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confuseddemocrat On July - 7 - 2014

medicare-medicaid-projected-federal-spending

We have all heard the meme:  Demographics are shifting and democrats will have the electoral advantage by 2016 and superiority starting in 2020 or so.

Given the GOP ridiculously bad economic record, the Bush’s great recession as well as the GOP’s assault on women’s rights, public education, Medicare, Medicaid, social security, the expanding poverty in southern states,  as well as the GOP’s embrace of  Big corporations and tax policies that ship blue collar and white collar jobs overseas,  the Democrats should be poised to render sounding defeats in 2014 and vanquish the GOP for a generation.  Texas and Georgia should be at least purple (not trending red) and  the Republican governors in rust belt states Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio should have approval ratings in the teens for crying out loud.  Florida and Arizona should be rioting over the repeated votes to “voucherize” Medicare and “block grant” or cut Medicaid and both states should be bluer than Elvis’ suede shoes

Why not?  Answer: Because the Democrats have adopted GOP Lite.

We can scream about republican recalcitrance, but when we had power (albeit brief), we spent it developing policies that favored the 1% and submarined any efforts to punish those who robbed the bottom 99% percent of their lifesavings.  We created the stimulus which was trickle-down lite.  We continued to rescue Wall Street but told Main street that they were a “lagging indicator” and that they were irresponsible for buying the house that they could no longer afford (after the lower classes lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts to keep their jobs).  We gave the one percenters Quantitative Easing which buoyed the stock market making the 1% even wealthier while doing nothing for the 99% who are essentially non-stock holders. We are now promoting more “free trade agreements” at a time when many economists and even the lowest information voters think NAFTA was a bad deal (http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf). We still think we can woo Wall Street with these plums even though it was Wall Street that financed the Tea Party after Democrats spoke of extremely modest finance reforms in a voice slightly higher than a whisper.

The Democrats have yet to come up with a unifying aggressive economic policy that is cogent and actually makes sense to non-economics and non-pundits or wonks. We need to force Republican So & So  to explain why he/she voted for plans to privatize/cut SS, Medicare and Medicaid. We should be running hard hitting ads explaining that if the GOP’s privatization or reform schemes ever take root they could result in as much as $150,000 dollars being taken from our nest eggs  in  the form of “fees” and cuts.  We need to talk about the local  bad roads, and  bridges and ask  why Representative GOP thinks it is acceptable to have Americans driving on shaky bridges and on pot-hole filled roads as well as  waiting in dingy airports. Ask them why they want to pass bills that will make college education more expensive.

If we want this demographic shift to become a reality rather than continued wishful thinking, we need to find our populist voices now. You can best believe the GOP and Frank Luntz are focus group testing “faux populism” this very minute. And let’s face it, Democrats relying on being the “lesser of two evils”  or the “reasonable party” will  not be enough to inspire our base to vote in 2014 and beyond unless every GOP candidate is as vicious and craven as Chris McDaniel.

62 Responses so far.

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  1. The thing that sticks (at least for me) is that not a single banker has been perp-walked. Not for the toxic mortgage games, not for looting AIG, not for the LIBOR manipulation, not for laundering drug money. We always talk about the people the GOP has written off--people of color, Latinos, LGBT voters, etc. But millions have lost their homes to fraudulent foreclosures. Millions lost their jobs because of the meltdown. Millions have seen their jobs off-shored. Where’s the Democratic outrage? Outside of Warren and Sanders (who isn’t a Democrat), nobody has been pounding on this over the past six years.

    I can understand the argument that the Senate Democrats never had a ‘super majority’ and the GOP could forestall any substantial action. But there hasn’t even been symbolic action. Look how long it took to get rid of Lanny Breuer, who refused to pursue prosecution of the bankers and Wall Streeters. Now the statute of limitations has run out.
    The Democrats tread gingerly on the Wall Street interests, because their campaign money comes from business as well. In theory the GOP should have an uphill battle. But they don’t because there’s widespread disgust with the Democrats’ lack of response to the economy and corporate criminality.

    • Mopshell says:

      Reading this just makes me want to hand every seat over to the Republicans. If the public is so disappointed with the Democrats, if the Democrats have failed so utterly, then let the Republicans rule the country. If that’s what the people want, then let them have the government they want.

  2. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    THE MYTH OF THE DEMOCRATIC SENATE SUPER MAJORITY….

