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Dick Durbin
Sen. Dick Durbin (John Gress/Reuters)

In 2005, when President Bush was pushing for privatization of Social Security, Sen. Dick Durbin had some very strong words of support for the program. Here he is on Meet the Press, March 6, 2005.
MR. RUSSERT:  Do you believe that we currently have a crisis with Social Security?

SEN. DURBIN: I wouldn't use the word crisis. Untouched, Social Security will make every single payment for the next 37 years to every retiree, maybe 47 years. But beyond that, unless the economy grows well and grows us out of the problem, we need to address it.  And there are ways to address it in sensible, commonsense approaches today that will play out in 40 or 50 years.

....

MR. RUSSERT:  So as long as the president insists private and personal accounts are on the table, will you not sit at the table?

SEN. DURBIN:  I don't believe that we can. I believe that if we are to start with the premise that we are going to weaken Social Security, cut benefits and leave the next generation a $2 to $5 trillion deficit, how can that possibly be good for America?

Six years ago, Social Security wasn't in crisis, but now it is? For the record, privatization isn't the only scheme that would weaken Social Security. Today, Durbin endorsed the idea of means testing it. That weakens it potentially fatally by taking what has been an extremely strong and popular social insurance program for the past 75 years—one in which every American is invested and benefits from—and turning it into a welfare program.

If weakening Social Security six years ago couldn't possibly be good for America, why is it now?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by oo.

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Comment Preferences

  •  but he doesn't want to weaken it (11+ / 0-)

    he wants to kill it to save it!

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:16:41 AM PDT

  •  Fellow Illinois Kossacks, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson, judyms9, lyvwyr101, cameoanne

    We need a primary challenger to Sen. Durbin in 2014. If there is enough left of this country to have an election then.

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Fish in Illinois on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:19:44 AM PDT

    •  Not realistic, yet ......... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      He'd have to loop more rope around his own neck to bring a serious challenger out of the wood work.

    •  I'd rather see you jump all over him for this, (4+ / 0-)

      right now. Calls, letters to editors, comments on local papers, and especially, people outside each of his district offices with signs!

      Go Illinois!

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:59:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lots of us have been calling... (3+ / 0-)

        ...and emailing Senator Durbin, myself included. The young lady who took my call said they had been receiving quite a few calls criticizing his current stance.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:37:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good on you. I called, too. Gave staffer an earful (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, Catskill Julie, cameoanne

          Made sure I mentioned that though I now live in Nebraska, I was an Illinois constituent for many years, am on Durbin's email list and have continued to contribute to his campaigns from afar, but never again if he continues to pursue the means testing idea.  Told the staffer the only fix Social Security needs is to increase the amount of income subject to OASDI tax.

          I also called Harry Reid's office.  Reid needs to hear from as many people as possible. We need to prevent any Gang-of-Six bills to means test Social Security ever coming to the floor.

          h/t slinkerwink for providing phone numbers in this diary.

          "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

          by Involuntary Exile on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:08:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  800-833-6354, I called both my NY Senators (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW, cameoanne

          and told them I can't support Senator Durbin in the leadership any longer if this is his position on SS, which IS in surplus and IS NOT part of the deficit!

          This worked for me: (800) 833-6354

          I'm surprised and saddened by this. I spent many years in Illinois and still have family there. This move by Durbin to accept the Republican position on Medicare and SS disqualify him for any leadership position any more.

          VERY suspicious of these "Gangs of Six" Senators. Tired of being ganged up on!

          Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

          by Catskill Julie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:59:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I already did (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catskill Julie

        I was all over him for his involvement with the catfood commission, particularly when he started making noises about SS being on the table. So he already knows how I feel, or the robot that writes his replies to his constituents does.

        No, this is enough. He has to go. I think he'll find a lot of other Illinoisans feel the same way.

        It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness - Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Fish in Illinois on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:46:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  So using Dick(head's) logic... (6+ / 0-)

    I should prevent my children catching diseases by killing them.

    Um, OK.  I think I'll pass.

    These idiot fucking Dem senators.  You'd have thought the health care "negotiating" debacle would have convinced them that the GOP is always in bad faith and always full of shit.

  •  Because he's a jellyfish on this issue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FistJab, lyvwyr101
  •  I really don't get why raising the age (5+ / 3-)

    is heresy. It's perfectly rational to adapt the program to 2011 standards as opposed to 1933 standards.

    I applaud the rational Dems and their efforts to consider anything to reduce the deficit.

  •  The problem with politicians, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Virginia mom, lyvwyr101

    no matter the Party, is that they don't understand the intertoobz.  Everything they say is right there for scrutiny -- but they do spend a lot of taxpayer dollars for staff to spin when their positions change.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:21:43 AM PDT

  •  "Means Testing" Is Not The Only Change... (8+ / 0-)

    that would weaken it.  Removing the cap without increasing the benefits for those paying above the cap, weaken it as well.  As soon as Social Security is changed so that the benefits are determined by your personal income or wealth, the program becomes charity for those receiving the benefits.

    The strength of Social Security has always been thtit isnot charity but an insurance policy that you havepaidfor and the benefits are owed to your in return for your contributions.

