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Posted at 1:36 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Obama saying right things on Social Security -- so far

By Greg Sargent

Yesterday I argued that this quote from Obama at his budget presser was potentially important:

The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are.

I'm confident we can get Social Security done in the same way that Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill were able to get it done, by parties coming together, making some modest adjustments. I think we can avoid slashing benefits, and I think we can make it stable and stronger for not only this generation but for the next generation.

To my ear, that sounded like he was saying something you hear all too infrequently in Washington: Social Security does not belong in the same camp as deficit-busting programs like Medicare and Medicaid -- Social Security is not the problem.

This morning, Paul Krugman and Steve Benen both arrived at a similar read on the significance of Obama's comments. And Benen added: "Medicare is facing fairly serious fiscal problems; Social Security isn't. The more the president reminds folks about this, the better."

Indeed. Meanwhile, Jonathan Bernstein does us all one better, and says that if we stop using the phrase "entitlements," it will make it easier for folks to understand that medical costs, not Social Security, are the problem:

Those who are upset about the long-term federal budget deficit should talk about it in terms of what it is, health care costs. Just as the phrase "weapons of mass destruction" encourages sloppy thinking (because nuclear weapons are not really similar at all to chemical and biological weapons in lots of important ways), talking about "entitlements" confuses the budget situation. I could see "Medicare and Medicaid" or, perhaps, "government health programs," but not entitlements.

Obviously we don't know where Obama will end up on Social Security -- he seems to have left the door open a crack for reductions in benefits. But for now, he's shown a willingness to use the bully pulpit to try to punch through at least a bit of the haze of confusion and misinformation that has enveloped this debate. If Obama is serious about his desire for an "adult conversation" about our fiscal plight, he'll do lots more of this.

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Social Security  
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Comments

Doesn't matter. If he doesn't do anything short of flying around the halls of Congress in a cape with the letters SS scribed on his chest, I'm voting green next election!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 16, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Medicare is facing fairly serious fiscal problems."

The solution? Make millions more eligible for Medicare! Then, at some undetermined point in the future, in some undefined way, we'll magically "fix" Medicare. Brilliant!

Posted by: sbj3 | February 16, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Death Panels! D'oh! :-o

Spot on, Greg.

Medical costs are the problem.

Medical costs are the problem.

Medical costs are the problem.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 16, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

"Jonathan Bernstein does us all one better, and says that if we stop using the phrase "entitlements,"

I agree. "Entitlements" has a very negative ring to it. It makes it sound like people are getting something for nothing, but in the case of SS and Medicare, they've paid in for these insurances over the course of their working lives. It may be semantics, but SS and Medicare are pre-paid insurance programs.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 16, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

mike

I for one appreciate the distinction he's made. It's the same one many of us have been making for a year now.

SimpsonBowles may have come up with a few good deficit reduction ideas but the way they dealt with SS left a lot of us on the left wondering why Dems would vote for it. If I remember they didn't tackle M/M either. Who's going to and what will it look like remains to be seen.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 16, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The ACA has been given to us by my industry to solve your problem with rising medical costs.

Call me Laocoön saying: "Equo ne credite, Teucri. Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes." ("Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bringing gifts.")

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

He needs to say "without reducing benefits." "Without slashing benefits" leaves too much wiggle room for comfort, since they're not really the same term. This means:

No increasing the retirement age
No reduction in payments
No means testing

Pull the cap off the payroll tax and move on. It's the easy fix. You don't have to be Ike & Tina. Do it nice and easy.

Posted by: fishellb | February 16, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama also talked a lot about not extending the Bush tax cuts for couples making over $250,000 a year.

I would suggest that the progressives here not get their hopes up.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 16, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Keeping people alive is just too costly. We can not afford it, because we must continue to increase spending for our war departments.

We can not afford to put healing over killing. The GOP Dept. of Death Panels And Silly Walks, would become obsolete if we were ever to switch our spending priorities.

War is far too important to stint on just to save American lives. If you do not realize that, then you must be some sort of a commy pinko muslim fascist socialist post-colonial Kenyan, or some sort of Jesus freak.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile political developments in the Arab world are no match for a model's ridiculous walking motion and the other dog show, WaPo needs to get a little more serious.