    In January 2009, the Senate had 58 Senators caucusing with the Dems. Lieberaman and Sanders were part of that group although one is a left leaning independent and the other a right leaning independent, In addition there were 7 Blue Dogs who leaned GOP because they were from states that tended to vote Red or leaned to the right: Evan Bayh (Ind.); Mark Pryor (Ark.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jim Webb (Va.), and Mark Warner (Va.). Their votes required that that any proposal be sellable to their red/purple constituents .

    April of 2009 Arlen Specter decided to switch from a Republican to a Democrat because he was behind Toomey in the GOP primaries. Technically that gave the Dems 59 in their caucus.

    The 60th Senator, Al Franken of Minnesota, was locked up for months in recounts and legal challenges from a very close race with incumbent Norm Coleman. Finally, on July 8, 2009 after eight months of delays, the Dems had 60 votes IF the Blue Dogs could be managed and that was very difficult.

    But six weeks later on August 25, 2009, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy passed away. Back to 59.

    One month later on September 25, 2009 Paul Kirk was appointed to fill Kennedy’s vacancy while the special election was going on. Back to 60.

    In November of 2009 Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, in a poorly run campaign, lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to Republican Scott Brown effectively ensuring the end of a technically filibuster proof Senate in January 2010.

    Depending upon which metric is used,… Democrats had a super majority for roughly six months which composed of the the seven weeks between Franken’s swearing-in on July 8 to Ted Kennedy’s death on August 25 and the four months and nine days between Paul Kirk’s swearing-in on September 25, 2009 to his replacement by Scott Brown in 2010. And when you calculate in the days the Senate was not in session or when Mr. Byrd or Mr. Kennedy were too sick to attend, the number of days is less that 50. This was just barely enough time to pass the biggest and most difficult health care legislation in generations; an event that would likely never have happened under any other circumstances and which knocked every other piece of legislation off of the docket.

    • confuseddemocrat says:

      Hello Murph, this is where we differ. I understand about the need for healthcare. But in 2009, the first priority for most was the economy. During that six month period, Democrats should have rammed through a bigger stimulus and a huge infrastructure/transportation bill. I remember early in the his presidency, Obama was asked what was his #1 focus. He said healthcare then caught himself and said “and of course we have to do something about the economy.”

      The myth of 2010 is that progressives stayed home because of the public option. No, I have always contended that the fixation on healthcare while Unemployment was rising exponentially among the young, Blacks, Latinos and working class whites is what led to the apathy and disappointment. People saw their neighbors lose houses and jobs. People’s equity (which was the wealth) disappeared as well as their plans/ abilities to finance their kids’ education dissipated overnight. Those lucky to have a job, realized they would not be able to retire as planned. And Democrats argued and haggled about the public option while lives were crumbling.

      I knew we were in trouble in 2010 when someone on my “working class” street said, “they are arguing about healthcare when all I want and need is a job. If I had a job I could buy my own healthcare”

      And this has always been the disconnect…..we democrats thought healthcare was more important than jobs. And if not, that was how it was conveyed. And given the fleeting mention of a jobs bill every few months rather than consistent drum beating as well as our fixation on healthcare to this day……we still don’t understand what is really worrying folks.

  3. SearingTruth says:

    You are a treasure of humanity confuseddemocrat. Thank you.
    ST

    “A pillow of dirt.

    They said we must lay our heads down upon it.”
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave

  4. The most basic economic law is that if you want more of something you subsidize it and if you want less of something you penalize it. There should never have been a bailout. No company is too big to fail. By the same token we should never have subsidized home ownership. When the government funds more care for the elderly, the elderly get more care and with it more cost.

    Health care should never have been tied to employers. The US is unique in that. It came about as a way for companies to attract better employees when the wage freeze wouldn’t let them increase direct pay. The government even encouraged that more by letting health insurance be paid for with pre-tax dollars.

    In the US, if you wake up with a sore throat and call the doctor, they will usually be able to get you in to see him today. So you go in, pay your co-pay, see the doctor, and maybe get a prescription and told to call back if it isn’t cleared up in a few days. You’re happy, the doctor’s made money, the pharmacy’s made money and you get better in a few days. Problem solved.

    If you call your doctor in most of the socialized health care countries, you might be able to get in sometime in the next month. So you don’t bother calling the doctor and the sore throat usually goes away in a few days anyway. No money spent, but you still get better.

    US health care costs more with the same outcome. But since we’re not paying much directly out of our own pocket, we way overuse it. Sounds more like an over-insured problem to me, not the lack of available care. Insurance is for risk management, not every day or expected maintenance.

