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Gibson writes: "The two issues dominating the 'fiscal cliff' discussion have been the left's push to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, and the right's push to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits."

Instead of conceding entitlement reform to the Republicans, The Democrats should address the real entitlement problem, corporate welfare. (photo: Shawna Whelan)
Instead of conceding entitlement reform to the Republicans, The Democrats should address the real entitlement problem, corporate welfare. (photo: Shawna Whelan)

Why Democrats Should Embrace "Entitlement Reform"

By Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

30 November 12

Reader Supported News | Perspective


f a baseball player was on a hot home-run streak, and faced a pitcher who threw nothing but fastballs straight down the plate, wouldn't you be upset if the slugger let two perfectly good pitches go without swinging for the fences? If the batter struck out, would you walk out in disgust, or wonder which bookie paid off that batter?

The two issues dominating the "fiscal cliff" discussion have been the left's push to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, and the right's push to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, which they and the mainstream media punditocracy dubiously refer to as "entitlements." But the Democrats are whiffing on the biggest issue - which hasn't gotten any press - corporate tax loopholes and Wall Street speculation. The only "entitlements" we should be talking about cutting are the billions of dollars in corporate profits we're allowing to be offshored to tax-free bank accounts in the Channel Islands, and Wall Street traders making risky, tax-free speculative bets. Whatever bad deal this lame duck Congress makes, can and should be undone by the 113th Congress.

It would be a home run for Democrats like Alan Grayson, or Independents like Bernie Sanders, if they were to introduce a bill called the "Entitlement Reform Act of 2013," which could bring in the $1.5 trillion in corporate profits booked offshore but held in American banks and tax a third of it, and institute a $0.03 sales tax on risky Wall Street trading like the kind done in the derivatives and mortgage-backed securities markets. The first reform would bring be a $500 billion revenue boost over a ten-year period, the second would bring in between $350 billion and $1.5 trillion in a decade. And the best part would be that both of those reforms would only affect the top 1% of the top 2%, while simultaneously providing enough money to both shore up the deficit and create new jobs.

Some pragmatists are arguing that the Republicans' expected caving on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy means that the Democrats will have to "give" them something in return. Since the expected "gift" is entitlement reform, the Democrats can simply answer with their dubiously-named legislation that targets the billions in corporate welfare that we give out to corporate tax dodgers and Wall Street speculators. If the Republicans are expecting us to cut back healthcare and pensions that people have been paying into their whole lives with each paycheck, in return for agreeing that the richest among us should pay a proportional share of their income in taxes like everyone else, then we should rightfully say, "Tough luck."

When someone says "entitlement," I immediately think of the spoiled 15-year-old son of a Wall Street banker walking around a Bentley dealership, eagerly picking out his own birthday present. What I don't think of is a meager check that retirees need to meet their basic living expenses, which greedy CEOs and Wall Street bankers want for their own benefit.

If Democrats want to prove to us that they aren't the bought representatives of Wall Street and corporate America, they need to not only hold fast on Social Security and Medicare, but they need to stop whiffing on the word "entitlements," make that word synonymous with corporate and financial greed, and knock this "fiscal cliff" fastball out of the park.

If Republicans want their political opponents to promise them something, the only promise we should make is this - the Republican Party won't be rendered completely irrelevant until the 2014 midterms. Deal?

Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. You can contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

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.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+101 # MEBrowning 2012-11-30 13:49
0 # AndreM5 2012-12-03 19:42
Channel Islands??? Does he have the wrong ocean in ming?
+153 # NanFan 2012-11-30 13:54
Carl! Amazing and deftly thought-out idea to co-op the word "entitlement" and turn it on its heels. If only the Democrats would have the spine to do this.


+136 # SundownLF 2012-11-30 13:58
Great article! And it's about time to stop calling Social Security and Medicare 'entitlements' when, in reality, they are EARNED BENEFITS and should not be touched in this budget battle.

Why not insure Social Security' solvency by simply lifting the cap - which should have been done years ago! Just because someone makes more than, what, $110,000 per year, is no reason that he/she should escape responsibility for their share of input into Social Security.

Republicans must stop raiding Social Security. It will be fine if they just leave it alone!
-50 # coberly 2012-11-30 15:36

but making the rich pay for it would mean you could no longer say they were "earned benefits."

fact is you can continue to pay for your own earned benefits by raising your own payroll tax (really savings rate) about 80 cents per week each year until the "crisis" is over. since you will be getting paid 8 dollars more per week each year, and you will be getting the money back with interest, this is not a burden for you. but the best deal you ever had.

don't throw it away by trying to "make the rich pay." they can pay the income tax if they need to "pay their fair share."
+54 # jpena16 2012-11-30 19:41
Wrong Coberly. It would still be earned benefits because social security still comes out of individual paychecks. Social security has nothing to do with the deficit. It has always been a set aside and self funded. It's the deficit that the rich should be paying off since they were the ones who created it by being stingy tightwads.
-32 # coberly 2012-11-30 22:03

i agree that SS has nothing to do with the deficit.

but it is an earned benefit because you pay for it. when you tax the rich to pay for it, then they will be paying for your benefits. that will make it welfare. the rich won't like that and they will work twice as hard to kill SS (means testing most likely).

you could avoid all that by just raising your own tax one tenth of one percent per year.. about eighty cents per week while your income will be going up about eight dollars per week. but you would have to make Congress understand that you are willing to do that. if you are not, then this is just a silly political argument...

but if you pay for it yourself, as your parents did, then "they can't take it away from you," as FDR intended when he designed it that way.

the rich should be paying "the deficit." they should not be paying for your retirement.
+31 # rosaleee 2012-11-30 23:32
Bull Pucky.

How is it that a cap of $106,000 means that you are paying for your own retirement, but a cap of, say, $200,000 means that the rich are paying for it?

The income cap on SS has been raised many times over its history in order to maintain solvency.

It has NOTHING to do with "making the rich pay for YOUR retirement." It's just MATH.
-13 # coberly 2012-12-01 11:14
-9 # coberly 2012-12-02 19:54
i think it is funny as hell that the one word "finds" gets 6 people to say "thumbs down."
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:23
I was one of them. I think it's funny that you'd expect something different from a one word comment that has nothing to do with anything you're responding to. Maybe the other five were from people who refuse to read your mind.
+8 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:28
But YOU'RE the one playing into their hands by taking up their cause that all of the other raises to the cap were ok, but somehow this one will make the top few percent finally rise up against the rest of us.

THEY ARE ALREADY TRYING EVERYTHING they can to destroy Social Security. They can't do it outright like you're so afraid. The one and only thing at their disposal is the plausible threat of killing it slowly through underfunding. That's exactly what you're defending their right to do.

Stop cowering and attacking the rest of us who you claim to be on the same side as. At this point, they're lucky we are still talking about Social Security and not something a whole hell of a lot more threatening to them, like socializing our entire economy. If we didn't have the upper-hand, believe me, Social Security would have been trashed decades ago.

If you must cower under the weight of the almighty rich, please don't try to drag the rest of us down with you.
-7 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:00

the one word comment occurred because of an error in the comment program. i thought that might be obvious.
-14 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:05
billy bob

stop trying to be a fool.

i am not taking up their cause. their cause is to destroy social security which they will do if you turn it into welfare. in fact trying to turn it into welfare was the republican plan for about fifty years.

SS has the cap raised every year to keep up with the rise in wages. you are proposing to raise the cap much higher than the normal raises... high enough to get ALL of the rich mad, not just the bad guys currently trying to kill the program.

i am not proposing to underfund it. i am proposing that the workers pay for it themselves as they always have, as the program was designed. eighty cents more per week.

cowering? i only "attack" you because you are an ignorant fool who will destroy the program in your macho call to stick it to the rich. your chances of socializing the entire country are somewhat less than zero.
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:30
Where are you getting this stuff?
-6 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:06
mostly from the Trustees Report. you ought to read it. but you would need help with the arithmetic.
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:33
The "interest" you're refering to is "earned" from the fact that the average salary continues to increase from year to year. People who are currently in the workforce are not funding their own benefit. They are funding the benefit of the generation that came before them. That's the way it has always been. How else could people have collected Social Security from the time it was first instated?
-7 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:10
the early collectors of benefits had paid in about six years before they collected... not enough to "pay for their own benefits" but they were grandfathered in to SS mostly because it made sense. The people who you think paid for the early beneficiaries were also at the same time paying in advance for their own. i am sorry you don't understand this about money.

when you put money in the bank it goes right out the door to pay for someone else's "needs." and when you go to collect your interest it comes from someone else who is making a deposit that day. but it's still "your" money. you still paid for "your" interest.
-6 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:17
the way in which "they paid for their own" is that what they paid in counted against their own benefits... that is the way money works. that means... as you say... the following generation "paid them back" . and that following generation's payments were counted against their own benefits... a bank account if you will, while the "cash" went directly to the people who had retired before them.

it is mostly a matter of "words" whether you call this "paying for themselves" or "paying for the generation that went before" but the way you insist it HAS to be the latter tells me you don't understand the first thing about money. it is both.

when you put money in the bank "your money" becomes a line on paper, the "cash" goes right out the door to pay for someone else's needs.... just like SS. just like all money.
+5 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 17:37
This is patently false. The first payments which were yearly lump sums went out the same month they started to collect taxes. Jan 1937. In 1940 it went from a lump sum to monthly pay outs. This is on the SS website.

Workers collectively paid for those retired. That is how it works. It is you that should be sorry who apparently does not know timelines.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 22:44

you apparently don't know the difference between Title 1 and Title 2.

the first Social Security check, check number 00-000-001, was issued to Ida May Fuller in the amount of $22.54 and dated January 31, 1940.

this is Title 2, or what we know as Social Security.

Ida Mae had been paying the tax since 1936.

which would make my "six years" wrong. but not "patently false." I don't expect you to agree with that. But I want you to know this conversation has taught me something about the ignorant left. I used to think all the ignorant people were on the right. Now i know better.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:36
there is a difference in intellectual styles here.

I said "about six years." I was "wrong" in the case of Ida Mae, who apparently got her check about three years after starting to pay the payroll tax. but those who didn't get their first check until "about" 1943 (which i think was the original intended starting date) got their checks after "about"six years of taxes.
this is all a reasonable, if slightly sloppy way of talking.

Devin, on the other hand, looks up a date in a source he does not understand and states "with authority" that "about six years" is "patently false." which is i'm sure how it looks to him. and nothing i can say will convince him otherwise.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 12:59
NO that is you backpedaling. About six years is not three years. You give no evidence for your claims. Hey some people did not get SSI checks till 1949 oh wow. Your statements are dishonest.

From 1937 till Dec 1939 they gave out one time lump sums to people NOT just that ONE guy.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 11:13
That is incorrect. The first taxes were collected in Jan 1937 the same month they first issued checks. It was originally lump sum checks. In 1940 it when to monthly checks.


Q1: When did Social Security start?

A: The Social Security Act was signed by FDR on 8/14/35. Taxes were collected for the first time in January 1937 and the first one-time, lump-sum payments were made that same month. Regular ongoing monthly benefits started in January 1940.

Q12: Who was the first person to get Social Security benefits?

A: A fellow named Ernest Ackerman got a payment for 17 cents in January 1937. This was a one-time, lump-sum pay-out--which was the only form of benefits paid during the start-up period January 1937 through December 1939.

And yes your claim was patently false. And now you are trying to bring Left vs Right into this. Next we will see that Congress has raised the cap in ad hoc fashion MANY times and not simply the 1977 SS act that started to use average wages.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-05 20:04
Devin, Thank you for having the stamina to continue the argument so coberly was responded to. Frankly, I just lost time, patience and stamina and had to let it go. Thanks for going the extra mile to prove him wrong. It's not very rewarding, but it is important.
+12 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:41
It's obvious that you're writing out of vanity. This isn't about buying cars. It isn't about anything other than what it is. It IS Social Security. Social Security is NOT a bank account. Yes, what you get back is based on what you put into it, but what you get back is not money generated directly from your own work. Your own contribution was used to fund the previous generation of retirees. If you made a large contribution to their retirement, you get back a large return from TODAY'S contributers.

If it wasn't for that fact, nobody could make the argument that the baby boomers will put a strain on later generations. Those later generations will continue to fund the retirements of the baby boom, through continued work. The only problem is that they weren't called the "baby boom" for nothin'. There are fewer people, relatively speaking to fund their retirement.

Making Social Security out to being something other than what it is isn't going to protect it from the rich who want it destroyed. The best thing you can do is honestly admit what it is, how it works, and make the (easily defensible) argument that it's necessary.

YES you earned your Social Security benefit.

NO you did not fund your return on it from your own income, but rather based on an equation that was based on your own income.
-8 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:12
billy bob

you sure don't understand money. you paid for it. it's yours. it doesn't make a damn bit of difference who touched the dollar last.

you could try to understand this, or you could keep telling yourself that your ridiculous point means something profound.
+9 # Nominae 2012-12-03 05:50
Quoting coberly:
billy bob

you could try to understand this, or you could keep telling yourself that your ridiculous point means something profound.

Yeah ...... or *you* could stop raving long enough to notice that the whole fallacy of your argument lies in the fact that you don't understand the meaning of "the cap".

Correct that little oversight, and save us all a lot of B.S.
-10 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:19

i understand the cap very well. you do not. blustering does not make you smarter.
+7 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:23
"blustering does not make you smarter"

That's ironic, coming from you.
+6 # Nominae 2012-12-03 18:32
Quoting coberly:

i understand the cap very well. you do not. blustering does not make you smarter.

[quote name="coberly"]nominae

And you support your "argument" throughout this comment stream with snark and childish name-calling ? What are we, a bunch of second graders in a sandbox ?

Given your overall arguments here, it logically follows that the next time you receive a check for damages from either your automobile insurance or your homeowner's insurance, you have to immediately send that check back to said insurance company for fear of cheesing them off if you don't.

Good plan.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-05 20:03
Thank you for having the stamina to continue the argument. I ran out of patience.
+13 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 04:09
Well I thought he was knowledgeable about SS but apparently not. SS is insurance. It is social insurance not a private retirement plan. We ALL pay for each other. We pay a tax each paycheck which is like an insurance premium that goes into a giant fund just like car insurance or life insurance. It does not go into some personal acct.

SS only paid retirement benefits from 1935 til 1939 when benefits like survivors benefits were added and in 1956 disability benefits were added.

As we both have said the cap has been raised many times before. The rich if they are paying personal income tax and not income that is considered capital gains are paying SS taxes up to that cap as is right now.

Does he not know that just because you are rich does not mean you cannot collect SS or have Medicare? Ayn Rand when her book royalties ran out collected SS and used Medicare. She paid taxes into both of them. It is just that the rich typically do not need either. They do not want to be socially responsible for anyone other than themselves.

Not to mention where doe he get this $8 a wk from? I have had no pay raise in 4 years and in the last 12 I have had 5 with 3 being 2%.

Does he not know that back in the 80s under Reagan on Greenspan's recommendation that we have been paying double payroll tax already to cover the baby-boomers? yet we are to pay for 80 cents more so we can what? Get this magical $8/wk in what? SS? Again SS pays more than retirement.
-6 # coberly 2012-12-02 08:36
orkers sh
-12 # coberly 2012-12-02 08:37

some of what you say is true, but you have to slow down and try to think clearly. way too hard to sort out in a blog like this.

i am NOT saying the poor dear rich should not pay taxes. i am NOT saying workers should not get paid more. I am saying that "raising the cap" is a sure way to kill Social Security. and that 80 cents per week is too cheap a price not to pay it to keep them from killing SS.
+9 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:28
You're also not reading carefully. As Devin said, the cap has been raised many times. Also, do you thinkt he rich aren't trying to kill it already? Trying to appease their latest demands is a sure way to make sure their will be MORE demands.

Your argument could be applied to someone who makes $100,000 a year. Would you say that person is destitute? They ARE helping to fund Social Security that will be drawn from by the poor, however.

Social Security is the most popular government program ever instated. Stop trying to appease those who want to kill it, by HELPING them underfund it.
-11 # coberly 2012-12-02 17:35

you can fund it with an extra eighty cents per week per year. if you try to make the rich pay it they will kill it. it is not all of "the rich" who are now trying to kill it, but only a certain clique. turn it into welfare and the Lies those people are telling will become "true" and then all the rich will be on their side.

the cap is raised automatically to keep up with the rise in average wages. it rises every year. but it only rises enough so that SS is a reasonable cost of INSURANCE to the richest who pay for it. Raise it more than that and it becomes welfare. The Big LIars know that once it is welfare, the voters (with the most money) will kill it.

don't know what destitute has to do with it.

I have been fighting this fight for over ten years. I am NOT on the side of the Liars. l am trying to keep you from playing into their hand.

You and your friends here are like a bunch of mad peasants who are going to go out and Make the lord pay for their retirement. The lord has men who are well armed and well trained. They will kill a bunch of you and hang the rest. And then tell all the peasants that their rations have been cut to pay for "security" from mobs like yours.
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:29
Thank you for puting it so perfectly.
-5 # coberly 2012-12-02 17:40

because the guy who makes 106 thousand pays about 13 thousand a year for his own SS... and will get a benefit of about 26 thousand a year for about twenty years after working for about 40 years (in adjusted dollars).

if you make the guy with 200,000 pay on every dollar he makes, he will pay about 24 thousand a year for forty years and still get only 26 thousand a year when he retires. he will look at that as having been robbed of 11 thousand a year for 40 years, or about 440 thousand dollars. that is enough money to make him call his Congressman.

that money he doesn't get is what would be paying for YOUR retirememt, saving you 80 cents per week.

I know the math. It's what I do. Saying "it's just math" is what the bad guys, and the journalists, say when they are lying to you.
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:03
So, you're saying that Social Security only works if no one pays more than they receive. THAT'S a formula for failure. It's not a bank account.

How much do the rich need Social Security... AT ALL?

In fact, the rich don't send their kids to public schools, but we require them to pay property taxes. The rich don't send their kids to the military, but they're required to fund it. The rich don't "need" a whole list of things this country can't live without. Without their contribution however, this country can't afford those things at all, which DOES affect the rich.
-9 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:18
the rich don't need Social Security. that's why they do not pay for it. "workers" who end up fairly rich after a lifetime of work, do pay for it... as insurance, because you never know if you are going to need it.

There is a difference between paying for "the country's needs" and paying for someone else's dinner that he could pay for himself. I'm all for welfare for those who can't pay for their own dinner. But you are talking about making "the rich" (whoever they are) pay thousands and thousands of dollars to save you the extra two dollars each it would take us to pay for our own dinners. they won't do it.

and i wouldn't blame them. it is disgusting to ask...let alone demand... that someone else pay for your dinner if you can pay for it yourself. it's called mooching. try it on your friends. but be sure you pick a friend who is "richer than you."
+4 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 17:42
Actually yes the rich do pay for it. This is why you have no credibility. A) You have no idea that SS money went out the same month they started to collect SS taxes and B) all the way up to CEO pays payroll tax. If you are an independent contractor you pay payroll tax. You get to pay the whole sum and not split it as workers who work for a company do. Just because you are rich does not mean you do not pay for it which brings us to C) Since you claim the not pay for it then raising the cap will do nothing at all to them. You cannot have it both ways.

And btw my SS tax dollars is paying for someone else's dinner right now and I hope they are enjoying it. In the future someone else will be paying for my dinner.
-8 # coberly 2012-12-02 17:53
my reply keeps disappearing.

taking the 200 thousand dollars per results in that person paying 400 thousand dollars more over 40 years than he will get back.

taxing the 113 thousand dollar worker results in that person getting about exactly what he pays in over forty years over a twenty year retirement.

THAT's the math.

The guy with the 200,000 dollar income will know that he is losing 400,000 dollars on the deal. He will call his congressman, and his congressman will listen to him.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 17:48
That is math? Most people do not make anywhere near 110K? You do know this right?

Why isn't the 113K man calling his congressmen right now for losing his money? The principle keeps on applying as we keep on lowering the cap.

Go to the SS website. They give your the formula.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 12:38
That is what he keeps on peddling. Now we need our mommy to help us. This guy thinks his solution is THE solution and that HE alone knows all. The formula for what we get has been changed over time. The cap has ad hoc been changed as well.

They increased Payroll tax in the mid 80s to create this bubble. This is how we got surpluses. So people then were paying for more than one person because in the future their would not be a worker to pay for that baby boomers retirement. Yet somehow that is not all of a sudden welfare. But according to him if we raise the cap to say 200K then it BAM becomes welfare when that person who makes 200K a year will be paying more in SS tax as opposed to paying only on 106.8K. He or she as well will get more back. 106.8K is not some magical number.

Not to mention does medicare have a tax cap now? If not then is it now welfare?
+23 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-01 01:12
Doesn't everyone pay up to 110K of their income. Anything after that no SS tax is taken from it. SS tax is all thrown into one fund.

The cap has been raised several times.

So the rich do not want to pay for any of it right now. Mitt Romney can collect SS and Medicare since he has paid into it. He more than likely will not choose to collect SS since it is not tax free money. He already makes enough to pay taxes on so SS would just add to his taxable income. SS is not automatic. Neither is Medicare. You have to sign up for them when you reach eligible age.

