Dismantling America

41 posts / 0 new
Last post
idoctor's picture
idoctor
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 1731
Dismantling America

Dismantling America

maceves's picture
maceves
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 23 2010
Posts: 281
Dismantling America, Dr. Sowell

Thanks for this.

I used to read his articles years ago.  It is good to hear a conservative voice that articulates a clear stance.  The need for personal responsibilty seems so simple, so basic. That's what i was always taught.

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
(No subject)

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
I couldn’t stomach but a

I couldn’t stomach but a few minutes of Hoover Institution nonsense, in essence, them interviewing themselves. (Thomas Sowell is a prominent and long standing fellow at Hoover).

As far as the Yaron Brook lecture, I would have been in stitches if it wasn’t so tragic. The irony of an Israeli born self help guru pacing the stage like some poorly formed Aryan version of Tom Robbins pontificating on morality and preaching to Americans his idea of freedom, liberty, and government.  This week the Tea Party, next week an Amway convention. This guy is two short goose steps away from a shiny brown uniform.

In the ‘80’s we had Tammy Baker and the PTL Club, now we get these buffoons. Same basic message, minus the false eyelashes and running mascara, same idea, same methods, it’s all about morality you see, thanks to the guiding light of Ayn Rand’s diaspora, we now have only ourselves to blame for the massive wealth inequalities in our society. In the’80’s it was the Evangelical Right, finger wagging and passing moral judgment only just behind the donation basket. And when that was full, it became Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, pushing candidates upward and forward into the political spectrum to carry forth fire and brimstone to set us all straight.

And just how did that work out?

So if you listen oh so very carefully, around minute 10:00 of the Yaron Brook speech you can finally get to the money shot, the grand unification of all things Right, that Social Security is an abomination on society, that moral, just and true Americans would never need such a blasphemous descent into the ravages of Socialism, au  contraire, boot strapping their way past adversity powered by the fuel of pure morality, shining shoes and taking on paper routes to save for their retirement - in addition to the two wage income that pays for the food and rent.

Apparently Mr. Brook hasn’t been told that in the 90% fractile of wage earners in America, the median income is $31,000 per household, with many household having multiple wage earners.  Per Household!! And the median debt burden is something like 125% of household income. But to be sure, these are no more than lapses of morality, too many Hawaiian vacations, too many exotic German cars in the driveway, too many boozy and pricy dinners  at overpriced restaurants. You see, these morally deficient lumps need just forego one of these luxuries and simply put a few dollars into a retirement account and free the rest of us from having to subsidize these worthless excuses for human beings. And in 30 years when 100 million Americans are living in cardboard boxes and eating cat food, well, we told you so. Tough luck!

That someone would have the stones to stand up in front of an audience and prosthletyze this message is bad enough-  that someone would believe it is truly astounding.

[Moderator's note:  Our Forum Rules specifically require that comments be constructive, data-rich, and fact-based.  Comments should be framed in objective, emotionally neutral terms for best effect. This post contains unhelpful emotionally charged terms, including a rhetorical reference to Fascism.  Comments containing phrases such as "worthless excuses for human beings" are not likely to elevate the discussion to a more rational, fact-based level.  Instead they tend to degrade the quality of the discussion.  Please try to do better.]

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
darbikrash, you have proven

darbikrash, you have proven Michael Savage right, liberalism is a mental disorder.

[Moderator's note:  This type of response does not add much.]

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Mental Disorders On The Rise
gregroberts wrote:

darbikrash, you have proven Michael Savage right, liberalism is a mental disorder.

I see mental disorders on both sides. As usual, I see one group taking for themselves certain values and denying them to another group - saying, "I'm the one for freedom and I'm the 'real' American." It's not much farther from there to people taking guns out and shooting the "un-Americans". It's already begun.

But hey, the argument will become irrelevant post-collapse except whichever side "wins" in the downward spiral like rats fighting to be last to drown, will use the old ideologies as an excuse to decide whom to execute and whom to blame. But none of it will stop nor slow the decline.

We have over-exploited, over-developed, over-grown. The resources available will not be enough to sustain the kind of lifestyle we are used to. That includes the luxury of debate and the luxury of thinking our particular Weltanschauung is superior.

Poet

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
Poet "I see mental disorders

Poet

"I see mental disorders on both sides. As usual, I see one group taking for themselves certain values and denying them to another group - saying, "I'm the one for freedom and I'm the 'real' American." It's not much farther from there to people taking guns out and shooting the "un-Americans". It's already begun."

Me too, and sorry for using Michael Savage as an example of mental health for he clearly has mental disorders of his own and if darbikrash had called him a fascist I would agree but to equate individual rights with nazism is clearly insane. Not sure what you mean by one group taking values from another? I define freedom as me being able to live my life without others being able to force their idea of the good on me. The only "value" I would want to take away from anyone would be their legal ability to initiate force against me. Which un-Americans are being shot?

 

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Re: GregRoberts
gregroberts wrote:

Poet

"I see mental disorders on both sides. As usual, I see one group taking for themselves certain values and denying them to another group - saying, "I'm the one for freedom and I'm the 'real' American." It's not much farther from there to people taking guns out and shooting the "un-Americans". It's already begun."

Me too, and sorry for using Michael Savage as an example of mental health for he clearly has mental disorders of his own and if darbikrash had called him a fascist I would agree but to equate individual rights with nazism is clearly insane. Not sure what you mean by one group taking values from another? I define freedom as me being able to live my life without others being able to force their idea of the good on me. The only "value" I would want to take away from anyone would be their legal ability to initiate force against me. Which un-Americans are being shot?

Alright. I was just a little curious why you used Savage as an example. Heheheh.

By co-opting of values, I'm talking about people who think they're the only "real Americans"; they demonized others who diasgree with them on a variety of topics: religion, economics, government, etc. They have co-opted "traditional values" as something only they possess.

By "already begun" I was alluding to the murders of Raul and Brisenia Flores, and also a little to the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others.

Poet

Johnny Oxygen's picture
Johnny Oxygen
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 9 2009
Posts: 1443
Whats all this about a

Whats all this about a Mentos Disorder? I love those things.

dshields's picture
dshields
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 24 2009
Posts: 599
I just can't help myself...

We had a flood Sunday/Monday and I have been pumping water out of my basement for 30 hours and it has made me down right mean.  So, I just have to ask this question -

Why is what used to be considered normal now considered "right wing" ?

There are so many examples it is amazing.  What is wrong with working hard and supporting yourself ?  What is wrong with being honest in personal and business dealings ?

I am going to start a thread on this question.

 

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Brooks
gregroberts wrote:

Me too, and sorry for using Michael Savage as an example of mental health for he clearly has mental disorders of his own and if darbikrash had called him a fascist I would agree but to equate individual rights with nazism is clearly insane.

Sorry my sarcasm has been taken so literally. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t post the rest of what I had written, not very complimentary to Ms. Rand or those that take ideological direction from a fiction novelist.

Mr. Brook’s speech was very upsetting to me, and if you go back and listen (as I had suggested) to the words between minutes 10:00 and 11:00 you will see him very deftly shift his rant  from “individual rights” and the “budget shortfall” (“brave Republicans are trying to shave 30 billion…..”) to calling social security, and I quote, “one of the most immoral schemes invented….”

Mr. Brook suggests that if one were to only be responsible and just save for retirement, then of course everything is just fine. Further, a person saving on their own would achieve a higher rate of return that the social security fund pays out.

