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letsgetitdone's picture

More Misdirection from Rampell in the Service of Generational War

In my last post, I took issue with a recent column by Catherine Rampell, who tries to make the case that seniors haven't paid for their Social Security and Medicare because they “generally receive” more in benefits out of these programs than they pay into them. Rampell relies on an Urban Institute study to make her case. Since that post, she's offered another that replies to some of the questions raised by commenters on her earlier effort. I'll reply to that new post shortly, but first I want to present key points emerging from my analysis of Federal monetary operations in my reply to her earlier post. See that post for the full argument.

First, once Congress mandates spending, there is no way that the Treasury can be forced into insolvency or an inability to pay its obligations as long as it is willing to make use of all the ways it can cause the Fed to create reserve credits in Treasury spending accounts which can then be used for its reserve keystroking into private sector account activities that today represent most of the reality of Federal spending. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Misdirection: Rampell Views Entitlements Through the Generational War Lens

Some of the favored children of the economic elite who have a public presence, work hard in their writing and speaking to divert attention from inequality and oligarchy issues by raising the issue of competition between seniors and millennials for “scarce” Federal funds. That's understandable. If millennials develop full consciousness of who, exactly, has been flushing their prospects for a decent life down the toilet, their anger and activism might bring down the system of wealth and economic and social privilege that benefits both their families and the favored themselves in the new America of oligarchy and plutocracy.

Here and here, I evaluated Abby Huntsman's arguments for entitlement “reform,” and, of course, Pete Peterson's son, Michael fights a continuing generational war against seniors in pushing the austerian line of the Peterson Foundation. Now comes Catherine Rampell, who, in a recent column, sets forth the position that seniors haven't paid for their Social Security and Medicare because they “generally receive” more in benefits out of these programs than they pay into them.

I'll reply to all of the main points in Rampell's argument, by quoting liberally and then replying to the points she makes in each quote. She says: Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

An Open Letter to Don Beyer, VA – 8th Candidate for Congress

My Congressman, Jim Moran, is retiring this year and his seat is up for grabs in the VA – 8th Congressional District. This is a solidly blue district made even more solid by the Republican gerrymander following their win in the disastrous elections (for poor people, for women, for the middle class, and for minorities) of 2010 in Virginia. So, the question is, which of the eleven candidates who are running in the primary will win it, and become the heavy favorite to win the Congressional election in November.

The heavy primary favorite is Don Beyer, a noted auto dealer in Northern Virginia, who has served as Lieutenant Governor twice, and also as Ambassador to Switzerland. My impression of Ambassador Beyer has been favorable. I have a friend who bought cars from him over many years and who had his Volvos serviced at his dealership all the while, and he had nothing but good things to say about the integrity of the service he received.

That said, however, and personal characteristics aside, I'd like Beyer to clarify his positions on the issues. So, I'm addressing this open letter to him. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

How to Restore the Good Name Of Government

Why is it that Washington village “progressives,” and their associates in other parts of the country who are nevertheless part of the Washington village culture, often ask useful questions, but, almost always deliver, underwhelming answers? Here's an example from Richard Eskow, probably the best writer at Campaign for the American Future. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

What that Letter Should Have Said

On Valentine's Day, Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter to the President, authored by himself and signed by 15 other Senators, all Democrats. The letter was a response to the rumors that the President intends to include his Chained CPI proposal to cut Social Security benefits in the budget he will soon send to Congress. Read below the fold...

letsgetitdone's picture

Dear Dr. Krugman: Please Let Me Explain

Paul Krugman can't explain why the deficit issue has suddenly dropped off the agenda. He says:

. . . quite suddenly the whole thing has dropped off the agenda.

Read below the fold...
danps's picture

Obamacare implementation as teachable moment

Many of the complaints about the ACA rollout have little to do with the law itself. Maybe that is a good reason to look at changes that would address those problems as well.

Cross posted from Pruning Shears. Read below the fold...

That Popping Noise? The Obamacare Bubble!

Thread: 

Kate Randall in “Obamacare exposed: The gutting of health care for workers” contends that affordable, quality health care will not be provided by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Read below the fold...

We can do better than Obamacare, so let's give it a shot

I'm working on some Medicare for All graphics that with your indulgence I would like to post here to solicit critiques. None of them have specific calls to action for now because I don't know where to direct people that they won't get bogged down, so I'll add those later as they become appropriate. (And I welcome any suggestions about whom to hook up with.) For now, I just want to get a sense of what works visually and textually for people who aren't me.

