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Note: There is some controversy in the comments.  Why not view the program yourself?  It is replaying today, Sunday, at 3:00 pm. Eastern on CNN.  It's a two-hour program, where they show the film and engage in a panel discussion.

I wrote this diary yesterday.

I'm glad to hear that it was not just me.  I wasn't the only one who was shocked by the I.O.U.S.A. documentary and panel discussion that appeared on CNN yesterday.

Here's what Digby says:

I can't believe what I saw yesterday: CNN showed the Shock Doctrine documentary I.O.U.S.A. It is an amazing piece of propaganda, which, if it isn't designed to destroy any chance of enacting a necessary stimulus, will persuade more than a few Americans that the biggest problem we face at this moment is long term debt caused by entitlements --- and nothing short of massive spending cuts can save us.

...

I say this is a shock doctrine documentary because it is nearly impossible for me to believe that it is a coincidence that the deficit hawks have put together this slick "non-partisan" documentary and well financed campaign to cut spending at the moment of what many people believe is America's greatest economic peril since the 1930s. They are, quite obviously, attempting to use the crisis to dismantle the social safety net and avoid doing the real work of reforming the financial system. Shock Doctrine 101.

...

One would think this message is so dissonant that no one could possibly find it persuasive. After all, they are worrying about some potential future catastrophic event while we are in middle of a current calamity. But it's actually very clever ---you can see by the press release that it sounds like they are talking about the current problem, even though their prescription is exactly the opposite of what is required . Indeed the diabolical effect of this project and its timing is that it's designed to make people believe that government spending is the cause of the current economic crisis.

This is some great commentary.  Read the whole thing.

(Digby also has some choice words for "liberal" economic Alice Rivkin and others in the post.)

I have to wonder if the appearance of this particular piece of propaganda does not signal that the Social Security battle is once again on the horizon.

Even when we're still clearing bodies from the field from the current devastation -- dwindling wages, expanding unemployment, exploding costs for housing, education and medical care ...

Not to mention the billions lost by average Americans who invested as instructed in their 401(k) plans and watched their private retirement funds vanish over the last year.

It's going to get interesting.

Originally posted to bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Save Social Security (438+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharoney, Alumbrados, Ed in Montana, cdreid, Joe Bob, Garrett, Best in Show, Terri, Yosef 52, RedMeatDem, Mogolori, eugene, decisivemoment, ferg, debcoop, SarahLee, deben, gogol, mimi9, miasmo, chowder, sen bob, ScientistMom in NY, mattman, emal, Robespierrette, karlpk, Shockwave, billlaurelMD, kpardue, cotterperson, OLinda, akeitz, eeff, Mnemosyne, TX Unmuzzled, devtob, DFWmom, frisco, Zach in Phoenix, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, musicsleuth, mataliandy, givmeliberty, Poika, vrexford, Creosote, Vitarai, Birdman, Heart of the Rockies, shermanesq, Dave in DC, rasbobbo, scribe, Gustogirl, opinionated, Feanor, conchita, sponson, dlcampbe, elveta, Euroliberal, sfgb, susakinovember, DaleA, ask, metal prophet, Pithy Cherub, boilerman10, buckhorn okie, roses, LeftofArizona, pedrito, altoid, Larry Bailey, Miss Blue, bwren, PeteZerria, oceanview, Nate Roberts, thingamabob, Jesterfox, Cedwyn, antirove, high uintas, sidnora, OldYellerDog, dksbook, wader, Oke, nicta, scorpiorising, psnyder, Lynwaz, Dallasdoc, Miss Jones, MTgirl, grannyhelen, kevin22262, cosette, Kidspeak, niteskolar, Nemagaiq, Penny Century, chantedor, defluxion10, snakelass, rockhound, grrr, lcrp, alizard, Pohjola, barbwires, dkmich, walkshills, Oaktown Girl, bwintx, randallt, jen, tomjones, SanDiegoDem, Deward Hastings, jcrit, solesse413, Josiah Bartlett, Timroff, vivens fons, luvmovies2000, rapala, 0hio, Budlawman, nehark, joanneleon, chumley, paige, ExStr8, jabney, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, TexasTom, denise b, Nadnerb in NC, sometv, LarisaW, JanetT in MD, CTPatriot, revbludge, rose quartz, SherwoodB, relentless, irate, PBen, Alice Venturi, Irons33, elkhunter, panicbean, truong son traveler, blindcynic, Brooke In Seattle, Dobber, maisie, fixxit, cfk, Morrigan, JoieDe, Jaime Frontero, jimreyn, where4art, GreyHawk, Burned, cassidy3, tosser, Wufacta, Ice Blue, QuickSilver, Skid, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, Joy Busey, PinHole, SBandini, Tunk, FunkyEntropy, petestern, The Raven, zinger99, sodalis, LivesInAShoe, Rogneid, JanL, sgary, soyinkafan, Paper Cup, Jim R, Jim P, begone, Abacab, skywriter, snewp, aimzzz, Audio Guy, martini, third Party please, trashablanca, Do Tell, sierrartist, tarheelblue, Taunger, Pinko Elephant, vigilant meerkat, cybersaur, tung sol, BobbyK, BlueInARedState, BeadLady, ActivistGuy, borkitekt, mooshter, ruleoflaw, ccmask, Naniboujou, Wary, mcartri, kck, greenearth, triv33, birdbrain64, erratic, bubbanomics, nonnie9999, imabluemerkin, real world chick, Sagebrush Bob, happy camper, NearlyNormal, CTLiberal, Preston S, justCal, gabriella, totallynext, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, myrealname, ER Doc, middleagedhousewife, SingerInTheChoir, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, fiddlingnero, RantNRaven, Jbeaudill, jjellin, drdana, nyc in exile, Bernie68, expatyank, blueintheface, ms badger, sea note, Leap Year, DBunn, tegrat, Evil Betty, AmericanRiverCanyon, One Pissed Off Liberal, beaukitty, RagingGurrl, pgm 01, marykk, out of left field, BeninSC, ibonewits, Cronesense, blue armadillo, moodyinsavannah, grelinda, Dartagnan, ColoTim, moosely2006, karmsy, LillithMc, Nespolo, HeartlandLiberal, Matt Z, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, twinpeaks, St Louis Woman, gatorbot, Seneca Doane, WiddieDawg, jayden, jedennis, beemerr, millwood, Moderation, Jack the R, jhop7, MaskedKat, MadAsHellMaddie, Rumarhazzit, Brahman Colorado, Zydekos, trueblueliberal, willb48, TomP, cville townie, gizmo59, sand805, GANJA, rogerdaddy, mconvente, sk4p, dotster, aisteacher, Youffraita, fromdabak, indyada, Judge Moonbox, bythesea, elwior, Wes Opinion, Johnny Rapture, Akonitum, Happy Days, Calamity Jean, dewley notid, daddy4mak, pickandshovel, Jeff Y, rubine, mofembot, Gemina13, kyril, LaFajita, tlemon, luckylizard, Virginia mom, DixieDishrag, caps lock on, magicsister, GrannyOPhilly, shortgirl, CIndyCasella, moondancing, cameoanne, prettygirlxoxoxo, Turn Left, Rhysling, rubyclaire, cybrestrike, eroded47095, greylox, maryabein, janmtairy, SciVo, BlueInRedCincy, WobegonGal, Mercuriousss, kets, John Shade, prgsvmama26, redtex, followyourbliss, soms, sanglug, billssha, kevinpdx, IngeniousGirl, Losty, elropsych, Lava20, Little Flower, brushysage, EmmaKY, Wings Like Eagles, longtimewatcher, TenthMuse, Leftcandid, Colorado Billy, Amber6541, Lazar, ladygreenslippers, oohdoiloveyou, p gorden lippy, diamondqueen, Obamican08, RBinDLH, robertacker13, estreya, weebo, Susan from 29, amk for obama, PurpleMyst, Jess27, MarkMarvin, candysroom, japangypsy, Indie Tarheel, fidellio, TheWesternSun, on board 47, chrome327, XajaX, Eddie L, I Lurked For Years, iRobert, pixxer, Anne933, CryptoPolitico, NYWheeler, sluggahjells, abrauer, washunate, farbuska, sniperfire, Floande, NellaSelim, JerichoJ8, gobears2000, CornSyrupAwareness, annominous, I love OCD, badaspie, Susipsych, BlueHead, The Son of the Devil Himself, Civil Writes Activist, princesspat, blueinmn, two moms in Az, Victory of Renegades, giyoret, rk2, sjr1, Prav duh, ArmedLiberal, MCinNH, pensivelady

    The right wing sees the current crisis as an opportunity to once again assail the only program that guarantees a (very modest) quality of life for our nation's elderly.  They want to hurt old people.  I want to know why.

    You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

    by bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 10:53:12 AM PST

  •  CNN spewing right wing propaganda is nothing new (26+ / 0-)

    Sad but true.

    McCain/(Hagee+Parsley) '08 "We Hunt Jews and Muslims So You Dont Have To. Straight Talk"

    by DFutureIsNow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 10:58:13 AM PST

  •  Digby seems to just question the timing. (24+ / 0-)

    That the debt is a serious problem that needs to be tackled when the economy is on better footing should be fairly uncontroversial.

    We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

    by burrow owl on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:01:28 AM PST

    •  Really (16+ / 0-)

      I did not realize that there was a financing problem with Social Security.

      You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

      by bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:02:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a problem w/ the general fund. (7+ / 0-)

        We don't want excessive debt to crowd out private investment, drive up interest rates, et&

        We are building a team that is continuously being built. - Sarah Palin

        by burrow owl on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:06:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  well, Reagan insured that. (12+ / 0-)

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:08:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is there? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm skeptical that there could ever be much of a problem with a pay-as-you-program.

      •  There is no financial problems with Social (4+ / 0-)

        Security.  The government has the problem, which we are the government in a way because we finance them.  We just need some people who want to keep Social Security working on the problem.

        Bush has had people working against it for years.

      •  And the debt IS a problem if you see... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the 9% of the Federal Budget in '08 that went to debt service/interest payments as basically us having pissed away a boatload of money that (if the debt didn't exist) would have gone to all the great things we want accomplished.

        To put it personal/household terms, the Republicans (largely) have run up extraordinary credit debt and we'll f-o-r-e-v-e-r be blowing mega-bucks on an annual basis for pay for their folly.

        39 Years Of Yellow-Dogging And Then 1 Year Of WTF

        by Larry Bailey on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 03:48:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Social Security financing problem (0+ / 0-)

        started with me--I'm a baby boomer.

        Then after me there was a baby bust.

        SS is a "pay-as-you-go" program. Current workers pay FICA taxes, which are sent out immediately to current retirees. That's how the program has always worked, from the beginning. (The first SS recipient was incredibly lucky--she only paid 25 cents in her last paycheck, then retired and collected for the rest of her life.) All this was supposed to work fine because when the program was passed in 1935, the average life expectancy was 62--but you couldn't collect until you were 65, and shortly thereafter most recipients died.

        But then people started living longer. And then I came along with the baby boom.

        There are too many of me. This means that while my generation is working and paying FICA taxes, the current retirees are just fine, because there are plenty of me, and the burden of supporting each retiree is spread out amongst lots of us.

        However, when I retire--well, probably I won't be able to do that--when most baby boomers retire, there will be far fewer baby busters to pay for us. In fact, there will be only about two workers to pay for each retiree, and that's asking too much of those workers.

        That's how the program works. It's a fact. People can deny it all they like, but it remains a fact.

        May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

        by Fonsia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 04:42:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I should add: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi9

          The current SS "surplus" was begun when in the early 80s they began to realize what a problem this generational thingy was.

          So they raised the FICA taxes (Reagan did that--biggest tax increase in history) to create a surplus that could be drawn down when the baby boomers retired. People now pay in more than is required to support current retirees, because it's going to cost so much more to pay for me.

