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Forum Post: Excellent Article, 5 HUGE Myths About Social Security, Don't Listen to Politicians

Posted 9 years ago on Oct. 25, 2012, 8:28 p.m. EST by Middleaged (5140)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement


Don't know if we are allowed to post this here. I will copy the Best Point here.

5 Huge Myths About Social Security By Ilan Moscovitz | More Articles October 15, 2012 | Comments (181)

Social Security has been providing Americans with old age, disability, and widow and orphan insurance for as many as 77 years. But like so many of today's crucial financial topics, it's also shrouded in myth. Here are five big ones.

Myth No. 1: Social Security is going bankrupt The biggest misunderstanding out there relates to Social Security's financial challenges. (A Google search for "Social Security bankruptcy" turned up 50 million hits.) But the fact is that Social Security isn't going bankrupt, nor is bankruptcy really possible as the system is currently set up.

Here's the source of the confusion: Historically, Social Security has collected more than it paid out. The extra money built up in a trust fund that collects interest. But due to demographic and economic changes (more on that in a minute), it's expected that insurance payments will begin to exceed income in 2021. Around 2033, the fund will run out.

But even then, the revenue Social Security collects each year would still be enough to pay out about three-quarters of scheduled benefits as far as the eye can see.

Source: Social Security Administration.

In short, to say Social Security is going bankrupt, you have to ignore its revenues. But by such a weird standard -- ignoring revenues and seeing how long it would take expenses to drive tangible net assets to zero -- the average member of the Dow would go "bankrupt" in just under three months. (Fascinating bonus trivia: At nine months, Microsoft would survive the longest, while United Technologies wouldn't last two hours, and eight Dow blue chips – DuPont, Boeing, IBM, Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, and Verizon -- would already be bankrupt. Again, that's because ignoring revenues doesn't make sense.)

Of course, doing nothing would mean that Social Security won't be able to meet its full obligations two decades from now. But it's not going bankrupt.

Myth No. 2: Meeting Social Security's future shortfall is really hard We only need to come up with about 0.9% of GDP in order to make Social Security's revenues match up with its expenses for the next 75 years. To put that into perspective, 0.9% is close to the cost of unemployment insurance, the high-end Bush tax cuts, or one-fifth of the Defense budget. That's not insignificant, but it's hardly apocalyptic.



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[-] 7 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Naming Names. Wall Street Uses Third Way to Lead Its Assault on Social Security by William K. Black, Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Missouri, Kansas City; Sr. regulator during S&L debacle

Full Article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-k-black/third-way-wall-street_b_2121372.html?utm_hp_ref=tw Posted: 11/13/2012

Third Way, lobbyists for and from Wall Street who are leading the effort to enrich Wall Street by privatizing Social Security, was created by Wall Street to fool some of the people all of the time. I have written previously to expose their fictional claims to be a moderate or liberal Democratic group.

Eric Lautner documented Wall Street's effort to become even wealthier by privatizing Social Security in articles and his recent book (The People's Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan (AK Press)).

I showed that Third Way makes itself useful by providing a faux "liberal" or "moderate" "Democratic" quote machine that can be used to discredit Democrats and Democratic policies such as the safety net. I gave examples of how Third Way gave aid and comfort to the effort to defeat Elizabeth Warren and the effort to unravel the safety net. Third Way continues to prove that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

The National Journal ran an article on November 8, 2012 entitled "Left Divided over 'Grand Bargain.'"

Let me attempt again to make the basic facts clear. Third Way is not a "liberal think tank." It does not take "a centrist approach." It is not run by "fellow progressives." It is not concerned with "protecting entitlements." It is not even a "think tank." Third Way is a creature of Wall Street. It's version of "protecting" the safety net was made infamous during the Tet offensive in Vietnam when the American officer explained that "it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it."

Third Way is the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which seeks to defeat Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren running against Wall Street sycophants like Senator Scott Brown and seeks to unravel the safety net programs that are the crown jewels of the Democratic Party. Wall Street's "natural" party is certainly the Republican Party, but Wall Street has no permanent party or ideology, only permanent interests.

Third Way is run by a man who Lautner terms an "acolyte" of Pete Peterson. Peterson is a Republican, Wall Street billionaire who has two priorities -- imposing austerity on America and privatizing Social Security. Privatizing Social Security is Wall Street's unholy grail. They would receive hundreds of billions of dollars in fees and ensure that their firms were not only "too big to fail," but "too big to criticize" if they could profit from a privatized retirement system. (We do not know who funds Third Way because it refuses to make its donors public. Given who dominates its Board of Trustees, however, the donors must be overwhelmingly from Wall Street.)

