Social Security’s a Wreck! But Let’s Not Rush to Fix It Or Anything

Speaking to seniors at the American Association of Retired Persons last week, President Obama described Social Security as a “bedrock commitment that America makes to its seniors” — a commitment he considers “unshakable.”

What would his administration do to make good on that commitment? Right now, according to senior administration adviser David Axelrod, the answer is: nothing.

Asked twice by Time’s Mark Halperin what the president’s plan for fixing Social Security’s finances was, Axelrod was baldly evasive, insisting that “this is not the time.” Here’s the full exchange:

MARK HALPERIN: “In a second term, what is the president proposing to do to reform Social Security, save it for future generations, and will it involve lower benefits for anyone or higher taxes for anyone?”OBAMA ADVISER

DAVID AXELROD: “Well I think that there, too, Mark, the approach has to be a balanced one. We’ve had discussions in the past. And the question is, can you raise the cap some? Right now Social Security cuts off at a lower point. Can you raise the cap so people in the upper incomes are paying a little more into the program? And do you adjust the growth of the program. That’s a discussion worth having. But again we have to approach it in a balanced way. We’re not going to cut our way to prosperity. We’re not going to cut our way to more secure entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare. We have to have a balance.”

HALPERIN: “So what is his proposal?”

AXELROD: “Mark, I’ll tell you what, when you get elected to the United States Senate and sit at that table — this is not the time. We’re not going to have that discussion right now unless the Congress wants to sit at a table and says okay we’re ready to move on a balanced approach to this. The reality of Social Security is this is a much less imminent problem than Medicare. We have extended the life of Medicare for close to a decade through the changes that we’ve made and Governor Romney wants to repeal. But Social Security is a more distant problem. One that needs a solution. But it isn’t as pressing as a Medicare issue.”

It’s true that the fiscal problems posed by Medicare are larger than the fiscal problems posed by Social Security. But comparing the two is like comparing two terminal patients — one of whom is scheduled to die slightly earlier.

In 2010, the government announced that for the first time, it would pay more in annual Social Security benefits than it collected in Social Security taxes. The same thing happened in 2011, with the program running a $148 billion tax income to total cost deficit. The 2012 deficit is expected is expected to be even larger, around $165 billion. And there’s no end in sight. The Trustees project that program costs exceeding combined tax and non-interest income will continue “throughout the short-range period and beyond.” Starting in 2021, the program will begin to draw down its trust fund, which will be exhausted by 2033.

The trust fund, of course, is an accounting gimmick filled with IOUs that taxpayers will eventually be on the hook for. As Obama’s own budget director, Jacob Lew, once explained, the program’s trust fund does “not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures.”

Since joining the administration, Lew has naturally adopted a more upbeat view of the trust fund, arguing that the program’s “benefits are entirely self-financing. They are paid for with payroll taxes collected from workers and their employers throughout their careers. These taxes are placed in a trust fund dedicated to paying benefits owed to current and future beneficiaries.”

Like Axelrod's remark, Lew's evolution is telling. President Obama occasionally pays lip service to the need to fix the Social Security's finances, but as with many of the nation's looming fiscal problems, the administration has basically taken the Alfred E. Newman approach: What, us worry? Maybe they'll get around to fixing things eventually. But now is not the time. 

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  • John||

    Other than steal more, what does Obama want to do in a second term?

  • ||

    Rule?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Rule what? Frankly, if I had imperial ambitions, I'd want to preside over a super-wealthy country that was growing at a high rate.

  • db||

    You can't rule a prosperous people. They are full of inventiveness and ambition. You can only rule a downtrodden, fatalistic populace that is convinced they need a savior or a tyrant.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure you can. The Roman Republic was prosperous, though shaken by constitutional crisis after constitution crisis.

  • db||

    One could make the argument that once the Romans submitted to Imperium vs Republic, the mold of their prosperity had been broken. There is seldom a fall without a decline.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They had quite a long run of prosperity after that, but a lot of that came (and this was true during the Republic, too) from spoils of war.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    They had quite a long run of prosperity after that, but a lot of that came (and this was true during the Republic, too) from spoils of war.

    I still find it fascinating that the Colosseum was built with funding procured by booty taken from the Jerusalem Temple.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Your point being that Jews were basically bankers even back then?

    I keed, I keed.

  • Drake||

    Roman prosperity and strength was broken pretty early into the Empire. The Roman middle-class - artisans and farmers - was taxed out of existence. The ranks of the Legions were no longer citizens doing their duty, but foreigners looking for pay and pillage.

