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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 03:53 AM

Tennessee Senators waltz all over earned benefit interests of its citizens

Tennessee has the 12th highest rate of poverty in the United States. In August 2012, its rate of unemployment as of July this year was reported at 8.4 percent . The overall percentage of the state's population over 65 is 13.4 percent. Links for these stats can be found at the end note.

This is a state known for its friendly people, beautiful landscapes and volunteerism.

Yesterday, December 29, its U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander offered a plan to cut Medicare:


With that confidence, Tennessee's senators turned to spending cuts and offered a proposal to exchange a $1 trillion reduction in entitlement spending — mostly from Medicare — for a $1 trillion rise in the federal debt ceiling.


The plan, which the senators have dubbed the "Dollar for Dollar Act," was introduced by Corker on Dec. 12. Its details include reforming Medicare to include competition from private health-care options, gradually raising the eligibility age to 67 by 2027, requiring high-income beneficiaries to pay higher premiums and giving flexibility to the states to manage the program.

Additionally, Corker and Alexander endorsed other changes to earned benefits:


It would gradually raise the Social Security retirement age and use the “chained CPI” formula to calculate cost-of-living adjustments, curbing the growing cost of benefits.

In exchange, it would direct the debt limit be increased by the same amount as the savings generated from entitlement reform.

"Unfortunately for America, the next line in the sand is going to be the debt ceiling,” said Corker, predicting it could be used as leverage in negotiations with Democrats.

Read that last quoted paragraph as Republicans are thinking "starve the beast."

The 16 Trillion Dollar Deficit Americans now face, along with the Great Recession, is greatly due as a result of the George W. Bush* legacy. He left the Oval Office with a 10.5 Trillion Dollar Deficit which he had kept off the General Ledger. Additionally, our annual budget was in deficit. Each annual accrual of our budget shortfall contains a substantial part of interest on that debt.

What Corker and Alexander (both Repubicans) failed to explain in offering their plan was why seniors should sacrifice Social Security and Medicare coverage to help offset a deficit incurred mostly during a Republican's eight years in the White House. They also failed to explain why corporations such as Halliburton and The Carlye Group, two of the largest profiteers from Bush's preemptive war, pay near zero income taxes -- yet Medicaid as well must be compromised.

Also unexplained, why they termed Social Security and Medicare the "biggest drivers of our debt" when the experts say it is the cost of two wars, the Bush* (unfunded) tax cuts, Medicare Part D (also referred to as Bush's gift to the pharmaceutical companies) and current economic conditions, such as high unemployment.

Alexander called on Obama to show more leadership on reforming entitlements or earned-benefits programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, which are the biggest drivers of federal debt. (also from The Hill link)

The State of Tennessee deserves much better representation than Corker and Alexander are rendering. Its people are hurting from unemployment, a high poverty rate and an aging population. It is not exactly to the Tennessee Waltz Corker and Alexander are dancing, and rather than "Dollar for Dollar", it looks like dollars for more doughnut holes.



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Reply Tennessee Senators waltz all over earned benefit interests of its citizens (Original post)
Samantha Dec 2012 OP
TreasonousBastard Dec 2012 #1
Samantha Dec 2012 #3
TreasonousBastard Dec 2012 #5
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #2
Samantha Dec 2012 #4

Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:44 AM

1. Hi Sam! My first question is...

Do you live in Tennessee?

If so, I've been peeking around and our party seems to have problems there.

Be that as it may, how involved are you with the party at the state and local level? New York may be seen by others as a bastion of liberal Democrats, but I'll tell you that just ain't so and most elections are a new battle to the death. It's still easier here than Tennessee, but over the last two years we had to fight like hell to revitalize our demoralized town and county Democratic parties and we're finally getting somewhere. The state party is mostly doing OK, but upstate NY is as rightwing as it gets and we just lost a seat there.

So, you wanna get these guys out? Start in the neighborhood and expand, finding more women and minorities, and those un- and underemployed to knock on doors and get the vote out. Build your local party one vote at a time and aim to work on county and state parties to build strength and a winning message. Any luck and you'll be ready to toss these guys when they come up for re-election.

But don't for a minute think it will be easy. Be prepared to bust your ass and fight against your own depression (and maybe even your own leadership) if and when things don't move fast enough. You'll lose as many fights as you win, maybe more, but in the end if you build a party that can get those guys out it will be worth every bit of the sweat and tears.

When we started coming back from the dead here in this largely Republican town we lost our first election by embarrassing margins. The new leader volunteered to step down but we wouldn't let him. Now, we won the county and new Democratic registrations are outpacing Republicans and everyone else combined.

Just hang in there.

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Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 10:01 AM

3. Hey, TreasonousBastard

I live in College Park, Maryland, but I make a joke sometimes I am related to half the State of Tennessee. My family originated from there, and I lived there about 8 years of my childhood and spent many summers there with relatives after my family relocated in the East.

I am the only liberal in my family. Everyone else is very much to the right.

I was sincere what I said about the state. It is a beautiful state with beautiful people. But whenever I would visit, Fox News seemed everywhere.

My whole family is very Republican. They talk about what a good Christian man Corker is and how his family is well known. I do not like Corker. I did not like his position on the auto bailout and was aghast when he stepped out and wanted to let Detroit go bust. Of course, I realize there are Nissan plants there, and the workers are not unionized. At that time there were rumors that some very large union was talking to workers in Tennessee trying to encourage them to organize. So of course I believe that aroused some anger among the Nissan management and part of that threat would be eliminated if Detroit went down and its union went with it. That is my somewhat vague understanding of the situation.

But it just seems to me that Corker is more influenced by the donors to his campaign -- I looked them over recently. I do not think he genuinely cares about the welfare of his constituents. He is very much a self-promoter.

My influence with my relatives and friends in Tennessee is such that I no longer even discuss politics any more with them. Religion and politics -- off at the table at family reunions to preserve our relationship. But I found the events of last week with Corker and Alexander appalling. I absolutely had to get my thoughts on the subject off my chest. The recommendations of those two Senators was all encompassing and beyond the pale. But I do not believe any Tennessee residents will have a problem with their positions. Some people are just so naive they will believe their Senators are just doing what they believe is necessary for the good of the Country. Tell me I am wrong.

Thanks for posting on this thread. There are a lot of people I really care about in Tennessee and I do not think their best interests are being protected.


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Response to Samantha (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:10 PM

5. OK, so much for my windbag pep talk...

There's an element of faith in politics-- not so much the church interfering, although there's enough of that, but blind faith in political dogma or characters. It's far more prevalent on the right, but we have some of our own, too.

Anyway, there's just no discussion with these people. Might as well have the Pope convert to Islam.

One thing that sometimes works is to slowly go issue by issue, but that can backfire too. Even after they agree that the government has some obligation to feed the poor, it's back to welfare cheats. It's like they're hard wired. And it's not entirely Fox doing this, they get it from their circles of relatives, friends, and neighbors with rightwing talk just reinforcing what they already "know."

The slight bit of good news is that Hannity and other Fox bozos have seen their ratings drop by up to half since the election after calling it so wrong. Only O'Reilly is still up there, most likely because he never actually called himself a "conservative" and has successfully pulled off the fiction that he's in the middle.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:48 AM

2. This is why the people who are saying the republican party is on life support are dead wrong.


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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 04:15 PM

4. Unfortunately, I have to agree with you

I think there are several red states whose citizens are having a great bit of difficulty for one reason or another but see no problem with their current representatives. FOX is everywhere, and politics have crept into the churches.

And of course most of our problems today are President Obama's fault.


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