Entitlements

Reason Writers on Freedom Watch: Matt Welch Talks Entitlement Cuts and Government Cramdowns

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On Friday, March 4, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch went on Judge Andrew Napolitano's Fox Business Network Freedom Watch program to discuss whether Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) should be taken seriously when he floats entitlement reform, and also whether state attorneys general are barking up the right tree in trying to punish banks for improper foreclosures with forced cramdowns. About 8 minutes:

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  1. So, uh… what was that woman’s point, again?

    1. That banks were forcing people, most likely at gunpoint, to take loans that couldn’t be repaid and must be punished by the Federal Government.

      Oh, and she is also a big fan of the Free Market!

      1. she also mentioned that health care does not have enough competition…i think she was focusing on Medicare rather then SS.

        She is right, even though she did not say so explicitly, the best way to fix medicare is to lower medical costs and the best way to lower medical costs is the free market.

    1. We don’t need to know about your sexual fantasies and coulrophilia, you perverted ringmaster.

      1. “Seriously, man, a lot of cocaine!”

  2. I don’t understand why cutting SS for the top 10% to 30% wage earners would be so hard.

    Democrats are always bitching about rich people…why not take their benefits that they don’t need away so the money can go to the worse off.

    If anything i think this would be a better strategy politically then trying to change the retirement age or reducing benefits across the board.

    And once SS is turned into a a defacto welfare program it will be much more politically feasible to narrow the benefits down further to only help the lower 20% to 30%.

    The stratagy should be to get poeple off of it and get people to save for their own retirement.

    What better people to take off the rolls then the rich….people already hate the rich anyway.

    1. SS goes to people with (near?)zero wages. You would have to base benefits on wealth. As intrusive as the IRS is, they don’t yet ask you to disclose your wealth.

      1. You would have to base benefits on wealth. As intrusive as the IRS is, they don’t yet ask you to disclose your wealth.

        If you want SS then you will have to disclose.

        I fail to see how this is intrusive like the IRS. You have to disclose or you go to jail for the IRS. If you do not disclose for SS you just don’t get the money.

        Also every year I get a statement from the SS office telling me how much i have payed into the program.

        they already are intruding so there is no loss here.

        But yeah i can see how the defenders of SS would use misinformation similar to what you stated to stop any sort of reform like this.

        Still i think it would have a better chance then cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

        1. “then” => “than” (as in “greater than”, not *”greater then”).

          Not that I disagree with your actual point, but your inability to use ‘then’ and ‘than’ correctly makes the pedant in me really want to.

          1. correctly accurately

    2. Josh your idea penalizes savings. You never want to tell people not to do good things. Maybe we will have to lower the max payment. But we don’t want to lower the max payment for ants but leave it alone for grasshoppers.

      1. This is a problem with all Welfare programs. SS currently is no exception to this nor is my proposal

        you are correct that the steep edge from getting payments vs not getting payments would encourage people to simply earn less (save less?) then what the top people make.

        Graduating would help but not eliminate the problem.

        I should note that SS already discourages saving. The question is which creates the largest perverse incentives. SS as it stands now? or my proposal?

        The ideal would to eliminate SS entirely, but that will never happen.

  3. I don’t understand why cutting SS for the top 10% to 30% wage earners would be so hard.

    You answer your own question:

    And once SS is turned into a a defacto welfare program

    I know people who could be described as “centrist moderates” who adamantly oppose ending SS for even Gates/Buffet level rich people because “it’s insurance NOT welfare”.
    It’s the STIGMA they hate if SS isn’t universal.

    1. You answer your own question:

      And once SS is turned into a a defacto welfare program

      I know people who could be described as “centrist moderates” who adamantly oppose ending SS for even Gates/Buffet level rich people because “it’s insurance NOT welfare”.
      It’s the STIGMA they hate if SS isn’t universal.

      I should have said it would be less hard then lowing benefits or raising retirement age.

      The people you know simply have less of a case for “save bill gates retirement fund” then then they have for save “Jim who lives in a trailer down by the river retirement fund”

      There are people you know then there is the majority of voters. The point is to design reforms that get what you want and are the most appealing to the majority of voters.

      1. “less hard” as you define that term does not apply to politicians.

        The point of entitlement programs is to buy votes with other people’s money. And so anything that reduces the number of people being bribed to vote to steal from other people costs politicians votes.

        1. The point of entitlement programs is to buy votes with other people’s money. And so anything that reduces the number of people being bribed to vote to steal from other people costs politicians votes.

          Yeah that theory has already been thrown out as disproved. States are adaptive systems and they strive to survive.

          The US as a democratic state long ago learned to give away goodies to get votes….but it puts its survival above those votes. In case you missed it the tea party took over the house on that very premise. That the state is in jeopardy of failing unless spending gets under control.

          SS poses the same threat to the state…so just like how TARP and stimulus threatened the state there is a political will to reform it.

          “less hard” as you define that term does not apply to politicians.

          If there is a political will to change the status quo then politicians either adapt to it or they lose their jobs.

          Do I know that cutting the top wage earners from SS will pass? No. But I have made a pretty good case that it has a lower activation threshold then raising the retirement age or cutting benefits across the board.

          Also Politicians do know the path of least resistance…which is another way of saying “less hard”.

