What Memorial Day means to NY Times readers

| May 27, 2012 | 124 Comments

Cortillaen sends us a link to an article in the New York Times which highlights the saddest images it can as their Memorial Day weekend remembrance, One image is probably one you’re familiar with – Katherine Cathey, camped out overnight by the remains of her husband LT James Cathey on the night before his burial. Cortillaen warned me in his eamil to not read the comments, but, I couldn’t help it;

At the end of the article you ask an incredibly important question: What can I do?

What can we do? We can push our state and federal representatives to more heavily subsidize higher education so that we can have a much larger percent of the population with fully developed intellects.

[…]

Is there any doubt that with a more educated, more discerning, more deliberative voting population that George W. Bush would have ever been elected? A man that lacked the most essential quality that is necessary in United States President, i.e., intellectual curiosity.

An educated people would have more broadly pinpointed his lack of intellectual curiosity and therefore would have concluded that he cannot handle the nuance of critical decisions because he lacks the self-derived onus to investigate these nuances. The Iraq war would never have happened and future wars can likewise be avoided. That is what we can do.

Did you resist paying your taxes to fund these wars? Did you demonstrate, speak out, write to your political leaders, write letters to the editor? Did you, and do you, do everything you can to prevent needless wars? If the answer is yes, I salute you.

The Iraq war is especially tragic, started by a bunch of psychopaths who do what psychopaths do: lie, self-serve, and enjoy the spectacle of the death and destruction they cause.

Read Robert Hare’s book on psychopaths, Without Conscience, to understand how the Iraq war happened, how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld came to power, how Little George was so manipulated; how dangerous Romney is.

Nowadays, is the decision to enter the military merely and solely an economic one? If so, one will surely never see the top 1% submit to military service and go in harm’s way.

What “American values” are worthy of this sacrifice? Do those values include “maximization of shareholder value”?

Is it to be regretted that “corporate persons” are unable to go in harm’s way on behalf of their (financial) interests like flesh-and-blood human “resources” and “capital”?

I remember the old anti-war phrase from the 60’s: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” It’s a good question, isn’t it? Bush and Blair got America involved in a senseless war based on lies. There wasn’t even a draft in place. Why do men so willingly march off to kill on command in behalf of the Anglo-American oil cartel? Very sad indeed.

He was sent to his death (by men who evaded military service themselves everyone of them) on the otherside of the world to kill poor people and farmers.

Ask his widow what she thinks of the war

Every solider, in every war, who is not sent because s/he is a literal slave, goes because s/he chose to go. If the soldiers would refuse to fight, we would have no war. War happens because people think war is exciting and noble, or necessary, or inevitable.

The USA had no business going to war in Iraq and shouldn’t be in Afghanistan. The POTUS at the time lied, straight forwardly and stupidly, lied. I knew it then and so did many of my friends. Nonetheless, many people, men and women, chose to go to these places and fight.

And then they wonder why there’s a gap between the military and the people they’re defending in this country.

Category: Antiwar crowd, Dumbass Bullshit

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  1. Hondo says:

    One last point, insipid. Since I recall that you appear to have the “hots” for Nobel economists, you might want to check out what Milton Friedman, Paul Samuelson, and Paul Krugman have said in the past about Social Security. Each has likened Social Security to a Ponzi scheme. In fact, 2 of the three have outright stated that Social Security IS a Ponzi scheme. Krugman was more circumspect, merely saying that it has “Ponzi game aspects” and that the “Ponzi game will soon be over”.

    http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/09/is-social-security-a-ponzi-scheme.html

    In case you’ve forgotten, “game over” in a Ponzi scheme means virtually all the participants take it in the shorts. Bigtime.

  2. UpNorth says:

    Somewhere upthread, #56, insip posted a quote that SS is solvent, yet in the same post, admits that in less than 8 years it’ll be insolvent. So, nope, it isn’t self-supporting, never has been, never will be.
    And, I encourage you to follow Sparky’s advice. While you’re there, ask to see the SS balance sheet, you know, how much they’re taking in, opposed to what they’re paying out. If they aren’t rolling on the floor laughing at you with the “account” request, they will be at that.

