Archive for Sunday, August 15, 2010

President: GOP trying to destroy Social Security

August 15, 2010


— President Barack Obama used the anniversary of Social Security to trumpet Democrats’ support for the popular program and accuse Republicans of trying to destroy it.

Seventy-five years after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday: “We have an obligation to keep that promise, to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities and all Americans — today, tomorrow and forever.”

Some Republican leaders in Congress are “pushing to make privatizing Social Security a key part of their legislative agenda if they win a majority in Congress this fall,” Obama said.

He contended that such privatization was “an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.”

Most Republicans, in fact, are wary of touching that idea, because Social Security is virtually sacrosanct to voters, particularly seniors.

Nonetheless, Democrats have been able to seize on the issue because of a proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, that would allow younger people to put Social Security money into personal accounts.

Ryan’s idea is similar to a proposal pushed unsuccessfully by former President George W. Bush. It’s not been endorsed by party leaders and has attracted only a small number of GOP co-sponsors.

With Social Security’s finances strained, policymakers talk frequently about the need to address the solvency of the entitlement program. How to do so is less clear, as Obama’s comments Saturday underscored.

Obama said he’s “committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security.” But he proposed no ideas for doing that.


jaywalker 7 years ago

“an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.”

What a crock! Spout about bi-partisanship whenever politically beneficial, claim you're willing to talk with all sides, but waggle the finger and cast blame with misleading assertions every time you're in front of a microphone. Oh, and nice throwing in the Wall Street innuendo, your own personal scapegoat catch-all.
SS starts running a deficit in less than two years, Mr. President, and this at least the 5th time we've almost hit insolvency in the last decade. It's an unsustainable system that was never supposed to be touched by the government and was never supposed to be taxed at more than 1%, both apparent lies long since broken. The current rate is 12.4% and that's expected to raise to 20% in the next 25 years. TWENTY percent!!!!!!!!!

Pathetic. Maybe privatizing isn't ideal, but it's a solution backed by some of the top economic minds in the country, including from your alma mater.

jafs 7 years ago

The obvious problem with privatization has been shown by the recent financial meltdown - many people have lost tons of money in their 401K and similar retirement plans.

jaywalker 7 years ago

Right. So the government would do a better job of it? With a system that's unsustainable and already failing? Our government which is running a deficit at how many trillions now and how many more in the next decade? Anyone heard of Greece? The EU? Sorry, but alloting that money into a Roth starting at the age of 16 is a hell of alot safer than turning it over to the government and a hell of a lot more fruitful than SS ever could be.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Not entirely true. The market is coming back, isn't it? My pension is fine. All the people I work with that participate in the 401K took a hit, but it's come back up.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Actually, the President statement is 100% accurate.

A better plan would be to tax all income rather than just the first $100,000. That would address your concerns about the rate of taxation going up on you and me. Funny how the wealthy are all about how all of their money should be taxed at the same rate as those who are not wealthy, but want to exclude the majority of income from taxation themselves.

jafs 7 years ago

My best idea for solving the Social Security problem is to stop collecting separately, and start administering the program like insurance, ie. people who need it collect it when they need it - set some sort of basic monthly amount that we think is reasonable, and give/subsidize people enough to get them up to that amount.

Anyone who has more than that doesn't qualify.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

A combination of both of these ideas would completely end the "threat" to social security, which isn't really under any immediate threat, anyway.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Uh, yeah, scotty - 'cause paying over 30% on most of their income, paying the income tax share of over 30 Americans, really doesn't make up for that other 6.2% for social security.

The fatal flaw with your plan, scottie, is that if you taxed them on their entire income, wouldn't you eventually have to pay out a lot more? You're creating a larger debt than you are a revenue increase.

Jimo 7 years ago

"Spout about bi-partisanship whenever politically beneficial, claim you're willing to talk with all sides, but waggle the finger and cast blame"

And there you have wingnut "bipartisanship" - abandon your principles, adopt our proposals or else you're not being bipartisan - just because we can't sell our crackpot ideas to voters doesn't mean you don't have to listen to us. Let's face it: the extremist wing of the GOP opposed Social Security when it was created, as it operated to transform the elderly from the poorest to the richest demographic, and oppose it even today. It is the sole "conservative" political group in the entire developed world to refuse acceptance of the legitimacy of any social safety net.

"The top economic minds in the country" do NOT support privatization and providing a link to an organization of extremist propaganda doesn't support such a claim. This is absolutely not where the mass of economists exist.