And I am paying for other people's retirement right now. We all are. Nothing wrong in that. SS is social insurance. It pays old age, survivors, and disability insurance. Same fund same taxes collected. FDR never intended it to be individual retirement accounts.
+20 # RLF 2012-12-01 08:34
Right now the lower and middle classes are paying taxes to keep banks open that the wealthy own. We pave roads that GE uses to ship their goods all over the country and don't pay a penny in taxes for and these are just a few of the petty examples of how business and the wealthy loot the treasury. So why again should they not pay the same percentage on their income as I do to pay for SS and Medicaid? For that matter, why shouldn't they pay on capital is still it more valuable than what I earn with my back? Unequal protection under the law!
+17 # guyachs 2012-12-01 10:15
Percentage wise the rich make out well. They pay a much smaller percentage of their income to social security than everyone else. If the cap were raised to 200,000, they'd still be paying a very small percentage. They are not donating to us. They just don't want to pay a fair share in anything.
+1 # AndreM5 2012-12-03 19:46
Let's see now, so when Reagan DOUBLED the SS tax for baby boomers to ensure a fully funded trust fund, then STOLE that money to fund his illegal wars, you cheered?
+40 # Joe Bob 2012-11-30 18:39
Finally called entitlements whats dey is.... earned benefits. The 1%'s tax breaks are Gifts.
You know how the Rupubs make it up and say it until everyone believes it....
I am soooo tired of this crap.
+41 # jpena16 2012-11-30 19:36
That's a great turn of a phrase Sundown ! If the Democrats start calling medicare and social security earned benefits and Wall Street give aways entitlements they will have totally re-framed the argument . I dare the Republicans to try to wiggle out of that one.
+29 # Rick Levy 2012-11-30 20:41
I'll go you one better. Don't just lift the cap to a higher tier; remove it altogether.
+15 # Lolanne 2012-12-01 12:15
Quoting Rick Levy:
I'll go you one better. Don't just lift the cap to a higher tier; remove it altogether.

Totally agree, Rick Levy. Been advocating that for ages. It is totally ridiculous that the vast majority of us pay SS taxes on our ENTIRE earnings, our whole lives, but the rich only pay on part of theirs. Nothing about that makes any sense.
-13 # coberly 2012-12-01 17:46

nothing makes sense if you don't understand how it works. the rich pay more income tax than you pay. that's what pays for the country. they may not be paying enough right now. i agree they should be paying more.

but they shouldn't be paying for your social security. that would turn it into welfare. and when the rich pay for welfare they get really mean. really mean.

SS was designed not to be welfare exactly for that reason.

but SS is a very good deal for you. it gives you a way to save your own money safe from inflation and market losses. it pays a good interest.. better than most workers could get on their own. and it pays insurance in case something happens to you.. including not being able to save enough to retire.

SS is insurance. the rich pay over 12 thousand a year for this insurance. how much do you pay? (the answer is probably less than 2 thousand. the extra ten thousand the rich pay for SS is used to help provide you with a benefit bigger than what your 2 thousand would pay for.

you should be getting higher wages, but don't kill the Social SEcurity golden goose by trying wring the rich man's neck.
+13 # Lolanne 2012-12-01 23:39
You can look at it any way you wish, coberly, but the wealthy have no more right to SS tax-free income than you or I do.

Nor do they have a right to pay a smaller percentage in income taxes than I did all the years of my working life. Damn straight they're not paying enough now, and haven't been for a number of long years.
0 # bingers 2012-12-06 07:53
Sorry pal, the rich may pay more taxes than you and I, but they pay a lower % than we do. Even folks who make so little they don't pay income tax pay over 17% in taxes while the rich pay less than 16% total thanks to the artificially low capital gains tax and the loopholes.
0 # bingers 2012-12-06 07:50
Quoting Rick Levy:
I'll go you one better. Don't just lift the cap to a higher tier; remove it altogether.

After all, the rich and Republicans in general are always whining that they want a flat tax. Well, this is the ONLY place where that makes sense.
+4 # Michael Lee Bugg 2012-12-02 10:30
Sundown, Amen to that! The problem with most Democrats in Washington is that their ignrance is only exceeded by their cowardice. They are afraid, no terrified, that doing the right thing for the bottom 95% will cost them their share of the campaign money contributed by the top 5%, and particularly that contributed by the top 1%! You would think that after the recent election the Democrats would finally see that good policy clearly different from the Republicans and favoring the 95%, and the resulting votes would matter more than the millions of dollars handed out by the top 5%!

Keep in mind also that the real reason the Republicans and their wealthy sponsors want to kill Social Security is so that business owners, large and small, would be freed from the obligation of paying the Social Security matching on each and all of their employees. That is money they could and would put into their own bottomless pockets! Also they want to con more people into the clutches of the Wall Street con artists so that they could get their greedy hands on billions more of our dollars! The stock market faces the same demographic problem that Social Security faces - theday is coming soon when there will be more retired Babyboomers wanting to sell stock to pay living expenses than there will be people willing and able to buy that stock! The recipe for a decades long stock price slump!
+40 # bingers 2012-11-30 14:04
Amen, Carl!
+40 # DaveM 2012-11-30 14:14
I would like to know how much government spending or decreased revenue in the form of tax breaks and outright subsidies to major corporations and similar concerns amounts to. Might it be at least as much if not more than what is presently spent on "entitlement programs"?

We must also consider the social and financial cost which will be inevitable if one program or another is cut "to save money" and the end result is a large number of people out on the street. This has happened before--when state hospitals were closed en masse 20 or more years ago. People unable to take care of themselves became homeless. And by some estimates, 80% of homeless people who have once been provided with at least a roof over their heads and food by a state hospital or similar institution.

I do not advocate the return of "the cuckoo's nest", but are we to merely abandon a fair-sized segment of our populace?
+6 # X Dane 2012-12-02 20:44
Dave M.

We can thank the sainted Regan for a lot of the homeless people in Santa Monica. He was the one that closed down most of the mental hospital i California.

There are lots of poor souls, homeless, and swarming over the lawns at City Hall.

Reagan was a Robin Hood in reverse and I can't for the life of me understand all the people mourning and crying when he died. He must have "played president" better in their eyes than in mine.
-79 # Martintfre 2012-11-30 14:22
Several points --
projected deficit 1.1 trillion.
Tax "the rich" at 100% (Gates - Soros - Kochs - Waltons - Buffet ...) total 0.1 trillion

So .. what about the 1.0 trillion extra spending? Military (Entire Military budget 0.75 trillion)

So ...

+55 # Billsy 2012-11-30 15:10
No, it's both revenue and spending. Please troll the National Review website instead. Your comments are insipid and tiresome.
+31 # bingers 2012-11-30 17:31
Quoting Martintfre:
Several points --
projected deficit 1.1 trillion.
Tax "the rich" at 100% (Gates - Soros - Kochs - Waltons - Buffet ...) total 0.1 trillion

So .. what about the 1.0 trillion extra spending? Military (Entire Military budget 0.75 trillion)

So ...


Everyone and anyone who claims it's the spending when our spending is the lowest in the developed world save Taiwan is the stupid one. It's primarily the tax cuts for the rich that caused this along with the absurd notion of "free trade" in which other countries have 20% tariffs on our exports and we have 1/4 % tariffs on theirs.

Conservative economics, including those pushed by or allowed by Clinton is what have caused this. Return the top marginal rate back to 74% where it belongs, repeal Gramm-Leach-Bli ley and restore Glass-Steagall and all would be well.

In addition, we should get out of every trade group and deal freely and fairly with the rest of the world and all would be well. Why do Republicans claim belonging to the UN gives up soverignity, but belonging to the WTO and GATT among others which actually do interfere with our soveriegnity is a good thing?

Do you actually think that if we did that other countries would quit trading with their biggest market?

And if you taxed the rich at 100% it would add WAY more than 100 billion, more like 5-6 trillion. I don't advocate that.
+30 # Billy Bob 2012-11-30 17:37
The military budget (including EVERYTHING in it) is over 60% of the U.S. budget. We've gone over this and over this. You never respond when I point it out, so we can assume you know it but choose to continue with the right-wing talking points anyway.

As a brief reminder and a taste of what's not included, is WAR part of the military budget?
+5 # NanFan 2012-12-03 13:10
Quoting Billy Bob:
The military budget (including EVERYTHING in it) is over 60% of the U.S. budget...As a brief reminder and a taste of what's not included, is WAR part of the military budget?

Nay, it is not. And what I want to know is why? Why is war separate from the military budget? This is a serious question, especially when you look at the cost to our nation of the bogus Iraq war alone, waged by the military under the orders of our then commander-in-ch ief. Put us into the biggest financial tailspin EVER at the expense of the people. So WHY is the military budget 60% of the U.S. budget?? And why does that not include the costs of war(s)?

This does not make sense, just as no WAR ever makes any sense. It is all failure and leads to so much unnecessary loss.


+22 # Mannstein 2012-11-30 21:19
Look at any country which chooses to go to war and you will discover that it inevatibly needs to raise taxes to pay for it. But if you're the US under the Shrub and Chenney with the rest of the Repubs. that simple rule just doesn't apply. In fact these criminals outdid themselves. They went the other way and lowered taxes. Chenney even claimed deficits don't matter. Go figure that one out!
+6 # X Dane 2012-12-02 21:02

Bush and Cheney certainly behaved criminally, but I fault one other person that i NEVER hear mentioned...... .Allan Greenspan...,. He SHOULD have have told Bush that he could NOT start 2 wars AND give a tax cut without paying for any of it.
HE BLEW IT, in my opinion
+4 # Mannstein 2012-12-03 00:46
I agree.
+7 # JJS 2012-12-01 08:39
From "On The Issues" website:

Cheney to Treasury: “Deficits don’t matter”
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was told “deficits don’t matter” when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.
O’Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush’s economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from “the corporate crowd,” a key constituency.

O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expect ed to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

The vice president’s office had no immediate comment, but John Snow, who replaced O’Neill, insisted that deficits “do matter” to the administration.

Source: [X-ref O’Neill] Adam Entous, Reuters, on AOL News , Jan 11, 2004
+55 # ghostperson 2012-11-30 14:27
The term "entitlements," as in "cut entitlements," the mantra of the oligarchs/pluto crats and their stooges, is a "loaded" and "freighted" word on the order of the phrase "I am a Christian." It's at once an in your face taunt designed to belittle someone. If someone has to announce they are a Christian, they aren't. It should be seen from good works that benefit their fellow man. The definition of entitlement is some to which one has a right under certain conditions. In the case of Medicare and Social Security, the right derives from payment into the system over a period of time. Social Security pays for itself and should not be considered when talking about budget cuts. However, both are programs into which someone purchases access in order to have a right to benefits. Medicaid is not an entitlement program, one has to continuously qualify to be eligible for program coverage. All are demonized by the hard right because they want all that money out there for Wall St. to "f**k" with. Imagine the 2007-2008 debacle, if Bush/Cheney had been successful in privatizing Social Security. The Great Depression would have looked like an inconvenience by comparison. Medicare and Social Security are like the uberriches' insurance and pension programs into which they may pay little or nothing but are perks of their exalted positions. That is the true moocher-connota ted prejorative. But what the hay, dem wit da gold makes da rules not matter how senseless they are.
-78 # Martintfre 2012-11-30 15:08
Hey Ghost .. do I have a right to your life?

Am I entitled to the produce of your time and effort?
+52 # Mannstein 2012-11-30 16:13
No you're not entitled to the produce of my time and effort but neither are the 1% who are out to gut what we have paid into so that they can have their taxes lowered as Mitch McConnel keeps reminding us evey day. Oh I forgot they are the job creators.
+43 # DaveEwoldt 2012-11-30 16:55
Martinfre, you're obviously clueless enough to not even realize what you've said. The free-marketeer whackos are the ones who think they're entitled to the efforts of others. As ghostperson pointed out, had Social Security been privatized it would have disappeared as quickly as Enron pension plans did. It's the Kleptocrats who believe they're entitled to the fruits of other's labor.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:31
//The free-marketeer whackos are the ones who think they're entitled to the efforts of others.//

an amazingly wrong statement yet often repeated statement by ignorant progressives. It matters not if you and 200 million others repeat it -- it is still wrong.

Wall mart never threw any one in jail for not shopping there or spending your money there, but government will throw you in jail for not paying them.

a free market is one where the consumer makes their choices with their dollars.

That is totally different then big brother government who forcibly relieves you of your dollars and fines or or even throws you in jail of you don't comply.
+25 # Billy Bob 2012-11-30 17:39
Hey Marty, Do you live in a country? Are you the beneficiary of living in a country? Or, do you live alone on a deserted island and only have access to the internet (which was created with public money - by the way) on coconut computer?

Do you bear any responsibilitie s to the nation you benefit from living in?
+7 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-01 01:30
Apparently Martin you do not understand how the Free Market works. All businesses believe they have a right to their worker's lives. They as well feel they are entitled to the produce of our time and effort and feel the pittance they pay us is compensation for said produce. Without us their business would not be able to make what they feel they earn on all their own. None of these CEO's could make any of the money they claim they earn if not for the infrastructure of workers below them.
+10 # Doctor J 2012-12-01 09:33
Quoting Martintfre:
Hey Ghost .. do I have a right to your life?

Am I entitled to the produce of your time and effort?

Ghostperson has contributed several excellent points to this and other discussions. Martinfre, please do your part in eliminating nonsensical comments from serious debate. Thanks.
+7 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:20
As to query number one: It has nothing to do with anything I have written.

As to query number two: Are you entitled to the produce [Sic] of my time and effort? My answer: Yes. Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.

Being one of the fortunate who was able to make the ascent from poverty to a position of stature and high income due to the existence of programs that reached out to provide a hook and ladder for those of us in the underclass who desired to attempt to climb the socio-economic ladder against all odds, I did not become a Clarence Thomas.

I am grateful for the programs made available to me that allowed me to become one hell of a tax payer. I do not resent those who could not do so; on the other hand, I have no common ground with those who are dead from their asses both ways. These are very few. Most people are trying to get by or are trying to tread water while wearing the anvil placed around their necks by unregulated Wolves of Wall Street and vulture/vampire capitalists.

To me the Golden Rule exists for a reason. And yes, even you Martinfre are entitled to drive across the bridges that my taxes pay for and vice versa.

I have said this before: Why do you participate in this site? You loathe liberal/progres sive thoughts and concepts. You change no one's mind as evidenced by your consistent negative comment ratings. Few agree with you. This isn't a site suitable for masochism. Why don't you participate in a Limbaugh site?
-5 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:48
//: Are you entitled to the produce [Sic] of my time and effort? My answer: Yes. //

So, you do believe in slavery.
+6 # ghostperson 2012-12-02 18:55
In your semantically challenged case, I will affirm that you should be my slave--do you feel better now--if that will prevent youn from word and thought distortion at which you are inept.

To assume your conclusion you have to engage in skewed think. Nothing I have said or written about the common good implies or implicates slavery. But since you want that answer soooooo desperately, I am providing it for you. Happy now?

Yes, Martinfre, a thousand times yes, I BELIEVE IN THE RES PUBLICA!!!!!!!! !!! The anti-thesis of Aynrandian brain stew. I will always believe in it just as I will always believe you are a "I got mine" kinda person that I would not want to to into combat with.

I an unrepentant liberal from the Bible Belt, who participated in a civilian, Marine bootcamp, was told by our captain, "I would follow you into battle anytime." He along with the rest of the group had presumed, as most conservatives do, that liberals like myself are not intelligent, not physically strong and have no stamina or endurance. It's ideologues like you that couldn't see the world dimensionally who were shell-shocked by the 2012 election results because they only trust, believe and embrace their own flawed data. The world is dimensional. It's been a long time since it was flat.
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 15:26
// I will affirm that you should be my slave//

So as a good democrat you are pushing slavery of the individual to the state and those who run it.

Thanks for the honesty.
+2 # ghostperson 2012-12-03 19:09
Once again you have applied skewed "martinfre-thin k" to achieve the result/conclusi on you so fervently desire from me. I said quite clearly that I think YOU personally should be my slave since what you wanted was to see the word -- your word or its derivation --"slavery" in print. I gave you what you asked for. Unfortunately, wry wit eluded you.

You equate the common good, the res publica, with slavery. I don't.

Therefore, my support of the common good does not make me your slave. Rather, I see us as fellow oarsmen in the boat of life all pulling forward together. You see me rowing with you for mutual benefit as my enslavement of your labor.

Somethings cannot be fixed, your vitriolic mindset demanding reinforcement of pain is one of the them. Where I am from we have a saying: "Don't mud wrestle with a pig. The pig likes it and is good at it and ya'll get dirt."

You have painted yourself into a semantically-ch allenged corner by subjective, personal interpretation designed solely to support your own pathelogical hatred of a social safety net.

I am not a hater. So wrestle away and the rest of us with toy with you as the mood strikes.

You never answer the repeated question posed to you: Why do you participate in this site? You either like pain or rejection or both because that is the only feed back you get? No one's mind is changed by your vituperative rants.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:24
//You equate the common good, the res publica, with slavery. I don't. //

You dont, and neither did the slavers of the south - you have much in common with them.

// Why do you participate in this site? //
Some times if you want change you have to go where the sinners are -- and this place is loaded with selfish kleptocrats who believe they have a right to rob some one else for their benefit.
0 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-10 17:38
Yeah, and it's pretty evenly balanced with those who believe Earth belongs to humans and the only right they're interested in protecting is the "right" to throw their trash in their neighbors front yard.

Evil is that which doesn't support life, and it's pretty straightforward to ascertain whether that is the case.
+74 # fredboy 2012-11-30 14:43
As one now approaching 65 who has worked since the age of 15 to build and fund my "entitlements," I greatly resent any effort to cripple Social Security or Medicare. All was well until Republicans launched two fake "wars" and over funded our military, and before they crippled our economy and destroyed trillions of dollars in 2008. We need sound, focused foresight to generate best economic practices. We need to rid the House of Repugs.
-68 # Martintfre 2012-11-30 15:17
Fred Boy -- for examples sake I will speculate that your are male and married and you both have worked and paid into SSA your adult lives -- Like I and my wife

if you drop dead today your wife gets $250 to pay for planting your butt and squat after that - she will get her benefits that she paid in. SSA was designed to collect from the working stiff till they dropped dead then pay back nuthing.

Had you your own plan - you could of paid off house and car in their entirety and had a cheap term insurance to give her a lump sum to ease economic problems. So getting whacked the wife would have a home paid for and a car and a lump sum, Instead the home is deeply mortgaged and the car has payments that may out last the car its self.
and dependency upon morally politicians for a program that is economically bankrupt

By the way I am 55 I have been forced to pay in almost $200 grand over the decades and they promise nutting back. IF I could get out of SSA today (let them keep what they got -- just leave me alone) and have the next 10 years of %15 of my income to keep my self Id be way ahead and not a economic burden to the next generation.
+47 # coberly 2012-11-30 16:09

i doubt anyone but you believes this garbage. but just in case

your wife gets a spousal benefit, or her own benefit, whichever is more.

SS was designed to collect from the working stiff till they reached 65 (or 62) and then pay a benefit that runs about a ten percent return on their "investment" if they were a low earner, and at least 2% real return if they were a high earner. the difference is what makes it "insurance." moreover your SS benefits never run out. you get them as long as you live.

there is NO private plan that can touch SS GUARANTEED return as well as life and disability insurance.

you MIGHT do better with a private plan. but you might not. SS is insurance. nothing keeping your from buying a private plan with the 85% of your income that you don't pay into SS.

an income that is two, five, ten times higher than what your grandparents got before SS was invented.

SS is not bankrupt and cannot ever be bankrupt.

I knew a guy who lost all of his 'investments' and was living on Social Security and still kept moaning that if he hadn't had to pay Social Security he would have gotten rich on his investments. I don't think Martinfre is any smarter than that.

Martin... you will not be an economic burden to the next generation. pay as you go allows them to pay for their own retirement while paying for yours. if you can't understand how that works, just think of it as a magic trick.
-5 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:44
Sadly SSa trying to fulfill that while CONgress has been plundering the front end for any surplus over the decades has reduced SSA to a bankrupt welfare program that is part of why we borrow 43 cents of ever federal dollar we spend.
+22 # bingers 2012-11-30 17:38
Martin, old boy, you don't pay anywhere near 15% into SS. Currently it's only 2% and that's what the Republicans want to raise on you now to pat for tax breaks for the rich. Granted, it eventually needs to be raised, but not in the middle of a Republican caused and extended by their own actions.
+6 # coberly 2012-11-30 20:44

i have forgotten if the payroll tax holiday is now 4% or 2%. but the "normal" cost of Social Security is 6.2% (or 12.4% if you are both the worker and your own employer).

this can look like a lot of money until you realize that it is how much you would have to save for a basic retirement anyway.. and SS protects your savings against inflation and other kinds of losses, plus pays a reasonable interest, and an insurance bonus if you end up poor when you are old.

add that to the fact that most of us are making at least twice what our grandparents had to get by on, and we can afford it. with plenty left over to "invest" if we want.

it's a bargain, don't say it's cheaper than it is.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:04
Either way, the only reason it works is because other people continue to contribute to it long after your retirement. THEIR contribution is what funds your retirement. Your take on their continued contribution is determined by how much you put into it, but it's dishonest to say that "YOU paid for your own retirement". YOU didn't. The SYSTEM you contributed to did. It required the participation of everyone to work.

Your argument that asking someone who makes $120,000 a year to contribute based on their entire income is "welfare", whereas asking someone making $100,000 a year to isn't is the entire source of controversey.

-3 # coberly 2012-12-02 17:27
Billy Bob.

it's not dishonest. when you buy a stock someone else pays you back. when you put money in the bank, someone else pays you back. but it's still "your" money. the fact that SS is pay as you go does not mean someone else is paying for you.

can't figure out what your last paragraph is sayng.

"rich" people get their money back when they retire just like poor people, only with less interest. the extra interest goes to help the poor people have "enough." But if you make them pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars more than they will get back.. then it turns into welfare and they will kill it.

raising the cap to 120,000 might fly. raising it to 500 thousand won't. but why ask the rich man for the money when you can pay for your own SS with eighty cents more per week per year?
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:07
I never said it was "dishonest". I said it was the system, just like the cases you cited.

The only reason Social Security exists AT ALL is because there are more of us than there are rich people. You don't need to put quotes around "rich" people either. The fact that rich people exist isn't controversial.

