Really, I appreciate the concern, but we’re fine

I thought the debate last night was great. It was a lot of fun to watch Joe Biden, but in addition to that, it was really substantive. I know political media and conservatives are running like mad from the actual issues discussed, but there’s really no need to do that. I’m sure Paul Ryan has the Courage of his Convictions, and won’t mind further discussion on his positions. I know Biden won’t mind. If political media and conservatives are worried that viewers were upset, can I just reassure them right now that we are fine?

In our little debate-watching group here in NW Ohio, we talked about these two issues post-debate:

MS. RADDATZ: You were one of the few lawmakers to stand with President Bush when he was seeking to partially privatize Social Security.
REP. RYAN: For younger people. What we said then and what I’ve always agreed is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: You saw how well that worked.
REP. RYAN: That’s not what Mitt Romney’s proposing. What we’re saying is no changes for anybody 55 and above.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: What Mitt Romney is proposing —
REP. RYAN: And then the kinds of the changes we’re talking about for younger people like myself is don’t increase the benefits for wealthy people as fast as everybody else —
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha —
REP. RYAN: — slowly raise the retirement age over time.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Martha —
REP. RYAN: It wouldn’t get to the age of 70 until the year 2103, according to the actuaries.
Now, here’s the issue.
MS. RADDATZ: Quickly, Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Quickly, the bottom line here is that all the studies show that if we went with Social Security proposal made by Mitt Romney, if you’re 40 — in your 40s now, you will pay $2,600 a year — you get $2,600 a year less in Social Security. If you’re in your 20s now, you get $4,700 a year less. The idea of changing — and change being, in this case, to cut the benefits for people without taking other action you could do to make it work — is absolutely the wrong way.

Wow. I had not heard Romney-Ryan were going to roll out the Bush privatization scheme again. I personally knew they would, Social Security is a big pot of money and conservatives have been lusting over that big chunk of change for decades, but I had not heard that from their mouths this cycle. If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to change Social Security to a 401k, I think people have the right to know that.

Here’s number two:

MS. RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits —
MS. RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off limits? Home mortgages deductions —
REP. RYAN: Yeah. We’re saying close loopholes on high-interest people–
MS. RADDATZ: Home mortgage deductions —
REP. RYAN: — for higher-income people. Here —
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one —
REP. RYAN: This taxes —
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage —
REP. RYAN: This —
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: — their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?
REP. RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses.
He keeps trying to make you think that it’s just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor—

Romney-Ryan will not guarantee they will preserve the mortgage interest deduction. Wow, again. Whatever one thinks about that deduction, I don’t think political media and conservatives can deny it is important to many, many ordinary people. We’re just now finding this out?

Oh, and the “Moderate Mitt” bullshit conservatives and media are selling? Let’s recap what we learned last night. Big, big, structural and ideologically-driven changes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the tax code are planned. That is no normal person’s definition of “moderate.” And Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan know it.






124 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    This is where I always get wingnuts around me crinkling their brows and muttering and desperately changing the subject.

    This is what they said they would do.

    And no one likes it. Including them.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I enjoyed the debate and don’t care if MSM says otherwise. It made me feel good.

    My daughter set up my computer so I could watch the debate and watch the live blogging on BJ. Great fun!

    Uncle Joe is a cool dude, as we used to say [and some of us still do.] :-)

  3. 3
    Bulworth says:

    So when is the next prez debate?

  4. 4
    Tom65 says:

    Of course they’re talking about killing the home mortgage interest deduction, but they don’t dare say it out loud. He’s running for President, fer crissakes.

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    @Tom65:

    Of course they’re talking about killing the home mortgage interest deduction…

    That should do wonders for the current housing market.

  6. 6
    slag says:

    Am I the only one who’s tired of the “Everyone knows Social Security is going broke and destroying the country” method of framing the question? Does everyone, in fact, know this? Because I don’t know this.

    As great as Raddatz did in turning this event into an actual debate, I found her question-framing extremely favorable to conservatives. In that respect, it still amazes me that Ryan did as poorly as he did. I guess conservative framing is no longer enough for them. Apparently, they need absolutely no rules at all in order to be successful now. Which probably explains how Romney got away with what he did last week.

  7. 7
    rlrr says:

    @Tom65:

    Or they’d push through their tax cuts and declare deficits no longer matter….

  8. 8
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to change Social Security to a 401k, I think people have the right to know that.

    Substantive Republican reply:

    I’m glad you made that point Kay, and here’s my answer… SHUT UP!… that’s why… next question, please…

  9. 9
    Kay says:

    @Tom65:

    I think the difference between Romney and Ryan is, Ryan actually believes the dogma. He isn’t willing to completely disown it. That made Biden’s job much easier.

    Romney simply lied about it, but Ryan has too much ego invested to do that.

  10. 10
    LanceThruster says:

    @Tom65:

    It’s as if the counter to their campaign only needs to be, “You don’t have to know exactly what they plan on doing, only that it will be bad for you.”

    I know that definitely gets me motivated.

  11. 11
    Svensker says:

    @slag:

    As great as Raddatz did in turning this event into an actual debate, I found her question-framing extremely favorable to conservatives.

    Yes. I was cringing at some of her questions. The hubster had to leave the room he got so angry.

  12. 12

    Of course Romney and Ryan know it. Romney was able to lie through his teeth, breezily deny that he would do any of this during his debate. The truth means nothing to him, so he can lie without hesitation. Ryan is not in that very unusual league of dishonesty. He would rather evade the truth or misrepresent it than look you in the eyes and tell you the sky is green today. Hopefully this debate will get enough coverage that the cat is out of the bag. Brokaw’s lecture on the need of the middle class to give up SS and Medicare certainly helped with that.

  13. 13

    @The Dangerman:

    That should do wonders for the current housing market.

    Game out what happens with (say) a $17,000 max deduction cap.

    Well, lots of homeowners who are underwater now will suddenly realize there’s no point to keeping up the payments once that deduction goes away. Then those ‘clean sweep investors’ Romney mentioned late last year swoop in, grab the bargains, and make a mint.

    Feature. Not bug. (To Romney’s mind, I mean)

  14. 14
    Suffern ACE says:

    Yep. And just like under Bush’s plan, the debt and deficit implications of taking the working population out of the plan while keeping existing retirees in the plan goes without much discussion. You get “choice” which is about as useful as skinny jeans to a fifty year old.

