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The New York Times Washington Post editorial board puts up strawmen and knocks them down as it calls for President Obama to ignore liberals:

Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be “balanced,” including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.

This could be accomplished in a progressive manner, shielding the poorest beneficiaries from cuts. But that seems less likely to be achieved if progressives boycott serious negotiations by pretending that Social Security and Medicare are sustainable with no reform at all. [...]

At some point, he has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the “hard decisions” required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Liberals aren't saying that Medicare and Social Security don't need to be strengthened over the long term. Rather, the argument is that the conversation for strengthening those programs shouldn't take place in the highly-politicized, ticking time bomb atmosphere of the lame duck session "fiscal cliff" talks. As Senators Durbin and Shaheen and others have reiterated, Social Security is not in crisis and should be off the table. There appears to be less resistance to including Medicare and Medicaid in debt negotiations, however.

As for Social Security, Froma Harrop lays down the GOP's torrid hate affair with the program:

Conservatives never much liked Social Security. It’s a wildly popular government program that’s totally solvent until 2033. It will be easily fixable and by then may not need fixing at all. Doesn’t quite fit with the government-can’t-do-anything-right talking point.
Goldman Sachs' CEO Lloyd Blankenfield is making his case on the Hill and in the White House this week in meetings that Americans need to work longer. As one of many Fortune 500 CEOs who are part of the "Fix the Debt" charade, his position is that the retirement age should be raised.

Ethan Rome, writing at The Huffington Post, rightly lambasts that position:

The hypocrisy of Lloyd Blankfein, a Wall Street banker, and other corporate leaders who have inserted themselves into the debate over major tax and spending decisions under consideration in Congress is nothing short of repugnant. Blankfein's Goldman Sachs got billions from the federal government during the Wall Street bailouts, enabling him to hold a job that paid him $16.1 million in 2011, and now he wants the rest of us to take a pay cut -- now and in the future.  [...]

In the name of "fiscal responsibility" the self-interested CEOs animating Fix the Debt -- which, by the way, is led by 14 white men and only two women -- are pushing a deficit reduction plan that would lower taxes for corporations and the super-rich while slashing programs central to the middle class and those working their way into it. The Fix the Debt CEOs start with the assumption that poor, working and middle-class families should shoulder the bulk of the burden of deficit reduction. Meanwhile, none of the deficit hawks is talking about creating jobs and growing the U.S. economy.

The corporate executives literally have no idea how the rest of America lives.

Mark Schmitt from the Next New Deal, via Salon, takes apart the "Fix the Debt" campaign as a sham:
Fix the Debt and its partners find themselves twisted in a knot. Because “comprehensive tax reform” is such a central component of their vision, they have to root for the Bush tax cuts, because there’s not much room for reform otherwise. But supporting the Bush tax cuts, as a baseline, is not “fixing the debt.” It’s the opposite, since the Bush tax cuts make up almost all of the long-term projected deficit, as this chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows:

It’s also worth noting that Fix The Debt’s approach to taxes is not the same as the Simpson-Bowles commission. Simpson-Bowles started from the assumption that the Bush tax cuts would expire. Insisting that the Bush tax cuts form the starting point for negotiations was the position, instead, of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan (it was one reason he opposed Simpson-Bowles), and the current House Republicans.

I’m not sure why Fix the Debt put itself in a position where it now seems more concerned with protecting the Bush tax cuts than actually reducing the long-term deficit. Maybe it’s that the devotion to the fantasy of a grand bargain that includes something called “tax reform” drove them there. Maybe it’s that it’s necessary to maintain the nominal support from Republicans and business leaders that they boast. But whatever the cause, it’s where they seem to be. And a group devoted to fiscal responsibility has no business protecting one of the two most irresponsible fiscal choices in recent history.

Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post:
The problem is that the behind-the-scenes deal-making has been way more disappointing than the public posturing. After the kumbaya White House meeting Friday with congressional leaders, it took until the following Monday evening for Republicans to return to the White House with an initial offer.

It was, in a word, pathetic.

