am saying that even if you accept the more grim cases (which I don’t) the hysteria is overdone. You don’t need program-gutting changes, which is what the level of fervor would lead you to believe.

      1. rd

        I am very tired of 75-year projections for just about anything. About 30 years sounds like a reasonable time frame for this type of planning as at least most of the people who are likely to be paying into Social Security then will at least be alive today.

        75 years ago, the world was mired in a Great Depression, the British Empire still existed, Hitler had just taken over Germany the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain did not exist in anything like its post-WWII form, Japan was laying waste to many parts of China, and penicillin was still several years away from being used on patients. Maybe a handful of people could have laid out some of the major themes of the next 75 years.

        I would like our government to focus on what is likely to happen over the next 10 to 30 years from a financial standpoint instead of obsessing over the future that not even our kids will probably not be alive to see. Medicare is likely to explode long before Social Security without major rethinking.

        We are currently watching the government debate the expiration of the Bush tax cuts because they couldn’t get their act together a decade ago to have reasonable projections that could keep spending and taxation in balance. Let’s see if they can get a reasonable plan together that can work over the next 10 years before we worry about 75 year predictions.

  3. PQS

    Can we start this as an online submittal directly to the Catfood Commish?

    Not that Alan Simpson even knows what email is, but perhaps his staffers (surely “the lesser people”) do.

    1. Cedric Regula

      Bruce Webb and Dale Coberly on Angry Bear blog have been covering the issue in great detail for many years.

      We can save ourselves a lot of work and typing here by tapping into what they have done already.

      Bottom line is the SS fear mongers have been resorting to insisting that SS be “sound” for a 75 year horizon. Then they make projections on things like GDP growth, wage and price increases, demographic changes, longevity, and probably who will win the World Series in 2085.

      Then we are to take what they say seriously. Meantime, healthcare costs for Medicare and everyone else compound at 8%-9% a year, every year. SS is still in the black on a cash flow basis. We paid $2.5 Trillion into the trust fund to cover the baby boom demographic, the USG borrowed that because SS trust fund rules say that must happen, nevertheless for 30 years we have been told there is some sort of problem.(And in 1983 the Greenspan SS Commision recalced and raised our withholding 50%. Problem solved?) But curiously it is SS that they claim is the problem, not healthcare so much.

      Or we hear that those “phony IOUs” in the SS trust fund are no good and even tho SS law says the surplus trust fund must be lent to the USG, somehow the “full faith and credit of the united states government” mantra no longer applies. The Phoney IOU is also the accounting device(or is it gimmick now?) used for about $2 Trillion in Federal pensions. And federal pensions are composed of around a dime of employee withholding and 90% kicked in by the employer, er, taxpayer. SS was funded 100% by you and your employer.

      1. Bruce Krasting

        For the record. SSA is in cash flow deficit to the tune of $45b for 2010. The first time this has happened in 27 years. We will never see a cash surplus in SSA again unless they change the rules. We have entered the period of “Perpetual Deficits” according to Steve Goss the chief actuary.

        1. Jim the Skeptic

          Bruce Krasting says: For the record. SSA is in cash flow deficit to the tune of $45b for 2010.

          Thanks for the irrelevant factoid.

          Come back when the Social Security Trust Fund has been reduced to zero!

          I am one of the baby boomers who was promised that the last fix in the 1980’s would allow us to pay forward toward our own retirement. Then just when it was obvious that baby boomers would start to retire in the next decade, President Bush went on a borrow and spend spree. Insanity!

          The economy is in the tank due to the ‘powers that be’ changing the economy to reward the richest 1% and screw everyone else. Now we must use this damaged economy to project forward any losses and pay them off immediately. Disgusting!

          Social Security has been a ‘pay as you go’ system from the beginning with it’s own tax collected to fund it. Now we are told that it must be included with the General fund deficits for budgeting. Dishonest!

        2. Cedric Regula

          That’s true, all of a sudden, because we lost 8 million employed people this recession, all of which used to pay into SS, and also some think a lot of people ended up taking early benefits at 63 due to the recession.

          Prior to this recession, I believe the surplus was projected to end in 2016.

          Even so, with projections using a weak recovery scenario, the trust fund still lasts thru around 2037. Maybe not so coincidentally, boomers should be dropping dead in droves by then. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

          But like I say, it’s all how you do the projections.

        3. run75441

          Bruce:

          So we never will see a positive cash flow if we reduce unemployment and increase Participation Rate? Are you so willing to throw in the towel on job creation? If you are, the cost of having a lower plateau of people in the Civilian Labor Force will exceed the payback of the SS Treasury Notes. In which case, SS will be needed far more as a greater percentage of people will not have a 200.5k that were decimated by Wall Street thef.

        4. Ted K

          Bruce,
          You’ve been banging that gong for a long time now. Any chance you can tell us what your hero “W” Bush did to help the Social Security fund, when “W” NECESSITATED multiple bailouts by eight years of absentee leadership?????

  4. The Daily Bail

    Yves,

    Thank you for posting my open letter. I was hesitant about including the final line, so I’m glad that it resonates well, at least with the first commenter.

    I like most people am willing to accept cuts but only as part of a program where EVERYTHING gets cut…and that starts with the War Machine before anything else…

    1. F. Beard

      I like most people am willing to accept cuts but only as part of a program where EVERYTHING gets cut…and that starts with the War Machine before anything else… The Daily Bail

      Yes, let’s start with the warfare state and welfare for the rich. But please don’t imply that many are willing to take cuts in Social Security. They aren’t and they shouldn’t be. You are laying down a false moral equivalence between those who depend on the government to get rich and those who depend on it just to live.

    2. Rex

      The last sentence may have been a tad more restrained than was actually appropriate toward these particular gentlemen. I might have suggested the additional phrase, “with a red hot poker”.

    3. Koshem Bos

      Why accept cut? We work for 40 years contributing a lot of money to SS, now we want a little of it back. In the last 30 years, we had 20 years of Republican who want to raise taxes only on the poor and the middle class, but god forbid on rich people. They brought about the highest irresponsibility ever known in the universe. Instead, levy SS taxes on bonuses, on the rich and mainly those wealthy who are engaged in anti social financial business.

      No SS cuts, tax the Koch brothers and their many friends.

      1. attempter

        Exactly. The piece still goes way too far in appeasing the whole criminal talking point, that Social Security needs any “fix” at all while the government still has money for bailouts and corporate welfare.

        And it’s beyond argument that the people have “sacrificed”, i.e. had stolen from them, far more than enough already.

        Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More from the People.

        I do like the Fuck You. I wish everyone, everywhere would just shun this vermin. Be totally unwilling to talk to them, serve them, do anything for them on any level, other than to say “Fuck You” to their hideous faces.

        We should do that for every last one of them, but since you have to start somewhere, how about starting with Simpson, Bowles, and the rest of the criminals on Obama’s commission?

        (BTW, if anyone ever has to argue with some hack still trying to claim Obama’s not a criminal who hates the people, a good place to start is with this Star Chamber commission, which was 100% voluntarily set up by Obama, aggressively, after even the Congresssional criminals in his own party didn’t want to touch it.

        The anti-democratic nature of it is smoking gun proof of Obama’s hatred of democracy itself.

        And that he unilaterally, on his own whim, for no reason whatsoever, set out to destroy SS, is the smoking gun proving his infinite malevolence toward the people and his true worship of Reagan and the corporate conservative ideology.)

        Here’s the biggest mystery of all – if Obama and the Dems themselves are going to be the unilateral vanguard in assaulting and destroying Social Security, the quintessential liberal program, then what possible basis do they think liberalism itself, i.e. their whole claim for being, has for existing at all?

        I’ve often said the liberals have no future. But even I didn’t think they were going to so willfully, systematically seek to destroy even the nominal basis for why they were supposed to be allowed to exist in the first place.

        Seriously – if we’re going to abandon Social Security, with the liberals themselves taking the lead in doing so, then who thinks we need liberals at all, for anything? Why would anyone tolerate them?

        This is like the frenzy of the nobles abdicating their own privileges on the eve of the French Revolution.

        This proves the world-historical stupidity of Obama’s supporters.

