Third Way on “Entitlement Reform”– Assumption that Youth Do Not Care about Social Security, et al. to Trash Those Programs Disgusting, Unacceptable and a Breach of Trust

The Wall Street-backed think tank called Third Way has produced a memorandum (“The Case for Taking Up Entitlement Reform”) urging “entitlement reform”. [The word entitlement suggests welfare, but it does not apply to programs that the taxpayer funds through FICA like Social Security and Medicare (and incredibly federal pensions).] I strenuously disagree with the position of Third Way.

Like true scions of wealth, their position is that borrowing the surplus of the FICA-backed funds is essential to keeping the rich from paying their share of taxes. So rather than paying back what the country has borrowed from the lower classes, the theme is to gut the programs such that they continue to collect money from the working classes but remake the programs so that they do not have to pay out as much to those same contributors.

Third Way uses genteel language, but underlying all of those words is the idea expressed above. As such, Third Way is not a group that should be trusted. Higher-level political leadership is also undeserving of any trust to act properly without citizen intervention.

In the Third Way “entitlement” memo, I found all of the assertions to be disingenuous, but the one stating that young voters do not think Social Security will be there for them one of the worst. The use of youth to justify larcenous acts against FICA-funded programs is immoral and contemptible.

  • People from their first jobs pay FICA taxes.
  • Most people do not earn enough to make a comfortable retirement without Social Security.
  • Only the rich benefit from 401(k) programs.
  • Retirement for the college aged is far away. How Third Way could make such a broad assertion is irresponsible. Who can think about what life will be 40 to 50 years down the road? No one.

Simply because some decrepit polls supposedly opine some supposition does not mean that that assertion means to destroy the FICA-funded programs. Regardless of any polls, federal politicians have a fiduciary responsibility to administer the FICA-funded programs for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Proposing ways to reduce payments to beneficiaries (while collecting the full FICA payment) is unacceptable and a breach of trust.

If the country is declaring default on repaying their FICA debt, then the Congress should repay the working class citizenry in full immediately.


Federal Government: Current Fiscal Crises Shows the Failings of both the Obama Administration and the Congress

Despite the sentiment of the politicians that they have to address the deficit (difference between revenues and expenses) and the debt (borrowed to pay for expenses beyond revenues), their obsessive focus on federal employees truly demonstrates the failure of the governing structure of the United States.

It does not help that the many members of  the upper levels of our so-called representative government all come from the same high-income, Ivy-League-educated strata of the society that cannot relate to the legitimate issues of the working people. One example of this is that in the discussions involving Vice President Joe Biden and Congress, the only things they can agree on is cutting farm assistance and making low level civil servants only pay a higher portion for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

The tax system has been ruined by Congress with excessive tax expenditures that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and drain off revenues. It has gotten to the point that the tax rates represent a level of taxes that no one pays.

Republicans have the audacity to act like they are fiscally responsible when they declare that the United States is “broke” (it’s not, not as long as it has a system to collect revenue), steadfastly oppose any increase to revenue, believe that cutting all spending will solve the problem of insufficient revenue. The Republican Party’s beliefs stem from the core of their party is wealthy and therefore can pay for all they need and do not wish to pay for the remainder of the society that cannot be “self-sufficient.”

Democrats are no better. I have absolutely no confidence in most of them. Yes, they support some social policy causes, but when it comes to fiscal matters the core of the party are wealthy elites that also do not wish to pay for services used by the majority of the citizenry. While the Republicans parry, the Democrats, generally speaking stay silent (maybe even secretly hoping that the Republicans make some headway). The only time that I have seen the Democrats speak up is when the tides have already turned against the Republicans and they want to ride the waves to victory. They had the Senate, yet lots of policy proposals were left unaccomplished.

With stagnant income and the Congressional intention to shift the burden to those who earn $100,000 or less, the majority of citizens in this should pay close attention to what these politicians do and don’t do.

Rahm Emanuel: The Persistent Question of Domicile and Residency; How Will It Affect the Chicago Mayoral Election?

The question of the difference between domicile and residency is subject to good debate in law schools. It is present in Rahm Emanuel’s court case involving his qualification to run for the elective office of Mayor of Chicago, Illinois.

Domicile is more of a “mental” concept, while residency requires physical presence. Emanuel argues more domicile concepts (that he always intended to return to Illinois). But the key to the case is where he resided (actual physical presence) last year.

Emanuel is appealing the decision.

President Barack Obama: His Tax-Cut “Framework” is Another Example of His Facially Neutral, Cruel, and Merciless Decisionmaking

President Barack Obama over his term has shown an affinity to please those with power and pummel those without it. The recent decision to make a deal to extend the soon-former Bush tax cuts is only the latest example of this characteristic. His approach of making the decision for the framework is not satisfactory for a President. In addition, the President is making facially neutral, cruel, and merciless decisions on the income classes of the nonwealthy, but seeks to divorce himself from owning his savage knockout blows.