Alexander Bolton at The Hill:
Democrats are increasing their demands on what should be in a deficit deal, seeking to shield entitlement programs and insisting on raising the nation’s debt ceiling this year.

In the wake of President Obama’s reelection and Democratic gains in Congress, party leaders are growing bolder as the Dec. 31 deadline for extending the Bush-era tax rates and stopping automatic spending cuts approaches.

Charlie Cook looks at the GOP brand:
[E]ven if these candidates don't open their mouths, insert grenades, and pull pins (a la Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock), they still project a more extreme image for the party that makes it incredibly difficult for more-mainstream Republicans in swing or difficult states to win. For every Akin and Mourdock, there is a Scott Brown, a Linda Lingle, or a Heather Wilson who cannot win in tough places, at least in presidential years, because of the face of the Republican Party, a threatening brand to many moderate and swing voters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tell the negotiators on the Hill... (16+ / 0-)

    ...that I'll gladly work until seventy in exchange for seeing Blankfein and his gang frog-marched and put in the dock for bankrupting the fucking country.

    "Nonsense!" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

    by RIposte on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:41:20 AM PST

  •  I'm hearing a million words about (24+ / 0-)

    the deficit, the debt, the cliff, the grandchildren...

    ... except one: "Defense."

    Pardon our dust. Sig line under renovation.

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:44:51 AM PST

  •  Dukes of Hazzard, not Thelma and Louise (8+ / 0-)

    The metaphor is all wrong. This isn't a cliff, it's a hump of dirt. John Boehner is Roscoe T. Coltrane and Grover Norquist is Boss Hogg. President Luke and Majority Leader Bo just need to rev the General Lee, not put on the brakes, and hit that dirt hump. The landing may be a little rough but the economy will survive and then accelerate.

    If they brake, though, because Roscoe and Boss Hogg tell them there's a dangerous cliff ahead, they're more likely to get stuck in the mud and never get out.

    #DukesOfHazzardNotThelmaAndLouise

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:46:01 AM PST

  •  Fuck the NYT editorial board (13+ / 0-)

    There is no justification to make cuts to one of the weakest social safety nets in the world.  Fuck the elite editorial board at the NYT.  

    If you really want to reduce costs, allow Medicare to negotiate bulk prescription drug purchases.  That makes sense!

    Krugman has already shot down the bullshit that raising retirement ages will save money.  It won't and it's a cruel thing to do to a population that is already struggling with employment as they age.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:47:43 AM PST

    •  I ascribe much of such talk (7+ / 0-)

      about the need to cut these programs in the name of "shared sacrifice" to lazy, thoughtless, brain-dead go along to get along idiocy of the sort that weak, stupid and insecure people who can't be bothered to figure things out on their own and just want to fit in and belong engage in. I expect to hear such crap on the bus or at a cocktail party where no one's expected to be a policy expert, not from the editorial board of the supposed paper of record. Since when did being this stupid become socially and culturally acceptable in such circles?

      Then again, they may know very well that these programs don't need to be cut on the benefits side, but don't care, because it won't affect them, whereas raising tax rates, eliminating certain deductions and slashing certain spending will. So maybe it's not stupidity after all, but plain old self-interest. Which is even worse.

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

      by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:09:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  S/B Fuck the Washington Post editorial board (0+ / 0-)
      Fuck the NYT editorial board
      Diary was edited.

      "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

      by gritsngumbo on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:49:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not the NYT Editorial board. (12+ / 0-)

    It's the Washington Post.

    •  Yep, please correct diary (7+ / 0-)

      Money can buy many editorials, can't it? The Fix the Debt campaign is spending millions.
      Like the Kos poster above said, why listen to the same fucks that robbed the treasury and brought the world to it's financial knees and profited from the outcome because the treasury bailed them out. They are after lower corporate tax rates and favorable  territorial laws.
      The effective corporate tax rate in U.S. is 17 percent. They do not have a case.
      Do not budge Democratic congresscritters, the majority of the people are behind you, tax the rich, cut defense, period.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:56:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

      I was puzzled as well since the NYT opinion page has been fairly good on these issues, conservatool columnists notwithstanding. Less surprising that it's actually the WaPo page, which is much more conservative. Fred Hiatt is a dick.

