“Kill Grandma” ? Appeal to young people

by Dale Coberly



You see, the Wolf (his friends call him Tom) had no reason to
disguise himself as Grandmother. He had already met Little Red
Riding Hood and talked to her like a friend. She saw him as the nice
man in the very nice suit who told her he would help her become wise
and rich like him.

So when he met her outside Grandmother’s house and handed her an axe
and said, “Grandmother is really a big, bad, wolf, and she is going
to eat you up if you don’t take this axe and kill her,” he didn’t
need a disguise, and she believed him.

Or anyway, this is what Tom said in the New York Times yesterday:

“I can absolutely guarantee Seniors, Wall Street, and Unions [Tom is
very clever, he threw “Wall Street” in there to sound “bi-partisan.”
Wall Street won’t mind.] will all have their interests protected as
our politicians [the bad guys] run for the hills the minute someone
accuses them of ‘fixing the deficit on the backs of the elderly’ or
‘creating death panels’ to sensibly allocate end-of-life health
care.” [See how subtle is the serpent: ‘fixing the deficit on the
backs of the elderly’ is just politics and the kids don’t even have
to think about it. But bi-partisan Tom wants you to know that he
knows ‘death panels’ is just more politics… to prevent ‘sensibly
allocating end of life health care.’ No need to think about what that
means either.]

Tom says, “there is only one thing that can produce meaningful
change… a mass movement for tax and entitlement reform led by the
cohort that will be most affected — today’s young people.”

I implore the reader, if it’s not obvious to him, to read what Tom
says very carefully, and note how cleverly he leads his audience to
accept without thinking the idea that “politicians,” paid by the bad
guys… you know, Wall Street, Unions, and Old Folks … are doing
something bad to the kids; something that the kids can only stop by
cutting taxes and “entitlements.” This is not only fact free, it
never actually says what it means.

Then Tom mentions “all the cans we’re kicking down the road.” This
means nothing at all, but it is focus group tested to appeal to the
imaginations of the completely uninformed, so by all means Tom needs
to throw it in the mix.

Tom pulls out An Alarming Statistic: “.. baby boomers retiring at the
rate of 7000 per day.” In a country of 300 million people 7000 per
day might not add up to much, but it sure sounds like a lot to a kid
who is being told he is going to have to support them all. And Tom
forgot to mention that about 5 or 6 thousand retirees are dying every
day. He was betting you’d forget to think of it too.

Tom says, “if current taxes and entitlement promises are not
reformed, the cupboard will be largely bare for today’s Facebook
generation.” Ah how cute, the kids are “the Facebook generation,”
and they don’t need to be bothered with actual facts. “The cupboard
will be bare” is a compelling image. And it’s all because of
taxes…everybody hates those… and those evil entitlements again.

“But the kids need to get out of their Facebook and into their
parents faces”…Tom has a way with words… “and demand that the
next generation leaves something for this one.” Gosh… “leaves
something.” Yep granny and mom and dad are going to take it all with
them. The house, the car, the Facebook, and all the money, unless
the kids demand their parents “do something.” [Tom forgot to mention
all the jobs all those retiring people are opening up for younger

But there’s hope.. “a legendary investor who made a fortune, and the
president of Harlem Children’s Zone (funded by the legendary
investor) are doing a “MIck Jagger-like tour” where they, out of the
goodness of their hearts “show young people how badly they’ll be
hammered if our current taxes… and entitlements… stay where they
are.” Ah yes, a legendary investor, Harlem Children, and Mick
Jagger. Whose side would you rather be on, Mick Jagger’s or Wall
Street and the evil Seniors? Or a “legendary investor who made a
fortune betting against you, without creating a single job? Why
would an “investor” not want you to keep some of your money in Social
Security where he can’t get at it?

Friedman uses a standard “it’s the math” lie: He uses a big percent
of a small number to compare to a small percent of a big number to
imply (lie) that the small number is bigger than the big number.

This small number that is bigger than the big number is going to
“necessitate cutting the very government investments that help the
poorest and also create jobs of the future.” Yes kids, we need to
cut government to save the government programs YOU like.

Tom gives his solutions… bi partisan all… but they each contain
a hidden lie… that the kids are not invited to think about. He
proposes “phasing in higher age qualifications for entitlements …
and cutting corporate taxes to zero “so the people who actually
create jobs will have more resources to do so.”

Yes indeed kids, make sure granny starves on the street if she can’t
get a job when she’s sixty five, but cut corporate taxes to zero so
those heroes who create jobs will have more money… so they can give
you a job of course. But don’t stop to think about this, or the
politicians, Wall Street, and the evil elderly will strip the
cupboard bare.

Kids, this is all a lie. It’s a clever lie. But it relies on your
not thinking.

Tom doesn’t tell you the cost of Social Security is going to go up
because YOU are going to live longer. You are going to need a little
MORE money saved if you are going to live longer. But Tom wants to
cut Social Security.

Tom doesn’t tell you that it’s YOUR entitlements he wants you to
cut. His friends are telling “the elderly,” “Don’t worry, no one
over fifty five will have their Social Security reduced.” The cuts
Tom wants to make won’t begin to take effect until YOU are old enough
to need them. And he isn’t telling you that Social Security is not
“too generous.” It’s barely enough to live on. But if that’s all
you have, it’s priceless.

And Tom isn’t telling you that another reason Social Security is
going to cost more is because his friends have already cut government
“taxes and regulations” so they can keep workers’ wages lower than
they would normally have been. This reduces the “effective
interest” that comes from “pay as you go” financing. But that ‘s a
little hard to understand.

Though some of you may not have realized it yet, you are going to be
old some day. And most of you, by far, are not going to be rich.
Social Security was invented so that when you are old and can’t work,
or don’t want to work, or no one will give you a job, you will have
saved enough money to retire on. It works by “forcing” people to
save and then by protecting their savings from inflation and losses
“on the market.” And because it is insurance it also protects “the
poorest” from a lifetime of not making enough money to save enough
for retirement. And it does this without “taxing the rich.” Or even
“taxing” you. You get every dime back that you put into Social
Security… in fact because of the effective interest from “pay as
you go” you get back about two dimes for every dime you put in…
that’s AFTER adjusting for inflation.

The cost of Social Security is projected to go up. But all the scare-
numbers you read [“8.6 Trillion Dollars in Unfunded Deficits!”] turn
out to mean… when you do the math honestly… that it might take
an extra dollar per week per year for you to save enough (via the
payroll tax) to have enough to see you through the twenty or more
years you will probably live… and want to live… after you can no
longer work.

Tom Friedman doesn’t give a damn about you. He is only interested in
“cutting corporate taxes to zero” so his friends can have multi
million dollar paychecks. Any jobs that corporations create come out
of dollars that are not taxed.

Try to understand that you are not paying for “the elderly.” They
paid for themselves. And they will leave you a country far richer
than the one they grew up in. The ones who are robbing you are Tom
Friedman’s buddies, and they pay him well to pull the wool over your