Debt and Deficits

Woman Still Getting Civil-War Survivor Benefits Shows How Federal Policies Mortgage the Future

Abraham Lincoln couldn't have dreamed that 21st-century Americans would still be paying for pensions created under him.

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John Lund Blend Images/Newscom

Twenty or 50 years from now, the uproar over the House Intelligence Committee memo will be no more than a footnote to history, and many Americans living then will have fading memories, if any, of the Trump administration. But they will be sure to feel the consequence of other policies, little noticed now, that will weigh more heavily with each passing year.

You may have never heard of Irene Triplett, who illustrates something politicians often forget: Decisions made for immediate purposes can reverberate for a long, long time.

During the Civil War, to bolster military recruitment, the U.S. government established pensions for veterans wounded in battle and widows of those killed. After the war, the system was repeatedly expanded to cover ever more beneficiaries, including men whose disabilities had nothing to do with their service in uniform.

As economist John Cogan of Stanford University and the Hoover Institution notes in his new book, The High Cost of Good Intentions, Congress eventually granted pensions to widows of Union veterans who married after 1890. Then it included all widows whose marriages had lasted 10 years. "In 1957," he writes, "Congress dropped the 10-year requirement. Incredibly, a year later, Congress granted pensions to widows of Confederate soldiers."

In 1924, Mose Triplett, who had served in both the Union and the Confederate armies, married a woman who bore him a daughter named Irene. Born five years later, she is still getting survivor benefits from the Civil War, 153 years after it ended.

Cogan's book chronicles the steady growth of federal entitlements. Social Security was originally meant to ensure protection against poverty to about half of future retirees. But "every Congress, save one, and every president during the years from 1950 to 1972 took action to expand the program."

The pattern is logical. New programs "confine benefits to a group of individuals who are deemed to be particularly worthy of assistance," says Cogan. But groups outside the category push to be included and ultimately prevail. The change puts another group closer to qualifying, and that group does the same thing. The process repeats until the original rationale is lost.

Today, federal entitlement assistance of one type or another goes to more than half of U.S. households—and 31 percent of beneficiaries are in families whose income exceeds the national average. In 2015, households in the top fifth of earners collected $225 billion in federal benefits.

Restraining the cost of entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare is especially hard now. The ongoing retirement of the baby boom generation automatically swells their rolls. With a commitment to fiscal responsibility and regard for future generations, our elected officials might devise humane ways to curb this growth. But to the extent that commitment ever existed, it is gone.

It vanished on December 22, when President Donald Trump signed a tax bill that the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projects will generate $1.8 trillion in additional deficits over the next decade—on top of the $10.2 trillion already in the pipeline.

The bipartisan watchdog group also says, "Congress is likely to consider increasing discretionary spending caps for the next two years, disaster relief to deal with last year's hurricanes, (and) extensions of temporary tax provisions that expired at the end of 2016." In that scenario, the extra 10-year deficits would be more like $2.2 trillion.

Conservatives claim the gap will force Congress to slash domestic spending. Fat chance. In the late 1990s, President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress could envision and reach a clear achievement: balancing the budget. But once that goal is hopelessly out of reach, politicians have nothing to gain from spending discipline.

Once deficits are considered the immutable norm, elected officials have every reason to enlarge them, delivering ever-richer benefits to current voters without charging those voters the full price. Much of the cost is deferred to future taxpayers, who have no say.

Since 2001, the federal budget has gone from a $156 billion surplus to a $440 billion deficit. Outlays, which then were 17.6 percent of gross domestic product, are now 21.5 percent of GDP. Deficits don't constrain spending; they stimulate it.

Abraham Lincoln couldn't have dreamed that 21st-century Americans would still be paying for pensions created under him. Our leaders, by contrast, know full well that the debt they are piling up today will be a burden on our descendants. When they look back, they may curse us.

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  1. The fun part will be when practical near-infinite life spans are possible. What will happen to people collecting pensions, whether Social Security, state and local, or ordinary corporate pensions? 401(k), IRAs, etc, probably won’t be a problem, except when the capital itself is withdrawn because people didn’t expect to live past, say, 100.

    Gonna be some fun times.

    I also wonder what will happen to all those cops and firemen on tax-free disability pensions when medical science can pretty much cure anything. Probably nothing for retirees over a certain age, but cops who want to retire early on sweet fake disabilities? At some point, politicians and voters will wonder why a cop is being paid full pay, tax-free, for a disability which could be cured for less than a single year’s pay and all that valuable experience could be put back on the street.

    1. Well, private and public pension-paying entities could offer bounties on recipients. If you take out Joe, you get 10% of his pension or SS check added to yours (and the state or corporation wipes the other 90% off their books). Could even be broadcast.

      Fun times indeed.

      1. Great satire on the intellectual bankruptcy of modern libertarianism!.

        1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

          This is what I do… http://www.onlinecareer10.com

  2. If I counted right, this is the 3,729th severe warning about entitlement spending.
    Compare that with all the proposals by the libertarian establishment, to actually solve the problems.
    Precisely zero. Same as for health care. Or anything at all.
    Some of us have been sending money and support for over 40 years.
    For the privilege of reading what we already know.
    3,729 times
    On entitlements alone.

    Thank God this is a libertarian moment!.
    But why does that Cato survey say the libertarian label is rejected by 91% of libertarians?
    Might that be because a libertarian society is the exact opposite of a free society?

    1) In a libertarian society, we’d all live in gated communities with private police forces and competing court systems. A John Galt statue stands in every town square.

    2) In a free society, Galt’s Gulch exists right next to a Marxist commune ? lesbians up the street from a community of Christian Fundies ?. retired Catholic priests across the field from Wiccans. Each community would be voluntarily populated. And that statue would be Voltaire, inscribed: “I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”

    #1 is a cult Even Ayn Rand said (a Galt’s Gulch) would NEVER work for a society.
    Libertarian politics COULD fix America, if there was such a thing.
    To take back America, first take back our movement.
    Pro-liberty, not anti-gummint.
    Because hatred in never a unifier. But liberty always is.