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

      by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:13:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Americans need to work longer? (17+ / 0-)

    There's not enough jobs now. The stores are full. There are no shortages. There is no lack of services. There is nothing you can't buy if you have the money.

    The "free market" obviously doesn't need more workers working longer. This is just so ridiculous.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:49:19 AM PST

  •  Overfed, aging white guys like Blankfein can work (16+ / 0-)

    until they drop--and good riddance to bad rubbish.

    What a hypocritical old git!  I almost barfed when I saw him on TV yesterday, mouthing that crap.  A billionaire telling the rest of us that we have to work until age 90 and that we shouldn't expect to get back what we paid in?

    Quick, hand me that flaming torch, I'll pick up my pitchfork at the door, and off we'll go!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:52:04 AM PST

  •  write or call your elected officials now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, smiley7, Cedwyn, tb mare

    They need to hear from as many of us as possible. The Fat Cats from Fix The Debt are meeting with them face to face. If you don't present your side of this firmly right now you will get screwed. Congree.org works well to send emails.

  •  The wealthy want to do away with SS, (13+ / 0-)

    yet don't want to pay wages that allow people to save. It's an untenable position.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 04:57:57 AM PST

  •  Did you hear Saxby Chambliss' nonsense on NPR? (8+ / 0-)

    To Steve Inskeep's credit, he pressed Chambliss to explain how a couple of percentage point increase to the upper tax bracket (on income > $250K) would hurt small businesses that have $300K to $400K in total taxable income (in other words, their taxes would only go up a few thousand dollars).  

    Chambliss absurdly responded that reducing deductions (which in effect would make more income taxable - but he didn't really say that) would somehow magically give those businesses incentive to increase their income even more, by another $100K or so, which would - voila - create more jobs!

    WTF?!?  How?!?  Unfortunately, Inskeep didn't follow-up with that obvious question.

    And Chambliss is considered one of the more reasonable ones?  Another GOPer as smart as a bag of rocks.  Proof that Republicans should not be allowed anywhere near a budget.

    •  Saxby Chambliss doesn't know the first thing (4+ / 0-)

      about how a business operates and how business decisions are made.  If a business owner makes $300,000 personal income from his business and doesn't want to pay a higher rate on that last $50,000 of income over $250,000, all he has to do to avoid the marginal rate is plow that $50,000 back into his business before the end of the year.  He can buy more or newer equipment and/or machinery, invest in real estate on behalf of the company, hire an additional employee - there are myriad ways to keep from paying a higher tax rate on that last $50,000.

      In fact, the main reason this Republican argument against higher marginal rates is so specious is that tax rates don't make a damn bit of difference to a business regarding whether to expand their operations or hire new employees unless the rates are so high they're punitive.  Higher rates actually encourage business owners to spend money on their businesses rather than pay that money to the government.

      But it all comes down to demand.  If a business continues to  lose customers for whatever reason - bad product, bad customer service, not enough money to buy what the business is selling - it will go out of business anyway.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:43:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you hear (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, SueDe

        that Erick Erickson (of Red State) has had "Very Important People" encourage him to run against Saxby for Senate?
        Someone needs to go over to Red Red State and start getting screen grabs of some of his stuff before he deletes it all.

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:55:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How much worse could Erickson be? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          But you're right, evidence needs to be gathered if there is one chance in a thousand that he'll run to replace Chambliss.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 12:06:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Imagine what life would be life (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, Laconic Lib

    if journalists couldn't lie, distort or be lazy, like this silly NYT editorial. If I had a dollar for every fake liberal who tried to buy some cheap "Very Serious Person" cred by brokering in dishonest and misleading nonsense like this meant to sound high-minded and "tough" to the Tom Friedmans of the world, I'd be rich.

