Extreme Liberal's Blog

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If You Are A Senior Citizen, You MUST Vote Democratic in 2012!

The Republicans came after your Medicare and now they want your Social Security too. The only way to insure that you won’t lose either is to vote Democratic in all future elections. Republican’s used to be much more subtle about how they want to throw seniors into the private market to go head to head with health insurers and Wall Street, but lately the new leaders of the GOP apparently have no idea what they are getting into. When the Bush Administration flirted with it in 2005, they learned very quickly that it was a bad idea. But the new GOP feels so empowered that they think they can just come right out in the open with their stupid ideas. As a Democrat, I want to thank them. Here are some details from Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly

Alas, that’s not the case. A few days ago, Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, a member of the House Republican leadership, unveiled the “Savings Account For Every American Act,” which would allow Americans to withdraw from the Social Security system and opt into a privatized system.

Of course, with Social Security functioning as a pay-as-you-go program, if workers “opt out” of the system, Social Security would either (a) crumble with insufficient funds; or (b) need Congress to spend more money to make up the difference. How would Sessions address this? By all appearances, he hasn’t thought that far ahead.

I guess we Democrats should be encouraged by the Republican’s lack of political savvy, but their propaganda machine is pretty effective and they will have some success with their brain-dead, Rush Limbaugh/Fox News programmed followers. But those people will never vote Democratic anyway, so the real audience for this is the moderates, who will clearly be able to make the connection between the risks of privatizing and their future security. It’s one of those ideas that is rather easy to counter, from The Hill, courtesy of Steve Benen...

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday predicted that House Republican plans to let workers opt out of Social Security would fail as voters realize how it will threaten their retirement.

“Seniors who have paid into Social Security through a lifetime of hard work shouldn’t end up in a risky privatization scheme to gamble their retirement on Wall Street,” Israel said. “The public has rejected this kind of Social Security privatization in the past and will again.”

Israel accused Republicans of looking to resolve the government’s fiscal crisis by scaling back Medicare and Social Security, while ignoring higher corporate taxes.

I don’t see any adults in the leadership of the Republican Party so I anticipate even more boneheaded moves in the next year and a half leading up to the next election. I don’t even think the complicate media can help spin them out of some these messes they’ve created. It will take a lot of distractions to keep people from seeing what is going on and the difference between the 2010 race and 2012 is that President Obama is in this race, with his bully pulpit, his 75% personal popularity and his unmatched ability to deliver a message in a clear and concise way. The only thing the Republicans have in their arsenal is their appeal to racists. And with the president at 75% personal approval, their clearly aren’t enough racists to put them over the top. It should be a fun ride to November 6, 2012.

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June 9, 2011 - Posted by | 2012 Election, Politics, Republican Party | , ,

22 Comments »

  1. Where did you find the 75% personal popularity number? I know back when he was elected it was up around that number but everything I’ve seen says it is somewhere in the low to mid fifties now.

    Comment by Chicken Hammer | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. You demonize the idea of opting out of social security. For me personally, I would like to do this. I would neither pay in nor get pay outs from the system. As a personal choice, I would prefer to keep my money now and take care of myself later.

    You mention that the results would “either (a) crumble with insufficient funds; or (b) need Congress to spend more money to make up the difference”

    Would you mind expanding on this for me? Thanks.

    Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Well that was actually a quote from Steve Benen, if you follow the link “Here are some details”, you could ask him directly. The way I understand it, the way the system stays viable is with everyone paying in. If some opt out, then the pool shrinks and there wouldn’t be enough to pay current retirees. And with a shortfall, congress would surely feel a need to put money in it, seniors vote you know.

      I appreciate you wanting to take care of yourself and feeling like you wouldn’t need the government in your older years. But since Social Security was passed and in the years since, people now rely on it and consider it a kind of forced savings. And in recent years, it is just a base of income, it really isn’t enough to live on for the average person but is rather a safety net for people. I think you would have a hard time convincing enough people to believe like you do and get rid of it. We’re talking political reality here. My parents, who were pretty well off, gave their Social Security checks to charities, the local mission, United Way, Care and others.

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | June 9, 2011 | Reply

      • You’re right on explaining why there is a need to keep young people from opting out. It would certainly create a deficit in the system that has immediate cash obligations to seniors.

        Social Security is an old age insurance. You pay your premium through payroll taxation. The reason insurances need a “pool” of people is to reduce variance in outcomes which allows insurance premiums to go lower. That is the importance of a large pool of people, not to pay out current obligations.

        The system was set up to save that money for you and then dole it out when you got old. In reality, the money was spent. This is the reason that Social Security relies on those still working to be in the system.

        This is by definition a Ponzi scheme. The current financial obligations must be met by new investors putting money into the system. A Ponzi scheme is fraud.

        Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 9, 2011 | Reply

        • The money wasn’t spent, what are you talking about? It has been on and off budget on occasion. I refer you to this post (http://tinyurl.com/3p545tn) that talks about the history of SS and has a great link to know a lot more if you are interested. It’s an accounting trick that several dem and rep administrations used. We had a baby boom that kind of messed with the revenues and outlays, so we had to make some adjustments for that. And they did a while back and will need to again in the next 20 years or so, but there is not in danger of running out of money for another 27 years.

