Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Obama: The More Effective Evil

I blogged about it previously here.  Glenn Greenwald warned of it immediately after the election here.  And here it comes.  Obama is apparently putting cuts to Social Security on the table as part of a deal that resolves the so called fiscal cliff.

Social Security is one of those clear cut government success stories.  Hasn't contributed a single penny to the debt.  In fact it has run a surplus.  And probably nothing has done more to reduce elderly hunger and homelessness in the US.  But the rich don't like it.  Chomsky has commented that the issue is more than just more profits for the financial industry.  He thinks it's even deeper than that.  Social Security is based on the principle that we care for others and want to alleviate their suffering.  The widow down the street may not be someone we know personally, but we want to contrive a system that means she doesn't starve.  This is the problem on capitalism.  You're not supposed to care.  You're supposed to think "You didn't prepare.  Screw you."  That's very unnatural so it has to be driven home.  Social Security has a way of reinforcing this notion that we care about others, and that is why it faces so much hostility.  That is why it is placed on the chopping block even though it is not the source of the problem.  A roughly $700 billion defense industry protecting us from non-existent threats?  In fact it largely enhances the threats.  Scaling that back isn't even part of the discussion.  That's because we do not have democracy.


Chad said...

Confused - if it solvent why does it need to be cut? Also are you saying that I have a responsibility to pay for the widow down the street? Where is her family, her children, her church and her neighborhood. Are you saying that it is your right to force me to pay for her regardless if I planned well? Or is because I planned well it gives you the right to take my 'excess' for others?

Guess I need clarification on those things? Not only do I assume the responsibility to take care of my family your saying that I should also accept the burden of others as well. Your going to take from my plate - by force - to give to another.

Can't help you Jon - I hope Soc security stops tomorrow.

Examinator said...

SS solvent so why cut it because The rich don't want people to have a whole of society attitude because it encourages people to band together, in this twisted logic common interest groups my spread to labor organising or worse the public might deem (say)automatic, multi round firearm magazines might be viewed as part of a problem... and there goes a lucrative earner.

Might I also point out that if the well off don't help look after the poor with (say) psychological illnesses they can get fire arms and shoot people.
Then there's simply the point that if the money is spent on the poor then there will less to fund their interests. Corporate subsidies, tax breaks , etc.

Jon said...

It has to be cut so that we can further erode the sense of community that people have. We have to drive people to not care. There's no budgetary reason to cut. It's portrayed that way, but as with the war on terror and the drug war you must distinguish between the stated reasons and the real reasons.

Ideally I agree with you that we shouldn't be forced to care for others. It comes naturally. You look at say an Amish society or a Native American society. They don't have a police force that compels people to support the elderly. It just happens naturally. But we live in a different kind of society, one that alienates us from our neighbors, and so if we actually want to prevent elderly starvation this is the only workable way. When we get to a stateless society then it's a different story, but in the meantime you have to function in the real world that you live in.

So while I agree with you in theory I can't help but notice that your objections to government waste are very one sided. You seem to agree that our military is wasteful, but you never get very passionate about that waste. It's like an afterthought. Oh yeah, you oppose war too, but if we really want to see you get excited all we have to do is talk about the other spending, spending that doesn't actually contribute to the debt, that keeps the elderly fed and off the street. Now the real passion comes out. You notice that? Why do you think you react that way?

HispanicPundit said...

Quick hits:

1. See here for a good reason to cut social-security.

2. Please see here and here on why cuts to defense were not on the table.

Carry on please.

Jon said...

Yep. Agree 100% with Krugman. I'm not claiming we have a fiscal need to cut the military budget. But I'm saying if you're really interested in reducing government spending and cutting the deficit (something that is not my top priority) cut defense. It does a lot of harm and there's definitely a lot of waste. Why cut SS which doesn't contribute to the deficit and unlike the military it doesn't kill people and reduce our security.

4tomic said...

@ Pundit : I'm no economist, but I think federal outlays refers to total spending including paying off debt. So it would make sense that the chart shows declining spending, because our debt spending has gone through the roof. This is also why you probably see the dip during Clinton's year, since he was the most fiscal conservative we've had and paid lots to the debt.

As for SS, the government definitely isn't doing the same job as a bank. It's also sad that people treat it as their retirement program. But I think we are all aware of the problems so I won't say more.

Here is the issue I see: On one hand we have the American libertarian thinking ("lay in the bed you made"), which certainly appeals to lots of people, myself included. It is especially easy to make this judgement with older people, who had their whole lives to save money.

If we live in a situation where there is perfect equity (i.e. perfect chances to succeed), then the thinking is just. You know the example; the whole grasshopper and ant story. You and I both have land. You work hard. I am lazy. Blah blah blah.

But take away the equity in the story and we start to have moral issues. You know... the Native who we chased off the land into the desert. Now he and his family are starving because they have no land. Is this just? Outside of the White Power theorist, most say no.

Thus establishing equity is a big issue that has been discussed since before Jesus's call for Jubilee. But it's not as simple as not chasing Natives into the desert.

Over the last 7 weeks I've been travelling. Part of my trip took me to India, which runs on a very libertarian system. No public education, no social security, very little public health care. They've been doing this for thousands of years and what they have a nice caste system to show for it. In this system if you are in the upper classes you get to go into school, get extremely well educated, and go into lucrative careers. If you are born poor but own land, you can farm the land you have and make just enough so that you can eat and live a reasonably average lifespan (you can't buy more land because all the land is owned). If you are born very poor you will never get educated and can spend your short life collecting cow turds to make a fire to cook pigeons on. Most people are in the latter two groups. This is an example of high financial freedom but low equity. I don't think many are in favor of it. Jesus certainly wasn't.

The other place I got to visit was Amsterdam. This is one of the classic North Europe "socialist" countries. If you are born in Holland you are guaranteed a great education, your retirement, your healthcare, and if you fuck up and become a heroine junkie, they'll even give you free treatment and free codeine! Amsterdam is also one of the cleanest and most beautiful cities in all of Europe. There is very little homelessness, far less drug use than in most countries, and the people are apparently judged to be some of the happiest in the world (like Sweden and Switzerland and Iceland). They also have a fucking awesome public library. Personally, I'd gladly fork up 50-60% of my salary to live there.

