In the 75 years that Social Security has been around, it has become the most successful, most popular government program in existence. It is also the largest program. Estimates vary on how long the program can be self-sustaining. Even the harshest critics seem to think the program will be fine until 2037, when it may deplete its reserves, which are now considerable, and have to revert to a pay-as-you-go basis. But the need for revamping seems to fade when we consider the simple step of requiring wealthy participants to fully participate like everyone else.
Republican plans to privatize Social Security face two great obstacles in public opinion.
First, it looks risky. The most common variation of Republican privatization involves diverting some or all of Social Security funds into the stock market. That looked like a shaky scheme in 2005. At the moment, it strikes most people as a crazy sort of gamble.
Second, advocates of privatization include a disproportionate number of Republicans who simply hate Social Security and have called for it to end. It is wrong to say that everyone who seeks to revamp the program is plotting to destroy it. But it is undeniable that, generally, the most enthusiastic proponents of privatization are those Republicans most opposed to the very concept of Social Security.
"We need to phase Medicare and Social Security out," said Sharron Angle, Senate candidate from Nevada. She has adopted, as a model, the privatization program of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1980's. The biggest drawback of her proposal is that the experiment on which it was modeled could not cover everyone. In fact, Chile eventually had to go to public funding. The program she hopes to use as a privatization model has been abandoned.
Other Republicans are skeptical about any guarantees of retirement for seniors. Ken Buck, running for the Senate from Colorado calls Social Security "a horrible policy." He says it is "fundamentally against what I believe." Ron Johnson of Wisconsin calls it "a giant Ponzi scheme." The Ponzi scheme accusation is echoed by Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Roy Blunt, Senate candidate here in Missouri is not completely opposed to some sort of sponsored retirement. He wants to replace Social Security with personal accounts made up of mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. He is joined by Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Toomey has faith that if accounts are diversified enough, the risk of working people having their retirement wiped out will be minimized.
Minimizing stock market gambles does seem more prudent than simply abolishing Social Security. The question Republicans need to answer is this: Why minimize when we can simply reject such risks?
I'm saying it can't be fixed. It's broken.
- - Sharron Angle (R-NV), Senatorial Candidate, May 19, 2010
On phasing out Social Security, replacing it with a privatized Republican
Comment from : dave [Visitor]
Jmyste, you miss the point.
Olbermann and Maddow (who at one hour a night are the left wing media at this point) pretty much have the same point of view that they have always had. They are not extreme. You can go to the left of them and find more left wing ideas. Also, they do criticize Obama - every chance they get. With Limbaugh and the rest, they go off on a wild tangent and then, to prove they are not extreme, go further to the right. We started with privatizing the schools, then moved on to torture, then a complete rewrite of the Constitution (changing the first and fourteenth amendments, for starters).
The problem is that Olbermann and Maddow don't even voice their own agenda anymore : they are basically the voices in the wilderness saying what a bad idea whatever the right wing wants to do next is. I don't see how that makes them the extremists.
Comment from : JMyste [Visitor]
I wish I had more time to backup my statement with research, but then I may end up disagreeing with myself anyway, so it is not a total misfortune.
I cannot debate your position that Rachel Maddow and Keith O have always lived on the extreme left. Their increasing popularity is causing the left to move over to their extreme position, though, as they are two of the main liberal opinion makers.
They both act as retained attorneys, not as logical analysts. Extreme conservatives often attack republican leadership, as extreme liberals often attack Obama. No difference there.
Both sides will usually defend, or at least show sympathy for, their leading politicians when they are faced with scandals, and will, without logical reason or thought, attack the other side, when it suffers scandal. I see no difference there.
So I am left with your statement that the extreme conservative position is growing increasingly conservative whereas the extreme liberal position is no more liberal than it has always been. I must assume this is the point I missed.
After careful consideration, I must concede that I did in fact miss that point, and it is a good one.
