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Why, why why? Why is the President offering up Social Security once again as a bargaining chip in his self -and -party- destructive negotiations with those who will not negotiate?

And, more importantly, to me at least, what will be the consequences not just to the Party, but to people in general when we once again find that election assurances and promises and platforms are as vaporous as the breaths from the mouths from which they issue.
 

Chained CPI is a cut in benefits. I would hope we can at least agree upon that and not waste a lot of time disengenuously desribing it as a "strengthening" of the system like Nancy Pelosi did, or  defending it with  "a reduction in the increase is not a cut" as I have seen on this board. It's a cut. It's an unecessary cut that will literally take money out of the pockets of those who can least afford it in order to appease a segment of the population who for whatever reason hate to see any actual funds or benefits filter down and accrue to the 99%.

And, it is being introduced by our side and our President.

Words simply are inadequate to describe how I feel about this. But I did tumble onto to someone who did a pretty good job in summarizing almost exactly how I feel about all this. It's short, it's concise and I feel it is pretty darn accurate about the current situation.

And Democrats, if you do not rise up in protest now, it is clear that you never will. Social Security is the famous Third Rail, AS IT SHOULD BE. The New Deal, the Great Society, The Civil Rights Movement, the rise of Labor and the American worker, the creation of the middle class, the opening and forging of new opportunities for all people of all classes, is WHY DEMOCRATS EXIST. Will the bulk of Democrats decide that it is okay to stand by silently while dollars are picked from the pockets of those least able to afford it simply in order to show credibility that we can be just as cruel and stupid as the other party the in the negotiation gamesmenship that is being played with our lives and our economy ? God, I hope not, because then there is literally almost no hope for the vast majority of us.

Do we even remember how to be indignant? How to rise up? How to insist that some kind of basic decency and morality and sense of proportion and justice be displayed by those we elect?

Democrats, Social Security And The Fiscal Cliff

With democrats ecstatic that political dysfunction has postponed their cutting the social insurance programs that Americans have paid for and count on for a few weeks, discussion of the intricacies of ‘chained CPI’ (Consumer Price Index) versus other measures of inflation used to adjust Social Security can now apparently wait for the New Year. Still, this probably isn’t a bad time to ask: why? Why cut Social Security? The program is currently solvent, is expected to remain solvent for decades to come, and projected shortfalls in the future could be better addressed by raising the incomes of the people who pay into the program, not by cutting payments to those who depend on them. What is to be gained by ‘solving’ a problem that isn’t?

If cutting Social Security isn’t necessary, why then is it being proposed? Barack Obama provided copious evidence in prior proposals, television interviews and speeches that doing so is his intent. Congressional democrats and labor leaders quickly acceded to his proposal to do so, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi going so far as to actively lie that proposed cuts will ‘strengthen’ the program. And given the cuts will eventually put tens of millions of Americans into dire poverty from a program they paid into for all of their working lives, what rationale could possibly justify doing so?

I hope you will read the entire article. It really speaks to me and for me. And I hope that you will join with me and tell all of our Democrats that this is the line they may not cross.

**********************

Update:

Liberal Democrats Say Chained CPI is a Dealbreaker - Almost

A deficit-reduction deal that includes cost-of-living cuts for Social Security beneficiaries could cost Democrats the support of House liberals who might be needed to pass the bill, a number of lawmakers warned Thursday.
********

Since it has been disputed in the comments whether the President "introduced" this option - almost every media source I have been able to come up with says the suggestion originated with the President. From the same link from the Hill above:

As part of the fiscal-cliff package Obama offered to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week, the president included the chained CPI provision as a sweetener to entice wary House Republicans to get on board. The change would reduce the inflationary raises made annually to the federal programs indexed to the CPI, including Social Security.
But regardless of the mechanics of who introduced it into these discussions and when - it is on the table NOW. My position is that it is simply unacceptable. At some point in our lives someone somewhere suggests something that you as an individual find unacceptable, that violates your core beliefs and that you can't go along with.

I would equate Chained CPI to this:

Your boss leaves the store and your co-worker suggests to you that together you open up the till and take some money. Does it matter how much money is taken?

Some of you argue that the amount of the money taken is what really matters. I disagree. The crime occurs when the till is opened. That's where one draws the line. That's where we are now.

A Social Security BENEFIT CUT is on the table.

Originally posted to Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:17 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Money and Public Purpose.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (153+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wayoutinthestix, masslib, exterris, JohnB47, sceptical observer, praenomen, WheninRome, maryabein, dance you monster, HCKAD, CTDemoFarmer, tomephil, Floande, gulfgal98, glitterscale, DRo, Timothy J, Mary Mike, Chi, Jeffersonian Democrat, pioneer111, scurrvydog, Matt Z, tarheelblue, ratador, triv33, sodalis, Alumbrados, mkor7, StevenJoseph, Sybil Liberty, Gustogirl, tobendaro, Only Needs a Beat, cybersaur, dkmich, Byron from Denver, andersr, muddy boots, One Pissed Off Liberal, real world chick, salmo, Marihilda, Wendys Wink, PhilJD, lunachickie, Sam Hill, expatjourno, kck, dotsright, Carol in San Antonio, quill, zerelda, rlochow, splashoil, gypsytoo, PrometheusUnbound, cosmic debris, DarkestHour, xaxnar, zaka1, TheGeneral, 2laneIA, fiddlingnero, pundit, NanaoKnows, Preston S, jamess, Just Bob, Dobber, Azazello, zerone, importer, priceman, leonard145b, jellyyork, tommymet, susakinovember, Dem Beans, gooderservice, Azubia, Laconic Lib, SpecialKinFlag, angel d, allenjo, copymark, Wolf10, tardis10, greenbell, Williston Barrett, forgore, Colorado is the Shiznit, ItsSimpleSimon, inclusiveheart, claude, Bailey Savings and Loan, pickandshovel, anodnhajo, Rhysling, sea note, Jim P, Ozzie, fabucat, drofx, rmonroe, StateofEuphoria, run around, CT Hank, JesseCW, Heimyankel, miracle11, kbman, VTCC73, chuckvw, nuclear winter solstice, Medium Head Boy, David Futurama, leeleedee, elwior, NY brit expat, jennylind, lostinamerica, psyched, Jim R, blueoasis, Man from Wasichustan, BlueDragon, Crabby Abbey, howd, cassandraX, terabytes, Sharon, puakev, RainyDay, PedalingPete, Noor B, melpomene1, semiot, fumie, FogCityJohn, uciguy30, brentbent, dkw, Willa Rogers, LarisaW, radical simplicity, Meteor Blades, emal, BusyinCA, opinionated, Calgacus, aliasalias, Jarrayy

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:17:49 AM PST

  •  No Republican will ever take down social security (67+ / 0-)

    That is something only a Democrat can do and Obama sees himself as that Democrat. He has been telegraphing this for years, he designed and implemented the fiscal cliff, he threatened to veto it if congress tried to change their suicide pact, and he is the first to negotiate away the gains of a century. He is the wet dream of the financial elites - he is Rmoney lite - republican lite - and a great betrayer of the democratic base and the American middle class. He is a liar of the same caliber as the Bush, Clinton, and Reagan.

    The amazing thing is that he tried his grand betrayal in July 2011. Had he been successful the current employment picture would be far worse, we'd be back in deep recession and Obama would be packing for his return home Chicago. The progressives and the T-baggers saved his presidency by denying him that victory, and that made his reelection possible. Bill Black lays all of this out brilliantly in a recent blog at NEP.

    •  I do not agree with President Obama on any (74+ / 0-)

      Grand Bargain that basically negates the Democrats entire reason for existence as the Party that represents the common man against the monied interests.

      But this is bigger than President Obama. He is in his second and last term.

      This is actually a defining moment for Democrats. We all have to decide collectively and individually if we will simply stand by watch the Party erode into a mostly meaningless container of empty populist bromides with no political action or will behind it. I would really like to see us fight to regain the moral core of the Party.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:50:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Left Wing Bubble (10+ / 0-)

      There have been many recommended diaries asking why. Markos had a front page diary in which he said he was "mystified". Yet Obama has made his position on SS very clear almost from the beginning. Many if not most progressives simply refuse to read and hear what has been very clear and well documented, and refuse to believe that Obama is not one of them, always citing a "rope-a-dope" strategy or making convoluted excuses about having to compromise on issues that aren't even part of the dialogue.

      The reason for the frustration and confusion is due to sites like this one who fail continually to properly inform readers of Democratic candidates who do not have Democratic values on some or all issues. The guy who beat Allen West was called a "true progressive" on the front page when he is actually a conservative. The front pagers on this site live in a bubble and/or are afraid to openly criticize Democrats.
      This site has absolutely no credibility to make fun of the right wing's confusion about how badly misinformed they were during the election and the resulting bewilderment.
      Remember, Markos said he was "mystified" about why Obama put SS on the table. That should be all you need to know about Dailykos.

      •  This has nothing to do with what Obama said or (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xaxnar, Laconic Lib, Azubia

        didn't say.   It has to do with being pissed off that the people who trashed the hotel room get to hand us the bill for the damage.  

        Not to mention that Biden said Social Security was off the table.

        If you don't like Daily Kos, take a hike troll.

        What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

        by dkmich on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:20:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are making the commenter's point... (8+ / 0-)

          by calling him/her a troll.

          So and so "said" such and such was "off the table"... should conjure up images of Lucy and the football for progressives at this point when it comes to the Democrats and their promises.

          Remember all those progressive caucus pledges SIGNed off on that they would vote no on a healthcare bill that didnt have a public option? And then every one of them, right down to Dennis Kucinich, voted FOR it?

          Remember how they lied about how in the dark they were about the lies behind the Iraq War when they voted FOR it, obviously in the know as to what was really going down?

          There are an abundance of other examples of Democrats' betrayal of progressive values.

          The commenter's/non-troll's comments are actually helpful to the fight for progressive values. Now if those who populate this site refuse to be helpful to progressive values, by insisting on supporting an increasingly right wing party over progressive values, then never mind...

      •  That Obama wants to cut SS is certain, (14+ / 0-)

        and I don't think Kos is in any doubt about that.  WHY he wants to cut it, though, still beats me too.  That only a Democrat could do it, and that he is a Democrat, explains nothing to me.  

        Trust me, you don't have to convince me that the President is not a progressive and never has been.  But it's one thing to not be a passionately committed progressive, be unenthusiastic about some progressive goals and programs, etc.  It's another entirely to be as resolutely hostile to fundamental Democratic values as Obama keeps showing himself to be, especially when people with those values have just shown themselves again to be a core part of his constituency.  

        I don't understand why he so insists on it.  I don't get how anyone calling himself a Democrat can possibly subscribe to such ideas.  I don't see why he behaves with such contempt toward his supporters, or thinks he can get away with it.  I don't know what makes him think he can this flagrantly violate clear explicit campaign promises on important issues.  In short, I just don't get it.  I share Kos's mystification.  

        •  Obama is obsessed with (10+ / 0-)

          being "the adult in the room."  His pragmatic deference to the so-called economic experts leads him mistakenly to believe that SS is unsustainable in the long run--so why not be the good father figure and fix it now since its for the long term good of all us mere kids.  What's really sad is that he is totally wrong about SS, the deficit, the debt and how the economy actually runs.  To him there is no economy without the financial leadership of the corporate plutocrats.  The economy exists to support them, not the other way around.

          He must take care of the financial elites, give them 29 trillion, while the middle class and the poor remain stuck in the snow--all this for the so called the good of the overall economy.  He fails to understand that the economy is nothing if doesn't raise us all above the selfish needs of the financial elites.

          •  If this were Romney making this decision... (8+ / 0-)

            would you describe him in the best possible light, such as having "pragmatic deference," being "the adult in the room," "the good father figure," and "failing to understand"?

            Would you just feel "really sad" as opposed to ripping mad?

            I point this out not to try to down you personally, but to point out how party loyalty encourages the watering down of framing what is clearly wrongdoing by leaders of the Democratic party.

            They count on this.  

            •  Romney would not (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoasis, BlueDragon

              differ to the expert, he is the expert--equally wrong though!

            •  To quote MLK (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ferg, rlochow, BlueDragon, BusyinCA

              'Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

              •  I am sorry but while the President (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, BlueDragon

                of the United States is not expected to be "the expert" he is expected to have the intelligence and judgement to seek out and listen to "the experts" and then make smart, ethically sound decisions.

                (And re "the experts": the President is expected to be able to distinguish between a one-sided team of non-rivals to the status quo and actual oppositional opinions from the expert pool when he is in his "learning phase" - and listen to both. And then apply the sound judgment of a true leader.)

                •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

                  in this case he would have been more rational, and right, if he listened to his heart.  But adults in the room have still their hearts and make hard decisions.  You know, like choose between the financial plutocracy and your grandma.

            •  Both sides are using the same framing (6+ / 0-)

              Debt fear
              deficit OMG
              bond vigilantes
              selling out our children's future

              It is all bullshit whether it issues forth from Obama's mouth or Boehner's, or Rmoney, or Pete Peterson, or any of the other financial gurus of the plutocracy sent to deceive us. They lie about how the economy works. They lie about why we have $16T in totally unnecessary debt, they lie to make themselves richer and the rest of us in their debt. Their entire economic model is a fantasy constructed on ceteris paribus reasoning that bears no relationship to the real world. It's function is to diver capital from industrial uses into nonproductive financial instruments that drain the economy into the coffers of the creditors, the banks and the economic elites.

        •  The only way anyone could be (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NYCee, oldhippie, blueoasis

          mystified by this, is if they have no idea how this pay to play political system works at all.

      •  How on earth (5+ / 0-)

        could you frame that as a 'left wing' bubble?  

        When it's quite obvious there is nothing 'left' about the front pagers you are talking about?  

        •  I havent read them much lately... (6+ / 0-)

          But I have to say, from past readings, I agree with your assessment. And that goes for many more than the front pagers.  

          Any "progressive" site openly devoted to keeping this party strong - "fluffing" for its elected officials, like Sharpton or Martin Bashir do on MSNBC, or Rachel Maddow, for that matter - in the face of its continual betrayal of progressive values, cannot be progressive. It defies logic.

