Thought experiment

From Gin and Tacos:

Let’s say that through a combination of fund-raising prowess, ideological militancy, and personal charisma, Jesse Jackson Sr. is able to assume a position of considerable behind-the-scenes power in the Democratic Party. His sway over elected Democrats is such that he manages to get 95% of the Democratic Congressional delegation, House and Senate, to sign an oath of personal loyalty to his policy goals. Specifically, they pledge that under no circumstances will they ever support cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other social welfare programs. Jackson believes that any such cuts will affect the poor and people of color disproportionately. Throughout the debate over the budget and debt ceiling, House and Senate Democrats refuse to even consider any proposal that touches any of those programs. It is a non-starter. Full stop. Because they swore an oath to Jesse Jackson that they wouldn’t.

I’m sure you can see through this thin shoe-on-the-other-partisan-foot analogy to Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” that currently holds sway over the GOP. I do think it’s interesting to draw out the hypothetical scenario, though, to underscore a point: Can you even imagine the sheer violence of the pant-shitting that the GOP, Teatards, and Beltway media would be engaged in if the shoe really was on the other foot? If every Democrat had signed a personal oath to an interest group and private citizen that took precedence over their oath to the American people and Constitution?

Maybe Jesse Jackson’s not a perfect comparison here, because of teh black (I don’t think Republicans could get away with overt fealty to, say, Alan Keyes, the way they do with Norquist). I think Ralph Nader would be a pretty close match for Grover, though, they’re similarly weird. So what if it was Nader that made them all sign on to the “no cuts” pledge?






153 replies
  1. 1
    Rick Massimo says:

    I’ve been saying this for years now. Ed put a name on it, which makes it more vivid.

    Not only would Republicans shit their pants, but Our Media Stars would faint dead away.

  2. 2
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Bobo and his acolytes would clutch their pearls and reach for the fainting couch. In this whole debt ceiling fiasco what I don’t understand is why has Obama brought into the meme that cutting deficits in the middle of a recession or a weak recovery is a good thing. Why does he compare the Government to a family, last I checked I couldn’t print my own currency.

  3. 3
    Bulworth says:

    So what if it was Nader that made them all sign on to the “no cuts” pledge?

    That would be Extremism, anti-Americanism, and old fashioned Communism. Also, too, Soshulizm.

  4. 4
    Bulworth says:

    Can you even imagine the sheer violence of the pant-shitting that the GOP, Teatards, and Beltway media would be engaged in if the shoe really was on the other foot?

    That’s a pretty awesome turn of phrase.

  5. 5
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Bulworth,

    You forgot Facsism.

  6. 6
    Thymezone says:

    @cat. He hasn’t, which is why he has repeatedly said that he wants cuts to begin 2-3 years out to allow for the recovery to be unfettered by the cuts. Of course, it’s absurd to assume that people busy writing fauxrage posts would have time to keep up with current events. Ergo, Balloon Juice.

  7. 7
    ornery says:

    Reminded me of how much fun it’s been watching the Democratic Party leadership and followers destroy the great Progressive hero that crossed aisles and spoke the truth about corporate power in politics; all while the scapegoating herd was clutching madly to the Progressive label.

    Hahahaha. Good times, sigh.

    ABL and the fire-into-your-ranks cohort have been a special treat to enjoy, now all grown up in the Dem’s hot house crazy farm where it’s good politics to reserve one’s *real* bile and venom for those working toward the same goals.

    Thanks for bringing Ralph Nader into this. Yes, good times. Can I raise you an Eliot Spitzer? Good thing we got him out of there in time, eh?

  8. 8
    Redshirt says:

    Yeah, but Liberal Media. Everyone knows that!

  9. 9
    jrg says:

    And Nazism. And Stalin-ism, too, prolly.

  10. 10
    sublime33 says:

    I like the Jesse Jackson comparison because it would get a teabagger to state exactly what they object to. A predictable response would be that
    “I can’t support any politician who pledges support to Jesse because Jesse’s priorities are totally different than mine.”
    Reponse: “Are Grover Norquist’s priorities are the same as yours?”
    “Yes, but Jesse has a secret agenda.”
    “Doesn’t Grover Norquist? How is eliminating the estate tax helping you? Eliminating the Consumer Protection Agency and the EPA? Maintaining a tax DISCOUNT for oil companies and hedge fund managers? Who is picking up their share of the tab?”

  11. 11
    Jewish Steel says:

    A no-cuts pledge sounds fundamentally decent and humane. Where do I sign?

  12. 12
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    It’s a perfect example of which side controls the media and thus the narrative. (Sigh)

  13. 13
    Trurl says:

    Democrats standing strong in defense of the social safety net?

    heh… Whatever you’re smoking, dude, I want some.

  14. 14
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Trurl: Whatever you’re being paid to sock-puppet, I want some of that.

  15. 15
    murbella says:

    this is just more “we are all the same crapology”.
    we are not the same, because of SBH(social brain hypothesis) and red/blue genetics.
    Your “shoe on the other foot” scenario could never happen, because humans with liberal genetic tendancy are not subject to RWA syndrome (right wing authority syndrome).

    cut out your fucking kumbayah bulshytt, DougJ.
    this is war.

  16. 16
    Thymezone says:

    @jewish: how fucking ridiculous. The history of Social Security is a tale of adjustments to rates, ages and formulas aimed at keeping the program in alignment with fiscal and economic realities of the times. Benefits go up, the go down, they get added, they get taken away … as needed. That’s one reason why the program has been so reliable and successful.

    But by all means, kill it by making it yet another icon in a useless and endless political zero sum game of bullshit. Use it as a foil to Norquist, so we can have our own pledge signers and heated stupid rhetoric .. oh wait, we have Ed Schultz, so we already have that shit. But let’s amp it up.

    And in the process, decouple Social Security from the realities of actuarial tables and other critical data and make it just another tool of political division and gridlock, thereby adding to the inability to govern and at the same time fucking the program so that its enemies can come along and kill it later.

    Brilliant. Really, post of the day for you.

  17. 17
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    ornery
    As Dumbledore said, I don’t have much time for heroes.

  18. 18
    BudP says:

    Democrats pledge allegiance to the flag.
    Republicans pledge allegiance to a chunky muppet.

  19. 19
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    murbella
    You said the right thing and yet were totally wrong about the point at the same time. It’s not about the fact that it would never happen, we all know that: Why do you think we have the term Obot. It’s about the shitstorm that would be occurring if it happened.

  20. 20
    Trurl says:

    In this whole debt ceiling fiasco what I don’t understand is why has Obama brought into the meme that cutting deficits in the middle of a recession or a weak recovery is a good thing.

    He can read the economic forecasts as well as we can. He knows that 16% real unemployment spells certain doom for any incumbent – even one who isn’t BLACKITY BLACK BLACK, as his supporters are constantly reminding us.

    So this is the best chance he’s ever going to get to achieve the gutting of entitlements that he’s dreamed of since the day he took office. Carpe diem and all that.

  21. 21
    liberal says:

    Thymezone blithered,

    And in the process, decouple Social Security from the realities of actuarial tables and other critical data and make it just another tool of political division and gridlock…

    Right. It’s only in an alternate reality where the decoupling has already taken place with repeated claims that the Trust Fund is a fiction, “the money’s been spent,” and so forth.

    Oh, wait…

  22. 22
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @ThymeZone
    Ok may be I need to hear his speeches more closely but I have heard him comparing the national economy to a household budget more than once, and that’s more or less what the Republicans are saying too, we must live within or means blah blah blah and it is not helpful.

  23. 23
    schrodinger's cat says:

    I is in moderation plz to rescue my comment.
    Kthx

  24. 24
    cmorenc says:

    One huge difference between Grover Norquist and Ralph Nader is that though it’s certain Norquist possesses considerable vanity over his achievements in becoming such an influential activist with considerable political clout, Norquist has smartly refrained (so far) from attempting to convert his influential status into any sort of powerful political office. He recognizes that he has achieved optimal power and influence where he is, without having to take any real responsibility for results or consequences, or offering his critics and opponents any concrete way to target or punish him, or becoming a counterproductive competitor to his own side the way Ralph Nader did in 2000. (What again positive was it that Nader accomplished with that run except to stoke the vanity of his own ego?). Compare and contrast the power and influence of Norquist vs Nader today.

    Do NOT take this analysis as any indication that I think Norquist is in the least an admirable person or one of anything but negative, destructive accomplishment to society. One does not have to admire Norquist in the least to usefully analyze why Norquist has grown his influence whereas Nader has immensely diminished his over roughly the same time period.

  25. 25
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Thymezone: It’s a hypothetical, right? All I am saying is that it would be nice if there was a baseline of respect for those in need such that social programs were considered part of the fabric of our society without wading into the mechanisms that keep those programs afloat which clearly give you a boner and, hey, that’s great because obviously they must be made viable in a practical sense and I’m all for that but really, get off my tits and don’t refer to me as lowercase “jewish” decoupled from the other half of my handle, fucko.