At least some of the other msm get it. Protesters burned the office of an Iraqi governor, no not terrorists, not insurgents, good people are rising up all over dar al-islam. They are unstoppable now and no one knows what will happen. The Arab world becomes democratic? It seems like an oxymoron.

Iran seems pretty awful though, once you embrace theocracy, it is pretty hard to change it out.

What a disaster for the Islamists.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Republicans. Push for cuts in entitlements.

It's a winner politically!

Take that first big step.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 16, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"I agree. "Entitlements" has a very negative ring to it. It makes it sound like people are getting something for nothing, but in the case of SS and Medicare, they've paid in for these insurances over the course of their working lives. It may be semantics, but SS and Medicare are pre-paid insurance programs."

If you'll forgive my impertinence, but wont Medicare pay out, per individual, more than is put in by the individual? This estimate says that a babyboomer that retires will have "contributed" $115,000 but will receive $350,000. In 20 years it will go from 3.4% to 6.5% of GDP.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 16, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Bush Invading Iraq was the greatest present Bin Laden ever received.

Obama not attempting to keep Mubarak in power, was the worst setback Bin Laden has ever received.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"I agree. "Entitlements" has a very negative ring to it. It makes it sound like people are getting something for nothing, but in the case of SS and Medicare, they've paid in for these insurances over the course of their working lives. It may be semantics, but SS and Medicare are pre-paid insurance programs."

If you'll forgive my impertinence, but wont Medicare pay out, per individual, more than is put in by the individual? This estimate says that a babyboomer that retires will have "contributed" $115,000 but will receive $350,000. In 20 years it will go from 3.4% to 6.5% of GDP. It can be construed as "something for nothing," no?

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/212585.php

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 16, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

If the hedge fund managers had their fees taxed as fees rather than capital gains, the Medicare tax of 3% would apply. I wonder how that would translate over a ten year period. Right now we tax professionals and upper income wage earners a fortune in medicare taxes, but pretend that retired billionaires should pay the same premiums as retired teachers. I despair that we will ever have a clear conversation. It would start with the totally unfunded and out of date widows benefit under Social Security. I am 64; I pay $900 per month for my insurance. If I could have joined Medicare, I would gladly have paid more, just to help out the system. But for the record, since I did earn big bucks in the past, some years I paid $60,000 plus into Medicare.

On a totally different track..let's start a movement to get a "receipt" from the IRS for each tax form filed. Like, I file a return that shows me paying $10,000 in taxes..the IRS sends me back a receipt showing what part went to military, social services, agriculture, education. Wouldn't that be cool? I truly think it would cut through much of the disinformation..and sort of be a nice courtesy as well. What do you think? Happy sunshine!

Posted by: sss1214 | February 16, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie+Rush
For you

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/02/the_problem_is_not_medicareand.html

For anyone except Conservatives. (hint, he doesn't say that it's 100.00% Obama's fault, so you people can just skip it)

Posted by: DDAWD | February 16, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Republicans. Push for cuts in entitlements.

It's a winner politically!

Take that first big step.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 16, 2011 2:19 PM

...................

David Brooks told Charlie Rose, yesterday, that Paul Ryan has now convinced the Republican House leaders to do just that, so stay tuned.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"[Obama] seems to have left the door open a crack for reductions in benefits."

I'm afraid this should read has (not seems) left the door open (not just a crack).

Also, Medicare is the problem is also misleading. Health care costs are the issue here - and they are rising slower in Medicare than elsewhere (which is the answer to the question above about why expanding Medicare would help).

Posted by: DKinCD | February 16, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama's statement that "The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are" is not the truth at all. Social Security is not contributing to the deficit in the least, but actually still runs a surplus, and entitlements in general are not contributing to the deficit. What has contributed to the deficit are the huge bailouts of financial institutions, tax breaks for the rich, and gigantic military budgets that Obama and his Republican predecessor are responsible for.

Elsewhere in his speech, Obama called for civility in discourse concerning the budget deficit. Frankly I don't consider Obama's dishonesty to be the least bit civil, nor is there anything civil about his administration's plans to screw over working people like me even more for the benefit of him and his rich buddies than we already are. What we need is not more civility, we need mass protests in the streets over our wealthy elite's plans to cut entitlements in the name of "fiscal responsibility."

Posted by: meltonj1 | February 16, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

In this bizarre piece, Bloomberg says CEOs etc. blamed Obama for all the free money they got, started getting richer (investing the free money) because Republicans control the lower House and then say politics don't matter anyway.

