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Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:21pm PT
uhhmmmm whos been in charge the last couple of years ?? And WHY would ANYONE harp about BUSH in regards to the defense budget for 2013 is simply beyond me.

Bush was a dipstick. Obama is one too. And "aint nuthin changed" . Not here, not in the ME, unless you count getting WORSE...


What amazes me is you guys excusing Obama for doing the exact same things as Bush did.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
See how you are Rong?
Or is that see how wrong you are?
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
Rock climbing
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
uhhmmmm whos been in charge the last couple of years ?? And WHY would ANYONE harp about BUSH in regards to the defense budget for 2013 is simply beyond me.


The NDAA and the defense budget are beyond Dem or GOP polarities. They belong to the elite power and money that rule both parties

PEace

Karl
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
And WHY would ANYONE harp about BUSH in regards to the defense budget for 2013 is simply beyond me.


Who said that? I certainly didn't. But there are certainly things which are BEYOND all of us on most levels. I'm saying that it's the giant sacred cow 800 pound gorilla that none in the government dare speak against. Not Obama, not Bush, not Boehner, not Pelosi, none of them are willing to squeek a little about it.
philo

Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:31pm PT
Neither, I fear, is the operectumy that Rong got.



An operectumy is the connection of your optic nerve to your rectum giving you a shitty outlook on life. Quite prevalent among adherents of right wing media.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:38pm PT
I agree Survival..Theres a crapfest behind the scenes. How do we combat that? I do not know.

OTHER THAN impeachment what tool is there? NONE would be the answer. We havent invented that yet, and when i say we , i mean you , I and the other guy around the corner.

IF we had any brains and balls at all, we would call for impeachments and firings right now. We would let them know that we will no longer tolerate the musical chairs game being played with countries across the globe. we would tell them in NO WAY will monies leave here destined any where else until we have solved our home based troubles.

Facts are- we are all too busy worrying about things like food , shelter, and jobs. Things like benghazi have been sluffed under the table and we all just go along with it while listening to the propaganda being poured out for us to consume. We now have to travel back channels to find ANYTHING about recent goings on. Why is that? Same reason they include several cyber sections in the NDAA 2013 bill.

Do you agree with Obama in NOT supporting hamas? Do you agree with Obama in supporting the Syrina rebels against russias desires? Do you support Obama in supporting Afghanistan and Pakistan? Do you support Obama in his support of the MUSLIM brother hood?? Do you support his support of the new RULER of Egypt, because the people there do not. Has Libya gone well? Hell no. Not even his own actions are making ANY sense there these days.

He throws support to Israel over Hamas- calling them a terrorist state, yet supports the MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD in places like Lybia, Egypt and others.
Tell me how that makes any sense to you!??

monolith

climber
albany,ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
The NDAA act of 2013 is ALL his plans

Rong, study up on how laws are created. Keep in mind, Repubs control the house.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
Oh they ALL VOTED for it.. Thats why ive been ripping Heller et al a new one...My disgust is not limited to one party..

Heller voted for it due to his Vet chapters being in there. He does not care about anything else but that gold star for his resume. Much like all the other senators. They traded off the liberties of each and every one of us for some trinkets of success so they can say they have done something. Too bad the BAD out weighs the Good.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2012 - 01:52pm PT
Your Buckley-esque lament is nothing more than a more eloquent, coded version of "free stuff". Not really a reality and, hey, the deficits are undeniably a direct result of republican military adventurism, tax breaks to the wealth, and successive cuts in the corporate tax rate. It ain't rocket science. And the dem senate rejected house budgets because they were explicitly designed, by republicans, to be rejected.

Joe, I based that on the results of a poll published in yesterday's Fresno Bee, a liberal paper. "Soaking the rich" would take care of, at most, a few days of deficit spending. There is no public support, according to the poll, for any other action that would reduce the deficit, either in the form of spending cuts or revenue increases. That's reality.