  26. 26
    currants says:

    For some reason I’ve been thinking about Klein’s Shock Doctrine (book cover excerpt below) in conjunction with the debt ceiling issue and its potential (global) fallout and wondering…I’m guessing all you smart people have already discussed it. I haven’t had much time to keep up here, so I don’t know.

    “At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts…. New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters — to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.”

  27. 27
    Thymezone says:

    Here’s a little dose of reality for the chronically ill informed BJ crowd which gathers daily to exchange ideas based on wrong information and have great fellowship when the animal bowel movements are not the hop topix.

    The day and time: yesterday evening. The show: Ed Shultz.

    The blurb: Social Security has been unchanged since it was signed into law in 1935 (a slight paraphrase but close enough for this boob village). Yes, he actuall said that.

    I almost fell outta the chair. While he was still expelling turds of lies and deception from his swollen cheeks, I was already online and looking at the SSA gov website and its FULL HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM AND ALL OF THE AMENDMENTS AND CHANGES IT HAS UNDERGONE SINCE 1935. Dozens, to be exact, including a long list of benefit removals, decreases, and delays aimed at keeping the program solvent in the face of the vicissitudes of economic change.

    Nobody on his goddam fucking useless stupid lazy staff could take the 3.5 minutes it took me to FACT CHECK the stupid assertion and put the lie to his long and tortured rant?

    No, because telling a lie and getting a reaction is always easier than finding out what the truth is first. Right, Rush Limbaugh Schultz Uygur Balloon Juice? Amirite?

  28. 28
    danimal says:

    Thymezone made the point in an obnoxious manner, but (s)he’s got a point. There is a problem with SS financing, and minor adjustments can stabilize the program for decades. Blindly painting ourselves into a “no cuts, never” corner isn’t smart politics and it isn’t smart policy.

    I understand the desire to pay back the GOP and play the hard-ass negotiator, but some combination of cuts, extending the retirement age or revenue enhancements will be needed in the next two decades to maintain current benefit levels.

  29. 29
    Thymezone says:

    An out-year adjustment to the COLA formula, which is the main “slash” described as being baked into some deficit measures lately, not only is in fact an improvement to the system because the more aligned it is with fiscal reality the safer and more reliable it is, and the less vulnerable it is to attack … and also because … hold onto your paper toilet seat protector …. WHATEVER THEY DO NOW IS NOT BINDING ON THE FUTURE GOVERNMENT THAT WILL BE IN CHARGE WHEN THE REAL EFFECTS HIT THE SYSTEM. The whole point of HAVING government is to be able to see challenges and adapt policy and procedure to reality for best result. Otherwise they could have plugged in the numbers in 1935 and walked away from the thing and done nothing to adjust it 77-eleven times since then … just like Ed Schultz shat out of his ass yesterday, because his GODDAM STUPID STAFF didn’t bother to even look it up …. and because, you know, a show filled with outrage is always better than a boring show that describes a pension plan. Right? Amirite?

  30. 30
    cat48 says:

    Well, if this is “the shock doctrine”, the Bond Raters went with the GOP. What would you have done if the AAA Bond Rating was threatened by S&P, Moody’s, & Fitch? Just curious.

    If an agreement is reached to raise the debt ceiling but nothing meaningful is done in terms of deficit reduction, the U.S. would likely have its rating cut to the AA category, S&P said.

    “While banks and broker-dealers wouldn’t likely suffer any immediate ratings downgrades, we would downgrade the debt of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the ‘AAA’ rated Federal Home Loan Banks, and the ‘AAA’ rated Federal Farm Credit System Banks to correspond with the U.S. sovereign rating,” S&P said in its report.

  31. 31
    Steve M. says:

    The thought experiment is a good one, but are we all forgetting that Nader hates Democrats about as much as Norquist does?

  32. 32
    RalfW says:

    Thymezone et al.

    I’m sure Grover is enjoying you attacking other liberals. Makes for a great morning viewing along with a coffee, maybe a donut.

    Nice work, if you can get it.

  33. 33
    chopper says:

    i still hear that from self-described liberals. they think the modern SS and medicare systems burst forth fully formed from the brow of FDR one morning.

    i’d mention that when SS was first passed it covered like 5% of workers, and almost exclusively white ones, but why bother? it won’t sink in.

  34. 34
    Thymezone says:

    So take the day off and get some FACTS and some understanding of the dynamic realities of these programs and why and how they MUST be flexible and adaptable as we go along because we can predict life expectancies and to some extent health demands but we have NO FUCKING IDEA ON EARTH what the fiscal realities are going to be 15, 25, 40 years out. No way, not idea on earth.

    That’s why turning SS into just another pile of cheap grist for some goddammed ill-advised pledge scheme aimed at fucking politics at the expense of government just to get a leg up on some other asshole who is busy doing the same Ahem Grover Norquist thing ahem is a really stupid, stupid idea.

    Eh?

  35. 35
    Chris says:

    @ cmorenc,

    One huge difference between Grover Norquist and Ralph Nader is that though it’s certain Norquist possesses considerable vanity over his achievements in becoming such an influential activist with considerable political clout, Norquist has smartly refrained (so far) from attempting to convert his influential status into any sort of powerful political office.

    In contrast to the feudal elites from back in the day, the business-based elites in the U.S. have long recognized that being the power behind the throne is infinitely more fun than being the person sitting on it.

  36. 36
    Satanicpanic says:

    While we’re at it can we get a Dan Savage marriage pledge?

  37. 37
    beergoggles says:

    They don’t need a pledge for that. I’d vote against anyone that votes or signs off on SS or Medicare cuts.

  38. 38
    Trurl says:

    it would be nice if there was a baseline of respect for those in need such that social programs were considered part of the fabric of our society

    I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian budget proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not. – Bernie Sanders

    Must be one of those paid Republican ratfuckers we’re always being warned about.

  39. 39
    Thymezone says:

    In other words, for those of you who are too far gone into the haze of Balloon-Juice stupidity to get the point, putting pledged restraints on something like SS is as dumb as putting them on taxation. It’s bone ass stupid, it places political loyalties above the demands of government and above the oaths of office these legislators and officials are asked to take, and leaves the rest of us out here wondering why the hell all the people in these nice big white buildings in the capital can’t shit or get off the pot from one day to the next.

  40. 40
    RalfW says:

    re: Bond down-grade, AA from AAA is way better than going to Baa or Ba (Baa is still investment grade, latter is “junk”) which would be the likely rating if no deal is made.

  41. 41
    Ben Cisco says:

    Were it Jackson or Nader, they would have to enter witness protection to keep from getting got at the hands of the Teahadists. SHEEEEEIIIIITTTT…

  42. 42
    Chyron HR says:

    [Bernie Sanders] must be one of those paid Republican ratfuckers we’re always being warned about.

    Is that why the True Progressives hate him so much?

  43. 43
    Thymezone says:

    Bernie Sanders is a fucking liar just like Ed Schultz and couldn’t govern a homeowners association if his life depended on it. He sounds like a Simpsons character.

    I’m a better progressive than he is and I am a better Democrat than he is. Of course, he isn’t really a Democrat in the first place. He’s a KnowNothing, or some other stupid thing. He just caucuses with the Democrats, because, you know, we are so lucky.

  44. 44
    murbella says:

    @Belafon
    sry, im not wrong about this. humans with liberal genetic tendency exhibit neither backfire effect (where correction actually increases the salience of the falsehood) or RWA syndrome. That is why liberals fight all the time, and why conservatives can go in lockstep over even profoundly anti-empirical falsehoods.
    We are just different.
    But talking about red/blue genetics makes people crazy.
    I’m not sure why.

  45. 45
    Thymezone says:

    “Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist,[1][2] and has praised European social democracy. He is the first person elected to the U.S. Senate to identify as a socialist.[3] Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments, but because he does not belong to a formal political party”

    Isn’t Wikipedia just the greatest comedy show in town?

    It’s a wonder that Bernie is not an actual Socialist, seeing as the Socialist Party is the very model of popularity and user friendliness in the US right now, right up there with the Iceland Relief Fund and the Martin Short Fan Club.

  46. 46
    liberal says:

    Thymezone bleated, idiotically,

    In other words, for those of you who are too far gone into the haze of Balloon-Juice stupidity to get the point, putting pledged restraints on something like SS is as dumb as putting them on taxation.

    Nice to see you haven’t answered my point, moron, so I’ll repeat it again.

    The current political reality is that many people, not merely including right wingers, claim the Trust Fund is a fiction. Even nominally non-right wing outfits harp on the issue of SS going “cash negative.”

    Sure, in terms of accounting, there’s nothing wrong with what you’re saying. But you have to deal with the political reality, and the fact is that any move right now that will slow down the draw down from the fund, when the kleptocrats want to do a soft default (meaning, never draw it down to zero), is boneheaded at a minimum.