        1. Cawley

          Hold on there, Sparky!

          Liberals have nothing to do with creating this commission or cutting social security. Other than the republicans, its Obama and his DLC democrats.

          “Democrat” does not equal “liberal”.

          Words have meanings. Let’s use them properly to avoid confusion.

          1. attempter

            Once again for the arithmetically challenged, Republicans did not and could not have anything to do with it. The Democrats have been in full power for two years. By definition anything government has done has been what the Dems wanted done.

            All electoral support for the Dems now comes from liberals. Without liberals the Dems couldn’t exist. All blogosphere and media support for Obama is from corporate liberals. 100% of it. There’s been no revolt even there. Liberals haven’t rejected and smashed the hack blogs and hack “journalists”. So it follows that whatever Obama is doing is what the majority of liberals want done.

            Sorry hack, but you’re all by yourself from here on. The “independents” won’t be coming back. The people see through your act. Obama and the Dems and the liberal establishment are American history’s worst traitors. Everybody knows it except the most morbidly ignorant liberal cultists.

            Your tribe is finished. Anybody who truly cares about the people and America is looking for a totally new road.

          2. Bill White

            Yep. The democrats wanted the Health Care bill filibustered and weakened. The democrats wanted the Consumer Protection Bureau weakened, not headed by Elizabeth Warren, but headed by a banking lobbyist. The democrats wanted the Energy Bill filibustered. The democrats wanted most of Obama’s appointments off assistant secretaries of cabinet officials held up.

            Seems hard to believe, but the democrats wanted all that stuff. They are in charge now. It must be their fault.

          3. DownSouth

            Bill White,

            You’re another one who mistakes shadow for substance.

            While reading last night I stumbled upon this, the perfect allegory for today’s run-of-the-mill Democratic politician:

            And apparently while agricultural poverty might, under some conditions, lead to reform, it might also lead merely to personal political machines that traded on the language of reform. In South Carolina a ranting, one-eyed orator named Ben Tillman launched a campaign for power based on upland hostility to the tidewater gentry. He regarded the Alliance warily at first but eventually decided to join it, gain control, and use it for his own political ends. Though his hate-filled oratory terrified conservatives, the Tillman regime proved surprisingly amenable to the established order.
            –Lawrence Goodwy, The Populist Moment

          4. attempter

            The democrats wanted the Health Care bill filibustered and weakened.

            Yup.

            1. If they hadn’t wanted that, they would’ve ended the filibuster.

            2. They never made anyone filibuster anyway.

            3. They could’ve used reconcilation for anything they wanted.

            4. They did use reconciliation anyway. (Do you also have special mental problems which affect your memory?)

            But that’s all pointless for me to argue. Anyone so stupid that he doesn’t understand first grade arithmetic isn’t going to be convinced by it now.

            And anyway we know health “reform” was always a fraud. We knew that from the second in the campaign when Obama announced that he considered the “insurance” rackets to be legitimate participants.

            But the very existence of private health insurance is mutually exclusive with reform. On the contrary, the core element of the very definition of reform would be to get rid of those destructive, parasitic rackets. So by definition anyone who supported anything other than Single Payer, out of malevolence, cowardice, or stupid and ignorant inertia, was opposed to reform.

            So we know that the Dems intended to pass something based completely upon Republican/Heritage Foundation-authored bill right from the start.

            The democrats wanted the Consumer Protection Bureau weakened, not headed by Elizabeth Warren, but headed by a banking lobbyist.

            Then why isn’t it headed by Elizabeth Warren?

            The democrats wanted the Energy Bill filibustered.

            WHAT FILIBUSTER??? You have two majorities, if you want a bill passed, PASS IT.

            Having majorities in both houses and not passing a bill proves you don’t want that bill. Period.

            Did you flunk out of kindergarten arithmetic?

            The democrats wanted most of Obama’s appointments off assistant secretaries of cabinet officials held up.

            They let them be held up, so evidently YES.

            Sorry Charlie, for the rest of the universe 60 will still be more than 40, 59 will be more than 41, and for that matter 50 plus the VP will be more than 50.

            I’ve never heard of any Republican who doesn’t understand simple arithmetic.

            And then there’s all the crimes Obama has committed 100% on his own, voluntarily, by executive fiat…

          5. Doug Terpstra

            Bill White, what’s a filibuster? Has anyone ever seen one except in the movies? It turns out, even with a 60-40 majority, the Dems simply used it as a stage prop.

            I suspect Obama oversold the snake oil, the Democratic “change” was bigger than expected, and hence more people recognized the duopoly’s charade.

            What intriguing machinations. Now the “balance” of power has been adjusted; the Cat Food Commission becomes another tool in the political theater some still call a democracy; and Obama has another shot at reaming his base under the cover of the Republican briar patch.

          6. JD

            your must have short term memory…. Exit polls 52 disapprove of Dem 53% disapprove of Reps . Vote turn out On avg 42% Another 2 yrs down the road tables will be turned again.

          1. attempter

            That’s exactly what he is, and all his actions make that crystal clear to anyone who’s not a complete idiot.

            I’d be willing to bet in his mind he considers himself a Republican and a conservative. (His record proves he’s really an economic and political reactionary, and not even a social liberal.)

            Yet 100% of his popular support comes from liberals who are too blind and mentally deficient to see the obvious. Certainly, relative to their average higher education and IQ, non-rich liberals who support the Dems are far less intelligent than the What’s the Matter With Kansas types they always scratch their heads over. In an absolute sense they’re the exact same phenomenon.

          2. ceasley7

            To Attempter:

            I agree with your view of Obama. As a progressive I dearly hate the man and 47% of the Democrat Party hates him according to the last poll. So please don’t put us all together. Go to the progressive website Firedoglake and you will see real hostility towards this traitor to the working class and socially vulnerable. Also to say that Republicans don’t desire the dismantling of our social safety net is just not insincere. The one party system which we have is the enemy of mankind.

          3. attempter

            Thanks, ceasly. But I should warn you not to trust Firedoglake, which is still dedicated to astrotrufing for the Democrats.

            1. It was one of the most pernicious peddlers of not one but two bait-and-switches during the health racket debacle: the “public option” itself, the general scam, and the “progressive block”, an FDL special.

            The goal in both cases, as orchestrated by hack professionals from racket front groups who were given control of the site, was to divert people away from Single Payer, string them along, and wear them out.

            2. Today it pretends to have learned a lesson, but meanwhile engages in systematic censorship of any advocacy likely to lead away from the Democrats. In one of the censorship incidents I personally witnessed, I actually saw a moderator say “the only advocacy allowed is legal change through the electoral system.” (That was where a call to Gandhiesque nonviolent resistance had been censored.)

            Needless to say, any site which is serious about fighting back against organized crime has to not only allow but encourage a vast range of possibilities.

            Sure, they’ll pretend it’s not all for the Dems and allow the normal third-party advocacy among the commenters. But that’s definitely not the top-down ideology of the site.

            (I’ve personally quit there twice, once after the racket debacle, and then I gave it another chance when I was hearing they had learned a lesson. But when I saw the hysterical moderation and censorship regime I had seen enough.)

    4. Jman

      I am not willing to go along with cuts to ssi or an increase in the retirement age. While I appreciate your rant, I don’t accept your willingness.to speak for most Americans and accept what these upper income class warriors propose. Show me the data that says most Americans are ready to accept reductions in ssi.

      1. The Daily Bail

        I am not willing to go along with cuts to ssi or an increase in the retirement age. While I appreciate your rant, I don’t accept your willingness.to speak for most Americans and accept what these upper income class warriors propose. Show me the data that says most Americans are ready to accept reductions in ssi.

        I should have been more clear in the original post. When I said that most Americans were prepared for cuts to SS, I was speaking of those who would be means tested and then asked to give up a certain % of benefits. So I was speaking of the more well-off when I wrote that sentence in the story. I WAS NOT implying that most people had accepted the idea of hiking the retirement age. The assumption I have always held is that cuts to SS would come in the form of income testing for the well to do recipients, who would then receive an annual tax credit in exchange for “giving up” benefits they were promised.