          Don’t believe me?

          Then I would like to introduce you to one Mr. Clinton.

      2. I’m saying the people I know represent the voters who oppose changing SS for other people. Like how seniors freak when changes are proposed affecting those well below the age of receiving benefits. There is a broad opposition to making SS “welfare” among those who feel they are “owed” benefits. The only way to resolve this is by still paying everyone SS but “taxing” it all away from those with a substantial income stream.

        1. I don’t see how this is different then your previous post on the same subject.

          I understand who the people who oppose making SS a welfare program.

          I am simply saying there are less of them then the larger number of people who feel SS already is a welfare program and only support it because of the poor old people living off of dog food.

  4. “I know people who could be described as “centrist moderates” who adamantly oppose ending SS for even Gates/Buffet level rich people because “it’s insurance NOT welfare”.”

    I’m not totally familiar with S/S, but I’m pretty sure the issue is this (from above):
    “silent v|3.7.11 @ 8:16PM|#
    ….As intrusive as the IRS is, they don’t yet ask you to disclose your wealth.”

    IOWs, to deny those benefits to a Gates would mean the expansion of IRS intrusion.
    Seems to me that the solution is to end it, since the alternative is to add further government control of our lives.

    1. Seems to me that the solution is to end it

      This seems to be the libertarian problem.

      The libertarian stance is to dream of an impossible utopia that will never fucking happen because political realities prevent it then to actually look at those political realities and game them to our advantage.

      As the Tea Party success demonstrated libertarians fucking suck at politics.

      1. Joshua Corning|3.7.11 @ 11:01PM|#
        “…As the Tea Party success demonstrated libertarians fucking suck at politics….”

        First, the jury is still out on that.
        Secondly, what you’re stating is a feature, not a bug.

        1. First, the jury is still out on that.

          The Jury is out on weather tea party is effective in producing libertarian gains….but the case is closed over the tea party produced tea party gains.

          they did.

          Secondly, what you’re stating is a feature, not a bug.

          There is nothing in the libertarian play book that says we cannot “cheat”.

          It is not a feature it is simply what you like and has nothing to do with being libertarian.

          The other political movements are literally killing people. But yeah don’t get your hands dirty with a little advertising work…..I also hear polling data can give you syphilis.

      2. Oh, and:
        “The libertarian stance is to dream of an impossible utopia that will never fucking happen because political realities prevent it then to actually look at those political realities and game them to our advantage.”

        Define “gaming”.
        And what’s with “our”? Do you have something stinky in your pocket?

        1. Define “gaming”.

          For the most part It is looking for the broadest support on any particular issue that moves policy and law toward smaller government that recognizes individual liberty.

          And what’s with “our”?

          You be libertarian, I be libertarian, we all be libertarians.

          Anyway if it really bothers you and your pronoun fascism i will retract it.

  5. The dirty secret, slowly being dragged into the light of day, is that the entire mortgage-backed securities biz was rife with massive fraud.

    The central clearinghouse, MERS, was a joke. Some high percentage of bonds were fraudulent – backed with crappy loans, at best. And, this is the best part, a lot of loans that were supposedly backing bonds were never assigned to the bond as required by governing (state) law.

    Justice, if we get it, will look like this: the law on mortgages will be followed, and many homeowners may well discover that there is essentially no enforceable lien on their home, due to the incredible botch MERS made of the system. They still owe the money, but that debt is now unsecured. More and more courts are laying down the precedent for this.

    The bondholders, who relied on the issuers rather than doing their own due diligence, will be fucked. They, in turn, will fuck the issuers (mostly money center banks), most of whom will be destroyed in litigation. These cases have already been filed, by the way. By very big players, the kind who don’t run out of resources, and don’t get rolled in legislatures trying to cover the banks.

    True justice would see thousands jailed for their part in perpetrating a massive fraud. Seeing as exactly one person has actually been indicted so far, that’s probably too much to hope for.

  6. R C Dean|3.7.11 @ 10:40PM|#
    “The dirty secret, slowly being dragged into the light of day, is that the entire mortgage-backed securities biz was rife with massive fraud.
    The central clearinghouse, MERS, was a joke.”

    Nope. Shooting the messenger.
    The market for funny mortgages was defined as ‘government-backed’ by Frannie and/or Freddy. That someone advertised that fact is irrelevant.

    1. I think R C Dean is correct here. Harry Shearer has been covering this angle on his radio show. MERS was operating with 47 employees and 20,000 corporate officers (people working for banks & mortgage companies who never drew salary from MERS) empowered to sign affidavits. There have been far too many instances of fraudulent signing (signing more documents than a human could sign in a day, using stamps instead of signing, signing for property undergoing bankruptcy) for this to be the “mere paperwork issue” the big banks are claiming it to be. This is very big.

    2. Yves Smith has been covering this for some time as well.
      …lenders are withdrawing cases because five court decisions have found that lenders that used MERS violated state recording laws.” – http://www.nakedcapitalism.com…..-mers.html

  7. Judge N. is very concerned about the government forcing banks to cut deals with underwater homeowners. Why isn’t he concerned with banks entering forged documents and fraudulent evidence in court cases? Shouldn’t the government be seeking indictments against these banks? Perjury is a crime. Where is the outrage?

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