  15. 15
    Kay says:

    @slag:

    I don’t think the facts show that Social Security is going broke. Medicare is too costly, because we spend too much money for the health care we receive, but Social Security is fine.

    The other thing I love is the leap of logic from “shoring up Social Security” to privatizing Social Security. How did they go from A to Q? That’s bullshit, and no one should swallow it whole like media does. One does not lead directly to the other.

  16. 16
    Zifnab25 says:

    Bankrupt! Bankrupt! Everything is bankrupt! That’s why we have to cut, cut, cut those entitlements. The money is gone. It was always gone. There was never an entitlement program to begin with.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like you to sign off on this extra $2T for expanded military spending.

  17. 17
    Chris says:

    Finally read the debate and I’m sorry I missed it. His line about “where would those seniors be now” if Social Security privatization had gone through was my personal favorite, though calling Ryan out about the stimulus was almost as good.

  18. 18
    Bruce S says:

    The danger to Medicare and Social Security actually comes from the so-called “moderates” more than the wingnuts. This morning on Morning Joe, that asshole Scarborough was recycling his “everybody knows Social Security and Medicare are going broke blah blah blah” and he got ZERO push-back from the “Erskine Bowles Democrats” at the table. Even Chris von Hollen of the DNC embraced “Simpson Bowles” as the appropriate framework.

    There is no “Simpson Bowles”, since the commission actually failed at it’s task – predictably – but it’s become conventional wisdom. The position liberals should take is not “Simpson Bowles” – which is a product of wingnuts having shifted the center so drastically that “moderate” is defined by a conservative old crank who badmouths social security, in league with a corporate “Democrat” who actually signed on to ads attacking a Democratic congressional candidate running against a GOPer who voted for the Ryan Budget. The liberal position should be that unless and until a Mitt Romney pays the same payroll tax that normal people pay, we shouldn’t even be talking about any changes to the retirement age – it’s already creeping up. And that Medicare isn’t a problem – it’s part of the overall solution to a bigger issue, which is health care cost inflation. Medicare doesn’t drive that – it helps keep them down and any changes to like raising the eligibility age for Medicare will make the real problem worse.

    The entire discourse around social insurance is totally fucked and I don’t see many Democrats taking on the abusive and fraudulent rhetoric that has become conventional wisdom in so-called polite elite circles like that crap talkfest, Morning Joe. That fact scares me far more than Paul Ryan – whose particular schemes won’t fly, except to help gin up hysterics that poison the larger debate and seem to have backed even many liberals into the “Simpson Bowles!” corner. Not the place we should be putting our benchmark.

  19. 19
    Culture of Truth says:

    What we said then and what I’ve always agreed is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system.

    BUT TEH BODY LANAGUAGE!!!1!11!!

  20. 20
    slag says:

    @Svensker: It’s interesting, isn’t it? How far Republicans have gone toward influencing the basic terms of the debate with so few people even noticing. If you’re going to sound like a very serious person, you have to adopt their terms; otherwise, you’re just a dirty hippie who isn’t savvy enough to be mugged by reality.

    And yet, even granting them their framing out of hand, they still find themselves flailing. Lying. Dissembling. However you want to call it.

  21. 21
    J. Michael Neal says:

    I had an interview a couple of days ago for a temp position as an Investment Banking Analyst, which turned out to mean the guy who writes the reports after everyone else does the research. It’s hard to imagine a position that fits better with my strange resume or one that I should have less competition for (the number of finance professionals who actually know how to write is small). I still didn’t get it.

    The guy at the temp agency all but came out and said that he won’t put me forward for *any* entry level accounting position. He says that with my skills I’d be too bored in one of those. My statements that I’d be fine with that don’t change his mind.

    Remember, one of the guiding principles of American capitalism is that you don’t want to hire people who are too good. I don’t know why I bother applying for anything anymore.

  22. 22
    Ruckus says:

    @slag:
    No. Because it is not.

    They have always needed help from not only the media, from anyone else either getting paid or fucking crazy to win their points. For their points are toxic. Always have been. A democracy is really not that if only a small fraction of the people have all the power and money. But that is what conservatives want. Always have. This will not change. What has changed is the number of people who believe it and that they mistakenly will gain from that. Oh and the bigot problem this country has not really answered in what, 150 or so years.

  23. 23
    ericblair says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    Well, lots of homeowners who are underwater now will suddenly realize there’s no point to keeping up the payments once that deduction goes away. Then those ‘clean sweep investors’ Romney mentioned late last year swoop in, grab the bargains, and make a mint.

    Or they won’t make a mint, since the houses will be worthless. These financially-fixated dickheads think you can just wait for a system to fail, buy it up, and start it right back up again like putting more gas in the car.

    Most complex systems now, if they die, they’re dead. If the auto industry dies, all the infrastructure goes to shit, and the intellectual capital and hands-on workers either move on or fade away. You can look at the molded-over, wrecked abandoned houses in Florida for what happens to real estate after a couple of bad years. It doesn’t all come back as soon as Mister Moneybags sprinkles a little fairy dust on it.

  24. 24
    ericblair says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    Well, lots of homeowners who are underwater now will suddenly realize there’s no point to keeping up the payments once that deduction goes away. Then those ‘clean sweep investors’ Romney mentioned late last year swoop in, grab the bargains, and make a mint.

    Or they won’t make a mint, since the houses will be worthless. These financially-fixated dickheads think you can just wait for a system to fail, buy it up, and start it right back up again like putting more gas in the car.

    Most complex systems now, if they die, they’re dead. If the auto industry dies, all the infrastructure goes to shit, and the intellectual capital and hands-on workers either move on or fade away. You can look at the molded-over, wrecked abandoned houses in Florida for what happens to real estate after a couple of bad years. It doesn’t all come back as soon as Mister Moneybags sprinkles a little fairy dust on it.

  25. 25
    Cols714 says:

    I’m starting to get that 2000 feeling again. In 2000 Bush made up a bunch of numbers and Gore and Democrats repeatedly called him out on it, yet he was still allowed to say whatever he wanted.

    It seems like the same thing is happening all over again.

  26. 26
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Culture of Truth: If the money works “faster”, why raise the retirement age? What good would it be to have “more money” if you end up retiring at 72?

  27. 27
    The Dangerman says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    Then those ‘clean sweep investors’ Romney mentioned late last year swoop in, grab the bargains, and make a mint.