    1. Oops, I missed this.

      Since 2001, the federal budget has gone from a $156 billion surplus

      Nope.
      There was no surplus. The debt never went down. It’s just another bipartisan lie (like the Postwar Boom). Democrats say Clinton did it. Republicans say Gingrich and reforms did it. But they both lie. Left – Right = Zero

      This is a data table

      This is an explanation/report

      1. Try http://www.usgovernmentdebt.us/include/usgs_chart4p04.png . Notice how the deficit went negative.

        However, you’re right about the lack of proposals to solve the problem. Even Chapman says the balanced federal budget goal is “hopelessly out of reach”. Well, it was hopelessly out of reach for years before it went negative then too.

        Haven’t we seen articles here about how Canada & New Zealand fixed their chronic deficits?

        1. . Even Chapman says the balanced federal budget goal is “hopelessly out of reach”.

          Excusing his own incompetence.

          Haven’t we seen articles here about how Canada & New Zealand fixed their chronic deficits?

          That was 2010 and total bullshit (Canada fer sher) … like Nick’s bat-shit crazy claim that postwar spending cuts “stimulated” the postwar boom … based on SHAMEFULLY BULLSHIT data from Mercatus.

          Canada’s was the late 90s, and blew up in their face. The cuts came from their medicare, which was ruled “an unconstitutional threat to human life” in 2005 .. and a COURT ORDER forced the feds to restore our GDP equivalent of a half-trillion dollars. Inconvenient truth. (Their costs are shared like our Medicaid)

          Libertarian brainwashing also ignores the MASSIVE failures in England, also caused by mindless spending cuts. HUNDREDS of patients were wheeled into empty rooms and abandoned, found dead, many in their own excrement. This is MAJOR, but violates the empty slogans to “just cut spending.” So our own establishment is now .. treasonous. Power corrupts. And we send them money!

          1. I like how you totally ignore the link that proves you were lying.

            And now you’ll attack me for pointing it out.

            1. What’s he supposed to do? When he’s wrong, he’s wrong. Do you expect him to have a comeback about everything? I sure don’t. That’s what selective quote-&-respond is for; why should we echo the parts we have no response to?

              I remember on Liberty Northwest (Fidonet echo) how the chief impresario didn’t like my practicing good Netiquette by quoting only those parts of his (or anyone’s) posts I wanted to respond to. He just didn’t get it. He made long posts, & expected everyone to respond to every point, I guess.

              1. Of course if you took SS off-budget, that surplus disappeared. There are good arguments for computing it either way.

                1. Hey look, Hihns sock puppet appears to defend him.

                  God you’re bad at this.

            2. He posted a graphic. A picture of a graph. No text to confirm that, for example, it’s current dollars, not constant dollars. Or to confirm anything at all.

              I posted detailed data. Obviously, you didn’t look.at DETAILED proof you’re wrong.
              Here’s another link you can ignore (snort)

              What’s your solution, Sammi?

        2. There’s no way to tell whether your linked graph includes the effects if intragovernmental transfers.

    2. “proposals by the libertarian establishment, to actually solve the problems.”

      ‘Fuck you, cut spending’ is not a proposal?

      1. ‘Fuck you, cut spending’ is not a proposal?

        It’s called an OUTCOME.
        How would you do it … and get elected to actually do it?
        Progressives offer free stuff.
        Ant-gubmint libs offer free tax cuts … and DEFEND Trump’s GOP near;y doubling the deficit in a single years (this one), to the largest deficit in six years. He DOES beat Obama on debt!

        1. “It’s called an OUTCOME”

          No actually, that would be “spending was cut.”

          I know you’re going to pretend you’re an expert on language like you pretend you’re an expert on everything else, but you aren’t and your assertion is wrong.

          1. His point (& mine) is that spending cuts are an outcome of legislative action, which in turn is an outcome of popular & special-interest will. Sometimes it takes a while, as w marijuana, but it follows. The actual change in the statute is nearly the last step. (The actual last step is in the hands of the police.)

            1. “His point (& mine) ”

              No parenthetical necessary, we already saw you were one of his sockpuppets.

              1. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.
                and most fools do.

                -Benjamin Franklin

          2. That’s the OUTCOME of the ACTION, spending was cut.

            How would you do it … and get elected to actually do it?

      2. How you gonna get them to cut spending?

        1. Several ways. The biggest, stop the fantasy that some super-hero libertarian will ride in to save the day. ONLY taxpayers can drain the swamp. So,… a government of UNdelegated powers. I THINK you’ve been around long enough to remember Lowell Ponte., among others. IN THE FUCKING 70s AND 80s!

          Lots of mere common-sensem fucked up by Cato/Reason/Mercatuis. Cato’s Medicare vouchers are called “privatization” because they add private insurers. Ask any accounting student, that’s adding a USELESS middleman, to increase competition IN THE WRONG MARKET! Just like proggies, they confuse coverage with healthcare. OMG

          There’s always been competition in Medicare’s REAL market -, providers — but seniors have … wait for it … no skin in the game!! YOU can probably think of 3-4 ways for seniors to have skin in the game. Try it. You’re now smarter than the entire libertarian establishment. Now run by liberty hustlers.

          1. Jesus, stop talking to yourself

            1. That’d be a heck of a Holy Bible quote.

    3. Uhhh, libertarians have offered lots of ways to balance the budget Hihn. We’re not in power anywhere, so none of it is ever going to happen though!