    WHATEVER THEY DO NOW IS NOT BINDING ON THE FUTURE GOVERNMENT THAT WILL BE IN CHARGE WHEN THE REAL EFFECTS HIT THE SYSTEM.

    Yawn. You could say the same thing about any change in the statutory or even Constitutional landscape. We can always pass a new law or even amend the Constitution!!

    Problem with your typically moronic statement is that it’s pretty likely, given how our kleptocrat rulers are salivating over the assets in the Trust Fund, that it’d be harder to undo changes we don’t like in the future than make an obstinate stand now.

  47. 47
    liberal says:

    Thymezone claimed,

    I’m a better progressive than he is and I am a better Democrat than he is.

    LOL. Back in the day, you were all chicken-little about the financial crisis, and how if we didn’t bail out the banksters (with few strings attached, naturally), it’d be the End.

    Some progressive.

  48. 48
    Thymezone says:

    Yes, boys, nothing has changed, I will repost this fucker twenty times if I have to, to defeat your stupid mod filter.

    “Sanders is a self-described democratic sociaIist,[1][2] and has praised European sociaI democracy. He is the first person elected to the U.S. Senate to identify as a sociaIist.[3] Sanders caucuses with the Democratic Party and is counted as a Democrat for the purposes of committee assignments, but because he does not belong to a formal political party”

    Isn’t Wikipedia just the greatest comedy show in town?

    It’s a wonder that Bernie is not an actual SociaIist, seeing as the SociaIist Party is the very model of popularity and user friendliness in the US right now, right up there with the Iceland Relief Fund and the Martin Short Fan Club.

  49. 49
    ralphf says:

    @Thymezone

    Talk about missing the point. No one is advocating this pledge. The point is that pledges like this are bad for us as well as the Republicans. However, we could never get away with one even if we wanted to and they can.

  50. 50
    The Tragically Flip says:

    The primary point of this analogy is of course true and well made. But I think making this comparison highlights another difference: Liberals would never make such pledges en masse because liberals understand that you can’t govern a complex institution like America based on a bunch of simplistic “thou shalt nots.”

    Liberals don’t think “never cut social security or medicare for any reason” is actually a good pledge to make. Cutting Medicare Advantage was a good medicare cut. If some better plan than SS was devised, or the magic market fairies actually came through with proven reliable safe retirement funding for the average American at a cheaper cost than SS, why wouldn’t liberals support that and make whatever cuts to SS made sense?

    It’s a useful reminder that liberals and conservatives are not “flip sides of the same coin” or whatever similar bullshit aphorism. Pledges are for fraternities and flags, legislators need to do better.

  51. 51
    Thymezone says:

    @liberal, you are comparing me to stupid knee jerk “liberals” like yourself. I was right about the bailout, and I am still right. That wasn’t a liberal-conservative issue, it was a basic government and economics issue. However it turned out, that’s what it would have been, as anyone with a brain could see at the time. I see you are still the ass you were then, nothing has changed.

  52. 52
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I guess this most recent round of absolute GOP bullshit over the debt ceiling has pushed me over the edge.

    For years I’ve enjoyed pointing and laughing at the idiotic stances and craziness of the Republicans, probably with the hope that, in the end, people are rational.

    With the debt ceiling issue, one that is so straight forward and easy to understand, I think I’ve given up.

    They are batshit crazy across the board.
    There is no way to negotiate or discuss things with people who are certifiably delusional. And there is no sense making them a joke, because they just can’t get it.

    Taking a pledge to teh Grover any more seriously than something a Republican does to assuage her right wing when running in a primary is just nutz. The fact that it has become so f*cking Holy that we’d blow up the world economy is prima facie we’ve jumped the shark.

    Also too, the heat you feel is a Communist conspiracy.

  53. 53
    Thymezone says:

    @liberal, your bottomless stupidity is breathtaking.

    WHAT THE FUCK does a COLA adjustment that has no major effect for years to come have to do with the Trust Fund?

    Show your work, you subject changing bonesmoker. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  54. 54
    liberal says:

    danimal wrote,

    I understand the desire to pay back the GOP and play the hard-ass negotiator, but some combination of cuts, extending the retirement age or revenue enhancements will be needed in the next two decades to maintain current benefit levels.

    We’re supposed to freak out about shortfalls well beyond a 10 year window, when the General Fund has been hemoraging red ink due to pissing treasure down the military rathole and having cut taxes on the rich, starting years ago?

    Not to mention that you and Thymezone are arguing that we should take a good-faith attitude about this, when the other side claims the assets in the Trust Fund are imaginary.

  55. 55
    kc says:

    Maybe Jesse Jackson’s not a perfect comparison here, because of teh black

    Yes, and 99% of Republicans will tell you that Jesse Jackson is the biggest racist in America.

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    Thymezone wrote,

    WHAT THE FUCK does a COLA adjustment that has no major effect for years to come have to do with the Trust Fund?

    You’re apparently too stupid to understand that the change in the Trust Fund balance is essentially in-go minus out-go.

    The more benefits are cut, the slower the Trust Fund is drawn down.

    I guess you really are as stupid as you sound.

  57. 57
    Bruce S says:

    Thymezone has all of the charm and intellectual credibility of Alan Simpson. Please do read the history of social securityh – it’s here: http://www.ssa.gov/history/briefhistory3.html
    Scroll about half-way down to get summaries of major legislation since 1935. You’ll see that anyone who describes the history of Social Security in terms of “long list of benefit removals, decreases, and delays” is a fucking liar with an insidious agenda. But that’s really not relevant to current discussion.

    What’s relevant to current discussion is that anyone who defends benefit cuts or limiting eligibility to Social Security at this point in time WITHOUT PUTTING LIFTING OF WAGE CAPS AS THE WAY TO RESOLVE ANY FORTHCOMING PROBLEMS IN FUNDING FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE (which is not, despite the mandate to the SSA 75 years in any political or economic forecast known to man.) Unless this treatment of the upper-income folks salaries the same as the rest of ours are treated for SS taxation purposes is one’s primary focus and “talking point”, you might as well assume you’re talking to someone who is either willfully ignorant or a rancid Social Security hater like Alan Simpson who will just lie in order to bully you with right-wing bullshit.

    Fuck these people.

  58. 58
    Thymezone says:

    The pledge I refer to, for those of you too short of brain cells to connect the only two dots on this particular page, is a metaphor for the kind of mindless stupidity reflected all over the Tubes today and seen right here, for example, in post 36 to this thread.

    Absolute idiocy. No “cuts” (or downward adjustments of any kind) allowed to SS. No increases of any kind to revenue or taxes. What’s the fucking difference if we are having a moron contest? Neither makes any sense, neither can work, both ideas hamstring government.

    Surely when you sober up you will be able to see that?

  59. 59
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @liberal:

    We’re supposed to freak out about shortfalls well beyond a 10 year window, when the General Fund has been hemoraging red ink due to pissing treasure down the military rathole and having cut taxes on the rich, starting years ago?

    Also, too the whole “we must cut benefits now to avoid benefit cuts in future” thing.

  60. 60
    Head Bulshytt Talker in Chief of the Temple of Libertarianism(superluminar) says:

    sry, im not wrong about this.

    Objection – assumes facts not in evidence.

  61. 61
    liberal says:

    Thymezone wrote,

    I was right about the bailout, and I am still right.

    LOL. So pathetic. Yes, something had to be done, but not something with minimal strings attached.

    However it turned out, that’s what it would have been, as anyone with a brain could see at the time. I see you are still the ass you were then, nothing has changed.

    Back atcha, you mentally addled old douchebag.

    What hasn’t changed is that there’s been no meaningful financial reform. And that you’re the same old bankster shill you were before.

  62. 62
    liberal says:

    Thymezone blithered,

    No “cuts” (or downward adjustments of any kind) allowed to SS. No increases of any kind to revenue or taxes. What’s the fucking difference if we are having a moron contest?

    The only morons here are the ones who make an equivalence between a program (SS) that isn’t contributing a single cent to the deficit and will not due so for what, twenty years, and another (General Fund/income tax/etc) that is.

    The point isn’t that SS should never be adjusted in any time or context. The point is that it’d be stupid to do so in this time and context.

    But, then again, you’re stupid and a shill.

  63. 63
    Bruce S says:

    sorry for the sentence fragment and garbled syntax at #57. I think the point comes thru the grammatical mess…

  64. 64
    Thymezone says:

    @BruceS — sorry, shit for brains,but …

    You read the wrong “history,” asshole. This is the complete list with detail. Read the whole thing, and come and tell me how many substantive modifications have been made to this program since 1935. Go ahead. And then go fuck yourself.

    http://www.ssa.gov/history/rep.....hist2.html

    This is just through 2000, recent changes will be in addition to this list.

