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Grand Bargain talk is once again revving up—after all, Democrats won something, so now the pundits think it's only fair they balance it out by caving preemptively—and we all know the roster of vicious, destructive cuts to Social Security and Medicare that will be under discussion. Anticipating that, AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silvers made the labor federation's position very clear in an interview with Greg Sargent:

“We are opposed to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits cuts. Period,” Silvers told me. “There will be no cover for members of either party who vote for such a thing.” [...]

“Cutting Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid benefits is not a route to a grand bargain; it is a route to deadlock,” Silvers continued. “We and a lot of folks are going to oppose it categorically, and everything will grind to a halt.”

Pressed on whether the AFL-CIO would support primary challengers to any Dems who support benefits cuts, Silvers demurred, but he said that all of the material created in such a battle — video, ads, etc. — would be available to any primary challenger, and added: “That’s the minimum we’re going to do. It only gets worse from there.”

The only constituency for chained CPI and other Social Security cuts is a handful of billionaires and the think tank fellows they fund. Unfortunately, in our political system a handful of billionaires has the ability to put massive cuts to virtually everyone else on the table and keep it there, even as ordinary people across the political spectrum are going "no no no NO NO NO." But this interview should serve as a reminder to any slash-happy politicians that even if it doesn't come from billionaires, there will be organized opposition.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Midterm Elections Coming (14+ / 0-)

    America united against leftwing turnout.

    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 Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:04:41 AM PDT

  •  Any word on the TPP? nt (11+ / 0-)

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:14:27 AM PDT

  •  I think they need to offer solutions... (15+ / 0-)

    rather than just drawing a line in the sand.  They also need to hammer the point that SS isn't a debt/deficit.

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:18:43 AM PDT

    •  Jacoby - maybe you can answer my question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annan

      In the week leading up to the potential default administration officials said that if the debt ceiling wasn't raised by November 1st Social Security checks would be late or reduced. This wasn't a personnel or staffing issue, it was a debt ceiling issue. Why would they be linked?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:59:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This article provides the best explanation (11+ / 0-)

        WashPo:

        What happens if the federal government runs out of borrowing authority (as the administration predicts it will on Thursday if the limit isn’t raised)?

         This would present a series of difficult and legally problematic options. The Obama administration would keep paying the nation’s bills with the tax receipts coming in the door. But because the federal budget doesn’t balance, there quickly wouldn’t be enough money. Either the administration would need to pick and choose whom to pay - FBI agents or disabled veterans? Defense contractors or diplomats abroad - or it would have to delay batches of payments across the board until enough revenue accumulates to cover them.

        Could Social Security be affected?

        The administration says yes. So do outside experts such as the Bipartisan Policy Center. Under what appears to be the likeliest scenario, Social Security checks would be lumped with every other bill the government pays, and only paid when the money comes in to cover them. The delays would pile up over time.

        Assuming the borrowing authority runs out this week and lawmakers stay in their stalemate, the policy center calculates, a batch of Social Security benefits scheduled to go on Oct. 23 would likely be delayed by two days. A larger batch, scheduled for Nov. 1, would be delayed by 12 days. The longer the debt-limit impasse, the longer the delays.

        •  ISS - thanks, this is really helpful (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ItsSimpleSimon, maryabein, tardis10

          but I find the statement troubling. Because SocSec has its own funding source it should not be batched with all the other payables.

          It would seem like entities as large as SocSec, with their own funding source, should have their own payment system. It's all direct deposit now, so they don't have to actually cut checks.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:43:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  SS has its own funding source, but it is required (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            to invest the cash in US instruments, the payment of which for months when SS outgo is more than SS income therefore falls into the mix. And we will recall that in prior administrations, the income from SS buying those bonds was spent, so the payback has to be borrowed because the money does not simply sit there and do nothing, and therefore be available for payouts.

            Medicare's problem is different because it has to accept the prices Big Pharma and others charge for their goods and services as claimed, and is not allowed to bargain for a lower price as other medical services are. The premise there was to bend the aggregate cost curve down so the costs wouldn't be rising as fast, so that things like cancellling the devices tax would discourage the discretionary and optional ordering of such goods because they would cost more and only be used when really needed.

            Part of the problem of ACA and the cost curve is that it apparently did not take into account the consolidation of the medical industry in which hospitals buy up the practices of their physicians with admitting privileges and also merge into hospital conglomerates which have a capacity for price fixing they didn't have before and are exercising that capacity to undo the cost bend fix that ACA wasdesigned to provide.

            •  Christy - the reason why community practices (0+ / 0-)

              are joining hospital oriented megagroups is because of outcomes based pricing. It's nearly impossible if you are an independent community orthopedic surgeon to make outcomes based pricing work when you see your typical patient only a few times over a 25 year period. To move to outcomes based payments a patient needs to be part of a group that can deliver holistic care where there are financial incentives for wellness. That means large groups providing integrated care.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:11:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have or had three doctor specialist kin, and (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                VClib

                know the funding problems. The ones who didn't consider the structural changes being made in medical and hospital practice and deal with them are the statute drafters, for whom this needs to be one of the fixes.

                 I doubt if they were aware of, much less expecting as part of the environment in which ACA functions, that 'hospital' groups would come to own all or a large percentage of the medical care in a community, and then price accordingly. I know it's part either or both of the change in a lot of hospitals from nonprofit to profit, and of the Bishops running Catholic hospitals trying to use mergers of systems to imprint on all the medical practice of an area their peculiar religious views, not a problem when fewer hospitals belonged to networks, but it's still a problem that must be dealt with.

                 I am stuck with a hospital system that did both, and then after insisting that all its patients get a particular MA program, this year suddenly discontinued that program, leaving patients either to switch programs or to switch both hospitals and doctors.  

                One of the issues may well be that some practices accept a huge number of insurance policies and others only accept one or two or none at all. If all of the forms that insurance companies demanded were standardized, for example, this would work easier, because the doctor's office now needs at least one person solely to move the paperwork on all the separate forms and standards used by various insurance companies. Another fix needed.

          •  But it wouldn't matter (0+ / 0-)

            You could work up a legal and maybe even a practical way to keep Social Security and Medicare Part A payments in case of a default precisely because those have dedicated revenue sources and existing Trust Fund mechanisms that would eliminate the first in, first out problems of Treasury's check writing programs. Maybe.

            But Medicare Part B, the Veterans Administration, Food Stamps, and Medicaid (for long term care) are all funded in whole or large part by the General Fund. As are many community grant programs that serve the elderly.

            So best case is that you get your Social Security check and the hospital gets paid but at the cost of no body paying your doctor under Part B, or paying your nursing home bill under Medicaid, or helping out with your utility bills or your food or whatever under various other federally funded programs for the elderly poor.

            That is rolling SS in under some cockamanie prioritization scheme only benefits that limited group of seniors that doesn't really need it. Most other recipients are reliant on some other federally provided or subsidized services.

            So not worth doing. Even if doable.

            SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

            by Bruce Webb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:45:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Because someone linked them (6+ / 0-)

        once and they shouldn't have been?

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:52:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Social Security, per se isn't part of the deficit (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        filby, JerryNA, Odysseus

        it's a separate program with its own funding.  It's secure through 2033.

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:54:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, however it does not have a separate computer (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          system to handle payments and thus the only option was to shut it down until enough funds came in to pay all the bills due at that time.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:07:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's dishonest, though (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob, Odysseus

            to use the computer issue to make it seem as though SS is part of the regular federal budget.  It isn't, but we'll be seeing a lot more of these little tricks as both parties try to convince the public that cuts are "necessary".

            "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:13:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Because the computers responsible for sending out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        those checks are also responsible for other payments and it is not possible to tell them "only pay social security and other separately funded things".  In other words, it is a software issue not a funding issue.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:06:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They have offered ideas (12+ / 0-)

      First, Social Security doesn't need "fixing" right now.  The current push for cuts is a manufactured crisis.  If they're really concerned, all they have to do is raise the income cap on SS payroll deductions and restore full employment in the US workforce.  Simple.  Bills have already been introduced in the House & Senate.

