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View Diary: This is Really the Best Defense of Democrats Embracing Chained CPI? (571 comments)

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  •  Look (43+ / 0-)

    At no point have you made the argument that the Democrats embracing Chained CPI is a good idea that will help the party.

    I don't think you can.

    If you can, do so.

    "But the GOP always wins the 65+ demographic."

    Is not an argument that it is a good idea. Good policy. Good politics.

    I'm not going to waste a second of my time on Rox Vs. Sux nonsense.

    I can see the ads just as I've outlined above. And I can see how it would be a nightmare for Democrats to have to waste precious time and money trying to fight a mess that they never had to find themselves caught up in.

    My take, flushed out in details as to why this is a bad idea, and will hurt, and is bad policy, is outlined above.

    I don't think it's unreasonable. Unfair. Or hard to see on the horizon.

    If you think you can frame a Chained CPI as a winner for the Democratic Party, please, do so. Tell me how it's a good idea that we will be rewarded for embracing.

    If you can't, thank you for coming. But I'm not going to move off my take unless somebody can make a serious and detailed argument that I'm wrong, and can use their arugment to prove to me that I am misreading the politics of it.

    I've spent a lot of time thinking about my posiition.

    This is not some anti-Obama, anti-Obama screed.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:19:03 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I appreciate the respectful tone and reply. (4+ / 0-)

      1- You are correct.  I can't spin this as a winner for Democrats.

      President Obama has to forge a comprehensive budget policy that deals with long term debt and tax overhaul.

      Nothing has to be done NOW on the deficits, but CPI is part of a package that over time reduces the debt burden this country faces.  We already pay $400 billion a year just in interest payments - that number will double without some larger plan to reduce debt that includes cuts and tax increases.

      Thanks again for your somber tone.  I really like it.

      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

      by shrike on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:29:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Paul Krugman on Long-Term Deficits (25+ / 0-)

        In his column in the New York Times earlier this week, Krugman demolished the idea that the United States is beginning to resemble Greece.  So long as the long-term debt is manageable, no draconian austerity measures (like in Greece) are needed.

        US annual Federal deficits as a % of GDP are already beginning to come down and he says that there is no reason why economic growth won't put a substantial dent into reducing annual deficits.

        Not even close!  An excerpt from his column below:

        Are We Greece?

        Basically, the United States can expect economic recovery to bring the deficit down substantially; Greece, which has a larger structural deficit and also faces a grinding adjustment to overvaluation with the eurozone, can’t.

      •  Since Social Security is not part of the deficit, (35+ / 0-)

        why does it need to be cut?

        And if someone wants to answer that x number of years down the road there will be less money in the SS trust fund to pay out, then what we have is a simple solution:

        Raise the income cap.

      •  No, actually, he doesn't (46+ / 0-)

        and CPI doesn't reduce the debt or the budget deficit. The government is borrowing against the Social Security trust fund. The funds, and the interest on those funds, are there. Social Security cuts do no such thing. It can be argued that they are pot-sweeteners to get Republicans to do something, but not that.

        He doesn't have to overhaul the tax code. He doesn't have to get caught up in a manufactured debt crisis where none exists, either. He can choose to. Or not. I cannot frame a choice as anything but a choice. There is absolutely no reason to engage a bad faith opposition as if they are acting in good faith. I can respect Barack Obama, and his office, and think he's doing something really, really dumb at the same time.

        I could understand if Obama had experienced a history of good faith with occasional bursts of wingnuttery.

        But he has been hands out since day one.

        He has never, for one second, been rewarded for it.

        Harry Reid looked foolish when he did his handshake deal with Mitch McConnell over the filibuster and was then immediately punked by McConnell with an immediate rush to bad faith filibusters.

        The GOP pivot to running against Democrats on Social Security cuts will be that pie in the face on steroids, and it doesn't have to happen.

        At some point, the old saying the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

        I voted for the man. Twice.  

        There is no debt crisis, there has already been 4 Trillion dollars in debt relief passed already, so the goals of Simpson Bowles has been met, that is, if they were ever acting in good faith, which they were not, and Chained CPI doesn't have to be on the table.

        This is a bad policy and bad politics.

