Most Liberals Do Not Support Social Security Cuts

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Feb 19, 2009 at 16:02


In response to recent fears about the "fiscal responsibility summit" actually being a sneak attack on Social Security, Ezra Kelin writes that the Obama administration will actually use the summit to change the conversation on entitlement reform away from a Social Security and / or Medicare crisis, and instead as a health care crisis:

Talk a lot about the health care crisis and longer-term problems in the budget and get people to stop talking about an illusory crisis in a made-up program called socialsecurityandmedicareandmedicaid.

Very, very good. This is something we have sought for a while. However, there is still one part of Klein's writing on this subject today that requires rebuttal (emphasis mine):

There is no replay of Bush's crisis-mongering the offing. No commission headed by Kent Conrad with a mandate to cut the program. Any fixes would look more along the lines of, well, the Orszag-Diamond proposal -- which most liberal embraced as the responsible alternative in 2005 -- than the Pete Peterson plan. And it would be mindful of the articles Furman wrote defending Social Security, like this CBPP brief offering 10 facts central to understanding the program.

The Orszag-Diamond plan in may have reached some sort of consensus in certain D.C. circles with people who call themselves "liberal," but it is not, and never was, popular among either liberals around the country or the general population. The reason is, as Jane Hamsher reminds us, that the Orszang-Diamond plan actually cuts benefits (more in the extended entry):

Chris Bowers :: Most Liberals Do Not Support Social Security Cuts
Workers who are 55 or older will experience no change in their benefits from those scheduled under current law. For younger workers with average earnings, our proposal involves a gradual reduction in benefits from those scheduled under current law.  For example, the reduction in benefits for a 45-year old average earner is less than 1 percent; for a 35-year-old, less than 5 percent; and for a 25-year-old, less than 9 percent. Reductions are smaller for lower earners, and larger for higher ones.

And polling provides a reminder that this plan was unpopular:

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. April 29-May 1, 2005. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

"As you may know, a proposal has been made that would curb Social Security benefits for middle-income workers in the future, curb them even more for higher-income workers, but would not affect benefits for lower-income workers and those born before 1950. Do you favor or oppose this proposal?"

Oppose 54%, Favor 38%, Unsure 8%

The plan being polled here is clearly the Orszang-Diamond proposal. While no ideological cross-tabs are available for this Gallup poll, it is a safe bet that the self-identified liberals were overwhelmingly opposed to it. My point being that while those in the policy wonk business may think that modest Social Security benefit cuts represent some sort of liberal consensus, the fact is that such a plan is heavily opposed by liberals at large, and indeed opposed by the nation at large, too.

It is very good that the Obama administration is looking to reframe the entitlement debate toward health care and away from Social Security, and that Social Security is not on the administration's radar. However, as long as someone who, only four years ago, published a plan favoring Social Security benefit cuts is apparently drafting the federal budget, I reserve the right to remain unnerved about potential Social Security cuts during the Obama administration. Those fears will be greatly reduced if no such cuts appear in the budget outline that will be revelaed next Thursday.


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liberals on hill express concerns (4.00 / 2)
your not the only one unerved by this talk-liberals ont he hill are getting very concerned
http://thehill.com/leading-the...

Wish they would do the simple solution (0.00 / 0)
And change the regressive payroll tax and apply a means test.

To me that would be more favorable than raising the retirement age yet again.

We also need to stop using those funds for part of our general fund.


General Fund (0.00 / 0)
We also need to stop using those funds for part of our general fund.

In general, I would like the books to accurately reflect deficit spending and the SS fund, but the bottom line doesn't change.  The SS fund is in purchased savings bonds, which requires buying savings bonds, the proceeds of which are then spent.  

Imagine we just bought workers US Savings Bonds and gave it to them directly as our SS payment mechanism.  Even in that case, spending the proceeds would have the same bottom line as what is going on now.  (SS would be much worse, though, as it wouldn't be able to guarantee income during retirement.  This way it acts more like insurance, with those that die young subsidizing those that live long.)