I'm doing this now because I think the ongoing Obamacare drama presents an opportunity to raise the visibility of single-payer and to draw new adherents to it from a variety of positions. Everybody everywhere likes them some Medicare, except the people whose profits are diminished by it. Nobody likes insurance companies, except the people whose profits depend on them. This is one of those rare moments when just about everybody is talking about health care and 90% of the people who are talking about it are saying "lord god this is fucked up."

Probably everybody who hangs out at Lambert's joint is of the opinion that we were robbed of a splendid opportunity to push for single-payer in 2009-2010. Now there's another opportunity and we'll be robbing ourselves if we don't take advantage of it.

The background photo in this flyer is off Flickr using a creative commons license. For font aficionados, the font all the way through is ITC New Baskerville Standard. I want to make graphics that are suitable both for posting online and printing as handouts/pinups. Let me know what you think.

Read below the fold...

Obama to Seniors: ‘Thank you for dying!’

Thread: 

Kate Randall in “Obamacare and the ‘crisis’ of an aging population” bluntly writes:

Underlying the immediate issue of the failure of the new web site is the character of Obamacare itself—an attack on health care cloaked in the guise of “reform,” whose basic aim is to slash health care spending and shift a greater cost burden onto the backs of individuals. ....

snip

Read below the fold...

Obama Tossing Elderly Under Bus! What Say, Progressives?

Thread: 

Joseph Kishore of wsws refers to the latest phase of Democrat/Republican budget skirmishing as a “dog and pony show”. The “big business” parties, Democrat and Republican, are united in ESSENTIALS -- the gutting of two programs, Social Security and Medicare, that have OVERWHELMING SUPPORT OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION.

WTF???? Read below the fold...

Jill Stein's SOTU Message to Reclaim Our Future

After Obama’s SOTU message on February 12, 2013, Jill Stein, Green Party 2012 presidential candidate, addressed a national video audience with "Our Green State of the Union" assessment -- what Jill Stein herself called the “REAL state of our nation.”

Stein:

We need a real discussion of where we are, so we can set our priorities right and secure the future for our imperiled families, communities, country and planet.

Read below the fold...

Libby's Political Stew: Behind SOTU Speech's Razzle Dazzle

Here are some “realpolitik” excerpted takes on Obama’s State of the Union Address from Glen Ford, Norman Solomon, Barry Grey, Pepe Escobar, Matthew Rothschild:

Glen Ford of BAR in “Obama’s State of the Corporate Union”:

It was an impassioned performance by a cynical politician who offers little but corporate tax incentives and continued austerity. Barack Obama peppered his State of the Union address with up-tempo buzzwords about illusory “progress,” but the president’s substantive message was that he is determined to complete the austerity bargain he struck with the Republicans in 2011. ...

snip

Obama’s jobs program is almost entirely a corporate tax incentive scheme, to bribe corporations to send home the jobs they sent offshore, where they have also hidden tens of trillions from taxation – a subject not deemed worthy of mention in a national discussion of shared sacrifice and patriotic obligations.

snip Read below the fold...

One More Reason Bed Bugs More Popular Than Congress

Thread: 

If you happen to catch Bill Moyers’ show this week with his guest Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont or read “Foul Play in the Senate” published at common dreams by Moyers and co-writer Michael Winship, you will discover one more example of how Congressional crony capitalism has reached obscene levels.

Apparently if NYT team Eric Lipton and Kevin Sack hadn’t published their exemplary investigative report most of Congress, let alone the citizenry, would not have even known about a colossal half a billion dollar sweetheart arrangement slipped into a covert clause of the recent “fiscal cliff bill.”

The THREE SENATE PERPETRATORS, long-time enmeshed with a pharmaceutical giant called Amgen, are Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and "that powerful committee’s ranking Republican", Orrin Hatch.

The loophole “tucked” into the bill was that Amgen, not mentioned by name, would have two more years of relief from Medicare cost controls for certain drugs used by patients who are on kidney dialysis, including a pill called Sensipar. This gift (to the corporation but not the taxpayers who must foot it) amounts to a whopping half a billion dollars. Read below the fold...

Dr. Margaret Flowers Helps Clear the ‘Fog of Greed’

Thread: 

In a 1/24/13 article in Aljazeera entitled “Top CEOs plan to loot US social programmes”, Dr. Margaret Flowers powerfully calls out the motives of a mendacious “Fix the Debt” campaign launched by 80 CEOs who are determined to cut their corporate taxes even further by decimating social programs beneficial to us, the lower whopping 99% of the American citizenry.

Flowers writes: Read below the fold...

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