• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump says he’s been indi…
    William on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Propertius on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Propertius on “Why should you go to jail for…
    thewizardofroz on Trump says he’s been indi…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    riverdaughter on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on “Why should you go to jail for…
    campskunk on Ping me when there’s news
    William on D-Day -1
  • Categories

  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    November 2010
    S M T W T F S
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

  • Top Posts

Accountability before Austerity: Peter Orszag says, “Let’s turn Social Security into a Welfare Program!!”

Ok, he didn’t exactly say that because that would make people mad.  But what he writes in the NYTimes is essentially the same thing:

You know, I can’t even excerpt parts of this flaming piece of crap.  It’s so full of misdirection and propaganda that it would be obscene and irresponsible to repeat any of it.  If you want to poke holes in his argument, go read it yourself.  He must think we are incredibly stupid.  He reminds me of the Grinch who baldly lies about stealing the Christmas tree and we are the naive and gullible Cindy Lou Who who is no more than two.

He thinks the proposals from Simpson and Bowles last week were fine and dandy!  Peter Orszag was until recently Barack Obama’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget.  So, I think we can safely assume that Barack Obama is on-board with dismantling the most successful program the Democrats ever produced, that has served millions of Americans faithfully and at low cost for decades and decades.  Hey, don’t blame me or Conflucians or Correntians or Anglachelians.  We saw this coming and don’t want any blame for voting for this fraud.  We tried to warn people.  We did the responsible thing and for that we were called racists and losers.  Paul Krugman explains how the Obamacans got it wrong in his post today, The World as Obama Sees it. (I think he’s been reading Anglachel)  The signs have never been good about Barack Obama since he was a candidate, Paul.

Let us not forget that back in the 80’s, those of us new to the workforce were required to pay extra into a Social Security Surplus fund in order to avoid the very scenario that Orszag is saying is going to befall us in 2037.  So, I have to ask, what the f%&* happened to our money, Peter??

Because as far as my little pea brain can reckon it, it looks like those of us in our 40’s and 50’s have been paying extra in taxes and that money has been siphoned away to cover the budget deficits because the wealthy just HAD to have their tax breaks and Bush and his droogs could invade the oil rich lands of central asia for fun and profit.

I have an idea, not that you’ll ask any of the poor suckers who’ll be asked to make additional sacrifices about what we think.  Here it is: let’s pass a law that says that payroll assessments other than income taxes must be used *only* for the purposes they were collected and intended.  We recently passed this law in New Jersey.  Yep, the legislature and Governor Chris Christie can no longer raid the Unemployment Insurance fund that all working New Jerseyans contribute to from their payroll assessments for any other purpose than paying unemployment benefits.  That fund had more than $4 billion siphoned from it to cover other budget shortfalls in NJ and it was wrong.

It was just as wrong to lie to people my age about a Social Security surplus fund that we have been paying for the past 30 years only to have it used as a supplementary bank account by the Congress so that their wealthy donors don’t have to pay their fair share of the roads and schools and bridges and air traffic controllers and agricultural programs, etc, etc, ad nauseum that they benefit from.   Yeah, let’s just stick it on the backs of the little people they just robbed for the past three decades.

Now, stop these rigged commissions and go get the money you owe us back from the bastards who took it and don’t come back with any more stupid ideas until you can account for every penny.  We could have been stuffing that cash under our mattresses for the lousy ROI you are offering us now.  And NO, I do not want to put any more of my hard earned salary on the bankers’ roulette wheel.  Social Security was meant to be insurance against risky investments like the stock market.  Do you remember The Great Depression, Peter, that made Social Security necessary or did you think it was a one off?  In this day and age, with bankers still acting like it’s the Wild West, with no restraints on their high risk behavior, we would have to be insane to trust any more of our money to the market.

As Athenae said recently, you Obama administration and Congressional Democrat flunkies are making something impossible which is merely very hard.  You haven’t even tried to get our money back or put a stop to the wealthy looting it to pay for their tax breaks.  That amounts to allowing theft of the citizens of this country.  If the financial market people are threatening to pull the plug on the market, I suggest you arrest them fro domestic terrorism and throw their asses in jail.  No I am not kidding.

If you turn Social Security into a welfare program, your party will never get another vote from me.  Not even for dog catcher.  I was willing to vote for individual party members here and there based on their merits but if they go along with this raping and pillaging of my generation who have already paid for our retirements, then the whole party should go down in flames.

