Links 8/15/10


  1. attempter

    Re “Why do I think Obama’s setting himself up to side with it?”

    Because gutting Social Security is clearly Obama’s own deepest wish and #1 priority. That’s why he unilaterally resurrected the assault after it was dead and buried.

    When even the Democrats in Congress blanched at this, he formed his anti-democratic Star Chamber and loaded it with Republicans and corporatists.

    Since then Pelosi has been getting with the program, and the plan is to have a lame duck vote rubber-stamping this corporate diktat after the election.

    But if that doesn’t work, plan B is for Obama to go directly to the Republicans for support. Psychologically it would be easy since he’s clearly a conscious Republican at heart.

    Re the UCLA idiot:

    That list is comical (though so are DeLong’s equally stupid remarks). It’s funny how it’s just a grade school rote recitation of official traitors (never mind whether by ideology he agrees with the traitor or not), with some liberals and tabloid celebrities thrown in at random. It’s clearly meant to appeal to stupid right-wingers, though the list is so stupid that it would seem he’s on their same intellectual level, and not just pandering.

    DeLong’s suggestions – serial killers and such, i.e. more tabloid crap – prove that he and Bainbridge are exactly the same in the one thing that really matters.

    Both are committed to absolving the real criminals, history’s worst criminals, America’s worst traitors, from even the indignity of appearing on a dopey Internet list.

    Thus the list could be a billion names long, and neither would ever list Blankfein, Dimon, Hayward, Blankenship, Grant, and similar gangsters who should really comprise the top several thousand slots. Not to mention the likes of Obama, Bush, Geithner, Summers, Paulson, Dodd, Frank, McConnell……

    1. i on the ball patriot

      Regarding the “Worst 25” scam, its more than a legal “idiot” …

      Wealthy ruling elite butt sucking dumb ass collaborating agitators further the intentionally created perpetual conflict of scamericans with a purposefully divisive, “25 Worst Figures in Scamerican History”, opinion survey.

      Along with accelerating the intentionally created perpetual conflict (a diabolical herd thinning and resource consumption reducing plan), the bogus survey was designed to deflect from the planets, ‘Worst and Greediest Wealthy Ruling Elite In Current History’ opinion survey.

      Ignore THEIR intentionally divisive survey and vote now for the top, ‘Worst and Greediest Wealthy Ruling Elite In Current History’.

      Test your knowledge of who the behind the scenes greediest movers and shakers really are. Who really pays the salaries of and controls the well synched orchestration of the butt sucking, anti scamerican, dumb ass, collaborating lap dog agitators at RWN? Its your chance to show your stuff and bite back …


      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

      1. i on the ball patriot

        Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson are part of the now co-opted Vanilla Greed vs Pernicious Greed fake battlefield which has recently become an extension of the republican vs democrat duopoly dodo theater. Its another scam layered over that older republican vs democrat scam made necessary to make those who are waking up to the fake duopoly theater think they have a dog in the fight. They don’t!

        Hamsher is selling the new batch of Kool aid when she lauds Altman and Kingston and at the same time validates and legitimizes the system and the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform in her ingratiating, relate and spew the hate close, repeated here …

        “It’s going to be important to tell the tale of Peterson’s inexorable march and diffuse the notion that the Commission is simply responding to temporal economic factors. This is class war, pure and simple. The rich against the poor. Hedge fund billionaires and defense contractors against senior citizens struggling to get by. Altman and Kingson have done us all a tremendous favor by opening up the discourse and asking important questions that need to be answered before the Commission makes its report on December. That’s just in time to jam it through a lame duck Congress before the Christmas break, something both John Conyers and John Boehner have warned about — a repeat of what Bowles planned to do in the 90s.”

        They are all part of the same cesspool of gangsters and it goes well beyond hedge fund billionaires and defense contractors. You will know they are sincere when they start calling for proactive election boycotts as a ‘vote of no confidence’ in this over the top, TOTALLY NON RESPONSIVE TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE, crooked government.

        Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  2. Ina Deaver

    You know, there was a weird little article in the NYT today by the “retail” reporter about how school supplies lists now include all kinds of stuff intended for the teacher to use rather than the kids – paper towels, antibacterial wipes, etc. Her angle was how now suddenly school supplies sections were increasing to include such items.

    Where has the NYT been? I’ve been having to bring in kleenex and antibacterial wipes and ziploc bags for at least 5 years: on the contrary, new this year are two reams per child of xerox paper, a box of red pens per child (!), and requests that the antibacterial wipes be unscented and “green.” Because there is no longer a computer lab at the school – it’s now a classroom due to overcrowding – the kids all had to have jump drives, also.

    Basically, I’m concerned that the only person around who appears to have it right is Robert Reich.

    1. JTFaraday

      It seems entirely likely to me that at some point in the future parents will be paying *tuition* at “historically public” schools that are merely partially subsidized by local property taxes.

      Certainly, this makes good sense to the “pay for it if you use it” mentality of the small government conservatives who no longer subsidize mass transit in my state–with ever increasing fares for those who use it–and we already have a similar tuition/ tax subsidized model at the university level (which they don’t all necessarily want to fund either).

      I have also noticed a fair amount of resentment about people who have kids they “can’t afford” amongst ordinary not necessarily ideologically right wing people. I don’t think we can assume a sense of collective responsibility for future generations is inevitable.

      And, really, if the whole point of education is primarily individual careerist advancement–and I’m hard pressed to come up with many parents who would advance an alternative philosophy with respect to their own kids– why would the competition want to pay for it?

      1. Ina Deaver

        It’s already close to that. A lot of places you pay for either a house in the (expensive) neighborhood with the good school, or you pay for private school. The cost is surprisingly similar. The public education system has been broken for a long time because it has ceased to serve the ends of the oligarchy. They USED to believe that a reasonably educated workforce was a better workforce and a more docile one – they no longer think that, I believe.

        I had also noticed how education for its own sake is derided now – the nerve of some kid who wants to major in something stupid like history or English! What kind of investment is that?

        The whole thing is mighty disheartening.

  3. Bates

    RE: ‘Obama: If GOP retakes Congress, they will seek to destroy Social Security’

    Privatize Social Security? Definition: Redirect SS money to Wall St and FIRE sector so they can skim a percentage of the dollars before it reaches SS recipients. In addition the FIRE sector can ‘invest’ the SS funds into risky assets and eventually claim ‘all the funds have been lost…and no, we are not apoligizing. BTW, we paid ourselves enormous bonuses while losing your SS money.’

    If you think the retail sector and consumer economy are in bad shape now and headed in the wrong direction, what do you think will happen when there is less or no spending coming from SS recipients? Main St collapse. Banana facist state. This is another in a long line of moves to prop up zombie Wall St banks while flipping the bird to Main St. With no or reduced SS spending how high will unemployment go?

    I would like to add that I do not believe that SS or Medicare is sustainable in the long run because the money paid into the ‘SS Trust Fund’ was spent as general revenue taxes to fund every pork barrel project imaginable along with numerous unnecessary wars. Politicians have taken the money of generations of Americans that paid into the SS system and squandered it. Now, redirecting SS money to the FIRE sector is a dodge, a way out for the politicians. Once the SS fund is ‘bankrupted’ by the already hated FIRE sector, the pols can shruge and say whocouldaknowed.

    The play in progress is just another move to steal what is left of America before exit stage left and right by those making up the new rules as they go.

    How do you think news of SS shenanigans will effect consumer spending going forward? Someone should ask the Wal Mart, Target, Safeway, Pennys, HP, etc, CEOs what they think will happen to consumer spending with reduced or no SS benefits.

  4. DownSouth

    RE: “India outsourcers angered by US job visa hike”

    I’m happy to see that highly educated and highly skilled workers are also feeling the heat in the immigration debate.

    Protecting American workers, their jobs and their pay levels, are the only legitimate arguments that the anti-immigrant brigades have. And this includes protecting higly skilled and highly paid workers too. The other arguments the anti-immgigrat brigades trumpet–crime and macroeconomic cost–are unsubstantiated and downright bogus. But notice the anti-immigration brigades often omit the part about protecting American workers. In the absense of the protecting American workers, the only other thing left standing for the anti-immigration brigades is racism and xenophobia.