I do agree that Republican spending on middle east wars and on an under-funded prescription drug benefit has much to do with the current spending binge, but it is hardly all, or even most, of the problem. And I agree with survival that streamlining the military and reducing military involvement would decrease our budget woes, but the biggest spending issues remain Medicare, Social Security and the increased costs inherent in the ACA. The actuarial deficit from these, particularly the medical and pharmaceutical costs, swamps all military spending.

Despite this fiscal reality, the public does not support means testing for Social Security or Medicare benefits, nor does it support cuts in benefits, increases in the eligibility age or higher levies on income. Without some combination of these, both Medicare and Social Security run out of money before my life expectancy ends. What are we supposed to do?

I suspect disbelief in the actuarial insolvency of the programs explains much of this attitude, and for that disbelief, I blame the politicians of both parties somewhat, and the media quite a bit. Then there's the "It's not part of the general federal budget, so it doesn't count" argument, as if only general budgeted items affect governmental cash flow.

In summary, if I'm criticizing a perceived attitude that we have allowed us to be addicted to "free stuff," I have rather a great deal of empirical and polling evidence on my side. If we only do what is popular, we won't tackle the problem, and it will prove onerous and intractable soon. For that reason, if you and Karl see this as complaining about "free stuff," I don't apologize. I don't make these observations as a rationalization for why the Democrats did well in the last election. I make this observation because we're heading toward an iceberg with a shortage of lifeboats, and most of the people around me are only concerned about what's on the menu for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

John

Edit: If the Republican House-passed budgets were designed to be rejected, what conclusion should we make of Obama's budgets, that garnered zero votes in both the House and Senate?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 02:38pm PT
Just not true John

The amount of deficit created by the Bush tax cuts was HUGE (this includes tax cuts for all, not just the rich and the cuts in Capital gains, estate, and dividend taxes) We got along fine for decades before these cuts, which were supposed to be temporary and all of a sudden we're told they are essential forever? BS!

and those two wars cost TRILLIONS, and the military was bloated before that!

Cut the military and return to Clinton era tax levels and some simple efficiencies in entitlements (like allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices) and we're good

This is all about the GOP creating a public perception that taxes are unacceptable and wanting to kill the government through starvation

Peace

Karl
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2012 - 02:51pm PT
Cut the military and return to Clinton era tax levels and some simple efficiencies in entitlements (like allowing the government to negotiate prescription drug prices) and we're good

While we agree that the 2001 tax cuts affected far more than the highest bracket, we disagree otherwise. The Clinton-era tax levels won't yield Clinton-era revenue without a Clinton-era dot.com bubble equivalent.

Medicare and Social Security need much, much more than just "some simple efficiencies in entitlements" to obtain actuarial solvency. Reducing payments to providers will help the bottom line in the short run, but it will affect the quantity and quality of goods and services provided, which is why the ever-helpful AARP fights it so. We need more than tweaks, and we need much more than just "the rich" participating in the changes we need to solve those problems.

I realize most American adults disagree with this assessment, but when it comes to disproving it, all I hear are unsubstantiated claims. The actuarial insolvency is real -- at least that's what the Trustees of Medicare and Social Security say. The magnitude of the deficit is enormous, and the consequences when interest rates rise will be devastating. I don't know what it takes to convince us that this is reality, but it would sure help if the media would give us straight talk about the problems and solutions, rather than distortions concentrating on which party can work current events to its political advantage.

It would help if the parties did that too, but politicians will act in their perceived self-interest, so I don't hold out much hope there. The news-consuming public, however, should demand better from those that provide us with what they purport to be news.

John
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 03:04pm PT
Social Security has tons of money. The government has just been borrowing from it and needs to pay it back. We've been sold this myth by the GOP that taxes would kill the economy but taxes have been much higher during most of modern US history when we had much of our best growth. Now the GOP tells us corporate taxes are too high but many profitable fortune 500 companies pay none. And megamillionaire Mit Romny had to TRY order to pay 14% just so he didn't look bad. We can get a lot more from these scum

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/08/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20100808

The trustees indicated that the program has made it through the worst economic downturn in its life span essentially unscathed. In fact, by at least one measure it's fiscally stronger than a year ago: Its projected actuarial deficit over the next 75 years (a measurement required by law) is smaller now than a year ago.