          It is perhaps more accurate to say that the majority on this site, whether wittingly or unwittingly, have played their part in maintaining the illusion, and thus, the status quo.

          •  I agree with that, (4+ / 0-)

            but it irks me to no end the re-definition of Democratic to left or even to Socialist.

            The Democratic party is right of center...

            •  That's right! So then, logically, a progressive... (5+ / 0-)

              would not provide cover or support for them. Or when doing so they would always attach a caveat, mandatory:

              "I am only providing cover and support for their center-right behavior here because I have signed onto the idea that we cant do any better than that."
              •  Unbelievable (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BlackClouds

                What makes this reaction so fantastical to me is that none of this has actually occurred yet, and you are simply choosing which gossip you believe.

                Why you so called progressives want to burn down the Democratic party is simply beyond me. You provide absolutely no plan for bringing about the changes you want. You know damn well that if a progressive bloc in Congress blocked anything that the President wanted to do that it would simply empower the Republicans. You just gloss over this fact.

                On the other hand, you portray anyone who doesn't agree with your non-strategy of destroying the Obama presidency as some kind of zombie robot who would never disobey orders. Perhaps this is true, but it's an open question whether this is actually worse than being a purity troll.

                It shouldn't be that way? Maybe so. But it is. And that is why the last thing you are is a progressive. What you are is someone who would rather righteously complain about a President like Bush than try and cooperate with one like Obama.

                We all righteously complained for 8 years and it almost destroyed this whole country. Now we are not on the way to a liberal utopia with Obama, but we are back from the brink of destruction. Yet you seem to be fond for the good old days, don't you?

                GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

                by Attorney at Arms on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:15:11 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  George Bush didn't cut my Social Security (6+ / 0-)

                  That's my definition of destruction.  I'm not complaining that Obama didn't legalize pot or protect an endangered fish.  

                  Social Security and Medicare are my 3rd rail.  I do not care what they do on any other issue if they surrender these.  

                  Nothing else makes up for this.  If you are on the left you put up with an endless list of policies you oppose, but this is the last straw.  Social Security is not a left issue.  Social Security is a fundamental, party defining issue.

                  If they won't protect Social Security then turn out the lights the party is over.

                •  Purity troll? (5+ / 0-)

                  There are no purity trolls or anything close to it on this site or even in Occupy Wall Street. They exist only as fuzz on the farthest edges of the fringe.

                  Your outrage is bizarre, given that you direct it at outrage directed at the President's/Democrats whack at SSI, despite the party's long standing stance that this would be the dirty work of the villainous Republicans and Democrats will protect them against this. Then they propose to cross that rubicon, fresh off an election where they WON, and you expect crickets?

                  Progressives' outrage is not bizarre, although any profound shock is bizarre for anyone who hasnt just begun to pay attention, given how this movie is such a rerun.

                  We have seen such outrage here before and very little comes of it, at the end of the day, in terms of progressives abandoning the party or drawing a really effective line in the sand. Usually there is a flurry of outrage and empty threats for a while to "do something," some petitions are passed around and signed ... and then nothing changes.

                  That's why we are still being betrayed, why we still have this center-right status quo, fed by both parties - given that their opposition to each other has boiled down, at the end of the day, to a distinction without a real difference.

                  And when the next election comes up, all this is swept under the rug and its back to wildly and enthusiastically supporting the Democrats. There is some grumbling around the edges but it is as minimal as the existence of purity trolls, which is so minimal it has zero impact on the results.  

                  •   Oh, but you are clueless purity trolls! (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BlackClouds

                    There have been no cuts to SS. Only an offer that has been refused. An offer anyone with a lick of sense knew would be refused.  You are having a hyperboplic fit over nothing. Nothing has happened and the mere mention of SS or an offer does not make it enacted policy.

                    You are Obama haters who, like the right, jump on any word any action and twist it into some grand betrayal or CT. In other words, into something it is not.

                    Do the democratic party a favor and begone trolls!

                    •  do you know why nothing happened (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Phoebe Loosinhouse

                      Nothing has happened because outraged "purity trolls" called, emailed and wrote their Representatives and Senators and complained loudly and forcefully about the proposal.

                      "Purity trolls" reminded members of the House Progressive Caucus that they should vote their liberal convictions.

                      I don't think we're out of the woods yet, but concerned citizens have made a difference on this issue.

                      SS has nothing to do with the "deficit."

                      I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                      by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:25:58 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

                        You guys did not impact the Rethug decision to reject the deal. NADA! Stop tripping. The Progressive caucus did not vote on anything.

                        •  I know the Progressives didn't vote (0+ / 0-)

                          But the President had to shelve the Grand Bargain on Friday. If they thought they had enough democratic votes to bring to Bohner to get a bill through the House along with a rump republican caucus don't you think they would have tried to keep the bigger deal alive?

                          Stop encouraging people to believe they're powerless.

                          I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                          by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:17:37 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

      •   I finally didn't vote for him over SS (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice

        I wanted someone to talk me into it, but Obama and Ed Rendell kept talking me out of it.  His interview with the Des Moines Register was the final tell.

        •  Great (0+ / 0-)

          I'm glad more people had more sense than you. The whole program might have been destroyed our voucherized under a Republican administration or a permanent conservative majority on the Supreme Court, but hey...

          GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

          by Attorney at Arms on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:16:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll repeat George Bush didn't cut Social Security (2+ / 0-)

            and even the Reagan deal raised the cap to bring in more revenue.

            I have a hunch considering how badly Republicans need older voters, that they'd do less damage than they say.

            But then, they seem to have figured out how to get the Democratic Party to do it for them.

            What do I care about the Supreme Court if Democrats cut Social Security?  What's the court going to do to me that's worse than that?

    •  Well sure. Chained cpi is Obama's way of (0+ / 0-)

      "taking down social security"  
      I honestly think that this crap has taken the far left out of the conversation much like LaPierre has taken the NRA out of the conversation.

      •  "the far left..."? Really? (8+ / 0-)

        LOL

        You have no clue whatsoever about what makes for the Far Left.

        You have, however, as an American, benefited greatly throughout your life because of actions by the Far Left before your were born, the Far Left that pushed FDR into the Socialism-lite compromise of the New Deal (which included SS, in case you are unfamiliar with American history)  and subsequent post-war policies that leveled the playing field for the working(producing)  classes and that led to the creation of the great American Middle Class of which you are a part and a beneficiary.

        Or are you one of those deluded souls who claim to have made it all on your own?

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:58:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with one thing. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackClouds

          The people who want to burn down the Democratic party aren't the 'far left.' They are neither left nor right. They are simply political arsonists who give much less of a shit about what actually happens policy-wise than whether or not people bow down to their big dicks and comply with whatever their purity measure of the week is.

          Not long ago, Obama was impure because he refused to say anything about guns. Now he's said something about guns, so a hypothetical social security cut is the outrage of the day.

          I don't want Obama to cut SS. If anything, the retirement age should be lowered. I get it.

          Now you guys are trying to discredit and attack Nancy Pelosi, the most progressive house leader ever. To me that's the tell that you are all either a pack of trolls from Redstate or are simply out of your fucking skulls.

          GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

          by Attorney at Arms on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:20:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  How is your position and different than the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kickemout, BlackClouds

      T-baggers?  They think that 100 percent of the deficit can be eliminated by merely having spending cuts.  You (apparently) are arguing that the structural problems with SS can be 100 percent fixed merely by raising taxes.

      Your approach and that of the T-bagger's is one of rigid political orthodoxy and are truly fringe positions.  We live in a big, complex diverse country and no reality based person would argue that in such a country that the deficit and SS will be fixed in any way other than a mixture of tax increases and government/benefit cuts.

      Obama has been pretty clear for awhile that he is a reality based politician and is going to try to make compromises that he views in the best long term interest of the country.  The far left and the far right be damned.  I frankly am encouraged by this.

      With that said, since SS is not really impacting the current deficit I'm not sure why SS is a part of the current negotiations.  Ideally SS and Medicare should be reformed in a non-rushed fashion and in separate legislation after a vigorous debate.  But I would argue that the chained CPI change was the really low hanging fruit and was going to be a part of any deal regarding SS anyway and so it matters very little either tactically or strategically if it is included in these negotiations.

      We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

      by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:26:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  because of math (18+ / 0-)

        See WP: Choose Your Own Fiscal Cliff Adventure.

        Returning taxes to Clinton rates and adding a Carbon tax does solve the deficit without any spending cuts beyond the sequester.

        Raising SS taxes can pay for all SS benefits. Raising the cap by itself comes close.

        That's just math and budget projections.

        Your "both sides are equally wrong" bullshit is just as ignorant as the Republicans. If you look at the actual budget instead of mindlessly repeating "he said/she said" Village orthodoxy, you'll discover that you're actually wrong.

        Look at the data instead of mindlessly repeating that "both sides are wrong" without looking at the data. Mindless Village "moderate" orthodoxy is just as idiotic as the Republicans: neither looks at the data, instead just repeating memorized ideology.

        •  Thanks for the gratuitous insults (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sea note, BlackClouds

          The irony might be missed on you but there is a type of poster that thinks that when they spot a "both sides are equally wrong" argument and they should reflexively write a comment full of righteous indignation about this type of erroneous thinking.  They might even write overused tropes like "Village orthodoxy" and say "mindless" a few times to make their point, when all along there point was undermined because the original commenter used a specific example and didn't make broad generalizations.

          So if you care to engage in the actual debate I would be happy to discuss, learn and grow with you.  If you want to attack, then we can end this right here.

          As to the few points that you make:

          Yes, I favor a return to the Clinton era tax rates for the top rate.  Yes, I favor a Carbon tax and in fact favor a rather large carbon tax along with some sort of direct aid back to all people to help pay for the increase in prices that will result from the carbon tax (Similar to cap and dividend).  Yes, I favor cutting defense substantially.

          And before you argue that I don't look at the data perhaps you should understand that you don't have much data on me and that you are making an ill-founded assumption about where I'm coming from.  If you understand Ned Hermann's whole brain theory I'll pass along that I'm extremely "blue" and that typically means that I am analytical and fact based and if you present facts, I, unlike many people am happy to change my opinion on something.

          Be well.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:44:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "rigid political orthodoxy" and "truly fringe" (8+ / 0-)

            were your terms.

            It's simply, mathematically true that SS revenues can be increased to pay projected benefits. "Merely increasing taxes" can in fact 100% fix the SS problems.

            If you disagree, please explain how it's impossible to raise taxes to cover SS benefits.

            •  You are correct (0+ / 0-)

              It is simply, mathematically true that the fiscal gap in SS funding can be fixed merely with tax increases.  On that we can both agree.

              I think we can also agree that it is simply, mathematically true that we can eliminate the deficit by merely cutting government programs/services.

              My point is that regardless if the math works, the reality is that  these types of changes need to be worked out through our elected representatives and neither of those options are politically possible in the way our system works.  So when I see arguments on the right that say we can balance the budget merely by cutting government spending, I tend to laugh and counter that argument.  When I see arguments on the left that say that we can fix SS (and Medicare) merely through tax increases, I tend to laugh and counter the argument.

              Neither side is mathematically wrong, it's just that their positions offer very little to the political dialogue because they aren't politically possible given the makeup of Congress and the political makeup of the American public.

              Hope that makes more sense.

              We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

              by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:45:06 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  If you are going to use math, how about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlueDragon, Sharon

          plain old sector analysis. The federal deficit is dollar for dollar the private sector's surplus. If the federal budget is brought into balance, GDP and private sector financial wealth will shrink by the amount of our trade deficit. These are mathematical identities. They really are not arguable, it's just that nobody seems to want to mention them. The federal government has been in deficit for most of our history. On the 7 occasions the budget was intentionally brought into balance/surplus, we had 6 depressions and the current great recession. Federal deficits make the economy run. They are not like personal or business deficits, or even state deficits. The US is the issuer of the currency. US dollars come into existence by being spent by the government into the private sector. That is the government's contribution to the economy. All of these assholes want that contribution to decline. It is insane.

          •  well, not just federal spending (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Old Surgeon

            but by the federal reserve lending to banks which then lend more into existence.

            thank you for injecting facts into this debate we shouldn't have to have on a supposedly progressive site.

            Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

            by BlueDragon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:48:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Banks produce credit money (0+ / 0-)

              but the Fed produces the real thing. The difference is that when the bank creates money it creates both the debit (a demand deposit of the loan proceeds) and the credit (the loan itself and its security, if any, are assets). These cancel each other out and the bank is left with the interest payments. Those had to come from another source through the debtor. Real money (often referred to as "high power money" - HPM) is different because when the dollar is issued, the asset and liability are separated. The Fed (treasury) holds the liability in the public sector and the private sector gets the asset. HPM is necessary to have net financial assets in the private sector.

      •  The notion that preserving Social Security is a (20+ / 0-)

        far-left idea is ridiculous.  SS is now sufficiently mainstream that I bet if you took a simple poll -- shall we reduce Social Security benefits? -- you'd find less than 25 percent in favor.  It's not a "pony."  

        I flatter myself that I'm reality-based too, thank you, and I really am prepared to give up some things I hadn't wanted to sacrifice.  But NOT THIS.  

        •  Furthermore, (15+ / 0-)

          The notion that SS  needs fixing is a right wing fallacy.  Here's another: SS adds to the deficit.
          And another: the deficit is an immediate problem that we must start fixing today.  In the middle of high unemployment.
          And another: "Balance" means that every demographic has to sacrifice in this bill.  The98% have already lost wages, jobs, homes, and pensions worth trillions of dollars.  AND we paid for the bailouts, that saved wall st.  93% of the gains from the bailout went to the top 1%.   Until THAT is balanced, the very notion that sacrifice must be made by the poorest is"unbalanced".  It is utterly filthy to demand "balance" while those losses are still sitting on the scales

          •  On your points: (0+ / 0-)

            The SS and Medicare Trustees are not a bunch of right wingers and they would disagree with your assessment that SS doesn't need fixing.

            SS has recently added to the deficit and will do so in the future.  But SS, at the moment, is running a slight surplus, IIRC.