    •  Semantics (10+ / 0-)

      Allowing a slight "trickle down" by removing the cap on top income earners without increasing their benefits does nothing but continue to make the program solvent.  It may violate some litmus test, but it'll work and take Social Security out of the debate for the next 100+ years.

    •  Benefits are already determined by personal (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      stlsophos, judyms9, Iberian, jm214

      income.  The pay-out formula is actually quite progressive

      Here is the current pay-out formula for someone retiring at 62 this year
      - 90 percent of the first $749 of his/her average indexed monthly earnings, plus

      - 32 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $749 and through $4,517, plus

      - 15 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $4,517 to the cap of around $8800

      - Maximum benefit is $2,366.

      Reagan was the one was President when the pay-out formula became as progressive as it is right now.  

      I agree though that raising the cap without raising the maximum benefit proportionally is essentially the same as a traditional means test.  I say both should be raised but not proportionally

    •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

      You can always rise some the max benefit or the max earnings cap in the average as long as is done in a consistent progressive pay-out formula. I don't think that would be difficult to calculate and still increase the total SS fund

    •  No, it's insurance! Many people pay premiums for (0+ / 0-)

      years, for insurance they never use. it never occurs to them NOT to pay for it. The safety net against losing everything IS the benefit!

      Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

      by Catskill Julie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like this a lot (3+ / 0-)

      Durbin should not be in leadership.  I'm calling my Senator Nelson in Florida and tell him not to support Durbin after what he said about SS.  Two birds with one stone.

      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

      by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:40:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just called Nelson's Orlando office (3+ / 0-)

        Me:

        "Do not support Dick Durban's plan to cut SS.  Not for me, not for my children, not for my grandchildren. Second: do not support Senator Durban as a Democratic leader.  I don't want him on TV speaking for Democrats nor in the Senate leading the Party. I am a democrat. He does not speak for me."

        I got a thank-you-I'll-pass-it-on, and was asked for my zip code.  I'll call again tomorrow and ask if Nelson supports Duban's plan.

        Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

        by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:57:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I wrote to Murray and Cantwell this morning (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, cameoanne

      demanding he be removed from the Caucus leadership.

      Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

      by ratcityreprobate on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:28:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's compromise (7+ / 0-)

    and just means-test the Koch brothers' Social Security.

    So many stupid people in the world, and me with only two fists.

    by phenry on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:22:26 AM PDT

  •  In Case of Emergency....Break Glass....and (6+ / 0-)

    Summon Bernie Sanders.

  •  Anyone with a lick of sense... (12+ / 0-)

    knows that saddling SS with a label of "welfare" makes it vulnerable to cutting it out entirely. I can hear the argument already... we have Medicaid (maybe), food stamps, etc. why are we giving money to people to sit home and not work.

    "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

    by VA6thDem on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:24:50 AM PDT

  •  Jon Stewart was right! (7+ / 0-)

    Didn't he do an item a year or more ago when he said they're coming after Social Security next and they'll get it?

    If the President and the Senate Leadership are behind this I don't see how we stop it. True, Harry Reid is still holding out, but how long can he last?

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:26:10 AM PDT

  •  Has Durbin lost his mind? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben, JGibson, lyvwyr101

    He needs to wake-up to 2005. Social Security is doing perfectly fine and any attempts to have SS funds invested in anything other than the strong US Treasuries backed by the fast improving US economy is evil and cruel.

    We need to improve the amount of services provided by the Federal Government, not decrease them for goodness sakes! Cut the military, do not cut any other program, allow them to grow and flourish!

  •  Dick Durbin: "I'm not a democrat!..." (6+ / 0-)

    "... but I play one on T.V!"

    Fox News must be salivating at booking frauds like Durbin and Evan Bayh for upcoming sunday panels to hear from the "liberal" point of view.

  •  Again what is the proposal (0+ / 0-)

    Because reducing benefits to the wealthy while terrible framing could be any of the following options

    1) Raising the cap but not raising the maximum payout proportionally

    2) Increasing the progressivity of the current formula

    3) Using a Medicaid like means test

    My preference would be a combination of 1 and 2.  It is a form of means testing so are people here against it?

    •  Making a means test (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lyvwyr101

      converts it from an insurance policy where all have the same benefit and risk to a welfare program where you really will feel that your money goes in to provide only for someone w/o any means and you get nothing.  I.e. real taxes vs. an insurance policy.

      My core tenets:
      • I am intolerant of only intolerance
      • I am prejudicial of only prejudice
      • I hate only hate

      But Republicans continue to test those three tenets.

      by DrSpalding on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:41:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree we shouldn't have a Medicaid (0+ / 0-)

        like means test which is why I said a combination of 1 and 2.  The fact is that pay-out formula is already progressive so those who make up to the current cap don't receive benefits close to what they pay in.  In fact only the last $4300/month that is taxed (from ($4517-8800) they only receive 15% of what they pay in.  

        Really the effective benefit decreases as a person gets closer to the cap that is taxed.

        •  I don't think he or she is listening (0+ / 0-)

          And also, no one is proposing that only poor people could qualify for Social Security. No proposal that I know of reduces the number of people who would pay tax, or the number who would collect benefits.