    1. wunsacon

      >> I’m happy to see that highly educated and highly skilled workers are also feeling the heat in the immigration debate.

      DownSouth, then you’ll be “pleased” to learn that IT workers in America have been “feeling the heat” for 9 years already. By that I mean: Americans (carrying higher education debt than foreigners) in the IT industry have long been facing enormous downsizing, outsourcing, and in-country replacement (via the H1B program) pressures for 10 years. And you’ll especially enjoy learning that in the apartment across the hall from me four unrelated Indian IT workers share a 2-bedroom apartment (furnished with barely more than the mattresses on the floor), in order to make do with the lower wages they’re paid (contrary to the latest outsourcing agency industry spin). Perhaps, us resident IT workers, too, should engage in more communal living in order to make do with the new wage standards. I just love shacking up with strangers for the good of my plutarch masters.

      Yes, yes…it’s all good. So good, in fact, that we should extend this program to bankers, CEOs, and realtors and expand the cap.

      1. JerryDenim

        The story about the Indian Software Trade association guy crying discrimination was utterly ridiculous and extremely hipocritical.

        First of all the law only hits US firms whose workforce is already more than 50% foreign. Aiming for 50% naturalized US citizen employment seems a rather low threshold for xenophobia. Second, why is it OK for India, China and pretty much every one else to have protectionist trade policies but not the USA?

        The Indians themselves are quite discriminatory, populist and protectionist but seldom do they ever have to compete with foreigners from countries poorer than their own looking for low skilled work. Nepalese immigrants come to mind and they are disparaged, scape-goated, and discriminated against with startling regularity.

        One special industry in India that requires highly skilled labor is the airlines. The growth in the Indian airline industry exploded in the mid 2000’s and there weren’t nearly enough qualified applicants so the industry took to hiring foreign expatriate pilots to fill the gap. In an interesting twist of reverse out-sourcing these pilots were frequently paid higher salaries than their Indian counterparts in order to lure them away from their home countries. The hiring spree lead to a glut of low quality Indian flight schools which produced a glut of poorly qualified, inexperienced Indian pilots who were very much in debt for their training. They all felt entitled to a fancy high paying job airline job upon graduation and they had no intentions of working their way up the ranks of the aviation world to land their first airline job like American pilots are expected to do. Bowing to popular pressure the Indian government completely BANNED all airlines from hiring foreign first officers and immediately kicked out all the ones who were already working. Captains already working in the industry were given a two year grace period but they were told they had to get out by July 2010. The deadline has been moved I believe but it is a big issue within the industry as the airlines still maintain there are not enough Indian pilots qualified for command. To kick out all of the expats currently flying would lead to either massive cancellations and air travel woes for the public or unsafe, under-qualified Indian captains at the helm.

        So yes I find an Indian software trade asociation crying racism and discrimination amusing given how they handle such issues at home.

      2. DownSouth

        Wow! Did I ever screw that one up!

        I had to go out of town early this morning so dashed that comment off without having a chance to proof read it. It should have read: “I’m happy to see that highly educated and highly skilled immigrant workers are also feeling the heat in the immigration debate.”

        The point is that most of these highly educated and highly skilled immigrant workers enter the country legally. I don’t know how much you’ve listened to the anti-immigrant brigades, but their beef is with illegal immigration.

        What the anti-immigration brigades are advocating would do nothing to help to help highly educated and highly skilled American workers.

        Protecting jobs and pay for American workers is a legitimate concern. But that’s not what the anti-imigration brigades are all about.

        1. ChrisPacific

          Ironically, the companies most affected by this (the technology outsourcing companies such as Wipro) are probably doing business in the US in the first place as low cost providers. Any new costs imposed on them are likely to be at least partially passed on to customers, thereby squeezing profit margins for those customers, putting further pressure on the economy, and possibly increasing unemployment.

          There will probably be some positive impact on competitors that aren’t covered by the legislation, but (I suspect) not enough to offset the factors above.