    The rest was an inevitable long, slow decline into corruption and mediocrity.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Romans kept fighting and bribing over who would rule until not long before the barbarians ran over the place.

  • Drake||

    Actually the continued it for a while after the first couple of invasions and sacks. They just paid off the invaders to leave with gold and / or land. In the end they played along with the Ostrogoths and declared their king Imperial Viceroy.

  • ||

    Your mom?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Your mom - that's what SHE said!

    You know who else wanted to be ruled over...

  • ||

    Your mom?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    BLAST! I never win this game...

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were- cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?

  • tarran||

    IT would be interesting to chart the financial trajectory of presidents who rule only for one term vs two terms.

    I suspect the two-termers were rolling in more cash.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Everyone is concerned with pre-office tax returns, but I'd much rather see published those after politicians leave office. I'd also like to track their rate of return in their stocks.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    What ProL said

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Kill more.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    The answer, my friend
    Is dronin' in the wind
    The asnwer
    Is dronin' in the wind
    BOOM!

  • Pro Libertate||

    In other words, the time to apply the brakes is after the car drives over the cliff.

    I see that the administration follows the Warner Brothers theory of gravity.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Wil. E. Coyote could have been his son, you know.

  • Pro Libertate||

    True. That's Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, by the way.

  • John||

    You can walk out over the cliff and still be able to stop and have a conversation. You don't fall until you admit to yourself you have walked off the cliff, or the Chinese stop buying your T Bills.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    On a slightly related note... who was it who managed to give spending cuts and tax increases at the end of the year the ominous name "fiscal cliff" when those are exactly what we need to shore up our fiscal situation?

  • John||

    Only in Washington could actually cutting spending and trying to raise revenue be called going off a fiscal cliff.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Starting in 2021, the program will begin to draw down its trust fund, which will be exhausted by 2013.

    This doesn't make sense and I'm not sure how it could make sense by fixing whatever typo is there. How is SS not drawing down its trust fund already? Where is the money coming from to cover the difference between taxes and outlays if not from the trust fund?

  • Peter Suderman||

    Part of the problem is that my worthless, typo prone fingers cannot seem to type numbers correctly and it's not scheduled to expire until 2033.

    This is why I'm always pressing the grenade button instead of the reload button while playing Borderlands. Apologies.

  • ||

    Seems like you'd be more likely to hit the action skill button than the grenade button, Suder-Man. What class are you?

  • Peter Suderman||

    I mix up action skill and grenade all the time. But some old shooter I used to play used the bumper for reload and my fingers never quite forgot.

    Playing as a the heavy this time -- the Gunzerker -- which was probably a mistake. The Commando seems much better suited to solo play.

  • ||

    Actually, the Siren is very good for solo play. That doctor that Dr. Zed sends you to kill is way easier if you can Phaselock him. I still miss Phasewalking, but I'm starting to dig the Phaselocking. And my gender identity issues compel me to play the chick anyway.

  • tarran||

    What Gender Identity issues?

    You just like making her do squats at your command.

  • ||

    I'm a hermaphrodite, or at least that's what Warty tells me.

    Actually, the Siren in B1 was perfectly suited to my solo gameplay style. Heavy reliance on elemental effects and hitting and running, with all kinds of secondary effects to any enemies that get too close to me, and if I got in too much trouble, I just Phasewalked out.

    In B2 I still get the elemental and secondary effects, but I have no escape valve so I have to be more careful.

  • Restoras||

    Is Megan aware of this hobby of yours?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The more fundamental question is how the SS isn't already drawing on the trust fund. The money to make up the shortfall has to come from somewhere.

    I seriously don't know so it's an honest question. I have no guile at the moment.

  • Restoras||

    Trust Fund? What Trust Fund? Congress spent it all.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Yes, it is ultimately an accounting gimmick, but my point is that they must already be drawing down on that accounting gimmick. Meaning, of course, that the regular income taxpayers now and forever are indirectly paying for the shortfall.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Coming Soon

    QE4 the FED buys the treasuries held by the Social Security trust fund.

  • califernian||

    , the program will begin to draw down its trust fund

    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!
    There is no trust fund! It's an accounting gimmick and everyone knows. Don't call it a trust fund.

  • califernian||

    "The program will begin taking more out of the general fund than is accounted for by FICA".

