The Gang of Six and Their War on Main Street

Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

It is probably just me, but it seems that every time we hear about a proposed deal to extend the debt limit and avert a government shutdown and a debt default, the plan does nothing more than cut the taxes on the wealthiest Americans and Corporations.  The latest proposal by the so-called Gang of Six is just one more example of Congress attacking the Middle Class.

“The cuts in the Gang of Six plan aren’t minor, either. It proposes a chained CPI adjustment to Social Security, which may not be a bad idea when combined with other measures to boost benefits and strengthen the program, but on its own is tantamount to a $1,300 cut each year for recipients over their lifetimes. Strengthen Social Security co-chair and former Obama adviser Nancy Altman has denounced the idea as an overly harsh cut. “The chained-CPI is poor policy, and given that seniors vote in disproportionately high numbers, it is equally poor politics,” she said.”  Think Progress  This latest attempt by both sides of Congress to claim victory over the imaginary debt crisis just seems to be another attempt to please their corporate masters.

Does it bother anyone else that a group of Senators from both sides of the aisle would call themselves the “Gang of Six”?  These Senators are doing their best to terrorize the Middle Class so maybe the moniker is appropriate. While some of the details of this proposed plan have not been agreed upon, what we do know troubles someone like myself who may be utilizing Medicare and Social Security in the next few years.  “These tentative changes include repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and establishing three simple tax brackets for individuals, while cutting “tax expenditures” and adjusting the corporate tax rate to between 23 percent and 29 percent.”  Business Insider  How can a tax rate be lowered for major corporations who pay no taxes now?

The proposed cuts to Social Security retirees is especially disturbing.  “Lawmakers and the Obama administration are reportedly considering switching to a “chained” Consumer Price Index. According to the advocacy group Strengthen Social Security, the chained-CPI could lead to annual Social Security benefit cuts of $560 for those aged 75, $984 for those aged 85 and $1,392 for those aged 95.  “The proposal to shift to the chained-CPI is actually a stealth attack on Social Security,” said Joan Entmacher, director of family economic security at the National Women’s Law Center, during a Friday conference call with reporters.” Huffington Post    Is anyone surprised that the Congressional terrorists would be considering reducing payments to Seniors and reducing corporate tax rates?  Just why is Social Security being discussed when it has no impact on the Deficit?

I have a novel, Gang of America idea to suggest that would actually reduce the deficit and protect Social Security.  Actually, it is not my idea, but the idea of the vast majority of Americans who are repeatedly telling Congress to tax the wealthy and Corporations and to leave Social Security alone.  I realize my Gang does not have much lobbying power, but we have millions of votes.  Congress, it is time to get on board with the Gang of America’s ideas and you just might save the economy and your jobs.  Let’s hear your ideas to “fix” the imaginary debt crisis.

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty-Guest Blogger

177 thoughts on “The Gang of Six and Their War on Main Street

  1. Raff,

    I listen to NPR today….and the subject was ALEC….If you want something to turn your stomach badly…it was a noon show here so probably 1 EST…. The good rep from LA had no soul, no conscience, no redeeming qualities to sit there…This last election cycle ALEC was touted as have gained more than 640 ( actually 680) R seats and have a trifecta on 21 states…and both legislative bodies in 25….It was more than I wanted to hear…but I needed to hear it…..

    Here is the link for you:

  2. eniobob and I have signed petitions dealing with this social security/medicare matter … there are things one can do to let D.C. know just how messing with social security/medicare will impact on them politically ….

  3. Here, in Ohio, we are actively dealing with the take over of our legislature by teabagging, corporate-loving, republicans … it’s a battle worth fighting

  4. Is anyone else as angry as I am about the low-life bastards in Washington, including president Obama, working day and night to screw us out of the little we have left in order to give it to the slimy wannabe aristocrats we have worked for all our lives? Cut Social Security? That’s MY money that was deducted from every paycheck I ever got since I started working in a drugstore for 75 cents an hour in 1959. It’s the money deducted from the pathetic $78.00 per month the U.S. Army paid me after they drafted me in 1964. It’s the money deducted from every paycheck I got from my employer of 45 years. It’s not your goddam money, Mr. President.

    ” I won’t cut Social Security”
    ” Everything’s on the table”
    ” I won’t cut Medicare”
    ” Everything’s on the table”
    ” I won’t cut Medicaid”
    ” Everything’s on the table”

    Which one is it, Mr President? Who do you serve, Mr. President?- the American people who elected you? Or is it your new “friends” at the Old Boys’ Club who can’t wait to replace you with a White Republican President.
    Hope and Change? It’s not on their agenda. It’s not on our agenda any more either. You have taken it off the table.

  5. You rubes. You have no right to all those FICA contributions you’ve made your entire lives. There is no lockbox. There is no money left. It’s all been spent already. All there are now are debts that must be paid with a budget that spends $1.43 for every $1 collected in revenue. If you were depending on our benevolent government to take care of you in your dotage, your faith was misplaced. I hope you like the taste of catfood. It’s not like you didn’t have fair warning–Fleming v. Nestor was decided 40 years ago. Read it and weep.

    There has been a temptation throughout the program’s history for some people to suppose that their FICA payroll taxes entitle them to a benefit in a legal, contractual sense. That is to say, if a person makes FICA contributions over a number of years, Congress cannot, according to this reasoning, change the rules in such a way that deprives a contributor of a promised future benefit. Under this reasoning, benefits under Social Security could probably only be increased, never decreased, if the Act could be amended at all. Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law. Section 1104 of the 1935 Act, entitled “RESERVATION OF POWER,” specifically said: “The right to alter, amend, or repeal any provision of this Act is hereby reserved to the Congress.” Even so, some have thought that this reservation was in some way unconstitutional. This is the issue finally settled by Flemming v. Nestor.

    In this 1960 Supreme Court decision Nestor’s denial of benefits was upheld even though he had contributed to the program for 19 years and was already receiving benefits. Under a 1954 law, Social Security benefits were denied to persons deported for, among other things, having been a member of the Communist party. Accordingly, Mr. Nestor’s benefits were terminated. He appealed the termination arguing, among other claims, that promised Social Security benefits were a contract and that Congress could not renege on that contract. In its ruling, the Court rejected this argument and established the principle that entitlement to Social Security benefits is not contractual right.

  6. Henman

    “It’s not your goddam money, Mr. President. ”

    That has to be the funniest thing ive ever seen posted on this blog. Id say thats right up there with tea partiers carrying “keep your government hands off my medicare” signs.

    Also perhaps if you had demanded of the politicians you elected 40 years ago that they do away with social security and simply let you decide what is to be done with your money, you wouldnt be worried about them making good on their obliviously ludicrous promise to take real good care of it and then hand it back to you later when you really need it. You and millions of other americans got swindled. Deal with it, instead of expecting everyone else’s grandkids to pay for your retirement because you werent smart enough to pay attention to what washington was doing with your money.

  7. ekeyra-

    What’s your alternative to Social Security? Give it to Wall Street to invest for you? (And watch it get wiped out every 10 years- if the fees don’t eat it up first). Or maybe do what so many poor people do- buy lottery tickets or go to the casino every week and kiss your future goodbye?
    Social Security is working and working well. It is fully funded and solvent for the next 25 years. All we have to do is protect it from the Republicans, and deal makers like Obama, and fools like you who have drunk deeply from the Republican fountain of bullshit.

  8. Given that the Democrats have sold their souls for corporate money and the Republicans have no souls it appears as if they have left us with two choices. Vote for the Ds and watch this country slowly descend into a third-world oligarchy or vote for the Rs and crash it fast. There are times I really hope the nutballs in Congress do refuse to raise the debt limit. It would be better in some ways to get it over with quickly. Destroy the economy, set the country on fire be done with it.

    Rome had really enlightened the European world for a few hundred years, bringing education, art and civic life to the far corners of its empire. The the barbarians brought it down & there was a thousand years of darkness for the Western world. Welcome to the new dark ages

  9. @henman, my private retirement accounts are doing just fine and provide a far better rate of return than my social security “benefit.” And there is no danger of my broker confiscating those accounts, unlike the feds eyeballing my social security money. I just wish I wasn’t forced to contribute $11k a year to such an awful system.

  10. rafflaw,

    I think this is indeed an important story. In fact, I was going to write up a post about it but you beat me to the punch.

    Questions: Why isn’t the “Gang of Six” considering taxing hedge fund managers at the same tax rate as the rest of us–and not at 15%? Why not consider taxing corporate jets? Why not eliminate tax write offs for wealthy people who own second homes?

    Here are a couple more links for stories on the same subject:

    ‘Gang of Six’ Plan? ‘Not So Fast,’ Says Bernie Sanders
    John Nichols
    The Nation,7/19/2011

    With a blessing from President Obama and support even from some deficit-hawk Republicans, momentum is building for the ten-year deficit reduction plan announced Tuesday by the “Gang of Six” Democratic and Republican senators. “Can’t We All Just Get Along” commentators like the proposal, while headlines declare: “Bipartisan Support Builds for Gang of Six $3.7 Trillion Deficit-Reduction Plan.”