    The Social Security Act of 1935 1

    1939 Amendments 2

    1950 Amendments 4

    1952 Amendments 5

    1954 Amendments 5

    1956 Amendments 6

    1958 Amendments 7

    1960 Amendments 7

    1961 Amendments 8

    1965 Amendments 8

    1966 Amendments 9

    1967 Amendments 10

    1969 Amendments 10

    1971 Amendments 10

    1972 Amendments 10

    1973 Amendments 12

    1977 Amendments 12

    1980 Amendments 13

    1981 Amendments 14

    1983 Amendments 15

    1984 Amendments 16

    1985 Legislation 17

    1986 Amendments 17

    1987 Amendments 17

    1989 Amendments 18

    1990 Amendments 18

    1993 Amendments 18

    1994 Amendments 19

    1996 Amendments 19

    1999 Amendments 19

    2000 Amendments 19

    Note that the COLA calculation, the one most often mentioned as the one ripe for adjustment now under the “deficit” measure, didn’t even come into existence until 1972, in the system that Ed The Liar Schultz said has “not been modified since 1935” and according to him, never should be.

    Also note that there are payroll tax adjustments in this list, another absolutely necessary ongoing change, putting the lie even further to Schultz’s insane rant.

  65. 65
    Zach says:

    Why doesn’t anyone point out that the Ryan budget is in violation the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment in every way and will be that way for decades, even by Ryan’s fuzzy math?

    1) Runs a deficit till ~2030
    2) Spends >18% GDP till ~2040; spends >18% of the previous year’s GDP forever
    3) Raises taxes on the poor and middle class “Broaden the tax base to keep revenue as a share of the economy at levels sufficient to fund critical missions that rightly belong in the domain of the federal government.” Keeping revenues at 19% GDP while “broadening the tax base” plainly means raising taxes on the lower classes.

  66. 66
    Thymezone says:

    @liberal — “something had to be done but I don’t like the way they did it.” Paraphrased. So the fuck what? Who called you on the phone in 2008-2009 to get your input into the scheme, or called me for that matter? “Something had to be done” is the entire truth. Your version is just about you and your endless capacity to think you know better than whoever is actually doing the thing, how it should be done. Wonderful, why don’t you run for office? Seriously, go for it.

    @liberal again — no “meaningful financial reform.” Do you really suggest that there was time to design reform while the bailing out was being desperately thrown together? Again, I guess your great expertise is needed in government. If only you had been there when the crisis struck! Then we’d all be happy today!

    @liberal yet again! — the only equivalence between a general fund and a blah blah blah …. What?? Are you kidding me? The tv is a daily shouting match between No Taxes on one side and No Entitlement Cuts on the other side.

    The pundits and politicians are the ones making the equivalency, you hapless mental defective. Every fucking hour of every day. That’s the whole point. That’s why we don’t WANT to aggravate that false equivalence.

  67. 67
    liberal says:

    @50 The Tragically Flip wrote,

    Liberals don’t think “never cut social security or medicare for any reason” is actually a good pledge to make.

    Right. The point is that SS or Medicare have issues which are separate from those of the General Fund; that doing a deal now based on e.g. SS just conflates the entirely different problems of SS financing and General Fund financing; that doing a deal on Medicare now (meaning, actual beneficiary cuts, not reform that gets rid of waste on the provider side) is tactically foolish given that Democrats need to be able to use the Ryan Plan to bash the Republicans in 2012; that…

    But I’m sure this is all over the head of Thymezone, who probably lacks the IQ to understand these points.

  68. 68
    Bruce S says:

    Why the fuck is anyone even talking about Social Security – or Medicare – in the context of this technical debt-ceiling issue when it’s been turned into a hostage-taking drama by insane people. Perhaps the crazies would offer a debt-ceiling increase in exchange for an amendment to the constitution banning abortion. It makes as much sense to discuss.

    Also, why do we NEVER hear the foundational fact of this “debate” – such as it is – that it will take acts of Congress to increase the deficit for there to even be significant annual deficits for the next dozen or so years (assuming economic recovery, since the Great Recession has been the biggest current deficit-driver.) I hate to say this, but Obama totally plays into the mis-education of the public and the absurdly distorted rhetoric of the GOP.

    And if this fucktard “Thymezone” thinks he’s a better liberal than Bernie Sanders, it’s a tribute to just how screwed up and brain-dead a major segment of the Democratic Party is. Maybe if Manchkin and Nelson set up a “think-tank” they could hire Thymezone as their resident genius. I know what the significant changes have been to Social Security, you ridiculous little prick. And they are all listed on the page I linked to. You haven’t linked to shit – probably because if anyone actually reads the history you glibly and dishonestly refer to, they’d know you’re being deceptive, at best. Probably just full of shit – to put things in a tone you can comprehend. Shove your willful ignorance and your unhinged arrogance up your ass.

    You’re a total waste of time. Drop dead (metaphorically speaking) or – at the least – don’t expect me to respond to your stinking little recital of resentments and disinformation.

  69. 69
    General Stuck says:

    It’s no use TZ, this site is destined to be a respite for Obama hating morons. Nothing can hold that back, for very long.

  70. 70
    RP says:

    The arguments with the anti-Obama crowd are beginning to sound like a Beckett play.

    X: Obama sucks. We should primary him [alternatively: I’ll vote for him, but I reserve the right to complain endlessly about him and argue that he’s the problem.]

    Y: He might not be as liberal as we want, but he’s infinitely better than the opposition. You should focus your anger on the real enemy — the right.

    X: Great, another circular firing squad on the left. The right is laughing at you for attacking your fellow liberals instead of the opposition.

    Y: [sigh]

  71. 71
    Bob Natas says:

    It’s a useful reminder that liberals and conservatives are not “flip sides of the same coin” or whatever similar bullshit aphorism. Pledges are for fraternities and flags, legislators need to do better.

    I agree with the first part. Liberals would never make a similar pledge. This is why the last 30 years look the way they do.

  72. 72
    Thymezone says:

    I know Stuck. Nothing has changed here. Same bullshit, different day, different news cycle, different crisis.

    Do you still live in Silver City? We’re likely to make a visit to Las Cruces sometime later this year. We might stop by and annoy you.

  73. 73
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    Ahhh honey, Jewish Steel is just yanking your chain, I mean Cain.

  74. 74
    The Tragically Flip says:

    @RP:

    With such a balanced and totally straw-free presentation of the debate, it’s amazing that anyone would disagree with you! Why liberals critical of Obama are never called “firebaggers” and accused of racism, they never have to deal with endless variations on claims of Obama’s master 11D chess strategy so they shouldn’t believe their lying eyes.

    It’s so totally the right’s fault that Obama put a bunch of SS haters in charge of his deficit commission, and willingly offers trillions in spending cuts without asking for a dollar in new revenue, and how dare liberals not have an agreed solution to the possibility that Obama is going to sell the left out. Everyone knows you’re not allowed to notice or complain about a problem unless you have some kind of ideal solution.

  75. 75
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    We’re likely to make a visit to Las Cruces sometime later this year. We might stop by and annoy you.

    We are? I didn’t know. :)

  76. 76
    Thymezone says:

    Uh, Bruce at 68, I basically crushed and set fire to your asinine shitpile at 57 and you didn’t even mention it.

    Please explain to me how anyone with a 6th grade reading ability could look at the document I posted at my retort to you, and say, as Ed Schultz did last night, that this program has never been modified since 1935? How is that even remotely possible? So you grabbed the wrong history. I’ll give you a pass on that. But I gave you the right one.

    Now that you have seen it, WTF? Does Schultz not HAVE a staff? Or what?? Have you read the history? Because the crazy crap you are posting would suggest that you haven’t even looked at it. Any more than Ed Schultz did. Count the actual line item modifications listed there. Dozens. On the revenue side, on the benefit side, on the means testing side, on every side. The program bends so that it doesn’t break. The modifications are the key to its strong performance, that’s why they proudly list them.

  77. 77
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    If only there were some way to get ppgaz and matoko_chan involved in some kind of firefight, my day would be complete.

    Speaking of changing the subject: this isn’t a thread about no changes ever to SS, it’s a thread about how the GOP is in thrall to Norquist via a loyalty oath which restricts their ability to govern in light of actual circumstances.

    Yes, this has been pointed out before, but it needs to be pointed out, again and again and agina an…ad infinitum until THAT becomes as much of o topic for discussion as the technical details of funding any gov’t programs.

  78. 78
    Thymezone says:

    @rome — I thought you wanted to visit Cherie?

    Or maybe I wasn’t invited? Which is fine, you guys can visit if you want.

  79. 79
    General Stuck says:

    We’re likely to make a visit to Las Cruces sometime later this year. We might stop by and annoy you.

    I really do appreciate the offer, but I am like Cole regarding real life meetups with people on this blog. I keep my virtual world separate from the real one. But I wish you well and Rome Again, too.

  80. 80
    Rome Again says:

    @Bruce S:

    You’re a total waste of time. Drop dead (metaphorically speaking) or – at the least – don’t expect me to respond to your stinking little recital of resentments and disinformation.