I read the President’s statement (his press conference was nearly intolerable to watch). It seems that the President would like the regular citizen to think that he is a judge: He heard the arguments from representatives of both political parties, thought about them, and made a decision to favor one over the other in an attempt to spare the public from an extended debate.

I find this method of decisionmaking to be completely unacceptable. First, a President of the United States, as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive of the United States, should have had his own proposals rather than just sit down passively to wait for others to bring policy options to him. Second, his decision-making style is far more appropriate in the the judicial branch than the executive.

Usually, Presidents make their own tax policy because they will be personally and institutionally identified with it. What the current President did is adopt his predecessor’s (George Bush) tax policy in some misguided thought that any problems would lay at Bush’s feet. As I have stated previously, once the President signs the extension bill, the tax act–with its many warts–will belong to President Obama alone; no more will he be able to blame Bush (Boehner or McConnell) for the soon-to-be-coming failures.

Moreover, the President has decided to implement the real reason for the deficit commission–destroying Social Security. The tax cuts are not paid for it is said, but I argue that the surplus funds of Social Security (paid for through FICA by the wage-earners of the United States) will be used to pay for the wealthy class’s tax cuts. The general fund being insolvent means that the workers’ monies will not be returned.

The President’s decision to have a FICA (a.k.a. payroll) tax cut sounds innocent enough until one realizes that taking contributions from Social Security for the current tax cuts will harm the Social Security system’s financial position over the long run. His decision also provides ample political cover for his GOP successor to accelerate the damage to Social Security.

In addition, the President–without any prodding and with a contented, solemn visage–decided to use his figurative cudgel to strike executive-branch employees with a two-year pay freeze proposal. The costs of living indifferently increase, so the employees could suffer a pay cut for years to come. The economic costs endured by those employees will not be recoverable in the future; it is likely the pay freeze could be made permanent.

Who could have ever imagined that a Democratic President would govern as a Republican. The recent turn of events is heartrending and devastating to witness.

Federal Employees: 2010 Early Dismissal for Christmas Seems Unlikely

Because Christmas will be observed as a federal holiday on Friday, December 24 (December 25 is a Saturday), I think it is unlikely that President Barack Obama will grant an early dismissal on Thursday, December 23.  [Note: Executive Order 13523 granted early dismissal in 2009.]

I could be wrong, but given the President’s position concerning the freezing of wages for federal employees, his concern about the deficit (without regard to the revenue-draining effect of the Bush-era tax cuts that he seeks to extend), and his desire to get along with the Republicans during the 112th Congress, I do not expect that he has thoughts of an early dismissal in his mind.

President Barack Obama: Overuse of the So-Called Shock Doctrine to Push Unpalatable and Unacceptable Policy

[Update 11/11/10:   So unsurprising. Huffington PostWhite House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts.]

Observing the actions of President Barack Obama in terms of his policy positions, I have come to the conclusion that he uses the “Shock Doctrine” to force the acceptance of rightward-leaning policy. It does not help that President is a member of the Ivy-League class and a millionaire (classic elements of the limousine “liberal”, which today means a politician who favors unpalatable policies for others, which will not affect the politician’s (President Obama’s) class because of political power or wealth).

Several issues come to mind as I contemplate this thesis.

Results of the mid-term elections. The reversal of power in the House (60-seat switch) will be used as the basis of proposing even further right leaning policy, as I explained in a previous post. President Obama was quite equivocal in his acceptance of the Republican ascendancy to power. If, as I believe, he favors right-leaning policy, what better scenario to use than the “shock” of Republican control.

Acceptance of the “Bush tax cuts” (soon to be the “Obama tax cuts”). Regardless that the tax cuts used to stimulate the factors of production have generated only wealth accumulation in the wealth classes, growing national debt, reduced national manufacturing and outsourcing of jobs, and a economic recession, one would think it would be clear that the tax policy is not working and a return to previous rates is warranted. But Obama is in the mood to “negotiate.” I think President Obama will accept an extension of the tax cuts in full and that they will be extended on an annual basis because no one will want to take the political risk of raising taxes to a level that existed in the near-past late 1990s to early 2000s.

Social Security. Despite the fact that every working age person in the United States pays for Social Security through the FICA tax (the benefits once received can also be taxed as income), The policy options on the table have involved all manner of benefit cuts so that the politicians can continue to use the surplus amount between benefits paid and contributions received for tax cuts and other non-Social-Security programs.

I have absolutely no confidence in President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

2010 Election: Democrats Took a “Shellacking” Yesterday, but the GOP also Felt the Loss-of-Majority Pain

The Republicans took control (currently 239 R 186 D) of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday. President Barack Obama called it a “shellacking” at his news conference, but in reality, the transfer of power is not that out of the ordinary historically speaking (see this PDF  U.S. H.R. control (also available at

Apparently, a good number of the losses on the Democratic side came from the so called Blue Dogs.