          However, we spent the surplus money. We've spent all of the surplus money. That's what Gore meant when he kept talking about his famous "lock box." The lock box was to keep the government from spending the SS surplus every year, as we still do, every year. But Gore "lost," so we didn't get a lock box, and we kept spending the money. Actually, we spend much more than that money, every year.

          So the Social Security "surplus" doesn't really exist. It's all IOUs from the government to the government.

          When the baby boomers retire, the government is going to have to come up with all that extra money, all over again.

          And we can't. It's too much.

          And that's the problem.

          May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

          by Fonsia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 04:58:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't have to come up with it (0+ / 0-)

            If we get health care costs under control, restore the tax cuts and the estate tax, then use the taxes that will be charged anyway on 401ks and IRAs then it won't be a great burden on anyone.

            Another way to do it is if every necessary cost like gas, utilities, health care, food, day care and college was rolled back to where we could afford to live on less money like workers and retirees overseas.  

            It won't happen though.  They want to pay low wages and charge high prices, so the chances of them lowering prices for workers and retirees are slim .

            •  We can certainly make better choices (0+ / 0-)

              and you cite quite a few here.

              I'd rather see wage stagnation broken. If we can get wages up, then we can pay for all those expenses you list (even more if we get those costs down, as you say).

              But that doesn't even come close to solving the long-term entitlements problem. Frankly, I think if we can get Universal Healh Care that will save huge swaths of money, not only in dollars, but in the strength of our population.

              We need to come up with tens of trillions, though.

              The aristocrats have been stealing for too long, and the demographics won't change no matter what we do. I'd like to see Social Security financing fundamentally changed. Scrap the pay-as-you-go system, funded by the little people for the little people (with the funds stolen by the big people). Make the aristocrats pay for it, dammit. They're the ones who stole the money (which, actually, Obama's FICA cap elimination helps to do).

              But no matter what way we go, we're in deep do-do. I take solace only from the fact that we payed down the WW2 debt quite quickly in the 50s. That was done by spending even more money on the G.I. Bill and the Interstate Highway system and because of Union victories, all of which built up the middle class. And during the 50s, taxes on the rich were astronomical (yet the economy soared).

              May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

              by Fonsia on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 01:10:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  you're right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mimi9, satanicpanic

      The timing of showing IOUSA seems aimed at the entire concept of the stimulus package by miscasting debt as the cause of/worse than a deep recession or depression.

      The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

      by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:31:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Japan owes 2 or 3 times the deficit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satanicpanic

      that we do and they are ok.

      Most of the deficit here is owed to ourselves. We can deal with that.

  •  Which is the reason I do not watch (22+ / 0-)

    Crappy News Network (CNN).  It is so biased that it makes my eyes bleed and my teeth hurt.

    And if I had to listen to Wolfen Blitzer utter, "what are your thoughts on this horrific (place any word here!)?" one more time, I would shoot my TV (and we just finished paying for it!).

    The ONLY saving grace on that show is Jack, and if he was on any other channel I would watch him everyday.  Just can't do it on CNN.

    Stay away from CNN if you want to maintain your sanity.

    "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few....or the one." Mr. Spock, The Wrath of Khan

    by RO45 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:04:44 AM PST

  •  Addison Wiggin -- Executive Producer (39+ / 0-)

    Mr. Wiggin has been a student, writer and commentator of financial markets and governments for more than a decade. With a master’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s College and experience working with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., Mr. Wiggin has acquired both a macroeconomic and contrarian’s outlook on domestic and international markets.

    Dude's a Ron Paul-style libertarian.  This is without question a class-warfare documentary.  The filmmakers are playing willing pawns to a flat-tax, flat-earth economic initiative.  Digby is totally on the mark.

    This film, parenthetically, represents what I think will be a steady stream of extremist right-wing and libertarian documentaries following the Moore/Greenwald model.  There is certainly plenty of money out there to finance this garbage, and as times get tougher, they will find growing audiences of discontented people.  In turn, the films will get more radical and eventually incite to violence.  The producers and financial backers of these films must be unmercilessly exposed and attacked.

    I think I just saw the future, and it rhymes with "Goebbels".

  •  I agree, sort of (7+ / 0-)

    While I agree that a stimulus initiative is needed, we need to see that the status-quo ante was just the precursor of the collapse of 2008.  We need an entirely  new economic foundation.  The occurrences of  one of the best periods of economic growth and the paydown of debt in the late 1990's was perhaps an accident but I think the coincidence may be worth trying to achieve again.  A progressive income tax and inheritance tax are two items that should be pursued beginning as soon as the economy begins to recover.  

    •  Interest rates going down helped a lot (0+ / 0-)

      Now they are too low for savers and too high on credit cards. Republicans ride a good horse to death and a good idea.

      It would be interesting to rebuild the whole economy.  30 hour work weeks!:-)

  •  Watch the documentary first (22+ / 0-)

    Comment later.

    32 min abbreviated version.

    A surprising amount of ignorance here and in the post by Digby.

    Here we are now Entertain us I feel stupid and contagious

    by Scarce on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:10:16 AM PST

  •  I have come to believe (20+ / 0-)

    that the Republicans/wealthy don't really consider the rest of us to be human beings - we're expendable peons, they're the aristocracy.

  •  I didn't like it or mind it much (9+ / 0-)

    I thought it was a fairly convoluted way of getting to the point that either we need to cut spending (bad idea) or increase revenue (good idea), but that the current model is unsustainable in the long-term.  And I get that Digby (despite thinking that David Waker ran the CBO instead of the GAO) thinks the timing is suspect.

    But really, what was presented was fundamentally the same argument that Ben Cohen makes about spending: we're doing it wrong.  (In fact, a very familiar pie chart made several appearances in IOUSA).  We blow money on inefficient programs with incredible overhead when it comes to things like military spending, but we're gun-shy when it comes to low-overhead, high-efficiency programs like Medicare that have a high net gain for social utility.

    The underlying argument of IOUSA seems to stand up, though CNN should have had a more Keynesian voice present on their panel to contextualize the numbers properly, as to give a fair view of what immediate priorities (as opposed to long-term ones) ought to be as we navigate the present crisis and plan how to avoid future ones.

    The people are competent: why shouldn't the government be competent? The people tell the truth, so why should the government lie? -Jimmy Carter

    by JR on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:14:38 AM PST

  •  the raid on public funds cannot be stopped (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney, relentless, greenearth, j b norton

    We'll have to hire the mafia to rep us in DC if we actually want a voice.

  •  During the election, wasn't the assertion (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mataliandy, relentless, quotemstr, MCinNH

    by progressives and Democrats that the Republicans wanted to cut Social Security actually identified by one of the prime "fact checking" groups as a lie?

    Maybe that stupid decision by the "fact checkers" ought to be revisited.

  •  I only caught part of this CNN documentary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hlinko, 0wn, oscarfrye, Fonsia

    yesterday and I certainly hope it is repeated and repeatedly shown often over the next few weeks.  I wish David Walker would have a position on Obama's economic team.

    In youth we learn, in age we understand.

    by Jbeaudill on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:42:37 AM PST

    •  Lovely roundtable this A.M.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jbeaudill, Econaut

      Nooners, Newt, David Bonier (D-MI), and last and least, Paul Gigot who made the point that Obama needs to spend as wisely as St. Ronnie who was forced to buy lots of aircraft carriers but we were all richly rewarded with winning the cold war.  I thought we were left in an economic shambles but the arms race did break the Soviet Union whose economy was not strong enough to sustain that level of an arms race.  W and Cheney spent at twice the speed of St. Ronnie, we are now less safe, and we are at the point the Soviet Union was then.  What was Gigot saying while this was going on?  Uh, huh.  It's tough to trust any "education" from the corporate media.

  •  This "deficit is growing" meme was highlighted (21+ / 0-)

    by Gregory on MTP today too---showing graphs emphasizing the recent (and coming) growth;  all the while saying "how can we move ahead "?

    Where were all these bastards when Bush was doubling down on the deficit for the last 5 years??

  •  Ladies and Germs (5+ / 0-)

    ...Please stop turning to the Idiot Box for information.  It is there for entertainment only.

    The Legacy Media will not give you any better understanding of the world around you.

    You have got to turn it off.

    Do Not turn the station.  MSNBC is no better than FOX or ABC

    Turn It Off

    "Return the Egg to Mothra Island!": The Singing Mothra Twins

    by jds1978 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:46:32 AM PST

  •  Dismantle the social safety net? What safety net? (9+ / 0-)

    It's free-fall... there's nothing left

    •  You're almost right (12+ / 0-)

      there certainly won't be if the GOP gets its way.

      A slogan:  "GOP: Turning the U.S.A. into a banana republic since 1980"

      The banks have engaged in such non-transparency that not even they really know the shape they are in. Every day there are more foreclosures - Joseph Stiglitz

      by Youffraita on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:51:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There would have been if Bush hadn't stolen (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, barbwires, aimzzz

      so much. He broke into the SS coffers to make the deficit look better than it was. If the money that is supposed to go to social security could not be used for any other purpose, it would have been just fine.

      Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

      by MA Liberal on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:04:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He wasn't the first one (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, mataliandy, paige, jabney

        to break into it.

        We've used the SS surplus for decades to make the debt look smaller.

        That's why Gore kept talking about his famous "lock box."

        Bush basically operated on the principle that deficits don't matter, so he could spend as much as he liked while cutting taxes (for his cronies) as much as he liked.

        Reagan started it. Note in the documentary, that they show a clip of the riduculous Mr. Laffer, saying that he'd state his reputation on the idea that tax cuts get you more revenue, then show you what happened to the debt, which skyrocketed for the first time in our history absent a war or a depression.

        This mess is Reagan's fault. All Bush did is continue Reagan's policies.

        May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

        by Fonsia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:42:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Social Security Trust Fund (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denise b, relentless, Econaut

        is limited by law to a single investment instrument, a special treasury bond that is limited to the fund. Social Security holds the bonds which are earning interest. The cash that SS takes in in taxes is transferred to the Treasury General fund in exchange for these bonds. Since the inception of Social Security, Congress has, from time to time, used the cash for operations. The practice has increased since the insane tax cuts of the Reagan administration and the repeated assaults on the Treasury by both Bushes. In terms of the projected payouts, the Trust Fund is perfectly solvent well beyond the death of the last baby boomer. The General fund, however, may soon be in real trouble as it attempts to pay SS the bonded debt. That crisis has to do with tax rates other than the Social Security with holding tax.

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:40:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would raising taxes on the Rich and Corporations (0+ / 0-)

          solve this, since by my calculations, they are the groups that received the benefits from the trickle down economics practiced by Reagan and Bush I and II.  All in favor, voted for Obama, motion carried.

          •  In a word (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bink, figbash, relentless

            yes. Currently the upper 1% of earners get about 22% of all income. They own a little over 40% of our wealth. The upper 2%, incomes that start at the Clinton $250k limit, earn about 35% of all the money and own well over 50% of all assets. These numbers rival their levels in 1929. What we learned in 1933 is that government, another group that represents 20% of the economy (the average % taxation of GDP), can turn an economy from recession to growth with public investment spending. While the New Deal had some stops and starts (mostly because of the economists continuously demanding balanced budgets) the unprecedented amount of public spending for WW II and the public investment of the GI bill stimulated the world's economy and created our middle class. In the midst of that growth, in 1945, the debt was 125% of GDP. By 1963 that number was about 25%. All of that was paid for by taxing those high incomes at rates that went as high as 92%. In 1979 American Corporate taxes constituted 45% of the Federal budget, today that number is something below 20%.

            "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

            by johnmorris on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 03:04:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well in a word " we have our solutions". (0+ / 0-)

              Conservatives keeping saying that these corporations will just go overseas, after the current financial fiasco, I doubt they would be welcome.  American financial and business practives have become very suspect as they should be.

              •  Corporations have to be chartered (0+ / 0-)

                in each nation and state they operate in.

                There might be a XXXX Stock Company in Japan and a XXXX USA Inc.

