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Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:39 PM

Paul Krugman Tells GOP Senator: ‘Your Facts Are False’ On Social Security

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/03/10/1696671/johnson-social-security/

Paul Krugman Tells GOP Senator: ‘Your Facts Are False’ On Social Security

By Adam Peck on Mar 10, 2013 at 11:51 am


During a contentious panel on ABC’s This Week on Sunday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) found himself at odds with his fellow panelists — and with the facts — about Social Security’s solvency.

Johnson and fellow panelist Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) had been discussing the long-term solvency of Social Security when Johnson made the claim that the Social Security Trust Fund was a myth, and that the revenue generated from the sale of securities to the federal government somehow should not count in calculating the program’s fiscal health.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman jumped in to point out that Johnson was unwilling to accept even the most basic facts over the way Social Security is funded, all for the sake of a talking point:

KRUGMAN: You said ‘let’s start with the facts,’ but we’ve just run aground right there.

JOHNSON: Exactly my point, we have got to agree on the facts and figures.

KRUGMAN: But your facts are false…Social Security has a dedicated revenue base, it has a trust fund based on that dedicated revenue base. You can’t change the rules mid stream and say ‘oh, suddenly the trust fund doesn’t count.’ [...] It’s important to realize that the facts that are being brought out here are in fact non-facts.

Watch it @ link~

The Social Security trust fund is solvent through 2038, and the program would almost certainly have long-term solvency were it not for the Republican-backed cap on payroll taxes for income above a certain level.

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Reply Paul Krugman Tells GOP Senator: ‘Your Facts Are False’ On Social Security (Original post)
babylonsister Mar 2013 OP
cthulu2016 Mar 2013 #1
Cha Mar 2013 #2
JRLeft Mar 2013 #3
Warren Stupidity Mar 2013 #5
dkf Mar 2013 #9
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #15
Trajan Mar 2013 #31
Egalitarian Thug Mar 2013 #61
dawg Mar 2013 #54
duffyduff Mar 2013 #55
savannah43 Mar 2013 #19
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #82
still_one Mar 2013 #33
Igel Mar 2013 #42
still_one Mar 2013 #48
valerief Mar 2013 #59
on point Mar 2013 #35
Viking12 Mar 2013 #4
Gidney N Cloyd Mar 2013 #6
Mnpaul Mar 2013 #30
NorthCarolina Mar 2013 #76
Benton D Struckcheon Mar 2013 #7
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #16
Benton D Struckcheon Mar 2013 #26
calimary Mar 2013 #37
blackspade Mar 2013 #72
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #83
AdHocSolver Mar 2013 #49
Benton D Struckcheon Mar 2013 #60
YOHABLO Mar 2013 #66
dkf Mar 2013 #8
CTyankee Mar 2013 #10
dkf Mar 2013 #11
CTyankee Mar 2013 #12
dkf Mar 2013 #13
CTyankee Mar 2013 #18
dkf Mar 2013 #21
CTyankee Mar 2013 #23
duffyduff Mar 2013 #51
dkf Mar 2013 #69
vanbean Mar 2013 #65
closeupready Mar 2013 #22
John2 Mar 2013 #46
sulphurdunn Mar 2013 #58
Grins Mar 2013 #44
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #25
eomer Mar 2013 #45
duffyduff Mar 2013 #56
duffyduff Mar 2013 #53
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #84
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #20
xtraxritical Mar 2013 #27
bhikkhu Mar 2013 #38
YoungDemCA Mar 2013 #63
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #85
bbgrunt Mar 2013 #32
MannyGoldstein Mar 2013 #50
Egalitarian Thug Mar 2013 #78
pansypoo53219 Mar 2013 #14
indepat Mar 2013 #17
xtraxritical Mar 2013 #29
wiggs Mar 2013 #24
zbdent Mar 2013 #28
Cleita Mar 2013 #34
jazzimov Mar 2013 #36
red dog 1 Mar 2013 #39
Jeff In Milwaukee Mar 2013 #40
Jeff In Milwaukee Mar 2013 #41
abelenkpe Mar 2013 #67
Jeff In Milwaukee Mar 2013 #68
WillyT Mar 2013 #43
Uncle Joe Mar 2013 #47
MannyGoldstein Mar 2013 #52
Egalitarian Thug Mar 2013 #64
Babel_17 Mar 2013 #57
spanone Mar 2013 #62
dtom67 Mar 2013 #70
blackspade Mar 2013 #71
Spitfire of ATJ Mar 2013 #73
spicegal Mar 2013 #74
hue Mar 2013 #75
Angry Dragon Mar 2013 #77
Stewland Mar 2013 #79
liberal N proud Mar 2013 #80
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #86
liberal N proud Mar 2013 #87
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #88
HiPointDem Mar 2013 #81


Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:46 PM

2. thanks babylonsistah! More FEARMongers needing to be SHUT

DOWN.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:47 PM

3. It sounds like Johnson was saying since Wall St. stole the trust fund money.

 

Social Security money isn't there so it does not exist.

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Response to JRLeft (Reply #3)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:56 PM

5. Wall street did not steal the trust fund money. How would they do that?

 

It isn't invested in wall street, it is invested in 'special' t-bills, somewhere around 3T at this point in time.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:27 PM

9. Everything bad is Wall Street's fault...they are the new boogeyman.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:38 PM

15. Right. Wall Street steals everything they can see.

That's precisely the problem.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:16 PM

31. Give us a break ....

 

Wall Street is a time honored 'boogeyman', having been pilloried for it's excesses since the beginning of the 19th century, at least ...

How can you attempt to imply that rhetoric against Wall Street is something new ?

Aren't we getting tired of Banker Apologia in DU ? ....

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Response to Trajan (Reply #31)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 09:55 PM

61. Nope. This huckster/defender of parasites is legion (see what I did there?)

 

Ignore what you see, just listen to the "serious people", they know what is going on.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:34 PM

54. My pants are tight in the waist because of Wall Street.

Something about high fructose corn syrup, I think.

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Response to dkf (Reply #9)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:34 PM

55. Yes, it is Wall Street's fault, and these crooks want to get at the money.

 

You seem to have nothing good to say about the New Deal, the Great Society, and anything else that benefits anyone but the top 1 percent.

What are you even doing here?

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Response to savannah43 (Reply #19)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:53 AM

82. where's the part that says wall street stole the surplus?

 

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:40 PM

33. No they did not, that was congress using it for wars based on lies

However, Wall Street would love to get its hands on ss as bushco tried to do

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Response to still_one (Reply #33)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:19 PM

42. It was used as the law required.

It went to Treasury, and Treasury turned it over to Congress.

That wasn't some new (R) idea. It was what the law had required for a while.

It's like the "Republican backed cap." The FICA tax has always had a cap. It's part of the original (D) design that the (R) haven't removed.

so imagine this: Given 2001, remove 9/11 and the recession. There's a small budget surplus and in addition to that there's FICA money from the trust fund given to Congress. What is the (R) Congress going to do with it?

They could have paid down the public debt. They could have increased spending on some (R) priority. They cut have cut taxes. Either way, the money would have been "spent" (assuming that we think of a tax reduction as a government expense).

Still, the (R) Congressperson's point about solvency isn't all that wrong. Krugman focused the issue to one of the SS program's solvency, and that's not a point in dispute. It's just a point that's easy to get muddled. The solvency problem isn't Social Security, the solvency problem's Congress': To repay the Trust Fund will require, over the next 25 years or so, converting nearly $3 trillion of government-held debt into publicly held debt. At the same time dealing with Medicare/Medicaid/ACA cost increases and deficits, plus the increase that's sure to happen in the interest rate on the current debt. Currently public debt interest is about 6% of the budget. That won't stay the same. CBO projections are by 2040 or so the interest on the debt will be something like 60% of GDP, and that's assuming that the Executive branches projections on deficit sustainability and growth rates are met.

