“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Debt Ceiling and the Hypocrisy Ceiling

Republicans have gone from almost unanimous support for raising the debt ceiling when they controlled the presidency and the Congress to generally opposing raising the debt ceiling when a Republican was president and the Democrats controlled Congress to almost unanimously opposing raising the debt ceiling when Democrats controlled the presidency and the Congress to unanimously opposing the Democrats the last two times they raised the debt ceiling. It should also be pointed out that when Republicans had a majority in the House and Senate under President Clinton, they voted twice to raise the debt limit (in 1996 & 1997).

As a U.S. senator, Barack Obama had four opportunities to vote on expanding the debt ceiling when George W. Bush was the president. He didn't vote on two occasions (in 2007 & 2008), but when the Republicans controlled the Congress and supported raising the debt limit in 2006, he voted against doing so (H.J.Res.47) and when the Democrats controlled the Congress and supported raising the debt limit in 2008, he voted in favor of doing so (H.R.1424). And although most congressional Democrats currently favor an increase in the debt limit, they fought against such an increase the four times the debt ceiling was raised when Bush was in office.
Rejecting an increase in the debt limit is the first step toward restoring fiscal sanity in Washington. It would force Congress to cut spending, and cut it drastically. The wars must be ended. The entitlements must be cut. Rolling back government spending to "pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels," as the House Republicans proposed in their "Pledge to America," will not cut it.

Campaign for Liberty


  1. .

    Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

    We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

    The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

    Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

    The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy...

    Reconsidering the Goldstone Report


  2. Rufus II said...

    If you willGo Hereyou will see that Social Security is the only Federal Program that is In Surplus This Year.


    The Growing Dependency Crisis of Social Security

    Workers Per Social Security Recipient

    1950 16

    1993 3

    2025 est. 2

    2040 est. 1.8

    2070 est. 1.3

    Source: Social Security Trustees Report, 1993.


  3. No new news, doug?

    That report you cite is 20 years old.
    How did the projections hold up?

    That there is no lock box, that FICA taxes are just that, taxes.
    Not mentioned.

    The fiscal problems stem from the foreign adventures, not domestic spending.

    To much spent on the US military, not enough on domestic infrastructure.

    Federal priorities out of balance,

  4. Too much is spent on defense but entitlement spending is out of control; too many wanting the guvmint to provide food, shelter, healthcare, and equal outcomes

  5. ...then again, this from a guy that refuses to see that a three thousand page "healthcare" bill for a nation of 300 million is not doomed for disaster from day one.

    As if top down minutia from central planning in DC written by a bunch of know-nothing pathological control freaks will result in efficient health services delivery.

    Perhaps "moron" is inadequate for the task.

  6. Judge Goldstone wrote: "In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise...Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes..." He concludes: "Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies." Hamas is indeed a genocidal organization dedicated to Israel's destruction. Fatah is no better. Both organizations exercise bad faith. Laws of armed conflict do not apply.


  7. Murder is murder, no matter who committs it and should be prosecuted in courts of law. A war crime is a war crime, no matter who committs it, and. equally, should be prosecuted in courts of law.

    No-one, Israeli, Palestinian, American, British, Russian or from wherever, should be able to claim exemption from the processes of law.

    May I suggest that you read the Goldstone Report? It is easily accessed and downloaded , free, online.

    It points out alleged offenses on the parts of both Hamas and Israel and calls for actions to be taken by both, failing which it suggests referral to the International Court of Justice. I don't see why that is an unreasonable call for both Israel and Hamas to be required to meet.

    The "time limit" for those actions is about to run out, which is why we see an announcement that 2 Israeli soldiers have been reprimanded (but not lost their jobs with their nice salaries) by Israel.

    Please. Take a little time. Download the report and read it.

  8. Did the big March jobs report put President Obama back on the road to reelection? If so, he can thank the GOP, whose tax cuts saved him from himself.

    You could hear cheering all the way from the West Wing when the Labor Department showed a 216,000 gain in nonfarm payrolls, the biggest number in quite some time. Plus, the unemployment rate continued its decline to 8.8 percent. Not so long ago it was nearly 10 percent.

    Corporate payrolls have now increased by 478,000 for the first three months of the year. Over the past three months, the average payroll gain has been 159,000, which is more than twice the monthly gain in 2010. If payrolls stay on track, that would mean nearly 2 million jobs created in 2011.