    They only make a mint if there’s a middle class and the Republicans seem hell bent against it (only the wealthy can afford College, only the wealthy can afford early childhood education after they axe Sesame Street, etc).

  28. 28
    Chris says:

    @slag:

    I thought she was pretty hardass, but overall that’s okay. Joe Biden held more than his own, and it makes it impossible for anyone who doesn’t like in the Republican echo chamber to whine that the “liberal media” is helping Biden.

    Although, I have to say,

    “What were you first told about the attack? Why were people talking about protests? When people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. Why did that go on for weeks?”

    If you can imagine anyone in the “liberal media” asking these kinds of question to Reagan after Beirut, Bush after 9/11, or any conservative after any terrorist attack, you’re on drugs.

  29. 29
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I had not heard Romney-Ryan were going to roll out the Bush privatization scheme again. I personally knew they would, Social Security is a big pot of money and conservatives have been lusting over that big chunk of change for decades

    It’s a bust out on a national scale.

    These people are parasitical vermin. Annihilate them. They deserve no quarter.

  30. 30
    Bruce S says:

    @slag:

    I’m sick of it too. Until Romney pays as much SS tax on all of his income as I pay on all of mine, even “Erskine Bowles Democrats” need to shut the fuck up about Social Security.

    And Medicare, of course, is the most cost-controlled health insurance program we’ve got in this country, outside of the fully socialized VA hospitals, which deliver excellent care by the way.

    Even liberal Democrats tend to evade the facts and allow themselves to get circled by “conventional wisdom” that is based on disinformation, ginned up hysterics and – of course – the belief that unless and until Grandma shares the “fiscal pain” it’s a crime to bring back something like Clinton-era tax levels or and across-the-board payroll tax equity on fucking billionaires. More “class warfare” please – for our side for a change.

  31. 31
    aimai says:

    Went back for another bite at the apple with my appliance repair guy who thinks Obama is “weak” and not killing enough brown people. He was back over here to finally fix my broken dishwasher and for the amount of money I’ve paid him I feel I’m entitled to rant at him. We really got to some big stuff about how “I hate government” and “poor people are having children” isn’t responsive to the fact that between the individual and the corporations lies only government regulation and democratic action or the individual gets crushed. One thing I used from the debate, which I’m actually not sure he saw but which I think he would have loved Biden in, was that ultimately Romney/Ryan isn’t really going to kill any more brown people than Obama. That when push came to shove on Foreign policy Ryan couldn’t articulate any other solution to America’s FP issues than Obama/Biden are trying. If going to war again isn’t an option then what?

    The talk went pretty well, actually. Guys like this love to be “in the know” and he really fell for the anthropological/world historical perspective on government vs. stateless societies which I laid out for him. Weird, but true.

    aimai

  32. 32
    rlrr says:

    @Kay:

    Also, a lot of Social Security is doomed scenarios depend on projecting current trends infinitely far into the future…

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @slag:

    Am I the only one who’s tired of the “Everyone knows Social Security is going broke and destroying the country” method of framing the question? Does everyone, in fact, know this? Because I don’t know this.

    This is one of the Village’s favorite narratives, and it’s totally bogus.

    Villago Delenda Est. Furthermore, sell their children into slavery. Have them spend the rest of their foul lives asking “do you want fries with that?”

  34. 34
    r€nato says:

    Romney/Ryan want to privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher… all premised on the idea that both are going broke… but then turn around and give $2 trillion to the Pentagon military contractors, money which isn’t even being asked for by the generals.

    Turn *that* into an ad, Mr. President.

  35. 35
    Bruce S says:

    @aimai:

    Sounds like you were the one doing the repairs.

  36. 36
    Kay says:

    @Cols714:

    I think you’re right. They’ve even recycled “compassionate conservative” along with “worked across the aisle as governor.”

    All we lack is “a reformer who gets results.”

    I think these guys are out of ideas for profitable ventures churning private funds, they’ve picked that clean, so they’re looking to privatize (and skim) the big pots of public funds; Social Security and education are two that come to mind.

  37. 37
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Cols714:

    It seems like the same thing is happening all over again.

    Absolutely. Romney’s numbers add up because he said so. He doesn’t have to get specific about deductions because he doesn’t want to. Obama & Co are gonna have to catapult the filter.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    @Suffern ACE:
    Had this discussion the other day.
    I can’t retire no matter that my body is suffering from 50 years of work and just plain living, I was told I have to work till I die. Fuck that. I’d like a little time to not have to get up to an alarm in the morning, fight traffic, work like a slave, take home shit money and think about doing just that for another 20 or so years. Now I finally know why men have generally died earlier than women. Are you women sure you want that?

  39. 39
    Ben Franklin says:

    Republicans want to change SS to a Defined Contribution retirement plan from a Defined Benefit Plan as it is now. Who, exactly benefits the most from this?

    ‘Nuff said.

  40. 40
    NR says:

    @r€nato: Tough to do since Obama already said he and Romney are “pretty similar” on Social Security.

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    I swear you could propose repealing the First Amendment and if you had the correct body langugage the media would cheer you on.

  42. 42
    Cols714 says:

    What if the country falls for it again? What if Romney wins?

    I guess then we really are a Republican nation if that happens. If the country could elect a Republican after Clinton (good) Bush (really really bad) Obama (good and the economy is starting to really improve) then we get what we deserve I guess.

  43. 43
    Kay says:

    @rlrr:

    Well-intentioned people, people who actually support Social Security, would look for ways to shore it up that kept it a public program. It’s just a crazy and illogical leap to go from “Social Security needs more funds” (even if that’s true) to “privatize!”

    There’s no reason to get there unless they want to go. I have to assume media and conservatives want to go there. They surely didn’t have to.

  44. 44
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I think that if younger workers can choose to put their money into something other than the SS system, and if a bunch of them do so, the whole SS system as we know it will be starved. It was always designed to be funded by younger workers paying into the system.

  45. 45
    Ash Can says:

    @Bulworth:

    So when is the next prez debate?

    Tuesday. You have the weekend for snacks-and-booze shopping.

  46. 46
    Culture of Truth says:

    @aimai: You could also remind him that George Bush forgave the guy behind the Lockerbie bombing and under President Obama he’s DEAD.

  47. 47
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    What we said then and what I’ve always agreed is let younger Americans have a voluntary choice of making their money work faster for them within the Social Security system being broke when they turn 66, so that they can be turned into soylent green.