        In other words, if you make more than 200k (random number) in retirement, then the gov’t withholds, let’s say, $10k of your SS benefits, then you would receive a $10k tax credit in exchange (thereby saving you roughly $3300 on your taxes)…

        I likely butchered the numbers, but you get my point. But, EMPHATICALLY, I was not saying that most Americans had accepted the idea of hiking the retirement age for everyone, or targeting ALL income levels for savings.

        Hope this makes sense.

        1. Doug Terpstra

          Thank you, thank you for your very critical clarification. I too choked on that second line after decades of the slow boil and was going to second Jman’s point, but Attempter as usual says it best above:

          “Exactly. The piece still goes way too far in appeasing the whole criminal talking point, that Social Security needs any “fix” at all while the government still has money for bailouts and corporate welfare.”

          “And it’s beyond argument that the people have ‘sacrificed’, i.e. had stolen from them, far more than enough already.”

          “Total Austerity for the Criminals, Not One Cent More from the People.”

          “I do like the Fuck You. I wish everyone, everywhere would just shun this vermin. Be totally unwilling to talk to them, serve them, do anything for them on any level, other than to say ‘Fuck You’ to their hideous faces.”

    5. Jason Rines

      It is the appropriate sentiment. The population would rally around a level playing field and take the pain of the excess (the 1990’s were a hell of a lot of fun for everybody) but any person with common sense knows that the seed corn cannot be consumed as bonuses to bankers.

      It is these bankers that are now going to be faced with the choice of reseeding and a form of redemption or jail.

      And if they attempt to silence the rape victim, they should consider viewing the movements of former special forces stating online at blogs that they are now going “dark”, found the new “Charly” and a goodbye with a “God bless America”. Leadership should peer outside the castle once in awhile. Some of us care about the innocent including the families of particular decision makers.

      It really is simple, we either all evolve together or 35% on earth dissapear and the survivors asking a lot of questions on who is responsible.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves

    and considering the role you both played in creating the irresponsible federal spending machine that now controls Washington and has bankrupted future unborn generations, fuck you for even bringing it up.

    I salute the sanity and clarity of this author, and emphatically join in the “f*ck you” salutation.

    I’d add in mention of offshore tax havens, of the way that the laws have been rigged to enable Enron rapacity and its economically predatory kin. And now the very dopes who enabled this theft have the gall to lecture **us** about fiscal responsibility?!

    I’d like to compliment the author of this piece for ‘speaking truth to power’. However, I actually think that he’s ‘speaking truth’ to a pack of compromised, sanctimonious cowards whose claims to “power” is past its pull date.

    Fantastic post. Thanks, Yves.

  6. razzz

    Isn’t, even in this economy, the SS fund whole until about
    the year 2020, technically?

    Leave it to a committee to claim a fund insolvent after it’s been raiding and displacing to pay their salaries and then ask for more money up front and raising the tap in age of others to extend the committee’s life span.

    Makes perfect cents to me.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Very good point. This is a desperate, panicked attempt to retroactively legitimize what they have already looted. The committee rightly sees the wheels coming off the financial-military catastrophe and are trying to void the trust in order to save themselves and their elite cronies.

      Obama is the ringer they have pushed to the fore to accomplish this under the staged briar-patch cover of a Republican Congress.

      What an odious lot, truly despicable. ‘Fuck you’ is a good opening to an appropriately more forceful response.

  7. The Daily Bail

    And I just wanted to clarify that I wrote this letter, as there was also some confusion on my site as to the authorship since I originally didn’t sign it.

    Steve,

    Daily Bail – Founder, Writer

    1. Paul Repstock

      This is the line I specially love. Particularly after My Government’s managing of the G 20 sumit in Toronto this year.

      “But by Sunday night, those same police officers were begging the protestors for a respite.”

    2. monday1929

      I urge all here to check your link.
      “The Berlin Govt. can no longer rely on the discredited mainsteam media to control the way people see issues. Too many people recognize it to be a tool of propaganda”

      The German police beat peaceful protesters, breaking bones and causing 29 skull injuries (fractures?).

      And yes, F–k you is perfectly appropriate.
      I will gladly work until I am 95 if Jamie Dimon is in jail until then.

    3. LeeAnne

      Paul Repstock,

      Thank you for this link. It is an exceptionally well written report; great reading and inspiring to those of us who see peaceful rebellion as the only way out of bankster led tyranny.

      Congratulations to the German people for their success and encouragement for ever more success defeating tyrannical rule.

      Its the most heartening news and well written –a bright shining light on the power of peaceful demonstrations for obstructing the TPTB from whatever policy decisions they perpetrate against the wishes of the people, and against police state terrorism all over the world where the US influences and financially supports tyrannical governance; continuing relentlessly without interruption to this day as witness the Obama’s in Indonesia.

  8. Glen

    Hear, hear! Could not agree more! It will be a cold day in hell before I will agree to ANY CUTS in Social Security after watching the Wall St and TBTF bank bailout.

    Fuck them!

  9. Francois T

    BOOM!!

    Love the letter big time! Big kudos to the author. (Was that you Yves?)

    From my corner of the universe, I enjoin these rear echelon motherfuckers to joyfully make a tubular shape out of the paper wherein lay their recommendations, insert it through the various layers of their back orifice, known in my trade as the levator ani and push hard until the pain they shall feel is comparable to the one they so gleefully want to impose on the less fortunate among us.

    PS: It goes without saying that the use of Vaseline, Surgilube, Astroglide or any other lubricant is totally prohibited during the conduct of this mandatory assignment.

  10. The Daily Bail

    yes…very descriptive francois t…

    Love the letter big time! Big kudos to the author. (Was that you Yves?)

    No, it was I, your local, angry, bailout writer…

    steve

    1. K Ackermann

      Steve, your letter really resonated. When I heard the Catfood Commission’s recommendations, I could not think straight.

      Thank you for having the clarity to put a few things in perspective.

      Those $100-million-dollar bankers… I wonder how much they think the doctor who saves their lives is worth, and the ambulance driver who gets them to hospital on time, and the people who pave the roads that make the speedy trip possible, and the people who pay for the roads…

    2. Francois T

      The descriptive minutiae has everything to do with my professional inclination fed by righteous anger. ;-)

      I still can’t believe how incredibly moronic Obama was by selecting the co-chairs of this Commission. I mean…Alan “Da NeanderCon” Simpson. C/wan Barrack! Are you kidding me?

      He literally gave the Austerians all the clubs they needed to beat him over the head until 2012. Like we needed that BS.

      1. ceasley7

        The commission was Obama’s decision. He is a traitor and crook like the rest of them. If you want to see something interesting google marty didier shadow government and you will see Obama’s roll in all this.

  11. F. Beard

    The bankers wreck the economy and now the old folks have to pay for it?

    Don’t worry deficit hawks, the US Government CANNOT run out of money. As a sovereign country, it can spend without any limit other than inflation concerns. Nor does it need to borrow unlike Ireland which foolishly gave up its own currency.

    As for price inflation, is that also not being caused by the governmental backed banking cartel? So put leverage restrictions on the banks and then it will be NECESSARY for the government to spend to prevent deflation.

    Please reign in your greed bankers

    1. attempter

      Walking away is good. (There’s no such thing as a “strategic default” among the non-rich, however. As the SS-peril demonstrates, none of us can really know what we can “afford to pay”, can we?)

      Refusing to pay but staying in the house is even better. Everyone should do that – distressed or not, underwater or not.

      (By that I mean stop paying the mortgage, but continue to pay the property tax.)

  12. fiscalliberal

    Wow – it is great to see that the third rail is all charged up. An instructive document to read is the Soc Sec Trustee’s report. It is complicated but boils down to this. Soc Sec is solvent untill about 2038.

    The real problem is that Uncle Sam has to start paying back some of the Trust fund that was borrowed from. Full Faith and Credit of the government is in question. To change the rules now as drastically as proposed, is tantamount to a default in payment no different from a default in payment of debt.

    As we loose the status of being the world currency, other people will rate us less than AAA. If Obama buy’s onto this sham, he for certain will be a one term president.

    1. F. Beard

      Wow – it is great to see that the third rail is all charged up. fiscalliberal

      You got that right. What kind of memory does the PTB think the population has? The bankers wreck the economy and now the poor have to pay for it? Un,uh. Not this time.