Reread my last paragraph. Also, reread some of your own comments like, "finds", and "okers sh". Is that some new slang I'm unfamiliar with?
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:25
Billy Bob

stop trying so hard to be a fool. go back and read what you said. you said "dishonest."

as for the strange posts, i was having trouble with the posting program. thought you might be smart enough to figure that out.

someone making a 120 k is not "rich" in my book. it's hard to tell just who YOU mean by "the rich."

but here is a hint for you... not all of "the rich" want to destroy SS. only a few. but if you turn it into welfare by making them pay huge amounts for dinner for you and your friends they will join the bad guys in calling for means testing and raising the retirement age.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 18:00
You logic does not hold. Once again we pay SS collectively. I am paying for someone else's retirement right now. I am paying for someone who lost a parent. I am paying for someone who lost an arm and cannot work.

What is dishonest is yourself. And that pertains to the cap. Going from 110K to 200K suddenly is welfare to you. Most of us do not even make HALF that 110K. The actual suggestion is 180K btw. In another post you said the rich do not pay for SS. This is why you are dishonest not to mention the arrogance of claiming authority.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:04

If it's "welfare" for the rich to contribute to Social Security, when poor people will receive some of the benefit, than it's also "welfare" for the middle-class, and the upper middle-class to contribute with their entire income.

It's NOT an investment account. It's a "SOCIAL" program that requires universal participation. There's nothing wrong with asking everyone to share the same load based on the same percentage of their income.

You suggest that the wealthy will suddenly bitch about it if required to fund it fairly (as if they aren't already bitching about its very existence). The fact is that the wealthy are the ones who keep asking for a "flat" tax.

Asking them to contribute their fair share to Social Security and asking them to pay the same rate for capital gains the rest of us pay for working is just taking them to task.
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:41
//It's NOT an investment account. It's a "SOCIAL" program that requires universal participation.//

absolute true statement.

While I have paid in over 170,000 If I egt whacked tomorrow - My wife will geta a stunning $250 to plant my butt the rest will come from her contributions.

The plan was designed for people to pay in all their lives then drop dead just before they got a dime.
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:09
If the plan was designed that way, too bad too many people are now relying on it to live. There are many people receiving Social Security benefits as we speak. The system works wonderfully, ESPECIALLY when the rich keep their paws off of it.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:27
Billy bob

it is not "taking them to task." you don't even know who the hell "they" are.

no one likes to pay taxes, not even you. most of the rich will pay taxes for "the country" and even for "welfare." they won't pay a huge tax so you don't have to pay an extra eighty cents per year to guarantee your own retirement.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 05:03
My understanding is that the very wealthy are asking for a flat tax on wages because most of their income comes from cap gains, dividends, stock options, etc.... not wages. Believe me, if there were a flat tax on wages alone the wealthy would find a way to reduce their wages to ZERO!
-4 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:39
// and SS protects your savings against inflation and other kinds of losses, plus pays a reasonable interest,//

crap -- actually they are robbing you and me blind.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:38
//# bingers ,
Martin, old boy, you don't pay anywhere near 15% into SS. Currently it's only 2%//

Bingers -- your clueless.

I suggest you look at your pay stub before proving your lack of knowledge -- IF your getting one.

I have been self employed so I have seen straight up the 15.35% total FICA payment unlike employees who don't see half of that ( 7.18% ) that should go to them but is payed to the government instead in their name and is a cost of their employment.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:09
When calling people "clueless", please remember that it's "you're" and not, "your".
+22 # ganymede 2012-11-30 17:50
Martintfre, it's really a waste of words to try to talk some commonsense to you as you are a product of years of brainwashing and immorality. SS was one of the few things this country got right. It's like universal health care in that we are as a society in this altogether. Health care for all like a pension for all and is how civilized societies work, but you know better and are so caught up in your tiny mind that you can't sort out the forest from the trees. Your thinking indicates that you don't have a shred of decency in your soul and don't give a fxxk for anyone, not even yourself. Thank God that you were handed a resounding defeat and, hopefully, won't be coming back to continue wrecking our country.
+9 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-01 01:48
Martin, if your wife makes less than you and you die before she does she gets your SS. SS is old age survivors, and disability insurance.

My Dad lost his leg 10 years ago and applied for disability from SS. When he turned 65 it turned into old age benefits plus a disability kicker. He just turned 69. My Mom who is 68 and still working just went down to SS office to see if it benefited her to collect SS now. She is going to wait till she turns 70 but she will not be able to get my Dad's since he has made less than her.

My Dad is a juvenile diabetic and cannot take out life insurance nor could he get health benefits on his own.

The idea is to have that house paid off before you retire Martin but many do not own property and rent, Then what martin?

As far as private plans Martin, what like a 401K? How much did retirees lose when the dot com bubble burst? A lot of people retired that year. How much retirement did they lose? How about years later when the financial bubble burst and stocks plummeted? How many retirees lost a lot of investment money.
+1 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:22
Not in this economy youn wouldn't.
+26 # Cassandra2012 2012-11-30 17:38
Yes, and we should be asking why Giant Agribusiness, oil and gas corporations, and other subsidized corporate interests should continue to be allowed to take taxpayer money for their ENTITLEMENTS to CORPORATE WELFARE!
+6 # Regina 2012-12-01 00:44
And while we're asking, consider the fact that if you WORK for pay, your income tax rate is progressively steeper (which pending legislation would ease, if allowed to pass, on earnings under 250K). But gains on "INVESTMENTS" -- where you sit on your duff while the market rolls on -- are taxed at a mere 15% [and before anyone gets back on this point, I own stock and benefit from that "investment"]. Sure, you might lose in the market, but you can sell and get out of a lagging security, and buy something better. And get a tax break on the loss!
+45 # Vegan_Girl 2012-11-30 14:44
Awesome! I really really hate how the GOP can manipulate the language. It is time we get good in this game.
+4 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:23
They don't really manipulate language they lie and repeat the lies even when they are disproved. They keep repeating the lies until they are looped into the national psyche as a truth.
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 15:40
// Universal Declaration of Human Rights ... //

Do you have a clue what Inherent rights are?

Quoting ghostperson:
They don't really manipulate language they lie and repeat the lies even when they are disproved. They keep repeating the lies until they are looped into the national psyche as a truth.

Thank God the democrats are immune to lying - the whole BenGazi thing was a response to insulting Islam,
Social Security is sound,
and Obama's medical plan forcing every American to buy a corporate product is not fascist.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 18:12
Inherent? Do you understand that we as a society define rights. In Nature there are no rights. The Bear has no more right to hunt for fish in a stream than the fish has a right to swim in it and live.

Do you have more of a right to the cave than a bear who lives in it or wants to live in it? Neither of you have a right to it. Nature is just survival. No property rights. Nada.

We define our rights. Societies define rights. Some rights are protected others are not. This is by social contract.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:31
// Do you understand that we as a society define rights.//

Defined? So I take it you have no idea what inherent rights are.

Inherent rights cant be granted from others to you - Their source is God for the Thiest or Nature for the Athiest.
An inheretn right to Life liberty, happyness.

Just because a band of thugs can take away your right to life -- they can kill you, no one no band of thugs (with or with out a governement badge) can give you your life back once it is gone.

Privileges are what you and the vast majority of other government trained folks falsely believe is as rights. Privileges can be granted - revoked and granted again by political definition.

Today I have a "right" (a political privilege) to have some one else pay for my condoms - yesterday and tomorrow I do not.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 18:52
Martintfre, you still have to pay health insurance premiums to get the government mandated benefit of no copay for birth control. It is not a privilege, you are paying for it monthly.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 02:03
Yes. Rights are a human construct. We define them. In Nature there are no rights. Does a Cheetah have a right to life? Does a Gazelle have a right to life? In order for the Cheetah to not violate the Gazelle's right to life he will starve.

Nature does not have property rights. There is no nature court that will uphold your right to property. If you can take the cave from the Bear the cave is yours till someone else takes the cave from you.

That Bible you are inferring is a govt invented by Man claiming to have a higher unquestionable authority than those same men who wrote it.

The same applies to your claim of source from deity. So live without any public govt. Those thugs come along. David Koch wants to build a railroad through that area and you are in the way. He hired them. They burn you down and kill you. Claiming one has rights from an almighty means nothing if there is no system to protect those rights. And granted with a public govt the same scenario pay have played out. Wink, you know that "free" market principle of govt makes no laws etc that hinder businesses from conducting business. You weren't murdered just a horrible accident.

Whole lot of people in prison right now who thought their rights superseded other people;s rights.
+1 # ghostperson 2012-12-03 19:14
Martinfre: Stick to a thread of a thought, any thought. The last bastion of the truly inept is employing the ever-moving target as a strategy for never having to finish an argument coherently.

You are so much fun. I literally cannot wait to see what fool thing you are going to say next. You have incredible entertainment value.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:34
//The last bastion of the truly inept is employing the ever-moving target //

The article is about entitlements and reforming them - that is Privileges for some to live at the expense of others.
I am on subject - insulting me is not.
0 # ghostperson 2012-12-06 14:37
The article is about entitlements and reforming them - that is Privileges for some to live at the expense of others.
I am on subject - insulting me is not.

What insult? Speaking the truth? You position and contort all topics so that they correspond to your immutable biases E.g. Entitlements/re form = "Privileges for some to live at the expense of others."

Few, if any, on this site share your perspective. From your 99.99% negative comment rating (and that is giving you the benefit of doubt) you are seen as out of touch figure like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Koch brothers.

Again I query, why do you participate in this site? You change no one's mind and are bombarded wth constant rejection. I don't recall ever seeing a "like" sign on any of your comments. You must like getting beat up.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 18:57
Mandating that everyone have insurance means everyone pays and there is a common pool to draw from to pay for health care. Nothing is given away for free.

If someone does not have access to care for their TB then you have the privilege of having a contagious person cough on you. I hope your immune system can fight it.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 02:05
He has an "inherent" right not to get TB so he is safe.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 18:49
I am a strong supporter, advocate of the Constitution of the United States as an attempt to build and create a more perfect union of humans in a society of just laws.

The term I think you are looking for, Martintfre, is not "inherent" it is "unalienable", as in

... "endowed by their Creator with certain UNALIENABLE Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed,... "

There is no mention of God, unless you consider your creator to be "God".

Government "of, by and for the people" and by the "consent of the governed SECURE these unalienable rights.
I mix the Gettysburg address here because I believe that Abe Lincoln was divine intervention in our nation, but that's just me.
+36 # Rich Austin 2012-11-30 14:55
When “too big to fail” financial manipulators came a’ calling Representatives Marcy Kaptor and Peter DeFazio offered an alternative to the Pauslon-Wall Street bailout proposal. It called on Congress to essentially do what Carl is now advocating! They had some backers, but after arms were twisted and backroom deals consummated, a majority of Congress caved-in. We know what we got...but it wouldn’t be polite to describe that act here in public.

Now here we are in déjà vu land. Last time it was Wall Street that won. Its investments in lobbyists and political donations brought them hefty returns while the rest of us got...oops, I still cannot use that word.

It’s time for us to show a bit of spunk (pardon the double entendre).

Call your Members of Congress. Call them early and often. Describe the Kaptor/Defazio/ Gibson alternative to them. Demand that they support it...this time.
+37 # Rich Austin 2012-11-30 15:38
There should be a litmus test as a precursor to running for office. Candidates should at least comprehend the policies of our nation.

Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights very clearly states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Right-wingers (and weak-kneed “centrists”) need to read Article 25. The U.S. helped draft it, and the U.S. voted for it. It is the policy of the United States. Don’t they teach government in our nation’s capital?

We’re all entitled to health care as a condition of being born homo sapiens. That’s it! That is the only price of admission! We’re all entitled to a decent standard of living and security in retirement. Our Declaration of Independence states that we have “certain inalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. That language provided the foundation for Article 25.

We’re all entitled to receive that to which we are entitled...Soci al Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other components of a social pact that began when this nation declared its independence. Let’s not allow right-wing revisionists to tell us otherwise!
+25 # coberly 2012-11-30 15:42

what does this have to do with anything.

do you really believe with Ayn Rand that taxes are theft and theft is murder because money is time and time is life?

you wouldn't live 12 hours in a country with no taxes.
+28 # Mannstein 2012-11-30 16:24
Isn't she the one who leeched off Medicare and Social Security when she stopped rambling on about everyone for him or herself?

And didn't her chief disciple Paul Ryan leech of Social Security when his father died?

Nothing personal, just asking.
+22 # bingers 2012-11-30 17:40
Quoting Mannstein:
Isn't she the one who leeched off Medicare and Social Security when she stopped rambling on about everyone for him or herself?

And didn't her chief disciple Paul Ryan leech of Social Security when his father died?

Nothing personal, just asking.

Of course they did. Conservatism requires hypocrisy.
+4 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:27
Yes, Ryan is also a hypocrite.
+2 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:25
Not certain about the medicare but SS definitely. Just read about it.

Guess Ayn Rand preferred to live in our decadent system than in a Gulag.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:36
Quoting ghostperson:
Not certain about the medicare but SS definitely. Just read about it.

Guess Ayn Rand preferred to live in our decadent system than in a Gulag.

Rand Fled the country of Gulags and did not want that repeated here.
0 # ghostperson 2012-12-06 14:23
No she wanted to recreate them here through enlightened self interest also known as profligate selfishness at the expense of humanity.
+13 # Smokey 2012-11-30 18:11
[quote name="coberly"]martinfre

"you wouldn't live 12 hours in a country with no taxes."

I've been to Somalia during recent years and some areas are really very charming. No tax collectors in sight and very little government. You can buy and sell anything that you like. However, it's best to travel with armed guards and do try to get back to civiization as quickly as possible.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:39
Somolia is no capitalistic paradise. There Is a role for government to perform and that role is equal protection of inherent rights to life, liberty , property and pursuit of happiness.

Else there is the anarchy of competing gangs and it is almost impossible to build any kind of stable society when your possessions that are out of sight will disappear wiping out any time, labor and long term planning one has put into them.

People can survive there - but they wont thrive.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 19:13
Property is a regulated commodity not an unalienable right.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:37
Quoting JJS:
Property is a regulated commodity not an unalienable right.

your body , your mind, your life are inherent properties unique to you.
0 # JJS 2012-12-18 06:01
I disagree. These things you mentioned , your body , your mind, your life, are "endowed by (y)our creator". However, per the US Constitution, your body , your mind, your life can be deprived of you or controlled following and through due process of law.
This is the area of discussion we need to take this conversation. What can we the people do to ensure just laws?
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 19:17
You can be SECURE in your "..persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, ..." but you don't have a right TO these effects.
+29 # chrisconnolly 2012-11-30 15:51
Here here. Inclusion of the corporate entitlements should be first on the spending cuts table. The big corporates are breaking our treasury and we the little people's financial backs. Why do these multi-billion dollar corporates need soooo many subsidies, tax loopholes and bail outs if they are soooo profitable? The republicans have no shame. They hang their hats on junk science and junk derivatives to champion tax cuts for the rich and ultra-rich while advocating cuts to food stamp programs. How do they sleep at night?
+16 # bingers 2012-11-30 17:41
When the country did well, corporations paid 35% of the taxes, now they pay 9%. See any correlation between that and recession?
+25 # kalpal 2012-11-30 16:11
Who is entitled to social security without having paid into it for at least 40 quarters?

Who is entitled to medicare with having paid into it?

Who is entitled to pay extremely low taxes simply by paying some lobbyists to write and introduce legislation that coddles them by paying such low rates?
+33 # fredboy 2012-11-30 16:15
Martinfre, thanks for your concerns but you should not assume. I worked hard, spent little, saved lots and even got to "retire" early by choice when assholes were appointed to our "management" team--you guessed it, dwarf Repug born agains who went to church every time the door was open and practiced greed, treachery, and backstabbing in the workplace. My point is I believed in and paid into these programs, they were sound before Repugs grenaded them, and I believe my generation and the next will fight to preserve and enhance them--we OWN them. And we will. And run the jackals out of the House--a great start. And it's coming.
+11 # reiverpacific 2012-11-30 19:04
Quoting fredboy:
Martinfre, thanks for your concerns but you should not assume. I worked hard, spent little, saved lots and even got to "retire" early by choice when assholes were appointed to our "management" team--you guessed it, dwarf Repug born agains who went to church every time the door was open and practiced greed, treachery, and backstabbing in the workplace. My point is I believed in and paid into these programs, they were sound before Repugs grenaded them, and I believe my generation and the next will fight to preserve and enhance them--we OWN them. And we will. And run the jackals out of the House--a great start. And it's coming.

Save your breath and digits mate.
I have given up rattlin' this and other empty cans encased in concrete skull caps..
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 15:43
// I believed in and paid into these programs, they were sound before Repugs grenaded them, //

FredBoy:: your only blaming half of the problem - Democrats gladly agreed to the spend the money now and fund it with IOU's later .. and now is yesteryears later.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 02:13
No, the other half of the problem are voters like yourself. Reagan and both Bushes spent and borrowed.
+9 # grouchy 2012-11-30 18:59
And it will be a test to see if Obama will break his habit of caving in to these assholes and show he has the balls to represent us who voted for him! I'm holding my breath on this one.
+15 # tbcrawford 2012-11-30 19:20
Instead of all the name calling and clever comments, why don't you all join in the demand for a financial transaction tax. A good suggestion and happy to see it picked up occasionally, but we need to fight for it. Would generate lots of revenue and curtail (hopefully) some of the wild trading that often goes awry.
+14 # Bruce Gruber 2012-11-30 19:39
There are a couple of possible explanations why the likes of Martinfre, Robert Eagle and similar alleged true believers in the myths of 'free' markets, trickle-down job creation, self regulation,the invisible hand and 'god almighty on OUR side' add their nonsense to our articulation of frustrations, wishes, ideas and hopes.

First, they can't get any attention from Erik Erikson or Rush Limbaugh - but at least they can get noticed here.

Or, maybe their missionary zeal in efforts to convert progressives to regressivity or anti-intellectu alism represents a faith-based commitment to proselytizing conservative dogma regardless of its Luddite foundations.

Then again, their desperate assumptions of lottery success for ALL following unleashed and unregulated insider capitalism suggest a fearful whistling in the dark against forces they cannot comprehend.

But, then, maybe it's just old fashioned resentment against sharing, caring and bearing the burdens of life together ... or the fact that President Obama symbolizes freedom from slavery and forever ends the myth of white supremacy ... who cares .. really?! Their spittle and gnashing offers clear insight into the Goebbels techniques of propaganda and mob mentality that have dumbed-down American education and discourse since McCarthy and Wallace. They are clear proof of how far we have to climb to reach the light.
+9 # DaveEwoldt 2012-11-30 23:30
Hey Bruce, actually, bush the lessor ended the myth of white supremacy forever :-)
+4 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:30
No shit. And that is the most erudite comment I have every made. Bush and Honey Boo Boo.
+7 # dovelane1 2012-12-01 05:35
Bruce - I think it may be more basic than that. My guess is that men like Martinfre learned to believe that to be male means one cannot allow themselves to be weak. They learn to view caring is a weakness in many life situations, and can't handle seeing themselves as weak.

What needs to happen is that we change the definition and understanding of what weakness really involves.

To many men, vulnerability is seen as a weakness. The irony is that only a truly emotionally strong and aware male can handle sharing their vulnerability. Ironically, vulnerability is a trait that all human being share, and one of the things that connects us to all other human beings.

It is the denial of one's vulnerability that causes most men problems. It is the attempt to keep the facade of strength and invulnerability between us and other people that doesn't allow men to understand or value their connections with or to other people.

Trying to avoid the pain involved with vulnerability, we also avoid the pleasure. At the same time, as soon as one feels vulnerable, the main response is to blame someone else for the feeling. Once one blames someone else, nothing can change, because they are trying to change the wrong person.
+1 # JJS 2012-12-06 05:23
In my personal experience there are women, too, who see vulnerability as a weakness. It took a few "humbling experiences" for me to "ask for help" and not feel as if I were a burden to others. In fact, I learned those who helped me were so thankful for the opportunity to give to me as I was always ready to give help and support to others. I just was loath to ask for help in return. It is ignorant, weak and selfish when you don't know you need help or are unwilling to ask for it.
+4 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:29
I too question the same ilk's participation because it doesn't produce discourse only invective--both ways.
+3 # dbriz 2012-11-30 20:46
The "myth of free markets" is just that. They are mythical.

We don't have, have not had, and are unlikely to ever have, "free markets".

The Federal Register lists all government regulations and is approximately 75,000 pages. We presently employ almost 250,000 people in government regulatory agencies.

If folks want to debate whether there are too many regulations against one group and/or not enough against another, so be it. Have at it.

But let's quit pretending that this has anything to do with "free markets".
+6 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-01 01:59
Free Market is mythical alright not in the say you see it though. Think of the Old South as the model of the Free Market. Think of the later industrial revolution in this country with its sweat shops and earlier with its indenture servants most of whom were forced into labor contracts.

The Free Market is only free for the 1% as it relies on slave labor and poverty wages.
-4 # dbriz 2012-12-01 10:22
Quoting DevinMacGregor:
Free Market is mythical alright not in the say you see it though. Think of the Old South as the model of the Free Market. Think of the later industrial revolution in this country with its sweat shops and earlier with its indenture servants most of whom were forced into labor contracts.

The Free Market is only free for the 1% as it relies on slave labor and poverty wages.

You make a contorted distinction in search of an argument.

The 1% benefit from gaming the markets and creating oligarchic, mercantilist policies in cahoots with government bribes and payoffs.