Social Security finances are easily resolved by small changes to the system including stopping the refusal to tax high income earners and ending the delivery of SS checks to billionaires! Despite familiarity with the program, not one person in ten knows that high income earners don't pay tax on all their income -- this subsidy of wealth standing in sharp contrast to the refusal to adopt means-testing to restrict the program only to those who need it.

In other words, SS (like so much other issues) is a problem of political will not economics.

jaywalker 7 years ago

"And there you have wingnut "bipartisanship" - abandon your principles, adopt our proposals or else you're not being bipartisan"

And there you have unbridled ignorance; abandon principles? adopt our proposals? It's mind-boggling you might be allowed to operate a motor vehicle with that display of delusion.

Yes, yours is a rational and non-partisan rebuttal. And regardless what you think of Cato, the link is to the findings of a Harvard economics professor, but I'm bettin' that actually checking that part out was too inconvenient. Get a life, Jimo.

Jimo 7 years ago

So, to summarize:

No counter-argument, no evidence, no facts.

Congrats, jaywalk, you've convinced yourself!

Feldstein is well regarded for his work on macroeconomic stabilization and income distribution (I'd like to think you even know what those are but I don't rely on it). His advocacy of social security privatization isn't among his work that has gained adherents outside of the extremist right (such as CATO).

Didn't it seem strange to you that Feldstein, who has published on other topics in some of the most prestigious economic journals, would need to publish your linked article with a Ayn Rand worshiping, libertarian think tank founded and run by the Koch family and financed by a who's who list of corporate welfarists?

jaywalker 7 years ago

Care to list the 'facts' or counter argument you initially rebutted with? On the other hand, don't bother. I've seen what your posts consist of, this here will be more of the same.

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

the truth is that foreignors are and have been receiving benefits that has never paid into the system. Come out here to california and see who is standing in-line and they are well under 40. It will make you cry.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

As the mid-term elections approach, expect the Finger Pointer in Chief to get more and more shrill.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

The truth is shrill to those who lie.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

That has been their message for some time (in addition to trying to kill the elderly, take over the economy, etc.)

Note, while the headline contains the wild allegation that our President has accused the gop of trying to destroy SS, there are no facts within the article which support the contention.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

Nice bit of revisionism here. What to make of the Reagan (early 80's,) Bush I (late 80's) recessions and the bush (the Lesser) Depression which President Obama inherited?

The repub policy of removing tax burden from the wealthy has resulted in nothing more than the wealthy hording their money and preventing it from circulating in the economy.

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

tellem bro " We got to give the people their money back" there went the surplus. What we need is a civil divide because this crap ain't working

notajayhawk 7 years ago

Revisionism, scottie? Maybe you should try something novel, and actually check your facts once in a while before whining.

Um, scottie? Has the tax burden for the wealthy increased or decreased since the Reagan years? The top 1% already pay the share of 33 (or more) whiny, entitled losers like yourself. And all you can do is whine that they're not supporting you enough. Get a life.

jafs 7 years ago

The only 4 years in the last 35 that we haven't run budget deficits and have actually had surpluses were during Clinton's administration.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

So President Obama is responsible for the economy immediately regardless of the prior 8 years of republican policy, but Clinton is not due credit for the economy because of the prior republican policy. Got it!

And why should anyone take your opinion seriously?

Corey Williams 7 years ago

Yep. You're finally right on something.

Tell me, did the airlines ever pay back their big bad government bailouts?

Steve Jacob 7 years ago

This just a rare case of Obama using scare tactics. Old people vote, and messing Social Security is political suicide, once Bush tried to do anything about it, it died a quick death. What cracks me up is so many people are mad about being forced to have insurance, yet we have been forced to pay into retirement for many years.

Scott Drummond 7 years ago

The crooks in the business world have a harder time getting their hands on the $$$ under the current system. They have to work through politicians and they have the unfortunate tendency of being removed from office when their deeds become too noticeable. Wall Street and the banksters want the money given to them so that they can steal it directly without the hassle of the middlemen. We'll see if we are foolish enough to give in to them.

Gregory Newman 7 years ago

you're making to much sense could you please inform Tom his oblivion medication is ready

meggers 7 years ago

It should be noted that Rep. Ryan's proposal also includes increasing the retirement age to 70. I wish the media and the democrats would make a bigger issue about that. Talk about voter backlash!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

While I can agree with any measures that would encourage people to work as long as they are able to, I think for a high percentage of people beyond the age of 65, working part-time is as much as can be reasonably expected. Forcing people who are really no longer capable of working to do so is downright inhumane (which explains why Republicans like the idea so much.)

tomatogrower 7 years ago

No, they Republicans would just like them to go away and die. If you can't afford health care and are too old to work, you are suppose to just die. At least, it sure seems that way. They haven't exactly come up with an alternate plan. You're just on your own, dog eat dog.