  48. 48
    Ben Franklin says:

    And what happens to the other safety-net in SS; namely, monthly checks to widows and orphans when the bread-winner dies prematurely? Or Disability?

    Dickens if I know.

  49. 49
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Ben Franklin: And what happens to the other safety-net in SS; namely, monthly checks to widows and orphans when the bread-winner dies prematurely?

    The states will take care of that. Also go to the ER.

  50. 50
    beltane says:

    @Kay: They’ve also seen the relative docility with which the European public has accepted their plight. 25% unemployment and the liquidation of the public sector have been met with some street protests but that’s it, not a single banker or politician has yet been found dangling from a lamppost. If Syriza had won in Greece than the plutocrats might have stained their pants a bit, leading to more circumscribed behavior, but so far the public has been passively accepting whatever the parasites dish out.

    The USA is just the next course on the menu.

  51. 51
    beltane says:

    @Ben Franklin: Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

  52. 52
    slag says:

    @Kay:

    Well-intentioned people, people who actually support Social Security, would look for ways to shore it up that kept it a public program.

    But is there a sizable chunk of people who want to expand it and make it more valuable to seniors? If not, we’re still playing an asymmetrical game.

  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @Zifnab25: Nicely done!

  54. 54

    Just saw on Facebook some conservative site has a photo of Joe Biden laughing and the headline, “Click LIKE If You Want Joe Biden To Quit Laughing.”

    I want a similar one of Romney that says “Click LIKE If You Want Romney To Quit Lying.”

  55. 55
    Bruce S says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Even my Ayn Rand-loving, libertarian brother-in-law (yes, I’ve really got one of those) who doesn’t “believe” in Social Security, saw that the Bush plan to put Social Security funds into the stock market was a crazy and irresponsible proposal, in that it would make whatever shortfalls loom in the existing system that much worse. Is it a coincidence that folks who propose this privatization as “saving the system” are the same people who attack deficits by cutting taxes? These are shell games to line pockets, not “fiscal conservatism” or, frankly, conservatism of any kind.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The message is clear:

    Rmoney and Ryan want to steal your Social Security from you to enrich their already rich friends.

    These people are thieves. Treat them as such.

  57. 57
    Bill Arnold says:

    @NR:

    Tough to do since Obama already said he and Romney are “pretty similar” on Social Security.

    The actual Obama quote is ““I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position.””
    “Suspect” because Romney has been less than clear what his position actually is. (I know you don’t trust Obama, fine.)

  58. 58
    Kay says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    It’s nifty. Under the Bush Privatization Plan, you’d still be paying for that. They made sure that money (disability and survivor benefits) would still removed from wages. A portion of your wages would go to the private end. They’d keep the rest.

    I heard a great question last night. If libertarians and conservatives are so confident in the idea that people should “have” that money that goes to Social Security and “invest it”, why collect it to begin with? Just let the free market work. We don’t need Big Government investing our paycheck deductions in private stock funds. Don’t they trust us? What if I choose to invest in canned goods? Why collect it and then dole it out?

    They don’t have the Courage of their Convictions :)

  59. 59
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Linda Featheringill: That “starving” will then be used in the next round, where existing retirees see their benefits cut. Not right away. But sure. But after 2025? Sure.

  60. 60
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Kay:

    They made sure that money (disability and survivor benefits) would still removed from wages. A portion of your wages would go to the private end. They’d keep the rest

    Of course, payroll taxes aren’t a tax, which is why it’s capped at $200k

    They remind me of the credo of the Necromongers; “You keep what you kill”.

  61. 61
    geg6 says:

    WHY NO ACT BLUE THERMOMETER?

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell, but shouldn’t one be up here since it’s the first day in over a week that we’re feeling this good about our side?

  62. 62
    Culture of Truth says:

    I appreciate the concern, but we’re fine

    No you’re not fine. The debates are much too perilous.

  63. 63
    Roy G. says:

    I think the game plan is to target younger people, because they probably view Social Security like privacy – they don’t know the value of it, so they’re willing to unknowingly accept less.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    Social Security is a big pot of money and conservatives have been lusting over that big chunk of change for decades.

    Uh, no. Neither a pot of money or something that can be locked up in a lock box.

    Conservatives are just looking after the chamber of commerce types and the businesses that resent having to contribute to their worker’s retirement.

    Eliminating Social Security increases business profits. The GOP doesn’t much care what employee’s do with their portion, as long as the government is not involved, doesn’t help or provide any support.

    It’s not just greed. It is a malign philosophical position that while the government can help corporations, real people are on their own, lest they become moochers.

  65. 65
    MaxxLange says:

    Alan Simpson gave up the game on the SSA a few years back. Remember that little clip of Simpson being abusive to some blogger who was trying to interview him? During that, Simpson went off on some rant about how the monies in the Social Security trust fund actually count as debt twice – once because we owe them, and two because we actually have to pay them.

    So: the surplus payments into the system, which have been accumulating since the Greenspan-Reagan-O’Neill compromise in the ’80s., were loaned back out in the form of Treasury bills. When Social Security actually needs that money, it has to be paid back. This is what people like Simpson mean when they start raving that “there is no trust fund”: the Government did not put those excess payments under the mattress, they issued Treasury bonds and lent it to Congress to use for……oh, offsetting capital gains tax cuts, paying for wars, or what have you. That wasn’t some underhanded deal; that’s what the law required. When you hear these people claim that the “trust find” is nothing but IOUs, this is what they are talking about.

    You, I and every working person have been overpaying FICA taxes for nearly 30 years, in order to finance Social Security when the demographics go bad, and more money will be paid in benefits than is taken in. What Simpson seemed to be implying is that paying back that money to Social Security is OUT OF THE QUESTION.

  66. 66
    Chris T. says:

    @Bruce S: Shorter, more memorable tagline: Bowles-Simpson is B-S.

  67. 67
    gene108 says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Also go to the ER

    That only works because President Reagan ran over the rights of 24 states, in the 1980’s, to regulate care within their borders and demanded all ER’s accept all comers. Prior to that it varied from state-to-state and many states didn’t mandate ER’s take in the indigent.

    I await this plank of the safety net to be yanked out in the near future.

  68. 68
    Ben Franklin says:

    @MaxxLange:

    When you hear these people claim that the “trust find” is nothing but IOUs, this is what they are talking about.

