Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Clarity of Vision

Boy, the Republicans sure know how to pick them!

(And yes, it's the same guy.)

Informal web poll time! Go vote for who you think would be the best leader of the Democratic party!

Social Security isn't going "bankrupt" because it literally can't go bankrupt. It can collapse in other ways, but it certainly can't go "bankrupt". This is another line in the Republican framing/rhetorical attack on Social Security in which they pretend it is a savings account or something.

Social security isn't a savings account. It's a funds transfer program. You don't pay Social Security into a fund, you pay it directly to the recipients of today.

This is the key to the second part, which has the esteemed Howler stumped. The part is that in order to switch SS into a "privatized" system you suddenly stop having payment into the system. Once people stop paying into the system the benefits stop. Here's where the two trillion dollar figure comes from: that's how much it would take to fund an entire generation of social security benefits. So we pay two trillion dollars so the people who ought to recieve SS do get their benefits. Then once that's payed the people who got into the whole "privatized" version of SS have their retirement benefits that were self-funded, essentially.

Here's the problem: the Republicans say this means there's a net cost of zero because now the "new generation" has approximately two trillion dollars worth of savings. Except it doesn't work that way. This is why the Howler is confused. There's no real way to get two trillion out of that, it's just imaginary money that has been invented because it's convenient.

Let's run the numbers:

Cost for Social Security over the next (say) sixty years: $2 trillion dollars worth of benefits payed out to retirees from now to 2064.

Private Social Security funds built up over the next sixty years: estimated $2 trillion dollars worth of money saved.

Now, the way things currently work, the people who pay money into the system pay to the normal SS $2 trillion.

However, under the Republican plan they pay into the second and then we take $2 trillion dollars worth of debt to continue paying benefits. Then, this is the part the Republicans are lying about, the Republicans say that at the end of this since the benefits are still there for the private SS group even though they're no longer paying money into the system they gain $2 trillion dollars.

But all that's doing is counting the second number (the money paid into a private SS plan) twice.

In other words, this is precisely another "free money" scam.

Now, the Republicans are right about one thing: the $2 trillion in the second option (paid into personal, private savings accounts) does earn interest and other things and as such can accumulate and grow into even more money. This is a big deal. Of course, with that interest comes risk: it could also be wiped out totally and, here's the part that hurts, you're suddenly faced with ten, fifteen, or twenty years left to live, no employment, no money, and you still have costs.

So personally, that doesn't sound like a good replacement for the SS "safety net" even though i'm certainly going to be saving money myself to take advantage of compounding interest and other fun things.

Okay, onto something else now...

Alabama votes to keep segregation as part of their state constitution.

No, this isn't 1964: it's 2004.

As an aside, Judge Roy Moore is the same one who violated a federal court order in order to (temporarily) keep a big ass granite statue of the Ten Commandments in his courthouse, IIRC.

Orcinus discusses the way Liberals view the war on terror, minus the DLC of course.

Chris Matthews doesn't understand the difference between an editorial page and actual journalism. Not that i expected anything more from him.

How to hold a Presidential news conference.

I notice that doesn't appear to deal with one of the biggest problems with the Bush administration: if you ask the wrong question, you never get to come to a Bush news conference again.

Republicans continue on the oil-for-food scandal message.

Horowitz continues the "I know you are, but what am I?" defense over the charges of racism.

O'Reilly continues his anti-semitism ranting. At least some Jewish people are bothering him about it.

But that wasn’t the point, was it? The point was not just to hurl a pie in the face of morals and good taste but also of white racial and cultural identity. The message of the ad was that white women are eager to have sex with black men, that they should be eager, and that black men should take them up on it.


You got it, another Football Ad Scandal line!

"OHNOES! Black men with our white womens!!!"

David Brock asks the Creators Syndicate what the hell they're doing giving publishing this guy, all nice-nice of course.

Finally, like the ultra-right-wing Fundamentalists who support Israel because it fits in with their vision of ending all life on the planet through apocalypse, the Republicans pushing the Hispanic vote might have their own agendas as well.

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