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By Tim Price, originally posted on Next New Deal

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The Hoax of Entitlement Reform (Robert Reich)

There's a growing consensus in Washington that we need to "reform" entitlements (in the same way that an axe reforms a tree) in order to rein in the deficit, but as Reich explains, that's because it's the easy answer, not the one that stands up to any scrutiny.

The Big Fail (NYT)

Paul Krugman felt deja vu at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, which is still focused on an economic crisis prolonged by ignorance of its own solutions. Future panel suggestion: what can we learn from our failure to learn anything?

Madness in December Employment Numbers (Prospect)

David Callahan writes that the latest jobs report shows the U.S. shed 89,000 public sector workers in the last three months of 2012, many of them teachers. Because in these tough economic times, we don't have money to waste on educating our future workforce.

The next stage of the 'fiscal cliff' fight has officially begun (WaPo)

Suzy Khimm notes that both sides are already positioning themselves for the debt ceiling/sequester battle, and while Democrats want more revenue from tax reform, Republicans have had enough of taxes and want to focus on spending cuts now. And forever.

Why Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill Matter: We Can Stop Corruption If We Understand It (Naked Capitalism)

Roosevelt Institute Fellow Matt Stoller writes that his exposé on tax extenders has drawn media attention and outrage from the parties involved, because: a) the Founding Fathers would have wanted us to pay for Transformers and b) you weren't supposed to know about it.

Secret and Lies of the Bailout (Rolling Stone)

Matt Taibbi argues that the Wall Street bailout was built on a series of increasingly elaborate lies and has helped create a financial system that's sustained not by producing any real value, but by manufacturing enough wool to keep taxpayers' eyes covered.

Surprise, Surpise: The Banks Win (NYT)

Gretchen Morgenson notes that regulators are close to a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks accused of foreclosure abuses, which would skip the messy business of investigating those abuses and determining how much borrowers are actually owed.

Madoff Aside, Financial Fraud Defies Policing (NYT)

Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Susanne Craig write that even in the wake of several high-profile Ponzi schemes and efforts to ramp up oversight, it's still hard to know for sure whether giving your money to a broker is a safer bet than putting it through a shredder.

Bad Relationships Don't Stand in Poor Women's Way. Bad Policies Do. (Forbes)

NND Editor Bryce Covert responds to a recent New York Times profile of low-income women struggling with college, noting that their boyfriend troubles wouldn't be such an issue if soaring costs and inequality didn't force them to rely on a man-sized safety net.

This Week in Poverty: Responses to the 'Cliff' Deal (The Nation)

Greg Kaufmann rounds up some of the most cogent responses to his piece defending the fiscal cliff deal as a net positive for low-income Americans, including some that disagree with him. Doesn't he know those go in the "unserious hippies" bin?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 06:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Reform = robbery; we need to NOT use their (6+ / 0-)

    Language because we always lose the argument. The last rotten example is "fiscal cliff". They talk about money because that's what's important to them. We need to talk about people, the "American" people.

    •  Agree! 'Entitlement reform' Orwellian, Luntzian (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, 714day

      ...just like benign-sounding terms 'enhanced interrogation' (for torture) or 'ethnic cleansing' (for apartheid approaching genocide).

      Need to NOT use GOP propangadist framing. More accurate to say "stealing food, medicine, and shelter from poor children, seniors, and the disabled" or the like.

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, OLinda, Puddytat
    in the same way that an axe reforms a tree
    I am stealing that.
  •  timeline of the great recession (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P, Puddytat

    Timeline of the Great Recession

    You stand here now in the footsteps of so many women who would have liked to have been here but didn't get the shot. You have a band of sisters and we're going to change history. ~ Sen. Barbara Mikulski D-MD speaking to Senator Elizabeth Warren

    by anyname on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 12:44:36 PM PST

  •  "Reform" is DC talk for less money/fewer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    rights for the average person. Almost without exception, since Reagan was President.

    And while I'm on language: some people go nuts over the misplaced apostrophe in "it's" as in "it's members."

    But nobody rails about the continual misspelling of this word. It's bipartisanshiT. Got it?

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 12:49:55 PM PST

  •  Interesting that Reich is open to means testing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Puddytat

    for SS, so that richer beneficiaries get less (or I guess pay more of it back in taxes).

    I personally am open to this idea, but I know that a lot of liberals oppose it.

    Everything else he wrote made a lot of sense. The social safety net is too small, not too big. But until we have a bigger revenue stream that's simply not feasible. I really hope the president was serious when he said that additional deficit reduction must come from additional revenue as well as spending cuts.

    •  if only we could means test Goldman Sachs......... (0+ / 0-)

      Goldman Sachs continues to profit from taxpayers largess.

      Bloomberg News reported Wednesday, Goldman finished the year with a flurry of regulatory filings revealing that 10 top executives, including CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein and President and COO Gary Cohn, were paid a total of $65 million in restricted stock in the final days of 2012 -- ahead of schedule -- enabling them to avoid higher tax rates in 2013. Goldman spokesman Michael DuVally declined to comment.
      And remember the eleventh-hour deal struck by Congress to avoid the fiscal cliff? Goldman will indirectly get a piece of that as well.
      Section 328 of the bill extends tax-exempt financing for the "New York Liberty Zone," which includes the area around Goldman's shiny new headquarters at 200 West Street. Goldman already got $1.5 billion in "Liberty Bonds" to help pay for the construction of its headquarters, according to this Bloomberg News investigation, and now it can be sure developers will have every incentive to build more fancy high rises to house Goldman's workaholics as close to the office as possible. Not that they needed such incentives.