Krugman wins on points.

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Response to Igel (Reply #42)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:01 PM

48. I did not say it was illegal, I said they used it for a war based on a lie

They also did not include those wars in the deficient under bushco, so they use that as a talking point when Obama had it included

Also, when this batch of baby boomers I go e the system will be back on solid footing provided they don't use it for other wars

ss is fine, the repukes have been trying to destroy it since its inception, which is why they borrowed from it to use it as an argument to privatize it

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Response to still_one (Reply #33)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 09:16 PM

59. Ding, ding, ding, ding! nt

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:52 PM

35. Well they cut back on paying that DEBT, as soon as they are willing to cut back on TBill Debt!!

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:48 PM

4. Anytime RJ gets put in his place is a good time.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:57 PM

6. Johnson got his lying ass handed to him several times on This Week this morning.

Wasserman-Shultz roughed him up a few times, too. No one came to his aid.

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Response to Gidney N Cloyd (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:15 PM

30. Wasserman-Shultz wasn't much better

When asked how those SS cuts would go over with all the elderly people in her district, she began babbling about something else.

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Response to Mnpaul (Reply #30)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 10:13 AM

76. I don't see much difference between DWS and the typical non-teaparty GOP'er. nt

 

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 03:59 PM

7. Good one.

I had a long debate on this a while back on an investing forum where this one guy was trying to say the same thing. I pointed out, among other things, that the reason SS's Trust Fund invests only in gov't securities is to prevent it from influencing the private economy in any way, a thing which the Trustees say on the website they have. If SS is invested in anything other than Federal gov't securities, it immediately will distort the price of whatever it starts to invest in. That goes beyond even the safety of the investment issue; obviously Federal gov't securities are the safest bet out there.
These Reps with their nonsense don't even bother to do basic research and think logically about why SS is structured as it is.
On the cap: another simple logical thought. It subsidizes Wall Street at the expense of Main Street. Think about this for a second: what percent of employees of Black Rock or Goldman Sachs are making more than the SS limit? Now think about what percent of employees at an ordinary company making widgets (Ford, Boeing, etc.) or selling them (Amazon, Macy's) are making more than that limit? Obviously for Wall Street companies a lot more than for Main Street companies.
So, why are we subsidizing the financial industry and their crazed bonus culture this way? Eliminating that cap is the most sensible solution to long-term SS solvency.

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:39 PM

16. Good points!

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:00 PM

26. Thx!

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:59 PM

37. Great question. WHY are we subsidizing the financial industry - AT ALL?

Seems to me they're doing well enough on their own that they don't need any help from the hard-pressed American taxpayer. Should be the other way around.

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Response to calimary (Reply #37)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 01:48 AM

72. Because they have successfully sold...

a lie that the financial industry IS America.

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Response to calimary (Reply #37)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:59 AM

83. answer: we're not. capping SS taxes doesn't subsidize wall street when benefits are also

 

capped.

Waged employees on wall street who make more than $113.7 K still pay SS taxes on $113.7 K of their income and they get the same benefit everyone else who pays at that level does.

A subsidy implies that they get MORE than they pay for.

In fact, removing the cap subsidizes lower-income people.

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:21 PM

49. Let's not forget the Federal Reserve's role in helping steal middle class assets.

The Fed's keeping interest rates artificially low is one method used to enable speculation by the one percent. Moreover, low interest rates on bank deposits encourages the still affluent middle class to use some of their savings to speculate in the stock market, even as the economy (and consumer demand) falters. This speculation drives the stock prices up until demand drops and ends the "bull" market.

Low interest rates promoted the housing bubble by encouraging buyers to borrow more than they could actually afford.