            As for the deficit being an immediate problem.  That one is much more subjective.  For the better part of 3 decades we have been running deficits with only a few years in the Clinton years where we paid for the government that we, through our elected officials, said we wanted.  So now the debt is over $16 trillion and our deficit is over $1 trillion.  I personally think both are unacceptable and am willing to sacrifice some to get these back under control.  How we should do so collectively should be debated and there is no reason to delay the debate.  Implementation timing should be debated as well because we don't want to needlessly throw the economy back into recession but the current path is unsustainable and that means big changes are going to be coming.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:43:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  the deficit is not, not, not (0+ / 0-)

              a real issue at this moment.

              and no amount of braying on the right, middle or even left will change that.

              government debt is nothing like individual or corporate debt.

              i would encourage the usa to go further into debt.

              it is crucial we spend those dollars on creating real wealth in built environment and human resources in the form of education.

              Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

              by BlueDragon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:52:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  If preserving social security (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoebe Loosinhouse, Azubia

            is "far left" then I am unapologeticaslly far left and have nothing but contempt for the right wingers(especially the supposed Democrats) who see it as a "far left" idea.

            You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

            by Johnny Q on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:37:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  It appears that you are misunderstanding (0+ / 0-)

          me and so either I wasn't clear or you read into what I wrote in a way that was not intended by me.  So let me be clear.  Preserving SS is NOT a far left idea.  SS is popular among the left, the center and the right.  I think there is a broad consensus that we should keep SS for today's seniors, the boomers and all the generations that follow them.

          Under current law SS is expected to pay out about 25 percent less in benefits than what is promised to those younger generations.  I do not support those cuts.  There are many options regarding how to avoid this gap and I'm for discussing them all.  I further understand that progressives are far more likely to favor eliminating this gap with tax increases and that conservatives are more likely to favor eliminating this gap with benefit cuts split more evenly among all generations.

          I would like to see the debate unfold and I would expect that the result would be that SS would be "fixed" by a mixture of tax increases and benefit cuts as neither the progressives or the conservatives have enough political clout to get 100 percent of what they want.  But very few of us are actually clamoring for this debate because the compromise will likely be shared sacrifice and very few of us are willing to sacrifice anything.  And so we force all those sacrifices on the younger generations and I view that as immoral.

          And if we remove the debate from the theoretical to the real world, here is what I would say.  I have parents that are about to collect SS.  They earned it and I'll fight for them to keep it.  I also have two young children.  And I'll fight to keep SS for them.  But above all I want to make sure that SS is fair to my parents and fair to my kids (and future generations).  What is "fair" is largely in the eye of the beholder and so I understand that we will all have our own ideas about it but I'm willing to discuss it now (ie in the next Congress) and come up with a game plan to be fair to all generations for the long term.  

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:09:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You equated anyone not in favor of idiotic (8+ / 0-)

            austerity during an on-going real economy Depression with teabaggers who believe we should never raise taxes no matter what our needs are.

            You don't need to engage in laughable contortions in an effort to pretend you were misunderstood.

            You just need to say "sorry".

            "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

            by JesseCW on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:46:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You misunderstand my position or you (0+ / 0-)

              are intentionally misstating it.  

              If you re-read my comment and try to address the point I made regarding rigid commitment to ideology over the political reality of a diverse country that would be constructive.

              I have no real problem with the fringes of the left and the fringes of the right (whether they represent 1 percent or 10 percent of the population) expressing their absolutist positions.  But if they intentionally de-rail the vast majority of Americans who actually want to try and solve some of the problems we face, then I see no problem equating the extremists on both sides with each other.  The fact that I'm closer in my position to today's mainstream Democrats than the right wing tea baggers doesn't change that the extremists are given too much power.

              And for the record, the problem is indeed much worse with the Repubs especially elected Repubs vs elected Dems.

              We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

              by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:25:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  sometimes 'extremists' are right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, emal

                both in intent and analysis.  

                Donate to Occupy Wall Street here: http://nycga.cc/donate/

                by BlueDragon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:55:07 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  The middle ground is the land of Free Soil, (0+ / 0-)

                Separate but Equal, and only deporting the card-carrying proven Commies.

                It is not a place of virtue.

                Before continuing your fallacy ridden argument from numbers, though, you need to admit you're part of a right-wing fringe willing to support cuts to Social Security.  

                2/3rds of the country passionately rejects your extremist scheme for injuring the elderly.

                "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                by JesseCW on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 02:41:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  As a 50 year old (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RainyDay, Willa Rogers, tardis10

            I find this entire argument surreal.

            25 years ago, young people like me were asked to accept a later retirement age, 67, and a slimmer benefit so we could save SS.

            So in 1986, Congress lifted the cap on wages subject to FICA, increased the employer and employee tax rate for FICA, created a trust fund and called it a day.

            25 years later, we're back.

            I didn't mind the changes back then, but the subsequent years have made my chary about this whole exercise.

            I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

            by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:40:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  If you think cutting benefits is low hanging (9+ / 0-)

        fruit, we really aren't on the same planet.

        •  Perhaps we aren't but here's the reality of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackClouds

          the situation.  From the point of view of a SS recipient what they will see is that, after this change went into effect, that their SS will go up next year.  The year after that they will also get more than they got the year before that.  Then the year after that they will get even more than they got the year before, etc, etc, etc. year after year.

          So yes, I understand it changes the way inflation is calculated and that, yes, one can view it as a cut.  It can also be viewed as slowly increasing the monthly benefit checks.  I see it both ways and understand why Democratic leadership viewed this as the least painful way to make a concession out of what Boehner proposed.

          We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

          by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:52:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  uh, no, that is not my point of view (6+ / 0-)

            And that is nowhere near reality.  I live that reality daily.

            my point of view is that I will be paying more in purchasing power for my rent every year until I have to move out of my modest apartment because of rent inflation to a one bedroom guesthouse.  Or instead of beef I have to buy chicken.

            That is a cut, and it culminates year after year.

            This has nothing to do with ideology, I'm just a pissed-off disabled veteran who spent 10 years battling bureaucracy to get benefits and now they are about to be cut.  That is reality

      •  The Tea Party gets what it wants (0+ / 0-)

        That's how it's different.

      •  You obviously aren't dependent on Social Security. (0+ / 0-)

        Your definition of FLEXIBLE is to have the Government who swore oaths to protect us manufacture a crisis for the entire country. And then turn around and LIE to us and use that crisis to cut S.S. benefits for our most vulnerable citizens- even though, as you have already admitted, SS is not even impacting the deficit.........

        Who isn't dealing with reality?

        If you define honesty, integrity, and the idea that oaths of service to this country are sacred  as "rigid" and "fringe" Then this country is truly gone to hell. And certainly democracy as I was taught to understand it no longer exists.

    •  Your opening line was exactly what I thought... (7+ / 0-)

      when I heard of this latest Obama/Democratic Party debacle. It is your classic "Only Nixon could go to China."

      And Nixon was actually more liberal than Obama and many Democrats these days when it came to his policies!

      Likewise, Obama is actually much more conservative than is the presentation of him. It seems that it is his adoring flipper-flapping media fan base (like most on MSNBC) who get the most credit for cleverly and continually presenting him as a true liberal at heart, much more than he himself ever bothers to do. He doesn't even manage to ACT like he has any passion for progressive values or policies.

      Yet the band plays on and the fans clap on when the cue cards go up...

      This is probably the most distressing aspect of the downward spiral of our political dysfunction.

    •  What this says to me is that the president (6+ / 0-)

      knows (or has been informed that) the American middle class will never be able to make up the income gap between themselves and the rich, salaries will continue to remain flat, and unemployment will always hover around 8 and 9% for the foreseeable future.

      In other words, Social Security will be in crisis because the American middle class will be in crisis and as economic expectations of the American middle class diminish, so go the retirement expectations of the nation's retirees. And this is how the president has decided to respond.

      That being said, I see this as a surrender of sorts to the oligarchs by those elected to represent us and thus, the once great middle class of America is fucked.

      Unless.

      Unless we find at way to take matters into our own hands and shut this machine down. Unless we have the guts to put ourselves on the lines like our forebears had. Unless we are willing to fight for our rights and start new union movements.

      Or perhaps just one union, a union of the middle class.

      Otherwise we are indeed fucked.

      Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

      by Pescadero Bill on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:40:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama = Romney? (0+ / 0-)

      Is that really what you are saying? Obama equals Bush will get HRs here, but apparently Obama equals Romney is great!

      A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by notrouble on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:40:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, Democrats are allowed (5+ / 0-)

        to do nuance, and not reduce everything to cartoonish a=b equations.

        It's the Republicans who can't do that, so maybe some reflection on actual policy might be useful.


        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:10:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There ain't no nuance (0+ / 0-)

          In Old Surgeon's comment.

          A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by notrouble on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:20:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Romney lite is not identical to Romney. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, BlueDragon, elwior

            Outside of Social Issues: the Eternal War Formerly Known as On Terror; protecting and enhancing the criminal enterprise we call Wall Street; on the "All Americans are suspects" notion with its surveillance of all Americans; on bypassing the Bill of Rights; damaging recipients of Social Security...

            Well, technically, all these things are the property of both Parties as we have them today. But most democratic voters would take those actions and positions to be of a Republican nature.


            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:43:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  He is the wet dream of the financial elites (0+ / 0-)
              He is a liar of the same caliber as the Bush, Clinton, and Reagan.
              "nuance"

              A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by notrouble on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:00:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here are some lies from all 4 of them: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BlueDragon

                1. Like households and businesses, the Federal Government must finance its spending out of income or through borrowing.
                2. The purpose of federal taxation is to finance government spending.
                3. The Federal Government borrows money from the private sector to finance budget deficits.
                4. The Federal Government takes pressure off of interest rates by running surpluses thus leaving more funds are available for private sector investment.
                5. Persistent budget deficits will produce inflation and higher interest rates for future generations.
                6. Federal Government budget surpluses will build the necessary reserves to cope with the future needs of our aging population.

                These six statements are all demonstrably false, a fact recognized by people knowledgeable about central bank function on both the right and the left. I have posted several diaries and scores of comments here about this subject. Here's a good explanation on video of why these six statements are fallacies.

                •  Lies? (0+ / 0-)

                  1. Those two ways and "printing money" (on the books does not necessarily mean physically printed) is how the government pays for spending. Printing money is not "free" as it can result in a loss of value in the currency. Think of money kinda like stock in the United State of America. Dilution is not the solution.
                  2. That is one very real purpose of taxation. We remind the republicans of that every time they toss out their "cut taxes to raise revenue" B.S.
                  3. In part it does. About 40% of the national debt is privately held, including foreign governments and pension funds. About 16% of the national debt is owed to the Social Security trust fund.
                  4. It is but one factor, of many, that determine interest rates. This is a market based thing, where investors are looking for the best return possible at their chosen level of risk. All investment carries some risk.
                  5. It is but one factor, of many. Look at any country where the level of debt has become un-payable and you will almost always see high levels of inflation.
                  6. That is a complete lie, but I've never head it claimed. We could run surpluses for a long time before we paid off the national debt.

                  A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by notrouble on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:08:45 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Rec you watch the video linked above (0+ / 0-)

                    It will explain why you are mistaken in so many of the views you just expressed. As for number 6, what is the social security trust fund supposed to be but a surplus being built as a necessary reserve to cope with future expenditures for the elderly? All of the so-called trust funds purport to do the same, although it is all fictitious.

    •   You people did this the last time. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackClouds

      You don't understand negotiations or compromise. In 2011 when Obama said everything is on the table you went apoplectic. Because something is discussed does not make it law. Then you said the president caved, it was a 'shit sandwich' and Boehner got 99% of what he wanted.  Boehner is a moron, he got nothing. In the sequester he got a $500 billion dollar cut to DOD and Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are protected.

      This time the president threw him a bone he knew they would reject. This site and so called progressives went ballistic. They are  shouting to the world  that Obama has gutted Social Security.  No such thing.  It was an offer not a fait accompli. The damage is being done here and by other  so called progressives.  Let the world know you hate the president, call him a wimp etc.  The other night someone on this site went so far as to call the president "a stupid n**ger."

      Tell the world that his 'supporters' have feel betrayed and are abandoning the president.  Let's see how that affects 2014. Let's hope we don't have the entire congress and all state legislatures run by TPs.

      You people need to stop the back seat driving and STFU!

      •  Nope, sorry, can't shut up. We trusted too long (0+ / 0-)

        and kept silent too long. We are part of why this mess exists.

         I didn't pay attention to my government my whole young life and ended up with Bush and Chenney, an illegal war. Wall Street Crash deregulation, stolen homes lost jobs, and global warming at my doorstep. Because I didn't pay attention, and I didn't participate.

        I will never be quiet again. I will never stop screaming for justice, I will NEVER stop calling elected officials on their lies and bullshit EVER again, and maybe, someday, I will be able to forgive myself for the soldiers who are not coming home, and the children who have been murdered, and the people who have had their homes stolen by the banks because I was quiet.

        STFU and let the incompetent people who lead us to this place push a bunch of tax paying veterans, loyal citizens of this country people into poverty in order to appease John Boehner? I WILL BE QUIET WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER.

  •  The President (16+ / 0-)

    did not "introduce" chained CPI, in consultation with Pelosi and Reid it was chosen as the least onerous of one of several compromise measures offered by Boehner .

    As part of a deal that would include higher taxes on top earners and an increase in the debt limit, Republicans are pushing a plan to index Social Security benefits and perhaps tax brackets to a slower-growing measure of inflation called chained CPI.
    Now that we have that straight, ya'll can continue your character assassination of the President.

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:49:27 AM PST

  •  the CPI proposal has put R's on wrong side (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    durrati, shrike, Matt Z, Cedwyn, cato, BlackClouds

    again. It shows the American people (you know that collective conglomerate we all speak of so easily) that the President is trying to compromise; even to the point of discouraging his own base.
    But, please step back and take a look at the immediate effect of the cost of living index cut you speak of. At a .5% decline in payment adjustments, the average SS beneficiary might lose a couple dollars a month less rise in his payments. That's hardly reason for a revolt against the President from this site.
    Congress pays the bills, the President can only act as a shield against the bad legislation coming out of this lame duck House. The President has put something on the table, and its something that the GOP cannot dismiss or deny. Their proposals however only continue the 'protect the rich' dogma of the current Rep party. Its like their new clothes aren't hiding their shameful parts.

