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Black writes: "The safety net is the glory of America and the unending nightmare of Wall Street."

President Obama returns to the Oval Office after hearing of the shootings in Aurora, 07/20/12. (photo: Getty Images)
President Obama returns to the Oval Office after hearing of the shootings in Aurora, 07/20/12. (photo: Getty Images)

Wall Street's Plan to Push Obama to Betray

By William K. Black, Reader Supported News

13 November 12


Through its lobbying group Third Way and media mouthpieces, Wall Street is determined to destroy the social safety net.

he safety net is the glory of America and the unending nightmare of Wall Street. That's why Wall Street's leading "false flag" group, the Third Way (which calls itself a "leading moderate think tank"), has responded to the warnings that Robert Kuttner, AFL-CIO President Trumka, and I have made that if President Obama is re-elected our immediate task will be to prevent the Great Betrayal - the adoption of self-destructive austerity programs and the opening wedge of the effort to unravel the safety net (including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid).

Here's what you need to know about this plan to rob Americans of their future.

1. Both Democrats and Republican Oppose Cuts to the Safety Nets

Huge majorities of Americans oppose cuts in the safety nets: A majority of Republicans oppose such cuts and Democrats overwhelmingly oppose the cuts. The American people love the safety net because they know it is essential to a humane America. They know that it has transformed the nation. Before Social Security, older Americans were frequently reduced to poverty and dangerously inadequate health care that made the remainder of their lives dangerous and miserable.

The safety net does not cover only the elderly and the sick. My father, for example, died when I (the eldest of three children) was 19 and a sophomore at the University of Michigan. Even though in-state tuition was inexpensive in those days, I would have had to drop out of school. Survivors' benefits allowed me to obtain a superb education and pay back the nation with service and decades of greater taxes because education increased my income. Food stamps and unemployment insurance frequently provide the temporary support that prevent tragedy and allow Americans to obtain useful education and jobs. The safety net has made America a nation we are proud of and a nation that makes it possible for Americans to recover from hard times and tragedy and to lead lives that are vastly more productive and enjoyable.

2. Only a Democrat Can Make it Politcally Safe for GOP Pols to Unravel the Net

One of the most important reasons that more Americans support the Democratic Party than the Republican Party is that the Democratic Party is viewed as the Party that created and guards the safety net. The elements of the safety net are the crown jewels of Democratic Party policy successes.

Only a Democrat can make it politically safe for Republicans who hate the safety net to unravel it (a process that would occur over a number of years) by legitimizing the claim that the safety net must be cut. Obama may not intend to unravel the safety net. He may have been convinced by Wall Street that it is necessary to begin to unravel the safety net in order to save it. But the result would be to declare open season on the safety net by legitimizing the false Republican memes that the safety net is unsustainable and harms the nation. The Republican Party's and Wall Street's greatest frustration is that they have been unable to unravel or discredit the safety net. The Democratic Party has its Wall Street wing, but the Republican Party has been Wall Street's principal representative for decades. The Republican Party has been unable to deliver Wall Street's unholy grail - privatizing Social Security.

3. Wall Street's Schemes for Social Security Endanger the Economy

Wall Street salivates at the prospect of any privatization of social security. This would lead to them being able to charge tens of billions of dollars in fees annually. The banks that administered the privatized program would be Too Big to Fail, or what I call "systemically dangerous institutions" (SDIs) because the consequences of allowing bank failures to cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their retirement savings would require either that all such deposits be federally insured or that the failing banks be bailed out by the federal government. Privatization, therefore, is a convenient fiction. The banks' profits will be private; any catastrophic losses will be borne by the public. The SDIs' that already enjoy massive political power, often exerted through front groups like "Third Way," will burgeon.

The Third Way lobbies for Wall Street and is used to discredit Democratic polices. The Wall Street response (via Third Way) to our warning of the Great Betrayal repeats its central assertion that there is no alternative - the safety net must be cut. The Wall Street Wing of the Democratic Party alleges that if Obama wields the knife, he will do less damage to the safety net than would Romney. That, of course, does not respond to our point. Once Obama endorses Wall Street's false claim that the safety net is unsustainable and a grave danger to our economy he legitimizes future Republican assaults on the safety net. Third Way admits that these assaults would wield a chainsaw. Indeed, if Wall Street (via Third Way) is correct that the safety net is destroying our nation's ability to make productive investments, then Republicans should take a chainsaw to the safety net. Third Way, therefore, has implicitly admitted and even supported our analysis.

The Wall Street response to our warnings of the coming Great Betrayal did not attempt to rebut the point I (and many others before me) made about Wall Street's quest for the riches it would obtain when Social Security privatization began. Third Way cannot rebut the point because it proposes that we should begin to privatize Social Security. The Third Way is faithful to the interests of Wall Street.

4. It's Time to Orgazine

Obama has told us he will try to commit the Great Betrayal as soon as possible. We have to organize now to be able to act immediately to prevent it. Again, the point I and others have made in our warnings is not that Obama wants to unravel the safety net or that the initial concessions to the Republicans will destroy the safety net. The point we made is that by accepting the false Wall Street (via Third Way) and Republican claims about the safety net, Obama would be legitimizing continued assaults on the safety net by Republicans and Democrats that would eviscerate it.

Third Way warns that if Obama does not commit the Great Betrayal the Republicans will destroy the economy:

"The alternative to a grand bargain is a grand throwdown, one like the debt ceiling debacle of 2011. Only this time, the threat of default would be joined by the double threat of sequestration and tax hikes on the middle class."

Giving in to Republican extortion would only prompt repeated Republican extortion. President Clinton followed the correct strategy against similar attempts at extortion by refusing to give in to it. The extortion strategy blew up in the Republican's faces. They remember what happened. Third Way's proposed appeasement strategy would encourage relentless Republican extortion.

5. Third Way Spreads False "Moral Panic" and Protects Fraudsters

Pete Peterson, a Republican Wall Street billionaire, has long led an unholy war to eviscerate the safety net. He has pledged a billion dollars to the effort and funded many groups. The "Third Way" was founded and run by Jonathan Cowan, one of his "acolytes", and its board of trustees is dominated by Wall Street executives. Third Way refuses to disclose its donors.

Third Way represents the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party and has pushed successfully for the worst domestic failures of the Obama administration, including continuing the Bush administration policy of granting the elite banksters whose frauds drove the crisis de facto immunity from criminal prosecution. Third Way has been conspicuously silent in pushing either administration to prosecute these elite financial frauds. Its board of trustees is peppered with senior executives of systemically dangerous institutions that the federal government has charged - but only in civil cases - engaged in fraud. Third Way has applauded the administration's grant of immunity from criminal prosecution for the massive foreclosure frauds (hundreds of thousands of frauds) committed by several major banks in a November 9, 2012 press release entitled: "Third Way Lauds Landmark Foreclosure Deal."