    Corrected for you.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    "Solving" the easier problem may provide the direction and the bi-partisan cooperation needed to "solve" the far more difficult problem of Medicare. Start with the harder problem and maybe you don't fix either. As for Obama, he thinks if he kicks the can down the road for four years, it will be Clinton's problem or Ryan's problem or
    Patrick's problem and what the F does he care cause he will be making
    $200,000 per speech and strutting around with the Nobel Prize in Economics.

  • BlockadeRunnerX||

    “Mark, I’ll tell you what, when you get elected to the United States Senate and sit at that table — this is not the time"

    So, if I want the privilege of knowing what the hell the President's policy is re: Social Security, the first thing I have to do is get elected to the U.S. Senate?

    The fuck?

  • tarran||

    This is how the Obama people think. If you ask uncomfortable questions, they insult you and pretend you are not worthy to question them.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Sort of like the way the glibbies treat me here on H+R.

  • Marshall Gill||

    You say this like being on the anti-team isn't being on a TEAM.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yeah, that kind of got my ire up. How dare someone ask what are your plans when you are running for office!

  • MJGreen||

    Reads like he realized the deflection was too blatant, and fell back to the well-worn argument that this is not the time!

  • Restoras||

    Suderman, you alt+text madman!

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    He is the shit, isn't he?

  • NoVAHockey||

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    ^^this - I saved a copy on my hard drive for use into perpetuity!

  • R C Dean||

    What a shame that Romney isn't being equally non-specific (if not so "baldly evasive", perhaps), and can't call the O-bots on this one.

    The Dean proposal to reform entitlements:

    All transfer payments (SocSec, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc.) are rolled into one account, which funded solely and entirely by a single payroll tax. No funding may be provided by debt or any other source of revenue.

    There is no "hidden" employer component to the tax.

    If entitlement spending goes up, the tax has to go up at the same time. If entitlement spending goes down, the tax goes down.

    Voila: the deferred expense of entitlement programs disappears from the fiscal picture; as they are incurred and funded entirely on a current basis. Entitlement funding expense and funding are honestly and transparently presented. The basis for an honest policy about how much we can afford/are willing to pay for is laid.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Madness!!!1!!

  • ||

    I'm afraid that now that lifespans have expanded so much it is also necessary to rethink the whole retirement idea.

    There is absolutely no reason why someone on reaching the magical age of 66 (the current age for full SS benefits) should automatically get to decide to stop working and collect a check from the government.

    Means testing adds complications unfortunately so the only real way to do it is to end SS as a reirement vehicle altogether.

    In other words the means test would require you to not only show that you were financially in need but also that you were physically unable to continue working. IOW SS ends being a retirement program and becomes a disability program for people unable to work no matter what their age.

  • NoVAHockey||

    i'd have less objection if it was just disability. an actual safety net.

  • ||

    Other than that, I support the Dean proposal to reform entitlements in its entirety.

    The only reason a trust fund should be needed is for the same reason the "Highway Trust Fund" is needed; ie to account for shortfalls and surpluses in dedicated revenues from one year to the another. Under no circumstances should it be used to pretend that some kind of "savings account" is being kept.

  • John||

    The problem with means testing social security is the effect that would have on savings. To the middle class, losing social security would be a big deal. Most middle and lower class people are not going to make enough money to replace social security, just augment it. If you means test social security, then most of those people will see a loss in SS income equal to their savings income and end up with the same income with or without savings. Given that, once you start means testing social security, why should any rational middle class or lower class person save a dime for retirement?

  • ||

    Well for one thing, because even at the highest levels of benefits SS pays a pittance.

  • ||

    The other reason for people to save for retirement is the fact that if they don't they don't get to retire, which would be the case with my most extreme proposal.

    Of course, to encourage saving we need to get rid of the prevailing easy money low interest mentality.

    Insufficiently low interest rates aren't the reason businesses aren't borrowing and expanding, uncertainty about regulatory and tax policy is.

    To high interest rates aren't the reason for people not buying houses, the fact that a thousand squre foot bungalow costs a million bucks is.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    The problem is that old people not retiring means fewer jobs for young people.

    Life expectancy increases have to be matched by a combination of fertility and immigration reduction and economic growth. If this does not occur, there will be problems no matter how you try to spin the saucers.

  • John||

    The problem is that old people not retiring means fewer jobs for young people.

    Since when are jobs a zero sum game. By your logic, we should just make the retirement age 50 and end unemployment. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Tulpa Doom||

    When you have zero economic growth (as we essentially have now) they are a zero sum game. Unless you think that people not retiring is going to create more wealth (arguable but far from obvious).

