Responding to a Post at Naked Capitalism by Michael Hudson with some additions by Yves Smith, a commenter, objecting to the criticism of the President's Knox College speech, issued the challenge ”What would u have him do?” in connection with his promised effort to restore prosperity to the middle class and the poor. In this series I'm giving my answer to that question. In Part I, “Necessary First Moves,” I offered and described two of these. Ending the filibuster, and using High Value Platinum Coin Seigniorage (HVPCS) to fill the Treasury General Account (TGA) with $60 Trillion in reserves.
The purpose of the first was to prepare the way for substantive policies by removing the Republican minority's power to tie up legislation. The purpose of the second, was to neutralize austerian fiscal responsibility justifications for subjecting every policy proposal to a deficit neutrality test, and for opposing deficit spending on grounds that it adds to the national debt and imposes heavy risks that the bond markets will demand very high interest rates on US debt. Of course, HVPCS gets rid of both the debt and bond market concerns for good.
Neither of these two policies, however, addresses substantive needs such as creating and maintaining full employment. This post is about the policies for getting to full employment I want the President to propose and try to implement. All of these policies have been previously proposed by MMT economists including Warren Mosler, Randy Wray, Bill Mitchell, Stephanie Kelton, and others. Read below the fold...
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.
Paraphrasing Jill Stein from a workshop in NYC 3-23-13:
There are 40 people on one side of a road. There is one person on the other side of the road.
A bread truck pulls up and the driver gives the one person -- standing there alone (perhaps impatiently tapping a Gucci-loafered foot and checking his Rolex) -- 40 LOAVES OF BREAD. Then the driver gives the group of 40 people, in varying states of dress and hunger, ONE LOAF OF BREAD to share among themselves. He drives off.Read below the fold...
Here are some quoted excerpts in response to Obama’s determination to cut Social Security:
Michael Lind in “How Progressives Blew the Social Security Argument”:
President Obama reportedly is unveiling a budget using the chained CPI inflation measure to cheat elderly Americans out of the benefits they were promised.Read below the fold...
WASHINGTON — President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say.Read below the fold...
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.”
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...
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. ...
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.
I'll admit that, for the most part, during the great and glorious benevolent rule of the Kenyan Muslim Socialist, I've been a bit unsure just what I should be advocating for.
I've found my groove. We need to increase Social Security Benefits. The Professional Left needs to sign on to this. All the oldsters need to vote for it. Congressional candidates need to get on board.Read below the fold...
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...
I wonder if Obama’s face will be carved into Mount Rushmore. Has the universe seriously become that cruelly surreal and Orwellian?
I think so.
A few days ago when I saw Obama’s likeness photoshopped onto Mount Rushmore on Al Sharpton’s show it made bitter bile burn my throat and choke me.
I then managed to scream and announce to a brother and nephew that if or when Obama ended up memorialized in such a way that would be the day I moved to another country.
“Where will you move to?” my nephew asked. Read below the fold...
Richard Eskow of the Center for the American Future, posted a very good one a couple of days ago. He used the old union meme “which side are you on” to beat up the President and Congress about Social Security being placed on the negotiating table. I thought his writing on it was striking. Here's some of it: Read below the fold...
Chained CPI: Because elders can substitute cat food for real food, Social Security benefits should be cut
Chained CPI is how Obama wants to jigger the Social Security numbers to get his Grand Bargain with Boehner and starve some old people. (So much for Biden's "flat guarantee" -- which Obama never signed on to). Trudy Rubin explains:
Why is the chained CPI (chained Consumer Price Index) so attractive to such people? As we reported a couple of weeks ago, it cuts spending and raises revenue. The Congressional Budget Office Office estimates it could produce some $217 billion in savings over ten years, with about $145 billion coming from cuts to Social Security benefits and other government pensions.
It’s a juicy target for another reason, too: the public knows next to nothing about it. Its obscurity may have led Slate to characterize it as “the sneaky plan to cut Social Security.” The headline on a blog post by The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson called it “The Sneaky, Complicated Idea That Could End the Fiscal Cliff Showdown.”
Whether that will happen is very much up in the air at the moment. Some Washington writers and columnists aren’t keen on the idea. The idea behind “chaining” is to allow for the way people substitute cheaper goods and services when prices rise. Timothy Noah, writing for The New Republic blog, gave a good description of why the Chained CPI may not measure the cost of living with as much accuracy as its advocates promote. “Would chaining really bring Social Security benefit increases in line with spending patterns? Actually no,” he argues, pointing out that the proposed index doesn’t deal with healthcare spending very well. Healthcare is the biggest expense for many of the elderly, and consumes a larger share of their budgets than does for the rest of the population. If you need a heart bypass, you can’t substitute a hernia operation, the way someone might substitute chicken for steak.
While it didn’t take a position on the proposed formula, the National Journal’s good reporting clearly explained what the new index was all about. It noted the drawbacks of making a change, even quoting Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and former principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration, who expressed serious doubts about switching over to the chained CPI. “One reason is, it’s not based on the purchasing habits of the elderly,” Biggs said. “The consumption patterns of a working household aren’t the same as the consumption patterns of, say, an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient living on a fixed income.”
The advocacy group Social Security Works estimates that a person age 75 in the future will get a yearly benefit that’s $653 lower after ten years of chained CPI than that person would get under the current formula. An 85-year-old will have $1,139 less to live on. While this doesn’t seem like a princely sum to an investment banker, it is to the very old.
Heck, $1,139 is a princely sum to me, and I'm not "very old"! Read below the fold...