Twenty of the twenty-nine trustees come from finance (counting the lawyer whose specialty is representing private equity firms). Their most common background is Mitt Romney's -- private equity -- and hedge funds.


  • John L. Vogelstein

Mr. Vogelstein is the Chairman of New Providence Asset Management, LLC and Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus, LLC. [He co-managed that huge private equity firm.]

  • Bernard L. Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz is Chairman and CEO of BLS Investments, LLC.

  • David Heller

Mr. Heller ... was ... the Global Head of Equity Trading for Goldman Sachs.

  • Georgette Bennett

Dr. Bennett--an award-winning sociologist, criminologist, and journalist.... [Yeah criminologists!]

  • William D. Budinger

William D. "Bill" Budinger is the founder of Rodel, Inc., where he served for 33 years as its chairman and CEO. [Rodel manufactured semi-conductors.]

  • David A. Coulter

Mr. Coulter serves as Managing Director and Senior Advisor at Warburg Pincus, focusing on the firm's financial services practice.

Mr. Coulter retired in September 2005 as vice chairman of J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. He previously served as Executive Chairman of its investment bank, asset and wealth management, and private equity business.

  • Jonathan Cowan

Prior to co-founding Third Way, Mr. Cowan founded and ran Americans for Gun Safety.... In 1992, he co-founded Lead...or Leave, which became the nation's leading Generation X advocacy group. [He lobbied to protect "second amendment rights" to bear arms and led a Pete Peterson inspired group urging "Gen X" members to unravel the safety net.]

  • Lewis Cullman

Mr. Cullman was the Founder and President of Cullman Ventures, Inc., a diversified corporation that included the At-A-Glance group, which manufactures and markets diaries....

  • William M. Daley

William Daley served as President Obama's Chief of Staff from January 2011 until January 2012.

Prior to his Chief of Staff role, he was Vice Chairman ... of ... JPMorgan Chase, from 2004 until 2011.

As Special Counsel to President Clinton in 1993, Daley coordinated the successful campaign to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

He was co-chair of the US Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness. [This is code for deregulation of finance.]

  • John Dyson

Mr. Dyson is Chairman of Millbrook Capital Management, Inc. (MCM), a private investment firm.

  • Robert Dyson

Mr. Dyson ... is Chairman and CEO of the Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp., a privately owned, diversified investment holding company....

  • Andrew Feldstein

Andrew Feldstein is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of BlueMountain Capital Management....

Prior to co-founding BlueMountain in 2003, Mr. Feldstein spent over a decade at JPMorgan where he was a Managing Director and served as Head of Structured Credit; Head of High Yield Sales, Trading and Research; and Head of Global Credit Portfolio. ["High yield" is a euphemism for junk bonds.]

  • Brian Frank

Mr. Frank is a Director and Portfolio Manager at MSD Capital, L.P., the private investment firm founded by Michael Dell.

  • Michael B. Goldberg

Mr. Goldberg joined Kelso & Company in 1991 as a Partner and Managing Director. [Private equity.]

  • Peter A. Joseph

Mr. Joseph has been in the private equity investment business for over twenty years....

  • Derek Kaufman

Derek Kaufman is Head of Global Fixed Income at Citadel LLC. He is a member of Citadel's Portfolio Committee.

Prior to joining Citadel in 2008, Mr. Kaufman was a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase....

  • Derek Kirkland

Mr. Kirkland is a Managing Director and Co-Head of the Global Financial Institutions Group at Morgan Stanley's Financial Institutions Group in Investment Banking.

  • Ronald A. Klain

Ronald A. "Ron" Klain is President of Case Holdings, and General Counsel of Revolution LLC. [Case is an investment fund for the holdings of AOL's founder.]

  • Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

Mr. Marshall is a partner at Bingham McCutchen LLP, and a Principal of Bingham Consulting Group. Mr. Marshall counsels and devises strategies for advancing clients' interests before Congress, the executive branch and independent regulatory agencies. [He is a lobbyist for a firm best known for representing financial firms.]

  • Susan McCue

Ms. McCue is President of Message-Global, LLC, a strategic communications and public affairs firm she founded in January 2008 to advance progressive campaigns, activism and issue advocacy in the U.S. and globally.