In addition to unraveling the social safety net, Third Way is also useful to Wall Street's pursuit of other major priorities, including austerity and gaining access to tens of billions of dollars in freebie profits from beginning to privatize social security. Wall Street and Republicans use Third Way to try to discredit the Democratic Party, candidates, and policies. The repeated motif is that critics of the Democratic Party's policies cite pro-Wall Street statements by Third Way officials to "prove" that even Democrats admit that the policies endanger the nation. Third Way's specialty is spreading the faux "moral panic" that the safety net is the great threat to America.

6. The New York Times' Bill Keller and Third Way Endorse False GOP Memes

The NYT's Bill Keller recently authored a column ("The Entitled Generation") on July 29, 2012. He excoriated baby boomers based on a study specially given to him in advance by Third Way. Here is how he described this organization run by Wall Street for Wall Street. "This brings me to a soon-to-be released study by the incorrigible pragmatists at Third Way, the centrist Democratic think tank."

Keller proceeds to accept, with no demonstration of even the feeblest effort at critical analysis, Wall Street's position as gospel. Remember, he is doing this in 2012, during an epidemic of fraud and failed models when every week brings the disclosure of a new scandal by our most elite financial institutions, including those that direct the Third Way. Keller implies that he has to accept Wall Street's numbers because they are "arithmetic." Keller must have amnesia about the entire financial crisis, which demonstrated that Wall Street's "arithmetic" consisted of maximizing fictional accounting income through the famous four-ingredient fraud "recipe." That recipe produces massively inflated asset values, fictional income, real bonuses, and catastrophic losses. Each of these results is a "sure thing." Nobody does arithmetic worse than Wall Street.

Third Way is "centrist" on matters that involve Wall Street's compensation only if Keller subscribes to the view that "what's good for Goldman Sachs is good for America." Keller fails to inform his readers that the Third Way is a creature of Wall Street and that the anti-safety net policies it is lobbying for would be worth hundreds of billions of dollars in increased profits (plus SDI or Too Big to Fail status and even greater political dominance) to the Wall Street firms that dictate Third Way's policies. Third Way is also a "think tank" only if one views Goldman Sachs' reports as coming from a "think tank." Keller then demonstrated why he didn't believe his readers should learn that Third Way was a creature of Wall Street. He was already afraid that his readers would reject his swallowing the Third Way report's claims hook, line, and sinker.

"Indignant readers are already revving up to tell me that Social Security and Medicare are sacred promises, that cutting them would be stone-hearted Republicanism. A.A.R.P., the lobby for people we used to call senior citizens until we realized that meant us, got hammered by the left earlier this year when its C.E.O. dared to convene a meeting of Washington insiders to even discuss the subject. No wonder A.A.R.P. shies away from supporting any entitlement reform.

But the traditional liberal alternatives - raise taxes on the well-to-do, cut military spending - are not nearly enough by themselves. The arithmetic simply doesn't work, unless we face the fact that entitlements are a bargain we can't afford to keep, not in full."

The quoted passages are revealing in several areas. Wall Street lobbyists like Third Way fear the public. AARP was not simply hammered by "the left." It was hammered by its members, who overwhelmingly opposed AARP management's trial balloon in favor of beginning to unravel the safety net. Bloomberg interpreted the management's effort as supporting a reduction in the safety net.

Actually, the "center," including a majority of Republicans, opposes such a betrayal of the safety net by the U.S. and by the AARP.

7. Unraveling the Safety Net is an Ultra-Right Position

Keller makes the claim in his article that unraveling of the safety net is the "centrist" position, but take a look how ultra-right his "center" moves in the process.

"Centrists like those at Third Way and the bipartisan authors of the Simpson-Bowles report endorse a menu of incremental cuts and reforms that would bring down costs without hitting the needy or snatching away the security blanket from those nearing retirement."

Erskine Bowles is a member of the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party. Alan Simpson is a former Republican Senator known for raging at anyone who defends the safety net, including bizarre personal verbal assaults on individual elderly citizens who oppose his proposals. Keller defines Simpson as a "centrist" and "liberals" as non-centrists. Keller needs a cartographer or some introduction to the political science literature on how vastly far to the right the Republican Party has moved over the last decade because his view of the "center" is warped.

Eric Laursen has just published a book on this marginalization of the vast majority of Democrats who oppose unraveling Social Security. ["The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan" (AK Press)]. Laursen explains how the right has created the bizarre state of being that the administration and most of the media treats groups that defend the safety net as extremists - within the Democratic Party - and defines people and groups like Peterson, Third Way, and Simpson as "centrists" despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans support the safety nets. The supposed non-centrists include the Democratic base - the labor unions, nationally famous leaders like Warren, and other groups that are the most likely to vote for Democratic Party candidates.

8. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are Allies of Austerity Hawk Pete Peterson

Obama appointed Bowles and Simpson as co-chairs of the commission to recommend budget cuts knowing that both were Pete Peterson allies eager to impose austerity, begin to unravel the safety net, and to begin to privatize Social Security. The Bowles/Simpson (BS) co-chairs pushed each of these three policies (though even they warned that what former President Clinton terms "austerity now" must be avoided because it would throw the nation back into recession). The BS co-chairs, however, were unable to convince the required number of members of their commission to support their recommendations. The co-chairs, therefore, simply went ahead and published a report making their recommendations.

The New York Times' Bill Keller admits, but only elliptically, that Wall Street's (Third Way and BS) proposals are "snatching away the security blanket from those [not yet] nearing retirement." That is a massive, destructive assault on the safety net and Keller's readers deserve to be told so directly. Keller's readers deserve to be told what Third Way and BS want to replace the safety net - privatized savings accounts - the holy grail of Wall Street and its false flag operation known as the Third Way.

But these passages from Keller do not represent the most extreme and destructive attack on the safety net, the American people, and the Democratic Party by Keller and the Third Way. Keller adopts Wall Street's memes for destroying the safety net. Gutting the safety net becomes not a sad necessity, but the essential act necessary to save the nation. The great threat to our nation becomes the safety net. That means that the people who guard the safety net (like me) endanger the nation.

9. In Reality, the Social Safety Net is Good for Economic Growth

Observe how Third Way talks about safety net payments and "investments" in a way that makes the makes the social safety net look harmful:

"[The Third Way study] examined two categories of federal spending over the past 50 years, representing two of government's fundamental missions. One was "investments," … helping assure that our work force is educated to a high standard…. The other category was "entitlements," a catchall word for the safety-net programs…."

Now observe how Keller adopts wholesale Third Way's asserted dichotomy and its warning that the increase in safety net payments relative to "investments" harms our nation.

"By 2030, when the last of us boomers have surged onto the Social Security rolls, entitlements will consume 61 cents of every federal dollar, starving our already neglected investment and leaving us, in the words of the study, with 'a less-skilled work force, lower rates of job creation, and an infrastructure unfit for a 21st-century economy.'"