  3. DR_BRETT says:

    ” . . . provide for the COMMON Defense and GENERAL Welfare OF the United States; . . . ”
    – Constitution of The U.S.A., Article. I. Section. 8. (No, not the Military Section Eight) —
    The wording means — the WHOLE, NOT the individual .
    NO DIRECT TAX also means NOT INDIVIDUAL — thus tariffs are Constitutional, the IRS is NOT (Amendment XVI is WRONG, but Constitutionally ratified (as is Amendment XVIII)) .
    The DIFFERENT concepts Man (The Individual) and some GROUP (mere sum of some men) —
    ARE MASSIVELY EVADED .
    The gov’t-funded colleges have no motivation to teach straight thinking .

  4. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Insipid, this is just an observation, a personal opinion, my thoughts, my feeling.There is a quote out there that goes something like, “All the world is crazy but me and you but sometimes I wonder about you.” So you are right and everyone else, who has posted anything counter to you, is wrong.

    Read #103 and dispute it. Did you or did you not claim, @ 56, that SS is solvent then in the same post you say it will have exhausted it’s reserves by 2033. The only way that can happen is if it’s paying out more than it’s taking in.

    How about this. I’m on a PLA (Personal Leave of Absence) which started on 1 Feb. I won’t be returning to work until 31 Jan 2013. When I started my PLA I had $35,000+ in my saving account. I have been living off that since I quit working. My living expenses are $2,500 a month not including my entertainment costs. I guestimate I’m spending $3,000 a month. I’m doing some consulting work which brings in about $500 a month. The net loss to my savings is $2,500 a month. Using round figures my bank account will be broke in 14 months.

    This is what’s happening to SS. More money is going out, because there are more people receiving money, than there are people putting money in. Demographics don’t lie. I’m a baby “Baby Boomer” the largest group of current and future SS recipients in history. My parents have five kids paying into SS to cover their benefits. I have three that are paying in to cover my x-wife and myself. Son 1 has one to pay for him and Mikki, son 2 has 2 to pay for him and Jamie and daughter has 2 to pay for her and Ruben. Another thing to consider is there are people out there not paying anything into SS. Here in Az firefighters and LEOs belong to a separate retirement fund. My older brother hasn’t paid SS taxes in 30 years BUT he has enough earned credits so he will be receiving some SS benefits. There is a huge difference between being solvent and being self sustaining, SS is neither.

  5. insipid says:

    Long post, but I’m trying to answer everyone in one shot, because i have work tomorrow!

    I sure hope you didn’t give yourself Carpal T typing all that out, Hondo because almost none of what you say applies to SS. Yes, if SS were operating as a pension plan much of what you say would be true. But SS is not a pension plan and never has been. Social Security’s initials are actually SSI and SSDI, which stands for Social Security INSURANCE and also Social Security Disability INSURANCE. What it does is insure against your no longer being able to work should you become old or infirm.

    Insurance companies work in entirely different ways than pension funds. If you buy health, life, fire car or unemployment insurance there’s no account there for you saving all the money you put into it. You can’t go to your broker and say “I want my money back, i didn’t get sick, die early, have a fire or get into a car accident, and have never been unemployed a day in my life! Pay up!” As with Social Security INSURANCE that is not how it works. Everyone pays into it so it’s there IF you are one of the people that need it. Likewise insurance, also works on the principle of many people paying for a minority of people just like SSI and SSDI. Insurance like SSI and SSDI does not give a guaranteed pay out. That depends on what kind of policy you buy and the severity of the accident, illness etc. etc.

    Furthermore, insurance like Social Security and Medicare is paid for with the understanding that there will be a major windfall. Nobody thinks that if you buy insurance for you condo that it will be replaced with a mansion should there be a fire. Nobody pays into SSI with the belief that it will make them wealthy. They pay for it with the knowledge that it will be there as a back up should when they get old or should they become infirm.

    So no, if a private company decided to run an insurance agency in which many people decided to pay for the retirement and disability of other people that would not be illegal. It would be impractical to run because there’s no way a private insurance agency could muster enough people in the pool in order to make it profitable, but still it would be legal.