4tomic said...

Of course, they are also paying less than the U.S. to sustain this quality of life. Overall their healthcare system is cheaper (for individuals and for the public). Overall, their police enforcement is incredibly cheap (far less people in prison too). And of course, caring for the elderly is cheaper too (because they are better educated and have had better healthcare their whole life). So while it is a lot of money to pay for taxes, the net result is that everyone saves money.

I'm a big fan of financial freedom AND I'm a big fan of equity. I don't see them as competing, as people in Holland really enjoy far more financial freedom than people in the U.S.

I often hear people say "stop complaining and move to Canada" (& ironically I did). I just want to remind our American libertarians that India also has fairly open immigration policy.

4tomic said...

Quick correction : When I said "& ironically I did", I only meant the "moving to Canada part" not the complaining part... I obviously still do that a lot.

Examinator said...

Sorry but at best Klugman's analysis is pathetically simplistic and based on very disputable figures.
If you went a little further on your post and read the first comment,then the the person's reference post you would have noted that it all depends on how you measure 'defence'(sic) and what you *call* 'defence'.

The biggest qualm I have is that K's piece isn't measuring apples against apples.i.e. does it include Black Ops, all military programs? e.g. who is picking up the tab for vets, pensions,perks for retired generals, Gitmo, campaigns against Wikkileaks, Homeland (in)Security and the Alphabet soup of related organizations. Lets consider who's picking up the tab for say new data storage center to monitor and store your emails etc (ask are we getting bang for $ i.e. are we safer? evidence is not so encouraging) Oh yes who is picking up the tab for the outrageous (overcharging) profiteering 'contractors'?
Most of which is politically the drone campaign less easily identifiable 'our boys' boots on the ground.Who ultimately pays for the lobbyists? Hmm?
In reality the real difference between 1950's and today is largely the accounting techniques.

Examinator said...

Spot on, very insightful and thoughtful response well done you.
I too have been to Amsterdam and by an large I'd tend to agree.

Aus isn't quite as 'socialist' but never the less it does take the enlightened self interest approach to in equity too.
By that I refer to the consequences to not caring for the mentally ill properly ...mass shooting.
Veteran rehab underfunded and some prime sites are in appalling condition. PTSD services are clearly inadequate the net result is an absolutely appalling hidden suicides deaths (Look them up they are horrific). The country sent them to war, paid them poorly, for the risk, not enough to compensate to buy an appropriate health plan for the rest of their lives. Many of the problems last that long and let's not forget the flow on to spouses and children. In my mind it isn't a matter of ideology (left/right)it's a matter of the nation OWES them adequate care once they return in various degrees of broken.
Surely the US's current attitude to it's best breeding stock is self destructive.

These two arguments alone clearly show the flaw in the attitude that if things are bad for you its your fault! Likewise to me they are glaring examples of a lack of enlightened self interest.

Examinator said...

Jon off topic but important
Remember what I was saying way back about sociopathic tendencies of the mega rich.

4tomic said...

Wow! That's nutso. Nothing I didn't know, but it's crazy to hear it first hand!

Chad said...

JC - I think that it is important that we take are of our citizens - I do. We just have a totally different idea about how o accomplish that. I prefer treating poverty more like a disease rather than a situation. If your on food stamps - living on earners dimes - then no lottery tickets, no booze, No KIDS, no smokes and your paycheck comes with mandatory hours per week working in community, church or school. Nothing for free.

About Social Security - your fooling yourself if you believe that it works and protects anyone. It is and will continue to be the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of mankind. Let me say this - if it is so great then why is it not an option? Why are we forced to participate?

What percentage is the Defense Budget? Too tired to look it up, but the reason I don't get more fired up aout defense - even though there is waste - is because it is actually something the government is allowed to do. Putting a price on our safety is a difficult thing to measure and another thing is that the military gives a lot of people opportunities, they make good people and citizens overall while protecting all of us. It similar to my question I asked you about having a fire extinguisher in your home. If you never have a fire then it simply collects dust, cost a little money and might be an eye sore, but on that day when you need it - if it is not there you may get hurt, someone you love may get hurt or worse. The minimum is your property will be destroyed. That is the military for me. - would I prefer that we station armed guards across every access point at the borders rather than invade some dirt floor country - absolutely, but I don't get to make that call unfortunately. Do I believe the military an trim excess without losing might - 100%.

4tomic - You make a lot of good and interesting points - you do. This is why I sometimes spar with Jon and say you take 25 states - we'll take 25 states, you can't tax me and I can't tax you, but we can engage in commerce and have a set of common laws we all follow and let's live it out. We should have 50 Petry dishes to see what actually works and what doesn't. Actually we should have more than that, but that is a discussion for another day. One of the things that I am very proud of is that I will never tell Jon or anyone on the Left how to live and all I (we) ask in return is that you not take our earnings to pay for those things. What is so liberating about being a conservative is that we don't care what other people do as long as it is legal. My hope is that one day I can be around when a group of states withdrawal from the union - let each state be ran as its citizens dictate with the understanding that we are all US citizens (well most of us anyhow). That would be a great site to see - I guess we are starting to see that today really. When you look at a lot of the states today by county your seeing people/businesses flee states like California, but you see like minded groups forming in big pockets. Like in Ohio - Obama claimed victory yet 77 out of 88 counties voted Romney, same in Michigan and other so called toss up states. We are forming our version of Amsterdam in our little communities - there is not a spec of trash in my town either, unemployment here is very low, earnings very high and when the town needs something we have a committee that gets that done. Unfortunately for Liberals - all the counties that went Blue (at least in Ohio) all enjoy extremely high unemployment numbers, they are dangerous areas with high crime, violence and at lot of trash on the ground.

Examinator said...

Season's greeting and best wishes to ALL...even our conservative coterie.
Regardless of how deluded they are. ;-P

PS I've had a compliant from the council about my light display showing victims of hunger and the words " Spend Eat Drink and be Merry Anyway... they won't know"
Apparently the Christmas (sic) Lights Organizers complained... I'm spoiling the tone their "business" promotion.

Heh heh Heh I'm Sooo Bad ;-)

Anyway the greetings and the wishes are genuine.

Jon said...