    But the one senator who has stood most steadily in defense of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—and for fiscally sound budgeting—is not joining the mob.

    He is objecting. And he says the American people should join him in challenging a a plan that he says would result in devastating cuts to needed programs.

    “While all of the details from the so-called Gang of Six proposals are not yet clear, what is apparent is that the plan would result in devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and many other programs hat are of vital importance to working families in this country. Meanwhile, tax rates would be lowered for the wealthiest people and the largest, most profitable corporations,” says Sanders.

    “This is an approach that should be rejected by the American people. At a time when the rich are becoming richer and corporate profits are soaring, at least half of any deficit-reduction package must come from upper income people and profitable corporations. We must also take a hard look at military spending, which has tripled since 1997.”

    Gang of Pain: Who Suffers Under the Bipartisan Deficit Reduction Scheme
    George Zornick
    The Nation, 7/20/2011

    Seniors: Americans over age 65 get hit from several directions under the Gang of Six proposal. First, the plan reduces Social Security benefits by 0.3 percentage points per year by tinkering with the formula that adjusts benefits based on inflation. This could lead to annual reductions of over $1,300 for some seniors. Social Security is solvent through 2037 and does not contribute to the deficit, so this change is particularly misguided.

    Medicare also would also face serious reductions. The plan directs the Senate Finance Committee to reduce doctor payments by $300 billion and then cut another $200 billion from the program overall. To achieve that, anything from raising the eligibility age to increasing cost-sharing could be considered and would almost have to be in order to find savings of that magnitude.

    The poor: Medicaid will no doubt suffer under the Gang of Six plan, though it’s not possible to put a dollar amount on the cuts yet. The proposal says that the government must “spend healthcare dollars more efficiently in order to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.” That’s obviously code for spending fewer dollars, which means Medicaid recipients can expect to receive less.

    The cuts would be negotiated by another bipartisan group of senators over the next six months, but the starting point for Republicans on Medicaid is downright draconian. In the budget passed by House Republicans earlier this year, supported by a vast majority of Republicans when it came up for a vote in the Senate, the program would be cut by a whopping 35 percent by 2021—even as medical costs skyrocket between now and then. It’s not likely the GOP would win that steep of a reduction, but even halfway to that point would be catastrophic for Medicaid recipients. As none other than Sen. Kent Conrad, a key figure in the Gang of Six, told the Huffington Post in June, Medicaid operates on such low overhead that a cut “goes right to medical services.”

    The disabled: The Gang of Six plan completely eliminates a disability insurance program created under the 2009 healthcare reform bill. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act, provides in-home care for anyone who becomes disabled, as an alternative to being placed in a nursing home. It provides up to $18,250 annually for these costs, with no lifetime cap. Premiums are $5 per month for students or people under the poverty line, and about $123 per month for everyone else, but it’s also voluntary—anybody can ask their employer to simply opt out.

    The elimination of the CLASS Act is another example of sacrificing a valuable program that simply does not contribute to the deficit but rather conflicts with conservative ideology. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the program actually saves the government $70 billion through 2019, because people have to pay premiums for five years in order to qualify for benefits. It also keeps people out of nursing homes, which are a major driver of increasing medical costs.

    Students: The Gang of Six blueprint directs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which oversees federal student loan programs, to come up with $70 billion in budgetary savings. Given the somewhat limited scope of what the Committee oversees, in terms of areas that actually create federal expenditures, it’s virtually impossible it could find savings of that scale without serious changes to federal student loans.

    One idea popular with the Bowles-Simpson debt commission, and echoed recently by Representative Eric Cantor, would be to end the Stafford student loan program, which subsidizes the interest on loans while students are enrolled in college. An outright elimination of the program would save the government $40 billion over ten years, but would force students to pay interest on their college loans while still in school and likely not drawing much of an income, if any.

    Pell Grants, which are federal scholarships for low-income students, are also likely to be on the chopping block. The program is already running an $11 billion deficit, and will no doubt be a juicy target for Senators looking to get $70 billion in cuts.

    These are the areas currently identifiable based on the Gang of Six blueprint—but it calls for massive, yet-unspecified spending reductions, and possibly discretionary spending caps down the road. Given the current slant towards reductions for needy Americans in the blueprint, it’s hard to imagine future reductions will be any different.

  11. kd,

    Go back to George the first….He raided the SS to balance his budgets…Ok, so you say there is no real money in there…If, and say if the government would pay back the money that it has borrowed…do you think that there would be any money? Do you think that there would be surpluses for the next 25 years as projected….I do….But then again it is just numbers….

    Say you dissolve Social Security…the money is still owed back to the people…How do you go back to paying them back….Or is your real side concern the amount that business owners actually pay….

    I think that you need to come clean of your real intent….of why you think SS needs to be dissolved…is it not because it is a tax on the individual and BUSINESS that you object so much…..The people could better invest in Wall Street and make all sorts of money….You know who makes the money there…the Executives….

    Unless you are excessively rich or a greedy business person, maybe you should look into why the program started to begin with…Maybe this is the final stroke of disengaging any meaningful programs that FDR created while in office….

    There are so many reasons that people like you act and react…Greed or a Tool or maybe just a shrill….Who knows and at this point who cares…

  12. Henman

    “What’s your alternative to Social Security? Give it to Wall Street to invest for you? (And watch it get wiped out every 10 years- if the fees don’t eat it up first). Or maybe do what so many poor people do- buy lottery tickets or go to the casino every week and kiss your future goodbye?”

    People never planned for or retired before social security? Why is confiscating people’s money under the assumption theyre too stupid to know what to do with it, preferable to allowing people to keep their money and plan their own retirement? Just because you decided not to blink when the government treated you like a child and told you it knew better than you what to do with the money it stole from you, doesn’t mean you are entitled to a damn thing.

    “Social Security is working and working well. It is fully funded and solvent for the next 25 years. ”

    Sure it is. As long as all those new members of the workforce get taxed to pay for your benefits i guess you arent going to complain much about the worlds biggest ponzi scheme. Politicians from both sides of the aisle stole your money while you werent looking? Who cares? Steal it from the kids right? It is “your goddamned money” all along right? If it was why werent you so angry and concerned about it 30 years ago when they were stealing it from you and funding their re-election campaigns? Now when its time to collect you dont care who has to pay for it as long as you get what you feel entitled to.

    ” All we have to do is protect it from the Republicans, and deal makers like Obama, and fools like you who have drunk deeply from the Republican fountain of bullshit. ”

    What exactly is there to protect? The entire social security fund is nothing but IOU’s from previous congresses. Is what you want to protect the forcible extraction of money from a younger generation to pay for your ill planned retirement?

  13. @AY, What you have is a pretty IOU and a note to raid your grandchild’s future to pay off the “debt” for your retirement. Good luck trying to collect. You have no propoerty right to that money. And, politicians can raise the eligibiity age and/or decrease benefit amounts whenever they want. That’s quite the system you’ve got there.

    You do know when social security was started the retirement age was higher than the median age of death for workers. Perhaps we should go back to that system.

  14. The tea party is committed to making drastic cuts with no revenue increases. If only they had not been elected last fall……

  15. @Swarthmore mom, which suggests there is quite a bit o fpopular support for cutting spending and not raising taxes. Don’t you like democracy?

  16. Kderosa, I think popular support leans toward raising taxes on the wealthy and no cutting of Social Security and Medicare.

  17. Kdreadful – you don’t read much do you? Even the majority of teabaggers support raising taxes according to any reputable poll taken.

    But then silly things like facts never get in your way do they.

  18. There will always be popular support for taxing other people to pay for stuff you are getting. And when poll questions are revised to ask if people would like their taxes raised to pay for their stuff, popular support mysteriously vanishes. Why do you suppose that might be?

  19. Frank: Stop your lying ways

    Do you support or oppose doing each of the following to deal with the federal budget deficit: Increase taxes on income over 250,000 dollars?


    Democrat 15%
    Republican 54%
    Independent 34%
    Tea party 53%


    Democrat 83%
    Republican 43%
    Independent 63%
    Tea party 45%


  20. “People never planned for or retired before social security?”


    What planet are you living on? Most people in this country’s history lived from paycheck to paycheck. There was no extra money available to plan for retirement. I was forced to retire at age 60 because of severe health reasons, had it not been for SS Disability, I would have been in poor shape.

    Seven years later SS represent a sizable part of my income. By the way I worked more years than you’ve probably lived and most of the time with two jobs and my wife working also. People with your political bent helped to rob the SS Trust Fund and even so SS is stable until 2037. It is obvious though that you don’t care a whit for the effect this will have on people, because you’ve got yours and damn the rest.

    That should be taken into account the next time you comment on social justice for “your” people. As much as you pretend to care for your brethren, you turn a deaf ear to the economic realities they face, due to the racism of this country. In your beliefs you seem to be someone who got hers and damn everyone else, as long as your interests are not affected.

