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Over the past few weeks, the political chattering classes have been abuzz over 2012 GOP frontrunner Rick Perry's claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme." (It isn't.)  But largely overlooked in the parsing and the polls is the ocean of red ink the various Republican Social Security privatization schemes would inevitably produce.  More than a decade after George W. Bush first proposed them, there's no escaping the fact that private accounts would divert trillions of dollars from Social Security and thus build a new mountain of federal debt.

It is important to note for starters that Social Security is not in crisis, despite Perry's claims that the system is "a monstrous lie" and "bankrupt."  With a $2.5 trillion surplus, as the New York Times noted, "Government projections have Social Security exhausting its reserves by 2037, absent any changes, but show that the payroll tax revenues coming in would cover more than three-quarters of benefits to recipients then." With simple changes to benefits, eligibility and most importantly, funding, Social Security can easily be made sound for generations to come.  Citizens for Tax Justice and the New York Times each estimated that extending the payroll tax to income over $250,000 a year (as candidate Obama and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders proposed) would deliver about $50 billion annually in new revenue for the Treasury. And as the Times suggested in November, the move is long overdue:

When the payroll tax - which finances Social Security and Medicare - was created, it covered 90 percent of all income. Today, with a ceiling at $106,800, it covers closer to 80 percent.

Nevertheless, as the AP reported Saturday, when it comes to Americans' retirement security, Republican presidential candidates are returning to a bad idea whose time never came.

Most of the top Republicans running for president are embracing plans to partially privatize Social Security, reviving a contentious issue that fizzled under President George W. Bush after Democrats relentlessly attacked it...

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has a version. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas have said younger workers should be allowed to invest in alternative plans. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has raised the idea of letting whole groups, such as state and local government workers, opt out of Social Security.

These proposals are popular among conservatives who believe workers could get a better return from investing in publicly traded securities. But most in the Republican race have been careful to say they would fight to preserve traditional Social Security for current retirees and those approaching retirement. Younger workers, they say, should have more options.

Options, that is, to massively increase the U.S national debt while putting their retirement investments - and billions in management fees - in the hands of Wall Street firms.

As Matthew Yglesias described one aspect of the problem for the would-be Republican reformers:

What privatizers want to say is that current retirees will keep getting benefits and future retirees will be okay despite our lack of benefits because we'll have private accounts. But current retirees can't get benefits if my money is in a private account. And my account can't be funded if I'm paying benefits for current retirees.

As it turns out, Vice President Al Gore made the same point during his presidential debates against then Governor George W. Bush.  "Because the trillion dollars that has been promised to young people has also been promised to older people," Gore explained, adding, "And you cannot keep both promises."

And by diverting money to private accounts from the Social Security trust-fund, Republicans also can't keep their born-again promises to lower the national debt.  In 2005, James Horney and Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities totaled up the fiscal hemorrhaging that would ensue from the privatization plans of President Bush and other Republicans:

The President's plan would create $17.7 trillion in additional debt by 2050.  This additional debt would be equal to 19.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2050.

Despite the public's overwhelming rejection of his plan in 2005, George W. Bush later saw it as a major domestic policy achievement.  "Bush," right-wing water carrier Fred Barnes noted, "said his effort showed it's politically safe to campaign on changing Social Security and then actually seek to change it."

Despite the collapse of Wall Street, 2008 Republican nominee John McCain apparently felt the same way.  And ThinkProgress reported at the time, studies estimated that private accounts would lose money a third of the time.  That fall, the Center for American Progress calculated that "that if a worker had retired on October 1, 2008 after 35 years of contributions to private retirement accounts, that retiree would have lost nearly $30,000 in retirement funds because of the downturn in the stock market over the last two years."  And while retirees would face the risks inherent in the market, according to a 1997 analysis their Wall Street money managers would reap an estimated "$240 billion in fees during the first 12 years of a privatization scheme- this number is undoubtedly much higher now."  And all the while, the Social Security Trust Fund which currently helps offset the yawning federal budget deficits would be depleted by trillions over the next several decades.