I guess if we had no deficit, the proceeds could lie around as cash, which I think is what happened at the end of the Clinton administration.  But right now, we have and need deficits to stimulate the economy.  That means we are raiding the SS fund, regardless  


[ Parent ]
Means testing would undermine the program itself (4.00 / 11)
FDR knew that a programm that was for everybody not just the poor maintains public support.  Put in means testing o and Social Security, instead of being a program of insurance for everybody,  becomes a welfare program.

Welfare, as we know from the 90's and how the public viewed welfare,  is not for people with dignity who have earned their Social SEcurity,  but objects of charity. Programs for the poor can be cut or abolished.

The reason Medicare and Social Security are held in such esteem by the American people is that it's a program for everyone.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Bingo (0.00 / 0)
Like libraries, and roads. Like public schools used to be.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Orzag was reported (4.00 / 2)
today in Politico as saying SS's "problem" is that it may have "an actuarial deficit over the next 75-100 years".

Yet he is in the same article he is said to continue to talk about "modest tax hikes and benefit cuts".

Does this make any sense to anybody? Can you think of another program that doesn't have a problem for 75-100 years, yet which somehow must be addressed today with some kind of fix?

Good Lord, we have scarcely the slightest idea of what the exact demographics and state of the economy will be so far into the distant future. What policy or scientific or political sense does it make to alter its parameters at this stage?

And what is very worrisome about any talk of tax hikes or benefit cuts at this juncture, given the remarkable projected stability of the program, is that it's almost impossible to take them as "fixes" at all for the program itself. If they are introduced, they almost by definition are really serving some hidden agenda.

Is that hidden agenda the looting of SS for other purposes? Is it simply to save face for Obama, since he went on record at one point to talk about SS being in "crisis"?

I don't know. But, by long experience, I never trust anyone with hidden agendas -- most especially politicians and their minions.  


I don't know, but I assume that the elephant in the room is the past "borrowings" from the SS trust fund. (4.00 / 2)
If I understand this right, Reagan and Tip O'Neill raised revenue streams back in 83 or so to prepare for the eventual retirement of the baby boom, when income to the program would be less than payments owed to that generation.  And then politicians raided that building "fund" of money (it was never really a fund, I don't understand this part) over and over again to pay for popular programs without raising taxes.  This is also what Gore's "lockbox" talking point was about; protecting the SS trust fund from being raided further.

Because what I think is the understory, is that SS is not in deficit for 75-100 years if you assume that all that money will be paid back into the trust fund in the future; but if you assume that money is long gone and will not be replaced by some future generation of noble politicians, then SS actually is in a pretty severe crisis within the next 20 years or so.

So the point of raising payroll taxes and cutting benefits now would be to make the program solvent into the future even without the money that was "borrowed" out of it in the recent past.

-----------

I pulled together this sketch just from reading the blogs for the last five or six years, and I have no idea if it's true.  Someone else here who knows more should be able to comment with authority.  But I think this may be one of those subjects where each party has a different incentive to not speak of something, so it goes unspoken.  Dems wouldn't want to ever raise the possibility that that money is really gone, because merely speaking of it makes it more likely to become true.  Republicans don't speak of it either, because it was an irresponsible theft that they were perhaps responsible for(?), and they don't want to admit to the electorate what they have done.  But both sides, in this theory, know that this is the reality we face.  They just each have reasons not to address it directly.

Again, I really have no idea if it's true, because I've never actually delved into the numbers myself, and don't really have the policy analysis ability in any case.  But I do think this theory would fit with the events of the last six years pretty readily.


[ Parent ]
Social Security funds are in surplus this year (4.00 / 6)
186 billion in surplus. It has been in surplus every year by at least 100 billion dollars per year. At present it has an accumulated surplus of over 4 trillion dollars.  By 2041 or 53 the surplus will be over 5 Trillion dollars.