    In order to save you more carpal t (you just don’t appreciate what a giver i am!) I’ll answer your next challenge, “But it was CALLED a pension on this date and in this time! Fraud! They’d be in jail if they tried that in the private sector! Hell, I’ll even provide a video produced in 1953 which has that quote from Roosevelt you referenced above and even clearly states that the money you pay into Social Security is stored in a vault with your name on it (or something to that effect).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq_tJMvIaU

    Fraud! Lying bastards! If the private sector tried something like that they’d be in jail post haste!

    No, not at all. If you actually applied the rules of fraud to the facts of the video then you would see that it does not even come close.

    In order for that video to be fraud it has to meet ALL of the following criteria:

    1. There has to be a false statement and it has to be done with the intention of harming the plaintiff. I will stipulate that calling it a pension is a false statement and that stating that there is money in vault for you is also false. However enrolling someone in a program that has paid out in EXACTLY the manner described in the video for over 50 years would not qualify as an intent to harm. It’s actually deceiving with an intent to do good.

    2. It has to be of a material fact. No, in this case it is not a material fact. Whether i call it a pension or insurance SS STILL did and does everything the video claimed it did. If i sell you fire insurance and I say something to the effect of “I’m going to take your money and put it in an account and it will be there if you need it when you have a fire”. That is not a true statement. The money is not being stored in a vault, it’s being used to pay for the damages of other people and it’s going to pay for my salary. So, am i guilty of fraud, am I going to jail post haste!? No, not at all, because the fact is not material, as long as the insurance company shells out the money if you have a fire. You’re allowed to make misstatements as to the particulars in or describing a program or product as long as the program does what you say it will and SSI did EVERYTHING described in that video.

    3. I’m going to be generous and give you number three. I do believe that when the video said that your money is stored for safe keeping, that does fall under the category of lie. However I do not believe this falls under the category of “reckless disregard for the truth” because they also use the words insurance, or insured at least 50 times in that 17 minute video.

    4. There has to be an intention to induce reliance on the statement. Again, I’ll be generous and concede that the portion of the video that stated your money is in an account and that one use of the word pension was used to induce reliance.

    5. Plaintiff relies on the statement to the Detriment of the plaintiff and here’s the biggy and here’s where you fail miserably. For the 59 years since the video has been made SS has worked EXACTLY as described in the video. It’s paid out in the sums described in the video (going up quite a bit for inflation of course).

    So that’s only 2 out of the 5 elements. So there’s no fraud there. Furthermore the constant repetition of the word insurance and insured certainly makes it clear that they wanted people to think it was an insurance policy (which it is).

    So while there were parts of the video that were admittedly deceptive it hardly rises to the level of Bernie Maddoff. The people who bought into SSI got the payments they were expecting when they got old and had it there for them if they became disabled. SSI paid out exactly as described, unlike Bernie Madoff.

    Now as to the other big kinnard! This would be SOOOO much better if handled by the private sector! Mmmmm, no.

    Let’s examine just what you’re getting for the 12% of your income that you pay into SSI, Medicare and Medicaid:

    1. You get a guaranteed payment, that’s adjusted for inflation that will pay out from the time you’re 67 until the day you die even if you live to be 120.

    2. You get an insurance program that cannot turn you down for pre-existing conditions that will pay your basic needs until the day you die no matter how long you live. With it you also get the right to buy into another program that will pay for virtually all your care till the day you die.

    3. You get insurance that will pay you an amount should you become disabled and cannot work until you either get better and are able to work or until you die.

    You get ALL of this for just 12% of your income (14% if and when the Obama Tax cut runs out). There is not a private insurance anywhere that can compete with that. Hell many employers will take 10% or more out of your pay JUST for health insurance.

    Not only that, but no insurance IS competing with that. When private insurance was tried to replace government insurance in Chile and Britain it was a disaster. Since you referenced Krugman as somehow agreeing with you I’ll quote what he had to say:

    <<<>>>>

    Wow, doesn’t sound like he thinks it’s a ponzi scheme to me! It sounds like he likes it!

    As far as all the folks who claim that social security is insolvent based on this link that pretty much all of us agree is a fair link:

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/index.html

    Right now the site states that SSI is taking in more than it’s paying out and will continue to do so until 2020. It also states that it can continue to pay full benefits by cashing in the reserves until 2033 (and if you think government bonds are worthless Hondo, I’ll be happy to take any of them off your hands for 10 cents of gold ((since i assume you don’t like cash either it also being backed up by the U.S. Govt))). However when that happens it’s not like SS will evaporate. Even if we do nothing SS can still pay out benefits for the remainder of the 75 year period at roughly 75%.

