Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A New Fat Cat-Government Conspiracy to Loot Social Security

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Under the cover of 'Economic Crisis', the Axis of Wall Street, K-street, and the GOP schemes to loot the Social Security Trust fund. This axis of evil wants to use the Social Security trust fund to 'bailout' the crooked banks who created the financial crisis to begin with. When times were good under Clinton, we were told that Social Security had to be scrapped. The trust fund was running out of money, we were told. Now, when times are bad, they are telling us that Social Security needs to be scrapped because it is a success.

The 'trust fund' that we had been told was going broke is coveted because it was NOT going broke. It is now seen as a means by which greedy, incompetent and failing banks can be bailed out! Would the greedy bastards go after a bankrupt program? I don't think so! To the greedy, incompetent bankers who have already squirreled away billions of bailout bucks offshore, I say: you give me the money you secretly transferred out of the country and let me do something constructive with it!

If I were Barack Obama, I would investigate and charge thousands of Wall Street Insiders with insider trading, fraud, theft, and Enron-style accounting. It may be fitting to hold these trials in the Superdome. New Orleans could be rebuilt with admission prices, season tickets, and ancillary rights.

Proponents of this outright theft of YOUR money, argue that this is the way the government should 'recover' billions that have been wasted so far 'bailing out' the very banks who created the crisis to begin with. These venal fat cats have targeted your Social Security Trust fund, Medicare, and Medicaid. They have targeted it for theft! Those wanting to loot Social Security now had supported Bush's plans to 'save Social Security' by destroying it.

Bush had wanted to replace government-guaranteed retirement benefits with private accounts that would have been subject to the whims of Wall Street. What if Bush's attack on Social Security had succeeded? Social Security would most certainly have been kaput by now --a victim of Bush's incompetent handling of the American economy.

In the meantime, Bush's 'bailouts' have done no good whatsoever. Why? Like GOP taxation and fiscal policies, the Bush 'bailouts' were 'trickle down' bailouts that benefited all the wrong people. None of the 'Bush bailout' money found its way into the economy in ways that would stimulate growth, create jobs or encourage consumer spending. Rather, billions wound up in offshore in tax havens maintained by the increasingly tiny elite what has gotten exponentially richer --at your expense. This trend began with Ronald Reagan's tax cut of 1982. Now --the same crooks, liars and idiots who alone benefited from Ronald Reagan's incompetent economic policies have targeted your money for outright theft.
These players are promoting a tricky way to whack Social Security benefits, but to do it behind closed doors so the public cannot see what's happening or figure out which politicians to blame. The essential transaction would amount to misappropriating the trillions in Social Security taxes that workers have paid to finance their retirement benefits. This swindle is portrayed as "fiscal reform." In fact, it's the political equivalent of bait-and-switch fraud.

Defending Social Security sounds like yesterday's issue--the fight people won when they defeated George W. Bush's attempt to privatize the system in 2005. But the financial establishment has pushed it back on the table, claiming that the current crisis requires "responsible" leaders to take action. Will Obama take the bait? Surely not. The new president has been clear and consistent about Social Security, as a candidate and since his election. The program's financing is basically sound, he has explained, and can be assured far into the future by making only modest adjustments.

But Obama is also playing footsie with the conservative advocates of "entitlement reform" (their euphemism for cutting benefits). The president wants the corporate establishment's support on many other important matters, and he recently promised to hold a "fiscal responsibility summit" to examine the long-term costs of entitlements. That forum could set the trap for a "bipartisan compromise" that may become difficult for Obama to resist, given the burgeoning deficit. If he resists, he will be denounced as an old-fashioned free-spending liberal. The advocates are urging both parties to hold hands and take the leap together, authorizing big benefits cuts in a circuitous way that allows them to dodge the public's blame. In my new book, Come Home, America, I make the point: "When official America talks of 'bipartisan compromise,' it usually means the people are about to get screwed."