                As long as the shareholder list is known, Bigpig Inc. can easily shift to Bigpig Grand Caymans Ltd.

              •  China would have them shot (0+ / 0-)

                if they pull their tricks over there.

                •  Our local newspaper (0+ / 0-)

                  is reporting that wallboard from China is suspected of causing problems along Florida coasts.

                  It's pretty bad when we are importing wallboard and basic tiles from halfway around the world.  

                  •  It is American companies contracting with (0+ / 0-)

                    Chinese factories to make this stuff and then not doing appropriate factory inspections and testing on final product.  This is not entirely a Chinese problem..we are the one's with the long history of producing goods, we set the costs, production expectations and they will do whatever they have to meet those expectations.  I am not defending them but many of these issues are preventable with good business practices and we have had many companies cutting corners and not protecting their customers.

              •  Let them (0+ / 0-)

                If corporations protesting our tax codes flee to foreign shores (that means China or Viet Nam. They're not stupid enough to believe their own bullshit and they understand that their tax rates would nearly double in real terms, as would their labor costs, if they fled to Europe) it would be a perfect excuse to erect some tariff barriers and get our trade balance back to normal levels.

                "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

                by johnmorris on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 05:39:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps bank CDs (0+ / 0-)

          and 25%+equity mortgages should be allowed investments.

          •  There were people who fought against Social (0+ / 0-)

            Security when it was starting. It was mostly the rich that were against it.

            FDR and his team fixed it so that Social Security would be as safe as possible, because they knew that some would ruin it if they could. That is why it can only be put in treasuries, the safest investment in the world. They can't be sold to anyone, they have to be cashed in.  

            A lot of those 25% equitys will go bust.  

            •  I suspect my retirement funds (0+ / 0-)

              have been used to finance a war halfway around the world.

              Having younger folks pay taxes to redeem those treasuries may not be the "safest" thing to rely on.

              •  If our rich would do the ethical thing (0+ / 0-)

                they would pay enough taxes to pay the debt off.  The wars are for them. The average american would have had no problems with the mid east.

                We can raise the cap on pay roll taxes to take in the high rolling Wall Street salaries.  They need to figure out a way to tax options too.

                •  Taxes of 238 billion were paid (0+ / 0-)

                  on 17 trillion dollars someone on here said. That is not enough taxes for that much money.

                  It isn't the tax rate, but how much is taxable after the rich get their tax breaks.

                  Obama is lowering taxes on the middle class, but seems afraid to raise taxes on the rich and business.

                  A country's budget is similar to a household budget.  Both have to have enough income to make ends meet.

                  •  No its not (0+ / 0-)

                    for openers, a family's budget carries as an asset the value of equity in their house and cars. For businesses that is called "capital". It consists of the value of the stuff you have and it is balanced against what you owe. For the Federal government that category doesn't exist so that money spent to build things and buy things the government needs is considered a pure cost. What you, as a family, have to do with your budget is to make sure the money comingin covers your payments plus the day to day expenses of living with some left over for savings. The government has to d roughly the same although government savings has a direct negative impact on economic growth. The government is about 30% of the total economy. Any part of that taken out of circulation, ie 'saved', slows down the economy. The countercyclical activity of deficit spending is a direct stimulus to the economy. Blancing the Federal budget slows the economy and Federal surpluses cause recessions.

                    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

                    by johnmorris on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 07:38:53 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  The young need social security too. (0+ / 0-)

                It pays a benefit to their children if a working parent dies. It also pays a lifetime benefit to those who become disabled when young or old.

                What they pay in now gives them the right to retirement.  The more they pay in and the longer they work, the more they will get when they retire or become disabled. It works like insurance. Contributions paid now will pay off later.

                The young need to realize that as taxpayers they are paying for the retirements of the federal and state government, the military and many others.  If they don't protect Social Security, they will be the only group who will work until they are seventy while paying for the lavish and early retirements of others.  The rest of them will have 401ks too on top of their taxpayer retirements.

                The young are not any better than the rest of us who have always paid into Social Security.

                Hopefully, they have learned from the tech bubble bursting then this latest stock crash that investing in the market isn't safe enough to depend on for retirement.

  •  This is not the type of reaction Progressives... (11+ / 0-)

    ...should be making to that type of content.

    Obama's walking a fine line right now, at least in the eyes of the world's financial community, above and beyond the "deficit hawks" here at home.

    The "concerns" with regard to the perceptions of the rest of the world figure much more significantly in our national budgets than they have in decades past.

    But, even that is not the practical issue or problem right now.

    What is a very pragmatic concern for all Americans is the reality that we're going to be issuing as much as two-plus trillion dollars in US treasuries this year, at a time when our biggest international, sovereign "sponsors" (i.e. China, Japan, et al) are looking inward and addressing financial issues that require them to keep their cash at home, as well.

    Last week, Germany, which has one of the least-affected economies in the world right now (from the devastating realities caused by the global economic downturn), issue roughly $6 billion in bonds which failed at auction.

    The potential failure of governments to finance their rapidly-increasing debt now--with the U.K. and the U.S. near the top of that list of nations seeking to do so this year--is, in reality, of massive concern on the world stage.

    The reality here is that perception drives markets, whether it's for bonds or securities, or whatever.

    And, another reality is that, even with our official national debt now exceeding our annual GDP (as of this year), that still does not even account for the liabilities we're accruing as far as social security and Medicare are concerned. Those  line items aren't even figured into those damn numbers!

    Truth be told, if you projected our accrued liabilities with regard to Social Security and Medicare into the national debt, our over red ink is more than four times our GDP. (Yes, accounting for our ongoing, accrued liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, alone, our national debt is actually approx. $66 trillion, not $15- to $16-trillion, as is published by the government, now.) Checkout the Shadow Stats website for full verification on my numbers being mentioned here.

    Does this all matter when it comes time to rate our goverment's paper in the eyes of the world investment community? Thus adding trillions of dollars more interest to our tab with that on fell swoop (with regard to the "AAA" status of our government's paper now)? You're damn right.

    It's projected that--more likely than not--the U.K. will lose its "AAA" rating this year. The odds are too high for the comfort level of most that the U.S. isn't far behind on that curve either.

    The bottom line: the U.S. cannot spend money on stimulus programs without printing more cash. And, the cost of doing that dramatically increases with the ratings downgrades of sovereign debt, too.

    From a very practical standpoint, the folks in D.C. know this; and, the harsh reality is that this is all up to the perceptions of the global financial community (unlike years past, we no longer control our own destiny in this regard).

    In short, what Digby doesn't realize is that the reason the cash won't be there has quite little to do with anything that happens (or any decisions that are made) in our own country. It's up to the perceptions of the global financial community as to whether or not we'll be allowed to spend as much as is necessary to dig ourselves out of this mess now.

    Progressives have to understand that the rules on all this have changed! We no longer write 'em! It's all about other's (folks in China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., etc.) perceptions and their willingness and ability to underwrite our spending, now and going forward.

    The deficit hawk's influence on economic policy, here, means little now. It's what our "bankers" in other countries perceive. (And, the reality of our numbers here in the U.S. do not support our case!)

    And, it is that harsh, new reality which is both quite different from economic crises of the past, and that which affects our ability to recover here in the U.S. now, as well.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:53:24 AM PST

    •  People generally are aware of this situation but (0+ / 0-)

      how would it be used in designing policy? It's hard to account for how other countries may or may not behave

      •  At some point, the laws of gravity will prevail. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shrike, Jbeaudill, redding888, dead goat

        The question really is: When?

        Our banks are, without question, mostly insolvent.

        We cannot print currency based upon foreign T-bill purchases if the T-bills can't be sold.

        We are reaching a "reckoning point" on the world stage. When that happens is anyone's guess. But, the CW is that Britain will get there before we do; and, that's more than likely going to happen this year (or next).

        The basic reality is that the overall "game" has changed; and dramatically so, in comparison to past crises.

        We know longer write the rules with regard to our own economy. If the world "allows" us to spend, we will.

        At the end of the day, this has a far greater impact upon our day-to-day realities than any sentiments held by so-called U.S. "deficit hawks."

        The "new deficit hawks" are the sovereign treasuries of China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and all of the other folks holding the dollar and the manufacturing infrastructure (and the positive trade balances on the world's "account ledger") now.

        If they don't support our efforts to print more cash, either: a.) there is no more cash, or, b.) hyperinflation sets in, and our cash risks becoming worthless in the not-too-distant future.

        In other words, again, we no longer write our own rules.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:17:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fortunately (3+ / 0-)

          we have the examples of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Bill CLinton in terms of pointing the way to an economic future that comports with your policy analysis.  And it don't get more progressive than that!  It's those damned proles with their "social programs" and "entitlements" that are ruining us, certainly we cvannot spare a dime of what we spend on maintaining our global imperial hegemony.

          This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

          by ActivistGuy on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:21:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our cash has to be focused where it counts... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fonsia, dead goat

            ...addressing the needs of the folks that pay the taxes and foot these bills!

            There's no panacea here...not for Progressives or anyone else for that matter.

            But, yes, spending on our military must be much more closely contained, and alternative energy consumption--and building our own infrastructure for that--must be among our many new directions that we now embark upon as a nation under Obama's leadership.

            But, the truth is, at some point "...you can't spend what you don't got, or what you ain't given." At least not without dire consequences (i.e.: bankruptcy, hyperinflation).

            There will be consequences imposed upon our nation that have little or nothing to do with any perceptions or sentiments we might hold here at home.

            It's the perceptions of others that affect us so much more now than they have in years past that are the realities with which we must contend now...at least if we're ever going to dig ourselves out of this mess now.

            And, thanks to G.W. Bush's eight years of cowboy diplomacy, the reality is the rest of the world must certainly be harboring a great deal of guilty pleasure (i.e.: schaedenfreude) seeing what's happening to us now, even if it does involve some pain on their end to "get over it" in the next few years, too.

            The truth is the global recession/depression will last many, many years longer here in the U.S. than it will in most other countries. That is the CW.

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:37:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Here's the CIA fact book (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          satanicpanic, Econaut

          list of countries ranked by debt as a percentage of GDP. We're 27th. There are 8 European Union countries and Canada above us along with Japan & Singapore.

          https://www.cia.gov/...

          Several more of your facts appear to be wrong. The Census bureau estimates the debt at the end of 2009 to be about $10 trillion dollars and GDP in the neighborhood of $13.5 trillion. That's not close to the highest in our history. We do owe money to foreign governments, actually a lot more to Canada and Japan than to China, but a significant part of that debt we owe to ourselves. The crisis we face at the moment, and the debt, has absolutely nothing to do with spending, Social Security, Medicare, war or peace. There is a single cause. W's daddy called it "Voo Doo economics" and that's as good a description as I've heard. We have to rewrite our tax code to capture some of the enormous wealth we have showered on the people on Barbara Bush's Christmas Card List. Probably, with a 70% top rate on incomes over $1million, it will take 5 or more years to get back to a reasonable level of debt. Or of course, we could panic, balance the budget and make this recession into a multi year world wide depression like the last time.

          "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

          by johnmorris on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:31:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The CIA's stat's are outdated (0+ / 0-)
            Our GDP is $15+/- trillion.

            Without taking into account: a.) any accrued liability for social security or medicare, b.) a projected $2 trillion budget deficit for fiscal 2009 (yr. ending 9/30/09), alone, c.) ongoing trillion dollar deficits (per Obama's own comments over the fast 2-3 days), d.) and the grossly understated costs of the current bailout, per Hank Paulson's comments regarding same, we're at around a $10 trillion deficit, already. The rest of the world's financial experts know this.

            Or, didn't you catch the story about Britain not qualifying to participate in the Euro because their economy didn't meet the E.U.'s standards?

            The bottom line is we're in a ton of trouble (at least in the eyes of the rest of the world), financially, and among those least informed of these realities is the U.S. public!