    But we’re not going to do nothing. I garuntee you that something will be done because any political party that allows SS to go out will go the way of the whigs within 4 or 5 years.

    And there’s probably a dozen ways we can fix it without ending the program. We could raise the retirement age slightly, we can raise (or better yet eliminate) the cap on income, we can raise the amount that the employer and employee pay into SSI and Medicare by 1 or 2 percent. Both programs can- and will- be mended without being ended. Here’s a good article on the subject:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500395_162-6494282.html

  6. insipid says:

    I meant that there is an understanding that there will NOT be a major windfall in paragraph 4.

    I was trying to do show visually that it was a quote, but somehow I eliminated the quote from Krugman:

    ============================================================
    Privatizers who laud the Chilean system never mention that it has yet to deliver on its promise to reduce government spending. More than 20 years after the system was created, the government is still pouring in money. Why? Because, as a Federal Reserve study puts it, the Chilean government must “provide subsidies for workers failing to accumulate enough capital to provide a minimum pension.” In other words, privatization would have condemned many retirees to dire poverty, and the government stepped back in to save them.

    The same thing is happening in Britain. Its Pensions Commission warns that those who think Mrs. Thatcher’s privatization solved the pension problem are living in a “fool’s paradise.” A lot of additional government spending will be required to avoid the return of widespread poverty among the elderly – a problem that Britain, like the U.S., thought it had solved.

    Britain’s experience is directly relevant to the Bush administration’s plans. If current hints are an indication, the final plan will probably claim to save money in the future by reducing guaranteed Social Security benefits. These savings will be an illusion: 20 years from now, an American version of Britain’s commission will warn that big additional government spending is needed to avert a looming surge in poverty among retirees.

    So the Bush administration wants to scrap a retirement system that works, and can be made financially sound for generations to come with modest reforms. Instead, it wants to buy into failure, emulating systems that, when tried elsewhere, have neither saved money nor protected the elderly from poverty.

    ======================================================

    Finally SSI faced a similar “crises” in the 1980s did Reagan scream PONZI SCHEME! and demand that they end it? No, the gipper actually worked out a deal with Tipp O’ Neil. He raised the retirement age a little, he started taxing unemployment insurance and VOILA! Crises averted. The same thing will happen here, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    It’s funny how often i wind up bringing up Reagan fondly here, you’re the guys who are supposed to worship him.

  7. Redacted1775 says:

    THIS is where we’re headed if we don’t get this fraud out of office: “Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy)•A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.”

  8. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Insipid, you have proven, “All the word is crazy except me and thee, and I’ve been wondering about thee lately.”

    You continue to insist you are right and everyone else is wrong. MANY of us here have Graduate and Post Graduate degrees, we’re not exactly dummies. Having my BA + 16 in Business Admin I am well aware of of finance. Your continued use of foreign examples of socialism to support your arguments are wearing thin and are becoming extremely boring. Citations from questionable sources don’t help either. Lastly, longwinded diatribes DO NOT imply authority nor facts. A sign of maturity is admitting when you’re wrong. A sign of immaturity is continuing to argue a point that is lost. Guess where you fit in?

  9. insipid says:

    You’re acting as if this is a straight down the middle site, Yat. It’s not. This is a right-wing site. If i was in a flat earth or holocaust deniers forum i might very well be arguing with everyone on the board that the earth is round and i’d still be right and “everyone” would still be wrong. Not that I’m comparing right wingers to flat-earthers but….. mmmmm….. I’m not sure how to finish that sentence.

    I’m not aware of where I used foreign examples of socialism other than to say Germany’s system has been around since 1889. But last I looked SS and medicare are American. I’m also not aware of any sources that I’ve had that are the least bit “questionable”. Hell many of the sources I’ve used have been provided by posters here.

    You’re acting as if there are no right and wrong answers Yat.

    SS is an insurance fund, not a pension fund, anyone who says otherwise whether it is FDR or Hondo is wrong.

