Rand Paul

Rand Paul Says Biden and Obama Agree With Him on Social Security



Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says that the president and the vice president both told him in private that means-testing Social Security would raise the age of eligibility and solve some of the problems facing the program.

From Slate:

In the long summer before the 2008 Republican convention, Rep. Ron Paul only sort of admitted defeat. He turned his main organization into the Campaign for Liberty; he did the same to his youth organization, transitioning its president, Jeff Frazee, into a new, ongoing role.

Five years on, Paul has a clutch of acolytes in the House and Senate, and Young Americans for Liberty meets annually to train young activists and let them hear political pep talks. At least 40 reporters showed up for night one, which started with a series of prizes for students and continued with a panel of stars: Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul. I'd hoped for a free-for-all of student questions, pinning down the senators on libertarian litmus test issues, but what I got what a Frazee-moderated discussion that stuck almost entirely to the NSA and fiscal policy.

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  1. So the Bamster and Uncle Joe are Paultards?


  2. I don’t understand the decision to Means Test social security.

    Look. I don’t like SS. I wish it didn’t exist. But I have been a 12% of my paycheck into SS for the past 20 years, and I’m going to be pissed off if I go from earning pennies on the dollar to nothing on my dollar.

    I’d be open to means testing SS if they dropped the FICA taxes way, way down so that I could start investing that money. But the idea of a massive benefit cut to millions of Americans while keeping the tax just does not strike me as Libertarian at all.

    1. Means Testing also creates a terrible incentive- it encourages people not to save, since the more they save, the less of their taxes they will recoup when they retire.

      The only thing I can think of is this is a too-clever-by-half attempt by SS-haters to turn it into a form of Welfare, that the country will tolerate less than a full entitlement. I am not sure the strategy will work as well as they think, if so.

      1. Social Security already is a form of welfare

        1. In general, when legally speaking of welfare, it is a program designed to give funds to the impoverished or unfortunate. SS as a program provides money to everyone. If you means-test it becomes more like the general definition of welfare.

          If you use a different definition of welfare, fine, just substitute in a different word- I don’t think it changes my argument.

          1. SS doesn’t provide money to everybody. It is welfare just like corporate welfare is welfare.

        2. Yes SS steals from the young and relatively poor and gives to the old and relatively wealthy.

          1. Right, and means testing will turn it into taking money from the young and relatively poor and giving it to the old and relatively poor- with the added dis-incentive that penalizes people for saving for their retirement.

        3. Not for the people who paid into it.

          1. So if you paid into the federal food stamp program and then one day partake in said program, food stamps aren’t welfare?

            1. No one “pays into” SS. They are taxed. The idea that it is moral to over tax others because you were overtaxed is basically “two wrongs make a right” and they do not, even in Leftardland.

              SS taxes are not invested but spent immediately upon those who were taxed. Since they have been combining SS revenue with the general fund for decades, anyone wanting a return on what they “paid in” should look to the past. That money was already spent on you, instead of higher taxes elsewhere.

              Future generations really only owe you derision, for continuing to vote for thieves.

              1. I understand the argument against SS in general. But I don’t think this is a more Libertarian approach. It takes a benefit afforded to many and cuts it to a benefit for only a few. While keeping taxes high. Like I said, I would be happy with this change if it came with lower FICA. But that isn’t what they are suggesting.

                1. Correct. Means testing does not make a non-libertarian thing more libertarian.

                  1. At this point, it’s not necessarily about making it more libertarian, but more solvent.

                    1. Libertarians don’t care how solvent governments who violate liberty are.

                    2. “Libertarians don’t care how solvent governments who violate liberty are”

                      Every government violates liberty to some extent. In any case, I was talking about from the perspective of politicians. I think Rand would probably ideally like to abolish SS altogether. I don’t think that’s what his motivation here is though. Lastly, I think whether or not means testing it would be more or less libertarian than the status quo would depend on how its done.

                2. Like I said, I would be happy with this change if it came with lower FICA. But that isn’t what they are suggesting.

                  Yeah, we need a massive overhaul like Cain’s 9-9-9, which eliminated FICA taxes altogether.

                  1. I’m not crazy about giving the government a sales and an income tax. Once implemented, and without any constitutional provisions to stop it, the rates would almost surely raise over the years.

    2. I’m OK with means testing ONLY IF the benefit cut can be used as a tax deduction.

      Because if the money I paid into FICA is now treated like the standard withholding, then it should be deductible like the standard withholding. And that includes retroactively.