    And then I wouldn't having to worry about Social Security not going broke.

    Which it won't. EVER. By design.

    Obviously, someone doesn't read Krugman or thinks they know better or is just trying to pull a fast one which is pretty damn pathetic.

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

    by kovie on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:03:02 AM PST

  •  Charlie Cook actually put it quite well (4+ / 0-)
    the Republican Party, a threatening brand to many moderate and swing voters
  •  Durbin is one of them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    Durbin wants to cut entitlements. (He said so yesterday. Note that he doesn't have to give up any entitlements.)

    Warren Buffet is one of them. He thinks Jamie Dimon would be a good choice for treasury secretary. (Note that he has billions of dollars in his accounts.)

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:08:54 AM PST

  •  Social Security should be on the table at some (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, wintergreen8694

    point, to make it a better deal for the folks who pay so damned much money into the system.

    12 cents out of every dollar earned for the lowest wage workers.

    That's a big bite.

    Also 12 cents out of every dollar for folks who are doing moderately well for themselves.  Still a big bite, but a much smaller return -- Social Security benefits are not linear, but slide from about 90% of base income for low-wage workers to 15% of base income for those doing moderately well for themselves, all on that same 12% bite.

    If you do really well for yourself, you get to leave Social Security taxes behind.  Make a million a year? That 12% bite drops to a little more than 1%, leaving you plenty of extra dough to invest in your retirement, likely at a much better return.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:15:27 AM PST

    •  And should not be called an "entitlement" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, One Opinion

      nor should Medicare for the same reason. People pay specially earmarked taxes for both. That's not an "entitlement." That's an [b]earned[/b] benefit. Big difference. Why the right wing meme that these earned benefits are "entitlements" has been allowed to leak into the mainstream as an accurate description is beyond me.

      Please, oh please, wingnuts, do run someone really, really conservative in 2016 -- and pen for us the opening chapter of "The Way of the Whigs"

      by Yankee Patriot on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:53:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's become much more of one, though. (0+ / 0-)

        Those who pay in more to the system support those who pay in less and receive proportionately lower returns.

        There is also the whole disability thing that is more or less divorced from being earned.

        Worst of all, however, is legislators --- Democratic legislators, btw -- who treat it as an entitlement rather than an earned benefit.

        The speak up every time somebody suggests that Social Security could be running out of money, pointing out that Social Security isn't obligated to pay any particular level of benefit and so cannot go bankrupt.

        There is, at best, a tenuous connection between the taxes you pay and the benefits you receive.

        And that ain't right.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:05:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i wish (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, DSPS owl
    Liberals aren't saying that Medicare and Social Security don't need to be strengthened over the long term.
    there are plenty of people here who say exactly that all day, every day.  that the programs are fine and don't need to be touched in any way, shape or form.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:25:36 AM PST

    •  That's a pipe dream. (0+ / 0-)

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:29:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  While I think we could fix (0+ / 0-)

      SS with an increase in the cap on income and a few other tweaks, if we don't do something about Medicare (13% of the budget and rising every year), it won't be here in 15 years.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:01:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK, but we must remember to distinguish "reform" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      from "reduction."  

      It's true that many liberals are responding to any suggestion of entitlement "reform" by reflexively crying, "No! No! Don't touch them!" I've probably been guilty of that myself.  But you must remember that the context for this is a Republican House whose sole meaning for "reform" of social programs is to cut them to ribbons.  They don't want to see Medicare and Social Security made more efficient.  They want to see them destroyed.  

      Could social programs be made less wasteful and more streamlined by some selective cutting?  Sure.  But that's not what Repubs want.  And I don't want to lend them any support by giving any credibility to what they call "reform" even though real reform is a good idea.  This is a trap a good many Democrats, including the President, have already fallen into.  

  •  Social Security has a growing problem. (0+ / 0-)
    The growing fiscal imbalance is driven on the spending side by rising health care costs and the aging of the population. The oldest members of the baby-boom generation are already eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and for Medicare. The Social Security program, which historically ran large cash surpluses that helped reduce the need to borrow from the public to finance other programs, is now projected to pay more in benefits than it receives in tax income each year into the future.

    http://www.gao.gov/...