      If it is just matter of money, and it is, then claw it back from the bankers or print a bailout for the population too. The US Treasury can play the money creation bit too.

      1. monday1929

        I wonder why clawbacks are not much mentioned.
        There is a well orchestrated effort, led by sites like Minyanville, to say “everyone shares the blame” ie. no one is responsible. They also discourage “finger-pointing”, and much is heard about “20/20 hindsight”.

        What the bankers don’t realize is that if they don’t prosecute the most blatant of the criminals, they all risk being strung up by angry mobs. I prefer the rule of law to that, the bankers seem willing to take their chances.

        1. F. Beard

          There is a well orchestrated effort, led by sites like Minyanville, to say “everyone shares the blame” ie. no one is responsible. They also discourage “finger-pointing”, and much is heard about “20/20 hindsight”. monday1929

          Yes, I am rather tired of that. I am for smaller government too but by ATTRITION after we adopt genuine capitalism. And if that is never, then the fascists can just suck it up as a perpetual cost for their government privileges.

  13. LeeAnne

    Terrific, but for one oversight in the list of outrages; that is, finance using their corporate media to sell Bernanke’s solutions as confusion rather than as the cover up of massive systemic pervasive ongoing FRAUD that it is. These people are criminals; that inlcudes Alan Simpson and Pete Peterson who made billions doing public service and acting on insider information with cronies.

    None of this could be happening without the support of the administration and the Justice Department’s worthless Eric Holder -all suited up with the demeanor of a principal at the local high school and about as clueless and lazy -waiting to get his ticket punched for the next lucrative private gig ripping off the people’s government. Anyone wantta buy pencils and school supplies? Mr. Holder’s office will be in touch with you after he has uber goon Michael Chertoff sell you some body scanners without assurances of course that the scanners don’t pose a health risk.

    Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

    Chertoff accused of abusing public trust by touting body scanners

    Full-body scanners on display at Reagan National Airport

    What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

    Anticipating inflation, Social Security inflation adjustments have been eliminated for the next 3 years after the last three administrations manipulated CPI to avoid paying inflation adjustments. Who’s to stop the lying pigs oink! and oink! when we have no press to speak to power, while they control their own corporate press to speak their propaganda and lies directly to the people?

    1. Doug Terpstra

      Great, LeeAnne. It is a Machiavellian evil orchestrating such fear-mongering. The wars of terror themselves are a transparently self-serving vicious spiral of fear and violence. The stark realization is sickening.

      1. LeeAnne

        Doug, thank you/

        I should have put quotations around this

        “Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

        Chertoff accused of abusing public trust by touting body scanners

        Full-body scanners on display at Reagan National Airport

        What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question. “

  14. Lazy Ichi

    We should consider cutting elected officials pensions and health care benefits. These are unfunded and add $15B to each year’s budget.

    By eliminating these and raising taxes on Big Business and the rich, we should wipe out the deficit in a few years.

  15. Jim the Skeptic

    These dimwits want to project forward 75 years to verify that Social Security is fully funded. Very well, let’s project backward 75 years to see just who got us into this budget mess!

    The year that Social Security was founded, the income tax rate on those earning over $200,000 was 58%. Here is a table indicating changes to the highest tax rates from 1932 to 1987.

    Data derived from: http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html
    Year Rate Income
    1932 58% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1936
    1936 66% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1941
    1941 71% >$200,000
    1942 88% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1944
    1944 94% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1946
    1946 91% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1952
    1952 92% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1954
    1954 91% >$200,000 Which rate continued until 1964
    1964 77% >$200,000
    1965 70% >$100,000 Top bracket which rate continued until 1977
    1977 70% >$102,200 Top brackket which rate continued until 1979
    1979 70% >$108,300 Top bracket which rate continued until 1982
    1982 55% >$41,500 Top bracket
    1983 50% >$55,300 Top bracket
    1984 50% >$81,800 Top bracket
    1985 50% >$85,130 Top bracket
    1986 50% >$88,270 Top bracket
    1987 38.5% >$54,000 Top bracket
    1987 38.5% >$54,000 Top bracket
    1988 28% >$17,850 Top bracket
    1989 28% >$18,550 Top bracket
    1990 28% >$19,450 Top bracket
    1991 31% >$49,300 Top bracket
    1992 31% >$51,000 Top bracket
    1993 39.6% >$250,000 Top bracket which rate continues until 1995
    1995 39.6% >$256,500 Top bracket
    1996 39.6% >$263,750 Top bracket
    1997 39.6% >$271,050 Top bracket
    1998 39.6% >$278,450 Top bracket
    1999 39.6% >$283,150 Top bracket
    2000 39.6% >$288,350 Top bracket
    2001 39.6% >$297,350 Top bracket
    2002 38.6% >$307,050 Top bracket
    2002 35% >$311,950 Top bracket
    2003 35% >$319,100 Top bracket
    2004 35% >$319,100 Top bracket
    2005 35% >$326,450 Top bracket
    2006 35% >$336,550 Top bracket
    2007 35% >$349,700 Top bracket
    2008 35% >$357,700 Top bracket
    2009 35% >$372,950 Top bracket
    2010 35% >$373,650 Top bracket

    Now ask yourself a simple question, why did the filthy rich get a HUGE tax cut after paying at least 70% for over 40 years? Surely they didn’t take a tax cut at the same time that they began to screw the middle class by reorganizing our economy! Surely! Would we have a budget problem if those tax cuts had not happened?

    1. traderjoe

      While I agree with the idea that the Bush tax cuts unfavorably benefitted the rich, and the system is very much tilted in their favor, using the simply the top tax rate to argue the point is misleading at best. Back then, there were substantially more deductions, shelters, etc. Many rich paid no taxes at all, especially on passive income. Hence, the creation of the alternative minimum tax, which is now being used to pinch the middle class, btw.

    2. Jim the Skeptic

      traderjoe says: “While I agree with the idea that the Bush tax cuts unfavorably benefitted the rich, and the system is very much tilted in their favor, using the simply the top tax rate to argue the point is misleading at best. Back then, there were substantially more deductions, shelters, etc. Many rich paid no taxes at all, especially on passive income. Hence, the creation of the alternative minimum tax, which is now being used to pinch the middle class, btw.”

      I am in favor of going back to the federal income taxes as they existed in 1981 with the CPI used to adjust the bracket dollar values! That will be a 70% rate on $250,000 and above. All in favor say “Aye”.

      Sorry traderjoe, you will lose on this one! Oh and the usual threat is that no one will work under those conditions. I can find volunteers if you want to quit your job. Greener pastures in Europe? I wouldn’t want to hold you back, go get’em!

      Take your filthy paws off Social Security, which is funded by a flat tax on the poorest in our society!

      1. traderjoe

        I specifically made my point narrow – and you expanded on it to extrapolate my politics. My point was that the rich NEVER paid a 70% tax on income. The top rate was fiction. Deductions, passive income shelters, etc., etc. created massive (and non-productive) industries in tax sheltering. Many rich paid no taxes at all through all of the shenanigans.

        In fact, you are likely in the minority concerning a 70% tax on that sort of income level. An income tax of much smaller proportions on the “rich” was SOUNDLY defeated in Washington State. And how is the income tax going for the state of California? IMHO, you can’t discuss taxes without discussing spending.

        I made a simple argument that top rates at those times were a mirage. You assumed much. While I am a strong proponent of much, much smaller government, I am not opposed to SS. I do (see my longer comment below) have issues with its construction (and the idea that the tax is spent immediately by the general fund) and the fact that our “government retirements” make us vested in the current system, which I believe is fundamentally flawed.

  16. lineside

    Jim, your analysis leaves out a critically important component, namely inflation. The $200k top bracket in 1932 which you reference is equivalent to $2.958 million in today’s dollars. And today’s top bracket of 35% kicked in at $58k in 1932, but that $58K is equivalent to $858k in today’s dollars!

    So the dollars taxed are actually greater today when adjusted for inflation.

    The problem is not revenue, it’s spending.

