Presidents have been creating commissions since the beginning of our Republic, it’s become a cliché’ over the years whenever a difficult decision has to be made or some horrible disaster needs to be investigated or a president wants to dodge an issue. So any commission starts out handicapped for sure. I usually react by shaking my head and saying “not another one” when I hear about the latest commission, whether it be a R or D president doing it. I reacted much the same way when President Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Now just because I shake my head when these things are created, doesn’t mean that I don’t think they can produce results that might be of use or help to clarify things. I also never waste my time tracking a commission because it is an exercise in futility for a couple of reasons. First, because during the process, the sources of information are usually pushing their own agenda and feed the starving “media beast” what they are promoting and try to scare people about what others are promoting. Second, a commission simply produces a report that the President and Congress sometimes agree with and other times doesn’t, and it really has nothing more than a minor role in the whole process of making laws and governing. So why should I waste my time watching the bouncing balls when the report might end up being ignored anyways. A little background on commissions…
Historically, commissions have enjoyed a colorful chronology. In 1794, farmers in western Pennsylvania revolted against the federal excise tax on spirits. Faced with the Whisky Rebellion, President George Washington sent a commission to investigate the situation and attempt to mediate a settlement.
Now there is a good reason for a commission, whisky. (sarcasm) If you are curious to know more about the history of commissions, check out this article I found on the History News Network. If you are into that sort of thing, that is.
Alan Simpson’s comments have caused all sorts of propaganda to spew forth. He’s an asshole and has been one for many years, he masks his “asshole-ness” by trying to crack jokes and be a fucking stand up comedian. I think Alan Simpson should be fired from the commission for his comments. He has a long history of saying stupid shit and really shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone. Having said that, after reading some posts by liberals about how they think that the deficit commission is really a front for cutting social security and from what I can tell, it centers around Alan Simpson for the most part. I started looking into the deficit commission because to be honest, I haven’t tracked it much. I found stuff like this…
As the news site AlterNet reports, President Obama has stacked his new 18-member committee charged with dealing with the deficit, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, with a number of figures who have staked their careers on undermining Social Security.
So “President Obama has stacked his new 18-member commission”, really. I went to the executive order that created the commission and learned that this is how the 18 members were selected.
(a) six members appointed by the President, not more than four of whom shall be from the same political party;
(b) three members selected by the Majority Leader of the Senate, all of whom shall be current Members of the Senate;
(c) three members selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall be current Members of the House of Representatives;
(d) three members selected by the Minority Leader of the Senate, all of whom shall be current Members of the Senate; and
(e) three members selected by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall be current Members of the House of Representatives.
Ut oh, the truth is the president didn’t “stack” anything, he appointed 6 members of the commission, 4 of them democrats. It looks like they set up the commission to include both parties and both houses of congress. Sounds pretty bi-partisan to me which probably pisses off those firebaggers who demonize anyone who doesn’t think exactly like them or doesn’t hate Obama. We are Obamabots, you know, or apologists.
Consistent with the Obama-haters other overreactions and made up controversies, they seem to have planted a virus in their heads that makes them think that the deficit commission is really the “eliminate Social Security commission.” They’ve even come up with a cute term for it ” the cat food commission”, aren’t they soooo clever. The main source of that virus appears to be Alan Simpson’s participation in the commission and they seem to have elevated him to being the only member of the commission and Social Security is the only topic. It’s so much easier to distort things to match your narrative than it is to actually deal in reality. It’s sooooo Republican of them. Besides the above “stacking” distortion, let’s look at some of the others…
Nobody really thought Alan Simpson could top his video appearance with Alex Lawson where he talked about “the lesser people” on Social Security. But once again, President Obama’s hand-picked Co-Chair of the Catfood Commission tasked with “tweaking” Social Security has proven us all wrong.