  • Herbert Miller

Mr. Miller, former CEO and Chairman of The Mills Corporation, one of America's most innovative and successful mall developers and managers, founded Western Development Corporation (WDC) in 1967 and serves as its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Principal Stockholder.

  • Michael Novogratz

Mr. Novogratz has been President and Director of Fortress Investment Group LLC..... Prior to joining Fortress, Mr. Novogratz spent 11 years at Goldman Sachs....

  • Andrew Parmentier

Mr. Parmentier is a Founding and Managing Partner of Height Analytics. He and fellow Managing Partner John Akridge formed the company in January 2009. He has worked in the financial services industry since 1997....

  • Kirk Radke

Recognized internationally as one of the top private equity attorneys during his 28 year career at Kirkland & Ellis....

Among professional activities, Mr. Radke is Co-Chair & Organizer of the International Bar Association Private Equity Symposium, Founder of the Private Equity General Counsel Network, Founder of Legal Series and Co-Founder of the Private Equity Law Firm Roundtable.

  • Howard Rossman

Dr. Rossman is a President and Founder of Mesirow Advanced Strategies, Inc. and a Vice Chairman of its parent, Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc. He is responsible for all aspects of fund management, including manager due diligence, strategy analysis and asset allocation.

  • Tim Sweeney

Mr. Sweeney has been President and CEO of the Denver-based Gill Foundation since October 2007. For more than 30 years, he has worked to advance equality for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.

  • Ted Trimpa

Mr. Trimpa is a partner with the international law firm, Hogan Lovells LLP.

  • Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein

She has over 24 years of experience in venture capital and specialized equity investing. [S]he was a Partner of Warburg Pincus, one of the world's largest private equity firms.

  • Joseph Zimlich

Mr. Zimlich is the Chief Executive Officer of Bohemian Companies, a group of family-owned real estate and private equity holdings.

[-] 6 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Bill Black: Obama Social Security & Sequester negotiating tactics:

"The only logical inference that can be drawn is that Obama remains committed to inflicting the “Grand Bargain” (really, the Grand Betrayal) on the Nation in his quest for a “legacy” and continues to believe that the Sequester provides him the essential leverage he feels he needs to coerce Senate progressives to adopt austerity, make deep cuts in vital social programs, and to begin to unravel the safety net. Obama’s newest budget offer includes cuts to the safety net and provides that 2/3 of the austerity inflicted would consist of spending cuts instead of tax increases. When that package is one’s starting position the end result of any deal will be far worse."


[-] 4 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Social Security Assault Called Third Way - Constructed by Wall Street - Will be one of the Attacks according to Bill K. Black

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0GO9Ll4t24&sns=em (Privatizing Social Security, Wall Street's Unholy Grail)

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Third Way Wall Street Plan article; http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/14513-wall-streets-plan-to-push-obama-to-betray

Pretty long Detailed Article with many revealing points.

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

There are like 3 Main Reasons the US doesn't look like Europe with Depression in Spain, Greece, and Italy... this is based on OP-ED I remember from Paul Krugman.

1) Our States have Safety Nets, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, Etc. Europe doesn't really have the flexibility tha the US has.
2) US States Can increase debt levels, US can increase federal deficits without votes of congress, Fiat Currency Allows huge Emergency Actions.
3) We don't have the Euro.

I add that we don't have a Gold Standard, but Europe doesn't either.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/opinion/krugman-greece-as-victim.html?ref=paulkrugman (Below is Quote of Interest from Krugman, Texas got huge Bailout in Savings and Loan Crisis)

Greece as Victim
Published: June 17, 2012

"...Or consider an older example, the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, which was largely a Texas affair. Taxpayers ended up paying a huge sum to clean up the mess — but the vast majority of those taxpayers were in states other than Texas. Again, the state received an automatic bailout on a scale inconceivable in modern Europe..."

ALSO From Krugman:

"...Nor does Greece have a runaway welfare state, as conservatives like to claim; social expenditure as a percentage of G.D.P., the standard measure of the size of the welfare state, is substantially lower in Greece than in, say, Sweden or Germany, countries that have so far weathered the European crisis pretty well.

So how did Greece get into so much trouble? Blame the euro..."

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Bill Black Article on Obama Austerity Program includes Social Security!! Grand Bargain!!

The Great Betrayal – and the Cynicism of calling it a Grand Bargain Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:10

"...Worse, Obama intends to begin to unravel the safety net (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) to convince the Republicans to enter into this Faustian bargain. Just as only a conservative Republican could visit “Red” China, only a Democrat can begin the destruction of the safety net. The difference, of course, is that normalizing relations with China was a good thing while unraveling the safety net is a terrible thing..."