All of which is why the 2012 Republican presidential field determined to undo the Social Security safety net that kept 14 million American seniors out of poverty last year is offering variations on a theme.  Pizza mogul Herman Cain had touted the "Chilean model," despite that that program's rising subsidies required to keep half of the country's retiring workers out of poverty.  For his part, Rick Perry is touting the retirement plan of Galveston, Texas, which has similarly failed to provide lower income employees with the baseline of retirement benefits provided by Social Security.  And Mitt Romney, despite his past fondness for private accounts, now claims he does not want to divert money from the current system.

Given the personal risk and national red ink that Republican Social Security privatization schemes necessarily entail, selling the GOP's scary math to a skeptical public is a challenge to say the least. That's why Congressional Republicans led by then Senator Rick Santorum came up with some handy talking points in 2005 to close the sale. "Talk about how much more money they'd have for retirement if they themselves had been investing in a personal account all these years," the GOP privatization sales kit counseled Republican officeholders, remembering all the while that:

"Your audience doesn't know how trillions and billions differ. They know these numbers are large, but not how large nor how many billions make a trillion.  Boil numbers down to 'your family's share.' Also avoid percentages; your audience will try to calculate them in their head--no easy task while listening to a speech--and many will do it incorrectly."

Put another way, Republicans hoping to privatize Social Security will rely on that time-tested GOP strategy: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that's our target market.

* Crossposted at Perrspectives *

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Social Security Defenders, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for bringing a reality test to the GOP lies (25+ / 0-)

    that Social Security is in crisis.

    I've seen confirmation in dozens of places of your report that the Social Security Trust Fund is solvent through 2037, and the small imbalances that start to appear then, can be easily solved by raising the income caps on deductable income for the wealthy.

    We should be holding  the Social Security Trust Fund as, perhaps, the most successful government program of all time, and an example of fiscal balance and responsibility all should emulate.

    Especially, the TeaParty.

    The Media is irresponsible for not challenging Rick Perry and other demiqogues with these facts.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 11:52:43 AM PDT

    •  Did you see this (17+ / 0-)

      Letter to the Editor in Friday's NYT? ...

      At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was given the opportunity to repudiate his long-held view of Social Security as “a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal.” But instead, as you report, he “doubled down,” once again calling Social Security a “monstrous lie” (“Perry and Romney Joust Over Direction of G.O.P.,” front page, Sept. 8).

      As President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote in 1954: “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt [and] a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

      Governor Perry is completely out of touch with the vast majority of the American people, who recognize Social Security’s vital importance in providing economic security when wages are lost as a result of death, disability or old age. If Mr. Perry continues to defend those views, we predict, to quote John Wayne in “True Grit,” “You do it and it’ll be the biggest mistake you ever made, you Texas brushpopper!

      NANCY ALTMAN
      ERIC KINGSON
      Co-chairmen, Strengthen Social Security Campaign
      Bethesda, Md., Sept. 9, 2011.

      Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

      by hungrycoyote on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 06:42:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney also called for enormous tax cuts for the (18+ / 0-)

    rich, when he said he'd end taxes on savings that he called taxes on "middle income" earners, even though something like 90% of that stuff is owned by the top 10%.  And he also called for a massive tax increase, likely the biggest in history, when he called for a balance and cap amendment at 20% of GDP.  Cutting the budget to 20% of GDP is one thing, but to balance the budget would require a massive tax increase, because tax receipts aren't at or above 20%, they're at 14%.

    Mitt Romney would end taxes on wealth and tax everyone else to death.

    I changed by not changing at all, small town predicts my fate, perhaps that's what no one wants to see. -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 12:10:39 PM PDT

  •  Excellent analysis (7+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the info.  It's fairly clear by now that somehow, sooner or later, they will succeed in their endeavors.  The greed, it is strong, and a powerful motivation.

    "It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." ~ George Carlin

    by vigilant meerkat on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 12:50:09 PM PDT

    •  Actually the math moves in our favor--- (23+ / 0-)

      with every year we can fend them off.