While the numbers in the Third Way report are not accurate, note that Keller adopts the Wall Street (and Republican Party) assertion in the Third Way report that safety net expenditures "crowd out" "productive" "investments" in the public and private sectors. The asserted dichotomy between "productive" "investments" and "unproductive" "safety-net" expenditures is false. In reality, the safety net often produces some of the most economically productive results of any private or public sector expenditure, as George Romney's career showed. Health care expenditures often extend lives and "productive" work lives. More fundamentally, the entire dichotomy and claimed "crowding out effect" is false. Indeed, when we are below full employment (our most common condition), the safety net expenditures increase economic growth. What Keller and Wall Street (via their Third Way mouthpiece) are pushing in these passages is a variant of Romney's "47 percent" claim that people who receive payments under the safety net are drones who harm the productive class.

Keller ends with this proposal: "We should make a sensible reform of entitlements our generation's cause."

As a nation, we have immense needs because of how our working class and the poor have been hammered over the last three decades. Keller, and Wall Street (via the Third Way), however, urge us to make "our generation's cause" the reduction of the safety net that has reduced massively the agony of the suffering of the poor and the working class and was essential to the economic recovery we have experienced. Keller and Wall Street claim that the "centrist" position is that the Democratic Party's central mission is to lead an assault on the poor and the working class.

As extreme as Keller's position is, Wall Street's position (as expressed in the Third Way study) was more extreme. The report claims that: "Entitlements are a critical part of economic security, but without change, investments will all but dry up…."

Here is the Third Way's summary of the report.

"Public investments and entitlements are on a collision course.

Since the 1960s, LBJ's Great Society and JFK's New Frontier have competed for federal dollars. And as the cost of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security has skyrocketed, we've spent less and less of our budget educating kids, building roads, and curing disease.

In this report, we argue that the only way for Democrats to save progressive priorities like NASA, highway funding, and clean energy research is to reform entitlements. The lame duck offers Congress a "Now or Never" chance to set the terms of a budget deal that saves money on entitlements, raises revenue, and protects investments. And the heart of the Democratic brand is depending on it."

Third Way has provided another proof of our family rule that it is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody. Only Wall Street could argue that preserving the Democrats' "heart" depends on cutting benefits to the poor and working class so that they could burnish their "brand" by spending the money instead on building roads or rockets. Some heart! Wall Street is describing its heartless "brand."

10. Third Way Slimes Elizabeth Warren for Criticizing Wall Street Frauds

Another example of how proponents of unraveling the safety net use Third Way as a false flag scheme was illustrated by the Chamber of Commerce. They ran a huge ad campaign in mid-October designed to defeat Elizabeth Warren in her run for the Senate. The Chamber's goal was to achieve Republican control of the Senate. The title of the ABC article about the Chamber's ad campaign was: "U.S. Chamber of Commerce Calls Elizabeth Warren 'Catastrophically Antibusiness'."

The centerpiece of the Chamber ad and the title was the quotation that Warren was "Catastrophically antibusiness." The person who made the statement that the Chamber quoted was one the Third Way's founders and a principal spokesmen.

"'If you listened only to Elizabeth Warren [at the Democratic Party's national convention], the message was catastrophically antibusiness,' said Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way, a centrist Democratic group. That 'further drives a wedge between business and Democrats that may not be fair but is the way business perceives things,' he said. 'And making voters into victims is not a winning strategy.'

'As Bill Clinton used to say, you can't love the jobs and hate the job creators,' said Mr. Bennett, who worked in the Clinton administration."

Warren outraged the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party by speaking truth to power about Wall Street:

"Wall Street C.E.O.'s - the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs - still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors and acting like we should thank them."

The same article noted that "moderates" were upset that Warren was allowed to speak to the convention during prime time, but the Democratic Party felt supporting her candidacy was one of the vital steps in preventing the Republicans from controlling the Senate.

"To the chagrin of moderate Democrats, a prime-time speaker was Elizabeth Warren, the liberal scourge of Wall Street who is running in Massachusetts to unseat Senator Scott P. Brown, a Republican. Her scheduling slot reflected Democrats' zeal to capture that seat and protect their slim Senate majority."

The Chamber ad attacking Warren identified Bennett, the Third Way's co-founder, as the author of the quotation and described him as working for an organization of moderate Democrats. Note that Bennett also adopted the false Republican meme that only CEOs are "job creators." The reality is that each of us, by creating private sector demand and by creating wealth through our labor we create jobs.

The Third Way attacked one of the most praised public servants in the nation because she had the temerity to criticize the Wall Street CEOs who caused the crisis (often through frauds that made them wealthy), were bailed out by the government, and responded with insolence. Third Way not only applauds the administration's refusal to prosecute the Wall Street frauds who drove the crisis - the Wall Street Wing demands that the Democratic Party not criticize the CEOs and claims that calling for the senior executives to be held accountable for their crimes and misconduct is impermissible because it will enrage business people and because any discussion of elite frauds would have to address the fact that they victimized the public.

11. The Good News: Wall Street is Worried

The fact that Wall Street (via Third Way) is worried by our opposition to Obama engaging in the Great Betrayal by adopting austerity and cutting the safety net is good news. Wall Street knows that the public wants the President to protect the safety net from Wall Street's depredations. We need to organize now to save the safety net.

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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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-48 # jlohman 2012-11-13 09:58
Greed and corporate profits and campaign bribes go together. Privatize it! Get government out, because they cannot give campaign bribes. Get the bankers (or whoever) involved because they CAN!
+18 # brux 2012-11-13 11:56
Is that some kind of joke or are you just trolling?
+10 # robniel 2012-11-14 00:22
The kind of people jlohman describe are the leeches. They build nothing and produce nothing.
+20 # dkonstruction 2012-11-13 12:29
Quoting jlohman:
Greed and corporate profits and campaign bribes go together. Privatize it! get government out, because they cannot give campaign bribes. Get the bankers (or whoever) involved because they CAN!

so on the one hand you say that "greed and corporate profits and campaign bribes go together" (i agree) but then on the other hand you say "privatize it" and "get the government out because hey can't give campaign bribes"...? No, but the privatized company can and that's the point. When Fannie Mae was a wholly gov't sponsored and before it went public (and so became beholden to "shareholder value" and maximizing profit) there were no problems with Fannie. In fact, even after that, all of the loans (mortgages) Fannie made were plain, vanilla, 30-year fixed rate exotic sub-prime garbage....they got into trouble buying these securitized mortgages as they became the primary purchaser of these on the secondary markets. so, the problem was not Fannie but the fact that it was for all intensive purposes "privatized" when it went public. Sorry, but privatization is not the solution
+2 # coberly 2012-11-13 12:43
it's a joke.
+8 # jlohman 2012-11-13 14:48
Yes, it's a joke. OR, it's reality depending on what side you're on. Privatizing SSI rewards the bankers at the expense of seniors. But the bankers help fund the political campaigns, so live with it. And voucherizing medicare adds 20% to its costs, thus the insurance CEOs are tickled pink and the corrupt politicians walk away with the booty.