    What would go wrong in your proposal is that people above 50 would all suddenly become unemployed.

  • John||

    We wont' have zero growth forever.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You're right. If BO gets re-upped we'll probably have negative growth (positive shrinkage) for the foreseeable future.

  • Drake||

    Damn, should have kept reading...

  • Drake||

    You're right - it could be negative. A nasty recession is coming, especially if Obama is reelected.

  • ||

    John, that's pretty much why the French and other European countries have gone for the 55 retirement age.

    I really though the old "let's make the geezers quit working so the young'ns can get jobs" chestnut went out of style in Reagan's first term. But it stll gets passed out every now and then.

  • R C Dean||

    See, once people start getting the bill in real time for SocSec and the rest, you can have a real conversation about what the retirement age should be, means-testing, and all the rest. Until people can say "If we raise bennies, my next paycheck will be smaller/if we cut bennies, my next paycheck will be bigger", I don't think we can have anything like a rational discussion of what we can afford/are willing to pay for.

  • ||

    Good point.

  • ||

    I meant to add,

    I have not trouble with incrementalism, in fact given the entrenchment of entitlements almost all changes need to be phased in. But, by and large, your proposal could be implemented almost all at once.

    I will add, also, that if you are looking for good tax policy and good social insurance policy, Canada does it about right (except Medicare).

    Canada Pension and Unemployment Insurance are separate but they are collected as pre-tax dollars and then taxed as regular income when received. This eliminates the convoluted excercise that the FedGov goes through here to "clawback" UI and SS payments to higher income individuals.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Until people can say "If we raise bennies, my next paycheck will be smaller/if we cut bennies, my next paycheck will be bigger", I don't think we can have anything like a rational discussion of what we can afford/are willing to pay for.

    The problem with that theory is that Social Security taxes were collecting trillions of dollars more revenue than what was spent over the last thirty odd years.

    It's entirely possible that people would have voted for even higher benefits during that time instead of lower taxes.

  • John||

    I think that is a great idea RC. And I always figured it was the kind of idea that Libertarians would support. But alas I found out this weekend I was wrong. This post shows otherwise

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/09.....-claim-tha

    Here, Sheldon Richman tells us that

    Let’s end all dependence on government. Doing it in one fell swoop would be ideal, but short of that, here’s a workable strategy: Cut taxes from the bottom up and welfare from the top down. This will move us toward a free society and win popular support along the way.

    The road to libertopia is not making people pay for their goodies. No, a just society is one in which you cut welfare from the top and cut taxes from the bottom so that the majority of people are getting government without paying for it. And the Hit and Run Comenters loved it.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "All transfer payments (SocSec, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc.) are rolled into one account, which funded solely and entirely by a single payroll tax. No funding may be provided by debt or any other source of revenue."

    But, but - REGRESSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    The payroll tax and UI contributions are already regressive and also misleading given that half the payroll tax and all of the UI tax is paid by employers thus giving the worker the impression he's getting something free, that is if he's even aware it's happening.

  • Drake||

    In 2005, after his re-election, Bush went from vague to specific on Social Security reform. It was a complete failure - the weak-kneed Rinos all ran for the hills.

    They just punted the thing down the road. No way can Romney campaign on specific without getting destroyed. I'm doubtful that he can do anything significant.

  • albo||

    Trying to get a solid answer out of Axelrod is like trying to convince a weasel to drop a dead mouse. He's as slippery as Tara Reid's cooter at a frat house orgy.

  • db||

    AXELROD: “Mark, I’ll tell you what, when you get elected to the United States Senate and sit at that table — this is not the time. We’re not going to have that discussion right now unless the Congress wants to sit at a table and says okay we’re ready to move on a balanced approach to this.

    Shorter Axelrod:
    You don't sit at that table. You sit at the kids' table, so you just eat your vegetables and let the adults decide what's best for you.

  • ||

    I'm afraid that I have found I've had too resign myself to the fact that just about every society is going to end up with some kind of welfare state or safety net.

    The trouble is the time for "saving" either SS or Medicare passed about twenty-plus years ago when boomers were still young enough that they didn't have retirement (or even getting old) on their minds.

    If you think SS and Medicare are problems now, wait until boomers actually start collecting it and become the political block that fights tooth (gum) and nail to keep its benefits.