    •  It's all relative (24+ / 0-)

      It matters the most to the poorest. This is what makes it so reprehensible in my opinion.

      It is of the most consequence to those of the least consequence.

      What chained CPI proposal by Obama means

      Differences between the two inflation measures are small, often about 0.3 percent in a given year. But over time, the impact can add up. Basing the COLA adjustments on the chained CPI instead of on the traditional CPI would cut the typical 65-year-old's benefit by $130 per year, but after 30 years of retirement that person's annual income would be $1,400 less, says the National Committee To Preserve, Social Security & Medicare.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:06:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  after 30 years...that's 95 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nalepoc, ivorybill, Nova Land

        even for women, who live longer, the median age at death is 80.

        for seniors under 80, only 25% or so rely solely on SS.  for those over 80, it's higher, but still not a majority.

        it's also true that seniors now get annual check-ups and preventive screenings for free under medicare.  and the average savings from closing the doughnut hole is about $400 per year, and that's at the low end.

        so if we can take care of the poorest and those over 80, why is it so zomg? there are plenty of seniors who do not need one penny of their SS retirement.

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

        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:09:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then Limit the Cuts to Theirs nt (3+ / 0-)

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:29:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  sure...cue the hue and cry (0+ / 0-)

            about how that makes it welfare, yadda yadda.  it should be welfare from the general fund, but the conservatives of FDR's day demanded it be based on pay-ins like the payroll tax.

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

            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:45:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Once again (13+ / 0-)

              NO.

              How many ways can we spell that for you?

              It is time to #Occupy Media.

              by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:04:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no what? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nova Land

                to what are you saying "no"?

                is there not a hue and cry about turning SS into a welfare program if the spread between pay-ins and payouts gets too wide?

                do you disagree that SS should be welfare from the general fund, instead of relying on the regressive payroll tax model?

                or are you saying that the payroll tax model did not originate with the conservatives of FDR's day?

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

                by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:08:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  to your (12+ / 0-)

                  annoying, relentless spin for this CPI bullshit, over and over and over, in every attempt to discuss it in these--and other--diary comments section.

                  You've made your point crystal clear. Stop making it ad nauseam, long enough to comprehend what the word NO means in this context without pushing the same annoying, relentless spin for this CPI bullshit again.

                  It is time to #Occupy Media.

                  by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:14:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  fascinating (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Jeff Simpson

                    when i point out that SS is in trouble long-term and how discussions about SS are not directly related to the broader debt debate, it's spamming.  but the myriad diaries in which you say i do this insisting that SS be left alone and not touched in any way, shape, or form are not.  

                    so one side can make their point ad nauseam, but not the other.  got it!

                    by the by, the comment to which you barfed up "no" in reply said NOTHING about chained CPI.  if you're going to say that's what your reply was about, at least append it to the right comment, hey.  so do you have any thoughts on what i actually DID say in the comment to which you replied?

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

                    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:22:30 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  As has been explained to you many times (4+ / 0-)

                  SSis regressive in how it collects,progressive in how it pays benefits.
                  Because NO,I do not want SS paid out of the GF as welfare,I can accept this model. There are ways to improve it but a chained cpi isn't one of them. Especially because we don't actually have a complete index for the elderly.

                  The point that currently 25% of seniors have only SS income is true. But that is just one fact among many.

                  For nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of elderly beneficiaries, Social Security provides the majority of their cash income. For more than one-third (36 percent), it provides more than 90 percent of their income. For one-quarter (24 percent) of elderly beneficiaries, Social Security is the sole source of retirement income.[21] (See figure below.)

                  Reliance on Social Security increases with age, as older people are less likely to work and more likely to have depleted their savings. Among those aged 80 or older, Social Security provides the majority of income for 76 percent of beneficiaries and nearly all of the income for 45 percent of beneficiaries. http://www.cbpp.org/...

                  These percentages have been increasing because new retirees didn't have the access to pensions that older ones did. (gee,maybe workers should band together and try to get something going like that...) Further,30 years of stagnant wages,a housing crisis,decimated 401Ks and high unemployment means many will rely more heavily on SS in the future. Which brings up these facts.
                  Social Security benefits are much more modest than many people realize. In June 2012, the average Social Security retirement benefit was $1,234 a month, or about $14,800 a year.[13] (The average disabled worker and aged widow received slightly less.) For someone who worked all of his or her adult life at average earnings and retires at 65 in 2012, Social Security benefits replace about 41 percent of past earnings.[14]   This “replacement rate” will slip to about 36 percent for a medium earner retiring at 65 in the future, chiefly because the full retirement age, which has already risen to 66, will climb to 67 over the 2017-2022 period.

                  Moreover, most retirees enroll in Medicare’s Supplementary Medical Insurance (also known as Medicare Part B) and have Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks.  As health-care costs continue to outpace general inflation, those premiums will take a bigger bite out of their checks.[15]

                  Social Security benefits are modest by international standards, too. The  United States ranks 30th among 34 developed countries in the percentage of a median worker’s earnings that the public-pension system replaces.

                  I get that you don't like SS. But the American people who overwhelmingly support SS don't agree. A very good thing,I'd say.

                  "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

                  by tardis10 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:33:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  right...i don't like SS (0+ / 0-)

                    yah...that's going to get people to take you seriously.

                    but just for the record, i have consistently qualified that the poorest need to be protected, whatever ends up happening.  that includes those currently on UI for whom it expires at the end of this month.

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

                    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:03:50 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Hey look! Someone above hacked your (0+ / 0-)

                      account and wrote this a couple of times.
                       

                      it should be welfare from the general fund,
                      C'mon,that is not supportive of SS and its mission.
                      What you support is a very,very meager guaranteed income for those not working,as you say,welfare.    

                      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

                      by tardis10 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:34:44 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  feh (0+ / 0-)

                        having a separate dedicated fund is precisely what allows it to be attacked for shortfalls.

                        the sooner we come clean and own up to the obligation as standard policy without the regressive payroll tax -- a point i've long argued, btw -- the better.

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:39:40 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  I can't rec this fact based comment enough (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    tardis10

                    I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                    by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:57:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  And the conservatives of today are more... (11+ / 0-)

              ...progressive? Really? Now Social Security doesn't need as much protection from conservatives?

              In fact, FDR saw the payroll tax as a way to protect it: http://www.ssa.gov/...

              In the course of this discussion I raised the question of the ultimate abandonment the pay roll taxes in connection with old age security and unemployment relief in the event of another period of depression. I suggested that it had been a mistake to levy these taxes in the 1930’s when the social security program was orgiginally adopted. FDR said, “I guess you’re right on the economics. They are politics all the way through. We put those pay roll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions and their unemployment benefits. With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program. Those taxes aren’t a matter of economics, they’re straight politics.”

              FDR also mentioned the psychological effect of contributions in destroying the “relief attitude.”

              So you, like Gulick, may be right on the economics. But I'll go with FDR's political strategy on this every time.
            •  The Democratic Party has already reformed (3+ / 0-)

              welfare.  We no longer see poor people.  

        •  Why are you so comfortable with... (19+ / 0-)

          ...targeting seniors for cuts at all?  They already will feel the effects that everyone else will feel from this fiscal cliff freak-out, but that's not enough for you? They have to get screwed more?

          Why should Social Security be targeted at all, since it does not have any bearing on the general budget?

          If you think it's time to look at SS, anyway, why aren't you arguing that the cap on income against which SS is drawn could be raised?

          Why have you argued -- irrationally -- that a reduction in the rate that has been legislated to offset the erosion of benefits due to inflation is not a cut in real benefits?

          What is your motivation?  I really wish you would be honest and tell us.

          •  for the gajillionth time (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ivorybill, golem

            SS is running in the red and will exhaust the trust fund by 2037.  the days of it running in the black and building the trust fund are over; the baby boomer cohort is just too big.

            so SS depletes its savings and then what happens in 2037?  people should accept a 25% reduction in benefits?

            sure, the trustees had to make certain assumptions about GDP and what not, but they do revise their projections when warranted.  the last revision bumped the depletion date ahead by 3 years.

            and if you raise the cap, you raise the payouts.  raise it too far, it'll never get enacted; too many people are way too hung up on SS being "earned" and not welfare for a wholesale lifting of the cap.  not that i agree with, endorse, or condone this perspective, but it's there and part of our political reality.  ignoring it gets us nowhere.

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

            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:53:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  tell me... (12+ / 0-)

              when will the hypothetical claims (not that you endorse them!) of "Social Security is a ponzi scheme" start? Because your argument above is exactly how my favorite winger  debate partner used to start his ponzi scheme spiel...

              I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

              by triv33 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:59:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Just raise the damn cap. Problem solved. n/t (11+ / 0-)

              Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

              by Wendys Wink on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:02:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Lies n/t (5+ / 1-)

              It is time to #Occupy Media.

              by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:05:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  oh, okay. the SS trustees are liars, then (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nova Land

                http://www.ssa.gov/...

                but just for grins, how about you point out where i'm wrong, instead of tossing up content-free comments?

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

                by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:14:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  How about (5+ / 0-)

                  not spamming these diaries with the same commentary over and over? Because really, you're seriously starting to look like a troll in this one...

                  It is time to #Occupy Media.

                  by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:17:52 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So first it was lies, but then Ced cited, so you (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cedwyn, Jeff Simpson

                    move the goalposts to 'spam'?

                    The Mayans knew about Chained CPI!!!!

                    by GoGoGoEverton on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:23:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  no (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      lostinamerica, lunachickie

                      the cite that ced used is wrong. it says stuff like future growth will be slower than it is right now. it doesn't properly account for the last 30 years of surpluses in the SS trust fund, etc.

                      •  LOL...yes, the SS trustees are wrong (0+ / 0-)

                        and you know the truth!  anyhoo, they did say this:

                        The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers. Redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset the annual cash-flow deficits. Since these redemptions will be less than interest earnings through 2020, nominal trust fund balances will continue to grow.

                        The trust fund ratio, which indicates the number of years of program cost that could be financed solely with current trust fund reserves, peaked in 2008, declined through 2011, and is expected to decline further in future years. After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year. Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086.

                        but yah...they didn't account for the trust fund.  totally!

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:54:54 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  it depends on (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lunachickie

                          growth estimates, etc.

                          which is why it's stupid to cut now for sure, to prevent possible (yes, possible) cuts later.

                          •  boomers number 79 million or so (0+ / 0-)

                            gen x only 51 million.  that's a difference of over 25 million.  yes the millenials are back up in the 70-million range.  

                            but they're already working now.  their FICA is already going into the pot.  and SS is still projecting these shortfalls.  and then there's this:

                            http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/...

                            The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the Great Recession.

                            The overall U.S. birth rate, which is the annual number of births per 1,000 women in the prime childbearing ages of 15 to 44, declined 8% from 2007 to 2010.

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

                            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:19:33 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  . (0+ / 0-)

                            yawn

                            I'll bet the Wall Street Journal agrees with you....

                            It is time to #Occupy Media.

                            by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:30:26 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  learn to read budgets (3+ / 0-)

                  The trustees say SS is in the black (from your own damn link):

                  Income (2011): $698.8 billion
                  Outgo (2011): $603.8 billion
                  Net Surplus (2011): +$95 billion
                  +$95 billion is in the black.

                  If outgo was larger than income, it would be in the red. It's not.

                  •  that is for the trust fund, not SS as a whole (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    mahakali overdrive

                    the figures you cite there pertain to this:

                    What Were the Trust Fund Results in 2011? Trust fund operations, in billions of dollars, are shown below. (Totals may not add due to rounding.) The OASI and SMI Trust Funds each showed a net increase in assets in 2011; DI and HI Trust Fund assets declined.
                    so the trust fund earned 698.8, presumably through interest.  it payed out 603.8. why would the trust fund have to pay out?  because SS in general had a shortfall:
                    The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.

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

                    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:59:08 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  the bottom line (4+ / 0-)

                      I quoted the literal bottom line numbers. "Literal" as in literal.

                      The bottom line is all income minus all expenses. The budget is either "in the black" or "in the red" depending on the sign of the bottom line.

                      Excluding income that you don't like is bullshit. Pretending that excluding income that you don't like produces a different bottom line than the actual bottom line is a lie.

                      SS has invested over $2 trillion in US bonds. It is entitled to the income from those bonds. Those bonds are part of its income, and apply to its bottom line.

                      Even the trustees don't make that lie. They always qualify it by "non-interest income".

                      •  the point here is "whose budget?" (0+ / 0-)

                        the SS trust fund has a budget.

                        SS itself has a budget.

                        they are separate budgets and operations.

                        the figures you cited are for the trust fund operations only.  literally.  let's reiterate for emphasis, shall we?

                        What Were the Trust Fund Results in 2011? Trust fund operations, in billions of dollars, are shown below. (Totals may not add due to rounding.) The OASI and SMI Trust Funds each showed a net increase in assets in 2011; DI and HI Trust Fund assets declined.

                        Income during 2011     698.8    

                          Outgo during 2011     603.8    

                         Net increase in assets  95.0    

                        so the trust fund increased their total assets, even though SS was running deficits, which is why the trust fund paid out 596.2 billion in benefit payments. literally.
                        What Were the Components of Trust Funds Outlays in 2011? The following table shows payments, by category, from each trust fund in 2011 (totals may not add due to rounding).

                        Category (in billions)     OASI    
                        Benefit payments     $596.2

                         

                        learn to read budgets yer own damn self.  literally.

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:34:56 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  SS is not running deficits (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lunachickie

                          From the report:

                          Expenses: $603.8 billion
                            Benefit: $596.2 billion
                            Railroad: $4.1 billion
                            Admin Expenses: $3.5 billion

                          Income: $698.8 billion
                            Payroll: $482.4 billion
                            Taxes on benefits: $22.2 billion
                            General fund reimbursement: $87.8 billion
                            Interest: $106.5 billion

                          Surplus/deficit = income - expenses
                                                = $698.8 billion - $603.8 billion
                                                = $95.0 billion surplus
                          That's the social security budget from a nice table in the trustees report. It's in surplus.
                          •  no SS isn't in surplus (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            mahakali overdrive
                            That's the social security budget from a nice table in the trustees report. It's in surplus.
                            no it isn't.  once again, those figures are for the Trust Fund only.

                            once again:  the trust fund's budget and operations are NOT the budget and operations of social security.

                            tell us:  what are the title headings introducing the figures you quoted from the nice table in the trustee's report?  here's a hint:

                            What Were the Components of Trust Funds Outlays in 2011? The following table shows payments, by category, from each trust fund in 2011 (totals may not add due to rounding).

                            What Were the Sources of Income to the Trust Funds in 2011? The following table shows income, by source, to each trust fund in 2011 (totals may not add due to rounding)

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

                            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:34:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the trust fund (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lunachickie, MixedContent

                            is the accumulated surplus from the social security program.

                            There is only one social security budget.

                          •  not according to the trustees (0+ / 0-)
                            Social Security’s expenditures exceeded non-interest income in 2010 and 2011, the first such occurrences since 1983, and the Trustees estimate that these expenditures will remain greater than non-interest income throughout the 75-year projection period. The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.

                            Redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset the annual cash-flow deficits.

                            SS is not taking in in payroll taxes as much as it is paying out.  that is a deficit.  so far, it has been covered by cashing out securities.  that the trust fund is running a surplus doesn't mean that the program is; SS would have to be taking in more in non-interest income than it is paying out for that to be true.  that's the only way to build the securities back up.  what happens when they are gone?

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

                            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:03:13 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Then either (0+ / 0-)

                            the trustees--or you--are blowing smoke up everybody's ass.

                            PS. you guys will have to do better than the WSJ to save your "argument". They lost their credibility quite some time ago...

                            It is time to #Occupy Media.

                            by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:37:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Signed by Tim Geithner (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lostinamerica

                  so your subject line probably pretty accurate. Because he is the poster child for lying if his lips are moving. Hilda Solis not much better. How did he get all these creeps working for him?

                  These projections have changed wildly over the years. Wasn't the doomsday year 2052 just a couple years ago (CBO)?

                  Your relying on people whose projections have been historically slightly more accurate than your local weather person's and trusting their insight and worse case scenarios  as being accurate 75 years into the future.

                  Even Reagan had the sense to raise the rates as a preservation measure. You support this cut then you might want to start labeling yourself as a supporter of the democratic wing of compassionate conservatives.

              •  Now you're just (0+ / 0-)

                retaliating, and in another diary.

                Let's see, that's stalking, too.

                You might want to adjust your personal settings there, spunky.

                It is time to #Occupy Media.

                by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:35:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I would also point out (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cedwyn

              that because the birth rate is so much lower than it was in the 1930s, that without big increases in immigration, it will be hard to sustain new revenues at the rates that will be needed.  Also while the social security trust fund is independent from the federal deficit, there is a cost with respect to possible increases in interest rates as the social security trust fund shrinks and federal borrowing needs to rise.  These are all familiar right-wing arguments, but that doesn't make them false.  The policy responses from the right are the problem, not some of the observations about the shrinking revenue.

              The solutions are not necessarily to cut benefits, but to put in place means testing, and increase revenue by raising the amount of income subject to mandatory social security contributions.

              Japan, the US and Europe are undergoing demographic changes as birth rates drop and people live longer.  There has to be an adjustment in how retirement and the elderly are cared for.   Entitlement programs will need to be tweaked, at minimum.  

              I hate to weigh in on this issue, because this has become such a litmus test around here... I tend to go elsewhere these days to get other perspectives on this issue.  But I cannot be too outraged by the chained CPI issue in terms of the really major things that could go wrong.  Does anyone think that we can force the House of Representatives to force the 1% to pay more in social security taxes right now?  It may be that this is one of the least harmful viable options right now - given that the other fixes don't stand any chance at all of getting through Congress.  I do question Obama's negotiating strategy though - he is too willing to respond to obstruction by giving more away, and that is a genuine problem.

              “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

              by ivorybill on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:23:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So let all the tax cuts expire (4+ / 0-)

                So go over the fiscal cliff and let Defense rot.

                So start playing hard ball.

                I don't believe this austerity b.s. anyway.  It's an orchestrated attempt to transfer wealth from the middle class to the wealthy globally.

                And the United States as the strongest economy should be taking the lead to fight back against this effort.   You know if we were still a democracy, doing what the majority of the people want.

                That is what a REAL Democratic Party would do.

                70% of Americans poll against cuts in Social Security.  If Democrats can't make a stand on this they've gone out of business and we do indeed need a second party for our two party system.  

            •  Sorry I was called away. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cedwyn

              I do want to say Thank You for answering one of my questions.  It wasn't the important one in respect to the fiscal cliff (that would be why look at SS at all in this context), but it does clarify for me what you see as the issue with SS in isolation.  I think I have alternate proposals within that conversation that I'd like to discuss with you -- sincerely -- but those would be best reserved for a Social Security diary, not a fiscal cliff one.  Thank you again, all the same.

              •  it's being brought up now (0+ / 0-)

                in discussions about the sequestration cuts (which would hit stuff like head start) and because UI ends at the end of this month.

                since SS does have its own funding problem and obama needs the house on board for things like UI and alleviating certain sequester cuts, accepting chained CPI with protections for vulnerable populations is the best long-term solution that is likely to pass with boehner's caucus.  

                and since it is about social security's money woes long-term, we wouldn't have to discuss SS any more for a very long time.  it would be off the table for decades, because they will have staved off the shortfall.

                are there more ideal solutions to fixing SS?  quite probably.  but boehner/GOP control the house and will for the next two years.  so it's a question of what is likely; what can we really get?  and chained CPI with protections is infinitely less odious than raising retirement age, no?

                one could argue that we should just delay fixing SS until the next congress is sworn in, but by allowing chained CPI to be part of the deal now, it can win UI and other stimulus obama is pushing for.  governing is compromise.  and if we're having so much faith in the next congress, why can't we trust that any changes would protect the most vulnerable?  

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

                by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:28:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  what I never get (4+ / 0-)

                  is that, due to the possibility of the need for future cuts to SS, you say we must cut them now.

                  that makes no sense. to prevent possible cuts...we need to cut for sure.

                  whatever.

                  •  Sure it makes sense (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    greenbell, lostinamerica, tardis10

                    it's the same strategy we used to win in Vietnam: we had to destroy the village in order to save it....

                  •  the projected cut is 25% across the board (0+ / 0-)

                    come 2037.  that is absolutely something to act against sooner rather than later, when there will be fewer options.

                    the labor pools that followed the boomers aren't as big.

                    unless SS's funding is revised, the SS trustees say the fund cannot pay full benefits beyond 2037.  the trust funds will have been depleted.  and the last time the trustees revised that estimate, it jumped ahead three years.

                    also, by deciding something about SS now, it really would be 100% irrelevant in future budget negotiations; with the long-term funding resolved, there's no justification for touching it.  but as long as there are projected shortfalls, it will be a target.  

                    assuming the most vulnerable remain protected (over 80, poverty threshold), chained CPI is not the most horrible, terrible thing ever.  and seniors save a lot thanks to PPACA.  

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

                    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:48:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You are CRAZY to trade short term UI (4+ / 0-)

                  for LONG TERM PERMANENT cuts in a retirement program.  If you think someone 25 or 45 can't get by without his unemployment how in the hell do you expect someone 95 to get by without income?   Unemployment isn't meant to last for years on end.  Many people without jobs don't qualify for it anyway.  

            •  Chained CPI is already a 10% cut in benefits (2+ / 0-)

              when you are over 90.

              And they are lying about that!  

              As to political reality, the real political reality is that there is no progressive party and there is no progressive caucus.

              I do not accept YOUR political reality.  It is not mine and I will not vote for it.

              If the Democratic Party wants to destroy the New Deal and Social Security they will not do it with my help.  

              So take that to the polls in 2014.

              •  u.s. population 90+ in age is less than 1% (0+ / 0-)

                if everyone agrees to give those over 80 and seniors near poverty an extra stipend every month, why is chained CPI so horrid as a means of addressing SS's long-term funding problems?  

                i specified an age of 80 because that would mean the maximum impact from C-CPI would be 4.5% and because the median age at death for women is 80. women live longer than men.

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

                by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 12:06:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  For the ten-gajillionth time, ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sharon
              SS is running in the red and will exhaust the trust fund by 2037.  the days of it running in the black and building the trust fund are over; the baby boomer cohort is just too big.
              Well, "running in the red" sure sounds ominous, doesn't it?  But it's not, it's part of the plan.

              Social Security is supposed to be drawing down the trust fund now.  This is not a problem, it's the way the Reagan-Greenspan fix was designed to work.  Build up the trust fund ("running in the black") so that as boomers retire, you can draw it down ("running in the red").

              This drawdown, the "running in the red"  was not only foreseen, it was part of the plan.  There are plenty of things to worry about, but this isn't one of them.

            •  you are so worried about 2037! (0+ / 0-)

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:59:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Because it's unnecessary and does NOT contribute (22+ / 0-)

          to the debt as you have been told over and over and over.

          There are plenty of seniors and disabled people who are barely making it NOW, who can't afford another penny CUT and regardless of your endless rationalizing--it will be CUT, you don't need to mitigate something that isn't a CUT, you don't need to BLUNT the IMPACT of something that isn't a CUT and the real ZOMG is the fact that there isn't a line you don't seem willing to rationalize away no matter who gets hurt and for what???

          I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

          by triv33 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:40:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  as i have stated over and over (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            golem, expatjourno

            SS has its own deficit problem, independent of the broader debt discussion.

            it needs to be fixed in some way.  if we can fix it while protecting the most vulnerable populations, why wouldn't we?

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

            by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:47:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yeah, I've seen what you've stated (12+ / 0-)

              over the past week.

              I shave my legs with Occam's razor~

              by triv33 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:54:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  SS does not have a deficit problem (29+ / 0-)

              it has a potential problem in the future which can be addressed in other ways that do not lower benefits for the elderly, disabled and veterans. For example, increasing the minimum wage will increase the funds in the pot automatically. Allowing higher contributions, i.e., removing the cap, will help with said potential problem.

              You have first incorrectly denied that the cut is a cut which was easily disproved; now you are admitting that it is a cut, but pretending that it is the only way to deal with a potential funding crisis in the future. It is a right-wing way to address the potential problem and the same one that was chosen by the Tories in the UK, if the democratic party is not a right-wing party why choose the same tactics as that of the Tories? Your arguments are not only spreading misinformation; they are unconvincing to anyone that understands the problem and that there are alternative ways of fixing what may be a potential problem in the future.

              SS does not impact the deficit currently; cuts to SS will not affect the current budget deficit at all. It affects the government debt and hence debt/gdp ratio solely because the US government borrowed money that belonged to the fund. Cutting the amount of SS given to the elderly, disabled and veterans will not affect the amount that needs to be repaid by the federal government.

              The question arises why are they cutting social security if it has no impact on the deficit? It will not erase the government's debt to the fund and hence will not affect the debt/gdp ratio. So why cut the income given to those dependent upon SS benefits? How does lowering incomes of those on fixed incomes help anyone? It lowers the possibility of getting out of the crisis as spending of these people are cut along with their benefits, easy access to expensive credit has been cut, so where is economic growth going to come from if you cut the incomes of those on benefits? In the absence of demand, there is no increase in production, job creation and growth in the private sector. The government is certainly not talking about direct government job creation and investment in green energy and transport policy, so I ask you where will job creation come from? It won't ... this is basic economics and you simply do not understand or you are deliberately attempting to mislead people by prevaricating.

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:12:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  the SS trusteed disagree with you, (0+ / 0-)

                the trustees seem convinced that payouts exceeded non-interest income for 2010, 2011 and will for 2012.

                SS does not have a deficit problem.  it has a potential problem in the future which can be addressed in other ways that do not lower benefits for the elderly, disabled and veterans.
                all the talk i've seen about chained CPI speaks about leaving programs for disabled and veterans alone.  and another example of how chained CPI is only a problem if we let it be.

                for example, it's already well understood that seniors over 80 have higher health care costs. if they adopt chained CPI and the bill also adds that seniors over 80 are entitled to an extra $X a month, isn't that a liberal policy win long-term, to codify that obligation?  

                you say it can be addressed in other ways; let's discuss 'em!  and find ways to protect the most vulnerable, no matter what is chosen.

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

                by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:57:27 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What is happening is the surplus is (13+ / 0-)

                  decreasing, hence the potential problem in the future:

                  The Social Security trustees project the surplus will be gone in 2033. Unless Congress acts, Social Security would collect only enough tax revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits, triggering an automatic reduction (http://seattletimes.com/...).
                  So how do we deal with the falling surplus? That is why I mentioned raised increasing minimum wage, raising the cap. Both of these examples will increase funds going into the pot. You conveniently missed that point.

                  All inflation indices react to changes in prices and circumstances and specific consumers, that is the nature of an index. However, there is no question that the introduction of a chained CPI which is only being introduced to cut SS payments will cut SS income to recipients at first a little but then cumulatively. Otherwise they would not be introducing it at all, that is obvious why are you denying the obvious? Will cutting payments lower the potential problems in the future? Of course, but it will also put people already living close to poverty in poverty. The fact that people are treated as numbers and not human beings and that you are trying to present this as a technocratic problems denies the fact that these are human beings. Those earning the lowest income have already lived a life where they wages were lower as they were women and people of colour; now you want to pretend that there is no other solution, that there is not a human face to this farce.

                  As I said elsewhere, I do appreciate the fact that you are no longer misleading people and pretending that switching to a chained CPI is not a cut in benefits. However, your justification for the cut in benfits is no more convincing than your argument that it was not a cut.

                  This type of argumentation reminds me of the claim that the governments imposed on Greece and Spain were technocratic governments irrespective of the fact that those appointed were former workers of international finance capital; the pretense that there is no other way except to impoverish the poorest and most vulnerable in order to deal with a crisis has been shown to be based upon ideological and hence politicised analysis with no basis in historical fact (in fact, it is definitional that introducing austerity means slowing an economy not creating economic growth).

                  "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                  by NY brit expat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:29:05 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  raising the minimum wage would be great (0+ / 0-)

                    problem, though, is that the labor pools succeeding the baby boomers have not been as large.  fewer people, fewer workers at any wage.  

                    the days of SS running in the black and building up the trust fund are over.  that has to be true if the trustees believe SS will rely on them from now until 2037 when they will be depleted.

                    http://www.ssa.gov/...

                    The deficit of non-interest income relative to expenditures was about $49 billion in 2010 and $45 billion in 2011, and the Trustees project that it will average about $66 billion between 2012 and 2018 before rising steeply as the economy slows after the recovery is complete and the number of beneficiaries continues to grow at a substantially faster rate than the number of covered workers.

                    Redemption of trust fund assets from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset the annual cash-flow deficits.

                    let's embrace raising the minimum wage as the only solution.  how high would minimum wage need to be on non-salary jobs for FICA taxes to make up $66 billion over the next 5 years?  what about even just $33 billion?  

                    and if another recession hits, what then?  fewer jobs, less FICA, no matter what the minimum wage is.

                    by all means, let's raise the minimum wage regardless!  don't get me wrong.  but whatever fix to SS needs to get past the GOP house. maybe we should wait for the next congress, but it'll still be a GOP house.

                    and you've ignored plenty of points i've made, like as long as the most vulnerable are protected and chained CPI gets the GOP to stfu about SS, is it really a hill to die on?

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

                    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:48:41 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  you do not seem to understand (9+ / 0-)

                      income and wealth inequality is causing the problems leading to a crisis; recessions do not hit, they are caused. Redistribution by taxes on wealth and financial transaction taxes and raising taxes on the rich and redistributing them in the form of direct government job creation and higher incomes for the poorest can serve to get us out of the crisis.

                      What caused the crisis (the system hit a point of overaccumulation in the financial sector due to insufficient regulation and the use of debt to stimulate the economy which is unsustainable) is different from why we are still in a crisis. Why are we still in a crisis? Because the fiscal stimulus was insufficient and because of a long-term reduction in wages and incomes for the middle class, working class and poor; this leads to difficulties of realisation of profits as goods and services cannot be sold which then leads to reduction in output. The private sector will not increase output (economic growth) and hire people unless they know or can expect that the profits that they will make will warrant doing so. There is no reason to expect that as incomes for the majority have fallen; this is a realisation crisis. Falling rates of profits in the manufacturing sectors in the advanced capitalist world led to offshoring, the reduction of incomes and the destruction of the union sector and persistent unemployment is the result.

                      The economy is based upon the interlinkages between production, consumption and income (and exchange if you want to get technical, but that is not necessary in this discussion). Ignoring these interlinkages leads to statements like what happens if another recession hits?

                      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                      by NY brit expat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:11:03 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  obama is asking for stimulus righ tnow (0+ / 0-)

                        more money for the infrastructure bank.  that means jobs.  

                        but the GOP controls the house.  so if he wants stimulus, higher taxes on the rich, and an extension of UI, they've got to figure something out here and now. UI ends this month for a lot of folks.

                        yes long-term policy to address income inequality has to happen.  none of this precludes that.  

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:49:25 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  we need direct government jobs (3+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          triv33, lostinamerica, poligirl

                          creation to address persistant unemployment; the private sector is not creating jobs not because there is not sufficient money for borrowing, it is not creating jobs because they do not think that expansion is appropriate because there is no demand for higher output; they will instead store what excess production there is and not produce more. That is what underconsumption/over-production arising from a general realisation crisis is.

                          Addressing income and wealth inequality needs to be done now. We do not need to cut the budget deficit, we need instead to use the money from elimination of bush's tax cuts for direct gov't jobs creation and hiring for the public sector which employs women more. That is increase the deficit, not cut it and direct it towards direct government jobs creation. Go over the cliff, use the money from increased taxes to fund the direct government jobs creation; shift the nature of the deficit towards social services and creation of jobs. The problem of income and wealth inequality is not a long-term problem, it is the immediate problem as that is why the economy is in crisis and will continue in crisis. It is SS which is a long-term problem.

                          You are now switching the argument towards UI, what does that have to do with SS? You are trying misdirection again. It is not working. SS is something that can be addressed slowly and over time, it has nothing to do with the so-called fiscal cliff or UI ... I have given you an alternative perspective. Boehner cannot control the tea party members, the right is divided. There is no basis for negotiation with the republicans and certainly not on reducing SS payments; they are not negotiating, they are babbling about things that are irrelevant to the discussion (which is a manufactured problem).

                          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                          by NY brit expat on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:23:21 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  the suceeding generations (6+ / 0-)

                      only need to pay their own way.   the trustee report is misleading.  WHAT they're saying is the current model of funding is having a trust fund is not permanent which was the intent.  Gen X Benes will be paid by gen y and so on.  There is less gen x and more gen y people. So 75% payout at current models to less people isn't as dire as it sounds.  

                      ‎"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederick Douglass

                      by Nada Lemming on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:17:48 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  gen y = millenials (0+ / 0-)

                        they are already working and paying into SS right now.  and the projected shortfalls remain.

                        So 75% payout at current models to less people isn't as dire as it sounds.  
                        ummmm...if chained CPI (3% over 10 years) is "zomg catfood death!" to seniors, how on earth is a 25% cut across the board out of the gate okay?  gen x just needs to suck it up and make do with less?

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:46:03 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  because (0+ / 0-)

                          There are more than 25% less of them.  If it paid out at current rates those recipients would get a massive raise.  Which would be fine but that's not what we're discuss ring.

                          Now do you understand but are arguing anyway or do I need to break it down further?

                          "My policies are so mainstream I'm a Republicans from the 80s". - The most "liberal" president in my lifetime.

                          by Nada Lemming on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:59:10 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  So, you are firmly dedicated to ignoring the (5+ / 0-)

                      trust fund.

                      Period.

                      It's there to be spent.

                      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                      by JesseCW on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:35:50 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  and when it's spent (0+ / 0-)

                        and the subsequent labor pools are too small to build it back up, then what? you're ignoring the fact that it ran all those surpluses for so long because the boomers were working.

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

                        by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:46:10 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  We have 25 years to worry about that. (0+ / 0-)

                          Under worst-case scenarios.

                          You're arguing for cutting Social Security for the same reasons you were trying to normalize the idea 4 years ago.

                          And it has nothing to do with protecting anyone's benefits.

                          "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

                          by JesseCW on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 02:43:01 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Newsflash (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          aliasalias

                          Despite magical thinking, boomers won't live forever.

                          Really, the trust fund was designed to be drawn down as the youngest boomers hit their 70s. As one of those younger boomers I can attest to the mortality of my cohort. I have friends who are meeting their maker in their 40s and 50s.

                          We fixed this problem 25 years ago. Whacking our expected benefits a second time is something I going to fight. Let's not forget, as has been mentioned all over this thread, that the chained-CPI doesn't just punch the elderly in the throat, it hits disability payments, veterans benefits, food stamps and it's a regressive tax increase to boot.

                          I was born in 1961. My age of social security eligibility is 67.

                          When the Feds changed the program in my 20s I didn't beef about it too much. Coming back for a second bite of the apple now is stupid and gratuitous.

                          I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                          by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:14:59 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  yes they did something 25 years ago (0+ / 0-)

                            how many systems do you know that need no modifications for decades on end? one tweak and social security is good forever?

                            when they modified SS in 1983, the millennial generation was just starting; nobody could know how big the cohort would eventually be.  but now we do know its size and it rivals the boomers.  

                            the boomer generation numbered some 79 million people.  gen x is 25 million less than that.  and while it's true the millennials are back up in the 70 million range, they are in the system now, working and paying into social security.  and the program still has the projected shortfalls.

                            and here's the kicker:  millennials are not having kids in very high numbers.  birth rates have gone way the hell down since 2007 and the recession.  who knows how big generation Y will ultimately be.  

                            so if we do NOTHING to social security, what happens when the millennials need it?  hell, as it stands now, the fund depletion date is at the dawn of gen x transitioning into retirement.

                            and i am not the one saying these things; the social security trustees are.  they say that all the securities/savings will be exhausted by 2037, at which point, they will only be able to pay out on 75% of their obligations.

                            are you saying that is not true?  are the SS trustees mistaken?

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

                            by Cedwyn on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 06:42:21 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I didn't say do nothing (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            aliasalias

                            Raise the FICA cap.

                            The PPACA changed the taxes that fund Medicare.

                            It's not impossible. We can wait  8 years for the next round of redistrictng.

                            And, once again, get a grip. You've been shreiking all over this comment section, posting comments that seem to originate from Pete Pterson's various insta-foundations.

                            I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                            by Sharon on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:55:43 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  The chained CPI is also a tax increase (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    poligirl, NY brit expat

                    It also changes the calculation that the IRS uses to calculate your income tax liability. It pushes you through the brackets at a faster rate.

                    That's where the increase in revenue comes from, it's not just a decrease in government outlays.

                    A lot of folks in Washington see it as a cost-free way to raise taxes on the under-$250,000 set.

                    Always follow the money!

                    I listen to wingnut radio so you don't have to!

                    by Sharon on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 01:10:38 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Absolutely brilliant comment! (13+ / 0-)

                So very well-written and reasoned and a pleasure to read.
                Thanks.

                “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

                by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:58:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  still no rec button showing but YES! to your (0+ / 0-)

                comment.
                Thank you.

                without the ants the rainforest dies

                by aliasalias on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:11:18 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Shark (7+ / 0-)

              you jumped it.  

              ‎"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederick Douglass

              by Nada Lemming on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:51:48 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  She also has no idea what she is talking about (19+ / 0-)

            She keeps laughingly bringing up Dolecare(ACA) as if it's an elixir(as if Byron Dorgan's amendment was adopted) without the added facts that chained cpi compounds over time, raises taxes by pushing those in lower income tax brackets up once inflation is not indexed on the same level as the CPI-W along with all deductions and all government pensions and all poverty programs. But but ....the ACA was awesome! That's the argument in a nutshell. The shortfall of chained indexing has far ranging effects added up well past the $400 she touts from the ACA which will not make up for it. I covered this in my diary. Also that SS has already been cut, payroll taxes raised for the baby boomers. At this point it's just better not to take her seriously at all.

            SS will not go bankrupt after 2037 it will pay 75% of what it pays now. And 75% of SS dollars will be what it pays out now going from projections that actually understand the purchasing power of real dollars and inflation expectations then.  Also SS can't go bankrupt unless we let it go bankrupt and has nothing to do with the deficit as a transfer program of production. raising wages would fix it without cutting demand from the economy and punishing seniors because she doesn't understand inflation or how you measure inflation affects everything, how the CPI-W was already tampered with once like raising the full retirement age in 1983 which seniors still haven't recovered from. Of course not being able to fully retire doesn't fit in the magical ACA excuse so she will try something else. Only people who don't know how our safety net doesn't measure up in the real modern industrial world repeat this crap. It's desperation.

            More excuses from those that don't understand inflation, care about the New Deal, and don't understand our monetary system either.

            I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

            by priceman on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:38:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  But your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jeffersonian Democrat

          not thinking of the disabled who will be on it for an extended period of time including disabled veterans.    Plus, yearly the cost of living goes up for not only the disabled, but also the elderly.  No one can justify cuts, no matter how small.

          The majority of seniors who don't need the program is a much smaller part of the population than those who will need it.  You are cherry picking about the seniors who don't need it, so again we need to worry about the 2% who will never use it.  I know a lot of 80 plus women and some in their 90s that are still around using their Social Security.

           

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:24:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The fact that they don't "need" it (0+ / 0-)

          is irrelevant. They paid into it, therefore they get it. It's not an entitlement.

        •  You sound exactly like a Republican (2+ / 0-)

          which is why we are all so furious about this.

          I respect that to you Social Security is this trivial program that we can fund like Medicaid (when we're not cutting Medicaid) as just a poverty program for those other poor people not us, but that was not the purpose of Social Security.  It was to provide dignity to all the elderly not shame them into poverty programs.  

          You want to undermine the signature program of the Democratic Party and frankly I don't know what the Democratic Party is even about any more.  

          Whatever your pet issues are, don't expect me to support them if you want to abandon mine.  

        •  Once again, you are ignoring (0+ / 0-)

          those of us who are young and dependent on CPI COLA increasing

          Now it is deliberate spreading of misinformation and propaganda since you have been informed over and over that it is not just seniors

    •  First of all (7+ / 0-)

      in these current discussions, Boner didn't put forth CPI and the President provided the rethugs with cover when HE did.

      Second, the CURRENT CPI doesn't really shield SS recipients from prices rises. And its curtailed impact occurs AFTER the SS recipient has had to endure those price rise during the previous year. When you have little, losing a little more each time makes the budget cutting continuously a battle. So making the remedy even smaller is not a great help in that battle.

      Third, where is the President? He said he would barnstorm the country for his agenda. Instead he and Boner have been the most visible participants in this Kabuki. And even Boner's congress critters are noticing that they are left out of the debate. And his congress critters are the ones that need to heed the flack of outrage from their inaction (which will only come from a great prodding because we as citizens are so pudding like at the moment.)

      American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

      by glitterscale on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:49:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  huh, wha? (14+ / 0-)

      The immediate effect is that my VA compensation, not to mention SSDI starts at " .5% decline in payment adjustments" and culminates over the years, which I still have plenty before I even reach 65

      I am really getting tired of having my livelihood so nonchalantly thrown around as a political football and I don't even want to hear about shared sacrifice - I already sacrificed enough, which is why I get veterans benefits

    •  No, John. it shows (13+ / 0-)

      that the administration is, at best, willing to bargain away Social Security on behalf of the wealthy.
         Let's be clear: There is no reason to support the Democratic Party if it can't be trusted to keep this most basic commitment to senior citizens and to the workers who pay the payroll tax in the faith that there will be a Social Security check for them in the future.
         I think that much of the party base will walk away if Obama stiffs us on Social Security.

    •  You are missing one very important point . . . (5+ / 0-)

      The ".5% decline in payment adjustment" are cumulative  Pennies this month, dimes next year, dollars the year after that.

  •  For four years Obama's followers (28+ / 0-)

    scolded us for criticizing the president for breaking campaign promises.  When we said that he would promise anything to get elected while he was on the political stump and then turn around and break those assurances, we were screamed at and told to stop disrespecting the president.  