      To say no one has offered ideas when they obviously have sounds a lot like the tactic the GOP likes to use against Congressional Dems and the Obama WH - pretending the other side has nothing to offer.  Lying isn't an honorable strategy, nor is it effective.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:10:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Primary challenges. (14+ / 0-)

    The only thing that will scare Democratic politicians is the threat of a primary challenge.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:20:19 AM PDT

  •  They need to expose who Pete Peterson (31+ / 0-)

    and Fix the Debt is, a Nixon man and Wall Street billionaire throwing around tens of millions to create a fake crisis to use it to screw over the working class and poor; Spending tens of millions to destroy the Social Safety Net for the benefit of Wall Street and billionaires like him.

    Make this sonuvabitch (in)famous.  

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:22:02 AM PDT

  •  Time for pitchforks and torches. (36+ / 0-)

    The deficit is falling like a stone already. Any talk of cuts to entitlements to fund deficit reduction in year 5 of a brutal recession, with wages flat and unemployment still dreadful, is simply obscene. Some kind of deranged Stockholm syndrome or battered spouse behavior, asking for more beatings.

  •  Obama's motives are pure (10+ / 0-)
    The only constituency for chained CPI and other Social Security cuts is a handful of billionaires and the think tank fellows they fund.
    You make it sound as though our politicians have been corrupted by these billionaires.  Well, I want to defend president Obama on this score.  I have no doubt that his desire to give us the chained CPI is a matter of principle.  Many years from now, when he is old and grey, he wants to be able to look back on his life and say, “I was the one who cut Social Security.”
    •  Good to see the attacks on Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, Sybil Liberty, Jeff Simpson

      are as inane as before he kicked Republican ass the last few weeks, thereby disappointing all those so certain he would stab Dems in the back.

      There is no Grtand bargain coming, but that will not stop the innumerabl,e diaries here certain taht Obama is going to destroy America.  Sounds rather familiar, except we don't allow epistemioc closure here.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:33:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you know that, TomP? (27+ / 0-)

        Your flat assertion that there is no Grand Bargain coming appears to be based on nothing but wishful thinking and partisan hope.  The president has pursued his Grand Bargain like a great white whale, and as recently as three days ago repeated that he will be willing to negotiate with the other side on anything, as long as the debt ceiling and government shutdown tactics were put aside.  We heard the same BS from him about both sides having good ideas, blah blah blah.  So why do you think there's no Grand Bargain coming?  Talk about epistemic closure....

        We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:48:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Tom, I hope you're right (16+ / 0-)

        and in the sense that I don't think Pres. Obama hasn't said specifically that he wants the chained CPI (I've never understood how "replacement" of something better with something worse means less inflation, but I'm not an economist).  But he certainly has talked up a grand bargain.  When the old "catfood commission" didn't produce a report because they couldn't get the required agreement on its conclusions, and the chairs (was it Petersen and Bowles?) put one out, I didn't hear Pres. Obama say, that report isn't relevant because they didn't get enough people to say yes to it.  That's likely where some of these feelings on our side come from.  I can tell you that's what has me concerned.

        This time, the elephant must go down. And if possible, it must be so wounded it does not get up for a long time to come. -- Andrew Sullivan, 1 October 2013

        by billlaurelMD on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:51:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  attacking O is a "pre-existing condition" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, PJEvans, Matt Z

        doncha know? It's not going away...

        Surely it would be best if we all start lobbying now, with AFL-CIO, Harkin/Begich and Reid.

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

        by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:02:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It sure is (16+ / 0-)

          You catch it by paying attention to what he's done.

          We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

          by Dallasdoc on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:18:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "what he's done?" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jeff Simpson, TomP, Matt Z

            I've read your laundry list many times, so we can skip that part...this diary is about the Big Three.  

            so far, the president hasn't cut earned benefits.

            Of course we're all dealing with angst, (smoke screens? poker? multi-dimensional chess?)

            but all of us haven't reached paranoia. Yet.

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

            by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:28:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not for want of trying, of course (13+ / 0-)

              I like the automatic assumption that people who disagree with you are mentally ill.  That used to earn donuts around here.

              Your denial that the president has tried to cut SS, just because he hasn't succeeded, is tiresome and laughably desperate.  But any port in a storm, I suppose.

              We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

              by Dallasdoc on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:31:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  We're even. You're mentally ill, and we're (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sybil Liberty

                robotic quisling sellout collaborators with Wall Street.  

                Glad the blog stayed unified for awhile at least. Welcome back to your shitty, arrogant insults, which, baby, you dispense so well.

                And the left wonders why they can't make and keep allies.

                An old ex-communist friend of mine at UCLA left the left in the end because he said "they were worse than the Birchers." I know what he meant.

                Ultimately the left will treat people who disagree with them as mentally ill, not the other way around.  

                "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

                by Wildthumb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:23:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Except Sybil is doing that now (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  quagmiremonkey

                  ... and you're showing the same projection of attitude onto opponents we've just seen from Republicans losing on the shutdown.  You're trying to put offensive words in my mouth I didn't say, rather than arguing with my somewhat more inconvenient statements.  Have fun with your straw man.

                  This isn't about your tender feelings, sorry.  It's about trying to make sure this president doesn't trot out chained-CPI and his other terrible ideas in the window of trying to reach a budget deal with Republicans.  In that context I really don't give a shit about your feelings, because they're not important in the political context.  You want to support the president whatever he wants to pull?  Fine.  But Larry Summers isn't the Fed chief nominee because people told the president up front he wasn't going to fly.  We need to do the same thing right now about his Grand Bargain fetish, before he trots it out again.

                  We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

                  by Dallasdoc on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:30:57 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You assume it's coming, too, then (4+ / 0-)

              and you just haven't reached "paranoia"?


              Yet.
              When does that hit you? When it actually happens and it's too late to stop it?  

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:58:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just checked my DFH handbook (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z

                and nowhere does it endorse tarring and feathering the suspect before a crime has been committed. But you go right ahead. Have at it.

                Actually, I am spending my time calling D.C. in an effort to stop it before it's too late. Every morning, right after I brush my teeth.

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

                by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:18:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Just because his attempts have been thwarted (9+ / 0-)

              doesn't mean he suddenly wants to kill chained CPI and expand SS.

              When he comes out publicly against SS cuts and supports raising the cap and increasing benefits for lower income seniors, the public will believe him.

              In the meantime, though, he settles for sending his minions out on the internet to try to convince everyone he really doesn't want to cut SS.  If that's true, he should call a press conference and say so.

              "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

              by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:18:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The only reason you are getting these diaries (19+ / 0-)

        is the parade of Democrats clamoring for entitlement reform even before the deal was struck.  

        They started it.  Somebody from Majority Report was on MSNBC last night and he used the AFL-CIO as an example, they have diverted the efforts of progressives from their enthusiasm of defeating the Tea Party in 2014 to defending Social Security and they did that in less than 24 hours.

        We're not fundraising.  We're not volunteering.  We're calling Congress to stop them from cutting Social Security.

        •  THIS ^^^^^ (6+ / 0-)
          The only reason you are getting these diaries is the parade of Democrats clamoring for entitlement reform even before the deal was struck.  
          These people didn't think we'd notice, and we did. And they don't like it, so they've sent out the spin (dutifully reported here) in the hopes we'll all back off:  
          It appears the Grand Bargain is dead, at least for now
          captures the very essence of the concept of weasel-wording. Qualifiers to a scenario that we're to stop paying attention to.

          Don't count on it, because that ain't gonna happen.

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:06:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  He created this mess himself (10+ / 0-)

        He's the one who got the ball rolling with the Cat Food Commission.  He's the one who has helped push the lies to the public about SS and the deficit.