William K. Black cites a Similar Article by Robert Kuttner

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/obama-economy_b_2036285.html? utm_hp_ref=politics

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2012/10/cnbcs-quick-uses-clinton-to-aim-at-krugman-but- shoots-herself-in-the-foot.html (also cited in the Article)

"...The third weakness that the Republicans seek to exploit is fear – and the death of alternatives. The mantra of European austerity proponents is “there is no alternative.” The only choice is between austerity and collapse, and that means there is no real choice. The Republican strategy is to create a series of “moral panics.” As the name implies, this involves the creation of a special form of panic falsely premised on immorality. (Think: “Reefer Madness” or Professor Hill causing River City, Iowans to believe that the arrival of pool hall demonstrated the imminent moral collapse of their children.) The Great Betrayal can only occur if Obama succumbs to mindless (and innumerate) panic..."

William K. Black is Professor of Law and Economics at UMKC as was US Regulator that was instrumental in 3000 Prosecutions of Bankers in the US Savings and Loan Scandal in the 90s. He also helped or supported or created the Resolution Trust Coporation to put banks into receivership, bancruptcy, so that bank assets could be disposed of. He stood up to the Keating 5 and stands out as a True American Hero for this.

[-] 2 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Just posting here for future reference.

Make ‘em Prove the Causality before They Cause Any More Suffering: Part One

Posted on May 2, 2013 by Joe Firestone

OK, austerity has always been about the causality. The people who are trying their best to get us to cut more and more spending, somewhat less than their best to get us to raise taxes, and who are doing nothing to fix our fraud-laden financial system, or the worst period of dis-employment we’ve experienced since the Great Depression, have been making other people (never themselves) suffer, because they believe the theory that excessive public debt hurts economic growth, and that to get rid of it we must follow a plan of long-term deficit reduction. And I’m being very charitable when I opine that they believe in this theory, because the alternative is that they don’t believe it, but are just using it as an excuse to make other people suffer, and widen the wealth gap between themselves and the rest of the population.

Either way it’s important for the rest of us to demand that before we do anything more based on that theory, they should be forced to prove that it is the best theory out there about the causal relationship between public debt and economy growth. Actually, we should have made them prove that before we allowed Congress and President Obama to start playing austerity games with us way back in 2009 – 2010, because there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then, including continuing very high disemployment, thousands and thousands of people dying due to lack of health insurance, suicide, depression-related illnesses, crime that need not have occurred, and all the effects of hopelessness that afflict the poor and the middle class during bad economic times. And now, our wonderful leaders have managed to inflict the sequestration upon us, while planning to inflict entitlement cuts on the old and the sick.

Lately, of course, the armor of the austerians, and their claims of empirical support for their view that high levels of the debt-to-GDP ratio are associated with and/or cause very low or even negative rates of economic growth has suffered repeated blows from Economics Graduate Students and Professors at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Missouri at Kansas City, in recent papers. I’ll review those studies in Part Two. In the rest of this part, I’ll evaluate the proof austerians had for their policies before this new research work appeared.

What Proof Did They Have?

So, what proof did they have, before the recent research appeared, that austerity is the best course to follow? Well, it’s been practiced all over Europe for years now, and what are the results? Only record unemployment, shrinking economies, increasing public debt, crime, public unrest, increasing suicide rates, damaged health care systems denying care to people who need them, no improvement to speak of in the economic outlook, and immense dissatisfaction all over the continent.

How about here? A stagnant economy, three steps forward, two steps back, high youth unemployment, no jobs for college graduates, layoffs in the public sector and declining services, low wages, recovery limited to the financial sector and the stock market — the kinds of results that in not so many years will produce a plutocracy, if one doesn’t exist already.

Everywhere austerity is being practiced we see a slowed economy. In some places, like Japan, we see short periods of it followed by some backing off, producing stagnation for close to a quarter of a century. In other places, like Australia and Canada we’ve seen enough of it that the prosperity they could have enjoyed is beyond their grasp.

Sure, Germany, hasn’t hit real hard times yet because their export-led economy gives them more policy space to run surpluses, but most of the nations of the Eurozone can’t run a trade surplus, so for them, continuing government austerity results in private sector losses, year after year, absent a change in rules by the Eurozone. Even the German economy has been slowing as its neighbors can afford less and less German goods, and France is seeing more than 10% unemployment and is rapidly becoming another basket case, creating the need for changing the well known Eurozone acronym to the PFIIGS. Is there an unambiguous success for austerity since the Second World War in a country running a trade deficit? I don’t know of one.

