Let's Hear It for Fiscal Disaster!

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Listening for incongruous applause, usually the product of partisan counterclapping, is one way I stay awake during State of the Union speeches. My favorite example this year: When Bush mentioned the failure of his Social Security plan, Democrats stood and applauded the president's defeat. Republicans retaliated by applauding enthusiastically when Bush added, "The rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away." Yay! We're screwed!

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  1. Although I haven’t heard either the SOTU or the Democratic response, I have written a sort of summary:

    With apologies to 2 Live Crew:

    What’ll we get for a few billion dollars?
    Every ‘ting you want
    Everything?
    Every’ting
    Ooh! Spend it, baby! Ahh!
    Appropriate this! Oh, sock it to me! Aaahh!
    Ooohh!

    Ahh! Me so boring!
    Me tax you to death!

    Sittin’ at home, can’t get no sleep
    So I turn on the TV to watch Bush’s speech
    Watched him promising all sorts of shit
    He said, “I got proposals, baby! Are you down with it?”
    I relaxed and looked at the Congressmen on the floor
    It was all so boring that I started to snore
    It’s a real soporific, I fell asleep ’till morning
    I got no appetite for this, ’cause it’s so boring

    The Democratic response wasn’t really that much
    They say “We like government programs, but —
    We are the ones should be spending all that dough,
    Put us back in office, we know where the money should go.?
    I’m really quite disgusted, neither party can be trusted
    I guess I should be mad, but I just can’t stay awake
    You know what would be neat? An end to all their whoring.
    But it just doesn’t outrage me because it’s all boring.

    When it came to the war, they had no shame
    They argued about whom we should blame
    They play with our soldiers just like it’s a game
    But their quarrels aren’t exciting ’cause they’re both the same
    They’re just like that man they call Georgie Puddin’ Pie
    They screw the Constitution, make the Founding Fathers cry
    I wanted to do something, but that wish died a-borning
    You can’t fight City Hall, and they’re both so boring.

    Ahh! Borrow this! Oh, spend it on me!

    You promised to be surgeons ? make the budget less heavy
    Slice off the fat, ease our tax levies
    But now you tell the voters you wanna spend, spend spend
    Never cut the budget, the red ink never ends
    You said its what we want, and I guess we do
    Put your hand in my wallet, and tax me ’till I’m blue
    They’re wrecking the country, I should sound a warning
    But it’s hard to get excited, ’cause the whole thing’s so boring

    Taxy-spendy, Me taxy-spendy.

  2. Okay, I know most of you don’t like West Wing, but I’m pretty damn sure Dubya got his bipartisan commission on Social Security line straight from a SOTU address Jed Bartlett gave I think from season 1? That was back when the writing for that show by Aaron Sorkin was still good. Man, does this season blow donkey balls.

  3. Still beating that private account dead horse eyyh? Hehey.

    Ride ’em wall street neo-conboys.

  4. What I like about this is the ol’ “we watch it so you don’t have to.” I get to LOL at this little moment but didn’t have to waste my time. Thank you!

  5. When Bush mentioned the failure of his Social Security plan, Democrats stood and applauded…

    Yeah, one of the few good proposals that Bush advanced this session, one that addresses a staus quo that’s untenable and gets worse with time, and the idiot Democrats cheer its demise.

    Politics, ya gotta hate it.

    Republicans retaliated by applauding enthusiastically when Bush added, “The rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away.” Yay! We’re screwed!

    They were saying “Yea!” to the observation as a counter point to the idiot Democrats, not “Yea! Fiscal disaster!”

  6. Yay! We’re screwed!

    I thought it was idiot Democrats saying “yea” to idiot Republicans saying “yea” to idiot Democrats saying “yea” to idiot Republicans …

  7. That clip may be useful ten or twenty years from now. Can there be any doubt which party will be to blame when the bottom falls out? That is if a WMD doesn’t wipe them out first.

  8. How can the Dems be so gawddamned blind on this one? I tend to think if it was any other Rep as POTUS besides Bush, the Dems probably would’ve compromised on something. Instead we get a future promise of “told ya so” by the GOP when the whole thing goes to shit.