    SS has been operating at a surplus for almost its entire 70 year period. SS has not contributed one penny to the debt, in fact it’s alleviated it. At the very least, if you’re going to insist that SS go bankrupt and that we not give the money back, you must give up the tired talking point that “the poor don’t pay taxes” because the SS paid for by poor and middle class has been supplementing the military, education and the rest of the Federal budget for 70 years. That’s a fact.

    SS is not going bankrupt, nor can it go bankrupt. Even if we do nothing it will continue to run at a diminished capacity.

    Here is an article from Forbes magazine that does a nice job of explaining why SS cannot go bankrupt. I assume that’s conservative enough for you?

    ===========================================================
    What, then, you may ask, is the Social Security Trust Fund, the pool of money that people say will dry up and make it impossible for anyone to receive their Social Security payments? It is the surplus that resulted from having collected more in taxes than was necessary to pay out to retirees. Let me say that again: it is how much existing workers were overtaxed relative to the need to pay retirees in the past. It was never the source of the money we’ve been paying to Social Security recipients all these years. Strictly speaking, it’s completely unnecessary if we are able to precisely and continuously match tax revenues and pay outs.

    We cannot do that, of course, partly because we are dealing with millions of people in a complex economy. In addition, while the payments to retirees are fairly formulaic and change in a predictable way (we can figure how many people are about to reach eligibility and how much they will draw), the revenues fluctuate with the state of the economy. They rise during expansions and fall during recessions. The trust fund can therefore serve as a place to park excess revenues when taxes exceed expenditures and from which additional funds can be drawn when the reverse occurs. It’s a buffer, sort of like that give-a-penny-take-a-penny tray at the local convenience store. As always, however, productivity and productivity alone determines our ability to support a class of retirees. This is only about how we coordinate that system.

    There is another trust fund issue and it is the one related to the expected increase in the ratio of retirees to workers over the next couple of decades. This would presumably cause a net drain on the fund since payments to retirees might increase relative to tax revenues. This is actually the specific phenomenon to which many people are referring when they say that Social Security is going to go bankrupt. However, a) there is no guarantee this will occur since rising productivity could drive up wages sufficiently to compensate (although our trend of stagnating wages relative to profits is frustrating this) and b) even if that did occur, this hardly means that Social Security is kaput. Any shortfall can always be addressed in a very straightforward and supremely logical fashion: raise taxes or lower benefits (and it is exceedingly like that even if this occurs, we aren’t talking about anything drastic). It bears emphasizing, however, that such changes would still be a function of productivity and have absolutely, positively nothing to do with how much money we have or haven’t saved up. Funding, finances, money, taxes, etc. are part of the coordination mechanism, not the feasibility.
    =============================================================

  10. Hondo says:

    insipid: your long-winded, tilting-at-windmills diatribe in 106 above boils down to nothing more than an attempt to put lipstick on a pig, “spin” the unspinnable, and dissemble. The fact remains that Social Security is not an insurance scheme, a pension plan, or anything of the sort. It is a direct income transfer plan (AKA tax-funded social welfare program) that is also demographically unsustainable. Social Security participants own nothing, and have no contractual claim to getting squat. You have no Social Security “account”, and will get only what the government decides you will get.

    Social Security has been sold as a pension plan where one “got his own money back” since before its inception. That’s been bullshit ever since it was first voiced by FDR and his staff – but was necessary to mislead the public into supporting Social Security. In plain language, Social Security is not a pension – it’s “welfare for the aged”. The only reason it’s not considered fraud is because the government, by law, has made it both legal and compulsory. It would qualify under Federal law as prosecutable fraud (e.g., a Ponzi scheme and an ERISA violation) if done by private industry.

    Oh, and you also need to work on both your basic research and math skills. Your diatribe above is inaccurate concerning the “Medical coverage” part. Medicare is not and never has been a part of Social Security; it’s a separate program altogether, financed through separate taxes (and is also financially unsustainable over the long term). Combined Social Security taxes total 12.4% of income, not the 14% you claim above. Medicare taxes are separate, and currently total 2.9% of income, split evenly between employee and employer. And unlike Social Security, Medicare taxes are not capped by any annual maximum. They will also go up by an additional 0.9% of income for high-income earners next year.