--The Nation, Looting Social Security
Fat cats are exploiting this crisis in order to loot Social Security. They resent the fact that Social Security is the government's greatest success story. They covet $billions$ in the Social Security trust fund. They wish to steal your money and re-distribute it among nation's richest one percent who are sure to squirrel your money away offshore in a bank beyond the scrutiny of the government.This is fascism, socialism for the rich elites.

Thanks to Ronald Reagan and the father-son crime syndicate of Bush Sr and Jr, only a rich, evil elite of just one percent of the nation owns more than some 90 percent or more of the rest of us combined. Will the looting of your money for the purposes of welfare for the rich stimulate the economy? NO! As was the case with Bush's bailouts, it will find its way into tax havens offshore, in fact reducing the amount of money in the US. It will hasten the depression by further contracting the amount of money available for spending.

Many pundits and editorial boards still give Mr. Bush credit for trying to "reform" Social Security. In fact, Mr. Bush came to bury Social Security, not to save it. Over time, the Bush plan would have transformed Social Security from a social insurance program into a mutual fund, with nothing except a name in common with the system FDR created.

In addition to misrepresenting his goals, Mr. Bush repeatedly lied about the current system. Oh, I'm sorry - was that a rude thing to say? Still, the fact is that Mr. Bush repeatedly said things that were demonstrably false and that his staff must have known were false. The falsehoods ranged from his claim that Social Security is unfair to African-Americans to his claim that "waiting just one year adds $600 billion to the cost of fixing Social Security."

...

But the campaign for privatization provided an object lesson in how the administration sells its policies: by misrepresenting its goals, lying about the facts and abusing its control of government agencies. These were the same tactics used to sell both tax cuts and the Iraq war.

And there are two reasons to study that lesson. One is to be prepared for whatever comes next on Mr. Bush's agenda. Despite the tough talk about Iran, I don't think he can propose another war - there aren't enough troops to fight the wars we already have. But there's still room for another big domestic initiative, probably tax reform.

--Paul Krugman, Social Security Lessons
The best thing the government could do with the Social Security trust fund is to leave it the fuck alone. Social Security is probably the Federal Government's ONLY success story, hence the envy with which those monies are viewed by venal, greedy, lying fat cats, Republicans and their paid conspirators on K-street and the Heritage Foundation.
The first thing to know is that Social Security is a bad deal for workers today, offering a much lower return than other investments.

Social Security payments are, in theory, made out of that fund. A depression is often called a 'contraction' because the supply of money literally contracts. As a result sales plummet, jobs decline, industries and businesses go belly up. These venal fat cats are just trying to line their pockets before making their final getaway.

And looking to the future, things only get worse. Younger workers are right to question whether Social Security will be able to provide them with promised benefits when they retire. The huge tax hikes required would exact a great cost on our economy, on employment opportunities, and on future generations.

For over 70 years, Social Security has helped to keep millions of elderly Americans from poverty. But the program rests today on unsound footing.

--Heritage Foundation Lies About Social Security
Given the current economic collapse, aren't you glad the Heritage Foundation gang of fat cats failed to get their greedy mitts on your money?
What it really is a government program with a dedicated tax. We take the payroll tax and it’s used to pay benefits to retirees. And 20-plus years ago, the commission led by Alan Greenspan said, you know, we are going to have this problem as the baby boomers reach retirement age. We will have a higher ratio of retirees to workers, and we better get ready for it. Social Security, the payroll tax was increased. There were some other things, a small rise in the retirement age set in motion. So that Social Security would run a surplus, which would be used to accumulate a trust fund, and this would tithe us over, some ways into the aging of the population. And that on its own accounting is working just fine.

