Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

THE CBO AND SOCIAL SECURITY… HYSTERIA and HONEST MATH

by Dale Coberly

 

THE CBO AND SOCIAL SECURITY

HYSTERIA and HONEST MATH

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released a new projection for the costs of Social Security  [no citation.  I looked up the link in the AEI article (below) and did not immediately find a projection for SS].  

They say that increases in life expectancy will increase costs, and increases in unemployment will reduce revenues.  They say an “immediate and  permanent” 3.4% increase in the payroll tax would be needed to pay or the expected shortfall over the next 75 years.  Please note that this new projection is a projection of increased costs due to changes in life expectancy and the wages of workers. It is NOT due to any inherent flaw in Social Security, or any failure to “fix” it sooner.  SS was designed to help workers during hard times.  CBO is projecting hard times.  That is exactly NOT the time to cut it.

Andrew Biggs and the American Enterprise Institute say this increase is “almost twice as much” as the last time CBO projected a  needed “immediate and permanent” increase (of 1.9%).  This means, they  say, “we must act now.”  By “act now” they mean “cut benefits,” which they have been calling for for the past twenty years.  They have no interest in an “immediate and permanent” increase in the payroll tax.  But with the help of the Washington Times Washington Times they hope to stampede you into believing a 3.4% increase in the payroll tax would be a staggering burden.

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John Boehner Demands Fairness to Arkansan Butch Matthews and His Wife, and Offers to Give Up His Own Healthcare Insurance, Just to Start the Fairness Thing Rolling.

WASHINGTON — House Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting on Friday with no new strategy to end the budget standoff and an angry plea to President Obama to negotiate over his health care law.

“This isn’t some damned game,” said Speaker John A. Boehner, his voice rising in anger. “The American people don’t want their government shut down, and neither do I. All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion, reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare.”

With No New Plan, Boehner Makes Angry Plea on Shutdown, Jonathan Wiesmann and Ashley Parker, New York Times, today

I totally agree that we need fairness to the American people under Obamacare.  But which, presumably, Boehner means that Obamacare should be amended to ensure that everyone has medical insurance with full benefits (the “gold” policy) without struggling to pay the premiums.

No more having to pay $13,000 per year for a married couple with $10,000/yr., $150-per-office-visit, deductibles.  Even if, like Arkansan Butch Matthews and his wife, you’re a lifelong solid Republican.

No more being rejected for healthcare coverage because of a preexisting condition.

No more fear of bankruptcy or the loss of your home, or both.

No more being asked the status of your mortgage payments and car payments in a hospital emergency room, as a prerequisite to non-lifesaving but necessary emergency treatment.

No more not being treated like citizen of any advanced nation in the world except the United States, when you need medical care.  Which you probably aren’t. Or like you’re not a member of Congress or the spouse or child of one.  Also which you probably aren’t.  No, sir.  No, ma’am.

Oh, but wait.  I think I misunderstood Boehner’s comment about fairness to the American people—a comment he has made, repeatedly, this week.  Apparently, he didn’t mean that the multitudes of American people who now have no access to healthcare insurance, or have huge deductibles and struggle to pay the premiums and those deductibles because they have lower incomes than John Boehner and his colleagues, and who now will have medical coverage without struggling financially to pay for it while still worrying about the huge costs if they do need major medical treatment, will now have access to affordable and comprehensive medical insurance.

What he actually meant is that the Republicans are demanding that they and their congressional colleagues and their families henceforth be denied healthcare benefits for preexisting conditions; that those who have no persisting conditions and therefore can get medical insurance have huge deductibles and pay premiums that they can afford or instead have comprehensive insurance and pay their utility bills only every other month in order to be able to afford the premiums; and that they take pay cuts sufficient to make the payment of those difficult financially.

It is, after all, fairness that they’re demanding.  Parity.  And since they now say that they’d settle for just a one-year delay in Obamacare in order to pass a short-term budge and a debt-ceiling increase, they are demanding only a one-year removal of their own healthcare benefits.  At least until next year, when they renew their demand, for another year.