      We could reform welfare, not even eliminate it entirely, to cut out people who are milking the system. We could devolve 90% of the stuff FedGov does to the states, who will handle it better anyway. We could stop wasting trillions on foreign wars. If we actually paid down the debt we’d save trillions on interest.

      All those and more have been endlessly proposed. I don’t think we need to go 110% anarcho-capitalist in all areas, but we could be faaaaar more libertarian without collapsing civilization as progs seem to fear. America in the 1800s, or even the early 20th century did just fine. We could keep one or two “big guvmint” programs that might have actually been decent in intent, but bungled in practice. It’d be a far better world.

      1. Uhhh, libertarians have offered lots of ways to balance the budget Hihn.

        Uhhh, name on. You haven’t here..

        We’re not in power anywhere,

        I just told you why. It’s a DISGRACE that Johnson/Weld had NO policy platform … because rthe libertarian establishment has NOTHING.

        Voters are ready for even radical change, which happens only once or twice per century. We’ve had nearly 50 years to prepare … and we have NOTHING. We MUST take back our movement.

        We could reform welfare, not even eliminate it entirely, to cut out people who are milking the system.

        FAIL. HOW?

        We could devolve 90% of the stuff FedGov does to the states, who will handle it better anyway.

        FAIL. HOW?
        When Reagan proposed his new Federalism, STATES REFUSED IT. Because they’d get the programs, but Congress would control the funding. Would YOU accept a deal like that? “Devolving to the states” is bullshit for True Believers.

        ll those and more have been endlessly proposed.

        Yep. Just as badly as your summary.

        but we could be faaaaar more libertarian without collapsing civilization as progs seem to fear.

        They fear it … and Americans believe them … because NOBODY has anything better.

        1. Name one? Why, google not working for you? Reason archives not working? reason.org not working for you?

          Must suck to be you, what with so much not working for you.

          1. WHINING … the COWARD refuses to name one … from a BULLY who CELEBRATES feeding humans into woodchippers if trey .DARE disagree.

            Cyberbullying
            The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

            psychopath
            1. A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour.
            2. The Authoriarian Right
            3. The Authoriarian Left

            Left – Right = Zero
            (sneer)

            1. Go here and click on “Pension Reform” at the top left.

              1. Apologies. I forgot how helpless you are. Go here.

                1. There is NOTHING at your link,. It is a table of Contents (sneer)
                  Do you know how to link to a specific article?

                  1. I see. Many articles is too much for your poor brain. Explains a lot.

                    1. I see. Many articles is too much for your poor brain. Explains a lot.

                      (sneer) You got called out as a liar … and FAILED to deliver on your bullshit claim .. thereby CONFIRMING
                      a) the TOTAL lack of policy solutions by the libertarian establishment
                      b) you’re full of shit.

                      Anything else?

                      (boldface in defense of multiple aggressions … by a proven windbag)

                    2. You’re not as much fun as ButtPlug.

                    3. You’re a fucking psycho like Red Rocks. Sevo and your whole street gang.

            2. WHINING … the COWARD refuses to name one … from a BULLY who CELEBRATES feeding humans into woodchippers if trey .DARE disagree.

              This sounds awfully like another commentator…

              1. The one I addressed it to. He celebrates the feeding of humans into woodchippers. That’s what it means here. Perhaps you’re new?

        2. I agree Hihn, for once, that libertarians often aren’t great at laying out detailed mechanics of how changes to the system would work. But to say nobody EVER does it not correct. Reason has, politicians running as Ls have. But I’m not going to try to jump through your silly hoops to post to a million proposals that have been made on Reason over the years.

          The one thing I will respond to here is that I don’t mean the Feds retaining the money and letting states figure out how to spend it… I mean dropping the taxes, and leaving the money in the taxpayers hands in the first place. If states want a program they can tax their citizens and do WTF ever they want with it. Block grant type stuff is better than how many programs are run now, but still bullshit in many ways.

          1. But I’m not going to try to jump through your silly hoops to post to a million proposals that have been made on Reason over the years.

            (sneer) Not a fucking one. And I’ve been reading since it began.
            I can tell you all the BULLSHIT … like Gillespie and Mercatus claiming postwar spending cuts were the “stimulus” for a postwar boom … using bullshit GDP data.

            Living in a tribal cave can be dangerous, Progressives say the postwar boom happened despite 91% tax rates. Now … the spending cuts are real .. the 91% tax cuts were real … do the math.
            Libertarians say we had a BOOM, at 91% tax rates!!!
            Progressives (Paul Krugman) say we had a BOOM, after cutting spending by over half!!
            Which is it? (lol)

            I mean dropping the taxes, and leaving the money in the taxpayers hands in the first place.

            Tell is how … no slogans or soundbites … how to ELECT A CONGRESS to do it, or amend the Constitution. And why does even Ayn Rand ridicule what you’ve said there?

            .

      2. libertarians have offered lots of ways to balance the budget Hihn. We’re not in power anywhere, so none of it is ever going to happen though!

        Maybe if we offered better ways to do it, we would be in power to do so.

        The budget has been balanced at times in the past. It is possible.

        1. Hi Hihn’s obvious sockpuppet.

          Yet another thing you’re terrible at doing.

          1. Hey, dumbfuck .. Robert is well-known here as along-time libertarian commenter, Much longer than met.

            You fucking asshoels tell “sockpuppet” when you have NOTHING to contributes.

            1. Hi, I’m Hihn, I attack literally everyone who posts on the same thread as me, except conveniently, my sock puppet

              So obvious.

              1. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.
                and most fools do.

                -Benjamin Franklin

                Verbal Aggressiveness …A personality trait that predisposes persons to attack the self-concepts of other people instead of, or in addition to, their positions on topics of communication … Verbal aggressiveness is thought to be mainly a destructive form of communication

                Verbal hostility, or in other words, verbal harassment or abuse is basically a negative defining statement told to or about you or withholding a response and pretending the abuse is not happening.