        He owns this, he has to face the criticism.  When it comes to protecting starving grannies vs. Obama's hurt feelings, I'll take the side of the starving grannies.

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:14:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Gee, the alignment here against the GOP (0+ / 0-)

        was great, and it would be great to take back the House in 2014, but here it is two days later, and the diaries and comments from the usual suspects have the megaphone again. Nice while it lasted, but I'm sure they were chomping at the bit to drown this blog in their superior comments. They don't care about a unified front against the right. As a matter of fact, they've even said that the right is irrelevant compared to the excoriation of the Democratic president.

        They're right, they have the truth, and they're going to shout it from a five-hundred-mile-high horse.

        It was nice to see the knee-jerk left here muted for awhile. We needed the unity and the break. They offer no unity but to themselves: about I'd say two hundred souls here in all. I'd like to see what the majority think around here.

        I'd like to know how much hate is on the left for Obama vis-a-vis the right. I'd wager they're close.

        And we have to listen to the same bunch go after Hillary with a hellish tear. And I mean hellish with intense relish. I can hardly wait. They despise the Clintons even more, and am sure they'd love to primary Hillary from the get-go. Stay tuned.

        "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

        by Wildthumb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:15:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is so difficult to decide what is snark on dkos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, JVolvo

      but this is, right?

      I have no doubt that his desire to give us the chained CPI is a matter of principle

      In our 13th year of war in Afghanistan, for every soldier who came home in a box to Dover Mortuary, "God bless the cause for which he died."

      by allenjo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:51:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, my comment was snark (8+ / 0-)

        But the assertion you quote is true.  Obama is a true believer.  He genuinely wants to reduce spending on the entitlements, because he thinks that would be a good thing.  There is no ulterior motive, not the billionaires’ money, not the good opinion of historians, not the need to have a legacy he can be proud of.  He simply believes it would be the right thing to do.

        And that is why he is so relentless in pushing that thrice-cursed chained CPI.

        •  the president who is committed to the (8+ / 0-)

          greatest military in the world, from a speech he gave a few months back, but who has cuts to social security in his budget, begs the question as to what his principles are.

          The poorest among us to share in the sacrifice to keep the US military the most expensive in the world makes him a true believer of what, and at the expense of the neediest?

          Do we hear the president or any in congress, other than perhaps Bernie Sanders, speak of the highest poverty level in decades in this country and what to do about it?

          Or the income inequality also at highest level in decades?

          In our 13th year of war in Afghanistan, for every soldier who came home in a box to Dover Mortuary, "God bless the cause for which he died."

          by allenjo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:47:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Glad the AFL-CIO is standing strong. (20+ / 0-)

    It appears the Grand Bargain is dead for now:

    With the government reopened and a debt default averted for now, Congressional negotiators on Thursday plunged into difficult budget talks to avoid a repeat crisis within months, and quickly agreed to lower their sights from the sort of grand bargain that has eluded the two parties for three years.

    snip

    To improve the prospects for some success, the negotiators largely agreed at a closed-door breakfast on Thursday that a deal involving significant new tax revenues and large-scale changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, whose growth in an aging population is driving long-term projections of growing debt, is not going to happen.

    Instead, they agreed, the talks will aim at a more modest, confidence-building measure to replace the sequestration cuts in 2014. Negotiators could aim higher, for a deal saving at least $1 trillion over the next nine years to substitute completely for the arbitrary sequestration cuts. But neither side was hopeful of that.

    Even with lower sights, negotiators face the same hurdle over taxes that has ended a series of bipartisan talks in 2011 — between Mr. Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner; between Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader; and between lawmakers on a so-called supercommittee.

    NY Times

    That means that it is unlikley to be major cuts (or any cuts) to the Big Three.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:29:50 AM PDT

    •  Good news (4+ / 0-)

      I was pretty convinced by Harry Reid's remarks yesterday that Social Security was off the table, but this is good to read as well.

      •  I didn't read it that way (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bisbonian, PJEvans, MikePhoenix, Matt Z

        The way I read it was that he wasn't going to support a plan whose two major outcomes were increased defense spending along with SS cuts.

        I think Reid understands the need for SS reform in the long term.  I'm also pretty sure that he understands that SS and Medicare can't be reformed by merely cutting benefits and so that funding for the programs needs to be changed.  

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

        by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:49:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Raise the cap (8+ / 0-)

          Problem solved.

          The rest of it is bullshit.

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:07:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Full employment at fair wages (8+ / 0-)

            also a good way to raise revenues.

            "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

            by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:27:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed, that too... (4+ / 0-)

              and where are all the Dem leaders on "job creation" to fix the freakin' infrastructure of this once-great nation? To provide revenue to the social safety net?

              So much to be done. So many people out of work, STILL.

              Un-fucking-believable.

              Sure, this AFL-CIO statement is important. It needs to be more, though--much more. They need to not be the only "big org" speaking out. And all the speaking out in the world isn't going to help. We need more than WORDS. ALL OF US need to start stepping up, NOW, to stop these ruinous cretins--the bought off ones, whether they be D or R--from stealing our Social Security.

              Take this shit off the table or get ready to rumble. It is that simple.  I'll die over this if I have to, because if they succeed in gutting it, I might as well be dead anyway. I have nothing else, thanks to US economic "policy" of the last 30 years.
               

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:36:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  So you are staking out the left's version (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z

            of the Tea Party position and that's perfectly fine.  But most of America disagrees with the absolutist position that the gap must be closed 100 percent with tax increases or 100 percent with benefit cuts.   We understand that this will have to be negotiated and that your position and the Tea Party's position will be jettisoned at the beginning.  Shoot, people with those positions shouldn't even be allowed into the room to negotiate because they bring very little but ideology to the table and are not going to engage in a constructive dialogue to solve the issue at hand.

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

            by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:31:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The most despicable false equivalency (5+ / 0-)

              by one of "my own".

              How nice:

              So you are staking out the left's version of the Tea Party position
              Bullshit like that isn't going to get you very far, either.

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:38:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah, here we go (4+ / 0-)

                Trying to smear anyone opposed to Social Security cuts as a Tea Party radical.

                Not very original, is it?  

                "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

                by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:58:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Stupid and short-sighted (5+ / 0-)

                  particularly if you witnessed yesterday's Twitter debacle with "fixthedebtqa".

                  Yes, the same group of self-important assholes whose Group Leadership is praised by our Democratic President:

                  You may wish to know a bit more about "Fix the Debt." As we wrote last week, it's supposedly a bipartisan pressure group, but its leadership is heavily stocked from the potentate wing of both parties -- listed as its Democratic co-founder is Erskine Bowles, a director of the investment bank Morgan Stanley.

                  It's an arm of the Committee for a Responsible Budget, which is funded by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Peterson is an influential billionaire whose distaste for Social Security and Medicare as they exist today is a byword, as we reported last year. Michael Peterson, his son, is on Fix the Debt's steering committee.


                   

                  This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                  by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:28:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  No, "theotherside" is a conservative Republican. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Throw The Bums Out, Betty Pinson

                  He has said so, himself.  He's not a crazy Tea Bagger and sometimes has good points.  This is not one of them.

                  •  Oh, well (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dallasdoc

                    no wonder he wants to equate the Left fighting for the preservation of Social Security from the clutches of evil accountants with the teahag idiots on his side of the aisle.

                    I'll bet he hates it when responses to him aren't spittle-flecked invectives with lots of exclamation points and 1s mixed in...

                    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                    by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:12:58 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  You are essentially correct (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Matt Z, JerryNA, MikePhoenix, Odysseus

                    Although I usually say that I am "conservative" because I don't seem to have a lot in common with my conservative brethren.