    1. lineside

      p.s. and btw, having said the above i completely agree with the author’s point about the great bank ripoff, and it boggles my mind that none of our elected “leaders” (either party) understand the public’s outrage, or that setting the banks straight (with all due pain to their officers, shareholders, and creditors) is a condition precedent for getting things back on track…

    2. Jim the Skeptic

      Sir, please, let’s not quibble.

      If we start from 1982 when the rate was reduced from 70% then the richest Americans are paying much much less than they should.

      I would agree that the income level for the top bracket would have gone up from $108,300 to about $250,000. (Using 2.28 as the adjustment for inflation.)

      I would even agree that the rate tables have been flattened too much at the top, but the bottom 99% of income earners should not be blamed for that.

      I don’t notice such petty concerns when those making less than $40,000 are asked to balance the budget via their Social Security taxes!

      1. K Ackermann

        Bravo.

        When the top 1% own 40% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% own 1% of the wealth, then there is a huge potential economic engine just starving for velocity.

        If they are not going to raise our wages, then tax the hell out of them for their own good and everybody’s good.

        They can’t have all the money. It doesn’t work that way.

        1. traderjoe

          I would strongly disagree with the idea of using taxes as a means of social balancing (strikes as socialism to me) or arguing that changes in tax rates are the sole (or major) reason for the wealth inequity.

          IMHO, the wealth inequity comes from the capture of government by the financial, MIC, and mego-corporate elites. The very structure of mega-corporations allows for such distributed ownership that managers and executives allow themselves to rob the corporation through options, compensation, etc. There is no check on the system. I would argue the vast multiplication of the executive to worker compensation ratio is more responsible for the disparity of wealth then the tax rates.

          The trouble with ‘enriching’ government with more tax money is that ‘they’ will only find a way to re-capture government. Eventually all governments become the management of the many by the few, for the benefit of the few. The answer is NOT to make government bigger.

          1. Jim the Skeptic

            traderjoe says: “I would strongly disagree with the idea of using taxes as a means of social balancing (strikes as socialism to me) or arguing that changes in tax rates are the sole (or major) reason for the wealth inequity”

            Global Free Trade, illegal immigration, and tax cuts to the wealthiest have been used over the last 30 years to screw the vast majority of us.

            Fine, lets screw the poorest in our society just one more time! Then we can draft you and your brethren to maintain some semblance of order! God, your not a draft dodger too!!!

          2. traderjoe

            @Jim – WHAT?! All of those things you mention are CREATURES of the government. Global free trade allowed the mega-corporations to gut the national manufacturing base. I don’t want to touch the immigration issue. And the government has created VAST structures to benefit the financial elites, etc. at the expense of the middle class.

            But you want to give them MORE money?! Do you expect a different result this time? A vast non-profit safety net exists in this country. Why can’t we as sovereign citizens control our own society through local control? You want a BIGGER federal government? The one that has launched us on 2 useless ME wars? Maybe if we were more free we could be more prosperous (in a different context like community, family, etc.) as a society.

            I don’t understand the nature of your draft-dodger insult, so I can’t address. Cheers.

          3. DownSouth

            traderjoe: “Eventually all governments become the management of the many by the few, for the benefit of the few.”

            Well that’s certainly what the Chicago Boys have been saying ad nauseam beginning with Frank Knight.

            But I’ll take that back. What the third generation Chicago Boys are saying is: “All governments should become the management of the many by the few, for the benefit of the few.”

            It’s amazing how easily, and almost without exception, the former statement morphs into the latter statement.

  17. Tom Crowl

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
    – Plutarch

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
    – Hunter S. Thompson

    Take it from an aging baby-boomer. Most of my generation preferred the fantasy of self-adoration fostered by both corporations and governments to the responsibilities required for informed participation in the political process.

    And both government and corporations like it that way…

    It takes frequent thought and involvement in issues that you can effect to learn the skills of citizenship.

    While the elites won’t be inviting you in… you can always just crash the party… you just need the tools to open the door.

    Capability ENABLES Responsibility…

    Why Politics MUST be Localized
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2010/10/why-politics-must-be-localized.html

    Empowering the Commons: The Dedicated Account (Part I)
    http://culturalengineer.blogspot.com/2010/08/empowering-commons-dedicated-account.html

    Patent granted. I’d love to put it into operation.

    1. traderjoe

      Tom – I’m really coming around to the idea of local political control, and I look forward to spending more time on your site to read some of your ideas.

      I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, but just using this as a point to stick my two cents into the discussion.

      SS is a program designed intentionally to increase the control of the USG over people’s lives. This sort of discussion is exactly the kind of talk they were hoping for over time. We pay into a “fund” over a 40 year period and then hope for a payout/retirement fund at the end. That makes us extremely vested in maintaining the current system. We become defenders of some form of the status quo, even though we might despise vast other elements of it. All ‘entitlements’ do that.

      I haven’t read one commenter discuss the arguably inherent flaw in the idea that we pay the government a tax that is spent immediately in the general fund, replaced with an IOU (a government one no less) and then in the future we hope to receive a payment from the general fund (or from the tax stream) of others. And as mentioned above, once paid in, we become defenders of the system.

      Why can’t we save for ourselves? Why can’t communities and families create their own safety nets? Does a (captured) national government really perform these tasks best? Yes, the obvious issue is that we are deep in the current system, but can we look at whether this system really is the best way to do it, before we simply make tweaks to it?

      As a brief addition to my soap box rant, fractional reserve banking (with debt-money creation by private banks) requires inflation to continue for as long as possible. Deflation is the natural course of prices (as productivity reduces costs). If deflation or stable prices were allowed to reign over time, workers and middle class citizens could reliably store/save their excess labor over time without having to rely on the “money-changers”. The money-changers, who created the inflation-bearing system in order to gather assets and make loans in a self-perpetuating cycle, are a parasite on all of our incomes and the economy.

      1. DownSouth

        • traderjoe said: SS is a program designed intentionally to increase the control of the USG over people’s lives. This sort of discussion is exactly the kind of talk they were hoping for over time. We pay into a “fund” over a 40 year period and then hope for a payout/retirement fund at the end. That makes us extremely vested in maintaining the current system. We become defenders of some form of the status quo, even though we might despise vast other elements of it. All ‘entitlements’ do that.

        Sounds great! Except the alternative to what you are saying is none other than “a program designed intentionally to increase the control of the banksters over people’s lives.” Jacob S. Hacker explains:

        To be sure, nota ll the advocates of 401(k)s and IRAs had grand policy visions in mind. Tax-free accounts, after all, represented a big tax break especially valuable to the well off—-and, hence, especially attractive to antitax conservatives, whatever the long-term effects. Yet the potential political benefits of the 401(k) and IRA revolution were far from the minds of leading advocates. As early as 1983, Stuart Butler—-the Waldo of conservative policy movement we met earlier—-had co-authored a strategy memo in which he called for expanding tax-free private accounts into “a small-scale private Social Security system,” while mobilizing “banks, insurance companies, and other institutions that will gain from providing such plans to the public.” In the first Bush administration, officials described the expansion of 401(k)s as a strategy of “empowerment” that “would create a framework within which individuals are free to do the best they can do for themselves.” By the time the second President Bush was campaigning for Social Security privatization in 2005, he was speaking of a “401(k) culture”—-a culture that, not coincidentally, was wholly in keeping with his vision of a conservative ownership society. Asked why conservatives should support 401(k)s, a Heritage Foundation economist said simply, “When citizens have a vested interest in the economy and own more property (or investment assets), the more…politically conservative your society will be.

        In the eyes of Wall Street and Washington, section 401(k) was the harbinger of a joyous new era. Unfortunately, it would be the first era since Social Security’s creation when, instead of expanding, retirement security began to slip away.
        –Jacob S. Hacker, The Great Risk Shift

        • traderjoe said: “Does a (captured) national government really perform these tasks best?”

        The United States government is, as we speak, without a doubt the most secure counterparty in the world.

        The fact is that the federal government just went through an era where it spent trillions upon trillions of dollars to bail out private enterprise.

        If people were to put their retirement funds into private investment accounts as you advocate, what this means, to quote Hacker again, is that “these private retirement fortunes are dependent on the future of financial markets.”

