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November 12, 2005

Comments

p.lukasiak

When are they going to start scaring the libs? Time grows shorter...

You'll have to excuse the Times. They are to busy right now what with White Phosphorus being used as an anti-personnel weapon on civilians in Iraq, the CIA gulag of secret prisons, top white house officials being indicted on obstruction of justice charges, the falling apart of the GOP majority in Congress, and Bush's attack on the patriotism of anyone who criticizes him in a way that impacts his poll numbers.

I'm sure they'll get to Alito in a month or so....till then, they'll just rewrite Washington Times puff pieces.

Tollhouse

I'm sure they think they have plenty of time. I expect right after Christmas that the offensive will be launched. Pretty smart of the Dems to get this delayed till January. Now they have plenty of time to do oppo. I just hope the WH and the Republicans aren't just sitting on their hands.

SteveMG

Yes, the Times is particularly busy focusing on Bush's attack on the patriotism of anyone who criticizes him in a way that impacts his poll numbers.

They're desperately trying to find Jayson Blair to re-hire him and have him report on these vicious smears by the President.

SMG

GT

I think they are trying to scare conservatives. Maybe Alito is not so right wing after all?

Syl

Actually, the New York Times has no plans at all to scare the libs. Quite the opposite. By embracing Alito they think they can scare the Reps.

That's their only hope.

But the libs, as usual, will scare themselves and ruin the plan.

kim

I just knew p.l. had a redeeming feature. "Rewrite Washington Times Puff Pieces" has to be the funniest thing I've read today, and it's been an hilarious day.
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richard mcenroe

The Times is busy gathering evidence that Alito took part in weird European cult activities... baptism, confirmation, marriage, communion...

TexasToast

Why argue about a forgone conclusion? This isn't the swing vote. The next one is.

The votes are there - absent a Vanguard bru-ha-ha.

Dwilkers

Maybe they just don't see much to complain about. I think you'll see a campaign against him by NARAL and PFAW and the rest but there's not much to really sink your teeth into from what I've read.

TT I don't think he's a swing vote, although playing it that way is probably the way the opposing side will go. I don't really see any reason to think either Alito OR Roberts is an anti-Roe vote. I suspect neither one is.

Its going to be interesting when there is a supposed anti-Roe majority and Roe survives anyway. The manure is gonna hit the rotating oscillator on the religious right then, that's for sure.

GT

Dswilkers,

I think you are exactly right.

kim

How about we come up with enough options that abortion is legal but rare?

Just precisely how is it that we can look upon that potential human being not as a burden?
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kim

Here's a nice little radically conservative thought for your morning pleasure.

Since time immemorial, social security has been your progeny. Somehow, some charlatan has replaced it with a ponzi scheme.

Sooner or later, we'll come to our senses.
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GT

That's OK kim. SS is perfectly fine for many decades to come. Don't worry.

TM

I think they are trying to scare conservatives. Maybe Alito is not so right wing after all?

Well, my official editorial position is that judical conservatives will like him, but social conservatives looking for a reliable vote against Roe will not.

If Dwilkers, GT, and I all agree, who is left to argue?

That said, the Times tries for a scary piece today by going to find Alito opponents at Yale Law School, but it is pretty half-hearted.

kim

GT, SS is a horrible mess right now. It's a Ponzi scheme and an unconscionable theft of wealth from the young in favor of the old. What do your children or grandchildren think of it? If you are too young to have children, then what potion do you get with your paycheck that you don't notice what you earned but didn't get? And never will, uh huh.
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GT

Kim,


You can check the report by the SS Trustees. SS is fine for my children and grandchildren. Heck, chances are it will be OK forever.

boris

Don't worry, be happy, perception is reality ... pay no attention to the charlatan behind the curtain ...

Gary Maxwell

SS is fine for my children and grandchildren.

Man you must be very old and your grandchildren very old. do they seat belt you upright in your wheelchair so you can type this stuff?

I dont know what you are reading. Social security has Trustees who issue annual reports. The last one issued said that it forecast that SS would begin running cash shortfalls in 2017 and by 2041 the Trust Fund assets would be totally depleted. So when we can no longer borrow in 2017 from SS but must borrow to pay a portion of SS where do we go to do that?

Are you comforted that the "assets" of SS which will not run out until 2041 are scrap pieces of paper that have a scribbled note " I owe you" "Unlce Sam" on them?

So if your grqandchildren are to be dead by 2041 they must be at least 50 and you are 90+. Or you are full of **** on your post! It DEPENDS.

p.lukasiak

Are you comforted that the "assets" of SS which will not run out until 2041 are scrap pieces of paper that have a scribbled note " I owe you" "Unlce Sam" on them?

gosh! You mean foreign governments and private investors are holding trillions of dollars of paper that represents debt that the US has no intention of paying back?

because the same thing that assures that their debts will be paid is what assures that the debt held by the trust fund will be paid. And all that is are the words "full faith and credit of the United States of America."

Here is a clue. Even under the worst case scenarios, the people who are getting SS once the trust fund is depleted will still receive benefits that allow them a higher standard of living than today's recipients.

And by the time the trust fund does run out of assets, we will have been using slightly over 6% of GDP for about 15 years to cover the cost of social security -- in other words, more than enough time for the economy to have adjusted to the demands created by social security.

Social Security isn't a problem. The massive Bush deficits that threaten america's ability to pay ALL of its debtors in the future in the problem.

