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 more about Richard Eskow Asks: Which Side Are You On?
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 more about Chained CPI: Because elders can substitute cat food for real food, Social Security benefits should be cut
If video won't play go to It's time to jump off the Fiscal Cliff
In a recent broadcast, Thom Hartmann makes a compelling argument why Democrats should allow Congress to jump of the “fiscal cliff” and allow the automatic tax and spending cuts to take place on December 31st (when the Bush tax cuts expire and automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending occur as stipulated in the Budget Control Act of 2011). Read more about The Fiscal Cliff: Time to Go Ahead and Jump
The favorite defense of Social Security by progressives harkens back to Franklin Roosevelt who famously said:
”I guess you’re right on the economics. They are politics all the way through. We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.”
A few days ago, Goldman Sux CEO Lloyd Blankfein was "interviewed" by a CBS tool, giving him an opportunity to explain that entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are just too expensive to continue. Yes, it's old news, already reported earlier here and here. But what I totally missed is that Blankfein's math is waaaaaay off, creating an opening for some LTEs. Read more about Blankfein's Bad Math and an LTE Opportunity
Seriously, if you want to wipe out large numbers of people, why bother with entitlement cuts when you've got high-tech weaponry available? It's fast, impersonal, and you can just hose down whatever's left and voila! Problem solved!
Unfortunately, it looks like Obama prefers the slow, painful method of saving us from the debt.
From a Healthcare NOW email [bolding added]:
Just because President Obama won another term doesn't mean that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are safe. Far from it. Obama's seeking a "grand bargain" with the Republican-controlled House by January 1.
Social Security Card -- Illustration
Illustration: 3D Social Security Card. SSA# 000-00-000, This number has been established for Jane Doe.
DonkeyHotey's photostream, flickr Read more about Remember "The Old Days," Before Social Security
[Hat Tip to Mr. Alexa for tipping me off to this leak.]
White House Grand Bargain offer to Speaker Boehner
Obtained by Bob Woodward Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:58 AM EST
Below are documents obtained by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward that show a grand bargain proposal the White House was prepared to make in July 2011, in order to reach agreement with the House Republicans last year. This is how Woodward described the documents on Meet the Press this morning:
"This is a confidential document, last offer the president -- the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this $4 trillion grand bargain. And it's long and it's tedious and it's got budget jargon in it. But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military, for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare. And there are some lines in there about, "We want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses." So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far."
So, the chronically conscience-deprived “Obama bubble people” and the new club of morality sell-outs, the “I held my nose but was proud to have voted for Obama” group, have put another nail in the coffin of American democracy by backing the man whom Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report has savvily labeled the “more effective evil”.
This coalition of willfully naive Democrats have secured for Obama four more years of profound executive power -- not only legitimate but the illegitimate power Obama has already begun vastly amassing for himself -- to finish off the democracy he and his corporate overlords have achieved such progress already in destroying. Read more about How To Stab A Citizenry in the Back Obama-Style
Charlie Bass: Bass was a strong supporter of the Bowles-Simpson plan, and the plan’s authors even personally endorsed him. He was defeated last night by bold progressive Annie Kuster.
Bob Kerrey: Kerrey, a Democrat, endorsed the Bowles-Simpson plan and got their endorsement in return. But promising to cut Social Security did not mobilize voters on his behalf, and he lost to his Republican opponent.
Peter Orszag says ". . . the best thing to do is (cut/reform) Social Security." November 7, Bloomberg Video [06:23]
Enact Fiscal Austerity With A Delay, Orszag Says
Here's my own "partial" transcript of Orszag's words:
"To get a significant debt limit increase, I think there's going to have to be some entitlement reform, as part of that.
If I were in the Administration, I think the single best thing to do (cut/reform) at this point, is Social Security.
I don't watch the Sunday morning political talk shows. Haven't for a couple years now. The only one I allow myself to watch sometimes is "Up" with Chris Hayes since ever once in awhile some actual alternative voice pops up like the wonderful Occupy the SEC woman whose name I can't remember. Read more about It's a Set Up - It's not about Obama or Romney
Here's the Strengthen Social Security website.
PLEASE RETWEET ME! :)
“If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilsonafter claiming "to reduce poverty among the very poor." Read more about Bowles-Simpson Cuts Majority, or 60% of "Very Low" Earners ($10,771) Retiring At Age 65
President Obama Promises "A Dignified Retirement For Everyone," and Update of "Raising The Social Security Retirement Age"
To a wildly cheering crowd on the campaign trail earlier today (in Nevada), President Obama crooned that he will strive to ensure "a dignified retirement for everyone." Disgusting. Read more about President Obama Promises "A Dignified Retirement For Everyone," and Update of "Raising The Social Security Retirement Age"