Chad, I have no doubt that you want to help the poor and elderly. But if you look at history you find that policies that obviously ravaged and destroyed people were offered with this notion that we are really here to help. Cutting your food stamps, cutting social services. These are for the good of the subjects.

Take a look at the first seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Check the words coming out of the Indian's mouth. "Please Come Over and Help Us." The idea that the mass genocide perpetuated against Native Americans, second to none in history as far as I know, was perceived by the perpetrators as help to us may seem kind of silly. I would suggest that in retrospect people will say the same of your suggestion that eliminating SS, which is a lifeline for so many, is really in their best interest.

It's a lot like what has happened many times before in the past. As I understand the potato famine in Ireland wasn't a famine in the sense that they didn't make enough food. It was that the British, in doing the Irish a favor, set up free market economic conditions that led them to export their crops. They actually produced plenty, but they weren't allowed to keep it because it wasn't in the profit interest of the super rich. That's not unlike what happens in Africa today. Free market capitalism has them shipping their fish out of Lake Victoria and into expensive restaurants in Britain while they starve. It was the same in India. 25 million would starve while they exported their food to Britain. The British figured they were doing the Indians a favor, bringing civilization to them. They're helping. In retrospect I think people would see your so called helpful suggestions the same way.

Chad said...

Picking out the speed bumps in Capitalism or any idea for that matter is very easy to do. We can find similar flaws throughout history regardless of race, religion, political alliance or social status - men are evil creatures that sin. I appreciate when you point out those flaws, but I also reject that my thoughts/ideas today would touch the results from the past. The one thing that history allows us is the opportunity to 'tweak' thins to avoid famine, death or disaster. Unfortunately as previously posted men are evil creatures and SOME will stretch or even break the rules for their benefit and depending on their power position it determines the amount of bad left in their wake.

My suggestions would not create an outbreak of death, despair and poverty - we already have that in various degrees. Of course I am strictly speaking of the USA here - as you probably know my view about foreign affairs is to not participate at all - at all. What I am suggesting Jon is a level of personal responsibility that only our great grand fathers and the founding fathers realized. There is absolutely nothing for free - your birth does not come with the right to take from a group of people because you breath the same air as the provider. What I am suggesting here is that if an individual or a group of individuals are unable to provide for themselves and require assistance - government aide - then they must live by a certain and different set of life standards until they are able to provide for themselves.

In reference to social security - once again I would pull the plug on it completely since it is not a responsibility of the government. I would however agree to an OPTIONAL public option that is voluntary controlled by a panel of 7 private investment companies that can manage people's money where the gov't could not touch one single penny.

Merry Christmas!

Examinator said...

I am bad apparently the picture I used this time was the problem was copyrighted.

just curious , how would more weapons have changed the outcome in NY state with the firemen in a trap?

Examinator said...

There is a few(X gazillion)problems with Chad's idea.

How are they going to manage each individual's expenses?
Who's to say what are the correct priorities for each family/person?
Who's gonna pay for the extra staff and facilities for the army of govt employees?
Then there are the issues of right to choice, who is going to set which vehicle they can own and how much gas to run it or where to have it maintained....

Let's not forget that Chad's idea is both unconstitutional and is doing exactly what his lot accuse the 'liberals'. i.e. Social engineering.
Note also : The difference in attitude between the 'liberals' and the conservatives.

He wants to FORCE people to conform to his 'standards/views' i.e. deprive some people of their right to choose (mandatory compliance) yet the 'liberals' in say abortions, gay marriage don't want to make either mandatory merely give people the option.
This is true even with firearms they only want to restrict certain types none of which would prohibit anything any of their legitimate actions pastimes .

Yet on the issues of life and death they deny a suffering (costly) terminally ill person the right to end it (euthanasia). Conversely they demand the right to shoot to kill someone who THEY THINK MIGHT be up to say a property crime (Travon Martin).

Then there's the white boys who beat up on the blacks for sitting under 'their tree'. And the blacks were sent to jail as minors for attempted murder yet the whites got off with a telling off.

All the above aren't 'road bumps' or 'flaws' that can be ironed out, they are fundamental failure to think things through ...unless they want us and them, 1st and 2nd class citizens. And there is a name for that too Apartheid. All of the above are fundamentally UN-Christian.

Chad said...

Ex - I want to "force" them because they took my money - its not theirs, they didn't earn it - they were given it. By definition I am the slave as the earner yet your more interested in protecting their freedom - classic. What is unconstitutional about regulating the takers? Hell the military does it everyday.

We live in a digital world, managing this is very easy - all bills come with detailed line by line items. One 'special credit card' that they can use that spits out back to a mainframe, tracking is easy. Like weight watchers, pick your meals - 3 a day with 1 snack per person, Besides doesn't it Crete jobs?

If the firefighters were armed it might have helped, but truth is if a rogue idiot with a gun wants to target none it might be difficult to stop the initial attack, but having arm citizens around the shooter would eliminate a body count x 20 like Sandy.

Chad said...

Having levels of people is not bad. There are only a certain number of starting Quarterbacks in the NFL - not everyone can be the leader or the backup. Embrace it.

Chad said...

We have to go back to tough love - my son and daughter are just like the takers (except they can't earn yet) and they live by my rules. They want something with our money then they do chores, they live to certain standards laid out by mom and I. They have rules, regulations and requirements - when they go out and earn a dime thats when they get the chance to flex their freedom. Until then it's the world of Chad and guess what I would put up right now a years salary that my kids turn out well.

Examinator said...

YOUR money? by what misbegotten reasoning is it YOUR money?
It's a fair bet that the amount you pay in tax would barely pay for YOUR share of the services YOU use.By your own words you avoid as much tax as possible.

That aside YOUR taxes wouldn't pay for one person let alone 47% of the population.

What you insist on doing is focusing on and projecting outwards. that assumption is demonstrably false bordering on the extreme naivety.

I think you'll find that the Tea Bagger mentality only accounts for a minority US citizens in raw numbers. Perhaps 15-20% of the population are members.

It is a nonsense to claim that all republicans voters vote so because they agree with ALL the GOP policies ....people vote for the same parties for different reasons. It's a matter of individual priorities... usually the party that offers them as individual the most in those priorities.
Many voter vote for someone because they know them or they are in the same organizations or they simply like the personality.