When is this country going to realize that 100% of our problem is corrupt politicians? Payola!!!
0 # Hey There 2012-11-16 01:39
I wondered why Fannie May went down. The same thing is being tries by Darrell Issa with HR2309 in privatizing the Post Office. This path to privatization was put in place when Bush signed HR 6407 into law mandating the USPS fund 75 years of retiree HEALTH benefits in 10 at 5.5 Billion a year. Predictably, while the Post Office had profit = expenses until this law was passed,it was unable to meet these payments in addition to the cost of moving the mail.The cure Issa is proposing is less wages,less compensation for injured workers,less benefits,as well as less of them, oh 100,00 to 200,000 or so.
200 distribution centers closed to delay the mail as the public doesn't need as speedy service as they now receive and rural and inner city post offices, or at least a great number of them, closed or have their hours shortened. This bill would also establish an authority to take over the Post Office if certain profitable goals aren't met. It would gut the postal unions including the APWU which has agreed to the USPS having 20% of the clerks hired as temporary employees rather than as career workers. So in a very real way the Post Office has privatized a portion of it's workers. Shades os Fannie Mae
+79 # Abigail 2012-11-13 10:17
If the Social Security system and Medicare are dismantled, will I (and all the other retirees in this country) get back all the money I(we)put in it, plus interest, for over 45 years? These programs are not gifts from the Government, they are the result of (forced)investm ents of workers.
+51 # seniorcitizen 2012-11-13 11:24
These programs should not be considered "entitlements" because, as you stated, it is money that seniors have invested by having our pay checks deducted for the many years of employment. We have to yell and scream for it to be kept safe from the ones who want to use it for other things, like debt reduction, or to "borrow" from it and never pay it back. WE can't let it happen.
+14 # dbriz 2012-11-13 12:37
"We can't let it happen."

Unfortunately "we" already have let it happen.

It will be paid back. But, the payback will be new money created by the FED and will as is their way, be of less value than what we paid in.

The politicians of both parties and the FED have seen to it that Wall Street and the big banks are solvent on the backs of all Americans. None more so than Seniors, who now can't get decent income from their savings and will be receiving from SS, devalued dollars.
+8 # George D 2012-11-13 19:14
Let's do a little math, shall we?
How old are you? When did you retire (AKA, start collecting SS) and how many years has that been?
How much do you receive each month? Times 12= Your annual income from SS.
How much did you earn while you were working? The first ten years; the second; The third. How much did you contribute each year TOTAL? How much longer do you plan to live?

By the way; Interest works both ways. Money paid to you deprives the government of interest it would have made, had it not gone to you.

You deserve SS, not because it's "your money" but because America owes it's citizens a decent life and not a desparate, impoverished life after they can no longer contribute.
+8 # jcdav 2012-11-13 22:16
YO! do not forget that the individual "contribution" (tax) that amount. was matched by the employer, so double the amount the individual put in.

I don't know about others but I INTEND to live as long as possible.

"Money paid to you deprives the government of interest it would have made, had it not gone to you." What do you mean? I owe the gvt. the interest on MY MONEY? --You got some strange perspective.
-12 # George D 2012-11-13 22:43
Well, clearly this is a more complex math function than you are able or willing to look at.

I'll put it another way; Taxes, and that's what you call SS, are NOT "your money" because they are part of the bargain that's made when you take a job in the U.S. We pay taxes here. We pay them, in part, because of the infrastructure and society that enables us to have the jobs and opportunities we get. So get over the "my money" mantra and see the world as it is and always has been for the past generation or so.

The interest comment is again a math issue. How much interest compounded on "your" TAX contribution at the low numbers you earned in earlier years and how much is forfeited in those government checks you cash in 21st century dollars? Get it yet? I hope somebody does.
+8 # Reyn 2012-11-14 08:14
I have to disagree with you George. Many of us opted for structured retirements through TIAA-CREF -- colleagues I have who have worked 30 years and given only modestly more than required (and NO MORE than they put in Social Security) have nearly 2 million dollars each in retirement accounts that are safe and can safely draw 70,000 per year for the rest of their lives with residuals in the millions to leave to their families in most cases. One of my colleagues, a respected senior scientist is now 73 and last year TIAA started forcing him to take 75,000 per year even though he didn't want to. My partner and I did not elect to go into TIAA -- but I am invested in another pension fund AND we used additional money (no more averaged than our SS payments) to purchase real estate in cash. It will be 30 years before I match my elderly colleagues age, BUT, even with the real estate bubble, by selecting carefully we are worth almost a million net in property.

Yes, we do better than many, but the fact is, the government (not banks) should be able to do better with money than paying bank level interest (which is meaningless). So, no, it is, or should be the retiree's money AND its profit over 40 or so years, handled correctly for the middle class, and it should be the retiree's money, supplemented by the government for the working class and poor - so that everyone can enjoy a decent retirement free of fear.

-8 # coberly 2012-11-13 11:38

they will not "dismantle" it. they will phase it out by making small changes at a time that destroy it's effectiveness as insurance against poverty in old age. they don't have to "privatize" it to force you into the private investment market because your SS (and Medicare) will not be enough.

on the other hand you could...if enough of you insisted... pay for your own Social Security... about eighty cents per week more than you do now... to guarantee you would always have enough to retire on if all else fails.

the same is essentially true of Medicare. unlike SS which contributes nothing to the deficit, Medicare was partially "welfareized" so it is paid for in large part by taxes on "the rich." this is dangerous. workers could pay for it themselves at an affordable rate.

but you'd have to understand this and be politically organized or the "deciders" will just ignore you.
+9 # George D 2012-11-13 12:29
This is a losing argument because, if you tally ALL of the contributions you made, including compounded interest, it wouldn't be enough to sustain your retirement and medical benefits under Social Security and Medicare. That's because our capitalist system is a giant Ponzie and pyramid scheme. Inflation went up, salaries went up and all that has to happen so people can make money through buying and holding assets that they liquidate at the right time.

The REAL question should be, are we a humane and just society or not? Who loses when the pyramid collapses and everything is devalued? Well, everybody does, but the wealthy lose the most; As they should. But as a percentage, they still win because they are accumulating the highest percentage of wealth, at an enormous rate, and have their "safety net" worked out quite nicely.

The next step in the process will be a revolution. When the middle class loses all of what they have in the deflation of the world economy (a false, paper game) you won't have to look far to find people that are pissed off and desperate.
+11 # coberly 2012-11-13 12:47
george d

you are wrong. SS is funded entirely by the contributions you made and the "interest" that comes automatically from pay as you go with wage indexing.

we don't need to be just and humane, just intelligent enough to understand how it works, and vigilant enough to keep the liars and fools from taking it away.
0 # George D 2012-11-13 18:37
The idea to Social Security was that, if all workers paid in a small amount, the sum would accumulate, increase with compounded interest, and yield enough to cover those that survived to collect it, past the age of 62, until they died. It probably made great sense when a large number of people paid in and a fraction of them survived long enough to collect it for maybe a decade after retirement. But the math didn't account for inflated rates in both wages and healthcare costs, or more people living longer and collecting it longer.
My point is; Who cares? I know the answer though.
The people collecting SS will NEVER "do the math" and discover that they are no longer collecting "their own money" and haven't for years. To admit that would be to admit that they favor Socialism and that Welfare for the needy (including them) should be OK in a country like ours.
I happen to think that the whole austerity discussion is a ruse. If you look at the global economy, it isn't a great leap to wonder why the value of the dollar is important to some people, but not so much to the middle class. If the dollar sinks, all other capitalist markets will have to sink with it. It will hurt the bank accounts of people who's way of life is defined by that number, but NOT the average American.
I keep saying it; Inflation only occurs if there is a market. Take away the market and commodities will DEFLATE.
+14 # brux 2012-11-13 12:47
That's not true at all. The problem is simply that for a certain amount of time there will be a lot of retirees, because of the bump of the baby boom in the 50's. A slight correction in the collections by raising the contribution ceiling would take care of this ... it's really that simple. Every honest economist says this, the problem is not with Social Security, and Medicare is a false argument as well because 1/3 of our health care dollars are wasted in tribute to insurance company executives.