In a weak attempt to refute it, I would like to point out that the liberal majority in America is visibly moving further to the left, even if the left opinion makers are stagnant. The famed “liberal media” was never that liberal. This was a myth created by conservatives who mistook a lack of support for extreme conservatism as liberalism. While some editors of the more prominent newspapers in America were clearly Democrats, the more prominent voices were often conservative and for a while it seemed there were no good counter voices (in the days before Maddow and Keith O).
It is possible that even if the political center in America becomes microscopically small and what remains is a stagnant far left and far right that is moving more right, then only the far right would implode.
A few years ago, the vast majority of Democrats were more moderate than they are today. As you pointed out, that does mean that those who would become the constructors of modern day liberal opinion were more moderate. It does, however, mean to me that the left is moving left.
I think this primarily because I must. If this were not the case, then I would be entirely mistaken, and that is one analysis that I refuse to consider.
Each week there is a beautiful time of common prayer at the house of worship I attend. Our pastor calls upon our Lord to hear individual names lifted by members of the congregation. I frequently pray for a co-worker who, a few years ago, killed himself. Especially in hard economic times, the measure of human worth by possessions or power or accomplishment is inadequately answered by religious institutions with a view of a vengeful God: a view that says you are worthless, and nothing you can do will change that.
I have a lifelong friend with what may well prove to be a fatal illness. His bravery and perseverance have won my admiration hundreds of times over. He, in turn, has enjoyed a closer than close friendship with a kindred spirit whose extreme illness has been one of many things that has formed an emotional bond between them. Their two man support group has sustained them both through tough times.
When my friend's friend committed suicide, I was surprised by my own physical reaction, and the contrast with what I felt at the death of my co-worker. It was as if I was re-living the news of the first death more intensely while hearing of the second. I experienced a shortness of breath, a short-term inability to concentrate, and an urge to walk. I have no real explanation for the contrast. I remain a mystery to myself.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald ministers in the United Church of Christ. He laments, in the NY Times, the incredible pressures pastors face in addressing spiritual needs of their flocks. He discusses conflict "between paths of personal integrity and those that portend greater job security" in a view of worship that increasingly is becoming what he calls "a consumer experience." He writes: "Clergy need parishioners who understand that the church exists, as it always has, to save souls by elevating people’s values and desires."
I am sympathetic to his central point: that clergy are under pressure to deny that part of their mission that goes beyond a pat on the back. Yet it seems to me that souls are not saved by superficial elevation of general values. The central truth expressed as Jesus summarizes spiritual law is that love for our creator comes with a conviction that there is hardcore immutable value intrinsic to every human soul. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians contains a powerful treatise on love: That if he had the faith to move mountains "but have not love, I am nothing." It is a poetic expression of first principle.
The emotional and spiritual recognition of immutable worth contains the seeds of all we would want to have associated with followers of Jesus. When we experience the conviction that all members of the human family have a value that cannot be touched by anything felt, done, thought, touched, or experienced, we are led to a forgiven, forgiving, supportive relationship with everyone we meet. When we assign pastors to carry that message alone, we are missing something in our own hearts. If we get even part of the message of Jesus, we are compelled, almost involuntarily, to share that central insight:
You are worthwhile and valued. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Artful addition to a warning sign
For more graffiti, visit http://hackedirl.com
Studies by the Congressional Budget Office, the Joint Committee on Taxation, and the Administration itself show that tax cuts do not come anywhere close to paying for themselves over the long term.
- - Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 26, 2006
Will the tax cuts pay for themselves? As a general rule, we do not think tax cuts pay for themselves. Certainly, the data presented above do not support this claim.
- - Edward Lazear, Chair of Council of Economic Advisors, Sept. 28, 2006
In testimony before the Senate Budget Committee on behalf of the
administration of President George W. Bush
Slant Right's John Houk targets Obama for sending the leader of the proposed NY Islamic center abroad on goodwill tours, possibly unaware that it is a continuation of a Bush initiative with the same fellow. John is not much on research. He just knows he's right.