      Privatization never pencils out anyway, those transition costs cited in the main post end up mostly fatal. But you could actually make the numbers seem to work out. But realistically this would have meant tapping into the front end of the huge cash surplus coming into the system in the mid-nineties. The same stream of money that built the Trust Funds to $2.6 trillion now from $1 trillion then would have provided a good deal of the bridge money they needed. As would the rates of growth they were implicitly promising, that is 6.5% real. Well that was never achievable given the assumptions Social Security was using but maybe it was enough to get Baby Privatization born and to the point where transitioning back was near impossible.

      But that cash stream is gone, it peaked and then declined on route to disappearing altogether.  The current Trust Fund though real enough can't be raided in the same sense that those surpluses would have been diverted. The best analogy is that Social Security is house rich but cash poor, the equity being real because guaranteed by Full Faith and Credit but not able to be liquidated at all, only redeemed. Which requires cash flowing the other direction.

      Which is one reason why you don't see the think tanks that dominated the privatization debate back then: Heritage/AEI/Cato publicly leading the charge this time, instead leaving it this time to Teatard Congressmen, they know that as ostensible economic professionals they would have to stand behind their numbers. And the fact is that cupboard is bare.

      We just need to keep our nerve even as we point out the real numbers..

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 02:15:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well Said (11+ / 0-)

        My mother understood that letting young people opt out means there's nobody left paying for her benefits.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 07:16:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just point to the stock market numbers (0+ / 0-)

        ... as to people who are ready to retire.

        Think of Enron.  Think how stocks lose 2-3-4% of the overall market value in a single day.

        If it's time for me to retire and all that I have is tied up in Enron stock, I won't be able to afford even cat food.

        If I'm in stock funds and the market loses 20-25% value, it's not like I can afford to ride it out and wait for the value to come back.  I am living off withdrawals of principal and that money is never going to regain its value.

        The GOP approach is an appeal to young people. The GOP tells them that they, the individual investors, are smarter than anyone else, that individual investors should be able to outperform a fixed annuity.

        It's an appeal to greed.  Why take the guaranteed payout when there's a chance that you can invest and make MORE money?  It also appeals to the part of one's psyche that tells one that you're smarter than anyone else.

        "Unseen, in the background, Fate was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing glove." P.G. Wodehouse

        by gsbadj on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 07:37:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There will be mass rioting if they succeed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vigilant meerkat

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 08:32:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WS wants the SS money, and they want it bad. (26+ / 0-)

    This has been a relentless, decades long campaign.  They can't stand to think of the couple of trillion dollars that they can't get their grubby hands on.  Plus I think it is another reach to continue propping up a market in peril.  If the American people allow this to happen, then they are dumber than I want to believe.  We privatized our military for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.  We got stuck with huge bills way over cost.  Middlemen are just money skimmers.  Giving over one of the last remaining safety nets keeping older Americans from poverty to WS is asking for trouble.

  •  It is up to us to re-energize the 3rd Rail (12+ / 0-)

    We need to defeat these people like Paul Ryan and use any means possible - including commercials of him throwing granny off a cliff.

    Vaporizing politicians who threaten our retirement is an absolute must.

  •  The D.C. Undead (15+ / 0-)

    It's unbelievable that after what we have just experienced with the markets these past 3 years, these wankers are still at it with their Zombie privatization.

    Ludicrous.

    Great diary.  

    Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

    by maxschell on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 05:39:58 PM PDT

  •  2012 will be about Republicans (11+ / 0-)

    wanting to keep tax cuts low for the rich and GUTTING Social Security with their privatization scheme as well as ENDING Medicare as we know it with their voucher-care plan.

    That will be in contrast with the Democratic position which is a Buffett million tax to make sure that millionaires and billionaires pay at minimum the same taxes as the middle class with modest cuts to Medicare/Medicaid providers.

    President Obama, May 5, 2011: "When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say".

    by Drdemocrat on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 06:04:59 PM PDT

  •  All this really demonstrates (9+ / 0-)

    is how economics challenged all of the Republican candidates are, with the possible exception of Romney. He's only doing a "me too" because he is pandering to primary election voters who appear to be mostly uninformed. I say, let them keep at it. Privatization of Social Security is an idea that will sink the Republican Party.