    The combined total of Medicare + Social Security taxes is 15.3% of income – or about 1 dollar out of every 6 1/2 dollars an employee earns.

    You obviously freely choose to trade liberty (in terms of freedom of economic choice) for temporary financial “security” provided by the government. So be it. It’s a free country, and freedom includes the freedom to be a fool. But I’d suggest you pray that the country never runs out of better men (and women) than you – e.g., those who actually value personal freedom. And I’d also recommend you start investing privately, as if you’re in your late 20s or early 30s you may well not see anything approaching what you think you will from Social Security. Demographics pretty much guarantee that.

    Someone who continues to argue a point after he’s been proven wrong is either an idiot incapable of understanding; is brainwashed and unwilling to think for themselves; or is being deliberately mendacious. I’m not sure which of these categories you fall into, but none are what I’d consider admirable. But your continued attempts at misdirection, bringing up marginally related points, and general refusal to admit the possibility that you might be wrong in the face of compelling evidence you are indeed incorrect are all evidence of gross immaturity if nothing else.

  11. insipid says:

    Oh, i forgot the link:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2011/04/08/why-social-security-cannot-go-bankrupt/

    One of the comments in that section has a GREAT reply. People have been making the same claims since 1940!

    ============================================================
    Are most mistaken, Social Security IS going bankrupt! So are Medicare and Medicaid. Consider the following stories in the Los Angeles Times.

    April 6, 1992 – “The new siren is a frank and gloomy assessment that the national trust fund that pays hospital bills for 34 million Americans on Medicare will be broke in 10 years.” The would be George H.W. Bush telling us that Medicare would be broke in 2002.

    January 9, 1984 – “Some adjustments are needed to head off bankruptcy in the Medicare system. The trust fund that helps pay doctor and hospital bills for 29 million Americans will run out of money by 1990 if nothing is done” That would be President Reagan saying that Medicare would be broke by 1990.

    June 20, 1980 – “Unless Congress acts, the Social Security fund will run out of money to pay retirement and survivors’ benefits by late 1981 or early 1982, the funds government trustees reported Thursday.”

    May 6, 1978 – “The social security trust funds that pay benefits to retired and disabled workers will be in good shape for several more decades but the fund that pays hospital insurance under Medicare will go broke by 1990, the trustees told Congress today.” That would be President Jimmy Carter again with a “go broke date of 1990.

    August 30, 1960 – “That the [Medicare] bill passed was totally uninformed and almost totally irrational made no difference; the Democratic Presidential candidate can cry that he wanted to do more the old folks and the Republican candidate can say that the Congress might have done less if he hadn’t been so busy…We said that he bill was total uninformed, and it is…Nobody knows what it is right to do about medical aid to the aged because nobody has determined how many need help….Moreover, the political promoters have not had the courage to declare bluntly that everybody at age 65 receive a government health stipend, regardless of need…”

    Oct. 8, 1940 – Republican Presidential candidate Wendell Willkie addressed social security – “…I want to say this in connection with social security that unless there is a change in administration those people who are presently paying into social security fund will never get any benefit there from…If it continues down the present path it will eventually bankrupt this country. We are bound to have either bankruptcy or inflation, and I say it very solemnly that those who are paying in on their social security will never get the principal of the social security when they need it in their old age…”

    So, in other words Social Security has been going bankrupt for over 70 years! Social Security was on the verge bankrupting the entire country before your father was even born. What is more, 70 years from now, when your children are approaching retirement it will still be going bankrupt.

    =============================================================

  12. Hondo says:

    Social Security tax rates have also been rising for over 70 years, insipid. They started out at 2% (1% each for employee and employer), and stayed at that rate from 1937-1949. They’ve risen 620% since 1949. Had the rates remained

    Social Security also did not include annual COLA increases until 1972. Prior to then, COLAs were made by irregular acts of Congress.

    The only reason Social Security has remained solvent is that the government has the power (1) to compel participation, and (2) to forcibly increase rates as it deems justified. As I said above: they’re already taking a 12.4% cut “off the top” for Social Security alone, plus an additional 2.9% (scheduled to rise to 3.8% for high-income earners next year) for Medicare.