      "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

      by allenjo on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:05:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blankfein, here's to a healthy and prosperous 2013 (0+ / 0-)

        Is there a corporation that received more of taxpayer's hard earned money than Goldman Sachs?

        These latest reminders of Goldman's greed shouldn't surprise us. The company demonstrated repeatedly during the crisis that it is particularly deft when it comes to finding favors from government.

        As a creditor of AIG (AIG -1.02%), it got billions of dollars from the government bailout of the giant insurer.

        It also got speedy approval to become a bank holding company from the Federal Reserve, helped by then-New York Federal Reserve Chairman Stephen Friedman, who at the time also sat on Goldman's board and was eagerly buying up beaten-down shares of Goldman stock.

         So, Lloyd Blankfein, here's to a healthy and prosperous 2013 -- for you, your well-connected friends

        "Who are these men who really run this land? And why do they run it with such a thoughtless hand?" David Crosby

        by allenjo on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 04:30:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  that's interesting framing . . .. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, 714day
    David Callahan writes that the latest jobs report shows the U.S. shed 89,000 public sector workers in the last three months of 2012, many of them teachers. Because in these tough economic times, we don't have money to waste on educating our future workforce.
    . . . . in light of the occasional diary that pops up right here at DailyKos decrying how education has become more or less synonymous with job training.
  •  The Banks Win (Again!): Surprise! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoebe Loosinhouse

    Actually, not a surprise.  

    They keep winning and profitting because they're never held truly accountable.  NONE of the monied elite are held accountable anymore.  They get "fined" a small amount of the profits they illegally obtained and are free to keep up with the funnybusiness of stealing from their customers.

    Until it becomes unprofitable, we'll see the same criminal behaviors, foreclosures, and theft from customers.  And, until one of the monied elite actually gets sent to PRISON we'll see worse.

    Turn the situation on it's head to see how silly our non-regulation Regulation and non-justice Justice is, imagine this:

    A guy goes into a bank and robs it.  IF he gets caught (and that's unlikely since the bank robber lobbyists have ensured that there will be little enforcement of the few existing laws they haven't managed to eliminate), he'll be fined about 10% of his total "take'.   Officials wondering why bank robbery has increased massively.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:07:09 PM PST

  •  Re the NYT Morgenson article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The knowledge that many wrongly foreclosed
    homeowners now possess - that they were literally robbed of their homes by "servicer induced defaults" (look it up if you don't know what it means) and that literally NO ONE in the justice and regulatory agencies cared or dared to address adequately the crimes that were perpetrated upon them must lie heavily indeed.

    No Rule of Law, no justice, no meaningful penalty for the perps, no  just compensation for the victims. A slap on the wrist, a fine that will be laughed about in the board rooms as "just the cost of doing business" and complete escape from the ignominy and infamy that should have been the results of the actions of these corporate robber barons.

    Gretchen Morgenson gets it right when she says The Banks Won. In the future, this complete abrogation of the Rule of Law as it regards Wall Street and the banking, finance and mortgage industries will be looked upon as the single greatest failure of the Obama Administration. We will be looking back at this time of inaction and lack of will while we stand around the rim of the smoking abyss that will be the next financial meltdown, which if anything will probably be worse, since TPTB basically have re-inforced the behaviors leading up to it.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 01:42:57 PM PST

  •  We have the power to force MSM to reveal: (0+ / 0-)

    First, social security is not really in trouble. Bush's "payroll tax holiday" (while it seemed nice) created a little more actuarial nonsense. SS can be fixed for a couple generations by two relatively painless fixes: Raise the cap on the salary that pays it by the "chained CPI" each year, and do comprehensive immigration reform, to bring a lot more young workers into the system. Voila! No more problem for 50 years.

    Second, Medicare is on the road to recovery. Obamacare has already slowed the steep curve of inflation in the program. (See HuffPo today.) There are still tons of buried percs for lobbyists and their employers in the system that need to be rooted out. NEGOTIATE drug prices ala the Vet. Don't allow companies like "Hoverround" to have their house doctors write prescriptions for motorized wheelchairs for patients they've never met. Avoid undue duplication of expensive tests like PET and MRI when one test will suffice. (Our family doctor was laughing that his group got an incentive to share computerized data when that change was so logical.)Reform the way the primary care physician is paid, so that an otherise healthy senior doesn't need to see six specialists for tests like PSAs and such. All these changes have been identified by the Obama administration. None of these "fixes" hurt patients in the least.

    The problem with a totally democratic site like this is that diarists can rant and rave about efforts to "cut" medicare  or SS when they don't read deeply enough to realize that many common sense changes fix almost the entire problem, and that the administration is "on the case."

    We DO need to slow the inflation curve. Yes we can--without hurting those who need the system the most.

    PS. Had an amazing discussion with my 90 year old father--the Rush-bot--yesterday. He repeated what he had heard: "The government can't just keep giving money away (SS). " I explained to him that I've been paying into the system for 50 years now, and that was MY money I'd never really collect back. He got "little Orphan Annie eyes."

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