    A millionaire can afford to ride the vagaries of the market and survive. A retired clerk with maybe $250, 000 in the bank can't afford to lose and he/she doesn't have enough of an asset to hire professional management. Not that that is a panacea, but it beats trying to make investment profits as a retail investor. Especially when the game is stacked against you. You might as well go to the track and enjoy the ponies.

    "Even in the valley of the shadow of death, two and two do not make six." Leo Tolstoy

    by Miss Pip on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 07:49:55 PM PDT

  •  And they're getting lots of help from the media (11+ / 0-)

    Earlier this week TIME's Richard Stengel appeared on MSNBC and uttered the following outright and blatant zombie lie:

    "Do Americans really realize that there's no such thing as the Social Security Trust Fund, that it's a pay as you go program and when there are fewer paying in there's less money coming out?"

    Host Chuck Todd didn't challenge or correct him, and appeared to agree.

    There was a time in our history when we'd literally run such people out on a rail.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 08:35:36 PM PDT

  •  Why go private? Without taking massive (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, elwior, Dave925, JeffW

    risks, expected returns are near zero. Putting surpluses in Treasuries is as good as it safely gets. So there is nothing to be gained by paying commissions to brokers.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 09:49:49 PM PDT

  •  "popular among conservatives who believe . . . (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Dave925, NoMoreLies, JeffW

    workers could get a better return from investing in publicly traded securities"

    that would be a better return for Wall Street at their own expense.

    Anyone who thinks the average worker who is not a professional trader is better off with retirement money in the market than with a government-run pension system is an idiot or a shill or both.

    They tried this in England under Thatcher. The seniors this was sold to are worse off. Management fees are a continuous drain on this money pool and the market does not always go up.

    Peak Oil is NOW! Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

    by alizard on Sat Sep 17, 2011 at 11:59:03 PM PDT

    •  Same for 'Chile' and 'Galveston' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, alizard

      the Right continues to point to them as object lessons, but both ended up being huge messes for lower income workers even as they paid off well for upper income workers.

      Which of course is the point. And also why we need to keep pointing out the real numbers involved. The logic that says collective results are all important and distributional effects should be ignored is pretty callous even in the context of free trade or wage policy, when extended to retirement security for workers it descends to the level of sociopathy.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 08:08:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This should be "The Campaign Issue of 2012" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, Dave925, NoMoreLies, JeffW

    but if Obama and many Congressional  Democrats agree to cuts on basic safety net programs like SS and Medicare just what can they campaign on? I have always argued against those who say both parties are the same but I'm no longer convinced those pessimists are wrong.

    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

    by irate on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 04:24:07 AM PDT

  •  No Gov. Perry, it's not a Ponzi scheme, you're ... (9+ / 0-)

    just an embezzler!  The righties (and occasionally some people in this community who should know better) claim that there's really no money in the SS trust funds, that's it's all been "stolen" to run the rest of the federal government.

    Correction:  It hasn't been stolen, it's been loaned.  The trust funds hold bonds, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, which bear a rate of interest equal (as I recall the statutory provision) equal to the average interest rate of all outstanding medium to long-term Treasury obligations.  The money has no more been "stolen" (at least up to this point) than has the money that people and institutions paid for other Treasury obligations.  It's no more been "stolen" than money you deposit in a bank, most of which is promptly lent to other people or corporations.  It's no more been "stolen" than money you use to buy a corporate bond, which is then used to finance the operations of a corporation.  It's no more been "stolen" than when you borrow money from a bank, and then use the loan proceeds to buy a house, or a car, or equipment for a business.

    What this "the money has been stolen" meme intends to hide is that the Republicans WANT to steal the money NOW by changing the law so that those bonds never need to be redeemed to pay the Social Security benefits provided by current law.  And they're trying to hide that simple fact because if people realized that, they'd realize that what is being suggested is a massive theft from the working people of this country to finance unaffordable tax cuts for the wealthy.