          The fact is all but a small handful of people on this blog could tell me what the replacement rates (benefit as a % of lifetime average income) of Social Security are and how they vary over the income distribution. The idea that reducing high earners replacement rates  from 33 to 30 percent leads inevitably to Social Security becoming something like AFDC/TANF or Food Stamps is down right weird.
          In the end this is a purely political tactic. Make any and every change into a "death panel" and so we better man the ramparts. Happens on both sides. It a good reason why nothing every get s done.

          •  Nothing gets done except the erosion (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cameoanne

            of liberal principles.  Always do we have to play defense?  Why with a Dem President and Dem Senate are we conceding ground to Ayn Rand and the Reagan Revolution?  I gave money to Dems, brought people to the polls, and voted Democratic to get our agenda done.  After they get in office, too many Dems start letting lobbyists take residence in the offices we provided, and we are forgotten.  I am sick of losing.

            Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

            by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:31:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  life sucks and then you die (0+ / 0-)

              I don't consider "Don't do anything to Social Security it's fine as it is" a liberal or progressive posture. It's a purely defensive posture based on fear.

              •  As a liberal who holds the view which you are (0+ / 0-)

                denigrating, let's just say I disagree.  Attacking the Neal Deal and conceding to Teabaggers isn't what I'd call courageous on the part of any who call themselves Democrats.

                Not sure what the life sucks quote has to do with this discussion either.

                Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:08:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Attacking the New Deal (0+ / 0-)

                  I meant.

                  Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                  by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:09:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Not sure what you think I am denigrating (0+ / 0-)

                  My point is to assert your view of the future, not to pretend like the New Deal was the only thing that we needed.

                  Social Security today should be much better than it was in 1935. I don;t see a lot of that kind of thinking among progressives.

                  And yeah that attitude bums me out.

                  •  Why are we talking at all about Social Security? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    cameoanne

                    Which Democrat ran on this in the last two elections?  Was this a plank in our the President's platform?  I must have not noticed, but that would be like not noticing a rotten, aching tooth.  Who has wanted Social Security "reformed" since the 1930s?

                    Why is Social Security reform our big agenda item all of a sudden, with all of our other problems?  All of a sudden a crisis dominating the Democratic Party to the detriment of our actual agenda?  How about jobs?  How about ending war, getting us off oil, reforming corporate charters so that none can be too big to fail, working to lessen climate change...?

                    I would think a person would be bummed out marching to the drum of Teabaggers.

                    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                    by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:31:39 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  How about leaving SS alone (9+ / 0-)

      and cut the actual deficit by just getting our military out of everybody's business and getting giant corporations off of federal welfare?

      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

      by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:46:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And if that doesn't work ... (0+ / 0-)

        There are many many many solutions. But unless they are politically viable, what is the point.

        •  If it "that doesn't work..." (0+ / 0-)

          If what "doesn't work?"  What problem is this the solution to?  Not enough tax cuts for billionaires?  Not enough wars?  Not a big enough free lunch for banks, "health" "insurers," and other big corporations?  In what way is it not viable to just leave Social Security alone?

          Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

          by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:36:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  viable for whom? (0+ / 0-)

            If you think we are going to make major cuts to defense, and raise considerably more revenue by changing corporate tax policy, I think you are dreaming.

            So i can propose a lot of politically unlikely things to do to eliminate the deficit. So what. What we need are a lot of politically viable things to reduce the... debt to GDP ratio, really.

            The problem with doing nothing to Social Security is:
            1. I don't think is it fair to burden my child with the much higher cost of providing my retirement benefits, when I can help reduce the burden as well.
            2. Allowing the system to remain out of balance is providing ammunition to the people who actually want to dismantle the system. The corollary of that is, if I believe we need a strong social insurance system for today and far into the future the best way to make that case is to demonstrate to future generations that the system is strong and sound.
            3. Since I don't know what the change is going to be, I don't quite no how to plan for what will happen down the pike. People younger than I am have an even bigger problem. We are all going to experience longer and more expensive retirements than any generation before us and we had better get prepared for that.

            •  These are the same arguments for "strengthening" (0+ / 0-)

              social programs that are working just fine, which are pulled out every time somebody gins up a crisis to enact an agenda they've been planning for decades.  That's how we invaded Iraq for supposedly attacking New York and Washington, D.C.

              George Bush spent all the money and banks lost at the casino, so some brilliant economists called Teabaggers push the Republican Party to cut Social Security to pay the tab, and you're worried that somebody's actually going to cut your children's Social Security?  And that somebody may as well be Democrats and you may as well help them?

              And some wonder why voters say both parties are alike.

              Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

              by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:19:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  red herring much (0+ / 0-)

                The financial shortfall that hits in about 25 years is almost entirely due to the very large gyrations in US birth rates that took place from 1946-64 (the baby boom) and afterward. That is primarily why the US is aging and why the Social Security is becoming more expensive. We have known this has been coming for quite a long time. It has nothing to do with George Bush (although he certainly made enacting a solution much more difficult by totally fucking up the economy & the federal budget).

