The Worst Part of Global Warming Will be the Lack of Icebergs For People Bob Dylan's Age or, Boomers Better Start Swimming or They'll Sink Like a Stone, For The Times They Are A-Changin'


Bob Dylan—You Can Call Him Zimmy—recently turned 70 years old, which means he's almost certainly drawing a monthly Social Security check for as much as $2,346 that's being paid for by the relatively young and poor of America. That's how Social Security works, after all. The program will run a cash flow deficit starting this year; in any case, today's benefits are financed by taxes paid by today's workers. The old are generally wealthier than the young.

Does Bob Dylan support the privatization of Social Security? I don't know, but he's on the record (in the great Beat-style masterpiece, Chronicles, Vol. 1) as saying that back in his Greenwich Village salad days his "favorite politician was Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater," so you never know (even if Sen. G. favored the damnable program that is promising younger Americans negative returns on our mandatory "investments").

Dylan, the most important creative figure in America of the past 50 years (my opinion!), was once young and he was once rumored to speak for the young. And what do young Americans think about Social Security? The Reason Foundation-Rupe poll, taken a few months back, shows serious support for lowering payroll taxes and letting folks invest in their own retirement among people under the age of 55. Take a look:

There's no question that reforming (i.e., ending in its current form) Social Security will take a long time, a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears. But it's also true that a system that takes from the relatively poor and gives to the relatively rich is not simply fiscally dubious but morally repellent. America in the 21st century is a vastly different place than was period that midwifed Social Security. Old people are not necessarily poor anymore and those that can afford to pay their own way in retirement (here's to you Bobby D!) should do so. With that sort of savings, we can lower payroll taxes for all and effectively target folks who really need the help.

Now take it away Dylan, with "Precious Angel," the great pre-Rapture song on his greatest album that shows us how weak was the foundation we are standing upon (listening suggestion: read Brian Doherty's classic appreciation of Bob Dylan while feeling the chills going up and down your spine during this, the greatest vocal performance in the Maestro's vast discography):

NEXT: ObamaCare's Disastrous New Long-Term Care Entitlement

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  1. For his pants, they’ll need a-changin’.

  2. It’s not my money, and I didn’t earn it, but if you try to take it away I’ll have a bloody fit!

    1. The fact that the government lied and spent all the money is irrelevant to someone who has seen specific payroll tax deductions for socialist security and medicare for their entire working life.

        1. ^^THIS^^

          sonofabitch html fail…

      1. Then they need to understand that SS is not and never has been an investment account. They paid into nothing, other than someone else’s SS check the next week. Their money wasn’t locked in a box, nor put into a trust. It went in one door and right out another and whatever was left over was raided by the Treasury and replaced with IOUs.

        It’s intergenerational wealth transfer. Full stop. (I know you know all this. Just stating for a complete thought.)

        And, if they repeatedly voted for the people that made all this possible, voting for the guy who promised free ponies, instead for those that promised to reduce the gummint’s cut and expand their liberty, then cry me a river.

      2. The fact that the government lied and spent all the money is irrelevant to someone who has seen specific payroll tax deductions for socialist security and medicare for their entire working life.

        Don’t forget the part where social security recipients are liable for income tax on those benefits if their net income is over a certain amount – even if they never file and collect said benefits.

        And then there’s also the fact that Medicare taxes are deducted from one’s benefits as well…but after regular income taxes. Government just loves to take it from you, then give it back, then take it away again.

        1. I posted the above for the enlightenment of those other than The Wine Commonsewer. TWC is a tax professional, so he’s intimately familiar with all the details.

      3. Spoken like a true tax advisor.

        hope all is well homie. Haven’t seen you around.

    2. hey gramps…better not not get too demanding…love has its limits…if we have to choose between you and our children, we might just roll you and your wheelchair into oncoming traffic.

  3. I’ll support the privatization of SS, if Bob Dylan will admit that the Heat got a LOT of phantom calls in the last few minutes of the game last night.