    They refer to it as a Promissory Note; totally exempt from repayment from the perspective of liars.

  69. 69
    gene108 says:

    @MaxxLange:

    Treasury bills

    If T-bills are worthless IOU’s, the economy as we know it dies.

    Sharpen your pointy stick, because you’ll need it to get food.

  70. 70
    MikeJ says:

    @MaxxLange:

    You, I and every working person have been overpaying FICA taxes for nearly 30 years, in order to finance Social Security when the demographics go bad

    What’s funny is that when we reach the point where current FICA receipts aren’t enough to cover Social Security obligations, the national debt will start going down.

  71. 71

    @aimai:

    One thing I used from the debate, which I’m actually not sure he saw but which I think he would have loved Biden in, was that ultimately Romney/Ryan isn’t really going to kill any more brown people than Obama. That when push came to shove on Foreign policy Ryan couldn’t articulate any other solution to America’s FP issues than Obama/Biden are trying.

    I don’t think that’s because Romney/Ryan wouldn’t be bombing Syria or Iran right now. I think Ryan couldn’t articulate it because he knows how incredibly unpopular the idea of starting another war or two is right now.

  72. 72
    beltane says:

    @gene108: Maybe things will reach the point where the very ill and indigent will have no recourse other than to blow themselves up on the lawns of our Job Creator Leaders. What the Galtian scum won’t pay in order to live in a decent society they will then have to pay in clean-up costs. Body-part removal may soon be the only growth industry around.

  73. 73
    Turgidson says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Ryan is not in that very unusual league of dishonesty. He would rather evade the truth or misrepresent it than look you in the eyes and tell you the sky is green today.

    I think that’s only true to a point. I think he’s every bit as happy to lie about Obama’s record, or lie about the Obama campaign’s attacks on his ticket.

    But he has more trouble lying about his pride and joy of granny starving and shredding the safety net. Because as you said, he really does believe that stuff, and he used to say to anyone who would listen that the country would overwhelmingly support it if it was just properly explained to them how awesome his ideas are.

    So it seems obvious, at least to me, that it pains him to praise SS and Medicare, and pains him to say he’ll protect them. Because you know he wants to kill them, and has spent so long in his little right-wing bubble that he truly believes the country wants it too, and he hates having to dissemble about it just because the campaign’s pollsters tell him his plan is less popular than anthrax unless they lie about it.

  74. 74
    The Moar You Know says:

    I had one of those discussions this morning.

    I asked my mother why she would vote for Romney, given that he was going to take Social Security and Medicare away from me – programs I’ve paid into for 33 years (yes, I started work at age 13. We were poor). I asked how she could stand watching her son lose his home when the mortgage deduction was eliminated.

    Her answer? It’s my own fault for “voting Democrat” all my life, and “now there’s no more money because Obama’s destroying America”.

    Bear in mind this is a person who “voted Democrat” all the way from Lyndon Johnson until 2008.

    It’s a little disconcerting watching someone be perfectly willing to throw her entire family on the pyre just so long as the Negro interloper gets tossed from the White House.

    Me, I’m predicting civil war sooner or later. You can’t bend people’s minds against their own families like this and not expect the society to turn into Rwanda sooner or later.

    I’m very sad today. I’d say “it doesn’t have to be this way” but apparently it does.

  75. 75
    nemesis says:

    SS may have some issues with meeting obligations….25 years from now.

    Why would a goper give a shit about something that may happen in over two decades from now? Hmmm….The childrenz?

  76. 76
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Where is everyone right now? GOS?

    I think Tweety is wrong and Ryan completely embarrassed himself on Afghanistan, especially when he pulled a my boss and started yelling about seasons after Biden pantsed him on his concern trolling about fighting season.

    I wish someone would put a video up of that, mocking him. I needs it.

    The polls this week all looked shitty. I hope Dems can get their mojo back.

    I wonder if a better economy doesn’t break in Rethuglicans’ favor. “They said all this stuff would be bad if we did it but look outside, everything’s fine.” Same tactic as with smoking and climate change.

  77. 77
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Zifnab25:

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like you to sign off on this extra $2T for expanded military spending.

    Which will be “wasted” when it is determined that there aren’t enough volunteers willing to join the armed forces under that lovely plan to control personnel costs. There were other points in that catfood comission and Ryan budget that don’t get discussed nearly enough. We’ll be building a ghost fleet.

  78. 78
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    It’s such bullshit anyway. I don’t know what world these people live in. We have people in this office every day who are having their wages garnished for the crappy, duct-taped together “health care” they receive in emergency rooms. Mitt Romney and media apparently think it’s “free”.

    It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Just no clue what’s going on, at all. We see people who go to the emergency room for dental care. I didn’t even know one can get a shot of novocaine in an emergency room. It’s ordinary,here.

  79. 79
    Chris T. says:

    @MaxxLange:

    You, I and every working person have been overpaying FICA taxes for nearly 30 years, in order to finance Social Security when the demographics go bad, and more money will be paid in benefits than is taken in. What Simpson seemed to be implying is that paying back that money to Social Security is OUT OF THE QUESTION.

    Precisely.

    As a (relatively, among working schlubs) rich guy I have a bit of money invested in Treasuries. What Simpson and the Republicans are saying is that I lent money to the government, so too bad, I’m S-O-L, they’re not going to pay it back to me. And Republicans are the ones who claim that rich people need more “confidence”? Doesn’t this vowing to renege on your obligations hurt confidence?

  80. 80
    Chris says:

    @Bruce S:

    Even my Ayn Rand-loving, libertarian brother-in-law (yes, I’ve really got one of those) who doesn’t “believe” in Social Security, saw that the Bush plan to put Social Security funds into the stock market was a crazy and irresponsible proposal, in that it would make whatever shortfalls loom in the existing system that much worse.

    They talk a good game about being fiscally responsible and wanting to cut Medicare and Social Security to do the hard, right thing.

    Until push comes to shove and you actually present them with the plan to do exactly that. And then, they find a reason not to like THAT plan, blink, and back down.

  81. 81
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ruckus:

    Fuck that. I’d like a little time to not have to get up to an alarm in the morning, fight traffic, work like a slave, take home shit money and think about doing just that for another 20 or so years. Now I finally know why men have generally died earlier than women. Are you women sure you want that?

    Shut up, dumbfuck, it’s called labor for a reason, and it doesn’t stop when the whelp is born.