                Europe and Japan have the exact same problem in their public pension programs, only worse. I am pretty sure they don't have as many right wing douchebags to deal with as we do. And if you study what is going on in Europe, you will find that most countries there have made pretty significant changes to their pension systems to cope with what is coming down the pike.

                Eventually we will have to make changes. You don't care how those changes are distributed. Good for you.

                •  The raid on SS now is to pay (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cameoanne

                  for the losses already suffered.  Isn't that why it is being classed with "deficit reduction?"

                  If this Congress and the President enacted the perfect balanced budget and the eternal fix for SS of your dreams, whatever it might be, the next chance conservatives get they will destroy it again.  They don't believe in balanced budgets any more than they believe in full employment, social programs, or the teachings of Sermon on the Mount for that matter, professions to the contrary.  I doubt you'd disagree with that, but perhaps I'm wrong.

                  A contract should be binding.  I paid into SS with the trust that I would see the benefits I provided my parents.  Conservatives love nothing more than to destroy our trust in our own government, with devastating effects.  Those who aid them in doing so should consider which side they're actually on.

                  Divide the country into classes by income or age and dole out SS benefits on such bases, and you will have given conservatives exactly the wedge they seek to divide and conquer.  Pitting Americans against Americans, fostering resentment at unequal distributions, marginalizing some groups and gaining allies for conservatives from others.  It's a big pot of gold in many aspects.  I don't trust today's Washington Dems to do the right thing [see health care "reform"], and I certainly don't trust Repugs to.  It needs to be left alone.  It is playing defense, not an emergency, and should not be strangling our agenda.  SS is in better shape than anything this Congress and this President would do to "fix" it.  It took a colossal effort in 2005 to shut up jr Bush and a Repug Congress about SS reform.  Now with a Dem President and Senate, again.  Frankly I'm sick of hearing about it and talking about it.  Whatever your intentions, Washington politicians and lobbyists have other agendas and will ignore yours.  Meddling with the third rail...  Who will be blamed?  Is the Dem message machine going to work?  What a laugh.  I live in Florida, a state needed for its electoral votes.  Conversations I've heard here with voters have been endless variations on, "They want to cut our SS, and you know who's doing it?  It's that Obama guy."  I can only hang my head in despair.  Now Dick Durban is going to be all over the TV talking about cutting SS, with the word "Democrat" under his talking head.  A PR disaster and right before a presidential election, no less.  SS is long standing law and the most successful government program I know.  Leave it alone.

                  Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                  by deben on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 06:58:06 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You want what's yours (0+ / 0-)
                    A contract should be binding.  I paid into SS with the trust that I would see the benefits I provided my parents.

                    This is an argument for why you do not want your benefits cut cut. But what about a person who is 35 today. What assurance are you giving them that they will get the same treatment you get? Because under the current law they only stand to get 3/4 of what was promised them.

                    You want to tell that person, oh someone will take care of you later. Maybe. I would like to say, here's the new law. Here is the new schedule of taxes that fully funds the promises made to you. Right now.

                    Divide the country into classes by income or age and dole out SS benefits on such bases, and you will have given conservatives exactly the wedge they seek to divide and conquer.

                    So apparently you do not realize that your social security benefit is tied to your lifetime of earnings. The more you earned the higher your benefit.

                    And apparently you don't realize that your benefit increases with the age you claim it. Based on the exact same record of earnings, the benefit you would get at 62 is only 25% of the benefit you would get if you claim it at 65.

                    •  My point, which is being ignored, (0+ / 0-)

                      I'll repeat.  This Congress and this President are incapable of improving Social Security.  Washington Democrats do not have the negotiating skills; Repugs' tactics are exclusively aimed at destabilizing the system and ultimately blaming Dems for it.  Anyone around for health care reform and FISA reform should not need reminding that any dreams of bloggers like Economides and deben are ultimately ignored by the current leaders in our Party.  The bill will be written by lobbyists and in right-wing think tanks, just like the health insurance bill was.  Saxby Chambliss will be praised for his statesmanship, and we will be used as high-on-drugs-retard foils to prove the President's bipartisan bona fides.

                      Social Security works, partly because of its fairness.  The wedge that Repugs wish to drive into America's love affair with Social Security, is to divide beneficiaries into classes based on need.  Those who receive cuts will resent those who get more.  And voila!  The cancer is planted.  And conservatives can chuckle at our stupidity as they can egg on the resentful to do the dirty work of their fantasy since the 1930s: to wreck our beloved Social Security system.

                      We must promote our own agenda.  Why else were Dems given the mandate by voters?  Is there anything we should care about at this moment other than reforming Social Security?  What assurance are you giving those who are 35 today that climate change won't disrupt their lives and make them fear the environment their children will be faced with?  What assurance that they will not be cut from a "health" "insurance" policy when they need it most?  That they will have jobs, let alone careers?  That their kids won't be sent to Iran to guard oil fields?  That their own Social Security benefits and their children's won't be threatened when the same too-big-to-fail banks and too-big-to-fail insurance racketeers as last time lose again at roulette?  If we are aggressive and fighting for things like solar and wind energy, at least when the Party leaders do their limp negotiations, Repugs will be trying to defend their oil company "constituents" and the status quo instead of it being us trying to "save" Social Security.