I suggest that Boehner contact Mr. Matthews and his wife directly and tell them the good news. They’re sure to welcome the fairness.

 

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Rand Paul* Says That If He Becomes President, He Will Give In To Dem Demands To Dictate Union and Tax Law. Oh, and the Farm Bill and Environmental Law. Really.

Hot Mic Catches Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul Scheming

Here’s the transcript, notice the focus on principle:

PAUL: I just did CNN, and I just go over and over again: “We’re willing to compromise! We’re willing to negotiate.!” I don’t think they poll tested “we won’t negotiate.” I think it’s awful for [Democrats] to say that over and over again.

MCCONNELL: Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly.

PAUL: I think if we keep saying, “We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we’re willing to compromise on this,” I think they can’t, we’re gonna, I think… well, I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re gonna win this, I think.

Economic Policy Journal, yesterday

As a liberal Democrat, I say: AWESOME! I can’t wait to vote for Paul for president in 2016!

Okay, okay, he’s really just saying that he’ll give in on only a few of those laws, not on all of them.  But still!

CORRECTION: Originally, the title of this post said “Ron Paul,” rather than “Rand Paul.”  (Arrrgggh. Talk about stepping on your own punch line!)

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Dear GOP: a Daily Kos staff reminder on the constitutional process for changing the law

by Linda Beale

Dear GOP: a Daily Kos staff reminder on the constitutional process for changing the law

The Tea Party/GOP coalition has often talked about the importance of the Constitution, but one can’t help wondering if the recent extortionist behavior doesn’t belie that, when the governnment shutdown it has caused as a means of extorting its way to getting rid of Obamacare is costing us $300 million a day. And getting back up to snuff after the shutdown ends will be extra-expensive–an inefficient increase in the deficit that the right complains so much about.  Those extra expenses will claim even more of thetax revenues that we don’t have because we still tax the wealthy people’s income at ridiculously low preferential rates (the capital gains preference, the carried interest debacle) and we have tax rate brackets that ignore the reality of CEOs who earn 400 times what their average worker earns.

The Daily Kos staff came up with a thoughtful bit to remind the right how government is supposed to work–a letter to Dear GOP.  Excerpts, self-explanatory, follow.

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Chris Hayes, Why don’t you have me on as a guest?

On October 2, 2013 Chris Hayes had on Larry Kudlow to discuss the economics of the government shut down.  All I can say is, I could not believe he was the one Chris went to for insight.  Maybe he had to because, you know, Kudlow is related to him via the network they work at.  But really, Chris could you not get your bosses to understand how someone like Kudlow professing on your show does harm to your identity and thus the relationship you have with your viewers?  

Let me be clear, my impression of you and your show is that you strive to deal in facts.  I have seen you have people of the conservative ideology on, but they have seemed to be people who use facts interpreted via their ideology.  That’s a conversation.  But Kudlow promoting “supply side”?  I mean is anyone in the real world even using this phrase anymore? 

My hope with this post is that  our good readers will post corrections to Kudlow and note why your guest is completely full of crap thus giving you a little help and cover as I’m going with the idea that your boss made you do it.  But more importantly, your viewers deserve not having to have this crap pushed at them.  I have found people know the Kudlow view of the economy is baloney, but the don’t know why it is baloney and you having him on only makes their angst worse. 

Let me get to it: Do you really believe your viewers bought this nonsense?  Do you believe your viewers do not know it is nonsense?

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Do you really want to promote and by virtue of it being on your show endorse the idea that the problem with our economy is businesses being taxed too much AND Obamacare?

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Considering the following, you have been used man.

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 In the end, you confirm you are with him… regarding the need for the economy to grow.  But, I think most people will only hear that you are with him.  Not good.  Not good for you, not good for this nation.

So, please contact us here at Angry Bear.  Anyone of us are more than capable of explaining the mess this economy is in and why the Kudlow’s of the world no longer have any credibility. 