There is a direct transfer of wealth from the middle class to the one percent due to low interest rates. A bank that pays 0.1 percent (0.001) interest on deposits while charging 7-, 10-, or 15-percent interest on loans (for example, credit card balances) is receiving 70, 100, or 150 times what it pays for the use of that money.

Moreover, low interest rates hide the actual inflation rate which is considerably higher than the one stated by the government figures.

The economic conditions today are similar to those that existed in the late 1920's and early 1930's that led to the Great Depression.

The bankers then, as the bankers today, preached austerity, which led to high unemployment and, in Germany, rampant inflation. The bankers seem to be looking for a replay of Germany in the 1930's.

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Response to AdHocSolver (Reply #49)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 09:24 PM

60. Usury laws need to be brought back on the Federal level

I'm no fan of the Fed, as you can see by my sig, but the reason for that huge gap (the banks call that the Net Interest Margin, it's basically their gross profit) that you cite is that usury laws were repealed in the late seventies by the Supreme Court first and then by act of Congress. Congress needs to set a Federal usury limit.
Wikipedia has an excellent explanation of what happened:

Usury statutes in the United States

Each U.S. state has its own statute which dictates how much interest can be charged before it is considered usurious or unlawful.
If a lender charges above the lawful interest rate, a court will not allow the lender to sue to recover the debt because the interest rate was illegal anyway. In some states (such as New York) such loans are voided ab initio.[44]

However, there are separate rules applied to most banks. The U.S. Supreme Court held unanimously in the 1978 Marquette Nat. Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp. case that the National Banking Act of 1863 allowed nationally chartered banks to charge the legal rate of interest in their state regardless of the borrower's state of residence.[45] In 1980, Congress passed the Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act. Among the Act's provisions, it exempted federally chartered savings banks, installment plan sellers and chartered loan companies from state usury limits. Combined with the Marquette decision that applied to National Banks, this effectively overrode all state and local usury laws.[46][47] The 1968 Truth in Lending Act does not regulate rates, except for some mortgages, but requires uniform or standardized disclosure of costs and charges.[48]
In the 1996 Smiley v. Citibank case, the Supreme Court further limited states' power to regulate credit card fees and extended the reach of the Marquette decision. The court held that the word "interest" used in the 1863 banking law included fees and, therefore, states could not regulate fees.[49]
Some members of Congress have tried to create a federal usury statute that would limit the maximum allowable interest rate, but the measures have not progressed. In July 2010, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, was signed into law by President Obama. The act provides for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to regulate some credit practices but has no interest rate limit.[50]


Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usury#Usury_statutes_in_the_United_States

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Response to Benton D Struckcheon (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 11:50 PM

66. Yes, yes, and yes !!

 

they only pay on their first $110,000 lets move that up a bit .. say $250,000 that Obama agreed to doing.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:19 PM

8. The latest report says it is solvent til 2033, not 2038.

 

After 2020, Treasury will redeem trust fund assets in amounts that exceed interest earnings until exhaustion of trust fund reserves in 2033, three years earlier than projected last year. Thereafter, tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2086.


http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/index.html

Every year the projected date of solvency seems to go down.

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Response to dkf (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:28 PM

10. so lift the cap and the problem will be solved, right?

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #10)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:31 PM

11. There are many ways to solve it...screaming "don't touch my social security" is not one of them.

 

Neither is saying "there is nothing wrong with social security".

If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:32 PM

12. I'm not screaming. Just lift the cap...simple statement of fact.

There. No screams. No tantrums.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:35 PM

13. Where is the rest of the chorus?

 

The Democratic Party isn't talking about changing anything. No they are telling people there is nothing to see.

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Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:39 PM

18. So let's start.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:46 PM

21. I'm still trying to convince people there is a problem.

 

I have my own solutions...I think we need a serious discussion about if we need to expand SS so we pay more and receive more since so many Americans seem incapable of saving for themselves.

But we need numbers that work.