  21. Mike S.,
    Well said. This so-called deal hurts those that need the help the most.
    Thanks for the links! I just hope the sane can prevent this “grand bargain”.

  22. kderosa-

    You contrbute $11,000 a year to Social Security? You need a new tax advisor. The maximum annual contribution for 2009 and 2010 was $6621.60. The maximum annual contribution this year is $4485.60.

    The reason for the reduction this year is that the world’s worst poker player, Barack Obama, once again got snookered by the Republicans. Instead of taking the 2% withholding reduction out of the Federal Withholding Tax, the Republicans conned him into taking it out of the Social Security contribution, thus setting a terrible precedent and opening the door to future raids on the Social Security System.

  23. Swarthmore Mom,
    The lock box was broken up for good, long ago. A lot would have been different if the Supremes had not broken the law in 2000.

  24. kderosa-

    That $11,000 you contribute to Social Security every year would indicate an income around $180,000 a year. I hope you’re giving a good chunk of that to your Mom for living in her basement and using her computer.

  25. IMHO two large systemic factors are at play:

    1.) The “checks and balances” system of government makes it extremely
    difficult to enact meaningful reform. The necessity to horse trade to
    get legislation passed and the ability to put riders onto the bill further
    dilutes or defeats progress. For my example of “progress”, I would
    point to living in a country where the #1 cause of bankruptcy is not
    medical debt.

    2.) Money. Too much greasing too many wheels. The combination of easy
    injection of unlimited money and the system of government has shifted
    the federal government from a democratic one to what is clearly a
    corporate oligarchy.

    It would be nice if Obama grew a pair, but that is presupposing he is really on the side of Main Street.

  26. Mike S.-

    I heartily agree with your comment. I know from first hand experience that the best cure for the Ayn Rand delusion is growing up and seeing the real world around you. All men are NOT created equal. Some need a little help and some need a lifetime of help. When one person is helped, everyone benefits. When a poor kid goes to college on a scholarship, we are all better off than having him in the street dealing drugs, or in prison, or dead. Who benefits when someone is trampled into the dust? I say no one. The Republicans and the “God-Fearing Teapartiers” say, “You’re on your own, Mack”. Basically, “Republican” is just another word for “Cheapskate”.

  27. Mike Spindell, you do realize that all those payroll taxes you paid all those years while working kinda went to the SS benefits you started drawing out upon retirement. You know you can do the same thing with private disability insurance and an annuity with a much better raet of return. Or are you that much of a financial jellyfish that you needed the government to force you to save for your own retirement?

  28. There is no such thing as a pension anymore. Maybe 10 to 15% of
    employers have one, and those are slowly fading. So forget that.
    There are 401k’s, of course, with (if you’re lucky) a modest
    contribution by your employer. This, however, will never carry you
    through retirement. Do you have any idea what your cost of living in
    retirement will be? Look into it. People tend to think they can live
    off very little because their house will be paid off, kids gone, etc.
    You’ll be surprised. Your 401k will disappear very (very) fast.
    That’s if you didn’t lose half of it when the market took a dive.

    That being said, social security is the only thing keeping millions of
    seniors from the poor house. Without it, they’d likely starve and/or
    be out in the cold. The reality is that people don’t save, or can’t
    save, and employers don’t care anymore. Taking away social security,
    or cutting it, will only force millions to welfare, food stamps, etc.
    and cost the taxpayers more in the long run. I’d be willing to make a
    very large bet on it. These people aren’t dirt bags and low
    life’s….they’re people who worked 30 to 40 years for a company, saved
    what they could, and still require social security to live. Everyone
    says it’s our responsibility to save…and this is true. But things
    happen….illnesses, accidents, etc. And do the math…who can save
    that much? You need much more than you think to live in retirement.
    These people are your fathers and grandfathers (and eventually
    you)….and they’ve earned the right, after 40 plus years of hard work,
    to relax for a few years until the reaper (most likely a republican)
    comes and takes them. People should not be forced (yes, forced) to
    work full time at 70 years old. Or do we all really have to work
    until we die now?

    We have good jobs, but my wife’s employer does not match her 401k and
    does not offer a pension of any kind…and her healthcare is 80/20 (so
    we obviously use mine which is MUCH better). This is a reputable
    employer whom you would all know if you heard the name. She’s been
    there 19 years. She saves, puts into an IRA, 529 for our kids etc.
    but if it weren’t for my income and retirement, she’d be up a creek
    without social security.

    And we’re forgetting the most important part……it’s our money. If
    you don’t’ want to pay me social security, please give me back what
    I’ve put into – it right now. It was a contract of sorts; the gov
    takes XX percent, and I get XX dollars back. I have it in writing –
    every quarter I get an update. If you want to change that, you should
    do so starting 80 years from now so the people who have put into it
    aren’t being swindled.

    What’s funny to me is that people are so angry about taxes being
    raised. EVERYTHING costs more…gas, food, etc. it’s all gone up and
    up and up over the years…its costing more than ever to keep our
    country running yet our taxes haven’t been raised in forever. People
    want everything, social programs, the best schools etc. but don’t want
    to pay for it. They think they’re being taxed heavy now…ha! Look at
    France…great healthcare, etc. but do you know how much they pay in
    taxes? For a country such as ours, we pay very little in taxes.
    Perhaps it’s time to let go of the GB tax breaks….after all, they
    were only used as a ploy for re-election anyways.

  29. Mike,

    “That should be taken into account the next time you comment on social justice for “your” people. As much as you pretend to care for your brethren, you turn a deaf ear to the economic realities they face, due to the racism of this country.”

    I think you have me confused with someone else… I garuntee I have never claimed nor will ever claim I have a “people”.

  30. Sense,

    “And we’re forgetting the most important part……it’s our money. If
    you don’t’ want to pay me social security, please give me back what
    I’ve put into – it right now. It was a contract of sorts; the gov
    takes XX percent, and I get XX dollars back. ”

    Um no actually. Kderosa had a post destroying this absolutely naive perspective.

    “If you want to change that, you should
    do so starting 80 years from now so the people who have put into it
    aren’t being swindled.”

    So let me get this straight, before i was born a bunch of people decided to do something stupid with their money, like letting the government take care of it. Then when that goes to hell because surprise the government spent it, you expect the next generation to pay for your financial fuck up because YOU got swindled before they were even born? In what reality does that make sense?

    “What’s funny to me is that people are so angry about taxes being
    raised. EVERYTHING costs more…gas, food, etc. it’s all gone up and
    up and up over the years”

    Once you familiarize yourself with basic human nature, the mysteries of the universe tend to seem mundane. Gee people’s daily expenses have skyrocketed, I wonder why they dont want higher taxes?

  31. Sense and ekeyra,
    Kderosa did not destroy the reality that social security is our money, along with the employers contributions. To reduce benefits for currently retired workers is outrageous.

  32. Someonewithsense,

    “That being said, social security is the only thing keeping millions of
    seniors from the poor house. Without it, they’d likely starve and/or
    be out in the cold. The reality is that people don’t save, or can’t
    save, and employers don’t care anymore. Taking away social security,
    or cutting it, will only force millions to welfare, food stamps, etc.
    and cost the taxpayers more in the long run.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

  33. Rafflaw is right, I didn’t destroy that right, the Court in Fleming v Nestor destroyed it. Embarrassingly, rafflaw doesn’t realize that and he’s a lawyer.

  34. To kderosa….yes, sadly most Americans aren’t savvy enough to save for themselves. Rate of return? This is a foreign language for some. I started saving and worrying about retirement at 20 years old (I was working 60 hours a week at 16 years old). If you want people to be knowledgeable enough to save (the right way) for themselves, it’s going to take some time. How long have we relied on social security? You can’t just take it away with one quick grab without helping people learn what to do with their own money. Is it our responsibility? Should we know already? Yes and yes…but then I think you’re giving people too much credit. Like it or not, most people are not smart enough for this….and would still eventually be on one or more social programs.

    Do you really think the dimwitted rednecks (i.e., republicans) out there (e.g., 60%of Florida), can even count let alone invest?

  35. So….I didn’t provide money out of my paycheck with the promise I would get something back? I’m confused….so I’m now owed anything? How strange….I guess I’m confused on this entire concept. I thought it was MY money the gov was investing and I was supposed to given money back.
    I guess it’s really not my money coming out of my paycheck…and that everyone should have known from the beginning that it was a donation. How silly of us! If this is a stupid concept to believe in, I guess 98% of America must be idiots…because I think they believed they were investing their money with the idea they’d be getting it back.

    Either way, without people will become homeless rather quickly….but since the republicans only care about the rich, and the rich could care less, it’s no bother at all.

  36. I fail to see how investing a person’s hard earned money via Wall Street is better than contributing to Social Security. Have we forgotten so soon that we, the taxpayers of this country, had to bail out the big investment banks? If these banks were so successful at investing people’s money, why did we have to bail them out?

  37. “Once you familiarize yourself with basic human nature, the mysteries of the universe tend to seem mundane. Gee people’s daily expenses have skyrocketed, I wonder why they dont want higher taxes?”