    That's the GAO, not me, saying that.  

    Unless something is done to address this problem, benefits will have to be cut for future SS recipients.   While it might feel good to say it, it can't be "off the table". Time to face reality, Congress.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:26:42 AM PST

    •  please help me out on this... (4+ / 0-)

      Pleople who make 110K pay SS taxes on 100% of their earned income.  Earnings above that level do not get taxed, so someone earning 220K gets taxed on only 50% of their earned income. Yet, they recieve full benefits.  Some have proposed lifting the cap, so that all earned  income is taxable for SS.  Wouldn't that be fair? Wouldn't that stregnthen SS so that this safety net can stay in place? Do I have the financial policy side of this correct?

      This seems like such a fair, and straightforward solution, even for those who decry taxes, the rational of everybody pays their fair share applies to all!

    •  The GAO's statement (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, One Opinion

      that the program is "projected to pay more in benefits than it receives in tax income each year into the future" doesn't take into account the $2.7 trillion dollars owed to the trust fund by the general account.  That's what the GAO meant by "The Social Security program, which historically ran large cash surpluses that helped reduce the need to borrow from the public."

      This is the money congress has "borrowed" from the program over the years to subsidize the country's operating budget.  That money is part of the national debt, and not paying it back (or paying back only part of it) amounts to reneging on a legitimate U.S. debt.

      If the $2.7 trillion is paid back, the fund is solvent to at least 2033.  And it will be paid back one way or the other - whether money is appropriated in each budget to pay it back or the general fund is hit for the SS trust fund's shortfall each year, as long as the public demands it be paid back.  It's general fund money one way or the other anyway.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:01:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good luck with that. (0+ / 0-)
        And it will be paid back one way or the other - whether money is appropriated in each budget to pay it back or the general fund is hit for the SS trust fund's shortfall each year, as long as the public demands it be paid back.

        Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

        by SpamNunn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:08:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You don't think the public will demand (0+ / 0-)

          that the money congress has borrowed from the trust fund be paid back?

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 12:09:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  With what? (0+ / 0-)

            It can only be paid back with big tax increases and big program cuts.  Republicans won't tolerate the first, and Democrats won't tolerate the second.  

            Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

            by SpamNunn on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 12:41:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If we put people to work (0+ / 0-)

              for decent wages and the economy picks up steam, the treasury will be spending less money on transfer payments and will be collecting more tax revenue (including FICA taxes).  Surely congress could find $2.7 trillion over the next 20 years to keep from defaulting on their debt to the American people.

              "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

              by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 09:31:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  It's fairly easily fixed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, Egalitare

      by raising the income cap and limiting benefits to those that don't have $100 million in their 401K (like Romney, for example).
      Medicare is a different story.
      What we need to remember, though,  is that through the ACA, we've already cut almost a trillion dollars from Medicare and added years of solvency to it.
      Time to talk about a few trillion cut out of the Pentagon budget.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:04:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A growing problem...until a certain point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, One Opinion

      Those of us in the Boomer Generation are driving the expenditures, but at some point more of us will be "no longer eligible" (because we died, to put it indelicately) than new people become eligible.

      We have recognize that particular "inconvenient truth" before we attempt to "fix" SS.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:06:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The whining (4+ / 0-)

    Brian Williams led off the news the other night in somber tones:

    There is a big story looming on the economy and before this is over it's going to affect every American who pays taxes, has a mortgage or has to manage their own money, and that's everybody.
    Oh god, yes, it's called a change to tax code, get over it. I.e., a return to the tax rates of the 1990s.

    Amazing that a change to the tax code might affect everyone. Even the middle class might end up paying more--that means you, Biff and Muffy, who are clearly not responsible for any of it & might mean that you have to buy a Camry L instead of a Camry XLE. The horror!

  •  .... (5+ / 0-)

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:32:00 AM PST

  •  I will have a stroke (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694

    when one more a'hole calls Social Security an entitlement.