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Response to dkf (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:53 PM

23. It would be good to do that only if workers are making more. So raise the minimum wage first

and then we'll talk. The myth that Americans can't/don't save IS a myth and a pernicious one to boot. If we paid people more and offered defined benefits retirements a lot of problems would be solved.

I still think that in a democracy having the cap lifted would be beneficial both in the money that would in essence solve the problem, but would also bind us together for the public good. The rich should pay more than they are paying now. It is unfair.

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Response to dkf (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:29 PM

51. You are peddling Cato Institute LIES

 

There is NO "solvency" problem because the figures which the Cato Institute took, for example, were the most pessimistic projections, which have NO bearing on the reality of the economy.

They have admitted they have LIED about Social Security all of these years, but they wanted to undercut public support for ideological reasons.

Peter J. Peterson is peddling the same bullshit.

I have been reading this Chicken Little bullshit for YEARS, probably as long as you've been alive, and it hasn't come to pass yet.

The problem was taken care of in 1983.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #51)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:36 AM

69. Honestly do you see the numbers I posted are from the social security administration?

 

How in the world does this get passed on as Cato institute lies? You are the one telling the lie here.

Or are you asserting the SS trustees have been infiltrated by Cato or some other nefarious plot?

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Response to dkf (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 10:53 PM

65. SS isn't a savings program. It's insurance.

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Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:48 PM

22. If by "change" you mean "strengthen," that's where I'm at.

 

As well as Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand and many others.

Republicans, with the media in their back pockets, only seek to weaken SS and to divvy up trust fund assets to their cronies on Wall Street, where it will doubtless be fee-ed to death.

A discussion implies you have two parties engaging in good faith dialogue; as Krugman proved today, the other side is basically coming to the table with scripts, lies and propaganda, not facts and openness.

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Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:52 PM

46. How much does

 

this country spend to defend countries like Germany and Japan? My point is World War II ended decades ago, yet we spend a lot of our GDP on the military after World War II. Sources claim that out of 1.4 Trillion dollars spent on the military throughout the World, the U.S. spends 48 percent of that. Germany and Japan don't need to spend much on defense because we are scared that might retreat back to their past behavior. It takes money to run an Empire. And we don't get any tribute like the Romans did in the past or British when they maintained an Empire. My guess is the only economical benefits go to the elite or the top percent. The country of Israel's defense budget is said to get 18 percent of their budget from American tax payers. You have to ask the question, how could a tiny country like Israel with a population less than many American states, sustain one of the most highly equipped military in the World. It takes money to sustain such a military. Especially when you consider the cost of some of these weapon systems. The same can apply to South Korea's military. They do not repay us through taxes or what they use to refer to as tribute.

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Response to dkf (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 09:15 PM

58. There isn't a problem

 

with Social Security. There is a problem with the Pentagon, Wall Street and Congress and has been for a very long time. It's becoming increasingly clear that to redress pressing social problems a severe reform of those institutions will be necessary.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:37 PM

44. And it's the right thing....

It is a simple thing to do and it's the right thing.

To avoid the political problem of increasing taxes (or to pay for a tax cut) on income to pay the general (the key word) obligations of the government, both parties took to raiding Social Security funds that now have to be paid back.

You can to do it with a income tax increase - or - you can pay it back by lifting the cap. Lifting the cap is fair because it means that those earning above the cap now have to pay the taxes they avoided. Both had benefited from the service; but only one paid.

The argument will come back that S.S. is pay as you go with each recipient getting the same amount. That is true, until you understand that S.S. funds were used for the general obligations of the government for which those above the cap did not pay a penny.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:57 PM

25. There is nothing wrong with Social Security.

And while we are at it, don't touch my Social Security.

The US government owes us seniors the money. It has to pay it. That's all there is to it. If the US government owes money to Boeing, it has to pay it. If it owes money to Citibank, it has to pay it. If it owes money to the Social Security Trust Fund it has to pay it.