Let this be a warning to the Democratic party.  Your days are numbered.  Not for just this election season.  I mean forever.

Accountability before Austerity

71 Responses

  1. Here it is: let’s pass a law that says that payroll assessments other than income taxes must be used for the purposes they were intended.


    • I like this, but there are some problems:

      [L[et’s pass a law that says that payroll assessments other than income taxes must be used for the purposes they were intended.

      But if we do that, how are the banksters going to put the rent money on the ponies, and lose it? Let’s be reasonable, here, people.

    • Call or write the President and tell him that Social Security and Medicare are NOT welfare programs, they are retirement/health programs paid for by you the worker and your employer!:


      The White House
      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
      Washington, DC 20500
      Please include your e-mail address
      Phone Numbers

      Comments: 202-456-1111
      Switchboard: 202-456-1414
      FAX: 202-456-2461

      Comments: 202-456-6213
      Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

  2. I’ve advocated something similar.
    Tobacco taxes go to regulation and a fund for those diseases related to smoking and chewing.
    Same for Liquor Taxes, with the addition of relief for the survivors of those killed by drunk drivers.

  3. Let us not forget that back in the 80′s, those of us new to the workforce were required to pay extra into a Social Security Surplus fund in order to avoid the very scenario that Orszag is saying is going to befall us in 2037. So, I have to ask, what the f%&* happened to our money, Peter??

    7.5% of our income, wasn’t it? That was a huge piece of each paycheck. And I think it was double what had been taken out before.

    Entitlement? Damn right I’m entitled to it — Social Security was the biggest investment of my life.

    • I want to see the books. What did they do with our 7.5%? You’re absolutely right. I could have paid for college for Brooke for the money they took from me. She could graduate debt free instead of having to take out soul crushing loans.
      Come to think of it, not only have we had to pay extra, but we’ve been getting less and less benefits from social programs over the years. Tuition skyrocketed because colleges and universities lost a lot of government money during the Reagan years. Yeah, why should some rich person fork over a few extra bucks to help pay for higher education for the middle and lower classes?
      Bastards. I’m so fucking mad I could tear some heads apart.

    • Remember, your employer matches that.
      So, 15 % of every payroll goes into SS.

      • Yes, that is what I have been saying, it is a worker’s benefit that they PAID for, and President Obama wants to ROB US! President Barrack Obama represents the RICH, not the working class people, he has never been poor, he doesn’t know the hardships of working people.

        When the oil mess was going on he was golfing! It took him 50 days to meet with the families of the employees of the Gulf of Mexico rig. The Chilean President waited on-site for the rescue of all the miners! See, the difference in caring about people, and empathy! Hello, White House, People MATTER!

        • i would just add that those of us in our 60’s paid also.

          • We all paid, but you’d think we were asking for a handout!
            They are trying to balance the MISSING $3 Trillion and more on the backs of working people. They need to find the crooks and put them in the Gitmo jail.
            9/10/2001: Rumsfeld says $2.3 TRILLION Missing from Pentagon

  4. Wow! Just wow! The brazenness of the thievery is astounding. And, if we suggested taking away all Congressional pensions and all private pensions of anyone worth more than $10 million, what do you think their reaction would be? Shock, I tell ya’, shock that we would “steal” their hard-earned money. The magnitude of their lies, fraud, and deceit is hard to fathom.

  5. The Shrill One finally admits we have a wimp for president:


    But the bitter irony goes deeper than that: the main reason Mr. Obama finds himself in this situation is that two years ago he was not, in fact, prepared to deal with the world as he was going to find it. And it seems as if he still isn’t.

    This promise of transcendence may have been good general election politics, although even that is questionable: people forget how close the presidential race was at the beginning of September 2008, how worried Democrats were until Sarah Palin and Lehman Brothers pushed them over the hump. But the real question was whether Mr. Obama could change his tune when he ran into the partisan firestorm everyone who remembered the 1990s knew was coming. He could do uplift — but could he fight?

    So far the answer has been no.

    But none of this will matter unless the president can find it within himself to use his power, to actually take a stand. And the signs aren’t good.

    • Basically, he distilled Anglachel’s brilliant but somewhat difficult post to an easy to digest column. That’s why I think he has been reading her. He should give her some credit. Some linky goodness would be nice.

      • Is our economists learning?

        The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum
        by Chris Hedges
        “The blacklisted mathematics instructor Chandler Davis, after serving six months in the Danbury federal penitentiary for refusing to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), warned the universities that ousted him and thousands of other professors that the purges would decimate the country’s intellectual life.”