That’s from the one and only queen of hate, Jane Hamsher and notice how Alan Simpson is “tasked with ‘tweaking’ SS”. Really, that’s his job on the commission, huh? Very subtle and typical of Hamsher’s tactics. Somehow, she’s assigned roles to certain people on the commission and if you look at the title of her post, which I won’t link to…no fucking way…you see what her goal is in her snarky, misleading bullshit post. “Obama Appointed Deficit Commission Co-Chair Alan Simpson: Social Security Is Like “A Milk Cow With 310 Million Tits”. Man, she had to work her ass off to get all that propaganda right in the title of her post. She just had to make a direct connection between Alan Simpson’s comments and President Obama. Nothing too subtle there, I guess. From what I can tell the whole basis for the virus in their brains is that people have said that Social Security is on the table. That’s it, it’s on the table.
President Obama is not stupid, unlike many of his critics. There is no way in hell that he is going to mess with Social Security, people who are saying he will are out of their fucking minds. The most he would possibly do is minor tweaks and probably to make it better. He is a progressive, whether the haters will ever believe it or not. That’s where the demagoguing comes in. These haters are preying on people’s emotions with a completely made up idea, sounds a lot like a “death panel” technique to me. You wonder why I have such disdain for those people? They are getting their panties all in a bunch about something that hasn’t happened and never will happen, but that clearly is not their goal with the latest attack.
I found this great post about some of the distortions coming out in this Alan Simpson inspired “propaganda-fest”. From William Greider at the Nation via Michael Moore’s site…(emphasis mine)
…Social Security, as Nation writers have explained many times, does not contribute a penny to federal deficits and it never will, according to the terms of the law. The opposite is the case.
On the same page the Times reported Simpson’s latest gaffe, political reporter Matt Bai contributed a far more outrageous falsehood of his own. In condescending style, he dismissed opponents to Social Security cuts (dimwits like me) as stuck-in-the -past liberals, trying to defend big government against harsh reality. Bai celebrated the courage of Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, a Democrat who evidently embraces the same view. Bai did not mention the people and public opinion overwhelmingly opposed to benefit cuts (check the polls if you doubt this). Someone should ask Congressman Blumenauer’s constituents how they feel about his brave stance.
Bai’s great falsification was to insinuate that the Social Security’s trust fund is bogus–that the massive surpluses collected from working people to pay for their future retirements are meaningless. Social Security, he acknowledged, has amassed a pile of Treasury bonds–IOU’s from the government–but he says as a practical matter that money can’t be paid back because taxes would have to be raised or more funds borrowed elsewhere. “This is sort of like saying that you’re rich because your friend has promised to give you 10 million bucks just as soon as he wins the lottery,” Bai explains.
His comparison is a clever but consequential lie, consisted with the elite propaganda. Bai makes it sound like the government is going to give this money to retirees. In fact, it’s the other way around. Social Security collected this money from workers as their involuntary savings, better known as FICA deductions. Then the federal government borrowed the money from us and spent it on other things. Congress raised the FICA deductions 25 years ago on all working people to pay for the baby boom generation’s coming retirements. The Social Security trust fund has since built up massive surpluses–$2.5 tillion now and growing to $4.2 trillion in 2023–and set it aside for the future. But, starting with Ronald Reagan, the federal government ran massive deficits on its own budgets and borrowed the savings from Social Security to pay for wars and military build-ups, regressive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, among other things.
This vast wealth belongs to the working people who paid it–not to the federal government or Congress. Naturally, many politicians would like to get out of paying it back, but that constitutes a massive bait-and-switch swindle of working people. Bai and many other reporters of the mainstream media have been assured by their sources it is impossible to pay back that money, but that is a political choice, not a fiscal requirement. It would make working people pay for Republican gravy that went to someone else.
It is to weaken him, hurt him and in the process they are hurting the entire progressive agenda. What really pisses me off is that if they succeed in damaging Obama, like it appears they are, the result is going to be Republicans in charge. And if we thought we were fucked with the Bush administration, just wait till the new Republican Party takes over. It will take the concept of “fucked” to a whole new level. And I’m going to be in those motherfuckers faces reminding them that they are responsible for it.