You don't seem to understand that the people on Social Security who don't pay most of their benefits in taxes would have to go on food stamps and get subsidized housing if it weren't for Social Security. Social Security just keeps seniors above the poverty line. That is all it does. And those who have more and don't really need Social Security pay the same taxes as everyone else.

Ending Social Security would probably cost more in the costs of administering things like food stamps and subsidized housing for seniors than it would save. Forget it. Social Security is here to stay because it makes sense if for no other reason. And it is here to stay at its present levels because that level is just barely high enough to prevent large numbers of seniors from falling below the poverty line.

In fact, many, many seniors get so little Social Security and have no other income that they are living below the poverty line and are getting other forms of assistance.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:49 PM

45. Yes, many ways to solve it, but all of them depend on first solving the political problem.

Unless we get Congress working on behalf of the people rather than their pwners, none of the technical solutions are possible. If we did wrest back control of our government then the solutions are fairly simple and painless.

Screaming seems to me to be the one thing that is absolutely required as a prerequisite to all other solutions. I couldn't disagree more with you.


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Response to eomer (Reply #45)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:35 PM

56. The ONLY "problem" with SS is with the politicians who want to destroy it to benefit

 

their rich benefactors.

They don't give a shit about the rest of us.

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Response to dkf (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:32 PM

53. Yes, it is.

 

You keep peddling the same discredited and debunked bullshit the right-wing "think tanks" have been pushing for years.

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #10)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 07:02 AM

84. no. it will just give the feds more money to 'borrow' for the next 20 years, at which time we'll

 

need to 'save' SS again.

instead of repaying the $3 trillion ALREADY owed to SS from INCOME TAXES.

you'll notice that taking back all of the bush tax cuts on high earners who make their income from CAPITAL, NOT LABOR = not on the table.

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Response to dkf (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:41 PM

20. Depends on the overall health of the economy.

If wages go up, so do tax revenues including Social Security.

Wages have not been rising although productivity has risen. That, along with the game that Wall Street plays, moving money around meaninglessly so that it looks like we have growth somewhere, somehow without any appreciable change for the "little people," is the essential problem in our country today.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:00 PM

27. Rising productivity generally means less labor employed, it's not really a good thing.

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:13 PM

38. Yet increases in productivity are a net benefit for the economy

Look at food for instance, which is one sector where the changes have been dramatic. 100 years ago, 50% of the population was involved in agricultural production. They pretty much had to be, as the labor of one farmer could only feed two or three people. Then came mechanization, the green revolution, industrial agriculture, etc. - now the labor of one farmer feed 300 people or so, and only about 2% of the population is involved in agricultural production.

Is that bad? Was it bad for farmers? Was it bad for people in general? The costs of feeding a family derive directly from how many people have to make a living by growing that food...when you had to support a farmer just to feed your family, food was very expensive. When you and three hundred others chip in to support a single farmer, its very easy. We have plenty of food now and its at historically low costs, and there are plenty of people free to do other things than farm.

...the same could be said of just about anything, from making cars to making clothing or furniture or whatever, where automation has raised productivity while reduce demands on labor and lowering costs. You can try to find something to be negative about (and global warming is one legitimate candidate) but overall productivity increases are a good thing.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #38)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 10:05 PM

63. It's not a question of rising productivity being good (which it generally is)...

 

...but a question of who benefits the most from that economic growth.

Lets we forget:

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #27)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 07:06 AM

85. historically, it means more labor employed at a wider variety of things and rising incomes, both

 

of which are good things.

without rising productivity you'd be chopping cotton or something similar.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #20)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:23 PM

32. good points.

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Response to dkf (Reply #8)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:27 PM

50. That report was Timmy Geithner's baby

 

He was the head of the Trustees. He is a long-time attacker of the 99%, and used historically-low assumptions of future GDP and productivity growth in order to further his class's agenda. If the economy even partially recovers, SS is fully funded as far as has been modeled (75 years).