    TZ, congratulations, you get the same treatment from Brucie as I did yesterday. I guess we really were meant for each other. :)

  81. 81
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    We’ve been talking about that trip for almost a year, and it hasn’t happened yet. Yes, I would like to visit Cherie, but, wasn’t expecting it to happen anytime soon.

  82. 82
    RP says:

    Tragically Flip — there’s no question that people on both sides of the debate have made plenty of unfair and obnoxious comments over the years. but it’s more than a little bizarre for the Obama critics to complain about the circular firing squad.

  83. 83
    Rome Again says:

    @General Stuck:

    But I wish you well and Rome Again, too.

    Just as we do you. :)

  84. 84
    chopper says:

    see, this is why TZ needs to post more.

  85. 85
    General Stuck says:

    chopper

    been thinking the same myself.

  86. 86
    Rome Again says:

    @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E):

    Speaking of changing the subject: this isn’t a thread about no changes ever to SS, it’s a thread about how the GOP is in thrall to Norquist via a loyalty oath which restricts their ability to govern in light of actual circumstances.

    Agreed, and why do the Republitards hate America and want to drown it in a bathtub?

  87. 87
    Thymezone says:

    Bruce I can tell you in one sentence why I am a better liberal than Bernie the SociaIist: I don’t tell big fucking lies to puff up my political positions, he does.

    He’s not stupid, he knows that a change to the COLA calc is not “slashing Social Security” at all. It’s a responsible adjustment, whose major effects fall in the out years (more than ten years out, mostly more than 20) and that nothing we say about those calculations now is binding on any future government any more that the original COLA language of 1972 is binding on us now. That’s just stupid. But more importantly, it’s a lie, and when we start building a wall around entitlements using lies and scare tactics, we weaken those entitlements. That’s what he is doing. And that is the same thing that the Norquists of the world are doing with taxation. Walling it off with lies and scare tactics to manipulate voters.

  88. 88
    Thymezone says:

    @rome — we should plan a visit over there for the fall when it’s cool.

  89. 89
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Rome Again #86

    Agreed, and why do the Republitards hate America and want to drown it in a bathtub?

    My assumption has always been that there is just a LOT of money in it for them. I’ve always suspected the Norquist probably despises the feeble minded supporters of the GOP reps and senators whose numbers his pledge teeth. I think this probably includes many of the newly elected teatards in the house to be honest.

    I guess my take on his plan’s benefits (from his point of view) are:
    1. Make a shitload of money
    2. Piss off liberals
    3. Destroy the rubes whose stupidity makes all this possibkle.

    I’d call him and the other grifters sociopaths, nihlists, and misanthropes.

  90. 90
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    But more importantly, it’s a lie, and when we start building a wall around entitlements using lies and scare tactics, we weaken those entitlements. That’s what he is doing. And that is the same thing that the Norquists of the world are doing with taxation. Walling it off with lies and scare tactics to manipulate voters.

    ::applause::

  91. 91
    Bruce S says:

    Thymezone – One more because you’re such a total piece of shit I really can’t help but try to sweep you off the sidewalk for the benefit of humankind.

    My comment had nothing to do with Ed Schultz. Never mentioned Ed Schultz. Don’t care what was said on some show somewhere. What it had to do with is your implication that it makes sense to talk about cutting benefits to SS now because “something has been done before” – also the dishonesty your claim that the history of Social Security was primarily “a long list of benefit removals, decreases and delays” when in fact it’s a long list of extensions, increases and broadening of coverage, first and foremost. Overwhelmingly. But of course, that’s why you didn’t actually ever provide a link. You’re the one who spoke as though you didn’t have a clue to the history of the program. Your engaged in pretzel logic over something that shouldn’t even be on the table. The only thing that liberals should be discussing is raising the wage cap. End of story. If you’re an apologist for anything else, you’re just some version of Alan Simpson – but without his rhetorical skill. At least when he’s spilling his resentments and talks trash, he’s colorful.

    You’re a dishonest scumbag, a venomous trashmouth and all you deserve is a fuck-you in return. Now I’m thru with your juvenile ass.

  92. 92
    Thymezone says:

    @chopper — They aren’t paying me enough here. Cole has never paid me what I am worth. I am selling my advice on Facebook and when somebody like @liberal pisses me off I just block him. Goodbye and don’t let the doggie door hit you in the rump on the way out!

    Meanwhile, I see that you guys haven’t cleaned up this place. It still reeks of the firebag and the WATB. Isn’t there a bounty out on those critters?

  93. 93
    sukabi says:

    here are my unsolicited thoughts on Grover, his org and pledge….

    Grover’s been at this a long time, supposedly at the behest of Ronald Reagan… he’s obviously walked all over Reagan’s ‘real legacy and record’ in his quest to keep all his money, and to squeeze every last penny out of those willing to ‘follow’ him (constant pleas to fund his latest effort)

    My guess is that he’s acting as the ‘tax enforcer’ and front man for larger monied interests… and it’s not just Grover that holds the Republican’s balls, it’s more than likely the Kochs…

  94. 94
    Rome Again says:

    @Bruce S:

    Funny, you jumped on the same crap argument yesterday when I mentioned Ed Schultz prior to your post, why is it not okay now?

  95. 95
    Bruce S says:

    Rome Again – I have no fucking idea who you are or what you’re talking about. You’re THAT memorable…

  96. 96
    Rome Again says:

    @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E):

    I’d call him and the other grifters sociopaths, nihlists, and misanthropes.

    Add traitors to that list and I’ll agree.

  97. 97
    Rome Again says:

    TONES – yesterday. Bruce, did you forget so quickly? WOW, not much on memory are you?

  98. 98
    Thymezone says:

    @bruce — maybe you weren’t thinking of Ed, but my entire assertion about “modifications to Social Security” was based on his rant from last night about how we must never give an inch on entitlements. And my reference was pretty much a direct quote from the transcript of his show. And my response was accurate, and based on a true history of the program, as I posted above. And it was correct. And your response was garbage and stupid and wrong, and anyone who reads your reference and then reads mine can see that for himself, he wouldn’t need either you or me to explain that. It’s right there in the source material, which Shultz did not bother to check, or have his staff check, before he wrote his big asinine rant. And it’s not the first time he and others at MSNBC and the crazed liar Bernie Sanders have done the same thing, basically making up baldfaced lies about Social Security to scare people for their own purposes.

    So take your ill informed crapbag of wrong facts and stupid tortured arguments and go fuck yourself.

  99. 99
    Bruce S says:

    I posted the link to the history, which describes all of the changes in detail, so shut the fuck up…

  100. 100
    Rome Again says:

    Meanwhile, I see that you guys haven’t cleaned up this place.

    It’s CHURN honey. See Tim F.’s ‘OMG, Obama sold us out’ post from yesterday.

  101. 101
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Rome again

    Traitors–yeah, I’ll put that in too–when I get the first copy back from the printers!

  102. 102
    chopper says:

    @Bruce S:

    also the dishonesty your claim that the history of Social Security was primarily “a long list of benefit removals, decreases and delays”

    he never said that, numbnuts.

  103. 103
    Rome Again says:

    @chopper:

    see, this is why TZ needs to post more.

    I do try to do my part to encourage him in that direction.

  104. 104
    Bruce S says:

    Rome – I probably forgot about an hour after…

    It keeps me sane. Otherwise I’d be harboring the kind of insane resentments exemplified here by Thymezone and making an even bigger ass of myself than I already do.

    Time to go have a nice breakfast somewhere and read a book.

  105. 105
    Thymezone says:

    As for the rest of you malfeasants, you really need to take the garbage out around here. This Bruce character reminds me of a Bruce who used to post here, just a gumwad of bad information and nonsense who never got anything right. I assume this is the same person. Or maybe I am thinking of that lady who used to post drunk every night. Oh well.

    In any case, nice to see you all and if you are ever in Phoenix, let me know and I will buy you a beer. You can annoy me at jackalopez_two at yahoo dot com. And if you can figure out what that handle refers back to from BJ old days, I will buy you a steak dinner to go with that beer when you get here!

  106. 106
    Rome Again says:

    @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E): @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E):

    Traitors—yeah, I’ll put that in too—when I get the first copy back from the printers!

    Got a link to a website where I can buy that? I’m ready to purchase. Do you accept Paypal?

  107. 107
    The Moar You Know says:

    Thymezone: I’ve missed your hysterical sobbing, capacity for endless drama, spittle-flecked aggression and deranged lunacy. That you are frequently able to pack all of those things into one post both fills me with a sense of awe and reminds me of my last girlfriend. You are a true wonder of the ages. Welcome back, my friend, welcome back.

    I’ll be giving you a jingle next time I’m in Phoenix.

  108. 108
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Thymezone:

    Or maybe I am thinking of that lady who used to post drunk every night.

    I did not know Ann Althouse used to post here. It was before my time.

  109. 109
    Rome Again says:

    @Bruce S:

    So what you’re saying is these are not serious arguments and you only harangue people for shits and giggles? Take your garbage somewhere else.