    • Mopshell says:

      Perhaps you’d be happier if there was no insurance industry at all and no government “handouts” of any description so everyone has to rely on their resources. If they don’t have it, bad luck.

      • No handouts? Yes. No insurance companies? No.

        My only objection there is that employment based health insurance is a government subsidized benefit because it is pre-tax. Remove that tax subsidy and, while I don’t like its past, I’m good with its future.

        • Mopshell says:

          Why don’t we make it easy and just say “all those who earn less than $100,000 a year cannot have health insurance of any kind”. Perhaps even better, the insurers could ditch all their silver and bronze plans, leaving only gold and platinum plans. Without government subsidies, only the well-off will be able to afford them which seems to be the aim here.

    • EXFANOFARIANA says:

      What is highly hypocritical is, American companies abroad, give FULL health insurance to their employees, otherwise, they would not be able to operate in most countries.
      The USA has the highest cost for health related drugs and doctors.Everything is totally corrupted.Thanks to most members in Congress -- mostly republicans ( and not excusing blue dog dumbocrats) as the big Pharma/Health Insurance Companies RUN altogether with the fast food co. -- the responsible ones for the health issues in this country -- and they run mob-like.
      In ANY civilized and industrialized country , medication is not allowed on TV or any sort of media related news.Verboten. Here not only ambulance chasers advertise as they please but also , it’s the only country I know that allows it.Free speech gave Fox News the right to LIE.Slandering is admitted within the First Amendment.
      Your Constitution was manipulated in order to create chaos.Yet, if you accuse me of something I did not do, I have the right to sue you……CONFUSING country….PEACE.

      • So employees of American countries overseas aren’t eligible for that country’s health care system? I’d never heard that before. Can you confirm that for me?

        As to drug pricing, without the US market to recoup their costs of developing a new drug, many of them wouldn’t exist, so as far as that goes, the US is subsidizing the rest of the world.

        It’s also a LOT more expensive and takes years and years of testing before a new drug is allowed on the marketplace here. By the time we can get it, the rest of the world has been saving lives with it for years.

        Another part is the way we let trial lawyers run roughshod over anyone with anything medically related. There are life saving drugs and life changing immunizations that are known to work, but that won’t get released because of the risk of lawsuits. My old Ob/GYN spent over half of his gross, that’s GROSS not net, income on insurance even though he never had a suit. That money also has to come from somewhere. Unfortunately, lawyers make up the vast majority of politicians, especially in Congress, and they don’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg for their brethren (and earlier made some of them the money themselves to go into politics to begin with).

        Fourth is what I described above. People don’t have any idea what their medical care actually costs because we usually just pay a fairly small co-pay. We go in to the doctor for a lot of minor medical problems that would take care of themselves naturally so we spend a lot more to get the same result. I was going to say that that’s not the fault of the doctors and pharmacies and the like, but sometimes that’s not true. There are doctors who find it preferable to have patients that come in all the time for small stuff and give them their prescriptions and make them feel better without the worries of really sick patients. Fortunately not a lot of them, but they are there.

        As to the media, it’s been an interesting switch. Used to be lawyers couldn’t advertise and neither could drug companies. Cigarettes and alcohol, well that was a different matter. Those ads were everywhere. Now they’ve flipped.

        Anyone, left, right, big, small, rich, poor or any other category you care to use can lie. It is not forbidden. However if your words cause financial injury, sufficient emotional distress, incitement to riot, or wanton endangerment you may be financially and/or criminally liable for the results of those words.

        People say that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. That’s not true. You can. But if you were lying about it you have knowingly endangered other people due to the ensuing panic. That’s wanton endangerment which is prosecutable. You would also be liable to the theater for the financial damages, if any.

        There is a loophole for public figures. The standards are much higher as to what they can sue for. Provable intent to harm is usually required. That’s part of what you pay for being a celebrity.

        • EXFANOFARIANA says:

          You got it all wrong: American companies abroad BUY health insurance -- PRIVATE -- for their employees. It’s part of the deal when they set in overseas countries. As for your post of only America doing the research, you are completely wrong: Europe INVEST in research -- especially Germany , Switzerland, UK and France.
          And yes, we do not have this B.S of suing for anything..Pay attention to ambulance chasers in the US.Anywhere in a civilized world, this sort of propaganda is verboten.Let’s start with one of my cats -- one year old -- that I’ve had to put to sleep yesterday at only one year old.He was tested for FLV in January for the same virus.Test negative by the substitute vet could not take the time to wait -- 30 minutes -- for the ELISA test -- after 13 minutes he said my new adoption was “clear”….6 months later, he started to degenerate and lost 5 pounds. Went back to MY vet and insisted of testing him again.POSITIVE.Meanwhile he was living with my other 4 cats and , we don’t know yet , probably contaminated them all.
          I will not sue.I take it was a mistake for the clinic was so busy..
          As for the “celebrity” cause or post, I opt to ignore and abhor the term.Thank you.