Your overly simplistic attitude ignores what 200 million other tax payers' taxes or their priorities .

BTW the unemployed DON'T take YOUR money any more than mine.
It is only the conservatives who can't get their heads around the FACT that Tax money is the country's money.... logic dictate that your individual claim to the country's money is 1/320,000,000th so your Tea party's claim is equally still a long way minority one.

With such a pathetically small claim then it mammoth over inflated arrogance to assume that either you or the Tea Baggers have right to 'force' your personal views, some what hypocritical unctuous morality!
BTW you still haven't one of my questions in anything that represents any sound knowledge... your usual ducking of question lame tactic.
Digital are talking to someone who can not only program mainframe computers , has qualifications in Computer technology but has been an executive in a few main players.

I KNOW that your card solution is the end result not the method. In reality to set up and run the system you suggest would cost more than the current SS budget that is spent on those so called "non earners"/"sponges" et al in benefits, with less results.
Computers are dumb they measure against set criteria ..they have no moral/value judgement.
The reality is that the programming to do what you want would take 1000's for man years to write and implement and even then the exceptions would result in chaos.

However money could be saved if the computers the software engineering and running was off shored that would create jobs and wealth but not for AMERICA.
FYI it is a computer rule of thumb that there is always a minimum of 10% unexpected errors, bugs or programmatic clashes (glitches)in any large application. The system you are suggesting would contain a billion+ lines of code.
Why don't you address the questions I asked rather than wander off in to the nether-land of generalisations and diversions?

Jon said...

Chad, do your kids work hard enough to cover their food expense? Or their shelter expense? Why don't you put them in a factory or send them out to the fields to pick vegetables for 10 hours a day? Even that really doesn't cover what they get, so you maybe build them a tent in the back yard and call it good.

All over the world kids work like this, why shouldn't your kids do the same? You're teaching them terrible things right now giving them things that they didn't earn. They can work. Pull them out of school and have them earn a wage and they can just work their way up. Why not do it that way? Do they earn enough money to cover the expense of schooling? Absolutely not. Get those kids in the factory where a large portion of what they produce goes into the pockets of the owner. Isn't that the just and right thing to do?

BTW, just for the record, I don't advocate perfect equality. I am happy to see the quarterback be prosperous, and I know you don't get 11 quarterbacks on a single team. But that doesn't mean I think everyone else that strives to be the quarterback and fails should be deprived of food and shelter, especially since there is plenty to go around.

Examinator said...

Jon on your last point about enough to go around.
An article in the Aust press quoted that last year Aust threw out over $8 billion worth of food.
now if you consider how much money it costs to feed say the refugee camps in sthn Africa(wars, corruption excepted) or the floods in Pakistan the figure is about $3-4billion per year
then consider the space for this trash and that this if for a piss ant country of 21 million figure what the US trashes hmm
BTW most of that food is from restaurants, fast food outlets and supermarket's and farm produce not good enough (pretty)to sell to supermarkets.
Ya the western world and well I can afford it notion.

Chad said...

JC - At 6 and 3 it is a bit impossible at this point for them to be a positive ROI for a lack of a better term. Daycare alone puts them in a gigantic hole before they can tie their own shoes. Thankfully for them we can cover their needs and wants without asking the neighbors to take food off their table for us. Unfortunately the reverse is not true. I doubt there are many 6 and 3 year olds working in the field and if there are then those parents should be arrested for having a child. I would say working by age 13/14 should be the earliest, but my ancestors and yours also started working in the field younger than that. You act as if children working at a young age is some kind of new thing? My dad drove tractor/combine when he was 12 for a local farmer for cash before the gov't came in and regulated everything.

It's only been a few decades removed from the infusion of Progressive movement doctrine to make work a nasty word. I recall stories from my great grandma Rose about her and great grandpa working 18 hour days (minus Sunday's) for more than 60 years of their life together. Grandpa started working the fields at age 10 and minus school time was right there working along side great grandpa. Thankfully advancements in technology allow us to enjoy life more, but it has also has made us soft.

Unfortunately parenting today is a fine line due to the Progressive movement - take a belt to your kids backside and your deemed an abuser and they can come to try to take your kids from you so making them work at the earliest age might land you in jail anyhow. I hear about all these pansies using "time out" things to avoid physical and mental trauma. You hear about kids suing their parents, now there is a an effort to snuff out bullying. Our kids our over sensitized wimps and society (progressive movement) is helping to create them.

For me and following the fine line - spanking conforms to the Geneva code and reserve the right to discuss repayment of all goods and services rendered with my children at a later date and time. At this point I am a silent investor in my kids future - I will continue to give them tools and opportunities to sharpen their skills in hopes that one day if I am unable to care for myself they can and will step in.

Jon said...

Yeah, you can cover their needs. In fact we can cover the needs of many people that find themselves in a position where they can't earn much, whereas if we met their needs for a while, helped them get on their feet, get an education, they would be a lot more productive.

But that would be wrong. That would violate the free market. It's absolutely wrong for these free loaders to turn you into a slave, and yet that's exactly what you are with your own kids. You do the work. They are a huge drain. They don't contribute. And this is wrong.

Millions of children all over the world as young as your kids are working today, and you think that is just and right. This is what the market generates, and it's wrong for them to take a freeloader stance. Why don't you practice what you preach and make your kids carry their weight. If they can't afford it just tally their expenses and make it a loan. They can pay you back when they finally achieve some earning power. With interest of course. If they end up with a few bad breaks and make merely a modest wage they can be your slaves for life, servicing the loan they have accumulated. Is there anything wrong with treating people this way?

Jon said...

Ex, you should see the waste generated during our holidays. It's frustrating to look at it when considering all these children working elsewhere in the world earning their living in a so called free market. Additionally the energy wasted which harms the environment, all so it can be transported to the landfill and deposited. It feels like we are committing suicide as a species.

Chad said...

I am not following sorry - I chose to have children and by doing so took on the responsibility for caring for them. If I was unable to pay for myself then I certainly would not have children - personal responsibility. Helping individuals back on their feet is a good thing and needed - it used to be that church and community did that. Well some still do - as a community here where we live it happens. Charitable work to help others is something I enjoy especially if they are deserving.