So, what about the work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff? Didn’t it show that, on average, nations experiencing debt-to-GDP ratios above 90% had negative rates of economic growth? And doesn’t this provide evidence that excessive debt does cause low economic growth and even economic contraction, so that if we value economic growth, we must reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to a much lower level than 90% before we try to use deficit spending to try again to grow?

Well, the answer to these questions is no, and no. I’ll explain the second “no” first, and consider the first “no” later on in Part Two.

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2013/05/make-em-prove-the-causality-before-they-cause-any-more-suffering-part-one.html (click for full article)

Part Two will review the recent empirical research on the R-R study.


When Reinhart and Rogoff published their work they did not make their data set available to people to replicate, analyze, critique their findings, and augment to improve the data set. They ignored the scientific norm that you do that when you’re claiming that you’ve made an important empirical discovery. Other researchers wrote them and requested access to their data set in vain for at least the past three years.

Then a few weeks, ago, they finally yielded to a request for the data set made by Thomas Herndon, a Graduate Student in economics at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Amherst. Herndon tried to replicate their analysis and findings and could not do so. In fact he found errors. Here’s a summary from the paper he co-authored with two of his professors, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin, both of the economics department (hereafter called HAP).

In Part One, I asked whether the Carmen Reinhart/Kenneth Rogoff study and book didn’t show that, on average, nations experiencing debt-to-GDP ratios above 90% had negative rates of economic growth? And I said the answer to the question was “no.” Part 2 explains why that was true.

The two articles above summarize the flagrant violations of scientific principles in the now infamous work of Rogoff and Reinhart. There is a Part 3 coming which we will link in a future reading list or post as a guest article.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

I'm so thankful you put this into context for us. Thanks Middleaged!

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Thanks. I have to take and accept some support as I look at the wreckage of my life.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Whoa...I think we are at the precipice of a universal understanding that we need to support each other; not just in the physical local banking, farming, manufacturing, etc., but also the psychological if we are to be a true 'people's society'. Your message sounds rather somber...I hope everything is ok?

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Yes, Thanks. My life has always been lobsided. But I have the security and means to change my life. I've worked with conservatives mostly and have few social contacts. I'm just a little bit of a nerd. And don't really see my place in this country. Perhaps if I opened up to working in acedemia and went back to school. But think more likely I'll move out of country to be around more international type people. I'm complicated since I've been around traditional older people, lived in large metro areas, and ....don't like to compete for food and money within the system...

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Ahhh...sounds like you're in good company then, seeing as most of the people on this forum are nerds...if not outright eccentrics...lol!!

Sounds like you've had a life rich with wisdom, and I'm not surprised at all that you would then find yourself in need of surrounding yourself with worldly thinkers.

How close are you to moving out of country? And have you narrowed down a locale yet?

In the meantime...like you, when I have feelings of restlessness...or a cozy Saturday night for instance, one can sometimes be soothed with a nice cup of 'tantric tea' of a particular 'herb'...if you know what I mean ^.~

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Not so lucky. I guess there are more liberal countries for that cup of tea. But not sure they are on the radar for me. I'm looking at Cheap countries as I don't really want to work for anyone. I've never tried teaching and lack a little confidence at this point. But probably would like teaching English to adults as a tutor. Seems there is a lot of opportunity for this. And you don't have to have the ESOL certificate if you just stick to your guns.

Actually I like something about Asia not just beause I have always been interested. Seems like you chose between Latin/Catholic countries and Asia. Latin countries seem to be decriminalizing stuff and don't really want to follow you around all day.

Anyway...I have 30 years of stuff in my house. I guess I should take a year to throw stuff out as I take trips to different countries. I don't think the visa is easy unless you are working? So...

"If you know what I mean"... isn't that Ricky Lee Jones. lol

You Mean We are all Nerds in here??!! How cool. lol

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

How very exciting! You may wanna connect with 'arturo'...he's teaching English in China right now.

I've heard that Ecuador is quite liberal and has a rising American population. I know that 'Kacper' who sells the 'Bio-Domes' for year round gardening, moved there because he was worried at the turn of events in North American politics. He's super cool to talk to. Very approachable.

About 10 years ago, I decided I had too much 'stuff' and purged almost everything. Very liberating. I didn't know where to start at first, but it got easier and easier as I went along.