      1. typical 1%-er

    3. I don’t understand the I’ve been paying in and I want my just desserts (deserts? sorry public scholing).

      As I see it we gave our money to the Gov’t, they spent it and more, and since in the end we are the gov’t , we spent it. Thus this argument sounds like ‘I saved x% every month when I was working but I maxed out my credit and now that I’m done working and deep in debt, I want the money that I saved.”

      1. oh and I forgot to add ‘Leave the debt to my Kids”

      2. There’s three reasons why that argument doesn’t work.

        First, there’s no SS lockbox. Legally, FICA is just a tax, and it just so happens that Congress has attached a benefits payout structure to the amount of FICA tax you paid. They reserve the right to change the payout structure on a whim.

        Second, even if there was a “lockbox”, said lockbox has been raided to pay both for older SS retirees, and for non-SS related expenses

        Entitlement programs are the most nefarious of all. I think they’re worse than any other liberty issue of today, because they’re the ones that are so mindlessly accepted without question.

        1. After a server squirrel induced brain fart, third is that it hooks people into the feelies of having a “program to help grandma not eat cat food”

    4. Your concerns could be assuaged by lowering benefits as a function years from eligibility. Someone 10 years from retirement who has been paying FICA taxes their whole life and planning on SS being available would see no change in benefits. Beyond that, you means test but also allow people to collect partial benefits. Those partial benefits would drop by some percentage for every year beyond ten that you are from retirement, until you reach some age (preferably young enough that you haven’t paid much in FICA taxes yet and you have time to plan for alternative retirement income) where benefits would be 0%. Anyone younger than that could only count on means-tested benefits. You’d get screwed over a bit, but not as much as we maintain the status quo.

      But such a plan may not be able to realize enough savings before shit hits the fan.

    5. In a perfect world, I’d agree with you.

      But it’s not. Some people don’t need Social Security to live on. Some people do.

      If you can’t pay everyone, why give it to people who don’t really need it?

      1. No I would rather the program go bankrupt or reduce payments to everyone. That used to be the argument that lefties made. ‘We’re all in this together’.

        If we means test, here is what I GUARANTEE will happen: politicians will next remove the FICA cap, so you are taxed on all income rather than the first ~100k. Then they will continue jacking with the payouts so that rich and prudent savers get more and more of their income transferred to enough of a majority to guarantee elections.

        What NEEDS to happen is for everyone to feel the pain. Either everyone’s taxes go up or everyone’s benefits get cut. That is the only way to end this catastrophe and get it moved towards private accounts or some other market oriented system.

      2. Need has nothing to do with it.

        Either everyone is exactly equally “entitled” to it or no on is “entitled” to it at all.

        If it’s got to be cut, then cut the payout to every single recipient by an exactly equal percentage.

    6. A massive “benefit” cut and not keeping the tax strikes me as totally libertarian.

  3. Means testing is the surest way to kill SS by turning it into a “welfare program for undesirables”.

    1. I don’t see why. Who thinks that grandma is an undesirable?

      There are not going to be any news reports about welfare queens.

      Look, most people today consider SS to be a fallback for the unfortunate. Whenever people talk of cutting it, the complaints about grandma eating cat food start up. If this were welfare, the difference would be that SS remains solvent, taxes stay high, and any attempt to do “welfare reform” would be voted down as cruelty to grandma.

      1. Who thinks that grandma is an undesirable?

        Libertarians do (if she is dependent on government).

        1. So explain to me how the 1% of the population describing themselves as grandma-loathing Libertarians will manage to “Kill SS”.

          Or was your first statement more incoherent than usual?

        2. Haven’t you described yourself as a libertarian?

        3. Who thinks that grandma is an undesirable?

          Libertarians do (if she is dependent on government).

          Solid strawman, nutcase.

          Fuck I talked to it. Time to flog myself in penitence.

    2. “Means testing is the surest way to kill SS by turning it into a “welfare program for undesirables”.”

      If this would work, that would be fine and awesome.

    3. Means testing is the surest way to kill SS by turning it into a “welfare program for undesirables”.

      Name one means tested welfare program that has ever been killed.

  4. Hey Feeney, the bit you blockquoted has nothing at all to do with the headline or the lede. I think you meant to grab this:

    Paul just talked about his and Lee’s vain efforts to introduce a Social Security reform bill. “We raised the age,” he said. “We means-tested it. We tried to get Democats on board?Democrats have to know, we need to do this. … I asked the president face to face, I asked the vice president face to face, don’t we have to raise the age? Wouldn’t means-testing raise the age, fix a lot of these problems? They both say yes in private, won’t say yes in public.”