  9. Actually, the Democrats stood up and clapped when Bush acknowledged the fiscal problems, along with the Republicans.

    Addressing projected fiscal shortfalls in entitlement programs: bipartisan.

    Privatizing Social Security in a manner that doesn’t address those fiscal shortfalls (or actually makes them worse): Republican

  10. How can the Dems be so gawddamned blind on this one?

    I think part of the reason is anti-Bush hatred. They don’t want him to have any kind of domestic policy success.

    Also, if people own their own retirement accounts, this means less power for the statists. It will be a much tougher sell to raise capital gains taxes on the “rich” when every working person is invested in the stock market.

    Besides, the Democrats do have a plan, I believe Nancy Pelosi said it: “We can always raise taxes or cut benefits down the road”.

  11. Who needs social security just dump all you can on Google stocks and your set.

  12. Bush’s plan for private accounts was a horrible, horrible plan. It made fiscal problems worse.

    It is worth taking a look at the actual projections for Social Security, Social Security is more than flush if you follow the (so far more accurate) optimistic projections.

    If we experience productivity growth anything like what we have had since the late nineties the program is more than solvent.

    The idea that when all other retirement vehicles are shifting risk onto individuals, that Social Security should also shift risk toward individuals rather than hedging against that trend is ridiculous.

  13. The idea that when all other retirement vehicles are shifting risk onto individuals, that Social Security should also shift risk toward individuals rather than hedging against that trend is ridiculous.

    I would much rather take that 14% of my gross income and invest it in a stock market index fund than in treasury bonds.

  14. The problem, Kurt, is that that 14% is not invested in anything. It is spent right now, either on payouts to current beneficiaries or as general spending. To account for that portion that is spent by Treasury SSA gets an IOU in the form of a special treasury bond. This bond is nothing but an accounting marker, it has no value at all. In order for it to be redeemed to be used as payouts for benefits in the future Treasury will have to either tax or borrow to get the funds.

    You SS “contributions” are nothing but taxes you pay and furthermore a regressive tax that I would expect liberals to horrified at. So forget about getting that 14%, it is needed by the govt right now to meet its obligations. In a few years you will get to collect money from that gemeration’s taxpayers.

    The sooner SS is abolished and replaced with a means tested income supplement to the elderly funded out of general revenues the better.* In order to avoid having this be their sole income or having to continue working people should be free to make their own arrangements about how or even whether they want to retire.

    I have no problem with a “safety net” that keeps Aunt Maude from being thrown out in the snow if she’s unable to take care of herself but this system is just awful. (I know that by saying this I have lost whatever libertarian cred I might have ever had, but frankly I find that railing against the welfare state is pointless. It is too well founded in our Judeo-Christian society).

    But sometimes I wonder what is it about reaching the age of 65 that makes it OK to sponge.

    *obviously there would have to be a transition period between the “old” system and the new, but that would be better than waiting until the whole system melts down in crisis.

  15. The idea that when all other retirement vehicles are shifting risk onto individuals, that Social Security should also shift risk toward individuals rather than hedging against that trend is ridiculous.

    Yeah, much more ridiculous than putting your head in the sand. Much more ridiculous than “saving” for the future with phantom trust fund monies. Much more ridiculous than a one-size-fits all coercive top-down solution that leaves the most needy beneficiaries in poverty anyway! Yeah, how ridiculous.

    nmg

  16. Last year, Bush said something to the effect of, “The threat of terrorism has not gone away,” and all the Republicans leapt to their feet applauding. And silly me thinking the Democrats were the terrorist-lovers ….

  17. Wow, what is the average age of the posters here..23..26?

    I’m 43 and I’ve paid in SS since I was 18. I personally want to see the government held accountable for my money they’ve pissed away during all many years of surplus.

    No, I’m not OK with changing it all at this point – calling it a wash..etc. I want accountability..and if that means cutting some of the major pork to shore up this obligation then so be it!

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