                      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

                      by deben on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 01:02:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

    •  Why doesn't he (0+ / 0-)

      Come out and explain it?  

  •  Every Kossack !! (12+ / 0-)

    Call Senator Durin's office and scream like Hell! Its the only way we can get our message out. I called him 2 times #1 866 - 202 - 0044.  Also call the WH and complain that a Dem would even mention Cuttine SS in any way. Here's the Phone # 1 202 456 1111.

    Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

    by eddieb061345 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:30:29 AM PDT

    •  I just did. (10+ / 0-)

      I gave some lady an earful.  I was as respectful as I could be, while at the same time saying what Sen. Durbin and the Gang of 6 were doing a disservice to our country and its' citizens.
      I refuse to beg for my Social Security when the time comes, and highly resent being labelled a welfare recipient and being a target for abuse by the GOP.

      Democrats are on the right side of history every time.

      by on the cusp on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just called the White House (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, cameoanne

      using your number. My second call, after I called Senator Nelson of Florida's office.

      "Leave SS alone for me, my children, my grandchildren. Leave SS alone. Period. To fix the actual deficit, get us out of wars and stop granting tax breaks and federal welfare to giant corporations."

      Was trying to be concise.  Maybe the aide at least passed on the point: "Leave SS alone."

      Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

      by deben on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:15:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If only the White House knew (5+ / 0-)

    what Durbin was up to. I'm sure they would be drawing lines in the sand and calling bluffs.

  •  Two words: Citizens' United (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Virginia mom, lyvwyr101

    We're in the grip of—

    Big Health Insurance
    Big Pharma
    Likud (disguised as "Israel," but it's only really Likud)
    Billionaire CEOs, in general

    ...probably in that order. Citizens' United does it to us. None of these interests is remotely Democratic or even conservative.
    Are you intimidated by them or are you not? JoAnne Kloppenburg wasn't. Durbin plainly is.

  •  Hair on Fire! Hair on Fire! (1+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    emelyn
    Hidden by:
    memofromturner, bay of arizona, Johnny Q

    You are a shit-stirrer of the worst sort.  You have no idea what Durbin's stance is or is going to be.

    Keep putting gasoline on the fire. That's all you do these days. Stay classy, McJoan.

  •  I feel a sternly worded letter coming on. (8+ / 0-)

    He doesn't usually stray too far from our ex-junior Senator, and i've already heard the "welfare for the elderly" meme on MSNBC (Tweety). The slippery slope is getting a fresh coat of grease.

    •  See-sawing our way further rightward (4+ / 0-)

      It's the DC Dem two-step. Obama gives an inspiring speech committing to liberal values, then some "reasonable" Dem proposes something far to his right. Obama says he'll leave it up to congress to work out the details, then "reluctantly" agrees to a "pragmatic" "compromise" that's far to the right of his original speech at the last minute, when it's really too late for us to do anything about it. He did in on FISA. He did it on the public option. He did it on finreg. Now he's doing it again.

      And yet we keep falling for it, so deep (and deeply pathetic) is our need to love our leaders, instead of respecting them. Maybe because we've lost our own self-respect in our quest for personal self-enrichment over societal betterment.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:59:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll feel better when the line at the blood drive- (0+ / 0-)
        Maybe because we've lost our own self-respect in our quest for personal self-enrichment over societal betterment.

        -is at least as long as the queue for the iphone 5.

        It's not just a generational/demographic thing either, more like a materialism pandemic and the virus was cultured on Wall Street.

        •  First time I worked in finance (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          geez53

          The privatization of Latin America and M&A were all the rage. Second time it was the dotcom bubble. All were based to a large extent on derived and speculative, not real and productive economic activity. We have become a nation of parasites, not creators. And that can only go on for so long.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:06:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Notice the interviewer? RIP, Tim. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101
  •  Misleading link (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101

    Here you say he endorsed the idea of means testing. But his quote is that it should be considered.

    "In 2037, as we know it, Social Security falls off a cliff," he said. "There's a 22 percent reduction rate in payments, which is really not something we can tolerate. If we deal with it today, it's an easier solution than waiting. I think we ought to deal with it. Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day. But from my point of view, leaving it out makes it easier politically, including it, I think, meets an obligation, which we have to senior citizens."

    One specific change Durbin said should be considered right now is reducing Social Security benefits to the wealthy.

    Which is it? Should it be considered? Or has he already considered it and he supports the idea?

    •  Why (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q

      will he be considering it if he was opposed to it?

      Means testing SS is breaking the social contract, it's a trap.

      •  I don't think you read the terms of the contract (0+ / 0-)

        The very design of Social Security is to give higher benefits (relative to taxes paid in) to poor people than to rich people. That is, progressivity IS already written into the social contract. Making it somewhat more or less progressive doesn't injure that principle at all.

        By your logic we could not RAISE benefits for poor people either.

        If you decide to respond to this comment please tell me what exactly you think means testing is? Do you think that some people would actually no longer receive Social Security benefits if they were "too rich"?