  13. insipid says:

    Hondo, you have given no evidence whatsoever. You failed in proving its a “ponzi shceme” you failed in proving that it is in danger of collapse, you have failed in everything. And my post was long winded because i was trying to answer the misninformation of a lot of people. I already gave you the elements of fraud, you attempted and failed to state how SSI is fruad. It is not. It’s not even close.

    Demographics do not gaurantee anything as that CBS news post points out, only modest changes are needed. There are a variety of ways to fix the shortfall without ending the program. Ronald Reagan proved that.

    Also will you step outside the right wing bubble and look at how crazy you sound? You’ve not denied that thus far SS has operated at a surplus. I don’t think you can rationally deny that it has rescued 10s of millions from poverty. And you’re saying that this program that has never failed to pay a check in 76 years, that has paid out benefits as advertised and has not contributed a penny to our debt should be ended because if nothing is done it will someday be operating at a deficit? Huh?

    That’s insane, it’s unreasonable. It’s like me saying we ought to end the defense budget because we lost in Vietnam. Hell, that statement would be more reasonable because at least I’d be pointing to an ACTUAL deficiency. That’s closer to the equivelent of me saying “We will lose a war someday inthe future so let’s end the military now.”

    As far as your Franklin quote, i do not believe that money equals freedom. While poor people have less options, they’re certainly not “enslaved”. I certainly don’t believe that paying taxes is akin to a denial of economic liberty. Even when i pay for things i don’t agree with- like the enormous size of our military budget, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. etc. I still do not equate the appropriation of those funds as “tyranny” just the price i pay for living in a civilized society and for my view not winning at the ballot box.

    SSI and Medicare has benefited you in some way or some form. Even if somehow someway you’ve never had a parent or relative use either of those programs you’ve still enjoyed the benefits that improved medicine and standards of living has given to the elderly. Assuming you work for a living, you enjoy the benefit of disability insurance. Even if you never use it, you have the piece of mind knowing it is there for you.

    I do not believe that Franklin was referrring to taxes when he made that quote. I think he was referring more to things like the patriot act. Taxes are not tyranny, they’re the price we pay for a civilized society. If you go into a store and pick up a candy bar you’re not entitled to pay for it. If you open the wrapper and bite into it, you are. We all enjoy the benefits of the government, whether it is safe food and water, safe air travel, roads or military or SSI and Medicare the government provides something we all “bite into”. We must pay for it. That’s not “tyranny” that is responsibility. Which is something you guys are supposed to be about.

  14. insipid says:

    Yes, SSI has taken more, but it’s also done more. And your post only proves that it is possible to make changes without ending it.

    You’re also forgetting that GWB proposed a privatization scheme less than 10 years ago. It went down to a SCREAMING defeat. It wasn’t even close to passing, not even in the vicinity of passing. You may think the American people are fools, that is your right. But foolish or not, SSI remains the most popular government program ever. It will remain that way probably forever. It will pay out benefits in my old age, and yours and your childrens old age and children’s children. And i’m sure, just like they did for it’s entire history someone somewhere will be screaming that it is heading for calamity.

  15. OWB says:

    ‘sip is, as usual, simply being hard headed. (surprise, surprise!)

    Social Security is a ponzi scheme by definition, but ‘sip doesn’t like the definition so chooses to ignore simple facts of life.

    Guess that is what seperates us adults from the children on the left – we deal with real life while they pretend that unicorns riding on rainbows will save them from us eeeeeevil people who want to take away their skittles.

  16. Redacted1775 says:

    Well, when you suggest someone should have their hand out taken away and work for a living, they usually get angry.

  17. CI says:

    Just because a program is popular, it doesn’t equal being Constitutional, or just.

  18. Hondo says:

    insipid: There’s an old Catholic saying. I forget the Latin, but it essentially translates as “Don’t waste your time arguing with a fool”.

    Anyone who asserts that Social Security, were it done by private enterprise vice government, would be a legitimate investment vice a Ponzi scheme is either an idiot or is intentionally dissembling. As I’ve said previously – and proved, contrary to your words above, by citing applicable Federal law (29 USC 1082) – Social Security would be unlawful fraud if done by private industry. It was “sold” as a “retirement plan” vice welfare – hence dishonesty/deceit is indeed involved. It promises a high rate of return (e.g., potentially unlimited) for its investors. It pays current returns with current investor contributions vice via the earnings of assets purchased with participant investments. Done by anyone other than the government, it would therefore meet the definition of a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. The only reason it is not prosecutable fraud is that it’s done by the government.

