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‘Like’ this video

Bernie Sanders tells it like it is on the debt ceiling negotiations: Social Security has not contributed one penny to the deficit.  It is funded through the payroll tax.  It has a surplus right now.  What Obama is offering the Republicans is the wet dream they’ve had for 75 years.

Obama is not your friend, Democrats.  Just wait until the under 59 year olds come back from vacation to find that you’ve allowed this president to cut their social security benefits and now, they have to save even more for retirement.  If you don’t work for a paycheck, you have no idea how hard it is to fund absolutely everything these days.  Retirement plans that were started 20 years ago can not be radically adjusted in the middle of the game to take into account a substantial loss of income and the delay of medical insurance by an additional two years.

Just wait.  Wait til they come back and have the meeting with the 401K representative, some cocky asshole who will tell them that they’re going to get even less in social security than they thought.  My representative said, social security isn’t going to be there for you (this was last year.  How did he know that??) and then he tried to push us into 401K packages where he said there was no guarantee of a safe return on investment.  Isn’t that comforting?  You give these guys (and they are almost always guys) your money and they act like they are chips at some casino and if you win, they win, but if you lose, YOU lose.


So, don’t go there, Democrats.  Hold out.  Don’t take the fall for this one.

Or go with it and primary Obama.  He is taking your party down with him.

Sunday: Verdict in. Obama and his droogs watch too much Fox News

Who's pushing who?

It turns out that he is neither naive or evil.  He is merely as uninformed as the rest of the Fox News audience.  Or that’s what I’m picking up from Paul Krugman’s latest post. President Pushover, where he quotes an upcoming article from Elizabeth Drew:

Even more alarming, however, is her window on what the White House is thinking:

It all goes back to the “shellacking” Obama took in the 2010 elections. The President’s political advisers studied the numbers and concluded that the voters wanted the government to spend less. This was an arguable interpretation. Nevertheless, the political advisers believed that elections are decided by middle-of-the-road independent voters, and this group became the target for determining the policies of the next two years.

OK, I’ve never won a tough election. But neither has Obama! The 2008 race was looking close until Sarah Palin and Lehman came along. And as far as I can tell, this assessment both of what 2010 was about and what matters for 2012 is just ludicrous.

As I recall, two things happened last year: voters were angry about the weak economy, and older voters believed that Obama was going to take away their Medicare and send them to the death panels. And so the way to win those voters back is to cut Medicare and weaken the economy?

A further point: even if Obama really does cut spending, will anyone notice? Even people who are supposedly well informed believe that there was a vast expansion of government under Obama, when in fact there wasn’t. So we’re supposed to believe that independent voters will actually be able to cut through the fog — the deliberate fog of Fox, the he-said-she-said of most other media organizations — and give him credit for spending cuts? Remember, whatever he does Republicans will claim that the government is getting bigger — and news organization will report only that “Democrats say” that this isn’t true.

You know, I think this is only partially true.  Paul is just having a senior moment.  Let’s not forget Peter Orzag’s plans to go for entitlements.  Orzag worked on a position paper through the Brookings Institute in 2005 that proposed cuts to entitlements for workers 59 years and younger. Obama is not a pushover.  Here’s an article on it from November 2008 by The Progressive:

Barack Obama’s choice to head the budget office is on record favoring a reduction in Social Security benefits.

On Tuesday, Obama picked Peter Orszag to direct the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Orszag believes that Social Security benefits should be cut back to help balance the Social Security Trust Fund over the next 75 years.

He spells out his views in a paper he wrote with Peter A. Diamond for the Brookings Institute back in 2005, called “Saving Social Security: The Diamond-Orszag Plan.”

In it, they call for “a reduction in benefits, which would apply to all workers age 59 and younger.”

The younger you are, the more you’ll get hurt.

“The reduction in benefits for a 45-year-old average earner is less than 1 percent,” the plan says. “For a 35-year-old, less than 5 percent; and for a 25-year-old, less than 9 percent. Reductions are smaller for lower earners, and larger for higher ones.”

In the paper, Orszag and Diamond come out strongly against replacing part of Social Security with individual accounts, which Republicans have proposed. The authors call this “a grave mistake.”

But Orszag and Diamond say that there is no free lunch in making sure Social Security remains solvent. So they propose cutting benefits and raising Social Security taxes.

There’s that term again, “free lunch”.  Who else has used it recently?  Hmmm, let me think…  I know! It was David Leonardt who everyone told me to stop criticizing because he’s such a “good guy, really, he is”.  David Leonardt has just been promoted to NYTimes bureau chief in Washington, DC, aka Villager Central and capital of High Broderism.  David Leonardt is the guy who thinks that anyone not in the top 1% income bracket is incapable of using Turbo Tax to do the long form and take the mortgage interest deduction.  HE thinks that if that deduction is eliminated that you will never even miss it.  I know, I know, hilarious and horrifying all at one time.  Is there a German word like Schadenfreude that perfectly captures the sense of hilarity and horror?  You German majors should work on that.

Listen, up, guys (and it’s almost always guys), we would very much like you to stop referring to our social security benefits as free lunch.  It certainly hasn’t felt like free anything in the 25 years that I have paid the payroll tax and the surplus payroll tax to pay for my unforgiveable sin of being born in the latter half of the babyboom generation.  Anyone who continues to use that term or any term similar to it that implies that we expect something for nothing should not be considered a real journalist by anyone.  You are merely a propaganda arm of the “serious people” who have absolutely no idea what it is like to live on a paycheck and not from your investments.

So, Obama is *not* actually targeting the independent voter based on the 2010 election.  Trimming social security and medicare has always been his plan.  He WANTS to jump off this bridge- chained to the rest of the Democratic caucus.  He’s listening to the Villagers and the Villager economists who are convinced that taking care of this looming social security problem that’s two and a half decades away is going to make him a national hero.  And he’s determined to do it not by raising the payroll tax on upper income earners, which would have been the simple solution, but on the backs of the younger people who are already screwed for not having pensions that will cover their retirement costs.

Meanwhile, back at the treasury, Tim Geithner is whining that settling for a two tier solution now is not fair:

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner showed little enthusiasm for a two-tiered debt-limit vote being discussed in Congress Sunday, saying it “makes no sense” to leave the threat of default hanging until the next election.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Geithner reinforced President Obama’s position that any proposal from Congress needs to “take default off the table for the next 18 months … through the election.”

Gosh, we really need that German word.  The two-tiered debt-limit that rears its ugly head again just before next year’s election makes perfect sense from the Republicans’ point of view.  It’s yet another opportunity to force Democrats into a corner.

Can we primary Obama now??