          • So they buy private insurance for their American employees or for all employees no matter what countries they are citizens of?

            I didn’t say that only America does research. I said that Americans are who pays the cost for the development of American drugs. They know they can’t pay for it with just overseas sales. They depend on the high prices US insurance companies will cover and that is what finally gives them the net profit.

            Curious … if it had been you that you wanted a test done on, but didn’t have any symptoms, how long would it take for you to get in to the doctor and have them done?

    • Nirek says:

      Diane, I agree that no company is too big to fail. I agree that the bailout of banks was done wrong. Instead of the banks getting TARP money the government should have given smaller amounts to homeowners to catch up on mortgage payments which would have made the banks solvent and foreclosures not have occurred. A lot less spent and many homes saved.

      • There’s a problem with bailouts of any kind. There’s a principle called moral hazard. If someone (or some company) believes that someone else will bail them out if they get into financial trouble, then they aren’t nearly as careful when making future financial commitments.

        That’s what really scares me about the Wall Street bailouts. The companies that were thought too big to let fail then are even bigger now and with a corporate knowledge that they have been bailed out before.

  5. AdLib says:

    Hey confuseddemocrat, I have a bit of a different take on the reason the Dems aren’t dominating politics due to demographics as they should be.

    You propose that it is policy based, my take on it is that it is more process based.

    As we’ve seen on policies like the gun control bill, where 90% of the nation supported it yet it wasn’t passed…and still nearly all the politicians who blocked it will be re-elected, the public’s positions on policy seem to have little connection nowadays to elections.

    I would suggest that the disconnect between demographics and Dems not being more dominant is due to three things, gerrymandering by Republicans, voter suppression laws and tactics and the outsized influence of the wealthy on elections.

    The House majority is a travesty, it is hardly reflective of the nation’s sensibilities as The Founders intended and is instead a Frankenstein created by Repubs through tortured gerrymandering. The majority in The House represents a small minority of Americans and they are not representative of America, they are far more white, religious, conservative and older than average Americans. So until 2020 and we have a new census and new drawings of districts, it is sadly irrelevant how demographics keep changing to favor the Dems since we don’t currently have a genuinely representative House.

    The Voter ID laws, the slashing of early voting days, the attempts to build hurdles to keep that very demographic from even registering is a big contributor too.

    And the unlimited hundreds of millions if not billions that the Koch Brothers, oil companies, gun manufacturers, etc. can pour into elections buy Congresspeople and work effectively as a scare tactic to force them to vote in their favor or have that mountain of money turned against them to take away their seat.

    As for your descriptions of the stimulus and the avoidance of prosecuting the criminals on Wall Street, I agree. With the stimulus, Obama was new in the Presidency and tried so hard to be bipartisan that he ended up undercutting the effectiveness of the stimulus just to bring Repub votes on board. They betrayed him and their promises of course and we ended up with a stimulus that was too much a tax cut and credits plan which as you say, was a kind of Trickle Down Lite. At the same time, it did have hundreds of billions of domestic spending and did make a profound impact on arresting the freefall of our economy and the hemorrhaging of jobs. It should have been much larger on spending and a fuller and faster recovery would have occurred but Obama was trying to bring the country together by working with Republicans so the intentions were good but the outcome was not as good as it should have been.

    I don’t agree though that Dems have run as the lesser of two evils, they have run on the ACA, on income inequality, on protecting SS and Medicare from being privatized, on gay rights, on gun control, taxing the wealthy and providing for the needy, etc.

    IMO, this is not the case of the Dems being too much like Repubs on the issues, it is the system of elections that is corrupting our representative government. Repubs support taking contraception away from women as well as abortion, they pass laws attacking Latinos, they want to go to war in a variety of nations, they want religion to trump law, they express racism and chauvinism with no apologies, they want to gut SS and Medicare by privatizing them, they want to slash spending on the poor, they want to block any progress for the nation under this President…I really don’t see Dems as being anywhere near Repubs on most issues.

