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View Diary: Note to Democrats: Social Security and Medicare are as non-negotiable as Obamacare (181 comments)

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  •  "I don't mind them messing around" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    it's folks like you that embolden Obama to take risks with what little safety net there is. Recent pushback suggests that  congressional Dems have learned that the leader of our party is more interested in his legacy than good policy so I doubt they'll follow him over this cliff.

    •  The idea that "messing around" with (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      democracy inaction, sweatyb

      any safety net is automatically going to be bad or blasphemous is something Democrats need to get over.  Sooner or later SS and medicare are going to need tweaking and we the supposedly grown up and intellectually superior crowd ought to be able to articulate and debate ideas that "mess around" with SS without hitting the panic button.

      Right man, right job and right time

      by Ianb007 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 12:28:13 AM PDT

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      •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stellaluna, rbird

        That was my entire point.  I'm really nonplussed by the "hair on fire" responses to what I said, which is wholly uncontroversial.  The ACA didn't go nearly far enough and I, for one, sure as hell hope that it is improved somewhere down the line.  I hope they raise the cap on SS and I'd love to see them open Medicare to let anyone of any age enroll.

        But all that would be "messing around" with them, making changes to them.

        I am firmly opposed to them being cut in any way, which I thought - silly me - that I had made clear when I said "no cutting."

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 04:01:59 AM PDT

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      •  Tweaking? (0+ / 0-)

        That's corporatist centrist spin for slashing the hell out of Social Security because they can't corrupt it.  The money just goes directly from the Treasury to the citizen.

        •  This is the exact type of post that I was referrin (0+ / 0-)

          to.  Sooner or later something is going to have be done with SS.  THis is not centrist or leftist or right wing nuttery.

          It's the SS board of trustees.

          http://www.ssa.gov/...

          It's going to be tweaked sooner or later.  The sooner we do it the better.  There are many tweaks that can be done that won't cut benefits, however freaking out about the term 'tweaks" almost guarantees nothing is going to be done until the last minute where the only options left are all bad.

          Right man, right job and right time

          by Ianb007 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:36:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But tweaks is one of their lie words (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            splashoil

            I refuse to listen to them until they stop lying.  As long as they are in let's trick the seniors mode, I'm not getting on board for any changes at all period.  

            Obama put CCPI on the table and he did not put raising the cap on the table.  What kind of Democrat has priorities like that?!!!  Third Way, neoliberal, screw the middle class Democrats.  

            They thought they could get CCPI by the folks but the folks aren't as stoooopid as they think.  

            So when stop lying to me, when they stop tweaking and strengthening and reforming and bullshitting me then we can talk.  

      •  No no no, you are spreading blatant falsehoods, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Reston history guy

        now I know thats not your intent and you believe that the federal Govt's budget works the same way as a household budget, but its just completely false.  Our nation can never run out of money.  Modern money is a unit of measurement, it comes from nowhere, it be like saying accountants can run out of numbers with which to count.  Its totally illogical.  Just because neither you or I have the authority to create our national currency, doesn't mean the same rules apply to the Federal Govt.  Which is a great thing, We The People control our supply of money.  We don't leave it up to the mining industry (gold standard) or a non-elected bureaucracy (the ECB).  Its time we all ackowledge the wonderful benefits we could be having by properly provisioning the private sector with enough new money each year through the deficit to maintain full employment, health care, and retirement for all Americans

        MMT = Reality

        "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

        by Auburn Parks on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:22:35 PM PDT

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        •  Printing more money to fix fiscal problems? (0+ / 0-)

          Not sure it's a great idea.

          Right man, right job and right time

          by Ianb007 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:27:27 PM PDT

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          •  all money is printed. All deficit spending is (0+ / 0-)

            printing money, surely you don't thinkn the US dollar exists in nature.  

            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

            by Auburn Parks on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:29:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Printing too much money is not good fiscal (0+ / 0-)

              policy.  I don't think even Stiglitz or Krugman would recommend this.  Sure deficit spending to jump start an economy is one thing and  I can agree with that,  however a long term plan to use printing money to fix a problem that can easily be fixed by say raising the income cap on SS is not smart IMO.  However I'm not an economist so take that with a grain of salt.