"Decisions to expand in the U.S. ultimately come down to profit and not a presidential nudge..."

Wow, that is a shocker.
Then this gem,

“We are in an ironic situation where the more we invest in the U.S., the higher our tax rate goes,” Smits said of his Downers Grove, Illinois-based company, which plans to split in two next year. “In Europe, you see real competition between countries, which drives the tax rate down.”

Europe? The Socialist foil for all Plum Line wingers? YOu want a business friendly environment, Europe is the model, got that?


Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

The Right Wingers used to talk up the very low corporate tax rates in Ireland, as an example of what America should be emulating.

Now that the Celtic Tiger has suffered a stroke, and is on an IMF feeding tube, The Right Wingers have not said a word about the dangers of too little revenues being available to nurse The Celtic Tiger back to health.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I blame bin Laden for Bush invading Iraq. ObL knew the power of projective identification and spoke of it, his intent in this regard, terrorism's power of induction, at some length. Of course, he didn't use the jargon, no psycho-babble like projective identification.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

apropos to my comment yesterday on the 8 gazillion pound gorilla in the room and the need to "bust the union" that is the heath care cost alliance (big pharma + HC delivery businesses + insurance industry) that keeps HC costs rising so much out of control

see this Ezra Klein post

http://topicfire.com/The-problem-is-not-MedicareandMedicaid-Its-health-care-16863458.html

my apologies if this was mentioned before

smd

Posted by: smd1234 | February 16, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks DDAWD.

Justin Bieber:

"You guys are evil," he says with a laugh. "Canada's the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don't need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you're broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard's baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby's premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110216/ts_yblog_thelookout/justin-bieber-weighs-in-on-americas-health-care-system-abortion

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 16, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Mr. President, how ill-informed do you think the general public is. 25 years after the last Social Security reform legislation promoted as a 75 year fix, Social Security is in the emergency room. Now Mr. President, you want us to buy into another political in-breeding (bipartisan) scheme? It was the conservative poster child, President Reagan, and his liberal counter part, Tip O'Neill who hatched the last SS funding scheme over a few beers at a DC Irish pub. Now middle class working Americans are waking up to a financial hangover. You know, that's the working Americans whose back we all ride to our prosperity. 2.54 trillion of their potential retirement fund assets have been turned into 2.54 trillion of their retirement fund debt, that's a 5 trillion dollar plus net loss, and you want us all to go down the same road again? Thanks but no thanks, the American people are waking up to the fact that SS has morphed into a cancer on middle class working Americans. So Mr.President, here's something for you and your other dysfunctional off springs to chew on. It's the pathology report on the cancer that is Social Security: http://sobreport.com/?p=66 And then Mr. President our suggested Treatment Plan: http://sobreport.com/?p=70 - Never again will "we the people" buy into the fuzzy math that you and your ilk would have us believe. In our world 2 + 2 doesn't equal 5, it still equals 4.

Posted by: pappyg | February 16, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I now see DDAWD posted same with a different link

sorry

smd

Posted by: smd1234 | February 16, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I think you are offering up the Geraldine defense, for Bush;

"The Devil Made Me Do It"!

Of course the reality is Bush wanted to Invade Iraq, before 9/11, and asked Rumsfeld to immedialty draw up invasion plans for Iraq, right after 9/11, before it had been fully established, that Bin Laden had launched the attacks.

Bin Laden. WMD. Liberating The Iraqi People from The Iraqi People, or which ever excuse you wish to pick from the long menu of fantasy reasons you prefer; it still boiled down to Bush wanting to invade Iraq, and The Devil Did Not Make Him Do It.

Hell, he did not even stay for a cup of coffee in Afghanistan, where Bin Laden was, before heading off for Iraq.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. President, how ill-informed do you think the general public is. 25 years after the last Social Security reform legislation promoted as a 75 year fix, Social Security is in the emergency room"

Priceless.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 16, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

But we are still paying billions each year for the illegals in schooling, housing, healthcare etc. Well, when they clean that up perhaps we will have some extra money for the legal "Americans".

Posted by: bailey50 | February 16, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

All, some amazing new poll numbers on Pete King's push for hearings into the radicalization of Muslims:

http://wapo.st/dVPU6p

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 16, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I bet you are one of those Pro-Lifer types!