    So sure, the White House must be very happy. In fact, everybody should be happy at an improving jobs picture.

    But here’s the sublime irony. The wake-up in job creation is a function of Republican policy. After all, for two years the Obama Democrats spent themselves into oblivion, with over $1 trillion of so-called big-government stimulus. Didn’t work. By the end of last year, that failed stimulus wore off, and it was replaced by Republican tax cuts.

    Remember that in mid-December, after his election shellacking, President Obama signed a deal that extended the Bush tax rates across the board. The top marginal rate stayed at 35 percent. Investment tax rates for cap-gains and dividends held at 15 percent. Most business people I know — folks who work in both large and small companies — welcomed the tax-rate freeze as a sign that maybe the war against growth, capital formation, and small business was either coming to an end or at least a two-year truce.

    So, presto, the jobs numbers start jumping in the new low-tax year.

  9. It seems as if a supernatural power is at working keeping the kleig lights and microscopes trained on Israel and casting the rest of the miserable, murdering, human rights abusing whirled into the shadows.

  10. The Palestinians can commit every foul manner of terror for years on end and the whirled turns a blind eye, but let the Israelis retaliate and the international lynch mobs come out.

    Meanwhile, the abuses all around the whirled are horrific and by comparison, little noted.

  11. .

    Murder is murder...

    Try looking up the definition of "Just War."

    Any nation has the right to defend itself.

    Like most documents/reports coming out of the U.N., the Goldstone Report was a flawed document. Now, upon rflection, one of the authors, in fact, the man the report was named after states that it was a flawed document. Yet, we are being asked to read it.



  12. By the end of last year, that failed stimulus wore off, and it was replaced by Republican tax cuts...

    Gee, Cuddly, it woud have been nice if you had gotten your facts straight before posting. However, since there is a lot of that going around welcome to the blog.


  13. And you call ME a moron.

    Look you dumb sack of pineapple eating stupidity. Taxes are collected from NOMINAL INCOME, not from "real" income.

    Social Security Collections have gone up at approx. the same rate as benefits (that's why we have a fiat monetary system, dumbo.)

    There was, the last time I looked, a little over $2.6 Trillion in the SS Trust Fund.

    Your ">Lonely Conservative" is lonely for a reason. He's a dumb shit.

  14. I think we may have hit or are very close to the tipping point where the number of voters that have an interest in being the recipient of government transfer payments has effectively put them in the voting majority.

    We also have a corrupt judicial system that will override legislation it doesn't like for the simple reason that they don't like it (State Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi). The media supports them overwhelmingly.

    I do not see a lawful correcting mechanism short of an absolute collapse.

  15. There was, the last time I looked, a little over $2.6 Trillion in the SS Trust Fund.

    What is the interest rate on those debt instruments?

  16. The law in Wiscconsin states that the lawmakers have to be given 24 hr Notice that a law is to be voted on. The Wisconsin Pubs Didn't do that. The Judge is right.

    I watched that Wi Pub Speaker of the House on Greta. She asked him 3 times how long they gave. He wouldn't answer. All he would say was (1) a couple of hours, and (2) long enough.

    The Pubs were stupid. They DID violate the law.

  17. Social Security is required, by Law, to invest its surplus in "Special" U.S. Government Bonds. Something like 2.9%, I believe.

    Back when the 30 yr was paying 10% + the government was paying the SS Trust Fund less than 3% for their notes, and spending the money on whatever it wished.

  18. .

    Talking about SS as anything but a tax is meaningless. Just as talking about the SS Trust Fund as if it actually existed is meaningless. It consists of the government's IOU's to itself.

    SS is just one more government expense funded out of the general fund. It will be there as long as there is the political will to fund it (regardless of the paper pushing associated with the 'trust fund').


  19. Social Security is, actually, in very good shape. It's running a Surplus, now; and only minor tweaks are needed to keep it solvent for another 75 yrs.

    The fact is: Republicans hate Social Security. They fought it from Day One, and they're still fighting it.

  20. .

    Social Security is, actually, in very good shape.

    Only if you consider Medicare, the Military, Student Loans, etc. as being in good shape. They all come out of the same pot.

    You can say "They are obligated by law..." but Congress can change the law tomarrow.

    SS is a popular progam. Politically, it is unlikely to be drastically changed whether there is a surplus or a deficit in the 'trust fund'.