                Cyberbullying
                The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

                Stalker
                A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention

                1. You’re not foo!ing anyone Robert.

          2. Hey, at least I know how to use bold face. (Actually he does too, but seems to prefer caps.)

            Can I help it if I agree w him (mostly) on the issue here? I’m just a better & less irascible rhetorician. But he’s less irascible than he used to be on Libernet-d. Even then, though, it was usually others who started the flaming.

            Hey, can I be both Hihn’s & John’s sock puppets? How many fingers can you fit up there?

            1. Hey look, he conveniently shows back up to defend his sockpuppet, and then his sock puppet shows up to defend himself.

              So obvious.

            2. “Even then, though, it was usually others who started the flaming. ”

              Oh come the fuck on guy, you can’t just give the game away like that.

              1. What’s your solution, Sammi?

            3. Libernet-D!. OMG. You were THERE? Then you DO recall when we competed on proposals to transition back TOWARD a free society. And nothing improves the product or service better than competition.

              Repeal Medicaid. Goobers. Back then, we ALL knew that private charity and charity hospitals provided universal TREATMENT — regardless of income. It did SOUND good that health care should be a right instead of relying on charity. Now we should be SHOWING that it FAILED.
              Americans would NEVER allow Americans to suffer … like the politicians have done.

              Americans are READY for ..
              “Who would you trust YOUR life to. The most generous and compassionate people in world history? Or politicians who promise they would NEVER cut human benefits and always increase taxes instead? /sarc

              If Americans have ALWAYS been willing to provide health care to the uninsured (aka everyone) .. and Bernie is the ONLY one claiming to provide it, who wins? THAT is why progressives are kicking our ass … on everything .. in public opinion. Trumpcare’s FAILURE made Obamacare more popular than ever. Guess why?

              No alernatives.

        2. Maybe if we offered better ways to do it, we would be in power to do so.

          Precisely! Last year, the stars were aligned to elect Johnson/Weld. The ONLY reason Trump was elected is nobody also promised radical change.

          In that environment, when we had the ONLY seasoned and successful executive branch candidates … what if they had a comprehensive platform of policy SOLUTIONS s … targeted to the entire top half of the Nolan Chart (a majority of voters)

          Cynically, he could have probably been elected on one simple plank. What can an independent President do? What’s his most power?

          “My fellow Americans, whatever any of us campaigns on is useless jargon, in a Congress so fiercely divided. So Priority One is to get them working together. Here is my plan. I will VETO every single bill with less than a 2/3 veto-proof majority … even my own proposals. If they can pass nothing, how will they get re-elected, That is my sacred pledge to you, because — America is DEAD if we cannot unite. ”

          YOU can play a major role. ASK your candidates if they will support Gary Johnson’s Unity Proposal … hold their noses if needed, and work together to REALLY make America great again.”

          (fade-out with this banner — Left and Right are obsolete)

          Goobers would screech because I don’t show have him bellowing useless anti-gummint slogans and soundbites

          1. “Precisely! ”

            Hi I’m Hihn, the only person I agree with just happens to be my obvious sockpuppet.

            Jesus you’re bad at this.

          2. Unfortunately I’m afraid actually following such a policy would just get the legislature united against you as executive. You have to know how to use your leverage by offering to side w even a slim majority.

            1. Stop talking to yourself Hihn.

              1. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.
                and most fools do.

                -Benjamin Franklin

                What’s your solution,. Sammi?

              2. Hey, even Jesus talks to himself…didn’t you say so? So why not Hihn?

            2. such a policy would just get the legislature united against you as executive.

              So what? They’d have no recourse …so how many would be dumb enough to even try … defying the EXPLICIT action a President was elected to do .. in the ONLY nationwide race.

              He’s secure for four years. They’re secure for only two.
              Game. Set, Match

              And that’s just one plank

              1. You’re not foo!ing anyone Robert.

                1. No, Robert is Hihn. Hihn is not Robert. Keep your conspiracies straight, Mr. President!

        3. Robert, again I agree than Ls need to be better. But many things have been offered up as ideas. It still hasn’t worked because the part is TOO strictly ideological IMO. Strict libertarians are about as “out there” as communists are. We’re on the correct side of things of course, but to middle of the road folks common sense and removing government from some areas entirely seems CRAZY because of decades of conditioning. If Ls want to win, we need to be principled and pragmatic at the same time. More principled than the Republicans have ever been, but still willing to accept only a small fraction of what we might ideally want, because at least a small change is in the right direction.

          But we have proposed many things. Some the same as Republicans, like school vouchers. Not being opposed to toll roads when they are properly structured. Many other pay for use changes versus all taxpayers paying for services they don’t use. So on and so forth.

          1. So…you must be Chapman’s sock puppet, right? Everybody’s got a few, ya know.

          2. But seriously, folks, this is why Robert A. Wilson wrote, “Convictions make convicts.”

            There seems also to be prejudice against a policy of opposing waste, fraud, and abuse, because everybody‘s vs. that, & we’re unlike everybody. What, like we should be understood as in favor of waste, fraud, & abuse? Sometimes it’s good to be like everybody. Sometimes people who do the work of finding some waste get att’n given to it, & actually gets it eliminated. We could do more of that. Don’t think of it as being “efficiency experts for the tyrant”, think of it as a good deed for humanity.

            1. Yeah sure, going after obvious waste and stupidity is a great thing Ls should be doing. Things like streamlining government programs that shouldn’t exist in the first place is certainly better than letting them remain all fucked up. As things currently stand I still think trying to gradually take over the Republican party is the better path than the Libertarian Party. Unless we have major reforms of election laws, and/or a MAJOR event that completely obliterates the Rs or Ds a third party just isn’t going to get anywhere. The system is rigged too heavily against third parties.

