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All MyRA is good for is sending a signal to Obama's owners that Social Security is still under assault

Jon Walker mentions several cynical realistic views in this post, but not that one.

No doubt some "progressive" organization has been detailed to shill for this, but I don't want to go look. I've been promising myself for days I'd go read Elinor Ostrum, and now I'm going to.

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Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

WASHINGTON: Obama Taps Executive Powers for Savings Program | Washington Watch | McClatchy DC

In theory, the program is not terribly different than President George W. Bush's proposal to let workers divert part of their Social Security contributions into private accounts that over time could make more money than their expected Social Security benefits.

Democrats fought off the Bush effort.

From McClathy's predecessor the late, great Knight-Ridder:

Warning to Bush: Don't Mess With Social Security | Op-Eds & Columns
Mark Weisbrot

Knight-Ridder/Tribune Media Services, Feb. 27, 2001

…And that's what this privatization effort is all about, in a word: greed. It is an appeal not only to the greed of Wall Street but to a small, militantly selfish part of the electorate that is willing to rupture the bonds of social solidarity that have made Social Security this country's most successful anti-poverty program. They want to break the commitment that each generation has made to its predecessors for the past 65 years: to provide a basic social safety net in their old age.

Rangoon78's picture
Submitted by Rangoon78 on

No, Obama' proposal isn't a statutory synchronized diversion. It just weakens the principle upon which SS is based.

Great read:

Americans don't need another phony retirement scheme. They need employer-provider defined benefits they once enjoyed.

They need guaranteed pensions. They need safe and secure ones. They need Social Security protected. They need it strengthened.

It's not an entitlement. It's not welfare. It's a contractual federal obligation. It's for eligible recipients who qualify.

It's funded by worker-employer payroll tax deductions. Insurance premiums work the same way.

It's America's most important retirement program. It's not going bankrupt. When properly administered, it's sound and secure.

Bipartisan complicity weakened it over time. It needs strengthening. Its original incarnation needs to be restored and improved.

Today it's not what it was created to be. Franklin Roosevelt's vision needs to be reestablished.

psychohistorian's picture
Submitted by psychohistorian on

And that principle is that Social Security was designed as an INSURANCE program, not some stupid investment game.

I would like to see the concept treated accurately, It is Social Security Insurance (SSI)

Not an entitlement
Not Welfare

It is Insurance and according to Angry Bear folks if we increased the contribution by current working people by 80 cents a week all would be good. But then who wants to hear from actuaries when you want to hide that it was conceived as a conservative Insurance program.

Submitted by lambert on

Got a link on the 80 cent a week? I'd love to add that to the 12 Plank Platform bullet points.

Submitted by hipparchia on

Obama has been promising this - nudging people into privatized retirement accounts to supplement their social security - since his first campaign for president.

here's the latest iteration at

Strengthening Retirement
In addition to protecting and strengthening Social Security, President Obama will make it easier for Americans to save on their own for retirement and prepare for unforeseen expenses. Currently over 75 million working Americans—about half the workforce—lack access to retirement plans through their employers. The President’s budget lays the foundation for all Americans to participate in retirement accounts at work, proposing simple rules and automatic enrollment—that will automatically enroll workers in IRAs who, until now, haven’t had a workplace retirement plan, while allowing them to opt out if they wish.

so we're going to slash slice little tiny pieces off of people's social security income using chained cpi and then automagickally enroll them in private accounts (of some kind or other, the exact type keeps changing as people catch on to the trick), but hey! don't call it privatization of social security!

Barmitt O'Bamney's picture
Submitted by Barmitt O'Bamney on

As I said elsewhere:

Odubyah meets resistance from Democrats when he attacks Social Security head-on, because A) Social Security is the central and essential part of retirement in our system, and B) Democrats have considered Social Security and its defense a central and essential part of their identity as a party.

So, as a dedicated servant of the criminal elites who never give up and who rule by misdirection and lies, Odubyah will now attack Social Security in an indirect way: by undermining the status it enjoys as “central” and “essential”.