Posted by: Liam-still | February 16, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

sss1214--

How does that work? If you paid more than $60,000 in Medicare taxes some years, that would indicate a salary of more than 4million dollars. With an income like that, aren't there other ways of getting most of the money that take it out of the salary category? I'm curious.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 16, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh I agree, I should have put a dripping irony emoticon nearby. When you are the leader of the most powerful military force in history and feel you have to say "Bring it on," to cave dwellers you are in psychological trouble and you are going to make many, many innocent people die to make yourself feel better.

But to extend this tangent, ObL built his theory on Reagan's hasty retreat from Lebanon and Clinton's from Somalia. Apart from the aforementioned, the post 9/11 idea was to take war to Muslim lands and because they would fight us there, not here, that is laughable.

The idea was to show the Muslim world that Osama was wrong, we can kill (and torture) and kill and kill and that we would have our own children die in the process of killing hugely disproportionate numbers of Muslims - because we can. It was a message sent not to the terrorists, it was a message to Muslims everywhere, the most primitive message of war, don't tread on me.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The teanutbagger party complains about Government corruption and waste, but they fail to recognize that rich and powerful people and corporatio­ns provide the money and ideology that fuel a majority of the waste and corruption­.

The teanutbagger party complains about Government not listening to the people, but they fail to understand that the Government is really listening to corporatio­ns and lobbyists.

I am for separation of corporate influence and state. Democracy is about the voice of the people and if the greedy goals of corporatio­ns don't line up with the goals of the people, then corporatio­ns shouldn't be allowed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on propaganda to trick us and shouldn't be allowed to hire people to buy the influence of politician­s.

Corporatio­ns are made up of employees and if those employees are Americans, they can participat­e in the electoral process like the rest of us, but no corporate resources of any sort should be allowed to influence any aspect of our political process. Corporatio­ns only care about profit and that priority often does not align with a better future for America.

Posted by: numbers28 | February 16, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I just wish everybody, from the top (Obama) down would stop referring to Social Security as an "entitlement" program.
It is not an entitlement program. That would infer that it is a welfare program.
Look at your pay stubs, people!
You have FICA tax withheld. That acronym stands for FEDERAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS ACT.
That is what Social Security is: an insurance program that the worker makes contributions to.
It was never meant to be the sole source of retirement income, although for many it is.
While many who receive Social Security still live in poverty because they have been unable to save anything during their working years (try saving when you earn minimum wage), for others, Social Security, along with savings and other retirement income has enabled them to live independently in old age.
Before Social Security, for all too many of the elderly, the only recourse was the poor farm.
Surely no one would wish that on grandma!

Posted by: gnbmas | February 16, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

odumbo and the hill gang one and the same. no conversation of the billions wasted in the crapholes of the world,not to mention lives and well being of our military. wapo continues the BS about egypt and the rest of the scumlim world. who cares? our jobless,homeless citizens with no adequete medical care? NO

Posted by: pofinpa | February 16, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The Republican discussion of the the 2012 budget does not engender credibility.
- Funding billions for the second engine for the F35, unwanted by the DoD, reeks of waste and corruption,
- Gutting the SEC budget so the Wall Street Mafia can repeat the their crimes,
- Attacking Social Security which has is own funding, does not have a problem for decades and current contributes positively to the revenue stream,
- Is not discussing the inefficiencies in health care created under the private sector, but insists on throwing out the baby with the bath water,
- Is not mentioning creating a market driven importation of 1st world drugs to reduce the unfunded cost of Medicare Part D,
- Have not once mentioned rectifying the outrageous tax rates for the wealthy,
- Insists on using the deficit busting 2008 budget as the benchmark rather than the last balanced budget of 2000.
- The target for national security must be that for the last year of peace, 2000.
The GOP are incredible. GOP speaks of reducing the deficit and act to repeal health care, take away the freedom of half of our population, women, by taking away their right to control their own bodies, GOP continues to trash the Constitution by violating the 4th amendment and have this absurd belief that corporations are human beings. GOP claims they want to return to the Constitution, but only to those things they think are permitted like starting fights, but leave social issues to the states. Art I Sect 8 "for the Common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;..."?

We have lived on the GOP's basidiomycete food for 30 years. It is not nourishing. We have the money, just collect the taxes and get on with it.