              Of course we can and shold try to change such slanted laws, but that will be a long road.

              1. As things currently stand I still think trying to gradually take over the Republican party is the better path

                Already did that. FAILED. The extreme social conservatives killed it … as Goldwater warned. A death fueled by Ron Paul.

                FACT: We already have a majority … but we IGNORE it ,… using your excuse
                FACT: Over 60% of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal
                FACT: That means spread throughout BOTH parties (including indies who quit both)
                FACT: 91% of those libertarians REJECT being called libertarian.
                FACT: The libertarian establishment (movement) is as manipulative liars as the two major elites.
                FACT: A libertarian POLICY platform could have won the White House last year.
                FACT: The “strategy” of running on libertarian slogans was TOTALLY discredited in 2016.
                FACT: The libertarian movement is stone-cold dead. But the VALUES have a rock-solid majority. The individual vs the collective.

                1. And the Ls have put out policies, local, state, and national since being founded! And nobody votes for them. And the election structure is slanted against them. Which is why it has gone nowhere despite most people essentially being MODERATE libertarians. NOT hardcore libertarians.

                  Hence I would advise the L party to make moderate, but in the right direction, policy proposals and do what they can. But I still doubt it will get them anywhere. If the L party had a billionaire a la Trump or Perot run that might actually work. But barring that it’s going nowhere anytime soon.

                  Hence wielding power in the R party is probably as good as it gets for now. I agree that bible thumpers have fucked stuff up in that respect, but they are largely dying off in droves, and as they do it is possible that we might be able to become the main controlling contingent in the R party. It’ll always have divisions, but just as the Neocons took the helm L leaning people could theoretically be the ruling faction that calls the shots.

              2. vek again babbles slogan and soundbites FAILING

                Thinks babbling theories and wishes is superior to elections and will of the people. The supreme arrogance of the authoritarian right.

                1. God you’re an idiot. And you confuse the fuck out of me. You are vaguely libertarian on some things, but then you’re a total progtard in other ways. I’m all for being pragmatic in gaining more liberty incrementally, but the things you want are often very anti liberty. We’re NOT a Democracy, and for good reason.

                  Which is specifically why many of the things you advocate, even if they are popular, are still wrong.

    4. I can suggest a probable solution, but ain’t nobody gonna admit they like it. Sometime in the near future the Islamofools will finally pull off a stunt stupid enough to get the American people really angry. Much angrier than 9/11 did. And when that happens, America will go into full-on Imperial mode, and we can start paying entitlements out of the proceeds from word conquest.

      Kinda hard on the rest of the world, which is why I really wish the Islamotwits would sit down with the Japanese and have a nice long talk about how unpleasant life is likely to get in the Middle East if they keep pestering us.

      1. I can suggest a probable solution, but ain’t nobody gonna admit they like it.

        That same imperialism is what caused 9/11.

        1. No. 9/11 was caused by an absense of Imperialism. Islam has ALWAYS been agressive-to-nuts violent unless it was being firmly supressed, either by strong islamic governments or stron non-Islamic Governments. (Sorry about the inconsistent capitols: i’m just too annoyed to fix). The Colonial period saw the gradual supression of the nastier aspects of Islam, to the point where there were a couple of halfway civilized countries with large Islamic populations, like Lebanon and Iran.

          Then we took the pressure off, started punishing people like the Shah who depended on strong, nasty secret police organizations to keep Islamic idiocy 8n check, and before you know it, here we are.

          Make no mistake; Multiculturalism is bullshit. Islam is not civilized by modern standards, nor will it be until the Islamopests grasp the costs of NOT being civilized.

          1. No. 9/11 was caused by an absense of Imperialism

            (snort) Never heard of Israel?

            Pay attention. This is not a bigoted hate screed .. like yours

            Google the Rhineland Massacres of 1096 .. also called The First Holocaust Thousands of Jews were slaughtered … also in the Rhineland … also by Christians ..this time Crusaders. Attacking what they still called “Christ Killers.” On their way to Jerusalem … where they slaughtered and evicted more Christ-Killers.

            So HOW did the Jews get back INTO Jerusalem?
            Umm, the Muslims allowed them back in. For which they were rewarded … HOW?

            You’ve probably also been brainwashed about “kill the infidels.” (lol) In the Quran, that’s ONLY if they attack the temple, but MAY NOT pursue because that would no longer be self-defense.

            Umm, the ENTIRE western concept of allowable force in self-defense .. NAP .. comes from MOHAMMED! Christ said “turn the other cheek” … and far greater acts of submission, Educate yourself by reading His Sermon on the Mount.

            While you’re there check Deuteronomy 13 … the ONLY Holy Book that commands to kill the infidels … including the IMMEDIATE slaying of one’s own brother. wife, child or friend. In all of human history, NOTHING is mote totally barbaric.

            Shame on you,. Save it for your own Klavern.

            1. I’m not saying that Islam has aways been dominated by Barbarians. I AM saying that it has always had a variety of small subsets that delighted in pestering the neighbors. If not kept under control by a strong central government, Islamic or not, those small subsets grow and become international pests.

              At the end of the Colonial era, we abdicated. We started punishing national leaders like the Shah who were dragging their nations into the mid-19th Century because they weren’t ultra-modern pictures of Liberal Enlightenment. Not too surprisingly, the various nut-sects that were festering around the edges of Islam took advantage. The problem is an absence of Imperialism. Which is too bad, because there isn’t anyone in a position to provide an Imperialism even close to as benign as the far-from-perfect Victorian British. So when it returns, and if the Islamotwits keep attacking the West it will, it is going to be a lot closer to the Imperialism of the Belgian Congo.It ain’t gonna be pretty.

              1. The thing is, I seriously think the time is coming when the United States people are going to lose their collective temper. I DON’T think this is a good thing. I DO think it is as utterly predictable as the sunrise. I think that there is going to be a big terror attack; something along the lines of a big fuel-air detonation. Maybe in Detroit, where the local government pretty much isn’t, so the terrorists could work on it with little fear of interruption. I think that such an attack will do us, if possible, even less actual damage than 9/11, but will kill more innocents. And the resulting spasm of hatred will have all kinds of unpleasant consequences, many of them impossible to take back. Anti-war protesters? FDR threw a bunch of them in jail so hard they bounced. I think we’ll see that again…and worse. I dread the Imperial America that’s coming. Not so much for myself, because I’m white and over 50. It won’t get bad for my kind until I’m safely dead. But it will be the death of the American Experiment, just as sure as if the paranoid expectations some had of Obama had been true and he WAS a full-bore Socialist Revolutionary a la Salvadore Allende. Except I don’t think we’ll get lucky enough to be ruled by a Pinochet who is willing to step down while still living.

                1. I think that there is going to be a big terror attack; something along the lines of a big fuel-air detonation.

                  I’ve described how it will be caused by the same people who brainwashed you … and by you both allowing and defending it.

                  the paranoid expectations some had of Obama had been true and he WAS a full-bore Socialist Revolutionary a la Salvadore Allende

                  What about YOUR equally paranoid expectations?
                  The Obama psychos are the same fucking conservatives fueling YOUR hysteria .. the exact same way that tyrants have created and then exploited hysteria for millennia.

              2. You FAIL to address our imperialism in the Middle East.

                We stuck our nose where it did not belong, in the war between Japan and China, and suffered Pearl Harbor.

                We stuck our nose where it did not belong, in the thousand year war between two religions, and suffered 9/11. (AND we’re on the WRONG side, so you’ve been brainwashed by that imperialism, instead of knowing the history of the area)

                9/11 was BECAUSE of our interference in the Middle East. Bin laden said so at the time.

                ISIS recruits by claiming a Judeo-Christian war on Islam with LOTS of proof, including you..
                One example. Our military should guarantee that Israel has the only nukes in the area. But if nobody else has nukes, why does Israel NEED any, except for MORE aggression, from THE longest-standing aggressor in all of humankind.

                You also FAIL to address Muslims allowing the Jews back into Jerusalem AFTER Christians both expelled and slaughtered them.

                Selective history has long been the tool of tyranny.

                1. Thanks, I’d forgotten about the nukes.

                  The managed media means the authoritarian right never knows that the Jews acquired that land by committing the only mass genocide of an entire culture in all of human history … ruled it for fewer than 300 years … and lost it entirely on their own, after their civil war, when Jews REFUSED to defend their fellow Jews from invasion, (The civil was was over Solomon enslaving his own people to build his temple)

                  Muslims know the history.

    5. But why does that Cato survey say the libertarian label is rejected by 91% of libertarians?

      Because Cato falsely believes that it’s reasonable to tell someone “no, you’re really a libertarian, even if you explicitly and emphatically say you’d rather be boiled in oil”.

  3. “In a libertarian society, we’d all live in gated communities with private police forces and competing court systems. A John Galt statue stands in every town square.”

    The US was pretty much a libertarian society when it began, at least in the northern states. Since then, the politics of dependency – making everyone dependent on government for something – would make it difficult to transition back to a libertarian society, but your hypothesis about everyone living in a gated community is just that – a hypothesis.

    Most people are libertarians in their everyday lives. Most people, at least until recently, support themselves and their families and do what they want while minding their own business. It’s when they get in the voting booths that people delegate their stealing, kidnapping, deceit, etc. to government officials.

    1. “The US was pretty much a libertarian society when it began, at least in the northern states.”

      Uh, not quite. The northern colonies mostly derived from religious fundamental groups with very strict ideas about proper society and behavior. And the New Englanders especially were not shy about promoting and propagating their views (still the case today). The southern colonies established outliers of displaced aristocracy and, of course, the slave-based economy transplanted from the Caribbean. The vestigates of New Amsterdam, around NYC, were more inclined to free market principles, but still supported the English king (and became the HQ for the “invading” British force). Any true libertarian spirit might have been found in the then western frontier, ancestors of today’s hill-billy culture. (and full credit to Collin Woodard–I recommend his American Nations)

      So arguments that we have to return to founding root ideas are unfounded.

      1. In what areas??? We were more libertarian then on the whole than now. Taxes were lower. Vastly fewer laws. Society, not the government, imposed lots of standards on people, but that’s perfectly compatible with libertarianism. Honestly I’d say 1800s, to maybe early 1900s was our golden era as far as libertarian politics go. No place on earth was probably freer than the wild west baby!

        The USA was never perfect, but it was probably the best example ever in human history. We should take the good from back then (a lot) and keep some of the good that has happened since then (some to be sure) and make a better country than there ever has been, including the USA of the 1800s!

        1. If you mean in the early history there hasn’t been enough time to enact laws and levy taxes you’re on to something. Given enough time we all fuck ourselves with good intentions.

          1. Given enough time we all fuck ourselves with good intentions.

            Only because nobody has any viable alternatives

          2. That’s basically it. We hadn’t had time to fuck it up yet! As I have got older I’ve realized that the founding fathers took WAY too much for granted with the constitution. They really should have been far more explicit in limiting government powers. I think most of them, being the smart chaps they were, had the right ideas about things. They wrote it assuming common sense on later interpreters… That was their mistake.

            But there was a strong philosophical streak, inspired by their clear and obvious intentions, that was very strong in the 1800s. This carried on into today, but really lost steam during the 20s/30s more than anything. Since then we’ve accepted government getting involved in everything, much to our detriment.

            1. You missed it all. And reply like a tyrant.

              THE founding father, Jefferson, said the exact opposite of you.
              Consent of the governed … when did WE consent to be governed?
              We are now — as Jefferson argued … governed by the consent of the dead.