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:30:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's bloviation (0+ / 0-)

              without any sources. The CBO has estimated, in the last week, a $1 trillion deficit for next year. Paulson's bailout has dispersed a little less than $150 billion and has another $200 b already appropriated. Social Security has money in the bank to meet its obligations until 2047. Medicare gets solved with universal Health care. No country in Europe currently meets the EU standards for debt/income ratio and its unlikely, given the  current mess, that any of them will for quite some time. The trouble we're in has jack shit to do with deficits. Its primarily a naive faith in the proto fascist bullshit peddled by Hayeck, Freidman and Greenspan and running in circles proclaiming it to be the end of the world is, to say the least, counter productive.

              "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

              by johnmorris on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 05:35:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  China can either take the printed (0+ / 0-)

          money or cut Wal-Mart off.

          The worst that can happen is Wal-Mart sells food for a year while America industrializes again.

        •  And how did these countries get so rich? (0+ / 0-)

          Was it because of stupid energy policies?  Was it because of the trade deficit?

          How did they take over control of this country?

          Have we been sold out?

    •  It seems cheaper (0+ / 0-)

      to simply print money than to issue debt that interest has to be paid on.

  •  Digby, Digby, Digby! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    I love Digby.

    Digby was the school Mr Drummond attended as a kid on Diff'rent Strokes.

    Digby, Digby, Digby!

  •  wasteful spending is the problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maybeeso in michigan, Jbeaudill

    If we can focus on the difference between wasteful expenditures and productive investments, we'll enact good policies.

    Spending, both how much and how the money is allocated, is an area where our political leaders and the general public have a lot of clashing values.

    Let's hope the new year brings our political process more in line with the priorities of the American people and less in line with the corporate welfare that has overwhelmed our tax base.

    •  "wasteful spending" is the catch phrase for (22+ / 0-)

      cadillac driving welfare mothers, greedy unions, etc.

      the reality of "wasteful spending" never seems to apply to the obscene salaries of ceos (that far outranks corporate european equivalents), manipulators of stocks and gross mergers that eliminate jobs while maximizing dividends until the companies are bled dry and discarded (along with their workers whose backs and blood and sweat made those companies worth pillaging).

      we need to stop feeding into the frenzy by adopting the meme that destroys the wrong target.

      we need to stop using phrases designed by right wingnuts who want to unravel the new deal, the great society and more in an attempt to bring back the deregulated, unprotected work environment of the twenties and thirties.

      we need to stop playing into the hands of those who write the "scripts" and we need to start our OWN phraseology.

      okay?

      •  Exactly. Reagan deliberately drove up the deficit (4+ / 0-)

        in order to squeeze out social programs (and Bush merely continued that policy).

        Then he blamed the social programs for the deficit.

        The current deficits (accumulating each year to form the national debt) was a creation of the neocons, not the social programs, which were already there and working just fine, until Reagan and Bush and Bush kept cutting taxes.

        Basically, they hate "socialism" so much that they were willing to destroy our economy to get rid of it.

        But we knew that.

        (Which doesn't lessen the highly unpleasant reality that the deficits are real and are a crushing problem--caused by the neocons--that we have to solve once we get our stimulus working.)

        May your entire existence be one sensuous, frolic-filled experience lived in defiance of care!

        by Fonsia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:06:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  agree wholeheartedly with you! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KateCrashes

          the main thing is not to let the neocons control the verbage - by controlling the dialogue, they control the discussion and the direction.

          the terms "wasteful spending", "earmarks", "bailout", etc. need to be eliminated from our political discussions, otherwise, we're just playing "defense".

          i'm tired of wasting time trying to re-define jingoistic terms that the right uses like the $3trillion debt they gave us.  it's time we take back the dialogue and direct it where it needs to go - into strengthening and building our working class and middle class to create a stable and sustainable economy - again.

          •  or, reclaim the concept of waste (0+ / 0-)

            This is one of the differences I have from more liberal Democrats. I think we should call wasteful spending what it is. We should be hesitant to use government power and spend taxpayer money.

            How we're going to pay for something should be part of the discussion.

            If the GOP want to call single payer health insurance or fixing bridges or building mass transit or repairing schools or investing in scientific research or providing universal daycare or any other number of expenditures waste, let them.

            It just makes them more extreme and out of touch in the eyes of most voters.

            Fear of not being able to convince the public to spend money on things that are good investments is no reason to not combat waste in other areas. Our debt is out of control precisely because Democrats do not oppose massive amounts of waste within the budgets for defense and intelligence and agriculture and homeland security and so forth, not to mention the general structure of the tax code and lax enforcement against the biggest cheaters.

  •  America is the traditional world leader (3+ / 0-)

    in workforce precarity.  However, with the triumph of neoliberal globalization, the widespread use of the "Shock Doctrine" and the adoption of Reaganite-Thatcherite economic "reforms" in what were once the main "mixed" economies, the rest of the industrialized world has succeeded in making its workforce as precarious as ours.  Not a moment is to be lost in terms of slashing what few strands remain of our social safety net if we don't want to see the rest of the world lap us in this vital area of traditional American economic leadership.

    This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

    by ActivistGuy on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:17:06 PM PST

  •  Liberals Who Support This Should Be ShotI (5+ / 0-)

    Iam ready to fight for the poor, social security and medicare.  Bring in on you shit heads. We democrats should not even have to be worrying about cutting crucial programs with a democratic president.  CNN can go fu%%k themselves for putting something like this on.

    •  Then shoot me first (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larry Bailey, figbash

      conservatives already populate fantasyland, and you want liberals to join them there?

      I would rather raise taxes and end corporate subsidies in the form of defense contracts than cut social programs and that puts me on the liberal side. But our trade, personal and government debt is real, it is unsustainable and ignoring it doesnt make it go away.

      So if liberals want to put their head in the sand, then there really is no hope for this country, so just shoot me first.

  •  All caused by a massive shift of (17+ / 0-)

    money out of the hands of government, where funds were used for the common wealth of all Americans,   and into the hands of speculators, where bubbles were created.

    I've been saying this for nearly 30 years: you cannot reduce taxes on the top quintile of the country without serious deleterious effects. Reagan did just that, but savagely slashing tax rates on the most affluent of the country.

    What has happened in reaction has been a series of events: Greenspan's 'irrational exuberance' of an overheated stock market; the massive off shoring of US jobs as capital costs became so low, the price of labor [and the benefits for laborers] supposedly priced US workers out of the market; bubble after bubble of false economies; a society built upon fluffery and high tech gadgetry and rank materialism.

    The lack of funding for government has impacted the lives of the poor and working class disproportionately. and has made a wasteland of our public health system.

    The lack of financial responsibility has destroyed the core value of US currency and threatens the national security.

    Bring back true progressive taxation. Bring back investing in infrastructure, even in such things as savings bonds. Tighten up trading rules so that banks cannot collude to make instruments that buy on margin, insure on margin or otherwise use leverage to control anything except the most transparent of transactions.

    All of this can be done, can be done quickly and restore a sense of balance and continuity to the marketplace.

    What these 'neo-liberals' are trying to do is absolutely Norquisitian in nature: they are trying to drown the struggling economy and push it down under the water for the last time.

    2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

    by shpilk on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:32:12 PM PST

    •  You're exactly, perfectly correct. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, barbwires, CryptoPolitico

      This whole thing was a deliberate strategy by the Republicans.  These people aren't even human.  They're psychopaths who have no feelings of guilt or empathy.  They don't care what they have to do to gain/hold on to wealth and power.  It doesn't matter who or how many die or suffer.  The environment doesn't matter, because they are wealthy enough to pay for healthy food, clean air and water.  They don't care if the world turns into a wasteland, since they would be the only people who would have the resources to survive - and very comfortably.  Nothing matters but themselves.  

    •  Of the $5 trillion in added ... (6+ / 0-)

      ...to the national debt in the past eight years, $1 trillion is a direct result of Mister Bush's tax cuts for the rich.

      Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:47:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wish I could recommend 10 times (0+ / 0-)
  •  hmmmm (7+ / 0-)
    401Ks are just about worthless. That takes care of the Boomers. Interest rates are just about zero and medicare is a nest of snakes. That takes care of the WWII generation. Property prices are diving so there goes GenX and there's no jobs so the kids getting out of school can go straight to the welfare office. Come to think of it, what welfare? Heckuvva job assholes.
  •  An all out assault on working people by corps. (9+ / 0-)

    If we do not continue to work for economic justice, we will not get it back.

    CNN is presenting a two hour opening salvo of the war against working Americans.

    See the movie Grapes of Wrath to see what corporations, banks, and Wall Street want.
    Hint: "everything," with working people living like urchins.

    Also see the movie "Bound for Glory," the Woodie Guthrie story for another glimpse of where we've been as a nation and where our corporate friends would like to take us today.

    •  It really is just that. Rather than tax the (5+ / 0-)

      wealthy and shift the American economy away from the massive hedonism it is intoxicated on, they plan to cut government spending even more, so some rich folks can continue to own 5 homes, ten cars and have the top end of every gadget ever made.

      It's disgusting, that's what it is.

      The rich get to pursue their life, liberty, and happiness. The working class, the poor, the elderly get less and less each passing year.

      This is just an extension of Grover Norquist's class warfare.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:43:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anybody that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RBinDLH

    thinks Fox News presents more of a threat than CNN just hasn't been paying attention for the last 8 years.

  •  I saw that program, and I disagree with digby (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    0wn, pmb, Fonsia

    the sense I got is that the debt problem is an urgent one and we need to start dealing with it right now, or the US will face massive problems in the future.

    That program was nor advocating against the stimulus package.

    This year we can declare our independence...Barack Obama

    by PalGirl2008 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:39:15 PM PST

  •  hmmmmm after all, what can you expect from (0+ / 0-)

    a media that has georgie (stab your boss in the back) stuffthesnotupyournose as a reporter of "repute" (abc) and cnn with it's absurd attempts at presenting "both sides" of an issue - except both "sides" are on the right side of the equation!

    i don't watch cnn anymore, nor do i listen to the likes of georgie or peggy noonan or many others who are frantically trying to build a "story" where there isn't one.

    after all, if they can't manufacturer it, sell it, package it, produce it, make it up and report it, they will be out of a job!

    how far the media has fallen with the demise of broadcast news at cbs and the movement of it into the entertainment division.  when uncle walt was forced out - all pretence at unbiased reporting went out the window - when murdoch showed up on the scene - it was all tits all the time - who is sleeping with whom - which lie is more salacious - forget about factchecking - if it sounds exploitative, report it!

  •  nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shpilk, SecondComing, jabney

    Eat the rich.

    The reason people don't learn from the past, is because the past was a repetitious lie to begin with. Mike Hastie U.S. Army Medic Vietnam 1970-71

    by BOHICA on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:46:21 PM PST

    •  [r]Amen to that. (0+ / 0-)

      The world will not collapse if luxury hotels get replaced by Motel 6's. The world will not collapse if luxury boats and cruise ships get replaced by rowboats and paddleboats.

      The conspicuous consumption and all of the associated BS that goes with it needs to stop, hard.

      2008, the Year the Republican Party dissolved into a little pond of goo

      by shpilk on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:49:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paige, MCinNH

    Mr. Walker is not a right wing goof and was in fact a Clinton appointee but is his idea of attacking the deficit at this time of economic distress the right one. I'll do some checking on "the google" but my understanding is when the depression of 1932 started the tightening began and the situation got worse. Maybe deficit spending is what we need right now.

    •  I have Krugman say that our deficit spending at (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, CryptoPolitico

      the end of WWII was 125% of our NGP. And this deficit then ushered in the golden years of the 50's thru 70's because the spending created a massive middle class. Breaking our massive middle class down into lower, poor working folks seems to be the agenda for the Regan followers.

      I wish I could remember the exact percentage of our deficits to our national gross product now - whatever Krugman said it is - it is low, perhaps around 15%. He keeps saying Obama has to be bold with his economic plan to turn around our country and not worry about the deficits so much.

      Krugman also has repeated that what got Roosevelt in trouble in 1937-8 was that Roosevelt tried to balance the budget. The recovery of the depression was not fully realized by 1937-8 and by reigning in spending then, the economy took a big hit with a recession.