However there are millions of free loaders who if given everything would still do nothing - you seem to think that people want to work and go to school, but your kidding yourself there. Winners - win - people who want to succeed will find a way or will make a way.

BTW - I thought you said Soc Sec is doing fine? It posted a $47.8 billion dollar deficit in 2012. Sounds like it is going real well.

Chad said...

I just read a little more (by the way I am having issues using my IPad's and Tablets with the new format - can not copy and paste for some reason) and there are only 94 million private sector full time workers in 2011 - expected to fall a little in 2012. Soc sec applicants are on the rise and now for every 1.64 private sector workers there is 1 drawing from social security.

Opt me out yesterday.

Chad said...

One last quick point - I am not asking you to pay for my kids either. It is as if they don't exist for the rest of the population, if I were sending the gov't a bill then your point is valid. Besides look at all the jobs I am helping to sustain through the process of having kids that I can afford and take care of. Food, clothes, toys, RV"s, cars and other goods - helping to boost our local economy.

Examinator said...

It's interesting in a wry sense how Chad sees his life and children.
He still doesn't get it that it isn't HIS money that pays for Soc Security any more than the money he paid the attendant at the Gas station. He certainly doesn't have the right to tell the gas station owner that he can't spent 'Chads ' money on an abortion for his son's girlfriend.
By Capitalist doctrine once the money has changed hands it has changed ownership.. and Has no claim on it . He has a agreed right to ask for services etc from the government where the law allows him to.
It is the Government's responsibility to allocate according to need and priorities (in theory from the ALL people)
In reality because he lives in the US he is bound to pay the taxes etc as determined by the laws (majority of people.)
His mind set (US conservatives, tea baggers) are incapable of seeing the world in anything but in an egocentric way.
Besides the amount he pays in taxes wouldn't pay for his share of what he gets from the collective purse particularly the services used by or for his children.

What they daren't comprehend is that their whole system of capitalism is dependent on other consumers (yes the so called 'free loaders' too) to maintain manufacturing and business viabilities, availability , price levels, distribution networks and convenience, they all depend on critical mass. Without the 47% (on social welfare [sic] or government largess) his life style would be virtually no existent.

Imagine if you might what would happen if Social security simply stopped yesterday like Chad in his naivety wants . The economy would simply crash . There simply isn't the jobs out there to soak up the existing and the extra unemployed IN THE USA.
The poor would run out of money to BUY FOOD and Services and Consumer goods.
The now unemployed public service workers would also run out of money to Spend but more than that they can't pay tax.

Reality is that the rich neither pay the majority of Tax revenue nor the bulk of everyday expenditure. That's done by the average citizen and the 'free loaders'. With the decreasing tax take the government cuts back services and sacks more public servants. Businesses profits would decrease they'd cut back or go bust because with fewer people employed there would be less demand ….less ability to support large scale manufacturing and so the cycle goes on. And yes less need for high paid sales executives hmmm.

But the greatest worry is that according to the theory the US would have a rapidly escalating people who are no longer able to get benefit from the current regime and you have the situation that Roosevelt faced in the 1928 – 39 depression. The Threat that the dispossessed would indeed rise up and take the lot or what was left.
There simply wouldn't be enough police national guard to control the desperation. Interestingly because of the Republican stand on fire arms most of those revolting would be armed and with far more lethal weapons than were available in the great depression. Good luck Chad you'd be a soft target.

Jon, what the 'conservatives'(sic) (read plutocrats' manipulated puppets) don't know is that there is a critical mass ratio in a society between the haves and have nots out side of which, History shows the society can't exist.
This ratio is less where the have nots have knowledge and a sense of entitlement.....the US has both .
Before the numb nuts get carried away I'm not predicting the end of the US...only that the seeds ARE present.

Jon said...

Chad, my point is this. Take your arguments for why subsidizing others is wrong. They are takers and you are their slave. Making them work will build their character. In other words, it is good for them. When you talk about slashing SS benefits you're offering a suggestion that really helps these poor people.

If you really believe that then you have to recognize that this same argument applies precisely to your own children. This is not about you asking me to pay for your kids. This is about the fact that you not paying for them IS GOOD FOR THEM. If it's good for others, it's good for your kids too. If it's not good for your kids, then it's not good for others.

I think when you look at your own children you do feel empathy, and that's why this charade you offer, which says people should always be required to carry their own weight, particularly if they are able bodied, falls by the wayside. When you look at your kids you understand that putting your kids in the vegetable fields now in fact is not good for them at all. What would be better for them is if you invest in them a bit. They'll never be brain surgeons if their schooling years are spent picking tomatoes. If you invest in them and allow them to run a deficit for a bit then in the long run they are better off.

Your kids are perfectly able bodied. For instance Daniel Defoe, the English writer who wrote Robinson Crusoe, thought that kids could earn a living from the age of 4. And it is done throughout the world. None of this crap of these takers turning parents into slaves, making them provide when they are perfectly capable. If you believe this stuff you believe it for your own kids. If you don't believe it for your kids just admit that this claim of yours that it is good for others is crap.

Jon said...

And BTW, saying that SS ran a deficit and pretending that is a problem is a lot like saying people that budget all year so they can do a lot of Christmas shopping is a problem because their December budget was a deficit. That is by design. The SS trust fund was created to allow the program to run a deficit during the baby boomer years, and it will run a deficit as long as there are funds, put in by the contributers, to cover the expenses. The moment those funds are exhausted the law demands that disbursements are reduced (right now they would cut back to about 75% of current projected disbursements) and it would run that way indefinitely. So what's the problem? Not 1 penny added to the deficit. And a program that can sustain itself and keep the elderly off the street and with full bellies. Ask yourself why your sources, whether Mike Church or The Blaze or whatever it is you're reading complain about that and say next to nothing about all these wars which not only contribute to the deficit, but they do a lot more harm than good? Why is SS such a top priority for them?

Chad said...

If other 3 and 6 year olds were working in America then I certainly would agree - unfortunately for your arguement to work here it would require me to run into a 6 year old stocking shelves which has not happened. However when I am working in the yard, working out, cleaning the house or cooking they are there to help always. Your attempting to change the dynamic of the arguement by inviting something outside of the US which interests me zero sorry.

