Cutting Social Security is the New TARP

Politicians who signed off on TARP lived to regret the day they did (especially Republican ones, just ask Bob Bennett and Mike Castle). Those votes will haunt the congressmen who supported the bailouts for years to come. That's the same exact thing that's going to happen to politicians who sell out the middle class by agreeing to cut Social Security.

Sign our Petition telling the President not to touch Social Security HERE

The chairmen of the Deficit-Reduction Commission just released a report that recommends that we cut benefits for current retirees by 3 to 6% and eventually raise the retirement age to 69. Why not make it 89 while you're at it? At that point, Social Security will be completely solvent forever because only three people will live long enough to collect it. Remember, it's not just that you can't retire till later, it's that you don't get benefits for those extra two to four years - that's a huge cut of your Social Security.

Plus, to add insult to injury they also propose to cap Medicare. Some worry this might even lead to rationing. This helps because the cuts to Social Security didn't hurt enough.

These are all non-starters. Social Security currently has a $2.5 trillion surplus. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying. They have created a fake crisis about Social Security not being able to pay full benefits by 2037. So, the answer is to shred benefits now? How does that help?

Of course, this proposal doesn't help you to collect the Social Security payments that you're owed after a lifetime of paying into the system. It helps them rob you. Now, those are stark terms, but totally justified when you consider the second part of this so-called Deficit-Reduction Commission. Instead of addressing the deficit by doing spending cuts and tax increases (both painful and both necessary to reduce deficits), they actually cut taxes. That's mental. That makes the deficit much, much worse.

They propose to cut the top rate from 35% to 23% for the personal income tax, and the corporate tax rate would get cut from 35% to 26%. What an unbelievable joke. So, you have to cut Social Security and Medicare because you just had to give the rich one more gigantic tax cut? They'll claim they are getting rid of some tax exemptions and credits, but that doesn't come close to making up for the tax cuts they have proposed.

But we have to thank them for making their intentions undeniably clear. This Deficit-Reduction Commission has nothing to do with the deficit. It never did. I was always thought it was an excuse to cut Social Security to pay for the tax cuts that went to the rich and ate up the Social Security surplus. It turns out, it's more audacious than that. It cuts Social Security to pay for whole new round of tax cuts for the rich. The balls on these guys.

A new poll out by PPP indicates that when asked how to balance the budget, 43% of real Americans said tax the wealthy, 22% said cut defense spending and only 12% said cut Social Security. They didn't stutter. That's crystal clear. If some of our current politicians make the mistake of backing these cuts for Social Security, those numbers are going to come back to bite them. And they'll be our former politicians. I, for one, will work the rest of my life to kick out of office anyone who signs off on this robbery. I don't give a damn what party they claim to be from. That includes the president.

Through all of my frustrations with the president, I have never called for a primary opponent against him in 2012. And I don't know any other established progressive that has. If he pushes for this plan, he should definitely get a primary challenger. Because I couldn't vote for a guy who agreed to rob the middle class like this. This is definitely the last straw. If he does this, then he was never on our side to begin with.

Sign our Petition telling the President not to touch Social Security HERE

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Cutting Social Security is the New TARP

Politicians who signed off on TARP lived to regret the day they did (especially Republican ones, just ask Bob Bennett and Mike Castle). Those votes will haunt the congressmen who supported the bailouts for years to come. That's the same exact thing that's going to happen to politicians who sell out the middle class by agreeing to cut Social Security.

Sign our Petition telling the President not to touch Social Security HERE

The chairmen of the Deficit-Reduction Commission just released a report that recommends that we cut benefits for current retirees by 3 to 6% and eventually raise the retirement age to 69. Why not make it 89 while you're at it? At that point, Social Security will be completely solvent forever because only three people will live long enough to collect it. Remember, it's not just that you can't retire till later, it's that you don't get benefits for those extra two to four years - that's a huge cut of your Social Security.

Plus, to add insult to injury they also propose to cap Medicare. Some worry this might even lead to rationing. This helps because the cuts to Social Security didn't hurt enough.

These are all non-starters. Social Security currently has a $2.5 trillion surplus. Anyone telling you otherwise is lying. They have created a fake crisis about Social Security not being able to pay full benefits by 2037. So, the answer is to shred benefits now? How does that help?

Of course, this proposal doesn't help you to collect the Social Security payments that you're owed after a lifetime of paying into the system. It helps them rob you. Now, those are stark terms, but totally justified when you consider the second part of this so-called Deficit-Reduction Commission. Instead of addressing the deficit by doing spending cuts and tax increases (both painful and both necessary to reduce deficits), they actually cut taxes. That's mental. That makes the deficit much, much worse.

They propose to cut the top rate from 35% to 23% for the personal income tax, and the corporate tax rate would get cut from 35% to 26%. What an unbelievable joke. So, you have to cut Social Security and Medicare because you just had to give the rich one more gigantic tax cut? They'll claim they are getting rid of some tax exemptions and credits, but that doesn't come close to making up for the tax cuts they have proposed.

But we have to thank them for making their intentions undeniably clear. This Deficit-Reduction Commission has nothing to do with the deficit. It never did. I was always thought it was an excuse to cut Social Security to pay for the tax cuts that went to the rich and ate up the Social Security surplus. It turns out, it's more audacious than that. It cuts Social Security to pay for whole new round of tax cuts for the rich. The balls on these guys.

A new poll out by PPP indicates that when asked how to balance the budget, 43% of real Americans said tax the wealthy, 22% said cut defense spending and only 12% said cut Social Security. They didn't stutter. That's crystal clear. If some of our current politicians make the mistake of backing these cuts for Social Security, those numbers are going to come back to bite them. And they'll be our former politicians. I, for one, will work the rest of my life to kick out of office anyone who signs off on this robbery. I don't give a damn what party they claim to be from. That includes the president.

Through all of my frustrations with the president, I have never called for a primary opponent against him in 2012. And I don't know any other established progressive that has. If he pushes for this plan, he should definitely get a primary challenger. Because I couldn't vote for a guy who agreed to rob the middle class like this. This is definitely the last straw. If he does this, then he was never on our side to begin with.

Sign our Petition telling the President not to touch Social Security HERE

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Weekly Audit: Banks Get Big Bucks, Consumers Get Bupkis

 

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Last week, the Federal Reserve announced a plan to buy an additional $600 billion worth of Treasury bonds in an attempt to stimulate the economy. On Democracy Now!, economist Michael Hudson argues that the $600 billion T-bill buy will help Wall Street at the expense of ordinary Americans.

The Fed justifies the purchase as an infusion of cash into the U.S. economy. The buy-up will certainly be an infusion of cash into U.S. banks. In effect, the Fed will help the government pay back the banks that lent money to finance deficit spending. The hope is that these banks, suddenly flush with cash, will help the U.S. economy by lending money to finance projects that will create wealth and jobs (i.e. opening factories and hiring more workers).

However, as Hudson points out, there’s no guarantee that the banks are going to use the windfall to build wealth in the U.S. On the contrary, he argues, there’s every reason to suspect that they’ll invest the money overseas in currency speculation deals. Why? Because the Fed has also put massive pressure on Congress to push China into raising its currency by 20%. The banks know this because the House voted overwhelmingly to approve such a threat in September.

If the banks convert their extra billions to Chinese currency, and China raises the value of its currency in response to the threat of an across-the-board U.S. tariff on its imports, then banks that bought Chinese RMB when it was still artificially cheap will reap huge profits overnight.

Later in the Democracy Now! broadcast, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz describes how the U.S. employed a similar strategy of currency devaluation to insulate itself against the ravages of the Great Depression, with devastating global consequences:

So, the irony is that money that was intended to rekindle the American economy is causing havoc all over the world. Those elsewhere in the world say, what the United States is trying to do is the twenty-first century version of “beggar thy neighbor” policies that were part of the Great Depression: you strengthen yourself by hurting the others. You can’t do protectionism in the old version of raising tariffs, but what you can do is lower your exchange rate, and that’s what low interest rates are trying to do, weaken the dollar.

Trade war between the U.S. and China

The U.S. and China have a longstanding trade rivalry, but suddenly the two powers seem to be even more at odds than usual.

William Greider of The Nation argues that plummeting global demand has ratcheted up tensions as the two exporting nations fight over a dwindling pool of customers. The U.S. accuses China of artificially deflating its currency to make its exports cheaper. In retaliation, the U.S. imposed tariffs on Chinese tires and tubular steel. China, in turn, imposed a tariff on U.S. poultry. As I mentioned above, the House voted 348-79 in September to impose additional tariffs on nearly all Chinese imports if China doesn’t revalue its currency, though the Senate has yet to vote on this legislation.

The U.S. acts indignant about China manipulating its currency, but Grieder argues that this stance is hypocritical in light of the Federal Reserve’s decision to buy an additional $600 billion worth of Treasury bonds from the federal government to help finance the budget deficit. One effect will be to weaken the U.S. dollar, which will make our exports more competitive relative to those of China.

Voters reject free-for-all trade

In last week’s midterm elections, voters rewarded candidates who oppose unfettered free trade, according to Kari Lydersen of Working In These Times. According to a new report by Public Citizen, 60 congressional races were fought wholly or largely on trade issues in 2010. Only 37 candidates favored NAFTA-style free trade pacts and half of them lost. Not all the candidates who won on a protectionist trade platform were advocating a progressive agenda of fairly compensating trading partners, protecting American jobs, and upholding environmental regulations. Senator-Elect Rand Paul (R-KY) argued that the World Trade Organization is a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

Anti-union ballot initiatives win big

Mikhail Zinshteyn of Campus Progress brings us an update on the anti-union initiatives that appeared on the ballots in many states last week. Voters in Arizona, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah approved legislation to preemptively neutralize the already-stalled Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), should it ever become federal law. EFCA, also known as card check or majority sign-up, would allow workers to organize by signing up for a union, instead of going through a grueling National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process, which makes workers sitting ducks for management threats and propaganda.

Bean there, done that

Move over, Elizabeth Warren. The White House may be poised to appoint one of Wall Street’s favorite Democrats to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Andy Kroll and David Corn report in Mother Jones that Rep. Melissa Bean (D-IL) is a favored contender for the job if her still-undecided race for reelection doesn’t work out. That would be heartening news for Bean’s former chief of staff, John Michael Gonzalez, now a leading lobbyist for Big Finance.

Bean, who serves on the House finance and small business committees, has received over $2.5 million in campaign contributions from the financial sector over the course of her 5-year career. Bean was also a big beneficiary of the Chamber of Commerce, which vehemently opposed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill that created the CFPB in the first place. Bean ultimately voted for the bill, but not before she unsuccessfully attempted to water down the consumer financial protections therein, the very provisions Bean would be tasked with enforcing.

“The White House needs to beat back the Bean idea, otherwise they’ll look like fools,” one Democratic strategist told Corn and Kroll. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. She’s a tool of the financial industries.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

Republicans 0 for 20 (0%) on Debt Reduction Since 1978

The Democrats are 5 for 13 (38%) on U.S. Debt Reduction.

U.S. Debt: Democrats $2.1 Trillion, Republicans $9.1 Trillion Since 1978 

Everyone’s worried about the skyrocketing U.S. National Debt. The question is what should we do? Republicans insist that they're the only ones who can fix the U.S. Debt (and voters agree--Republicans are up 14 points in a Politico poll on who's better to fix the deficit). This, however, is 180 degrees from the truth. 

Two nationally known financial and economic experts reviewed data from the Office of Management and Budget to assess the performance and track record of the administrations over the past 33 years. The results may surprise you. 

Dr. Stephen Soft and Dr. Richard Barrett say that the data shows that Reaganomics created a $9+ Trillion Dollar U.S. Debt and that Pres. George W. Bush (’02-’09) Upped it $4.9+ Trillion.

A quiz to test your knowledge of the basics of U.S. Government debt follows:

The Horrific, Terrible, Gotta' Do Something Now, U.S. Government Debt Quiz

1.  Since President Jimmy Carter’s term, which presidents have reduced the U.S. National Debt?

2. How many years since 1978 have Republican Presidents reduced the Debt?

3. How many years since 1978 have Democratic Presidents reduced the Debt?

4. Since 1978, how much have Republican Presidents increased the Debt?

5. Isn’t the debt Congress’ fault? They have to approve the budget. 

6. Since 1978, how much have Democratic Presidents, including President Obama, increased the Debt?

7. Who set the record for biggest and fastest Debt increase?

8. Biggest single budget Debt increase?

9. Biggest single budget reduction?   

The Horrible, Terrible, I Can’t Believe That’s True, Answers

Answer 1. 

Only Carter and Clinton (in his Second Term) reduced the U.S. Debt.

Answer 2. 

Republicans were zero for twenty on years they reduced the Debt. The percentage of years of U.S Debt reduction under Republicans is 0%--zero in 20 years.)

Answer 3.

Democrats reduced the Debt in five out of their thirteen years in office. The percentage of years of U.S Debt reduction under Democrats is 38%--5 times in  13 years.

Answer 4. 

Republican Presidents, (Reagan and the two Bushes) increased the Debt by $9.1 Trillion Dollars. This number is in 2010 dollars and was adjusted using the yearly Consumer Price Index in June of each year.

Answer 5. 

Some say Congress was the problem, but Congress averaged $16 million less in final budgets than the presidents’ budget requests—and Presidents still hold the veto power. As of 2004 only 106 Presidential vetoes had been overridden in the entire history of the United States—less than one every two years.

Answer 6. 

Clinton and Obama increased the Debt by $2.1 Trillion. ($1.785 Trillion of that was Obama’s 2010 Budget intended to keep the Recession from becoming a Depression.)

Answer 7. 

President George W. Bush broke all Debt records in his second term** (**Fiscal Years 06-09)

     $3.14 Trillion in Debt in four years.

     $2 Trillion in Debt in one year (FY 2009).**   (FY 2009 began in Oct., 2008.)

     $1 Trillion in 100 days (The speed record: 8/11 to 11/19, 2008.)

Answer 8.

The worst performance on reducing the U.S. debt occurred during Bush’s last term--$3.14 Trillion in Debt.

Answer 9. 

The largest reduction in the U.S. Debt occurred during Clinton’s last term—Minus $0.235 Trillion.

___________________________________________________________________

References: Data from the U.S. Government OMB:

Data: Whitehouse FY 2011 Budget-Table 7.1: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

Consumer Price Index Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982-1984 = 100.

CPI adjusted to make 2010 = 100: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt 

Static graphs: U.S. Debt increase in last thirty years:  http://www.zfacts.com/p/318.html

Excel spreadsheet: U.S. Debt since Carter Administration:  http://www.ADebtIsATax.com

YouTube Debt Info: Supply-Siders’ U.S. Debt Disaster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1bZ-TiX8rA

Excerpt of Table of Recent U.S. Presidential Debt Creation

US PUBLIC DEBT—DEMOCRATIC VERSUS REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS--1978-2010

Democratic Presidents:

Jimmy Carter (Fiscal Years 1978-1981)                Minus $0.143 Trillion 

Bill Clinton (Fiscal Years 1993-1996)                             $0.733 Trillion 

Bill Clinton (Fiscal Years 1997-2001)                    Minus $0.235 Trillion 

Barack Obama (Fiscal Year 2010)                                 $1.785 Trillion

                                                                                                                                                                         Total $2.140 Trillion

Republican Presidents:

 

Ronald Reagan (Fiscal Years 1982-1985)                       $1.288 Trillion 

Ronald Reagan (Fiscal Years 1986-1989)                       $1.355 Trillion 

George Bush Sr. (Fiscal Years 1990-1993)                     $1.531 Trillion 

George Bush Jr. (Fiscal Year 2002-2005)                       $1.794 Trillion 

George Bush Jr. (Fiscal Year 2006-2009)                       $3.142 Trillion                                                                                                                                                                          Total $9.110 Trillion

For full tables: Go to http://wwwzfacts.com/p/.ADebtIsATax.com/html ,  at top of page, click on—Calculation Spreadsheet

For contact information for Drs. Stoft and Barrett go to: http://www.ADebtIsATaxOnYourKids.html

Free reprint is okay.

Republicans 0 for 20 (0%) on Debt Reduction Since 1978

The Democrats are 5 for 13 (38%) on U.S. Debt Reduction.

U.S. Debt: Democrats $2.1 Trillion, Republicans $9.1 Trillion Since 1978 

Everyone’s worried about the skyrocketing U.S. National Debt. The question is what should we do? Republicans insist that they're the only ones who can fix the U.S. Debt (and voters agree--Republicans are up 14 points in a Politico poll on who's better to fix the deficit). This, however, is 180 degrees from the truth. 

Two nationally known financial and economic experts reviewed data from the Office of Management and Budget to assess the performance and track record of the administrations over the past 33 years. The results may surprise you. 

Dr. Stephen Soft and Dr. Richard Barrett say that the data shows that Reaganomics created a $9+ Trillion Dollar U.S. Debt and that Pres. George W. Bush (’02-’09) Upped it $4.9+ Trillion.

A quiz to test your knowledge of the basics of U.S. Government debt follows:

The Horrific, Terrible, Gotta' Do Something Now, U.S. Government Debt Quiz

1.  Since President Jimmy Carter’s term, which presidents have reduced the U.S. National Debt?

2. How many years since 1978 have Republican Presidents reduced the Debt?

3. How many years since 1978 have Democratic Presidents reduced the Debt?

4. Since 1978, how much have Republican Presidents increased the Debt?

5. Isn’t the debt Congress’ fault? They have to approve the budget. 

6. Since 1978, how much have Democratic Presidents, including President Obama, increased the Debt?

7. Who set the record for biggest and fastest Debt increase?

8. Biggest single budget Debt increase?

9. Biggest single budget reduction?   

The Horrible, Terrible, I Can’t Believe That’s True, Answers

Answer 1. 

Only Carter and Clinton (in his Second Term) reduced the U.S. Debt.

Answer 2. 

Republicans were zero for twenty on years they reduced the Debt. The percentage of years of U.S Debt reduction under Republicans is 0%--zero in 20 years.)

Answer 3.

Democrats reduced the Debt in five out of their thirteen years in office. The percentage of years of U.S Debt reduction under Democrats is 38%--5 times in  13 years.

Answer 4. 

Republican Presidents, (Reagan and the two Bushes) increased the Debt by $9.1 Trillion Dollars. This number is in 2010 dollars and was adjusted using the yearly Consumer Price Index in June of each year.

Answer 5. 

Some say Congress was the problem, but Congress averaged $16 million less in final budgets than the presidents’ budget requests—and Presidents still hold the veto power. As of 2004 only 106 Presidential vetoes had been overridden in the entire history of the United States—less than one every two years.

Answer 6. 

Clinton and Obama increased the Debt by $2.1 Trillion. ($1.785 Trillion of that was Obama’s 2010 Budget intended to keep the Recession from becoming a Depression.)

Answer 7. 

President George W. Bush broke all Debt records in his second term** (**Fiscal Years 06-09)

     $3.14 Trillion in Debt in four years.

     $2 Trillion in Debt in one year (FY 2009).**   (FY 2009 began in Oct., 2008.)

     $1 Trillion in 100 days (The speed record: 8/11 to 11/19, 2008.)

Answer 8.

The worst performance on reducing the U.S. debt occurred during Bush’s last term--$3.14 Trillion in Debt.

Answer 9. 

The largest reduction in the U.S. Debt occurred during Clinton’s last term—Minus $0.235 Trillion.

___________________________________________________________________

References: Data from the U.S. Government OMB:

Data: Whitehouse FY 2011 Budget-Table 7.1: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/

Consumer Price Index Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982-1984 = 100.

CPI adjusted to make 2010 = 100: ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt 

Static graphs: U.S. Debt increase in last thirty years:  http://www.zfacts.com/p/318.html

Excel spreadsheet: U.S. Debt since Carter Administration:  http://www.ADebtIsATax.com

YouTube Debt Info: Supply-Siders’ U.S. Debt Disaster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1bZ-TiX8rA

Excerpt of Table of Recent U.S. Presidential Debt Creation

US PUBLIC DEBT—DEMOCRATIC VERSUS REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS--1978-2010

Democratic Presidents:

Jimmy Carter (Fiscal Years 1978-1981)                Minus $0.143 Trillion 

Bill Clinton (Fiscal Years 1993-1996)                             $0.733 Trillion 

Bill Clinton (Fiscal Years 1997-2001)                    Minus $0.235 Trillion 

Barack Obama (Fiscal Year 2010)                                 $1.785 Trillion

                                                                                                                                                                         Total $2.140 Trillion

Republican Presidents:

 

Ronald Reagan (Fiscal Years 1982-1985)                       $1.288 Trillion 

Ronald Reagan (Fiscal Years 1986-1989)                       $1.355 Trillion 

George Bush Sr. (Fiscal Years 1990-1993)                     $1.531 Trillion 

George Bush Jr. (Fiscal Year 2002-2005)                       $1.794 Trillion 

George Bush Jr. (Fiscal Year 2006-2009)                       $3.142 Trillion                                                                                                                                                                          Total $9.110 Trillion

For full tables: Go to http://wwwzfacts.com/p/.ADebtIsATax.com/html ,  at top of page, click on—Calculation Spreadsheet

For contact information for Drs. Stoft and Barrett go to: http://www.ADebtIsATaxOnYourKids.html

Free reprint is okay.

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