And of course I am the one who has a mental disorder, or to use your exact words, insane, to point out the fallacy in his presentation. This is not about individual rights, it is about propaganda. It’s about a ideology based on a fiction novelist. Consider:

1, ) The association between the federal deficit and Social Security payments is false.

2.) Advocating personal responsibility as a requirement for retirement saving is just fine, in a society with a middle class. When 90% have a median household income of $31,000 exactly where is this money supposed to come from. I’m all ears Greg.

3.) Conflating investment portfolio income with social security payments is an ignorant association. Social Security is a trust fund, akin to an insurance payment. How much does your car insurance yield? What is the IRR on homeowners insurance? Ridiculous assertions. These types of conflations are deliberately designed to instill doubt and anger among people who are not trained to think in terms of investment vehicles and risk management strategies. How about those camera shots of the elderly audience members cheering his suggestion that SS be demolished. You think the polls support that conclusion? Perhaps a laugh track from the “I Love Lucy Show” would have been more believable.

4.)The logical conclusion of Mr. Brooks narrative is very unpleasant indeed. Evaluating individual rights is not a static calculation. Demanding your rights for an immediate issue may cause a more severe denial of rights at a later time, a concept not acknowledged by Objectivist thinking. It’s all about immediate gratification, solve for now, and let tomorrow sort it out. Sound familiar? Intelligent societies understand this and make short term compromises for long term benefits, financially, emotionally, and with respect to individual rights.

5.) The extension of his ideas enable the roots of persecution to take hold. It provides moral cover by desensitizing groups of people to think of those with inadequate financial means (in this case 90% of the wage earners)  to be substandard. In so doing he encourages groups of people to stigmatize anyone not worthy of his moral measure, and most importantly, he lays the ground work for future generations to ignore, ridicule and persecute people who were unable to save for retirement, which ultimately you an I will pay for, times 20.

So with some degree of scrutiny, we see that Mr. Brooks has peppered a message ostensibly about budget cuts and individual rights (something we all want and agree with) with some very skillful rhetoric providing moral cover for a small group of elitists to justify tax evasion and preferential treatment. What better way to head off the pass from an angry mob intent on retribution for maldistribution of wealth, than to preemptively start a campaign invoking individual rights and condemning wealth distribution.

So if in calling this out transparent shill and sarcastically extending his theology to make the point makes me mentally deficient, well than so be it.

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Brook's Speech
darbikrash wrote:

Mr. Brook’s speech was very upsetting to me, and if you go back and listen (as I had suggested) to the words between minutes 10:00 and 11:00 you will see him very deftly shift his rant  from “individual rights” and the “budget shortfall” (“brave Republicans are trying to shave 30 billion…..”) to calling social security, and I quote, “one of the most immoral schemes invented….”

This statement is clearly what rubbed you the wrong way but it is not hard to make Brook's case. We have a scheme that was sold to the general population as one thing ( a low cost 9:1 elderly anti-poverty payment ) and has become something else ( a 3:1 manditory retirement scheme ).   It has always been run as a pay as you go system ( sometimes called a ponzi scheme ) where curent payments pay for the current recipients.  There is no "lock box" because all federal spending is fungible, at least since President Johnson.

This statement certainly does not make one a couple of goose steps from being a "Brown Shirt".

darbikrash wrote:

1, ) The association between the federal deficit and Social Security payments is false.

If I owe someone $10 from my right pocket and someone else $5 from my left pocket, it is safe to assume I owe a total of $15 or do you want to argue about which pockets owe what?  There is no money in a lockbox.  The general fund already spent the money.  The surpluses were used to make the earlier government spending look less scary.  That is the problem with schemes that allow one to push obligations into the future.  At some point the future is now.

darbikrash wrote:

2.) Advocating personal responsibility as a requirement for retirement saving is just fine, in a society with a middle class. When 90% have a median household income of $31,000 exactly where is this money supposed to come from. I’m all ears Greg.

That is a good point and the solution is not at all clear.  I assert that lying to people and telling them that they are just receiving their own money that they paid in the past is not helpful to finding a solution.  Honesty and sacrifice will be required which pretty much means it is not possible to fix politically.

darbikrash wrote:

3.) Conflating investment portfolio income with social security payments is an ignorant association. Social Security is a trust fund, akin to an insurance payment. How much does your car insurance yield? What is the IRR on homeowners insurance? Ridiculous assertions. These types of conflations are deliberately designed to instill doubt and anger among people who are not trained to think in terms of investment vehicles and risk management strategies. How about those camera shots of the elderly audience members cheering his suggestion that SS be demolished. You think the polls support that conclusion? Perhaps a laugh track from the “I Love Lucy Show” would have been more believable.

In a given year it does not matter how much we take in vs.give out.  What matters is how much we take in vs. the change in present value of our future obligations.  No insurance fund is allowed to be run like social security, only ponzi schemes.  Why do you think the countries unfunded liabilities are so much larger than the national debt?

darbikrash wrote:

4.)The logical conclusion of Mr. Brooks narrative is very unpleasant indeed. Evaluating individual rights is not a static calculation. Demanding your rights for an immediate issue may cause a more severe denial of rights at a later time, a concept not acknowledged by Objectivist thinking. It’s all about immediate gratification, solve for now, and let tomorrow sort it out. Sound familiar? Intelligent societies understand this and make short term compromises for long term benefits, financially, emotionally, and with respect to individual rights.

Sounds a lot like the decission to move SS into the general fund.  A quick trade of short term gain for long term pain.  I guess Keynes is right, "In the long run we are all dead".  Or at least the politicians that make those decissions are long gone.

darbikrash wrote:

5.) The extension of his ideas enable the roots of persecution to take hold. It provides moral cover by desensitizing groups of people to think of those with inadequate financial means (in this case 90% of the wage earners)  to be substandard. In so doing he encourages groups of people to stigmatize anyone not worthy of his moral measure, and most importantly, he lays the ground work for future generations to ignore, ridicule and persecute people who were unable to save for retirement, which ultimately you an I will pay for, times 20.

So with some degree of scrutiny, we see that Mr. Brooks has peppered a message ostensibly about budget cuts and individual rights (something we all want and agree with) with some very skillful rhetoric providing moral cover for a small group of elitists to justify tax evasion and preferential treatment. What better way to head off the pass from an angry mob intent on retribution for maldistribution of wealth, than to preemptively start a campaign invoking individual rights and condemning wealth distribution.

I think we all see what we want to see.  You see a moral case for "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".  Others see that if our labor can be taxed, then we really do not own of our labor.  The state has a higher claim on us, than we do ourselves.  Many of us find this thought repugnant.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Nothing Wrong With Having Good Values
dshields wrote:

We had a flood Sunday/Monday and I have been pumping water out of my basement for 30 hours and it has made me down right mean.  So, I just have to ask this question -

Why is what used to be considered normal now considered "right wing" ?

There are so many examples it is amazing.  What is wrong with working hard and supporting yourself ?  What is wrong with being honest in personal and business dealings ?

I am going to start a thread on this question.

There's nothing wrong with working hard and supporting yourself. Nothing wrong with being honest in personal and business dealings. These are great values. These are American values.

There IS something wrong when one group of people take these or other values and claim it as theirs and deny these values as being possible for another group (their enemy) to have.

Poet

gregroberts's picture
gregroberts
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 6 2008
Posts: 1024
"Sorry my sarcasm has been

"Sorry my sarcasm has been taken so literally."