    1. Fuck Lebron in the ass, but Chicago lost that one.

    2. As a Mavs fan, I’m AFRAID of the officials way more than any of the heat. What the NBA wants the NBA gets.

      1. Agreed. I’m worried this is going to be 2006 all over again, with D-Wade getting a police escort to the free-throw line, like what happened with both him and James in the last few minutes last night.

        1. yep, pretty amazing how the heat just “came together” and looks unbeatable once the post season started.

          1. This, among other things, is why I simply can’t stomach basketball.

            All professional sports are a bit at the mercy of officials, in football, holding can be called on any play really; the strike zone in baseball is pretty subjective; yellow cards in soccer can change a player’s aggressiveness substantially. But it seems like the sway and subjectivity in basketball is too much. Of course, there are other things about basketball I can’t stand: way too much scoring, and occurring in runs to the extent that the first three quarters really don’t mean much. Might as well just give each team a hundred points and play the last two minutes. Except for the fact that, if it is a close game, the pace and cadence of the game will slow down to an embarrassingly boring charade where one team will attempt to dribble for 24 seconds and the other will just try to foul.

            1. If the overtime rules can be refined a little (I personally want a scrum introduced to decide who has first possession.), I think the NFL is probably the closest any sport can get to a true competitive balance.

              1. The scrum is an interesting idea. Granted, I think that the concept they tried out with the playoffs is interesting for a potential overtime policy change. Also, moving the kickoff up would help a lot with that. As it is, the team that gets first possession doesn’t really have too much of a statistical advantage.

              2. Baseball is the purest in terms of officiating (I believe). Sure, the homeplate ump might change day to day, but most are consistent through the game (or at least so inconsistent the neither side has an advantage). Umps can’t make call about clean hits, home runs, etc.

                Competetive balance? I think so (minus yanks). There are, however, bad owners and gms.

              3. Baseball and football have by far the most competitive teams (based on how many different teams have won championships since all the leagues merged, i.e. AFL/NFL, ABA/NBA, etc.) You’d think that without the salary cap, baseball would be like Euro-league soccer and only have a few true championship contenders in each nation, but look at the World Series, and you’ll see a lot of different teams actually manage to play in it.

                Basketball is the least competitive, in that essentially, the Celtics, Lakers, Spurs, and Bulls have won the vast, vast majority of the titles. Other teams have had a few, or a one-off title here and there, but nothing like those four.

                A gambler told me it’s easiest to make money on the NBA, because the officials are so bad. With one ref, the home team covers 70+% of the time. Another, will be the same with the away team, etc. If they were truly even, then such massive disparities wouldn’t exist amongst different officials. Perfect example being that one guy who the Mavs were like 2-18 whenever he officiated (at the start of this postseason; they’ve won a couple of games with him during this run). You’re going to tell me that, for real, called correctly, they were 2-18 in those 20 games, and that he had nothing to do with it? Unbelievable.

                1. Basketball: A step above professional wrestling?

                  (Also, I wouldn’t care except for the fraud part.)

            2. Wade about decapitated Rajon Rondo in the last round leaving him with one arm and the Celtics with no chance. The league didn’t even call a flagrant foul. Wade should have been suspended for it.

              David Stern is the biggest crock in professional sports. You will never convince me that there was only one NBA ref on the take.

              Google 2001 Bucks 76ers playoff sometime. The league totally screwed the Bucks to get an Iverson Kobe finals. It is just WWF.

              1. Sports Illustrated had a story (Jan 17) showing the home field advantage to be very similar in all sports, and almost completely due to referees’ unconscious influence by the crowd.

    3. “”I’ll support the privatization of SS, if…””

      I wonder if that will come with an individual mandate to purchase an investment service from a private company.

      1. Don’t give ’em any ideas.

  4. Dylan, the most important creative figure in America of the past 50 years (my opinion!)

    Is this sarcasm? I can’t tell sometimes with Nick.