      •  We are at a different point in our (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        taonow, satanicpanic

        development.  We were the only real productive economy left in the world after WWII, we were developing new products and exporting  like crazy.  We had an incredible industrial base, we had the GI Bill which help educate an engineering and business class that drove this country for 30 years and we supplied most of our own energy.  We were uniquely postioned to capitalize on the opportunity because FDR used the war to get us there.  We are in a deep hole right now and we are well behind China and India on every one of the measures listed above.

  •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney, longtimewatcher

    It is an amazing piece of propaganda, which, if it isn't designed to destroy any chance of enacting a necessary stimulus, will persuade more than a few Americans that the biggest problem we face at this moment is long term debt caused by entitlements --- and nothing short of massive spending cuts can save us.

     

    Following this logic, one might say that the world is a wonderful place . . . except for the people.
    There is misanthropy and nihilism in this kind of thinking.
    Remember, are we a nation of citizens or dollars?
    Say it again.  And again.  Keep asking these bastards right to their sorry faces.
    How about those 17 permanent facilities in Iraq?
    Is that wasteful spending?
    How about aggression, warfare, corporate welfare, and Guantanamo?
    And then again:
    Are we a nation of citizens or dollars?

    •  Our citizens (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      figbash, vivens fons

      are only as valuable as their dollars.  That's why it is the people that weren't invited to the tax-cutting, pork-barreling, banker-bonus-bailing out party that will be expected to pay for the party by giving up our beggars' pittances from social security.

      Note how if I robbed you of $40 I'd be in jail, but Bernie Madoff is still living in his penthouse suite.

      This sig line is in foreclosure. For details on acquiring a credit default swap on this sig line, contact H. Paulson, Dept of the Treasury, c/o Goldman, Sachs

      by ActivistGuy on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:00:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can knock these bastards out (0+ / 0-)

    rhetorically.  We can put their case right on the damn ground.

  •  The problem is that (8+ / 0-)

    this documentary is based off some work done a couple of years ago before the financial crisis hit, and therefore it focuses more on the long term Medicare and Social Security deficits, and relatively ignores the current financial crisis.

    It also tends to focus too much on the government debt, of which external debt was only around 33% of GDP which the financial crisis started, and not enough on private- sector debt, which has reached over 300% of GDP. The part of lack of personal savings was highly inadequate, and the portion on the trade deficit was also inadequate in that it failed to cover the intersection between the trade deficit and securities market. It seems that those portions are only added in to make a larger point about Medicare and Social Security costs.

    In all, the documentary tends to bite off both more than it can chew and focuses too narrowly, resulting in both incomplete breadth (of the areas I discussed above) and incomplete depth (I would have liked to see more on the factors behind the cost in medical care).

    •  Exactamundo (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, quotemstr, Leftcandid

      In a context other than our current meltdown, much of the discussion would make sense.

      With a patient bleeding out in the E.D., it is not time to debate the wisdom of the actions that lead to the bleeding nor what the patient should do long term to restore functioning.  The immediate task is to stop the bleeding, transfuse the necessary blood and plasma and stabilize the patient so that more extensive and longer term treatment can be done - as opposed to dilly-dallying around until said patient is dead and your only option at that point is "which mortuary does the body go to?"

      •  Blood thinners during a hemorrhagic stroke! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        emal, Pinecone

        Aspirin is good for preventing heart disease and may help reduce the incidence of strokes from blood clots. If we were seeing significant inflation, then reducing the deficit would be appropriate. In general, a national debt that grows more slowly than the economy as a whole is a good idea. So is daily aspirin for men at risk of heart disease.

        If the problem was massive inflation, then we'd need to pull back spending, as well as increase interest rates. Back to our stroke analogy: big doses of blood thinners (aspirin, streptokinase, etc.) can make a big difference if given right after a blood clot causing stroke.

        But for today the diagnosis is wrong! The global economy is having a hemorrhagic stroke--bleeding out in the brain. Less common but at least as deadly. The money isn't circulating and deflation has hit much more than the housing market. Like blood thinners in that kind of stroke, deficit reduction now is likely to kill the patient.

    •  Bingo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Econaut, Leftcandid

      The problem is that this documentary is based off some work done a couple of years ago before the financial crisis hit, and therefore it focuses more on the long term Medicare and Social Security deficits, and relatively ignores the current financial crisis.

      Exactly.  If you don't take the most current and up to date fact based information, then your  prescription and antedote to the problem might actually make things far Worse and not better.  And that's what makes the programming now very suspect.

      Without considering the most current economic data (especially what has happened since the last half of 2008) then the proposed solutions offered are very very suspect and most likely not the cure at this time.

      Lastly, just the fact that they refer to them as "entitlements" to me gives it a bad frame. I don't consider them entitlement programs. I consider them morally and humanely necessary contracts developed by an advanced society that benefit the general health and welfare of all it's citizens and therefore it's society.

    •  deception is the issue here (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, jabney, quotemstr, VincaMajor

      For Digby, your point about IOUSA's focus on debt reveals a dodge in the timing of CNN's showing of IOUSA.  By showing this documentary now, CNN seems to make the debt the issue now, and that is deceptive.  

      THAT is the problem: the timing, and the motive for the timing.  Deception can't really be proved to be intent, but CNN can and should be questioned as to why they showed a documentary that is essentially not about what's going on now, but could be misinterpreted to be by an improperly informed public.

      The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

      by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:20:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you watch the program? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larry Bailey, infojunkie, Leftcandid

        And the followup thereafter?  The panel made it very clear that we ought to BOTH stimulate the economy and, upon recovery, address our overall long-term debt situation.  

        I trust that the public, if they watch the program, will have sharper skills than you are willing to grant them.

        •  I sure hope they do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emal

          I'd rather CNN not muddy the waters by showing IOUSA at all right now, panel or no.  I'm sure you'll understand if I'm still a liiiiittle shaky on the ability of the public to grasp and support the right move right now.  Electing Obama is great and all, but I don't want even 25% of America believing the stimulus is wrong.  I want 90+% fully backing it to prevent Depression.

          We should be learning about the Great Depression & the New Deal on TV.  Where are those documentaries?  Are they on? (I don't watch CNN much).  Again, I sure hope so.

          The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

          by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:36:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The Bernie Madoff style of government (0+ / 0-)

    ..is alive and well on CNN.

    Or is it Marie Antoinette?

    I Hope for Change in the Senate.

    by SecondComing on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 12:57:52 PM PST

  •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

    CNN, you say? What a strange, unfamiliar name.

  •  Saw this documentary in my econ class (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlamoureux

    I took micro economics this semester with Professor Rosanne Altshuler, who is a renowned economics adviser in America.

    Anyways, on the last day of class, we watched this documentary, and let me tell you it definitely had me coming out of it thinking the world is doomed.  And I tend to not think that way.

    We had no discussion of the creators of this documentary, or its hidden political agenda; overall, it was an interesting piece.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world" - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:01:39 PM PST

  •  I saw the premier of IOUSAand I subscribe (9+ / 0-)

    to newsletters put out by the same people who did the documentary. I don't see them as shock doctrine followers at all. I may be roundly beat up here by offering this in a comment but I'll take the chance in the hopes that someone proves me wrong.

    In their newsletters they routinely eviscerate not only Bush but Republicans for the deficits they've run up. In their newsletters they also go after the short term mentality of corporate America. They routinely ridicule Alan Greenspan. The bailout of the financial sector was as much a target for them as the bailout of Detroit.

    The are, in general, naysayers of just about everything for the sake of appealing to that segment of people who like to disagree and those who are like me and seek out different opinions and views.

    Their main focus is always politicians and corporate CEOs. As much as I often disagree with them I think they think they are identifying issues more than advocating a particular doctrine beyond living within our means and the holy grail of unattainable free markets. They believe in a level playing field for capitalism but think that politicians do more to create unevenness than leveling the field. Damn, even we agree with that.

    They have a past of studying and talking about the history of the rise and fall of empires and what they call fiat money. I do disagree with them in terms of always pointing out problems without offering more than simplistic solutions for complex problems. But that doesn't mean that they are equating the current problem with entitlements.

    I have a difficult time seeing Warren Buffet as someone who would be behind shock doctrine principles. I did have an issue with the panel discussion in that no one seemed to offer solutions.

    They have been talking about the principles of the dangers of fiat money, i.e. printing money, i.e. monetizing debt for far longer than anyone even thought there was a problem. Even before the rise of the housing market and long before it's collapse and the resulting ripples throughout the economy they talked about and were warning of consequences of Greenspan monetary policies. Even we all agree that Greenspan was part of the problem.

    I guess I can't say for sure what their goal is but I have a hard time putting the movie in context with what else I know about them and attributing their motives to the practice of a shock doctrine though I can see how it looks.

     

    I'm Ron Shepston and I'm not done yet. There's much left to accomplish.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:02:14 PM PST

  •  this has been their plan all along ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mftalbot, Ann T Bush

    our elected officials and others are all acting against the interest and wishes of the american people! and again I say "we do not have a democracy" anymore if we ever had one. Democracy is majority rule which is not what we have, the corporations and their minions in the media drive the agenda by lying ,hiding and dismissing the american people concerns. have anybody during the past 8 years seen one poll taken of how many americans wanted bush impeached? SOME DEMOCRATS IN THE CONGRESS ARE NOT DEMOCRATS just check their voting records, they protected Bush more than republicans did and are ready to sabotage Obama.

  •  We are being prepared for reality. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlamoureux, taonow, tobendaro, Margfh

    A reality that few here are willing to face:

    the end of the oil age, and consequently the end of the civilization to which we have become accustomed.

    Our pain will probably be worse than that of most of the rest of the planet, because we feel entitled to consume way more than our fair share of Earth's bounty, at the expense of gross inequality, violence and deprivation elsewhere. Surely I don't need to explain.

    Instead of fighting the truth (I don't mean RW propaganda, such as I.O.U.S.A.) that we can't print money to find our way back to past comfort, to pay for all of our needs and wants, we must face this painful fact of life: We are more responsible for our own welfare than we want to admit. It's not about going to the corner store or the urgent care center. It's about learning how to grow our own and looking after one another, relocalizing, learning the skills needed to survive on a changing planet.

    Our government has already been trashed and our bounty stolen, and The Powers That Be are not giving it back. Our 'representatives' won't demand it back, not because they are toothless, but because it's gone, pftt. We are too poor and weak to turn back time. There isn't enough cheap energy long-term to continue the game anyway. It was fun while it lasted.

  •  The Shock Doctrine (5+ / 0-)

    Where is Naomi Klein?  Why wasn't she a participant of this special?  Naomi's The Shock Doctrine is the most powerful and important book on the economics as practiced by the Milton Friedman Chicago Boys I have ever read.  It should be a must reading for all people.   Life will not be pleasant for working men and women should they have their way in a more dramatic way here...let's hope President-Elect Obama is well versed on the drastic and dramatically negative results of their "Privitize, Deregulate, reduce social spending" policies.  

  •  The idea that we are passing a debt... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia, shann

    ...on to our grandchildren is nonsensical. For every debt created an asset (bond, mortgage, etc) is also created. Both flow to our progeny so there is no (nor can there be) a net transfer of debt between generations. Of course, the inheritors of those assets may be Chinese but that is a slightly different issue.

    •  Uhmmm (0+ / 0-)

      Each dollar of debt issued to foreigners, as much debt of late has been issued, represents an IOU on the US. That IOU also carries an interest rate that must be paid each year.. Once you are gone and your children take over, the interest will have to be paid, the debt will still be there, and the foreigners may drop buy anytime to spend their IOU (on what ever piece of the country they would like).