        “To the point that now one of the most Liberal voices allowed a main stream forum proposes a VAT or sales tax . . . 

        Death Panels and Sales Taxes – NYTimes.com

        “Political discourse has been impoverished since then,” Davis said. “In the 1930s it was understood by anyone who thought about it that sales taxes were regressive. They collected more proportionately from the poor than from the rich. Regressive taxation was bad for the economy. If only the rich had money, that decreased economic activity. The poor had to spend what they had and the rich could sit on it. Justice demands that we take more from the rich so as to reduce inequality. This philosophy was not refuted in the 1950s and it was not the target of the purge of the 1950s. But this idea, along with most ideas concerning economic justice and people’s control over the economy, was cleansed from the debate. Certain ideas have since become unthinkable, which is in the interest of corporations such as Goldman Sachs. The power to exclude certain ideas serves the power of corporations. It is unfortunate that there is no political party in the United States to run against Goldman Sachs. I am in favor of elections, but there is no way I can vote against Goldman Sachs.” 

    • I take that back. Sean Wilentz also dissected the midterm elections and Obama’s ethereal transcendency in this post: Live by the Movement, Die by the Movement.

      And then there’s the post that got me thrown off of DailyKos.
      Obamaphiles carry out Jihad on DailyKos
      I’m not a brilliant polisci person or Princeton historian but even I could tell what was going on two years ago, which just goes to show you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what course the Obama transcendency program was going to take. All it took was a little imagination that anyone who wasn’t sucking up kool ade could do.

    • I don’t accept narratives of D weakness (although they’re pervasive, and do make for easy writing). As I commented at Economist’s View:

      Does Obama have the ability to take a stand, and then fight to hold his ground?

      Yes. Even while still a candidate, he was essential to getting TARP passed, by whipping the CBC in its favor. This normalized all the other, previous bailouts.

      And yes. He turned HCR into another bailout for the health insurance companies.

      And yes. He normalized and legitimized all of Bush’s executive power grabs, including torture.

      These are the convictions of a conservative*, and no surprise: Obama is a conservative.

      To which I’d add, just as only Nixon can go to China, so only Obama can kill Social Security.

      * * *
      I think there are three things wrong with narratives of weakness:

      1. Such narratives focus on personal characteristics instead of systemic and ideological ones. The focus on personal characteristics leaves us vulnerable to candidates who appeal on those grounds, instead of on policy. Only policy answers the question “And we get?” Personal characteristics cannot!

      2. They are wrong, I believe, on factual grounds. I see no reason to give Obama credit for good intentions that he is too “weak” to fulfill. Rather, as he told us over and over again, he really is a conservative. That’s why he’s implementing conservative policies. Easy peasy; Occam’s razor. (The “creative class” mistook a set of racial and cultural markers, like PBR and Whole Foods, for a political philosophy, to their great discredit and the country’s pain.)

      3. Finally, thinking strategically: If you frame the argument as “Obama’s weak,” or “these Democrats are week,” all you do is take out one person or one faction. Frame the argument as “Obama’s a conservative,” and you take out an entire political movement. You can attack the gingerbread trim of the house, or you can try to dynamite the foundations. Your choice…

      • Yep, The Democrats are going to use Republicans for cover to dismantle Social Security because it’s too haaaard to ask for the money back.

        But no one sipping kool ade or Tea is going to go for the “Obama is a conservative” line.
        To the Obamabots, you can say, “Obama used you and betrayed you>
        To the Tea Partiers, you can say “Obama gives socialists a bad name” or “Socialists don’t want Obama in their club”
        As someone said after the midterm, the left has to be seen rejecting Obama, not because he’s a conservative, which conservatives kinda like, but because he’s not a Democrat. He’s got to be made to stand on his own, away from both ends of the political spectrum so people can see him as he solidifies out of the ether. He’s just an ordinary corporate ladder climber with all the vanity, mediocrity and selfishness that goes with it.
        People know the type.

      • He is weak. He’s a weak liberal.

        • He’s not a liberal. Never was one. He’s not especially conservative either. He is the biggest supporter of his own party of one.

    • “unless the president can find it within himself to use his power, to actually take a stand.”

      Obama knows how to take a stand…. his campaigns for office were run with relentless focus on winning.

      He KNOWS how to win what he wants.

      So, I’d say that we’re getting is what HE wants.