If you consider this an example of "free markets" you need remedial economic training.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 03:27
No you need a lesson in reality not utopia on paper economics. The so called Free Market is simply no govt interference in the market. This applies to REGULATIONS. That means no labor laws. No work safety laws. Etc. Hence we go back in time to 1890 and we have standard oil "sweating" out competition. That is it lowers its price of oil in all competitor markets to lower that its own costs till competitors are in economic trouble then it buys them out. In areas where it is the sole competition it raises the price to make up the loss. Eventually it owns ALL oil production. This is REAL LIFE history. There was no govt involved in that. People like the Kochs want this is so they can pollute our environment and pay us poverty wages. People are dying right now due the lack of enforcement of govt regulations on their businesses. All businesses need is for the courts to uphold their business contracts, patents, and copyrights. 1%ers are paying govt to look the other way.

There is NO such thing as a free market and never has been. It is always being gamed. So do not be an asshat and think that govt regulations make the market not free. The Out South plantation owners exalted freedom. They quoted Jefferson. They were adherents fo the free market. Care to know what kind of labor they chose to use? If you need a more modern example look up recent Saipan of what a Free Market actually does.

So a free market does not mean the 98% are in fact free.
+1 # Mannstein 2012-12-02 09:08
I would add there is no free market if one entity in the economy i.e. the FED can manipulate the money supply. The money supply is artificially set by a group of powerful individuals not by market forces.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 23:07
How can the market forces without a central authority regulate a monetary supply that does not cause depressions? Long before the Fed we had depressions. 1873 till 1900 is known as the long depression. The Fed did not exist then. Wall Street gave out too many housing loans in Europe and Railroad loans in the US. The economy tanked and the rest of the 1870s we were in a great depression. In the 1890s we went into another great depression.

We currently have Supply and Demand being manipulated to jack up prices. There is nothing natural about the economy. It is all man made, all man subjective etc. The term Free Market is only meant for chattel like Dbriz to think he is free by having it.
0 # Mannstein 2012-12-03 00:29
A free market is no guarantee against depression. Nor is a central authority which regulates the money supply able to prevent depression. We are in a depression now in spite of the fact that the FED is injecting $40 billion per month into the economy.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:46
//We are in a depression now in spite of the fact that the FED is injecting $40 billion per month into the economy.//

We are probably in a depression BECAUSE the FED is forcing a $40 Billion/ month inflation tax -- that is the ultimate redistribution of wealth from those who create it to those controlling the printing press. Bailing out the banks was/is a major contributer to the economic down turn as well.

Read what the President of the Terrorist state of Iceland has said::

"...we did not pump public money into the failed banks. We treated them like private companies that went bankrupt, and we let them fail..."
Olafur Ragnar Grimsson democratically elected President of the terrorist state of IceLand

Read more:
-3 # dbriz 2012-12-02 15:21 are now so anxious for an argument that you are arguing with yourself.

You say this:

"There is NO such thing as a free market and never has been. It is always being gamed. So do not be an asshat and think that govt regulations make the market not free. The Out South plantation owners exalted freedom. They quoted Jefferson. They were adherents fo the free market. Care to know what kind of labor they chose to use? If you need a more modern example look up recent Saipan of what a Free Market actually does.

So a free market does not mean the 98% are in fact free."

So, in one breath you admit that a "free Market...never has been", (exactly what I said in my original post) and then proceed to argue against something that has "never" existed.

It must get tiring chasing your own tail...but carry on...
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 22:55
It is obvious you know little about what a free market is and how it does not mean freedom for all of us. You were going on about we do not have one for the sole reason of regulations. Read your original post. What is your implication? It is denoting that free market means freedom for all of us when it does not. We removed banking regulations and we got a financial meltdown because of it.

The classical definition of a free market means no govt regulations, ie govt does not interfere with the market. This concept is based on that market forces will work themselves out but in fact merchants conspire to game the system WITHOUT govt either way. They do so by forming monopolies, cartels, price fixing, etc hence while we create regulations such as anti trust laws to make sure the market keeps moving and allows others to fairly enter the market.

What I was arguing against was your implication of regulations do not make us free. Free Market just means the Kcchs get to pollute with no one being able to sue them. I would not call that any semblance of freedom but hey if you want to live in the past and work 12+ hours a day 6 days a week for poverty wages and live in abstract poverty then go ahead. As well as bring back child labor etc to include no vacation pay, no sick pay, nada.
-3 # dbriz 2012-12-03 10:33 really is time for you to get off the merry-go-round.

You have agreed with everything I stated in my original post and continue to be in denial.

I said "we have never had a free market". You have agreed.

Then you go on to give a "classical definition" of something you say we have never had. Why the need to define it then? Are you paid by the word?

I also said:

"If folks want to debate whether there are too many regulations against one group and/or not enough against another, so be it. Have at it."

What in this statement says anything about " gov't regulations..."?

If you want to argue in favor of more or less regulations fine. Go for it. It has NOTHING to do with "free markets".

I understand that it is much easier for you to create a straw man argument about "free markets" to promote your agenda.

This is quite typical on both the right and left, and no less detrimental to honest political discourse coming from the left than the right.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:26
Why not read your ENTIRE post and not just that one line. The classical definition is known as laissez faire economics. My point was that without regulations we still do not have a free market because the classical definition is only insinuating that public govt regulations are bad. The free market does not relate to FREE labor. It only relates to govt interference in the market. So taking Indian land and enslaving them does not violate the free market principle. You obviously have been lied to. Nor does taking oil off the market to jack up the price then selling back to the market.
-2 # dbriz 2012-12-03 14:51
Yes Devin...brillia nt even if a bit convoluted.

The World According to Devin:

We've never had free markets but let's argue about them anyway.

"Taking oil off the market to jack up the price then selling back to the market" doesn't "violate the free market (which we've never had by the way) principle".

"The free market (did I mention that we've never had them?) doesn't relate to free labor.

And, here I suggest your campaign slogan to run on:

"So taking Indian land and enslaving them does not violate the free market (that we've never had) principle"

Devin...brillia nt! You are a regular Chauncey Gardiner.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 18:30
Your original post related to this article how? You went on about the number of regulations that exist with the number of employees to enforce those rules then state a free market does not exist. 1+1= what to you?

I stated it does not exist in how YOU think it is and that is because I do not buy the classical definition. You were not referring to slave labor were you but regulations? One of those regulations is that slave labor is not allowed. Classical def of Free Market refers to regulations not whether labor is free or not. This includes safe working conditions.

Proponents of the Free Market simply want to exploit our environment and us. The Free Market is let the market decide but who is the market? Classical def is only saying PUBLIC govt is not interfering but private govts, ie merchants/corps do all the time. Hence my oil reference.

So as I said Free Market is not free but not due to public govt regulations. If you think we do not have enough regulations you certainly would not have stated the number and the number of employees to enforce them. You obviously feel that those number or regulations do not make us have a free market?
-2 # dbriz 2012-12-03 20:59
I have to give this much. You may have set new record for the use double negatives on one thread.

May your markets be always not free and not regulated by too many not classical definitions.

You are one entertaining dude.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 10:45
Why not go back and read your original post and explain why you mentioned the number of regulations we have and the number of employees who work those regulations and how that relates to a free market. Could you be honest for once? You did not mention monopolies, cartels, price fixing, etc which are all done outside of govt regulations. Do you think those are ok? Does it make the businesses who are outside of that cartel free?

laissez faire = free market. They are one and the same. That is the classical definition. When I say that it is in the dictionary. It is not free labor or safe working conditions etc. It does not mean you and I have freedoms etc. It just pertains to business transactions being free from govt saying yes or no etc.
+1 # JJS 2012-12-06 19:27
I LOVE regulation. Regulation is our FRIEND! Regulated and legally enforced regulations. Mmmmmmmmmmm, regulation.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 02:20
Yes I know. Child Labor laws should be abolished so the market can be free to break their backs.
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:31
//Think of the Old South as the model of the Free Market//

Foolishly pretending that a government protected slave state has anything to do with freedom shows a sad lack of knowledge.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:18
You're just proving that we can't have "freedom" by "letting the market decide".

In a "free market", the market may be free to do whatever it likes - INCLUDING enslaving human beings.

Being a typical conservative you can't tell the difference between the market and humanity.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:48
//In a "free market", the market may be free to do whatever it likes - INCLUDING enslaving human beings./

Slavery has nothing to do with freedom -- and slavery only last with government protection.

Legitimate government protects the rights of all people equally.
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-08 03:31
Just out of curiosity, do you believe in the idea of slave-wages? When the corporations are controlling the government, which is apparently where we are heading, won't the middle class end up working for slave-like wages? And isn't that what fascism is basically all about?

Middle class wages have gone down almost steadily since 1970, with a brief peak at the end of the Clinton administration. Since Clinton left office, middle class wages went down again, and corporate profits soared.

Under the "Right To Work" acts the conservatives are trying to pass in all states, the middle class has the right to work - for peanuts. We're losing the right to bargain collectively. Where is the freedom in this?

Isn't this just another FORM of slavery? I don't see the all of the richer people in this country fighting to raise the wages of the middle class.

To me, it is this attempt by the wealthy to make people wage slaves that we need the government to protect us from. With all the money and lobbyists, and few regulations with any teeth, the corporations seem to be attempting to take the government out of the equation.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 22:34
We fought a war over it. So learn something for once. The South seceded for the very reason of NOT being able to have slave labor. They wanted a FREE market to where the govt did not tell them they could not have slaves,ie regulate commerce. Slaves were PROPERTY and thus the govt protected property rights. The Federal govt to include all Northern states were becoming increasing hostile towards slavery.
-3 # dbriz 2012-12-03 11:03
Jesus, you are unbelievably dense.

Lincoln fell all over the South promising them he would "do nothing" to interfere with slavery. He even entertained a Constitutional Amendment to protect it.

Do you even understand the definition of the word "free"?

You cannot have a free market (even hypothetically) if one group (slaves)is denied the opportunity to market their labor skills.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:43
LOL, really so the 13th amendment that HE pushed on Congress BEFORE the Civil War ended was really about protecting slavery? All this time I thought it was about abolishing slavery and saying the federal govt had the authority to make legislation enforcing it. We call that a type of regulation buuuuddeee! See he did not want the southern states back in the union yet otherwise that amendment would have never passed. He had the support of the North and enough of the border states. His initial comments on slavery were to keep the border states in the Union.

I know what the word free means but when you put it in front of free market it does not mean what YOU think it means. It means laissez faire economics and again that is no govt regulations. It means let businesses do what they want to do. The ONLY govt interference is the courts upholding contracts. Otherwise how can anyone do business if you cannot trust that the contract will be honored. The courts allow some level of certainty. Northern states had been passing laws abolishing slavery long before the 13th amendment. As well as those Southern owners could not take their slaves with them anymore to visit their rich northerner friends.

Proponents of the Free Market are laissez faire economists. They do not believe in the principles of Keynes economics etc.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:50
//They wanted a FREE market to where the govt did not tell them they could not have slaves,...//

actually they wanted an UNFREE state - member states of the Confederacy were required in their constitution to support slavery.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 03:12
Martin, Free States vs Slave States applied to LABOR. Northern states one by one had been abolishing slavery. All had passed laws to that by 1804. You could not employ slaves. You had to pay people a wage. Laws were set to phase it out as well. Much of the northern slaves were freed as British forces swept through an area.

This country really does not talk of the 200 year history of northern slavery. Our revolution pretty much wiped it out when we got rid of the Crown. The blight we had was keeping it in the South.

Free Market means the MARKET is free NOT the LABOR.

White men were FREE Martin for the most part in the South. It is lovely how you twist it back to this govt is inherently evil. Martin those plantation owners did not need the govt's permission to buy and own slaves. The govt did not force them to own them. It simply did not make a law saying no one could own slaves. People tend to say hey it does not say it is illegal to do that hence why we get most of our laws Martin. The govt does not make a law saying if one want to put poison in bubble gum you can. It simply makes no mention of it till some dick does it.

What you are missing is the govt had to make a law stating that slavery was not a protected right. That is what the 13th Amendment is saying. The Confederacy did not want people to want govt to make laws saying slavery was illegal.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:41
//It is lovely how you twist it back to this govt is inherently evil. //

Government is a tool. That tool has the unfortunate tendency to inherently attract evil people who will use it to force from others what they could not honestly earn.

It is no mistake that the US Constitution places limits on the power of Government.
+1 # ghostperson 2012-12-03 19:20
The "slaves" again. What is with you and this slave thing? I have a theory about obsessive compulsions, the more a group or person talks about them the more severely disordered they are regarding such issues. E.g.'s LDS fundamentalists , Christian values moralists: Jimmy Swaggart, Larry Craig, Jim Baker and Ted Haggart.
+11 # NAVYVET 2012-11-30 20:46
Good article! Big business in this country hasn't been anything ebnvisioned by Adam Smith in THE WEALTH OF NATIONS since the post Civil War robber barons and Wall Streeters, who, for all their sins and the freebies like railroad rights-of-way given to the rich, were at least putting people to work in THIS country.

Not even the FDR reforms were a real revolution. Had there been no WWII it's likely that we could have gradually recovered and thrived in a civilian economy, but the world war, the Cold War and its continuing hot ones created massive deficits, killed and maimed our youth, and reoriented citizens to think that businesses had to be "BIG" and "CRITICAL TO DEFENSE". Since we'd become imperialists worldwide, we did have people working--but in the wrong industries, polluting the air and water, for the wrong ends. It won't be easy to change this, but we must.
+7 # Lao Tzu 2012-11-30 22:38
People stop quibbling among yourselves. Perhaps everybody should email a link to this article to Obama, and your senator and house of Representative congress person
+8 # Rich Austin 2012-11-30 23:16
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires”

Too bad the masses do not realize that truism. All the Ayn Rand groupies would actually love living in a social democracy despaite their protests to the contrary.

Currently there are 3.1 million millionaires in the U.S. (For this example, a "millionaire is defined as someone with cash assets of at least a million dollars. It does not real property, stock, etc.)

Don't hold your breath Randies, the odds are overwhelminly against you.

But please know this: Everytime you bash the poor you endanger the social safety net that you will need when your employer boots you to the curb and replaces you with a busload of exploited children.
+6 # DRPJJ 2012-11-30 23:55
Wow, Wouldn't that be a neat coup? Sure we'll deal with entitlements, just not those you think. Have said right along that the 1% are the ones acting "entitled." Let them pay for taking advantage of all they've been able to acquire through robbing the working class.
+6 # dovelane1 2012-12-01 06:00
When you hear someone tell you they got rich through hard work, ask them "Whose?"

To me, the whole idea behind "socialism" is we are all in this together. Anyone who is fear-based in their outlook, wants to have power over others, not power with. Given that attitude, they will never consider the possibility that we are, indeed, all in this together.

The "I've got mine. Screw you!", how much can I squeeze out of you, mentality has led us to where we are now. When it comes to dealing with overpopulation, the climate change issues. and the resulting issues of malnutrition, dehydration, and starvation, this attitude is strictly anti-social, and, I believe, will lead to the annihilation of the earth as we know it.

To me, the problem that feeds this attitude is that these people focus their judgments of themselves solely on their intentions, and rarely on the consequences of their decisions.

To them, they've learned to define success as amassing a fortune without regard to consequences. Their learned definition of "success" is extremely narrow, and doesn't usually involve caring about anyone else but themself, and those who support that goal.

Focusing strictly on their intention of amassing a fortune, they ignore or are in denial of the long-term consequences of their decisions. And here we are.
+1 # MidwestTom 2012-12-01 09:19
Carl, I 100% agree. Two possible rules: You can only be 'insurance' (derivatives) to cover your actual exposer to a potential event; and when you buy a stock you must own it for 48 hours.
-9 # coberly 2012-12-01 11:16
I have noticed that people who say "it's just math" can't think very clearly.

suppose you go to the grocery store and buy 100 dollars worth of groceries. you only want to pay 98 dollars, so the store finds some "rich" guy and makes him pay the extra two dollars. Are you still "paying for your own" groceries? suppose a hundred other customers do the same thing, and they make the rich guy pay the 2 dollars for each of them.

and the rich guy doesn't get any groceries out of the deal.

that is exactly what you are proposing... the rich guy pays for your groceries, saving you two dollars and costing him 200 dollars. it's just math.

only the rich guy is going to say "to hell with this"... and because we are talking about Social Security which is just a very smart way to make sure you have enough of your own money left over to buy groceries after you stop working.. that rich guy is going to call it "welfare" and find a way to prevent you from saving your own money protected by the government.

your smart plan to make the rich guy pay will result in you not having enough to eat when you are old.
+3 # Mannstein 2012-12-02 21:50
Here is some math for you. Suppose the Social Security Trust Fund had not been raided to pay for the illegal Iraq war as well as other Corporate give aways, the rich with the rest of us would have had to have our taxes raised to pay for these useless expenditures. Instead the money that came into the fund was ripped off to pay the freight and replaced by US Treasuries. Now that we have a deficit the fat cats want the politicians to refuse to honor these same US Treasuries so that their taxes won't have to increase.

The US government takes in $1.1 Trillion from the SS payroll deductions (FICA) and $900 Billion from Income, Corporate, Dividend, Capital Gains Taxes etc. per year. If you get rid of the SS program and cut out FICA deductions the gvt. would be in the hole for $1.1 Trillion per year. But the rich want workers to continue paying FICA while at the same time lower the SS benifits and still raid the fund so their taxes stay the same or even go down. Now if I were a greedy Wall Street gangster who has had it drummed into him since birth that I'm entitled I would also be convinced that this swindle is justified. Romney said it himself, the retirees, veterans, handicapped etc. are moochers. He conviniently forgot to mention his friends the Corporate leeches are also on the government teat.

Let the US pay SS benefits with US Treasuries which are honored by the full faith and credit of the USA. If it defaults the fat cats will take a hit along with the rest of us.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:33

the Trust Fund is being paid back as promised.

I agree about the illegal war and all the other bad stuff our government has been doing.

but that has nothing to do with what it will take to keep your Social Security.

The bad guys want to kill it.... perhaps for the reasons you say. but trying to make the rich pay for your social security will just make the rich agree with the bad guys.

many of them already do, because they hear stuff like Billy Bob spouts, only the believe that it already works that way.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 19:44
"the Trust Fund is being paid back as promised."

Nuh uh! No it is not! The revenue for SS trust fund still exceeds outlays.
0 # JJS 2012-12-06 19:41
Read this coberly,

Suppose you earn or have 99% of the wealth? Shouldn't you pay 99% of the taxes?
-4 # coberly 2012-12-01 11:18

and why shouldn't we all eat in the same kitchen?

sure the rich are doing fine, but we still have some idea of what we "earn" and what we pay for ourselves.

the rich pay most of the income tax (even if they are not paying enough), trying to make them pay for your retirement will just cause them to make sure you never get to retire.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-01 11:20

that would turn SS into welfare, and the rich will not pay for your retirement, one way or another they will destroy your ability to retire, ever, before they do that.

don't be so damn greedy. you can pay for your own retirement just like your parents did. it will cost you an extra eighty cents per wee per year because you are going to live longer than your parents.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-12-01 13:51
In reply to the comment you keep trying to drive down, Social Security is called "SOCIAL" Security - NOT "personal" security. It's a SOCIAL (i.e. SOCIETAL) program for the benefit of the entire country. NOBODY personally funds their own Social Security. Nobody ever did. Each generation of workers pays for those who are already retired. That's the way the system was set up to function. It REQUIRES a sense of responsibility that we are all in this together and that we are all members of the same country and that we only succeed by taking care of all of our citizens - based on the fact that it's needed.

Just like the rich benefit from public schools, and public infrastructure even though they don't fund it, we all benefit from a publicly funded Social Security system, and there's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't all be paying the same percentage of our income to fund it.
-7 # coberly 2012-12-01 14:56
billy bob and others

i am trying to keep the Big Liars from destroying Social Security. Your greed and ignorance is helping them.

NO doubt you would be gald to have "the rich" pay for your dinner every day. But for some reason that idea has never caught on with the rich who run things, and the poor who still have some pride.

You can make up your own "reasons"... such as your precious "reasoning" on the word "Social", but you would do better if you actually knew how Social SEcurity works and why FDR insisted that you pay for it yourself: it is the only way it has a chance in hell of surviving.

paying for it yourself would cost you an extra eighty cents per week. but if you are too dumb or greedy for that, you can let the congress turn it into welfare and take your chances on the quarterly visit to the government proctologist to prove you have no hidden assets.

if that's the way you want to live, fine, but don't drag the rest of us down with you.
+5 # Billy Bob 2012-12-01 16:09
But, once again, NOBODY pays for Social Security themself. The amount you put into Social Security is much much much less than what you take out of it.

It's not greed to ask all of us to contribute to the welfare of all of us. It's greed to say I don't need this program, so fuck everyone who does.

I realize you're getting angry at the rest of us for not buying into your philosophy, but insulting the intelligence of everyone who disagrees with you only furthers the point that selfishness is the opposite of being a decent citizen in an advanced country.

If you don't want to be "dragged down" by the responsibilitie s of citizenship in the U.S., go somewhere where you have absolutely no responsibility to anyone but yourself. Go somewhere where citizenship doesn't require anything from you. Somalia would be a good place to start your adventure. Don't forget to write!
-4 # coberly 2012-12-01 17:36
billy bob

everyone pays for themselves. when you retire, your contributions, which have been recorded, are used to determine your benefit.
the amount you put in is much less than you will get because of an effective interest that comes automatically from pay as you go financing with wage indexing.

i assume there are greedy rich people who want to kill social security because they don't get anything out of it. what i can't understand is greedy "poor" people who are willing to kill the program by trying to make the rich pay for it.

i am not talking philosophy here, i am talking, first of all, about Social Security... which is not welfare for a reason. it works because it is not welfare. you want to turn it into welfare.

i am not woried about being dragged down by the responsibilites of citizenship. i a am woried about being dragged down into poverty or welfare slavery by a few ignorant (not an insult, a fact) greedy people who think sticking it to the rich is more important that saving the program that has kept most Americans out of poverty for over seventy years.

you are the one advocating taking no responsibility for yourself. mush headed remarks about Somalia may be fun to say, but they don't mean anything.