    Yes, but until the last two years everyone was doing rather well…markets were up, housing market was raging, etc. People wanted better schools, better everything, but didn’t want to pay for it….even when their cups were overflowing. Now its a different story, I agree. Now isnt a good time to raise taxes.

    The fact is GB was giving tax breaks when people truly didnt’ need them (there is a difference between need and want). Oh wait, he did send everyone a few hundred bucks, I remember! If you’re poor, you might eat (or drink) pretty well for a week…then you’re still poor. When you’re poor, a few hundred bucks won’t change anything.

  38. Sense,
    you are trying to rewrite history. George W. gave tax breaks to millionaires and that law was renewed under Obama. The argument made by the Right and the Blue dog Dems was that raising taxes on the wealthy will cause them to not hire employees. The fact is that they didn’t hire during Bush and they are not hiring now because they can send jobs overseas for less and in some instances are given incentives to send jobs overseas. Raising taxes on the wealthy has little or no impact on jobs and the last 11 years are evidence of that fact. All it does is put money into the hands of large contributors.
    kderosa, in all due respect, one of the lessons learned in law school is that you have to read the entire case before commenting on it. You claim that the Supreme Court in Fleming v. Nestor, by a 5-4 decision, stated that Social security does not create a contract that can not be broken by the government. First of all, the case involved a law that outlawed Social Security benefits for someone who was alleged to be a communist. The fact that he was never declared by any court to be a communist and that there was no law saying that being a member of the communist party was illegal, did not concern the majority. Do you honestly think that someone today who loses benefits without the benefit of trial would suffer the same fate?
    The court stated that as long as Congress had a legitimate reason to amend the Act to reduce or change, it could not prevent the change of terms. “While acknowledging this latitude, the Supreme Court in
    Flemming nevertheless indicated that congressional action may be subject to some constitutional restraint:23 “Whether wisdom or unwisdom resides in the scheme of benefits set forth in Title II [of the Social Security Act], it is not for us to say. The answer for such inquiries must come from Congress, not the courts. Our concern here, as often, is with power, not with wisdom.”
    Helvering v. Davis, [301 U.S. 619] supra, at 644 [1937]. Particularly when we deal with a withholding of a noncontractual benefit under a social welfare program such as this, we must recognize that the Due Process Clause can be thought to interpose a bar only if the statute manifests a patently arbitrary classification, utterly lacking in rational justification. Thus, only if Congress were to act in a totally irrational and arbitrary manner would due process
    considerations invalidate a subsequent amendment…..”
    If today’s Supreme Court thinks that the changing of Social Security benefits for current retirees is irrational and arbitray, Fleming v. Nestor would not be a bar for the court to overrule Fleming v. Nestor. While Social Security does not create a contract, it and Fleming do require the “changes” to be rational and not arbitrary.

  39. @rafflaw, now tell us how many times the court has struck down a change in benefits for failing the rationality and arbitrary test?

    As you know, or should know, almost any change is going to be upheld.

  40. Raf,

    I don’t agree with everything Obama has done or is doing. The downfall to most (not all) republicans is that they can’t seem to be able to criticize their own party. My mother in law (a staunch republican) still claims GB was the best president ever. Statements like this make me wonder if the world isn’t de-evolving. I strongly disagree with things Obama is doing. The bottom line in this particular discussion, however, is that polls show American’s don’t want social security touched; they know they’ll need it and want to rely on it. I think the repubs are going too far and it will hurt them in the end. Most people are conservative in some areas, and not so much in others. But almost nobody (except the crazy radical tea baggers) wants a fanatic. They’re too far to the right….funny thing is if they just reigned it in and came to the middle a little, they’d probably get more votes.

    I visited some friends in Florida recently. Their neighbor hates Obama and said he can’t stand all of the social programs, people sucking off the system, using it in any way. He was quite mad. After some time it finally came out that he’s been on disability for forty years. He’s been collecting benefits for most of his life. He didn’t seem to have any trouble hauling bags of dirt over his shoulder while working on his garden though, or pushing a wheel barrel. Go figure.

  41. The future of social security isn’t going to be decided by courts or politicians, but economic law. The system is untenable, started with 17:1 contributors to retirees, a ratio now nearly 3:1 and falling to 2:1.

    Employers do not “contribute” half of social security taxes. The 6.2% employers pay comes by reduction in employee compensation. Employees pay – directly or indirectly – 100% of government coerced contributions to this ponzi scheme.

    The future holds:

    Rapid increases to the qualifying retirement age
    Increases to social security withholding rates
    Lifting and elimination of social security withholding caps, just like Medicare
    Means testing against IRA’s and 401(k)’s to get your “contributions” back
    Outright reductions in benefits, and manipulated COLA adjustments

  42. kderosa,
    what is your evidence that “almost any change is going to be upheld”? do you think that today’s court would allow the fleming facts to control?
    I do not know of any Supreme court that has struck down a change in benefits for failing the rationality and arbitray test, but I only had time for a cursory review.

  43. Sense,
    Your friend in florida sounds like the Tea party regulars with their signs demanding that the government keep their hands off of their Medicare or Social security.

  44. Puzzling,
    if the cap on social security earnings is removed and the tax is paid on all income would that not secure the future of the plan that you call a ponzi scheme?

  45. Not at all….they are comfortably retired (not even 50 yet, but well invested) and are dems all the way. It’s the neighbor that makes me laugh. The same people who want to cut the programs are the ones using them – and in some instance totally relying on them. I know several individuals who rely on social security and are screaming that the republicans are right to cut it, raise the age, etc. The friends I mentioned are fine with a slight cut, but even though they don’t use (yet) and will never rely on it they understand it’s necessary for middle class folks.

  46. This is OT, but a suspect has been arrested in the Oslo, Norway bombing and shooting at a youth camp. The suspect is a32-year-old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik. He has been connected to right-wing conservative Christian activities. He had allegedly posted comments on the Internet that were anti-Muslim and anti-liberalism in Norwegian society.

    The AP is now reporting the death toll at about 80 people, including a large number of young people at the youth camp who were gunned down after Breivik summoned them to gather around him, then he killed them execution style. Breivik was dressed as a police officer. News stories are still coming in and the death toll has been rising as bodies are being found.

  47. OS,

    Thank you. I have just gotten an alert….It is indeed a sad day when someone would take the life of another and especially the life of a child…But I suppose that the person is entitled to their due process…This is one of those egregious acts where I am in support of capitol punishment….at present it is banned in Norway….

  48. With regard to motive of the perpetrator(s), the tragedy in Oslo appears to be more similar to the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building than the attacks on 9-11.

    It seems hypocritical that many in the news media, especially the right wing outlets, seem to be resistant to calling these acts “terrorism” since they are not perpetrated by Muslim extremists or scary brown people. If the suspect is a right wing Christianist extremist, it does not seem to be terrorism. Tell that to the dead and wounded.

  49. OS,

    It makes no sense that this bombing would be carried out on a national holiday, minimizing the death toll and impact.

    Norway is a very affluent nation. Norway recently endorsed the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood and announced the ending of military support for US actions in Libya. They remain independent of the EU.

    There is much more to this story. I only hope we get to hear it.

  50. puzzling, your observation that, “….Norway recently endorsed the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood and announced the ending of military support for US actions in Libya,” is well taken considering the facts that are trickling out. There is a growing xenophobic and ultra conservative movement in the country. They may not be large in numbers yet, but have a slick and polished public relations and propaganda machine. These right wing extremists rail against the influx of Muslims and Jews into Norway, among other things they dislike or even hate.

    Does any of that sound familiar?

  51. OS,

    If true, why weren’t Muslims or Jews targeted?

    Was wasn’t the government targeted?

    It doesn’t add up yet.

  52. OS,

    There are somethings in this world that are too strange to be a coincidence….You bring up OK and the Murrah Building…I ponder this to you and I know our government is always there to help…

    Did agents of the FBI, ATF, DEA, Marshals Service, or other federal agencies have foreknowledge of a plot to blow up the Murrah Building? If so, was it acquired by wiretaps or other technical means? Were we warned by foreign intelligence sources? Or did these or other federal agencies have informants or agents actually operating within the bombing conspiracy? If specific knowledge of the planned terrorist act was indeed in the hands of federal law enforcement departments ahead of time, why was appropriate action not taken to avert the deadly disaster?

    Where Was the ATF?

    THE NEW AMERICAN has reported previously on the evidence fueling charges that the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) must have been privy to information of an impending attack on that fateful April morning. Bombing victim Edye Smith, whose two young sons Chase and Colton were killed in the Murrah Building’s day-care center, first drew America’s attention to troubling rumors of an ATF tip-off during a live CNN broadcast in which she asked: “Where was ATF? All 15 or 17 of their employees survived, and they lived — they’re on the ninth floor. They were the target of this explosion, and where were they? Did they have a warning sign? And did they think it might be a bad day to go into the office?