      For example, when the Health Insurance (?) Care (?) Reforms were being negotiated …. who got called onto his plane for a talking-to … Lieberman or Kucinich? Whose vote was changed in that plane ride.

  6. I’m totally with you on the “no votes for Dems, ever” if this abomination (obamination?) passes…

  7. Amen, and amen, Riverdaughter.

    Did he really say this:

    A better approach would be to leave the full benefit age alone and instead directly reduce the monthly benefits as life expectancy rises, to keep average lifetime benefits roughly constant.

    We know who lives longer, don’t we? Women. And with our paychecks already at 71% of male’s with equivalent qualifications, now they want to nickel and dime us in our old age?

    My retired friends say they can’t survive on Social Security as it is, it’s only good for qualifying for medical benefits. Thank heaven for their pensions.

    The Clinton White House had the Republican national debt paid off by the first term, largely through ending military engagements. The Iraq war is over; where is all the money we are saving from not having it?

    • What pensions? People my age don’t get pensions. We get a 401K and the rest is up to us.
      Yeah, pay your mortgage, your insurance, skyrocketing fuel prices, clothes and food for the kids, tuition, etc, etc. Forget about your vacation (for the record, I didn’t go anywhere this year and now I have to take the rest of my vacation days before the end of the year or I lose them) or new cars or new appliances that you desperately need. All that is superfluous.
      The 401K must be fed first or you will die poor. You might die poor anyway but the 401K is all that’s left.
      Even the house won’t be worth anything by the time you have to sell it.

      • Since I was vested that the time, the company asked if I would change to a 401 program and they would contribute a lump sum based on the amount of my pension.
        Yeah, sure.
        Those that weren’t vested got the 401, like it or not.

    • And what happened to all the cash that disappeared during it?
      Maybe there is a sinister reason why Pelosi said impeachment is off the table.

      • Not any more sinister than it was painfully obvious. She once said “it would distract from the task of capturing the White House”

        • What exactly were the Democrats going to do with the White House once they captured it??
          See, this is what pisses me off. Getting the White House isn’t a game of Capture the Flag. It’s *supposed* to mean something.
          If you’re not going to use it, give it to someone who can and get the fuck out of our way. We’ve got real lives out here.

  8. Pensions? We don’t have anything left. Our house is gone. Our retirement account has dwindled just to live and pay medical bills. Die poor? Yup. We are trying to get our young daughter on her feet as well in this scary world. Wait until you are just approaching your early 60’s and it all vanishes before your very eyes. Add to that illness and medical bills and the future looks ugly. And did I mention scary? The most we can do now is learn from this and help our daughter not go through this herself. I won’t be voting for the Democrats again if they don’t shape up.

  9. This is the other evil twin of the cat food: the repeal of the Bush cuts.
    A clear majority is against it – 55%
    and this comes from Libertarian Pew Research.
    Nowadays politicians don’t even to to pretend they aim to please the voters.

  10. From Greg Sargent’s Plum Line blog this morning, he writes this:

    * History lesson of the day: Check out this 1995 quote from Hillary, describing the dynamic between Dems and Republicans in the 1990s:

    “Every time we moved toward them, they would move away.”

    Sound familiar?

    No, Greg, I’ve never heard her say that but it’s probably true.

    Gee, do you think she might have learned something that eludes Obama?
    Oh, well, too late now.

  11. State of Illinois has (used to have?) good pensions, although they seem to be unfunded at the moment. When AFSCME union negotiators can’t get salary concessions from management (like giving us full time hours and medical insurance), they can usually get pension concessions, as it isn’t reflected in the current budget. Right now I am vested in the Illinois pension system and as far as I can determine, my pension is now probably worth at least $125 a month after retirement. Of course that can change quickly, even after a lifetime of paying into the system, since your benefit is based on your income for the last two years you worked. Unfortunately right now they are busy cutting hours in half and in half again.

    • San Diego is in a similar situation.

      The city gov. underfunded the pension system to cover budget shortages and didn’t tell anyone.


  12. It’s Official: The Rich declare war on the Middle Class

    While Obama sings lullabies of “hope” and “change” to tranquillize the suckers out front, the rich are backing the truck up to the vault in the back, no longer even deigning to disguise the heist. ……

    The Commission’s proposal is the most naked, undisguised declaration of class warfare possible. Its agenda is not to reduce the deficit but rather to reduce what is left of the American middle class and American workers, to a condition of servitude, of feudal peonage. </blockquote

  13. And no, I can’t afford a telephone anymore, my internet connection is “borrowed” from the open router of a neighborhood school.