Somalia doesn't have Social Security. neither will America if people like you don't figure out how it works and why it works.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 13:50
You're all over the map. You said above, that "you" probably pay $2,000 a year in Social Security. The average person receives $1,230 a month. Unless I'm as stupid as you're telling us we all are, there are 12 months in a year...

...and $14,760 is whole hell of a lot more than $2,000.

You also didn't pay the same amount into Social Security in 1968 as you did in 2011.

You seem pretty invested in an argument that won't allow for the fact that Social Security requires community participation. Why is that?
-3 # coberly 2012-12-02 17:21
Billy Bob, try to keep track of the difference between "what you pay in" and "what you get out."

you probably pay in about 6% of 30,000 dollars or so. That's about 2000 a year.

When you retire, you will probably take out in "adjusted dollars" about 12000 a year. This is a little less than average, because the person i was talking sounded like she earned a little less than average. it is also 6% not 12% because i don't think she works for herself, and whatever the economists say, average workers are not in a position to bargain for the "emplyers share" if SS did not require the employer to pay it.

now, 2000 a year times forty years equals about 80,000 dollars, plus the employers share is about 160 thousand dollars, and you are "expected" to live about 15 years (change these numbers to suit yourelf, you won't change the point) is about 11 thousand a year. I hope you can see that is close enough to 12 thousand that "you paid for it yourself.

what complicates the picture is that "adjusted wage. it is adjusted to reflect the change in average wages over the years and becomes an effective interest on your money which is always at least inflation, plus the average increase in wages over the years you have been paying.

SS does require community participation. it just doesn't require that the rich pay for it. and Roosevelt designed it that way to keep the rich from killing it. close enough yet?
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:21
But you're comparing what people put into it in today's dollars to what current recipients are receiving IN TODAY'S DOLLARS.

You DID NOT put $2,000 a year into it 40 years ago.

The average yearly income 40 years ago was $9,624.

Understand yet?
-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:37
Billy Bob

i said "adjusted dollars." if you knew anything at all about Social Security you would know what that means. Your contribution is "adjusted" to account for inflation and the rise in real wages over time. this provides an effective interest.

no. you did not put 2000 a year into it 40 years ago. you put about 600 dollars. adjust that for inflation and the rise in wages and it comes out about "2000" dollars.

i won't ask if you "understand yet" because i already know the answer. you are an ignorant fool. and rather than try to learn anything you try to make up for it with tough sounding talk.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:40
at the risk of repeating

"adjusted dollars" means that the 600 dollars you put in 40 years ago has been "adjusted" to account for inflation and the general rise in real wages. this provides an effective interest for your money.

if you knew anything at all about Social Security you would have known that. But you like the sound of your own voice talking tough.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:50
Again with your arrogance. If you put in 600 dollars that is ALL you put in. Adjusted amounts comes from OTHER workers.

Today's workers are paying yesterdays retirees HENCE why Greenspan to Ronald Reagan recommended doubling pay roll tax, raising the cap to cover more workers, and raising the age limit. This was to make the baby boomers who had LESS kids than their parents pay more into it since when they retire there would not be enough workers to cover payments. This increase back in 1983 would create 2.6 trillion dollars.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 18:08

if you put money in the bank, and they pay you back plus interest. the interest is "your" money... even though it comes from "other workers." this is very very basic "money and banking."
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 10:30
Dale, stop being arrogant as if you are the sole person of reason and knowledge, You are being intellectually dishonest to peddle your 80 cents scheme.. If I put in 2000 dollars a year in SS and I draw out 14K in retirement I am obviously taking out more than I put in. SS is NOT a savings acct. Your analogies are lame.

Stop trying to skirt that fact that today's workers are paying for today's retirees.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:46
Because he is one of those hired guns from right wing think tanks that come on these sites to fill us with their crap.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 18:09

would you find the right wing think tank that hired me and tell them their check is late.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 10:31
No tell them they have over paid you.
+3 # Mannstein 2012-12-01 17:57
@ Billy Bob

"The amount you put into Social Security is much much much less than what you take out of it."

Not so fast. Some people die shortly after they start to collect at age 65. A buddy of mine collected for 2 years then suffered a fatal heart attck. He had paid in for 30 years thus surely never got out what he put in. I do agree with you that we should all have Social Security nevertheless. Some people may get more out of it than others. Some people may even get less than they originally contributed. Think of it as life insurance paid out over time after eligibilty but stops after death. Sometimes the insurance company makes out i.e. early death sometimes the recipient makes out i.e. dies at age 100.

It's all in the statistics. Insurance companies use actuarial tables for a good reason.
-5 # coberly 2012-12-01 20:08

what you say is true, but unless you insist upon counting in "present value" (a dishonest way to compare what you get with what you might have gotten in a magic bank that always paid an amount sufficiently above inflation to make the magic work) "almost" everyone gets a lot more out of SS than he pays in.

the reason is pay as you go financing. you may have paid in your 6 or 12 percent on a salary of a 100 dollars a week. forty years later when you retire, those still working are paying in their 6 or 12 percent on a salary of 800 dollars a week. given reasonable equable population, this means you would be getting a lot more than you paid in. about half of that "lot more" is inflation, but if you were to invest on your own, even keeping up with inflation is not guaranteed and more often not achieved than most people realize. net result is that most people get an amount roughly equivalent to what they would have gotten from investing the money at five percent, more than ten percent if they are poor, and about 2% (real) if they are at the top of the earnings cap.

so he's right to say "people get a lot more than they pay in."
but he is completely wrong about why and how and what it means.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 13:53
I'm only refering to the statistics and not the realities specific people deal with. The same could be applied to private insurance. There are a few people who get more out of private insurance than they ever put in, but that's not the statistical norm, or it wouldn't be profitable. The whole point of Social Security is that no private company is profiting from it, so any benefit that is available is given to the people who need it. You're playing the odds. The odds are that if you make it to 62 or 65, you will live more than another 2 years.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-02 19:17
Billy Bob

if you make it to 65 the "odds" are that you will live another fifteen years. this is expected to increase to twenty years over the next seventy five years.

you pay a lot more for your SS insurance than for your fire insurance because the "odds" that you are going to retire too poor to live otherwise are very high... better than 50%. so if you are going to compare SS insurance to some other insurance don't be fooled by your "intuition" of what insurance is.

the fact is that "everyone" (except the few who do die too young.. and only if they don't have dependents who get the survivors benefit) gets more than they paid in. for the same reason you take more out of your savings account after forty years than you paid in. "interest." in the case of SS the interest is not earned by "investing" in specific stocks or lending to specific individuals, but just from the growth in the economy: you paid in in 1960's dollars, say, and you take out in 2010's dollars... adjusted automatically by pay as you go, not only for inflation, but for the average growth in wages. it doesn't matter that YOUR wages haven't grown... it's the average of the whole country that counts. (this is not entirely true, but close enough for a first pass).

and you better learn enough about "statistics" to now that it don't mean a thing if you can't relate it to the realities specific people deal with.

billy, i'm an expert at this. you are just throwing emotional mud pies.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:54
Congratulations on your self-appointed "expertise". It's a shame that, for such a "statistics expert", you're having such a hard time grasping the basic premise of what Social Security is. Being "an expert" should we assume you're just being dishonest?

It also cracks me up, how you're looking for a fight so hard that you even lecture me as if we disagree, even when we don't.

I'm aware of the existence of statistics. I'm glad that you are as well.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:43
Billy bob

i was goaded into claiming my expertise by the nonsense you keep spouting in your arrogant way. you are completely ignorant. i have studied this stuff, and people who understand it generally admit i know what i am talking about, even if they don't agree with me about the dangers of "scrapping the cap."

but in post after post you have revealed that you don't know a damn thing. and that is why i have lost my temper.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 23:12
Claiming yourself to be an authority is a fallacy. I see nothing at all that gives you any more authority than the rest of us.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 00:45

i agree with you. I can tell that i know more than the rest of you here. but there is no reason to expect you to know that, and it was an error.. a fallacy... for me to claim it. even if it is true.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:27
You can claim anything you want. We can tell that you don't know what you're talking about. If you want to go along with your notion that you, and only you, are privy to special knowledge that the rest of us just can't comprehend, you go right ahead and do that.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 18:11

no. lots of people know what i know. it's you who doesn't know anything but think you know everything.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:51
All you show is your own arrogance and actual lack of knowledge of what SS really is and how it pays out etc.
+3 # Mannstein 2012-12-03 02:07
"this is expected to increase to twenty years over the next seventy five years."

Not if Paul Ryan's plan to voucherize Medicare is adopted. In that case life expectancy will definitely drop. The US already has lower life expectancy than a lot of European countries. But then maybe reducing life expectancy is why the right wingnuts are for a voucherized system. They figure they can kill two birds with one stone. No pun intended.
+2 # bingers 2012-12-02 20:00
And millions die before reaching SS age.
+2 # ghostperson 2012-12-01 21:31
This is nonsensical.
-6 # coberly 2012-12-01 23:48

hard to tell what you are finding nonsensical.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:20
If you put your cursor on the right side of ghostperson's comment and scroll up, I think you'll find he/she is responding to your comment directed at me and "others".
+4 # ghostperson 2012-12-02 12:22
It's "word salad." I have read and re-read your commentary because I wanted to get a fix on your argument(s). You have a clear idea in your head that has built into it subjective premises and assumptions that do not make it into your response, thus, rendering it difficult to capture your intended meaning. Can you present it simply and declaratively? This is a request not a criticism.
-6 # coberly 2012-12-02 13:47
-6 # coberly 2012-12-02 13:48

i would be glad to try. hard to do in a blog. write coberly

at peak dot org.

meanwhile... SS was designed to be worker paid. FDR had to insist upon that to protect it from the politicians (the rich) who would turn it into welfare and kill it as they always do.

SS has nothing to do with the deficit... because the workers pay for it themselves.

Making the rich pay for it will turn it into welfare: they will be paying for something they get no benefit from. They will means test it and cut it until it is worthless as retirement insurance.

you can pay for it yourself with an eighty cents per week increase in the payroll tax each year. this is not a huge amount of money. it is money you will get back with interest when you retire.

none of that is subjective. it is "the facts" and of course "the math."
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:15
Workers already contribute to the Social Security of those who are already retired. People making $100,000 a year are surely not poor, but they ARE contributing to the Social Security benefit of those who are. Raising the cap or doing away with it altogether doesn't suddenly turn it into "welfare".

Stop trying to appease the rich. They already are trying to profitize Social Security. Telling them you'll do whatever it takes to make them happy isn't a way to protect it. It's just a way to let them off the hook for their responsibility to the "WELFARE" of our entire country.
0 # Mannstein 2012-12-03 02:20
"People making $100,000 a year are surely not poor"

All depends in which region of the country one resides in. In New York City you're not living large earning $100K. In fact you might have trouble making ends meet.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:31
There's nowhere in the country where $100,000 a year is "poor", unless maybe you're refering to Manhattan. The fact that people have trouble making ends meet makes them middle-class. Being poor is when it's almost impossible. Being poor is as different from the experience of someone struggling with a $100,000 income, as being middle-class is from owning dressage horses.

I've never been rich, but I have been both middle-class and poor. They are distinctly different, even though being middle-class is still full of fear and anxiety.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:53
Plus what is the median income overall? Half that 100K. Meaning half of all workers make that median and less.
0 # ghostperson 2012-12-02 18:59
I'll check out the site. Thanks.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-01 11:23
absolutely right.

but don't hold your breath. people will complain. but they will die before they DO anything.
+5 # dovelane1 2012-12-02 04:39
Coberly - There is a theory in psychology titled "learned helplessness." Basically, people do not learn how to be assertive. Their main choices in life then become passive or aggressive. I have wondered for a long time what this country would look like if every student in grade school through high school learned how to be assertive.

Of course, those who want to keep us chained to the plow, or the cubicle, probably wouldn't like that very much.

The one thing I haven't seen you mention or consider is the connection between the low wages many businesses want to pay their workers, and how much that person would get when they retired. WalMart comes immediately to mind.

Reich, Stiglitz, Krugman and many other economists have stated and shown how middle class wages have either stayed the same or gone down in the last 30 plus years. That $.80 you keep talking about would have gone in automatically had wages kept pace with the cost of living, AND if the bosses hadn't been so intent on taking care of only or mainly themselves.

I think the "rich" should pay more because they were making a lot more profit off the backs of their workers than they were paying in wages. To me, this is just another case of "I'm getting mine. Screw you."
+4 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 14:18
Thank you. Good logic. I don't think coberly is intersted though. He's too busy worrying that the rich will "suddenly out of nowhere" begin trying to destroy Social Security if they're asked to contribute their fair share.

Appeasement is never an affective strategy against an aggressor.
-5 # coberly 2012-12-02 19:52
billy bob

it's too bad you haven't understood a word i am saying.

try this

suppose you have a friend who makes twice as much as you do (it could happen), say you make 30k a year and he makes 60k.

you both decide that you like a certain model of car that costs 30k and decide that you will each buy one. you tell your friend that he should give you 10k, so that your "cost" for the car is 20k, and his cost for his is 40k... that's fair because he makes twice as much as you so he should pay twice as much for the same car.

try that. you'll find out why you don't have any friends who make twice as much as you do.

i doubt you will realize that when you talk so grandly about making the rich pay the same percent for SS as the poor, that they think you sound like a common criminal trying to steal their "hard earned" money.

and i don't hear you offering to pay "the same percent" of your wages in income tax as they do.

and while you think i am "defending the rich", actually i am trying to defend the poor by saving them from doing something stupid.
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 20:56
Would comparing Social Security to buying a car, be another example of you being "an expert at this"?
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:29

well yes. it's an example designed to illustrate a point.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:32
A poor example, since it is taken from a poor analogy that has nothing to do with Social Security.
+5 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 23:22
No you are not saving the poor whatsoever. Wages have been down for 30 years and IF kept on the same growth as that of the 70s we on average would have 25K in more income per year. That is a hell of a lot more towards SS than your meager 80 cents. And your analogies are lame. We all pay collectively for today's recipients of SS not for ourselves in the future. If raising the cap was not making SS welfare in the past then raising it today is not as well. You really need to stop as you are no authority on this.

-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:36

try to get a grip on the point. raising your own tax eighty cents per week.. each year... would save you from having to ask the rich man to raise his taxes a hundred thousand a year (if he makes a million a year). the rich man is not going to do that... unless he sees it as a wedge to be able to cut social security in the future when you can no longer say "i paid for it myself."

all your other "points" are irrelevant to that issue.

besides i can't see anything that looks remotely like quantitative logic in your argument. if you have 25k more in income per year, you would be paying about 3k more in payroll tax with no raise in the tax whatsoever. adding another one or two percent to that... depending on when you get there, most likely less than 1% would raise your tax about 600 dollars per year. you would come out 24,400 dollars ahead. and you would get the 600 back over a longer retirement at a benefit level about 50% higher than today's.

there is a difference between raising the cap to keep up with rising wages, and raising it to "tax the rich" a lot more than they will ever collect.

my analogies are not lame... you can't understand them because you are emotionally committed to taxing the rich to pay for your retirement.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:34
Yes you're right. ALL of us need to "get a grip"...

except you. You, and you alone, are the stable one on solid logical footing.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 12:59
LOL, Greenspan recommended to Reagan to double the pay roll tax, raise the cap to cover more workers, and raise the age limit.

The 25K has to do with our own prosperity. Whoosh over your head. That would more money in my pocket to save. I could buy more on earned income instead of credit.

No you analogies are lame not that I do not understand them. Once again SS is NOT only about retirement. SS fund pays for disabilities AND survivors benefits. It all comes out of the SAME fund paid by the SAME payroll taxes.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:39
oh, wait... i see where you got the 25k now. yes... if we had continued ont he 70's rate we would have more. we didn't so we don't. that's called reality. SS was designed to cope with that... it can't make you richer, it can only prevent dire poverty in old age by protecting your own savings from loss due to inflation and bad days on the market. that's what SS is. it's not a magic welfare program.

if you want to fix wages, fine. i'll join you in that fight. but don't load it on the back of SS... you'll kill SS and it won't help your wages.

i am not defending the rich. but the bad guys laugh when they hear you yell "tax the rich." they know where that leads.
+4 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 08:53
Yes, they do indeed know where that leads. In France it lead to beheading.

Coberly, I've been following this conversation, and it seems to me that what happened is that you were mislead or deliberately lied to by someone you thought knew what they were talking about. But your examples and reasoning concerning SS are for the most part just bogus. Period.

I'd suggest you start over.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 11:26

making tough sounding noises is not the same as knowing what you are talking about.

I have indeed been lied to. So I made it a point to study this from original sources, and I have always been good at analyzing numerical arguments... it's what they paid me for.

Note that is an assertion. There is no reason for you to believe it. And you won't believe it if you can't follow the argument.

Why don't you try to make a substantive objection to what I have been trying to say, and i'll see if I can help you understand it. I am not hopeful.
+2 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 15:00
Not a problem. You seem stuck on this $.80/wk increase in FICA for those currently paying into the system. Which may or may not work, but I'm perfectly willing to take your word for it rather than crunch the numbers myself. I already do enough of that in my research using non-linear dynamics to model steady-state economics, environmental carrying capacity, and population trends. Plus, since the SS system is currently solvent and in no danger for at least a generation or two, the 80 cents would provide a bit of additional padding. No harm, no foul.

You also seem to be stuck on the idea that raising the cap is equivalent to taxing the rich, which will only function to destroy the entire system. Interesting bit of hyperbole, I'd like to see some links to supporting peer-reviewed studies. Because actual history in America points to the exact opposite conclusion.

Be that as it may, the bottom line is that SS contributes nothing to the deficit, currently isn't in trouble, and is being used as a smokescreen so Democrats don't have to take a stance on taxing their rich buddies at levels closer to what was the standard when the American economy was the strongest in the world.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-03 16:42

The SS math is not hard... no need to do the actuarial stuff.. just read the Trusees Report. don't be stampeded by the gloomy language, but work out the implications of the numbers when you deconstruct them to "cost per worker per week." remember that the answer to that is still an average over 75 years and can be approached gradually by increasing the tax 1/37 of that amount each year.

If you don't like that way, CBO wrote an "Options for SS" in 2007 that says essentially the same thing if you read it carefully. the CBO report is outdated by the recession, but a modest "fix" is still in the same ballpark.

as for my being "stuck on the idea" if your raise the cap by a hundred thousand dollars, you will be taxing that rich man an extra 12 thousand a year, or about 500,000 over his working lifetime. he will notice that. and since unlike the guy currently at the cap, we won't get the money back, he won't like it. i don't see why it takes a peer reviewed study to understand that.

i know SS contributes nothing to the but if you make the rich pay... well, if you could do it through SS it would not affect the deficit for a while, but the rich would turn SS into a general budget welfare item in that case and then it would affect the deficit.

IF you look up NASI "Fixing SS" by Reno and Lavery, 2009, you will see I get a mention, as I do in EricLaursons book The People's Pension.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-03 16:53

I am sure you are very well educated and very competent.

But I think you should notice that it's 80 cents per week PER YEAR. it adds up, but it never adds up to much. and it is entirely reasonable that people who are going to be making more money should pay more for a retirement that is going to last longer with benefits that have greater real value than today's.

i don't think anyone has bothered to fund a peer reviewed study that shows that if you raise the taxes of the rich, they will try to find a way to lower them.
in the case of SS, if you make them pay for your retirement, they will demand that SS be means tested, or the retirement age raised. and you won't like that. hey have more influence in congress than you do. sorry no link.

moreover you will be doing exactly what Peterson has been saying you would do. as long as the cap is NOT raised, most of the rich don't care enough to bother. make them pay an extra ten or hundred thousand an year for your retirement, and they will care enough.

i can only guess that billybob et al don't want to hear this because they like the idea of a free lunch and "hate the rich" so much they fondle the idea of "making the rich pay." and of course i don't agree with them so i must be an enemy, a "shill for the rich." and they wonder why i get angry.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 19:57
NO it is because you are being arrogant and speaking as if you had authority. You had none. You offered no links to your claims whatsoever than to be an ass about it and say what you said was the law etc.

You have flipped back and forth in your comments, ie the rich don't pay then they are going to be concerned about a higher cap etc and all of a sudden want to destroy it. As well as asinine comments about the poor and oh yeah just get into a union and get a rep who is smarter than you.

And I hope you are not now having a conversation with yourself.

I do not hate the rich nor do I want a free lunch. I as well pay taxes right now that help others who are less fortunate than me. By your inference I should be mad as hell at those moochers and demand those free lunches stop. Damn you poor people why don't you just quit those jobs and get better ones and demand better pay. Be like Coberly. He knows how not to get exploited and move up that chain.
+2 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 22:39
Hey coberly... let's back the argument up a bit before we get lost in the details. There's an assumption you keep making that it seems many of us have a problem with--that the "rich" won't like having the cap raised. This seems to be your core reason for advocating the $.80/wk increase in the employee portion of the FICA deduction. If I'm mistaken in any of these aspects, let me know.

So, let's examine that assumption while taking into consideration what SS offers to an individual. It basically takes care of a minimum income after retirement or disability. There's more, but for now let's just consider those. And it does this while not being subject to market collapses.

SS pays out based on what was paid in. So, someone making $500K/yr for 40 years will get enough to not have to live on cat food should all their other market investments be wiped out due to the avarice of the market. Or maybe it's just extra chump change for them. Or maybe they're not sociopaths and don't mind contributing to those less fortunate. Or whatever. I just don't see a solid argument for the "rich" being so upset they'll make it their single-minded goal to destroy SS should the cap be raised--or better yet, removed entirely.

