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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,314

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In 2003, when George W. Bush* pushed for privatization of Social Security

the transition expenses alone were estimated to cost 3 Trillion Dollars. It was said Uncle Sam would not be willing to pay this transition cost, and neither would the recipient of the program. The only way this obligation could be met would be to cut benefits of participants, which cuts were projected to be very hefty.

During the 2008 market crash, I asked the question if Social Security had been privatized, how much would have been lost. It was an open question asked here on this forum. Two days later, Paul Begala in a cable appearance brought the subject up and said if Social Security had been privatized, 40 percent of the Trust Fund would have evaporated.

Imagine coupling these two events together (a double whammy) and try to think what the consequences on that program would be. In my opinion, Social Security participants would be sweeping the crumbs up off the floor ... if they could find any. But of course that would make Pete Peterson very, very happy -- and that is all that matters in these times.


Social Security is NOT in crisis -- but Uncle Sam is for borrowing against the Trust Fund

Let's keep this picture clearly in focus. Uncle Sam borrowed against the Trust Fund Baby Boomers built up. This Trust Fund accrued as a result of the agreement reached in the early 80s (perhaps 1983) to buttress the Plan against the onslaught of the huge number of people retiring as the Boomers reached retirement age. Part of that agreement was to double the FICA withholding. As a result, Boomers became the first generation to pay for not only the retirement of those who retired before them as well as financing their own future retirement. That agreement also raised the retirement age.

And so we were set -- until Uncle Sam started borrowing against our Fund, as well as the retirement funds of Federal Government employees. Uncle Sam backed its debt by issuing Treasury Notes. When the time arrived that Uncle Sam needed to withdraw monies from the Fund for the Boomers' retirement, the Federal Government had to sell a like amount of the withdrawal of Treasury Notes. As Geitner himself publicly explained, "in this economy that is not easy to do." (loosely quoting from memory). So the Federal Government has to pay Social Security benefits to Boomers out of the general fund. This prompts politicians to go around saying, "Social Security is broke. It is nothing but a Ponzi scheme!" They want the debt forgiven at the expense of current and future recipients!

And then there are those billionaires who want to abolish Social Security because they do not think the Federal Government should be involved in programs such as this (the nanny state), as well as the corporations who want it abolished because they do not like having to pay that matching FICA tax for each employee. The sum total of those matching taxes adversely impact their bottom profit line. Get rid of it!

So I say raise the cap and fix the problem. Quit lying to the general public about the cause of this problem.


The only way to change the Constitution is through an amendment

So obviously, the 14th Amendment does just that. Any change to that wording would have to be made through the passage of another Amendment, which would have to be approved by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and subsequently ratified by three-fourths of the states.

But read the text of Article 5 of the Constitution:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.


It appears that the Constitution can be amended by in the first instance state legislatures ratifying the proposed new amendment, but in the second instance by state conventions, with the same three-fourths needed for passage.

Either of these methods require a super-majority of the states (3/4's) approving the language so if Trump is planning on changing the 14th, he would have to bring along 38 states to his side.

Of course there is also that remote possibility that 5 Supreme Court judges could step in with some wild hair interpretation of a couple of obsolete laws such as was done with the Safe Harbor provision in the Bush v. Gore decision and assert that we have interpreted the 14th Amendment all wrong all these years....


Are you suffering from Ed Schultz withdrawal?

Here is the antidote:


I think I will make it a habit to listen everyday at 5:00, which unfortunately means I will have to miss Chuck Todd on MSNBC at that time.


The slate of electors chosen as a result of such an act by the Florida legislature

would have been challenged as a violation of the Constitution. In that light, the Electoral College would have been absolutely correct to discard that slate and not count those electoral votes in the final tally.

Absolutely no state can change its election laws within such close proximity to the actual election to overthrow the outcome. The Constitution delegates the right to conduct Presidential elections to the states, but each must have the rules outlined in their respective state constitutions prior to the vote. Any changes voted by the Florida Legislature during this controversy could not legally have any impact until the next election.

Had the recount of the entire state allowed to be resumed and Gore had won the popular vote, a Democratic slate would have had to be been sent to the Elector College. Had the Florida Legislature carried through with its threat to send a Republican slate regardless of the outcome, the votes of that delegation could have been protested if by no one else members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

During Election 2000, there were many, many maneuvers as well as threats the Republicans publicly aired, but their strategists in some cases did not know the law -- in other cases they just figured they could threaten anything and people would not know the threats could not be legally executed.

Chief Justice John Roberts at that time was a Constitutional lawyer from DC who traveled to Florida to give advice to Jeb Bush during the recount. It is very difficult for me to assume he did not know this very maneuver was unconstitutional....

In the matter of had the recount resumed, who would have won, all one has to do is remember the 6,000 votes that went to Pat Buchanan which were intended to be Gore votes. Many of the voters in that community were Jewish, and their horror was publicly palpable when they realized their votes had gone to Buchanan rather than Gore. No question Gore would have recaptured those votes in a statewide recount....


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