    If this is to be believed….I have heard Roosevelt had prior knowledge of the proposed Japanese assault….and the base sat unprotected ships…

  53. From what has trickled out so far, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg may have been either the primary target or one of the main targets. The Prime Minister had been scheduled to speak at the youth camp later today. One report just leaked a short time ago said that unexploded ordnance had been found at the youth camp, but that report has not been confirmed.

    The Prime Minister said earlier today, “We must never stop protecting our values. We must show that we can overcome this. We most show the answer to violence is more democracy, more strength.”

    He went on to say, “We have all been shaken by the evil that has struck us… this is an evening demanding a lot from all of us and the days following will demand even more.”

    “Norway will stand together… We suffer with the wounded and stand with the relatives.”

    “I have a message to whoever attacked us and whoever is behind them. You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy and our ideals for a better world.”

    “We are a small nation and a proud nation. No one will bomb us into silence. No one will shoot us into Silence. No one can stop us from being Norway.”

  54. AY, I have heard those stories, but have been in this business long enough to avoid conspiracy theories like the plague.

  55. Well here is one for you…I know personally of a person that was subjected to enhanced questioning on August 28, 2001 for blowing up a truck….I represented them….it was poor timing on my clients part….

  56. AY, along about that time your client got in trouble, there was a rash of pipe bombs in mail boxes here. It was vandals putting small pipe bombs in rural mail boxes in the middle of the night, blowing them up. It is a wonder none of them blew themselves up in the process. The Feds were very interested in those guys as well, but the perps turned out to be juveniles.

  57. My client got every Federal and State agency’s attention including a major university that specializes in forensics took possession of the vehicle…as his prank left no residue…including the point of ignition….

  58. AY,
    I am not so sure about the FDR rumor. That has been going on for decades. This Norway bombing and shooting is scary. I hope Washington doesn’t think it is time for enhanced Patriot Act crap!

  59. raff,

    I am going to bed on this one..but my first thought was all of these good soldiers coming back and looking for work…the one place that they’d fit in would be the LEO….but hey that is just me….Over the years I have worked with some very fine officers….great guys….and then there was a deluge of new recruits….former GI’s….one even said…that the force was deteriorating….as they very seldom used discretion….the law was the law, it was not for them to decide…it was up to the courts…they were just doing the job assigned…my buddy retired two years later….

    He explained to me…that we were all just doing a job…my job was to make sure he did his job right…and if the judge decided…he did not..then we could still go have a beer at the end of the day…no harm no foul….

    I remember one of the new recruits would not talk with me once he found out I was a defense attorney…at first he thought I was a prosecutor…I was one of them….as I recall being called…

    In ending….we don’t need no more Stinking PA Crap….

  60. Word from Oslo, Norway now says the death toll in the mass murder is now 91. Unconfirmed as of yet, but based on what we know so far, the report is credible. Many of the youth campers tried to get away from the gunman by swimming from the island to shore, a dangerous swim, especially if fully clothed. Some are believed drowned. He stalked the campers as they tried to flee, killing them execution style. Wounded survivors said they escaped being killed by playing dead.

    It is still not known if Anders Behring Breivik had accomplices, or if he acted alone. Police and news reporters investigating his background have tied him to the right-wing ultra-conservative movement whose cause is xenophobia and antisemitism.

  61. It is indeed shocking that social security and other entitelment programs would start causing budget woes as the money started running out.

    Here’s Brink Lindsey ten years ago:

    But under the sway of the Industrial Counterrevolution, the government’s role in providing a social safety net went far beyond merely compelling or subsidizing participation in markets. Instead of supplementing markets in a manner consistent with liberal principles, governments often supplanted them altogether with top-down, bureaucratic regimes. Rather than subsidizing participation in private housing and health care markets through voucher schemes, governments established public housing authorities and national health services. Programs to help the unemployed failed to guard against creating perverse incentives, and so ended up subsidizing dependency rather than encouraging a return to gainful work. And with respect to social insurance against the hazards of old age, governments created enormous, monolithic systems that violated basic precepts of actuarial soundness.

    A full discussion of the dysfunctions of collectivist social policy is well beyond the scope of this book. Here I focus only on the largest and most fiscally explosive element of the modern welfare state: state-run pensions for retired workers. It is this particular brand of social insurance that is primarily responsible for the welfare state’s mounting financial woes.

    The founding father of collectivized social insurance, Bismarck, was brutally candid about the political benefits of centralization. As ambassador to Paris in 1861 he had seen how Napoleon III had used state pensions to buy support for the regime. “I have lived in France long enough to know that the faithftilness of most of the French to their government. . . is largely connected with the fact that most of the French receive a state pension,” he recalled later.” For Bismarck, then, the appeal of social insurance was that it bred dependency on, and consequently allegiance to, the state. “Whoever has a pension for his old age,” he stated, “is far more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospect.”

    Social insurance was thus born of contemptuous disregard for liberal principles: What mattered was not the well-being of the workers but the well-being of the state. With that animating principle, social insurance necessarily assumed a collectivist character. In particular, it would clearly not do simply to compel workers to provide for their own retirement; funded pensions that actually belonged to the workers would not inspire the proper feelings of dependency and subservience. Far better was the “pay as you go” system in which the government, acting as intermediary and benefactor, would transfer funds directly from current taxpayers to current retirees.

    The pay-as-you-go system flies flagrantly in the face of market logic. Indeed, when such ventures are attempted in the private sector, they go by the name of pyramid or Ponzi schemes and constitute criminal fraud. The essence of a pyramid scheme is that investors’ money is never put to productive use; instead, it is simply diverted to pay off earlier investors. As long as new victims can be found, everything seems to work fine; eventually, though, the promoters of the scheme run out of new investors, and the whole house of cards collapses.

    Pay-as-you-go public pension systems operate in precisely the same way. As long as the contributions of active workers are sufficient to defray payments to current retirees, the system is fiscally healthy. Indeed, in the early decades of such programs, it appears that the market has been outfoxed. Consider economist Paul Samuelson’s smug optimism back in 1967:

    The beauty of social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound. Everyone who reaches retirement age is given benefit privileges that far exceed anything he has paid in. . . . How is this possible? It stems from the fact that the national product is growing at compound interest Always there are more youths than old folks in a growing population. . .. A growing nation is the greatest Ponzi game ever contrived.

    Sooner or later, though, such hubris must receive its grim comeuppance Shifting demographics impose the ultimate constraint. As populations age the number of retirees begins to grow faster than the number of new workers; the former become a progressively heavier burden on the latter, until last the burden is unsustainable.

    Meanwhile, the perverse incentive structure of collectivized social insurance works to accelerate the system’s ultimate breakdown. “The fundamental problem with pay-as-you-go systems,” according to José Piñera, the world’s foremost advocate of privatizing public pension systems, “is they divorce effort from reward.” Wherever that divorce occurs on a large scale over along enough period of time, disaster is inevitable.” In particular, workers have strong incentives to minimize or evade their contribution to the system, while retirees have an obvious stake in campaigning for high benefits. Such dynamics steadily worsen the relationship between revenue and obligations and thereby hasten the eventual day of reckoning.

    … Around the world, the ratio of active workers to retirees is shrinking. Promised benefits have spiraled out of control while either demographic changes or widespread evasion reduce the relative size of the contribution base. Consequently, the hopes for retirement security of hundreds of millions of workers are now in serious jeopardy.

    The inevitable Ponzi endgame is now obvious in the rich countries of the industrialized world. In the United States for example average life expectancy at birth was only 61.7 years in 1935 when Social Security was established—in other words lower than the original minimum retirement age. Today U.S. life expectancy stands at 76.5 years and it is expected to climb to around 80 over the next 20 years. For most other industrialized countries current and projected life expectancies are even higher. Meanwhile fertility has dropped sharply With the single exception of Ireland birth rates in all the advanced countries are now below the replacement rate” of 2.1 children per woman. In Japan the fertility rate is only 1.68; in Austria 1.45; in Italy, a mere 1.33. Continued declines in fertility are expected.

    The upshot of these demographic trends is a steady erosion in the funding base for social insurance benefits. In 1950 there were 16 workers in the United States for every retiree today the ratio is only three to one and in 20 years it will have fallen to two to one. Elsewhere the outlook is even bleaker. By 2020 worker-to-retiree ratios are expected to fall to 1.8 in France and Germany, and 1.45 in Italy and Japan.

    Social insurance in the advanced countries is indeed caught in a … squeeze between rising life expectancy on one flank and falling fertility on the other. In that tightening vise, what once seemed so clever is now a catastrophe in the making “When population growth slows down so that we no longer have the comfortable Ponzi rate of growth or we even begin to register a decline in total numbers a chastened Paul Samuelson wrote in 1985 “then the thorns along the primrose path reveal themselves with a vengeance.”