The US government owes equally enormous sums of money on treasury bills which obviously is not covered in the budget each year (not debt service but the total)...which is backed by the full faith and credit of the US government...Social Security funds are backed in the same way...now or 40 years from now or 75-100 years for now.  The full faith and credit.

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
Oh it's quite true! (0.00 / 0)
Let me simplify things for you.

You go to Applebees for dinner. You rack up a huge bill on your credit card. The collection agency comes around and reminds you of your responsibility to pay and you say "but I left a good tip!"

That is the bait-and-switch happening on a generational level with Social Security. The Boomers have ruined the economy and run up staggering debt, then turn around and say "but I paid my payroll taxes!"

So when they underfunded education and SCHIP and prenatal care, investment in infrastructure and generally cut taxes below what was needed to run the government, they were genius enough to simultaneously fully fund the programs that would go exclusively to them?

That is bullshit.

Either fund all your obligations, or reduce the obligations.

Don't play accounting games.


[ Parent ]
I remember when (4.00 / 2)
the boomers played those accounting games....

wait a second.....

wasn't that....

Congress and the Executive Branch?

I assume you meant that the political class, and not the Boomers (and by extension, all of the rest of us at all) are the ones who should be punished.  

Otherwise, this would be nonsense.

Also, again, mass groups of people cannot do things, and therefore cannot be morally culpable as a class. Ever.

Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity.


[ Parent ]
Boomers? (0.00 / 0)
You mean conservatives. Conservatives did all those things you listed. Not all boomers are conservatives.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Truths, half truths and myths (4.00 / 2)
I pulled together this sketch just from reading the blogs for the last five or six years, and I have no idea if it's true.  Someone else here who knows more should be able to comment with authority.
Well I don't know about authority exactly but as the author of the 60 plus posts in the Angry Bear Social Security Series I can like Yogi claim to be 'smarter than the average bear' when it comes to Social Security.

First although debcoop has the principles right her numbers are a little off, the actual Trust Fund balance at the end of Dec was $2.5 trillion.

Second the notion that the 1983 Reform was directly concerned with Boomer retirement really isn't true. Instead the Trust Funds were on course for depletion by August of 1983 and only via a series of fancy borrowing between OAS (Old Age Survivors) DI (Disability) and HI (Hospital, aka Medicare Part A) was default avoided. Which is to say that Boomers were paying extra taxes starting in 1983 not to prefund their own retirement but instead to fund current benefits payable to the Greatest Generation. The fact that the 1983 Reform ended up with Boomers largely pre-paying being more or less an accident, the Intermediate assumptions didn't project that outcome at all.
Robert Myers and Prefunding Boomer Retirement (Myers was a 50 year veteran at Social Security and the Executive Director of the Greenspan Committee)

Third there was no raid. When you buy a government bond you give the government money, they give you a piece of paper that promises to pay it back, and then they spend the money on other stuff. That is exactly what happened with surpluses after 1983, they were used to buy interest earning bonds. If the Trust Fund is a real obligation on the government then there has been no diversion, no raid, no theft and every penny is where it is supposed to be. Only if you buy into one or another version of the 'Phony IOU' myth is there a problem. Much of the Left has unwittingly bought into a frame constructed by the Right.

Fourth the whole notion that Johnson used Social Security surpluses to pay for the Great Society or that Reagan used them to fund his tax cuts is belied by the fact that there really was not that much money in any given year to do anything of the sort. Even if either had the worst intentions in the world there just wasn't much to steal.
Historical Operations of the OASDI Trust Funds 1957-2007


[ Parent ]
Ok thank you. (0.00 / 0)
This is the kind of reply that I was hoping my comment would draw.


[ Parent ]
A better plan (4.00 / 6)
I do not want cuts to social security.  I think that people don't understand that retirement fears are among the key roots of economic security (as stated in the essay Building Shared Prosperity by Lawrence Mishel and Nancy Cleeland - in the new book from the Progressive Ideas Network: Thinking Big).  If we don't understand that people's right to a secure present and future impacts our economy then we will never solve this crisis.

