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View Diary: Social Security and David Plouffe: An Action Diary (Updated) (123 comments)

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  •  Did you note that there were four sources (1+ / 0-)
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    divineorder

    cited?  Unreal how a url with FDL in it seems to cause so much angst among some.  There were direct quotes with links in the FDL piece if you didn't want to take it from the hated Hamsher.  I notice you did't link to the supposedly contrary statements in Rivlin's blog.

    •  Rivlin's blog is linked in Eskow's article (1+ / 0-)
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      2laneIA

      that you included in your previous post. I recommend reading Rivlin's own writing instead of the interpretation by free-lance reporter Eskow, then form your own opinion.

      I do appreciate that you took time to link all those articles in your previous post. I don't hate Hamsher, I have no respect for her work. Her writing is sub-par, biased, sloppy, inaccurate, frequently self-contradictory and illogical.

      Hamsher's article on Rivlin (also linked in your earlier post) is as shoddy as the article she wrote on Spratt. Hamsher begins that article with the claim that Rivlin wants to cut SS "so John Boehner can spend it on wars." Not only is that laughably false -- Rivlin is a true deficit hawk, Boehner is just a political hack -- but Hamsher's only apparent basis for her claim is that Rivlin has described some of the same scenarios that Boehner proposes. Rivlin is an economist who describes many scenarios, which gives Hamsher and friends lots of opportunities to misrepresent Rivlin's views.

      Personally, I wish Rivlin was more hawkish about reducing the Pentagon budget, but she has written scenarios for cuts there, too.  

      Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

      by SoCalSal on Tue Sep 14, 2010 at 08:19:23 AM PDT

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      •  I have read that article in the past (0+ / 0-)

        and bookmarked it.  When you were talking about a blog I thought it was something I hadn't seen and couldn't find any references to it.  I reread it now, all the way to the end.  I still see her as being in the camp of wanting to raise the retirement age, in spite of the fancy footwork.

        US News has her on audio talking about how entitlement programs are the reason for the deficit.  I think it hurts her credibility that she doesn't mention the defense budget, war costs, or the Bush tax cuts.  

        On thing about the Commission that is troubling (among many) is that it has budget experts like Rivlin, but no Social Security experts.  Krugmanmakes the point that you can think of Social Security as a stand-alone entity that should keep its own fiscal house in order, or as part of the budget.  But you shouldn't switch the frame to serve a desired result.  

        By that I mean, most people think you could close the 22% gap in 2037 by lifting the cap on income subject to withholding, or increasing the amount of the tax, or some combination.  If SS is a stand-along program and a small fix will "save" it to use Rivlin's words, then why not do that?  

        And if it is part of the budget, then the status of the trust funds is of less interest than the over-all health of the budget, and there is no "crisis" specific to SS.  

        If we are going for long-term deficit reduction then it should not be at the expense of entitlement programs that people have paid into with the promise of a return when they turn 65.  Especially given the leaks out of the commission about what they are considering, ie, no defense cuts (except making military pay for their own benefits), no tax hikes, and cuts to SS and Medicare.

        The irony of cutting benefits now to avoid cutting them in 2037 is lost on Alice Rivlin, as far as I can tell.  The SS Commissioner says:

           [A]t a press conference Thursday, Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, one of the government trustees releasing the report, begged reporters not to scare the public by exaggerating the significance of trust fund exhaustion

           "That does not mean that there will be no money left," Astrue said. At that point, even if Congress took no action, Social Security could still pay out 78 percent of expected benefits from annual revenues. "That would be a bad result, but it is a far cry from having no benefits at all," he said.

        Raising the retirement age is a 15 or 20% cut depending who is arguing it and I'm not going to look for those links now.  If the Commission recommends doing that now, the dreaded shortfall of 2037 will come to seniors decades early.  Maybe I'm missing something, but I just think: how stupid is that?

        Or maybe it's intentional to satisfy other objectives.  Rivlin raises the spectre of Greece, which Eskow and Krugman have derided.  She does say we should want to look good for the markets and demonstrated how tough and responsible we are by taking care of our deficit problems now.  And she keeps coming back to entitlements as the only answer.

        I might be donating $10 to charity, but I don't think it will be on account of my friendly wager.

    •  about direct quotes (0+ / 0-)

      There were direct quotes with links in the FDL piece if you didn't want to take it from the hated Hamsher.  I notice you did't link to the supposedly contrary statements in Rivlin's blog.

      As usual, Hamsher selectively uses a direct quote or two to bolster her suppositions; Eskow did the same thing in his article. Quotes are all too frequently misleading and out of context, don't reveal the truth of the person being quoted. Everyone should be wary of taking much meaning from a selective direct quote. Shirley Sherrod anyone?

      If I were to quote from Rivlin's blog, I'd probably have to quote the entirety of the first paragraph and the last two or three paragraphs, and you'd still not have the benefit of Rivlin's own thinking.

      Slavery is the legal fiction that a person is property. Corporate personhood is the legal fiction that property is a person. -Jan Edwards

      by SoCalSal on Tue Sep 14, 2010 at 11:14:35 AM PDT

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