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 09:12:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point is that... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the Chinese children (and any U.S. children) whose parents invested in government bonds inherit an asset (U.S. bonds) so there is no intergenerational shifting of debt. During WWII we bought war bonds within the U.S. and therefore there was neither an intergenerational, nor a country to country shifting of debt. Taking on unlimited national debt is not a good idea, but the concept of intergenerational shifting of debt is flawed if you look at the system (and the world) as a whole. Politicians use the term with no understanding of its meaning.

  •  These are not far from the same ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, Leftcandid

    ...arguments made when FDR came into office. And he himself was a balanced-budget believer. Nothing wrong with balanced budgets, except in a Depression.

    Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq. - John Prados

    by Meteor Blades on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:56:18 PM PST

  •  I don't know if this is about SS, but we have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Julia

    a very serious problem.  Serious enough that Obama probably gets one bite at the stimulus apple.  And a bite that requires near-term dramatic success to enable economic life as we know it to continue.  The economic forces globally are not going to let us borrow much more money.  

    We are going to add about $3T in deficit related debt this year (GFY2009) alone. The Fed is pulling money out of their ass (creating dollars) to cover the additional $5T of Wall Street Bailout related commitments.  These two things are at odds.  Increased need to borrow in a devaluing dollar environment mean much higher bond rates or no money available or both.

    We can't cut spending to balance that budget condition.  Even by 100%.  Our economy doesn't recover as it did before globalization so we can't pay this debt off like we did after WWII.  Interest owed will start broaching $1T next year.  We are running an $800B trade deficit so even the Obama ARRP (in its totality) will be shipped overseas in one year (thus stimulating other's abilities to lend us money, but not our ability to solve our own problems.).

    We are entering a condition (due to fraudulent Wall Street activities) which is impossible to come out of unscathed.  Things will change in the near future and SS will have to be one of them.  

    TFTD.

    BTW, David Walker is a national treasure.

    "You may already be a wiener!" Anonymous

    by Terra Mystica on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 01:59:57 PM PST

  •  I.O.U. says SS SOLVENT! (8+ / 0-)
    The documentary says social security is solvent.  Very specifically.  

    On Medicaid/Medicare, it is not solvent.  The problem with that is the refusal to look at OECD data and show how the United States is plain getting ripped off by the private health care sector, insurance sector and pharmaceutical sector on costs.

    A Post which has the OECD datagraphs:

    We don't Need no Stinkin' Single Payer Health Care?

    If you want to rewatch it, here is Michael Moore's film SiCKO.

    Frontline did an exceptional documentary, Sick Around the World, which also uses the global data on health care costs, quality and also shows the United States is getting ripped off.

    Back to I.O.U.S.A., the data contained within the documentary is valid, it's accurate and the Peterson group is bi-partisan.

    So, in my view it is not accurate to attack this documentary, but more what is not being said:

    1.  Social security is solvent (and they say so in this documentary)

    2.  Health care costs are not, yet the solutions prescribed to health care are always for the interests of these various private sectors to get profits from sick people even if it bankrupts the nation.  

    One issue is the data and the documentary is presenting accurate budget/fiscal facts but another issue is the solutions and there in lies the private/corporate lobbyists/for profit rub.  

  •  CNN = ALL SPIN ZONE (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    defluxion10

    There is no debate. This CNN shit is just BULLSHIT propaganda. (And while we're at it, F**K Sanjay Gupta for his watercarrying for the health insurance lobby.)

    I don't have any patience for this idiocy anymore.

    WAKE THE FUCK UP and CALL THEM ON THEIR BULLSHIT!

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -Thomas Jefferson

    by ezdidit on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:04:13 PM PST

  •  CBO budget report, a real horror show (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, taonow, Scarce, 0wn, pmb

    To prove just how real these numbers are, read The Very Bad Year is Just the Beginning.

    Contained within are CBO graphs which show, if the U.S. doesn't curtail spending, it will go bankrupt.

    Now that said, the piece also shows the biggest deficit generator are the Bush tax cuts.  Iraq is up there too as a budget buster.

  •  It was produced before the crisis hit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    0wn, pmb

    I don't understand how you look at it as a slick piece of propaganda.

    Are you saying the producers somehow could see into the future and knew that a massive crisis was going to unfold and a fiscal policy would be adopted?

    How come you don't mention it was produced before the crisis?

    We said we want change, and they gave us a handful.

    by MouseOfSuburbia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:25:15 PM PST

    •  a lot of these people didn't watch the show. i (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scarce, MouseOfSuburbia

      did and guess what? all the panelists recommended higher taxes and a short term stimulus.

      •  The stimulus has to be job creation (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, taonow

        This consumption shit has to stop. It is unsustainable.

        All indications coming from the Fed is that we are persuing a policy of re-inflating the bubble. Why would they do this, knowing it will exacerbate the problem?

        I think this is the answer: the big institutions and investors want a second chance to cash out. They probably rationalize this as being prepared and in better shape to help out after we monetize the debt, which they may see as inevitable.

        It's pure BS, of course; they will not look past their own interest, and that is the root of the problem to begin with.

        Looking after your own interest is fine... in fact, recommended, but not parasitically. The markets do not create wealth; they redistribute it. Banks make money via interest on loans, and as long as those loans are used for investment purposes, such as buying a house or tractor that you know you can pay for, then everyone wins.

        That's not how it's done anymore. The government has encouraged the nation to borrow against the future for discretionary and non-durable consumption. We have been going to the seed bank and eating the seeds, not planting them.

        It is unsustainable.

        We said we want change, and they gave us a handful.

        by MouseOfSuburbia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 03:09:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I.O.U.S.A. showed at Sundance last January, it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taonow, MouseOfSuburbia

      was produced in late 2007.  The timing of CNN may be suspicious but the film was not made as an anti-stimulus piece.  

  •  It started small by a small group. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, reddbierd

    The economic crisis was caused by allowing minorities to buy houses they couldn't afford.
    The second round was that FDR's programs, caused the depression to last longer.   The third round was that FDR and his programs were a failure.
    It droned on and on for a couple of weeks.

    Now we're being engaged in another round. It's the entitlements.  

    What's entitlement about something you paid into for all of your working life whether you liked it or not.  What's entitlement about collecting on your retirement fund?

    How about we examine the cost of health care and pensions for our legislators?


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:26:38 PM PST

  •  IOUSA is not the propaganda, it's the TIMING (6+ / 0-)

    By showing it now, CNN is deceiving its audience, because it is associating the content of IOUSA with the current crisis and the solution to the current crisis, and while the content of IOUSA is not directly related to the cause of the financial crisis--it is talking about an entirely different debt set--it can be interpreted as oppositional in nature to the proposed solution.

    Digby is totally right to question CNN's timing and, by extension, motive.  Is their choice of documentary and timing just ignorant, or deliberate?

    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:29:51 PM PST

    •  It's highly relevant (3+ / 0-)

      And it SHOULDN'T be interpreted in the way you argue it "can" be.  The follow-up panel made that quite clear.  The program alludes to the the sacrifices that we as Americans will likely have to make in the long-run to combat this debt crisis.  It IS a crisis totally separate from our current recession; and the program treats it as such.

      •  that's great, but... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, Wary

        ...if it's totally separate, why discuss it now?

        I'm glad there's a panel to discuss/clarify it, and no, I didn't see the panel.  If the panel did fully endorse a massive stimulus as THE answer to the problem of deepening recession and prevention of a Depression, then I'm good.  Still, IOUSA itself, regardless of the panel, focuses on Debt as a bad thing, and right now, we should be feeling great about new government debt, because it will mean better odds to reduce our personal debt.

        The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

        by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:49:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The 'crises' ALREADY EXISTED!!! (0+ / 0-)

        See, that's the deception and the timing, they are acting as if this whole thing is somehow 'new' and it isn't! These people were quite aware the entire time what was going on with the huge budget deficit AND wildly increasing national debt this issue has existed for a very long time!!!

        Each and every time the Democrats brought it up in the past they were laughed at--by CNN--and the elitist Ali Velshi--oh, the economy is strong--not to worry about that debt--we'll just 'grow' out of it.

        I watched the panel and they were totally unconvincing to me that they were attempting to 'seperate' the tow one bit. That's an old political tactic--talk about the tow, really drive home the, as Senator Judd Gregg referred to it" Islamic terrorist nuclear bomb" going off if we don't fix it NOW--then at the end say--well, now with all of this, please note these are separate issues, we still think the initial package should go forward--BUT then there's that 'Islamic terrorist nuclear bomb' waiting to go off IF we don't get it down and now!

        This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

        by Wary on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:05:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But maybe there is a lesson there (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leftcandid

      I am extremely concerned over who Obama has picked to advise him on economics. J.P. Morgan is laughing from beyond his grave right now.

      Fiscal stimulus is fine, as long as you are not borrowing from the future to pay for it. If you are borrowing from the future, then the stimulus has to be spent as an investment, not to re-inflate bubbles.

      It's like putting a staff-infected bandaid on a cut. It might stop the bleeding, but the new problem will be much harder to fix.

      We said we want change, and they gave us a handful.

      by MouseOfSuburbia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:39:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  legit concern (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MouseOfSuburbia

        The stimulus investment must be focused on rebuilding America's physical and wage infrastructures.  Obama has been very clear on this, but yeah, his team's history is anything but clear.  I'd like to believe that Summers has turned around, but if Sen. Harkin had to express concerns about "trickle down" in the stimulus design, all is not yet well.

        The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

        by Leftcandid on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:52:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree with the film in general (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlamoureux, taonow, cartwrightdale

    but Military spending is also out of control.  Both entitlement spending and military spending need to be cut by at least 50% if we want a future.  The future could be hyper inflation and a bankrupt government if we don't start cutting spending.  Today I support the stimulus plan and am ok with deficit spending since we are in a recession.

    THe moment we are through with the recession is the day I strongly believe Obama needs to massively reduce the size of government by cutting military and entitlement spending.  He needs to produce a year after year surplus to start paying down the debt we already owe.

    I am not too worried about the long term liability for unfunded Social Security needs.  That number is something like $50 trillion, but that is why it doesn't bother me.  IF that number is true, the government has a very easy fix.  They can can end Social Security and fix it since there is no way to pay $50 trillion.

    We have had our heads in the sand way to long.  Republicans and Democrats are both to blame as neither party has reduced the size of government.  Bush ran higher deficits then anyone.  Hopefully Obama will take the painful but very neccessary steps to shrink government by at least 50%.

    •  All spending is out of control (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee, taonow, booboo08

      Obama is kidding himself that we will be running trillion dollar deficits for long.

      Nobody wants to face facts; we have turned a credit bubble into a giant debt burden through overconsumption. American's have to get used to the idea that the excess has to be worked off.

      We are in the process of deleveraging right now. The ONLY thing Obama should be spending money on is job creation. Re-inflating the housing bubble will only make things worse.

      If he wants to stop forclosures for social reasons, he has the ability to do so by nationalizing the few major mortgage holders that are not already nationalized. They are insolvent anyway.

      We said we want change, and they gave us a handful.

      by MouseOfSuburbia on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:52:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Big Government" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lucius1113

      Bush deficits have been large enough that completely eliminating the "discretionary" non-military budget would have still left a big deficit! We need coordinated action against global terror networks, not more air assaults. Then military budgets can come down. We need to index the retirement age to increases in productive lifespan. (No, I'm not talking about the ability to keep more people alive while in terrible health.) ... and we need a sane system of providing health care to everyone.

      Our health care system needs more preventative care and early detection. It needs to include more effective treatments for long-term mental illnesses. Our transportation system needs to be more friendly to walking and bicycling. There needs to be more regulation of health care financing (and maybe single payer is the only permanent fix). There also need to be more market incentives for providing high quality care at lower costs. (Markets only work efficiently when there aren't huge information inequalities between buyers and sellers. The fact that citizens can't readily evaluate the quality of their health care, with respect to price, makes it an unlikely situation for market mechanisms to work. Information is high asymmetric and health care "providers" control the price by collectively controlling the supply.) We have to overhaul the health care system.

      Do those things and the government part of the long-term debt problem goes away.