              Right man, right job and right time

              by Ianb007 on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 02:44:39 PM PDT

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              •  I too would never advocate for printing too (0+ / 0-)

                much money.  But thats really the issue isn't it, how much is too much?.  SS payments to our retirees are not a problem that needs to be fixed.  Its not like people are getting 100K a year.  We are talking about a pretty meager income.  The economy needs the debt free (from the private sector POV) income that the deficit provides each year.  Look at this graph, you will notice that the private sector historically saves about 3% of GDP each year.  The two extended periods of surpluses in the last 100 years came in the mid 1920's and the late 1990's, both periods were followed by the only two depressions since 1920.  Because when private sector debt gets too high, people are forced to deleverage and since private sector debt is a form of money, this shrinks the money supply.  Thats why its healthy and necessary for the Govt to contribute each year to private income, plus we need to make up for the drain in private income that comes from the trade deficit of ~$500 billion each year.  So from a simple accounting POV, if the Private sector wants to net save, the Govt deficit must be bigger than the trade deficit.

                Govt balance = Domestic private balance + Foreign balance

                Every dollar spent by one person or sector is a dollar of income for another person or sector.

                Here's the 3 sector budget balance going back to the 1950's :
                http://soberlook.com/...

                Here's the level of private debt going back to 1900:
                http://static.seekingalpha.com/...

                "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

                by Auburn Parks on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:02:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Then, no taxes are required? (0+ / 0-)

          We can get rid of the IRS and just create all the money the government needs? All that tax money is unnecessary and, actually, doesn't fund the government?

          That actually makes some sense. Of course, it causes inflation and that becomes the new "tax". It's difficult to evade and has no loopholes. It requires no administrative effort for the "taxpayer". It's sort of a flat tax. Of course, it would alter behavior -- people would avoid holding dollar denominated assets and interest rates would go sky high to go along with the sky high inflation.

          •  Right, taxes are not required to "fund" govt (0+ / 0-)

            expenditures in a nominal sense.  Taxes do 4 things in our modern monetary system:

            1) guarantee a baseline value for otherwise worthless fiat paper currency

            2) remove aggregate demand from the private sector to make room for the spending of the Govt sector.  If the Govt just spent the $4 trillion a year they do now, but collected no taxes, we'd probably get some increasing inflation, how much? nobody knows since it depends completely on the private sector economic environment.  If the private sector is deleveraging which shrinks the amount of credit (which is a type of money), then the Govt should replace the decreasing amount of credit with Govt money, in order to maintain full employment and output.

            3) To battle income inequality and prevent excessive wealth (which ususally means power) hoarding and accumulation.

            4) To penalize negative activities.  Carbon is bad, tax it.  Financial speculation is bad, tax it.  Cigarettes are bad, tax them.  Its the old axiom, if you want less of something, then tax it.

            MMT = Reality

            "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

            by Auburn Parks on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 03:09:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you may be... (0+ / 0-)

              ...underestimating a couple things.

              While I agree that the government could just print money instead of collecting taxes, it would be a political and economic disaster.

              First, there's no question it would increase inflation (there is no "probably" about it unless the Federal budget is shrunk to $0).

              Second, it would reduce the resistance to excessive, and wasteful, spending. Right now we have too much wasteful spending but imagine if no one had to pay Federal income or payroll taxes. Most pushback on most spending, wasteful or otherwise, comes as a result of the link between taxes and that spending - few object to the spending, mostly they care how much that spending results in an increase in their taxes. For example, only the most sophisticated voter would make the link between an increase in inflation from 17% to 17.2% and additional subsidies given to powerful political players such as large corporations.

              Third, inflation is very damaging to the middle class in particular (using a rough definition of "middle class" as those that can consistently save some money for a rainy day and save some money for retirement). They lack the sophistication, access, and time to protect their assets from inflation (by buying real assets). The poor, especially, will generally be "behind" the inflation curve with respect to salary -- i.e., employers rarely raise salaries to keep up with inflation consistently. The rich will of course do well as they have enough money to profit from most any economic situation because it's worth it to spend a lot of time and energy protecting/growing $500M (not so much $5K - esp. when you have a full time job other than managing and growing your assets).

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