- David Everitt-Carlson of The Wild Wild East Dailies in Vietnam discovers growing readership in Azerbaijan.
It's time to get real about the threats to America, and to reject the limp wristed liberal whitewash. Dan Maes of Colorado is made of stronger stuff.
As Maes points out, the biggest threat to the Republic is not terrorism. Terrorism has killed a lot of people, decisive action is needed. More liberties may have to be curtailed, the second amendment being an obvious exception. But the nation will endure and prevail over terrorism. While dealing with terrorism, we have to be alert to the real threat to our country.
Deficits are a threat. If working families have to tighten their belts, so should government. Spending should be cut. Job stimulus should be slashed. Workers on roads and bridges should be laid off. Teachers and police should be fired. Street lights should go out. Hospitals should close. But deficits are not the greatest threat to the nation. While dealing with deficits, we must be diligent about the real threat.
Gays threaten traditional marriage. A constitutional amendment is necessary. If gay people are allowed to get married, there won't be enough left over for everyone else. That's not the actual argument, but Dan Maes can explain it. Stopping gay marriage is vital, but we can't allow it to be a distraction from the real threat to our American way of life.
Immigration needs to be curtailed, especially those immigrants not from Europe. Those who would annex Arizona, attacking ranchers, beheading ordinary citizens, flying across borders to drop babies in a long term scheme to impose a Mexican-Muslim sharia law must be stopped. But foreigners, sadly, will never be eliminated from the world. We will always have to deal with the threat of strangers, but, as Dan Maes explains it, we can't let immigration blind us to the imminent danger to us, our children, and our American democracy.
We have to take action against the real threat to the US ......... Bikes.
Maes is a Republican running for Governor. His opponent, Democratic Mayor (sorry. Democrat Mayor) of Denver John Hickenlooper has his city getting information on bicycle programs from around the world. Which opens us up to the famed United Nations plot to infiltrate our way of traveling. "This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed." He admits bikes seem pretty harmless, but "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."
It seems that for many years, going back to before Bill Clinton became President, Denver has been part of an information exchange, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Bicycle safety is most of it. "These are very specific strategies," says Maes, "that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to."
The spokes of the conspiracy lead everywhere. The wheels are turning dangerously. All of us are in danger of ending up in chains. Bicycle chains.
Thus is the current state of contemporary conservative thought in Colorado.
I suppose it was the third reason that modern science is completely wrong that captured my attention. Conservative Andy Schlafly was attacking Einstein's Theory of General Relativity as "heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world." It's a left wing plot. And I missed the memo.
The reference for the third reason was a two parter. "In a complicated or contrived series of calculations that most physics majors cannot duplicate even after learning them ..." The mathematics is so darned complicated as to be suspect. We've all encountered that sort of thing before. If a politician, or salesman, or corporate executive cannot explain something without a lot of gobbledygook, we start grabbing our wallets and looking for the fine print. If Einstein was really onto something, why couldn't he say it so everyone could understand it? After all, it's not as if it's rocket science.
The second part of the third reason was the kicker. All that mumbo-jumbo was there for a reason. "...the theory of general relativity was conformed to match Mercury's then-observed precession of 5600.0 arc-seconds per century." So the obscure, needlessly complicated calculations available only to a tricky few had been twisted to fit observable fact.
The great weakness in creationist arguments has always been structural. Real science looks to evidence to affirm or disprove theory. Anomalies are aggressively sought. Sometimes the variations between generally accepted formulae and actual observation result in modification. Sometimes they result in a radical new way of explaining what is detected. Einstein's calculations will someday be disproven, supplanted by some creative thought that is then confirmed by experimentation. That's how science works.
Creationism is an exercise that starts with conclusions, then sifts evidence, discarding what is contrary. Its an all or nothing sort of process. That is why creationists regard their shaky views to be constantly proven. That science is always self-questioning is regarded by some non-scientists as a weakness.
Which brings us to the heart of Mr. Schlafly's case. His number one reference in disproving contemporary science is this: "Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible, a book that outsells New York Times bestsellers by a hundred-fold." This is reinforced by his ninth reason. Jesus healed the sick, at least in one case, from a distance, thus disproving the immutability of sub-light speed. Oh my.
I am vitally interested in spiritual truth. My faith is independent of whether Jesus was born in Bethlehem or in Nazareth. The virgin birth is not central to me. But I acknowledge, as a Christian, that my beliefs do involve certain historical affirmations. I would be quite shaken if I became convinced that Jesus died running from Gethsemane with a Roman spear in his back.
I may be wrong, but I dare to speculate that Andy Schlafly's faith depends on what he thinks of the curvature of space and the speed of light.
I had a funny feeling in my gut. I didn't want to make a mistake. I made a decision, and that was it.
- - Stanislav Petrov, Lieutenant Colonel USSR, Quoted February 10, 1999
On why the Soviet Union did not launch a massive retaliatory nuclear
response as an apparent missile attack by the US was detected by
Soviet satellites in September, 1983
When Stanislav Petrov reported for work on the evening of September 25, 1983, he had no way of knowing this was the night the world would end. As a lieutenant colonel in the USSR, Petrov was aware of danger. The US was clearly preparing to attack. Tensions were high. War was in the air. Still, the night was no different from any other Sunday.
On this night America would finally launch an attack to end communism forever. The Soviets would respond with one massive nuclear retaliation, and humankind would walk the earth no more. Stanislav Petrov knew none of this as he began his routine, looking over the readouts from the satellite system that gave him eyes and ears over the United States.
Sometime in the 1950s both sides had decided that the gentlemanly aiming of missiles exclusively at the other side's missiles would inevitably result in war. All the incentives were to be the first to attack. If the USSR launched all her missiles, most US missiles would be destroyed on the ground. Those that were left would have only empty silos to destroy. If the US attacked first, the USSR would be in the same position. The two sides were scorpions in a bottle. One of them would have no choice but to be the first to fire.
So both sides shifted to population centers. If you hit us, you'll destroy most of our missiles, but we'll destroy most of your people. Those left alive won't have lives worth living. Same if we attack you. Thus began Mutual Assured Destruction, MAD. Aim at military targets, you'll start a war. Aim at cities, you'll keep the peace. So aim at cities.
But Jimmy Carter got mad as hell about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. America had a lot more missiles than the USSR. So he aimed a few at military targets. Reagan came into office and thought that was a good idea. He aimed a whole lot of missiles at military targets. Both claimed they wanted peace, but Soviet strategists knew better. So they put satellite systems up. Any attack would give the Soviet leadership at least a few minutes to fire back. Officers like Petrov were given priority training.
Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov saw the missile approaching, but a US attack didn't make any sense. Why only one missile? Then another missile appeared, then another and another. In all, five missiles were on their way. Still, Petrov held off. He was convinced something was wrong with the new satellite system. He was right. And on September 26, 1983,the night all mankind was to die, Stanislav Petrov stopped the end of the world.
When I was a kid in school, we had a periodic drill. We filed into the hall, sat facing the wall, and pulled our heads between our legs. In the event of an actual attack, our last act would have been to kiss our behinds goodbye.
This year, the US and Russia agreed to destroy most nuclear weapons. The missiles that remain will be aimed at countries like Iran, if they don't drop their own nuclear weapons programs. If mischievous Republicans don't filibuster the agreement, a lot of kids might be spared that last kiss goodbye.
Whatever the reason for the treaty's failings, it must not be ratified: The security of the United States is at stake. The only responsible course is for the Senate to demand and scrutinize the full diplomatic record underlying the treaty. Then it must insist that any linkage between the treaty and our missile defense system be eliminated.
- - Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, July 6, 2010