    I understand that trying to figure out what the hell is going on in a Wiegel post is a trying if not ultimately fruitless endeavor.

    1. I was going to avoid the link because it was Slate. Then I thought about clicking it because it seemed to not match the headline at all.

      Then you said Weigel and now I know that Rand Paul never said what he is being quoted as saying.

  5. I wasn’t happy to see that Rand is talking with those two thugs, but this was actually a decent tactical move. He just forced Obama and Biden into a halfway endorsement of his policies, rather than let Obama and Biden say that Rand supports their policies for social security. And tomorrow he can go back to saying how terrible they are, so it’s a win-win. In reality, Rand Paul just made Obama his social security bitch.

    1. Obama is already pitching chained-CPI – a more effective way to cut SS benefits.

      1. Cool, Obama is still Rand Paul’s social security bitch after this move, which was the point of my comment. Take your Obama cheerleading act elsewhere, no one cares.

        1. Your mistake is in thinking Rand Paul will run against Obama in 2016.

          That won’t happen.

          Rand Paul’s “policies” will never see the light of day. The GOP won’t let that happen.

          1. You mean Obama’s NOT running in ’16…?

            OH NO!

            1. Oh one more thing, don’t forget there’s another Obama in the white house who IS eligible to run for president. Unlikely, yes. Frightening, of course. So I suppose your comment was just generally wrong, both in content and understanding.

              1. Errr… @Palin Lover or whatever your name is.

          2. Where did I say or imply that they will run against each other? I’ll break it down for you. Obama is a democrat. There will be a democrat in the next presidential election. Democrats love to talk about how the GOP hates old people and social security. In making this tactical move, Rand Paul has aligned Obama with him on social security. Now it’s more difficult for the 2016 democrat nom to attack Rand Paul on social security, because he’s tethered himself to the democrats on that issue. Checkmate, game-set-match, lawyered. By the way, just because Rand Paul doesn’t get the GOP nom doesn’t mean that he didn’t just make Obama his bitch. Just give it up.

            1. It really doesn’t matter. Dem voters will never vote for Rand Paul and a majority of Rep voters want their SS checks to keep coming.

  6. Means testing is another version of Fuck You That’s Why.

    1. Exactly. It’s our fucking money, screw means testing for SS.

      How about some means testing for welfare and food stamps? Or testing ones ability to work before you start handing out other peoples money to deadbeats.

      1. How about some means testing for welfare and food stamps?

        You realize they do this, right?

        1. If they do, then how the fuck are young able bodied adults who just refuse to work because they don’t feel like it, getting free everything? You have got to be fucking kidding.

          1. I obviously don’t support welfare, but that’s not what means-testing means. And a lot of people on welfare programs do work.

            1. Exactly. People on SNAP benefits often work.

              Now unemployment benefits…well, that’s probably the most fucked up implementation ever.

              I’d love it if this was switched to an initial lump sum payment that required 90-180 days of joblessness to receive.

        2. Not really.

          There are many exceptions and ways to get around the asset and income tests for food stamps.

          And the states themselves are complicit in furthering it.

          For example, on the exceptions to someone having to qualify by income and asset tests is if they’ve received any money from a state home heating assistance program.

          The state of New York sent out a bunch of $1 checks to people just to allow them to collect food stamps without having to actually qualify on income or assets.

    2. “Means testing is another version of Fuck You That’s Why.”

      Which is why it’s guaranteed to happen. The only other choice would be for them to do the right thing. And when has that ever happened?

  7. I call bullshit on this one. Just give us a fucking opt out already. When I’m 59, if you give me half of what I paid in, I will opt out.

    But, it’s my fucking money, and raising the age that I can get it at, just pisses me off, Rand.

    1. The problem with this rhetorical approach is that everyone can make that claim. Promises have been made which cannot be fulfilled; there won’t even be enough “it’s my money” money to go around…

      So, who gets priority in the “it’s my money” cohort?

      1. I don’t care. Get rid of about 20 agencies, half of all government employees and spending, cut military spending by half, and give me my damn money already. When the thieving assholes in DC are about to be cornered by an angry mob with tar, feathers, and rope, I bet the find the money in a hurry.

        1. Again, “I don’t care” is what gets us into this, not only rhetorically, but politically.

          Promises have been made which cannot be kept. This is an actuarial fact. You *have* to care, or you are just telling someone else that their claim to “their money” isn’t valid, while yours is.

          I believe that, ’round these parts, that is called “FYTW.”