Simple solution, skip the sarcasm and say what you mean.

It's interesting that you are so quick to point out that some group or person is like a Nazi when what you advocate is essentially Nazi-light, what was the modus operandi of the Nazi's? Using force (guns) to make people do things they normally wouldn't do. How many people would pay taxes of any kind if there wasn't a gun forcing them to do it? Without the gun forcing legal tender laws do you think paper under helicopter Ben's control would be the medium of choice? Now the funny part to me is that you advocate that the govt should have legal tender laws yet you bemoan the fact that people can't save any money, the reason people don't save is because the paper becomes more worthless every day. Check out the CC on inflation for more info.

For people to be free all actions must be voluntary and to me this is the moral. If you think people are stupid and must be forced to do what you believe is the good then you are the Nazi.

Carl Veritas's picture
Carl Veritas
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 23 2008
Posts: 294
Social Security Is A Trust Fund

"Social Security is a trust fund akin to insurance payments"

  The Social Security Trust Funds are managed by the Department Of The Treasury.    They serve two purposes:    (1) they provide an accounting mechanism for tracking all income to and disbursements from the trust funds       (2)   they hold the accumulated assets.     -- SSA

These social security bonds are neither assets of the U.S. nor property of workers and their families.   For a bond to be a bond, there needs to be at  least two parties.   The U.S. cannot issue bonds to itself and have their terms bind future congresses. --- Charles Rounds Jr,  Suffolk University Law School

The government collects social security from both workers and employers and the "surplus" after meeting current payouts are placed on the trust funds holding these special bonds.   From there the Treasury treats them as revenue where administrations could include them for "balancing"  their budgets.      Insurance firms maintain a portfolio of bonds to meet policyholder obligations while  social security falls under unfunded liabilities of future taxpayers.

 

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Immoral
goes211 wrote:
darbikrash wrote:

Mr. Brook’s speech was very upsetting to me, and if you go back and listen (as I had suggested) to the words between minutes 10:00 and 11:00 you will see him very deftly shift his rant  from “individual rights” and the “budget shortfall” (“brave Republicans are trying to shave 30 billion…..”) to calling social security, and I quote, “one of the most immoral schemes invented….”

This statement is clearly what rubbed you the wrong way but it is not hard to make Brook's case. We have a scheme that was sold to the general population as one thing ( a low cost 9:1 elderly anti-poverty payment ) and has become something else ( a 3:1 manditory retirement scheme ).   It has always been run as a pay as you go system ( sometimes called a ponzi scheme ) where curent payments pay for the current recipients.  There is no "lock box" because all federal spending is fungible, at least since President Johnson.

This statement certainly does not make one a couple of goose steps from being a "Brown Shirt".

My it’s noisy here in the Libertarian echo chamber today. You know, the land of the fiction novelist, where taxation is theft and government is just a tool of the oppressor. And the righteous clamor for the irresponsible birthright to do as they please, when they please, with no regard to impact on others, all the while pounding on the table that their own rights are the only ones that matter, oblivious to concepts of transformation.

And if the banks and financial institutions make some corporatist errors, a slight miscalculation as it were, and it costs society what, a few trillion, than we take that  money out of the middle class, we claw back those losses from those that did not contribute (nor profit) from the orgy of financial largesse that is called Wall Street. We take it out of their pensions, we take it out of the interest income, and we kill off the Social Security safety net, because, well, now we can’t afford it anymore.

But the icing on the cake, is not the comment that SS “ is one of the most immoral schemes invented…” No.

It is the presumption that the entire middle class must absorb the obscene transfer of wealth that has taken place over the last 30 years. Please read that again because it is important to process this before we move on. Now that we have “absorbed” this wealth transfer, this distribution of money and income, now we can talk about the next topic, retirement. See, the people who are benefiting from this wealth distribution know there is trouble in river city, they know that soon, a very large number of baby boomers are going to be past the age where they can maintain an income. They will retire. And they have paid into a system all of their working lives, and they expect to get paid. Rightly so.

And if the money is gone, that means higher taxes, and this has to come from somewhere, and it will very likely come from the wealthy, some of the very same people who perpetrated the disaster to begin with. And they do not want to pay.

So if you paid money all your working life into a bank, and another institution borrowed these funds, what kind of logic would propel you to suggest closing the bank with your life savings in it? Ask yourself who would benefit from this irrational belief system, and why would anyone in their right mind support such a concept?

 

This statement is clearly what rubbed you the wrong way but it is not hard to make Brook's case. We have a scheme that was sold to the general population as one thing ( a low cost 9:1 elderly anti-poverty payment ) and has become something else ( a 3:1 manditory retirement scheme ).   It has always been run as a pay as you go system ( sometimes called a ponzi scheme ) where curent payments pay for the current recipients.  There is no "lock box" because all federal spending is fungible, at least since President Johnson.

This statement certainly does not make one a couple of goose steps from being a "Brown Shirt".

My problem is with Brooks’ assertion that tens of millions of lower and middle class households will be able to consistently save sufficient money for retirement over a time frame measured in decades, in the face of declining incomes and rising prices. They will not. Not because they are morally deficient, but because of the ongoing and persistent wealth transfer. Mr. Brooks is setting up a marginalization framework wherein these people who cannot possibly succeed long term are labeled morally deficient and he invites persecution and invokes others to join his bandwagon of finger wagging elitists. Kind of like going into a classroom of deaf children and yelling, “listen up”. Cruel and in my view, the underpinnings of a very dangerous protocol – and one we have seen before.

If I owe someone $10 from my right pocket and someone else $5 from my left pocket, it is safe to assume I owe a total of $15 or do you want to argue about which pockets owe what?  There is no money in a lockbox.  The general fund already spent the money.  The surpluses were used to make the earlier government spending look less scary.  That is the problem with schemes that allow one to push obligations into the future.  At some point the future is now.

A valid comment, but you are focusing on the wrong point. I’m going to repeat this because it’s important:

So if you paid money all your working life into a bank, and another institution borrowed these funds, what kind of logic would propel you to suggest closing the bank with your life savings in it?

How about we raise the deduction threshold for SS above $106k? Problem solved.

In a given year it does not matter how much we take in vs.give out.  What matters is how much we take in vs. the change in present value of our future obligations.  No insurance fund is allowed to be run like social security, only ponzi schemes.  Why do you think the countries unfunded liabilities are so much larger than the national debt?

You are missing my point. The argument Brooks made was that better returns could be had in the private sector (like 2008?) He is specifically creating an antagonistic expectation that these funds should create equivalent returns to the stock market. He ignores risk. Insurance companies raise their premiums when actuarial assumptions change,

Sounds a lot like the decission to move SS into the general fund.  A quick trade of short term gain for long term pain.  I guess Keynes is right, "In the long run we are all dead".  Or at least the politicians that make those decissions are long gone.

Goes211, this statement has nothing to do with Keynes, or the SS general fund. It has to do with the fallacy of  Objectivist thinking, and it’s inability to consider a compromise in individual rights to prevent a much larger violation of individual rights later, or, a transformation of rights in the immediate away from open group to another.

I think we all see what we want to see.  You see a moral case for "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need".  Others see that if our labor can be taxed, then we really do not own of our labor.  The state has a higher claim on us, than we do ourselves.  Many of us find this thought repugnant.