        It will hurt the Democrats. It will hurt Obama.

        Make no mistake about this. Ted Cruz with a gavel, and an increased GOP House majority, will lead to either two outcomes:

        1. Obama will be completely paralyzed for the rest of his term, or
        2. We will have an impeachment crisis. Ben Ghazi. Fast and the Furious. Solyndra. They go from being talk radio bullshit to matters involving subpoenas and Senate and House hearings.

        Social Security has nothing to do with the national debt or the budget deficit. It has a trust with funds in it and is not now, nor will be, in crisis. When the economy is booming, the Social Security trust will swell, and the magic date that all the Very Serious People cite will be pushed off into the future. It has been for years. Doing nothing.

        Raising the payroll tax cap, or fighting for that tooth and nail as your jumping off point, is not just better politics, it's better policy.

        I appreciate that you recognize that I'm not being uncivil, and note that my tone is not acrid or meanspirtied. But a large part of the reason that I'm not being uncivil is that I really don't have to rely on emotion at all. The reality is clear. This is a bad place for the Democrats, and the Democratic Party to be.

        And I'm going to raise holy hell to stop it. Book that.

        The reality of Chained CPI being both bad policy and bad politics before a tough off year election is so self-explanatory and so obvious that  the burden is not on me in this discussion. It's part of the reason that I cleaned up my first draft so cleanly. My take is sober for a reason. I spent a long time on it. I didn't set myself up for a piefight and a brawl with some emotional appeal. I outlined a sober, cold brutal slap in the face for a reason.

        We are headed towards a cold brutal slap in the face.

        That was self-engineered. Insanely.

        And I am, frankly, really tired of finding my party in these messes when they don't have to. This was a choice. A bad one.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 02:59:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nothing has to be done now (34+ / 0-)

        ... and nothing further should be done now to reduce the deficits.  Stimulus is what the economy needs, for the short and maybe the medium term.  

        What should be done now on deficits is staking out a traditional Democratic approach to social support programs, which will involve increasing, not decreasing Social Security.  The disappearance of defined benefit pensions and the disappearance of already too-meager 401k accounts in the recession make people more dependent on SS going forward than was envisioned in the past.  Chained-CPI will increase elderly poverty in the future, and that was what Social Security was originally instituted to prevent.

        A Democratic plan should change CPI to a formula that reflects what poor and middle class elderly actually spend their money on, which is not chained-CPI.  It should lift the cap on the payroll tax and include passive income, which will allow lowering the overall rate.  It should make payout formulas even more progressive than they are already, to allow for the increased benefits that permit beneficiaries to stay out of poverty.  Cutting benefits for the elderly above relatively high levels of other income might make sense too.

        Social Security needs long-term fixes all right, but not ones that lower benefits to the needy.  The need is increasing, not decreasing, and nobody who calls him or herself a Democrat should ignore that.  If there's any meaning at all anymore to being a Democrat, it's that.

        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 03:25:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice reflective post. We have had our (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, basquebob, bsmechanic

          differences to be sure but your post wants me to post in the same manner.

          I agree about the cap and passive income too.


          "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

          by shrike on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 04:36:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The Democratic wing of the Democratic... (19+ / 0-)

          ...Party needs to be speaking about this every day instead of watching to see what happens. I'm not talking about the DWDP here. I'm talking about the elected ones. I want to hear from them. Like every member of the Progressive Caucus for starters, all 76 of them, every day.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 05:09:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Removing the cap is a can of worms. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan, basquebob

          TO start benefits for some uber rich person automatically go up to 14k a month. See AIME formula.


          ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 07:39:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's fixable (7+ / 0-)

            The current formula already sets marginal payout rates above certain contribution levels very low.  I think the current payout formula could be made even more progressive, and benefits could be phased out for high-income retirees.  Does Sheldon Adelson need Social Security?

            Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

            by Dallasdoc on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:44:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If youre going to cap benefits (0+ / 0-)

              thats a means test. That is a very drastic change to a program that only needs job creation and wage growth to be solvent thru 2090.