Posted by: stanassc | February 16, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

One forgets' that under both Clinton and Bush Jr there was serious effort to take SS and put over 15% of it into the stock market. That idea died with the Recession. SS is not broke the problem is that the Government uses the money to pay for every program they can find and write IOU's. SS is the only retirement over 87% of Americans have. Touch that puppy and your chances of reelection are zero. No matter the current healthcare legislation, which no one understands and most corporations are exempt, Medicare, like SS, is the only medical care may Americans have. Washington is smoking a lot of now semi-legal pot.

Posted by: KBlit | February 16, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

mmmmm 'shrooms

Posted by: shrink2 | February 16, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

SS is solvent without any change until 2030! Putting this program on the block is nothing short of a criminal reaction by Congress which stole the surplus funding for the last 20 years for their perks, tax giveaways, wars, and other nonsense! And not implementing a single payer Health Care payment system destroys any credibility of any congressman or president talking about controlling the government costs of Health care. Their are so many redundant overlapping federal and state agencies and systems that could be consolidated, never mind the obscene for profits of Insurance companies, billing companies, insurance agents, billing agents, advertising, printing, mailing, calling purely for making a buck without providing a single element of health care! And allowing Pharm to charge whatever they want for their drugs is really criminal!!

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | February 16, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that we have a President that has absolutely no sense of leadership. When he had both majorities and these same issues existed - nothing. Stop the madness - stop the spending - 200,000 federal jobs added since 2008 - a 25% increase in federal spending - stop the madness. Go back to 2008 spending levels - lift the cap on SS to 200K and 1 year to retirement. See what that buys us....and finally - a ammendment that the budget MUST balance every year.

Posted by: short1 | February 16, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama will do whatever his corporate overlords tell him to do on Social Security, just as he did on health insurance "reform."

Posted by: solsticebelle | February 16, 2011 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Translation: "It doesn't suck as badly as Medicare" = "It's perfectly fine."

Let me draw a nice little parallel here: "World War II cost almost 100 million lives worldwide. Therefore the Vietnam War was all good."

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | February 16, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

When he leaves he will draw a taxpayer pension in excess of $100,000 for life, indexed to inflation. Meanwhile he gets free health and dental care, a great office, free airplanes, per diem and the ability to make sure his friends and family get plush jobs and contracts. Hey not a bad deal. And probably all the sun tan lotion he can take.

Posted by: KBlit | February 16, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

You told the truth about Social Security. It's not a big problem, certainly not in the short term. For years taxes for SS have more than paid for the greatest social legislation ever passed. Eventually taxes will have to be raised as they were under Reagan (let millionaires pay taxes on all their earnings)and perhaps the retirement age will have to be raised some more (but not for people who work at physical and dangerous labor). None of this, however, should allow politicians and journalists to lump SS with Medicare, Medicaid, and military spending. I remember it was Republicans who railed against cutting Medicare spending in "Obamacare." You think that at least the mainstream media and Democrats could tell the truth about SS.

Posted by: DWSouthern | February 16, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Future Social Security budget insufficiencies can easily be handled by removing the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. Medicare and Medicaid are tougher because steps must be taken to limit futile care in the last year of life. Think how difficult this will be when even the first step of educating Medicare beneficiaries about their end-of-life options led to an outcry about "death panels." Present policies starve preventive health care for the young and lead to debilitating chronic illnesses at an earlier age . . . thus contributing to increased outlays for Medicare and Medicaid. American politics seem intent on destroying the possibility of developing a rational health care system. Sadly, Americans spend significantly more for poorer health outcomes.

Posted by: JackN | February 16, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

It's very strange that no one is talking about the cost of the wars. There is always plenty of money to kill people (Naional Security)but there is no money to heal the American people (Social Security). And WE AMERICAN PEOPLE pay for this. And THEY - THE GOVERNMENT have spent our money without consulting with us whether we agreed with their spending and now THEY have created an enormous budget deficit. They spent our money and WE the PEOPLE are being punished for their bad management. It is very simple - just stop these wars, reduce the military and we will have surplus in the near future.