It is not necessary to introduce quotes from the Communist Manifesto in response to my comments, This is not what I am advocating, as you well know. I have said, very clearly, that Brooks is using the current crisis to mask his real agenda, which is justification of further wealth transfer, and shielding of elites from having to participate in any redress caused by the financial crisis, by invoking morally critical rhetoric wrapped around individual rights.

gregroberts wrote:

Simple solution, skip the sarcasm and say what you mean.

For people to be free all actions must be voluntary and to me this is the moral. If you think people are stupid and must be forced to do what you believe is the good then you are the Nazi.

I hope that is clear enough.

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
I did not watch....

I did not watch any of the videos posted, only read the responses.

From the response I see that there is no political solution to the current crisis. The debate has become too heated and the polar extremes now share the same side of the coin.

The American citizen is being ravaged from both sides, governemnt and corporate multi nationals. The same people who are the primary advisors to our elected officials are the ones who sit on the board for the Federal Reserve.

So, let's digest this for a moment.

What is best for the banks? Printing money and generally devaluing the currency, lending from themselves to the government to prop up irresponsible spending, while profiteering on the difference in interest rates from the Primary Dealer window access to .25% interest on the cash and buying US Treasury debt that pays what? 5%?

Who here wants to borrow money at .25% interest and get a guranteed return on loaning it back out at 5% interest? How about if your were allowed to do that to the tune of 3 billion dollars a day?

Who guarantees the debt service payments? The government guarantees that it will collect the taxes from citizens to pay the banks.

So we find ourselves in a spiral, where the mandate to protect those who are deemed too stupid or too disadvantaged to do it for themselves, while simultaneously imposing global systems of advantage to the same banks on the unsuspecting victims of the US military securing the rights to global resources has become the norm for increasing government expenditures.

Please do not misunderstand me, Islamic Jihad is a true threat, and my current and past duties reinforce this informed viewpoint. Before you roast me for this view, please spend a few years researching the history of Islam, Jihad and the physical actions of militant Jihadists vs. the cultural Jihadists cover verbiage. In fact, take a look at what happened on Sept 11th, 1683 and combine that with the long term cultural norms of the society that propogates Jihad, and then take a look at the 2001 event with fresh perspective. I digress...

So, back on task. Expenditures by the government at the behest of large corporate interests masquerading as do good social programs have destroyed fiscal sanity here in the United States. It has gotten so bad that the rest of the world is spontaneously combusting because of it.

The situation requires a four pronged approach for a solution.

1. Stop calling each other Nazis. It is unproductive, and Nationalist Socialism results in myopic failures based on ignorant self aggrandizing beliefs enforced by governmental policy.

2. Elect fiscally responsible representatives with a mandate to dismantle the Fed and reduce our global military footprint while reducing the government sponsored interference into the daily lives of citizens. This will be painful for both sides of the debate. No more tax write offs. No more  wealth transfers from the middle class to the global corporate and banking interests or to those who have no good reason for not working or creating a business. Americans are the most charitable people in the world, and we will take of our own without government redistribution. (I can site references of this if you like.)

3. Ban lobbyists and special interests. No special interest other than the representatives themselves belong in the halls of the government. They bring their own special insight into the needs of their constituents, that is what they were voted into office for.

4. No more government sponsored business subsidies. We cannot dispute peak oil or rising prices for energy. Spending tax payer dollars on things like ethanol is diverting both food and good efficient business ideas from success and prolonging the pain of energy deficiency. As prices rise in a given area of a market, the natural tendency is for entrepreneurs to find a better, more efficient or more cost effective way to provide the need. Government subsidies short circuit this process the distort the results far too long, with painful consequences when the subsidy dries up and the gap in the market becomes a shortage at my house! This provides a ripe environment for the largest pockets to fill the gap and corner the market, resulting in even more pain and misery. Take the TBTF banks as an example. What are we left with now that the government has decided to nationalize the excesses?

Time to feed my niece her apple sauce and a bottle. I sincerely hope we can ge this worked out before the shrill uncivility goes the next step.

Best Wishes,

Jager06

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Jager06's ideas
Jager06 wrote:

The situation requires a four pronged approach for a solution.

1. Stop calling each other Nazis. It is unproductive, and Nationalist Socialism results in myopic failures based on ignorant self aggrandizing beliefs enforced by governmental policy.

2. Elect fiscally responsible representatives with a mandate to dismantle the Fed and reduce our global military footprint while reducing the government sponsored interference into the daily lives of citizens. This will be painful for both sides of the debate. No more tax write offs. No more  wealth transfers from the middle class to the global corporate and banking interests or to those who have no good reason for not working or creating a business. Americans are the most charitable people in the world, and we will take of our own without government redistribution. (I can site references of this if you like.)

3. Ban lobbyists and special interests. No special interest other than the representatives themselves belong in the halls of the government. They bring their own special insight into the needs of their constituents, that is what they were voted into office for.

4. No more government sponsored business subsidies. We cannot dispute peak oil or rising prices for energy. Spending tax payer dollars on things like ethanol is diverting both food and good efficient business ideas from success and prolonging the pain of energy deficiency. As prices rise in a given area of a market, the natural tendency is for entrepreneurs to find a better, more efficient or more cost effective way to provide the need. Government subsidies short circuit this process the distort the results far too long, with painful consequences when the subsidy dries up and the gap in the market becomes a shortage at my house! This provides a ripe environment for the largest pockets to fill the gap and corner the market, resulting in even more pain and misery. Take the TBTF banks as an example. What are we left with now that the government has decided to nationalize the excesses?

Time to feed my niece her apple sauce and a bottle. I sincerely hope we can ge this worked out before the shrill uncivility goes the next step.

Those are good points and I mostly agree.

  1. I think I implied he was a communist and he compaired  tea partiers to Nazis.  I agree that neither is adding much to the discussion.
  2. I am in complete agreement.
  3. My only reservation with this is what exactly is a "special interest"?  Is that the NRA, the Campaign for Liberty, SEIU,....?  It is hard to determine what is a special interest vs what is a general interest.  My guess is if #2 and #4 were successful, there would be a lot less need for lobbyists because government would no longer be in the business of deciding winners and losers.
  4. I am in complete agreement.

I have two priciples I would like to add to your list. 

First thing I would like to add to your list is government transparency.  I think the lack of transparency in government is the gateway to most all  corruption.  This is true at all levels of government but is especially true at the Federal level with empires like America is today. 

The second principle I would like to add is that whatever must be done by government should be done at the lowest level possible.  For example education should be done locally with very little Federal control.  Governments by their very nature are effectively monopolies.  States and municipalities should compete against each other which should limit their monoplistic powers over the individuals.

Otherwise I basically agree with you but I doubt many collectivists will.

Jager06's picture
Jager06
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 2 2009
Posts: 395
Additions..

I agree with transparency and the abolition of unproductive areas of government.

Perhaps an amendment requiring all laws be automatically rendered null and void if failed to be individually heard and re established by majority vote not earlier than 9 months prior to the 10 year expiration? Events of national emergency such as DELCARED war, shall allow for interim extension not to exceed 9 month past the end of said emergency. I would also make Congress a part time job, with no perks (ie. lifetime medical care and other BS) as it was originally.

I agree with Peter Schiff on the abolition of the Dept. of Energy and Education, as well as ending the JASON meetings, and returning Congressional authority for the minting of money.