    One hundred percent of the money in the SS trust funds was paid by employed or self-employed people, or their employers, on earned income that was lower than the SS maximum (which is currently $106,000).  (Note that I'm referring only to the SS retirement, survivors and disability insurance ("RSDI") trust funds, rather than to the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund, which is financed by taxes on ALL earned income.)  These taxes were, for many years, higher than would have been needed to pay current Social Security benefits in order to finance benefits for current workers when they reached retirement age.  The surplus being built up in the SS trust funds, and lent to the Treasury, permitted income taxes to be lowered more than would have otherwise been possible without a ruinous increase in our external debt.  

    To see that this is what happened, we need look no further than what happened after 1984, when SS taxes were raised substantially so as to gradually build up the trust funds to prepare for the retirement of the baby boom generation.  in 1984, the maximum SS taxes (again, RSDI only -- not Medicare which has always been financed separately) increased to 11.4% for either the self-employed or the combined employer/employee portion of the employment tax.  

    In 1984, the maximum income tax rate was 50% on ordinary income, 20% on capital gains, and dividends were taxed as ordinary income.  The maximum rates have been lowered since then, in several stages and with various adjustements, so that after the Bush tax cuts, the maximum rate is now 35% on ordinary income and 15% on both capital gains and dividends.  

    Now, what many of the Republicans are trying to do is change the law so that the bonds held by the SS trust funds never need to be redeemed to pay the promised SS benefits, in order to permit them to maintain the artificially low maximum income tax rates and tax rates on capital gains and dividends (which disproportionately benefit the wealthy).  This amounts to an attempted massive theft from working people in order to permit the wealthy to continue to pay artificially low income tax rates.  That's not a Ponzi scheme, Governor Perry, because the money has really been invested.  It's just that you want to embezzle it!

    PROUD to be a Democrat!

    by leevank on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 05:18:36 AM PDT

    •  Good to see (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NoMoreLies

      Others around here now the exact truth of the matter and how to explain it. It is precisely about not having to pay back the money the rich have literally been given at our expense nor to ever have to make the rich pay their share again.

      Why would they have to when you can tax working people and their employers 11% right off the top- off GROSS income and put that money at the disposal of the general fund?

      That was the intent and the purpose of raising the SS rate in the first place, not this nonsense about baby boomers retiring. All that money did as you say it did, it financed giveaways to the rich and now that the boomers are retiring, they not only don't want to pay it back, they want to steal the rest of it forever and ever.

      The Pukes are the domestic enemies we were warned against though it's hard to understand how one country can turn out so many goddamned sociopaths.

      •  The numbers don't support your claims (0+ / 0-)

        The fix installed in 1983 was only secondarily intended to help fund Boomer retirement. Instead it was designed to phase in over time in ways that kept checks flowing out on time on very close to a just in time basis. The actual SS surplus dollars generated between 1983 and 1988 were very small in comparison to the costs of Reagan tax cuts, if paying for them was the point the rates would have been jacked up right away to create the needed cash flow extraction from workers.

        Instead as the table shows the actual rate boosts were backloaded onto 1988 and 1990, which is why the surpluses didn't actually start showing up until the mid 1990s.
        http://www.ssa.gov/...

        That is the following sentence is wrong in both halves:
        "That was the intent and the purpose of raising the SS rate in the first place, not this nonsense about baby boomers retiring."

        The numbers don't support that, nor BTW the recollections of some of the major players including Bob Myers, the Executive Director of the Greesnpan Commission and Bob Ball, Commission member and lead negotiator for the Democrats. Instead both agree that almost all the focus was on getting through the 1988 election. And while the two Bobs, who between them had 90 years of formal experience in Social Security between them by 1983, may have understood that achieving 10 year balance in the 10th year and 75 year balance  ON AVERAGE didn't mean actuarial balance in the intervening subperiods especially the period that included Boomer retirement. Mostly the Commissioners didn't have access to those numbers to start with, at least not in explicit form. It was always clear that there would be some shortfall in the 2030 to 2045 period.

        To repeat a different way: the 1983 Reforms did not start throwing off big surpluses from the Git-Go and were never designed to.

        Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

        by Bruce Webb on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 11:33:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wish Obama would nail the Repugs on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    But he won't. Instead, he talks about how they have a point, shared sacrifice, blah blah blah.