  •  Paint a bulls-eye on Social Security? (8+ / 0-)
    For the record, privatization isn't the only scheme that would weaken Social Security. Today, Durbin endorsed the idea of means testing it. That weakens it potentially fatally by taking what has been an extremely strong and popular social insurance program for the past 75 years—one in which every American is invested and benefits from—and turning it into a welfare program.

    Means-testing basically lays Social Security wide open to the usual divide-and-conquer tactics of the greedheads and their lackeys.  Note Ryan's use of this in his Medicare-dismemberment proposal which leaves out folks older than 55 since to do otherwise would be to lose the very important senior voting bloc.


    50% + 1: All Senate candidates should must the pledgeGo Nuclear Now!!!

    by KingBolete on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:38:47 AM PDT

    •  What is (0+ / 0-)

      your perferred solution to the shortfall that will occur in 2037?

      •  People have already answered your concern trollery (0+ / 0-)

        That deficit would disappear if the SS tax captured 90% of payroll as was intended in 1983.

        The Medicare trust fund is running out this decade. The DOD has no trust fund at all. So why pick on SS? If we worked towards full employment, then more people would be paying into the system to begin with.

        "There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill."

        by bay of arizona on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:09:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dick, (7+ / 0-)

    Please pay attention.  All we have to do to make sure that SS and SSDI are there forever is to walk back all the holes put into the budget by the Bush years (to reduce the pressure on Federal borrowing against the SS trust fund):
    1. Expire the Bush tax cuts and raise them on $250K/$500K (single/joint) and above to 45% instead.
    2. Get out of Iraq & Afghanistan.
    3. Rescind all tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

    In addition,
    1. Lower the retirement age for SS eligibility
    2. Remove the SS cap of $106,000
    3. Lower the SS tax rate a bit from the 6.2% to 5.0% in order to reduce the bite on lower wage earners

    It's a start.

    My core tenets:
    • I am intolerant of only intolerance
    • I am prejudicial of only prejudice
    • I hate only hate

    But Republicans continue to test those three tenets.

    by DrSpalding on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:38:58 AM PDT

  •  Get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and everyplace (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eddieb061345, lyvwyr101

    else NOW Dick!!

  •  This Might Be Useful if He Were Running for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101

    a Republican nomination for a position he could do something about the issue. It won't have any bearing unfortunately, at this point.

    The reason we have this commission in the first place is that all the remedies are off the table from the outset.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:42:27 AM PDT

  •  Is Durbin headed for the private sector... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, lyvwyr101, Johnny Q

    ...a la Dodd?

    Just wonderin'.

  •  because of weird bookkeeping (0+ / 0-)

    Social security surplus counts as part of the deficit (money we owe ourselves). I think that needs to be mentioned. That something like 4 trillian of the debt wouldn't be counted as debt if we were a European country.

    fact does not require fiction for balance (proudly a DFH)

    by mollyd on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:46:17 AM PDT

    •  Debt, not deficit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, cameoanne

      And it's only because the government borrowed and spent the surplus, which has zero to do with SS's actual fiscal health, which is great for 30+ years.

      "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

      by kovie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:53:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We always spend the money we borrow (0+ / 0-)

        When the government borrows money, whether from the Chinese or from future Social Security beneficiaries, it spends the money. When a company borrows money it spends it. There is nothing unusual about this.

        •  Except for that whole "lock box" idea (0+ / 0-)

          Al Gore unsuccessfully tried to promote. And, actually, money borrowed isn't always spent. Companies don't alway borrow up to the limit of their credit lines.

          "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

          by kovie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:04:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I buried my lock box in the backyard. You? (0+ / 0-)

            So what did you think the "lockbox" was? All it really meant was that he was going to buy public debt with the social security surplus.

            I think it would have been just as valid to say he was going to take the entire surplus and invest it in increasing the productive capacity of the country. That would have been spending but spending on investment not consumption.

            Companies spend what they borrow, that is why they borrow. They may borrow to m=pay the utiliy bill or to fund a promising investment. They still use the funds.  Who cares if they have the ability to borrow even more?  

  •  No Worries... (5+ / 0-)

    The President will give a speech and everything will work itself out....

    Look...Actions are the only thing that matters.

    The good news.   The President didn't endorse the gang of six.

    The bad news.  The President endorsed the deficit commission.

    It is all hands on deck time.  But yet I suspect progressives are simply playing the frog being boiled by speeches and words.  This is one time I would not love anything more than to be proved wrong.

    "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

    by justmy2 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:48:43 AM PDT

  •  We might as well (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben, lyvwyr101, WheninRome, cameoanne

    put bar codes on members of Cong. They're all for sale, seemingly. The financial industry really, really wants to get their claws on Soc. Sec. money, don't they?

    Let tyrants fear.-Queen Elizabeth I

    by Virginia mom on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:49:00 AM PDT

  •  Rotating villian (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben

    the one time Durbin doesn't want to keep the powder dry...

    "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

    by justmy2 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:50:29 AM PDT

  •  NO to means testing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deben, eddieb061345

    This is a social contract not fucking welfare. NO, NO and NO. As soon as the rich people don't get SS or only get a fraction of it the program will be doomed.