US history is rife with disasters that were wholly mitigated through the hard work and charity of those most affected by them and their immediate nieghbors. The massive flooding in the north central United States and the lack of federal response to the problem compared with the Hurricane Katrina response. Similar problems, vastly different ideas and execution on how to deal with them. The results? Federal intervention has left Louisiana with the expectation that someone else is required to make them whole, and complete recovery is yet to happen. The flooding issues up north? They made the news and the local folks handled it themselves mostly. Things are back to normal.

If anyone has first hand knowledge of a different result, please let me know.

We can go back to the Texas drought of 1887 for an example of how things should be handled. Congress passed a bill appropriating funds for disaster relief of the farmers affected by the drought. President Grover Cleveland responded in a manner that needs to be revisited, because he vetoed the bill, saying:

"I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan, as proposed by this bill, to indulge in a benevolont and charitable sentiment throught he appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the Central Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service and benefit. A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited missions of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government, the Government should not support the people.

The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."

(Emphasis mine.)

If our current society is viewed from this perspective, and level of interference we have become accustomed to, is it no wonder that our senior citizens are publicly beaten and robbed as others walk around the incident? That our children are kidnapped while bystanders watch without feeling obligated to interfere? I think these are examples of the apathy and expectation of help from an authority figure designated by the government to intervene in situations that are so obviously wrong, and yet no one lifts a finger. What would Grover Cleveland think if he saw the Katrina incident?

Anyway, nap time is over. I am off to continue playing with the little ones.

I will check back later!

Jager06

(edited for spelling)

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1207
loss of trust
darbikrash wrote:

So if you paid money all your working life into a bank, and another institution borrowed these funds, what kind of logic would propel you to suggest closing the bank with your life savings in it? Ask yourself who would benefit from this irrational belief system, and why would anyone in their right mind support such a concept?

How about when one comes to the conclusion that the 'borrowed' money will never be paid back for mine and successive generations' retirement?  If one recognizes that the agreement as was promised will be broken and the money you paid in is a sunk cost, it seems prudent to stop throwing good money after bad, right?  It's only irrational if you believe the promises will be kept.  If you think the promises will be kept that's fine, but if one has lost their trust in the system it's perfectly rational.  Doubly so if you think a catastrophic end to the program is inevitable, and a slow and planned phasing out of the program might allow for an easier transition.

- Nickbert

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
So I could see that point of

So I could see that point of view. I rather like the French viewpoint better, burn tires in the street, riot, strike, and generally disrupt the economy until someone gets the idea that forfieting three decades of inflow payments is not an option. In fact, I’d advocate the opposite, raise hell now, and demand than the benefits age be retracted to age 63  and remove the $106K threshold to pay for it. I’m not on board with the passive, “well, I’ll never get paid anyway resignation.” Quite the opposite.

I’ve got some old Firestones in the garage – you? Smile

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Ignoring reality

Darbikrash,

How much is enough?  Will another 13% of the "rich" really satiate your and your ilk's thirst for more?  If so for how long?  How is what you are advocating really different from "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?  Surely you realize that the truly weathy (Kennedy's, Heinz Kerry's, ....) can control their incomes via trusts, municiple bonds, capital gains.  Taxing income just hurst those in the middle (professionals, small business owners, ...) that are trying to accumulate enough capital to move up into the upper classes, and yet the best you can think up is to tax INCOME/LABOR higher? 

Why is income/labor taxed at all?  If you believe in taxes for the rich you must believe that they are justified because the rich have more to lose if society fails.  It's kind of like protection money paid to the masses so they don't come an throw bricks through the rich's front window.  If this is the case doen't it make more sense to try and find ways to tax a persons wealth ( net worth ) than income ( yearly change in net-worth )?  Who owes society more, a billionare with $2 million income, or a small business owner with $2 million income? 

I don't know what the real answer is but taxing income/labor is not it.

Here are some interesting articles from yesterday.  I probably don't 100% agree but they are worth some thought.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/neil-reynol...

The withering of the state

NEIL REYNOLDS

Controversial Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld argued (in his brilliant The Rise and Decline of the State) that government – the most important institution in the world – peaked in the 20th century and was now, as another seer once memorably put it, withering away. Writing in 1999, Prof. van Creveld seemed perceptive but not necessarily persuasive. Now the evidence of shrinkage is overwhelming: The limitations of the state are obvious. Were he so inclined, Prof. van Creveld could write an epilogue: I told you so.

Among the affluent democracies, countries now struggle to avert bankruptcy. Throughout the Middle East, civilian populations summarily fire dictators. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve creates trillions of dollars from thin air – money to boost equity markets, to create an illusion of wealth. Everywhere, government bureaucracies expand and government debt rises. Governments get bigger, even as they grow weaker.

...

The welfare state, Prof. van Creveld said, peaked in 1977, when governments realized the only way to expand programs was to pay for the expansion with borrowed money. He also dated Canada’s welfare-state peak in 1977, when, for the first time, the federal government cut back on social welfare programs – in the first instance, limiting outrageously generous UI benefits. The state had hit the wall.

...

The state responded by swapping sovereignty for economic growth. It dumped the industries it had recently nationalized. It adopted free-market economics to generate faster growth – and to capture more tax revenue. It began to break its promises.

Prof. van Creveld thought the welfare state was effectively destroyed by its own success. Between 1940 and 1975, government’s share of GDP “doubled in Germany, tripled in the U.K., quadrupled in the Netherlands and quintupled in Denmark.” Yet, the apparent need for state intervention increased, proving “the amazing ability of the welfare state to aggravate the social problems it was designed to cure.” The paradox was this: The larger the benefits, the larger the number of people who qualified for them; the larger the number of people who qualified for benefits, the larger the bureaucracy.

Prof. van Creveld blamed the state’s decline on the nature of bureaucracy. “Considered as individuals, bureaucrats may be mild, harmless and self-effacing people. Collectively, they have created a monster whose powers far exceed the mightiest empires of old. By merely waiting, a bureaucrat can outlast any individual. For the first time in history, victory goes to the buttocks rather than the fist.”

The Soviet Union, Prof. van Creveld said, was the first state to exhaust itself completely in war and welfare – but then it was an experiment to determine the feasibility of a totalitarian state. But the democratic state, he said, has also lost its raison d’être and has, of necessity, delegated much authority to multinational companies, NGOs, criminal gangs, all sorts of organizations – and to mere things, too, such as the Internet – that are neither territorial nor sovereign. The state is in full retreat. As Prof. van Creveld warned, the retreat could well turn into a rout.

We are running a $1.6 trillion  defecit right now.  So what % of GDP for government spending is enough?

How about this take on the situation?

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/03/07/paul-krugman-gets-...

Paul Krugman Gets It Half Right

Walter Russell Mead

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day; Paul Krugman was almost this lucky in his recent New York Times column: Degrees and Dollars. It’s an important column and should be required reading even for people who stopped reading him a long time ago. Krugman’s take on what’s wrong with the American economy and what to do about it shows a powerful intellect grappling honestly with some of the biggest problems we face.

And Krugman’s column also illustrates the point I made in The Crisis of the American Intellectual: that many of the smartest and best educated people in this country are so blinkered and blinded by the assumptions and values of the blue social model that they simply cannot think outside the box.

...

Krugman and the Times editorial board are both examples of something important in American life today: left-liberal intellectuals are increasingly able to understand that individual supports of the blue social model are crumbling.  But they are still so captivated by the blue model, so profoundly convinced that the Progressive movement’s solutions to America’s social ills in 1910 are still valid today, that they cannot yet look beyond the blue model to imagine a different and brighter future for the United States.