In a similar but more rapid and compressed fashion, Odubyah used the fraudulent “public option” to undermine the mindshare of the proven single payer health care delivery model. Single payer had to be stopped. The public option was never going to work -nor was it ever intended to work- to deliver health care. But it could work to allow the financial elite to continue to skim health care delivery, if the masses could be duped into believing the public option was just as good as single payer. It wouldn’t have even have been allowed to compete with private insurance, if it made it into the final law. But it did work very well to cloud the issue and to remove the central and essential status from single payer in our drawn out travesty of health care “reform”.

Odubyah cannot attack Social Security directly – he has been repeatedly rebuffed by some in his own party, and has found the Republicans less than enthusiastic co-conspirators. So now he is trying to jab it with a “public option” dart, to slowly poison it.

The hope is that Democrats will lose their focus on defending Social Security, because, hey, we have MyRA now! Probably it will be cynically touted like Obamacare - ie: as the first new liberal social legislation passed since Johnson. And then soon we will hear, "We have to defend and extend MyRA, because Historic!" Social Security? that's like from before iPhones and shit, right? Forget it, Grandpaw!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

for stopping FP Bush's push for Social Security reform.

Or, maybe I should say that it appears that their motives may not have been that 'pure.'

From the scores of hearings that I've watched on C-Span, it appears that the Dem Party Leadership's objective was to ensure that THEY were the ones to commandeer the so-called "reform" of entitlement programs.

You see, they would argue that 'their cuts would be more humane' (cough, cough!), but they were going to happen anyway--so it may as well be them who oversee the process!

Which is "hooey."

Both Former President's Carter and Clinton presided over cuts to the benefit formula either through "adjustments downward" of the CPI, or other so-called "tweaks" to the benefit formula.

And today, we're witnessing yet another Democratic President's attempt to duplicate some of these same cuts.

Except he is going even further by attempting to raise the FRA (and likely the ERA)--which was last done as an Amendment to the last major Social Security overhaul in the 1980's.

However, a ess known is the fact that "conservative Democrats" are largely credited with leading the charge to raise the Social Security eligibility age in the 1980s--check out Representative/Senator Claude Pepper's [House Select Committee On Aging] and former Leader Of The House, Dan Rostenkowski's [Chairman Of The House Ways And Means Committee] Wikipedia bios.

Basically, we have "been spun" all these years--that Democrats are "the great protectors of our Social Safety Net."

Until I began participating in Group Social Security blogging, I had no idea that Dems were complicit in enacting many of the cuts to our social insurance programs.

Maybe this most recent push by PBO will wake up the Dem Party Base.

I just hope that it happens before it is too late!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

for outgoing so-called "liberal" Senator Tom Harkin's new 'opt-out federally mandated retirement program.'

Family insurance brokers (and financial planners) can't believe that this type of vehicle would be implemented for poor and low-income Americans.

I'll try to post a video of Harkin discussing this ridiculous "plan" on C-Span, later.

In time, I believe that most Americans will come to rue the day that a "mandate" passed muster with the SCOTUS.

albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

I am looking forward to a good laugh when the Clinton-Bushbama dynasty finally mandates that all the middle class retirement vehicles (401Ks and IRAs mostly) be rolled into a privatized social security account. With government approved account managers, of course.

I figure this will happen within a couple of years after the social security privatization, around 2020 or so, when the folks with substantial individually managed accounts can be portrayed as a greedy privileged minority who are undermining the government managed plan.


Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

To hoover up the cash that the Treasury and the Fed will be confiscating from bank accounts when the next crash hits.

Boy, these guys really have been planning ahead and plotting Total Strategy. Good for all of us though, watching the net being designed before it enmeshes us irretrievably.

I think that if Obama wants myRA he should fund them with the money he's collecting from his FIRE-Masters to build his friggin' library and the money he'll be raking in doing the Bill Clinton Million-A-Speech circuit.

Hey Obama - get your corrupt paws off our cash!

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

It's funny because they (the elites) seem to be desperately piling on mandatory looting schemes to grab the remaining cash that working people might have lying around (to pay this month's electric bill, rent, food, toothpaste). I mean the Grab-Span of ObamaCare seems -- from a totally anecdotal, layperson, non-economist type just-a-reader perspective, of course -- to be gunning for 100% of whatever is "there" at every interaction with the medical-insurance system. What's left for myRA to grab? And that's not even counting the "law of nature" (cough) inflation on everything you buy on a daily basis to keep a roof over your head, eat something, get around, have the lights on.