  21. I've heard that remits to SS currently exceed payouts. That is good news particularly in light of the high unemployment. The most immediate problem with SS is the yet to peak tsunami of baby boomer retirees many of whom will start drawing benefits at age 62. This has been aggravated with the economic downturn. Many who would have deferred withdrawing benefits until 65 or 67, have been forced to withdraw early.

  22. We can keep raising the debt and printing money to service it until the money becomes worthless and investors refuse to buy more Bonds. Then, we'll be forced to make the hard cuts. The two largest items of the US budget are Defense spending and Entitlements. Spending cuts are inevitable and the revenue from SS will certainly come under more pressure from politicians eager to fund other programs.

  23. Bankrupt Entitlements and The Federal Budget

    When something says "remits exceed payouts", take it with a grain of salt. It's projected that SS will run a $57 billion deficit this year.

    CATO Podcast

  24. The biggest entitlement problem is Medicare with a projected $90 trillion unfunded liability going forward.

  25. From Bankrupt - Entitlements and the Federal Budget:

    Moreover, to focus solely on debt is to treat a symptom rather than the underlying disease. Weface a debt crisis not because taxes are too low but because government is too big. If there is no change to current policies, by 2050 Federal government spending will exceed 42 percent of GDP.
    Adding in state and local spending, government at all levels will consume nearly 60 percent of everything produced in this country. Whether financed through debt or taxes, government that large would be a crushing burden to our economy and our liberties.

    Driving this massive increase in the size and cost of government are so-called “entitlement programs,” in particular Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Indeed, by 2050, those three programs alone will consume 18.4 percent of GDP. If one assumes that revenues return to and stay at their traditional 18 percent of GDP, then those three programs alone will consume all federal revenues. Therefore any serious attempt to balance the federal budget and reduce our growing national debt must include a plan to reform entitlements.

  26. In the fifties 30% of the Federal Revenues came from Corporations. Today, it's more like 6%. That won't work.

    That being said, the government has never been able to collect more than 20% of GDP for any sustained period. It's just one of those "natural laws," like gravity.

    So, if everything was just rocking, and rolling, and booming, and going balls to the walls we could expect to be collecting in the neighborhood of $2.8 Trillion. Allowing for a deficit of 2% of GDP we really, really need to get our spending down to the $3.1 Trillion range.

    This year's budget calls for $3.8 Trillion in Spending.

    I've been poring over the budget, and I'm here to tell you: Cutting $700 Billion is Tough Sledding. I mean, Double Tough Sledding.

    The problem you have is, there IS NOT one or two "magic bullets." You can wind down the wars, and get, maybe, $200 Billion. When (if) the economy picks up you can get close to $100 Billion back from HHS, and Labor. After that it gets really hard.

    Basically, at that point, you ARE FORCED to take the 10% Axe to Every program, every branch, every thing.

    Of course, what is going to happen is, Peak Oil is going to throw us right back into recession by December, and Then, we are really, and truly Fucked. The first thing Obama should have done was, Demand a Recount.

  27. You can't trust a word Cato says.

    If you'll go here, to the Monthly Treasury Statement for Sept 2010 the ending month of the 2010 Fiscal Year you will see that Soc Sec ended 2010 with a Surplus of $77 Billion. (Table. 2) Not the Deficit of $50 Billion that Cato shows.

    By going to Current Issue you will see that Soc Sec is in Surplus for this year, also, and projected to End that way. Not in $150 B deficit.

    Cato is the most widely quoted source of disinformation in the world.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. As to the Islamioids and the Israeli, they are engaged in a civil war, just as the Libyans are.

    The Israeli maintain sovereignty over the Occupied Territories. They build upon them and administrate tariffs and embargo trade, there. Those territories have been annexed, on a practical level.

    That is beyond argument. The Story of "o" provided us a litany of the materials that the Israeli allowed to enter Gaza. The Israeli took it upon themselves to raid shipping in international waters, to control the flow of goods and materials into Gaza, extending their blockade well beyond their territorial claims.

    The NATO reaction to minimal casualties in Libya showcase the difference in "standards", between the Islamic countries and Israel.

    The differing standard further exemplified by the sanctions against Iran for its' nuclear development and the aid given to Israel, by the US and Europeon countries in developing its' own nuclear capacity and the capability to deliver it militarily, outside their borders.

