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The Donkey’s Demise?


A recent report indicates that Social Security has prematurely begun to withdraw funds from the non-existent trust fund – read the US Treasury. The Medicare trust fund (part A) is already broke. Medicare Part B is not paying for itself – more drain. Medicaid is growing rapidly. Our current accounts are already out of balance by about $800 Billion a year before this added impact. The Donkey’s answer – add more entitlements such as “Obama Care” or payroll tax forgiveness or student loan forgiveness or mortgage loan adjustments or more federal intrusion into education or “bullet trains” in key battleground states! All of these accelerate the increase in the debt – now at something over $14 Trillion.

The Donkey seems to think that we can continue to run up debt as if there is no tomorrow. A proposed 4% increase in taxes on the rich is projected to solve every out of balance account – it will hardly pay for the Medicaid problem. Over 1 trillion in reductions in Medicare (includes the $500 Billion proposed by the super committee) has no basic in law nor have the implication on medical services to our senior population been discussed – it is just a large slush fund to use to virtually balance the budget and temporarily hide real shortfalls.

Why is the cry from the Donkey always for more resource transfer? We already do so to the tune of over $20K per poor person while half the population has no stake in the debt as they pay nothing toward it. Why is it not acceptable to review our social safety net to insure good business practices and efficient usage? It is business as usual despite credit rating reductions and the obvious consequence of ever increasing government largess as reflected in the Greek debt crisis. The Donkey is taking on all the characteristics of an ostrich.

These costs are not going to go away. Our kids will have to pay them or we will have to renege on promises made with consequences that may make the Greek riots seem like a tea party. When did the intelligent leadership of the Democratic Party stop thinking about the day after tomorrow so as to focus myopically on November 2012? At least when we did the old “ham sandwich” vote buying schemes of the past the offered goody was cheap and singular. Our promises today are catastrophically expensive and forever.

Do these leaders think that the American Public is unaware of what they are doing? Is the Tea Party not a warning? Do they believe that they already have a majority of the population signed up for continued largess as a majority pays almost nothing toward it? Just why should the rising middle class work hard for less and less as we move resources to the rich and the poor and reduce their opportunity. Do these learned folk really believe that the future lies in selectively spreading the pie and not in growing it? Will it not be necessary, if we are to continue our tradition of having each succeeding generation fare better than the previous, to grow that pie?

It is beginning to look to me that the trade in our next national election will be between accepting the economic inequities of our current society (see http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/loyal-opposition/2011/oct/28/elephant-graveyard/ ) or bankrupting the nation? If so, how did we get to such a ghastly choice?


Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

"Loyal Opposition":

What is it with your continuous attacks on the dis-enfranchised of this Nation? You note: "... half the population has no stake in the debt as they pay nothing toward it.....". Bull butter.

High earners should pay considerably more in taxes than they do now. Top tax rates of even 50 percent for incomes in the seven-figure range would still be considerably lower than their level throughout the boom years of the post-war era, and should not be out of the question—nor should an estate-tax rate of similar size, for large estates.

Over time, the United States has expected less and less of its elite, even as society has oriented itself in a way that is most likely to maximize their income. The top income-tax rate was 91 percent in 1960, 70 percent in 1980, 50 percent in 1986, and 39.6 percent in 2000, and is now 35 percent. Income from investments is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. The estate tax has been gutted.

As a society, we should be far more concerned about whether most Americans are getting ahead than about the size of the gains at the top. Yet extreme income inequality causes a cultural separation that is unhealthy on its face and corrosive over time. And the most-powerful economic forces of our times will likely continue to concentrate wealth at the top of society and to put more pressure on the middle. It is hard to imagine an adequate answer to the problems we face that doesn’t involve greater redistribution of wealth.

Hatred of the poor is fueled by the middle class's fear of falling during hard times. Americans don't understand how the poor are victimized by a lack of jobs, inefficient schools, and unsafe neighborhoods People ignore the structural issues - jobs leaving, industry becoming more mechanized. Then they point to the poor and ask, 'Why aren't you making it?' "

In hard times, Loyal Opposition George Lippencott blames the poor.

labmonkey 6 years, 7 months ago

You obviously did not click on the link and read George's accompanying post where he talks about the elephant's insistence on not taxing the super rich. He is in the same boat as most moderates... we need to cut spending and raise taxes. Personally, I want to see substantial, permanent cuts before one tax is raised as the government tends to not spend their money wisely.

As for the poor, yes, there are some truly destitute people out there, but many who are poor choose to be that way instead of getting up and looking for a job and setting good examples for their children. There are jobs out there, but perhaps you have to move to find them. Many of our grandparents' generation uprooted and moved west. And if you are soaking up your 99 weeks of unemployment, you are screwing yourself out of a job. Yes there are hard luck stories out there, but if I was an employer, I would rather hire the person busting his/her a$$ to find a job than someone who sat on their ass for 99 weeks.

As for social security, we need to raise the age of receiving benefits to within 3 years of general life expectancy. When it was created, life expectancy was 62 years and the age was set at 65 years so the elderly did not have to live their final years begging for food. Now I have seen retirement planning articles that refer to retirement savings as a SUPPLEMENT to social security, not the other way around. Life expectancy is now an average of 78 years and people can receive full benefits at 67... we need to bump that age up to 75 or higher by 2020, not when our 4 year-olds retire.

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