It's like the Rococo period in art -- decoration piled on decoration piled on decoration -- here we're witnessing endstage (hyper desperate) looting - they're just throwing looting schemes at us figuring that any penny not caught by the ObamaCare net will be snagged in the myRA net, and so on. You know some financial wizard working at Goldma Sachs or JP Morgan or Deutsch is cooking up the next Blythe-Master coup, so it'll be interesting to see how many more looting schemes they invent to ensure redundancy in the looting systems guaranteeing that NO PENNY WILL BE LEFT BEHIND (un-looted).

"No Penny Left Unscraped" ~ Arise Ye Masters of the Universe and Job Creaters, and Grab Like there is No Tomorrow!

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

think we just hit on an Onion-worthy theme ...
time for me to spend some time in Illustrator :)

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

That is funny, Lambert.

Actually I was thinking about doing a series of samplers - you know, the embroidered kinds on pillows or that they used to put in parlors -- with all the Ben Franklinesque sayings about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, thriftiness, all you need to be happy is think right, etc. Except we'd have the maxims that reveal why every Amrcan household was conned into following Sampler-Wisdom in order to be a success. I'm thinking along the lines: "A penny looted is one more penny in your pocket." "Looting one public park a day will keep the rabble away." "A tax paid is money lost." Etcetera -- done visually, of course, with the sugary colors and stichings used in the samplers (I think a lot of them were needlepoint).

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

"A seller of stocks will keep his socks, But the buyer will lose his shirt." And so on :) :)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

but it appears that 'the plan' is at least to some extent, a DLC idea.


DLC | Key Document | August 1, 2000

The Hyde Park Declaration: A Statement of Principles and a Policy Agenda for the 21st Century


Here's an excerpt, which pertains to a similar idea (to the MyRA):


5. Balance America's Commitments to the Young and the Old

An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees.

Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does.

We can't just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs.

The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today's workers and future generations. [My Emphasis]

In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s.

Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age.


This is the proposed "crock" benefit that I wrote about just a couple of days ago--even a CBO analysis has stated that the majority of poor and low income Americans would never qualify to receive the so-called "Special Minimum Benefit" because most of them would never meet the work requirement--which is NOT based on the standard 40-quarter (or 10-year) eligibility requirement required to receive Social Security benefits.

Please see below from "The Moment Of Truth."



Create a new special minimum benefit that provides full career workers with a benefit no less than 125 percent of the poverty line in 2017 and indexed to wages thereafter. Social Security reform must ensure that the program can continue to meet its basic mission:
to prevent people who can no longer work from falling into poverty.

The Commission recommends creating a new special minimum benefit which provides full-career (30-year) minimum wage workers with a benefit equivalent to 125 percent of the poverty line in 2017 and wage-indexed thereafter.

The minimum benefit would phase down proportionally for workers with less than 30 but more than 10 years of earnings.


Clearly, if there were any real interest in eliminating senior poverty as it pertains to Social Security, the criteria for the "Enhanced Minimum Benefit For Low Wage Workers" would simply be the same as is used to qualify beneficiaries for Social Security benefits, in the first place. Period. End of story. Full stop.

And last time I checked, the eligibility requirement was STILL 40 quarters of credible wages (which is difficult enough for this cohort to meet).

This is simply a "gimmick" so that corporatist neoliberals in both parties can attempt to save face, and not have the appearance of 'indifference to the human suffering' that they are getting ready to demonstrate, if and when they enact some, or all, of the cuts proposed by the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission.

And here's the statement from "The Hyde Park Declaration" about retirement savings:


Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.


All I can say is, We're sunk, if we don't manage to rid the Democratic Party of its corporatist neoliberal "insurgents."

And BTW, if that word sounds strong, none other than Mr. Al From (DLC co-founder) used it to self-describe the merry band of Southern conservadems who hijacked the Democratic Party back in the mid-80s.

A video of his interview is available on C-Span, Washington Journal, if anyone is interested in hearing the 'raw bilge' that From spewed for almost 42 minutes! He was on right after Christmas, IIRC.


[Apologize in advance for typos, syntax, etc.--sort of pushed!]