    I despise everyone that includes any reference to SS as an entitlement; it's an investment in the person named in the account.

    Every a'hole that has slipped down the slippery slope of ignorance that includes SS as an "entitlement" needs to be put up against the wall, (screw the blindfold), and summarily executed by the rest of us.

    Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:36:30 AM PST

  •  The last election was supposed to be a win for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waiting41, tb mare, Laconic Lib

    the middle class, but already the wingers, Wall Street bag men and media are once again telling us we are the problem and they, who profited mightily from the cluster pickpocketing that has gone on for the past decade, are eager to balance economic pain between the middle class and the poor.  This stuff is all so beneath the concerns or involvement of the rich.  The Egyptians have returned to the streets, and we must too.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 05:39:43 AM PST

  •  Glad to see some pundits who oppose the Fix (0+ / 0-)

    the Debt charade quoted here.  I've been wondering why there is little to no criticism on this site of the direction that these negotiations are headed.  The banisters are at it again and the administration and Dems seem compliant.  Why are we being so quiet here?

  •  FDR (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, Laconic Lib

    Watched the clip 3 times so far. What a character! If the Reps ever get back on top, they might consider pushing to limit the presidency to one term.  

    •  Roosevelt is the perfect example (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude

      of what happens when a president doesn't give a crap about what his political opposition thinks of him as long as he knows the people are behind him.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:09:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Aiready Working beyond retirement age (7+ / 0-)

    I retired from teaching in 2011 after 44 years. I am still working part-time as a substitute in the Omaha Archdiocese AND in a public school 6 miles from home. In 2013 I turn 70.

    WHY???
    My husband has had cancer in his neck and Drs. had to remove all his teeth for radiation treatments to the place on his neck along the jaw line.. Medicare doesn't cover the Dr of Dental Surgery  who removed the teeth OR the cost of dentures. About $8,000 for the dentist's surgery & $6000 for the dentures for a total of $14000.

    This started in April & radiation was every day for 6 weeks.  He just received his final set of dentures. He is working 8-10 hrs a week but that isn't enough.
    Physically, we are slowing down as we age. Working ... wears one down as you age past 65.  The cost for the hospital, Drs for surgery & radiation, at 20% about what Medicare paid, let us with thousands to pay off. It cost $775 for each shot of radiation. We are paying and NOT behind only because we are working part-time.

    Those who say working past 65 have no understanding of the fact that people do age physically, and it tkes a toll on a person's survival. Working full time I would not be able to make it. My endurance  is so far from what is was when I was 60.

    Thanks to my Mediare supplement plan, I have a "free" membership at the "Y" called Silver Sneakers. I do the classes if I am not subbing.  For 3 days a week thay have a strengthning & CONDITONING excercises using bands & weights. On Tuesday, I do Senior Yoga & Thursdays have Tai Chi. These classes helped me deal with the  l  o  n  g  time to deal health problems my husband has had and helped my body & mind.  Physical problems caused much depression for my husband, and those classes helped keep me from falling into the depressive state.

    Many are not as able to do what we do. Perhaps working to 70 wld kill off so many they hen have less to pay out.

    Reading is for the brain as exercise is for the body.

    by Bateach on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 06:00:58 AM PST

    •  Lord, what an awful story. (0+ / 0-)

      My heart goes out to you.

      I'm 66 and selling my last business so I can retire.  I no longer have the strength or stamina (or desire) to drive all over the state and fly all over the country, to stay up half the nights to mull decisions about investments and expenses and hiring and firing - those things it takes to grow and tend a business.  Unfortunately I have never had the option to sit behind a desk all day and play with other people's money and take home hundred of millions of $$ each year like Mr. Blankfein and his ilk.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:20:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Geithner is taking point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, rlochow

    in the negotiations, so we should all chill out. We KNOW he has our backs, right?

  •  Balance. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib
    Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.
    Balance is not always a good thing.