There will be a coming to Jesus moment with my kids no doubt. As long as they are excelling in the class room, in society and in sports I will (as long as I can) continue to give them assistance. If they choose a different path then I hope they will be good at working at something because the free ride will be over.

As I said before Jon and your not hearing me - personally I would like to end social security, but I would simply be happy with the option to opt out. I would just like the choice to invest the money taken on my own in my own way. That is all - you can invest in social security and I will be happy for you, but I don't yet I am forced to by law.

Actually hate wars and so does Church and Wilkow. It is a top topic today because it is your topic.

So when soc sec does run out the payments get reduced even though the cost of living continues to rise? That works for you?

Ex asked a question about how to implement a system to handle the takers. That is actually fairly easy and it helps another arguement of mine and that is more responsibility to the State, County and Town level. Right nonetheless government makes blanket decisions and they are terrible at it - waste and fraud are rampant. Able bodied individuals playing the system - who would know better who deserves more help and why then the community? We often rally to help a neighbor today so if the taxes collected did not leave the community then real change could happen and there will be an actual connection to the money/help.

Jon I enjoy doing my charitable work - I realize your not saying that I don't - but I think your discounting the power of community and charitable acts. Let's say for arguement sake that only $3,000 of my tax dollars are collected by gov't to use for food stamps or freebies in Oklahoma. Well why Oklahoma and not here where I can see the money's affect? Granted there is probably zero dollars coming back to my city here - we are doing well, but it sure would be nice if I could choose how to help.

Examinator said...

One of the problems with 'learning' from MSM is that you only find out about the final result (the end sensationalized event). Never enough functional knowledge (how things work) to be able to figure out a workable solution.
Your “simple really just keep tax money earned in an area in that area” is one example of such naivety.

"Your" 'protestant work ethic'....'tough love", 'it's good for them' are simply hollow rhetoric (slogans) to justify the primacy of the rich. Particularly if there aren't any jobs. Most of the mechanical , repetitive jobs have gone elsewhere and or are being robotised/ automated. Not every one is able to do or get technical jobs.
e.g. In Australia there are jobs in the mining and extraction industries and the companies are complaining that there isn't enough worker willing to do the jobs in Aus. The truth is the mining companies want fully trained/experienced workers...there are plenty of willing workers from cities but without the skills.
Additionally the companies don't want to train locals they want 'guest workers' at ½ the wage more profit.
Their mining corps are more than profitable now.
In truth one industry spokes person told TV that they are profit organizations and not SS and their agenda is to make as much profit as quickly as possible, regardless of the consequences to the workers or the country. “ they can all go to hell... we'll move onto the next target”.

You quote 98 million private enterprise jobs implying that the rest are 'free loaders'.
You are ignoring a similar number of public service jobs that maintain businesses and ones in the military.
Also note, that none of the 'private contractors' ( govt approved mercenaries) would exist as profitable entities if they weren't subsidised by the public tax or prices were controlled so they could make profits.
The profit is in supplying TO the military not in it.

It is simply a nonsense to assert as you do that Private Enterprise can or will do the same job ....they can't and won't.
a good example of this is the electricity industry. If it weren't for government subsidies and GUARANTEED profit whole areas, namely rural (food producing) areas would be without, there simply isn't enough consumers or it would be so expensive food prices would explode. and only the rich would be able to pay their electricity bills ...the low paid workers would freeze to death in half of the most productive states. Likewise they'd die from lack of health care wouldn't be economic to build hospitals in those and low income/ low population areas.

BTW the re-appearance of TB, Polio, measles,whooping cough etc and specifically the drug resistant forms are BECAUSE of poverty and or people CHOOSING NOT TO VACCINATE. It is possible that you or your children can contract some of those fatal diseases by passing contact with those who either can't or don't have, too poor, affordable appropriate health care.Then there's drug resistant super diseases because of the over use of prescription drugs/ antibiotics also in food driven by profit.
Oh yes CDC wouldn't exist in private enterprise.

In short your 'solution' doesn't address those issues which could/ might come back and bite you and your family.
PS all of these services require Tax money Your $3000 would even come close to paying your share of any of this. Your complaint about paying for 'free loaders' in Oklahoma is just so much Crap as to make you look horribly ill informed

Jon said...

So if other parents in the US were working their children, demanding they carry their own weight, you would do the same? You wouldn't just go ahead and let them stay in school so they could possibly create a better life for themselves?

I think this is really quite typical for what I think you can call the extremist conservatives. They reaped the rewards of prior taxation. Computers, interstate highways, good public schools and subsidized universities. You and I enjoyed all that. Any idiot could walk out of high school and still have a decent life thanks to union sacrifices. Our parents didn't make us work so they could have just a little bit more. They sacrificed a bit so we could have a decent life. And now that we have reached adulthood we refuse to make the same sacrifices for our children. Let's send our own kids out to make minimum wage, and we'll take the money because they don't deserve it. After all they don't pay the mortgage. They should be grateful that they get daily meals. It's all quite sad.

Jon said...

What I say above is more true for the baby boomers. They stopped making the sacrifices. They could walk out of high school and have a decent life because of the sacrifices their parents made. That was less feasible for our generation because they wouldn't sacrifice and now it's even less true for our own children.

Chad said...

Whoa now - I am only asking for an option to opt out of Soc Sec, I don't recall saying that I didn't want to do my part for the country. Jon - what your failing to comprehend is that if I was given the power of the gov't then I could have made roads, made the Internet happen, make all that has happened - happen. My only question is how much has gov't retarded real development? When you have unlimited power and resources like the gov't it is disappointing that all we got from the money is roads, a space ship, a big bomb, a version of the basic internet and a very reactive only medical cure system. In many if not all of those 'great and wonderful' developments we enjoy today - I argue, strongly argue that the private world could have done them faster and cheaper if given the opportunity.

In fact, I would venture a guess that not a single creation came from a 'government' employee, my guess and I need to study this is the only thing that gov't did was fund a private mind (unlimited) with specific tasks in mind. What comes to mind is the bomb - I believe the gov't brought in private citizens, smart people, locked them in a camp and said make the bomb.

Honestly we as Americans should be upset and frankly disgusted with the returning investment. Hell even the military today goes out to the private companies for the new weapons, new vehicles and things - they make almost nothing, but have deep pockets and 9 million regulations to make a gun that should cost $300, cost us $3,000. That is what gov't is good at.