That reminds me, I better get all my papers in order...passports, etc. I think everyone should. If things go south, it will be easier if one has documents on them.

Hey...seems to me that nerdiness may be bunches of fun...



[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

I sing this song for the common man For the people in despair I bring my song into the world And I sing it everywhere The simple truth lies waiting here For everyone to share So hold on, and I will take you there Hold on and I will take you there

The daily routine takes your soul, Lost without a trace It hold you down and turns you 'round And puts you in your place Another day, another dollar Another pretty face Another chance to lose yourself In the endless race


Hold on, hold on to your dreams

Song is "Hold On" by Triumph. Complete Lyrics on webpage:


[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

"Hold On To Your Dreams". Triumph....yes! Canadian band, with a great message! Sounds like they had good insight to the plight of the average person. No wonder they had such a long career when they connected like that.

Maybe singers and celebrities knew before us about the bankers and corporate Hollywood, given their close proximity to the dirtbags! ^.~

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Hey politician, can't believe a word you say
Almighty media, whose truth d'you sell today?
Watchdog of justice, who keeps their eye on you?
Con man, song in hand, who you singin' to?
The more I get to see, the less I understand
I'm just another ordinary man

Ordinary man
Comes a time to take a stand
Triumph Song Ordinary Man.... Thanks Renneye.

Yes, heard a bit about Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Belize,... I'm thinking maybe an appartment building is all the security I would need. But I do have some ideas about orchards and maybe goats or sheep or horses. Bio Dome would be great too. Projects give you purpose and you learn so much along the journey.

Could actually start a post about living if Foriegn Countries, but it is sort of cross purposes with OWS. Oh the other hand I guess many countries are exchanging ideas with people from the US, UK, Australia, ...and many bloggers.

Costa Rica has no Military - So eventhough it has gotten commercial and there are tons of condo developers - maybe war is an outside chance.

Ecuador - Is a cheaper place to buy houses, has cheap apartments, has great produce, more fruits and vegitables than almost any place, and has all the different climates to suit anyone.

Thailand is a popular choice, cheap apartment rents, sort of a visa problem there though.

Malaysia could be a big choice, very integrated, multi-ethnic, multi religion, women drive and go to work, should be cheap outside of th ecities.

Indonesia similar to Malaysia, cheap.

China has some polution problems all along the Coast for what I hear, so you might want to live in the interior mountain regions, but that seems like a lot of travel.

Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos might have possiblities.

Japan is in nuk crisis now, and many of us will want to be way down wind, and food coming from far from Japan.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

"Ordinary Man" The lyrics in this song, seals it...doesn't it. They 'knew"...even then.

I read something interesting about Thailand recently regarding globalization...which, quite frankly every nation should be doing right now. It blows me away, how simple and obvious some of the answers are to the world's current problems. The fact that world governments...with all their supposed intellectuals, are not implementing them, is testament to how intentional the non-action really is.

"Self-sufficiency" is the key that all nations should be implementing.

I don't agree with every point in this article, but it has some real good talking points.

Thailand's Answer to Globalization...


With your unrivaled degree of thoroughness...I don't doubt for a moment, that you will choose a place where you can contribute your integrity.

Keep us updated, would you?

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 9 years ago

LOL. Tantric tea? Good one.

I'll just settle for a couple of cold beers, preferably home brewed.

[-] 3 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Heh heh! Sounds yummy too!

The traditional method is off the table since my sensitive lungs can't handle the smoke...so tea it is. Its all good though as I've gotten to prefer it this way. Happy Saturday Builder!

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Yes, cookies would be better. I think I put a fibrous nodual between a piece of bread one time and that was just fine too. lol High Fiber is good for the constitution (you can use this as you want to in other converstations about the real us constitution. lol)

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Haha! Oh yes..the constitution! You mean the one so full of holes it resembles a snowflake paper cutout?!

The prohibition of hemp has been an absolute travesty for the US. That industry and all its possible products could have done so much for the economy and the health of people.

As a 'people's society', we would be able to get this wonderful resource back.

[-] 3 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Yes, heard that Hemp oil could be used to power cars too. Someone was saying that hemp had to be outlawed to help Rockafeller and Ford. I wish I knew more about hemp Energy.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

This is a good one to watch.

The Hemp Revolution http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/hemp-revolution/

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Thanks. I have this one in my favorites, but having a problem playing. Could be a flash player problem or my computer or website. This may have been the main source of what I know about hemp.