    Women ONLY live longer because maternal mortality has dropped due the modern medicine. AFTER MENOPAUSE women only live longer than men because most men have lower estrogen levels through their lives. Estrogen protects the heart. Women have a couple of decades delay but since their estrogen falls off after menopause their hearts become vulnerable, too. They suffer the same diseases of age but a few years delayed.

    The other major mortality difference between men and women, besides the infant/fetus disparity, probably because sex differentiation goes female to male, meaning more potential for errors, is that teenage/young man period when young men are busy killing each other. Testosterone is a powerful drug.

  82. 82
    Chris says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Me, I’m predicting civil war sooner or later.

    Repeating what I said yesterday; if the safety net is completely destroyed, yes. If not, no: people too comfortable to put that at risk.

  83. 83
    trollhattan says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    God, that’s depressing. My mom, raised Republican and one most of her life, detached from the party beginning with Reagan’s shenanigans and while I wouldn’t call her a Democrat when she departed this veil of tears, she certainly wasn’t voting for any more Republicans.

    Could have partly been that she had no use for cable news, preferring that crinkly thing that appears at some folk’s doorsteps.

  84. 84
    The Moar You Know says:

    Most complex systems now, if they die, they’re dead. If the auto industry dies, all the infrastructure goes to shit, and the intellectual capital and hands-on workers either move on or fade away.

    @ericblair: Witness American textiles. Gone. Not coming back. They shipped the machinery out with the last of the workers (who got a nice trip to India or China to train their replacements) and that’s the ballgame. The machines aren’t coming back, nor the jobs, nor the workers. Ever.

    Witness American semiconductors. You know, those things that drive your computers. Gone to China, not coming back. And then everyone acts so surprised that we’re finding backdoor access built into these devices. It’s not just Huawei or ZTE, kids. It’s all your shit.

    Third world country, kids. That’s our future. Pretty sure it’s our future regardless of who you vote for, but the Republicans want to do it faster and with a lot more pain, because they are a party of sadists. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on that assertion.

  85. 85
    Kay says:

    @gene108:

    I so resent Romney’s little rhetorical device, too. No one dies “in their apartment”, Mitt Romney tells us. Deliberate. He wants you to picture “urban.” Rural health care is a goddamned public health emergency, which everyone knows, despite his insistence on saying “apartment” over and over.

    So, so slimy. He can’t even make his completely false argument without twisting the knife.

  86. 86
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @nemesis:

    Why would a goper give a shit about something that may happen in over two decades from now? Hmmm….The childrenz?

    But we can steal that money nao!

  87. 87
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Third world country, kids. That’s our future. Pretty sure it’s our future regardless of who you vote for, but the Republicans want to do it faster and with a lot more pain, because they are a party of sadists. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on that assertion.

    Fuck, we’re there already. Go to any red state, it’s a 4th world shithole. What’s 4th world, you ask? Well, it’s like the 2nd world, a developing country, except in the opposite direction.

    We’re a devolving country.

  88. 88
    trollhattan says:

    @Chris:
    This is where we need an army of Taibbis, who’ve focused their attention on the financial sector’s complete domination of currency, finance and importantly, politics and policy, to finally pound this message home into the thick skulls of, well, everybody.

    Republicans want to privatize Social Security, Medicare, hell, the military because their puppetmasters want it so. Enough Democrats are under the same spell it remains a real possibiiity.

  89. 89
    catclub says:

    @Chris: “in that it would make whatever shortfalls loom in the existing system that much worse.”

    unless you phase it in over a LONG period, the transition costs, when new money is going to the stock market, instead of the previous situation, when it was paying the retirees, are ginormous deficits.

    But deficits don’t matter if lots of money is going to the stock market.

  90. 90
    KXB says:

    @slag:

    I found that irritating too. Why not just raise the cap on the payroll tax? Right now, any income over X is not subject to the tax.

  91. 91
    beltane says:

    @Chris: With the safety net gone there is every incentive for the formation of separatist movements, extremist political parties (even more extreme than the GOP), etc. How long before people start wondering about a divorce once they realize the marriage isn’t working out?

  92. 92
    trollhattan says:

    @KXB:
    Yup, you could easily tweak it by doing just this.

    Oh, the horrors, we’re attacking “small bidnez” again!

  93. 93
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Bill Arnold: It occurs to me that emoprogs mislead and fear monger and lie so much because like the Republicans, they got nothing.

    Then you got the Libertarians, they can tell the truth about a lot of things (especially GOP) but want to pretend that both sides do it to justify not just voting for Obama. (But his policies might accidentally help some poors, and we hates them precious, we hates them.)

    Not a single emoprog on this blog has answered my challenge to tell me exactly what Jill Stein said that was so exciting on Democracy Now! last week.

    I’m waiting.

  94. 94
    KXB says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Hardly unique to Red States. Even Kanye & Jay-Z noted in ‘Mudrer to Excellence”:

    I feel the pain in my city wherever I go
    314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago

  95. 95
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Kay: So, so slimy. He can’t even make his completely false argument without twisting the knife.

    So tired of people hating on Bams for not doing better against the Gish Gallop. If I were debating someone who lied like Romney my head would be about to explode from rage.

  96. 96

    @The Moar You Know:
    I once had a conversation with a decorated Korean War vet shortly after the Tea Party took over Congress.

    When I pointed out that the GOP were the ones who were essentially mortgaging our future to China by over-borrowing (this was long before Rombot took that meme as his own), his only response was “that’s good for my retirement fund, I don’t care!”

    I can’t figure out if (some of) that generation really are that selfish… or are just so stubborn that they’re easy to walk them back into saying something absurd.

  97. 97
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @KXB: Killing zone and shithole are not synonymous.

    That health survey that split the nation into 9 cohorts that came out last year showed that despite all the city pollution, urban males who survive the murder spree have longer life expectancy than Black males living in the rural South. Lifestyle (ie, diet), which is impacted by education, was a suspected factor. They didn’t discuss social standing but I wonder if that isn’t a factor, too.

    The survey showed a much higher level of educational attainment in the Northern cities. We also know that as children they outperform Southern schoolchildren of all races. And while the physical infrastructure is sometimes neglected, fuck it, you should see some of these rural backwaters with practically no roads at all. Or the shacks people live in, retrofitted with plumbing. Stuff that would be condemned and boarded up in the North. Taxes are redistributive, that’s the fucking point.

