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In the excoriation of Nancy Pelosi for her remarks about chained CPI for Social Security, and similar criticisms of what was widely taken as another cave by President Obama when dealing with Congressional Republicans, no one seems to have noticed that Democrats have been tinkering with Social Security benefits, often with cutbacks, for over fifty years, longer than almost all of us have been in the work force.

Forget what you think you know about third-rail politics. Over the years, Social Security has been often tinkered with by Congress, sometimes to do good, sometimes to do bad, sometimes, you decide and always with Democrats in charge of at least one and sometimes all of the branches of government required to pass the amendments.    

For example, even though Social Security took on its modern form in 1939, under FDR, the program made no provision whatsoever for cost of living adjustment (COLA) until 1951. Even then, it wasn't reliable, with Congress voting session by session:

The next significant change to the SSA occurred in 1950, when the first cost of living adjustment (COLA) was added the program. This was a one-time increase in benefits of 7.7%; the next COLA occurred in 1952, a 12.5% increase.
Automatic COLA didn't come around until 1972. Other amendments haven't been as kind to retirees.

Some further reflections on the history of amendments to the Social Security Act are out in the tall grass if you want to follow along,

At least three times before, Social Security benefits have been effectively reduced by various mechanisms, each time with the support of at least one branch of the federal government under the control of Democrats. It was JFK, with complete Democratic control of Congress in 1961 who passed reduced benefits for optional early retirement between ages 62 and 64. In 1975, Democrats firmly held both Houses of Congress, with weak Republican Gerald Ford limping along in the dismal wake of Watergate. They raised Social Security taxes, reduced benefits and increased the income ceiling subject to FICA.

In 1983, it happened again under conditions sort of like today's, but reversed, with Republicans in control of the Senate and White House and Democrats retaining control of the House. I found that this 2006 historical essay from the NY State CPA Society summed up what happened accurately and succinctly:

The first recognition of the fragility of the Social Security program occurred in 1975. A report developed by the Treasury Department indicated that Social Security payroll taxes collected would be insufficient to meet Social Security payments by 1979. In response, Congress increased the tax rate, reduced benefits, and made the automatic adjustment to the amount of earnings subject to Social Security independent of the COLA. These steps averted a potential Social Security failure.

In 1983, another potential Social Security crisis was avoided. President Ronald Reagan formed the Greenspan Commission to study the financial state of Social Security. The commission issued a detailed report calling for numerous, sweeping changes to be implemented in order to strengthen Social Security. A bill passed by Congress based upon the recommendations of the Greenspan Commission taxed some Social Security benefits, included federal employees in the definition of employees for Social Security payroll tax purposes, and scheduled increases in the retirement age in the next century.

To be sure, no imminent Social Security crisis specifically looms this very moment. To be even more sure, even if there were a Social Security crisis demanding immediate attention, that problem is entirely separate from the problem, if any, of the deficit. Addressing one does little or nothing to address the problems of the other.

As far as Social Security is concerned, sooner or later, changes will occur. The idea that Social Security benefits are sacrosanct really has no historical foundation given the kinds of changes the system has endured in the past at the hands of Democrats.

It's a damn shame that our leaders let chained CPI into the recent round of Lame Duck negotiations, but it isn't as though Democrats don't have a record of supporting Social Security changes, both up and down, rather more drastic in effect than the current proposed change to chained CPI for COLA. Once again, the NY CPA's provide a short summary of the history of Social Security COLA:

The next significant change to the SSA occurred in 1950, when the first cost of living adjustment (COLA) was added the program. This was a one-time increase in benefits of 7.7%; the next COLA occurred in 1952, a 12.5% increase. In 1954, a stipulation was added that would freeze a worker’s record during the years he was disabled and unable to work. This amendment avoided a worker’s receiving reduced or no benefits in the event of a disability.

In 1961, the retirement age for men was reduced to 62, with a reduced monthly benefit for those choosing to retire early. Several major changes to Social Security occurred with the 1972 amendment: automatic COLAs were instituted, a minimum monthly benefit was established, monthly benefits were significantly increased to those individuals waiting until age 65 to retire, and a system for automatic increases in the amount of earnings subject to Social Security taxation was developed.

In 1972, Democrats raised the cost of Social Security to workers. In 1983, Democrats helped Ronald Reagan raise the retirement age to 67.  These were battles lost by progressives. Then again, none of us can remember when the Democrats were a real progressive party. We're making a lot of progress, but we have a long road ahead.

Excoriating our coalition partners doesn't strengthen progressives politically and can weaken those partners who on many days are our friends, thus lessening the help they can provide to our causes, Calls for ideological purity have a place, but it ignores history to believe that every last penny of Social Security is somehow sacrosanct for Democrats to even talk about when horse trading in Congress for needed legislation. Unless this somehow boomerangs on the GOP, I agree with many here that putting chained CPI on the table in the deficit negotiations was a blunder. When Republicans mindlessly demand Social Security cuts, just say no should do the trick. I also see a massive overreaction to that blunder in discussions on Daily Kos.

There are great arguments for keeping, at least, Social Security away from the Lame Ducks. Like most here, despite the inevitable fiscal and human costs, I favor stepping off the curb. Shifts in Congress next term could help overcome some of the logjam.

The idea that bringing up chained CPI in the budget talks was a gigantic mistake is inspired by a righteous view that Social Security benefits should only go up, and never go down. But, that point of view has never had much traction in any of the debates over tinkering with Social Security, time after time, as in the various examples described here.

I favor every measure to strengthen and preserve Social Security and Medicare. I will soon be a beneficiary of both. The years ahead show me many paths where I will never have to subsist on Social Security income alone, but some where I might. I would like to see Social Security strengthened and maybe even see benefits improved by eliminating the income ceiling on FICA to raise extensive new revenue from $100,000 and up incomes. Doing the same simple thing to Medicare taxes would solve a large piece of ACA/Medicare and deficit trouble.

Nancy Pelosi is a friend to a great many progressive issues. A powerful friend. So is President Obama. We can lament when our friends make mistakes, make our arguments to them on the merits of the issue and posit alternative scenarios to our heart's content. But it's usually better to reserve judgment over whether we have been treacherously sold out by said friend. Let's save our most ardent and colorful excoriation for our known enemies. It's less conflicting and more satisfying.

Originally posted to LeftOfYou on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

    by LeftOfYou on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:41:35 PM PST

  •  Things are different in times of prosperity (13+ / 0-)

    All the other cuts were done while the middle class was vibrant and growing.

    Now, it is horribly defensive at best to be middle class.  The looters are working against us in every way.

    We cannot afford to abandon seniors to the sharks of today.

    This should be a red line no Democrat should cross.

    •  1983 (8+ / 0-)

      was not a time of prosperity and a vibrant and growing middle class.

      It was a time of 9% unemployment.

      Your explanation is simplistic and inadequate.

      •  But It Was a Recoverable Recession. Most of Our (10+ / 0-)

        economy was still onshore back then. Peak unemployment was about half what hit us this time.

        The middle class had been more or less stalled for around 10 years at that time. The middle class has now been stalled for 40 years and declining for the last 10, in an economy that's deported much of the middle class economic ladder offshore and automated more.

        Recoveries have taken steadily longer to recover jobs since Reagan came in. Prospects are worse today.

        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 04:30:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And how about (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pistolSO, terrybuck, Aviate

        the stagflation in the 70's? Those weren't the greatest of times either.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:39:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Compare (0+ / 0-)

          70's vs 80's.

          Inflation
          Unemployment
          GDP growth

          Wasnt a lot of difference.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:02:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's amazing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allenjo

          to watch Democrats actively enabling cutting Social Security.

          Just amazing.

          Where is your line in the sand?  Do you have one?  


          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:58:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You might try (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LeftOfYou

            actually reading the diary.

            Unless this somehow boomerangs on the GOP, I agree with many here that putting chained CPI on the table in the deficit negotiations was a blunder. When Republicans mindlessly demand Social Security cuts, just say no should do the trick.
            As I said below, when simply discussing historical context is viewed as "enabling cutting Social Security, I find it hard to distinguish our approach to that of the tea baggers.

            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by NLinStPaul on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:29:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What's the purpose (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              allenjo

              of the historical discussion? Just for the sake of history?

              What approach would you suggest to prevent cuts to Social Security?

              And seriously, do you have a line in the sand? Or will you defend and enable anything as long as the person doing it has a D next to their name?  What are the things that would cause you to protest a Democrat?


              "Justice is a commodity"

              by joanneleon on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:57:25 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

                I have a line in the sand. And President Obama has surely crossed it!

                Discussing chained CPI in the process of a failed negotiation with Boehner is absolutely the most serious betrayal of my values EVER commited by a Democratic politician.

                I'm done with him.

                ;-)

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by NLinStPaul on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:14:24 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  i know, i said i wasn't going to engage, (0+ / 0-)

                  but this post is an example of why i like you, NL!   dry wit, often served with a twist.   :-)

                  my "lines" were crossed years ago by Presidents long before this one arrived on the scene.  so that, i get. (if that indeed is what you are hinting.)  

                  and what my question to you would be, in essence, wondering why we're not in agreement on the strategy, a point where we often have agreed... is... why support the man who proposed the policy (or allowed it to stay on the table), during his second term, when/if you disagree with it?

                  this isn't a legalistic question, i'm not looking for semantics, i'm looking for the logic behind the "why."  

                  because the offer ultimately didn't mean anything?
                  because it showed how far gone the Tea Party is?
                  because it showed how toothless Boenher is?
                  because it (ss) has been tinkered with in the past?
                  because it shows how reasonable PBO is to the 'middle'?

                  why?  seriously curious and hope for a serious answer.    if we're just going to snark, i will disengage.   i'm just not going to fight on a blog.   if i was going to do that, i'd already gone ballastic re: the gun discussions here!

                  "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                  by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:16:10 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm afraid I'll have to (0+ / 0-)

                    answer your question with a question.

                    That's because - if I'm understanding your question - it actually shocks me a bit. So I need to clarify.

                    Are you suggesting that we should pull our support for this president because of one area where we disagree with him?

                    If so, I'm pretty sure no human being would ever measure up.

                    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                    by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:48:59 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  no, that was badly phrased (0+ / 0-)

                      thank you for giving me the chance to clarify...

                      not pull our support for this president, but rather add our voices against this policy.

                      i've attempted to put this (ss) into some sort of long-term context re: the debt ceiling fight-to-come, and just can't envision any sort of positive upside of this play.

                      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                      by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:53:05 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  going out for a bit, (0+ / 0-)

                      i'm thinking we probably are on the same page (as they say), re: this policy issue.  the difference might be that i am willing to apply as direct a pressure as possible to PBO- during his second term- as opposed to his first term, when i made a decision to back the person, regardless of disagreements in policy, to help (in my mind) ensure a second term, when i hope to get lasting reforms and policy set.

                      my motivations aren't going to make sense to anyone but me.  :-)

                      "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                      by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 10:16:25 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't find it necessary (0+ / 0-)

                        to chose between applying pressure and backing the person. As a matter of fact - I think both are required.

                        What is counter-productive to both is to attack the person.

                        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                        by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 10:21:45 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i agree with both sentences. (0+ / 0-)

                          however, i am more willing to be more vocal, in public, about disagreement with policy now than i was during his first term. so we might see ourselves here voicing our opposition to policy coming from (what to me are) cosmetic differences in (or reasons for) framing.

                          "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                          by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 10:31:37 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You might be interested (0+ / 0-)

                            in something I wrote this morning that included this quote from Al Giordano.

                            I speak, therefore I act is the great American illusion of politics. Sorry, but no. Only when our speech effectively causes others to act does it rise to the level of poetry.

                            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                            by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 11:00:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  read it, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

                            as i've typed, many times, i don't consider myself now or in the past as on a "side" on a blog.   i think i have an accurate idea of who i am, what i can do and who and how i can influence... and act in accordance to my limitations and strengths.  and, hopefully, i've learned a few new things along the way.   (and participating on a blog is only part of what i do, as i know has been the same in your life.)

                            i see a changed field of play in a second term for PBO and am adjusting actions and words in accord to the field that i see.

                            in other words, nl, i think that piece of yours is correct and incorrect in terms of perception on the state of play today.   i'm certainly going to focus more on policy (and  poetry! lol!) and less on personalities and poutrages and ponies.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 12:58:08 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yep, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kj in missouri

                            that's exactly what led to my decision to leave here:

                            i'm certainly going to focus more on policy (and  poetry! lol!) and less on personalities and poutrages and ponies.
                            I've been reminded of that the last few days. There's a big world out there. Don't have time for the drama.

                            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                            by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 01:17:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  selfishly, (0+ / 0-)

                            i'll be sorry you won't be around to offer your point of view, but i know where you are.   :-)

                             i think the collective 'we' has a chance to make policy and change in the next two years (and quell the remains of the Tea Party) and then 2014 and then i'll pick a primary candidate (and that's probably when i'll leave here again!) in hopes for a much further left candidate (and one that can win!) than we've had.

                            it may be competing echo chambers here, but at least there is some dissonance!   i'll take it as long as i can!

                            {{{nl}}}

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 01:28:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'd be very interested (0+ / 0-)

                            in hearing what policies you think a "further left candidate" could have gotten accomplished over these last 4 years.

                            Much of the criticism of Obama around here has been more about process than content. To me - its pretty rooted in a sexist view of assuming you out-punch your opponents rather than out-smart them. Folks want the President to be their projected id providing them with a catharsis for their anger. They haven't observed human beings enough to know that that doesn't work.

                            President Obama is presiding over the Republican Party in its death throes. That's happening because he's offered them to either work with him or paint themselves into a more and more extremist corner. Of course they've chosen the latter. And its leading to their demise.

                            Sometimes, in addition to all the progressive policies he's actually championed, you have to step back and see the big picture.  

                            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                            by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 02:29:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  NONE! (0+ / 0-)
                            I'd be very interested in hearing what policies you think a "further left candidate" could have gotten accomplished over these last 4 years.
                            I don't think there is any policies that could have been accomplished by a further left candidate/president over these last four years, nada, zip!  given the multiple set of intransigent obstacles PBO, or any D who won in 2008, faced.   On that I'm sure I'm in disagreement with possibly a large percentage of this blog.

                            As to the rest of your comment, I'm in agreement.

                            I'm talking about the candidate in 2016 being further left than any that's been nominated.  I think the Senate is, after this last election, more old-timey-liberal (thank you, Elizabeth Warren!) and I think by 2014 there is a chance the House will be too.  I have no idea what or how the dying Tea / Republican Party will reincarnate.   So, barring some unknown catastrophic event, I do think the majority of the country will be moving in a more liberal, more "take care of our neighbor" direction from now on.   And that is indeed the avenue I'll be walking down.  And indeed, that is the direction I'm going to be pushing PBO.   He won re-election.  He is an extremely intelligent man.  He shows a great capacity for empathy.  I think we could grow huge as a movement and as a country in these next coming four years.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 03:06:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I agree! (0+ / 0-)

                            The one thing we have to do is keep the economy from tanking. If it goes south again, not only will people suffer, but the fascists (ie, tea partiers) will have an opening.

                            Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                            by NLinStPaul on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 04:52:24 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  so, stimulus! (0+ / 0-)

                            i am in favor of raising the cap on income for social security taxes to fund social security's future and restoring/raising income taxes above $250,000 to Clinton-era 39% (?) levels...

                            other than that, we enter the mystical math budget territory where i am not conversant and where you have real world experience.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 06:00:51 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and a side observation (0+ / 0-)

                            from this white woman's pov:

                            if anything, the fact that PBO is a person of color hastened the rise of the Tea Party and... with the combination of so many factors, not the least, showing the public the face of its ugliness... also hastened its demise.  

                            that is, if we can get assault weapons and ammo under new regulations.   (watch someone find this obscure comment about guns and flame!   i wouldn't doubt it!)

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 06:09:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

      •  Hell, those look like boom times compared to now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon, allenjo

        Ntx

        •  Actually they do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allenjo

          I've lived through both those times and these, and while times were tough then, there was light at the end of the tunnel and we still had some semblance of a Democratic party that represented the 99%.

          At that time, you would never have found a Democratic president putting Social Security on the table.

          The banks were still constrained by Glass-Steagall and didn't entirely own politicians.

          We had not given away entire industries to offshoring and outsourcing.

          Unions were much stronger.

          We had just gotten out of a long war and weren't looking for ways to stay in one.

          The defense industry was publicly scrutinized for ridiculous overspending.

          We actually had a Democratic party.


          "Justice is a commodity"

          by joanneleon on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:02:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I trust Nancy a helluva lot more than Obama on SS. (0+ / 0-)

      RTKRC - Right to keep and raise children. Trumps RTKBA - Right to keep & bear arms.

      by hideinplainsight on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 07:28:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Given what has happened in the last few days (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chaboard

    I think Chained CPI has been taken off the table, as any fiscal slope deal before January 1st would need every Democrat to vote for it(and there are enough lame duck Republicans that could go along in the name of governing) and after January 3rd(when the Speakership election happens), Pelosi will only need about 20 Republicans(I think 17 would be the bare minimum but always good to have a few extra votes as a cushion) and taxes, the debt ceiling and the doc fix would be the things that would have to be dealt with(I don't see UI benefits being restored after January unless we really give on taxes or something else).

    Washington and Colorado said that you've got to legalize it. Hope the DOJ respects that.

    by pistolSO on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 03:52:54 PM PST

  •  Lots of assumptions in here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, Cedwyn, Aviate, LeftOfYou

    "Widely seen as a cave" etc. By some who live to be disappointed, maybe. Not in the wider world. I'm proud of the President.

  •  We all choose are causes and our issues (6+ / 0-)

    I will vote on this one.

    I put up with drones, an out of control MIC fueling wars without end, calling $400,000 "middle class", ridiculous infringements on civil liberties, renaming gun control "gun safety" to be cleverly politically correct....

    But I will vote on this one.

  •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

    You've answered a question I've been thinking about over the last few days, but hadn't taken the time to research.

    As I've been listening to some of the commentary on this one - it sounded like there is a lot of naiveté about how often we've tinkered with Social Security over the years.

    I've actually seen comments to the effect that changing the way inflation is calculated means SS will "go down the tubes."

    I recognize that no one embraces this idea (and its now "off the table" anyway). But a little historical perspective is helpful in combating the hyperbole.  

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:35:28 PM PST

  •  it's nice to see (9+ / 0-)

    democrats defending and rationalizing social security cuts.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:37:24 PM PST

    •  Yeah, (5+ / 0-)

      it kinda ruins the rage-buzz, doesn't it?

      But seriously...that's what you got out of this?

      Unbelievable.  

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's not fair. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gramofsam1, RainyDay, Cedwyn, ORDem, Aviate

      The diarist is only pointing out that there have been changes in the past. One of the changes that I didn't see noted was that, in order to plan for the Boomers, the rate of FICA withholding virtually or actually doubled when Reagan and O'Neill were agreeing to agree. Thom Hartmann said we (the Boomers) are the first generation to pay for both our parents and ourselves. The next change should be the lifting of the cap. How that happens in this environment, I don't know.

    •  I'm wavering between thinking this diary is (9+ / 0-)

      exceedingly stupid or exceedingly insulting.

      Maybe it's both.

      In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

      by badger on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 04:54:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now I've heard it all... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ORDem, Aviate

        A recounting of history is either exceedingly stupid or insulting.

        And you're different from the tea baggers how?

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:05:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  the lack of context (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD, chuckvw, masslib, stevej, badger, Armando

        speaks for itself.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:12:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So enlighten us (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate

          What is the "context" that disproves, or otherwise explains, the history recounted herein?

          I know it conflicts with your "OBAMA IS AN UNPRECEDENTED BETRAYER" storyline, so other than that context, of course.

          You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

          by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:42:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i don't respond to shrill strawman arguments (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            praenomen, masslib

            have a nice weekend.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:43:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Aviate

              Because you don't know how to respond to a challenge to your claim. Not used to being questioned, I see.

              No problem, have fun in your echo chamber.

              You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

              by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:05:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Its hard to miss (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Aviate, LeftOfYou

                that these guys are totally ignoring the actual content of the diary.

                When folks attack without any substance, its because what they are reacting to threatens the echo chamber they have created around themselves.

                Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:13:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, genius, here's the diary content: (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Armando, PhilJD, allenjo

                  The diary's premise: Democrats have done something before, so it's OK if they do it again. So we can put all the Japanese-Americans in internment camps and re-segregate the South - both actions Democrats have done before.

                  Even if the premise wasn't stupid, the diarist's support for the premise is also stupid. Lowering the retirement age to 62 at a lower benefit is only a "cut" if you have no concept of the time value of money - any annuity or pension plan provides a benefit adjusted to the retirement age. The diarist didn't do the math to show the lower benefit was unfair - until he does, it's a stupid claim.

                  Lastly even if the premise was sensible, and it's really dumb, and the facts were there to support it, which they aren't, nobody gives a shit about what Democrats did to Social Security in the past because, a) they care about what happens to Social Security now and in the future, and b) Democrats campaigned on promises not to cut Social Security (and again, if you do the math, chained CPI is a cut).

                  Shove that up your echo chamber.

                  In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

                  by badger on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:37:23 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Um. No. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NLinStPaul, LeftOfYou

                    The argument is that Social Security has never been, as people like you claim, sacrosanct and that Obama is somehow violating core Democratic principles by proposing what is ultimately a modest accounting change in how COLAs (which were not even part of the original SS & did not become automatic until the 1970s) are calculated.

                    Beyond that, his argument is that progressives ultimately lose when they attack their allies for being insufficiently pure and righteous, thereby alienating those who would otherwise support their larger aims. Progressives ultimately lose when, they, oh, I don't know, compare a small reduction in the rate of cost of living increases with supporting Japanese internment camps and the Jim Crow South.

                    Seeing as we're still living with the consequences of the Public Option outrage, which helped give the GOP the leverage it has today, I think the diarist has that one nailed pretty spot on.

                    You take the diarist to task for mischaracterizing the early retirement benefit cut as a cut. Even if we concede your point (and I'm not sure we should), you conveniently ignore the 1975 benefit cuts--passed by a Dem controlled Congress--and the 1986 reforms--passed by a Dem House--which made SS income taxable (now if that's not a benefit cut, what is?)

                    Is Chained CPI a cut? That's a matter of semantics. Is slowing the rate of growth a cut? If someone says they're knocking 10% off your salary, that's a cut. If they say you'll be getting a 2% raise instead of a 3% raise, you're still getting a raise. Really, as "broken" political promises go, this one rates about a 1.5 on the Richter scale.

                    No. The diarist's premise is sensible and he has the facts to back it up.

                    You have insults, mischaracterizations, strategic omissions, and condescension to burn. But not much else, except a crying need for a new signature line.

                    •  Sacrosanct is intentersing word (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      PhilJD

                      The onyl axctual cut I saw described was the raising of the eligibiltiy age in 1983.

                      In the deal to fix Social Security for ALL TIME!

                      The diary seems to believe that raising FICA contributions is weakening Social Security. IT isn't.

                •  It's obvious that (0+ / 0-)

                  the content is poorly presented.

                  For example, a FICA contributon increase is presented as weakening Social Security.

                  •  Ummmm...no. (0+ / 0-)

                    Its presented to demonstrate that we have tweaked SS over the years without it being threatened.

                    You guys can't even recognize a diary that actually agrees with the idea that chained CPI is not a good idea - but simply wants to put the whole thing in some historical context.

                    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

                    by NLinStPaul on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:26:00 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Jeez, Tom: that sounds like an argument you (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                stevej

                would make in Junior High.  "Oh yeah, you just don't know how...."  

                I don't blame him for not wanting to respond.  You're not trying to discuss the problem: you're wanting to unload on him, that much is apparent.

                •  I gave him an opportunity to explain (0+ / 0-)

                  his comment. He elected not to, so I think it's fair to conclude he doesn't know how to explain it.

                  OK, maybe I was a little rude and snarky. But it is the Internet, y'know. :)

                  You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

                  by tomjones on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:26:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Or any other kind of argument (0+ / 0-)

              it would seem...

          •  Can you explain the history recounted herein? (0+ / 0-)

            Raising FIICA contributions, for exampole, is not weakening Social Security.

            IT is a poor recounting.

      •  I have no such doubt about your comment (0+ / 0-)

        It is both.

        You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

        by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:43:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Try Exceedingly Well Done (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aviate
      •  I'm wavering between thinking your comment (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftOfYou

        is exceedingly ignorant or exceedingly pointless.

        The diarist lays out in great detail what those of us who have been around for a while know--that Social Security benefits have never been immune from tinkering, and that Democrats have been party to that tinkering.

        I know that doesn't sit well with your "OMG Obama is betraying us, he's really a Republican, he's as bad as Bush, Romney and Cheney all rolled into one!" freakout. I mean, so what if the Chained CPI would be just another another in a long series of adjustments made to SS over the years? So what if Nancy Pelosi and plenty of Congressional Dems say they can live with it if there are enough safeguards? So what if liberal groups like the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for American Progress are ok with it?

        No. Self-righteous outrage is so much more satisfying. Who cares about history and facts? They're so tedious.

        Actually, I'm not wavering. Your comment is both.

      •  In America, bank robs you (0+ / 0-)
        In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

        great signature line, badger.

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 01:18:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  When anyone can use the label (4+ / 0-)

      The label ceases to have any meaning.

      This is the problem with the idea of a Big Tent that doesn't require any standards.

      Its also a problem of basing a party around one elected official. This happened with Clinton. Now its happening with obama. The Party ceases to have an identity outside of what those who support the President think and believe

      The arguments won't stop because they feel their trolling is allowed so long as they slap on the right label.

      They could quite literally come out with Plan B tomorrow by the Democrats, and it would be Democratic because the label is accepted as meaningful.

      THe question is when does it start to have no value at all?

      I am not saying I know hwere the line is always, but clearly that's an issue here. Its quite clear Democrat to them is a group while to you its a set of values.

      •  less so with clinton (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevej

        maybe it's because there were no blogs and i was living in the sf bay area, but i never experienced this sort of devotion to clinton. a lot of people were unhappy with him, from the start.

        i've never seen such behavior, from democrats, ever. i've heard about the jfk era, but that was before my time. but you're right in that there is literally nothing obama could do that wouldn't have his fan base twisting into pretzels to justify. i'll stick with the issues, and praise him or criticize him accordingly.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:11:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree about Cliinton (9+ / 0-)

          It was there, and still is. Go over to Talk Left where they act like Hillary Clinton is the second coming of FDR.  Also saw that during the 2008 primaries.

          I think the key difference is that you are seeing more deeply (1) the end of empire (2) many disaffected Republicans moved from the GOP to the Democrats (3) the symbolism of Obama's presidency and the very real bigotry of the right (they attacked clinton over personal stuff but attack obama over race) (4) and perhaps other things I am not thinking.

          Needless to say, whatever this is, it doesn't matter. The fact is this kind of blind support is dangerous. I am glad to say that whiel some of the loudest people here continue to push the cult of personality line there are some loyalist who admit the President is wrong here. IN other words, some do have a line. I am not sure you are going to ever get all, and the loudest will always seem like the norm.

          I don't think anyone supports the President on this, and I think ultimately the best thing that can happen is for the small bill that will likely now pass will be declared a victoryand he will move on from this folly.

          The proble- however- ultimately is not the President. He's a symptom.

          The problem is the Democratic Party. It wasn't just the President this week. Think Pelosi. Think Hoyer.

          I think the party has as much as civil war coming as the GOp does.

          I think that in part because the Democratic Party establishment leadership is so out of sink with the base and with the newer demographics. The fact is that the newer demographicsa re poorer and to the left of the Democratic party estalbishment- I don't see that ending well with the party's attempts to keep control or with its attempts to lurch to the right.

          We already see hints o f this like in NY state with Cuomo, but also you see it with the mayor of Chicago. He had an op ed piece in the WaPo recently that in effect told the Democrats to ignore the demographic shifts and focus on the ideas. The ideas sjust so happen to be neoliberal.

          So, while i agree, I think you got a bigger problem than Obama. The problem is that he and his loyalsts tend to suck all the air in the room so other things are being ignored. That'sthe real comparison to Clinton. Right now, this site really should be focused on primaries. that's where the real battles over the next decades are going to take place about the direction of the US. What you are seeing right now is the last fight of the establishment tos tay in power. If they remain unchallenged they will win by I think chilling voters from showing up.

          sorry for the meandering post. It just there are many ideas that come to mind from what you wrote that all sort of paint a more complicated picture to me that is not about Obama or his loyalists.

          •  van hollen yesterday (4+ / 0-)

            was stunning, and pelosi's statement earlier in the week was just embarrassing.

            i do forget how passionate hillary's most ardent supporters were, mostly because here it was primarily edwards and obama. and you're right that some of obama's most passionate supporters have proven capable of criticizing him when he deserves it, and some have even taken a lot of heat for it. you're also right about the party, overall.

            and don't forget at this blog was very active in primarying lieberman and blanche lincoln, and has been very critical of the lesser cuomo. a year or two back markos said something to the effect that while the blog always has been about more and better democrats, the better part is becoming much more the focus. the front page has a lot of detailed focus on issues, for which there is, inevitably, some loud criticism from certain devotees.

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:42:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  my central criticis of the site has (6+ / 0-)

              mostly been that the better part never seems a real focus. I certainly will lurk to see how the site moves forward. This again, despite what the Obama loyalists, believe isn't about Obama. At least not to me. My main concern is that this DC continues to move right depsite the fact the electorate is moving left. That's not a healthy democracy.

              •  there's a LOT of focus on issues (0+ / 0-)

                joan, laura and mb, in particular, and the orange to blue candidates were all to the left. i do think the dem senate caucus moved to the left, with this election.

                The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:57:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  slightly, but the candidate wins in the red state (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  chuckvw, praenomen, masslib

                  are very red. I will wait to see. I am also still not convinced that Warren, for example, will be much good in the Senate because Naked Capitalism ran some very good articiles about whether the left will neutered in DC given the power structure in place that keeps it from the table and that the left has not been willing to fight this. For example, the minute the GOP lost the  house vote this week, was there a statement to the President and Congressional leadership by those on the Left that "you need us, so expect you will have to make concessions since we don't like the policies you are creating"?

                  •  warren and merkley on banking (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    chuckvw, bruh1, Meteor Blades

                    will be interesting to watch. murphy and baldwin are steps to the left. i would be stunned if any of them will support benefit cuts. i also think the house progressive caucus will stand against benefit cuts.

                    the house democratic caucus moved to the right and fractured during the reagan era, and tip o'neill couldn't hold it together anyway, but i do think we're now, fnally reaching a turning point for democrats.

                    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                    by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:10:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  demographically I don't think the (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Laurence Lewis, masslib, hoplite9

                      democrats have a choose in the matter overall with regard to change.  Their base is changing as is the wider country. The same old script that was developed  in the 80s that Pelosi and the other leadership learned to survive under is dying off year by year just as it is for the GOP.

                      •  yep (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        hoplite9

                        the same demographic shifts that are killing off the gop will move the democrats to the left. the bottom line is that three decades of neoliberal economics has created a huge majority who have been left out. because of demographic shifts, the gop can't use guns, religion and bigotry anymore, to frighten people into voting against their own economic self-interests, so a socially liberal and economically populist future awaits. the politicians are lagging, as usual, but they're catching up.

                        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:38:44 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i don't know. are they? (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          praenomen, Meteor Blades

                          I mean in response to their surprise super majority in CA the Democrats initially responded not with elation that said "lets change the script. lets change prop 13 into what it should have been prop  from the 70s (or whatever the numbers were for the tax changes)

                          Instead they were saying we aren't goin gto do much. That may have changed but a few weeks ago that was the script. It seem sthey are lagging a lot. And they keep trying to maintain the status quo to me.

                          I tnink what's going to happen is the same thing that happened with the GOP in the 90s. Once the old repubicans kept trying to keep the status quo, the newer voices came in and said no we are the vanguard.

                          That hasn't happened yet for the Democrats. I was going to write a diary that what needs to happen in the House and the Senate is a revolt. This would shake up the party status quo quite a bit.

                          •  i'd like to see that diary... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            masslib, Meteor Blades

                            california is complicated, because the party leaders long have been more centrist. jerry brown never was the jerry brown of legend. and term limits give lobbyists much more power over legislators.

                            i see gillibrand as more emblematic- she was a centrist when she represented a moderate congressional district, but has been outstanding in the senate. merkley was supposed to be the party establishment guy when he ran against novick for the nomination, but has been astonishingly good, even taking the lead onkey issues, which is rare for a freshman. and we have some really exciting new senators. the house is still problematic at the top, particularly with hoyer and van hollen. i do see change coming from below, but it will take time to work its way through.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 07:01:34 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I will think about writing the diary (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            The main point is the party has to look ahead to the day where President Obama isn't going to be the PResident, and what that means the party is going to look like come 2014 and then 2016. There are soem great trends, but that requires new leadership thats just not there yet, and I don't know if we have the time you say they need to get there.

                          •  I think a lot of the people on this site who are (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bruh1, Laurence Lewis

                            criticizing Obama are afraid that 2014 will be a repeat of 2010 if Obama keeps SS, Medicare, and Medicaid on the bargaining table.

                            I agree that the neoliberals/blue dog faction of the party is a big problem.  They are basically moderate Republicans calling themselves Democrats.  

                            And both of you are right: this struggle is about much more than Obama: it is about the vision of the party moving forward.  We are trending left, but there is a lot of anger being directed at Obama from traditional Democrats and a lot of pushback from Obama followers.  When you add in Hillary's followers, you have a very volatile situation and there is a very real chance that it could cause a major shift in the way the party looks in 2016.

                            Interesting discussion.

                          •  2014 (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kj in missouri

                            will depend largely on next year, and we have a brutal senate map anyway, but we'll see if the tea party helps us out again there. if the democrats get through the next half year without yet again paying ransom to extremist hostage takers, we could take back the house, and i do think we will continue to see more progressive candidates. the country is moving that way.

                            2016 will depend on hillary. if she doesn't run, we could see gillibrand or brown or warren. i think cuomo may have killed his chances, enabling the republicans to take his state's senate. but four years ago i did not expect to see so many states by now legalizing marriage equality, or any legalizing marijuana, or for obama to become the first president to come out for marriage equality. and i do think the occupy movement changed the economic narrative, although i'm starting to wonder whether or not the democrats really got the message. but change is coming, and rapidly, and the politicians who follow it will rise.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:45:19 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Observations (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Laurence Lewis

                            (1) I am not interested in having another Clintonite (which is what Obama is) in the White House. We need someone who is a true progressive in 2016.  This person will be responsible for building the party and more importantly helping to build the movement to the left that this country needs to take to re-discover its center.

                            (2) The economic hostage analogy falls flat on me. The Democrats aren't victims. This is a conversation I once tried to have with Chris Bowers who claimed that Feingold, for example, had no choice but to support bad legislation because he would lose and wouldn't hae any power. He lost and didn't have any power precienly because he did vote for it. They have a choice in what happens. But at long as they push the victim mentality they won't change script or strategies. The current strtategy relies on victimhood.

                            (3) This brings up third point: If someone is not willing to say no to the leadership they are of no use to a movement to better democrats and what we will see for the next decade is stagnancy rather than growth of the party to its natural new center.

                            (4) I am gay, and black, but I am not interested in the social issues.  I don't see them as indicators of economic policies at all. The chief example of that is the S.Ct. where there are some social liberals, but no economic liberals.

                            (5) The problem with the House is gerrymandering. If the Democrats were smart, they would push for nonpartisan disstricting across the country in every conservative state right now.

                            (6) I don't t hink Occupy had any impact whatsoever. I think what we see about the economic unease is because the US is in economic decline. Its the nd of empire and a lot of things I don't want to get into here too much. Eg too many people on the planet, not enough jobs for those people, etc. Nothing either party can do about that. But everyone sort of senses that reality. The reason why beyond demographics we are going to move to center left (wellt he other option is fascism) is because of these scarce resources and how they will be allocated. Unfortunately, I mention facism because history teaches us that moving left isn't the only choice people can make when they are in economic decline and the resources are scarce.  This is not dooms day stuff. The reality is that resources are indeed insufficient for a planetary population like this, and as the US ceases to be an empire, its ability to hog the resources of jobs , etc is fraying. In other words the WW2 economics of the US were an aberration that were not sustainable. This guy and I did some research on the subject matter. If you look are recession since the 1940s, not only are they gettin glonger and worse, but the impact afterwards are getting deeper an stronger. Its a slow wind down.

                            We should be preparing Americans for this. I quickly googled the subject. I found this, but not sure its a great link since I skimmed:

                            http://www.minyanville.com/...
                            We surmise that the US and the world is returning to the economic upheavals of the 19th century and that this century will look more like the 19th than the 20th century.

                            e.g., the Long Depression

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            Its also why the economic policies being proposed now are dangerous:

                            http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

                            This is an important element in why I think the Democrats need to get ahead of the curve. Obama promising things he could about recovery is one example. He's waiting for the next economic miracle and I don't believe it will happen

                            I believe in the steady state economic model:

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                            Certainly the demographics are there for these views of a need for a stronger welfare state. But rather than discussing this, we are being pushed into policies that will make the aove issues worse rather than better. That's my view at least.

                            The stead state appraoch differs from austerity. The later is focused on robbing the public coffers. The fore ris focused on creating a welfare state that deals with the realities of limited resources to improve social conditions. You  would have medicare for all because it reflects the fact that the economy couldn't grow forever.

                            (7) Of course, the Democratic leadership and most of the elected Democrats don't understand the economic issues or messaging about them.

                            (8) While I hope for change, I am not certain it will  happen. there will be a lot of stife over the next 2 decades. I think that there is this assumption it will be in the GOP alone and I disagree with that. There are too many forces that are play to allow any of this to happen easy.

                          •  okay, i'm not sure i made myself clear... (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            kj in missouri

                            1) i am not interested in another clintonite either, although i will support her if she becomes the nominee. i do loathe the republicans. but i see her as the last of the old guard, and that's why her decision matters. if she runs, we will have one more round of the clinton/obama school, but if she doesn't we will take a big step forward. cuomo would have continued that clinton/obama school, but i think he self-immolated. if clinton doesn't run, the democrats have a bunch of much more progressive talent ready to step forward. if she does run, we might have to wait another term or two. but it is happening, and all the rising democratic stars are much to the left of the previous generation.

                            2) i don't mean that the democrats are victims. as you probably know, there have been ongoing arguments over the hostage dynamic- whether obama uses the republicans as an excuse to pursue the center-right economic agenda he actually favors, whether he's actually more liberal but just a lousy negotiator, or whether he has no choice. and i find it interesting that many of his more ardent supporters favor the last option, which to me is saying that the president essentially has no power. which is almost amusing given that they were so thrilled with his "yes, we can" campaign slogan from 2000, but now are arguing that no, he can't. but i don't really care what the real reason is, i care about results. the gop will do what it does, and he will either fight them or he won't. we soon will find out whether he's taking a different approach, now. the previous week looked good, this week not so much. if we get through new year's without some sort of grand bargain, i will have at least a little hope. but i don't accept excuses for not standing on principles. whether he has them and doesn't fight for them or just doesn't have them makes no difference. he either fights for them or he doesn't.

                            3) i do think progressives will say no to the leadership, if the leadership does the wrong thing. some already have been saying no, and i think more now will. but we shall see.

                            4) social issues matter in themselves, but they also matter politically because republicans have been so successful using them as wedge issues. sure, the democrats can throw us some victories on social issues as distractions from economic centrism, but what interests me more is how the public has moved. for decades, the gop convinced poor and middle class white voters to vote against their own economic self-interests by scaring them about communists, and willie horton, and immigrants, and "the gay agenda," and terrism, and on and on. but none of that works anymore. the demographic shifts mean the republicans no longer have those wedge issues, which means economic self-interest finally can become the key voting issue it always should have been. that's why public shifts on social issues matter, politically.

                            5) i agree completely about gerrymandering. republicans are anti-democracy, with vote suppression, and gerrymandering, and now they're even going to try to change electoral vote allocations in key democratic states. the democrats need to be very loud about these maneuvers to undermine democracy itself.

                            6) i do think occupy mattered, in that it changed the economic dialogue. before occupy, no one in the village was talking about income and wealth disparity, it was all deficits. armando had a great piece early this year comparing obama's sotu addresses before and after occupy, and it was dramatic.

                            obama and the democrats ran a much more populist campaign this year, but we now will find out how real it is. i have written a lot about the economic devastation caused by european austerity, and if the democrats go along with something even remotely similar here, i think there will be a huge backlash. i think 2014 will make 2010 look like 2006, in comparison. and i think occupy or something like it will come back in a huge way, just as there has been large and growing social unrest in europe. certainly, occupy changed the political narrative, but we soon will know how deeply it resonated among policymakers.

                            7) again, i think they learned some about messaging, but it's going to have to prove itself very soon or it will be seen as having been nothing but campaign games. and of course there always will be apologists for anything the democrats and this president do.

                            8) i am not certain, either. but i do like what i see from the rising generation of democrats, and i think that will snowball. the more economic populism is seen to work, politically, the more democrats will embrace it. it may take some time, and if we do go some sort of austerity route things will get ugly, economically, socially, and for the democrats politically, but the mood of the country has changed. social wedge issues don't play anymore, and people want real economic results. demographics are destroying the republicans, and their last resort is election chicanery, and more and more democrats seem to be conscious that we are in a new economic paradigm. the question is how soon they can prevail upon the party power structure.

                            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

                            by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 12:19:06 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  excellent excellent excellent. (0+ / 0-)

                            my bet is 2014 will look like 2006 re: the House and that, if Hillary doesn't run, there will be a big push for Brown (one that i'd be happy to join).  his supporters are serious and i think he has taken the Paul Wellstone mantle with style, grit and grace.

                            and as far as "lines" that PBO crossed or didn't cross for some of his supporters (although that might have been the comment above yours, Laurence,) the only line i've had is getting a Democrat president a second term... with a deep bench in the House and Senate.  that has happened even though the House still needs work.   if Harry stands up the first day of the Senate re: the filibuster i think we'll see a focused and progressive Senate like we haven't seen for awhile.  Elizabeth Warren will be heard.   :-D  she is my ace.  just sayin'

                            2006 was a watershed, 2008 almost made it, 2010 a (hindsight) last ditch effort by the Republicans to remain alive and 2012 might have put them finally aside.  (DeMint quitting?   that blew my mind)

                            and since i'm here in the red hinterland, i too am astounded at the change in general attitudes even since 2004 re: gay marriage.  it's a wave that's made it to the heartland.

                            that's my half-thought-out 1/2-a-2 cents in an already old diary that no one will read.   which if fine with me, i may be a ditz, but i love long-term strategy and i want to see a government worth its citizens before i go off to the great beyond someday in the far off future.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 04:27:18 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  and..... (0+ / 0-)

                            although looking to me to organize is a mistake, i do think what Navajo and New Day are doing to help areas organize is a great step toward an infusion of progressive thought/action into local/state politics.  something to possibly counter the gerrymandering.  it was an idea and failed experiment (creating "cells" all over the country) that i was part of in 2004.

                            "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

                            by kj in missouri on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 04:49:11 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

          •  Funny that "Obama loyalists" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virginislandsguy

            are the ones sucking out all the air in the room while...you and LL have been having a lengthy anti-Obama sidebar in the middle of a diary on a different topic.

            For people who claim to be focused on JUST TEH ISSUES you sure spend a lot of time talking about Obama, O-bots, and the varied and sundry kool aid drinkers.

            You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

            by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:47:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you think you said something relevant? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chuckvw, praenomen

              You don't need to answer that because I don't really care what your opinion is. I want you to spend last time trying to convince me how catty you can get and actually thinking of the big questions like relevancy.

              •  Thanks for your concern (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                virginislandsguy

                But until you have something useful or interesting to say, I'll stick with being catty.

                You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

                by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:03:46 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  okay if you say so. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  chuckvw, praenomen

                  part of the issue here is that the site really needs better moderation or tighter requirements about what constitutes acceptable debate. Two posts now and you haven't figured out that we aren't attacking Obama, and that we are talking about what's happening with the Party over all on issues like SS. But in your mind, that's an attack. And in mind, that raises the question of the standards as far as allowing nonsensical people who have access to the internet to keep posting long after they are making any sense. Again- you don't have to, but you may want to consider whether your comments are relevant to the exchange happening or are you just lashing out because you think you are being attacked.

                  •  Well, thanks for your reply (0+ / 0-)

                    There has been a lot of disparaging here of people with contrasting points of view as cheerleaders, etc. and I'm frankly getting sick of all the ad hominems.

                    Maybe you weren't guilty of it and I jumped to conclusions; if so, I apologize.

                    You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

                    by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:18:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't really care what you are sick of (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      praenomen

                      You aren't the point.  Neither am I.

                      The point is what policies are going to be passed and what can be done about it. that's the exchange that he and i was having. It had little if anything to do with Obama except his role in the wider trends, and even that was limited and is fully not even something he and i are discussing. Rather than jumping down people's throat try to be fair by reading whether they are actually attacking or making a different point entirely because in context your attack came across and still does as not relevant to the tangent we were going on- which was about the wider democratic party and policy.

                    •  I will believe that people saying they are sick... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...of ad hominems and name-calling are actually sick of ad hominems and name-calling when they start blasting people they agree with politically as well as those they disagree with politically when those people use ad hominems and name-calling. Until then, having seen years worth of such claims, I'll snicker every time I see someone say this, particularly someone with an NR in their profile.

                      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                      by Meteor Blades on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 10:06:29 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Ooh you sure nailed me on that one MB (0+ / 0-)

                        Oh wait, no you didn't.

                        I'm just a normal user who responds to personal attacks against the group or groups he identifies with.

                        I'm not an admin and its not my job to correct every example of bad behavior I come across.

                        Although, get rid of my NR status and maybe I will. Heh.

                        You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

                        by tomjones on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:35:06 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

        •  I got thrown off the executive board (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis, praenomen

          of my district committee for too outspokenly and persistently criticizing bubba on his welfare deform and "free" trade policies.

          I wouldn't even get elected to such a position today, which is okay because I'm not a Democrat anymore.



          Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

          by chuckvw on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:12:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Prior to the election (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laurence Lewis

          I could understand the knee jerk defenses regardless of issue or context. At least some of the unconditionals genuinely believed that criticism was damaging to reelection prospects. I think that they were very wrong but that their was some integrity in their stance.

          Now that 2012 has come and gone though there is no excuse for these constant attempts to undermine Democratic core principles.

    •  Did you even read the diary? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      virginislandsguy, ORDem, Aviate
      Unless this somehow boomerangs on the GOP, I agree with many here that putting chained CPI on the table in the deficit negotiations was a blunder. When Republicans mindlessly demand Social Security cuts, just say no should do the trick.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:17:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reading comprehension fail. eom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aviate

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:44:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was just thinking that very thing, Laurence... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, praenomen, Armando

      The diarist quips:

      As far as Social Security is concerned, sooner or later, changes will occur.
      ...then goes on to remark:
      Nancy Pelosi is a friend to a great many progressive issues. A powerful friend. So is President Obama. We can lament when our friends make mistakes, make our arguments to them on the merits of the issue and posit alternative scenarios to our heart's content. But it's usually better to reserve judgment over whether we have been treacherously sold out by said friend. Let's save our most ardent and colorful excoriation for our known enemies.
      Wow...in other words, when our known enemies seek to weaken something as unbelievably salient as Social Security, we should eviscerate them. However, when our so-called "friends" make "mistakes" that result in the same net effect, we should let it slide...you know, because they're our friends and all.

      Policy makers either stand for preserving Social Security benefits or they do not. If it is change they crave, how about allowing ALL income to be subject to SS FICA taxes instead of just the first hundred grand or so? Talk about the rich paying their fair share...perhaps we start there, no?

      •  Wow - 100% miscomprehension (0+ / 0-)

        How does "make our arguments to them on the merits and posit alternative scenarios" = "let it slide?"

        "Policy makers either stand for preserving Social Security benefits or they do not."

        Did I miss something? Is Obama proposing to abolish Social Security? In the past, benefits have been cut, the retirement age has been raised, and Social Security income has been made taxable. Now a small and hardly unprecedented accounting change is apparently the end of Social Security as we know it.

        The "you're either with us or you're against us" approach is very easy. So much better than having to deal with nuances, complexities, and the practical difficulties of governing. The other side has made a living politically off of it for the past 30 years. And that's precisely what the diarist rightly warns us against.

        Yes, we should treat "friends" who make "mistakes" differently than our sworn political enemies. Because those friends are on our side and we will need them for other battles in the future, and they are likely to be on our side unless we drive them away because they failed our purity test. Politics is about building bridges and making alliances--sometimes those allies let you down. But if you only work with those who agree with you 100% of the time, you'll soon be all by yourself.

        Oh, and if you think Boehner, Ryan and the rest of the GOP would have stopped at Chained CPI, you're nuts. The idea that somehow Obama's one concession (misguided as it was) is indistinguishable from what the GOP would do if given its druthers, is ludicrous.

  •  While we're into historical perspective (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, bruh1, praenomen, masslib

    What were the tax rates on the wealthy in 1961, 1980, 1990, ...?

    We are trading capitulation on almost all of the Bush tax cuts for cuts in Social Security benefits.

    And this deal unlike the Reagan deal puts no revenue into Social Security to balance the cuts.  This deal telegraphs to Republicans that they can get the Democratic Party to cut Social Security benefits without any additional  revenue for Social Security.  So I won't live long enough to see them agree to raise the cap.

    And as someone who will receive my first Social Security Payment next year your argument that I can expect the Democrats to continue to agree to cut after cut after cut is no winner with me.

    •  Somewhere down the road (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, Cedwyn, virginislandsguy, Aviate

      with or without changes now like chained CPI, something is going to have to be done to fix the financing of SS. No, it isn't any time soon, and yes part of the solution should involve lifting the payroll tax. But it's just math.

      And those changes will happen regardless of what is or is not done or talked about now.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:51:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  agreed... (0+ / 0-)

      and frankly, I thought Reagan's deal sucked.  I mean, it essentially wiped out all the productivity gains for the worker in the post-WWII era.Of course I was like ten then so I wasn't voting...lol.  And there was a protracted public debate.  But context is everything and that was long before the death of the defined benefit pension.  Not only is this a benefit cut, but it comes at the worst possible time.  Huge asset loss for retirees and soon to be retired in their homes, end of defined benefit pension, etc.  This is really not about Obama.  It's about the entire Democratic leadership turning their backs on those who literally just brung them.

      The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

      by masslib on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 08:41:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some have argued that cutting SS benefits (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    masslib

    would be an unprecedented attack on the New Deal and FDR's legacy, but I've never argued that for the reasons you spell out here.  But that still doesn't make the cuts President Obama put on the table acceptable.  At least in 1983 there really was a solvency issue looming in the near future.  In 1975 there was a potential shortfall in a few years if nothing was done.  But today Social Security's finances are fine until the mid to late 2030s.  And unlike 1983 or 1975, revenue increases to SS aren't being contemplated alongside benefit cuts.

    But the most important differences between today and the historical examples you list is that those cuts took place during and shortly after a thirty year period where wealth had been distributed fairly equally, where workers were getting a fair share of gains.

    But in 2012, we are in the third decade of a period where the American worker has faced one setback after another while the wealthy have gotten one victory after another.  Workers have seen their wealth and income flatline, have seen good paying manufacturing jobs moved overseas, have seen benefits steadily eroded, have seen the decline of their collective bargaining power.

    And now people are proposing that workers take yet another hit, this time via cuts to their SS benefits, presumably because of a deficit that was caused by tax cuts that went mostly to the wealthiest, one war that was bungled, another that was totally unnecessary, a plunge in revenues caused by a financial and economic collapse, and a huge bailout for the guys in the financial sector who caused the financial and economic collapse.  And yet the wealthy who benefitted from these tax cuts are only asked to give up those tax cuts (forget any actual tax increase), the defense sector whose spending has doubled in ten years only sees small cuts to the rate of spending growth, and the financial sector, as far as I can tell, doesn't give up anything to help our fiscal problems.  Instead it's the working and poor who have to bear the brunt in the form of spending cuts to programs that benefit them, and now a Democratic president who ran on sticking up for them is proposing cutting their already modest SS benefits?  It's just unacceptable in terms of basic fairness, let alone sensible policy given that SS doesn't add to the deficit and isn't in any imminent danger.

    Besides, Republican presidents were in charge in 1975 and 1983.  A Democratic president cutting SS benefits would, indeed, be unprecedented.  BTW, I don't think the 1961 "cut" really is a cut since it was only for those who retired early at 62, meaning that such folks got a benefit - retiring early - in exchange for a small benefit cut.  

    “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

    by puakev on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:20:42 PM PST

    •  You know the fiscal cliff means (0+ / 0-)

      cuts to benefits for the poor and middle class too, right? Where is the concern among progressives for the non-elderly who will be hurt by the fiscal cliff? Or are we a SS only party now?

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:54:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  By your rationale (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, Armando

        why even insist on letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire?  After all, by insisting on this we're risking a lot of pain being inflicted on average Americans by the fiscal cliff.