  110. 110
    Thymezone says:

    @bruce at 99 — I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. My reference is the link I posted which contains the material I extracted in an earlier post .. the one with the list of amendments. That list contains dozens of programmatic and other changes to Social Security from 1935 through 2000. That is the list upon which my assertion was based, and I stand by that assertion with that link as the validating citation. I think anyone who looks at it will see what the reality is here. I don’t think you have looked at it. Or else you are as crazy as you appear to be. In any case, have a pleasant day and don’t forget to stay hydrated.

  111. 111
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    Mmmmm, steak! Am I invited?

  112. 112
    Thymezone says:

    @Moar — after all this time, the same spelling error? Tsk.

    :)

  113. 113
    Bruce S says:

    #102 chopper –

    This is precisely what was said:

    FULL HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY PROGRAM AND ALL OF THE AMENDMENTS AND CHANGES IT HAS UNDERGONE SINCE 1935. Dozens, to be exact, including a long list of benefit removals, decreases, and delays aimed at keeping the program solvent in the face of the vicissitudes of economic change.

    Why, if one is discussing – even in the context of “Ed Schultz said something stupid” the question of “changes” (apparently the objectionable word on Ed’s Hour of Power) would one solely reference “benefit removals (of which there are none I’m aware of, in fact – no “removals”) decreases and delays” when the entire history is overwhelmingly the exact opposite of that. Overwhelmingly. It’s not even close to compare the vast increases legislated to the changes that could be considered “decreases or delays.” Not even close.

    Also, if you are talking about this at all – start with the issue of ending wage caps so wealthier people’s income gets treated the way mine does. Start with that or get the hell out of my face with your “Alan Simpson” bullshit.

  114. 114
    Rome Again says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Only if Ann Althouse’s handle was Stormy.

  115. 115
    Bruce S says:

    Thymezone – maybe I’m blind, but I can see no link posted by you. A reference to the SS website, but no link. I posted the link – and directly to a page that, if as I instructed, you can scroll down about halfway and see a clear description of all of the changes to SS since 1935. The program has been expanded enormously since then, with the only significant decrease being the raising of the full retirement age to 67 over time. And frankly, any additional raises in the retirement age are indecent and no one who is a defender of the program should even consider another increase.

    People who demagogue SS with Alan Simpson shit are some of the worst and most dishonest fuckers around IMHO.

  116. 116
    Bruce S says:

    Okay – I’m out of here. This is just a stupid waste of time.

  117. 117
    Thymezone says:

    @rome — of course. I need you there to entertain the guest while I go through his things in the car.

  118. 118
    chopper says:

    @Bruce S:

    Dozens, to be exact, including a long list of benefit removals, decreases, and delays aimed at keeping the program solvent in the face of the vicissitudes of economic change.

    yeah, that’s what he said. not ‘primarily’ as you asserted.

    please do go away. the adults are talking.

  119. 119
    Thymezone says:

    Bruce, I posted the link, and a lengthy excerpt, at #64.

    Dozens of modifications in detail. And frankly, it took me less that two minutes to find it WHILE Schultz was talking yesterday, and I was reading the material that put the lie to his rant before he even finished reading it off the teleprompter. Bizarre, that noone at his staff bothered to look it up. This is not rocket science, butthead. Social Security is flexible and dynamic and these tweaks are what keep it from degrading and becoming vulnerable to substantive attack. It’s so fucking basic I can’t believe that anyone who spent an hour looking at the way it works would not understand that. But, then there is you, so, there you go.

    And mind you, this document only shows major legislative changes. There are many more minor ones that are in another document, which is mentioned in the prologue.

  120. 120
    Rome Again says:

    @liberal:

    Cite please? I remember back in the day and TZ was doing no such thing. He was telling me (right here in our home, face to face) that everything was going to be okay when I was the one who was worried. I think you have him mixed up with someone else.

  121. 121
    Thymezone says:

    I just read your most recent blast again, Bruce, and I have to say, you really haven’t a clue in the world. Of course the age will be adjusted again, if need be. Of course benefits calcs will be tweaked again, as needed. Of course the program MUST adjust both on the revenue side and the benefit side to accomodate changes in the fiscal realities of the day, just as it has done in the past. Those realities cannot be predicted, unlike actuarial realities. The greatest danger to SS is ignorance of how it works and why it works the way it does. You are the poster child for that ignorance. Educate yourself and grow up.

  122. 122
    Rome Again says:

    From TZ’s link:

    Beginning in the late 1970s, legislative action regarding Social Security became more concentrated on solving persistent financing problems. The OASDI trust funds would have been exhausted in the early 1980s if legislation had not been enacted in 1977 raising taxes and curtailing future benefit growth

    .

  123. 123
    chopper says:

    well hey, as long as you only pay attention to 1935-1977, SS did nothing but expand.

  124. 124
    Thymezone says:

    For those who are not Bruce and don’t have a brain tumor, if my link doesn’t work, you can google this:

    “social security amendments history RL 30565”

    and you will have the legislative history document that I referenced and excerpted from. It should be the first link that returns from that google query.

    1977 was the year when a pretty steady stream of trims to the program were being applied to keep it in alignment with the fiscal and actuarial scissors.

    Enjoy.

  125. 125
    Thymezone says:

    Oh, and before I leave … heartfelt thanks to all of you who are working your noses to the bone and keeping your fingers to the grindstone to pay your payroll taxes and keep my SS checks coming. Believe me, your money never did more good than it is doing in my bank account!!

  126. 126
    murbella says:

    @antique mineral layer

    to get ppgaz and matoko_chan involved in some kind of firefight,

    whyever would i do that?
    im already engaged in a firefight against stupidity, and first culture intellectuals.
    And im armored with Holy Science, empirical data and impeccable taste in musik.

    this is war, you know.

  127. 127
    Bob Natas says:

    well hey, as long as you only pay attention to 1935-1977, SS did nothing but expand.

    Odd; I wonder was was going on in 1977 which could account for cuts, or “cuts,” or whatever?

  128. 128
    Bender says:

    Can you even imagine the sheer violence of the pant-shitting that the GOP, Teatards, and Beltway media would be engaged in if the shoe really was on the other foot? If every Democrat had signed a personal oath to an interest group and private citizen that took precedence over their oath to the American people and Constitution?

    You know, the law requires Congress to pass budgets, too. It’s been over 800 days without the Cowardly Democrat Senate passing one, and the House didn’t for 2 years under the Cowardly Democrats (GOP did theirs in accordance with the law, of course, when they took over). The Oath of Office actually does state that members of Congress must “faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”

    Media interest in blatant misconduct and incompetence by Democrats: Zero. Ball-Juicer Interest: Less Than Zero. IOKIYAD.

    So now that we’ve cut through your highly-selective fake outrage over Congressional duties, let’s examine this mess you’ve proposed. Of course, like with most “Thought Experiments,” the premise is just plain stupid on many levels. It doesn’t take much intellect to invent Ted Rall-ian fantasies and then to get outraged over your own imagination. A little mental illness helps, I suppose…

    No, the Republican pledge not to raise taxes doesn’t in any way “take precedence over their oath to the American people and Constitution.”

    It’s the American people who are driving these negotiations on the GOP side. The GOP rank-and-file realize they must show the leadership the whip. When you attain a lucrative Congressional leadership position, you can make a great life for yourself by not making waves and not making enemies with the liberal media (Don’t be Newt). When a paper leaked a story yesterday about Boehner coming close to an agreement that raised taxes, his switchboard and those of other Republicans lit up immediately. Within the hour, Boehner had to go to the media denying the deal. So spare me your populist talk of “the people.” These are representatives who are actually representing “the people.” Begrudgingly, often.

    This GOP knows that its constituents are more knowledgeable about Washington’s fake budgeting act. We know how the hog’s trough gets slopped. No more will Congress fool us with fake “cuts” from inflated baselines spread out over so long a period that the current crop will be retired fat and loaded with lobbyist cash before the austerity begins. No more will we accept taxes rising today (or even retroactively!) and then “cuts” being made ten years down the line (read, never). If they try to fool us, they know they are done, history, primaried, toast.

    If you mean that their oath of office includes not risking default (meh, tenuous at best), then you’re overstating again. You should already know that default is a Democrat scare tactic, not a realistic possibility, as I’ve shown here several times. The bigger risk is to kick the can down the road and have our credit rating downgraded, as S&P suggested yesterday, because the Democrats are not being serious about reducing spending.

  129. 129
    Bruce S says:

    chopper – if you’re such a fucking adult, name some “benefit removals”

    You guys are actually worse than Republicans, because you give shits like Simpson “liberal” cover. Fuck you.

    And yes, Thymezone, you posted a link AFTER I posted one, along with a list that was useless if one actually wanted information rather than some flashing of “data” in an act of deliberate obscurantism. Sorry I missed your linking late in an unreadable, utterly opaque “list.” And you posted the link to the least informative page – my history page gives a much more accessible history that is clearly primarily one of expansions.