          Listen, there are plenty of fine arguments against means-testing Social Security, but saying, “It’s my money,” and then asking for cuts to other programs is radically insufficient. There are simply too many such claims on future economic output for everyone to get “their money,” especially if we start talking about Medicare as well (you paid in for that too, so “it’s your money”). It’s a giant shit sandwich, and we all have to take a bite.

          1. Listen, there are plenty of fine arguments against means-testing Social Security, but saying, “It’s my money,” and then asking for cuts to other programs is radically insufficient.

            Especially given that people working for those agencies will say ‘It’s my money!’ since they were promised pensions.

            Someone isn’t going to get money that they were promised. There’s no way around that.

            1. All of our elected politicians get to go first in not getting their money. They caused all of the problems, let them suffer the most.

              1. You will get no argument from me there. If I believed that it would be enough, and was politically possible, then we wouldn’t have anything to disagree on…

              2. They caused all of the problems, let them suffer the most.

                Sorry, but no. How many of them were not elected? It is the scum who sucked up the idea that they could spend “their money” and receive a return on it as well? The voters definitely deserve their share of blame in this, and they continue to do so.

        2. Wow. I’ve heard so much of Hype’s sad talk of American decline and on and on and this…this final irony at last: he’s the problem. ‘Fuck you cut spending-but not my spending’.

          1. Sadly, this is spot on.

            “Fuck you, cut spending” absolutely positively has to include entitlement spending. That’s MOST of the pie! And those slices are only getting bigger.

            There is no balancing the budget without lowering the Medicare and SS benefits. Raising the retirement age gradually only makes sense. Transitioning into a private option, only makes sense. This isn’t rocket science.

            Also, not only is suddenly ending benefits for those who are retired about to retire a bad idea politically, it’s also highly questionable in an ethical sense. I’m all for people getting the proper incentives, but it’s a not acceptable, in my mind, to punish the actions of those who were coerced by the state.

    2. But, it’s my fucking money

      No, your money is long gone. The money that you expect to be paid has to be ripped out of some other sap’s pocket.

      1. If it’s all gone, then how the fuck do they keep spending trillions of dollars on shit???


        1. Agreed. The point is though that we don’t have enough money even to pay future social security promises. If people your age get money, that money will be coming from younger people.

          Someone is going to get robbed to pay someone else. The only question is whether the robbery has already taken place to those of us who are currently working, or if the robbery will take place to the next generation of workers.

          1. Someone is going to get robbed to pay someone else. The only question is whether the robbery has already taken place to those of us who are currently working, or if the robbery will take place to the next generation of workers.

            Considering the fact that the amount paid in has increased over the years, ending SS today would be the least bad thing, even though it would mean I and my wife, both 47, wouldn’t get a penny. Every day and every cent transferred increases the evil.

        2. I wish that cutting spending could eliminate the problem, but it can only mitigate it. Moreover, we are discussing a proposal for reform that lies somewhere near the margin, not where you and I would like to be in the Constitutional United States, Libertopia, or The Land of Fiscal Sanity.

    3. People use that logic for a lot of other programs as well. Not everyone on food stamps, Medicaid, TANF, SDI, unemployment (obviously), etc. are people who have been poor and on welfare for their entire life. Plenty of people on those programs used to have good jobs and paid taxes without getting benefits themselves. Just look at the sheer number of people on food stamps today compared to 5-10 years ago.

  8. Abolish the fucking shit.

    1. Could you elaborate on how you would go about doing that, both technically and politically?

      1. With a shit ton length of rope at a gas station near the mall.

  9. I’ve spent 40 years trying to convince the young folkers that s.s. needed to be reformed. They haven’t listened and they keep voting for sh*theads like now populates Washington. So schadenfreude that they are going to have to fund some of my retirement.

    1. Because it’s all young people’s fault that Social Security hasn’t been reformed? The geezers who go crazy anytime anyone actually suggests altering their benefits aren’t to blame at all? If anything, I’d say more young people than old people are open to changing it. And people who were young 40 years ago are approaching retirement age, if not passed it already

      1. You may be right but it just seems to me whatever cohort has been in the 18-29 group over time is more likely to vote against the social security reforming candidates than older cohorts.

        1. Very few people, and even fewer who have gotten nominations, have been serious about social security reform over the years.

        2. And it’s not just in the US.

          Last year French youth rioted over the idea of raising the retirement age.

        3. You’re kidding, right?

          When it comes to reforming SS, it’s the fucking geezers that clutch their goddamn pearls in fear that they’re going to lose their cash cow when even the tamest reform provisions are introduced.

          1. Maybe because the people who want to “reform” it are against social welfare programs of any kind, and so are not acting in good faith.

  10. I never thought about it like that.


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