The old age and disability trust funds, which hold the system's surplus, grew in 2009 by $122 billion, to $2.5 trillion. The program paid out $675 billion to 53 million beneficiaries — men, women and children — with administrative costs of 0.9% of expenditures. For all you privatization advocates out there, you'd be lucky to find a retirement and insurance plan of this complexity with an administrative fee less than five or 10 times that ratio.

This year and next, the program's costs will exceed its take from the payroll tax and income tax on benefits. That's an artifact of the recession, and it's expected to reverse from 2012 through 2014. The difference is covered by the program's other income source — interest on the Treasury bonds in the Social Security trust fund.

That brings us back to this supposed $41-billion "shortfall," which exists only if you decide not to count interest due of about $118 billion.

And that, in turn, leads us to the convoluted subject of the trust fund, which for some two decades has been the prime target of the crowd trying to bamboozle Americans into thinking Social Security is insolvent, bankrupt, broke — pick any term you wish, because they're all wrong. The trust fund is the mechanism by which baby boomers have pre-funded their own (OK, our own) retirements. When tax receipts fall short, its bonds are redeemed by the government to cover the gap.

Despite what Social Security's enemies love to claim, the trust fund is not a myth, it's not mere paper. It's real money, and it represents the savings of every worker paying into the system today. So I'm going to train a microscope on it.

What trips up many people about the trust fund is the notion that redeeming the bonds in the fund to produce cash for Social Security is the equivalent of "the government" paying money to "the government." Superficially, this resembles transferring a dollar from your brown pants to your gray pants — you're no more or less flush than you were before changing pants.

But that assumes every one of us contributes equally to "the government," and by equal methods — you, me and the chairman of Goldman Sachs.

The truth is that there are two separate tax programs at work here — the payroll tax and the income tax — and they affect Americans in different ways. The first pays for Social Security and the second for the rest of the federal budget.

Most Americans pay more payroll tax than income tax. Not until you pull in $200,000 or more, which puts you among roughly the top 5% of income-earners, are you likely to pay more in income tax than payroll tax. One reason is that the income taxed for Social Security is capped — this year, at $106,800. (My payroll and income tax figures come from the Brookings Institution, and the income distribution statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Since 1983, the money from all payroll taxpayers has been building up the Social Security surplus, swelling the trust fund. What's happened to the money? It's been borrowed by the federal government and spent on federal programs — housing, stimulus, war and a big income tax cut for the richest Americans, enacted under President George W. Bush in 2001.

In other words, money from the taxpayers at the lower end of the income scale has been spent to help out those at the higher end. That transfer — that loan, to characterize it accurately — is represented by the Treasury bonds held by the trust fund.

The interest on those bonds, and the eventual redemption of the principal, should have to be paid for by income taxpayers, who reaped the direct benefits from borrowing the money.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 03:11pm PT
In case my last post got buried on the last page, there's also this

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/27/1086996/-Busting-Myths-about-the-2012-Social-Security-and-Medicare-Trustees-Report#

No doubt you’ve already seen the screaming headlines promising the immediate bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare…it’s an annual Washington tradition tied to the release of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees report. Unfortunately, this tradition seldom stems from factual reporting of what’s actually in the trustees report. This year is no exception.