Extend Medicare down to people and let the insurance companies really have to compete with higher level coverage and no more problem, no more uninsured, and lazy insurance company people actually have to work for their livings like everyone else.
+3 # jcdav 2012-11-13 22:19
While I agree about the revolution I again question one premise--Medica re is funded separately from SS....
-15 # RLF 2012-11-13 12:39
You didn't put in enough to pay for what you are taking out. Convenient for your generation, who let these evil righties take over and basically snoozed while the country went to hell as long as they didn't touch your bite. Why don't you spend half a second appreciating the mess you have left us and then add up all of the SS you've collected, all the medicaid, and then subtract it from what you put in...and then go jump in a lake.
+23 # dkonstruction 2012-11-13 15:12
Quoting RLF:
You didn't put in enough to pay for what you are taking out. Convenient for your generation, who let these evil righties take over and basically snoozed while the country went to hell as long as they didn't touch your bite. Why don't you spend half a second appreciating the mess you have left us and then add up all of the SS you've collected, all the medicaid, and then subtract it from what you put in...and then go jump in a lake.

First, SS is not part of "the mess" to which you refer. And, if SS collected on all income instead of just the first $110,000 (more or less) it would be fine forever.

Medicaid is only "necessary" because we have private for-profit health insurance in this country. If we had single-payer "medicare for all" it would immediately cut 20-30% (if not more) from the cost of everyone's health care since we would be cutting out the profit and inflated admin costs by for-profit health insurers that add nothing to health.

Your empathy for those less fortunate than yourself is duly noted.
+4 # George D 2012-11-13 18:56
I think people make light of the SS problem, in terms of it's financial viability. I won't argue your point about that because I wanted to add to your other point about Medicare.

Not only would a government run healthcare system cut out the HUGE wasted profits, paid out to a few in bonus and high salaries, but in doing so, it would force COMPETITION in the market that would also bring down the costs through, dare I say? Supply and demand.
Pharmaceuticals alone would be enough to make a huge difference. We found the money to go to the moon. Why can't we find the money to fund drug R&D and regulate costs of producing the drugs to what they actually should be and not what we can get for them?

As far as SS is concerned, I think we need an honest discussion about the reason it exists and how to keep it strong for the future. If this is just a "bump" then maybe a fund that works like the Federal Reserve needs to be established to make up shortfalls in some decades and build as a buffer for high demand decades. Can we please do the math and have an honest debate? And by "honest" I mean real numbers; Not "I paid in for 40 years" crap. Was it 40 or just 30? Was it at 110K/yr or 28K of income? In a middle class lifestyle, did you pay in 1/2 of your income or 1/10th?
HONESTY; Then a real discussion about why it's good for America and how to keep it going.
+7 # dkonstruction 2012-11-13 15:22
Quoting RLF:
You didn't put in enough to pay for what you are taking out. Convenient for your generation, who let these evil righties take over and basically snoozed while the country went to hell as long as they didn't touch your bite. Why don't you spend half a second appreciating the mess you have left us and then add up all of the SS you've collected, all the medicaid, and then subtract it from what you put in...and then go jump in a lake.

By this logic the "red" states should receive alot less in federal dollars since most get back more than they pay in...since this is twisted logic though...i won't ask you to return what you owe (assuming you are from one of these "deadbeat" states).
0 # Firefox11 2012-11-14 20:13
Sorry about that, you may be right. Sacrifice was probably necessary, and that did not happen.
+1 # CL38 2012-11-15 02:29
You're allowing yourself to be fooled by skewed right wing arguments to dismantle SS as we know it. They're trying to play younger generations against older citizens who've paid into SS all their lives. Don't fall for this ruse. By raising the contribution ceiling, possible SS funding problems will be fixed.
+3 # Charles3000 2012-11-13 12:59
Quoting Abigail:
If the Social Security system and Medicare are dismantled, will I (and all the other retirees in this country) get back all the money I(we)put in it, plus interest, for over 45 years? These programs are not gifts from the Government, they are the result of (forced)investments of workers.

Not true at all. FICA is not an investment, it is a tax, pure and simple, a real tax.
+13 # Virginia 2012-11-13 13:15
The reason it is mandated is because people lost their homes and investments and were left with nothing. History has repeated itself, as it often does, and I am grateful for the "forced" investment. I'm just sorry that the fund was allowed to be so ruthlessly gambled away. Social Security should not be allowed to be invested in unregulated securities transactions of any kind.

This wouldn't even be a problem if Wall Street hadn't been allowed to run amok.
+6 # independentmind 2012-11-13 20:33
You will notice that if you put your money in savings today - you get virtually no interest, so to have your money grow you have to invest it. This is a problem I hate gambling.
+8 # Nominae 2012-11-13 23:20
@ independentmind

Good point. Lowering interest rates on savings and checking accounts to less than one percent was supposed to be an "emergency measure" in response to the Financial Crash of 2008.

This "temporary move" now appears to be permanent, and it is the very reason that Seniors are no longer able to live off
of their accumulated savings.

When our bank accounts are getting less than 1% interest, and inflation is running at about 4%, we are now paying the banks for the privilege of allowing them to use and invest our money at a profit for them, and not the hint of a "cut" for us.

That is likewise no accident.

Your point is well taken. The banks have now forced a situation wherein we either invest (gamble) our money, or we are left actually losing money by keeping it in Checking/Saving s. "Use it or loose it" !
The banks cash-in coming and going.

And, you are the first person I have seen allude to this scam in print since it went into effect in late 2008.

Thank you for that.
+2 # CandH 2012-11-14 21:34
Public Banking, City, County, and States, just like North Dakota has, who, by the way, saw NO SHOCKS (problems) with the Financial Crisis in 08 forward!
+1 # dkonstruction 2012-11-15 11:02
Quoting CandH:
Public Banking, City, County, and States, just like North Dakota has, who, by the way, saw NO SHOCKS (problems) with the Financial Crisis in 08 forward!

Bravo. Nice to see at least one other talking about how critical it is that we create publicly owned financial institutions that function like "public utilities" and for introducing people to the ideas of Modern Money (or Monetary) Theory.

The whole deficit (gov't is going broke") nonsense is just that and is based on theories about a money system that no longer exists and no longer functions the way the old theory says it does.

Other great sources on this include:

where you can read/download for free Fred Mosler's book the 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy

and a more recent one by economist L. Randall Wray:

Also, see Ellen Brown's cite for great stuff on public banking.

as well as her excellent recent piece on "interest" which includes a great speech by Mike Krauss, head of the Public Banking Institue on why cities should default on their debt.
+10 # Nominae 2012-11-13 23:08
@ Virginia

"Yes, Virgina, there IS a solid Social Security fund."

The idea that Social Security is "broke", needs immediate "fixing", etc. is a total lie. Google Dr. Krugman and other reputable Economists. Social Security is intact and running a *surplus* such that even if it was not touched at all, and factoring in increased population *and* the increased number of Baby Boomers calling for their SS INSURANCE payments, the System as it is TODAY would last without changes far past 2050.

The lie that Social Security is in "trouble" is part of the game Naomi Klein describes in her book "The Shock Doctrine" as "disaster capitalism".

In this case, the "disaster" itself is an illusion built on lies. A "disaster" is *manufactured* causing panic. In the midst of panic, the public will allow all kinds of *emergency* legislation to be crammed through that would otherwise *never* be allowed. Then, like the Bush Tax Cuts, said "emergency legislation" eventually becomes established law.

Social Security is FINE. Google Robert Rubin, et al.

The minute one buys the idea that there is *anything wrong* with Social Security, that person has already "swallowed the cool-aid".

Medicare needs to be protected, not because of Medicare itself, but because the skyrocketing costs of medical care in this country (also a "racket" when you compare the costs of an operation here v.s. the same procedure practiced elsewhere) need to be reined in.
+15 # HowardMH 2012-11-13 10:44
Wall Street is Worried. Can’t imagine why.
Just look at the three stooges. Obama the Wimp, Holder the puppet of the Wimp, and Justice Thomas the mute who hasn’t said anything intelligent on the supreme court in many, many years. You can also add to the list the Republican Congressman in Florida, Allen West who is a threat to the gene pool and hasn't figured out yet that he lost the election in 2012. What about the hearings on how bad Wall Street is screwing everyone???? Clinton put over 1000 Wall Street Crooks in jail, Bush put 1300 and Obama the Wimp and put Zero, “0”, nada, none, no one in jail!
Wall Street, Wall Street, Wall Street. It is all just smoke and mirrors. Until there are two hundred thousand really, really pissed off people on Capital Hill (all at the same time – with base ball bats, 2 x 4s) raising some serious hell against the Lunatics, absolutely nothing is ever, ever going to happen to these totally bought and paid for by the richest 50 people in the world that are becoming more and more powerful with each passing rigged election thanks to the stupid people.
Don't blame Mitt or any other millionaire for how little they pay in taxes. Blame the millions of IDIOTS that voted for the politicians that passed the laws that allow the rich to continue screwing everyone else that earns a modest paycheck.
+13 # George D 2012-11-13 12:18
I had to give this a thumbs down; Not because I disagree that the wealthy folks on Wall Street have an agenda that screws the middle class, but because of your opening line that singles out Obama, Holder and Thomas and refers to them as the three stooges.
I'm a caucasian but it sure looks like a streak of racism is laced in this statement. Why Obama? Why Holder? Why JUST Thomas? All three are African American and none of the three, nor just those three collectively, deserve to be the target of this post. And, by the way, NONE of these three can make or pass a law.

Get over your racist thinking and join the 21st century of America. Let's hope it stops sliding toward the 18th century soon.
-1 # brux 2012-11-13 12:52
It's fine to note that three black people were mentioned as the problem, but there is a problem here and just because 4 black people were singled out does not make the problem racist. I don't know maybe it is maybe not, but Obama has not lived up to his campaign rhetoric, and Thomas has not done his job on the Supreme court in that part of it is to write decisions and express intelligent opinions. If you'd ever read one of Thomas's decisions you would know there is a problem. And the same with Holder. Maybe he could have mentioned Bernanke or Summers to round things out a little??

One does not have to be racist in order to agree with a possible racist on the rare occasion when they might be correct about something, nor would it mean extending that correctness to some other conclusion that might actually be racist. Just saying ha, you mentioned 3 black guys you are racist is not so productive.
+8 # George D 2012-11-13 18:22
Thanks for pointing out the forth black person cited.
As for the issue itself, I think I made my agreement with that obvious in my first sentence.
What I strongly disagree with is the racist tone of the post; And it's ignorance.

I'll say it again; These people don't make and pass laws. Now let me try to make YOUR point, and that of the racist that wrote it initially.

Do I think that CONGRESS should have stopped the bank bailout and insisted on a "borrower bailout" instead? Absolutely! Do I think that the Justice Department (not just Eric Holder) should have gone after the Wall Street crooks and tried to nail them for their deeds? Well, yes, if they actually broke a law. But there's the rub. If Bush and the Republican Congress eliminated the laws, then I guess there wasn't anything to prosecute, was there?

These are DIFFERENT times than what Clinton and Bush had to work with. And by Clinton and Bush I mean their era; Not the individuals.

So was the racist right? Not really. Was his anger aimed at the same problems I can agree exists? Yes.

There's a difference.
+15 # guyachs 2012-11-13 11:07
I read what The Third Way had to say and it is completely dishonest. Social Security doesn't compete for any dollars. It has its own. Third Way talks like there's still a unified budget but there isn't and hasn't been since 1990. The law forbids SS to add anything to the deficit. When SS doesn't have enough income to pay, it has to reduce benefits. If you want to know the truth and real facts about SS go to:
+31 # mjc 2012-11-13 11:08
I've put a lot of trust in women like Elizabeth Warren who have been elected to the Senate and hope the men, in the Senate and in the House, will follow suit. Austerity has proven to be the downfall of several European countries, Greece, Spain and Italy for sure. Adding Social Security during the Depression and Medicare under Johnson are some of the great accomplishments of the Democrats IN SPITE OF THE CONSERVATIVES. It will take guts for both Obama and for Democrats in Congress to maintain these programs in the face of the usual lousy comments of Republicans and their side-kicks, the Tea Party. The money borrowed from Social Security needs to be paid back and the so-called Obamacare provisions should be allowed to be implemented, perhaps ahead of schedule.
+7 # A_Har 2012-11-13 11:53
Quoting mjc:
I've put a lot of trust in women like Elizabeth Warren who have been elected to the Senate and hope the men, in the Senate and in the House, will follow suit. Austerity has proven to be the downfall of several European countries, Greece, Spain and Italy for sure.

I have a lot of respect for Elizabeth Warren too, but the problem for her effectiveness as an advocate is the system she was elected to. I don't hold much hope that as a junior senator she will be able to accomplish much.

And, sadly, the system is corrupt beyond your wildest dreams.
+1 # mjc 2012-11-15 10:14
Guess I don't really buy that. She'll be a junior Senator like no other...and think she is very knowledgeable about the problem with corruption in our government.
+3 # brux 2012-11-13 11:58
I agree that austerity ... a euphemism for slavery and a virtual concentration camp, the thing is if we expect cheap products from China without paying for them, and expect Chinese and others all over the world to be slaves, then we are getting just what we deserve. Think about it, any non-austerity program such as the reforms the US went through 100 years ago must be implemented in some way globally, otherwise it's not going to work.
+5 # Nominae 2012-11-13 23:32
@ brux

As per Economist Paul Krugman, history teaches us that austerity programs have *never* "worked" anywhere on the Globe for any purpose but to further "line the nests" of the already wealthy.

And, should one doubt Dr. Krugman's assessment of Economic History, we have the benefit, right before our very eyes, of observing the fact that the current Austerity programs enforced upon Europe are spectacularly *not working* right here, right now, in real time.

Makes the entire question a whole lot less "academic" doesn't it ?
+1 # CandH 2012-11-14 21:51
Because we are no longer on the Gold Standard (Nixon nixed it because of costly Vietnam debacle,) our sovereign currency, the USD, is a fiat currency, making it simply an accounting entry on a balance sheet when we electronically "print" it into circulation. Thus, we can "afford" whatever we chose to afford, no matter what the "balances in the Social Security accounts."


Read this economics paper to the St. Louis Fed in 2010 by well-known econs/ops guy Galbraith, Wray, & Mosler, regarding Monetary Economics Principles and the false argument of "Intergeneratio nal Accounting Against Social Security and Medicare,"
0 # dkonstruction 2012-11-15 11:16
Another great post!

The whole deficit (gov't is going broke") nonsense is just that and is based on theories about a money system that no longer exists and no longer functions the way the old theory says it does.

Other great sources on this include:

where you can read/download for free Fred Mosler's book the 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy

and a more recent one by economist L. Randall Wray:

Also, see Ellen Brown's cite for great stuff on public banking.

as well as her excellent recent piece on "interest" which includes a great speech by Mike Krauss, head of the Public Banking Institue on why cities should default on their debt.
+4 # randrjwr 2012-11-13 11:18
The first paragraph of Section 3 says it all on the issue of privatizing social security.
+13 # reiverpacific 2012-11-13 11:23
"The safety net is the glory of America and the unending nightmare of Wall Street" [Quote from article.].
Get real, please; compared to most other industrialized but more progressive "civilized" nations in the world, America has next to NO social safety net (although I am grateful for my S.S. that I paid for all my working years here).
Ergo; "the U.S. health care system ranks last or next-to-last on five dimensions of a high performance health system: quality, access, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives" and you rank 31st in infant deaths.
Incidentally, most of the newer studies I've seen have been declaring GDP as not being an indicator of happiness or quality of life.
A few others (extract from one quoted) now add "Newly enacted health reform legislation in the U.S. will start to address these problems by extending coverage to those without and helping to close gaps in coverage—leadin g to improved disease management, care coordination, and better outcomes over time."[end quote].
I guess that the article is somewhat corroborated by these fact and that that Wall Street is after all profits accruing to the commodification and sale-to-the-hig hest-bidder of everything including now the Post Office, to boost their share indexes and pirate bucket-shops.
But be realistic about what is left of an always low-grade and vulnerable safety net, eroded as steadily as a sandy shore line since Reagan.
+12 # opinionaire 2012-11-13 11:24
My son's father died when he was seven, and he received SSI until he was eighteen. Unlike the author's experience, the rules have changed. While SSI was very helpful during that time, having it stopped right at the point of college has been a significant blow. As the author mentioned, receiving it through the college years would provide a platform for a more productive citizen capable of paying higher taxes.
+7 # A_Har 2012-11-13 11:30
This does not surprise me ONE BIT. I was saying before the election that Obama would implement the austerity that the Romney presidency threatened. Obama does not work FOR YOU; he is in the pockets of the big banks and the corporations.

I saw this coming a few years back when I read this article in USA Today: Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion

The official debt is listed at around $16 trillion now but here is the kicker as written in the article:

"The Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Board, which sets federal accounting standards, is considering requiring the government to adopt accounting rules similar to those for corporations. The change would move Social Security and Medicare onto the government's income statement and balance sheet, instead of keeping them separate.

The White House and the Congressional Budget Office oppose the change, arguing that the programs are not true liabilities because government can cancel or cut them."

CANCEL OR CUT THEM...yes, that is right! And, that was before the big 2008 bank bailouts. The "problem" really is that the funds were mismanaged. Instead of putting them in a dedicated fund, they put them into the general fund and then they SPENT them.

I will not be surprised if they cut the program for current much for the social contract. It is being shredded.
+2 # George D 2012-11-13 19:22
Sounds like a "glass is half empty" argument to me.

I think the point was being made that, because they are "policy issues" and not "accounting issues" they should not be treated as something that should be "paid for" or "justified" through accounting means. You know; Like not putting two wars in the budget for example?

Just because they "can" be "canceled" doesn't mean they will, or better yet, that they SHOULD be.

Put them in the realm of financial justification and accounting and you give all the lawmakers an easy out TO cut them. "My hands are tied. The law says we must pay for them..."
Get it? I do.

Now what were you saying about that evil Obama again?
+7 # PGreen 2012-11-13 11:47
It reinforces my personal notion that the accomplishment of the presidential election was primarily to ward off worse disaster-- though by no means all potential disaster, as revealed here-- and certainly hasn't advanced the public interest forward much, if at all. Right-wing policies arriving under the guise of moderation is not new, but something to be continually on guard against. Thank you for informing (some of) us of the "false flag" group "Third Way."
+8 # brux 2012-11-13 11:50
One the clearest, best and most important articles I have read on RSN. Why is it we have such a group of people in America that want to force the country into this situation?

If they were forced to make their case to the American in the open without lies they would be overwhelmingly rejected and sent packing forever, but since they can use what is an ever-increasing stack of money to buy, bride and destroy their opposition in secret and hiding behind religion and patriotism they somehow are allowed to survive and keep coming back again and again to wear us down.

None of us will last forever, but we have to fight as long as we can and instill real American and Western values in our children so that they are not fooled into thinking Western civilization has not progressed since Rome.
+5 # 4yourinformation 2012-11-13 12:41
Where are all the Obama loyalists to comment on any of this? Do they not wish to acknowledge that this Third Way betrayal of old Dem values is really running the Dem party?

It's so true that the day after the Dems win or retain the White House, Dem activists just go to sleep and dream of their president saving the day and live in some magical kingdom that never comes to fruition. In 4 years, the new "center" political issues will be today's right of center positions. There will be a new "more evil" GOP candidate to hate and defeat and ALL energies will be focused and trained on that, without acknowledging that we actually moved to the right at all.
+5 # Virginia 2012-11-13 12:58
Thanks for the glimpse of reality. This makes sense on so many levels. No wonder there has been no discussion about stopping foreclosure in America. Even Spain called 2 year moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Not a single Democrat candidate publicly called attention to the problem that directly affects over 14 million American families except a select few like Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.

The Third Way, the Centrist, has been calling the shots.
+1 # CandH 2012-11-14 22:08
The Third Way, is NOT Centrist. Not even close.

"Eric Laursen documented Wall Street’s effort to become even wealthier by privatizing Social Security in articles and his recent book (“The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press)).