    If we could have (as is the case here in CA) states use independent boards to draw districts, that alone could cure the misrepresentation of the people in DC. And if we could legislate public funding for elections and ban the unlimited spending of the wealthy to taint elections, then we’d have a true democracy flourishing here that genuinely represented the demographics and views of this nation.

    • confuseddemocrat says:

      Hello AdLib, I agree that extreme gerrymandering and voter ID laws are indeed hampering the democratic base. I think the democrats are also suffering from the fear of being dominated by the PACs. But our messaging is horrendous.

      The struggling state economies under GOP control should be leading to low approval ratings of the GOP at the statewide offices (governors, district attorneys, state senators). These offices are not subject to gerrymandering.

      Wisconsin’s economy is bad when compared with neighboring states, New Jersey’s economy is also in ridiculous shape. Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio are among the states at the bottom of the rankings in economic performance, yet their GOP governors will probably win re-election. This is crazy. So for some reason, democrats are not connecting with the electorate.

      Our candidates do need to tout some of the national economic accomplishments including some healthcare benefits, but we also need to focus more on an economic plan and local bread and butter issues. Why a transportation bill is not on the lips of every democratic politician is beyond me. People can understand intuitively the economic and infrastructure impact of a transportation bill.

      We need a populist message and economic plan…and we need it fast

      • Mopshell says:

        How are they supposed to get this messaging out to the public when mainstream media effectively gags them by not carrying it? They’re corporate-owned so of course they are going to lean right.

        Obama gave the speech of his life in Texas at the weekend but, as far as I’ve heard, the only place you can see and hear the full speech is on the internet. Mainstream media took great delight in editing it to make him sound hesitant and pushed the meme that he is weak. How can anyone win with that against them?

        The only medium that is left-leaning is the film industry and they aren’t set up to carry effective messaging in a timely fashion.

        Television, radio and press have become so anti-Democratic that they have successfully managed to paint every GOP failure, every lie, every hypocrisy, every obstruction as a gilded wonder. Without any thought at all, “government takeover” covers everything government tries to do and is depicted as the sin of the ages. Smaller government (so small it shrinks to a head office in DC) has suddenly become the aim, the shining light. Government is inept and wasteful; business is responsible and efficient. Up is down. In is out. How do reasonable people fight that?

    • monicaangela says:

      AdLib, your post is very noble, and you do point out some of the differences between some democrats and most republicans, however the last part: If we could have (as is the case here in CA) states use independent boards to draw districts, that alone could cure the misrepresentation of the people in DC. And if we could legislate public funding for elections and ban the unlimited spending of the wealthy to taint elections, then we’d have a true democracy flourishing here that genuinely represented the demographics and views of this nation.

      I personally believe it is going to take much more than that to make this government a democracy and for those elected to begin to utilize democratic practices. We have never in fact had a democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic.

      A constitutional republic is a state in which the head of state and other officials are representatives of the people. They must govern to existing constitution.

      In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers can be separated into distinct branches. That a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, makes the state a republic. The USA is a Constitutional Republic.

      Lately that Constitutional Republic appears to be run more by the interpretation of Supreme Court Justices than elected representatives…this is my humble opinion. We at this point in time are more of an oligarchy or a plutocracy than even a Constitutional Republic. How we ever turn this around and begin to enjoy the type of government you are discussing is the Billion Dollar question. :)

    • We spend 20 times as long deciding what car we want to buy that who we think would be the best at running our governments. How many people go to the polls not even knowing who or what’s on the ballot just to pull a handle and make quick decisions based on a quick scan of the text on the ballot? Gee, that name sounds familiar. I’ll vote for her. Of course I don’t want to pay tolls to get across the river. I vaguely remember somebody saying something I didn’t like about this person … I think. Well, I’ll just vote the other way to be safe.

      Whether you agree with my positions or not, just the fact that you’re reading this is proof that you’re at least making an effort to learn about and be involved in political/societal issues. Do you realize just how small a minority you’re in?

      Get the facts, whether you like them or not (and most of us don’t -- reality doesn’t provide free rides to anyone in the long term). Define your goals in as much detail as you can. Forget wishful thinking and “if onlys.” See if those goals can be aligned with the facts. Then, if they can be, see what the best path is from here to there that can actually be followed. Finally, seek out and support people who will help get down that path at each step without ever losing the vision of your final goals.