  5. Clive Lumpkin

    Why do I think Obama’s setting himself up to side with it?”

    Obama is further right and much more a corporatist than Bush or Cheney ever were or will be.

    Bushco was an administration of rank, low-brow criminality, apparently motivated by self-aggrandizement, personal profit, cronyism, criminal immunity (in fact, immunity from any constraint of law, whatsoever), and graft. Bushco was marked by incompetence and appeals to the dark side of the emotionally and intellectually deficient fringe right (Teri Schiavo, gay marriage, the “War on Christmas”, etc.), that Reagan used so effectively. That the 9-11 attacks happened early on in Bush’s first term was the fortunate break that allowed much of their chicanery to take place (under the guise of ‘security’).

    Obama’s administration is one of deceit and duplicity built on Bushco’s foundation of anti-Constitutional precedent. Obama has abandoned the appeals to the warped right-wing (or left wing, for that matter) fringe for the more straightforward bait (the populist ideology of hope, change)-and-switch (the actual merger of government and corporate interests).

    The best example of this is the Healthcare Bill. What started as a rational move toward affordable, accessible healthcare for all Americans, in the form of single-payer and/or public option solutions, ended up as a mandated profit center and cash cow for the entrenched Health Insurance, Pharmaceutical, and Corporate Healthcare-provider interests.

    For the first time, the US government has mandated that citizens are REQUIRED BY LAW to purchase goods and services from PRIVATE corporate interests.

    If that’s not corporatism, then there’s no such thing.

    The left has begun to take notice of Obama’s wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing schtick. He has recently and openly (by his agenda as well as by statements from officials in his administration) disclaimed the ideology of his base (moderate progressives).

    I would not be surprised if Obama switches parties before the next Presidential election, as he is quickly becoming a pariah to those who supported him in the last go-’round.

    That said, Roman history gives a few clues to where we are in the progress of the American Empire:

    1) The Constitutional Republic has fallen (GWB, as ridiculous as it sounds, got to play the part of Julius Caesar, without that messy little party at the end of Julius’ reign). We will not get it back. The long decline begins.

    2) The genie of the ”Unitary Executive” — beholden to no one — is out of the bottle, and will not be put back in.

    3) The Pax Americana — which began at the end of WWII — is increasingly reliant on military confrontation on our ‘frontiers’.

    4) Privatization (corporatization) of our government — both overtly and by regulatory capture — will destroy the structure and strength of our current system. We already employ mercenary armies — pretty soon, we’ll have our own Praetorian Guard.

    1. wunsacon

      >> We already employ mercenary armies — pretty soon, we’ll have our own Praetorian Guard.

      I Xe you have a point.

  6. Michael Fiorillo

    Obama is a diversionary and transitional President: diversionary in that his candidacy and presidency have been intended to harmlessly (from the ruling classes’ perspective) divert progressive energies and discontent that built up under Bush, and transitional in that he’s there until the Hard Guys can return. He was also hired to be a competent steward, unlike Bush, of US empire.

    The Overclass knows Obama better than he knows himself. Whether he’s aware of it it or not, he will cut Social Security, if not send it on the road to privatization, in an act of political self-preservation. It will be his master act of triangulation, his Nixon-goes-to-China/Clinton-eliminates-welfare moment, when he demonstrates to the overclass his “statesmanship.”

    After all, as Alan Simpson indiscreetly but revealingly said, Social Security is for lesser people.

    1. KFritz

      A few of the Overclass DO know Obama better than he knows himself. The rest don’t know him any better than they know themselves. Tough to decide which group is more dangerous. The first group, small but powerful, will boil the frogs as slowly as possible because they profit steadily in the process. The second group will boil the frogs, impatiently, in a big hurry, try for a big fast profit, and destroy the game. The frogs are the middle class in this ‘boil the frog’ allegory.

    1. Bates

      “I don’ know…’s posts are bearly worth reading.”

      …and you have missed a golden opportunity to shine in the midst of boring comments? For shame…lol

    2. KFritz

      My bad. I was referring to the blog. Readers are advised to suss out the remark very carefully before drawing any conclusions. I’m not criticizing ANYONE. A little linguistic fun.