To help you sort fact from fiction about the true health of Social Security and Medicare, here is our President/CEO Max Richtman’s reaction to the Trustees’ projections and some data you likely won’t see reported in this week’s news coverage:

“Projections in the 2012 Trustees Reports come as no surprise to anyone who understands how Social Security and Medicare work. The trust fund solvency date for Social Security has seen fluctuations many times in recent decades, from a depletion date as distant as 2048 in the 1988 report to as soon as 2029 in the 1994 and 1997 reports. This year’s report is well within that range. Contrary to the crisis myths perpetuated by fiscal conservatives and many in the media, the prevailing facts show once again that Social Security remains among the nation’s most successful and stable programs. The Trustees report there is now $2.7 trillion in the Social Security trust fund, which is $69 billion more than last year, and continues to grow. Payroll contributions and interest will fully cover benefits for decades to come.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO

**In the 2012 Trustees report:

-Trustees project Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until the year 2033. After that, Social Security will have sufficient revenue to pay about 75% of benefits.

-Social Security is still well funded. In 2012, with the economy showing slow signs of recovery, Social Security’s total income still exceeded its expenses by over $57 billion. In fact, the Trustees estimate that total annual income is expected to exceed program obligations until 2020.

-Beneficiaries will likely see a Cost of Living Allowance increase of 1.8% in 2013.
The 2012 Trustees report also shows Medicare’s Trust Fund solvency projection remains unchanged at 2024. This reflects the success that health care reform has had in improving Medicare’s solvency. If long-term solvency for Medicare is truly Congress’ goal, then repealing health care reform is not an option as it would set back that progress immeasurably.

The 2012 Trustees report also shows Medicare’s Trust Fund solvency projection remains unchanged at 2024. This reflects the success that health care reform has had in improving Medicare’s solvency. If long-term solvency for Medicare is truly Congress’ goal, then repealing health care reform is not an option as it would set back that progress immeasurably.**

“The challenges facing Medicare are the same that we see in the broader health care system…the high cost of health care in America. Thanks to health care reform, Medicare will save $200 billion by 2016, but even those savings would be lost if opponents have their way and the Affordable Care Act is repealed. We must allow reform to be fully implemented in order to realize the projected savings.” Max Richtman
The National Committee believes that Congress can also improve the long-term outlook for Social Security with modest and manageable changes in revenue without enacting harmful benefit cuts for current or future retirees. Recent polling has shown that a majority of Americans support lifting the payroll tax cap to ensure Americans contribute at all income levels.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
So what do you do in 2033 when it can only pay 75% of promised benefits? That's only 21 years away, which doesn't seem very far given that I'm almost 40 years past my college graduation. If I send my creditors 75% of what I owe, it won't turn out too well for me.

I never said Social Security or Medicare was imminently insolvent. What I say, and to my knowledge has not been contradicted, is that we can fix the actuarial insolvency now without horribly painful changes. Fixing it later is an entirely different matter.

Please note, though, Karl, that the Daily Kos article doesn't really address Medicare, which is the first, and much larger, part of the entitlement actuarial insolvency problem. It proposes paying less to providers and suppliers (the reference to the ACA), but doesn't address how much less it would really have to pay to be solvent.

John

Edit:

The article makes it sound like the discussion is largely from the Trustees' report. It is, in fact, from NCPSSM, whose "official" dailykos profile is below:

Real Name: NCPSSM

Location: Washington, DC, 22003

Occupation: Advocacy Organization [emphasis added]

Groups: Social Security Defenders, Preserve Social Security & Medicare
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:11pm PT
For me, the cliff discussion has taken on an air of profound unreality with the total lack of mention of the F35 program and its projected $1 Trillion cost.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/f-35-fighter-more-dangerous-to-governments-than-any-potential-enemy/article6299878/

An excerpt:
But Canada’s ongoing F-35 drama is but the tip of the F-35 iceberg. The United States still plans to purchase 2,443 of the aircraft at a total cost (purchase and operations) of well over a trillion dollars. But virtually all of the nations that have signed on to the F-35 consortium are seriously questioning their commitment to the jet. And there is furious debate and much unhappiness in Washington over the F-35’s costs and production delays.