    Remember in Star Wars part...  I dunno, I think it was the Jar-Jar one, there was a prophecy about one who would "bring balance to the Force?"  All the Jedi are good guys, and somebody is going to bring "balance."  I wonder if it will be...  more good guys?

    The Post is the foremost organ of the Village.  As such, their idea of "balance" is Republicans make demands, and Democrats concede to most of them.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 07:06:03 AM PST

  •  The More I Hear FDR The More I Admire Him - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    How I wish Obama would listen to FDR's words of wisdom instead of listening to Timothy Geithner.

  •  Dear NYT (0+ / 0-)

    You have a misprint. Except this time it's in your brain.

    The way to make Social Security and Medicare pay for themselves is to increase the payroll taxes until they pay for themselves. Problem solved.

    You don't seem to understand the issue. The issue is the fact that wages have dropped while productivity is up. The issue is the fact that more of what we consume is made overseas than made here. The issue is the fact that the minimum wage in this country has not kept pace with inflation.

    These are simple economic facts. Wages are down for non-supervisory workers over the last few decades. Worker productivity is up. As a result, workers are being paid about one-half what they would be if they had continued to be paid according to their productivity gains, as they were all through the first part of the twentieth century.

    We also spend trillions of dollars on imports. Our trade deficit runs between a half trillion and a trillion dollars every year. The entire work component of that, probably half that amount, is not subject to payroll taxes. Every dollar that would be paid to workers here that isn't means over 10 cents taken out of our retirement programs. We need a tariff to recapture that money.

    We need an international minimum wage to restore wages in this country to what they should be, and to return production to this country.

    Bringing wages up will automatically add money to these programs because there will be more income at the current rates. But to really fix the problem you also have to account for the fact that productivity is up about 80% or more over the last 30 years. This increase has not gone to workers (whose wages have stagnated). Increases in worker productivity have gone to profits. It's gone to companies, and so those companies should be paying a higher rate. It is no longer fair for the worker and employer to pay the same rate. The employer rate has to rise to compensate for their increased profits on labor. It should go up by at least 50%.

    Look, these programs are part of the private sector. They are transfer payments. They are not government spending. They simply are not part of the same discussion as the federal deficit.

    Social Security and Medicare are part of our minimum wage system. They are there to make sure workers have income not just when they are working but when they can't work. Before these programs employers were able to cherry pick the work force and then dump workers when they couldn't work back on their families and charity. We have these programs because employers have an obligation to pay a living wage, compensation that allows workers to live even if they are disabled or reach retirement age.

    But we've fallen short on our obligation to workers. We think we can shortchange them here and there and over at that other place until they just quietly go away and die when we don't need them. It's wrong. It's very wrong. And it has to stop.

    And now you are a part of the problem. You can't even get the economics of it right, let alone the morality of it. Are you in such decline that you no longer have the ability to understand a relatively simple issue like this and explain it to the public?

    Let me help you out. Let's say you wanted to strengthen retirement. You wanted to boost funding for Social Security and Medicare. The right way to do that is with an international minimum wage and meaningful uniform tariffs. The right way to do that is to raise the employer part of the payroll tax to account for the rise in worker productivity.

    Or, you can continue to let our country become a third-world country. That's the current plan.

    It won't make America very exceptional, though.

    And, BTW, most of this is laid out on the Social Security page on dkosopedia.

  •  The ConPuns have made a golden idol of "balance" (0+ / 0-)

    and are willing to sacrifice human flesh to their god.

    "Balanced" = "fair" to the weak-minded.

    We need to frame this as issue as correcting a decade of
    "imbalance"
    in tax rates, war spending, corporate giveaways
    and bank bailouts.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 08:32:49 AM PST

  •  ceo blankenfield (0+ / 0-)

    wants the 99% to work longer so the 1% can work shorter, typical taker philosophy, put all the weight on the givers.

  •  Goldman Sachs CEO Floyd Blankinbutt should be (0+ / 0-)

    in a lock-box. In Leavenworth.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Nov 28, 2012 at 10:17:38 AM PST

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