        Do you want to place your entire retirement future in the hands of the banksters? Personally, I can’t think of a more imprudent course of action.

        • traderjoe said: “If deflation or stable prices were allowed to reign over time, workers and middle class citizens could reliably store/save their excess labor over time without having to rely on the ‘money-changers’.”

        Again, it all sounds great, until we take a look at how such a system actually worked out in the past. The system you advocate describes the actual system the United States had from just after the Civil War until 1914. In practice it was great for the robber barons and big corporations, but devastating to farmers, small business people and urban industrial workers. Lawrence Goodwyn lays all this out in great detail in The Populist Moment.

        Sorry traderjoe, but there are no silver bullets when it comes to monetary policy.

        1. traderjoe

          @DownSouth – thanks for the reasoned response. I do enjoy a good discussion…

          I think one of the troubles in all of this is that not only are there honest disagreements in the solutions, but the problems as well. And as an aside, a forum doesn’t provide the opportunity to actually espouse in full one’s ideas. It’s a bunch of soundbites…

          I’m not a fan of private investment accounts. I believe the entire money-changing industry is a parasite on our lives. As I tried to allude to, I believe inflation is preferred by the money-changers because it requires savers to “reach for yield” in order to combat inflation – and therefore place their money with the money-changers. IF prices were relatively stable over time, for instance, citizens would not need to invest in assets they knew little about – they could simply save (regulated bank accounts, etc.).

          I’m a fan of a competing currency system – a Treasury-issued Greenback (issued without debt and without interest) and public or private commodity-linked currencies. That way, savers/citizens could understand the stability over time, and be able to choose their currency over time. This would provide a check and balance on each of the alternatives.

          I am coming to believe that mega-corporations should be broken up. The corporate structure itself is a gift from the government. It allows for the aggregation of power, and the distribution of ownership.

          More sound bites of course. And yes, there are no silver bullets. But I do believe the privately-held banking cabal creating ‘our’ money for free, and charging us interest for the privilege of using it (after securing collateral on productive assets) is inherently flawed.

  18. The Daily Bail

    I posted this above in response to JMAN, and am reposting here just so it’s clear!

    I should have been more clear in the original post. When I said that most Americans were prepared for cuts to SS, I was speaking of those who would be means tested and then asked to give up a certain % of benefits. So I was speaking of the more well-off when I wrote that sentence in the story. I WAS NOT implying that most people had accepted the idea of hiking the retirement age. The assumption I have always held is that cuts to SS would come in the form of income testing for the well to do recipients, who would then receive an annual tax credit in exchange for “giving up” benefits they were promised.

    In other words, if you make more than 200k (random number) in retirement, then the gov’t withholds, let’s say, $10k of your SS benefits, then you would receive a $10k tax credit in exchange (thereby saving you roughly $3300 on your taxes)…

    I likely butchered the numbers, but you get my point. But, EMPHATICALLY, I was not saying that most Americans had accepted the idea of hiking the retirement age for everyone, or targeting ALL income levels for savings.

  19. The Daily Bail

    And to CLARIFY even further, any acceptance of the ‘income testing’ model on the well-to-do for SS savings, has now been eradicated by gov’t misbehavior over the past 32 months.

    For example, my parents are retired and aged 71 and 72. My dad was/is a radiologist for 40 years so he has a decent retirement account (about $1.4 M). For years I told my parents they would need to be means tested in retirement, and they should accept less than promised in SS, because it would be a part of a larger effort at righting our fiscal path.

    They grew to accept this reality and have been prepared to receive less in benefits thru means testing that I swore to them was coming.

    But now, FORGET IT! My mother is so pissed off about the wars, the Wall Street bailouts, etc., that there’s no way in hell she will give up a dime of what she is owed.

    So I was trying to encapsulate these emotions – from those who had begrudgingly planned to give up benefits, but now say Fuck you – into the story, without making it a longer more analytical piece. I wanted to keep it short and sweet and so I left out details that caused some confusion.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Same story, different version.
      This whole corrupt disaster of bank bailouts and SS pontificating by the Petersons and Simpsons is contemptible.

  20. Paul Tioxon

    Well, this is certainly disconcerting. To think, this much Ivy League fire power in the service of proto revolutionary diatribes. Are you calling for an economic or cyber insurrection? Since this is the moral equivalence of war, we need a goal, a mission and a battle plan, strategies, to win the war. Who are the specific people in power and how to we take power away from them? What organizations have power and how do we dismantle them and replace them with appropriately instituted, democratically control organizations, that can be well defended?

    1. K Ackermann

      Start with public campaign finance, and then remove all vestiges of personhood from corporations.

      That’s just a start.

      1. traderjoe

        YES! The very nature of the corporation allows for the distribution of ownership beyond control, and the avoidance of liability by the bad actors.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Dear Anon and perfectly useless cynic. I am a financial contributor and participant of the Democratic Party and Moveon, among others. I believe we should take over the Democratic Party and use it like an 11 nuclear air craft carrier battle group to pound the the UCC and IRS tax code into instruments of political control in the service of the well known policies of publicly funded education, health care, full employment, hi tech research and security.

        As soon as you and other anon and perfectly useless cynics or republican operatives come out into the open, as Yves does, in her writings, speeches, op ed and TV interviews, you will remain anon and useless. I will be organizing with the millions of Dems and over 5 million Moveon members. The many real and organized people who believe self organizing polities is a real trend that is winning here and around the world and will continue. Take your brown nose off of your bosses’ ass, stop day trading in forex, gold or whatever and do something in public, useful that has political consequences. I am sure you can google something worthwhile to provide yr sorry ass with the necessary leadership it so sorely calls out for. I am busy, paddle yr own canoe.

        1. Dr. Pitchfork

          What are you talking about? The only useless cynic here is you. I just asked you for your plans and you assumed I was being facetious (and then proceeded to emote, free associate and project your paranoia all over the page).

          Why would you want to embarrass yourself like that?

          1. Doug Terpstra

            I wondered the same. Touchy nerves here, especially those who still have a stake in and think the Democratic Party can be redeemed. I hope they’re right, but I’ve MovedOn.

      2. Paul Repstock

        Since for most people it will be a matter of securing personal survival first, here is the start of a ‘to do list’:
        a) If you have retirment savings. Then move half of them to a more politically stable Colonial economy. Currency controls are sure to come soon.
        b) Make certain that you and your loved ones have 6 months worth of the cheapest basic food staples. (More than that is likely problematic anyway)
        c) Rebuild a sense of community in your neighbourhood.
        d) Buy and read some books on negotiation, nonviolent protest, and possibly Buddism.

        E))DO NOT BUY INTO CONFRONTATIONAL, VIOLENT, or SURVIVALIST mindsets or philosophies. You need to survive and shape the changing of your country. Not the end of the world.

        1. Paul Tioxon

          I don’t offer financial planning, sorry if I am too touchy. Glad you moved on, good luck on building a new political party from scratch. I would think that the political and business talent here would understand the point in taking over an existing, robust operation. I have posted some items before but here goes again for those who can not google.

          http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/

          William Domhoff has been doing research into power in America. His arguments are fine. Review them. Taking over the Democratic Party and replacing its platform is the simplest way to change the Federal and Local level. We are not artists who are doomed by sniveling critics who do not like derivative ideas, slavish copies and the curse of always coming up with something new and different by bona fide divas and superstars. Whatever works is good enough for me. Pragmatism. There is not enough room here and now. But maybe I can draw up guest post. It will not come from an MBA, an attorney or someone with a genius award but it will come with analysis that holds up to a sound and complete logical argument supported by social science and my person experience. I am sorry if I don’t have tips to make anyone rich, but that is not what I do.

          The simplest route to power is to go directly towards it and take it. In a democratically controlled republic that means the political parties and the elected public offices that parties try to control in order to execute the policies that they espouse. That’s the plan. I am not here to ague endlessly but to learn and I do learn a lot. Not from everyone, but from most.

          1. Paul Repstock

            Paul; A small history lesson on that strategy from a Canadian perspective. Many years ago we has a ‘grassroots’ freedom and accountability party formed in response to an an entrenched and corrupt Fedral Power structure. The party grew exponentially. They were a major force in government, and effected the near collapse of one of the oldline parties. This new party because of historical and regional discrepancies was not quite able to win control of the country, so they decided to absorb the remnants of the bankrupt old line party.