      As for the long-term balance-of-payments problem and private sector debt, I tend to agree with a lot of folks here that "free trade" combined with lack of worker's rights and strong environmental standards in trade treaties have combined with ridiculous health care costs to make the U.S. non-competitive in many economic sectors. Bad trade and health care policies have been destroying the U.S. middle class, sector-by-sector.

      •  We should increase the retirement age to at least (0+ / 0-)

        72 right now.  That would give us some breathing room while we find a way to eliminate social security with the least amount of pain possible.

        •  People These Days Can Work Later in Life (3+ / 0-)

          But where are the jobs for them?  If we expect everyone to work an extra ten years, this will result in higher unemployment, paradoxically, won't it?

          You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

          by bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 03:51:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am saying the retirement age for Social (0+ / 0-)

            Security should be raised to 72 at a minimum.  No one these days relies on SS anyways for their retirement.  It is nice spending money but most people have much bigger and more productive assets working for them in retirement.  The reason to increase the age for SS is to save SS.  We could scrath that and cut the checks by 50% if that sounds better.

            •  No ... (5+ / 0-)

              About a third of Americans rely on Social Security as their sole income.

              http://www.cbpp.org/...

              You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

              by bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 04:39:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am speaking of those approaching retirement (0+ / 0-)

                The younger generations don't figure SS as a big part of their retirement.  Hell, I don't even include it when discussing my retirement since their is a very good chance it won't be around in 30-40 years anyways.  My point is that going forward we need to educate people that SS is unsustainable and that the program will be slowly dissolved until it is gone.  That way younger people won't include it in their retirement plans.

                Personally, I would give full SS benefits to everyone currently getting it.  I would also garuntee SS to everyone 40 years old and older.  Everyone younger would never get a dime yet we would all pay for it.  That way those that counted on it as part of retirement will get it.  The younger generation will pay regardless.  Once those 40 years of age and older are one day dead, SS can finally be completely eliminated.  I see very little pain in that senerio and we save America from hyper inflation and federal bankrupcy.

                •  The Math Does Not Support Your Assertions (5+ / 0-)

                  Social Security is fully funded and healthy for some decades.  Further than that, it just needs the political will to make small changes in the way it is funded.

                  You can call me "Lord Bink Forester de Rothschild."

                  by bink on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 05:24:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Hey I'm approaching retirement (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rlamoureux, Brooke In Seattle

                  And let me tell you what, SS will NOT be just mad money for me, I guarantee you that!!!!

                  And it hasn't been for my already retired friends either--and older than myself!!!

                  Look people 65, 67, 68, 70, 75 get social security right now AND WORK part time!!!

                  I'll tell you what, when you're 60-65 just see how well YOU can compete in the old job market!!!

                  I've got a friend right now, 71 begging for work, can't find it--jobs are begging right now!!!

                  Oh, somehow you think that those under 40 would never 'need' SS? Yeah, sure, they'd need something because their's nothing else, and the jobs of today are not paying that well. Younger people always think they won't need it, that is till they're hitting 60, 65, 70.

                  This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

                  by Wary on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 06:54:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  No one... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brooke In Seattle

              in your social circle.

              No one these days relies on SS anyways for their retirement.

            •  Wow. Really? No one? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SingleVoter, MKSinSA

              I plan to rely on it, because my 401(k) is gone.

              And as far as working until you are 72, you are apparently young enough to know nothing about getting older or in the kind of job that one could conceivably do until 72. You make no provision for anyone who does physical labor, people who stand on their feet all day, and those who get disabilities that aren't covered by most health plans: bad vision, arthritic fingers and knees, decreased mental acuity.

              Not only that, who in the hell is going to be hiring all these old people? You?

              I'm 52 and can't get hired right now because I'm too old.

              Give us some jobs that don't require backbreaking labor or dignity-robbing chores that will employ older Americans, and then we can talk about it. Some of us trained for jobs that used to pay well and were productive. Now, those jobs have been outsourced or eliminated. Will you pay to retrain us all?

              Until there are answers to these problems that are very real right now, stop thinking that just because people are living longer, that they can -- or should -- work until they drop dead.

              "It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela

              by Brooke In Seattle on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:32:03 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  stupid, you are really stupid did u even watch (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hlinko, taonow

    the show? the commenters repeatedly said that in the short term we need to stimulate the economy. the program itself railed against anti-tax sentiments of the population.

    i can't believe so many of you are buying this bull.

    •  I watched it twice (0+ / 0-)

      My conclusions are different than yours, did you read the entire digby post?

      It's a very clever subtlety--weaving those 'concerns' while at the same time the hypocrites who brought us this mess are now acting shocked and placing the whole thing of reducing the debt upon our shoulders.

      These same hypocrites KNEW what they were doing back then, they didn't care, and so now they're swinging out hard on Obama to clean up the mess and in the short term--oh, but now they've 'changed' without even acknowledging what they've done?

      Very clever indeed.

      This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

      by Wary on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 06:43:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Listen... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the folks behind I.O.U.S.A have been railing against Bush for the the whole time he has been in office. They have been warning that a collapse was coming for years. They have been out in front, arguing for savings, while most folks were too busy spending to realize a crisis was coming.

        I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

        by taonow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 09:05:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  MIlton Friedman, Chile, Test case. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Jester

    Republican concept of labor: "Machines of Meat"

    by redtex on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:45:28 PM PST

  •  My Goodness..Another ONZ Diary!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reddbierd, Wary

    Social Security is safe people. Obama isn't stupid, neither are a good portion of Republicans who understand the consequences of messing around with it.

    Obama is throwing the Repubs off their game a bit. He's like a sleek jet fighter landing on a carrier in the middle of a storm.

    I can't believe how quickly people lose faith, before the man takes office even. He's had to do more than any other PE in history and therefore has made some ambiguous statements.

    At some point, outrage fatigue just will not let me get all bothered before the guy does one official act.

    Move on people, you afford CNN too much power.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 02:50:39 PM PST

    •  And you know this how?!? (0+ / 0-)

      You have special insight into his mind, or are a close confidante? At this point no one knows what Obama intends to or will do. But to dismiss peoples' problems with his comments this past week over how we have to "reform" entitlement programs (which, one, we don't have to, and two, was so lacking in specificity as to legitimately raise concerns) as so much worrying over nothing is, well, insulting and silly.

      I can't tell you how sick I am of the "I trust him, leave him alone" mentality, which after what we've seen from both Dem and Repub administrations and congresses is either hopelessly naive, or effectively water-carrying. At the heart of a well-functioning democracy is opposition, both across and within the aisle. You don't get points for being "one of us". You get points for positive and effective action and words.

      The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

      by kovie on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 03:33:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the fatigue of getting all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        worked up before I know anything definite of what Obama proposes to do specifically--

        and yeah, for myself, after two years of listening to him, working for him, reading all he's put out, I think it's way too early to get all worked up over snippets reported in the idiot conservative media as well as attempting to second guess just what each and every little utterance means.

        Also, I know he's smarter than letting everything out at one time, why give more ammunition to the likes of Mitch McConnell as to the over all game plan.

        Believe me, I've watched closely also each and everything that's happened for years now, I have different thoughts about it, but I will say, in 2005 I seriously doubted the Democratic Party was going to even survive and if it didn't then this country was not going to be in existence for much longer either, those were my darkest days.

        I'm in it for the long haul, and thank God we won in 2006 and more thanks for this 2008 election--to me the scary part is over, it's the hard work ahead and the constant battle till I die (being older that's not a sensational statement)--I'm in it for the long haul--in my life it's been one long political battle--I relish the fight now.

        This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

        by Wary on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 06:37:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was one of the relatively few back in '04 (0+ / 0-)

          who believe that the GOP had just reached their high water mark, and that not only wouldn't there be a "Permanent Republican Minority", but that they were headed for a major crash, because they'd misread their temporary post-9/11 popularity for genuine popularity, and would stupidly overreach, and destroy themselves. I also expected Dems to capitalize on this and rebound. Things unfolded exactly as I expected back then. What I didn't expect was that the Dems would only go so far in exploiting this transformation, and stop at the middling center. I.e. the hugely disappointing 110th congress. Now I'm seeing signs that Obama intends to follow in this path, and I'm worried. Even if he intends to be a lot bolder and more progressive than he's let on, applying pressure on him can't hurt, in case this isn't what he intends to do. He's a big boy and can handle it, and I seriously doubt that I'm giving McConnell any ammo.

          Principled and proportionate dissent is never a bad thing, and always a good thing.

          Check out Greenwald's posting today. He says much the same things.

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 07:17:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I take Obama At His Word..Thus My Vote (0+ / 0-)

        I can't tell you how sick I am of people who vote for a guy and expect him to agree 100%.It's childish and it's something I would expect to see on the Right.

        And then to top it all off, you complain when someone dares to offer a different positive perspective. It somehow then becomes all about you. Others just aren't wrong, oh no, we have a certain "mentality" that offends..yep..you!

        Save the lecturing for someone who believes you have any credibility please.

        "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

        by sebastianguy99 on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 04:59:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Straw man, lie, pure and utter bullshit (0+ / 0-)

          So if I disagree with something that he says and does, I'm supposed to STFU because some Obamarally-attending cultist Obamabot who views politics as a popularity contest instead of something to do with substantive policy has a problem with it?

          Sorry if I hurt your feelings, bot. Go worship at the temple of Obama elsewhere. I voted for a president, not a cult leader.

          And I like how you conveniently refrain from commenting on the substance of my complaint, focusing 100% on its tone.

          Who's the mirror of a wingnut, dude?

          And what credibility do you have, bot?

          The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

          by kovie on Mon Jan 12, 2009 at 09:57:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  As Greenspan said... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      ...the government can always pay Social Security benefits...it just can't guarantee what they will buy.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 09:03:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  as per Lord Acton: (0+ / 0-)

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

     And why the image of Gollum falling into the molten river of lava, even as he seizes what he most desires, is strangely authentic... Corruption cares not where the path truly leads.

  •  I felt the SAME thing! (5+ / 0-)

    I can't believe what I saw yesterday: CNN showed the Shock Doctrine documentary I.O.U.S.A. It is an amazing piece of propaganda, which, if it isn't designed to destroy any chance of enacting a necessary stimulus, will persuade more than a few Americans that the biggest problem we face at this moment is long term debt caused by entitlements --- and nothing short of massive spending cuts can save us.

    There was a constant drum beat of persecution towards Social Security!

    How about these fixes?

    My "fixes".

    > NO tax cuts for anyone!

    > Repeal the tax cuts for the rich all the way back to the reagan years, BUT at least start with repealing the bush tax cuts.

    > Big "stimulus" package that hits infrastructure projects that can get going NOW! (my state of WA needs a bunch now and is going to need more real soon - snow/floods/lots of damage/levees in need of repair or upgraded)

    > FIX the fucking Gulf Coast region with a HUGE emphasis on NEW ORLEANS! GGGRRRR!!!!!!!!

    See this:
    http://www.pbs.org/...

    > REMOVE the cap on the income that is taxed for Social Security taxes and MAYBE leave a donut hole in the middle between $100,000 and $250,000 (supposedly this is where most small businesses are).

    > AFTER removing the cap on SS, then lower the overall percentage of the tax on SS and then raise the overall percentage of the tax on Medicare by the same amount you just lowered the SS tax. BUT with the additional taxes coming in from removing the cap, we could probably lower the combined overall tax for SS and Medicare.

    > Also... do all of this with AMERICAN workers and AMERICAN companies... companies that WANT to do good!

  •  These Fuckers crack me up... (3+ / 0-)

    ...every time I hear Soc Sec needs to be saved.

    Obama's peeps are in on this crap too.

    The only thing SS needs is for the cap to be removed... I'd remove it ENTIRELY for 2 years, then reinstall it at $250K and index it for inflation so we never have to deal with this crap again.