Lacy Mohler 7 years ago

All earned income is subject to Medicare Tax. Has Medicare remained solvent? Isn't it in as much trouble as SS?

If you tax all income for SS then you can't tell someone they are too rich to draw it. I've paid SS all these years for my retirement--not for yours. You should have been working and paying for yours. I say stop giving it to people who never paid anything into it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years ago

"I say stop giving it to people who never paid anything into it."

There are some exceptions, but for the vast majority of those who reach retirement age, the amount you get back is directly related to how much you paid in, although there is a cap on that amount.

jafs 7 years ago

Yes, except that spouses get benefits related to their spouse's earnings as well, even if they haven't paid into the system.

jafs 7 years ago

If Social Security is more of an insurance plan than an investment one (as I have been informed by my father-in-law), then we should run it as one.

Insurance works on the principle that you pay into it in case you need it, and only use it if you do.

I would eliminate the separate taxing for SS and Medicare - it seems simpler and better to me to simply collect tax revenue, and then use it in ways we feel are correct.

The issue of whether we provide a safety net for those who haven't paid into the system is a more difficult question.

Centerville 7 years ago

Zippy must be getting desperate.

booyalab 7 years ago

“We have an obligation to keep that promise, to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities and all Americans — today, tomorrow and forever.”

OK, fair enough. So does that mean you guys are going to stop "borrowing" from it for unpopular causes you couldn't get funding for otherwise? No? Well, worth a shot.

beatrice 7 years ago

The biggest problem with allowing individuals to handle the investments of their own social security funds is that if they completely fail and lose all their money, we will still have to bail them out by providing the funds needed to secure our society.

tunahelper 7 years ago

omaba is ruining America! And that is a fact!

beatrice 7 years ago

You might be right! Now, if only we knew who or where this "omaba" lived.

slowplay 7 years ago

You must have just moved to this country. Too bad you missed the Bush years. Now that was ruination at it's best.

camper 7 years ago

FDR signed the Social Security Act, but it is not widely known that he was disappointed with the result. He envisioned it as a way to empower the individual rather than relying on the employer or government for support in retirement. FDR actually envisioned social securtity as individual or private retirement accounts. Why SS went to where it is is something that I will need to research more, but it has been documented that FDR was disappointed with the result.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

In other news about the current regime:

"Gallup: Obama Hits New Low In Daily Track at 42%

This is on the front page; if you click through to the Approval Rate poll, it seems to still have yesterday's 43/48 spilt.

Today it's 42/49.

I think that we're going to see a 39 number by week's end. Obama has removed the mask, crossed the Rubicon. He won't even permit those who wish to convince themselves that they're smart and were not conned by an odious charlatan to keep on believing the lies they're telling themselves..."

toeser 7 years ago

It is amazing to me how the Dems constantly get the Repulicans on the defensive over the issues surrounding Social Security. EVERY significant negative change EVER made to Social Security was done by a Democratic Pres or Congress. Look it up.

notajayhawk 7 years ago

I see the weasel-in-chief is still doing what he does best - nothing but campaigning. Not 'This is how I'm going to fix social security,' just yet another round of 'It's all the Republican's fault'.

beatrice 7 years ago

"Weasel in chief"? How dare you ...

Oh, I'm sorry, I thought I was still on the civility story.

Carry on being childish.

rhd99 7 years ago

"This is change you can believe in" Wow, change I can believe in? Obama is full of CROCK!!!!

tbaker 7 years ago

Go to and start reading. This is what happens when you “privatize” the social security function. This is what happens when you let people keep their own money, take personal responsibility for their own lives, and not be dependent on the government for their own future – but no! We must have Fedzilla help us. After all, asking a person to navigate the impenetrable mysteries of daily life by themselves would be cruel and heartless. If anyone is killing anything it’s CONGRESS. They have the power of the purse in this country. They are the ones that robbed the social security “trust fund” during the fat years and left it full of IOUs. They are the ones that bankrupted it with profligate spending. Between congressional theft of social security funds, only 47% of the population actually paying income/social security taxes, and scores of people who never paid a dime into the social security system drawing benefits – are you surprised it has failed? Presidents of every political stripe are equally guilty for letting congress get away with this. Whats their solution? Raise our taxes so they can keep the ponzie scheme going. Why we keep re-electing people who behave this way and vote for the reckless, unsustainable spending makes this OUR FAULT. Go ahead – vote for an incumbent. Vote for someone from the two big parties. See what it gets you.

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