TM

because the same thing that assures that their debts will be paid is what assures that the debt held by the trust fund will be paid. And all that is are the words "full faith and credit of the United States of America."

Good recitiation of the talking points; bad grasp of the basic facts - even a careful reading of some of Krugman's articles makes it clear that there is a simple difference.

With conventional debt held either by foreigners or US citizens, the US govt could only not pay by defaulting on the debt (although I suppose, in the case of foreigners, we could impose capital controls, withhholding taxes, and foreign exchange rules).

If a future US Gopv't decided that the Soc Sec debt held by the trustee was too onerous (didn't want to raise taxes to pay it, for example) there is no need whatsoever to default on the debt - the Congress/Exec can simply legislate a reduction in benefits.

As you recall, the debt held by the trustee does not mature like conventional debt - it is payable to cover benefit shortfalls.

Legislate reduced benefits, eliminate the shortfall, don't pay the debt.

Simple.

The Times had a cogent explanation, actually, IIRC, if mine was too cryptic.

Dwilkers

Its not just that. Its that the SS taxes aren't saved like people think they are. They spend all the money every year no matter where it comes from and they have since SS's inception in FDR's days.

So although some say "SS is fine", as they say in this thread, it is not. It is on demographic suicide.

It is true that if they "saved up" all the SS money they could pay it out for decades. That isn't the way it works though. It is never how it has worked. That would be a Dem "big lie". The only way to save SS without fixing it is to raise every other tax through the roof.

Its pay as you go. So stop the bullshit.

Dwilkers

"How about we come up with enough options that abortion is legal but rare?"

I think that's about the best an anti-Roe person could hope for, and its probably the most realistic expectation.

Gary Maxwell


Sorry to pop your bubble but when Uncle Al told you we had those assets locked up in a "lock box" he was fooling you. the US is totally pay as you go.

But to cheer you up tom could be wrong. Yessir Mr. Progressive, a massive tax increase could be staring at us. Since soaking the rich wont get much of the hole filled in, everyone gets to share the fun.

TM

Here we go from the Times itself:

"If the president can convince people how the trust fund works, we're over a hurdle," said Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the chairman of the Finance Committee. "The trust fund is a mirage, but I still have Iowans say to me, 'Where's the money?' "

But unlike a mirage, the trust fund does exist. The details are on Page 1,112 of the appendix in the president's budget for the 2006 fiscal year. What Mr. Grassley meant was that the significance of the trust fund is limited.

Its importance, said John C. Rother, the policy director of AARP, the advocacy group for older Americans, is largely symbolic. "It is a symbol of the insurance nature of the program and the social contract that lies behind it," Mr. Rother said.

"But it doesn't really bind the Congress," he said, and "no individual's benefits are insured by it."

...The truth, Mr. Holtz-Eakin said, is somewhere in between. The trust fund is more than an empty promise, he said, and less than a solemn obligation backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

A main reason for the confusion is that from the creation of Social Security, politicians have used the trust fund to mask several realities.

Social Security is not an insurance policy in which workers pay premiums to cover their own benefits. Instead, each generation of workers pays taxes to finance the retirement checks of the previous generation, and there is nothing to prevent Congress from changing the size of benefits, as it has many times over the years.

All tax receipts go into the same pot in the Treasury and are spent at the discretion of Congress; for years, excess Social Security taxes have been used to pay for other programs.

The government has made promises to retirees it cannot keep without raising taxes, imposing deep cuts in other programs or borrowing loads of money; but raising taxes, cutting spending or borrowing to meet Social Security promises is no different from doing so to pay for troops or prescription drugs under Medicare or any other government expense.

None of this is news to folks who followed the discussion.

TM

The Times piece above is from March 8.

What is kind of funny is that in January, the times editors were saying this:

In suggesting that 2018 is doomsyear, the president is reinforcing a false impression that the trust fund is a worthless pile of I.O.U.'s - as detractors of Social Security so often claim. The facts are different: since 1983, payroll taxes have exceeded benefits, with the excess tax revenue invested in interest-bearing Treasury securities. (An alternative would be to, say, put the money in a mattress.) That accumulating interest and the securities themselves make up the Social Security trust fund. If the trust fund's Treasury securities are worthless, someone better tell investors throughout the world, who currently hold $4.3 trillion in Treasury debt that carries the exact same government obligation to pay as the trust fund securities. The president is irresponsible to even imply that the United States might not honor its debt obligations.

Well, eventually reality overtook their talking points.

Gary Maxwell

Well, eventually reality overtook their talking points.

Posted by: TM


What you mean Puke did not get the memo?

TM

It looks like he got the first one.

But we shouldn't be talking about him behind his back, and I suspect he won't be returning.

Dwilkers

That NYTimes article is misleading rot. What they've been doing with the SS money is taking one dollar out of their left front jeans pocket, putting it in the right front and putting an IOU in the left front.

The NYTimes wants you to believe in so doing we end up with $2. Any normally intelligent human being knows you've still only got $1, no matter how many post-it notes with "IOU $1" you stick in the first pocket.

Oh, and of course they spent the original dollar as well as borrowing another from the bank to buy a soda for their girlfriend. So when the NYTimes says we have $2, the truth is not only do we not have $2, we don't even have $1. The truth is we owe the bank $1, and our pockets are bulging full with post-it notes that that the NYTimes thinks future SS recipients will be able to use to buy milk.

kim

Oh, that is very good. Hey, kids, come read this.
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kim

You little burdens, you.
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