          Social Security is a part of America, it’s one of the reasons why we are so great. We care about our elderly and put in place a system that isn’t open to chance or corruption or fraud. A stable pay in/draw out system that accounts for all seniors, even the ones who might think they don’t need it. I guess I have to wonder about people who don’t want to make sure all seniors are taken care of in old age and would rather their own selfishness be thrust on others. It can’t work if you give people the option to opt out, it is a social safety net for all of society, not just those who opt in. It’s been that way since you were born, I assume, and it’s worked pretty well…just ask most anyone over the age of 65 about it, I doubt you will find many who think it isn’t a good thing.

          Comment by ExtremeLiberal | June 9, 2011 | Reply

          • I understand the solvency issue regarding Social Security. When you analyze the cash flows as an isolated program, they are not as bad as the current financial situation as a whole.

            The point is that the money Social Security has in surplus years must, by law, be loaned to the government. Therefore, the government has loaned the money to itself. This intra-grovernment debt is still debt, and, per your post, the Social Security portion of this internal debt is growing. This is why there is concern.

            I also believe it is unfair to say that opponents of Social Security are more selfish and uncaring than proponents. This issue is that Social Security is a tax not a charity. You don’t “donate” to Social Security, the money is taken from you.

            Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  3. Personal approval is a lot different from job approval. If I understand correctly, moving away from SS to a private fund would be an individual choice not a forced move. If you want to stay in government SS, you can. I realize it is difficult to understand an individual wanting to make their own choices but some of us do. If our elected crooks hadn’t stolen from SS for other needs, it would be solvent but when was the last time the federal government ran anything effectively. I guess Amtrac and the USPS are shinning examples of well run government organizations.

    Comment by atlanta ralph | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  4. I always get a kick out of the folks that want to “opt out” and invest on their own. They forget that the Great Depression is a fine example of the perils of such a fantasy. I also have little faith in the same folks ability to actually invest, considering we’re talking about a limited amount of real “money” to be invested on a weekly or monthly basis. I also understand how tempting it can be, particularly for those that experienced the go-go 90’s and witnessed the making of millionaires in a matter of months on a minimum investment. But the real issue is rhetoric and hyperbole that has younger folks convinced their options are limited to a.) invest on my own or b.) throw my money away on a program that I’ll never benefit from. It’s a false choice. It’s a carefully crafted narrative that assumes the T-bills are worthless and the revenue stream is compromised by our deficit. My big question for the “opt-out” crowd is “where would you invest your retirement funds?”. Whenever I have asked, and I’ve asked quite a few times, the answer is usually a generic “stocks” or I’m told it really doesn’t matter because it’s “their money” anyway. In other words, they just want their paycheck to grow without asking for a raise or earning a promotion.

    Comment by BlueTrooth | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  5. “In other words, they just want their paycheck to grow without asking for a raise or earning a promotion.”

    Assuming you could opt, you are not getting raise or a promotion. Your salary or hourly wage hasn’t changed. You are simply have less money deducted from your earnings. The price for that is not having a guaranteed income from the government when you reach the retirement age. Some people think that trade is worth doing, others do not.

    And to answer your question. I’m not exactly sure where I would invest. Regardless, if I lost all of my retirement savings on an investment, I pay the consequences. So why would you care where I invest? I’m not saying I would invest better on my own, I just would prefer control over my finances.

    Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  6. A lack of Social Security would just mean that I would have to invest my money and then get swindled out of my retirement the way so many people did in this recession. It wouldn’t give me more freedom, it would give somebody else the freedom to get rich off of me.

    America already has a shocking amount of poor elderly people. Or at least it was shocking to my family and me when we first landed in this country. People only make a reduced amount of the salary they made during their working life, and many have to keep on working even when they’re “retired”. Let’s not make this situation any worse than it already is, please!

    Comment by eurobrat | June 10, 2011 | Reply

    • When my mother died in 1998, I took a large part of my inheritance and invested in NASDAQ only to have nearly 3/4 of my initial investments value gone 3 years later under George W. Bush. Thankfully, I held on to most stocks and they have rebounded back closer to my initial outlay now under Barack Obama, allowing me to live out my dream of traveling the world in my Senior years. I live day-to-day on my Social Security along with my state teacher’s pension and can realize my lifelong dreams by slowly selling off my stock portfolio.

      Comment by grantinhouston | June 10, 2011 | Reply

      • Did George W. Bush make you invest in NASDAQ equities? I didn’t think so. Even you must have known before you purchased stocks that prices could go both up and down. I find your lack of self-accountability quite astonishing.

        Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 10, 2011 | Reply

        • Ah, but you just revealed exactly why privatizing Medicare or Social Security is fucking stupid. Can you imagine if Social Security money were in the market, how much of that would have been lost in the late 2008, early 2009 drop in the market. Life savings, retirement fucking gone. Just because you don’t give a shit about people and society as a whole, doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t. You are in a very small minority of people who believe the world revolves around you. Well I’m telling you, it doesn’t. But I think you should keep pushing that idea, get in the leadership of the GOP, help push that idea of throwing seniors to the Wall Street wolves is a good idea. Get it in the platform of the GOP, please.