    Already today, public pension spending in the rich member countries of the OECD averages 24 percent of the total government budget, or 8 percent of GDP. To fund these enormous outlays the tax burden imposed on current employees has reached punishing levels. In Italy Germany, and Sweden for example, the combination of employer and employee contributions and personal income taxes now averages around 50 percent of gross labor costs. And while workers put more and more into the system they can expect to receive less and less. In Sweden, the average rate of return for the generation retiring 25 years after the establishment of the public pension system approached 10 percent per year; for the generation retiring 20 years later, the. rate of return had dropped to 3 percent. In the United States, real rates of return for two-earner couples now range from –0.45 percent to 2.13 percent, depending on income.

    Even with rising tax rates and declining returns, pay-as-you-go systems throughout the advanced nations are heading toward financial collapse. In the United States, Social Security revenues currently exceed expenses, but the system is expected to begin running deficits in 2016. The annual short fall is projected to be $1.3 trillion by 2030, a figure that represents more than two-thirds of the entire federal budget for 2001. Over the next 7 years, Social Security’s total unfunded liabilities have an estimated presnte value of $9 trillion—as compared to the current national debt of $5.7 trillion. In Germany and Japan, the current unfunded liabilities of the pub pension system are well over 100 percent of GDP; in France and Italy, they exceed 200 percent.

  62. Damn,

    A self funded group pension and you steal money from it and then….ok yeah…it is going to go bankrupt…..I like that…Whats that guy Carl doing these days….that purchase companies with over valued pensions, stole the money then…bankrupted them…..I do believe they call that Capitalism….did he ever do any time….

  63. kderosa,
    the birth rate is not a problem for Social Security. The problem is anyone over $106,000 stops paying into it. Why should I pay 100% of my salary towards SS and the wealthy do not? Are they going to forego using Social Security money when they retire? I think not.

  64. @rafflaw, the U.S. rate is barely at replacement rate, so it is a problem.

    Payroll taxes are capped and so are benefits. So Bill Gates will only receive the same benefits as a person whose income is $106k (actually the equivalent max amount over the previous 30 yaers I believe) . What problem do you have with that? If you uncap their income are you going to uncap their benefits or just pick their pockets to fund your retirement?

    Actually at the max income level your effective rate of return is slightly negative, so it’s already an awful deal for anyone making over $100k.

  65. kderosa,
    they will pay the same percentage into Social Security that I will and will be eligible for the same benefits. Nothing could be more American than that. Are you suggesting that they should get more benefits than any other citizen paying into the fund?

  66. “Or are you that much of a financial jellyfish that you needed the government to force you to save for your own retirement?”

    I was forced to retire 7 years ago due to a progressively severe disability that almost killed me last year and drained my savings and 401k. I’m on a fixed income and so retirement and health don’t leave me a lot of room to plan for retirement.

  67. @rafflaw, social security was not intended or designed to be a giant welfare program. Even though it is technically a giant ponzi scheme, the idea is that you are paying for your own retirement benefits with lower income people getting a far better ROI than high income people.

    I don’t understand why you are suggesting this scheme is somehow unAmerican.

    Also, I was suggesting that if the payroll tax is uncapped and the rich start paying more in taxes that they should get a commensurate increase in their retirement benefits. Of course, such a scheme would also drain money out of the private equity market and depress stock prices, so you’re basically just screwing the middle class.

  68. @Mike Spindell, the retirement planning part should have come long before the illness part. It also sounds like you didn;t have supplemental longterm disability insurance which would have been another wise planning decision.

  69. kderosa,
    the rich will pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security that I will and will be eligible for the same benefits. Nothing could be more American than that. Are you suggesting that they should get more benefits than any other citizen paying into the fund? With all due respect, that is ludicrous.
    Social Security is not a giant Welfare program. it is a retirement program designed to help Seniors live out their lives with dignity. It is not a ponzi scheme. It is similar to real estate taxes. My parents paid for the schools that my kids went to and I am paying for the schools that my grandchildren will go to.

  70. @rafflaw, so what’s the point of that? You’re just kicking the can down the road for 30 years when you’ll have to pay back these large benefits to all these rich people.

    Seniors are the richest demographic group. Why should poor young people be paying for rich geezers? And why are you stressing the welfare nature Of the program after insisting it’s not a giant welfare program?

    It is a ponzi scheme by definition. Your retirement money is going straight to some geezer;s pocket, not to your own retirement fund. Public education in contrast is not. Your money is going to run schools and you will fund schools for as long as you pay taxes.

  71. kderosa,
    SS is not a welfare program. The recipients pay into the program and when they reach retirement age they share in that investment. Show the class your facts that seniors are the wealthiest demographic. Are real estate taxes a ponzi scheme too?

  72. U.S. Census Wealth and Asset Ownership. Table 5

    The over 65 crowd is wealthier than all other age groups but the 55-64 group which has slightly more assets. The 70-75 group is by far the wealthiest group.

    There is no “investment” in SS, it is all paid out now as soon as it is collected. Real estate taxes are not a ponzi scheme as I’ve already indicated.

  73. kderosa,

    I see that the table you provided a link to is for the year 2004–before our country’s near financial meltdown, which was the reason we taxpayers had to bail out Wall Street. I wonder if the financial crisis had any effect on people’s personal wealth. Can you find a U.S. Census Wealth and Asset Ownership for a post financial crisis year?

    One would have to assume that older people worked longer, have paid off their mortgages, and own their homes outright. Most of them are likely retired and will not be earning a salary/money at work. The money they put aside and saved is what will help support them in their retirement.

  74. Kderosa-

    Take your monomania pill and go to bed. The result of your efforts on behalf of the Koch Brothers today on the Turley Blog = 0 converts to fascism. Tomorrow is another day.

  75. @Elaine, do you think that the financial crisis only affected old people? Or did it only depress their home values or stocks and no one else’s? In all likelihood the relative wealth of each group stayed the same.

    I think you are right about why old people have more assets than younger groups. Rafflaw is the one who apparently couldn’t connect those logical dots when he challenged my statement. The question remains why are we transferring wealthy from young people with less assets to pay the medical care and retirement of old people with more assets. Let them use their own assets to pay for these things.

    This is the latest report I found, maybe you can use your librarian skills and locate us a latter one and prove your theory with it.

    Also, do you think that the propensity of government to bail out big businesses in distress might have affected their willingness to take foolish risks? It’s called called moral hazard; you should look into it sometime.

    @Henman, I’m sure if we compared your views and my views to the views of fascists like the nazis, we’d see your views are more fascist than mine. The nazis weren’t socialists for nothing.

  76. kderosa,

    “This is the latest report I found, maybe you can use your librarian skills and locate us a latter one and prove your theory with it.”

    I’ll leave it up to you to find a “later” report.

    We have Medicare to help pay for medical coverage for the elderly–most of whom no longer have health insurance benefits provided by employers. Many of those elderly/retired people might find themselves bankrupt after a major illness or accident.

  77. @Elaine, I’m glad you found yourself a typo to point out. It’s the little victories that are the most satisfying.

    Medicare merely displaces the private insurance market which would otherwise exist. Tying insurance to employment is a bad idea. The only reason why that happened was to evade government wage restrictions during WWII and then it got enshrined in the tax code. I also like the way your last sentence attempts to deflect responsibility away from the sick people who failed to purchase medical insurance like a responsible person would and then found themselves facing substantial medical bills.

  78. Kdpanzee,

    Do you really believe what you are say? I bet you are receiving something that started with government assistance and intervention at this very moment. Please respond and I’ll tell you how.

  79. @AY, you must think you just made an intelligent point. You should know by now that you aren’t capable of intelligent thought yet. As long as I’m obligated to pay in to all these dopey programs you love, I am entitled to collect any benefits I’m entitled to especially where the program has distorted or displaced the market. I told you, stick to personal insults, making real arguments is beyond your limited ability. Have you replaced your tinfoil hat yet? You usual get more docile afterwards. I guess those mind rays they’re beaming into your pea sized brain must be stimulating something.

  80. @Blousie, Many nazis were vegetarians and environmentalists. All those nutty views go hand in hand. Once you discount the antisemitic genocidial views, I’m sure there is much in the nazi platform you and Henman would find likable.

  81. Kdpanzee,

    You are using the Internet. Without government intervention and land grabs, you would not have this ability. So with this said, you complain about government but yet complain when it try’s and helps someone else…. Cry me a river…..

  82. kderosa,

    I agree that tying insurance to employment is a bad idea. My husband knows that all too well. When he owned two different companies, he paid a lot of money to help provide excellent medical and dental insurance for his employees. He felt it was the right thing to do. That’s why he and I both think a public option for healthcare insurance would be a good idea.

    I didn’t attempt to deflect away from people who refused to pay for medical coverage. Most elderly people–in fact, most people–can’t afford to pay 100% of their own health insurance premiums–not if they want to eat and have a place to live.

    Some of us believe we still need serious health care reform. Maybe if we could get the lobbyists out of Washington, we’d be able to do that.

  83. @AY, did you just think that argument up or did the “voice” in your head tell you it?

    Government required me to pay taxes which funded the development of the Internet, so I get to use the Internet, since I helped fund its development while complaining about all the dopey thinks government does.

  84. kderosa,

    I bow to your thorough knowledge of Nazi thought and practices but you left out the strongest link between Nazis and hippies … astrology.