Here, for example, is the solution Krugman proposes to the problems that automation and outsourcing have caused for both blue and white collar workers in the US:

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

This is blindness so brilliant it would dazzle a bat.  If, as Krugman posits, demand for US workers will be falling in both manufacturing and the professions, how exactly will labor unions get higher wages for their members?  Factories will be closing in Krugman’s world and law firms will be turning more and more work over to computers or shipping it overseas.  Perhaps stronger unions could make it harder for companies to do this for a while, but ultimately facts speak.  Stronger unions making tougher wage demands will not exactly persuade American (and foreign) investors to create new jobs in this country — or to slow down their efforts to reduce their US workforce by outsourcing and automation.  When human workers receive rising wages, become harder to fire, and are governed by ever more convoluted and expensive work rules, replacing them with computers becomes more attractive, not less. 

...

Nobody has a blueprint for the post-industrial world, and the pessimists and doomsayers will always be with us.  The porters’ union probably once fought the wheel and predicted mass unemployment and falling living standards if those crazy things ever caught on. How would honest porters earn a living if everybody used those new-fangled wheelbarrows?  And if the porters are out of work, what about all the shopkeepers and tavern owners who depend on the porters as customers?  Alas, oh woe and alackaday!

Ban the wheel!

We have our naysayers and prophets of doom in the US, and many of our intellectuals are so caught up in and so well paid by the blue social model that they literally cannot conceive that the radical changes shaking their world should be embraced rather than resisted.  But one of the great secrets of America’s historical success is that the voices of nostalgia are weaker here than in other places.

Krugman and many of his colleagues at the Times are, I think, blinded by how good things once were.  This is understandable; I felt that way for many years myself and it was only slowly and painfully that I gave up on the blue social model that once looked so good.  But the country and the times we live in demand more than angry and ultimately despairing nostalgia from our thinkers and opinion leaders.  Let us hope that it comes.

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Tax?
goes211 wrote:

Darbikrash,

How much is enough?  Will another 13% of the "rich" really satiate your and your ilk's thirst for more?  If so for how long?  How is what you are advocating really different from "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?  Surely you realize that the truly weathy (Kennedy's, Heinz Kerry's, ....) can control their incomes via trusts, municiple bonds, capital gains.  Taxing income just hurst those in the middle (professionals, small business owners, ...) that are trying to accumulate enough capital to move up into the upper classes, and yet the best you can think up is to tax INCOME/LABOR higher? 

Why is income/labor taxed at all? 

Goes211, I think your arguments are off point. Unless your name is Rip Van Winkle and you’ve just come out of a 30 year slumber, the issue here is people such as Yron Brook (in the video) are  trying to convince Americans to abandon a system they have paid their own hard earned money (as well as their employers) into for 75 years, and prepare to forfeit these funds, on the basis of an ideological position. This is not a discussion of taxation- in direct contradiction to what Mr. Brooks would have you believe.

You have to be dumb as a bag of hammers to buy into that nonsense. No amount of propaganda and slick, pensive sales promoters interspersed with the illusion of Tea Party members with raised fists, chanting on the success of their mock proletariat mission, which is, to convince themselves to forfeit their own money, is going to get me to embrace a nutty ideological notion that means I give up 30 years of contributions.

Everyone who paid in had better be getting what they were promised. And if that simple premise is somehow ideologically offensive to you, the mere thought of involuntary contributions to a retirement fund in order to stave off tens, if not hundreds of millions of Americans from living on the streets, and then these horrendous costs forced onto the rest of us to pick up the burden, well then consider the self serving side of that calculus and perhaps that will ease the Randian conscience.

Consider:

1.)    The interest rate on passbook savings and CD’s is well below 1%, in some cases less than .5%. Effectively a zero income propostion.

2.)    Most retirees have counted on interest income from savings to augment there SS payments, and these income projections have been decimated. There is no meaningful opportunity for income based on savings anyomore.

3.)    The eligibility age for SS benefits is steadily increasing, widening the gap between when the income projections were initially made and the onset of benefits.

4.)    This means for many, working long into their sixties, which is fine (?) for white collar positions, totally unrealistic for jobs with physical labor.

This is real, goes211, not some hyperbolic theory based on a construct of wishful thinking. How are you going to fix this? If you take something away, what, precisely, are you going to replace it with? And please no,Objectivist and moralistic lectures on saving for the future.

The interest income counted on by millions of workers and retirees has been stolen to pay for the financial crisis, initiated and profited on by the bankers. And yes, someone has to make up the difference. And its time to get off the Libertarian soapbox and make some adult decisions, independent of ideology:

Who’s going to pay?

The elderly, retirees, and workers? Or the people who instigated this. If you don’t like the comment about raising the $106K limit, propose another method that more completely attributes reconciliation to those that caused this.

But don’t frame this as some type of communist or socialist takeover.

Real money has been stolen, and someone is going to have to pay. Who?

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Link The "lockbox" is back.

Link

The "lockbox" is back.

The "lockbox," you may recall, was the concept presidential candidate Al Gore used during the 2000 election to signify his devotion to the security of Social Security. The principle supposedly was to sequester the program's annual surplus, which was then running about $150 billion a year, so that it couldn't be frittered away on irresponsible government spending.

After the election, the lockbox disappeared from public discourse. But the idea that the government is squandering Social Security assets, leaving nothing to pay benefits, has never faded.

Lately the lockbox trope has been resurrected, generally by Democrats hoping to defuse the conservative talking point — which is flatly inaccurate — that Social Security contributes to the deficit. The idea seems to be that if you can wall off Social Security's income and outflow from the rest of the budget, you can at least quell the talk.

But here's the dirty little secret about the "lockbox": The very notion is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how the program works. You can't lock away a trust fund amounting to about $2.5 trillion from the rest of the economy — nor would you want to.

What's at the center of all this discussion is the Social Security trust fund. The fund began to build up after 1983, when the government jacked up the payroll tax to cover a looming deficit and sock away money for the coming wave of baby boomer retirements. Over the last decade or so, the fund has grown by $150 billion to $200 billion a year.

The question of where to park this money is a perennial headache. That was so even in 1935, when a proposal to build up a Social Security reserve first came before Congress — and when the estimate of its maximum size was only $47 billion.

"What in heaven's name are you going to do with $47 billion?" Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan asked a Franklin D. Roosevelt administration official. Informed that the government funds could be invested in the stock of big corporations such as U.S. Steel, Vandenberg exclaimed, "That would be socialism!"

Instead, Congress mandated that the money could be invested only one way: in U.S. Treasury securities, safe and secure. This remains the law today.

From time to time, proposals arise to invest some of the money — usually less than half — in the stock market. But no one has yet come up with a sure way of inoculating what might be a government investment approaching $1 trillion from political pressure or conflicts of interest. For example, in his 1999 State of the Union message, President Bill Clinton proposed suing the tobacco companies for their impact on public health and allowing Social Security to invest in corporate equities, tobacco or otherwise.

You can't put it in a mattress or in any non-interest-paying account. The balance would be eaten away by inflation: The $1 trillion held by the trust fund in 2000 would have only $800 billion in purchasing power today.

That leaves …T-bonds.

Of course, when you buy a Treasury security, what you're doing is lending the money to the government, which spends it on whatever Congress and the president deem necessary — building bridges, deploying an army division, sending a shuttle into space, even paying off old T-bonds.