    To deny the above is equivalent to denying that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west in the tropics. Go ahead and deny reality if you wish. I prefer to deal with reality vice deny it.

    In short: your comments here prove you either a fool, or a deliberate dissembler. Either way, I’m done with this subject. I have no more time to waste arguing on the Internet with someone who has the intellect of a fence post or is willing to deliberately disregard proven facts. I’ve provided you documentary evidence that you’re wrong. If you choose to be a fool and continue to ignore the truth, well, that’s your problem – not mine.

  19. UpNorth says:

    I was going to post that insipid has the disease, liberalis mentis, but Hondo nailed it better than that, with “the intellect of a fence post”. That says it all.
    One who denies the facts that are presented, because they don’t fit his world view, can’t be persuaded with rational argument. This is just another in the long line of diatribes that it’s posted here, like the “you’re all racists” diatribe of earlier times.
    The quality of it’s argument can be seen in it’s reliance on See BS as one of the foundations of the argument. I’m sure that Insipid still believes that NBC didn’t doctor the audio tape of Zimmerman’s phone call.

  20. NHSparky says:

    SSI has taken more, but it’s also done more.

    How so? Clinton started taxing it, we’re getting less in return with more taken out, assuming those of us under age 50 ever see a dime from the program, a possibility which is becoming less and less likely.

    I could stick cash under my mattress and get a better rate of return from SS. And the government won’t force me to contribute to a system for 50-plus years and then up and tell me, “Whoops, sorry, we’re broke–our bad!”

  21. DR_BRETT says:

    No. 104 follow-on:
    Gov’t welfare $$ to individuals — NOT Constitutional, and, it has destroyed the country:
    “THE REAL CRASH: America’s Coming Bankruptcy – How to Save Yourself and Your Country,” by Peter Schiff — a “must read,” if ever there were such a book .

  22. insipid says:

    So basically Hondo, your debate strategy is that you just declare that you won loudly enough and hope that no one notices that the liberal kicked your ass. That and cling to the fact that i posted some numbers off of the top of my head and got the percentages off by a bit. Ah ha! And you did get your ass kicked. That’s just a fact.

    You did not prove fraud. You did prove that there was some false statements but you did not prove that it was of a material fact and you certainly did not prove intent to harm. If you tried to make this legal case before a judge you’d be thrown out of court. Hell, if you wrote this argument for a paralegal class you’d get an F. You did not prove fraud, therefore your whole “ponzi scheme” mantra is as full of shit as you are.

    Furthermore you show a fundamental lack of understanding of SSI that would be breathtaking in its stupidity if it weren’t coming from… well…you. Social Security cannot go bankrupt. There is only three ways SSI can end and i’ll list them in order of most probable to least probable.

    1. Everybody dies.
    2. people stop aging
    3. Congress votes to abolish it.

    Other than those 3 things happening, SSI cannot “go bankrupt” because it is NOT a pension fund. It is an insurance fund. It works the way ALL insurance works, where a lot of people pay towards a few people. The very worst that can happen to SSI is that it pays out at a lower percentage. But it cannot go bankrupt.

    Furthermore you’re also wrong about the supposed illegality of SS in the private sector. It cannot be done in the private sector because there is no way to make the pool large enough. Nor is there anyway to get the private sector to run at the 1% operating budget SSI runs at. But there’s no reason whatsoever that a private organization can’t set up an insurance fund like this. It’s impractical, and nearly impossible for a private firm to do it, but it’s not illegal.
    You can continue to make the lame case that this is a pension fund and that it operates under pension fund rules. But you’d be lying. Nothing new for you.

  23. UpNorth says:

    See, Hondo. You’re wrong, not because you’ve made any factual errors, or got your facts wrong, which you didn’t do. You’re wrong because a troll says so.

  24. insipid says:

    No, he did make a factual error. When he called it fraud that is a factual error. Fraud MUST have intent to harm and the falsehood must be a material fact. That’s not a “troll” saying so, that’s what the law says.

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