    (All that aside, may I purpose a toast that we can share … raise your glass and say with me … “Thank god we don’t work for Rupert!”)

  85. Kdpanzee,

    You are way too much of a dolt to understand…that you can’t have it both ways…Either you are for government help or you are not…The best word that describes you is “hypocrite…”

    Do you recall the thread that Mike S., started about a friend of his that was an accountant…had been with the company for something like 10 years and from what I can recall an exemplary record …his wife gets cancer and he asks for time off to take care of her…his reward is to be fired…

    I know..the employer is there for profits…How about this side…the Employers group rates just went up because of the catastrophic illness…seems like a valid reason to terminate someone…from your stand point….

    Tell blouise I like the mud….I’ll woller with you for a while…but when I get up, I at least have the ability to get cleansed and look at myself in the mirror…can you say the same?

  86. Blouise,

    Maybe this was before your time on the Blawg…But we did discus the Nazi’s SS and being gay….

    Maybe Kdpanzee wrote this:

    The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party
    By Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams

    Documents the homosexual and occultic roots of the Nazi movement in Germany. Much has been written about Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Yet, many Nazis were homosexuals themselves, and the so-called persecution was merely one faction using the state to suppress the other faction or was unrelated to their being homosexual.

  87. “Some of us believe we still need serious health care reform. Maybe if we could get the lobbyists out of Washington, we’d be able to do that.” (Elaine)

    What!!?? You’d be sending all of kderosa’s friends to the unemployment line!!?? … shame on you.

  88. and Guess who wrote this and what year:

    “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”

  89. @Elaine. I don’t understand why your providing health insurance as an employer leads to a public option being the right policy choice, It does not follow, which is not to say that it isn’t the right policy decision..

    How do you know that most elderly people cannot afford health insrance? How about if they still had (and then invested) that 2.2% of payroll taxes that was taken from them during their working careers?

    We do need haelthcare reform, but the kind we just got wasn’t the right kind.

    You can never get the lobbyists out of Washington as long as you have legislators willing to be bought.

  90. AY,

    Ok … so some hippies were gay and some Nazis were gay which is another point kderosa missed … I no longer bow to his thorough knowledge of all things Nazi.

    He led me on AY … it was all pretense … he’s no Nazi scholar … I’m pissed!

  91. “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” –Adolf Hitler

    (Speech of May 1, 1927. Quoted by Toland, 1976, p. 306)

    And to think…this possible….

  92. kderosa,
    I have been gone for awhile, so I am a little late to respond to your statements. First of all, I challenge any facts without support. It does not mean that I do not accept or agree with them. Elaine was correct in asking for more up to date statistics because of the Bush Depression.
    The private insurance system is strong enough without getting rid of Medicare and the President’s health care plan actually would strengthen the private insurance companies by bringing them 30-40 million new customers. I prefer single payer, but maybe it is a start.
    I do not think many people who can afford it actually say no to health insurance. Some young people who at that age think they are bulletproof might forego it, but most of the people who are without health insurance don’t have it because they can’t afford it.
    Good morning to all.

  93. @AY, you are way too much of a dolt to understand that once government “help” has been forced upon you, and by that I jmean your tax dollars have been taken to obtain that “help” you can then use the “benefits” that you paid for.

    Employers should not be in the busines of providing health insurance, it’s that simple. The expenses being paid for health insurance should go to the employee as salary and then the employee should buy his own health insurance. Kind of like how the life insurance market works. Unfortunately, our health insurance system has been screwed up by excessive government interference

    I doubt you clean up very well. Though perhaps you think you do.

  94. @rafflaw, you certainly do not challenge all kinds of statements without support, you consistently fail to challenge all the “right kind” of statements. we have a name for that phenomenon — confirmation bias.

  95. kderosa,

    How do YOU know that most elderly people CAN afford to pay 100% of their health insurance premiums?


    “How about if they still had (and then invested) that 2.2% of payroll taxes that was taken from them during their working careers?”

    I guess it depends how much you earn. A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck. 2.2% of payroll taxes for someone who earns minimum wage isn’t all that much money–not if you’re suggesting if it was put aside for retirement, it could provide for all the retirees living expenses and medical insurance. The investor would also have to cross his/her fingers and hope his/her investments didn’t loose any of their value over the years. Remember Enron?

  96. kderosa, I do challenge anything that I think is suspect or untrue. I will also sometimes challenge to see the response. If I missed anything, I apologize.

  97. Elaine,
    Well challenged! A lot of people lost a lot of money in this Depression and the 15 million jobless have less of an opportunity to be able to afford the free market insurance. Especially us more mature people.
    Employers don’t have to provide insurance to employees, but the good ones recognize that in order to retain good employees, it is a good benefit that is part of the full compensation package.

  98. @rafflaw, so did you suspect that the elderly weren’t the wealthiest group or were you looking for a particular response and which one?

    The Bush admin was certainly responsible for the latest recession, since he went along with the Democratic policy of increasing home ownership by any means possible. The Obama admin is also complicit for failing to have the economic sense to get us out of it.

  99. kderosa
    1, July 24, 2011 at 11:18 am
    @AY, you are way too much of a dolt to understand that once government “help” has been forced upon you, and by that I jmean your tax dollars have been taken to obtain that “help” you can then use the “benefits” that you paid for.

    Employers should not be in the busines of providing health insurance, it’s that simple. The expenses being paid for health insurance should go to the employee as salary and then the employee should buy his own health insurance. Kind of like how the life insurance market works. Unfortunately, our health insurance system has been screwed up by excessive government interference

    I doubt you clean up very well. Though perhaps you think you do.

    And some think that the Government should not be in the business of providing the frame work for the network(s) to work….see Kdpanzee….you chose and select what you want government there for……In for a penny in for a pound buffoonboy….

    As to the insurance market being screwed up….exactly how….not enough so called private insurance carriers that had to rely on government bailouts to make the market work…..Clown college worked for some…apparently not for you….

  100. Kdpanzee,

    March 3, 2003 article:
    “[W]e can profit from the collapse of the credit bubble and the subsequent stock market divestment [(decline)]. However, real estate has not yet joined in a decline of prices fed by selling (and foreclosing). Unless you have a very specific reason to believe that real estate will outperform all other investments for several years, you may deem this prime time to liquidate investment property (for use in more lucrative markets).”

    Take a look at this in economist viewpoints….

    Also the Republicans controlled the House and Senate for the first term of Bush…..hmm….seems a little Hypocritical to blame the Democrats for the trouble that Bush created….

  101. @AY, look at you not knowing how many votes it takes to control the senate and when the bad legislation was actually passed.

    I also see you are back to just spewing personal insults. Good for you. It suits your limited intellect better. Btw, did you ever pass the bar?

  102. Kdpanzee,

    Please do tell us when the bad legislation passed…I’ll give you a hint….It is in the Son of Flubber book….The GOP strangulated the entire US….come on tell us…I bet its not in your basic troll cheat sheet is it….How many classes of trolldom do you have to go through to advance through the troll ranks….do they give you shinny stars?

  103. Kdpanzee,

    I do not see how this is any of your business…but one attempt…You should be so lucky….Now answer the questions you ignored….

  104. i’m just amazed. All the lawyers I know are able to reach a minimum level of argumentation that you can’t seem to reach. And I can’t figure out how that can possibly be if you passed the bar. Are you a good memorizer?

  105. Kdpanzee,

    Apparently I am good a it…now you…I am sure none worth their salt has ever take you as a client…I am sure you have had you share of court appointed attorneys in your life….but that is not really what we are talking about…You are like a Bush…in that you duck and evade answers to questions that you know are not true….Tell me did they ever find the WMD? Are you still looking for them?

  106. @AY, i’m glad we got that out. See doesn’t it feel better now with that weight lifted. Being a god memorizer isn’t so bad, just stay away from trying to pretend you can think logically. What did the DNC tell you to think about WMD and affordable housing legislation?

  107. Kdpanzee,

    You defend Bush…So you must still be looking to validate his claim….and cheneys as well…

  108. rafflaw,

    “Employers don’t have to provide insurance to employees, but the good ones recognize that in order to retain good employees, it is a good benefit that is part of the full compensation package.”

    It cost my husband’s companies a lot of money–but he felt it was a moral obligation. The majority of his employees were women–many of whom took jobs with my husband’s companies because of the excellent medical and dental benefits. He respected his employees and treated them well. They, in turn, respected him and worked hard.

  109. Elaine,
    you and your husband should be commended, but the fact that the medical and dental benefits were part of the compensation package is what kept those good employees in the “family”. They are not give-aways, but a true part of the compensation that the employee is paid. I worked for a company years ago while going to college and after for 7 years before and during law school and their benefits attracted and retained many good people. Today, the medical benefits alone are enough to attract workers as long as the pay is competitive.

