Tag: Deficit Commission

Social Security: Beyond Red and Blue

George Carlin said it bluntly a few years ago, and it was dismissed as comedy by more than a few who saw that it wasn’t – who saw that he he was using the comedic stage as a platform to deliver a serious warning, to pass on the truth as he saw it clearly:

They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations, they’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear.

They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting f*cked by a system that threw them overboard 30 f*ckin’ years ago. They don’t want that.

You know what they want? They want obedient workers – obedient workers – people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.

And now they’re coming for your social security money.

They want your f*ckin’ retirement money. They want it back. So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.

Carlin was a unique talent – he had a stage presence that was fun to listen to and he had a way with phrasing and delivery that made the depressing message he had to pass on a little easier to swallow than dry facts would have.

But the dry and cold hard facts of the situation Carlin so eloquently described, unpleasant as they may be, are as much if not more important to know if anything is to be done, if the American people are ever to rise up, exert the power they have, and take back control of their country and their own destiny.

Entice the Rich and Scrap the Cap

Doing away with the cap on Social Security tax would allow the Social Security trust fund to continue in the black indefinitely and the nation would never need to confront the fact that this peoples’ trust is the one debt elected officials don’t want to pay. It could also raise benefits and there might even be enough left over to lower instead of raise the retirement age.

But with the direction of the national debate, getting high income Americans to pay on a larger portion or their entire income is a pipe dream. I would like to point out a diary written by fake consultant, Social Security: If The Rich Paid Taxes Like You And Me…Problem Solved.

A diary not about the more sensible but unobtainable goal of getting the rich to pay in support of the rest of the nation. Instead of removing the tax cap to support the middle class, remove the cap and increase the benefit schedule. This does not shore up Social Security as much but it could get another class of people interested, people with influence.      

Jan Schakowsky on the PBS NewsHour

It was so good to see a bit of reality from an elected official. Last week Chris Bowers presented Jan Schakowsky’s deficit reduction plan and tonight she spoke up on the TV.

You can find the transcript here. The interview is really worth viewing and really worth passing around. A proposal that says we don’t have to go after the middle and lower classes and should go after the rich coming from an elected official was refreshing.

But will anybody else ever hear Rep. Jan Schakowsky?

Does the Obama Administration take Sexism and Women’s Votes Seriously?

That has been brought into question by the White House decision to accept Alan Simpson’s “apology” for his offensive ans sexist letter to Ashley Carson of the Older Women’s League. Donna L. Wagner, President of the Older Women’s League, sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for Mr. Simpson to be “canned” and questioning the Obama Administration’s stand on sexism and sexual discrimination.

OWL’s members believe that choosing to keep Mr. Simpson as your co-chair sends a message that your Administration does not take sexism seriously and also that you are not concerned about Mr. Simpson’s views regarding Social Security. There are a number of occasions where racial discrimination appeared both within government and elsewhere, and where your Administration acted swiftly and appropriately to correct wrongdoing. Why is one form of discrimination any different from another?

As Jane Hamsher says, “Ouch”.

This is looking like a pattern of sexism in this White House. While the President has several women in his cabinet, only Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, can really be considered a close advisor with daily contact and immediate access. Yes, he has successfully appointed two women to the Supreme Court neither is really a liberal nor will be counsel to Mr. Obama.

Dawn Johnsen’s nomination, a more than qualified lawyer to head the Office of Legal Council, was left to languish for 14 months before she withdrew her name in frustration. The administration opined that her appointment was held up by holds from Republican and Blue Dog Senators but when Mr. Obama proceeded to make several recess appointments, Ms. Johnsen was not among them. Why?

Then there is that little matter of the President’s Economic Advisor, Larry Summers and his Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner and that now has the appearance of an “Old Boys Club”. Summers’ history of sexism is well known and the primary reason he was forced to resign as President of Harvard. The resignation of Christina Romer from the Council after her sage advice about the stimulus package size was completely eliminated from the report to the President, her access to the Oval office limited, as well as, testy clashes with Summers, is consistent with Mr. Summers’ past behavior towards women. Mr. Geithner doesn’t fare much better. His condescending exchanges with Elizabeth Warren during hearings by the Congressional Oversight Panel on TARP, are revealing in his contemptuous tone.

As has been pointed out by others this was not Timothy Geithner’s “first clash with women in power”.

One of his first acts in the role of Treasury Secretary was to attempt to push out FDIC Chairwoman Shelia Bair. As Rep. Barney Frank observed: “I think part of the problem now, to be honest, is Sheila Bair has annoyed the ‘old boys’ club…we have several regulators up in the tree house with a ‘no girls allowed’ sign…”

Can the Cat Food Commission

Jane Hamsher and the FDLakers are calling on President Obama to Can the Cat Food Commission. She very clearly presents the case

The Catfood commission is not legitimate. It was stacked with people who knew their job was to fulfill Pete Peterson’s dream  of rolling back the New Deal and waging war on the social safety net. It is a committee of oligarchs designed to circumvent electoral repercussions for those who oppose the will of the vast majority of the American people, both Republicans and Democrats, who don’t want to see the federal budget balanced on the backs of the nation’s senior citizens.

President Obama, it is not just Alan Simpson who needs to go. It’s time to shut down the entire commission.

She invites everyone

Sign the petition: Tell President Obama to Can the Catfood Commission

Opting For Farce

I had a great chuckle at this from Jon Walker at FDL

In These Sorry Times, Boehner Owes Geithner and Summers a Big Apology

Trying to get the two individuals whose actions played a major role in assuring that Boehner will be promoted (to the position of Speaker of the House after Republicans win big this November) fired is just bad manners in my book. If it weren’t for Summers’ terrible economic projections and horrible advice, combined with Geithner’s equally bad counsel, consistently putting the prosperity of Wall Street over main street while horribly mismanaging the HAMP program, Boehner would not be close to measuring the drapes for the Speaker’s office..

And Paul Krugman was 100% correct in calling for Simpson firing, especially this


At this point, though, Obama is on the spot: he has to fire Simpson, or turn the whole thing into a combination of farce and tragedy – the farce being the nature of the co-chair, the tragedy being that Democrats are so afraid of Republicans that nothing, absolutely nothing, will get them sanctioned.

One of the best is from Dean Baker, also a recipient of Simpson’s derisive e-mails, who calls Simpson not just offensive but ignorant


Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, the co-chairman of President Obama’s deficit commission, has sparked calls for his resignation after sending an offensive and sexist note to Ashley Carson, the executive director of the Older Women’s League. While such calls are reasonable — Simpson’s comments were certainly more offensive than remarks that led to the resignation of other people from the Obama administration — the Senator’s determined ignorance about the basic facts on Social Security is an even more important reason for him to leave his position.


   The key facts on Social Security are not hard to understand. The shortfall is relatively minor and distant. Most retirees have little income other than their Social Security, and most workers would find it quite difficult to stay at their jobs in their late 60s or even 70. We might have hoped that Senator Simpson understood these facts at the time when he was appointed to the commission, but we should at least expect that he would learn them on the job.

   His determined ignorance in the face of the facts is the most important reason why he is not qualified to serve on President Obama’s commission. Someone who is co-chairman of such an important group should be able to critically evaluate information, not just insult and demean his critics.

It looks like the President has opted for farce and tragedy with the acceptance of Mr. Simpson’s non-apology and refusal to fire him.