    Second, I'd pay off the $2.8 TRILLION owed this very second to the Social Security Trust Fund... the money Conress has been BORROWING from itself behind the scenes to limit the "official" deficit numbers for years. The alleged "surplus" has been used to hide $100-200 BILLION in actual deficit every year under Bush, hiding the actual extent to which the Bushie's have fucked up the economy and budget.

    I'd pay it off with a one time ASSET TAX right on the heads of the top 1/2 of 1% of the population. The Filthy Rich crooks who've stolen everything in sight for decades. The got $5 TRILLION in tax cuts from the Bush Tax Cut... $5 TRILLION that they OWE the Nation, and damn well need to pay. Pay or DIE.

    As it stands, we will be borrowing back our own money, to pay for the thievery of the Bushie's and the Republican cocksuckers, and, AND, paying them interest on that our own money for the privaledge of borrowing it back.

    I don't know about you, but that thought pisses me off enough to want someone to DIE for it.

    1789.

    So to recap, Social Security doesn't need to be SAVED, it just needs the people who OWE to pay the fucking money they OWE and to stop stealing from the safety net of the masses of millions of Americans who do all the working and living and dying in this country.

    Word to Obama and his peeps.... touch SS and it'll be your undoing, wake the fuck up and smell the shit smell of the filthy rich and thier rotting piles of mildewed stolen money, stinking up our nation and the world.

    Abuse Gitmo one more time, drag any one of the filthy rich who resist paying up, down for some stress positions and watersports.... and a BULLIT to the fucking brain.

  •  As Tocque DeVille has described them, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless, Wary

    they are the parasite class.  And they rule.  As long as we let them.

  •  First I lose my pension (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless

    then my social security? That would be the end of me... I would live in poverty until the day I die!
    Nice prospect! Happy new year to yall!

  •  This is my favorite diary of the new year. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueInARedState, Wary

    I could not agree more.

  •  This Was RayGun's Goal. BIG Deficit = FUCK little (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless, Paper Cup, Wary

    gal and guy

    so his rich parasite FUCKING FASCIST friends wouldn't have to deal with anything but compliant serfs.

    When you have NO

    - unemployment security, - retirement security, - health security, - income security

    YOU ARE A FUCKING SLAVE.

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 05:45:19 PM PST

  •  Standard corporate elite playbook (6+ / 0-)

    I saw this today and it was no suprise at all, given that NPR has been beating the deficit drum for weeks.  It's standard operating procedure for the corporate ruling elite:  run massive deficts, and whenever a democratic president is elected, switch the narrative to deficit spending.  Works every time.  

    Another good barometer of corporate elite opinion is Lou Dobbs (when he isn't scapegoating minorities and furriners).  He's been huffing and puffing about the deficet lately, too.

    This shit worked well in 1992.  Hopefully Americans have wised up to the ruse, but I sort of doubt it.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 06:14:27 PM PST

    •  So...... (0+ / 0-)

      Each extra dollar that gets spent now must either be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the basement of the Fed.

      Which one do you choose?

      Either the money gets borrowed or it gets printed. There ain't any other alternatives. And the more you print the less each one is worth.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 09:01:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Where is the money? (0+ / 0-)

        The rich have prospered.  Where is the money? Who sold all the toxic mortgages and put them in our 401ks?

        Why don't we have money?

        •  Toxic mortgages (0+ / 0-)

          A lot of those toxic mortgages came from people continuously remortgaging their homes, each time the value went up.

          The economy the last 3 or 4 years has been running on mortgage equity withdrawal.

          The money has now been spent. The debt is now due.

          Essentially you had Wall Street tempting people to live beyond their means, Bush and Co. cheerleading them on (and providing an excellent example of how to do it), and then the average Joe falling for it. All are now paying the price. Wall Street folks unemployed, Bush gone, average Joe up to his eyeballs in debt...

          I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

          by taonow on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 09:23:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But money doesn't evaporate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AmericanRiverCanyon

            when it is spent.  Where is the money? Is it in overseas banks, in the mattress or buried in back yards?

            There is a lot of money not doing anything.

            •  I think it went into other houses. (0+ / 0-)

              Because when you take out a mortgage, it's generally to pay a previous owner's bank, who would then lend it to somebody else to buy another house.

              Didn't evaporate, but did diffuse to places from which it's hard to retrieve.

              I think.

              •  For instance, we have lots of unwanted houses (0+ / 0-)

                Those cost a lot of money to build.

                That's one example of where the money went -- a completely wasted place to put it.

                -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

                by neroden on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 11:18:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Correct. (0+ / 0-)

                  Why didn't  I think of that example? There's a MacMansion right across the street from me. Its builder bought the previous house on the site for about 630K, tore it down, and erected a large, flimsy monument to futility on the site. It's been on the "market" for about 6 months now, asking 1.7M. So there's a chunk of that money sitting right there, all painted up in yellow and dark brown. Which beats the color scheme they had on it before.

  •  But I just love giving entitlements to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    relentless, Paper Cup, MKSinSA

    these guys. I mean they really need money. Heaven knows I don't need money, and neither do my children and grandchildren. We'll all just sit and beg by the side of the road and pray. Yep.
    The absolute glee of it all.

    We are not born for ourselves alone.

    by ggwoman55 on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 06:45:49 PM PST

  •  Does it strike anyone as odd (0+ / 0-)

    that medical costs take 17% of the budget and is bankrupting Medicare, but not one politician has said they need to 'sacrifice' some of the high gains they make every year?

  •  :( (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taonow, Paper Cup

    I am extraordinarily depressed at some of the comments here.

    This isn't about Democrat v. Republic or Red v. Blue or Liberal v. Conservative.  The math is the math is the math.  I frankly thought I.O.U.S.A. was, if anything, Democratic Party "propaganda", not Republican.  The film goes out of its way to bash Reagan and Bush, and praise Clinton.  That seemed to me, both times I saw it, to be the whole point of the film.  Anyone who calls it "right wing" has, quite obviously, never seen it.

    Watch.  The.  Fucking.  Film.

    "Don't hope for a stronger America. Vote for one." - John McCain. And I did!

    by cartwrightdale on Sun Jan 11, 2009 at 08:52:10 PM PST

  •  I watched the stupid film (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, Loose Fur

    and it is so wrong in so many ways.

    This is the way the 'rich' get their way.  They create a crisis just like going to Iraq, then they get their way. Like Paulson needed that money 'right now' or all kinds of bad things would happen.

    There is no Social Security crisis now or in the future. The rich know they will have to pay more taxes to pay it back.  They don't want to do that.  If there are a lot of layoffs, we can raise the cap and get the money from higher earners.

    We need some sacrifice on the health care cost and we need to get the insurance companies our of Medicare. We need to do away with the law that Medicare can take bids for better prices.

    The people in the movie are the anti social security crowd. Laffer came up with the Laffer Curve that the market was based on at a bar when he was drunk.

    A lot of people have had to borrow because of high prices and low pay.  If workers were paid more, they could pay off debt and save.

    People need to save, but they can't even beat inflation at 1.7% interest rates while the credit card companies charge up to 31% interest rates to those they can.

    For some reason they don't count what people have in their 401ks as savings even if it is in the money market.

    Most people are trying to get their finances in order.  The government needs to get theirs in order also, but not on the backs of the elderly.

    •  That's no argument (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taonow, Loose Fur

      You can't complain about savings rates vs credit card interest.  That's lunacy.  If you have credit card interest payments every month that exceed your savings, that's not a fault with the system.  That's a fault with you.

      •  It is lunacy that banks can charge so much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AmericanRiverCanyon, Loose Fur

        and pay so little.

        I don't owe a penny except for my electric bill and it isn't due. But I did have a zero interest credit card that went to 31% so I pulled money out of the 401k and paid it off.  I was getting 1.7% in the money market.

        Why the hostility?

        I will tell you what lunacy is, it is what they are trying to do to the American workers.

        People have paid into Social Security out of every paycheck for their retirement for usually 45 years when they retire. It is a sickening lack of respect for people who have done everything they are suppose to then be expected to pay for the crimes of the rich with their retirement.

        It is sad and defeats the purpose of saving and working.

        •  I paid into SS with little expectation... (0+ / 0-)

          ... that I would get all or even most of it back. Primarily because I had only two kids, and I don't expect them to be able to pay as much as my parents' 4 kids paid in while they were receiving it. So I made other arrangements as well. If it turns out better, so much the better. I don't know who to believe on the subject of its solvency, so I hedged the bet.

          •  The extra money we started paying in (0+ / 0-)

            to FICA in 1983 was supposed to make up for less workers. That is the surplus that is in treasury bonds. It was legal for the government to borrow the money.  The treasury bonds are as legal as any that people own in 401ks or anywhere.  They can't be sold on the open market.  The government has to pay cash to Social Security when we redeem them. I have read that the surplus is 3 to 4 trillion now. It was 2.5 trillion about two years ago and the cap on Social Security has went to $100,000 since then.

            How they come up with such high debt figures is they figure what will be paid into FICA for Social Security and Medicare for years to come, even what is paid directly to retirees. Or they are lying, which is possible.

            Some republicans came up with the idea that they give everyone $10,000 and cancel Social Security over 20 years ago. I became very interested then.

            We are in fairly good shape, we put a lot of 'sweat equity' into each home we have owned and that helped us have a good home. When we had debt it was for medical bills and other disasters.

            We have spent 25% of our 401k already, in about a years time. Social Security isn't enough especially if you have unexpected expenses.

            They are talking about meanstesting and that is so unfair, especially if two families earned the same amount and some people who blew their money get more benefits and those who saved have their benefits cut.  

            On a financial show one guy said people were going to have to 'need' social security or they wouldn't get it, like it was a welfare program. It isn't.  Even FDR said it is an insurance. It is paid for by people who work for when they retire or become disabled.

            The powers that be have promised us a future.  We invested in the 401ks, paid into FICA for Social Security and Medicare.  We bought life insurance.  Now that the future is here, they want to take it away, by hook or crook.

            Medicare is costing too much according to the government. The retirees that buy Medicare, the supplemental and drug plan pay in at around $250 per person, so that would be $500 a couple. Some pay more, depending which plans you buy.  Plus there is no cap on Medicare so there is a lot of money paid into it.  Then the government say they spend a lot of money on it too.  There is enough money going into Medicare.

            It is the costs that are hurting Medicare.  It was started to be affordable Medical insurance for the elderly, but has became a profit trough.  It could be easily fixed by those who want to fix it.

            It is the same with all health care.  We pay more than any country, then they complain that wages here are too high.  In other countries they have some type of universal health care so they can work for less.

  •  Jaw dropper (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, relentless, Loose Fur

    I watched only a few minutes but it was enough for my jaw to drop to the ground in disbelief: Christine Romans breathlessly reported to the panel that Social Security in ten years would be paying out more than it was taking in!!! And everyone on the panel, even Democrats Rivlin and Bradley agreed somberly that indeed this was a crisis. What. Liars. They all know that workers have been paying extra since the 80's (into the famous porous lock box) for exactly this reason and that precisely those payments, growing over the years, would provide the cushion to get through the baby boomer era. But no one said a word to explain this. Disgusting.

  •  Social Security? (0+ / 0-)

    The parts of the program I watched seemed to say it was not a problem, that what little may be wrong with it could be easily fixed.

    •  They want to raise the full retirement age. (0+ / 0-)

      to 70 and cut benefits.

      Some want to raise the earliest age you can retire to 65, which is bad because people need to retire so the younger generation can have jobs.  Most can't retire at 62 and many want to work as long as they can, but others may want to or need to.  It is all about choices.

      Some people are old at 62 and some are young at 70.  Some have genes that let them live to be a hundred but a lot of people die in their sixties.

      If they raise the full retirement age to 70 it would hurt the amount of benefit people can draw. They take off 5% for each year you retire before retirement age, after already figuring a 20% cut in benefits for retiring 3 years before full retirement age.  So if full retirement age was 70 and you retire at 62, then you would be docked 20% for the first 3 years then 5% times the other 5 years which would be 25%. So it would cut your benefit by 45%.  That shouldn't happen.

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