  7. rd

    As a nationalized immigrant to the US, I have been compltely baffled by the single-minded focus by many people of gutting Social Security. As far as I can tell, it is one of the very few government programs that is actually doing what it is supposed to do, is fairly efficient, and isn’t in too bad shape on an actuarial basis. It needs tweaks, but generally seems to be working better than almost anything else in government.

    There are huge swaths of government that are poorly thought out, inefficiently executed, and utterly mis-budgeted that need massive amounts of effort and bi-partisanship to reslove or this country is going to be in serious trouble in the coming decades. We could start with unnecessary military programs, quickly move into Medicare and Medicaid, and then work through the agricultural subsidy boondoggles to start scratching the surface. All of these areas have far larger potential impacts on appropriate allocation and re-allocation of resources for the coming decades.

    1. Michael Fiorillo


      Social Security is under attack for two reasons. First and foremost, because it provides a floor past which economic misery cannot descend, and a large slice of the Overclass finds that intolerable, both for economic and so-called “moral” reasons. Fear and insecurity, aka “labor discipline,” are an important factor by which the greater exert power over the lesser.

      Second, it is under attack for precisely the reasons you point out: it works, and works well, as a universal program that embodies and reflects some of the positive potentialities of government, as opposed to the narrow view that government should be little more than a coercive, militarized force protecting the interests of the few.

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘[Social Security] isn’t in too bad shape on an actuarial basis.’ — rd

      No, I guess not, if a net present value shortfall of $7.677 trillion doesn’t concern you. See Financial Report of the United States, page 147, intermediate assumptions.

      But $7.677 trillion is about 3-1/2 years worth of annual revenue for Usgov. Making it up, even over 75 years, might be a problem when other entitlements programs (e.g. Medicare) are even more insolvent.

      To paraphrase the old tagline in Reader’s Digest — ‘Sometimes governments say the darndest things.’

      For my own personal planning — as a citizen from birth — I assign my future Social Security benefits a net present value of ZERO. We can’t depend on ‘honor among thieves’ when the thieves themselves are broke.

      1. rd

        75 year projects are virtually meaningless for several reasons:

        1. They rely on major assumptions on future demographics related to births and deaths. 75 years from now, we are looking at making birth projections a couple of generations out.

        2. They rely on major assumptions on future immigration. North America has historically been a magnet for immigrants. A major reason is the relative tolerance built into North American laws and societies. Anybody in the world can come here and become integrated successfully in a generation or two. Very few other parts of the world allow this to occur. If we need more workers in the future, we will likely only have to open the door and they will come.

        3. Medicare makes big assumptions on healthcare costs. The US is currently grossly inefficient in healthcare. There are lots of opportunities for cost savings there just to get down to the rest of the developed world’s health care expenditures.

        Social Security needs some tweaks to take it though the next 30 years. However, it is in fairly good shape compared to other programs, although it would probably be good policy to schedule a periodic commission every 20 years to evaluate it an recommend tweaks.

        Medicare on the other hand, is simply a slow train-wreck happening. It needs complete rethinking which I don’t believe the current generation of politicians are capable of. That will be some of the change that will happen over the next lost decade.

        I completely support Bob Gates in his efforts to initiate change at the Pentagon. A couple dozen more people like him in the top echelons of government could probably make a big difference. He has an opportunity to make some serious legacy-making change over the next couple of years. I hope he is successful. It is probably very helpful to him that he was called out of retirement and isn’t try to use his post as a stepping stone for anything other than his agenda.

      2. Glen

        Here’s a couple other “shortfalls” to consider:

        Potential total Wall St bailout (July 2009 SIGTARP report):

        $23.7 Trillion

        Wall St bailout spent to date since late 2008 (

        $9.1 Trillion

        Total Cost Afghanistan/Iraqi War:

        $1.0 Trillion (and counting)

        Annual DOD budget (excluding wars note: no dedicated tax to offset cost):

        $685 Billion (up 3% from last year)

        Bush tax cuts (lost revenue):

        $2.4 Trillion

        Dude, get your priorities straight! Since 2000 we’ve bleed off 12.5 trillion taxpayer dollars bailing out Wall St, funding unfunded wars, and giving tax cuts for the rich, but you’re all worried about something that could happen 27 years from now? Maybe you should get worried about the other $14.6 trillion that the SIGTARP reported as potential expenditures to those bailed out bankster bandits on Wall St.

