Deficit Commission Co-Chair: Social Security T-Bills Have "Been Used"

by: DaveJ

Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 09:15


It's astonishing, watch the video below to see Alan Simpson, Co-Chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Deficit Commission") explain that buyers of US T-Bills don't necessarily need to get paid back because the money has "been used"!  

Background: In the 1980s the Social Security payroll tax was increased, supposedly to set aside funds to cover the retirement of the post-WWII baby-boomer generation.  But this extra revenue was instead used to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  (Yes, that's right, they taxed working people and used the money to cut taxes for the rich.)  So now that the boomers are retiring the money is needed.  They want those bonds paid back now to cover Social Security payments.  

The Commission: Now there is the Deficit Commission looking into how to raise money to cover what the government handed out as tax cuts to the rich.  Rather than get the money from where the money went, the plutocrats are instead trying to convince people that it would make more sense to just cut Social Security instead, so they don't have to pay it back.  The commission is meeting in secret, preparing to recommend cutting Social Security benefits.  Hence the nickname for the Commission: "Catfood Commission," because cutting Social Security would force as many as 1.5 million old people into poverty and eating cat food for dinner because it costs less.  

After Bush and Wall Street destroyed the economy older people were laid off in waves (because they're past a certain age), can't get jobs (because they're old), now have been denied extended unemployment and denied COBRA subsidies.  Now they're called "lazy".  They're threatened with the humiliation of drug tests. And finanlly, the Catfood Commission, meeting in secret, threatens any retirement security they have.  Digby calls it "simple cruelty."  And, as sTiVo pointed out in a comment here yesterday,

Since raising the retirement age is now on the table as a solution to the non-problem of Social Security, it is VITAL to raise this issue.  WHAT JOBS????

Here is a simple idea for the deficit commission: everyone knows -- every one of us knows -- that the deficit was caused by tax cuts for the rich and huge increases in military spending.  So to fix the deficit ... Duh?  Can we connect the dots?

Connect the dots:But connecting those dots between the obvious causes of the deficit and the way to fix the deficit is beyond the mental abilities of people in "The Village."

The Simpson Video: Alex Lawson of of Social Security Works confronted Simpson leaving one of the secret meetings Thursday with a video camera and asked some questions about this. Here is the video, transcript excerpts below: (h/t Jane Hamsher)

LAWSON:  But what about the $180 billion in surplus that it brings in every year?

SIMPSON:  There is no surplus in there. It's a bunch of IOUs. ...  It's 2.5 trillion bucks in IOUs which have been used to build the interstate highway system and all of the things people have enjoyed since it has been set up.

LAWSON:  Two wars, tax cuts for the wealthy.

DaveJ :: Deficit Commission Co-Chair: Social Security T-Bills Have "Been Used"
Jane Hamsher writes,

Simpson starts from the premise that the Treasury will default on the bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund, because all the best people apparently know that it's better to default on America's senior citizens and plunge them into poverty than it is to default on, say, the Chinese.

. . . The commission is also looking into cutting Medicare benefits, because the deal guaranteeing no-bid Medicare contracts to the pharmaceutical industry by both Republicans and Democrats can't possibly be abrogated.  The committee claims it's independent, but it's not THAT independent.  So, old people, too bad for you.

This is really important.  They increased the Social Security tax on working people, gave the money out as tax cuts for the wealthy, created deficits on purpose to defund government, created a huge debt mess, and now the next stage of this plan is to gut social programs.

This is what the Deficit Commission is about.  Tax cuts for the rich and military spending caused the borrowing and raising taxes on the rich can stop it.  But the plan was to force a perception of a debt emergency to stampede people into accepting a dismantling of government that works for We, the People, and provides for us, empowers us and protects us.    This is the confrontation of  plutocracy vs democracy.  We can't let them get away with it.

What can you do?  Visit Social Security Works, get on their mailing list or follow them on Twitter.  

Get mad.

And get informed.


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This is the value of the Democratic Party to the kleptocrats. (4.00 / 1)
The Republicans are politically unable to gut SS, as we saw under Bush. Nixon, China, etc. So for those who still insist on remaining loyal to the Democratic Party, THIS is what you're supporting.

Correct. Furthermore, it shows the value of the "Veal Pen" to the Democratic Party (0.00 / 0)
When it became public knowledge that Obama had betrayed us on healthcare, the Veal Pen didn't make a big stink about it, and they didn't make sure that all American's knew about Obama's back-stabbing. There was talk about "making him do it" during the election, but as far as I can tell, it was mostly just talk. One can only imagine what goes on in the minds of the so-called leaders within the Veal Pen, but whatever it is, they sure strike me as either cowards, lemmings, or acquiescent deceivers.

At a recent workplace, I asked if anybody knew about Obama's deal with Tauzin. Nobody did, which didn't surprise me, at all. Is it then any wonder that there was little effective pressure on the President to change course? Everybody that knew anything about the healthcare legislation either parroted the Democratic or Republican talking points.

It's an easy prediction that Obama, the Dems and the Repubs will screw over the middle class even more, with Obama smiling and posturing all the way. When DaveJ encourages us to "get mad", I have to wonder of what use that is, unless that anger can be productively channeled into informing our fellow citizens of how Obama, the Dems, and the Repubs have been screwing us over, and have every intention of screwing us over even more. And furthermore, of linking that increased awareness with real plans to replace our crappy "representatives".  

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[ Parent ]
Smipson's A God Damn Liar! (4.00 / 4)
Not the best sound quality, but already at 3:02 Simpson has twice claimed that there's not enough coming in to pay for what's going out.  Which is a flat-out lie.  Even with the recession, the trust fund grew by $143 billion in 2009.  

Why do we have bald-faced liars running things in our country?  

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


Why (0.00 / 0)
The establishment corporate crooks are on the wrong side of the facts consistently.  Only liars and frequent liars can serve them on the corporate level.  Some of these people need to be in jail instead of putting on the Ritz.

[ Parent ]
This is the guy in charge (0.00 / 0)
And he doesn't get a single fact right about Social Security.

--

Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson


[ Parent ]
Well, Facts Have A Liberal Bias (0.00 / 0)
Everyone knows that!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Facts are irrelevant. (0.00 / 0)
Indeed, all the facts eviscerate their entire narrative, so facts can only be answered with bald-faced lies. But this isn't a rational conversation with these people, is it?

I'm not sure what the answer is here. Conventional organizing is too slow at this point to counteract the massive propaganda campaign. That video clip would be much more useful if the audio didn't suck so badly. Tech fail on that one and it's too bad, because that would be very useful if done competently. I'm a photographer, so I take this stuff a little more seriously. Apologies if I'm being harsh, but good communications really isn't all that difficult.

The Cat Food Commission will release it's recommendations after the election. But even if it came out before and we knew everyone's position on it, an electoral solution would almost certainly require a miracle at this point. So where do we go from here?

Facts are irrelevant. This is being proven to us on a plethora of issues every single day. Only power is relevant here. I looked at Social Security Works and it's good for facts and reason, but it doesn't say anything about how to do damage to those who seek to damage us.

If Obama & Co, Inc. pulls this off, he may actually not care about being a one-termer. His payday will be so massive, he might just retire early so he can enjoy all that money coming his way.

So what do we do about this? Letters don't work. Votes don't work. What DOES work?

Sincerely,
Freaking Frustrated in SoCal

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
The 18 (4.00 / 2)
With the possible sorta exception of Judd Gregg, the Republican appointees are not even vaguely moderates.  Coburn, Vrapo and Hensarling are the bottom of the barrel. I don't know much about Camp.   Simpson has long been a favorite of Versailles.  One of Obama's picks, David Cote, is a former CEO and open Republican.  WTF.

I've heard it said that we need five votes to stop anything.  Well, Reid's picks should earn him electoral defeat.  He stocked it with two super conservadems, the awfdul corporate creep Max Baucus and the nearly as bad Kent Conrad.  

Our hopes lie with six members: Dick Durbin, Jan Schakowsky, and Xavier Becerra all pretty safe and Andy Stern and John Spratt.  Spratt has suddenly appeared as a Republican target.  He represents a semi-conservative district in South Carolina.

It's worth noting that other than Stern, Obama appointed insider/CEO types in Alice Rivlin (Brookings, ex-Fed), David Cote (CEO) and Ann Fudge (CEO).

Stacked deck.


I wish I agreed with your take. (0.00 / 0)
Unfortunately, with Durbin and Schakowsky, they are both under Obama's thumb and have been so on every issue since January 2009--they will do anything to please Obama and that is precisely why they are there. Schakowsky is only a progressive when there's a Republican in the WH.

Bacerra seems the only good bet, since Andy Stern has already indicated he is willing to sell out to the privatizers. I wouldn't wager anything on Spratt defending SS. All of Obama's picks are privatizers.

So they need 14 votes to pass anything on to the record and it looks like they've got 16 or 17. Bowles has always been a privatizer, going back to the Clinton WH, since he's an investment banker. Simpson is old news.

I would suggest planning for the worst. This panel isn't even remotely balanced.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
Don't worry about Shakowsky (4.00 / 1)
On Shakowsky, watch this starting at 5:35: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

"Military spending has to be on the table" (note she said "military" not "defense") and "there's also revenue and then there's also growth, are we going to spend money to put people back to work, that's the best way to raise revenue"  See the rest.

Se even knocks the effect of the existence of the commission.

She is on our side, no question.  But we need FOUR commissioners.  The commission has to have 14 of 18 commissioners to approve things.

Also see this:  http://wonkroom.thinkprogress....

--

Seeing The Forest -- Who is our economy FOR, anyway? Twitter: dcjohnson


[ Parent ]
I hope you're right. (0.00 / 0)
But she also has a pronounced tendency to flip-flop. She says the right things and then votes the "wrong" way. She doesn't buck the administration. Neither does Durbin.

But you're right about needing four and even if Schakowsky ends up being one of those, we're still short.

"More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly." -Woody Allen, My Speech to the Graduates


[ Parent ]
We Need FIVE (4.00 / 1)
13-5 is the vote we need.  14-4 and the recommendations will stand.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Then with this lineup SS is screwed. (nt) (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
That this government (0.00 / 0)
of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, shall not perish from the earth.

Educate, Agitate, Organize, Mobilize, Act!


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