More shock doctrining.

Enough!

Regards,

First-Way Manny

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #50)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:50 PM

78. It's never enough for this class that dramatically overestimates its size and influence,

 

but lives in absolute terror that enough people might catch on that they are nothing but a drain on the nation.

The gatekeepers have forgotten that their purpose is to die defending the gates to give their masters time to make their getaway.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:37 PM

14. senator stupid(WI) wouldn't know a fact if it was biting his balls.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:39 PM

17. GOP pols, pundits, and other talking heads are expert at disseminating outright lies, distortions,

hyperbole, mendacity, disingenuousness, hypocrisy, falsehoods, false equivalencies, and other right-wing talking points. The GOP obstructs, promotes hatred, sedition, and rebellion, and promotes the welfare of only the plutocracy, the uber-wealthy, and large corporations: they are, imo, the epitome of every thing antithetical to our founding principles, the survival of our planet, to wit, they are the epitome of evil incarnate imo whereas Democratic pol are, generally speaking, better and to the left of extreme right, but much too far right of center to promote the general welfare.

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Response to indepat (Reply #17)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:03 PM

29. You are very right, our founding fathers unanimously disdaned the corporate entity concept.

 

Tell that to Scalia, the a**hole.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 04:56 PM

24. And Social Security would be in much better shape IF THE MIDDLE CLASS HADN'T BEEN

DECIMATED OVER THE LAST 30 YEARS! When they last 'fixed' social security, they couldn't possibly have envisioned that middle class wages wouldn't go up for decades (those are the wages that contribute to SS) and that more people would fall back down into poverty.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:02 PM

28. I remember reading an Al Franken book ...

and one of the Repugs trying to destroy Social Security was using figures where NO SINGLE PERSON ON SOCIAL SECURITY DIED ... EVER.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:43 PM

34. Thank you for this.

I keep seeing Heritage Foundation misinformation about Social Security popping up here and there on DU. I'm bookmarking this to keep the information at the ready.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 05:57 PM

36. For the same reasons they want to destroy the USPS

They want to privatize the USPS as well as Retirement Safety nets such as Social Security and Medicare.

That's because they can see great profits from these programs.

Therefore, they want to make them seem failures so that they can gut them and privatize them, making great immediate profits for their corporate profits.

The real disappointment is that the "corporate masters" would actually make more money in the long run if they adopted more Progressive practices that empowered the people. The people would have more money, which means they could have a broader base that would enrich themselves.

But they are used to "Quarterly Results" which means they want it NOW, instead of sometime in the future.

BUT, they invest in policies that would only produce immediate results at some time in the future.

Is it just me, or is this just stupidity?

Seriously, am I missing something here? I'd like to know.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:14 PM

39. Thanks to babylonsister for posting this.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:16 PM

40. Krugman v. Johnson

Tyson v. Urkel

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:18 PM

41. Republicans are basically trying to argue that U.S. bonds are "worthless"

I wonder what our creditors would say about that?

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #41)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:06 AM

67. Why does no one ever call them on that?

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Response to abelenkpe (Reply #67)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 12:17 AM

68. I think Krugman has...

but it needs to happen more often. Anytime they bring up the "worthless stack of IOU's" argument.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:34 PM

43. K & R !!!

 


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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 06:52 PM

47. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, babylonsister.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 07:31 PM

52. I think some modest adjustments are needed.

 

As long as we cut it a little less than the Republicans want, we'll be very serious people making tough choices about our sacred cows. And old people will go cold and hungry, but whatever.

If Krugman's so smart, then why isn't he a regular at the White House like Dimon and Blankfein? Case closed.

Regards,

Third-Way Manny

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Response to MannyGoldstein (Reply #52)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 10:05 PM

64. Third-Way, I'd laugh if not for the fact that there are so many morons pushing this idiocy here,

 

and more than a couple listening to it.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 08:58 PM

57. Imo, the GOP is trying to leverage this ...

for short-term, and narrow, political benefit. If our party as a whole had determination then we could leverage this for great gains.