I Thnk They Lost The Adjectival Phrase "Fox Liberal" (4.00 / 5)
That should have read, "...the Orszag-Diamond proposal -- which most Fox News liberals embraced as the responsible alternative in 2005..."

"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

Orszag-Diamond proposal (4.00 / 2)
FoxFaux Liberal
fixed that for ya'

[ Parent ]
There is a push on to bracket this (0.00 / 0)
And set Diamond-Orszag as the default 'Left' position and the President's 2001 Commissions alternative 2 be the 'Right' position and let the 'Bi-Partisan' solution somewhere in between.

A name to know in this context. Andrew Biggs. Currently at AEI, for a time in 2006 the Deputy Commissioner of Social Security, prior to that a top guy in Cato's Project for Social Security Privatization (no renamed Project for Social Security Choice) and prior to that on the staff of the 2001 Commission. A nice enough guy but for liberal supporters of Social Security kind of the smiling face of evil. He runs a blog called Notes on Social Security Reform and is pushing this bracketing quite openly. Most recently in this piece on New Majority RUMORS OF OBAMA SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM COMMISSION where he mentions the Dean Baker position of counseling no near term move only to dismiss it as beyond the fringe.

So the word seems to be out, define the center as being the left and compromise as being in the center-right. Same old trick, just a different day.


[ Parent ]
Liberals support the portion of the DC community (0.00 / 0)
...that supports the Orszag-Diamond plan, through voting and donations.

Democratic voters by and large do not select for their issues when voting.

The Democratic Party still has little reason to believe that screwing around with Social Security will cost them on election day.  Therefore, liberals support the Orszag-Diamond plan, no matter what preferences they indicate in polls.

Put yet another way, Social Security is not a third rail if you are unwilling to electrocute any Democrat who touches it.

If you think keeping Republicans out of office is more important than saving Social Security, then Social Security goes overboard.


Social Security is not underwater. (4.00 / 6)
No other program is so fiscally sound for decades...Orzsag is worrying about 75-100 years from now!

It's like you missed the entire discussion in 2005-2006 on Social Security privatization.  

THERE IS NO CRISIS IN SOCIAL SECURITY.
IT DOESN'T NEED SAVING BECASUE IT IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT IN ANY JEOPARDY.

The jeopardy is from the likes of Peterson, Gregg and poorly misdirected liberals.

By the way this argument makes no sense that Democratic voters don't vote on issues.  The debacle of Social Security privatization very much is why Democrats trounced Republicans in 2006.

Secondly this is not just about voting...just as the passage of the stimulus package was not just about affecting Obama's poll numbers.  This is very much about doing the right thing for the country...and cutting benefits is just very much the wrong thing.  

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"
Stoller


[ Parent ]
???? (0.00 / 0)
I didn't say there was a crisis in social security.  

I said that we can't trust Democrats in D.C. to keep their hands off it.


[ Parent ]
Liberals "generally support the Orszag-Diamond plan"? (4.00 / 3)
WTF?  I closely followed the debates back in 2005 and I don't even remember anything of this name.  Geez, gotta love people who tell me what people like me think.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

Class and Social Security (4.00 / 1)
Looking at the other questions, I think part of the opposition in the poll cited comes from it being stated that lower-income workers would not have benefits changed at all.  I get the sense that the public thinks that if benefits have to be reduced, that the middle and upper classes should have their benefits reduced at a higher rate, but would be angry if lower-income workers have no share in the sacrifice at all.  For example, one question has a majority saying that they would support slowing the growth of benefits for middle and high-income people relative to low-income people.

There also seems to be a framing effect here.  I think that people are willing to see slowing the growth of benefits if necessary, but are opposed to "cuts".

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


Garbage! (4.00 / 4)
-45-year old average earner is less than 1 percent; for a 35-year-old, less than 5 percent; and for a 25-year-old,

What?  These people aren't ever going to grow old?   Kicking the can to a generation that has already been screwed over in spades is no go.  They have the deficits, a fucked up planet, a bankrupt county and no freaking jobs.  Now they want their Social Security.   NO WAY!


Stinky maybe but not garbage. (0.00 / 0)
Those 'cuts' are relative to the schedule which actually provides a better benefit for future generations than current. Prof. Rosser of JMU calculates that under the current schedule the benefit for the retiree of 2041 would be 160% in real terms than the one a similarly situated retiree gets today. Thus a 9% cut for the 25 year old means 91% of 160%=145%.

If you change the slope of the increase in benefits naturally generations further out take bigger cuts as expressed as a percentage change from the previous one, that doesn't mean the resultant is necessarily a worse deal.

I don't advocate Diamond-Orszag because I believe its economic model is too pessimistic and that the cuts will not be needed. But it is a hell of a lot better than the other plans out there which mostly boil down to Peter G. Peterson taking your money and handing it over to Wall Street.


[ Parent ]
First, it isn't broken. (0.00 / 0)
Second, it is their fault if it is.  I (we) am not responsible for their incompetent management of the fund.  They have stolen the money just like they stole the money in Iraq and on Wall Street.  I am sick of paying.  I will not bail out their sorry asses again.  To paraphrase Kuchinich, they keep asking for another four years when they deserve ten to twenty.  

[ Parent ]
good article on Orzag, and how costs are the focus entirely --"The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief" (4.00 / 5)
http://www.prospect.org/cs/art...

... In the coming years, no bureaucrat will be as decisive as Peter Orszag -- the former director of the Congressional Budget Office who is now the head of Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget -- and few bureaucracies will be as important as the CBO and the OMB. For every major policy and legislative fight, those organizations will decide the Number: the official price tag of a government program. And you can't do anything without the Number.
...

In testimonies, speeches, and blog posts (yes, he kept a blog at the CBO), Orszag has emphatically rejected that premise. He says that comprehensive health reform is the "key to our fiscal future." He says that Social Security is not the problem and neither are the baby boomers. The impact of aging is only a small slice of the increase in health costs. The real driver is technology: We spend more because we're buying more expensive stuff. Left unchecked, this trend will eventually consume the federal government, with federal spending alone growing to 37 percent of gross domestic product by 2050. The answer is to reduce health-care costs, but you won't get there by cutting benefits. The political system isn't set up for that.

Orszag, however, sees another path. He emphasizes a striking chart from the Dartmouth Atlas Project that shows that spending on Medicare beneficiaries varies by tens of thousands of dollars across the states but that higher spending is not connected to better outcomes. Spend more, get the same. In this, he says, there is a substantial "embedded opportunity" to reduce costs without reducing the quality of care. "There is a huge amount of care that is provided that is unnecessary," Orszag says. "The Dartmouth folks say as much as 30 percent, others say between 15 percent or 10 percent, and fine, that's huge. The question is how we get out of that."
...
Orszag went on to argue that rising health costs threaten the nation's very solvency. If they continue to grow, investors will no longer be willing to buy Treasury bonds at low rates. And if that happened, the government would lose its ability to mount the sort of costly rescue operations that have kept this crisis from turning into a calamity. "So if you think the current economic crisis is serious," concluded Orszag, "and it is, imagine what it would be like if we didn't have the ability to undertake aggressive and innovative policy interventions because creditors were effectively unwilling to lend substantial additional sums to the Federal government."

Behind Orszag's economic jargon was a startlingly aggressive message. He was essentially accusing those who would delay health reform of bringing a Zippo and a can of kerosene to the federal budget. "I have not viewed CBO's job as just to passively evaluate what Congress proposes," he tells me shortly before his appointment to the OMB, "but rather to be an analytical resource. And part of that is to highlight things that are true and that people may not want to hear, including that we need to address health-care costs." ...



This is interesting (4.00 / 1)
On the one hand I'm strongly of the "keep your fucking hands off my SS and Medicare" and don't trust the technocrats.

On the other hand ...

I've just come back from another medical test prescribed by my Doctor because of a very annoying and intermittently painful but probably not very serious medical condition, about which, ultimately, there's little that can be done.  The docs prescribe these tests like water, they are costing me an arm and a leg (with my shitty high-deductible health insurance which is still much better than what many others have), and now that they are over, I have to ask myself, to what end?  I have a feeling that all these tests have done is to confirm what the doctor suspected all along.

On top of that, and on the subject of Obama's big push on computerizing medical records, I've noticed a new and unfortunate tendency on the part of these doctors to push my test results at me on the web without even having the conversation with me about what the results mean for the annoying and intermittently painful condition that drove me there in the first place.  They've done the tests, the tests say what they say - and????????  I want to know how to live with this condition.  The docs seem very reluctant to see this as part of their responsibility.  A drawback of high-tech medicine?  Very possibly.

So I'm not totally unsympathetic to questioning the high-tech way we do medicine these days - but I still don't trust the liberal think-tankers on this either.


sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
So why did you go? n.t (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
I'm liking this guy (4.00 / 2)
The more I read about Orzag, the more I like him. He seems like exactly the right kind of egghead for the job he's been given.

I know a few people here have been hyperventilating over that politico article, but I'm pretty sure they're reading it completely backwards.

Conduct your own interview of Sarah Palin!


[ Parent ]
I have some (4.00 / 1)
differences with him ideologically but unlike Summers I've been liking him more and more as I learn more about him and as the administration goes on. If Bernanke is replaced by Summers or Geithner I hope Orzag moves up to NEC head or Treasury Secratary.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
Maybe you like him (4.00 / 2)
I think Orzag, Geithner, Paulsen, Bush, Jim Cooper and the other s***heads should go off to Gilligan's Island or some other home for nincompoops and get lost for oh 40 or 50 years or so.

[ Parent ]
shouldn't the focus be on care -- and not the costs? these are not for-profit businesses, but (0.00 / 0)
Govt. programs providing vital and necessary healthcare -- and also vital and necessary retirement funds we contribute towards our whole lives.

Govt exists to provide services -- it's not like a for-profit business in any way.


[ Parent ]
Social Security and National Health Care (0.00 / 0)
One of Obama's stated priorities is a national health care plan.  The biggest obstacle to national health care is not Republicans but centrist Democrats and Blue Dogs who will talk about "fiscal responsibility".  I wonder if persuading those groups that Social Security is in good shape is a necessary first step in getting a health care plan as a demonstration of an ability to control the cost of future benefits relative to the money flowing into the program.  The stimulus bill voting suggests to me that the Blue Dogs are split between corporate tools and theoretically persuadable types.

If you were given the opportunity to trade a decrease in the growth of Social Security benefits for implementation of a national health care plan that is not all that progressives want, but still significantly to the left of what Jim Cooper wants, would you go for it?  Would you be willing to make the offer or would it have to come to you?  Not that I think it would happen, but perhaps it is better to think of Social Security, national health care, and other things as part of a unified social safety net rather than a group of individual programs.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


Absolutely not. (0.00 / 0)
This country's priorities are totally screwed up.  Imagine if all the money we spend on war, bombs, and jails was spent on science, health care, and education instead.  Why do you so readily accept their position.  They want to talk about change, and I want to talk about priorities and accountability.  Why should retirees of any generation take a hit when WS CEOs can't live on 500K and they won't take the profit out of the health care system?  

[ Parent ]
Medicaid -- "public insurance has a better track record than private insurance" (0.00 / 0)
... Medicare has limitations as one of our sole sources of health care data. For instance, it only treats the elderly. Which brings us back to the public option. "A new public insurance plan for those younger than 65," says Hacker, "would enable the testing and evaluation of potential delivery system and payment reforms; the collection, reporting, and use of ongoing performance data; and the streamlining of paperwork and administration in ways that would not be possible without a broad public plan."