The only interest in SS that I've seen from the elites is to be able to gamble with the trust fund in the market. And to serve as a distraction for those who are easily manipulated.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-04 09:34

I would be very glad to try to discuss this rationally. But that turns out to be harder than I expected.

I accept you 2nd paragraph keeping in mind there may be disagreement later when we find out we don't each mean the same thing... but basically, yes, SS provides insurance against death, disability, and poverty in old age. There are some aspects of "insurance against poverty" that don't meet the intuitions many people have about "insurance"... but let that go for now.

SS pays out based on what was paid in... but not "linearly." that can be a stumbling block with some people who go crazy when you say "adjusted wage" and they think you are lying because you paid in less than you take out. and the Liars on the right say "present value" and claim you pay in more than you will take out... using present value dishonestly... because they are dishonest... or at least in a way that doesn't make sense... but that's another argument for another time. [cont.]
-3 # coberly 2012-12-04 09:38
well, the comment demon ate the rest of my reply.

too long to rewrite now. i will try again later.
+2 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-04 10:59
This is just an FYI... I keep a shareware text editor that handles multiple files open all the time, which is where I generally compose discussion replies. Oftentimes they provide the framework for blog posts or articles, but most often just keep the frustration at bay from comments that don't post, or don't post completely.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-03 16:55

on something important that i care about, i never take someone else's word for it. and "crunching" the numbers won't work. you have to UNDERSTAND the numbers.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:02
LOL, you said we need to agree on your 80 cents per week increase and THEN we can work on getting more pay.

25K comes from income disparity to where the upper crust increased greatly their share of income while the rest of ours slowed and stayed stagnant.

Your arguments have no bearing here. And again YES you are defending the rich.
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:33
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 00:42
My effective tax rate for Federal, State, and Local taxes is under 25%. Mittens paid 14% so yes I want to pay the percentage he paid.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:43
i don't know what mitt paid... he has better lawyers than i have.

but i suspect he paid 14% on federal, another 15% on state, another 5 or ten on local and property, and about 12k (not percent) for social security plus anotehr 3% for medicare.

you want to pay the same rate for ALL of your taxes that he paid for his Income tax.

I think he needed to pay much more in income tax. i don't think he needs to pay much more for your SS. i would guess you paid less than 3k for yours... and you will get it back plus interest (about 9k after all is said and done) when you retire.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:35
You can "assume" anything you want. The few tax returns he released tell all we need to know.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:11
This again shows that you are a shill for the rich. If I made what he made of course I would pay the same taxes. That is what Mittens released and it is less in percentage wise than MANY of us.

We all pay the same taxes up to a certain point. That is what a progressive tax structure is. My taxable income does not fall within the highest tax bracket. And if any of my taxable income were to only that amount would be taxed at that rate. So Mittens and I say on the first 10K or so pay the same rate. We pay the same rate for each tax bracket etc until either of us has no taxable income that falls within the next higher bracket.

With tax shelters, deductions, loopholes, etc one can lower their effective tax rate. That is the percentage derived from actual tax collected vs taxable income.

The interest you talk about does not come from thin air. It comes from OTHER workers currently paying into the system. All of us up the CEO pay payroll tax. If your sole income is considered capital gains then you do not pay payroll tax.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-02 23:34
No he is deluded. The cap has been raised several times and not once did it turn SS into welfare. SS as well does not pay only retirement. It pays for kids whose parents have died. It pays a lower income spouse whose spouse has died. It pays for disabled people. All of them collect SS. We all collectively pay today for those collecting SS today.

They already want to get rid of SS because they want to play with that money in private accts. We already pay double payroll tax for SS since the 80s which is a regressive tax. Meaning more burden is put on those making less Income tax which is progressive does not pay for SS but is called progressive because it is structured to put less burden on those paying less.

So ANYONE no matter their income who pays payroll tax is in fact contributed to SS BUT if they become disabled can apply for SS benefits. Raising the cap does not raise personal income tax but how much income payroll tax can be collected on. This is HOW Ayn Rand was able to collect SS because she had paid payroll taxes.

I guess we should not fight for better wages or they might outsource or off shore our jobs and threaten to keep our wages stagnant.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:49
yes, they already want to get rid of SS ... but politically they can't (a lot of the "rich" are not on their side).

you don't pay double SS tax. you pay enough to pay for your retirement. you are paying a little more than past generations if you are a boomer because they had a larger population following them. you will have a smaller (relatively) population following you. if you are a post boomer, you are paying a larger tax because you are going to be living about 30% longer than previous generations.

you are right that "better wages" will lead some of them to offshore or automate. but the way to fight that is not to raise their SS tax. getting an effective union wold help. and electing politicians who aren't taking campaign funds from them would help a lot. but standing in the street and demanding the rich pay for your SS will just make them find a way to kill SS.

electing union leaders who think better than you do would also help a lot.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:17
You are an arrogant fool. It is Republicans in Congress who want to get rid of SS. It does not matter what other rich want or not. Since Bush I they have been trying to get rid of it. Under Clinton they wanted to privatize it. Under Bush II they actually put it to vote.

Greenspan recommended to Reagan to double the pay roll tax making baby boomers pay for MORE, raise the cap to cover more workers, and raise the retirement age. This would give us 2.6 trill dollars in the SS fun. We are paying more to pay for them who are retiring RIGHT NOW not because we live longer.

LOL, unions? Seriously? Companies are BUSTING unions. They are off-shoring and outsourcing jobs regardless and a company who just bought Star War outsourced a dept after it demanded better pay.

You continue to be a joke.
+3 # PJR 2012-12-01 12:57
Good posting, a great way to make the word "entitlements" mean something! Next time you read about "tax expenditures" (deductions from income), think about all the business tax deductions that are are perks for owners and executives. Somehow these get ignored while deductions that benefit the middle class are put on the chopping block.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-01 20:09
the above was written in reply to commenter who called for "us" to stop yelling at each other and get behind a financial transactions tax.
-1 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:52
see, Devin and Billy Bob vote this thumbs down because they don't like me.

and they let their emotions overwhelm the fact that a financial transactions tax would help them.

it is very sad, but there are two reasons the poor are poor. one is , of course, that their bosses exploit them. the other is that they let their emotions cloud their thinking.. which is how their bosses are able to exploit them.
-1 # Billy Bob 2012-12-03 10:38
Yes, Devin and I are the "emotional" ones. That's why you're the one insulting our intelligence and getting so angry that none of us agree with you. Did you ever stop to think what's more likely? Is it the whole world, or is it you?

You also don't need to lecture the poor about their emotions.

You DO seem to be pretty angry though.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:23
NO the poor are poor due to lack of economic mobility. That is historical for the US btw. Yes some do make it out but many stay not because they are stupid or anything and their own fault. No they get exploited because they have no other recourse.

I am not poor as well. I make 53K a year but I come from a lower middle class family where if my Mom did not work we would had been in poverty. Millions of others are not so fortunate. You appear to be not from the same background but higher up.

Take a note that you are getting more than two negative marks for your comments yet you want to point fingers and Billy and myself.
+1 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 15:07
Umm, actually Devin, the poor are poor because that is a fundamental aspect of capitalism and elite hierarchies. A capitalist economy is not considered healthy unless it has a steady 3-5% unemployment rate. There always has to be someone worse off than you in order to keep you in fear by example.

This is my favorite argument against those who complain about providing benefits to the unemployed. Since they are necessary for an economy to be considered healthy, I think they should be rewarded to doing their fundamental and necessary part in keeping the economy healthy.
-3 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 18:27
//actually Devin, the poor are poor because that is a fundamental aspect of capitalism and elite hierarchies. A capitalist economy is not considered healthy unless it has a steady 3-5% unemployment rate.//

a weird fiction - But if it sounds good to shape your internal dialog probably no reality will change it.

I as a capitalist am not impoverished by my rich neighbor any more then I am made wealthy by my poor neighbor.
+1 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 22:10
No, it's not a weird fiction, it's core to the underlying philosophy. Read any Econ101 textbook. That's where I learned this fact in the first place. Of course, they don't justify it as honestly as I do.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:55
//No, it's not a weird fiction, it's core to the underlying philosophy. Read any Econ101 textbook. //

The Rich get so only at the expense of the poor is false propaganda based upon the inane premise that wealth is neither created or destroyed merely shifted from one to another. There actually is Win - Win, as well as win - lose as well as lose - lose.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 19:04
WOW. We had 60% poverty rate in this country before labor laws etc. Poverty is what now? 15%? It is rising. Your talking in a govt controlled capitalist society. Laissez faire economics is what this country has had for a good chuck of it. The poor are poor due to what I said. LACK of enough opportunities to move out of their social/economic strata. Meaning there is only so much opportunity for them to move up and out. This as well applies to the middle class.

So no matter the time or what type of capitalism is employed and companies are all talking to each other to make sure 3-5% of us are unemployed so they can jack us on wages does not change what I said. The poor are not poor due to what he implied but due to the lack of opportunity to move up. We have one of the lowest advancements of the industrial nations.

No there does not have to be someone worse off than we to keep you in fear. All we need is outsourcing and off shoring for that. Try living through 15 layoffs in 10 years. Three in one year. Those are the ones I was told about. We have had more than that. Try seeing an entire industry and others go to outsource modeling which means lack of pay raises and advancements. Many people are busting their asses off doing the work of several people but not even get paid for one person.

Poor as well does not mean unemployed. Many poor people work. They have jobs. They simply make poverty wages.
-4 # coberly 2012-12-02 08:40

some of what you say is true, but you have to slow down and try to think clearly. way too hard to sort out in a blog like this.

i am NOT saying the poor dear rich should not pay taxes. i am NOT saying workers should not get paid more. I am saying that "raising the cap" is a sure way to kill Social Security. and that 80 cents per week is too cheap a price not to pay it to keep them from killing SS.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 00:12
LOL, no you need to step off and back down out of this. You are no authority and stop being condescending.

Raising the cap raises how much income payroll tax can be collected on. So anyone whose income is capital gains is NOT paying payroll tax.

The rich already want to get rid of SS. They want the money so they can play with it and make money off of it but that politically is not going their way. So they want to raise the age limit and want to lower what we each get paid. SS is as well NOT retirement. It is old age, survivors, AND disability insurance. My cousin when he was 6 collected SS when his Dad was killed. He was not paying any payroll tax and his Dad surely never paid enough to cover from age 6 to 18. My Dad 10 years ago lost a leg and collected SS for his disability. When he reached retirement age it switched to old age benefits plus a disability kicker.

We all pay COLLECTIVELY today for those receiving TODAY. Benefits are not even figured based on entire work history anyway but then again you are the expert right and you know that 80 cents would magically make SS solvent?

Pert two coming
-2 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:56
an 80 cent per week increase every year would make SS "solvent" not by magic but by mathematics. this is an absolute fact, and even people who don't like me and want to raise the cap, but know the SS numbers admit it.

the "old age" part of OASDI is "retirement." you are trying so hard to make me sound "wrong" in your own ears that you are making a fool of yourself.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:28
No, you are simply wrong. I have made you into nothing. You just are.

Actually I am reading more of just raise the cap to 180K.

My SS tax goes to pay for far more than retirement. That is why I keep saying it. Gee old age = retirement but my payroll (SS) payments = old age PLUS survivors PLUS disability. Again it is social insurance meaning my payroll tax is paying for someone else RIGHT NOW!!!
+3 # Mannstein 2012-12-03 10:31
"They want the money so they can play with it and make money off of it but that politically is not going their way"

Thank you. You hit the nail right on the head.

Now that the baby boomers are retiring and cashing in their 401Ks which had been a guaranteed income stream for better than a decade for the Wall Street leeches they are looking around for something to replace it with. What's going through their minds is something like this. Wouldn' it be nice if we could get our hands on SS by convincing the politicians to privatize the program. Imagine a $1.1 Trillion per year river of money for as far as the eye could see ad infinitum. We could sell it by claiming the government can't do anything right better to leave it to the Free Market. We could claim that the money should be invested to get better yields and we are just the right people for the job, what with our financial investment management expertise. To really make our case we bring up the old Socialism is un American canard which the useful idiots readily succumb to.

Only one problem with realizing their wet dream. These fraudsters through their greed and incompetence put the country through the 2007-08 disaster, the worst since the Great Depression. Ergo most working folks are not about to buy into their scheme.
+3 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 00:20
Pert Two,

You have no special ability to predict anything. Raising what we pay by 80 cents is what? Letting the current payroll tax cut expire so big F N whoop. Which apparently you do not understand that EVERYONE would be paying 80 cents more a week whether poor, middle class, or rich. And why do you say poor and rich. The middle class collect SS as well. And just because you are rich does not mean you do not pay payroll tax. Whoosh apparently huh? Whether or not if we do pay more in no way is going to get us more pay etc. This is why you have no credibility. You have no authority in either. So we pay 80 cents more then the Right would be saying that right now publicly IF that made SS solvent. It is btw till 2036 or 2038 when after that it can pay out 75% of the benefits on taxes collected for 50 years beyond that and that is all based on worse case scenarios.

The reason why they attack SS is because it is a bargaining chip to stop the Left from raising the top bracket for personal income tax, raising capital gains tax, and creating taxes on such things as derivatives.

80 cents more a week is NO guarantee they will not keep attacking SS.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-03 07:59
i don't have any special ability to predict anything. i do know that the Trustees Projection (not prediction) of a shortfall in SS funding would be fixed by raising the tax eighty cents per week (In today's terms for the average worker.)

paying a higher SS tax is not going to get you more pay. but it will keep you from asking the rich man to pay a much higher SS tax which will make him work much harder to destroy SS.

I have no authority. And I guess I have no credibility among those who refuse to think.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:33
In 1983 Greenspan due to the realization that the baby boomers had less kids meaning less workers to pay for their retirement when the baby boomers retired recommended doubling pay roll tax, raising the cap to cover more workers, and raise the age limit. This would create 2.6 trillion dollars. In 2036 or 2038 that money will be gone which we are left with just tax receipts that can pay out 75% payouts for another 50 years.

You have no authority because your ideas are just that YOUR opinion.
-5 # coberly 2012-12-02 08:46

you are right about the low wages. and i agree the rich should pay more.... but more INCOME TAXES, not more for your Social Security. the difference is critical.

pay the eighty cents per week now, and we can work on the low wages. make the rich pay for your SS and they will find a way to make sure you never collect.

Try to understand that I am NOT "on the side of the rich." I am on your side and trying to warn you that "raising the cap" is suicide for Social Security.
+2 # dovelane1 2012-12-04 03:34
Coberly - It's been written that the poor will sometimes rebel if they are governed poorly. The rich, however, rebel at being governed at all.

It's also known that once a person reaches a certain standard of living or entitlement, they don't want to go back to making less. So, as far as working on my low wages is concerned, I don't believe the rich will be padding my nest any time soon.

I wouldn't mind paying the extra taxes if I made the extra $25K a year. I don't have that choice, because those who control my wages have to keep them low, in order to keep their money rolling in at the absurd rate it is. (Again, WalMart comes to mind.)

I'm certainly not against the rich paying more in income taxes. However, since they are keeping money from me, thus decreasing my income, thus decreasing my SS payments, AND decreasing the benefits I would get when I retire, doesn't it seem fair to you that they pay the difference between what I will make, and what I should be making when I retire?

Since they want to be greedy, and won't pay me the extra 25K, wouldn't it be more fair if THEY paid the $.80 for me and everyone else whose labor they are benefitting from? Ever figure out exactly how much more we would be putting into SS with better wages? I'm guessing it's more than the $.80 you keep mentioning. Even if it is only $.80, the reality is we're still getting screwed in the long run.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:26

i understand about the unfairness, and I agree with you. It's your strategy that I disagree with.

By "demanding" that the rich pay for your SS, all you will do is make them try to kill SS. Pay the eighty cents yourself... we are talking eighty cents per week here... and you can keep your SS, which you will need badly... until we can find a way to get wages up where they belong.

Raising the cap would NOT raise the taxes on the rich eighty cents per week... remember they are "the 1%". For them to pay your eighty cents and 98 other people's 1% would cost them 80 dollars per week per year. That's four thousand dollars per year, and it does go up from there. After ten years it would be an extra 40 thousand per year... they aren't going to go for that.

And yes... your eighty cents is going to go up too. but YOU will get it back, when you really really need it. Even more than you think you need it now. And if your wages dont keep up... they are expected to rise tentimes as fast.. you will need the SS even more.

It's not a question of "what's fair", or even "what's nice." It's a question of survival. Pay the eighty cents now and you literally live another day. Go around shouting "make the rich pay" and you will get nothing. The rich won't pay. If they did pay it would only be because now with "worker pays" they can't kill SS. After it changes to "the rich pay" killing it will be a piece of cake for them.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 13:29
And again this is your assumption. 106.8K is not some magical limit. It has not changed since what year? The number is based off average wages but that does not mean it can never be raised as well. Most do not make anywhere near 106K in the first place.

All you have given is your opinion and backed it up with your own pomp and when your opinion is challenged the other person must be stupid.

Raising the cap is being suggested in Congress and other circles. The income above that cap has risen at a much higher rate than below it and in fact below it is stagnant. To you if we dare raise the cap it all of a sudden becomes welfare because snicker snicker YOU UNDERSTAND NUMBERS, lol. Then ALL of the rich will want to kill it.

On that same premise if we ask them for more wages and pay us better for our productivity will the rich not then want to kill our jobs by moving them overseas or outsourcing them? Would they then not want to offset they SS tax they pay as a share with us by lowering our wages? If we try to unionize will they not threaten our jobs with layoffs and all of the above? They do this already.

I do not hate the rich I just do not buy your rationale. Now does Medicare tax have a cap? If not then is it welfare?
0 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-04 11:16
dovelane1, this is not disagreement as much as it is a request to examine some cultural mythology. Where is it "known" that people won't downscale? The voluntary simplicity movement shows otherwise. I went from six figures in the world to zero figures in the non-profit world over a decade ago and haven't regretted one second of it--and I'm still years away from SS and cashed out every 401K I ever had within months of lay-offs and/or mergers.

These myths, though, serve a purpose. If systemic sustainable change is the ultimate goal, the left has to become as good at picking apart their myths as they are at picking apart the even greater nonsense produced by today's right.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:06
Are you giving a norm or a subgroup? I was lay-offed in 2000. In Jan 2001 I took a huge pay cut. It certainly was not nice but I had no choice. I had burned through savings when out of work. At the time a lot of job postings existed. 6 months later they became "invisible."

In 11 years now I have had 5 pay raises. Three of which were 2% which was said hey that is all we can give or we have to lay people off. To which I have been through 15 known layoffs since then. We have had no pay raises for 4 years straight. My promotion has been on hold for 3 years now. For the first 5 years of that 11 my rent doubled as my pay was flat.

Last year I downgraded apts so I could have the money to get a drivable car. It feels good to drive again and have more freedoms but not in down scaling. The next step may be to rent a room from someone.

Am I a single example? No, I work for a company of over 150K. 2/3rds of which have been moved overseas to cheaper labor markets. They express the same conditions as do my immediate peers. We are definitely a subgroup but are we unique to the cultural climate?
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:15
part 2

I understand learning to live with less material things etc. So why do you have a computer? Do you have a cell phone? We can cut all things in our life that are really not necessary for you to breath etc. I could get rid of my car and go back to walking. My economic status would be based on my feet and how well public transportation is.

She said standard of living but take it one step further, the fear of not being able to pay for basic necessities which are healthcare, shelter, and food. Poor people have to contend with that and they also tend to have lack of income.

What I am hearing you say is hey learn to live with less and then the less pay does not matter. Note she said Walmart. They cost tax payers at least a billion each year.

The Late Roman clergy told their masses hey do not worry about the Rich fleecing the coffers, you have Jesus and that is all you need. What better simplicity is there than that?
+2 # Mannstein 2012-12-04 21:26
"The Late Roman clergy told their masses hey do not worry about the Rich fleecing the coffers, you have Jesus and that is all you need. What better simplicity is there than that?"

You obviously have not read Pope Leo XIII's Encyclical Rerum Novarum which is Cathloic teaching on social justice. It deals with the relationships between workers and capitalists. Nor are you familiar with Christ's Parable about the Good Semaritan. He also taught that what you do for the least of these, meaning the poor, you do unto him. Should you choose not comply your place in his kingdom is toast.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-05 01:29
LOL, apparently you are unaware of what is written and what is done. Yes those Catholic cathedrals were all built by the rich. I guess Luther's lament and protest for the German peasant was false.

Actually what I said was from the late Western Roman Empire. It is amazing how times do not change much in some things. See the rich were paying off politicians to not have to pay taxes. The poor were being burdened with paying for an infrastructure that was failing while social services such as education were vanishing. The Clergy though was unconcerned since Got Jesus mattered most. Kill them all let god sort them out is a paraphrase from an actual roman catholic clergy comment.

I am sure Protestants care what any Pope has to say and I am sure the Puritans when they hung a Quaker for not being a proper Christian and bringing gods wrath on them was reading that parable.
0 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-05 09:16
While Devin pretty much took the words right out of my mouth, I'll just simply add that you obviously aren't aware that the teaching's of Jesus and what the Church teaches about Jesus are two entirely different things.
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-08 04:04
Dave - I have had a bumper sticker on my car for 15 years or so that says"More jobs? What about less people?"

I live close to my original home town of about 10,000 people. I applied for a part-time job in my area of expertise, 20 hours a week, $8 an hour. After the job listing was closed, I spoke with the woman doing the hiring. She said that every person who applied had a minimum of a Bachelor's degree. The person who got the job had a law degree.

Somewhere around 1980 or so, maybe earlier, employers started noticing they had more applications than they had jobs. Then more automation lessened the need for more employees. Then employers found they could pay less in wages to workers overseas.

These are all factors, not myths. The bottom line, and one which most politicians rarely mention, is the people in this country and the world are breeding ourselves out of good jobs, and eventually out of resources.