Not sure what you mean about sacrifice for our children less? Not clear on that one. I promise to take care of my family to the best of my ability, I promise to take care of my community/neighbors and church - what other responsibility do I have again? We pay about 40% of our salary to taxes - what the hell else are we supposed to be doing? Do you want 50%, maybe 60% - what's good for you and enough JC?

What do I get for the 40%? Ex somehow thinks that my portion is not enough even though some pay (in dollars) only a fraction of what we do. He thinks I am Ill-informed even though from a dollars standpoint we pay way more than most. All citizens are not handed an equal bill for the firefighters, an equal bill for the police officers service - no sir our piece of the pie is dictated by the amount of money we make. 1.5% on income to be exact. So when looking at the household median income we are considerably higher meaning of course that our contribution to the "pool" is far greater than most. So Ex calls me foolish, but intact I am 100% correct - my money when taken goes to subsidize and pay for folks who make less. Do I enjoy a safe community - yes. Am I pissed that the amount I contribute for services I have not used is far more than my neighbor - hell yes. Would I like a more fair and balanced approach - yes, yes yes. Personally I am all for billing for services rendered - if you call the cops you get a bill, if your house catches fire or you need to get the cat out of the tree - you get a bill. Now thats fair.

Since fair is rarely on the table, it would be nice - very nice if the extremes were just pulled in. A flat 1.5% is BS. You want to penalize us for being successful, you want to say it is our 'duty' then fine, but throw us a dinner thanking the contributors, let me slide on a speeding ticket, bring me over my vehicle tags maybe - show some love for being a major contributor.

I like rules though so that would be tough to draw the line on turning the other cheek for something bad. Don't know the answer, but when our contribution to local, state and federal taxes are much higher than others it is tough to stay quiet for the better good arguement.

Chad said...

The people that are Un-American in my opinion are those folks who have absolutely no responsibility what so ever. Who is more of the problem and why is it that my ideas, thoughts and beliefs count less because I contribute more? That has always and forevermore will bother me - thank you for your contribution, but no thank you for you opinion.

Chad said...

Oh and don't forget, the daycare is looking for full payment from us ($25k) while others get subsidized. The church and the soup kitchen expect that their checks will cash and my dad expects his Med's to show up every Monday and my Nephew needs to be sponsored to go to Washington DC even though mom/step dad go out every damn Wednesday night for $80 a pop. I wish I cold go Galt, but to much responsibility.

Examinator said...

Try and see tax in terms of COST of living in the USA or the country you are.

User pays has financial 'Bad breath ' and a nasty habit of biting people.
Consider this:
If user paid then the haulage companies should pay more because they use the roads more.
Fact: Big semi-trailers actually damage the highways more than I in my old Subaru WAY more. Basic physics)
Their current licence fees etc are not anywhere near the cost of making or maintaining roads. Some areas have fewer people in them but still need highways to move their produce from which they make profit.
The logical extrapolation is that if the trucks paid their 'fair' amount then they should pay exponentially more because of heir several times more damage etc. If they did their costs would go cosmic as would their rates to compensate. But your road costs would not reduce sufficiently to balance the increases in your cost of living everything that involves trucking. .
Imagine how much your company's costs would need to increase hmm. Export items would be uncompetitive. The damage to US economy would be enormous...imagine the cost of Gas for your RV especially given the petrol involves a lot of 'externalities' like port costs (government subsidised) transport (government subsidised) etc. Your food well … you better start a veggie patch.

Also I think you'll find that your fire insurance is partially based on the potential loss ...I'm sure the loss of your home would be way higher than mine. But I'm equally sure that your premium isn't proportionately larger than mine.

This is because the loss of big houses with lots of stuff are balanced against those in smaller houses and less stuff. It's know in the trade "as whole of community rating" and is built into premiums.

This same principal is what underpins Private Health insurance in Aus (socialist nirvana (sic)). If they didn't use the whole of...... then most young people would bother until they become families. At which time they tend to be bigger claimers. The rate of claiming increases as one gets older 50.
So the Aus govt says you have the choice not to get private insurance after 30 but if you do they tax you more. It pays to join at thirty because the different between the cost of insurance is less than the increase in tax + the 30% rebate. Each year you delay buying Private Health insurance it's rate goes up.
Smart move is to join at 25 and the monthly/fortnightly etc lags considerably behind the increasing cost of buying it later . This is again in addition to the extra tax hit. In effect the government is encouraging people to take Private health insurance and not rely on TOTALY on the public system ….only those who have no other option do that. Far less 'free loaders' (as you put it.) Oh yes the service is slower and ward only hospitalzation.

Clearly there are several things we as ordinary citizens simple couldn't pay for on our own and certainly businesses couldn't afford to either. By your myopic reasoning we are funding hauliers and your company.

Examinator said...

As a non believer I could grossly resent that churches (and yours) because it operates TAX Free.
Yet I had to pay to have my children taught in a private School which made profits that they gave to the church head office full of 'freeloaders' who didn't produce anything.
Now what's fair about that?

Chad said...

Aretou trying to say that the church or more specific the clergy is a bunch of freeloaders because they choose a life of service living very modestly? Well you always stretch things in super odd and hard to follow ways so I am not shocked. Choosing to do God's work takes a dedication and a level of discipline that is beyond many - certainly me. What they provide the community is nearly unmeasurable and to put a women with 3 kids from 3 different daddy's who collects Obama money to a servant of God is laughable and then some.

And because it is a Private schools you could have chosen another or went public if it bothered you that much.

We have tolls in the US - cost by axle. Truckers are part of the life blood that allows commerce to give gov't the opportunity to steal as much as possible to do their deeds. I think your trying to argue the chicken or the egg again and are way off point. So they tear up the roads more - great - they also provide a large majority of the goods/services that gives the revenue to make the road.

Again so your saying my penalty is my success - if I buy a slightly larger home or more land then inherently my tax goes up even though I use far fewer public services then others who might have less or no house? That makes zero sense - might as well set the price of milk and bread by income or property then.

Examinator said...


I am well aware of the laws in the point is that it in reality is no where near enough proportionately to the damage they cause.
Look up the amounts of revenues from trucks and cars govt receive then compare it with all traffic expenditure by governments and I know there is a *massive* deficit.