I mean, one of the things that we need to know is that the estimates of the day at which the trust fund runs out, just keep on receding further into the future, because the program is doing so well at running surpluses. So, ten years ago, people said it was going to run out in 2029. Now the official estimate is 2042. Realistically, it’s probably going to go well into the second half of the century. Now how does this become a crisis? Well it becomes a crisis by changing the rules. By saying, oh, well, actually, that surplus that we’re running because of the tax increase that was designed to prolong the life of Social Security, that’s not real. Because it’s invested in government bonds which are a perfectly good asset, for anybody else, but not for the Social Security administration. And so, there was a real crisis that people saw in the 1980’s. They dealt with it. The solution worked very well, but because this administration, because the Republican party doesn’t want Social Security to remain, because they have always wanted to get rid of it since Franklin Roosevelt, they have decided to redefine the rules so as to call it a crisis when realistically, we have a huge budget problem, but that has nothing to do with Social Security.

--Paul Krugman on Social Security, the Decline of the Dollar and Healthcare
Why don't we loot the Heritage Foundation's bank account and distribute all that monies among working folk who lost their jobs and careers during the Reagan years?

Why don't we LOOT the billions that have been quickly squirreled away offshore and re-distribute that money among the millions whose lives have been ruined by the export of US industry that was begun under Ronald Reagan?

Why don't we TAKE BACK this government? Why don't we tell Obama to get on board or get the fuck out of the way? Why don't we seize the bank accounts of the GOP leadership that is conspiring to loot your monies even as we write and post?

We don't we wage a real revolution and take this nation back?

As millions of ordinary working people are anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years, an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.
"We have magneto trouble," said John Maynard Keynes at the start of the Great Depression: most of the economic engine was in good shape, but a crucial component, the financial system, wasn't working. He also said this: "We have involved ourselves in a colossal muddle, having blundered in the control of a delicate machine, the working of which we do not understand." Both statements are as true now as they were then.

How did this second great colossal muddle arise? In the aftermath of the Great Depression, we redesigned the machine so that we did understand it, well enough at any rate to avoid big disasters. Banks, the piece of the system that malfunctioned so badly in the 1930s, were placed under tight regulation and supported by a strong safety net. Meanwhile, international movements of capital, which played a disruptive role in the 1930s, were also limited. The financial system became a little boring but much safer.

Then things got interesting and dangerous again. Growing international capital flows set the stage for devastating currency crises in the 1990s and for a globalized financial crisis in 2008. The growth of the shadow banking system, without any corresponding extension of regulation, set the stage for latter-day bank runs on a massive scale. These runs involved frantic mouse clicks rather than frantic mobs outside locked bank doors, but they were no less devastating.

What we're going to have to do, clearly, is relearn the lessons our grandfathers were taught by the Great Depression. I won't try to lay out the details of a new regulatory regime, but the basic principle should be clear: anything that has to be rescued during a financial crisis, because it plays an essential role in the financial mechanism, should be regulated when there isn't a crisis so that it doesn't take excessive risks. Since the 1930s commercial banks have been required to have adequate capital, hold reserves of liquid assets that can be quickly converted into cash, and limit the types of investments they make, all in return for federal guarantees when things go wrong. Now that we've seen a wide range of non-bank institutions create what amounts to a banking crisis, comparable regulation has to be extended to a much larger part of the system.

--Paul Krugman, What to Do
Staring into an abyss, we stand on the brink of a new 'Great Depression'. Those who must bear with greed and incompetence, responsibility brining us to this point, now scheme to subvert our only economic success story. As the late Steve Kangas reminded us, retirement before 1935 condemned huge numbers of seniors to starvation in the streets. It was Social security alone that addressed this problem and eliminated it.

Social Security not only provided the American elderly with a pension, some of that spendable income found its way back into the economy and created jobs. In 1966, Lyndon Johnson expanded Social Security and, by doing so, reduced senior poverty from 30 percent to 12 percent. Now --for all the wrong and wrong-headed reasons, an increasingly uninformed and unintelligent right wing covets the monies that have a proven record of success in difficult times. There are two words for these people: crooks and fools!

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