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II
But in 2011, it was revealed that only 50% of the eight million lines of code had actually been written and that it would take another six years and 110 additional software engineers in order to complete the software for this new schedule.[72] The total estimated lines of code for the entire program (onboard and offboard) had grown from 15 million lines to 24 million lines by 2012
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:16pm PT
You see John, that Trillion for the lame useless fighter than even generals from the military don't say they want would cover a great deal toward medicare and social security. Just a little sacrifice of our imperialism is needed, not painful horrible costs

The military industrial complex and their paid political stooges have foisted this false choice on us. We should have war on them

not to mention the 700 billion we're planning to spend on Nukes we don't need during the next 10 years. To hell with people who value being able to blow up the world 10x instead of 5x over at the expense of the old and poor

Peace


Karl

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/12/opinion/gard-johns-military-spending/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

John M

climber
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
I never said Social Security or Medicare was imminently insolvent. What I say, and to my knowledge has not been contradicted, is that we can fix the actuarial insolvency now without horribly painful changes. Fixing it later is an entirely different matter.

Agreed.. but how

The problem as I see it is that a number of powerful people in the GOP wanted to privatize social security and others it appear to me want to do away with it entirely. So what do we do? I don't' really see the Dems coming up with good answers either. ( except maybe to reduce the military, which I agree with but don't' want a fast draw down. )

By the way.. I deleted the post about what you said about TGT. I still think that it is true. I wish that you would take your blinders off. If I posted that "your" side of the argument only posted nasty things and Dr. F. only posted reasonable arguments, you would cringe. I feel the same way about TGT. I see more hateful things come out of him then reasonable arguments.

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
Social Security has tons of money. The government has just been borrowing from it and needs to pay it back.

Exactly, Karl. When you place money at interest, you are loaning it to the party paying interest. Whether we loaned it to the government (usually considered the safest investment) or to private parties, we're still loaning it. Otherwise, we're just putting it under the mattress, which is almost always a poor investment.

The problem comes because the government does need to pay it back. When it does, it affects the cash flow negatively. According to the (self-interested) NCPSSM report you quoted, we will need to start doing this for Social Security in about eight years, and big time for Medicare perhaps sooner. There is only one source for the payment of those funds: federal revenues.

Thus, when NCPSSM says Social Security has "plenty of money," what they really mean is that they can appropriate a larger and larger share of federal revenues starting in 2020. Where is that going to come from.

For the life of me, I can't see how NCPSSM, AARP, and the other insolvency deniers can purport to want to preserve Social Security and Medicare by denying financial facts, or how otherwise responsible (but, apparently, financially ignorant) news organizations let them get away with it. I'm not trying to destroy these programs, I'm trying to save them, not only now, but in the future. NCPSSM and AARP don't give a rip about the future. They want it unchanged now, and let the problems get fixed when they're all dead.

John
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Dec 13, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
Agreed.. but how

My preferred way would be to gradually raise eligibility ages to reflect current demographic reality, rather than 1930's demographic reality.

I think this would be less contractionary (if it is contractionary at all) than raising payroll taxes, and would be more in keeping with the original intent of the programs, namely to provide for necessities for people after they can no longer work.

I don't like means testing, particularly for Social Security, because of the moral hazard issue Dave Kos has so accurately described on the thread involving the Republicans. Nonetheless, if some means testing is necessary to reach a political compromise that actually gets passed, I'd rather have that than a stalemate. Politics is (or at least should be), after all, the art of the possible. leaving the current system unchanged simply guarantees the demise of both programs.

As a suggested bumper sticker of one of my friends says, "Warning: dates on calendar are closer than they appear."

John

Edit: Eric and Karl, I agree that there's plenty of platinum-plated military expense that we can't afford, not the least of which is where we send our troops. That isn't the only conservative favorite I would reduce substantially. In my opinion, our drug laws -- with their ridiculously long sentences (and ridiculously longs sentences generally) are a luxury we can't afford, and are actually counter-productive.

I could go on, but it's increasingly clear that a majority of Americans -- of all political persuasions -- prefer the buy now, pay later (preferably after I'm dead) plan to confronting our financial issues realistically.
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