Think it through how long does an suburban street road last compared to a road that has trucks on them all the time then compare the cost to make them. I think you'll find the cost per mile per lane is very, very different.

Again you are trying to put words in my mouth.
I said "head offices" take a look at most of the main denominations they have a large hierarchy. And if you are going to try and tell me that all major hierarchies live abstemious frugal lives you need to read a bit more.
According to your USER PAYS MENTALITY If you want a clergy then YOU pay for HIM/HER.
I'll think you'll find most people don't access him/her or your church.

Notwithstanding I was making a point not attacking anyone merely pointing out some of the inconsistencies/hypocrisies in your (religious Right/ tea bagger) sanctimonious judgements.


Likewise While not a believer I still observe some of the 'morals' of the Bible you have difficulty with...
Love thy neighbor,as thy self.
Treat your neighbor as you would want them to treat you.
Judge not lest You be judged.
Judgement is mine sayeth the Lord
Thou Shall not Kill.
Thou shall not covert they neighbor's goods (that means resent the SS recipients because of the opportunity cost to you too).
Oh yes "love of money is the root of all evil"
All key texts from Christianity.
And the list goes on.

Examinator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad said...

Being a former Theology Major - your out of your depth Ex.

Look up Prov 16:26 since I can not copy and paste. I am a sinner as we all are, but would be happy to go verse for verse with ya. God was critical of the lazy.

Move on sir.

Chad said...

Prov 13:4.

Chad said...

Col 1:10

Chad said...

The good one Eph 4:28.

Chad said...

Luke 6:30 - directly for the free loaders.

Chad said...

A the same time, the Bible does address excess wealth and not giving. The Bible is one of the most complex books ever written by far.

Examinator said...

Yet again you focus on the trivial while ignoring the inconvenient truth.

Likewise I could get into a quote fest too but it doesn't change the substantive facts .
You are quoting out of context.
You are still as I describe

Chad said...

Trivial is your MO sir -- that is rich. I am well in context.

Here is a for instance - covet they neighbors goods. I quote Exodus 20:12 often and it defeats the Liberal agenda, very surprised you toss that one up. I want to give every dime that every individual has put into Soc Sec and bid them a good day - I don't want their money for my personal gain. The Ponzi scheme that is Soc Sec would collapse immediately if that would happen - it counts on and needs people to die before cashing in their chips to work.

Root of evil is money - well I don't pray to or lust for physical money, but it is a necessary part of our society. God references often that the hard worker will eat the fruit of his labor, blessings and prosperity will be enjoyed (Psalm 128:2). What I believe is that I can do 10 times more good with my money than any gov't and I can do far more work for the Lord that way so I don't mind fighting to keep the fruits of my labor to do more for my family/neighbors/church and community.

Examinator said...

Yet again you are projecting putting word and concept in my mouth.
"Liberal Agenda?" I have no agenda be it liberal or otherwise.
Like I said you are focusing not on what I said but on what YOU want to answer.
Just a few BIBLICAL Facts which I'm surprised that you as a 'theological major' can't get your head around.
1. 'the Bible' isn't one book but a collection of several ....a religious library.
2. The OT was written for a different 'religion' (culture).
3. the NT is a politically chosen collection to suit a medieval Pope and a hierarchy.Those letters of the apostles and testaments that didn't agree with their dogmatic mores or power structure were left out.
4. Thou shall not kill and thou shall not covert are COMMANDMENTS AND AS SUCH TAKE PRECEDENCE
BTW there are no qualifiers like 'praying for' they are binary DON'T DO IT!
Just to be clear I am not sitting in judgement on your failing that is not for me to do.
As a non believer I simply note your selectivity and or hypocrisy.
The real point of the argument is not *your* religious persuasion nor *your* failings as such (if there is/are god(s) he/she/they would know my failings)but your santimonium and how it stops you from looking at any topic objectively. Thus locking you into out of context responses to a objective conversation.
As a final note Apart from the Judge not lest you be judged etc. No where does it say in the new testament (Christian as opposed to Judaic) that you are to kill, ostracise, judge or otherwise create harm to those who do not believe.

Examinator said...

Chad and others
It seems to me that many here fail to understand that I have no agenda other than to understand people and engage in a lively discussion on an objective level.
I follow NO fix (dogma) either religious or political. While I admire say the reasoning and skill of a Chomsky I don't claim to be as eloquent or as smart I don't necessarily agree with all his conclusions if for no other reason than he starts from a set ideology.
The point here is that ANY FIXED IDEOLOGY etc. is by definition limited or sub set of the whole range of possibilities.
If I have learned anything in my eclectic life it is one size one culture etc doesn't fit everyone or every situation. Hence my fixation of sorts on Context is every thing to understanding.
Chad for example has a ultra simplified understanding based on good or evil and nothing in between. The objective truth is that life like people is a distribution between the the two extremes. Most people are clustered towards the middle around the statistical mean.
I have seen and experience things that while on the surface seem not good but in reality of context well not so bad.
I would quote the Moriori people of the Chatham Islands who were isolated on tiny islands 900 mile west of New Zealand literally in the middle of no where. They are of the same genetic stock as those who were trapped on Rapa Nui (Easter Island). Yet the end game was poles apart.
Easter Island over populated They denuded island and the civilization collapsed in violent internecine tribal warfare base on religion. By the time the white man came there were very few natives and their life style was primitive.
Conversely the Moriori were a largely democratic peaceful society i.e. no internecine tribal wars. their society had a stable culture and society that shared willingly.
The obvious question here is why they didn't over populate the answer is by our terms dark 'infanticide'
This example makes my point that while we abhor infanticide in their context it made sense and surprisingly they were as I said by all accounts a peaceful society. i.e. there are no absolutes.
The more extremes in our society religious/ political/ economics/ business tend to want to FORCE THEIR VIEWS i.e. Rapa Nui style. yet the democratic style of the Moriori is/was demonstrably better for the most number of people.

The Moriori crashed after white man arrived because he did a deal with the Maori of NZ who invaded and literally ate them...well done white man (Brits)

Examinator said...

Oh yes I forgot


it's party time?


Post Apocalypse pre Cliff dive
he he he