    You guys are beyond sophomoric. You’re fucking dishonest. You’re juvenile in your obsession with arguing tangential and largely irrelevant details rather than substance. Your entire gig is to rationalize putting SS cuts “on the table” in the middle of a hostage-taking that has nothing to do with SS – or Medicare.

    You argue the picayune, you cover your ass as first response, you focus on straw-men (“Ed Schultz said something silly…) and, frankly, offer nothing to the discussion that I couldn’t get more honestly and directly from Alan Simpson.

    Pathetic bastards, a cancer on the Democratic Party if that is, in fact, where you hang your hat (next to Nelson, Manchkin, et. al.) – and radiating an arrogance that is very seriously unearned.

    And yes I’m a total fucking moron for coming back and reading any of this tedious spew.

  130. 130
    Rome Again says:

    It’s the American people who are driving these negotiations on the GOP side.

    27% in favor is not a ringing endorsement that “The American People” are standing behind. But, you keep thinking that, because, just like that governor in Virginia, the longer this goes on and people see the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling, that number is going to go down even further.

  131. 131
    chopper says:

    @Bruce S:

    so now you’re solely focusing on ‘removals’. great to see you’re ignoring your other idiocy.

    look at the link TZ posted, specifically after 1977. shit, i’ll do some for you.

    1980: Established a limit on disability family benefits.

    1981: Phasing out benefits over the next 4 years for students over age 19 or in postsecondary school.

    Offsetting Social Security disability benefits by the amount of compensation paid by federal, state, and local governments to disabled persons.

    Ending benefit entitlement for the mother or father caring for an entitled child when the child reaches age 16 instead of 18, as under the old law.

    Limiting entitlement to the lump-sum death benefit to an eligible spouse or children.

    etc. note also the changes that caused SS benefits to be counted as taxable income, which effectively lowered benefits by taxing them.

    you’re a fucking moron who apparently can’t read, even when the document is literally put right in front of your face.

  132. 132
    Rome Again says:

    @chopper:

    you’re a fucking moron who apparently can’t read, even when the document is literally put right in front of your face.

    Was there any question? LMAO

  133. 133
    Bruce S says:

    Bender – unless your idiot GOPers in Congress vote for pro-active legislation that increases the deficit, there are no significant deficits over most of the next dozen years under current mandates or laws.

    You guys are nothing but liars and fools – pimples on the ass of the economic elite. And, of course, “the American people” clearly don’t agree with you in majorities on the issue of “Norquistism.” “Electoral mandate” my butt. You managed a singular feat of fear-mongering in a crisis of extreme unrest, driven largely by the most shameless demagoguery, dishonesty, smear tactics and opportunism on the part of the GOP’s elite masters and insiders. You’re delusional, unless of course, you limit a definition of “the American people” to your puerile, racist, senile, ignorant and/or rabid GOPer tribe.

    You clowns have created these deficits deliberately with over thirty years of “tax cut religion.” All empirical and historical evidence on the origins of the deficits is against any notion that there’s a grain of “fiscal conservativsm” in the GOP – but that doesn’t matter to perverse FOXoids such as yourself. Reagan, Bush and even Friedman have acknowledged that the tax cuts strategy was a good thing even if it only defunded government and that balanced budgets weren’t a good thing if the money went to alleged “liberal” programs. “Reagan taught us deficits don’t matter.” Cheney, not Krugman. You hate the government. That’s it. End of your story. I could get the same subversive crap from some communist bastard. At least they don’t propogate this dirty stuff while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Fortunately, demographics will take care of the political virus that you represent. But not before you’ve inflicted as much pain – and raw stupidity – on the rest of us normal, decent people as you can in those death throes.

  134. 134

    @Zach:

    Why doesn’t anyone point out that the Ryan budget is in violation the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment in every way and will be that way for decades, even by Ryan’s fuzzy math?

    I am guessing they don’t point that out because Republican plans that are deemed serious & bold are impervious to reality.

  135. 135
    chopper says:

    or, as a list:

    removals:

    Phasing out benefits over the next 4 years for students over age 19 or in postsecondary school. 1981.

    Prohibited DI and SSI eligibility to individuals whose disability is based on drug addiction or alcoholism. 1996.

    reductions:

    Reduced a spouse’s and surviving spouse’s benefits by the amount of the government pension derived from his or her own work not covered by Social Security. 1977.

    Established a limit on disability family benefits. 1980.

    Offsetting Social Security disability benefits by the amount of compensation paid by federal, state, and local governments to disabled persons. 1981.

    Limiting entitlement to the lump-sum death benefit to an eligible spouse or children. 1981.

    A gradual increase in the age of eligibility for full retirement benefits from age 65 to age 66 in 2009 and age 67 in 2027. 1983.

    Inclusion of up to 50% of Social Security benefits in the taxable income of higher income recipients and transfer of projected revenues therefrom to the Social Security trust funds. 1983.

    Made up to 85% of Social Security benefits subject to the income tax for recipients whose income plus one-half of their benefits exceed $34,000 (single) and $44,000 (couple). 1993.

    Restricted DI and SSI benefits payable to drug addicts and alcoholics by creating sanctions for failing to get treatment, limiting their enrollment to 3 years, and requiring that those receiving DI benefits have a representative payee. 1994.

    delays:

    Ending benefit entitlement for the mother or father caring for an entitled child when the child reaches age 16 instead of 18, as under the old law. 1981.

    Delaying until 1983 lowering to age 70 the age at which earnings test no longer applies (old law would have dropped the age threshold from 72 to 70 in 1982). 1981.

    wow, that sure looks like a ‘long list’. and that’s only until 2000.

    i guess TZ was right, and Bruce is a fucking moron.

  136. 136
    Bruce S says:

    chopper – good work. There’s not a single “removal” of a benefit in that list – only things that could qualify as “limits” or “decreases” in benefit categories that have been – as I noted and which is fundamental in any honest discussion – overwhelmingly increased since 1935.

    Now go back to your real job of promoting “removals, decreases and limits” to SS and giving cover to Alan Simpson.

    You should be ashamed of yourself – both for the picayune desperation of your “defense” as well as the substance of your apologetics. If this is where you want to plant your flag, why don’t you just give Bender a BJ while you’re at it…

  137. 137
    Bender says:

    27% in favor is not a ringing endorsement that “The American People” are standing behind.

    Try 66%. Or 80% for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

    Latest CNN Poll:

    In another proposal, Congress would raise the debt ceiling only if a balanced budget amendment were passed by both houses of Congress and substantial spending cuts and caps on future spending were approved. Would you favor or oppose this proposal?

    July 18-20, 2011

    Favor 66%
    Oppose 33%
    No opinion 1%

  138. 138
    Rome Again says:

    @Bruce S:

    Fortunately, demographics will take care of the political virus that you represent. But not before you’ve inflicted as much pain – and raw stupidity – on the rest of us normal, decent people as you can in those death throes.

    Okay, maybe not a total moron. More of this please, Bruce? We can get along if you attack the right argument.

  139. 139
    Rome Again says:

    It’s the American people who are driving these negotiations on the GOP side.

    The negotiations are about a DEBT CEILING – your side only started negotiating a Balanced Budget two days ago. Moreover, Balanced Budgets don’t happen when we’re involved in two and a half wars. You want a balanced budget? Get us the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan!

  140. 140
    Thymezone says:

    Bruce, you are definitely the biggest ass I’ve seen in a long time. Excerpting the skeleton of a list, with a link to the detail, is “obscurantism?” Honestly I laughed out loud at that. You must be faking this, you can’t possibly be that obtuse.

    Anyway, as I said, SS stays on course by way of moving the rudder to and fro as required, just as it was intended to do. It was never intended to be on a fixed course, because the engineers knew that the sea and the weather … the employed pool of contributors, the wages, the economic ups and downs … would force adjustments along the way. And it has worked pretty well, and will into the future.

    On another site, I have posted new information I got this morning while listening to a radio program, in which a caller basically brought up the same points I did earlier … the Dems in congress going ballistic over relatively mild adjustments in benefits that don’t have huge effects until the out years … while by contrast, the Ryan plan just bludgeoned Medicare nearly to death. The reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg of NY times had an interesting perspective on what is basically the same issue we were talking about here.

    She reported that Dems in congress decided, as a message control matter, to unalterably oppose all modifications to entitlements out of fear that the public would not be able to make distinctions between the GOP’s destructive cuts and the Administration’s structural maintenance reductions in things like COLA acceleration rates. In other words, their appraisal was that the people aren’t smart enough to get all this, and the only way to advance a message is to make it a zero-tolerance message. Thus, the idiotic rants of Schultz and Sanders, who are faithfully parroting the party message. In other words, acting just like Republicans do, for the same reason, namely, control of the base and control of the message. It was a pretty insightful comment, and one that should be alarming, because it institutionalizes an Ends Justify Means approach to messaging and persuasion. Instead of reason and facts, we get bumper stickers and intolerance for any deviation from the official message.