    Durbin needs to think what he is doing 'cause he is playing with fire.

    •  They already only get a fraction of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Iberian

      I agree that a traditonal means test is a bad bad idea.

      Still we can't ignore that the current progressive benefits formula means that those with higher incomes receive a less effective benefit.  

      •  They (0+ / 0-)

        A proportional fraction to their contributions. I don't think many feel shafted.

        I'm all for expanding the present progressive formula beyond the caps, and even provide some more benefits to those int he higher end.

        Just to use "means testing" for that is compleatly wrong and it fall in the Republican plan that we can't afford SS, that seniors are sucking and that ok will give some to the poorest people but the rest should count on their investments to retire. Retirement is one of the only really equalizing programs in the USA. That's why they hate it.Any crack in that is to eventually give them arrows in the future to throw against SS.

  •  I lost respect for Durbin (5+ / 0-)

    when he tearfully apologized on the floor of the senate for calling out Repubs for the thugs that they were several years ago. That was truly embarrassing.

    Yet another hollow liberal, in a party full of them.

    "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" --Alexander Hamilton

    by kovie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:52:37 AM PDT

  •  Do you think that he licked his finger enough... (0+ / 0-)

    before he stuck up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing???

    I'll give him a hint:  It's a very cold wind, and the direction matters greatly.

    Enough.

    Hey Boehner and the Republicans: WHERE ARE THOSE JOBS YOU PROMISED????

    by LamontCranston on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 11:55:05 AM PDT

  •  A number of ideas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catskill Julie, cameoanne

    float around regarding Social Security but the elimination of the cap is not one of them. If Social Security deductions do not seem to be of a concern for people that make less than 107,000 dollars why should they be of a concern for those of us who make more. I contend that the cap should be lifted and all income be subject to SS tax. Any reason why not?

  •  I've been asking this question (0+ / 0-)

    all day on different SS related threads... here goes again:

    "As someone who doesn't understand the ins and outs of SS overly well, could someone explian...

    "Durbin is simply not telling the truth there. Social Security does not "fall off a cliff" in 2037. With no intervention, it could pay out 75% of benefits beginning in 2037."

    Does that not mean that there will need to either be small cuts or some kind of minor overhaul at some point?  And isn't that basically what Democrats are proposing?"

    •  Yes there will be (0+ / 0-)

      And really what people are arguing about is semantics in my opinion.

      Raising the cap and traditional means testing have the same end result - the rich get out far less than what they pay in.  Even more so if we change the progressivity of the current formula.  

      •  There is a big difference between means testing (0+ / 0-)

        at the bottom and means testing at the top by way of taxation. If any of the people here knew the first thing about social insurance history in the US and the developed world there would be less 'concern.'

        "There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill."

        by bay of arizona on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:15:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No! Durbin's making fundamental changes. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catskill Julie, aliasalias

      His plan is making a fundemental change in the program. this is what were worried about. His plan makes SS a Welfare program not a program we all benefit from.

      Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

      by eddieb061345 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:02:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That date keeps on getting pushed further and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cameoanne

      further into the future because of growth estimates.

      It may not run out at all when the economy recovers. And the 83 Greenspan commission wanted taxes to cover 90% of payroll. That is no longer the case because of income inequality. Changing that would mean it is solvent forever.

      Bruce Webb is the resident SS expert here. You can follow him and ask questions if you are So Concerned.

      "There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill."

      by bay of arizona on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What & when (0+ / 0-)

      We don't have to do anything.

      If everyone who is not dead by 2037 is fine with taking a 25% cut in their benefits then sure we don;t have to do anything.  By the way that includes 85 years olds as well as new retirees. Every beneficiary would have to take a 25% cut.

      But suppose we don't want that to happen and we want to pay people what we promised them (or maybe even more!) What is usually not talked about is what happens when you wait until the eve of the exhaustion of the Trust Funds (that is when all the money that has been lent to the government by payroll taxpayers since 1983 has been paid back) to make a change.

      It changes the size of the adjustment. To solve the same size problem, I would have to impose larger changes the longer I wait.

      It changes who pays for the changes. I can raise taxes on today's and tomorrow's workers by a little, or I can  raise taxes only on tomorrow's workers by considerably more. So do we assume some of the responsibility or do we leave it all to our kids?

      It changes our expectations of the future and therefore our current behavior. If we enact a solutions today, even if it is not implemented for quite some time, it can have a huge effect on people;s expectations that the system is sound and should impact how they plan for the future today.

  •  "I think Dick is going too far with his language (0+ / 0-)

    "I think Dick is going too far with his language," Durbin said.

    "In 2011, as we know him, Senator Dick Durbin falls off a cliff," he said. "There's a 22 percent reduction rate in Durbin voters, which is really not something he can tolerate. If we deal with it in 2015, it's an easier solution than re-electing him. I think we ought to deal with him. Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day. But from my point of view, leaving him out makes it easier politically, including him, I think, defeats an obligation, which we have to senior citizens."

  •  new Witness Revolution diary up: video from (0+ / 0-)

    Libya and Syria. Pics from Yemen and Syria. News from too many to name! More died in both Yemen and Syria yesterday.

    Please remember to pause in your day and take a look. They need us to keep watching. Thank you!

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  Obama Is the Answer to Your Question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cameoanne

    Undermining America's social safety network is OK for Democrats when a Democratic president wants to do it. And this is why the Democratic party isn't worth a thimble of piss and why they have collapsed since Obama's election. First, do no harm. But there is NOTHING that Obama can get past the GOP that won't hurt Americans deeply. So do nothing. Just let all the Bush tax cuts expire. Problem solved. But Obama won't do that because he is a Blue Dog and he WANTS to cut the social safety net. Obama is going to destroy the Democratic Party unless Democrats stop him.

  •  Ike warned us. We are told everything is on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cameoanne

    the table, forced into hysteria over threats to what we thought we'd already stashed away for ourselves in SS and Medicare, and then left ignoring the relentless wars, the bloodsucking military contractors, and the fact that we are all now 3/5ths of a citizen, with SCOTUS having given the other 2/5ths to the wealthy.  "We are all slaves now," as the saying goes.  Our future is our past.

  •  SS is an INSURANCE program. Insurance against (4+ / 0-)

    premature death leaving dependents without support.

    And also,
    insurance against losing everything, including private savings, 401K and IRAs, pensions, houses and other assets you THOUGHT might support your old age, and your parents'!!

    This happens, even to very fortunate people who earn a lot of money--for a while.

    People pay for insurance for years (fire, homeowners, auto, liability) that they NEVER collect a cent on, while a neighbor or family member might collect from an accident or a fire. We may complain about paying the premiums, but we don't expect the insurance company to give it back.

    The SAFETY NET alone is the benefit!

     

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:18:14 PM PDT

  •  70% of Tea Partiers reject (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bay of arizona, cameoanne

    Ryan’s Reverse Robin-hood Plan

    http://nationaljournal.com/...

  •  If Durbin's saying this, why would anyone think (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, WheninRome, cameoanne

    that it's not the Compromiser-in-Chief speaking through him and setting us up for the big cave-in to Republican lies?

    "I have legalised robbery, Called it belief I have run with the money, I have hid like a thief I have re-written history, With my armies of my crooks" I don't think Kark Knopfler knew he was writing about the Republicans....

    by caseynm on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

  •  what's wrong with means testing? (0+ / 0-)

    it would make it, in effect, a tax hike on the rich. Sounds good to me

    I drink for those who cannot drink for themselves. anon.

    by Mark B on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:38:45 PM PDT

  •  I do not even (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, whaddaya, cameoanne

    recognize this country any more.

    With our legislative policies  we've turned our backs on the mentally ill-we've turned our backs on the lower income-the homeless-the disabled-our veterans-our gay community-our immigrant populations-our children-now it's the elderly-and we're disenfranchising voters-too-where the hell does this all end?

    Where the hell does it all end?

    Does it end?

    "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." ~Leonard Bernstein

    by lyvwyr101 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:07:24 PM PDT

  •  Undependable Dems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, cameoanne

    like Durbin are the reason we keep having to fight the same battles over and over. These fokkers never stand up for anything until they've checked to make sure they're not offending any Rethugs that are around.
    This stupid weasel sat on the Senate select committee for Intelligence and knew Bush was lying about those aluminum tubes and said nothing. Later claimed his secrecy oath prevented him from revealing the lie. What about your oath to protect the constitution, dickhead?
    This bloody loser is my senator. I'd support a recall at this point, except we'd get another tea-party wannabe like Mark Kirk.

    To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it

    by meade on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:30:06 PM PDT

  •  Orwell: beware words like "weaken," "strengthen." (0+ / 0-)
    Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive.

    George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language" (1946).

    "Weakening" Social Security might mean cutting benefits, i.e., weaker protection for the individual recipient. But cutting benefits would make the program as a whole easier to fund, thus making it "stronger."

    The important thing is not what word Durbin used--the important thing is what he really meant. Be careful to get that straight.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:50:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm an Illinois dyed in the wool Dem.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cameoanne

    I have voted a straight Dem ticket for as long as I can remember.  However, If Sen. Durbin sells his Dem constituents and; indeed, old folks in general, down the river by putting Social Security on the bargaining table with the Ghengis Khan Repubs, then I will with all my heart vote Green.

    Sen. Durbin is a bright man.  He certainly knows that SS is solvent for many decades.  He certainly knows that SS could be made solvent into perpetuity by simply lifting the income limits of SS contributions.  If Sen. Durbin is willing to sell his constituents down the river re Social Security, then I am willing to sell Herr Durbin down the river.

    It is so sad to me to see how corporate America has bought all of our politicians.  Sen. Durbin by his current inclinations has certainly been bought and paid for by corporate America.  I wish with all of my heart that this was not true.

    Sen. Durbin...why????  You are a human being.  Do you want our seniors eating cat food and begging for healthcare?????

    After all, for progressives, taking one for the team is desirable, but all too often at present, we are taking one from the team.

    by El Tomaso on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 07:22:49 PM PDT

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