            Within two years, the “Old Guard” had control of the entire show, and it was business as usual!

            Lesson learned: If you lie down with Dogs, you will get fleas!

      1. Paul Tioxon

        I know that FDR is regarded here as one of the greatest, and rightly so. I regard him that way as well. The Socialist Party in America had many of its policies used by FDR. His advisers, Tugwell, Perkins, Hopkins etc., all saw government as capable of directly intervening in people’s lives with programs designed for relief, public works and positive regulation of the work place to make life less miserable. Many socialist voting Americans became Democrats. To this day, including the Great Society legislation and the work of Pelosi and Obama have resulted in substantive improvements for people in education, health care, union regs, workplace rights for women etc., socialist programs have formed one of the pillars of our mixed economy.

        I understand that Obama is not at all regarded on NC for his lack of dramatic handling of the banking crisis, including the foreclosures, among many other finance related failures. Even with a clear 2 house majority and even if there was a capitulating republican party, the banking interests would probably still get their way. And I concur that Obama is greatly responsible for regulatory capture of the Federal Govt, including the WH via his appointment of Summers, Geithner and blindly following their every word.

        But as I said, I am not here to argue with venting people. I was just wanting to know what you are prepared to do. I don’t expect you to form an underground movement. I expect at some point that you come to a conclusion, about doing something. I was wondering what that might be, if it is not too big a secret. I wouldn’t want to expose any carefully crafted secret plans that will spring into action like a 5th column at the appropriate time. I do know that loose lips sink ships. So, if it is not too touchy to ask again, since you know more or less who I am and what I am doing.

        Here is a brief concept for a proposal: Social Security is a big, well understood, if not comprehensively analyzed social program. The impression I get from NC and I concur with it, is that there is nothing the matter with SSA. It has a dedicated funding source, a trust fund to administrate it and for 75 years has not missed a check. The banking system has collapsed 3 times during this period and social security has been borrowed from to fund federal deficits, but the republicans hated it at birth and continue to hate on purely ideological basis. Now, the austerity rip-off Machiavellian stage productions are trotting out various commissions to save the ticking time bomb that they claim for SSA. It’s pure bullshit. Sen elect Toomey from PA has published a book which outlines among his many struggles with govt programs, his plan for privatizing SSA. How about Yves and the NC community stepping up, becoming the Social Security 24/7 clearing house and own it in way that foreclosures was covered here, only bigger. Most of the writing here is from seasoned, credentialed, licensed financial advisers with Ivy League pedigrees. You know how to manage money successfully and you understand national and international policies for retirement management of funds. How about a national meeting convened next year in time for the 2012 elections for Social Security Reform Now! Raise the income cap, include all forms of income including capital gains in the social security tax and trust fund. This may allow for a small lowering of the tax rate for employers. Maybe add a feature where if you add money to the SSA trust on yr own, you get a matching tax deduction like an IRA. Only the money is in the trust fund, in Treasuries, not with Fidelity or Vanguard. And we the NC community have events in cities across the country with the esteemed members of the NC community convening the meeting to coincide with presidential primaries and caucuses. Something like that. I nominate Yves as the National Convener and volunteer myself to co-convene in the Phila area. Well???

  21. Washington Babylon

    The Deficit Commission has recommended smaller COLA’s for
    SS recipients but the fact is they haven’t had a COLA since
    2009 and won’t see another one until 2013: http://cboblog.cbo.gov/?p=236
    Also, millions of SS recipients are seeing actual cuts in
    benefits right now because of the hold-harmless provision
    that does not apply to them.
    Nobody seems to be talking about this (no surprise) but
    this is the current reality for millions of SS beneficiaries.

  22. Eclaire

    Dear Steve at The Daily Bail,

    I’m skipping the posted comments for now to write this.

    Oh my, I love it when you start out all serious and boring and ratchet the level up slowly until you erupt into obscenity-laced righteous rage.

    I’m printing it out and posting it on my refrigerator so i can read it first thing every morning to counteract the MSM anodynes that would lull me and the rest of the “little” people into accepting economic death with a resigned smile.

    PS. Will you send me a signed 8X10 glossy that I can post on my bedroom mirror?

    PPS. Full (or almost full) disclosure: I’m 70 and receive social security.

  23. Lynda Scott

    …..but … but…. WE PAID INTO THAT SOCIAL SECURITY & WERE DEPENDING UPON THAT INCOME ! ….HOW POOR DO “they” WANT US TO BE !! maybe we could stop spending so much on wars, how about cutting some government jobs like doing away with the DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION & returning back to normal, like when i was a kid ……. ALL EDUCATION was LOCAL !

  24. Hugh

    Want to fix Medicare? Institute universal single payer. Want to fix Social Security? Take the income cap off and treat capital gains as income. Reduce further the upper end payout. As Ross Perot would say, problem solved.

  25. Scott

    Thanks Steve. I think the Great Recession now has its “Howl.”

    I want chicken
    I want liver
    Meow Mix, Meow Mix
    Please deliver!

    Thanks Catfood Commission!

    So if one day my car may stop working, just like Social Security *could*, I should go take an axe to it today? Makes sense.

  26. F. Beard

    In this environment, selling ‘cuts to social security’ is not going to work, and considering the role you both played in creating the irresponsible federal spending machine that now controls Washington and has bankrupted future unborn generations, fuck you for even bringing it up.

    You concede way too much. I hope the next generation or even this one repudiates the National Debt or better yet just prints the cash to retire it over time with no more “borrowing”.

    Please don’t buy into the bankrupt paradigm. The US Government cannot go bankrupt.

    1. Paul Repstock

      LOL, FB, You better re write that.

      –“The US Government cannot go bankrupt.”–

      There is good evidence that all governments are bankrupt, both financially and morally.

      If I have shares in a ‘Bankrupt Company’, I write them off and look for something of better value.

      1. F. Beard

        There is good evidence that all governments are bankrupt, both financially and morally. Paul Repstock

        I am no fan of big government but realize that the counterfeiting cartel is behind the need for most of it. When we start to practice genuine capitalism in the US, then the need for socialism will “wither away”. Remember, socialism in the US did not get a good start till AFTER the 1929 Crash.

      2. reslez

        A government that issues its own currency and allows it to freely float cannot go bankrupt except by policial choice. Just like an alchemist can’t run out of gold. The government is the source of money. It can’t run out.

        Moral bankruptcy is a different issue.

        1. F. Beard

          Moral bankruptcy is a different issue. resiez

          The FR bankers have been robbing this country blind for a long time.

        2. traderjoe

          Does our government issue FRN’s – or do private banks, and the Federal Reserve (a privately-owned banking cabal)?

          I would contend that the FRN is created privately, and then lent at interest to the Treasury in order to be spent. Like you reference, it does not have to be this way.

  27. Whitecoat

    I have endless faith in the ability of economies to regulate themselves, despite the misguided interventions of ignorant bureaucrats. The world is a self cleaning oven, and Darwin sets the temperature. Say what you want and do what you will, all countries will live or die until food, shelter, energy and commerce are ruthlessly optimized by the relentless, daily struggles of 7 billion people on the same, small planet.

    So sit back and enjoy the show. The next decade should prove to be very interesting, indeed.

      1. LeeAnne

        OMG, I just saw your comment and was afraid I had posted mine by mistake.

        I had written simply ‘you are crazy! a few hours ago, but thought better of hitting the ‘send’ button.

    1. William

      The process of resource management optimization you are describing is generally known as ‘science’ and it works best when information and technology is shared in the commons. This process does not have to be a struggle, though the misguided interventions of ignorant capitalists often make it so.

  28. Stephen V.

    To Paul Repstock et al.

    This guy has devoted his life to writing on non-violent resistance
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Sharp
    [snip]
    In Sharp’s view all effective power structures have systems by which they encourage or extract obedience from their subjects. States have particularly complex systems for keeping subjects obedient. These systems include specific institutions (police, courts, regulatory bodies) but may also involve cultural dimensions that inspire obedience by implying that power is monolithic (the god cult of the Egyptian pharaohs, the dignity of the office of the President, moral or ethical norms and taboos). Through these systems, subjects are presented with a system of sanctions (imprisonment, fines, ostracism) and rewards (titles, wealth, fame) which influence the extent of their obedience.