  14. Completely OT (or is it?), Katie Puckrik struggles to say something nice about Bang! by Marc Jacobs:

    • And here is the ad she is referring too. LOL!
      Marc Jacobs gets Banged

      • Hey! What happened to the cheezy male eye candy?

      • Her comment about the ad, something like “ready for the oven!” Too funny!

        I’m pretty sure this is not an ad angling for women to buy BANG! for the holiday season. Or maybe I’m just too old…

        • Oh, no, you’re not too old. Your gaydar is just functioning too well. Although, from the description of it, it doesn’t sound like the target audience is going for a classy, nuanced aroma.

          Actually, I don’t want to overthink this fragrance. It’s none of my business.

    • Her commentary is hilarious! “a big bottle of Bang covering his giblets, cause he doesn’t want them burned.” LOL

  15. Great rant! Honk, honk.

    It seems clear they’re going for social security with both barrels. And sadly any of the few remaining so called real Dems will probably go along just like they did with the insurance welfare bill.

    I thought Ronnie Obama would be bad, but he’s far exceeded even my bad expectations.

    • Meanwhile, some Obots I know who are still drinking the kool-aid are all screaming that the Repubs are going to go after social security. Now that’s sad.

      • I think that was part of the plan. Democrats don’t try very hard for midterms, leaving Republicans in charge to cut social security. They get cover, Republicans take the blame.
        Not if I can help it. I think we should tie this stinking albatross around Obama’s neck and any Democrat who is stupid enough to go along with it.

  16. Some clarifications:

    The changes in the 80s to social security were designed to work exactly as they are…

    ~75% of benefits paid around 2037.

    Borrowing against the “Trust Fund” is in the law.

    Social Security will NEVER run out of funds. Unless dismantled for other reasons.

    • Well, maybe that law needs a little tweaking. No more borrowing against the trust fund. Now is the time to begin paying it back.

      • It’s always paid back…with more borrowed money.


        Hey, I didn’t say it was a “good” system.


        • I don’t know about you but I’m kinda sick of being mugged by my own government. I don’t care whether it is a good system or not. I paid into it and dammit, I want my money back.
          I want the same quality of retirement that my mother enjoys. She’s not rich by a long shot but her house is paid for, she can pay her bills, her medical benefits are good and affordable and she can afford to cruise to Costa Rica every other year.
          Is that so much to ask??

          • Too much to ask? YES!!!!

            The shortage could be made up in the next 27 years with a nice cut to our military budget.

            No one wants to “go there” though.

    • No you have it backwards. Lending is the law FROM the trust fund to earn interest. There is no law saying trust fund money must be spread about like free money on a full moon. But so is paying it back required. Let us all say it together. THEY, aka as the benefit cut and shared sacrifice espouse-rs, DO NOT WANT TO PAY IT BACK! They want our federal government to default on loans from the trust funds with some hocus pocus focus group language. They want to be deadbeats and not pay debts so widow/er, orphans, disabled and retirement age people get suckered by the pro-deadbeats.

  17. I keep thinking this Obama administration and their cat food commissions reminds me of something. And then it hit me. They are a sounder of pigs. And we get a new word for the day too. 🙂

    • A “sounder” of pigs? Who knew.
      Other goodies:
      A murder of crows
      A pod of whales

      A couple I made up:
      A giggle of girls
      A mischief of boys.

      Sexist? Yep. It was a slow day and I wasn’t at my best.

  18. More Off Topic silliness: Zombie Kitsch Figurines. The perfect holiday gift for the Klown who has everything.
    Not just for Halloween anymore

  19. Krugman sees the problem, but not why the problem developed. We all know that people borrow and borrow to pay for medical care. The other problem is that bankruptcy laws protect the bankers not the debtors. Fix the cause.

    The Problem

    • Yes, the management of bankruptcies has helped bankers and their creditors more than debtors. Creditors in many cases are pension funds and retirement accounts, so it gets tricky. Krugman wants the government to spend more, the federal reserve to spend more, and he doesn’t necessarily object to government bailouts. All this will probably weaken the dollar, which Krugman also wants. This really boils down to a question of whether we’re still in a recession. If we look at the middle class, the working class, the jobless and the poor, the answer to that question is an unconditional no, we are not out of the recession. In which case, it is too early to obssess about the national debt. In that case, it makes no sense for Krugman to be arguing for austerity and the regressive VAT as he was this weekend.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: