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The Obama administration's plan to cut Social Security benefits boggles the mind. In addition to being unnecessary and cruel, it's politically disastrous.

Oh, but I've heard some people downplay the political concerns. "It's not like the woman in the fourth panel is going to vote for the Republicans, who've been trying to gut Social Security for decades!" they say. To which I respond: Do not underestimate the cluelessness of low-information voters. Remember in 2010 when the R's convinced so many people that they were the great defenders of Medicare? They're going to have a field day with this.
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Originally posted to Comics on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  asdf (6+ / 0-)
    Morons.  I've got morons on my team.
  •  Some economists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, accumbens, wader

    Who i really do respect are saying to wait for the Chained CPI details.

    I've already been strongly against it in the preliminary, but if there are permanent protections in place for those who are DEPENDENT upon Social Security for their income, and they don't get indexed to Chained CPI, then it may, just MAY be acceptable in return for Buffett Rule + end to carried interest + deduction cap for the wealthy.

    The problem is, this is only a starting point. in current form it's DOA in the House and probably filibustered by the Republicans in the Senate.

    That means there will in all likelihood be even more capitulation from Obama on this point.

    We'll find out in an hour when the details are revealed.

    Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

    by aguadito on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:04:49 AM PDT

    •  could be true (4+ / 0-)

      Even if what you claim could be true, it sends a bad message.  Had the proposal included a proviso that the chained index would only be used on people who had other income above $50k, it would have sent the message that those in most need would be protected.

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:12:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  without means testing how do those most in need (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, maryabein, DSPS owl

        get "protected?"

        "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 Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:34:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So, 400k is middle class for taxes, and 50k (8+ / 0-)

        is affluent for Social Security benefits?

        Once you start accepting benefit cuts, you no longer have a leg to stand on when President Christy claims 30k is "just fine".

        What's more, if you only attack seniors with a joint income of 50k, you don't save shit.  The entire exercise ceases to extend the Trust Fund by any appreciable amount, and only serves to make it clear that the Third Rail has been switched off.

        Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

        by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:40:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It makes SS a welfare program and that's the (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, quill, maryabein, kurt

          beginning of the greased slide to "ending welfare as we know it."  C'mon, people, he screwed you, repeatedly, as it happens, and now is not the time to retreat into fantasy.

          Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

          by CarolinNJ on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:05:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  good? (0+ / 0-)

          The only reason there is a cap on FICA is because it's a benefit plan--if it becomes means tested, the cap no longer has a reason to exist --with the new money--means can defined as over $200k income.

          Apres Bush, le deluge.

          by melvynny on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 11:34:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The only reason there's a cap is so that *all* (0+ / 0-)

            the top .1% doesn't dedicate themselves to destroying it like Pete Peterson has.

            Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

            by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 02:55:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  It's insurance they've paid for. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        Say a house down the road from you was worth $600,000 before it burned to the ground.  Should the homeowner now be "means tested" into only $200,000 of coverage, despite paying in full for a policy that covers the full value of the house?

    •  The fact that this (14+ / 0-)

      is even being discussed is the problem. A nominally Democratic president put SS on the table - nothing that economists, respected or otherwise, say changes this fact.

      We need to get a message across for future democratic incumbents that this type of action will come with massive electoral/legacy  penalties (the current WH occupant is a lost cause - we were conned and probably should learn lessons and move on).

    •  Chained CPI's like New Coke. Pollutes our brand. (20+ / 0-)

      Obama, however, gets to pose as Mr. bipartisan, above the fray. He thinks this is like Bill Clinton's welfare reform, which he sees as a popular updating of our brand, but it's a failure like New Coke.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:14:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so what ? what's the point ? there is none other (13+ / 0-)

      than to destroy the democratic party.  benefits to SS recipients are too generous.  fuck that.  I will have paid 15% of my salary for 40 years!  and you think that 1200/month is too generous ? that I should have that eaten away little by little each month.  what's wrong with you ?

      this has nothing to do with deficits.

      it doesn't help.

      and why not talk about raising the cap ?

      don't drink the koolaid !

      big badda boom : GRB 090423

      by squarewheel on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:17:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is the real crime. (5+ / 0-)

        And Democrats get to participate in it fully.

        Have you ever considered the way that SS is paid out?

        It goes out in tiers, depending on your 35 year averaged income, of 90-32-15%.

        People with the lowest income get the highest level of return.
        By far.

        The drop-off has to be that steep because of the cap on payroll taxes.  We effectively provide a pittance of a return for contributions above the median wage and ask middle-class earners to subsidize lower-earners so that the rich won't have to be bothered.

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

        by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:29:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You got it ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, wader, kurt
      That means there will in all likelihood be even more capitulation from Obama on this point.
      Assuming Obama is smart and knows about negotiating, you have to believe he offered his best (which of course is awful) to begin with expecting to settle for less (which would be even more outrageously worse).

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:17:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're means-testing SS then (7+ / 0-)

      Not a real good thing to start turning SS into welfare.

      •  That happened a long time ago. (0+ / 0-)

        And there is nothing wrong with calling it a welfare program, although  I'll admit the PR angle of that is pretty ugly these days.

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

        by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:30:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, you are wrong. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, maryabein, isabelle hayes

          SS has always been a stand alone program. The problem is that congress does not keep it separate. They use the money SS takes in as well as the normal taxes they take in. So, they have to keep paying back into SS to keep paying the people who collect it.

          Simple solution: Make it so the government can't borrow the money anymore. And, pay back the money that they've taken out of it.

          Can you see congress faces, drooling over a stack of money they can't touch? Priceless.....

          Its harder to hit a moving target.

          by KatGirl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:14:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's got it's own revenue source, but that doesn't (0+ / 0-)

            mean it's not a welfare program.

            So you'll know, it's Democrats who have howled most likely at any suggestion that any SS Trust Fund money at all be made unavailable for Congress to spend.

            Remember the privatization howls?

            That would have allowed for a portion -- about 17% of an individual's contribution -- to be invested in non-government securities.

            That ran into 2 problems:

            1. Social Security benefits are actually paid out from the taxes paid in by current earners.  Taking 17% of that offline by putting it into investment accounts reduces the cash flow available to pay current retirees.

            2.  If we are in a state of surplus sufficient to cover the 17%, then that money is not available for Congress to spend.

            Don't know if number 1 or number 2 was considered the bigger problem by lawmakers, because they huffed and puffed about "safety" -- which was a complete misdirection given the incredibly low return most of us  get on our SS payin.

            I don't even know if there is a way to keep Congress from spending money that's in the Treasury.  Congress writes the laws and Congress can change the laws.  As long as the money belongs to the Social Security Administration and not by individual taxpayers, it's fair game.

            The other question is whether you would actually want all that money kept off limits.  By making it cash and forbidding outside investment, you effectively take it out of the economy, and that doesn't sound wise.

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

            by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:16:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is your auto insurance policy "welfare"? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              isabelle hayes, KatGirl

              SS is insurance against age.  And all those collecting it paid into it, or their spouses did.

              •  Good point. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                isabelle hayes, KatGirl

                SS is insurance against absolute destitution, and is now the only thing a great many people have left.

                Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

                Oh, I used to be disgusted
                Now I try to be amused
                ~~ Elvis Costello

                by smileycreek on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 03:36:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Please note that I have not bad-mouthed Social (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  smileycreek

                  Security, only the fact that the burden for subsidizing low-income workers falls unfairly on middle income workers, while the wealthy barely get touched.

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

                  by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:28:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  My auto insurance policy is optional. Nobody (0+ / 0-)

                makes me buy it. The policy I am required by the state to buy takes care of the other guy, not me.

                SS is welfare.
                There is nothing wrong with that.

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

                by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:26:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, not welfare. (0+ / 0-)

                  First, your state probably requires that you either post a bond or have insurance on your car to get it licensed. Yes, the state requires you to only carry a minimal amount of liability to satisfy this requirement. But, if you want to license your vehicle, you must pay into the insurance program somehow.

                  And, just like any other insurance you carry, the people that don't use it are paying for the people that do. That's why it's affordable. Unless you are using it too much, then they increase your payment requirements.

                  Social Security works the same way. It's an insurance policy that you get to use when you are of an age when you can't or don't want to work anymore. It guarantees you an income so you don't end up either living off your children, or destitute in the street. And, like you said about your auto insurance, you buy it to take care of the other guy. And when you need it, someone else is buying it to take care of you.

                  Its harder to hit a moving target.

                  by KatGirl on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 11:15:58 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am not required to own a car (0+ / 0-)

                    Here in Chicagoland, lots of people don't.

                    To the extent I am required to carry insurance, it provides for my liabilities to others, not to my own welfare.

                    Social Security really does not work like an insurance program.  It's been carefully structured to look like one, but it isn't one.

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

                    by dinotrac on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 12:01:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  What does optional have to do with it? (0+ / 0-)

                  If owning cars and carrying insurance was mandatory would that make it welfare?  Some nations have compulsory voting - is that welfare?

                  It seems that you are making up your own definition of a word that the rest of us already have a distinct meaning for.

          •  "Lockbox" (0+ / 0-)

            Al Gore tried that in 2000 and was mocked for it.

    •  Which would make it back-door means testing (4+ / 0-)

      I.e. cutting COLA for better-off seniors but having protections for less well-off ones. But if he wants means-testing then why doesn't he just propose it? Why is everything a certain kind of Dem proposes not what they say it is? Why can't such Dems just call a spade a spade and stop trying to be too clever by half? Who do they think they're fooling?

      He promised to be transparent and still claims to be yet is the most opaque president since Carter. He promised to oppose warrantless wiretaps yet is now its #1 supporter. He's flip-flopped on gay marriage and other issues as suited him. The disingenuity is stunning, even for a politician. It's like nothing really means anything to him, it's all a series of calculations to be recalibrated periodically. And now he offers to cut a program that even he has recently said contributes nothing to the deficit. Who IS this person?!?

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

      by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:26:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the details (0+ / 0-)

        are coming out any minute now, so we'll be able to examine the proposal in detail.

        point still remains though that all the replies have said: touching Social SEcurity really is bad for the brand.

        But Pelosi and the Democrats bent over for basically all of Bush's policies without any real stuff given to the left...out of all those tax cuts and wars.

        And the obstruction will probably save us from any of the bad stuff happening.

        I just think buffett rule + carried interest removed + reduced corporate welfare + deduction cap on wealthy actually are really good for reducing inequality.

        Problem is we need more stimulus to offset it.

        And the price of Chained CPI may be too big for even receiving those (not like GOP will accept them anyway)

        Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

        by aguadito on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:31:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whatever concessions Obama will have to make (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, shaharazade

          should come from the GOP, not him or Dems. Offering some as a peace offering is invariably and correctly seen as weakness by the GOP and an opening to ask for much more--which they know from experience they'll get. Obama is a professional kidnap victim who simply has no concept of lines in the sand.

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

          by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:35:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There are no permanent protections. Do you (5+ / 0-)

      understand how bills are passed in this country?  No Congress can bind a future Congress.

      How the fuck do taxes on the wealthy make cuts to a disabled veterans meager benefit "more ok" for you? What kind of brutal and perverse distortion of justice is that?

      It's like saying it's ok to kick a few kids in the mouth as long as we put up some solar panels.  

      The two are fucking unrelated.

      Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

      by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:38:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there are permanent protections (0+ / 0-)

        you can write it in easily, without any sunset provision.

        it can be "strong-form" and automatically go into effect unless congress changes it.

        or it can be "weak form" and automatically die unless congress changes it.

        and i'm saying, if the Chained CPI details show that those DEPENDENT upon SS (any veterans, retirees) are totally protected into the future, it may be acceptable.

        and 50K would obviously not be an acceptable cutoff for "wealthy".

        Deficits don't matter, jobs do.

        by aguadito on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:44:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No Congress can bind a future Congress. Once (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CarolinNJ, wader, quill

          you open the floodgates to Social Security cuts there is no reason -at all- to believe that they will stop here.

          If they can do it with a Democratic President and Senate, they can sure as fuck do it with a Republican President.  And the whole time, they will be pointing the precedent that even "That Socialist Obama" cut benefits.

          If all you do is cut benefits to the super-wealthy, there is no  appreciable savings.  They only get a tiny fraction of benefits.  

          There is no upside.  Just the downside of having made it clear that it's ok to cut Social Security sometimes.  

          Just massive damage to the Democratic Party brand.

          So, why the fuck are you trying to pave the way for some kind of "compromise" to get the ball rolling on the destruction of Social Security?

          There are no "balanced" cuts to Social Security.  They do not fucking exist.  Only enemies of the program pretend that they do.

          I literally could not live with myself if I sank so low as to try to persuade people to harm themselves in the way you're doing.

          Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

          by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:54:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Means testing eventually makes it (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, quill, maryabein

      another "welfare" program that can be demonized.  Same with medicare.  People paid into it, they get their money back, no quibbling or it is the first step in the weakening (at best) of the program.  If this President listened to anyone but the Third Way, he would know that.  Well, he probably does, not sure he cares. After all, the poor caused this economic crisis, they better by G-d pay to fix it.  Oh, wait.

      The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

      by MufsMom on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:09:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  'Fix the Debt' operates as a front (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, quill, MufsMom, maryabein

        'Fix the Debt' operates as a front for corporate tax breaks and cuts in government social programs

        Fix the Debt was co-founded by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, the co-chiefs of President Obama's fiscal commission, with considerable input from austerity guru Peter G. Peterson.

        The organization is carrying on the work of WIN America, a group also bent on giant corporate tax giveaways that folded in April. Fix the Debt has raised $60 million to spray its ideas into public discourse. Giving more tax breaks to corporations swimming in cash isn't the only objective, of course.

        Whacking away at entitlement and earned benefit programs is on the list, too. All part of what has been labeled a grand bargain but actually would constitute a grand betrayal if enacted.

        "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 Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:12:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pete Peterson is one nasty (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allenjo, maryabein

          human being and he really is pulling the strings here.  Stupid move on so very many levels.

          The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

          by MufsMom on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:22:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  aqua, how do you ensure "PERMANENT protections" (0+ / 0-)

      for ANY little bit of money that what some are startnig to call "the poors" happen to have in their pocketbooks or bank accounts? Even to say it, in a situation where our very own Democrat President is messing with SS and, yes, CUTTING some of the strands of the "safety net" and abrading others pretty hard, is at best misleading...

      WHY are people even willing to be so "fair" and "cautious" and "waiting to hear the details" of some kind of "deal" that starts off cutting some undetermined but unarguable piece off the last leg of the stool that old folks were told to plan to sit on when they couldn't stand any more? The pensions are gone, the 401ks finally showed what a scam they were, and what, 90% of all the wealth we dumb laborers who don't understand transcendental functions and how to get others to pay off our derivative casino bets actually work for and earn is NOT ENOUGH???

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 12:40:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NAILED IT. (10+ / 0-)

    Beauty, eh? (It's an early 80's Canadian joke thingy)

    Nice work, Jen.

    What's the point of letting neoliberals into the tent when neoliberalism is burning down the campground?
    Since elections will never change the ownership of government, why does our strategy rely entirely upon them?

    by Words In Action on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:04:50 AM PDT

  •  The offering up of the poor has been made (8+ / 0-)

    this budget will be rejected, but the offering will remain in the final compromise budget, if there is one.
    And when the admin says it has put in protections for the most vulnerable, we should all pay attention to the word MOST and that GovCo has a very bad record at determining real world vulnerability.

    People will suffer needlessly.
    Congress people will go on with their parties.

    •  Austarianism is a cargo cult, not an economic (4+ / 0-)

      view.

      These fuckers believe that if they sacrifice enough poor people, they will get to have plenty of wealth and security forever.

      They should read a bit about Mayan history.

      Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

      by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:43:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the ending goes like this: (0+ / 0-)

        poof! :(

        •  Mass graves filled with really tall people with (0+ / 0-)

          great teeth and no stress fractures in their vertebrate and no sign of ever suffering malnutrition, all killed at the same time cities were abandoned.  

          Mostly killed by blows to the head.

          Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

          by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:58:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yes, they are ... (7+ / 0-)

    This is how the administration chooses to begin its second term?

    Populism may not be dead, but it's a mystery trip in this White House.

    This administration is willfully contributing to the false belief that Social Security has something to do with deficits and that deficits are our biggest economic problem.

    That's going to cost a ton of political capital to correct, if it ever is.

    I feel bait-and-switched.

  •  Well, of course! They're too big to sink. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    After all, huge ships don't every sink or capsize or even leak, because if they do, there are dozens of sailors who would be economically affected.

    Seniors need to adjust to the new economy...

    /snark

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:05:51 AM PDT

  •  "It's not like the woman in the fourth panel" (14+ / 0-)

    "...is going to vote for the Republicans".  

    She's not going to vote for Democrats or anyone else who messes with her Social Security, either.  

    And neither will I.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:06:31 AM PDT

    •  And neither will I! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Big River Bandido

      We may be left with few (none) to pull the lever for in the next election, as things look now.

      If you've had answers back from your reps, none answer the question of 'will you vote for chained cpi?"

      Thus far the only voice I am aware of that will be a no vote is Bernie Sanders.

      The switch in the inflation formulawould cut spending on government benefit programs by $130 billion over 10 years, although the administration said it planned to protect the most vulnerable, including the very elderly.

      The change would also raise about $100 billion in higher taxes because the current CPI formula is used to adjust tax brackets each year. A lower inflation measure would mean more money taxed at higher rates.

      And how will they protect the most vulnerable without means testing?

      "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 Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:47:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This fairly balances out the chaos in the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KatGirl, mightymouse

    Republican Party by sharing their sacrifice with the Democratic Party.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:10:34 AM PDT

    •  No, (3+ / 0-)

      the democrats see that they can smoke the republicans, if they keep to the job at hand.

      However, then when the democrats take control, everyone will see that they can't govern either.

      {I'm just pissed off right now. Some day, we may actually get some people that will really support the people, not just the rich.}

      Its harder to hit a moving target.

      by KatGirl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:26:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My thought was that Obama seems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, KatGirl

        to be hurting the Democrats to even things up with a GOP which is in apparent chaos so that both political parties are equally in disarray. We wouldn't want to be seen as having an unfair advantage just because the GOP has repeatedly shot itself in the foot. So just to be fair, it apparently behooves the Dems to shoot themselves in the foot. How very chivalrous! Let the jousting begin!

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:44:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Obama and the democratic leadership (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lily O Lady

      rescued the Republicans from oblivion in 2010 and they are doing it again.  It's not easy because the leadership of the Republican party is worse than vulture vomit.  I am beginning to think that one of the major reasons the Democratic Party did so well under Howard Dean's leadership was that he was one of the few DNC chairs in recent years that actually wanted the party to do well whereas the others seem to be working for the Republicans.  No wonder Obama had him removed.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:05:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's the accompanying music performed live. (4+ / 0-)

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:11:03 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely spot on (6+ / 0-)

    and there is no counter argument.

  •  Pointy-headed neoliberals - moving from wet to dry (11+ / 0-)

    The chained CPI is fashionable, being based on behavioral economic theory, but it bears no relation to people's lives.  It's an intellectual exercise for the pointy-headed intellectual masturbaters.

    It's an economic black hole:  You lower adjustments for inflation because people lower their standard of living in response to inflation, thereby creating a death spiral for quality of life in those who can least afford it.  People who have to switch from wet to dry cat food to offset inflation get less of an inflation increase in their safety net benefits.  Wet cat food to dry cat food to no cat food to rat poison.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:15:13 AM PDT

    •  Has someone recently done a diary on neolibs? (7+ / 0-)

      They're everywhere and along with cons have dominated policy for the past 30+ years, and yet they've gotten a lot less coverage than cons, perhaps because they're a lot slicker and harder to pin down. I mean, neolib #1 Bill Clinton is probably the most popular Dem these days, more so than Obama, his protege. They need to be called out and revealed for who and what they are and what they're doing to the country.

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

      by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:32:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It never ceases to amaze me that we can (9+ / 0-)

    spend absolutely unbelievable amounts of money, doing God only knows what in foreign countries that most people have never heard of, without so much as a passing thought and it is consider well spent and in the interests of national security or some equally nebulous excuse ....

    But the moment we even begin to think about doing anything to benefit our own country, our own citizens, to improve our own way of life, safety, security, or well being, unless there is some vast fortune to be made by some corporation it becomes wasteful deficit spending that is going to be the ruin of the nation unless we all accept massive cuts.  I don't buy it.

    With regards to social security, this is my response: I've paid into the system for the last 25 years.  I will likely pay into it for about about 20-25 working years that I have remaining.  When it come time for me to collect, I am damn well entitled to a return on my contributions, with interest.  And so is everyone else whose paid into the system.

    •  So you admit to being a taker, then? (3+ / 0-)

      /snark

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

      by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:29:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, undoubtedly according Romney I am (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kovie, maryabein

        Isn't something like 47% or rather 99% pay no taxes takers and the rest are The Creator job creators?

        I freely admit to being part of the 99%

        •  Here's my "take" on this whole taker/maker (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          noway2

          silliness. 1-2% of the public likely are net takers, not through no fault of their own but because they choose to be that way, i.e. true parasites (who I still believe have a right to live a minimally decent life even if we don't like them). 1-2% of the public own and run most of the country at this point, or are well on their way to it. Leaving from 96-98% of the country somewhere in the middle, working or trying to work if they can, contributing to society one way or another, some taking more than they give, others the opposite, but basically being responsible people. Maybe I'm being generous. Perhaps it's more like 80%. I don't know. But I've no doubt that most people, even if they are, technically, net "takers", and not that because they want to be, but because circumstances has forced it on them, e.g. they're chronically sick or disabled, or can't find work, or can't afford the training they need to find work or better work, or the economy sucks, etc. But they're NOT parasites.

          The 1-2% who own and run the country, though, increasingly are. Certainly not all, perhaps not even most, but more and more of them. And they're just projecting their parasitism onto everyone else. Intentionally.

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

          by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I concure with your assesment (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kovie

            I certainly endorse having the social systems in place to help those that are truly in need.  It is unfortunate that these people, many of whom have so little to begin with, are being made to bear the brunt of the cuts.  My wife used to work in the MRDD (mental retardation / developmental disabilities) field and they depended upon public funding.  She worked in enrichment workshops and job placement.  For many of the clients the issue is a complete quality of life question.  They, many of whom weren't capable of minimum wage labor, could go to the workshop, be productive, and earn money, while remaining in a safe, stable, and supportive environment.  As the recession hit, these programs were shut down.  While the above is an extreme case, nobody knows who is going to wind up in an accident or become disabled for some reason.

            You're also right that there is a small, parasitic element that will always be there.  My thought is that it is easier and cheaper to keep them content enough as otherwise they would probably be criminals rather than productive.

            The idea of projection on the part of the 1-2% that own and run everything is an interesting concept.  I agree with you, though I have never thought of it that way before.

            •  I have a nephew with CP (0+ / 0-)

              From the looks of it he'll probably need some form of assistance his whole life. To the extent that I and others in his life can help out, we will of course, but it's probably going to take some government help, and I hate to think that it will be cut back. He's a really sweet kid and this would really hurt him.

              If there's a small subset of people who either don't want to chip in to help society's neediest, or are ideologically opposed to it, that's their right, but they're in the minority and shouldn't be allowed to make these cuts, and I resent Obama's pretending to be "serious" in offering these unnecessary and cruel cuts when in reality he's just being a heartless coward caving in to his neoliberal and rich friends for their approval and accolades.

              David Brooks and Lloyd Blankfein should not be allowed to set our budget priorities. I'd wish them ill but they have families too.

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

              by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 10:26:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I voted for a third party candidate (3+ / 0-)

    this last time.

    I worried in 2008 that he was all words and little or no substance. He proved that was correct in his first term.

    Now that he doesn't care what happens anymore, why would he actually do anything for "The People". He got his, that's what he's (and us now) have been hammered with all our lives.

    Harry and him, 2 peas in a pod. Make a lot of promises, but not worth the time it took to make them.

    And, you know what, there isn't any one on the horizon that looks like they will be for "The People" either.

    Oh well. I'm glad I'm old, and won't be around too much longer.

    Its harder to hit a moving target.

    by KatGirl on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:22:06 AM PDT

  •  "do not underestimate cluelessness of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, shaharazade

    low-information voters"

    Arrogance like that is the kind of thing that can lose elections.

    I doubt that many segments of the voting public pay more attention to politics than seniors and those of us who are nearing that status.

    Perhaps you might consider the problem of being taken for granted, and a willingness to raise a red flag that we are not anybody's personal property: deliver or die.

    Votes are tne most powerful implement most of us have.  They are crude bludgeon, easily misinterpreted, and have the unfortunate side effect of rewarding the undeserving when cast against the undeserving.

    It sucks, but it's what we've got.

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

    by dinotrac on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:22:47 AM PDT

  •  Your good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, allenjo, maryabein

    cartoon reminds me that a rising tide drowns those without boats.

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

    by smiley7 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:23:34 AM PDT

  •  Step below catfood is "pink slime" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Jen Sorensen

    And in 20 years that's where we'll be.  I'll be old enough to get it, too.

    Grrr.

    +4/Rec'd

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:26:42 AM PDT

  •  Listen, Mitch, you can't have my first born (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Eric Blair

    But how about some of my supporters? They're old and won't be around that much longer anyway. Plus they smell and can't hear well.

    Take my base, please!

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

    by kovie on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:28:54 AM PDT

  •  Congressional Dems must SMACK Obama! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, scott5js, shaharazade
    Do not underestimate the cluelessness of low-information voters. Remember in 2010 when the R's convinced so many people that they were the great defenders of Medicare?
    This time it won't require significant cluelessness on the part of voters since the only fingerprints on the proposal to cut Social Security are Obama's.  Congressional Dems—every single one— desperately need to loudly, publicly denounce this proposal and the president for proposing it.  Otherwise they'll be tarred with Obama's granny-starving brush.


    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    "Shared sacrifice!" said the spider to the fly.—Me

    by KingBolete on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:30:15 AM PDT

  •  The assumption of "Cluelessness" honestly (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, Eric Blair, quill

    shows just how utterly disconnected from much of America the speaker is.

    There are millions of Seniors, many in the Northern Plains and Mountain West, who Only vote for Democrats because of Social Security and Medicare.

    They don't agree with us anything except the safety net.  They want a flag burning amendment, no limits on assault weapons, prayer in schools, and bans on gay marriage.

    They're social Republicans and economic moderate Democrats - and if we abandon the economic policies of the Democratic Party then they have no reason to vote for us anymore.

    It's all they agree with us about.

    Michelle and I send our thoughts to the Thatcher family and all the British people as we carry on the work to which she dedicated her life" President Obama, on the passing of Margaret Thatcher.

    by JesseCW on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:35:45 AM PDT

  •  the current WH occupant is a lost cause (0+ / 0-)

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up!.....The Climate Change Denial Era........IS OVER.........Welcome to......CLIMATE HELL!

    by Churchill on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:35:57 AM PDT

    •  Maybe its time to stop asking people in power (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Churchill

      to act sensibly.  That will not happen.  It is time to start to think about taking power.  Maybe we can begin with the Democratic Party.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:11:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The lyrics match almost perfectly (4+ / 0-)
    Chain, chain, chain, chain, chain, chain
     Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools
     Five long years I thought you were my man
     But I found out I'm just a link in your chain
    You got me where you want me
     I ain't nothing but your fool
     You treated me mean oh you treated me cruel
     Chain, chain, chain, chain of fools
     
  •  I heard Lew on the radio this morning saying that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair

    this budget is not a first offer and that it's a result/continuation of the last grand bargain negotiations.

    Sounds good, huh?  Except that (i) the Repubs won't agree, and, more to the point of how this President operates, (ii) if that was the case then why don't they say this is a final offer.  You got to take this President and his minions exactly at their word.  Take what they say at face value - no more, no less.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:38:19 AM PDT

  •  A chorus is not a debate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, isabelle hayes

    therefore, I ask the following. Is SS a program that can never be modified, adjusted or improved? Is there any other program which, after 70+ years we would say that about? Can it be made more efficient in any way? Is means testing out of the question, and if so, why? Why shouldn't people with high net worth take a smaller payout? The best defense to conservative attempts to destroy the program is to create a modern, efficient program on a sustainable financial footing, and who better to do that than a Democratic president? OK,.....FIRE!

    •  Is means testing out of the question? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      quill
      Is means testing out of the question, and if so, why?
      That you even ask that question shows that you need to do some homework on social security.

      "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 Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:57:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not the bible (0+ / 0-)

        it is not beyond adjustment and modification to meet our needs now, in the 21st century. I've done my homework, I think, and I don't rule out limited benefits for high net worth people.

    •  It should be strengthened and expanded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein

      the CPI as currently calculated understates inflation.  Company pensions have disappeared.  Wall St. is organized crime made legal so who knows what will happen to 401K and 403B plans.  Social security is all a lot of people have and it is not adequate as it stands.  SS payouts need to be increased.  Why not means test it?  Because means testing will simply be a way allow it to be cut, otherwise means testing would not be proposed.  The pretense is that it will be cut for wealthy people so that the poor can continue to afford cat food.  This is a pretense, purely and simply.  Social security is the most fiscally stable part of the government.  The prospective deficit-years out-could easily be fixed by increasing the maximum income on which the payroll tax is levied. The real goal of proposals to weaken SS is to use the proceeds to fund a bloated military and to push more money into Wall St. (as middle class people conclude that SS will not be there for them, they will invest more).  The cuts will eventually and inevitably effect people of lower and lower economic status. As SS is cut for middle class people, electoral support for it will be eroded.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:25:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's have more signatures ... (0+ / 0-)

    on this petition to the White House to keep Social Security intact:
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

    It needs 100,000 signatures before Saturday, April 20. I saw there were 1880 signatures just now. Just the Houston area ought to produce 50,000.
    It is not just a matter of impressing the President, but ALSO your members of Congress.
    Other petitions are fine and good, but this is one that has safeguards against duplicate signatures.  The software does not allow you to sign twice.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 07:52:37 AM PDT

  •  Speaking of cluelessness, how many DKosers voted (0+ / 0-)

    for the lesser evil?  Never imagining...............

    When Walker took office and immediately started to carve up public service workers, a WI state employee wrote that she voted for Walker but "I never imagined..." that he meant HER.  Of course Walker meant her, but she must have thought he meant "those people," whoever the hell her imagination supplies "those people."

    Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

    by CarolinNJ on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:01:42 AM PDT

  •  cutting social security benefits not the answer (0+ / 0-)

    Remember who said that?

    "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 Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:05:02 AM PDT

  •  The wealthy have run this country for decades (0+ / 0-)

    We have a one-party system on which we slap two labels - republican and democratic.  The reason the republicans obstruct is to keep social programs from passing.  The reason democrats don't fight back is because they don't want these programs to pass either.  It's all smoke and mirrors for an uneducated mass.  Money is power and the wealthy will make sure we don't get any.

  •  IAMS for the special occasions. n/t (2+ / 0-)

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 08:16:05 AM PDT

  •  Throwing the midterms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    isabelle hayes

    How could the Republicans recover from 2012? You've just seen how: the exact same way they recovered from 2008.

    The algorithm:

    1) People vote for the Democrat who says he will give us social programs, and he gives us Republican crap.

    2) People are so angry they vote in Republicans, who give us even more crap.

    3) Then a Dem comes along campaigning on relief from Republican crap.

    4) Go to 1)

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