    1. I hope so.

  5. Bobby D was a teenage staple for me. I still really, really enjoy his work. However, I’m pretty sure he’s a BIG PHONY and everything he says is to sell his image and his albums. (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wouldn’t quote him on anything is all.

    1. Bob Dylan a phony?!

      Eat shit and die, asshole!

      1. Aren’t you dead? I mean, artistically speaking too.

    2. Sadly, all most mainstream music has ever been is a carefully created image and marketing pitch by corporate executives.

      Recording Industry executive #1: “We need a new star; someone who will appeal to people too stupid to download music illegally.”

      Recording Industry executive #2: “Let’s take a carbon copy of Madonna’s songs with even more shallow lyrics, combine them with Janet Jackson’s dance moves from the 90’s, maybe with a little extra sluttiness added, and dress her up in Marilyn Manson wardrobes. We can name her something baby-esque to appeal to the really stupidest people in society.”

      And so Lady Gaga’s career was born.

      1. I think you have Lady Gaga confused with the likes of Britney Spears and every boy band.
        This woman is a creation of her own detachment from reality, not a record executive’s imagination.
        That’s not to say she doesn’t currently have a staff of corporate handlers, but I think this one is was found, not created, by the marketing department.

        1. Sarcasmic,

          I think you have Lady Gaga confused with someone who isn’t Lady Gaga.

          1. Spears, boy bands, and the like do not write their own music, nor do they produce it. They don’t do choreography, stage design, nor do they pick their own clothes.
            Someone else does all of that for them, while the freak show who calls herself Gaga has done it all.

            1. From what I’ve seen, Gaga doesn’t so much write her own music and do her own choreography, as, err, “borrow” it from previous pop stars.

        2. I suppose Jedward might have some close to a Marilyn Manson wardrobe from his Glam collection, but Spears’ wardrobe was more Monroe than Manson.

    3. You can’t really call him a phony since he never claimed to be anything other than a rock and roll musician. All of the ‘voice of a generation’ shit was put on him by others (not that he didn’t gladly reap the benefits of said shit)

    4. He is a total phony. That is the joke. And it is a good joke made better by the fact that the stupid hippies never got it and thought he was serious. I love Bob.

  6. I do tax consultations with people who are new to the US, and one of the crappiest things I have to explain to them is the FICA theft.

    Person who just arrived in the US from India/China/Russia/wherever: “So, how do I get a refund of the Social Security withholding?”

    Me: “Um. You don’t. It’s just gone. Welcome to America!”

    1. You’ll get a full refund, and then some, after you retire!

      1. If you live so long . . . Die unmarried and w/o offspring, as a brother of mine did last fall, and nobody gets any return at all.

    2. Yep, and for the self-employed, it’s double the pleasure and double the fun.

      1. meaning the FICA/Medicare theft is 15% of your net…

        1. Technically it is either way, it’s just invisible to you. If anything, we should reform it so that ordinary wage-slaves see the full amount they’re taxed.

          1. Why yes, we should!

            The Dean Transparent Transfer Tax would do a lot to introduce fiscal and political sanity.

            (1) All wealth transfer programs (SocSec, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment, etc.) are funded by a single payroll tax, set annually at a level sufficient to fund those programs for the coming year. Any overruns will be tacked onto the next year’s tax.

            (2) There will be no invisible employer portion – the entire amount will be deducted from the employee’s paycheck.

            (3) Program changes will be result in an immediate change in the current Transparent Transfer Tax rate.

            That way, everyone knows exactly how much they are giving to their fellow citizens. Any program expansions will result in a higher tax rate. Any program cuts will result in lower taxes.

            1. That way, everyone knows exactly how much they are giving to their fellow citizens. Any program expansions will result in a higher tax rate. Any program cuts will result in lower taxes.

              This doesn’t allow us to set progressive policy through taxation.