    I’m not minimizing anyone’s pain and suffering, although I will mention that a lot of people go … missing … and they aren’t reported as homicides. Some of them are killed by cops. Racial violence is not “over”. But that aside–I am making an economic argument. The rust belt is devolving, too. Buffalo. Scranton. Detroit. Fleedom of the rich, fleecedom for the poor. Drawing back of government and destruction of the infrastructure. The difference in the Southeast is that a lot of that infrastructure was never there in the first place, or was, hrm, “UNEVENLY DISTRIBUTED”.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Not a single emoprog on this blog has answered my challenge to tell me exactly what Jill Stein said that was so exciting on Democracy Now! last week.

    Did she endorse Obama?

    Otherwise, not sure if anyone cares what she said.

  99. 99
    artem1s says:

    @Kay:

    I heard a great question last night. If libertarians and conservatives are so confident in the idea that people should “have” that money that goes to Social Security and “invest it”, why collect it to begin with?

    Ah yes, been pointing that out to my idiot Randian relatives for about 2 decades now. They really believe that all that money is suddenly going to show up in their paycheck (and that they will actually invest it instead of using it for cigarettes and booze). Also, the matching funds that your employer is paying into the system, no one ever mentions where those will go. I’m betting straight into the next generation of Abramoff and Madoff Ponzi schemes.

  100. 100
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @gene108:

    That only works because President Reagan ran over the rights of 24 states, in the 1980’s, to regulate care within their borders and demanded all ER’s accept all comers. Prior to that it varied from state-to-state and many states didn’t mandate ER’s take in the indigent.

    Relentlessly push costs onto the states (then onto local government). Make taxes more and more regressive, give poorer areas less and less resources.

    All part of the plan.

  101. 101
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Brachiator: Otherwise, not sure if anyone cares what she said.

    My point is their emoprog banner waver sucks anyway. She said nothing interesting, insightful, or inspiring, as I knew she wouldn’t because I remember her run for Governor keenly.

    These people have a problem with authority so they slag on Bams simply because he’s president and the leader of the Democratic party. Their attacks have no substance whatsoever and they resort to misleading attacks and concern-trolling in the hopes that someone will say, “Really? That’s disturbing,” and so confirm their twisted view of the world. It shuts out the doubt that maybe all those millions voting Dem are right and they’re the crazy ones.

  102. 102

    @Ruckus: Not only that, are we actually going to be able to get hired when we’re 70? In some lines of work, for some people, probably. In others, I have my doubts; they already tell me to leave any indication of my age off of my resume. How many greeters will they need at Wal-Mart?

  103. 103
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Random thought: the 20th century has seen a number of courageous white male Southerners who bucked white supremacy and fought for civil rights and the needs of poor people. LBJ, Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and of course plenty of lesser known local politicians.

    I wonder if doing some sort of PR thing lionizing these men for being bold, courageous, principled champions of a better world might appeal to some of these Southern white males who are stubbornly voting GOP against their own pocketbooks?

    Rewrite history. Change the whole fucking narrative. No more hardline confederate good guys against brutish Sherman–make the mill owners and the blackshirts the headed-to-defeat Nazis of this little passion play and the LBJs the triumphant winners that the reddest neck will want to identify with.

  104. 104
    Maude says:

    All one has to do when the Republicans talk about privatizing SS and Medicare is follow the money.
    They are talking about getting rid of Medicare.

  105. 105
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’m not saying that looking at the whole picture doesn’t make me want to vomit in my mouth a little bit, but c’mon, you gotta give people a better myth than “We lost the war, but we’re still defiant!”

    Freud called that the death-drive. It’s poison.

  106. 106
    Chris says:

    @beltane:

    Exactly. That’s why Bismark originally pushed for welfare states as an antidote to revolutions.

    Here in America, we had an actual civil war in the 1860s and came to the verge of revolution or coup d’etat in the early 1930s, not to mention the original Revolution. But since the New Deal, nothing, even though we’ve had at least one really intense bump in the road since then.

    I would say Bismark was right.

  107. 107
    Chris says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    LBJ, Clinton, Jimmy Carter

    Huey Long. Not only a hardcore economic populist, but one who directed economic relief at black people as well as white, leading to a furious Ku Klux Klan running ads against him portraying him with his arms around black people promising them free rides.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    I guess I forgot the /snark tag.
    However, do you, no matter your sex, want to have to work till you drop? Sure it’s called work or labor because it’s not easy. I have worked mostly standing up on concrete and moving metal for those 50 years. When I haven’t been doing construction like laying that concrete. Which I still do by the way.
    I don’t need a fucking lecture about work. I don’t need people telling me I have to work till I drop dead. Fuck that. That wasn’t the deal when I started this little project several decades ago. But some are trying to take that away. And I don’t think anyone should have to do that.

  110. 110
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Ruckus: Of course not. You’re changing the subject. You implied that women are fools for entering the labor force because they would face the injury and exhaustion that you do.

    THEY ALREADY DO, YOU BLIND FOOL.

    And on behalf of all my single mother coworkers whose bodies are being destroyed both by motherhood and the job, and who get cussed out behind their backs by fucks like you for taking FMLA leave when their kids get sick, FUCK YOU.

  111. 111
    Another Halocene Human says:

    When men take FMLA leave, they’re saints for caring for dear old Mother, or their sick sister, gosh, how are they holding it together.

    When women take FMLA leave, they’re crappy workers who should have not had so many babies/stayed on welfare/ want us to carry them all the time.

  112. 112
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    I have been told that walmart got rid of the greeters a while back. If that’s so then one more old timers job gone.
    I have looked for jobs and the age thing seems to be a real problem. It’s never up front but my resume looks great until you get to when I went to school. Or when I was in the military. I don’t have to tell them my age, just my experience gets me there. I’d like to find some part time thing to make a little extra or find a place to live on SS. Not having a lot of luck. There’s too many of us looking for not enough spots. Jobs can be found but I’m not so sure of that for us older folks.

  113. 113
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Since I’m on a rage tear, lemme just continue here, Kanye style:

    #1, 2, 3 on the job are men. Woman had the head gasket blow on her car. She carpooled to work, asked for rides home. Some ppl on the clock gave her rides (did not impact the job we do), #3 finds out and bans all future rides without prior approval. Sister needs to “get it together” and “stop playing”.

