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Bad Planning: From back when Obama admitted he had ideas, 2007

Truth Partisan's picture

Let's look at one of Obama's main advisers...the one who supports Social Security "reform" that destroys the current system...

"Obama's Economic Brain Trust Breaks With `Status Quo' (Update1)

By Rich Miller and Matthew Benjamin
May 10, 2007

...Three academics -- Austan Goolsbee, 37, a University of Chicago professor and columnist for The New York Times, Jeffrey Liebman, 39, a pension and poverty expert at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and David Cutler, 41, a Harvard health economist -- form the core of Obama's economic team....

Liebman, an expert on Social Security, isn't easily pigeon- holed either. He has supported partial privatization of the government-run retirement system, an idea that's anathema to many Democrats and bears a similarity to a proposal for personal investment accounts that Bush promoted, then dropped in 2005.

``Liebman has been to open to private accounts and most people in town would say he's a moderate supporter of them,'' said Michael Tanner, a Social Security expert at the Cato Institute in Washington, a research organization in Washington that advocates free markets and often backs Republicans.

In a 2005 policy paper Liebman, along with Andrew Samwick of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Maya MacGuineas, a former aide to Senator John McCain, advocated a mix of benefit cuts, tax increases and mandatory personal accounts to shore up the system, which will begin paying more in benefits than it takes in through taxes by 2017 under current actuarial estimates.

Obama has called Social Security's problems ``real but manageable'' and has pledged to preserve what he's called the ``essential character'' of the pension program."

Obama promises to preserve the "character" of Social Security, well, except for that public government part--MANDATORY personal accounts?

For more, look at:
It's the cover article in Harvard Magazine, March-April 2005:
"Reforming Social Security
Not all privatization schemes are created equal."
by Jeffrey B. Liebman

The most revealing quote from this article, which makes a few points I agree with and a lot I disagree with, although you would recognize them as GOP talking points:

"The main function of Social Security is to prevent a large drop in living standards in retirement for people who, through bad luck or bad planning, do not reach retirement with sufficient savings."

Bad luck or bad planning? Er, Mr. Liebman, there's this thing called "low wages"? MOST Americans are in the middle class or below?

What Mr. Liebman so easily calls "bad luck" happens to many people who can't afford decent health care, can't get good jobs, or have no safety cushion of emergency funds; his chosen phrase of "bad planning" blames those who make less money and who are managing to take care of themselves on wages that, for many families, have been decreasing over the past decades in relation to costs--blames them for the new corporate policies of giving very high and increasing wages to only the top officers in the company when the whole company's work creates profit.

Mr. Liebman goes on to say:

"As wage levels rise over time, Social Security benefits therefore need to rise with wages. Otherwise, retirement standards of living would fall further and further behind those of the pre-retirement period."

Well, yes, but wages have NOT risen very much and our federal minimum wage is still very this is starting to happen now, right?
But Mr. Liebman does not treat the situation as a current problem and further goes on to say things like we need incentives for people to save their money in pensions. Not really, Mr. Liebman, we need ENOUGH money to pay our current bills (food and fuel costs soaring, health costs skyrocketing, huge increases in costs, remember?) AND have enough left over to save.
That's not even discussing the current group of parents with kids in college, most of whom get any money usually put toward retirement counted as money they should pay for their kids' education, so that the current financial aid formulas done by the Bush Administration feds actually target parents' retirement money for their childrens' education and reduces aid until the income formerly used for retirement is also spent.
How are WE doing "bad planning" when the Bush Administration implements new policies like this and the corporations too--many of whom are now cutting pensions that workers have been expecting for decades? WE counted on these things, even when figuring out accepting our current salaries--but some of the corporations are not honorable about their legal promises, in some cases giving a lump sum that is less than the value of the pension and in others just getting off the boat entirely because some of the companies, carefully arranged so that the officers don't suffer, "can't afford" to also pay pensions that we all relied on for retirement? OUR BAD PLANNING?

Are most of Obama's advisers wealthy, not tuned into most Americans' lives, and determined to be supposedly bipartisan at all costs? In 2005, Mr. Liebman wrote (in the same article cited above):

"This divide unfortunately obscures the fact that the views of most Democrats and Republicans on the subject are not that far apart: a bipartisan solution should be achievable."

Can he really believe this? The GOP has made it clear that this is NOT true.

Even if the GOP were willing to "compromise," recent political realities (the way the 2006 Congress has been unable to get some legislation passed due to the GOP's maneuvers and some filibusters (not called so by the press but they actually were)) make it imperative for true Democrats to realistically evaluate the political situation, which cannot happen without regarding the GOP's tendency to eat Democratic bipartisans for lunch. We all remember the extremely rude and sexist way Grover Norquist referred to it, right? To rephrase, Norquist said that bipartisanship is an opportunity for the GOP to violently hurt the Democrats and take what the GOP wants--and only the GOP--from Democratic bipartisans.

Mr. Obama needs to honestly reevaluate the impact of his proposed bipartisan policies on most Americans' lives.

We NOTICE what would change our lives and make them worse or almost impossible. WE are out here, working hard, playing fair, and being honorable. Calls for US to try harder and create our own change and work harder are unreasonable. WE are ALREADY working very hard for our families today.

Hillary is the only candidate running who understands what our lives are like.

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Submitted by lambert on

Could you put the quotes in BLOCKQUOTES so we can tell what's from elsewhere and what's from here, easily? Thanks.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

they were too quick to pull down the There Is No Crisis sight. They thought because Bush backed down on Social Security that they had won the fight.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

which will begin paying more in benefits than it takes in through taxes by 2017 under current actuarial estimates

here's the thing...the social security trust fund continues to have a surplus until 2029, because the securities it holds continue to earn interest. Anytime you see someone talk about 2017, you know they want to destroy the system itself --- anyone who really cared about "fixing" things would concentrate Medicare, because that is the entitlement program for seniors that is going to go bust VERY soon.

Submitted by lambert on

... were on the agenda this election. It isn't. All of our candidates are completely lacking in that regard.

As we prepare for the general, no matter who's elected, I wish we had Empire series, and Social Security series, to go along with DCBlogger's Single Payer series. They seem to fit together, somehow...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

becca's picture
Submitted by becca on

music to my ears.

My local paper had a FP story on the diminishing power of the US on the world stage, especially in relation to the Mid-East.

How cool is that? We're losing super-power status! There's a good reason for cutting the budget, no?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"... Funny how this corporate-friendly senator appeared out of nowhere, pushing “clean” coal, nuclear power and privatized Social Security accounts - and coincidentally, hefty donations of startup cash from people in those industries. ..." --