    It turns out, the person who showed the most disrespect was the president when he lied to the members of his base:

    And, more importantly, to me at least, what will be the consequences not just to the Party, but to people in general when we once again find that election assurances and promises and platforms are as vaporous as the breaths from the mouths from which they issue.
    Bingo!  Thanks for writing this.
  •  Only Nixon could go to China... (19+ / 0-)

    I don't care which side introduced the chained CPI into the talks.  I care that the President was willing to accept it.

    Instead, he should be pushing the one fair and simple idea that honestly does strengthen Social Security...eliminate the cap on the tax.

    He's President of the United States and has just comfortably won re-election.  This is no time for keeping his powder dry.  His political power is at its zenith and he should be using it now.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:51:39 AM PST

  •  if it's in question (6+ / 0-)

    then don't make definitive claims.

    And, it is being introduced by our side and our President.
    either we know or we don't.  if we don't, then that statement is invalid.
    Since it has been disputed in the comments whether the President "introduced" this option - almost every media source I have been able to come up with says the suggestion originated with the President. From the same link from the Hill above:
    As part of the fiscal-cliff package Obama offered to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week, the president included the chained CPI provision as a sweetener to entice wary House Republicans to get on board. The change would reduce the inflationary raises made annually to the federal programs indexed to the CPI, including Social Security.
    the hill article is from dec 20.  here's one from dec 17:
    Amid news reports that President Obama is considering a proposal from House Speaker John Boehner to slow the growth of Social Security payments over time as part of a broader budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, senior Democratic congressional aides are portraying the idea as a more palatable alternative to other benefit cuts Republicans have sought.

    As part of a deal that would include higher taxes on top earners and an increase in the debt limit, Republicans are pushing a plan to index Social Security benefits and perhaps tax brackets to a slower-growing measure of inflation called chained CPI.

    if you're making your point regardless of who introduced the idea first, fine.  

    but if the evidence about where the idea originated is inconclusive, your diary has no business making this claim, updates notwithstanding:

    And, it is being introduced by our side and our President.
    the closest we can get to a real answer is to find the first article that discusses chained CPI in this context.  

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

    by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:57:18 AM PST

  •  Great diary! (12+ / 0-)

    I love that it is not disrespectful and doesn't go into either Obama roxx or Obama suxx. I'm in the Obama roxx category but he is absolutely 100% wrong on this. I'd be more than willing to stand with people who oppose this but the personal attacks sometimes makes it hard for me to do so.

    I doubt the comments will be as civil but I wanted to let you know that your evenhanded tone is appreciated. I may be an Obama fanboy but I'm reachable. Personal attacks just make me dig in my heels to defend the President. And I don't want to have to do that when he does something like this which is pretty much indefensible otherwise.

    Why do I have the feeling George W. Bush joined the Stonecutters, ate a mess of ribs, and used the Constitution as a napkin?

    by Matt Z on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:04:44 AM PST

  •  The chained CPI is pernicious in other ways (17+ / 0-)

    It will replace the present CPI for all federal purposes eventually.  These include tax brackets not rising as fast, thereby increasing effective tax rates, decreasing the level at which the Alternative Minimum Tax kicks in, lowering food stamp benefits, and many more.  It will have the ultimate result of making the 99% poorer over the years.

    There is a newer CPI proposed for seniors, the CPI-E (for experimental) that is higher that the present CPI.  It takes into account the higher medical expenses of seniors rising faster than those of the younger generations.

    And of course, it means that my mid-30's kids will collect less than 2/3 present benefits relative to today's.

    And all this can be avoided simply by raising the SSI contribution cap a bit more each year.

    Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

    by triplepoint on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:09:23 AM PST

    •  Woohoo...already worse off than our parents and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Phoebe Loosinhouse, salmo

      now, less SS too!

      They're not going to like it when we all just stop paying back our student loans.

      The Mayans knew about Chained CPI!!!!

      by GoGoGoEverton on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:11:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  raising the cap means higher payouts (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      golem

      as benefits are calculated based on what you've paid in.

      for 2010 and 2011, SS has already paid out more than it took in in non-interest income.  thankfully, the reverse was true for decades and SS built up savings -- the trust fund.  but with the baby boomer cohort entering retirement, the days of SS running in the black are GONE.

      the program is projected to run at a deficit, with the shortfall being made up from the trust fund, for the next two decades.  SS trustees now say the trust fund will all be gone by 2037, at which point SS will only be able to pay 3/4 of claims.

      and here's the thing:  the baby boomers have started retiring.  the labor pools that replaced them have not been as large.  so, SS will have to use all of its savings (trust fund) to maintain payouts through 2037.  then what?  what will be there to make up the shortfall once the trust fund is exhausted?

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

      by Cedwyn on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:35:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, no. Higher pay -in does not necessarily (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ferg, lostinamerica, Sharon

        mean higher benefits.  There already is a cap  on benefits, I think, as there is on Medicare benefits(you pay a monthly charge that is about $100/recipient, that goes up as total income of recipient exceeds some set level).

        Presently the SSI contribution cap is at about $110k/year wage for each individual., and the maximum benefit at the moment is about $3k/month.  The contribution cap goes up maybe $4-5K per year.  It could go up faster than that with the benefit kept the same as now (with COLAs).  After all, the Medicare contribution from payroll taxes HAS  NO CAP at all.

        I could go on and on about how very high wage earners generally  have other sources of income besides SSI.  If you and your spouse both got the maximum benefit now, you could bring in just a few $k from all sources before your benefit was 85% taxable, and if you had a pension and investment income in addition to the benefit you would be in a medium to high tax bracket anyway, and the taxes you would pay reduce the lack of a higher benefit near to insignificance.  This doesn't affect the situation of most folks at all.

        For the majority of pre-SSI wage earners, the 90% or so earning less than $110K/year. it is not an issue.  But it would be for income taxes, as I mentioned in the comment above.

        Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

        by triplepoint on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:06:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Chained CPI=Middle Class Tax Hike too (5+ / 0-)

      Another Broken Obama Pledge...

      Second, it’s unclear whether chained CPI would apply to tax brackets. If it did, it would slow the rate at which tax brackets rise every year. If incomes rose faster than the tax brackets, this would kick people into higher ones. Again, this seems like a subtle, technical fix, but as Dylan Matthews points out, they increase over time, and they are also regressively distributed.

          The Tax Policy Center calculated the income tax increases that would be caused by a switch to chained CPI. They’re not big — a little more than $100 a year for most families — but they’re oddly regressive [...]

          The group getting the biggest tax hike is families making between $30,000 and $40,000 a year. Their increase is almost six times that faced by millionaires. That’s because millionaires are already in the top bracket, so they’re not being pushed into higher marginal rates because of changing bracket thresholds [...]

          All told, chained CPI raises average taxes by about 0.19 percent of income. So, taken all together, it’s basically a big (5 percent over 12 years; more, if you take a longer view) across-the-board cut in Social Security benefits paired with a 0.19 percent income surtax.

      But Republicans don’t want that small tax increase, so they’re trying to block the use of chained CPI for tax brackets. They want it only to apply to benefits.

      The tax implications have not been discussed much as WH wants to keep this quiet.
  •  Bottom line (26+ / 0-)

    Social Security should not be discussed, PERIOD.  It doesn't matter who brings it up, it should be shot down immediately, and especially by our president.  The fact is, he accepts it on the negotiation table.  The fact is, we should NOT accept it on the negotiation table.  I have signed every petition made available on this and have emailed the white house now and in Obamas's first term to keep his hands off social secruity.  I, personally, will confront this issue every time it comes up, PERIOD.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:11:48 AM PST

  •  A question for your consideration (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mkor7, salmo, Jeffersonian Democrat

    Would the chained CPI also apply to TIPS, the inflation-protected securities?  In other words, would principle of those bonds be adjusted by the same measure as proposed for the COLA of Social Security?

    If not, and I suspect not, then once again the working man and woman would be making the sacrifice, while the financial elite would be exempted from having to make a similar contribution.

    •  TIPS securities have one distinction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      And that's that the all-hallowed Market can detect whether the inflator is truly representative of reality, and can then adjust the Market price of the security accordingly.  That is, holders (more accurately:  buyers and sellers) of TIPS have recourse if the CPI value used is wrong or just inadequate or too large.

      Social Security beneficiaries don't have that luxury.  Unless they are already wealthy enough, with multiple TIPS in their portfolios, that a little chained-CPI froo-fraw doesn't make a hair's worth of difference.

      Many millions feel the effect of a few dollars less each month.  The difference in eating meat of any kind, for example, and the occasional slice of chicken or can of tuna.

      (-7.62,-7.33) Carbon footprint 12.6 metric tons. l'Enfer, c'est les autres.

      by argomd on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:13:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

        But those presently holding TIPS would see their securities decline in value.  Even the most ardent defenders of the free market will be displeased when that market rationally adjusts to expectations before they get a chance to unload.

        Actually, this may already be happening, as TIPS are now producing a record low negative yield.

        •  Never mind (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          argomd

          As so often is the case with bonds, I got confused.  If the market were adjusting to the possibility of using the chain-weighted CPI for TIPS, then the yield would be going up as the value of the bonds declined.

          From this I conclude that the market is not anticipating the use of this cheater-index for TIPS.

  •  What you're saying (12+ / 0-)

    should be so obvious to any Progressive (Democrat or not) American, that it is as mystifying as to why we would have to have "arguments" about this on dkos, as it is the a Democratic President would propose it.  

    As long as there are Dems who think cutting SS is a good idea, we need diaries like this on the rec list.

  •  How bout keep the tax breaks up to $1mil, tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timothy J, Cedwyn

    ALL earnings at the bracket rate (not just salary), keep all the defense cuts currently proposed, and lay off SS and Medicare?

    The Mayans knew about Chained CPI!!!!

    by GoGoGoEverton on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:20:26 AM PST

  •  As a liberal, do i support the same old shit? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    Due to the unwillingness of our Democratic President and Leadership to fight for the working people and principles of the Democratic Party in the areas of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and his willingness to disparage the people who lent their good names and reputations to support him, I respectively tender my resignation in the Democratic Party and any elected office that I may hold.  My name is the most valuable thing my father gave to me and I will not let a politician willingly sully it when they renege on promises made about signature issues that I deeply believe in and that have been successful in aiding the poor and downtrodden of my country.

    Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne

    by scurrvydog on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:35:00 AM PST

  •  This was a shameful episode (16+ / 0-)

    Proposing SS cuts was bad for the president, bad for leader pelosi who lost a lot of credibility and bad for the nation.

    Lets be blunt.  SS does not contribute to the deficit.

    SS is solvent for quite some time to come.

    There are better ways to increase its solvency than benefit cuts.

    So why bring it into a discussion on deficit reduction?

    Secondly, why are we so fixated on reducing the deficit now?
    The main problem still is jobs!

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

    by noofsh on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:36:34 AM PST

  •  This old Tom Tomorrow cartoon might explain it: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gooderservice, Subterranean
  •  Chained CPI has become our "National Disgrace" (17+ / 0-)

    that's what I'm calling it and I'm normally averse to hyperbole except in humor. But this ain't funny, charley.

    Alliance for Retired Americans put up this Chained CPI Fact Sheet pdf which explains the harm over time, to seniors.

    Please share it with anyone you know who might not understand the ramifications...most especially women who are widows.

    I've contacted the WH and all of my reps and called Nancy Pelosi out for her BIG lie. Not sure what other action to take.

    (fwiw, ARA is where I went when I shredded my card after AARP endorsed the BIG PHARMA SCAM that was foisted on all of us)

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:48:29 AM PST

  •  Whoever introduced it, it's bad policy (15+ / 0-)

    It's bad because it hurts seniors, it's bad because it hurts the economy, and it's bad because it doesn't really lower the deficit. It may even increase it because of its anti-stimulative effects (yes, wealth redistribution, however ones feels about it morally, is absolutely stimulative).

    Thing is, though, it's also bad politics. Now, I'm willing to allow that people like Pelosi and even Obama might not really WANT to do this, but feel that they have to do this, in order to get certain concessions from Boehner that they believe are more than worth it, e.g. extension of unemployment and middle class tax rates, etc. And, if this belief were correct, there might be some logic in such a trade-off. These "concessions" ARE necessary, and would, in the short to mid-term, be more meaningful than CCPI, whose worst effects wouldn't really kick in for several years, by which time it could presumably be repealed.

    But first, I'm not convinced that offering up CCPI was essential to getting those concessions. Boehner does not want his party to be seen as voting against the extension of unemployment and middle class tax rates, or for cutting SS. He didn't demand CCPI because he really wanted it (well, he does want it, as policy, but politically, he knows that it's poison). He demanded it because he wanted it to be on record that Obama & Dems were willing to cut SS, to neutralize the negative political effect of his party voting to cut SS, and to use it in ads against Dems in 2014. And, as such, Obama was stupid to offer it up, in addition to its being stupid and unnecessary and cruel on a purely policy level. He gave away something he didn't have to and shouldn't have.

    I am convinced that a deal can be gotten that has no cuts to benefits, either at all, or to all but the most well-off seniors (i.e. means testing, which we already have in SS and which I believe will be increased in the future, one of the few benefits cuts I can live with if absolutely necessary). So I am perplexed as to why Obama offered it anyway? Was it weakness, foolishness, bad negotiating, or perhaps, as some claim, he actually wants to cut SS? I can't tell. But no matter what the reason, it was stupid, unnecessary and cruel.

    Hell, I don't even think it was smart from an 11DC pov, which has Obama knowing that Boehner would reject his overall offer that included CCPI, so he offered it in order to show how reasonable he was, so reasonable he was willing to throw grandma from the train. But that makes him look weak, foolish and mean, not reasonable let alone brilliant. I didn't hear anyone in the media say "Hey, look how reasonable Obama was in offering CCPI, and yet Boehner rejected it! What's wrong with that unreasonable Boehner guy?". What if Obama had misread Boehner and he ended up accepting it?

    Anyway, we just had another in a long series of "resets", due to the GOP's lunacy. Perhaps that will take CCPI and similar cuts off the table. Certainly there was no need to put it on the table in the first place. I reject the view that our negotiating position is not strong enough to take it off the table. These talks need to be about the Bush tax cuts, unemployment extension and economic stimulus. Leave tax reform and spending cuts for when the economy recovers enough to make such things worth discussing. Now is not the time to cut the deficit, especially through austerity, which would increase the deficit.

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

    by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:04:12 AM PST

    •  Rec'd ten times over! You rock, kovie! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kj in missouri

      You and I have engaged in some vigorous disagreements in the past.  But your comment EXACTLY states my view.  Thanks!  

    •  The starting negotiating position (4+ / 0-)

      for Obama on SS should be to raise the cap on the payroll tax.  Any other "fix" to SS is a betrayal.  

      Even better, raising the payroll cap dovetails nicely with raising income taxes on the wealthy.  Obama should have proposed both at once, then stand back while popular opinion buoys the proposals.  

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

      by Subterranean on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:33:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But that would be mean and uncivil (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Subterranean

        and a tragic failure of bipartisanship. Didn't you know that we have to always be bipartisan to be serious, that bipartisanship even for its own sake was the hallmark of responsible leadership, and that it always required us to concede more than the other side? Why are you being so unserious?

        /snark

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:49:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't have a problem with the "cuts" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlackClouds

    My kids face a cut of 25 percent over their promised benefits and yet there is no real cry here on this site to avoid this cut.  To ask for my parents and my generation to experience a little bit of the inevitable cuts is both fair and moral, IMO.

    In addition, these cuts affect seniors less and actually have a greater effect the younger you are so the "it's hurting our seniors" rings a little hollow to my ears.

    Finally, I would draw your attention to how the Republicans behaved over the "Plan B" debacle.  Their dogmatic, ideological approach to the issue of taxation has been a disaster for them and it is not an approach I would suggest for the Democrats to emulate.  And yet, I would argue, that the argument presented by many well meaning people on the left is merely the inverse argument that those ardent conservatives are advancing.

    For many hardcore Republicans they want the entire burden of fixing the deficit to fall on spending cuts.  They are delusional, IMHO.  For many hardcore Democrats they want the structural problems with SS (and Medicare) to be fixed entirely by raising taxes.  It is not a serious plan in my opinion and I would not encourage Democrats to imitate Republicans in taking a hardcore, ideological, dogmatic approach to complex societal problems.

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

    by theotherside on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:07:10 AM PST

    •  I will be taking a hardcare ideological approach (0+ / 0-)

      at the polls in 2014.  That's what it is all about.  I respect the Tea Party for the courage of their convictions if not for their agenda.  If they get what they want it will not be because of me it will be because the Democratic Party has been so intimidated and cowed and diluted that it has no memory of who and what it once stood for.   That's what happens when you lose your ideological approach.

      I have no use for people who pretend to represent me except when it matters.

  •  Great diary...Obama & (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, rlochow, gooderservice

    The dems can't spin Chained cpi. It is basically evil

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Churchill

    by PrometheusUnbound on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:24:13 AM PST

  •  Pay back my social security you borrowed (6+ / 0-)

    Congress should pass a budget that includes paying back the money borrowed from Social Security instead of cutting Social Security benefits. According to  Senator Reigle  if the American public were asked about what priority should be placed on the debt owed to Social Security, we have no doubt that they would resoundingly say: "Pay Us Back -- pay back the money borrowed from Social Security!"
    Senator Riegle said that Social Security opponents raise fears about the national debt and how much our government has borrowed from China. They never mention how much our government has borrowed from Social Security. In fact, the government has borrowed more from the Social Security surplus than it has from any other source in the world, including China. As a result, Social Security now "owns" nearly 18 percent of the federal debt, making it the largest single holder of US debt. The government owes almost twice as much to Social Security as it does to China and Hong Kong.

  •  Great diary (9+ / 0-)

    well-stated common sense.

    It must be, if the Spin Machine is working triple-time all over the comments.

    Thanks, phoebe!  (high-fives)

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:28:03 AM PST

  •  If we don't totally support Social Security with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    no cuts WHATSOEVER, then the Democratic leadership will show that they have as much sense as Romney's campaign pollsters and in 2014, WILL SUFFER SIMILAR RESULTS!!

  •  Here's the email I sent to my reps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    If you're against the chained cpi proposal, please do something similar:

    Diary

  •  the party of Johnsons and FDR (4+ / 0-)


    should always fighting to strengthen our "earned benefits"

    -- NOT slyly weaken them.


    Raising the FICA Ceiling -- would strengthen them,

    say in 2014.


    Isn't it time to fix the Filibuster?
    -- Here's how.

    by jamess on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:43:31 AM PST

  •  The Villager Bubble (6+ / 0-)

    Washington, the media, academia, Wall Street - it's full of Very Serious People who are idiots.

    They reinforce each other, provide mutual self-validation for their opinions, and diligently suppress serious consideration of any facts, views, or policies that don't fit their agenda.

    They're the handmaidens of truly awful people with lots of money who've been whispering in their ears (and lately openly shouting) that government is not the answer, that the rich pay too much in taxes while the poor don't pay enough, (though paying people a living wage and decent benefits will destroy the economy) - but using government to keep them from starving, or getting sick, or having a destitute old age (because the private sector doesn't give a damn) is wrong because it makes them 'dependent'...

    They know what they know, they believe what they believe - and they're pushing these policies with the best of intentions. Only they are willing to make the sacrifices needed to realize their vision to "make things right" - except they are not the ones who will actually feel the effects of that sacrifice.

    Well, we all know (or should remember) what the road to Hell is paved with...

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:44:35 AM PST

  •  Thank you for saying this- perfect. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean
    I would equate Chained CPI to this:

    Your boss leaves the store and your co-worker suggests to you that together you open up the till and take some money. Does it matter how much money is taken?

    Some of you argue that the amount of the money taken is what really matters. I disagree. The crime occurs when the till is opened. That's where one draws the line. That's where we are now.

    A Social Security BENEFIT CUT is on the table.

    Would you mind if I send it off to Pelosi? It is so much more polite than anything I would otherwise want to say-

    These people betraying myself burns. When I think of the energy and trust and hope (and campaign money)  that my mother has spent supporting these same people, because it is the right thing to do, patriotic thing to do, my blood boils. I don't know what makes me angrier. That she has probably given these liars more money than she'll lose if this CPI thing passes, or that I have to watch her face the being betrayed by people she trusted to protect her. Spent her savings on, thinking they would protect her.

    I have thought a lot of bad things about my government, but running a scam on seniors has never been one of them, until now.

  •  If Your Representative or Senator (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allenjo

    Votes for this, do not vote for that person again.

    There is almost nothing else you can do.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:43:07 AM PST

    •  You can let them know right now that this will (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sharon, bink

      be the result if they vote for the any bill that includes Chained CPI.

      Obama offered it and Boehner didn't accept. The result should now be Obama taking it off the table and saying "That was then, this is now. Here's my new offer and if you don't take this one, the next one will be worse."

      That's an actual version of how people negotiating from a position of strength do things. Obma negotiates like he's holding a pair of deuces when he has a straight flush.

      Now that the Repblicans made jackasses out of themselves with Plan B, they pretty much have to agree to anything put out by the Dems or take the entire blame for fiscal cliffdom.

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:58:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  agreement (0+ / 0-)

    I'd be willing to agree with the chained cpi if the Rs agree to eliminating a limit on FICA.  They won't, so it's off the board.  When you bargain--you go to the extreme--and work toward compromise--you don't start by giving in "a little bit."
    While on the subject--FICA should have never been cut as part of the stimulus-- it is not there to be a fiscal football.  Instead, the lower tax brackets could have gotten a bigger tax break--accomplishes the same thing without bringing ss into the discussion.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:06:04 AM PST

  •  Ain't no fucking "sweetener"! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell
    As part of the fiscal-cliff package Obama offered to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) this week, the president included the chained CPI provision as a sweetener to entice wary House Republicans to get on board.
    Cutting SS benefits for old retired people isn't a fucking sweetener!  What the hell is wrong with these beltway fucks?

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

    by Subterranean on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:19:32 AM PST

  •  Obama is running laps around the GOP. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BenderRodriguez, BlackClouds

    Once again, his strategy is dealing them a major political blow, and leaving them to take the blame from the public.  There will be no benefits from this, just as there were no benefit cuts from the debt ceiling deal.

    But by all means, please carry on.  This wailing from the left about being betrayed is an essential part of his strategy working.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:22:35 AM PST

  •  We know Nancy Pelosi and what she stands for. (0+ / 0-)

    Do you really believe she was being forthright when she said she could support a Chained CPI cut, that it wasn't a cut, and that she could sell it to the caucus?

    That didn't sound at all odd to you?

    You don't trust Obama, fine, but do you really think she was being straight, and not posturing as part of the kabuki?

    This is Nancy Pelosi we're talking about.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:29:42 AM PST

    •  Could you please let me in (4+ / 0-)

      on what the "tell" is when they don't actually mean what they are saying?

      I must have misplaced my divining rod.

      •  He doesn't have a tell. (0+ / 0-)

        You have to pay very close attention to figure out when he's doing the "offer they can't accept" thing.  Basically, it's about recognizing when he's deliberately crossing his interlocutor's red lines.  Upping his tax hike demand from $1 trillion to $1.4 trillion last year, for example, or demanding legal immunity for U.S. troops in Iraq from Malaki.  He combines that with proposals that cross his own well-established red lines, like entitlement benefits for keeping the troops in Iraq.

        It is very hard to recognize, if it's being done well.  Not getting caught is the point.  It took me weeks to figure out what was going on in the summer of 2011.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:46:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt

    It is sad to see a reality based community trying to pretend that a decrease in benefits isn't a cut. But past all the semantic warbling,I would hope that the Democratic Party still has room for The New Deal.

    "What was the New Deal anyhow? Was it a political plot? Was it just a name for a period in history? Was it a revolution? To all of these questions I answer "No." It was something quite different... It was, I think, basically an attitude. An attitude that found voice in expressions like "the people are what matter to government," and "a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life." ~~~ Frances Perkins

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 09:51:20 AM PST

  •  Once again I ask (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoebe Loosinhouse, BlackClouds

    What exactly is the plan to get an all-good, no compromise bill passed?  

    Who are the 17+ Republican House members we can flip?

    I am serious, I would really like to know what the better (than what the Dems are currently doing) way forward is.

    •  Your approach is the one that should be under (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica

      consideration. The Republicans just proved that they won't even vote for a bill presented by their own Speaker.

      What does this prove? It proves they cannot be negotiatewd with. The Dems need to introduce a good, reasonable Democratic bill THAT DOES NOT TOUCH SS and offer it up.

      The President and all the Dems have to go around the clock talking about how they are attempting to avoid the cliff and that they can't get the Repubs to vote. If there is no vote, the Republicans get all the blame for going over the cliff. If somehow it becomes possible to actually vote for the Dem bill in the Congress, there propbably are at least 17 fiscally sane or lame duck or reasonable Republican Reps who wold flip because they would like to be on the winning side.

      And we don't have to cater to them or beg for their votes or create an essentially Republican bill as happened in the ACA. Take it or leave it.

      If they (the Dems)are STUPID enough to offer up a bill with the chained CPI, they are handing the Republicans on a silver platter a reason to excuse their non or no vote by saying they were attempting to protect Social Security from the Democrats(!). The ones who do vote for it will say that they hate that it was in their but it was the Dem Pres who wanted it, not them.

      This is exactly how the Dems lost the elder vote in the last election -the Rs falsley styled themselves as the protectors of Medicare which they claimed Obamacare was cutting and the Dems did not ever provide an effective counter.

      If the Dems offer a bill with the chained CPI they will NEVER live it down and they will give up the most effective political branding in the modern era - Democrats as the protectors of the safety nets. They will OFFICIALLY be Republican lite and they will finally digust and permenently alienate a large group of Progressives who have been taken for granted and ignored for the last 4 years.

      The Republicans will resurrect themselves once again and field some female and Latino and African American candidates whom they will counsel very carefully to appear normal and sane and they might even allow them to believe in a heliocentric universe and then voila! the Republicans will be politically reborn.

      But, by all means, let's chance it.

      Just my opinion.  

      “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

      by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Because the bankers own the place. Geez, why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica, allenjo

    don't people start taking that literally?  What's happening is what has happened and is happening in Europe and it doesn't matter who's in charge of the country's government.  It's the giant central banks, the big banks and Wall Street. The plutocracy is demanding austerity for the masses.

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:04:27 AM PST

    •  And while everyone is talking about SS, the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, allenjo

      politicians will cut Medicare and other social programs and give the corporations and the rich more tax breaks.  The rich created this mess by rigging the system so they get all the money and wealth and now they want the serfs to pay them more.  The politicians have done absolutely nothing to correct that, such as reinstating Glass-Stegall or repealing the Commodities Modernization Act.  There should be no cuts to any programs other than the Empire and those that benefit the rich and the taxes for the rich should go way up.  That's what we should be demanding with no compromise.
      And to think some democratic supporters actually believe that SS should be cut, that's unbelievablely naive.

      "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:12:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaks for me too. Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    My name is Mitt RMoney and I'm here to sell America for scrap.

    by Man from Wasichustan on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 11:05:00 AM PST

  •  Every discussion of SS reform keeps missing the (0+ / 0-)

    point.

    COLA is regressive.  Keeps raising the benefits for high-end recipients more than the benefits for low-end recipients.

    Chained CIP does not correct this regression.

    Why can't the Democrats come up with one plan to remove the regressiveness of the formulas?????

    Eliminate SS payroll tax cap...and/or

    Implement a flat rate COLA increase for all with the same amount of overall cost...and/or

    Dems want less income inequality?  Walk the walk.

  •  MLK Jr. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica

    had "a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few;"I share MLK's dream.

    I agree with phoebe looseinhouse that it was Obama that put the chained CPI on the table in the current negotiations.

    We all need to let him and our representatives know that we do not accept this and will not support any elected official that votes for it.

  •  Remember this when Hillary runs (0+ / 0-)

    I hope Democratic activists start rejecting centrist candidates.

    Obama's positions are those of a 1990s Republican .

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