  • Tim||

    Lockbox.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Strategery

  • Proprietist||

    I thought Suderman and Reason were in the tank for Obama, since they always only criticize Romney, according to John, Tulpa and the other HityRunpublicans?

    A Reason article critical of Obama?! Does. not. compute.

  • John||

    Of course they criticize Obama you half wit. No one ever claimed otherwise.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm not being a half wit. I'm seriously confused, because you guys had talked me into agreeing with your points about Reason and Romney with your skillful arguments and your punishing sense of logic.

    SIV even pointed out just earlier today "I think we all know why Suderman is anti-Romney. I bet he and the missus have the Obama on a unicorn print hanging unironically in their DeeCee home."

    I was just starting to get used to my red tinted glasses with the x'd out Reason logo, and then this happened.

  • John||

    I never claimed Reason never criticized Obama. They do. Go argue with the voices in your head and leave me out of it. And if it bothers you that they attack Obama, go read a left wing site where you will feel more at home.

  • Proprietist||

    It doesn't bother me in the remotest. I'm pleasantly surprised they took off their Team Blue glasses for five seconds. You have me convinced that the 47% remark made them go full retard. I guess retard brains can grow back after all!

  • John||

    Tulpa said it best below.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I don't think Suderman is pro-Obama in his heart, just that he (and others) sometimes overextend themselves trying to make the point that Romney and Obama are the same from a libertarian POV.

    The issues with Richman's article yesterday, and some of Suderman's from the past, was that they had to make a very strange (for a libertarian) argument to say something bad about Romney. It's almost as if they're trying to meet a quota.

    Whereas this article is libertarianism 101.

  • Proprietist||

    "It's almost as if they're trying to meet a quota."

    Agree completely. They should meet our Team Red quota by writing at least twice as many critical articles about Obama as they do about Romney. To be fair.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    Wow, that's cute, Proprietist. Do you have an honest argument to make or is this playtime?

  • Proprietist||

    It's definitely playtime for me. Cavorting around in fallacyland is fun, as you guys certainly know from extensive excursions.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    As a great man once said

    tarran| 9.24.12 @ 4:13PM |#

    This is how the Obama people think. If you ask uncomfortable questions, they insult you and pretend you are not worthy to question them.

    So I guess you have a lot in common with Obama people.

  • Proprietist||

    I know on this specific thread I've been insulting the fallacious logic of Team Red residents - and it has been especially bad lately around these parts, but most of the time I'm usually the first to answer uncomfortable questions honestly, provide coherent arguments and admit when I'm wrong or have been outdebated, or when Reason is wrong.

    The whole premise that there are only two real options in November has been you and John and the rest's whole schtick, and it's entirely a fallacy. There's only so much patience with a fallacious line of reasoning.

    And by the way, I'm the one asking uncomfortable questions in the form of mockery, and you're the one insulting me with a straw man about how much I have "in common with Obama people."

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I'm the one asking uncomfortable questions in the form of mockery

    You flatter yourself. What question are you asking?

    The whole premise that there are only two real options in November has been you and John and the rest's whole schtick, and it's entirely a fallacy.

    I never said there are only two options. Not sure what you mean by "real". If you mean relevant, in the sense of a candidate who has a nonzero probability of winning the election, then yeah, there are two relevant options. If you think that's not true I probably can't convince you because you're in fantasyland.

  • Proprietist||

    The uncomfortable question is how can we take any of the Team Red sycophants here seriously when all they have to offer is fallacies, like criticisms of Reason writers for not attacking Romney and Obama with equal intensity (tu quoque), or especially the one you just made, that if we aren't picking sides between Romney or Obama, it's because we're "living in fantasyland."

    I don't think any of us expect Gary Johnson to win the Presidency. But Johnson getting a record turnout, getting in the debates, automatically qualifying the party for the 2016 ballot and making up more than the margin of difference in quite a few states would be a compelling first step towards a more libertarian future and towards being taken seriously in future elections.

    To us, that is worth far more than the marginal differences between Romney or Obama, and we are not so delusional to believe we need to lower our expectations and adjust our perspective on the comparative lack of difference since both have proven strongly and repeatedly they have not a modicum of libertarianism or limited government credibility.

  • Proprietist||

    And personally, of the two "realistic" candidates I hope Romney loses simply because the libertarian wing in the GOP only grows when they are out of power and angry at the President, and a Republican Congress vs. Obama Administration may be the least bad divided government option. Also, Rand Paul has a chance in 2016 if Romney loses, whereas he'd probably become a persona non grata if Romney wins, as was the experience of rogue Republicans like Ron Paul under the Bush Administration.