    This is ultimately related to nonviolent resistance because it is supposed to provide subjects with a window of opportunity for effecting change within a state. Sharp cites the insight of Étienne de La Boétie, that if the subjects of a particular state recognize that they are the source of the state’s power they can refuse their obedience and their leader(s) will be left without power.

    Sharp published Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential in 2005.
    [snip]
    You may also find this article interesting:
    http://www.carolmoore.net/articles/nv-action-article.html
    [snip]
    both Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself swiftly abandoned
    Communism in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This would be amazing in itself, but what is more startling is
    that the ruling elites of the former communist countries typically gave up some, most, or all of their power
    without violence. Historically, power transfers in authoritarian regimes came via coups or civil war.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Thanks Stephen. Nice resource.

      Bullies can sometimes be defeated by force, but this does not address the underlying cause.

    2. traderjoe

      “States have particularly complex systems for keeping subjects obedient.”

      – YES! Including entitlements, forced ‘retirement’ programs, etc., etc. Once someone has paid into the system, they want the system to continue in order to receive their vested benefits. In that way, participants become defenders of the system/government and no longer question its underlying logic or its long-term impacts/benefits to society.

      1. Paul Repstock

        Thank you Joe. You sure hit the target that time.

        Doh!!!
        Sometimes people like you provide such insights and make me feel staggeringly stupid. I have long recognised the importance age component in the neo conservative support mechanism. But, I never made the logical conclusion that it was shaped and institutionalized by these Liberal Seeming programs.

        In light of this, I would have to suppose that there will actually be few if any changes to Social Security. That the whole thing is merely a ploy bt the government to make people even more aware of how dependant they are on the continuation of government, and that they had better not rock the boat!

      2. reslez

        Unemployment is an even stronger threat. Don’t rock the boat or you’ll lose your job, your house, and your health insurance. Which explains why no one in D.C. cares about high unemployment. As far as they’re concerned it’s a plus.

        Forget taking away Social Security. You don’t get Social Security unless you were working. Years of joblessness add up to a big fat zero.

        Then when you come to collect the pittance in benefits available to you (for daring to want to feed your family) you’re treated with disdain and called a parasite. They are the real parasites, as Attempter has repeatedly pointed out. This is nothing less than a disgusting, unprovoked attack on seniors and the disabled. It needs to be recognized for what it is — a naked grab for money by the elite.

        1. traderjoe

          No, it’s a naked grab for POWER by the elite. They MAKE you pay into a ‘retirement’ system. They create words and concepts like “lockbox” or “trust fund” that perpetuate the idea that this is a dedicated retirement fund (meanwhile they use all of the surplus for the general fund). Then, every so often they create a ‘solvency’ issue – which brings out all of the vested/un-vested participants to DEFEND the status quo (which includes their system). BRILLIANT!

          SS isn’t the prize for the elites – it’s the entire SYSTEM. The system of debt-money created by private banks and loaned back to us at interest. The system of regulatory capture, incumbent politicians (why would someone spend $100 million on a campaign if it didn’t have a positive net present value), etc., etc. The elites have control of the military/industrial complex, the banks, the mega-corporations. They create programs which co-opt participants into believing in the system, like SS. Now that 44 million Americans are on SNAP (eliminating the ugly bread lines of old), you think they will actually revolt from the government?

          In making the ‘masses’ reliant on the government, they create supporters and defenders of the government – even as the masses know, on some level, that this same government (as it represents the elites), is most certainly NOT acting in their best interests.

  29. Benedict@Large

    The quickest and easiest fix for SocSec is to simply raise the interest rate paid on the trust fund by a few tenths. If you’re wondering how we pay for this, that’s also easy: The exact same way we pay the current interest on the trust fund.

    Go ahead. Think about it. Is your head hurting yet?

  30. Don Levit

    Folks:
    I think we can all agree that the trust fund has been loaned, in its entirety, to the Treasury, to pay for government expenses.
    These loans increase the intragovernmental debt, which is part of the total debt.
    Many economists discount intragovernmental debt (which is about half of the debt held by the public), because it is debt that the left hand (Treasury) owes the right hand (SS trust fund).
    The trust fund balance is merely the amount of money that SS can withdraw without an appropriation. It is no easier to pay the benefits, just becausr there is a trust fund. The benefits are paid just like battleships are paid for – with taxes and debt out of the Treasury.
    We spend way too much time and energy focusing on the trust fund, thinking it provides an excellent tool to assess SS’s solvency. It doesn’t matter if the trust fund’s balance is $1trillion or $10 trillion.
    The actual payments come from the Treasury, not the trust fund, just as we pay for battleships.
    The only difference is that battleships need appropriations, while the trsut fund has an automatic draw on the Treasury, as long as there is a positive “Fund Balance with the Treasury.”
    If anyone wants good governmental links to back my premise, I will be happy to provide them, along with the excerpts.
    Don Levit

    1. ceasley7

      I love a full blown fascist idiot like yourself blathering nonsense. I don’t know where you come from but when you make a promise and raise taxes to pay for that promise and then you renege on that promise it is called default. But guess what, that is a two way street buster.

    2. run75441

      Don:

      The crux of your message is correct; however and initially, the payouts would be small in comparison to the waste their is in the tax breaks and unfunded wars. To close the gap between revenues and payouts has a relatively small impact on income and could be graduated into today’s Withholding a tenth of a percent a year. In which case, people like Bruce and Wall Street would never have to pay the fund back which is what they are really worried about.

    3. JD

      Don you are probably correct with regards to the trust fund, which by the was 4.3 trillion of the national debt. However, the issue at hand is SS is still a strong and viable program, which may require a minor fix. It is not going bust as claimed by the elites.

  31. Don Levit

    Ceasley:
    If you are referring to me, I agree with you that there is a disconnect between what the American people think they are owed, and what the government considers a liability.
    Only the current year’s payments is considered a liability.
    Those taxes that you paid are not premiums for an insurance/retirement plan.
    Those taxes go to the Treasury to fund the general welfare.
    You cannot, legally, tie your FICA taxes to your benefits.
    I can provide excerpts and links to prove my points if you or anyone else is interested.
    Don Levit

  32. Ron C

    All the Hype is just to fool the Average Joe. All the irresponsible spending and the great mess we’re in can all be Magically fixed by reforming Social Security and Medicare. So the Average Joe breathes a sigh of relief that our Government has everything under control and the Players get a little more time to pillage and plunder.

  33. JD

    I must say Steve @ Daily Bail made my day….. His comment is 100% on target and it must be conveyed exactly to these morons…. Thanks Steve

  34. TC

    How can there be any discussion of Social Security reform — even those Yves suggests — when an insolvent financial system atop an economy lured for decades into a debt trap — a trap now closing by hyperinflationary blowout accommodated by the Federal Reserve and central banks across the globe — are the larger issues negatively affecting this social program whose function serves to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity?

    There simply can be no reasonable discussion about reforming Social Security without resolving the financial system’s present bankruptcy: one whose cause by no means can be laid on the doorstep of this program.

    A line in the sand need be drawn. The game of make believe played for much too long must end STAT now that programs promoting the very principles for which this nation exists are coming under attack. In fiery language this author says the same. Yet the author does not speak for me in saying, “the American people have been prepared for and willing to accept changes (cuts) to Social Security.” (Nor am I willing to accept cuts in national defense.)

    Rather, resurrect the Bank of the United States, repeal the income tax, and a transformed physical economy then should provide a dynamic platform on which both the Social Security system will thrive, and big investment bank bonuses still can be paid (that is after bankruptcy reorganization removes from the scene the current breed of “investment bank” whose due diligence failures have created the mess we are in).

  35. David Thurston

    How about taking some benefits away from our congresspeople – i.e., retirement and special health insurance. NOBODY should be allowed to retire with full benefits after serving one term in congress. Only a drop in the bucket, but at least the people would feel that their representatives are also contributing to the welfare of the country.

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