  110. Kderosa-

    You infer that I’m a Nazi. I’ll have you know that I fought the Nazis in WWII. I worked tirelessly, day and night, filling my diapers with valuable American poop. My poop and the poop of other patriots was then gathered by the famous defense contractor, Dy-Dee-Wash and shipped to Army Air Corps bases all over England. In daring daylight raids on Berlin, Dresden, Cologne, Hamburg, and other abodes of the wicked, millions of tons of our poop rained down upon Hitler’s evil minions. And, by God, we made them holler “Uncle!”.

  111. HenMan, I think you mean imply. And, no I didn’t imply you were a nazi. Though it is an establish fact that many American Progressives favored the fascism of Mussolini and Hitler until it all went pear shaped. Then instead of abandoning those crazy views they merely shifted a little to the left and flushed the fascismphila down the memory hole.

  112. Kderosa-

    No, I meant infer. I gather from your humorless reply that jocular banter is neither permitted nor included in the Koch Brothers talking points which you are sworn on the Holy Bible to disseminate on your assigned left wing blog. It’s too bad, because your incessant sneering is becoming boring as hell.

  113. I’m just conforming to the norms of this crowd. It’s smug arrogance 24/7. It gets old fast, but apparently it’s expected.

    Of course, if I were getting paid to do this by some ideological foe, don’t you think I’d be arguing with Prof Turley’s views instead of the nutty views of small-minded commentors like you.

  114. Why is this considered a left wing blawg….You mean that the right wing does not think for themselves….That is interesting…

  115. Actually Prof Turley holds mostly sensible views. In contrast, you don’t.

    Prof Turley holds mostly liberal views, mostly on social issues. The commentors in contrast are unabashed lefties. Liberals think, lefties recite.

  116. Kderosa-

    On your next talking point, if you surreptitiously key in the address of the cellar you are being held in, I will call your local police department. They can then raid the cellar where you and the other kidnapped typists are being held against your will. The testimony of you and the other enslaved typists will surely put an end to the Koch Brothers white slavery ring. Then you can begin the rehabilitation you will need to put this hellish episode behind you.

  117. raff and henman,

    I am glad the night shift showed up..He the shrew is taxing….slippery…as slippery as whale blubber on an Eskimo wedding night I am sure…the smell probably not much better…

  118. Hell … kderosa is just jealous ’cause HenMan got to poop on Nazis and can braid daisies in his hippie hair … envy is a common ailment in cellar-dwellers.

  119. Blouise-

    I may have had braided daisies in my blond afro, but I was no sissy. The daisies were surrounded by garlands of poison sumac. And, as you know, I always carried a bobcat under each arm.

  120. HenMan,

    That mental picture is almost too much to bear … “be still my beating hippie heart.” (bare with me …:) … word play )

  121. Blouise and Raff-

    I have to admit I exaggerated a bit on that one (except for the bobcats). The only time my hair was long was for a while in the 70’s- and that was not due to any hippie tendencies. More like too lazy to go to the barber shop. Or too broke. Or out of fear that the barber shop radio might be playing “Muskrat Love” or “Tie a Yellow Ribbon to the Old Oak Tree”. Yuck!

  122. Kdponzee,

    Then I guess your mission is complete…collect your paycheck and leave this site immediately….we will notify the Kochsuker brothers….They don’t like to get scammed…

  123. kderosa,

    There is no secret handshake…no initiation…no special code. One need only comment on this blog regularly to be considered a regular. Not sure why you don’t feel like one of us regulars. Do you have a persecution complex?

  124. Elaine,

    So I do not keep responding to Kdponzi’s scheme of things…And if you wish to take over…He is in denial of not knowing the secret hand shake…It is all syntax for them…because they share the handshake between them it is not a secret…

    I think he has been assigned to this blawg to disrupt it as much as possible…once his mission is complete or his drivel come back to haunt him…he will either be given a new name with other points to disrupt with or be assigned to another blawg….

    You must remember what he stated yesterday….Lefties cut and past (recite) and Liberals think….I think he is more of a lefty than a progressive teascum sucking wanna be republican….

    From what I understand….if you keep them uneducated they all wanna be republicans…that is the manifesto that Rove espoused…. if they get too much education….then they might be able to think on there own..and then they become democrats…so if you teach them standardized testing procedures….They can claim that they are Pro education while not teaching them to think for themselves…it is simple if you look at it that way….

    So right now…its easy to tell the lefty’s from the righty’s…soon it will be a distinction without a difference….

  125. AY,

    It’s sad to watch what’s been happening to the Republican party. It’s not the RP that I remember from the past. I even voted for Republicans in a few elections. That was a long time ago.

  126. @Elaine, one month of posts does not yet a regular make. Who did you vote for, Elaine? Eisenhower?

    AY, Tinfoil hat, you know where to put it.

  127. Elaine,

    I grew up in a strong republican household….money donating …dinner holding…golf playing set…. So, what can I say…The first few years of my life I voted generally republican….Today….Neither D or P excites me too much…Its what they do with that label…

    I as you know worked for an affiliate of the NEA, with what I saw….I could never stomach what DeVos and Klan have in store to destroy Public Education….By then I was a confirmed Democrat.

    I have spent many a weekends, weekdays and months working on Democratic Campaigns…so…yeah..I feel for them…

  128. Elaine,

    Better be careful….Kdnoid….will soon start suffering the Messiah Complex…and then it will be all of our fault….

  129. Elaine,
    Hah!! You are right about the Republican Party. I didn’t agree with them too often, but at least I respected them. Now, that respect has gone the way of the Tea party and the radicals who have taken it over. Even Boehner is afraid of them.
    Is that the DeVos of Amway fame? Yikes.

  130. raff,

    Unfortunately…yes…VanAndel is another name to watch….If you did not know….Eric Prince…the Blackwater/Xe guy….well that is her brother….

  131. AY,

    “I as you know worked for an affiliate of the NEA…”

    I didn’t know that. I assume by NEA you mean the National Education Association. I’ve read about how Betsy and Dick DeVos and some other wealthy Americans are trying to destroy public education.

    Here’s just one piece I found:
    REPORT: Meet The Billionaires Who Are Trying To Privatize Our Schools And Kill Public Education
    Think Progress, 5/21/2011

    Dick DeVos: The DeVos family has been active on education issues since the 1990′s. The son of billionaire Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, Sr., DeVos unsuccessfully ran for governor of the state of Michigan, spending $40 million, the most ever spent in a gubernatorial race in the state. In 2002, Dick DeVos sketched out a plan to undermine public education before the Heritage Foundation, explaining that education advocates should stop using the term “public schools” and instead call them “government schools.” He has poured millions of dollars into right-wing causes, including providing hundreds of thousands of dollars into seed money for numerous “school choice” groups, including Utah’s Parents for Choice in Education, which used its PAC money to elect pro-voucher politicians.

    – Betsy DeVos: The wife of Dick DeVos, she also coincidentally happens to be the sister of Erik Prince, the leader of Xe, the mercenary outfit formerly known as Blackwater and is a former chair of the Republican Party of Michigan. Mrs. DeVos has been much more aggressive than her husband, pouring her millions into numerous voucher front groups across the country. She launched the pro-voucher group All Children Matter in 2003, which spent $7.6 million in its first year alone to impact state races related vouchers, winning 121 out of 181 races in which it intervened. All Children Matter was found breaking campaign finance laws in 2008, yet has still not paid its $5.2 million fine. She has founded and/or funded a vast network of voucher front groups, including Children First America, the Alliance for School Choice, Kids Hope USA, and the American Federation for Children.

  132. Elaine,

    National Heritage Academies, Inc. (NHA) is a “for-profit” charter school management organization headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan that was formed in 1995 by entrepreneur J.C. Huizenga.–Huizenga.aspx

    As of 2010, National Heritage Academies is a collection of 67 charter schools in the eight states: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia, and Louisiana. The nationwide network of schools are classified as free open enrollment K-8 college preparatory public schools mostly in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. The High School company is a separate entity named Prep Net.

    That Heritage Group 3850 Broadmoor Ave SE, Suite 201​
    Grand Rapids, MI 49512​
    T: 877-223-6402​

    I’ll let you tie it into the Netherlands….It is vast….Because AmWay/Devos and all of the attendant folks are of Dutch Heritage….You can see how far this deception weeps….It goes even into Norway….If you will look at a couple of the links, they will take you to why its possible the person did what he did over the weekend….

  133. Elaine M.,

    Here in my opinion is how it started…and it get really bad….The Insurance folks want the Insurance Dollars of the NEA and AFT and affiliates….They have to destroy the Unions in order to get them opened up…Introduce ALEC and you can see where we are headed….

  134. AY,

    I first heard about ALEC when I was doing research for some of my Turley posts earlier this year. The most recent edition (August1/8, 2011) of “The Nation” has a number of articles about the organization. I’ve been considering doing a post about ALEC.

  135. Elaine,

    Check the NPR archives…this last Thursday they had one hell of a interview with some freak from Louisiana Legislature who is the Speaker of the House as well as Chair of ALEC….Talk about Conflict…. I think his first name is Nobel….He has to be the biggest psychopath ever to hold office…..

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