Posted by: lubov48 | February 16, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

It's very strange that no one is talking about the cost of the wars. There is always plenty of money to kill people (Naional Security)but there is no money to heal the American people (Social Security). And WE AMERICAN PEOPLE pay for this. And THEY - THE GOVERNMENT have spent our money without consulting with us whether we agreed with their spending and now THEY have created an enormous budget deficit. They spent our money and WE the PEOPLE are being punished for their bad management. It is very simple - just stop these wars, reduce the military and we will have surplus in the near future.

Posted by: lubov48 | February 16, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Yes, why keep distorting the issue with the word entitlement. Is the government entitled to take my social security and medicare expenses and provide nothing in return? Either refund all of the taxes those of us too young to get any benefits have paid into the program or GIVE US THE SERVICES WE PAY FOR EVERY PAY CHECK LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY.

Posted by: WestOfTheMississippi | February 16, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse


October 7, 2008:

"We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority."

- Barry the lying weasel Obama

Posted by: screwjob23 | February 16, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

He's right on social security??? It is going to run out of money and by not including any changes in his budget and he just kept making the problem worse. Since when is this leadership?

Posted by: sarno | February 16, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Social Security does not belog in "deficit" busting programs like unfunded war's and tax-cuts for the rich.

Let's start there first, before continuing with this non-sense.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 16, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Ronnie and Tip got together to fix Social Security.
How? They jacked up the FICA tax American workers pay to build a surplus capable of seeing Social Security through 2037.
And it worked. Since 1984, the Social Security trust fund has amassed a $2.54 trillion surplus.
There's just one problem: since that time every Congress and administration has dipped into the trust fund, leaving behind IOUs with no marketable value.
In other words, the Social Security trust fund is broke. And the only way Washington is going to be able to pay back the IOUs will be by increasing taxes, cutting benefits, or redirecting budget savings back into the trust fund.
The sooner Washington politicians admit the trust fund is broke, the sooner we can get about solving this vexing problem.

Posted by: mtpeaks | February 16, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Ronnie and Tip got together to fix Social Security.
How? They jacked up the FICA tax American workers pay to build a surplus capable of seeing Social Security through 2037.
And it worked. Since 1984, the Social Security trust fund has amassed a $2.54 trillion surplus.
There's just one problem: since that time every Congress and administration has dipped into the trust fund, leaving behind IOUs with no marketable value.
In other words, the Social Security trust fund is broke. And the only way Washington is going to be able to pay back the IOUs will be by increasing taxes, cutting benefits, or redirecting budget savings back into the trust fund.
The sooner Washington politicians admit the trust fund is broke, the sooner we can get about solving this vexing problem.

Posted by: mtpeaks | February 16, 2011 5:42 PM
======================================
This comment displays a fundamental, and common, misunderstanding of the SS system.

When FDR and Dems began the program they chose 65 as the retirement age because half of all American workers were dead by then. They also mandated that SS funds must be "invested" in the Federal Government.

Here is how FDR's plan worked.

100% of workers paid into a plan that less than half of them would collect and then for only a limited time, perhaps 5 years.

But the Federal Gov received a stealth tax which they could use to spend in any manner they pleased.

There is no "surplus" such as a bank account with cash in it. The SS admin holds government bonds which will eventually be repaid by current taxes. So if there are no current taxes there is no surplus - get it?

Posted by: krankyman | February 16, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Actually, since I owned my own business it was more like $2 mill and I gave a lot of it to charity and my family. Now I work very hard to stay afloat but thats not really the issue is it? We have a Medicare tax that penalizes cancer surgeons and young professionals..no one ever talks about that aspect. But it almost ignores the reality that not all retired incomes are alike. I have been an investment advisor for over 40 years..for clients who have retired with assets from $50,000 to $50,000,000.. I know the American public can handle a decent discussion of the issue But somehow we have to break past the Fox lock..not for the readers of this blog, or those who watch the Daily Show [ and yes, many of my clients over 70 love Jon Stewart] but we need to get clear information into the hands of mid-America. VOILA!! A receipt for taxes received..polite and informative.

Posted by: sss1214 | February 16, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute! WE don't talk about "entitlements," Republicans and Tea Partiers and Blue Dogs and ConservaDems talk about "entitlements" because that's dog whistle code for "money going to people who paid into the fund for years" that we want to take. Anyone who uses "entitlements" or who speaks of "Medicare and Social Security" is signaling that destroying Social Security is their goal.

Posted by: Acharn | February 17, 2011 6:50 AM | Report abuse

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