Gore wasn't proposing anything different when he talked about the lockbox — his plan was to use the Social Security surplus to pay down the national debt, then pay the program's future expenses from general government revenue. One way or another, Social Security taxpayers (who are disproportionately middle- and working-class) would still be lending the government money.

When Social Security alarmists say the government has "squandered" the trust fund, they're just expressing their opinion about the government's budget priorities. Underlying their complaint are the modern conservative shibboleths that taxation is by definition "theft," the federal budget is invariably a drag on the free market, and private enterprise can do everything better than government.

Here's how conservative economist Thomas Sowell distilled the argument in 2001: "Those bonds in the Social Security 'trust fund' represent no tangible assets — not houses, not factories, not cars, not trains."

Is that right?

The federal government spends about $1.5 billion a year subsidizing Amtrak. Love it or hate it, that sounds like trains to me. The Department of Housing and Urban Development spends about $40 billion a year on housing assistance and community development grants. The Pentagon's $35-billion tanker contract will keep plenty of factories humming.

Moreover, by borrowing Social Security's tax revenue, the government was able to enact an income tax cut in 2001 favoring the wealthiest 5% of taxpayers. According to supply-side doctrine, the cut should have given those taxpayers an incentive to invest — in houses, factories, cars and trains.

Who says so? Sowell, for one. Just last year, he wrote that low tax rates prompt people to "take their money out of tax shelters and put it to work in the economy, benefitting themselves, the economy and government." (Sowell may dismiss the utility of government largesse, but he's not averse to living off it — he taught at UCLA, a taxpayer-funded university, from 1974 to 1980 and currently hangs his hat at Stanford's Hoover Institution, contributions to which are subsidized by the federal government via a tax deduction.)

In the final analysis, what's important in the lockbox debate is not how the government spends the money it borrows from Social Security; it spends the money on the same things as everything else it borrows, whether the lender is a wealthy individual, a parent buying Series EE bonds for his kids' college funds, or the Chinese government. What's important is the promise of repayment. It doesn't take a lockbox to guarantee that obligation, only the good faith and wisdom of our political leaders.

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Re: The "Lockbox" Is A Dwindling Promise
darbikrash wrote:

Link

The "lockbox" is back.

[Snipped.]

The biggest problem is that this social welfare program was created, and everyone - especially the most vulnerable of Americans - has come to depend on it, while politicians have increased its promises while at the same time taken all the money and spent it as soon as it came into government's pockets.

Yes, there's a "trust fund" or a "lockbox". The money is supposed to be repaid to the fund with interest. But since it's already spent, more money will have to be borrowed (with interest) in order to pay the fund back.

Our politicians of both parties took the credit card, had a binge every year, and now is faced with the arduous prospect of paying back with interest because inflows are now less than outflows. When the inflow/outflow model was threatened, they passed "reform" to confiscate more and push back the retirement age. Well it looks like politicians are looking to do it again.

Oh, I don't blame the poor people who have come to depend on Social Security and Medicare in their old age. They're just believing what government tells them. We all get that slip of paper once per year showing us what we can expect to get when we retire or if we're disabled. I just think it'll be gone before it's time for me to collect.

I read this once somewhere on a financial web site (they're common on sites that want you to give them your money), but it seems about right:

Quote:

"Take any 100 people at the start of their working careers and follow them for 40 years until they reach retirement age, and here's what you'll find, according to the Social Security Administration: only 1 will be wealthy; 4 will be financially secure; 5 will continue working, not because they want to but because they have to; 36 will be dead; and 54 will be dead broke - dependent on their meager Social Security checks, relatives, friends, even charity for a minimum standard of living. That's only 5% who retire with the American Dream."

Just imagine: Out of every 100 workers, 36 won't even get a dime in retirement money.

Poet

 

nickbert's picture
nickbert
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1207
demanding full compensation
darbikrash wrote:

So I could see that point of view. I rather like the French viewpoint better, burn tires in the street, riot, strike, and generally disrupt the economy until someone gets the idea that forfieting three decades of inflow payments is not an option. In fact, I’d advocate the opposite, raise hell now, and demand than the benefits age be retracted to age 63  and remove the $106K threshold to pay for it. I’m not on board with the passive, “well, I’ll never get paid anyway resignation.” Quite the opposite.

I’ve got some old Firestones in the garage – you? Smile

Heck, I don't even have a garage Tongue out

I'm all for raising hell, but IMO demanding full compensation as promised is unrealistic.  Right or wrong, those who paid into SS will have to, at a bare minimum, accept less than what was promised and take a haircut (whether through raising eligibility age, reduction in payments, or massive inflation... or probably some of all three).  I just don't see how it's feasible to keep the promises given the immense mismanagement of SS along with the disparity in size between the Baby Boomer generation and the later generations.  This is just my opinion, but I see the federal and some state and city governments imploding in a spectacular manner at some point in the next decade, and I think triage and cuts in ALL facets of government will be necessary.  I want to see corporate welfare/subsidies eliminated and defense spending cut first and foremost, but even so all other programs will still require downsizing.  I feel for the people dependent on the various programs that will be cut, but I think they're going to suffer less through the voluntary downsizing than from the eventual government implosion and abrupt disintegration of the programs.

The sad thing is this is probably a moot point, since there's little real political effort to address the coming crisis and most people I talk to aren't interested in making meaningful steps towards self-sufficiency.  But if I were running things (or at least had the attention of those that are), this is what I would do.

- Nickbert

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Social in-Security
darbikrash wrote:
goes211 wrote:

Darbikrash,

How much is enough?  Will another 13% of the "rich" really satiate your and your ilk's thirst for more?  If so for how long?  How is what you are advocating really different from "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need"?  Surely you realize that the truly weathy (Kennedy's, Heinz Kerry's, ....) can control their incomes via trusts, municiple bonds, capital gains.  Taxing income just hurst those in the middle (professionals, small business owners, ...) that are trying to accumulate enough capital to move up into the upper classes, and yet the best you can think up is to tax INCOME/LABOR higher? 

Why is income/labor taxed at all? 

Goes211, I think your arguments are off point. Unless your name is Rip Van Winkle and you’ve just come out of a 30 year slumber, the issue here is people such as Yron Brook (in the video) are  trying to convince Americans to abandon a system they have paid their own hard earned money (as well as their employers) into for 75 years, and prepare to forfeit these funds, on the basis of an ideological position. This is not a discussion of taxation- in direct contradiction to what Mr. Brooks would have you believe.

You have to be dumb as a bag of hammers to buy into that nonsense. No amount of propaganda and slick, pensive sales promoters interspersed with the illusion of Tea Party members with raised fists, chanting on the success of their mock proletariat mission, which is, to convince themselves to forfeit their own money, is going to get me to embrace a nutty ideological notion that means I give up 30 years of contributions.

Nice name calling.  I guess I should expect nothing less from you.

No one is suggesting that those that need the benefits and have paid all their lives into the system, should not get what they were promised or at least something close to it.  I thought this discussion was about social security being called

“one of the most immoral schemes invented….”

Social security was created as a 2% ( 1% personal, 1% employer ) income tax to alleviate elderly povery.  Slowly is has been coverted to a straight up wealth transfer from our poor middle classes to our better off retirees at a full 15.3% on the first $100K of earnings.  There is no opt out, their is no ownership of the money extracted, there is no garantee that it will be paid or what the value of the money will be that they will pay it with.  No other retirement account is allowed to be run in the same fashion as SS where current retirees are paid by current workers.  All other retirement plans must be in actuarial balance or they are considered unsound.