        Besides, the point is that SS cuts weren't necessary to achieving a fiscal cliff deal.  Has proposing them made such a deal any more likely?  In fact the administration itself is now floating a fiscal cliff deal that would not include a SS cut.  Meaning a SS cut was floated for nothing.  Except now, since SS cuts were put on the table during these negotiations, they will likely be on the table in the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.  

        “Th’ noise ye hear is not th’ first gun iv a revolution. It’s on’y th’ people iv the United States batin’ a carpet.” - Mr. Dooley

        by puakev on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:14:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nowhere had said all along (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aviate

          He wouldn't agree to any deal that didn't cut entitlements.

          Remember, earlier we were talking about potentially raising the Medicare retirement age.

          So, yes, arguably it would've been necessary before Boehner's self-inflicted wound.

          The deal they're talking about now would be smaller and just kick all this crap down the road a few months, and meanwhile we will probably enter a new recession.

          So I just don't really see an optimal outcome from a progressive point of view. Please tell me I'm wrong.

          You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

          by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:23:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  If we thought that any proposed "modifications" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    praenomen

    to Medicare or Social Security would be devised by good progressives with clean hands and pure hearts, interested only in making the numbers work for the benefit of working Americans forever, it might make sense to wait and let things play out.

    That ain't what this is about. These potential cuts, chained CPI and whatever shiny conservative idea comes after it,  have nothing to do with effectiveness or efficiency or even any real concern about the "deficit"... and everything to do with another round of knee-jerk "bipartisanship" and compromise for its own sake... and for the sake of the defense budget.

    Been there, done that. Really don't need the t-shirt.

    Over the Cliff.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:37:39 PM PST

    •  How does slowing the growth in SS spending (0+ / 0-)

      not prologue the solvency of SS?

      I'm not saying that I think chained CPI is warranted right now; just that you're overstating the case against it.

      You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

      by tomjones on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 05:56:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tom, do you even read your comments (0+ / 0-)

        before hitting the post button?  You use so many wrong words that it is difficult to follow your train of thought, e.g., "prologue" instead of "prolong."

        •  Ok so autocorrect changed prolong to prologue (0+ / 0-)

          If you couldn't figure that out from the context, then I think it's pretty clear you either have no idea what chained CPI does or you have no idea how SS is financed.

          You never trust a millionaire/Quoting the sermon on the mount/I used to think I was not like them/But I'm beginning to have my doubts -- The Arcade Fire

          by tomjones on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 11:28:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Another change was making benefits taxable (4+ / 0-)

    under certain circumstances.   That first happened as part of the 1983 legislation.  That bill made  50% of benefits taxable for people whose combined income was over a certain amount (depending on filing status.)  Combined income was not equal to AGI, since tax-exempt income was now also included.  (double whammy for seniors - in effect now taxing muni bond income as well as ss benefits.)

    In 1993 the percentage of benefits potentially subject to taxation increased from 50% to 85%, under legislation passed with needed vote of VP Gore and signed by Clinton.
    SS myths

    There has in effect been means testing for ss since 1984 - altho the tax has been passed to the general fund rather than retained by the ss trust fund.  It is not just the 1 or 2%ers who are paying this tax - it's more like 34% of seniors.
    Are social security benefits taxed?

  •  Here's the problem with your argument: (0+ / 0-)

    Social Security is a better, stronger program reaching more people than it was initially.  For 80 years the Republicans have tried to destroy it and Democrats have improved it anyway.  Making the Democrats the bad guys here has an upside for Republicans- it will be easier for them to slip their cuts through while we bloody each other.  

    Imagine what we could do if we stopped fighting each other and actually took on the bullies!  They're mean, though, it takes courage to take them on.  Better to stick with the tried and true circular firing squad.

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 06:52:23 PM PST

    •  So, why is a Democrat trying to make it worse? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stevej
      For 80 years the Republicans have tried to destroy it and Democrats have improved it anyway.
      The Chained CPI is not an improvement...it is what it is, a deceitful way of making cuts to the program without calling it cuts.
      Imagine what we could do if we stopped fighting each other and actually took on the bullies!
      That works both ways.  Why are the Obama followers trying to shut down the efforts of elderly people who are trying to protect their only source of income (and a very meager one at that).  Why not just help them and tell Obama to take the programs out of the negotiations?  He would then be forced to find another way to make the cuts he wants (say the Defense budget?) and we could stop fighting.
  •  I take it that your (0+ / 0-)

    username is meant to be ironic.

  •  Hard to see a path to total victory (0+ / 0-)

    We won an election, for the presidency.  They won the other one, for the House. Need both to pass a law.  I wish we had won both since we wouldn't be at this stage today, but here we are.

    I'm not sure how this impasse will be solved without (warning, dirty word) - compromise - from both sides.  Maybe it won't be Social Security.  I wish there would be no cuts to any programs that we value, but I don't see a realistic scenario where a long-term deal is reached without it.  

    Even if we refuse to budge now and "go off the fiscal cliff," as many suggest, these issues will come up again soon with the next budget, debt ceiling authorization, etc.  The ultimate result of no agreement being reachable at those stages would be for nothing to be passed and for the government to run out of money, as has happened in California.  Aside from being a disaster for the financial system, I think this would hurt the users of the social safety net the most, since they're in a position to begin hurting the fastest if payments are suspended.  At that stage we would be in a weaker position compared to now.

  •  To call the change in 1961 a reduction in benefits (0+ / 0-)

    is absurd. The retirement age was lowered from 65 to 62 but the benefits you received if you retired 'early' were less than if you waited until you were 65. It is just plain silly to call a very significant expansion of benefits to those in the 62-64 age bracket a reduction in benefits.  

  •  This is a meandering and cofnusing post (0+ / 0-)

    For example, you write:

    "In 1975, Democrats firmly held both Houses of Congress, with weak Republican Gerald Ford limping along in the dismal wake of Watergate. They raised Social Security taxes, reduced benefits and increased the income ceiling subject to FICA."

    "reduced benefits how? Certainly the other part of your sentence argues that those measures strengthend Social Security.

    I am also confused by your presecriptive ideas, such as they are.

    Do fight? Don;' fight? Be nice to Nancy Pelosi?

    Ultimately, not a satisfying duary for me.

    •  Thank you for this: (0+ / 0-)
      Ultimately, not a satisfying duary for me.

      Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by NLinStPaul on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:37:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  isn't that why we're all here? (0+ / 0-)

        to read what we want to read and offer thoughts pro or con?

        i am not going to challenge or attempt to go one-on-one again re: this issue.  suffice to say we disagree.

        i wish you a great holiday and hope to catch up soon.

        "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

        by kj in missouri on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 04:56:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  To know whether or not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kj in missouri

          we disagree - you'd need to know my position.

          If you want to know whether or not I support chained CPI - I don't. But that's immaterial now that its not an issue.

          The discussion around here is more about how PBO "caved" and betrayed us. That's the part I disagree with.

          Happy holidays to you too.

          Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by NLinStPaul on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 05:55:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well yeah but (0+ / 0-)

    The tinkering was done to increase its longevity.

    I have yet to see one level headed analysis that chained CPI is needed to avoid an imminent shortfall.  That is what stunk about last week.  We all know that chained CPI was just an offering to republicans to get them to vote for tax increases.

    So how did that work out? Was it worth using up a lot of good will from the re-election on the President?  

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

    by noofsh on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 08:30:43 AM PST

  •  history's great, something to be learned from. (0+ / 0-)

    my dad was a history buff and a bit of a philosopher Depression era ex-farmer. a great storyteller.  what i love most about my dad now, in hindsight, is how much he cared about the future.

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Sun Dec 23, 2012 at 04:39:55 PM PST

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