If you add the presence of competition to the equation, which supports the rich focusing solely on the bottom line of amassing a fortune, as quickly as possible, and by whatever means necessary, what you end up with is the capitalist system we have now. They don't want to make a profit; they want to make a killing. And they are killing this society.

I'm not saying all employers are like this. Just the greedy ones.
0 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-08 09:31
Dovelane... great bumpersticker. And what you're saying is true. But those factors aren't the myths. They are symptoms of the underlying myths.

The left tends to believe as much as the right does in economic growth being necessary for progress and prosperity, even though they're a bit more willing to point out the inherent structural deficiencies of capitalism. But the left is no more willing than the right to point out that the underlying problem with capitalism is the same underlying problem with socialism, which is Industrialism.

We've already bred ourselves out of resources. Besides the phenomena of Peak Oil (which shows that the future value of all companies listed on the stock exchanges is bogus as that value depends on growth to repay debt which is no longer possible without the cheap energy necessary to power growth) global fisheries are down about 75%, fresh water is down about 50%, topsoil is down about 50%, etc ad nauseum. Part of this is due to mismanagement, but most because we are well into the overshoot range of planetary carrying capacity.

Our financial system is a story. Since it only requires 1/3 of the global population to make everything consumed globally, we should all be working 2/3 less with full global employment. But that forces us to face the legitimacy we provide to elite power and control hierarchies. But that's a story as well, and we the people can write a new one any time we get the courage up to do so.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 17:25
Which we? Is the US not more industrialized than Africa as a whole? Our women have less babies than African women do. Humans as a survival mechanism tend to have more kids in less prosperous times. More kids equals better chance of the species survival. Especially in more agrarian societies. As we industrialized we had less and less kids per capita. Then we take in religious factors such as the catholic church saying that condoms are the work of the devil and this includes attitudes towards abortions. This has been a huge hindrance on getting Africa to have less kids per capita.

But look at stores. Are they devoid of products? We are overproducing goods. We used to have a repair industry for many things. We went to throw away items now as it is cheaper to buy a new one than to get it fixed. Plus things are not made to last on purpose.

I am not saying industrializati on has no negative side affects just that it is not responsible for us breeding ourselves out of resources.
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-09 03:39
Devin - My father was a radio/TV repairman until the early 80s. He was in the repair business. what he started to see happen was the way the TVs and radios were designed, left little room for a repair person.

They designed them with large plastic plates full of electrical components, where if a single component went bad, you had to replace the whole plate. It became cheaper to buy a new TV or radio than it was to replace the plate.

This is a form of planned obsolescence, and, to me, this is what the obsessive drive for wealth has led the process of industrializati on to become.

In the book "When Society Becomes An Addict," author Anne Wilson-Schaef describes the outcomes of what happens when people are socialized in an addictive society. The obsessive drive for wealth is one outcome, or one symptom. The belief that one is entitled to everything one wants is probably another.

It is possible that over-breeding could also be connected to addictive tendencies. As humans, so much of our time and energy is spent dealing with symptoms, it's sometimes hard to get to the root of a problem.
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-09 03:27
Dave - Oh, that myth. The myth of "growth." I kept hearing that myth touted throughout the last campaign, and I kept wondering if those who mentioned it, really believed it, or were saying that just to get elected.

I totally agree on all the issues you mentioned. The only thing I disagree with you about is the idea that we, the people, only need courage. I think the courage would come if the people were better informed. That's why I love sites like RSN, AlterNet, TruthDig, NationOfChange, and the like. I get better informed and challenged.

I do agree in a sense, in that it does take courage for people to look at information that might threaten their status quo. It seems likely to me that the more this information gets into the open, people are going to have a harder time ignoring it. At least, I hope this is true. If it isn't, then we probably are going to lose everything.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 16:46
This is what 'Free" Trade agreements are about. They allow the labor to be moved. A lot of jobs yes were lost due to automation but that is not true overall. Jobs are simply being moved out of country. It is not less jobs being created overseas either.

But that is not the whole picture. We went from a wage growth economy to an asset growth economy. Companies learned they do not need permanent employees anymore. Service companies emerged. These are outsource companies. Host company hires outsource company to manage some task. That particular dept now is managed by the service provider. It is the same workers, same desks, same jobs, same local management just now upper management is another company. In come layoffs and wage cuts etc.

We are as well far more productive than in the past but we get paid less for this increase. Asset growth economy is largely good for the top 2%. What we are seeing is the return to the 1890s. No labor laws. No environmental laws, etc.

We as well throw away 96 billion pounds of edible food each year. Food bank is short 11 million each year.

To the note of breeding. China will have a shortage of workers as they have had population controls for awhile now. Our company already sees Chinese labor as too expensive and is moving jobs to the South Pacific.
-4 # Martintfre 2012-12-02 15:28

-- Excellent sign

Start with ending subsidy to the two most entrenched special interest corporations infested into the activities of government -- end all government subsidy to the democratic and republican parties.
+3 # Billy Bob 2012-12-02 19:23
Better yet, end all private donations to political parties so WE ALL are equally invested. If you want to end corporate welfare, first end the gravy train of campaign donations from the corporations who will benefit from conservative politicians allowing them to do anything they want without bearing any responsibility.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 13:39
Yes all donations need to be public funding and end this privatization of our elections. Republic means public matter not owned by private entities.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 16:01
Quoting DevinMacGregor:
Yes all donations need to be public funding and end this privatization of our elections. Republic means public matter not owned by private entities.

replace the false phrase 'Public' funding with 'Government controlled' and then you can have a more honest discussion
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 19:09
Um NO it is what I said. Currently it is privately funded and that does not mean less controlled in any matter. Get off this anti govt stance. Private funded has allowed our politicians to be bought. They have to spend huge amounts of money to run for office which means our voice means nothing and the Kochs means more.

A public fund means they all draw from it and the Kochs or Monsanto cannot give to any one candidate as their campaign contribution goes into a general fund.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-05 19:53
//A public fund means they all draw from it and the Kochs or Monsanto cannot give to any one candidate as their campaign contribution goes into a general fund.//

Government funded means that those democrats and republicans in government will have complete control over who gets any funding.
0 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-05 22:09
And your point is??? Devin was talking about public financing of elections. It works rather well when administered properly. I ran as an independent for AZ state senate in 2010 and qualified for public funds, which were administered by the Secretary of State's office. The requirements were the same for an independent as they would have been for any of the four recognized parties.

Do you ever have a clue as to what you're talking about?
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 11:57
//And your point is??? Devin was talking about public financing of elections.//

"Public" -- Government controlled -- funding will be the same as present ballot access laws where the D's and R's use the government power to remove and fine independents/th ird parties to protect them selves from the peoples choices.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-07 18:32
That is your assumption. Currently right now private funding is buying politicians. They spend a lot of their time getting money to run for office because it cost so much. With things like Citizens United the flood gates are open and now we have no idea who is giving what. Promises are being made in the backrooms. Do you think your few bucks for the POTUS fund has the same weight as the Kochs?

I am talking of donations going to democracy and not any one specific candidate. When the Kochs give their money it has strings attached. We lose democracy. We lose our vote. We step closer to fascism with corporation take over.

I am always seeing third party on ballots. Could you explain this better as to how D's and R's are not allowing third party from placed on ballots? Did you know Rosanne Barr ran for POTUS?

There is a reason they are third party btw. Lack of funds. We do not live in a communist society to where TV is run by the govt. It is privatized and they want money and election times are like super bowl ads.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-07 21:13
//I am always seeing third party on ballots. Could you explain this better as to how D's and R's are not allowing third party from placed on ballots? Did you know Rosanne Barr ran for POTUS?//

in 2006 Pennsylvania my friend Carl Romanelli the Green party senate candidate turned in 98,000+ signatures for ballot access - The democrats who needed 2,000 -- yes 48 times less then what Romanelli turned in -- challanged the greens petitions. Using tax payer monies by having many house staffers working full time for 5 weeks on the petition challange scrubbed then signature count down to 58,000+ signatures (29 times momore then now Senator casey needed) that put him below the 67,000 signature count the Green needed. After sucessfully removing the Green from the ballot they then used the courts to fine Romanelli $80,000 to recover legal fees for their troule of denying the voters of PA a choice on the ballot.

fyi: later the courts did fine the democrats 5 million dollars for using the staffers for party purposes - and I am certain they again reached into the tax payers wallet to settle that debt -- they had the house and Governors office at the time.

NO I am certain proven by the behavior of the people I see in government that government funding will be just another tool for them to manipulate who is allowed to get it and and who is allowed to run against them -- no one if they can make it so..
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 03:33
Again not just Rosanne Barr but many other 3rd parties ran on the ballot in California. How do you explain that? We have democrats here too. So did the Republicans keep them in check to make sure the 3rd parties got on the ballots? What I see are contractors ripping off govt all the time. Good enough for govt work they say. Hey I have to charge them three times what I would charge the private sector because the govt is slow to pay. Even though the private sector has the same payment schedules not to mention the public sector gets a lot of red tape when money can be appropriated.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-07 21:20
and on that no one else if they can make it that way point... My state rep -- who was democrat lt Governor candidate 2 years go disqualified the petition I circulated and others circulated removing his only opponent - trying to guarantee the people would have no choice but him. leaving total control of who and how anyone can run for office to scum like that is a guarantee of no freedom.

this is the nature of people who lust for power - to be blind to it when you see it is foolish, to defend it is stupid. Government protected monopolies protect these kinds of people.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 03:26
So is that why you got involved in running in those third party campaigns? YOU were lusting for power?

Tom Delay entered govt because he killed bugs with DDT and govt took away his freedom. The evil bad govt listened to some tree huggers and said DDI is bad bad bad so banned it. This pissed Tom off and he went into govt to make the marker free again so he could pollute with more DDT.

On camera Tom said money is free speech.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:46
There are two reasons to get involved in government. To grab power that one cant earn
or secondly
to stop those kind of people.

My guess Devin is you are or would be of the first kind -- and I the second.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-07 18:21
No it does not. That is your assumption. We as well need to make gerrymandering out of the hands of any party in control. It needs to be independently done.

Note how the Kochs et al are not giving independents money. Did you notice that? David Koch ran as VP for the Libertarian party in 1980. Why is he not flooding the Libertarian party with money so they can get elected as libertarians? He is too busying in the background getting tea party movements going so that libertarians can run as Republicans and sheeple will think that it is truly a grassroots campaign.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-07 21:38
By the way - take it from some one who has for decades been involved in third party activities , Libertarians, Independents, Tea -- I have yet to see a dime from any of these mythical money bags.

we pay out of our own pockets.
One thing common with the groups I have associated with I believe it to be wrong to pick some one elses pockets for my political activities.

Yea in 1980 Koch joined in and kick started the Libertarian party with his
money not the tax payers and not any one elses money unless they chose to contribute. That got them on the map after that he left. As far as I can tell he never looked back.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 03:20
LOL, the Kochs like others fund think tanks that push THEIR agenda and fund various groups.

I don't want to take anything from you. I understand how propaganda works.
-2 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 15:53
Great -- end Private donations to guarantee that government bureaucrats will be completely unaccountable.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 15:00
As well as the first SS payments went out was also the first month taxes were collected for it. Payments were lump sums giving out yearly till 1940 when it switched to ongoing monthly payments.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 10:10
Dale Coberly here thinks I am ignorant. The above is off the SS website. Dale lump sum was your entire YEARS SS payment. The first month of taxes collected was 1937. The same month they first issued SS payments. The METHOD of payment switched to monthly payments in 1940. There is NO six year time frame where they built up money. Payroll tax was not even FDRs brainchild. Why not read the SS website for once. It gives us the information.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 11:22

actually, i think you are stupid. you can look stuff up, but you cannot understand it.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-03 15:14

SS is based on your BEST 35 years of work. So by keeping our wages stagnant they as well hinder what we could collect in SS payments. The formula is on that link as well.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 11:17

Here we will see that Congress has raised the cap ad hoc several times in the life of SS. In 1977 it was tied to average wages. Currently today the Greenspan Commission of 1981 never foresaw that wages for the rest of us would be stagnant most of the income growth has been above the present cap which has remained the same for the last several years.
-2 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 16:05
Social Security :: Trust or Bust?

I say the Trust is Busted And this is why:

Q: What happens to the taxes that go into the trust funds?

A: Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is 'invested' in "special-issue" securities (a shiny IOU). The cash exchanged for the securities goes into the general fund of the Treasury and is indistinguishab le from other cash in the general fund.

Source:Social Security OnLine Trust Fund Data

so the SSA has no actual savings since all surpluses were spent by - not saved - spent by policy by both parties over the many decades.
-1 # coberly 2012-12-03 18:16

indistinguishable...except for those "iou's" otherwise known as government bonds, the safest investment in the world.

of course the surpluses were spent. that's what you do with borrowed money. do you think the Bank keeps your savings account in a locked box?
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 10:15
WOW, so again they under the Greenspan Commission recommend to Reagan to increase our payroll taxes to create a bubble, ie the surplus, then take that surplus and loan it to the general fund in the form of govt bonds. Now how does the govt pay that back plus the interest on the bond? Snap it uses general funds. And just where do those funds come from?

Like I said your analogies are lame. The Bank does not then make you pay back the money you already put in the bank.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 17:52
//except for those "iou's" otherwise known as government bonds, the safest investment in the world.//

What backs them? Where is the government getting that money from?
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 15:26
What backs them is the US Constitution. Where the govt gets the money to repay the borrowed money he apparently does not want to wrestle with.

2/3rds of our debt is owned by ourselves. Something like 5 trillion is owed SS. It has to raise taxes/fees or borrow again to pay that back etc. If payroll tax pays for these benefits and they borrow that money and then have to raise taxes elsewhere to pay that money back did the taxpayer just pay twice for the same benefits?

Sure the govt bond is safer than say corporate bond etc but that does not eliminate it being paid back and where the money comes from to do so.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-06 17:58
//of course the surpluses were spent. that's what you do with borrowed money. do you think the Bank keeps your savings account in a locked box?//
Banks that spend the money under their control on make me popular programs rather then investments that have actual value go bankrupt and require government bail outs to survive
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 16:12
Banks have to collect more fees/interest than they pay out in interest/fees. If they are paying depositors interest with other depositors money they will not be solvent much longer and require a bailout or fold. This goes for whether it is a commercial or investment bank. Higher losses in investments over lower gains in investments does not smell good. It should be common sense and basic math but Wall Street even though in robbing our culture of scientists etc by rooking math students to go into finance certainly did not see that coming.

Dale appears to confuse the literalness of we do not know where any one dollar comes from because technically that one dollar could had come from any source but this fails due to the purpose of bookkeeping.
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-03 18:20
In laymans terms just how bad is the whole social security deal?

a) John q tax payer gets $1,000 taken from him as his FICA social security payment

b) The government spends Johns $1,000 - but kindly replaces that with an IOU ("special-issue " security) that john is obligated to pay off later when it matures.

c) Time passes

d) Johns "special-issue" security is now slated to mature

- SO exactly where does the government get that money?

"Tax income is deposited on a daily basis and is invested in "special-issue" securities." (from the SSA FAQ above)

so - this is the government saying that this is the second time John Q has to pay,(second 1,000+ interest) Fist time FICA second time Income taxes this time to make his "special-securi ty" security + interest actually redeemable.

e) $1,100 (as described in prior step) more taken from John Q in the form of general taxes to make his "special-issue" security redeemable with interest.

f) Later (the final insult) John receives $1,100 minus taxes on his income from SSA for a $2,100 'investment' forced upon him at the end of a tax collectors gun.
+1 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-03 22:06
Ah, capitalism. Great Ponzi scam if you're at the top of the pyramid, eh?
-1 # Martintfre 2012-12-05 19:50
FYI: A government forced welfare/retirem ent program like SSA has little to do with a capitalistic free market where free people are trading in a as they see fit instead Social security has has everything to do with Big Brotherism and no freedom.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 14:36
Capitalist free market has little to do with people being free.

As far as the term see fit it is better to say they trade as to the means available to them. The market is no guarantee of a return. Meaning there is NO inherent right to life and liberty but you may get pursuit of happiness. Insider trading has existed since the beginning and is not a small thing today. By the time you retire you entire investments cold belly up then what? Well at least you are free, right?

Before social safety nets this country had HUGE poverty. People worked for what we call poverty wages. The middle class was really nothing like today. Many who had money saw the poor as being poor due to their own fault. They were doing it wrong or defective in some manner. SSA does not take away my freedom. I can still invest in 401Ks and other type programs.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:48
//Capitalist free market has little to do with people being free.//

actually it has everything to do with free people making their own choices with their own money, else it is not a free market.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:40
there is a difference in intellectual styles here.

I said "about six years." I was "wrong" in the case of Ida Mae, who apparently got her check about three years after starting to pay the payroll tax. but those who didn't get their first check until "about" 1943 (which i think was the original intended starting date) got their checks after "about"six years of taxes.
this is all a reasonable, if slightly sloppy way of talking.

Devin, on the other hand, looks up a date in a source he does not understand and states "with authority" that "about six years" is "patently false." which is i'm sure how it looks to him. and nothing i can say will convince him otherwise.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:43
yes Devin, I know. read the rest of the damn comment and see if you can understand it. maybe your mommy can help.

the 113 k man is not calling his congressman because he will get his money back when he retires.

the 200k or 180k man will not. it's that simple.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:19
And how did the man who makes 110K magically get all of his money back when cap used to be less than 110K?.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:48
but running around saying "make the rich pay" is not going to make them pay, unless they see it as a strategy to kill SS entirely when you can no longer say "i paid for it myself."

paying the eighty cents per week means you CAN say "i paid for it myself" and then "no damn politician can take it away from you" . That's why FDR designed it that way.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:25
Again this is your opinion. How is raising the cap all of a sudden me not paying for myself when I am in fact paying for myself. You are going back and forth here. Are you saying people right now are not paying for themselves?

FDR did not designed it that way. A congressional committee came up with the payroll tax. You keep invoking FDR all the time. He also wanted to implement a second bill of rights but he died. We may had gotten universal healthcare then.

No paying 80 cents more per week is just me paying more payroll tax.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-04 10:55

i am not being dishonest if i say things you cannot understand.

you can think of it as "paying someone else's retirement" or you can think of it as "paying in advance for your own retirement". it's the same thing. money works like that.

what does your not making 110 k have to do with the fact that taxing someone who makes 200k makes him pay about 12000 more per year than he will ever get back (in adjusted dollars), while the guy at 110k will get back what he pays in?

the rich do not pay for SS... above the cap. again, if you don't understand that it does not make me dishonest.

and the difference between 180k and 200k is not material. it is the kind of meaningless difference that someone with a bad heart and worse brain would fix on to call someone dishonest for trying to explain a general principle with round numbers.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:29
No, you are being dishonest.

110K was not thought of by FDR. It is NOT a magical number nor is the current formula. Both have changed over time and Congress has MANY times raised the cap in an ad hoc fashion. The overall history of SS payroll caps is not ONLY based on average wages.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-04 11:01

you are telling me how YOUR brain works, not mine.

it's pretty scary actually, and maybe a lesson i needed to learn.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 14:30
No Dale you are pretty scary. You know what is best for all of us.
+2 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 19:16
Dale’s premise is that just 80 cents more a week will shore up SS, just 80 cents? Note not a percentage increase in payroll taxes but a FLAT rate across the board. 80 cents is a lot different to someone making 15K a year to someone making 110K. Dale says we have to do this because nice Rich people will get angry with us since the magical cap of 106.8K works perfectly with the magical formula that FDR shat out decades ago, even though the first cap was 3K. If only they knew then that the formula they used would only work up to 106.8K. Too bad they did not use some of those German scientists to discover if math formulas can change. If we raise the cap to say 250K as some suggest or to 180K as others have suggested then pandemonium will break out amongst the nice Rich people who already love us and this is what the evil Rich people want, the utter destruction of SS, suddenly SS will be a welfare program since we are not paying for our own retirement anymore. SO let us go to payroll tax in the next post.
-3 # coberly 2012-12-04 11:09
someone making 500k per year for forty years pays in about 12k per year (adjusted dollars) on the first 100k (the cap). that's about 500 k total. He can expect to get back about 26k (more if he has a wife) per year for 20years (life expectancy at 65)... about 500k. Adjusted dollars means that he has "earned" about 5%... or 2% above inflation... on his money. He thinks he could have earned more than that on his own, but he understands the insurance value of SS. and he may understand the value of keeping the elderly out of poverty... it's good for business.

but if you tax him on the whole 500k per year... that's 60k tax per year or about 2.5 million dollars. he will still get only the 26k benefit, so he will see himself as losing 2 million dollars... worse.. he will see himself as losing the 10% per year he "could have" made ... maybe 10 million. That's serious money, and he will not see the "insurance" or the "social value" of it as worth it to him. he will call his congressman and the congressman will listen to him.
+1 # JJS 2012-12-06 20:11
If you tax someone the taxes can be allocated anywhere. When you collect SS taxes it must go to SS or the special bonds. Soon the SS inlay will be less than that which needs to be paid out. ie. the bill on the bonds is due.

The US government needs revenue to repay the special bonds. So we either collect more SS tax or increase the revenue of general taxes.
My preference is to increase SS tax so we ensure the revenue is required to go to SS or the special bonds, not the general fund.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 11:16
try to remember that there is a difference between "the rich" people earning over the cap. and the "elites" who are evil people who want to destroy SS because they LIKE the idea of the poor being poor.

and the perhaps even more evil people who work for them... the "non partisan expert liars."

these people are clever. and getting you to call for "make the rich pay" falls in with their plan of destroying SS. right now SS is hard to kill because "the worker pays for it himself" as FDR intended. change that to "the rich pay" and it will go the way of welfare as we knew it.

right now, plenty of the not-evil rich believe they DO pay for it, such is the power of the Big Lie. raise your own tax eighty cents per week and they may stop listening to the Big Liars.

and i think, hope, that's it for me. this is taking too much of my time. and even if i convince you, i will never convince Devin and Billy Bob... or much of anyone else it seems.
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-08 04:34
Mr. Coberly - One of the problems I see with you, and Devin, and many others who make comments is the tendency to take comments "personally." As soon as you and the others do that, then you start to blame other people for how you feel and how you respond.