Face it, the SS system was sold to the population as one thing with a very low tax rate, and changed into a manditory retirement ponzi scheme with a high tax rate.  It is not a strech to call it "one of the most immoral schemes invented".

darbikrash wrote:

Everyone who paid in had better be getting what they were promised. And if that simple premise is somehow ideologically offensive to you, the mere thought of involuntary contributions to a retirement fund in order to stave off tens, if not hundreds of millions of Americans from living on the streets, and then these horrendous costs forced onto the rest of us to pick up the burden, well then consider the self serving side of that calculus and perhaps that will ease the Randian conscience.

What I find immoral and ideologically offensive is one generation living large and creating debt obligations and then claiming another generation must now pay it.  It is hard to imagine a more immoral system than one where the grandparents steal from their grandkids.

Drop the Randian crap.  I am not an objectivist.  Although I generally admire some of the most basic philosophy of the Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I find Ayn Rand an arrogant seriously flawed individual and many of her more militant anti-religion, gold fetish, followers a bit creepy.

darbikrash wrote:

Consider:

1.)    The interest rate on passbook savings and CD’s is well below 1%, in some cases less than .5%. Effectively a zero income propostion.

2.)    Most retirees have counted on interest income from savings to augment there SS payments, and these income projections have been decimated. There is no meaningful opportunity for income based on savings anyomore.

3.)    The eligibility age for SS benefits is steadily increasing, widening the gap between when the income projections were initially made and the onset of benefits.

4.)    This means for many, working long into their sixties, which is fine (?) for white collar positions, totally unrealistic for jobs with physical labor.

This is real, goes211, not some hyperbolic theory based on a construct of wishful thinking. How are you going to fix this? If you take something away, what, precisely, are you going to replace it with? And please no,Objectivist and moralistic lectures on saving for the future.

The interest income counted on by millions of workers and retirees has been stolen to pay for the financial crisis, initiated and profited on by the bankers. And yes, someone has to make up the difference. And its time to get off the Libertarian soapbox and make some adult decisions, independent of ideology:

Who’s going to pay?

The elderly, retirees, and workers? Or the people who instigated this. If you don’t like the comment about raising the $106K limit, propose another method that more completely attributes reconciliation to those that caused this.

But don’t frame this as some type of communist or socialist takeover.

Real money has been stolen, and someone is going to have to pay. Who?

There are really two issues here.  First is why continue social security for those that are not yet receiving or near receiving benefits?   If it is broken it should be replaced sooner rather than later so as to provide as little disruption to as few of people as possible.

Second and more troublesome, is what to do about those that are near or already receiving benefits?  Clearly those that are truly in need should continue to receive what they were promised.  It might not seem fair but means testing must be considered.

Also stop the bailout straw man.  Very few if anyone around here was in favor of allowing those that exploited the system to socialize their loses.  I am all for attempting to extract as much of the il-gotten loot from those theves as possible.  I would also be in favor of most of them spending some time wearing orange jump suits in a different type of FED but I doesn't seem like any of our leaders have any interest in charging those that stole billions when is it so much easier to put  minority teenagers in prison for smoking a joint.   As far as I am concerned, every CFR member, Tri-Lateral Commision, Bilderberger, Central banker, ... should be shuned and ridiculed by the general population.  Even if they did nothing direclly wrong, they should be ashamed to have been a member of such an elitist organizaions.

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2009
Posts: 854
Goes--I believe the "you and

Goes--I believe the "you and your ilk" is dismissive if not insulting. You should apologize to Darbikrash.

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
No Thanks!

AP,

And having your intelligence compared to a "bag of hammers" is a complement?  I think I will pass.

agitating prop's picture
agitating prop
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: May 28 2009
Posts: 854
Yes we have no chordatas.
goes211 wrote:

AP,

And having your intelligence compared to a "bag of hammers" is a complement?  I think I will pass.

I guess a philosophical and zoological approach is best when reflecting on this matter.  A flat worm would be charmed to have his intelligence compared to a bag of hammers, as would a paramecium, diatom, sponge or a coral reef.  So I don't know if I'd necessarily take it as an insult, maybe just a failure of phylum identification on the part of Darbikrash.

darbikrash's picture
darbikrash
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 573
Hammer and syckle

For the record Goes211, I am not calling you names. The “bag of hammers” remark was not directed at you, or anyone else specifically.

You make a nice speech, but you have provided no answer to the question posed, which is simply “who pays”, and it’s first corollary, how is the payment made. If you acknowledge a wrong has been had, a theft committed, than how is one made whole? And by who?

You mention a means test, is this not antithetical to Libertarian thinking? Who administers the test, and to what standards, a government? It strikes me the construct of the existing system is egalitarian, to the extent possible (minus the part about the $106k threshold) and please remember this is not a retirement program (I myself have called it this – this is not correct) it is closer to an insurance policy. The policy solvency is subject to similar actuarial tables and accounting rules as other insurance policies, and is (supposedly) guaranteed with full force and favor of the US Government. So if the government fails, (and we agree  it very well may) than so does SSI, in which case we have larger problems than our entitlement payments.

Until such time, I expect to receive every payment earned, at the rate and frequency of distribution that was promised. I consider removing the eligibility date toward later ages to be effectively forfeiting the policy benefits, and I do not accept this solution for reasons I have detailed in previous posts.

I think Nickbert hit it right when he said:

nickbert wrote:

 I want to see corporate welfare/subsidies eliminated and defense spending cut first and foremost, but even so all other programs will still require downsizing. 

Funny thing, have you noticed we are not seeing any cuts in the 55% of our Federal Tax revenues that go to defense. No shortage of banker bonuses or financial firm profits. No meaningful legislation to pare back predatory financial practices by Wall Street. But I’m betting you have noticed how quick everyone is on the draw to cut middle class benefits. I think many would be much more sympathetic to the concept of reassessing the entitlement programs if these huge programs were placed where they belong, at the forefront of the chopping block. If and when substantial and meaningful cuts are implemented, then sure, let’s see where we are and then talk.

But that is not what we see. We see hair trigger right wingers leap to the stage in the case of Yaron Brooks at his Ayn Rand Foundation sponsored Tea Party affair, promoting a theology to demonize SSI and many other social third rails claiming lapses in morality. Always judge these speeches by what alternatives they offer, not by the theoretic. So what does Yaron Brook offer? He offers persecution, and a lame directive to admonish people to save themselves. Sage advice, but there are some problems as he has already drilled holes in the lifeboats.

This shall be my last post on this topic, but I would like to comment on the apathy of Americans. Let’s just give up on ever getting any SSI benefits. Let’s just give up on prosecuting the bankers that raped our economy and our savings. We can’t change anything anyway. Those noisy and messy war(s) “over there” are just too tedious, and the depressing reports get in the way of Charlie Sheen updates. Supreme Court rulings in favor of corporations being considered individuals and opening the floodgates to more and more lobbying, yawn. Introduce Mr. Brooks’ narrative and agenda in the face of this apathy, and guess what we’ll get?

I’ve found in my business career a certain inevitable truth, if you telegraph to a debtor that you do not expect to be paid, you almost certainly will not be. If you telegraph to the debtor that you intend to invoke every means possible to collect your debt, that you very likely will.

The right response to these issues, perhaps the only response, is a Polynesian themed par-do, with tiki torches made of rubber goods.

However, the questions still stands…….Who Pays?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments