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Flim Flam strikes again: More Obama BS on SS (Open Thread)

This was what O said in my birthplace today (via WSJ):

And to those who may still run for office planning to privatize Social Security, let me be clear: as long as I’m President, I’ll fight every effort to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans and hand it over to Wall Street. Not on my watch.

Dean Baker had an EXCELLENT read a couple weeks ago about the Obama/Dem strawman on SS:

The immediate threat to Social Security is plans to cut benefits by either changing the benefit formula and/or raising the retirement age.

This threat comes not just from the Republican Party, but from the top levels of the Democratic Party as well. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the majority leader in the House, explicitly called for raising the retirement age to 70 in a speech earlier this summer. Erskine Bowles, the co-chairman of the deficit commission appointed by President Obama, also explicitly said that cuts to Social Security would be on the agenda of the deficit commission. Of course, former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, the Republican that President Obama appointed as the other co-chair of the commission, never misses an opportunity to say that he wants to cut Social Security.

So, the real question is where does President Obama stand on the plans being put forward to cut Social Security? This should be on the table for all to see. We have an election in two and a half months. If Social Security cuts are on the table, then voters should have the right to know where their representatives in Congress stand. This would be one of the most important issues addressed by Congress. It would be an offense against democracy if it were not discussed in the election and voters given a chance to express their views.

The Republicans are right to attack President Obama for creating a false crusade against Social Security privatization. It’s good to know that he’s against it, but we don’t need to know what his definition of “is” is. If he wants to defend Social Security, then he should speak up clearly against the real threats facing the program today.

Those are just two quick snippets. Read the entire piece if you haven’t already.

With Democrats like these (an entire lot of Nowhere men and women), who needs Republicans?

Note: This is an open thread.

136 Responses

  1. Oh, but he said he wouldn’t PRIVATIZE it. He never said he wouldn’t CUT it. He’s keeping his promise! So there!

    • yeah, right

    • like he keeps most of his promises….in their breach…

    • heh. Like Baker said…Obama’s promises/rhetoric on SS falls under the “definition of ‘is’ is” territory, except instead of being evasive about a blow job, he’s trying to conceal his pretty conspicuous intentions with regards to the third rail of politics.

  2. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. There is no way that you’d set up a deficit commission, NOT pull any discussion of social security off their agenda, and then stack it with who it got stacked with, unless you’re about ready to hand us all over to Wall Street.

    That’s my gut feeling and I’m sticking to it!!

    • Hardly anyone on the left will call out Obama for putting the cat food commission together. When he did that, the congress had just voted against cuts. So Obama defied his own democratic congress. That commission is Obama’s alone and no one will call him on it. Much less the people he put on it. Some people have to be hit in the head to see it’s what he wanted. They never learn.

      • Jon Stewart actually did call Obama on it back when Obama set up this commission.
        He ridiculed the very idea of a Commission to solve a melting global economy.

        I saw setting up the commission as just another voting Present – for obama. He has no ideas. He has no core beliefs that include any one of us.
        All for One and the Won for Himself.

    • Not just a gut feeling — based on sound reasoning. The signs are there. Why can’t more people see them?

  3. The new retirement plan: Outsource old people to Chindia.

  4. I think at the least this group will push for cuts in benefits and raising the age. Dean should know that and not just say these people should declare themselves. Take a stand that it’s most likely what they’re for and let them say no it isn’t.

    And sadly also likely, this group will be for some elements of privatization, though you can bet it will have a different name.

    • I think that’s pretty strongly implied in Dean Baker’s piece if you read the entire thing.

      • The point, imho, is that Dems are using GOP hype about privatizing SS to mask their (i.e. Dems’) true intentions (in a similar fashion to Dems using right-wing hype about overturning Roe v. Wade, might I add).

        • mmm-hmmm

        • YES, wonk the Vote.

        • What’s funny, though, is that O’s voters are not smart enough to understand Advanced Kabuki. Older people know he’s full of it and aren’t going to fall for the okey dokey, but now his idiot minions are going to get upset because he’s not being explicit enough about sending Granny to the ice floes. Can’t win for losing, Champ. Just stick to your convictions and ride Your generational warfare pony as far as it will go, because there’s no second act to this conjob.

          • That’s true for the out and out Obamacan variety. A lot of O’s blind creative class supporters appear more invested in obsessing about the remnants of Puma and Palin and birthers than anything else, though. Social security is an abstract to them. They’re not even thinking about it. Bring up McCain and they’ll all respond in unison trying to outdo each other with their hipster speak for what a senile old man he is…. but mention Alan Simpson and they got nothing but serious talk about how he’s not really a sexist, just bad on social security, and oh how they wish Obama wasn’t so gosh darn idealistic and nice to his frenemies.

          • Yeah, I’ve noticed the “he knows not what he does, it all happens in spite of him, he’s just too gosh darn sweet, good and well-intentioned to live in this ugly WORLD” meme is back with a vengeance. Lol But he doesn’t need to say or do anything to placate the shiny-object crowd, so directing any message to them is pointless anyway.

          • Lol… you’re right that Obots don’t really matter in terms of strategy, but I think it’s another (albeit pointless) attempt on Axelrod’s part to assign busy work to the starry eyed ones that want to believe, all the way to 2012. Got to keep them hyperfocused on the one true evil, those meanies who won’t let Obama wear his superman cape. It’s like when O went on the View. What was the point? He didn’t win anyone back that he’d lost. But, he’s just trying to shore up the suckers who are still hopelessly devoted to him. It’s not really about 2010’s enthusiasm gap but about 2012 and trying to hang onto the thread where Obama’s name on the ballot would make any difference.

    • The only thing undecided: which Goldman Sachs lobbyist will write the bill.

    • Well they did that for education. “Race to the Co*k”, according to Gov. of New York. Ha.

  5. I’ll fight every effort to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans and hand it over to Wall Street. Not on my watch.

    yeah… a real tough guy, that one…

    • yeah, like he sold all the poor sick people to the health insurance companies

    • And if you read it this way …

      I’ll fight every effort to take the retirement savings of a generation of Americans, and hand it over to Wall Street.

      His true intentions are veily put, but they’re there.

  6. Thank you for this post Wonk the Vote. I think we should attack the media for not asking. Obama is running on political attacks to win election and not on real help to the american people. I don’t know why the people and the media are letting Obama get away with the “No Press” conferences either. Maybe we should start asking loudly our congress members media and other bloggers. If their was ever a President that thinks Kabuki works, Obama is it.

  7. I may be wrong (again) on this, but doesn’t the government already trade social security income for treasuries? If that’s the case, isn’t the program actually helping us deficit spend on stimulus?

    • Yes. The money collected from SS goes into U.S. Treasuries, and helps the government decrease it’s borrowing from institutions and other countries. Those who claim that “the money is gone”, don’t say that the money borrowed from other countries and institutions is also GONE. The baby boom generation provided the government trillions of dollars, but now that the boomers are tapping the system with claims, the government is calling it a catastrophe and wants to default. I can’t understand the mentality of congress and Obama. It seems to me that a higher tax, which is really savings, would help the government stabilize it’s borrowing needs and make its bonds less vulnerable to the bond vigilantes.

      • Yeah! So glad someone else see this for what it is. The deficient hawks want to default on sovereign debt owed to the American worker. Rather than raise the funds from the wealthy under-taxed shirkers who have made out like bandits, they want to just tear up the IOU’s which are owed to every single person who has paid up their premiums to Social Security trust fund and say too bad so sad. The constitutional law expert does not understand contract law. This the crux of the matter and what the public needs to understand.

        • The electorate needs to make Obama and anyone else who wants to stiff the SS trust fund beneficiaries that we are loan sharks and will break their legs electorally. Get the money from those you gave it to in the first place. The borrowing from the trust fund paid for tax cuts, stupid wars, and pork for their friends. It is our money so go get it. We are not GM bondholders.

  8. So, the real question is where does President Obama stand on the plans being put forward to cut Social Security?

    Where does he stand on anything? That’s the million dollar question that will never get answered.

    • Obama claimed his critics talk about him like he’s a “dog.”

      Well, maybe, for starters, he should himself refrain from using terms like “mutt” and “mongrel” when referring to his own raçial makeup?

  9. So who wants to guess which program for the poor or elderly Obama plans to rob to pay for 50 billion in infrastructure spending?

    Are there any left?

  10. He strayed from the teleprompter and claimed his critics talk about him like he’s a “dog.”


    • he thought the Republicans would greet him with flowers and the “difference between ’94 and now” would be him.

    • I’m very curious what he was referring to when he said they talked about him like a dog?

      Can anyone enlighten me?

      • Maybe he got confused and thought Axelrod was talking about him when referring to Miss California as a dog name.

        • Yea, and the “people on the left”, I’m so left I don’t know these people, can’t stop kicking down. They never call out the real criminals of this country’s wealth. They make to much money off of them. They also have their own pension plans and health care on our backs. If I hear one more “lefty” say “trailer trash” I think I will scream. And they wonder why the lower class keeps switching parties. I realize and they don’t, most people that have to work two jobs only hear sound bites on tv and only know the money they are making is not enough to make a living. So whoever is in power is to blame.

          • When and how did the “Left” in this country become dominated by affluent folks, who despise working stiffs more or less openly? 😕

          • when Arianna and Markos refashioned themselves as leading voices in today’s “progressive” movement, I’d say the transformation was complete. They came over to my former party to destroy it.

            Donna B and her friendship with Rove played into this, too.

            Progressive has become a catch-all word. It really is more about the creative class thinking they can create, manipulate, and control public opinion to perpetuate their own relevance and cash flow generating ability.

            They scoff at the rightwing, but it is the rightwing that they respect enough to fear in the first place. The health of the Democratic brand or the brand of anything left of center is of no ultimate consequence to these “progressives”… they do not fear or respect the left…. “progressivism” is simply a well for them to go to to manufacture their own importance and relevance.

          • The progressive era began with Republican McKinley.

          • when Arianna and Markos refashioned themselves as leading voices in today’s “progressive” movement, I’d say the transformation was complete. They came over to my former party to destroy it.

            You are one of the few people who “gets” it, Wonk.

      • I think he was just whimpering that the Rs are mean to him, whimper, whimper. It’s an R site, but funny.


        • if he wasn’t referring to anything in particular, it was an extremely impolitic thing to say

        • Hmmm. Dario, now I have looked at that R. site you reference.

          It shows just why his foolish statement was so impolitic.

          There will be more like that. And he himself brought it on. He’s becoming an idiot.

        • He must not remember the campaign and how he acted. Turnabout is fair play. He has no idea what “mean” is.

        • Oh, I’m sooo glad I didn’t go to the Milwaukee Labor Fest celebration this year. It was nothing but a dog and pony show replete with teleprompters. People who I know went said they were quite underwhelmed by Obama!

    • If Obummer thinks he’s being treated like a dog now, just wait until the GOP Congress neuters him. 😈

      • lol

      • He’s so used to rolling over, that he’ll be okay with the rest.

      • I think we’ll all be surprised how well he works with a GOP house. He LOVES the GOP. They will make noises, but he’s a effective GOP POTUS …giving them what they want , destroying the Dem party and rehabbing their own party . There will be lots of desk pounding kabuki fighting during the day and lots of partying and laughing at the rubes at night

        • ain’t that the truth. Losing those pesky majorities would help Obama be all that he can be for the GOP, his Reagan fantasies would be complete … if he has any worry at all about 2010, it’s how to walk the tightrope of bleeding enough support to lose majorities in 2010 while not letting it carry over to his re-election campaign in 2012.

          • Yeah, well, don’t worry, in his second term he’s going to rip off the Corporatist mask and reveal his true identity as the liberal avenger. Wait for it and read up on 11th dimensional chess in the meantime.

          • Lol. Don’t forget the school of Obotian thought that maintains O is going to reveal his trojan pony lefty self right after midterms.

          • It will be during the unveiling speech for his library. Or possibly in 2060, when he’s out stumping against his daughter’s nomination.

          • As in Rumi verse, “it’s not a day on any calendar. It’s a day conscious of itself.” So we can’t mark it on our planners, but we must wait with baited breath, until That Day when All Will Be Revealed, we must keep our eyes open and follow all the signs that magical thinking tells us to follow. When pigs with all different shades of lipstick have already flown through Congress, when the only public services and social safety net that’s left are the ones available only in prison, when O is long gone out of office and it’s time to Write The Final Chapter of His Final Book, that’s when Obama will finally reveal himself to be the Liberal Par Excellence of our wildest dreams and make sense of all the seemingly rightwing agenda he championed. Stay tuned for the Series Finale of Obie the Wingnut Slayer! Here’s a preview: “The GOP would have just undone it all if I tried to pass anything liberal, so I tricked them by passing moderate Republican policies that they would secretly want to keep even while campaigning against them.”

          • “I didn’t triangulate. That would have been sneaky. I went to them with an open heart full of love. One I heard a parable about workers in a chocolate factory who were allowed to eat all they wanted, and after two days never wanted to touch chocolate again. This, I thought, was wisdom. So, I gave the right wingers everything they had ever wanted. They demanded the moon, I threw in the sun and moon. And I waited. They whined and cried because I did not give them the planets. So I did. Then I waited. They continued to want, I continued to give and wait. The story of the man and the wish-granting fish crossed my mind, but I pushed the thought resolutely aside. And so it still goes, and still I wait. And someday, when the revulsion borne of overindulgence kicks in, as it inevitably will, my wisdom and brilliance will resonate throughout the land. There is a plan, but your mere base understanding cannot comprehend the ebb and flow of the universe or the deep humanism underlying my seeming-cravenness.

  11. also, if he wasn’t referring to anything in particular, his statement was somewhat of an insult to doggies

  12. It’s very interesting (read suspect) that Ø is going on the offensive and making SS a focal point of the elections. Why? Doesn’t that shine the most critical light on his appointed Catfood Commission?

    I must have missed the recent Republican bill that almost passed the House and Senate that was going to privatize social security. When W proposed it, the Ds beat it down. So are we proles supposed to vote against the Rs because they might do it at some time in the future as opposed to Ds doing it now?

    Sounds very very fishy and far too dumb for even this administration. The one thing they are pretty good at is marketing (if they have a lot of money) so why go out with this message when it will do nothing more than slap them in the face? Do they think the shade of meaning between “I won’t let them privatize SS” and “but I will slash benefits” will see them through? They’ve stooped so low and moved so far to the right, it’s basically down to semantics?

    And FWIW I would advocate for congresscritters to sign a SS pledge so we know where they stand before we vote.

    • It is real insanity, so contradictory it makes no sense whatsoever.

    • Only if the connection is made. He’s probably counting on his media enablers to allow him to get away with being shameless enough to run against his own commission–while happily accepting its recommendations, of course.

      • Well if his approval rating is any indication, most aren’t buying it–only obots and people who are ill informed, though probably not intentionally–they probably still have jobs, unlike the rest of us.

        • The obot meme right now is, “the commission hasn’t made any recommendations YET. Let’s see what they do.”

          Yeah, let’s wait. GREAT idea!

      • Unfortunately for Obama, nobody’s watching his “media enablers” anymore.

  13. Honk, Honk, Wonk.

  14. The Personal Politics of Hopelessness

    The elites don’t live in the same world as ordinary people. They have become completely disconnected from that world. This is entirely logical on their part, because for 30 years they’ve gotten rich, rich, rich at the same time as ordinary people haven’t had a single raise. When you’re sitting on the top it’s very clear that all boats don’t need to be lifted and that Americans aren’t all in it together. The elites have done just fine, for over 30 years, while the rest of society went to hell.

    So there’s no empathy born of shared experience, of the knowledge that sometimes life sucks and no matter what you do, it’s going to suck, and that that’s the way many people live. And there’s no acknowledgment of a need to make America work for everyone, because for the elites, that’s simply not true: America doesn’t need to work for everyone for things to be good for them.

    This then, is how they’ve acted. Plenty of help for themselves, for the people they see as part of their group. And very little help for everyone else. Because the elites aren’t like ordinary people, they don’t believe they have many shared interests with you, and they no longer have any real shared experience.

    Expect to eat a lot of cake over the next few years if this attitude doesn’t change. The elites, of course, are wrong. At the end of the day a nation without a solid working and middle class always falls into steep decline.

    But, as Adam Smith once said, “there’s a lot of ruin in a nation.”

    Nonetheless, as many nations have discovered, that amount isn’t infinite.

  15. This “I won’t privatize it, just tweak it” business reeks like “We’ll fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here”
    I guess it all comes from the arrogance of assuming that their media can sell ANYTHING.

    • Yes. The phrase “We’re reforming SS to SAVE it” is much the same.

      Major league talking point going forward.

  16. Oh god, another awful night – my father’s having difficulty breathing, put on O2, gave morphine, atropine, waiting for improvement.

  17. Having trouble getting comments through, but I just wanted to say my thoughts are with you, Branjor.

  18. oh my god, I think he’s dead. He’s still warm but I don’t see any respiratory effort. I’m waiting for his hospice aide to get here.

  19. Tuesday tabloids: the “It’s all about the elections” edition

    • It is so obvious that even the press cannot ignore it any longer. But it is still horserace stuff instead of the why and how. It has turned into a who will be stupid enough to jump off last.

  20. It’s interesting though tht the gratuitous new stimulus (Congress won’t approve it) makes more news in Argentina than here

  21. I made the huge mistake of turning on MSNBC this morning.

    Now I need a brain scrub.

  22. Looks like Paul Krugman is chest-deep in reality again. Welcome back.

    And just as some of us feared, the inadequacy of the administration’s initial economic plan has landed it — and the nation — in a political trap. More stimulus is desperately needed, but in the public’s eyes the failure of the initial program to deliver a convincing recovery has discredited government action to create jobs.

    In short, welcome to 1938.


    But Paul didn’t help as he joined the cheerleading for Obama while ObamaCo brought us here.

    And now it’s hard to read this column without concluding a great big war lies ahead.

  23. I think Krugman is right and I go a step further.
    Proposing this $50 B infrastrcture proposal is worse than not proposing it, because it wouldn’t work as a campaign issue and will bring attention to the $800 B stimulus proposal. People and the repubs will be asking “Hey, what did you do with all the stimulus money?” and the Dems won’t have an answer. How could Obama say repubs were obstructionists, when the $800 B passed and all the money was wasted?

    If his advisors were smart, they would have him focus on small gains that the stimulus did (none, I know – but they could make up some stuff) and reprogram some of that unspent money to infrastructure, if reprogamming is still possible.

    • The immediate response from a guy I know was “And why should that be different from the $800B they already wasted”. It was not a shrewd move.

      • They have no intention of actually doing it.

        That would require work.

        They just want to put it out there, have Republicans oppose it, call the GOP the party of no, and go back to beer pong.

        Yes We Can.

  24. Oh goody, Obama’s going to out Republican the Republicans.

    Massive tax breaks for business

    President Obama, in one of his most dramatic gestures to business, will propose that companies be allowed to write off 100 percent of their new investment in plant and equipment through 2011, a plan that White House economists say would cut business taxes by nearly $200 billion over two years.

    The proposal, to be laid out Wednesday in a speech in Cleveland, tops a raft of announcements, from a proposed expansion of the research and experimentation tax credit to $50 billion in additional spending on roads, railways and runways. But unlike those two ideas, both familiar from Obama’s 2008 campaign, the investment incentive would embrace a long-held wish by conservative economists that had never won support from either Republican or Democratic administrations.

  25. Every time I think he can’t get more Repug…he does.
    I guess he’s trying to cut Romany or Jeb off at the pass…leave them with nothing to say. Fairly clever .In DC politics, if you keep saying ” tax breaks” , a GOPer just opens and shuts his mouth like a fish with nothing to say . You have taken away their favorite buzz words . Tax breaks…? After all the bail outs? How about a bail out and tax break for the peons? Okay that was rhetorical

  26. Some liberal (and very young) Christians take on the RC establishment:


  27. The Nation on the Detroit march for “Jobs, Justice and Peace”: Deceit and self-delusion


    ……..In the most impoverished city in America, with a real jobless rate of about 50 percent, the fact that only a few thousand turned out to hear Jackson and King, despite a major buildup for the event by the local media, testifies to the lack of significant popular support for or belief in the two figures and the organizations they represent.

    And for good reason. Why should anyone have the slightest confidence in millionaire charlatans such as Jackson, with a record of defending the profit system that goes back decades, or union officials like King, who has helped preside over the destruction of tens of thousands of auto jobs and the halving of auto workers’ pay?……

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