That's when the name-calling begins. As soon as you and others do that, you have lowered your effectiveness. The trouble with blaming other people for your emotional response, is that you end up trying to change the wrong person. If someone wants to call you a name, that is their problem. When you start calling someone else a negative name, that is your problem.

You said your intention was to "teach" people. Instead of focusing solely on your intention, why don't you also look at the consequences of your actions. I suspect there is something for you to learn here.

Other people made comments and did not get the kinds of responses you did.

To me, the main flaw in your $.80 idea is your belief the slightly more "rich" won't want to pay their fair share of the taxes. That may be true, but it may be an assumption. If those making more than $250,000 a year are profiting from other people's loyalty and labor, the rational ones will want to do their part. If they are not rational, nothing anyone says or does will change their minds.

As Paul Wellstone once said: "We all do better when we all do better." How much simpler can it be put?
+1 # dovelane1 2012-12-08 04:43
Mr. Coberly - ps. I could be mistaken, but your intention may have been more than trying to "convince" other people about the correctness of your position.

To me it appears as if you were trying to control how other people thought. The reason you take things personally may be because you have a vested interest in making sure other people think as you do.

If you want people to be free, why not just put your ideas out in the open, and let people think as they will? It may be that people are not responding to your ideas, as much as they are to your not wanting them to be free to think as they will.

If so, welcome to the human race.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 11:20

i have read your last four comments. You don't understand anything about Social Security. I am sorry about that, but there is apparently nothing I can do about it. And it is no longer worth my time to try.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 15:14

Medicare has no cap... and they are trying to kill it. They have already cut it so it will NOT pay for all your medical needs in retirement. You have to buy supplemental insurance ... if you have the money.

You ask "if we ask for more wages... will they want to kill our jobs?" The answer is "yes." and you know it. but you do not seem to realize that is the exact opposite of the point you thought your were going to make.

Devin... you started with the arrogance and the name calling, not me. I don't expect you to realize that. Outgoing never looks as ugly as incoming.

I understand that to you Ida Mae's three years instead of "about six years" looks like a material error. It is not. Your "lump sum" is a categorical error. Difference between Title ! and Title 2. You need to know a lot more before you can tell the difference between what matters and what doesn't and what makes sense and what doesn't. I get no pleasure from telling you you don't know much and don't show any signs of being able to learn. It is quite clear you have been treated badly. So have I. So have many of my friends. I am on your side. It's too bad you can't tell that. Go up to the next rich man you see and demand he pay for your lunch. You'll see what I mean.... why I"m trying to tell you that is not the way to protect Social Security.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 19:04
I am not the arrogant one. You are. It is your continued stance that you are the teacher and the rest of us are the students.

You said that let us pay 80 cents more a week right now and then we can work on getting more pay later. You as well said oh get a union. Poor people just let people exploit them, etc.

You are arrogant because both are SS benefits paid. Lump sum is verbatim from SSA website. It is what THEY said NOT what I said. You are mincing and squirming around to fit your paradigm back in that back.

Warren Buffet buys me lunches, stop being arrogant.
-1 # coberly 2012-12-04 15:17

re shareware text editor

thanks. I am not that smart. or that rich.
+1 # DaveEwoldt 2012-12-04 15:57
Hey, if you want to e-mail me I'll be glad to give you a hand. The ones that come with your computer (Mac or Windows) also work, but the shareware ones have more features. The one I use cost $25, but some are free for personal use, you just pay for support if you need it. I'm dave at reststop dot net.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 21:16

thanks. i really appreciate it. but i am an old man with an old computer and i really have lots and lots of things i should be doing besides commenting on blogs. i spent too long here because i really thought i could do some good. same reason i spent too long teaching at a university. i couldn't then. i can't now. think i'll go keep bees in sussex.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-04 19:21
If you are employed you currently share this (payroll tax) with your employer. Btw since FDR gets invoked like he is sacred he shat that concept out too. Share it you say? Yes we each pay half. Is this some kind of hippie commune or something? This may be accounting as they may offset that amount they pay by paying us less in wages but none the less we share it. If you are self-employed you pay the full 12% or so. NOW obviously by Dale logic the self-employed person is paying for their own dinner while the employee is mooching and getting a free ride. How F N dare he! He is only paying for half a car but getting the full car. Now who owns many of these companies? The Rich, both good and evil. By Dale logic then this means SS is welfare. Companies who employee people do not collect SS.
-2 # coberly 2012-12-04 21:13

it's hard for me to believe i forgot to say

"a raise in the payroll tax of one tenth of one percent each for the employer and the employee every year for the next 20 years will make Social Security "solvent" essentially forever. one tenth of one percent of an average worker's pay today is 80 cents per week."

i don't like to add the "20 years" because most people, especially you, can't think clearly about what happens over 20 years. they can't help but compare the tax after 20 years with what they are making today. it looks like too much. but the fact is it's only an increase of 80 cents per week each year, while wages are going up about 8 dollars per week each year, and you would never feel it.

you can't seem to bring your mind down to actually think about the facts one - step - at - a - time, so you free associate what i say to all of your own fantasies and it comes out like garbage. but that's your thinking not mine.

i think the employers share "really" is the employees money. but the employee would never see it without SS. and lately the Big LIars have taken to calling SS a "jobs killing tax," forgetting that last year they were saying "the employers share is "really" the employees money, because that made the "return on investment look bad compared to the stock market. they change their lie to suit the occasion.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-05 01:13
This is why you should be dismissed. This shows your own arrogance as if YOU have the solution and others just cannot see it.

And you change your lie to suit your premise.

SSA stated that an increase of the cap would be recouped after 4 years since due to income increase trends above the current cap. Incomes below the cap are stagnant and no indication this is going to change.

We are in an asset growth economy now not a wage growth economy.
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-05 01:07

These were title II payments. In 1940 Jan they went to month to month payments. The original law may have stipulated 37-42 but the reality is that never happened as they started to pay out sooner in 1937. The lump sum payments because they had not contributed much yet to be month to month payments. The first recipient retired the day after the program started. He was in it for one day and he paid a nickel which got him a 17 cent check. Not bad mark up.

Now let's look at dear old ida. note how much she put in and how much she got out of it. FDR never wanted that. Damn moocher.

Patently false means the comment or claim is obviously untrue. SSA shows that Dale's claim is obviously untrue.
0 # coberly 2012-12-05 23:27


It seems to me very unlikely either of you have ever "proved" anything in your lives, or would know when you had been "proven" wrong.

What I have learned from otherwise wasting my time here is that I am wasting my time here. I am fairly sure Social Security will not survive this administration in a form that would enable it to allow workers to be able to retire at a reasonable age "if all else fails."

The blame for that will not exactly be yours... no one really expects you to understand anything... but the "progressive" leaders of those groups who call themselves defenders of Social Security do at least know the facts... the important facts not the trivia you look up without undersanding... and they do understand that a one tenth of one percent increase in the payroll tax would "save" Social Security. But like you they are emotionally committed to "make the rich pay."

The rich won't pay, unless they can use it as a foot in the door to "own" Social Security and be able to kill it at their leisure.

The Big LIars know this, and they are so glad to see you calling for "make the rich pay." That is exactly according to their plan.

This is how the poor and ignorant always destroy whatever good anyone does for them.
0 # coberly 2012-12-08 08:45

you are absolutely right about responding "in kind" or not so kind.

i don't think i have a vested interest in controlling the way other people think. i have spent a great deal of time understanding SS and "naturally" think i am right. i also spent some time teaching mathematics in university and tend to think i am right when others (students) are wrong about things i know about.

and when the students make rude noises i do react emotionally. sorry about being human after all. wish i could do better.

having a bit of trouble with accessing this blog, so if i don'ot reply to your reply it's not because i am rude or afraid.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 15:05
Assuming you were a professor I have had the type before. They forget that the student is the employer and they are the employee. You sit in class as they tell you about all the different degrees they have and then demand you call them coctor because as they say they earned it. WOW, never knew they had a university draft forcing people to enroll etc. They like to drown themselves in hero worship. Worse part is they do not bother to read the textbooks they chose for the class. Others do. They make assignments from the book and oddly the book and their lectures contradict often. You have to answer the book question with their lecture notes. This means you definitely have to record the lectures. Yet they keep on assigning reading from the book. If the book says the sky is blue and they said the sky is red you answer the sky is red. This includes all quizzes, tests, and exams. Do not dare mention this contradiction in class as I have watched students do. I have watched them get ripped apart. So I didn't say anything.

This is not a classroom.
+1 # Martintfre 2012-12-08 16:39
//Assuming you were a professor I have had the type before. They forget that the student is the employer and they are the employee. // Not exactly.
The professor is the master -- the student simply does not dictate give me my degree because Im paying for it. The student has to show they are worthy and must earn the degree.

IF a professor/colle ge simply gives away passing grade to any one who pays then the incompetent students who get degrees make the honest ones who earned their degrees look like fools.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 20:13
That is not what I was implying Martin. I did not imply they give us grades and give us degrees. It had to do with the rest of what I said. But I am sure you were not implying a masterslave relationship, right? Regardless students pay for the education. It is not free. We as well pay for the books that some professors do not even bother to read yet assign work from it. This is where their income comes from Martin. It was implying they need to show some humility and not act like Lords of the Manor.

Have you been to college Martin? I have had wonderful professors and then a lot of asshats. Higher Education should not be about just putting down what the professor says is right according to what the professor thinks is right which unfortunately happens. It is about critical thinking. The assumption is they are the expertise in that field but that does not make them divine Martin and unquestionable.

Dale believes himself the professor in this thread and we are the students.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:50
//Capitalist free market has little to do with people being free.//

Irrelevant -- the truth is self sufficient, a call to authority is typically the argument of those who cant support it.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 15:13

Interesting CBO report assuming the author did not doctored the report.
-1 # coberly 2012-12-08 16:08

you sure got that wrong. i used to believe there were no dumb students, only bad teachers. and i spent enormous amounts of time and broke my heart trying to teach these kids. most of them were normal to "bright" but i never saw one who actually understood the subject. just jump through the hoops when given the cues.

back then i was a nice person, and they were nice to me... after all i was giving the grades. and i gave quite a few of them better grades than they "earned" even by the easy standards of the times... because i did not want to hurt their job prospects.

i have been a soft hearted "liberal" my whole life.

but when i run into people like you who think that someone who advises him not to play on the train tracks is secretly in league with the railroad company to save it from lawsuits, i despair of ever teaching the people even enough sense to avoid getting themselves killed by standing out in the street and chanting "tax the rich."

the rich won't kill you personally. they will kill Social Security, and you will die poor because you were too dumb to learn a little strategy, and hated the smarty pants who tried to teach you.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 19:41
Again, Dale you do not know me yet you continue to talk down to me. Those same professors I spoke of do not see the folly of their own ways just like you do.

You gave assumptions Dale and then demand that we ALL must see it YOuR way. You again approach me with arrogance.

This is why your apology before holds no water.
-1 # coberly 2012-12-08 17:21

essentially the income tax and the payroll tax are paid for by different people.
even if they were paid by the same "people" there is a difference it time between who lent the money and who has to pay it back. so no, you are not paying twice.

your SS pays for YOUR benefits (with some insurance adjustments, and some "interest" that comes automatically from pay as you go: the folks "paying" the interest have more money that the folks who paid the tax years ago.

income tax pays for your submarines and wars and stuff like that. and it also pays back the money "it" borrowed from SS.

i don't have time to even try to explain all this to you, but here is a place to start if you want to try thinking about it.

there is no "uncle sam" with one pocket borrowing from the other. there are three hundred million americans who do borrow from each other. SS is just one of the ways.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 19:54
This is UNTRUE Dale. WE THE PEOPLE pay for it twice. There is no way around it. Sure Govt bonds are safer than corporate bonds. That point was moot.

You are stuck in some narrow paradigm Dale. I pay both income AND payroll tax. In the future my income tax will be used to pay back the borrow payroll tax that they collected from me years earlier. That is me being taxed twice for the same thing. Dale the ONLY reason why we have SS surplus is due to collecting MORE payroll tax than is needed to pay out current claims. Again under Reagan they called it PRE FUNDING. It was to get us over the peak of the Baby Boomer generation.

See Dale this is YOU again being condescending. I know what taxes are Dale.

Your assumptions have all been based on fear Dale. The fear of the so called good rich taking away your SS benefits.
0 # coberly 2012-12-08 20:11

you have one thingin common with martin

you don't know anythng about money. but here is a clue for you:

the United States makes 15 trillion dollars a year. paying back 3 trillion is like you making 150k and buying a car for 30k on credit.. you buy it on credit... essentially borrowing from your future self... because that works out better for your budget than paying cash.

has it ever occured to you that YOU are being condescending? you talk like you think you know more than i do. which is ridiculous. but when i talk like i know more than you do, you pull a "who are you to talk to me like that?"

well, i am actually in fact someone who knows more than you do. you must have suspected SOMEONE did.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 21:01
Dale I am speaking back to you as you have spoken to me.

Dale SS is an INSURANCE policy. Our payroll tax is a PREMIUM. We all pay for CURRENT claims not our own. SS is guaranteed due to the US Constitution. We pay premiums today for the promise in the future others will pay premiums to cover our claims. Just like fire insurance, car insurance, etc.

15 trillion? Are you now trying to use a GDP analogy? That is not what the US govt makes though. That is a collective for the entire economy. We have been paying a higher payroll tax since the 80s to create a surplus. Again this was called pre funding the baby boomer generation. Dale I was alive then and already an adult then. Pay as you go means the payroll taxes collected went out to pay for current claims. That IS what SS has been since Jan of 1937. You have issues with the SSA website NOT me. I have already known this information. I posted it to show I am not the only one saying it. You have done NO SUCH THING other than to use yourself as the authority for your assumptions being facts. Your issue is the belief that you have a higher authority and right now it is being questioned.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 18:10
// SS is guaranteed due to the US Constitution. //


Exactly where? Please Identify relevant
Article, Section, Paragraph reference please.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-08 21:09

That CBO report I linked shows that it will take far more than a full % point to erase that .7% of GDP. That report is two years old. Have economic times drastically changed since then?

Note your arrogance again. You use your own self as authority for what you claim are facts AND yet are trying to imply I am the one being a hypocrite. LOL.

SS fund is not some savings acct. You can try to make up all the analogies you want to but that is moot because that is not what SS is actually. The surplus they collect they have to buy govt bonds with it. We all pay collectively payroll tax. We all collective pay for that surplus. When they take the surplus and spend the money in the general fund it has to be paid back by other funds which again is paid by us COLLECTIVELY. It is like paying for that submarine TWICE.

Again the surplus collected since Reagan was to PRE PAY for FUTURE claims. If they take that money out of the SS Fund and use it somewhere else it is like you putting something on layaway and pay for that layaway but when you go and pick it up they have you pay for it again.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 18:12
//.. We all collective pay for that surplus. When they take the surplus and spend the money in the general fund it has to be paid back by other funds which again is paid by us COLLECTIVELY. It is like paying for that submarine TWICE...//

Wholy crap .. some one else actually gets it.
0 # dovelane1 2012-12-09 04:21
Mr. Coberly - I have to agree with Mr. MacGregor, as to the tone of your writing.

One of the main problems I have seen with most politicians - republican and democrat - is the inability to admit they might be wrong. That's what I see happening with you.

I deal with that tendency in myself by using the idea that I will tell the truth, as I know it - AT THIS POINT IN TIME,

I allow for the possibility that I might get more or better information, that may cause me to change my mind in the future, even if I think I am totally correct right now.

To me, it doesn't appear as if you are willing to allow yourself that possibility. Even though you may be better informed, or perhaps differently informed, when your attitude or belief is that you could not possibly be wrong about anything, that attitude INVITES other people to respond to you with a similar attitude. That appears to be where are now.

To me, when someone talks about humility, what they are talking about is simply being able to admit to the possibility that they might be wrong, or that they may, STILL, have something left to learn, even if it is just in our attitudes and responses towards other people.

We all have the option to admit we might be wrong IF we allow ourselves that option. If you can't allow yourself that option, my question to you would then be "Why not?" Of course, we all can do better, which is why forgiveness is a necessity.
0 # coberly 2012-12-09 08:18

you can't have it both ways. if uncle sam is robbing from one pocket to put it in the other pocket, then it's the whol 15 trillion you have to look at not just "the federal budget".

i don't pay for anything "collectively." i paid for my SS and expect to collect it.... with those "excess" payroll taxes that did NOT pay for someone else. i will pay for submarines with my income taxes... by way of paying back the money i borrowed from SS that was used to pay for the submarines at that time.

keep thinking, though, you are making progress.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 18:17
//... i will pay for submarines with my income taxes..//

Yes you will,
you will pay to make the IOU (special security) for your SSA's lock box account to be good as well.

Exactly where is the government going to get the money it owes the people?
0 # coberly 2012-12-09 08:20

look again. i admitted i was wrong when i was wrong.

i am not wrong about eighty cents per week per year being the best way to pay for the Social Security "actuarial deficit."

humility does not mean letting the dumbest person in the tribe make the rules.
0 # coberly 2012-12-09 11:22

if you need "authority, look up National Academy of Social Isurance

a 2009 publication "Fixing Social Security" by Virginia Reno and Joni Lavery. try to see if it is available on line. see p 14,footnote 11.

otherwise you could look up the CBO Report "Options for Social Security." a little careful reading should show you that Options 2 and 3 are very very similar to what I am saying.

meanwhile, try this...

assume that your "collectively paying for .." is true, and then try to understand the following model

suppose you have been saving for something you want, call it "A". you have put almost enough money for A in a little box. but then something comes along and you need money for "B". you don't have any extra money right now, but you don't need the money for "A" right away, and you do have a steady job.

So you "borrow" the money for A from the box you are keeping it in. you put an IOU in the box to remind yourself that you need to put the money back in time for when you need it. You buy B with the money. Now you start putting the money you need for A in the box by saving it out of your pay. After a little while, the money is "repaid," and you are able to buy A.

the question is... Have you paid for A twice? the answer is NO. you paid for A once, and you paid for B once. The fact that you "borrowed" from yourself because you needed B before you needed A does not mean you paid for A twice.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-09 18:12
Dale stop it. All current information does not show your fix does anything. We all collectively pay for SS benefits for today. That is the TRUTH. That is how it works. Under Reagan they started to collect a SURPLUS. This was again PRE PAYIHG for future benefits when not enough workers would cover the baby boomers. NONE of us can say where any one dollar of our taxes goes to what. That is your failed belief.

Your analogy is flawed. It is basing it on a single entity and not a dual relationship. I did not spend that surplus on something else for myself. The other entity did. In the future when they need that money to make benefit payments they will come knocking to ask me for more money but now it is with interest.

The next is the CBO report of 2010 that shows that even a 1% increase in payroll tax does not fix our issue. It falls short of the projected .7% GDP.

Note these are THIRTY possible fixes.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-09 18:31
// Have you paid for A twice? the answer is NO. you paid for A once, and you paid for B once.//

LOL... your forgetting payment C necessary to back fill your non existant savings (Special Security for 'A' the IOU) savings since the money that was supposed to go to A went to B.

A alegidly was to be savings
+1 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-09 18:35
The information I have been posting is not for Dale. It is for the rest of you to look at and make up your own mind. Dale is an elitist.

That is how your SS retirement benefits are calculated. Note there is no mention of how much you paid in payroll tax. Only how much you earned. It is the same formula no matter how much you make.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-09 18:48
Since some like analogies.

Let's suppose I want to buy a red racer wagon. From paper route/mowing lawn money I put that in my piggy bank. I need 20 dollars. Unknown to me my Mom comes in and takes out 5 dollars to spend on something else that I do not get.

So I keep saving unknowing about the missing 5 dollars. So comes the day when I put in my last quarter to make 20 dollars. I am dancing, I get my red rider my red rider as I run on down to the store.

But what an embarrassment when I open the piggy bank and the clerk counts out 15 dollars. "Kid there is only 15 dollars here?" What? MOOOOOOOM!!!! I now have to save 5 more dollars. But wait there is a note in there. It says "Son, I will pay you back from your allowance money. Love Mom."
0 # coberly 2012-12-09 20:56


this is just to let you know i read your replies. something is wrong with your brains. both of you. i will try not to read any more. have fun.
0 # Martintfre 2012-12-10 16:54
Quoting coberly:


this is just to let you know i read your replies. something is wrong with your brains. both of you. i will try not to read any more. have fun.

Yes, there is something wrong with our brains -- we use them.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-10 02:52

For all others please read.
0 # DevinMacGregor 2012-12-10 21:44
Dale still talking ...

If that Kid had taken the 5 dollars and bought soda pop, candy, and a comic book then yes the kid never paid for Red Rider twice but that is not the case.

Say Company A hired Company B to do IT support for it. B upgrades their network to a windows based system. A though has some legacy systems, ie AS/400 with a lot of in house apps developed for it. B charges A for converting in house apps to the windows based system. A though starts the project but never finishes it. Not even half way done. It spends the money not on new equipment or software for A but instead uses the money for internal uses. Several years down the road those legacy systems must be converted so B charges A again for the conversions that it never did in the first place.

Some call it something else but we called it double dipping and that is making your client pay for the same thing twice. I personally thought it to be BS but it went on. Even more interesting when A is a govt entity and B is a private entity where A was told to outsource because it would save them money then are stuck with a service contract for 7 years.

Well off for more Mythbusters marathon.

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