  •  So how's your 401(k)? A failed experiment (6+ / 0-)

    Look at these charts on average 401(k) savings by age group and income and tell me how privatization would ever work.  Then recognize that these were the numbers before the current recession.

    Here's the net of it--50-60 year olds have less than 3 years savings.  They simply won't be able to retire on 401(k) savings alone.  Also note that not all employees are eligible for 401(k)s and of those who are 25% don't participate and less than 10% of participants contribute the maximum.

    What about younger workers, they can make it, right?

    40 year olds also have 2-3 years worth put away.  I opened up the retirement planning tool on an investment web site and ran the #s for a 40 year old earning 100k with 200k saved.  If that person saves 10k a year, collects no Soc Sec, retires at 67, wants to spend 80% of their pre-retirement income each year, and earns 9.8% a year on their 401(k), they'll only be $1.7 million short of their goal.  Options? Retire at 74 or increase savings to $27,500 per year  or reduce retirement spending to $43,700 per year.

    Fixing Social Security or watching ourselves, our friends and our relatives eat dog food in the dark are our options.

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 07:02:27 AM PDT

    •  401(k) devaluations, home equity wiped out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      The assumptions under privatization don't hold.  Yet we have Joe the Plumber types who don't want taxation on the off chance they hit it big.

      Hitting it big.  Winning the lotto is the only way.

      Ignorance is one thing.  We have mass hysterical stupidity within a large portion of our electorate.

      President Obama needs to understand this.  Why it was ever on the table escapes me.  Any change in social security is a sellout to his constituents, his party and his race.

      One can only hope that a certain amount of sanity would hold sway.  That SCOTUS would somehow intervene.

      If not, woe be upon those who F*k with Grandma and Grampaw.

      The Dude abides, now get off my lawn.

      by Boris49 on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 11:16:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Individual Mandate to SAVE for retirment? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, NoMoreLies

    How can you argue that it is unconstitutional to force someone to buy health insurance while saying that they have to invest for their retirement? The arguments they use to say the healthcare is unconstitutional would also apply to individual retirement plans.

  •  I find it more than a bit disconcerting that so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    many dont get it and rebuke this simple pure concept...
    With simple changes to benefits, eligibility and most importantly, funding, Social Security can easily be made sound for generations to come.
    It's either stupidty or politics as usual...

    •  Nope. Its ideology. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobatkinson, NoMoreLies, JeffW

      Republicans always hated Social Security and rolling it back was a central, perhaps the central plank of the Republican Party platform in 1936.

      They hate the whole concept of social insurance and that fact has zero to due with solvency, the hatred for FDR and all his works burns hot in Republican hearts in both good and bad economic times. They just have to calibrate their attacks for those times.

      But they don't want Social Security to work just as they want Obama to fail. Solvency and debt and deficit are just the buzz words of the day, rolling back the Great Society and the New Deal and then the Income Tax and then the Anti-Trust Act are the continuing agenda.

      Which I guess feeds into 'politics as usual'. But the current unbelievable levels of stupidity are a bug and not a feature for Establishment Republicans. They know they aren't going to get anywhere by a Perry style full out attack and are clearly spooked that he will set back the cause for a generation.

      That is Bachmann is stupid and Rove is evil with Perry kind of going back and forth between those two poles.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 11:43:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How much would it cost to gut the Republican... (0+ / 0-)

    ...Party?

    Just askin'...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 04:27:04 PM PDT

  •  Borrowed Money (0+ / 0-)

    is what the Rethugs are worried about. The Criminals
    have "Borrowed" millions from Social Security to try to
    cover up the Huge Deficits caused by Tax Breaks for the
    Wealthy.

    The ONLY way to pay back that much Money is to FORCE
    the Wealthy to Actually PAY their FAIR share of Taxes.
    OMG. We Can't Possibly do That. If the Wealthy Have to
    Pay Taxes, they won't have enough Money to BRIBE
    Congress into Submission.

    Simple Solution. DESTROY Social Security and you also
    DESTROY the Obligation to Repay the Money you
    "Borrowed" from the Social Security Trust Fund.

    Problem SOLVED.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:15:42 AM PDT

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