      The only thing in this world that is unlimited is human desires. None of us is ever going to get everything we want, but we can work towards getting as much as we can. Listen to those who don’t agree with you. You may find they agree with more than you think. You may learn something you didn’t know. You may even find that, based on new information or understanding, your own ideas and goals change. While change, in and of itself, is not always a good thing, neither is stagnation or willful blindness, no matter where you are on what issue.

      There is only one ability our species has that differentiates us from the others and has allowed us to survive and thrive. That is the ability and choice to use what’s between our ears. So use it.

      • monicaangela says:

        Words of wisdom Dianne Merriam, you would make a great representative. You would also do well as a motivational speaker for the electorate of this nation, if only there were a way to gain the attention of the voting public and convince them that what you have said in this post could be, if only we had the political will to follow it, our salvation.

        • I’m much more fluent in type than in person, and especially in front of a camera or crowd. %)

          One person at a time is all most of us can do, but if we keep working at it, hopefully, one day, we’ll hit a critical mass.

          The late 1700s were a unique time in human history. The peak of the Enlightenment and classical liberalism. The fortuitous combination of the right people at the right time in the right situation and the right cause resulted in the Constitution that has served us so well.

          Those days will never come again, but maybe we can make our own if we don’t give up.

          Not that is was perfect or that the people who wrote it and started the traditions of our country were perfect, but then they admitted that right up front … “In order to Create a more Perfect Union …” They likely never expected that it would last as long as it has. They also would have been very dismayed with what we have made of it, but not surprised.

          A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin when the final vote was taken in the Constitutional Convention, “Well, Doctor, what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?” His reply? “A Republic, if you can keep it.”.

          “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” -- Benjamin Franklin

          • monicaangela says:

            The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

            There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.

            In the United States, the majority undertakes to supply a multitude of ready-made opinions for the use of individuals, who are thus relieved from the necessity of forming opinions of their own.

            I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.

            The Indian knew how to live without wants, to suffer without complaint, and to die singing.

            ~~~~~~~Alexis de Tocqueville

            The last quote by de Tocqueville is worth more to me than any of the aforementioned. :)

  6. Miles Long says:

    Fact: If the cap on SS taxes is eliminated, making EVERYONE pay their “fair share,” then Social Security is solvent in perpetuity.

    Miles “Just Sayin'” Long

    • SueInCa says:

      Actually Miles, that would make the fund solvent like you say but you know the rich are not going to let that happen. Until the rest of us get out the pitchforks, nothing is going to change. However if you want to make inroads on SS, start smaller. Just raising the existing cap(for everyone) to 110k would make the fund solvent for the next 50 years but even if you do that and the money has been borrowed, all you do is encourage “more borrowing”.

      I keep hearing people saying the money has been borrowed but no one seems to be doing anything about it. Why is that? Here is an article from Daily KOS that outlines some ways to fix ss per David Kay Johnston

      http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/12/1201361/-Raising-payroll-tax-cap-is-the-best-fix-for-Social-Security#

    • Why not just fold SS into other welfare programs and get rid of the issue altogether? SCOTUS has already ruled that you have no ownership right to anything having anything to do with your SS “contributions.” It ceased being your money the instant it was taken, no more and no less than any other tax.

    • RSGmusic says:

      Yes agreed and if it had started like that in the beginning SS would be swimming in money!!

    • AdLib says:

      Miles, it is such a simple and Progressive fix, it really needs to happen.

      If the worst thing is that millionaires don’t get every dollar back that they put into SS, just most of it, and SS is stabilized for ALL Americans, that is such a painless way of protecting everyone in America when they retire.

      And do millionaires really need an extra hundred dollars each month so much more than 99% of Americans need SS when they retire? It’s not even a question, this should be done ASAP…though we may have to wait until 2022, the first election after the next census and redrawing of districts.

    • monicaangela says:

      Too bad we don’t have legislators that are working on a concept as simple to implement as this one, isn’t it?

  7. monicaangela says:

    I truly enjoyed reading this article confuseddemocrat..the article, along with your moniker is priceless, perfect, excellent, and many other accolades I could give it.

    I believe we are, or should be beyond trying to depend on any one party to right the wrongs being committed in this nation. Our politicians are for the most part bought and paid for. I recently read a Princeton Study that I believe you should read. here is a link to a news article that discusses the study:

    A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities has found that the United States’ government more closely resembles an Oligarchy or a Corporatocracy than a Republic or Democracy. Researchers examined nearly 2,000 policy changes in the United States between 1981 and 2002 and compared the changes to the preferences of average Americans, wealthy citizens, and interest and lobbying groups.