  7. Love Dylan, and yes, he was pretty influential.

  8. Looks like we need a maximum age for voting.

  9. Damn old people always voting and stupid young people too lazy to put the bong down and go vote. On second though, maybe it’s good that not many young people vote. Otherwise we might have a lot more “free” stuff we have to figure out how to pay for.


  11. Soy Bomb!

  12. @ Foreign Affairs a while back, in response to Daniel Drezner’s rhetorical question, “Which musician would I want as Head of State?”, I posted the following:

    “…do I need to say it? BOB DYLAN.

    Yes, he’s a little crazy, but his newfound christianity will appeal to the Religious Right, and his association with the 60s (despite never really being a hippy) will appeal to baby boomer leftists. Shoo in.

    He would talk publicly less than Obama (which is saying very little), but be far more eloquent than Bush when he did (saying even less).

    He would terrify all the world leaders into submission with his cryptic poetic responses to everything. (sort of like the Reagan “He’s crazy enough to push the button!” strategy with the Soviets) They would think, “I have no idea what he just said, but it sounded pretty cool…we can probably hang with this guy.”

    He also is a realist (unlike, say, President Bono). “Democracy don’t rule the world, You’d better get that in your head; This world is ruled by violence, But I guess that’s better left unsaid.” Use of force is not out of the question; but not something he wishes to wield as an obvious threat against the world. Very Teddy Roosevelt.

    He also knows how to deflect tough questions: “If I wasn’t Bob Dylan, I’d probably think that Bob Dylan has a lot of answers myself. ” A vast improvement on Bob Dole’s approach to the same thing. He has good non-answer answers: “”[when asked what his songs are “about”] Oh, some are about four minutes; some are about five, and some, believe it or not, are about 11 or 12.””

    Support of Israel however may be a question mark: “[on a visit to Israel in the early 1970s] There was no great significance to that visit, but I`m interested in the fact that Jews are Semites, like Babylonians, Hittites, Arabs, Syrians, Ethiopians. But a Jew is different because a lot of people hate Jews…” There seems the possibility he would be a better-faith negotiating partner however than the last few presidents. Acknowledging the shared roots of middle-eastern peoples, as well as the historical traumas of Jewish life… possibly a good starting point. Also, he’s Jewish himself! (though will be criticized by AIPAC as a self-hater for changing his name to Dylan and then later converting to Christianity; but Christian Conservatives will eat it up. I think both will accept half a loaf in the end.)

    He’d have to delegate everything, of course. I think he’d probably just sleep all day most of the time. But that’s why the Dylan/Madonna ticket could work. She’d be his Cheney. Then you could have Sec. State Snoop (“Yo, Mahmoud, man… yo, just chill aiight. we can lose those sanctions, just quit f**ing with my peoples. They cool. You got to come to this mitzva thing man, its off the hook. Ay, I heard you got some bomb ass hash up in here. Illegal? Unislamic? Nah…man…look…we got more to talk about”), and POSSIBLY Defense Secretary Johnny Ramone (a conservative punk rocker could be a good guy to both clean house at the Pentagon, as well as unleash the dogs without mercy in any international conflict)

    I really don’t know what the rest of the cabinet would look like, but I do think (as Drezner does) that the best candidates tend to be from the 1990’s, perhaps late 90s. I think the seattle scene is probably less favorable than Rap musicans; they know its all about the Benjamins baby. I would have strong endorsements for Jay-Z or Puff Daddy @ the Fed”

  13. But it’s also true that a system that takes from the relatively poor and gives to the relatively rich is not simply fiscally dubious but morally repellent.

    But it’s OK if that’s not what you’re trying to do!

  14. “Well, I’m a liberal, to a degree
    I want everyone to be free
    But if you think I’m gonna let Barry Goldwater
    Move in next door and marry my daughter
    Then you must think I’m crazy.”
    – Bob Dylan

    Dylan gets liberal hypocricy, at least. Social security…I don’t know about that.

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