              He KNEW … because he understood the cleansing purity of consent … that NO constitution can live … in the HEARTS AND MINDS of man … unless THOSE men and women OWNED IT, by their consent.

              We LOST because of YOU. Assholes defended the Constitution instead of its underlying principles, which IS dictatorial … according to Thomas Jefferson himself.

              Prove it to yourself, Ask any friends, especially libertarians why we should not have a new Constitutional Convention NOW. Draw them out, if needed. If they express fear at what the result might be … YOU ARE TALKING TO A FUCKING TYRANT. (And/or a Rothbardian)

              Would YOU support a Constitutional Convention now?

              1. Right this second I would probably be okay with it actually. At other points in the recent past, no. I don’t think the Rs would try to slide anything too horrible in, and since it’s all split with a leaning towards Rs they might hash something decent out.

                The problem with the constitution is that they weren’t explicit enough in chaining the government down. If you believe in a Republic with limitations on the power of the state versus pure Democracy, then the will of the people is irrelevant. Obviously peoples opinions should be minded, but if a Muslim terrorist attack happened tomorrow, and 80% of the country voted to summarily execute all Muslims in the USA… Would that be right? Of course not. But that’s pure Democracy for you.

                So there are LIMITS on what the will of the people should be able to do. We could improve on the constitution, but it would mostly be limiting the power of the federal government more than we presently have, NOT allowing to do more stupid shit that is popular like you apparently want.

              2. Also you’re wrong on Jefferson. He didn’t believe in Democracy like you do. Yes, optimally you want consent of the governed, but with limits. I believe he would agree with me if the choice is between amending the constitution to give the government more tyrannical powers versus keeping it as is… He’d want to keep it as is.

                And there is nothing wrong with ignoring the will of morons in the pursuit of freedom. The founding fathers were ALL ignoring the will of a large portion of the population because they knew they were right. They also weren’t a bunch of pussy pacifists who strictly adhered to the NAP. They KILLED PEOPLE who opposed their desire for freedom. Which sometimes must be done. Including killing the well intended idiots who oppose you.

                The world is a fucked up place, so sometimes you have to do bad things for a better result in the long run. If a bunch of pussy NAP adhering twats had been around in 1776 the greatest nation in human history never would have existed. Thank god the FFs weren’t cucks!

        2. We should take the good from back then (a lot) and keep some of the good that has happened since then (some to be sure) and make a better country than there ever has been, including the USA of the 1800s!

          How?

          1. That’s about a million words worth of stuff to write. Don’t have the time today! But largely keep personal freedoms that came about from society losing its moral values, even though many of those things aren’t necessarily good, they are freedom oriented. Stuff like any sodomy laws should stay gone. But we should get rid of all the nanny state stuff, like minimum wages, over regulation etc.

            1. That’s about a million words worth of stuff to write

              Not if you knew the answer!

              But we should get rid of all the nanny state stuff, like minimum wages, over regulation etc.

              Nothing personal, It’s not your job to do so. But you have no idea how to argue and defend any of that ,…. because the movement has failed YOU. And the cause of liberty. Thus all of us.

        3. In what areas??? We were more libertarian then on the whole than now.

          Sure, if you only care about taxes.

          But if you care about representation (women couldn’t vote in most states, various Jim Crow laws kept blacks from voting in others), if you care about owning property (in many states women couldn’t own property), religious freedom (Incorporation wouldn’t apply the First Amendment to the states for a long time, and religious tests for state offices, state sponsorship of specific religions and so-on was accepted), privacy rights (we’re decades before Griswold v. Connecticut and a full century before Lawrence v Texas), family (heck, forget SSM, we’re talking miscegenation laws), blue laws, gun control laws (remember, it wasn’t until Heller that the 2nd Amendment was read to guarantee an individual right to bear arms)…

          So sure. If you just want to talk money? Then go for it. But there were lots of government-imposed standards on people, lots of restrictions on personal freedom, lots of criminalizing behavior that folks thought was “immoral”.

          So taxes and drugs. That was more “free”. But if you weren’t white and male, or if you deviated from the norm in other ways? Then there were a lot of problem.s

          In fact, your

          1. That stuff is mostly all true. But you’re ignoring a thousand other counter points as well. You didn’t have minimum wages. You didn’t have zoning laws. More property rights in general in many respects. You had MORE gun rights in many ways.

            You can come up with points on either side, but frankly most of it comes down to identity politics stuff of black people, women, and gays got screwed. Which is more or less true. But if you were a white man it was fucking amazing. My point is that we should take the best of things from back then, and now. I want EVERYBODY to be able to live like a white man in the 1800s if you care to think of it that way.

    2. It’s when they get in the voting booths that people delegate their stealing, kidnapping, deceit, etc. to government officials.

      Blame the voters? When NOBODY offers ANY alternative? For ANYTHING?

      … everyone living in a gated community is just that – a hypothesis.

      It’s STUPID, but IS libertopia, for libertarians only. A fantasy society where everyone thinks like you is … a cult. Like the Moonies, Davidians, and Jonestown.

      making everyone dependent on government for something – would make it difficult to transition back to a libertarian society

      Simply show a better way. Pro-liberty libertarians did it routinely. Privatization proposals competed (thus got better) Here’s just one. Published in the 90s, a proposal from the 1970s! Gone.

      Anti-government screeching now dominates. People believe what they WANT to believe. One can describe tax credits, evolving back over decades. But Ron Paul waves his arms and whines, “It’s simple. Repeal the income tax and replace it with nothing!.”

      It’s TOTALLY stupid, but people WANT to believe it, and have been flocking to snake oil salesmen for centuries. What if he said, “Repeal the income tax and run the federal government on FICA taxes?” He’d be laughed at and ridiculed. Americans are EAGER for change. We’ve had 50 years to prepare. Nothing but snake oil.