    The researchers sought to find the answers to who governs in America, who really rules, and to what extent are U.S. citizens sovereign or powerless. To do this they analyzed four theoretical traditions in American politics. These include Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic Elite Domination, and two types of interest group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism. The researchers write, “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

    Here is the link to the article: http://benswann.com/princeton-study-declares-u-s-government-an-oligarchy/

    And,

    Here is the link to the abstract of the study that will be published in the Fall of 2014:

    https://www.princeton.edu/~mgilens/Gilens%20homepage%20materials/Gilens%20and%20Page/Gilens%20and%20Page%202014-Testing%20Theories%203

  8. RSGmusic says:

    HI confuseddemocrat , really like the article.

    Great analysis of what needs to be done.

    SS should never be privatized period. It does not work unless the USA doubles the SS tax to 20 to 22 %. Even at that it would swing the NYSE with Hugh cycles and businesses would literally not know what revenue they have to invest in.
    EXAMPLE XXX oil company may see their stock go from 70$ to 45 dollars in two days. Then the GOV buyer targets the next business or oil company. Also the fund could drop 25 % in any 3 month period.

    The gov would have a heck of a time setting your SS retirement pay there funds will not be stable.

    ON another note, Billionaires, conservative or liberal make more money when the democrats hold the presidency.

    Why the GOP wants a president is not good for them.

    From Forbes estimates of wealth on the Koch brothers.
    from 2002 to 2008 they went from 15 billion each to 20 billion each.
    Under Obama they have gone to 40 Billion a piece.

    It is the power that the GOP wants . The money does not matter to them. They will take less to rock the stock market and reduce the middle an low incomes families investing power and both will take a substantial lose in stock investments.

    The best thing to do is for the Dems push raising the SS taxes up to the highest earners.

    Think about it this way. If you de-fund the mandatory budget? you get less SS retirement pay.

    Again you have two stocks the mandatory and discretionary.
    The mandatory makes you and your wife money and you put in 10% now. SO it was bad for the to lower income brackets to lower the SS taxes to 10 % from 12 %. This is supposed to be temporary but now the GOP will not let it be raised back to 12%.
    IN other words all the political parties low and middle income families are losing money that would raise your SS retirement pay.

    The discretionary budget loses you money and all the nations debt is in that budget and 90 % of your taxes goes there.

    live long and prosper!!

    • There is one budget and one debt. Why has it exploded? Because the legal fiction of the Social InSecurity Trust Fund is finally coming home to roost. Every penny that was taken in as SS was spent and an IOU from the government to itself was created without it being on the books as a debt. Just another unfunded liability, only less so because there’s no contract that can be legally enforced to get it. That cash cow has gone dry so todays deficits actually show up as external debts, on the books and no longer hideable.

      • RSGmusic says:

        Well there are two budget that makes up the total revenue and debt in the country.

        What you said is correct if you look at it the way you do.

        prosper in the music you love the best what ever style it may be.

        The Ghost aka, RSGmusic!!

      • kesmarn says:

        Well, there’s one budget until there isn’t. Dubya fought a trillion dollar war “off the books,” which complicated President Obama’s job tremendously from day one.

        And Social Security could be made solvent for the next 50 to 75 years if the income cap were raised from the current $113,000 as Bernie Sanders has suggested.

        http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/must-read/on-social-security

        • Bush’s wars were off the books in that most of it wasn’t appropriated in the normal budget proceedings. The bills came due every year though. It wasn’t hidden like the way Social Security has been drained.

          Every 10 or 20 years they have made a change to Social Security that was supposed to fix it for all time. Each time the fix didn’t last. This is just the most recent and I don’t see any reason to believe this time any more than the others.

          The program and how it’s used is inherently unstable, but since older people are far more reliable voters, for all parties, it will have to get to full crisis point before anything fundamental is changed about it.

          There never has been a real trust fund. The government has been using money currently coming in to pay current benefits and then merged the rest into the general funds since the very start.

          • kesmarn says:

            I think that rather than say that Sander’s plan “probably won’t work, so let’s not bother to try it,” we should give it a shot. There’s no appreciable risk in making the attempt.

            And I’ve seen the suggestion that we simply “roll SS in with the’other welfare programs'” and fund it that way. I have to wonder how many older Americans are going to be comfortable with having the funding for SS voted on by Congress periodically. Especially by a Congress that now has a number of members who take glee in shutting down the government, filibustering everything and “shrinking government to the size where you could drown it in a bathtub.” Who wants lunatics like that in charge of your financial lifeline?