      3. Doug Terpstra

        Thanks, Jim. I hadn’t heard anyone quote pearls from Rightwing Digest in a long time. Is it still in print?

        Glen and rd have good wide-angle perspective on the “dire” actuarial emergency facing Social Security and our perverse national priorities. However, given rising unemployment and rudderless leadership, the emergency could move forward a lot sooner.

        The fairest, simplest solution to Social Security ‘insolvency’ is so glaringly obvious that, like single payer healthcare, it must be conspicuously strangled in-utero and aborted prior to any public handwringing about the program’s imminent demise. That obviously fair solution is to apply FICA taxes without loopholes to ALL income, thus removing manifest regressivity built into the program as it is, and possibly even at slightly progressive rates. Voila, you solve the problem far beyond any foreseeable horizon.

        This solution, which Obama raised in the campaign, must of course never again be allowed to see daylight or take another breath, because it is simply too logical. Wall Street needs payroll taxes as one of the last possible veins that it can still mine from the public to save itself.

  8. Neil D

    Some day we’ll to come to terms with the fact that many people outlive their money. We aren’t going to put them out on the street or leave them without medical care. One can only hope that over the next 50 years the baby boom generation can be eased into the grave without bankrupting everyone. Otherwise it sure looks like our economy will be based on providing care to old people for decades to come.

    If life is sacred; if abortion and euthanasia are crimes; if suicide is a sin, then we have no choice but to fully fund every program to take care of the elderly poor. This is the paradox that conservatives (and libertarians?) must resolve. They can’t have lower taxes, minimal government, and humane treatment of the elderly at the same time. It just can’t be done.

    1. Opir

      I’m sure you can find Republicans who grapple with this very issue (Mike Huckabee stalwarts come to mind.) They’d gladly accept a more equal economic system if they could get their social policies along with it (an American Liberation Theology with strict theocratic underpinnings.)

      For the rest, Prosperity Doctrine has largely solved this conundrum. Even for the many who aren’t direct adherents, it’s quite possible that they’ve simply internalized its message as it has filtered through the party.

  9. Hugh

    Obama’s statement is an example of another pseudo-fight between corporatist Democrats and corporatist Republicans. It is meant to convey to the rubes that there is a difference between the two parties when, in fact, they have the same agenda.

    As for Calculated Risk’s prediction that the unemployment rate will go up, he misses a couple of key points. He doesn’t mention at all the stimulus winding down (which would tend to increase the rate) or that the BLS will continue to define many unemployed out of the workforce (which will decrease it).

    And Reich appears to be joining the ranks of those of us who have been pointing out that there has been no real recovery, just a temporary moderation in the descent.

  10. eric anderson

    “Why do I see this as a set up for him siding with gutting it?”

    Gutting is a strong word. Could you be more precise about what you expect to happen?

    George Bush wanted to allow people to put a *small* amount (2-4%) of their Social Security into other, individually owned, accounts. This was incremental at best. Almost miniscule. Yet the left ratcheted up their “destroy SS” rhetoric, absurd as usual.

    So I want to know exactly what you mean when you say “gutted.”

    1. Hugh

      In 2009, I believe the FICA brought in something over $800 billion 2%-4% of that would be $16-$32 billion. Stock markets are completely rigged and currently in a big bubble. Not only would private investment not make a profit. The likelihood is that these guys or the funds that represent them would lose their shirts, as events of 2008 with which you may be unaware show. On top of this, the government has been spending Social Security surpluses and just crediting SS for it. Under your scenario, it would have to borrow money and pay interest on it to make up the difference. Nor is there any provision of what happens if private funds are lost in markets. Retirees receive a letter of condolence?