"I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux “liberal” or “moderate” “Democratic” quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time." William Black, "Wall Street uses the Third Way to lead its assault on Social Security," 11/13/12. Checkout some of their board members (full of private equity/hedge funds:)
0 # barbaratodish 2012-11-13 13:36
William S. Burroughs advice:"Break it all down" in "Just One Fix" Ministry's'musi c video @ root causes:
Throw out to the audience 2 small foam childrens 2 inch square colored foam cube block toys. The 6 letters,TARGETS for "shooting" C H I R L S represent CONTROL, HISTORY, IMAGE, REALITY, LANGUAGE, SOCIETY are printed on each side of the foam cubes.Throw one foam block to the right side and one to the left side."Prizes" to whoever catches the cubes!Then, whoever catches the cubes,is asked "Who will be the first one to find "C" on the toy cube block for CONTROL". It's a "competition" between the catchers of the cubes, etc.
Next, the "catchers" hold the "target" up over his/her/ head and or away from him/herself and away from anyone else, and then I "SHOOT" at the target without anyone even risking to SYMBOLICALLY getting "SHOT"!Then, the catcher that gets to PLAY" by holding the "target", throws the toy cube block to someone else in the audience. etc, for the rest of the "targets"!
+7 # SOF 2012-11-13 15:43
I think we should remember that despite Boomers being a huge drag on the economy with their SS welfare -!!?? Boomers paid in the hugest amount. When SS fund was put into general fund, despite protest, we were promised that loan would be paid. Both my parents died before 65 and I know my dad paid in A LOT of SS during his working years. None of his children, or wife got a penny of that. SMOKE and MIRRORS and LIES. Call Obama, sign a petition. Smear the villains. Resist loudly.
+3 # Nominae 2012-11-13 23:56

Part I

This is literally part of a concentrated effort on the part of the Right to foment hatred between the older and the younger generations.

Since Seniors vote resoundingly for Democrats, and tenaciously *against* depredations into Social Security and Medicare.

So, the "strategy" is to tell younger voters that they themselves will spend all of their lives paying to support the elderly, and then, about 15 minutes before it is time for the current youth generation to apply for their OWN benefits, the system will go belly up, and leave them with nothing.

The "argument" (scare tactic), therefore, is to get the current youth to vote for privatization of these programs based upon the *LIE* that both Systems are "broke" and can never be fixed.

Basically: "Forget grandma, it's survival of the fittest, and there's not enough to go around."

Cont'd in Part II
+4 # Nominae 2012-11-13 23:56


Sadly, FEAR always sells, right along with SEX, as *the* two most powerful psychological motivators in the gut-level survival programming of the Human Brain.

This is why Rupert Murdoch sold "news" in the U.K. interspersed with pictures of topless females, and why FOX NEWS pumps out the FEAR (and the subsequent reactionary HATE) 24/7.

It's not even about politics, it's about programming the human brain. And, if the viewer is not paying attention to the potential for manipulation, Science demonstrates to us that this kind of propaganda flat-out WORKS. Therefore, no prizes for guessing why this kind of propaganda is SO lucrative for the financial ledger.
0 # dovelane1 2012-11-16 06:43
Nominae - I agree. Sociologist Anne Wilson-Schaef has a couple of books based on the theory that our society is addictive in nature, and many of us are subjected to addictive norms as we grow up. One of the books is titled "When Society Becomes An Addict." The other is titled "The Addictive Organization."

As I understand it, all addictions are based on fear. Because so many people are socialized to look at life through their fears, I believe that is why the Republican message has such an effect on the people in our culture.

The two main symptoms of addicted people are denial and blame. Denial is the disease which does not allow a person to name the disease. Blame keeps people from being responsible for their fearful emotional responses to other people. If I blames someone else for how I respond, then I can believe I don't have to change, because it's the other person's fault that I feel how I feel.

In adults, it's the learned tendency to blame others for how we feel that keeps a person stuck in fear and addictive behaviors.
+4 # thekidde 2012-11-13 15:54
Do these oligarchs really want to end up swinging from a lamppost? Can be done.
+4 # guyachs 2012-11-13 16:03
Again I see the misperception that SS funds are mixed with the general budget. That is an idea being pushed by those who want to destroy SS. In a budget act in 1990, the funds were separated again. The unified budget was just a gimmick Johnson used to make the general budget look better while conducting his war. SS is prohibited by law from adding to the deficit. I suggest people read the law because it is not understood.
+2 # A_Har 2012-11-13 17:55
Quoting guyachs:
Again I see the misperception that SS funds are mixed with the general budget. That is an idea being pushed by those who want to destroy SS. In a budget act in 1990, the funds were separated again. The unified budget was just a gimmick Johnson used to make the general budget look better while conducting his war. SS is prohibited by law from adding to the deficit. I suggest people read the law because it is not understood.

OK, here is an article that explains it more clearly:

Disproving the notion of a Social Security trust fund 'lockbox'
+1 # Rick Levy 2012-11-13 23:43
"1. Both Democrats and Republican Oppose Cuts to the Safety Nets

Huge majorities of Americans oppose cuts in the safety nets: A majority of Republicans oppose such cuts..."

That just doesn't make sense.
-2 # barbaratodish 2012-11-14 08:40
Mr. President:trans cend emotional limitations,giv e up habits of reactive moralizing!Judg ments of impressions provoke emotional defensivness,ca use us to avoid risking emotional intimacy with even ourselves,let alone others!Instead, EVERYONE MISTAKES EGO & DRAMA PERFORMANCES for REAL EMOTIONAL INTIMACY!If we were aware we are provoking ourselves with criticism based on subjective impressions that are fear based QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES that are TAKEN as LIFE &/OR DEATH ISSUES.We could have leadership that's spontaneous,SUB LIMINAL,sans ego & drama!We can transcend current leadership limitations, we could evolve beyond subjective impression management comparisons.If we risked to be present, (risked the anxiety of ambiguity, etc.,we could experience more emotional intimacy, with ourselves & with relationships!M inistry's music video, link below suggests ROOT CAUSES for why we seek distractions thru drugs,alcohol,p orn,sports,gamb ling;why s addictions are preferred to FEAR BASED life because at least with addictions, we get CLOSER to BEING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT,IN THE ZONE,in FLOW.We get our FIX from fear based future worries,involvi ng illusions of security, &/or WORSHIP OF PAST CUSTOM,TRADITIO N, etc. William S. Burroughs, a writer @ the "Dark Side",implies that it's CONTROL, HISTORY,IMAGE,R EALITY,LANGUAGE & SOCIETY THAT'S THE ROOT CAUSE OF OUR LIMITATIONS.TO BECOME LIMITLESS, WE NEED 2 BREAK IT(SOCIETY)ALL DOWN,IN ORDER TO START OVER!https://ww atch?v=SeCjuLcZ 2n
+3 # seniorcitizen 2012-11-14 14:13
+1 # reiverpacific 2012-11-14 20:52
Quoting seniorcitizen:

Echoed with knobs on.
In Plain English please; we're not mind-readers.
And quit yelling!

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