[-] 1 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Thanks DKA! That's a new one for me.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

Your welcome - but if I rememberize correctly - thanks should go to shadz for 1st sharing the link.

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

Noted...love the way this forum spreads good info to each other!

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

Me 2 - shares and circulates - forwards out to other media. {:-])

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 9 years ago

I believe Hearst had a hand in outlawing it as well, having extensive timber interests.

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 9 years ago

Sunday arvo here. Done the markets.

Used to prefer the cookies myself.

I can't handle the smoke either. I've been ciggie-free for eleven months now.

Happy Saturday for the other side of the globe. {:-o)

[-] 2 points by Renneye (3874) 9 years ago

I admit I had to look up Sunday arvo! Enjoy...these are tomorrows good ol' days!

Kudos on the ciggie free!!


[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 9 years ago

People should know this.

Lets just remove the payroll cap so thewealthy pay into it, and maybe add a 1-2% tax to cap gains.

That'll keep it going for a while.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Yes. There is an online quiz where you fix the SS System. We really don't need to increase the age to collect SS. Besides people that depend most on SS for retirement are people whose bodies are worn out by the labor they have been doing all their lives.

Here is one Version http://www.actuary.org/content/play-social-security-game

Here is another ....couldn't find it. Think it was AARP.

Anyway Lift the cap for wealthy Income earners, so they pay fully into the SS system... and the most you might also need is a slight increase in the tax.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 9 years ago

I like the cap lifting. I could agree to increase the tax (on upper income) and I would recommend a 1-2% tax on cap gains. even means testing the distribution.

That'll do it

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

President Obama, Lift the Cap on the Wealth Income brackets. Your going to face a torrent of older Americans that feel they earned their Social Security.... they won't tolerate cuts to Social Security that they have planned for retirement.

No More Marie Antoinette's in Palaces like the White House or Congress



[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Article 9 'Chained CPI' Facts They Don't Want You to Know

Posted: 04/11/2013, Richard (RJ) Eskow


Number 4. You could save much more money in other, better ways.

  • The White House has said the chained CPI will save $122 billion in benefits over ten years. Leaving aside the fact that Social Security doesn't affect the deficit (which we'll discuss shortly), here's what isn't being done:

  • Close capital gains loopholes: $174 billion.

  • End the Bush tax cuts at Obama's original $250,000 level, rather than the compromise $400,000 number: $183 billion.
  • Cut overseas military bases by 20 percent: $200 billion.
  • Negotiate with drug companies: $220 billion.
  • Enact "Defense-friendly" Pentagon cuts: $519 billion.
  • End corporate tax loopholes (without being "revenue neutral," as the President's proposing): $1.24 trillion.
  • Enact a financial transaction tax on the folks who ruined our economy: $1.8 trillion.

Faced with those numbers, the chained-CPI benefit cut is... well, embarrassing. (Details, and additional alternate deficit reducers, here.)

Social Security doesn't contribute to the deficit, since it's funded separately. In fact, it's forbidden by law from contributing to the deficit.

It doesn't even belong in these negotiations.

Number 9. The deficit's already shrinking rapidly.

The deficit is already shrinking -- and "rapidly," in the words of those radical lefties at Goldman Sachs.

The deficit isn't our most urgent economic problem. It's not even close. We desperately need jobs, real wage growth, consumer confidence, financial security for the elderly and disabled (which means increasing Social Security) ...

Sure, deficits need to be addressed after the economy's been righted, but right now they're nowhere near the top of the list.

In fact, there's an extremely good chance that the cuts in the president's budget will make the deficit worse, as austerity cuts have in Europe. The Republican budget would certainly have that effect, since its cuts are far more severe.

The bottom line? The chained CPI is the wrong answer to the wrong problem at the wrong time. It's time for the White House to recognize that and move on. In the meantime Democrats need to walk away from it fast, before they pay a high price for it at the polls.

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

SS, President Obama is not Listening.

Obama Proposes Cuts to Social Security and Disability benefits.


The budget proposal slices $200 billion from already tight defense and domestic budgets. It would cut $400 billion from Medicare and other health programs by negotiating better prescription drug prices and asking wealthy seniors to pay more, among other policies. It would also generate $200 billion in savings by scaling back farm subsidies and federal retiree programs, among other proposals.

The proposal to change the formula to calculate Social Security payments, also originally part of the offer to Boehner, would generate $130 billion in savings and $100 billion in revenue, a result of the impact of the formula change on other government programs. But it is the change in Social Security payments to most recipients that is likely to generate the greatest outcry from the Obama administration’s traditional allies.

“Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long-standing Republican effort to cut Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week, after reports surfaced that Obama might include the change in his budget.

“In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security. Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today.”

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Link Federal Reserve & Third Way.

History of the Federal Reserve System

At the end of November 1910, Senator Nelson W. Aldrich and Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department A. Piatt Andrew, and five of the country's leading financiers (Frank Vanderlip, Henry P. Davison, Charles D. Norton, Benjamin Strong, and Paul Warburg) arrived at the Jekyll Island Club to discuss monetary policy and the banking system, an event that led to the creation of the current Federal Reserve.


Mr. Vogelstein Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus,
Mr. Coulter Senior Advisor at Warburg Pincus,
Ms Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein was a Partner of Warburg Pincus

Founding and early history

The firm traces its history to 1939, when Eric Warburg of the Warburg banking family founded a company under the name E.M. Warburg & Co. Its first address was 52 William Street, New York, the Kuhn Loeb building.


[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 9 years ago

Thank you for post.

[-] 0 points by 14W (-3) 9 years ago

Great! It's good to know that it will be there for my children!

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Well, scroll around on this string and look for "Third Way" group as William Black has written ... this is a group of Elite Financial people like a Think Tank ... that is Lobbying to Privatize or get rid of Social Security.

For one thing Finance guys would love to make fees or percentages off the $trillions in social security .... and they would ruin it just as they Ruined the 401(k) program.

For another Reason ... Wealthy People don't like Social Security and don't like to pay the taxes to social security. And since they are wealthy they can lobby, ingratiate themselves, talk to congress, and talk to the President (Obama) to get Social Security Cut ... and other position Legislation to reduce the popularity of Social Security.

Of course that is what Chained CPI cuts do to SS.


William K. Black cites a Similar Article by Robert Kuttner

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/obama-economy_b_2036285.html? utm_hp_ref=politics

http://neweconomicperspectives.org/2012/10/cnbcs-quick-uses-clinton-to-aim-at-krugman-but-shoots-herself-in-the-foot.html (also cited in the Article)

[-] 0 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Chief Actuary for SS - Raid the Retirement Fund! Submitted by Bruce Krasting on 03/20/2013


Stephan Goss, the chief actuary for Social Security (SS) provided a detailed report on the status of the SS Disability Fund (DI) to the House of Representitives. The short story is that DI is going bust in a few years. The options to fix this problem were spelled out in the report. The extremes of the required "fix" range from an immediate cut in DI benefits of 16%, or an increase in DI payroll taxes of 20%.

Nothing new there. But, there is a "Plan B" for the DI Fund. The solution is to raid the SS Retirement Fund for the deficits at DI: A simple tax-rate reallocation between OASI and DI, as was done in 1994, could equalize the financial prospects of the trust funds avoiding reserve depletion until 2033.

Note: "Simple tax-rate reallocation" means $40+b a year....

Bingo! The raid on the retirement fund results in no cuts in benefits, and no new taxes. What's not to like about that result? The gutless wimps in D.C. would love to kick the can down the road a decade, therefore the Raid solution is an obvious choice. (The consequence of the Raid would be to reduce the expected life of the Retirement Trust Fund by as much as five years,.)

CBO’s baseline assumes that the Commissioner will pay DI benefits in full even after the trust fund is exhausted.

Click on link for full article.

[-] -2 points by podman73 (-652) 9 years ago

Put your faith in liars and thieves (dems and rep) with your retirement and you will get exactly what you deserve. Fucked is what you will get, SS themselves have always said " SS should not be your only source of retirement" so go ahead and be stupid...

[-] 1 points by Middleaged (5140) 9 years ago

Yes. It was called a Trust. Here is a Report from DBO stating that there is money in the Social Security Fund. In fact in 2010 there was only a 4% shortfall in Revenue compared to Outlays for the the first time in recent history. Meaning there is lots of money in the Fund. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43648 At the end of 2011, the Trust Fund contained $2.7 Trillion Dollars. SS Pays out about $800 Billion per year.

RIGHT WINGERS Borrow from the Social Security Trust to pay for War or Defense. L.B. Johnson did in Vietnam War.




[-] -2 points by Grimreaper2 (-318) 9 years ago

So it comes down to this: do not panic. All is well.

Good to know.

[-] -1 points by podman73 (-652) 9 years ago

Rofl..Even rats know to get off a sinking ship!