  • Calidissident||

    And the odds of your vote affecting the outcome of the election is zero. So why vote, if that's your logic?

  • Proprietist||

    Because my vote helps inch the LP closer to automatically qualifying for the ballot next time, which alone is a compelling enough reason to spend the time to vote. In fact, I argue that those who support the minority party in safe majority states should all vote for third parties even if they don't reflect exactly what they believe, simply to bring more voices to the table in the future. It's the only way to start changing the media dialogue and the lesser of two evils fallacy.

  • Calidissident||

    I was responding to Tulpa. You posted before I refreshed, so it looks like I responded to you

  • Tulpa Doom||

    This is an excellent example of what I'm talking about. Suderman rips Ryan for voting against the Simpson-Bowles plan and says it's the same as BO not accepting the plan... even though the reasons for their respective rejections were totally different.

    The Obama criticisms flow naturally from libertarian premises. The Romney/Ryan critiques quite often seem very strained and contrived. (though God knows there's plenty of problems with both of them from a libertarian POV, it's not even comparable to BO problems)

  • Proprietist||

    Reason writers shouldn't criticize Ryan's plan because Team Blue's plan is ever so marginally worse. And there are only two choices.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You're so cute when you troll! I almost want to take you into my arms and cuddle with you.

  • Proprietist||

    I think you have mistaken my mockery for flattery?

    Also, is it trolling to sardonically repeat the fallacious logic of trolls back to them? Trolling trolls is fun, once in a while.

  • John||

    The reality of Social Security is this is a much less imminent problem than Medicare.

    I thought they solved medicare in 2010? Wasn't Obamacare going to bend the cost curve? Wasn't averting the entitlement crisis the whole reason why it just had to be passed? Now two years later they tell us that medicare is still a "imminent problem"? It is almost as if they were lying or something.

  • NoVAHockey||

    "Wasn't Obamacare going to bend the cost curve?"

    They actually believe that bullshit. It's disturbing.

  • John||

    What is disturbing is not that they actually believed it. That just means they were stupid. What is disturbing is that in two short years they totally forgot they ever said or believed such a thing and are now acting like "of course medicare is a huge problem". That makes them depraved.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    You know who else bent the cost curve...

  • R C Dean||

    Wasn't Obamacare going to bend the cost curve?

    Did they ever say in which direction?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That whole exchange was pathetic--Axeldork can't even bring himself to say something politically palatable like, "Well, unfortunately I don't have the details in front of me right now, but we've looked at a combination of limited general rate increases and a lifting of the cap to around $200K. However, this isn't static and we're still discussing what we feel the American people will agree is the best approach" or some similar bullshit line, before going back to the Top. Men. on Obama's economic team and telling them, "Come up with something we can use, and show your work!"

    Instead, he's so wedded to the talking points memo he can't help but drop a bunch of gobbledy-gook about cutting spending and then arguing that it will be up to Congress to hammer something out. Well, yeah, ultimately they're going to come up with something to pass across Obama's desk, but it's all going to stem from to how Obama leads in the process. If he doesn't like what they put together, he can veto it, saying "This isn't what I had in mind for these reasons: [Laundry list of talking points]. So I can't in good conscience sign this bill.

    Christ, the mere fact that people like Romney and Obama are considered the absolute best this country has to offer in its political leaders tells me how dysfunctional it has become. This is basic media public relations--something Axelrod is supposed to excel in--and instead we get the political equivalent of a Denard Robinson passing performance.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Well I think that there, too, Mark, the approach has to be a balanced one. We’ve had discussions in the past. And the question is, can you raise the cap some? Right now Social Security cuts off at a lower point. Can you raise the cap so people in the upper incomes are paying a little more into the program?"

    It cuts off at exactly the same point that the formuala that calculates the benefit one gets in return for paying the tax cuts off.

    You can bet that those agigatitng to raise the payroll tax cap have no intention of also adjusting the benefit formual accordingly.

    They simply want to steal more of the money of the people who would have to pay the additional tax.

  • califernian||

    That's the point of the whole program.

  • nike001||

    I did not care for him, is expected from this situation, I did not really say, fell from the capital. Even if there http://www.cheapuggsbootsforwomen.org/ was a gun in the hand must not mean Doude Guo Zhang Yan. Thought this, I saw the boss Zhang nodded. Heroes do not eat immediate loss anyway, now she brings those things that I did not need Senate combined.

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