  30. FICA taxes are income taxes, nothing more, nothing less.

    This was confirmed by the Supreme Court, decades ago. To believe anything else is to buy into the Federal Socialist propaganda.

    Q is correct, in that regard.

    There is little chance that the Federals will retrench, either to 2008 levels or even at today's spending levels.

    There will not be 10% across the board cuts.

    It is not going to happen.

    Enjoy life.

  31. Share this with everyone you know. Put the heat on John Boehner. He needs to take a lesson from Nancy Pelosi -- DON'T GIVE UP! If you do, the American voters will give up on you!!!-

    Here are good examples of portions of the federal government which can be furloughed with no effect upon the health and safety of the American public:

    Dept. of Commerce with the exception of the National Weather Service
    Dept. of Energy with the exception of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    Department of Agriculture with the exception of USDA Food Safety Inspectors
    Department of the Interior with the exception of the Bureau of Mines

    Below is a list of over 100 additional government agencies from A to V to furlough:

    · American Battle Monuments Commission
    · Appalachian Regional Commission
    · Architect of the Capitol
    · Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board)

    · Archives (National Archives and Records Administration)
    · Arctic Research Commission
    · Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
    · Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

    · Bureau of Engraving and Printing
    · Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
    · Bureau of the Census
    · Bureau of Transportation Statistics

    · Commission of Fine Arts
    · Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    · Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
    · Copyright Office

    · Corporation for National and Community Service
    · Council of Economic Advisers
    · Delaware River Basin Commission
    · Denali Commission

    · Department of the Interior (DOI)
    · Domestic Policy Council
    · Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs (State Department)
    · Economic Adjustment Office

    · Economic Analysis, Bureau of
    · Economic Development Administration
    · Economic Research Service
    · Economics & Statistics Administration

    · Endangered Species Committee
    · Energy Information Administration
    · English Language Acquisition Office
    · Farm Service Agency

    · Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board
    · Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC)
    · Federal Geographic Data Committee
    · Federal Highway Administration

    · Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight
    · Federal Housing Finance Board
    · Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds
    · Federal Interagency Committee on Education

    · Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy
    · Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, National Commission
    · Fish and Wildlife Service
    · Food and Nutrition Service

    · Foreign Agricultural Service
    · Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
    · Forest Service
    · Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board

  32. · Geological Survey (USGS)
    · Government National Mortgage Association
    · Government Printing Office (GPO)
    · Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

    · Health Resources and Services Administration
    · Helsinki Commission (Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe)
    · Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD)
    · Indian Arts and Crafts Board

    · Institute of Peace
    · Inter-American Foundation
    · International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB)
    · International Trade Administration (ITA)

    · International Trade Commission
    · James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation
    · Japan-United States Friendship Commission
    · Joint Board for the Enrollment of Actuaries

    · Library of Congress
    · Marine Mammal Commission
    · Maritime Administration
    · Merit Systems Protection Board

    · Millennium Challenge Corporation
    · Morris K. Udall Fndtn: Scholarship and Excellence in Nat'l Environmental Policy
    · National Agricultural Statistics Service
    · National Capital Planning Commission

    · National Cemetery Administration (Veterans Affairs Department)
    · National Endowment for the Arts
    · National Endowment for the Humanities
    · National Gallery of Art

    · National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
    · National Technical Information Service
    · National Telecommunications and Information Administration
    · Natural Resources Conservation Service

    · Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
    · Office of Compliance
    · Office of Science and Technology Policy
    · Office of Scientific and Technical Information

    · Overseas Private Investment Corporation
    · Open World Leadership Center
    · Parole Commission (Justice Department)
    · Patent and Trademark Office

    · Postal Regulatory Commission
    · Presidio Trust
    · Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
    · Railroad Retirement Board

    · Risk Management Agency (Agriculture Department)
    · Research, Education and Economics (Agriculture Department)
    · Research and Innovative Technology Administration (Transportation Dept)
    · Selective Service System

    · Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation
    · Stennis Center for Public Service
    · Susquehanna River Basin Commission
    · Transportation Statistics, Bureau of

    · U.S. International Trade Commission
    · U.S. Trade and Development Agency
    · U.S. Trade Representative
    · Veterans Day National Committee

  33. Dept of Agriculture is School Lunches, and Food Stamps.

    Good luck with that one.

  34. I can argue it "Broad," or "Long," Rat. The problem is: politicians that try to argue it "Broad, AND Long."

    For instance, the Pubs are fond of saying, "the poor don't pay any income tax." When you bring up Soc Sec they say, "that doesn't count; it's a retirement program."

    Then, when you point out that there is $2.6 Trillion in the Soc Sec Retirement Fund, they say, "There is no such thing; those FICA taxes are just a type of *Income Tax.*"

  35. You'll know a serious proposal when someone says, "We have to shave X percent off of ALL Programs.

    Trying to pick out specific programs to eliminate, completely, is doomed from the start, and will be promoted only by those interested in Demogoguing the issue.

  36. Rufus said...

    "There was, the last time I looked, a little over $2.6 Trillion in the SS Trust Fund."


    How the Social Security Trust Fund Works

    Why the Social Security Trust Fund Differs from Real Trust Funds.

    Private-sector trust funds invest in real assets ranging from stocks and bonds to mortgages and other financial instruments.

    However, the Social Security trust funds are only "invested" in a special type of Treasury bond that can only be issued to and redeemed by the Social Security Administration. As the Congressional Research Service noted in a report on May 5, 1998:

    When the government issues a bond to one of its own accounts, it hasn't purchased anything or established a claim against another entity or person. It is simply creating a form of IOU from one of its accounts to another.

    According to the Office of Management and Budget under the Clinton Administration in 1999:

    These [trust fund] balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other trust fund expenditures--but only in a bookkeeping sense.

    These funds are not set up to be pension funds, like the funds of private pension plans.

    They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits.

    Instead, they are claims on the Treasury, that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. [Emphasis added.]

    In short, the Social Security trust fund is really only an accounting mechanism. The trust fund shows how much the government has borrowed from Social Security, but it does not provide any way to finance future benefits. The money to repay the IOUs will have to come from taxes that are being used today to pay for other government programs.

    For that reason, the most important date for Social Security is 2018, when taxpayers must begin to repay the IOUs, not 2042, when the trust fund is exhausted.

    Conclusion. Social Security's financial crisis will begin far sooner than many politicians claim. In less than three years, the first baby boomer will reach retirement age. Once that happens, Social Security (and Medicare) will be on a slippery slope toward insolvency. While Social Security can continue to use its tax receipts to pay full retirement benefits until 2018, Congress cannot wait that long to act. Misleading the public into believing that Social Security is secure until 2042 or beyond will only make the impending crisis more difficult to avoid.

    Furthermore, huge impending deficits are only one of the problems facing Social Security. The sad reality is that millions of workers receive a dismal rate of return on their Social Security retirement taxes. Making matters worse, the current program does not enable workers to build up investments and cash savings to supplement their monthly Social Security checks.

    The debate about Social Security's future should be about how to improve each American's personal retirement security and how to enable each American to build a nest egg for the future. Otherwise, Americans will lose a real opportunity to improve the lives of future retirees. The best way to fix Social Security is to provide younger workers with the opportunity to invest part of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts.


    When all is said and done, the problem remains with the numbers I posted @ Sat Apr 02, 08:02:00 AM EDT.

    Like any Ponzi Scheme, it works great until it doesn't.

  37. There may still be time for Rat to join up with Ayer's Freedom Flotilla Two and sail away and help break that nasty Israeli blockade. You go, Rat.

    For Rat's edification -

    For a druggie guru, he wrote a hell of a lot of good books.


  38. Why is it that businesses and individuals can, and have, made cuts of ten percent and more to get by, but for the government to make such cuts it "Double Tough Sledding."

    Is it because government is more efficient, more lean and mean than the private sector?

    I think not.

    Additionally, the private sector has not increased outlays outrageously as have governments the last few years.
    ...but somehow, just going back a few years in terms of spending is considered impossible by the Dems and certain nitwits here.


    Article on the Goldstone Report. It was all f'd up.


    Alan Dershowitz'z take on the Goldstone Report. Yes, yes, he's a Jew, but so is Goldstone, I believe.

  41. Once again, I will refer you to Table 2. Soc Sec is projected to have a $77 Billion Surplus in 2012

    That's the year following This year for you Republicans out there.

  42. Yeah, and the country "made" many times that amount of "wealth" when The Bernake bought Treasuries and minted money.

    Don't try this at home.

    We just get to spend our depreciated Dollars.

  43. Outlays were $2.978T in 2008. That's almost a Trillion less than is projected for this year.

    The Deficit was $454 B, made possible by a Surplus of $183 Billion in SS

  44. .

    Once again, I will refer you to Table 2. Soc Sec is projected to have a $77 Billion Surplus in 2012

    All that means is that the government is taking in more in FICA taxes than it is paying out in SS benefits (right now). Since the actual FICA receipts go into the general fund rather than some 'lockbox' it is more an accounting function than anything else.

    Using government reports to say anything of meaning is often hazardous. For instance, the SS Administration talks of benefits being 'VESTED' when what they mean is you are 'ELIGIBLE' to start receiving benefits at whatever level allowed under current law.

    There is no vesting. You collect benefits when you receive your check. This is not a 401K where you have actual assets. It is not even an annuity since the rules can be changed anytime Congress elects to.

    Heck, if Congress changed the rules and said 100 is the new eligibility age for collecting SS, no one would ever collect any benefits. The taxes would keep rolling in and the government would keep spending them. The SSA could state that SS was solvent ad infinatum 'based on current projections'.

    However, there would still be zip in the SS Trust Fund. That is, zip except for some IOU's that are only as good as the political will of some future Congress.

    Social Security is an entitlement program just like Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.


  45. But hey, this does not make you look nearly as foolish as you do defending the execrable "health"care bill.

    Supporting socialized medicine is one thing.

    Supporting this monstrosity either evil (Pelosi) or
    stupid. (Rufus)

  46. "Heck, if Congress changed the rules and said 100 is the new eligibility age for collecting SS, no one would ever collect any benefits."


    Raising the age seems painless and relatively cost free. those who have not yet experienced the joys of aging.

  47. BTW, in 2008 we collected $304 Billion from Corporations, and $658 Billion from Social Security.


  48. "Outlays were $2.978T in 2008.
    That's almost a Trillion less than is projected for this year.


    Yet finding billions to cut is said to be Draconian.

    ...only in the World where govt workers NEVER have to take pay and benefit cuts when almost everyone else does.

  49. This year we're on schedule to get, maybe, $150 B from Corporations.

    Look, Doug, I've never voted Democratic in my life (except for one sheriff's election, and to have done otherwise in that instance would have been tantamount to suicide,) but one of the most astute things I have ever read was the observation:

    When the Ruliing Class Becomes the Parasitic Class the Society is Finished.

    I firmly believe that When Warren Buffet pays a lower effective tax rate than the guy that works on your car you're in trouble.

  50. I posted all that for a reason, Doug. EVERY Program has had sizable percentage increases.

    When certain politicians bang that drum over "Cut out this program," or "Cut out that program" you know they're just playing to the crowd.

    I think the American people understand this, also. Common sense tells us that if it's really That bad (and, of course, it is) then the only sensible solution is to Trim Everything.

    And, maybe, God forbid, raise some taxes.

  51. .

    BTW, in 2008 we collected $304 Billion from Corporations, and $658 Billion from Social Security.

    The little guy always takes it in the ass Ruf. Yet some here say that when we ask people to pay a fair share of taxes we are 'eating the rich'.

    Go figure.


  52. .

    When certain politicians bang that drum over "Cut out this program," or "Cut out that program" you know they're just playing to the crowd.

    I think I am right about this when I say that the $33 billion the GOP is scrambling to cut is off of Obama's proposed budget.

    However, even if it is out of actual existing expenditures, it is miniscule. Yet this is what they are talking about shutting the government over.

    Playing to the crowd?

    Yea, I'd say so.


  53. .

    To judge the seriousness of Washington when it comes to money, I always recall New Orleans and the hurricane.

    Within about three days of the hurricane hitting NO, Congress was authorizing $80 billion for relief.
    This was before the total cost of the disaster was understood.

    Who came up with the $80 billion? How did they come up with it? Frankly, I think someone just pulled it out of their ass.

    Now, we are talking about shutting down the government over the difference between $21 and $33 billion.

    The people in D.C. are clueless. It's all a big show.