    This does not make TZ happy. It makes him have a sad, because I am a firm believer that progressive politics and forthright communication go hand in hand. Oversimplified talking points and misleading slogans are not compatible with progressive politics for the simple reason that progressive government is good government and good government can’t rest on a word salad of half truths.

    Just one asshole’s opinion, your mileage may vary.

  141. 141
    Thymezone says:

    @Bender at 128, I think you are totally full of shit.

    You state that the “law requires” that congress pass a budget.

    However the White House information circular states this:

    This phase starts in late January or February, when the Congress receives the
    President’s Budget. The Congress does not vote on the President’s Budget itself, and it does not
    enact a budget of its own, as such. It considers the President’s Budget proposals, passes overall
    revenue and spending plan called a “budget resolution,” and enacts the regular appropriations acts
    and other laws that control spending and receipts.

    –//end

    In other words, the president submits a budget, and congress does whatever it wants to do or not do. It does not create or pass a budget per se, although the popular lexicon may refer to subordinate resolutions as “budget measures” just because they sprang from a process that begins with the president’s submission of a budget. What’s more, the “resolution” mentioned in the circular can be nothing more than a “continuing resolution” which is more or less just an agreement to continue doing the same thing going forward that it has been doing since the last new resolution was passed.

    The President submitted his budget in February 2009. Congress has done what it saw fit to do, which was to kick the can down the road until early this year when spending authority on the old resolutions ran out, and a new resolution was needed. The parties wrangled until the last hours and then averted a government shutdown by arriving at a compromised deal at the last hours.

    This is nothing like what you are describing, as near as I can tell. You are operating under the assumption that the asinine talking points you hear on tv are the actual facts of the process, but they are not. Your whole schtick about a “cowardly Democratic senate” and 800 days blah blah blah is pure GOP talking point bullshit, and has nothing, zero to do with any lawful procedure or requirement to pass a “budget.” It’s pure bull. The Senate is not required to create or pass any budget, at all.

    I advise you to read this circular and get some facts to replace that Rush Limbaugh shit that is floating around in your tiny head:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/site.....ar/s10.pdf

  142. 142
    Thymezone says:

    @Rome, don’t let these morons confuse you. The Balance part of the current GOP circus act is about passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. This is a rather elaborate process that requires 2/3 votes and passage in the state legislatures. To be blunt, it ain’t going to happen. Period. And even if that ball could actually be started rolling by passage in congress, it would take a long time to complete it. But with any luck it will never happen because such a thing would basically doom the country. You cannot have a country that has to choose between two equally critical needs, say, domestic expenditures on critical services, on one hand, and a war on the other hand, because it doesn’t have the power to do what we have done for at least a century, which is to borrow to permit going forward without interrupting services or the conduct of military operations or payments on debt. Just as an example, we borrowed heavily to pay for the Bush tax cuts. People say, we didn’t pay for those cuts … we did. We paid with borrowed money. Because we were not brave enough to slash the government to the bone to pay for his ill advised tax cuts. Contrary to the beliefs of the nihilst Tea Party the government CANNOT be slashed and strangled as in some grotesque nihilist fantasy.

  143. 143
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    Yeah, and I made the same mistake that people in the poll that bender cited are making. A Balanced Budget sounds like a good thing, but actually enacting a constitutional amendment to permanently establish a balanced budget sucks. I think the question confuses people. Of course, the words “balanced budget” sound good, but actually creating a change in the Constitution for it is a whole different matter. Apologies.

  144. 144
    Thymezone says:

    Sorry, the link I posted last won’t work, I will post it again as an embedded link.

  145. 145
    Thymezone says:

    Use this link for the White House budget circular I referenced.

    BTW this is also why the link I used earlier today did not work for Bruce. The link he needed was this one.

    Those were both posting errors on my part. Bruce is permitted to have one of his testacles temporarily reattached long enough to use the link and educate himself.

  146. 146
    Rome Again says:

    @Thymezone:

    Why? I was able to read the first link you posted. So was chopper. The link wasn’t bad. The original pdf link works also.

  147. 147
    Bender says:

    unless your idiot GOPers in Congress vote for pro-active legislation that increases the deficit, there are no significant deficits over most of the next dozen years under current mandates or laws.

    You must be as naive as a box of newborn kittens, and your interpretation of the numbers is silly. Besides that, fine job!

    The CBO is notoriously awful at deficit prediction, always guessing way too low, especially once you get three and four year out — they ONLY missed this year’s deficit by $414 Billion! — with Elmendorf admittedly relying on unlikely assumptions (doc fix, AMT delimiting, full Bush tax cut expiration, etc.) and 3% growth. Plus, where’s the President’s budget? Elmendorf would like to know.

    The CBO’s forecast for next year is the same as for this year — $1.1T, an “insignificant deficit?” — so expect it to be $1.5T, which is evidently “not significant.” And if you think the deficit will be under $600B in 2014, I have some land to sell you.

    You guys are nothing but liars and fools – pimples on the ass of the economic elite.

    Ah, that famed Democrat populism! Does that kind of idle talk really make you feel better about yourselves? ‘Cuz it’s adorable!

    You managed a singular feat of fear-mongering in a crisis of extreme unrest, driven largely by the most shameless demagoguery, dishonesty, smear tactics and opportunism on the part of the GOP’s elite masters and insiders.

    When your party loses, it’s hard to accept, isn’t it? It’s always “fear-mongering and smear tactics.”

    This, from the party of “Global warming gonna gitcha! Gonna default! Gonna push Granny off a cliff! Gonna make kids eat dog food! Gonna kill the sick! Gonna send us back to Jim Crow!” You’re shameless. Be more graceful in defeat.

    You clowns have created these deficits deliberately with over thirty years of “tax cut religion.”

    Look at a revenue chart. Then look at a government spending chart. Then tell me with a straight face how we have a revenue problem, not a spending problem. Can’t be done.

    We can’t tax our way to solvency unless we tax the middle-class 66% and the 10% bracket moves to 25%. Think that’s gonna happen? Not a chance. Hence, we have a government spending problem. Spending must be cut. How many years can you fools go on denying it?

    Fortunately, demographics will take care of the political virus that you represent.

    Hang your hat on that if you must. But soon (maybe very soon), the Democrats will be out of Other People’s Money with which to bribe voters. What do they have to offer then?

  148. 148
    Thymezone says:

    Bender, appopriate taxation … in line with the rest of the similar world, would provide the revenue necessary. What has happened is that the rich in this country have bought a political party to advance the insane idea that regressive taxation, which favors the rich, is actually good for the common man, which it is not. As a result we are running at about 20% below an optimum revenue rate for a country of our size and our responsibilities.

    But more importantly, taxes are not “other peoples’ money.” The government has the power to levy and collect taxes, and if those are in a range of reasonableness, which they certainly are, then the taxed money is the country’s money, and damned important it is that the country have that money, because it has a lot of work to do. That’s the reality. Your notion is that somehow people earn money and owe nothing back to the country that provided the structures and opportunities for them to earn it. Progressive policy, which is the norm in the advanced world, requires progressive taxation unless you have enough oil to export or something else you can sell. For example, if you are Saddam Hussein.

  149. 149
    Thymezone says:

    @Rome, on the link thing, I think my second link would not embed due to size. The first one might have worked without embedding. I have not posted much here since the rebuild and this feature works a little differently that it used to. Thanks for the tip though.

  150. 150
    Rome Again says:

    @Bender:

    When your party loses, it’s hard to accept, isn’t it? It’s always “fear-mongering and smear tactics.”

    It’s half past your meds time. Ask Boehner who is going to get blamed, he knows. Our party isn’t losing. Your party is the one that is losing. Congress holds the purse. The money is already spent, and when people start suffering, it isn’t the Democrats or Obama that they are going to blame. You’re delusional.

  151. 151
    Rome Again says:

    But soon (maybe very soon), the Democrats will be out of Other People’s Money

    So long as Republicans have the purse, we will not be out of the woods.

  152. 152
    Thymezone says:

    Wow, time to go, in the time honored BJ tradition this thing just eats posts. Some things really never change.

    Anyway, the main difference between Rs and Ds in regard to spending is that Rs don’t want to pay for what they spend, while Dems do. That pretty much describes the Bush administration. Let’s have some wars and cut taxes and let the next government figure out how to pay for it all. So in a short time, they took Clinton’s surplus, which was paying down debt, and refunded it to the rich, and then started bitching that we weren’t paying down the debt any more. Diabolical.

  153. 153
    chopper says:

    @Bruce S:

    so, you missed the bit marked “removals”?

    again:

    Phasing out benefits over the next 4 years for students over age 19 or in postsecondary school. 1981.

    Prohibited DI and SSI eligibility to individuals whose disability is based on drug addiction or alcoholism. 1996.

    that’s called ‘removing benefits’, you fucking choad.

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