              I am not willing to go down the "remove the cap" route, to me its a last resort. In fact just lifting the cap to 90% is a second to last resort. 90% might raise the top benefit from 30k to 36k, thats a nice COLA for seniors

              I have no desire to use FICA as a means to reversing income and wealth disparity, we did quite well in the decades after WW2 using the Estate tax, Income tax, Corporate tax and Cap gains to create the most vigorous well educated middle class in the history of the world.

              ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:10:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not sold on capping benefits (0+ / 0-)

                If billionaires are paying 5% on all their income and making $30,000 a month, I'd be more than cool with that.   SS already functions as a means to mitigate income and wealth disparity, if not reverse it.  They progressive payback formula does that already.  But the cap severely limits the ability of the program to do that.

                As income inequality and poverty for seniors becomes a more serious problem going forward -- and it's very difficult to see how it won't -- SS will have to act as a countervailing force.  If it doesn't, it's not fulfilling its mission of keeping seniors out of poverty.

                Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

                by Dallasdoc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:21:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Very few can give a cogent reason (0+ / 0-)

                  To screw with the cap.

                  But you have. I disagree wholeheartedly, but I see you have thought about it seriously. But we both want the same thing.

                  ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:30:03 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If you have a better way to save SS (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roger Fox

                    ... I'll be looking forward to reading about it during your blogathon.  Remember, though, that in decades to come a whole lot of people will be depending more on SS, not less.  Defined-benefit pensions are going the way of buggy whips.  401k's have been underfunded by a large majority of Americans, and after the market crash and recession a lot more 401k accounts are empty than were before.  We have no guarantee that inflation will not increase in years to come, no matter how strenuously the government tries to ignore it.  And that inflation will hit the elderly harder if out-of-pocket expenses for health care continue to increase, as seems likely.

                    All that means SS will be many, perhaps even most, people's only defense against poverty in their old age for decades to come.  If we as Democrats want to honor the purpose of SS, to end poverty among seniors, we're going to have to increase benefits rather than cut them.  The money's going to have to come from somewhere.  I don't see any alternative to the Willie Sutton rule, and go where the money is:  the rich.

                    Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

                    by Dallasdoc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:38:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  They will depend more on SS if (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      income disparity is stable or worsens.

                      If we return to a pre 1986 Tax Reform Act tax policy that wont happen. If we create 20 million jobs at 36k each (Median income for a male working full time year round), thats .6% of GDP, the CBO scored the SS shortfall at .6% of GDP in 2011. About 89 billion a year.


                      Thats the scale of the problem, dont consider this as "THE" solution, but it properly measures the scale of the problem.

                      -Create a shit load of jobs
                      -Raise min wage when its needed, every 3-5 years?
                      -Min SS benefit?
                      -move cap each year (4-5 yrs) to give seniors increased benefits, this increases benefits and Trust fund revenues, with out the can of worms that removing the cap can be. 84%  increased to 88% might mean 2k-3k annually to seniors.

                      With this President and this House..... good luck

                      The SSD blogathon will offer many different views, I didnt cherry pick writers, I have a writer that will cover Beglichs bill to remove the cap. I am a cap removing hater. But in reality we are allies.


                      Are you on twitter?

                      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                      by Roger Fox on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:34:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I do not Twitter, nor do I diary (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Roger Fox

                        I'm all for a more comprehensive economic policy to reverse income inequality, but regard that as a much heavier lift than lifting the SS cap.  If we could somehow create a political climate where your agenda can pass, Social Security wouldn't need saving.  Increasing labor union  participation probably belongs in the mix, too, by the way.  That's probably the best way to ensure that policies reversing income inequality remain in place for the long term.

                        But I see that as much more in the realm of wishful thinking right now than getting the Democratic party to consider a Social Security policy like the one I discuss above.

                        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

                        by Dallasdoc on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:50:43 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it does not. Chained CPI applied to Social (5+ / 0-)

        Security decreases the payout of Social Security benefits.

        It does not "reduce the debt burden this country faces."  That statement is factually incorrect, because Social Security is self-funded and not part of the federal budget deficit, thus not part of the debt burden.

        Even Ronald Reagan got that part right.

        And, by the way, "over 65s" used to be a reliable Democratic demographic.  We need to reestablish that, rather than continuing to hack away at their benefits and reduce any motivation to return.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:25:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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