          Comment by ExtremeLiberal | June 11, 2011 | Reply

        • If you take off your TROLL GLASSES, DAVID, the point I was making was that one cannot count on retirement security by investing in the stock market. I invested most of my inheritance in 1998 when the economy was doing great under BILL CLINTON and only started losing stock value under George W. Bush which continued until the current OBAMA administration. Although I haven’t regained all of my initial investments, I am getting close. Hell, I may have to pay some capital gains tax for the first time in a decade! I have been liquidating my portfolio, selling at losses for 5 years now, in order to get funds to pay for the 10 cruises and a half dozen other foreign land excursions I have taken. I didn’t day trade in 1998 nor fall for the Dot Com rage, but invested in solid stocks on NASDAQ where I might realize a dividend, solid companies like Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Compaq, etc. However, I did lose $10K on Compaq selling those 1000 shares before they were taken over by Hewlett Packard.

          Comment by grantinhouston | June 11, 2011 | Reply

          • That was the internet bubble which was great to get in and get out. Those who were greedy got hosed. You can blame that downfall on Bush, as you already have, but the real losses where from people who should not have been in the market much less the tech heavy NASDAQ. That same holds true with the housing bubble, some people should be renters regardless of what Clinton, Frank and Dodd felt. When you make banks loan to people who should rent, you loose. I know it was all Bush and the greedy banks fault but we may be headed there again in 2013, that will be Bush’s fault as well but ti will hurt.

            Comment by atlanta ralph | June 13, 2011 | Reply

        • Well, I guess the individual choice we *can* make with our retirement money is to put it in a savings account somewhere rather than invest. I don’t want my retirement money to go up and down. I need safety.

          Comment by eurobrat | June 11, 2011 | Reply

          • My parents, graduating high school in 1932, didn’t trust Wall Street and salted away a third of a million dollars over the years in Certificates of Deposit at several banks for FDIC reasons. I was surprised at the reading of the will as my dad was a Teamster trucker and my mother an Amalgamated Clothing Worker (before all such sewing jobs went overseas!). They lived frugal but comfortable lives but were not wealthy. They saved mostly out of fear of having to go to nursing homes and not having the money. However, both died quickly after short illnesses and didn’t have to expend their lifes’ savings. My mother inherited some good stocks from her dad, my grandfather, who just held on to the stocks in his portfolio from 1929 and over the years they became worthwhile again. They were mostly in utility stocks like Cinergy (Cincinnati Energy) and Vectren Corp. (Indiana utility) plus shares in Gillette Corporation and U.S. Steel. So holding onto those stocks for 70 years finally did pay off by the time I inherited them in 1998!

            Comment by grantinhouston | June 11, 2011 | Reply

          • My brother’s next door neighbor was an executive vice president with Compaq computers and I took his advice on where to invest. I made the SAME INVESTMENTS as he was already in. So according to our TROLL ATLANTA RALPH I made stupid investments, the same as a Compaq executive!!! Nothing wrong with companies like Cisco as it is not a fly by night company. If you can’t trust the booming tech industry, who can you trust? Wish I had invested in Google, EBay, Microsoft, etc., back at their beginnings. But I should have invested in BIG OIL or Halliburton like the Dick Cheney, I guess, as they are raping the market and making the biggest profits..

            I am not complaining, only using my experiences to show that Wall Street is always a gamble and such investments may not ensure security in retirement. I am still making enough money selling stocks at a loss to make 3 or 4 trips out of the country, yearly, fulfilling my retirement dreams…now have visited 42 nations around the world PLUS all 50 of the United States. Renting a car last week in Cancun, drove over to Chichen Itza, Yucatan, and added my 19th state in Mexico (out of 30). I enjoy traveling and plan to keep doing it as long as my health and finances hold out.

            Comment by grantinhouston | June 13, 2011 | Reply

      • And Houston is a great city!

        Comment by David @ I Love My Gov | June 10, 2011 | Reply

        • Houston has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and being headquarters for many oil/gas/drilling companies (plus Halliburton, KBR), NASA industries), hasn’t suffered much in this economy. Home prices have slipped slightly but my brother, a Realtor selling mostly half-million dollar homes and higher, hasn’t realized much negative impact in sales. Several new large apartment projects have been recently announced as the rental market is demanding more units. The rich here still have money to buy luxury homes, cars, yachts. Exxon-Mobil has just announced building a new campus in suburban Woodlands, consolidating offices now occupied at four different downtown high-rises. However, with the merger of United and Continental Airlines, was just announced that 1500 Continental employees will soon lose jobs at its Houston corporate headquarters as offices are being moved to United’s headquarters in Chicago.

          Comment by grantinhouston | June 11, 2011 | Reply

          • The Daily Beast has just published its Top Five list for new college graduates to head to for jobs along with reasonable cost-of-living. In order, they are Fayetteville, NC, Omaha, NB, Oklahoma City, Austin and Houston Texas.

            Comment by grantinhouston | June 11, 2011 | Reply


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