      As for Obama’s attempts to cut Social Security, it must be great to be so blissfully unaware of them. Democrats in February 2009 had a Pete Peterson inspired conference with that object in mind. Then in January 2010 they tried to pass a commission to do this but that attempt failed in the Senate. On Febraury 18, 2010, Obama created the Simpson-Bowles Cat Food commission, by Executive Order, with the explicitly stated goal of addressing “the growth of entitlement spending.” As this came on the heels of $400 billion in cuts over ten years to Medicare under Obama’s healthcare plan, most of us understood what was going on here. This was made even clearer by the stacking of said Cat Food commission with notorious haters of Social Security. But by all means let us not use a word like “gutted”. It might give offense to our corporatist political leaders, and we can’t have that, can we? Much better to let them steal us blind and then thank them for doing it.

      1. eric anderson

        Apparently the prospect of letting ordinary Americans manage even a small percentage of these funds is anathema to you. This was an option, mind you, not a mandate. True, things don’t always work out as planned. But is this not also true of government, which is responsible for the other 96%? Government cannot guarantee it will have the resources to fund all you believe it ought, either, unless you want to consider printing funny money. Such is life. “Time and chance happeneth to them all.” Yes, even sovereigns.

        Your query: “Nor is there any provision of what happens if private funds are lost in markets. Retirees receive a letter of condolence?” They will receive 4% less in benefits. That doesn’t sound like gutting to me, but apparently slightly less = major loss in your lexicon.

        Let’s turn that around. What will Congress say when their Ponzi scheme implodes, and they can’t cover the 96%? I doubt they will apologize for that, either.

        Pete Peterson agreed that we should raise taxes and means-test benefits for the “rich.” That’s not enough for you. No, he’s a “gutter.”

        What is your proposed solution to deliver funds that will not exist? Then we’ll compare you and Pete.

        1. Hugh

          Sigh, except, of course, that it is not 4%. That money is supposed to earn returns and those returns compound. Over 30-40 years, that would come to a considerable chunk of change.

          When the US with the world’s reserve currency, sovereign in that currency, and with its debt denominated in that currency prints money, it is the very opposite of funny money. On the other hand, if you think your money is funny, please do not hesitate, send it to the rest of us. I promise we will not laugh to hard taking it to the bank.

          Your inability to distinguish between the Ponzi finance of Wall Street and the real finance of Washington and your failure to see through Pete Peterson should tell me and any other reader where you are coming from.

          1. eric anderson

            Hugh, that’s not an argument, to simply call government finance “real” and Wall Street bogus. Government actions have consequences just like Wall Street actions. It’s all in the definitions. I don’t call issuing more currency without more backing for that currency “real” in any sense. But yes, I use FRNs like everyone else. But then one is constantly looking for protection against what the government and quasi-gov’t Fed will do to erode those FRNs. And that includes yourself. If you’re not worried about the ultimate value of those bits of paper and computer 1’s and 0’s, you’re not very bright.

            And if 4% less is contributed to SS, then recipients ought to get 4% less payout. No one has proposed “gutting” anything. But proposing one tiny sliver of freedom for individuals, one small door opened on a path back to personal responsibility, and suddenly people run around with their hair on fire and scream about the destruction of SS. It’s obscene, and entirely unproductive.

    2. Glen

      How about something even simpler – it’s just a bad investment:

      “Telling a similar story in a different way, the dividend yield of the Dow Jones Industrial Average components, at 2.65%, is essentially equal to the 10-year Treasury yield. The folks at Morgan Stanley note that over the past 50 years the Dow’s yield has exceeded that of the 10-year Treasury for only one period—the end of 2008 into early 2009, as the financial crisis climaxed.”

      Get that – over the last FIFTY YEARS the return on the DOW exceeded T-Bills once, and that was right before an extremely overpriced market tanked over 30%. Wall St is, and always has been, a Ponzi con game set up for insiders to make money and the rest of us to get fleeced.

      I’ll stick to investing in America rather than giving my money to the banksters on Wall St that wrecked our country and the world’s economy.

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