Oh, to you MSNBC  what the hell is the matter with you?  Is Kudlow loosing his audience so you figure putting him on with Chris will boost his cred? 

 

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Why Do People Prefer the Affordable Care Act Over Obamacare?

Affordable Care act versus Obamacare Act

I will give you, there is nothing within this bill that is easy to understand. Along with Maggie Mahar and others, I took the time to read the act and attempt to understand it which even today causes me fits. As shown in this clip, many people can distinguish between the words Affordable Care Act and Obamacare; but they fail to distinquish the content and understand they are the same. Kudos to the propagandist to associate a black President with a particular Law. There should be a Goebbels award somewhere for this type of achievement in skewing  the true intent of an act to just a person’s name. Would it sell better if we called it the Boehner Act or McConnell Act? People are acting against the interests of the whole and their own self interests because of a name. When you get right down to it and you know a large percentage of people within the wealthiest and richest in income nation in the world go without healthcare, why would you object to a plan to provide it because of the name even if it was not single payer, Medicare for all, or Universal etc.?

Maybe we should change the Link to Affordable Care Act to Black Man Care Act? Perhaps then, we might understand the true beliefs of a Congress who would shut down a government and people who might pick one over the other without knowing they are both the same. Hat Tip to Digsby for providing the clip.

The words are solely mine.

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Just a little (semi)-personal note

Just about everyone who knows me well knows that I’m a WWII buff and have a very soft spot for veterans of that war.  So this really touched me. I thought some other Bears and readers, who don’t read the Washington Post regularly and would otherwise miss seeing this, might enjoy this little reason to smile.

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Italian Right Trying to Out do Republicans

Well today is a busy day. www.healtcare.gov is open for business, the discretionarily funded US Federal Government isn’t. There is a political crisis in Italy (no that doesn’t happen every day anymore) and there are crises both in the Republian party and in the PDL (Silvio Belusconi’s party which he considers his as his shoes are his).

Berlusconi wants to vote no confidence in Prime Minister Enrico Letta and have early elections (whenever he loses an election he demands a rematch starting the next day). Just to make it clear that he thins his party exists to serve him, the issue is whether he be expelled from the Senate because he has finally finally been finally convicted of tax evasion.

Some of the legislators in his party who are tired of being treated as his servants are threatening to split the party and send Berlusconi’s rump …. party into opposition.

All this reported with great delight in Italy’s leading daily La Repubblica (where Berlusconi is especially hated because long ago he tried to buy the paper and fire the staff). But best of all, it isn’t even their top story. They lead with an interview with the Pope (not because they are Catholic but because their former director is the informal leader of Italian atheists)

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Chris Hayes Explains the PPACA for Fox and Friends

Obama Care for Fox News and Friends

 

Not that they have any interest in reality at the moment. The Republicans have worked themselves into a frenzy that resembles the adolescent girls who accused the Salem townspeople of witchcraft at this point. This is how they look:

 

Maybe it is time to take away the beer? Hat Tip to Digsby

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Cruz, Tea Party, Hostage-Taking Budget Tactics (and the IRS)

by Linda Beale

Cruz, Tea Party, Hostage-Taking Budget Tactics (and the IRS)

The House, dominated by Tea Party/GOP politicians (or those fearful of their impact on upcoming primaries) passed a bill that attempted to tie the continuing operations of the government to compliance with Tea Party ideas about getting rid of the health reform legislation duly enacted four years ago.  See Weisman, House Bill Links Health Care Law and Budget Plan, New York Times (Sept. 20, 2013). Ted Cruz has now run his non-filibuster filibuster in the Senate, and then voted against his own “principled” filibuster position (presumably out of a quite justifiable fear that he would be shown for the fool he is as the only one voting in support of his “principles”, since the Senate vote was unanimously on the other side). Ted Cruz Filibuster, NY Daily News (Sept. 27, 2013).

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