                    For the record:

                    I support single payer.
                    I support marriage equality.
                    I support raising taxes.
                    I support extremely strong measures to address climate change.
                    I support ending the war on drugs.
                    I am pro-choice (with some limits though).
                    I support immigration reform.
                    I support Social Security and want it to be "fair" for all generations.
                    I support increasing funding for the sciences.
                    I support strengthening the social safety net but I favor it being done with a basic understanding that we can all contribute something to this society (except for an extremely tiny handful that are essentially physically or mentally incapacitated or are terminal with a disease)
                    And, yes, I voted straight ticket Democratic in 2012.

                    So I am obviously not what most people picture when they think of a conservative, hence the quotation marks around "conservative".

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

                    by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:17:35 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  It's not a false equivalency (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Matt Z, coffeetalk, JerryNA

                What is the Tea Bagger position on the debt/deficit?  We should reduce the deficit, balance the budget and we shouldn't increase taxes to do so.  Is that their position or am I mistaken?  Do they or do they not want to balance the budget through 100 percent benefit/government program cuts?

                Your position is that SS can be fully funded and your solution to do so is 100 percent through tax increases.  Now, on right wing websites Tea Partiers will get cheered on for their position on the deficit/debt.  On this site, you might get cheered on for your position on SS.  But the truth is that you and the Tea Partiers are taking maximalist positions that are widely rejected by most Americans.  

                It's your right to do so.  It may even be a decent negotiating tactic to have more on the left take this position.  But I don't see how factually pointing out that both you and the Tea Partiers take maximalist positions on important issues of our times is a false equivalency.

                Like I said it's perfectly fine that you hold your position, just as it's perfectly fine for Tea Baggers to insist all reforms muct be from cuts.  I just disagree with your position and their position and I know that most of the country disagrees as well.  It's nothing personal against you.  

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

                by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:10:46 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Just keep telling yourself that (5+ / 0-)
                   taking maximalist positions that are widely rejected by most Americans.  

                  Widely rejected, my ass.

                  Raise the cap.

                  Create jobs.

                  are not positions rejected by the decent people of this country. They do seem to be rejected, however, by leading lawmakers on "our side". Decent people are not supporting them on their "Chained CPI" bullshit.

                  Decent people understand that Social Security is derived from the sweat and toil of "middle-class" and "working-class" Americans. And decent people are not going to stand by and be maligned and ridiculed for telling these Leaders to back off their lying-ass creative accounting when it comes to those earned benefits.

                   There's nothing to "take personally". This is not all about me. This is about ALL OF US. You want to cast aspersions on me despite all that? Go right ahead. Compare the left fighting for Social Security preservation to the Tea Party. Go right ahead and help this party once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory come next November over something that should not be on the table.

                   This POV is NOT some fringe minority lunatic POV except maybe to this blog, a place which in no way represents "most Americans". So those of you who think otherwise better understand, sooner rather than later, that neither I nor anyone else of this POV will be backing down.

                  This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                  by lunachickie on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:08:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I think the difference here is (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JerryNA, Odysseus, Dallasdoc

                  That the left's position is a reasonable one and the tea party's is not. That's what the posters mean by a "false equivalence". I've recced your comments though for the civil discussion which I think the people who are mocking you should actually learn something from.

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

                  by Matt Z on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:32:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I guess the way I would put it is (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Matt Z

                    if the choice was between solving the funding gap in SS with 100 percent tax increases or 100 percent benefit cuts, I too would support the 100 percent tax increase position.  So  from that perspective perhaps it is more reasonable.  But I would think it is likely, even here at DKOS, that most people would favor a solution that contained some combination of tax increases and some combination of benefit cuts (whether that be means testing, different inflation calculations, different bend points, raising the retirement age again, etc.).  I'm pretty sure that the independents would also heavily favor that solution and Republicans would most likely favor benefit cuts over tax increases.

                    If that is how the electorate views it, then we need leaders to try and develop policies that represent that sentiment.  And the first ideas thrown out would be the solutions on the far left and the far right.

                    Anyway, SS or Medicare reform seems really far off at this point and there is no benefit for this community to get mad at each other over battles that have not yet commenced.  "We" have a great opportunity to make gains in the House, if not control it out right after 2014.  The GOP civil war is still going on, the Dems are united, how do we make maximum use of these strengths to win over the moderates and turn out "our" base in the elections a year from now?

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

                    by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:56:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  The AFL-CIO opposed the Grand Bargain in 2011 (20+ / 0-)

      Didn't stop Obama from chasing it.  Let's hope there's no chance of cuts to the big three, but we can't depend on the president on that score.  He may have to be fought as vigorously as the Republicans, if his past performance holds true.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:49:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  appears? for now? unlikely? (12+ / 0-)

      Hardly words that give confidence, TomP

      In our 13th year of war in Afghanistan, for every soldier who came home in a box to Dover Mortuary, "God bless the cause for which he died."

      by allenjo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:55:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Truth often lacks certainty. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        No idea is truly dead.  Marx may yet rise from his grave (metaphorically).  That is why I chose my words carefully.  

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:13:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "No idea is truly dead." (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quagmiremonkey, Dallasdoc

          which makes it impossible to predict, so it's best that we not use absolutes, such as..........

          There is no Grtand bargain coming, but that will not stop the innumerabl,e diaries here certain taht Obama is going to destroy America.
          So you feel that if Obama did bargain away cuts to social security, that he would be "destroying America?"

          Or have you read comments here that are actually accusing Obama of destroying America if he does this?

          Or are you just going for the high drama in your choices of words?

          In our 13th year of war in Afghanistan, for every soldier who came home in a box to Dover Mortuary, "God bless the cause for which he died."

          by allenjo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:26:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You gotta have faith. (0+ / 0-)

        Unless...you are not of the body?

        http://

        Jump to 1:20

        As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

        by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chained CPI is the vampire of American politics (7+ / 0-)
        “Chained CPI is like the vampire of American politics,” Silvers said. “It keeps being shot through the heart and it keeps reviving. The reason it keeps coming back is because it has billionaires behind it.”
        Link

        A very accurate statement.  Despite claims of it's death, it just keeps coming back.  

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:01:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and Lloyd Blankfein, who has drop in privileges (6+ / 0-)

          at the WH, along with being invited for socal functions, and for his business advice, one of Obama's "savvy businessmen, tells us all that we must lower our expectations.....

          Peter DeFazio ·  
          A group of C.E.Os is visiting the White House today. They say Social Security must be reduced as part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations.
          These CEOs ignore the fact that Social Security hasn't contributed to the debt or deficit. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says you have to lower people's expectations of what they're going to get from Social Security.
          Blankfein is wrong. Social Security is an earned benefit. The average benefit is $14,000 a year and most people worked 45 years to get that. Billionaires like Blankfein should have to pay Social Security tax on all their income. No more bailouts for Wall Street millionaires and billionaires.

          In our 13th year of war in Afghanistan, for every soldier who came home in a box to Dover Mortuary, "God bless the cause for which he died."

          by allenjo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:16:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  KNEW i'd read this just now ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson

      while waking up (so-called) ...

      personal pet-for-the-day: we go back a LONG time.

      ( ( ( c o f f e e ) ) ) ...

      Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

      by greenbird on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:02:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No "Major" cuts? Who defines "major"? (11+ / 0-)

      CCPI is not a "major" cut to Mark Warner but it is a major cut for a senior living on $1200 a month which he probably spends for lunch.

      That's just CYA spin so you aren't watching for them to screw granny in the fine print.

    •  Unless Obama says so publicly (7+ / 0-)

      the Grand Bargain is still on the table.

      If he really wants to convince us, he needs to be public about his change of heart.

      Why would any self-respecting Democrat try to peddle these unsubstantiated claims when they have the power to hurt millions of Americans and cost Dems the midterm elections?

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:21:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've been really pleased with the AFL-CIO under (5+ / 0-)

      Trumka's leadership.  He's smart, he's tough, he comes right out of the working class (mining family, worked as a miner to put himself through college and law school, then joined the UMW legal staff).  He understands that the unions should act as representatives of all working Americans.  

      I'm glad to see the AFL-CIO coming out clearly and strongly in defense of the essential safety net.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:55:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It looks like we will know in a couple of months (5+ / 0-)

    whether a deal will be cut to "strengthen" Medicare, Medicaid, and/or Social Security. Even the optics of that happening during the Christmas retail season would be just plain old horrible. Even by pointing out that Summers was passed over by President Obama, I doubt that much consideration will be given to those beyond the beltway.

  •  Reid's statements were disturbing. (22+ / 0-)

    He said that he would not discuss cuts to Social Security or Medicare in exchange for increases in defense spending, but that he might be open to a deal in which entitlement cuts are exchanged for increases in early childhood education and similar social programs.
       Considering the real life situations of retirement age Americans - savings exhausted by unemployment, underemployment, and medical bills - the discussion ought to be about strengthening Social Security and lowering the retirement age, not vice versa.

    •  Reid and others are determined to finish off the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, maryabein, dclawyer06

      democratic party for good...sick.

    •   riddle me this: (0+ / 0-)

      How likely is it that Ayn-Randian-Paul Ryan will feel a rush to expand "early childhood education and similar programs" in exchange for anything

      ???

      Reid is playing with them.

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

      by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:36:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like POTUS setting his trap in 2011? The 11D (5+ / 0-)

        masterpiece that gave us sequestration?  And Dems agreeing to Ryan-level spending as compromise to end Tea Party standoff?  You do know Reid's "clean bill" CR was at Ryan's spending #, right?

        Man, I don't know how many more brilliant successes the bottom 50% OR the Democratic Party can survive...

        As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

        by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:57:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  where did I say anybody won? (0+ / 0-)

          I was pretty much trying to stick to the topic of this diary

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

          by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:27:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Reid is playing with them" to what end? I sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quagmiremonkey

            hope nothing like POTUS/Reid/Pelosi brilliantly "boxed R's into a trap" in 2011 -> Bush Obama Tax Cuts -> Sequestration -> Debt Ceiling Hostage (again) -> Govt Shutdown -> Reid passing Ryan's Fed Spending Level -> Social Security being mentioned by several high visibility Dems on same day as yesterday's victory.

            Please, no more trapping/"playing with" RePugs re govt functioning.  We can't take many more victories.

            As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

            by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:36:36 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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

              just a word game, no CT, nothing profound

              go write a grouse diary, kick a dog, whatever makes you feel better

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

              by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:58:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'll defend SS and criticize anyone (a Dem, gasp!) (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                maryabein, quagmiremonkey

                who wants to "reform" it the way Pete Peterson, Paul Ryan, Rush Limbaugh and the Koch brothers agree with.

                That makes me feel better.

                Which side are you on?

                As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

                by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:23:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yours, of course (0+ / 0-)

                  what did you think?

                  The reforms they've talked about previously would effect me directly and immediately. That's why I contact DC every single day of my life re: cuts to earned benefits. The last thing I want in this lifetime is to become a burden on my kids.

                  otherwise, just shoot me now

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

                  by Sybil Liberty on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:31:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Screw Reid (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dclawyer06

      Pushing poor, elderly people even further into poverty is as bad as it gets, especially when the cuts aren't necessary.

      Social Security is not part of the deficit.  It's not a toy or tool to use in negotiating with crazed Republicans.

      "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm willing to trade Reid for a real leader... (0+ / 0-)

      Sherrod Brown?
      Jeff Merkley?
      Bueller?

  •  The other constituency for making changes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wisper

    to SS and Medicare are people concerned about making the systems fair to all generations.

    I'm in Gen X and I can't think for the life of me why the systems should be rigged in favor of my parents over my kids.    On top of that the denial regarding the need for change in these systems is akin to climate change denialists, and, in fact, it may be worse.  The financial shortcomings of both SS and Medicare are easily calculated based on actuarial tables and basic math.  The attempt to calculate the temperature changes due to increasing concentrations of green house gasses is extremely complicated and it's not surprising that some people are confused by the highly advanced science behind it all (and the huge misinformation campaign but the fossil fuel industries).

    Anyway, I would like to think I'm reality based and so I would like to address both climate change and entitlement reform.  So the question in my mind is not IF we need to make policy changes but how we can change our policies with as little pain as possible.

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

    by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:41:07 AM PDT

    •  Rigged for YOUR parents? (14+ / 0-)

      As a Boomer I started paying into Social Security and Medicare when my grandfather's WWI generation was still collecting.   He was born in the 1880's and even though Social Security wasn't passed till the 30's and Medicare till the '60s he collected into his 90s and I was happy to pay for his benefits.  

      I paid in for my own parents of the WWII generation born in the 1920's.  My mother is still collecting benefits in her 90s now.  

      But YOU want to deny ME benefits even though my benefits were already cut in the Reagan administration deal because you are under the impression that somehow I got off free in this deal.  You seem to think that my 40 plus years of paying in to cover the generations preceding me don't count and just look at benefits I might receive as some free lunch.

      •  You read way more in to my post than is there (0+ / 0-)

        Absolutely you earned your benefits and it is a "sacred trust" that my generation and future generations should honor.  But what is also true is that we have been warned  for more than two decades of the financial shortfall between what is promised in benefits and what the current system will be able to generate to pay for them.   Year after year we as a society did nothing and the end result is that the older generations are pushing the financial short fall onto their posterity.

        When I talk one on one with boomers I rarely come across one that thinks that the system should be set up in such a way that their generation pays the least into the system and also gets the most out of the system when compared to their kids and grandkids.  I find, regardless of party identification or political philosophy, that this isn't in their value system.   And yet many of them seem unaware that this is the result of the current system.

        So what I would ask is that if you are one of the millions of boomers who do not think that the system should be set up so that your generation pays less into the system and gets more out than your kids and grandkids that you please find out if this is indeed the expected outcome given the current tax and benefit structure.  And if it is, what is the best way we can fix the system so that it is more fair for all generations involved.  

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

        by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:19:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I always believed Boomers needed to be taxed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northerntier

          while they were working and raising the cap is certainly one way.

          But it's also not fair to blame Boomers because their WWII era parents had to defer parenthood until after the war thus creating a demographic bulge.  Individual Boomers should not be penalized because there are more of us.  

          If we could get over the deficit hysteria I think we should expect that we'll have a deficit in the programs in some of the years in which Boomers peak and that will need to paid either out of general revenue or through selling bonds or whatever you do with that deficit.  But that bulge will pass and the country will survive if we don't give in to the hysteria that the only way to fix it is to cut the benefits for Boomers.

        •  Baby boomers did not make the problem which is now (0+ / 0-)

          at issue, because that problem is flat out  that there are so many baby boomers, nothing they could help avoid. They've, we've, paid in the whole time, including the upticks which Reagan put in. If the money hadn't been drained off for wars and Republican this and that,  there would be a surplus. Baby boomers didn't do that either. And when we were young, so was Zero Population Growth, to preserve the country for our children by not overrunning it with them.

          The real issue here is the point at which the baby boomer generation starts to shrink, and how to keep going until that happens.

    •  The system should not be rigged to favor your (4+ / 0-)

      parents over your kids.  Both should be decently provided for.  However, there are many political forces encouraging us to see it as a generational conflict -- it's yet one more way to keep us divided.  We are not a poor country unable to provide all our citizens with the (limited) level of support in retirement that we now provide.  Please don't fall for the divide-and-conquer approach.

      Social Security has been a very workable system.  It is now facing what is literally a Once In History crisis, as humanity moves from a constantly expanding population to a steady-state population.  THe best-designed system in the world would probably still need extra resources -- probably from the general tax fund -- in order to get through that unique transition without being decimated.  Maybe we should use some of the proposed cuts in military spending to bolster Social Security.  Or pass that transaction tax on Wall Street. Or just raise the SS tax limit.  Don't do away with it, but raise it, so that rich people pay more.  After all, what hasn't gone up since SS was established?  That would remove the crisis pressure and keep us going for quite a while.

      Yes, in the long run we have to examine and adjust SOcial Security funding further as we approach steady-state population.  Each generation can probably no longer afford  to support the older generation, when there are no longer lots more of the younger workers.  I'm curious about how other countries are handling this, and I'm willing to listen to options. But NOT NOW.  The current austerity-obsessed political class would just mindlessly cut benefits, just as they have cut funding for infrastructure to the point where bridges fall down, made college education harder and harder to afford and scholarship money rarer, cut much of what used to be normal parts of K-12 education (art, for instance), pursued tax policies that favor the 1% over the 99%, and general put the burdens of change not on the richest but on ordinary Americans who are already under pressure in our increasingly polarized rich/poor economy.

      Long term changes to Social Security should NOT be negotiated with THIS CONGRESS.  Who by the way are doing a lot to harm your children as well as your parents.

      --------------------- “These are troubling times. Corporation are treated like people. People are treated like things. …And if we ever needed to vote, we sure do need to vote now.” -- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber

      by Fiona West on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:27:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rigged? Raising the cap on income taxed fixes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PJEvans, britzklieg, tardis10

      the SS "problem", no bipartisan cuts needed.

      2013: $113,700 cap on taxed income. Gosh, any folks making more than that today?  Seems the system is rigged in their favor, not typical near- or retired grandparents.

      From same link, blanket Medicare tax of 1.45% for all income below $200,000 ($250K joint filing), then - new for 2013 - an additional 0.09% tax.  Wow.

      Again, I see a system rigged for the wealthy, not the vast majority of elderly.  

      Raise the SS cap, lower the Medicare income level to reach the higher tax rate and/or raise the above-level tax rate and the system is fine.

      RePugs have been claiming SS would "go bankrupt in x years" since the bill was being debated in Congress in 1935.  78 years. They are still wrong.

      As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

      by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:26:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear what you are saying but I disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wisper

        with your framing especially of the bolded parts.

        Assuming that you trust scientists and you accept their viewpoint on climate change, perhaps you can see the flaw in your argument by this analogy.

        If you go on any thread about climate change you will see arguments from the right that are very similar to your bolded part.  They will say something along the lines of "liberals have been claiming that our fossil fuel usage will cause out of control global warming.  Now, 30 years later, we still don't see out of control global warming or our coasts flooded as they predicted.  In fact, temperatures have flat lined for the last 15 years.  The liberals are still wrong."

        So I think we should take into consideration when the effects were supposed to take place.  On top of that, when SS was first in place in the 30's the total tax rate to fund it was 2 percent (total between employee and employer).  Now, nearly 8 decades later, in order for it not to go "bankrupt" we have increased the rate to 12.4 percent (6.2 percent for both employer and employee) and we have raised the retirement age.  And just for the record, I do think the "bankrupt" talk is overplayed.  When the Trustees say it will be bankrupt it doesn't mean that nobody will be getting SS checks.  It's just that it is estimated that the system will only generate enough revenue to pay approximately 75 percent of promised benefits.

        Now, the truth, at least as I can discern, is that neither SS, Medicare or Global Warming is a "crisis" in the sense that none of the really nasty effects are going to happen next year or even a decade from now.  But I think it would be wiser and easier to address these issues now rather than later.

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

        by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 12:07:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You equate Climate Deniers and SS Crisis Skeptics (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo

          But clearly have never done the minimum due diligence to check out the numbers being used by the Social Security crisis mongers that like to present themselves as reluctant, we got to take our medicine 'Reformers'.

          Their math is crap. Self-serving deliberately designed to deceive crap based on a specific marketing strategy adopted by the Right back in Fall 1983. Short history lesson. In the wake of the 1983 Greenspan Commission that saved SS for a generation (and was never really supposed to do more than that) the Cato Institute gathered all the anti-SS warriors in a conference in NYC in June to make sure that this 'fiasco' (their term for the fix) would not be repeated the next time. The papers from that conference were published in the Fall 1983 issue of the Cato Journal under the joint title: Social Security: Continuing Crisis or Real Reform. Prominant among those papers was one by Stuart Butler and Peter Germanis called 'Achieving a Leninist Strategy' which spelled out a multi-decade plan specifically to undermine faith in Social Security among the generation not then yet known as 'Gen-X'. In retrospect the Right carried out the Leninist Strategy with precision going right through Bush's 2001 CSSS Commission to the latest publications by Kick the Can. And that strategy can be summed up simply and accurately as follows:

          Reassure Silents, Scare Gen-X, Blame Boomers. And it worked.

          The Cato issue is available online as v.3:2 as is the Butler and Germanis paper separately. Makes for fascinating reading, not least for us Boomers who have been beaten around the head and shoulders by tragically underinformed and deliberately misled Gen-Xers like our friend here.

          Can you say "Took the hook, the line AND the sinker"? I know I can. You only IMAGINE you have the SS 'science' on your side. There is in fact no equation working here at all.

          SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

          by Bruce Webb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:30:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bruce, (0+ / 0-)

            I am neither a climate scientist nor an actuarial.  So what I have to do is heavily rely on the experts in those respective fields.  You and I obviously disagree but let's see if we can have an honest moment between the two of us.

            I rely on the SS Trustees and I would like to think that you would agree that their ranks are not filled with CATO staff.  I agree that there isn't a "crisis" but the Trustees have been giving the same advice for the greater part of the last two decades.  In their words from this years' report:  

            "Lawmakers should address the financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare as soon as possible. Taking action sooner rather than later will leave more options and more time available to phase in changes so that the public has adequate time to prepare."
            They also say things like SS, as a share of GDP, will grow from 4.2 to 6.2 percent over the next quarter century.  Likewise with Medicare which will grow from 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent.

            The far left says that these costs should all be born by the tax payers.  The far right says that these programs should just be cut (or eliminated) so that we don't incur these costs.  I am with neither of those sides.  I'm with the SS Trustees when they say we should deal with the issue sooner rather than later and I further add that we should do so in a way that is fair to seniors, boomers and their posterity.

            But as I said, like climate change, there are plenty of people who choose to deny what the experts in the field say because it doesn't sit well with their ideology.

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

            by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 05:23:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is boilerplate (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JVolvo

              As you yourself point out.

              If you read the Reports in sequence over the last 20 years are there really any signs that delay has actually limited options? Because I started reading them in detail starting with the 1997 Report and that same language appeared year after year even though in the face of inaction the actuarial outlook for Social Security improved every year until 2004. Yet there was nary of hint of this in the Summary (which is where the conclusion you cite appears). And in fact the options today are much the same as they would have been in 1997, start phasing in a tiny increase in FICA rates that would equal about 6% of the projected increase in Real Wage over the projection period. Or pretty much in line with the changes in rates since program inception.

              As to share of GDP. Currently Social Security pays benefits to around 17% of the population at a cost of just under 5% (I believe it is higher than 4.2%). Over the course of the next couple of decades the Social Security beneficiary population projects to increase to 25% of the population and take up (s you note) around 6.2% of GDP. Meaning that if we examine the amount of future productivity devoted to future retirees, their survivors and the disabled that their per capita share will remain pretty constant. In what world is this sharing of wealth, which after all their lifetime labor productivity contributed to, in the same proportions as retirees get today some sort of intergenerational outrage? Should we really keep the same share of the pie devoted to this population static even as their numbers increase? Sorry son (and you are young enough by your account to be such) the idea that my generation should not be expected to share in future wealth so that your kids can have extra whatever gadgets are 'necessary' in 2040 is the opposite of fairness.

              Medicare is a different story. But as Social Security Defenders like Dean Baker have been pointing out for  years now the growth in medical costs is almost entirely driven by the outsized compensation demanded by providers. And not just by the actual doctors and nurses but even more by the suppliers of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals that demand that preservation of their profit margins is paramount even if that means rationing care to the elderly and the poor. If instead we accepted returns to the medical industry across the board in line with those of every other developed country than every single bit of our future deficits just melts away.

              So once again you have fallen into a messaging trap that conflates two very different concerns into one SocialSecurityMedicareMedicaid monster.

              Plus your faith in the Trustees is touching. Because as you may or may not know all the Trustees are actually Presidential appointees and three of the six are Cabinet members serving ex officio. And of the three others two are the socalled 'Public Trustees' who in practice are the representatives of the leadership of Congress and by law have to be drawn from separate parties. And of the two current ones we have Charles Blahous, Bush's point man for Social Security Privatization for the Republicans  and known Deficit Hawk/Entitlements Skeptic and Peter G Peterson acolyte Robert Reichshouer for the other. With the last spot being held by the Bush era Deputy Commissioner in place of the departed Michael Astrue.

              That is the idea that the Trustees and the Summary section of the annual SS Report that is effectively their work product are some neutral technocrats is just the same PGP Leninist Strategy bullshit you have been slurping down all your life. Mostly because you have never known better. Because all 'serious' people agree. Kind of like 'efficient market hypothesis' and 'Iraqi WMD'.

              Maybe you might try some independent analysis of the work of actual 'experts in the field' rather than rote repetion of the work product of six political appointees. Because when you move beyond the Summary you are quoting and dig into the actual data tables the "sooner is better than later" conclusion just falls apart. It just ain't so, basically 20 years of inaction has left us with the same 2% 75year gap. Which makes nonsense of "sooner is better than later". Because if we had actually acted on the basis of the 1997 Report we would have had a massive impact on either payroll taxes or future benefits that in retrospect would have been pure overkill.

              Now the story is a little different with the last couple of Reports. Because a world wide employment recession did leave a mark on Social Security. As how could it not. But people were using the same lazy "I listen to the Trustees" messaging even when it made no numerical sense at all.

              Because Boilerplate. And speaking of 'fairness' what is YOUR proposal? Because you seem to have bought into "Feed Grandma Catfood to save my Kids Playstation 2033" messaging being sold by the billionaires todayl

              SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

              by Bruce Webb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:24:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Right on! Smart organizing woman I worked with (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bruce Webb

                yesterday stated the painfully typical "SS won't be there for me when I need it" line as fact.

                Ugh, another trusting, unknowing slurpee of said Cato bullshit. They do know how to get a message out   :o(

                As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

                by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:48:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Cato actually offers the Free Lunch (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JVolvo

                  or Privatization

                  While the "It Won't Be There For Me" messaging is mostly the product of the Peterson Nexus. Which is what I call the overlapping combo of organizations founded or funded by PGP including the Concord Coalition, CRFB (Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget), its offshoots the Rivlin-Domenici Commission and Fix the Debt and of course the paymaster the (with I shit you not $1 billion total committed endowment) Peter G Peterson Foundation.

                  The Peterson folk push the line that we just have no choice but to feed Grandma Fancy Feast cat food. While Cato's Project for Social Security Choice (formally the Project for Social Security Privatization) insists that if Grandma just parks all her retirement money with Wall Street she will be dining on Beluga Caviar courtesy of the Magic of the Free Market and the Rule of Twelve.

                  Do NOT confuse your Soulless Hard Libertarians and your Soulless Plutocrats. Even though both sides believe FDR was History's Greatest Monster and Social Security formerly the World's Most Dangerous Social Experiment. Now of course second to the Real WMDSE of Obamacare.

                  More seriously there are distinctions in the broad front of Social Security haters, though of course much overlap as well. The Plutocrats like Peterson are not particularly adverse to taxation. As long as that taxation only falls on worker wages and worker consumption (in the end the same thing) and not on returns on capital. Give them a zero rate on that (like the full Ryan Roadmap would do) and BOOM you would find a bunch of social liberals. On the other hand the Hard Libertarians who Cato ostensibly speaks for are more Randite Sociopaths who hate moochers and looters on principle and want to see the Social Welfare State DEAD, DEAD, DEAD.

                  You wouldn't find the same kind of "Think of the Children" messaging from Cato as you do from Kick the Can. Different messaging for different audiences.

                  SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                  by Bruce Webb on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 03:55:14 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You rock. I see an awesome diary in your near (0+ / 0-)

                    future...

                    In my mind, they are all overlapping greedy bastards. However it is important to know which distinct sect is pushing which particular lie/policy.  And where the money comes from (PGP).  Well done, Bruce!

                    * Was Concord Coalition evil/fake concern from the start? I remember - as a wet behind the ears mid-20s General Election only Dem - that "CC seemed like a good idea. It's got Tsongas and a Repub so it must be valid..." or whatever my uninformed mushbrain came up with.

                    As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

                    by JVolvo on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 07:06:36 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well my awesome DK diaries (0+ / 0-)

                      are mostly in my past these days. Mostly I just admin the Social Security Group here while blogging elsewhere.

                      Yes the Concord Coalition was evil to start with. It was the proto-type for Peterson's 'Bi-Partisan' group/commission/etc. In every case Peterson has found a deficit hawk Dem to balance out a mainstream conservative Republican to serve as the titular heads even as day to day direction mostly remains in the hands of his actual designees. This isn't particularly a secret, here is how Concord describes itself and its origins today

                      http://www.concordcoalition.org/...

                      The Concord Coalition is a nationwide, non-partisan, grassroots organization advocating generationally responsible fiscal policy. The Concord Coalition was founded in 1992 by the late former Senator Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), late former Senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Peter Peterson. Former Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA) serves as co-chair of the Concord Coalition.
                      While Tsongas was always a pretty good social liberal, he like Nunn have always been firmly in the DLC Sensible Centrist Business Friendly Camp.

                      And the key to understanding Concord and its followup organizations is to examine its figure-head Board of Directors and then the guy who actually runs the show, in this case Robert Bixby. Who reports to the guy that actually pays the bills, in this case the third 'co-founder' Pete Peterson.
                      http://www.concordcoalition.org/...

                      Don't strain your eyes looking for a true left-progressive Dem anywhere on that list. Because such are simply not welcome at PGP funded groups.

                      SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                      by Bruce Webb on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 09:03:39 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  If you raise the cap (4+ / 0-)

        remember you have to pay back the benefits in proportion of what was paid by each individual.  Its wage insurance, its not welfare.

        If there were no cap, Warren Buffet would be receiving social security benefits of like $12,000 a month or something crazy (assuming his capital income was taxed, but that's a separate issue)

        If you make people pay more but still cap the payouts then you've turned Social Security from FDR's vision of a self-funded safety net for workers into a welfare program, what he called "The Dole" when he was ranting about how that should never be allowed for Social Security (he had other programs specifically designed to distribute need-based welfare).

        And if you turn it into Welfare you will paint an even bigger target on Social Security for every politician in the country.  What needs to be protected is SocSec's self-reliant solvency.  Don't politicize it even further my making it dependent on wealth taxes.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:31:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          Means testing medicare and social security is a trap by conservatives that a lot of progressives fall for.

        •  Where do I suggest means testing? Where do I (0+ / 0-)

          mention Warren Buffet levels of income? Please. Stop arguing against what I haven't suggested.  "Dependent on wealth taxes"?  No, try equal SS taxes on all income earners up to $250K (gasp!).

          Other than protecting Buffet, Romney and Thurston Howell III, why argue against taking the additional SS income now (via higher cap) and pay out higher IF needed when the time comes? Get the higher revenue while they're earning big bucks, build up that surplus now, see what happens 20 years from now.  

          Who knows, we may have a Golden Progressive Revolution before it's time to pay out: 70 Dems in Senate to pass awesome changes re income inequality and recoup Big Oil, Big Pharma and Wall St's ill-gotten gains.

          Or does that vision also strike you as a "wealth tax"?

          As of 9pm 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able) ~ JV

          by JVolvo on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:02:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Here's The Thing About Your Kids Vs. Your Parents (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, tardis10

      By the time your kids are ready to retire, your parents will be dead.

      In fact, pretty much the whole Baby Boom Will be dead by 2050.

      Which means that anyone under 30 will be in great shape to collect Social Security.

      Here have diary on the subject.

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:28:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Have you quantified it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      "I'm in Gen X and I can't think for the life of me why the systems should be rigged in favor of my parents over my kids.    On top of that the denial regarding the need for change in these systems is akin to climate change denialists, and, in fact, it may be worse.  The financial shortcomings of both SS and Medicare are easily calculated based on actuarial tables and basic math. "

      Because I have. And not alone, in collaboration with real honest to God economists.

      Here is a little quiz for you. Assume Intermediate Cost economic and demographic assumptions (SSA OACT standard) that project the OASDI TF going to zero in 2033 and requiring a 25% cut in benefits. Which is pretty much the definition of crisis. And now for the question:

      Would the retiree of 2033 be able to purchase the same real basket of goods after that 25% cut as a similarly situated retiree can purchase today? If not, then how much less?

      Turns out that the answer is that the retiree of 2033 would after cut still be able to purchase a real basket of goods around 15% greater than today's retiree. Because the current benefit formula has the real benefit growing 180% over the 75 year window used by SSA and CBO and that figure looks to be around 140% by the time of Trust Fund Depletion.

      The equation varies a little year by year as projections change but always has the same basic form: 75% of 140% = 120%. That is a cut from a higher baseline does not mean a cut in REAL basket of good terms. I long ago dubbed this 'Rosser's Equation' after my friend and erstwhile collaborator who first pointed it out, that is Prof. Barkley Rosser (Jr.) of JMU.

      Now neither Barkley or I believe that this cut is acceptable. On the other hand it does go to show that Gen-Xers who have swallowed the Peterson Intergenerational Warfare "why sacrifice my kids for my parents" because it is "math" actually never got off their slacker Gen-X ass to calculate it.

      Here is a hint. If Gen-X as a whole generates the same rates of productivity, Real GDP, and Real Wage over the next 20 years that their Silent and Boomer parents and grandparents  did over the 30 years from 1948 to 1978 then Social Security self-funds with no increases in cap formula or anything else. That is if anyone is to blame for current projected shortfalls in the 2030s the culprit is mostly to be found in your own shaving mirror hot shot.

      You have been had. Try alternately Googling 'Butler Germanis Leninist Strategy' and 'Rosser's Equation' to see how the Fix the Debt/Kick the Can folk played your whole generation as suckers too lazy to do their own arithmetic. With fantastic success, as your comment shows.

      SocSec dot.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:12:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So help me out here (0+ / 0-)

        It's been awhile since I took math classes.  By Trust Fund depletion benefits are expected to go up 140% in real dollars (inflation adjusted).  Is that what you are saying?  And when the trust fund is depleted, as we know, it is expected that SS can only pay 75 percent of the expected benefits.

        To make it easy let's do some math on these figures.  Let's say you have a person receiving $1,000 in benefits now.  By the time the trust fund depletes it would be up to $1,400 in benefits.  But they receive only 75 percent.  $1,400 multiplied by 75% would seem to be $1,050.  

        So help me understand your 75% of 140%= 120% calculation because it isn't sinking in.

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

        by theotherside on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 06:47:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You have obviously thought about this (0+ / 0-)

        alot and you are passionate about it.  You are obviously also quite condescending to Gen-Xers.  But just to let you know some of us have done some math.

        So have you calculated how much a boomer will have paid into the system versus how much a Gen Xer will have?  Despite your 'lazy' accusations of my generation, I have done the calculations.  So if you apply the appropriate FICA tax rate to the median income (inflation adjusted) to a person that starts work in 1967 and one that starts in 1989 and you assume the average real wage growth, what do you come up with?

        Doing the math (and I may be wrong since I think 75 percent of 140 is 105 and not 120 like you came up with) I calculated that the person that starts work in 1989 will pay approximately 18 percent more in "real" dollars than a person that started work in 1967.

        Can you clarify or correct my calculations?

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

        by theotherside on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 02:43:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Iron fist in a velvet glove. (6+ / 0-)

    The AFL-CIO is getting back to basics.

    This is what the cretins understand.

    I like it.


    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

    by No one gets out alive on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:24:22 AM PDT

  •  No more talk of budget and deficit w/o 'War Costs' (10+ / 0-)

    being brought up as our problem with those, okay everyone?

    It's just plain stupid to pretend that our biggest problem around debt and deficit is a dot unconnected to our lunatic National Security Strategy.

    Which only makes us more enemies, is pushing the world to 'de-Americanize' (as China just put it), and is bankrupting us economically and morally.

    Budget. Debt. War. Always together in the same breath.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 08:29:38 AM PDT

  •  Why do they keep talking about Medicaid cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    when they just added millions of people to the rolls under the ACA?

    So, they add them to the rolls and then drop their coverage to in-name-only?

    I don't get these people. There is no logic to their actions -- they only know greed and selfishness.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:58:12 AM PDT

  •  Biggest problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, Odysseus

    Maybe the biggest problem in our politics is the loss of strong union influence.  Without that, there is no countervailing force to blunt the demands of big business.  The one lasting "accomplishment" of St Ronnie was his denuding of the AFL/CIO with PATCO.  The unions let the strikers down--hurting the whole movement--the whole country.

    Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

    by melvynny on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:14:27 PM PDT

  •  At least for once (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    the AFL-CIO is acting with some recognition that organized labor is part of the 20th Century Synthesis, and the defeat of other parts is a defeat for them, too.  Problem is they've played the "pragmatic" political game so long that they've pragmatized themselves into political irrelevancy.  How...pragmatic of them.

    “Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” ― Paulo Freire

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:16:12 PM PDT

  •  Democrats didn't actually even win anything (0+ / 0-)
    Grand Bargain talk is once again revving up—after all, Democrats won something
    they didn't get any policy or anything, they just got things to go back to the way they are supposed to be - status quo. they didn't get any legislation, or fudning, in fact sequester cuts are maintained.
  •  The biggest potential threat to SS is Pres. Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, Odysseus

    He has categorically -not- been one of the ones saying "No. No. No. No. No."

    If he pushes the "Grand Bargain" screwjob, as he has repeatedly in the past, it provides cover to everyone else.  It gives media traction to the outright falsehood that SS is somehow broken and in crisis, and needing of immediate "fixing".

    Until he takes a radically different public stance than he has taken up to this point, the President is the single biggest potential threat to Social Security.

    What was wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

    by gila on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:26:25 PM PDT

  •  GOP Will Keep Calling Social Security "Welfare" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Odysseus

    Especially when they say "100 million people on welfare" and insert racial dog whistles, they are trying to convince seniors that lazy ethnic people have bled the country dry because Obama paid slavery reparations or something. But you only get to 100,000,000 by counting every retiree, working poor, orphan, and blind diabetic.

    Then they would sweep into office claiming "a mandate to cut entitlements."  A good portion of seniors would still be cheering because they would still be convinced it only applies to lazy urban ethnics.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:29:40 PM PDT

  •  Republicans will never agree to tax increases (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    so it's back to kabuki again.

    •  And the AFL-CIO is playing their part beautifully. (0+ / 0-)

      Note the words he used: "...who vote for..."

      Not "who propose."

      Not "who talk about."

      "Who vote for."

      Of course, they're never going to get a chance to vote for it.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:23:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pay close attention to the words: "who VOTE FOR" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heavy Mettle

    Not, "who talk about."

    Not, "who offer."

    Not, "...who indicates a willingness to negotiate over..."

    "...who vote for..."

    Of course, as the past several episodes of this drama demonstrate, nobody is ever going to get a chance to vote for them, because no such deal is ever going to go to Congress.

    Well played, AFL-CIO. Excellent job playing your role in the Kabuki.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:27:09 PM PDT

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