The GOP, as exemplified by the performance on "This Week", cannot engage in substantive, pointed, discussion regarding their opinion on SS. The GOP has a base which, while enjoying the storm and thunder of their leaders denouncing big government programs, is demographically centered on a huge percentage of people who every day come closer to needing SS as does a drowning person need a life preserver.

The GOP needs to be engaged on this issue every day, the GOP needs to be labeled on this at every opportunity.

We need our ducks in a row, yes. We all know the position our party is thought to have, it makes sense and can stand up to scrutiny. Let's stick to it and sick Krugman, and other people with a history of being correct, on them if and when the GOP screws up its courage to engage.

I hate to say it but we need to get the administration on exactly the same page as those like Krugman.

Let that happen and we can roll the GOP in 2014.

P.S. "They were wrong on WMD's and they're wrong on SS." Sound catchy?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 10:03 PM

62. k&r...

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 01:20 AM

70. that's how you can tell he isn't a politcian...

He's telling the truth about social security.

Now, if only the president would listen....

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 01:36 AM

71. The fact that....

the rest of the panel gives Johnson false equivalency (like Wills) is disgusting.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 03:30 AM

73. Ron Johnson just broke the law....

 

It is ILLEGAL for a representative of the government to claim United States Treasury Bonds are worthless.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 06:13 AM

74. It's such a simple and painless solution, remove the cap. My husband earns above the cap, and I

know others who also agree, remove the cap. It's that simple.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 09:39 AM

75. Thanks babylonsister! K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 11:12 AM

77. JR is an idiot ..............

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 09:15 PM

79. I have not taken any Republican seriously for some time now

 

Perhaps it's been 25 years or longer since I took anything said by a republican seriously. The GOP has become so filled with single wedge issue candidates that I just chose to tune them all out. I mean how could any rational and logical person with an ounce of humanity take these batshit crazies seriously. Just look at the field of candidates put forth for POTUS and you begin to see my point. How can anyone Think that the likes of Bachman,Santorum,Cain Romney or Gingrich have a grasp upon reality?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:43 AM

80. Republicans need to make the trust fund a myth because they raided it

And they don't want to pay up.

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #80)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 07:19 AM

86. no. they didn't 'raid the trust fund'. no one raided the trust fund.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #86)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 09:49 AM

87. NO, they borrowed it with no intention of ever repaying it

Intragovernmental Holdings - Just under one-third of the Federal debt is owed to about 230 other Federal agencies. How does this happen? Some agencies, like the Social Security Trust Fund, take in more revenue from taxes than they need right now. Rather than stick this cash under a giant mattress, these agencies buy U.S. Treasuries with it.

Which agencies own the most Treasuries? Social Security, by a long shot. Here's the detailed breakdown:

•Social Security (Social Security Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) - $2.72 trillion
•Office of Personnel Management (Federal Employees Retirement, Life Insurance, Hospital Insurance Trust Funds, including Postal Service Fund) - $1.12 trillion
•Dept. of Health and Human Services (Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund) - $69 billion
•Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation - $35 billion
http://useconomy.about.com/od/monetarypolicy/f/Who-Owns-US-National-Debt.htm

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Response to liberal N proud (Reply #87)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 03:03 PM

88. They did the only thing they could do under the laws governing Social Security. Which in this

 

particular have not changed since they were originally established in 1940.

The only thing that can legally be done with social security surpluses is to borrow them into the general fund in exchange for US securities, and that's what happened.

what do you think they *should have* done?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:50 AM

81. "Republican-backed cap on payroll taxes for income above a certain level" = baloney. The cap

 

was in the original program design, and it wasn't a "republican" design.

The cap is raised nearly every year. Next year it will be $113,700.

And fyi, it's 'solvent' right now and has a nearly $3 trillion dollar surplus.

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