            Of course, 86 year olds could always pull up their support stockings and get out there into the work force to “take care of themselves.” There is that option too…

            • SS is and always has been just as much a creature of government funding as any other. No one has any claim to one penny in SS, regardless of how it’s been portrayed. The courts have already ruled on that unequivocally.

              The fiction that it is anything else keeps the segment of the population that is the most reliable voters, older and retired people, from screaming their heads off.

              One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) -- Carl Sagan

            • SallyT says:

              No, Al wasn’t! I just get to the end of my tethered when people claim that Social Security is a failure.

            • kesmarn says:

              Sally, I ran out of room down there, but thanks so much for filling in the history of the plunder of SS funding. When Al Gore talked about the need for a “lock box” for SS, he wasn’t kidding.

            • SallyT says:

              I love how now the SS is a “failure”. No, it was just too easy of a pile of cash to be let sit there. Reagan started sounding the alarm that SS was in financial trouble. Of course, he had a solution. Rob it! The Social Security Amendments of 1983 laid the foundation for 30-years of federal embezzlement of Social Security money in order to use the money to pay for wars, tax cuts and other government programs. The payroll tax hike of 1983 generated a total of $2.7 trillion in surplus Social Security revenue. This surplus revenue was supposed to be saved and invested in marketable U.S. Treasury bonds that would be held in the trust fund until the baby boomers began to retire in about 2010. But not one dime of that money went to Social Security. Reagan and the government had big financial problems. Supply-side economics was not working like Reagan had promised. The lower tax rates weren’t generating more revenue and there was a dramatic drop in revenue. Reagan needed another source of revenue and guess where he went for it. So he and Greenspan allowed the government to transfer $2.7 trillion from the Social Security fund to the general fund over a 30-year period. The money was all deposited directly into the general fund and used for non-Social Security purposes. Reagan spent every dime of the surplus that came in which came in during his presidency, on general government operations. And, so did the presidents that followed him. The $2.7 trillion, which is alleged to be in the trust fund, was all spent for wars, tax cuts for the rich, and other government programs. So, now the government can’t pay back the robbery. Politicians are trying to convince the public that Social Security is a flawed system, which needs to be replaced with private accounts. Social Security is a sound program that has worked well for more than 75 years. Bernie Sanders know how to fix it and they should be allowed to implement. And, the rich that enjoyed those tax cuts, well, they need to be sentenced to pay some, if not all, back!

        • SallyT says:

          Us damn Baby Boomers are hitting SS hard now. Even though we are living longer, I hope, I hope, it will balance again. Of course, more jobs will help, and more paying in for them when they get there. I really don’t think our children want us to lose our SS. They don’t want to have to pay for our needs, as well as care for us. (Even though I guess there are those that will say they are paying for us by paying into it SS now.) I know my girls know how important SS is to us and they certainly have no extra to spare.

          Kes, your point is well taken and I love Bernie!

          • RSGmusic says:

            HI SallyT, You call it hitting SS hard, ok perhaps.
            SS Retirement pay is also personal spending that will stimulate jobs. The boomers which i am at the tail end are more then half way thru. There will be less in the next coming yrs 10 yrs away.
            Raising the cap to the top earners will make in solvent a very long time.

            live long and prosper in the music you love the best.

            • SallyT says:

              I certainly agree with that, RSG. I only meant that since the Baby Boomers are such a large number that are aging in (and will die out)at one time, that puts a focus on it. But, that it will balance more in line as it was before us Boomers all crashed the door. There are fixes available as you have mentioned. And, may I add that it was because the Boomers had paid so much into SS, that is why it became so tempting to “borrow” from that large sum setting there, like the gov’t did. Now they can’t pay it back and it wasn’t really a note and there is no recourse to us.

          • kesmarn says:

            Thanks much, Sally! And Bernie also makes the point that SS should not be termed “welfare” or an “entitlement.” He says it’s an “earned income program.” No one should be made to feel guilty or threatened (that the program will be discontinued) just for being on SS.

            • SallyT says:

              Nirek, I think Bernie is not reaching for the stars but starting with the moon. I hope he will get that far, though!

            • Nirek says:

              Kes and Sally, Bernie is right but he should advocate for removing the cap completely.

              I have had the pleasure of voting for Bernie every time he has been up for election.

      • monicaangela says:

        Too bad we the people are not “Too Big To Fail.” ;(

  9. James Michael Brodie says:

    I fear that on a certain level we are looking at two sides of the same coin — and the money is no good.


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