    Man has the head gasket blow on his car. Gets rides, but some days can’t get one. #3 justifies all of his miss-outs, day after day after day. You’re supposed to be in sick leave abuse status after 6 in one year. Hahahahah. Brother is in a “tough situation” and we need to “cut him a break”.

  114. 114
    Elizabelle says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Highlighting Southern white males who were ahead of their contemporaries in adapting to social progress.

    That’s an excellent idea.

    Find the Atticus Finches, in a nation of Snopes types.

  115. 115
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Halocene Human:
    WOW
    Sorry I hit a nerve there. Read my lips – IT WAS SNARK.
    You don’t know me and I don’t know you so maybe we shouldn’t read too much into each others comments. That is not what I was saying and for you to imply I was gets you to a bad place that I don’t think you nor I belong.

  116. 116

    @Ruckus: You asked:

    I’d like a little time to not have to get up to an alarm in the morning, fight traffic, work like a slave, take home shit money and think about doing just that for another 20 or so years. Now I finally know why men have generally died earlier than women. Are you women sure you want that?

    Leaving aside the implication that only men do work that’s hard on body and soul — why did you even bring women into this? Do you think it’s our fault that the SS retirement age might get raised?

  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @TooManyJens:
    Leaving aside the implication that only men do work that’s hard on body and soul—why did you even bring women into this? Do you think it’s our fault that the SS retirement age might get raised?

    To answer your last question first. NO, it is not. Raising the age was not my point, which I obviously did a crappy job of stating.
    As to the point that you are attributing to me that women don’t work as hard, I didn’t make that either. I know women who have worked much harder than most men I know and quite possibly much harder than me. I also know men who have worked harder than me for their entire lives. These are just the people I know and that’s a pretty small subset.
    My point was that I don’t think people should have to work till they drop just to get by. I don’t think anyone should have to go without health care.
    Many of our fellow citizens do think that. My poor attempt at snark was just that. Sorry.

  118. 118
    Ruckus says:

    @TooManyJens:
    Leaving aside the implication that only men do work that’s hard on body and soul—why did you even bring women into this? Do you think it’s our fault that the SS retirement age might get raised?

    To answer your last question first. NO, it is not. Raising the age was not my point, which I obviously did a crappy job of stating.
    As to the point that you are attributing to me that women don’t work as hard, I didn’t make that either. I know women who have worked much harder than most men I know and quite possibly much harder than me. I also know men who have worked harder than me for their entire lives. These are just the people I know and that’s a pretty small subset.
    My point was that I don’t think people should have to work till they drop just to get by. I don’t think anyone should have to go without health care.
    Many of our fellow citizens do think that. My poor attempt at snark was just that. Sorry.

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    @TooManyJens:
    Leaving aside the implication that only men do work that’s hard on body and soul—why did you even bring women into this? Do you think it’s our fault that the SS retirement age might get raised?

    To answer your last question first. NO, it is not. Raising the age was not my point, which I obviously did a crappy job of stating.
    As to the point that you are attributing to me that women don’t work as hard, I didn’t make that either. I know women who have worked much harder than most men I know and quite possibly much harder than me. I also know men who have worked harder than me for their entire lives. These are just the people I know and that’s a pretty small subset.
    My point was that I don’t think people should have to work till they drop just to get by. I don’t think anyone should have to go without health care.
    Many of our fellow citizens do think that. My poor attempt at snark was just that. Sorry.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @TooManyJens:
    Leaving aside the implication that only men do work that’s hard on body and soul—why did you even bring women into this? Do you think it’s our fault that the SS retirement age might get raised?

    To answer your last question first. NO, it is not. Raising the age was not my point, which I obviously did a crappy job of stating.
    As to the point that you are attributing to me that women don’t work as hard, I didn’t make that either. I know women who have worked much harder than most men I know and quite possibly much harder than me. I also know men who have worked harder than me for their entire lives. These are just the people I know and that’s a pretty small subset.
    My point was that I don’t think people should have to work till they drop just to get by. I don’t think anyone should have to go without health care.
    Many of our fellow citizens do think that. My poor attempt at snark was just that. Sorry.

  121. 121
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    what’s a “higher-income people”?

  122. 122
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    If Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan plan to change Social Security to a 401k, I think people have the right to know that.

    Talking of 401k’s, I did some spreadsheeting last night to see if I was on track for retirement (which is over 25 years away). I have no defined benefit: it’s all 401k’s.

    Now, usually you assume a rate of return (say 6% real rate of return). and inflate that. But that’s a bit crude, ‘cos returns on stock are volatile – the S&P 500 has had an average, inflation-adjusted return of just over 6%, but the standard deviation on that is 18%.

    So I did some Monte Carlo analysis, with about 500 runs, to see how I’d do if I retired at age 67, assuming I’d retire on 75% of current income.

    Here’s the rub: I was assuming contributing the *maximum possible* to my 401k, including top-ups, plus my employer matches almost 10% of salary, for the rest of my working life until 67. I also already have have *six times* the average in my 401k than the median for my demographic (I started saving early). And it assumed I shifted to less risky assets after age 67, and assumed I stayed employed until 67.

    In other words, I am and have done about as much as I can with 401k’s. Even with that, for 12% of the Monte Carlo runs, I’m eating catfood by age 85. Without social security, I’m stealing Tunch’s kibble by age 85 17% of the time.

    Again, that’s for someone who has had the luxury of maxing out their 401k for almost all the last decade, and who gets an excellent match from their employer, and assuming I’m able to work at current salary until 67.

    There’s a lot of talk about unfunded retirement liabilities in the public sector. But I think a bigger problem will be the unfunded retirement liabilities for those employed in the private sector. Because if even for someone using a 401k to its maximum, it turns out to be inadequate for a not-insignificant fraction of the potential outcomes, then most of retirees with 401k’s are going to go through some wrenching changes during retirement.

  123. 123
    Herbal Infusion Bagger says:

    @Herbal Infusion Bagger:

    Shorter version in case of tl;dr : 401k’s suck, and we’re going to find out how much they suck in the next 20-30 years.

  124. 124
    Kanishka Ray says:

    When Ryan was talking about Social Security privatization for people 55 or younger, he was talking about the money I have paid into the system for about 15 years of my professional working career. I pictured two things in mind:

    1. My value of my “diversified” 401K, before and after the summer of 2008.

    2. All the money I’ve paid into Social Security.

    The SS money is still there (supposedly). Was there anything else to think about?

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