  54. Here is how you cut spending by a trillion dollars. You start the budget at $0 and make decisions on what to spend based on what makes the most sense to spend money on. That is the approach you have to take. You cut spending because it has to be cut. If it isn't cut then we are taking money from future generations. If you argue that old people will have to eat dog food or women will have to pay for their own medical procedures you are taking money away from future generations to do that. Those future generations will likely also have old people and women and how will they pay for their stuff if they also have to pay for the stuff from this generation ?

    We should not be putting future generations into debt unless there is a legitimate crisis. When we pretend that going into debt to pay for things isn't a problem because we are unwilling to make changes today the changes tomorrow become more difficult. There will still be seniors and retired military people ten years from now, thirty years from now, and beyond. So how will those people be able to pay their retired and satisfy their commitments if they have to also satisfy ours from today?

  55. This spending started with a fools errand launched by Bush and the neocons, with some ideological backing from the Left.

    Islam is the religion of Peace and Israel is our strategic ally cost us a trillion dollars.

    The noble people of Iraq and Afghanistan are Just Like Us - simply waiting for us to deliver the gifts of Freedom!! and Democracy - to their eternal gratitude toawrds us. The neocons argued we would make a profit in Iraqi oil. A slam dunk, just ask Wolfowitz.

    It was a false belief. We spent a trillion dollars, no oil, no peace and another three billion a year to our best friends ever the Israelis.

    Stay out of Libya. Don't let Israel suck us into another war with an eye to have us do their dirty work in Iran. Get out of Iraq, get out of Afghanistan. If we have 100,000 troops once there, now with nothing to do, send them where they are wanted. Rebuilding US cities, helping the Japanese, guarding our Border.

  56. Stay out of Libya. Don't let Israel suck us into another war with an eye to have us do their dirty work in Iran.

    And here I thought it twas the Arab League had something to do with it.

    Honest to Christ, Cedarfart.


  57. Cedarfart is an old Nazi from the BC days. I once suckered him in, by saying facetiously the Jews had behaved badly in Spain visavis the Christians and muzzies.

    Quite so quite so blah blah says Cedarfart.


  58. Deuce: I do not see a lawful correcting mechanism short of an absolute collapse.

    Ah, no, the bond market will correct long before that. Prices for US government borrowing will follow Portugal.
    The letters J-O-E-B-I-D-E-N are an anagram for "I NEED JOB."


  60. 14. buddy larsen
    PAC/3, oh, i think i’ll go with “piped ream” on this go-round, because of the wrong=way leaks, where we have to do it to find out if we have to not do it.

    “Don’t just stand something, DO there!”


    BFtP, part of that ‘struggle against reality’ is the ongoing ‘struggle against realty’, where we never can convince barny frank that ‘double entry’ is the accounting system, not the kama sutra


    Kentucky lost by one point.

  61. .

    Big day in the Detroit area.

    The annual 'Hash Bash' was held in Ann Arbor and Charlie Sheen kicked off his Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option tour at the FOX Theater in Detroit.

    The 'Hash Bash' went off well as usual. Charlie Sheen? Not so much.

    The Detroit News is reporting the show quickly went from booing to people walking out and demanding their money back.

    The fact that they walked out shows that some people in the area don't buy into Charlie's warlock persona. On the other hand, the fact that those same people actually bought tickets to his show in the first place shows we have a lot of stupid people around here.


  62. I thought I read everyone had left Detroit.


    Charlie flops in Detroit.

  64. You sound like an intelligent fellow, you should fit right in, anon.

  65. That's okay; Brazil is going to save us. Well, . . . . um, maybe not.

    Okay, so we found out a year ago that Brazil was going to start importing LNG. Well, okay, but they have lots of oil, and ethanol.

    Then, we found out they were importing "Ethanol" from us. Hmmh

    And, Theeen, we found out that they were a NET OIL IMPORTER in 2010. Whoah. Now just a doggoned minute here.

    And, now, This. They will be importing 1.5 Million Barrels of Gasoline in April.

    You see, here's what I've been trying to get across: Reserves (out in the middle of the ocean, or anywhere else) don't mean squat. It's all about FLOW RATE.

    It's about: What can you produce, TOMORROW?

    That 10 or 20 Billion barrels of "maybe" that they have out there in the middle of the ocean might not come online for 5, or even 10 yrs. If ever.

    Meanwhile, they will be out there in the market scabbling for oil, and gas just like us, and europe, and China, and India, and Britain, and most of the other countries of the world.

    Has anyone heard anything from our best buds the Sauds?

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