...

In other words, the private plan isn't a backdoor to single payer and it's not a progressive sweetener to be traded away. It's essential to a high-performing universal health care system and should be included because it's good policy in a sector that needs more of it.  ...

-- http://www.prospect.org/csnc/b...

Most liberals do not support SSN cuts (4.00 / 3)
Chris,

My first inclination was to say, "NO DUH!"

Instead, I decided to be a little more adult about it:

By definition, if you support SSN cuts you are not a liberal. You may think you are a liberal. You may argue that you are a liberal. But you are no liberal.

Liberals:

1) Value human life, both before and after birth.
2) Believe that democracy is defined in the Constitution.
3) Believe that a democratic government is of the people, by the people and for the people and that you may not substitute the words corporation, CEO, stockholder, elected official or media talking-head for the word people and still call it a democratic government.

A tree is not a liberal. A rock is not a liberal. A blue dog is not a liberal. A red cat is not a liberal. A conservative is not a liberal.

A social democrat is a liberal.

Liberals support increases in social security benefits. Liberals support single-payer healthcare. Liberals support public education from grade school though graduate school. Liberals support equality without regard to age, race, sex, religion, sexual preference, income, occupation, wealth, last name, etc. Liberals support unions. Liberals support taxes used to benefit the country's citizens.

In summary, what is a liberal?

http://www.myleftwing.com/show...


Entitlements (0.00 / 0)
Why,when entitlements are discussed, is the conversation from Congress, pundits, and media only centered on Social Security?  There is a much larger, unfunded entitlement(s) within the Department of Defense.  It is called a pension, no contributions required, after just 20 years of service.  One may retire as early as 37.  This is just one of the many entitlements within the DOD. In my last year working for this largest of "not for profit" organizations on the planet,the year 2000, DOD staffers were projecting that 70% of the DOD's budget for FY 01 would be "eaten up" with entitlements!  Guard and Reserve members put in many more years and cannot retire until 62.  They also do not contribute but at least they work harder and much longer and the retirement is delayed.  As a Vietnam Veteran and woman who worked for DOD as a civil servant I found myself working across from "desk flyers" and "desk sailors" and "desk soldiers" who never came close to a "live exercise" let alone battle. Yet, they bore not cost for their very lucrative pensions. Please I get tired of the "dying for one's country" - this is a volunteer army, air force, marines, navy, coast guard - you know the game plan. I knew it and made the biggest mistake of my life but it was my responsibility.  Moreover, as a civil servant I contributed 9% of my pay to my pension and required 30 years of service.  Congress eliminated all Civil Service pension plans in 1984 citing cost.  Only those of us who were grandfathered could continue with a pension in our future.

This should not be a sacred cow - these people are "professional" members of the armed services like "professional" diplomats and so on. Someone please start this discussion in the media. The discussion will turn vapid and ugly immediately but this should come first or along with any other discussions of entitlements.    


"Fiscal summit details" (0.00 / 0)
-- http://www.politico.com/blogs/...

...

Breakout sessions.

Health: Orszag, Melody Barnes, Sec. Shinseki

Tax: Geithner, Volcker

Social Security: Romer, Summers

Contracting & Procurement: LaHood, Napolitano, Bill Lynn

Budget: Nabors, Panetta ...



& "Sandlin says she will represent the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats." (0.00 / 0)
http://www.siouxcityjournal.co...

...  U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota has been invited to take part in a fiscal summit at the White House on Monday.

In a release, Herseth Sandlin says she will represent the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats.

...
Herseth Sandlin says the summit will focus attention on the nation's fiscal challenges. She calls it a national security issue that speaks to the kind of nation that will be left to future generations.

Herseth Sandlin and more than 40 Blue Dog Coalition members met with Obama at the White House last week to discuss fiscal responsibility issues.



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