      1. Yeah. Murray Rothbard criticized the Clark for Prez campaign & others around then for attempting to be “responsible” by actually proposing budgets. Yeah, like we’d get more att’n & be taken more seriously screaming for 0 all the time.

        Look back at Fri.’s HyR entry calling Right To Try trivial & calling for repeal of food & drug laws. It’s true, Right To Try is trivial, it’s based on a misconception of current statutes. But calling for abolition won’t get you anywhere either. I mentioned in the comments a couple of reforms that might be achievable & worthwhile. “Intended use” is the vulnerable point in the state & fed’l laws on foods, drugs, cosmetics, med’l devices, food additives & supplements, “pesticides” (a statutory term of art that includes some other things as well), controlled substance analogs, refrigerants, & a bunch of other technologic goodies. If we can get judges’ rulings?or better, legisl’n?to narrow the understanding of “intended”, we’ll go a long way toward bypassing the restrictions while leaving all the wording of these regulatory statutes in place.

        1. Stop talking to yourself Hihn.

          1. He wasn’t even in that thread that I can recall. As of this morning, they took that entry out of HyR; I don’t know why they do that. Can’t erase my browsing hx, though.

            1. Nobody was talking about a thread Hihn. Takes your meds.

        2. Rothbard destroyed libertarianism. He LITERALLY said that seeking public office is statist. Ask his cult how to achieve a free society … they have no clue … nor do they give a shit. It’s all self-righteous posturing. LIBERTARIAN fundamentalism.

          They are AUTHORITARIAN, by REJECTING our right to form governments as voluntary associations.

          Ayn Rand, for all of her rigidity in philosophy was the exact opposite on politics, She was explicitly Jeffersonian, on consent of the governed. She actually said that “voluntary taxation” would be the LAST step toward a free society. The LAST reform to pursue … AFTER government had already been reduced (we can disagree on HOW reduced). This is elementary logic. “First, you change the culture”

          (Now I’ll enrage the Goobers.) ANY government based on consent of the governed is both moral and just, politically. It may not be ideal, philosophically, but it is a just government. DAMMIT, that’s the link between Rand and Jefferson. The path toward an ideal society.

          I like how you close with results rather than tactics.

          cont’d

          1. 2 of 2

            Abortion is, to me, like gun rights and a few others. NEITHER extreme makes sense, because they are all conflicts between TWO absolute rights … and NO right can be totally absolute … over another fundamental right… because they are each absolute to themselves and co-equal. That is what unalienable MEANS.

            So the extremes seek to use government force to impose THEIR preference, between two EQUAL rights. THAT is where Gary could have engaged the majority, as a unifier, when he spoke of going down the middle … but never had any examples. That means down the middle between those trying to impose their own views by force, who can be BLOWN AWAY. By tolerance. win-Win, not Win-Lose by force.

  4. The federal budget surplus of $156 billion for 2001 does not account for the intragovernmental borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund. When that is accounted for, there was a budget deficit as evidenced by the increase in national debt. What about the $440 budget surplus figure — does that also ignore intragovernmental borrowing?

    1. Oooops, my point on the 2001 budget deficit was already explained by Michael Hinn. But my question on the $440 budget surplus figure remains.

      1. Interesting question, don’t have time to google it now though… I hope it does… If it’s really even higher than that… UGH.

        1. He said surplus, not deficit, unless you UGH on surpluses! There’s nothing to google. Just follow my link to the annual debt at the end of each year. No surplus. And Trump’s GOP will make it MUCH worse. The worst deficit in six years …. since when it was declining from the recovery.

          The first non-recession debt increase since the Reagan years. Draining the swamp!

          1. I misspoke. I should have written “$440 budget deficit figure” since that is what is in Chapman’s article.

            1. Ahhh, budgeted. Gotcha. Thanks,

              But announced today, Trump’s GOP will nearly double the deficit this year .. to $995 billion .. the highest in six years (since the earliest days of the recovery) .. and the highest non-recession deficit since Reagan.

      2. I don’t recall ever seeing a surplus claimed that high. The biggest claim in the 90s was about $250 billion. And just looking at the debt each year proves it never happened

        Trump and the Republicans will nearly double the deficit this year: “The U.S. Treasury expects to borrow $955 billion this fiscal year, according to a documents released Wednesday. It’s the highest amount of borrowing in six years, and a big jump from the $519 billion the federal government borrowed last year.”

        Goobers be sayin’ that tax cuts shrnk government. How stupid is THAT. Trump’s draining the swamp … like a progressive … free stuff and deficits. But progressive offer free stuff … and Trump (like many libertarians( offer free tax cuts.

        BUT HE’S NOR HILLARY! (lol)

        1. I don’t think Trump is Jesus… But if Hillary were in there we’d probably have even more government spending, higher taxes, and she would be trying to slap on even more regulations, not the mention all the crazy prog shit her base would be screeching for. He was the one eyed king in the land of the blind as far as the 2016 election went.

          1. I don’t think Trump is Jesus.

            You don’t have to. You’ve bought the brainwashing They’ve exploited your Hillary hatred, just as they exploited your presumed Obama hatred.

            Hillary, with a Republican House and Senate would be INFINITELY better than the fucking psycho we have now. With his goddamn police state.

            He pulls THE most blatant fascism and police state in our history… as bad as ANY dictatorship … but his snowflakes shrug and say, Hillary would be worse. GOOD GOD.

            He did say his cult would support him, even if he shot somebody to death, with witnesses … and they STILL supported him … when he described them as mindless assholes, totally devoid of ANY moral sense. Because private mail server.

            Bye, bye American pie

            1. LOL I voted for Gary Johnson, both times! And the Libertarian in EVERY election since I could vote. So you have me pegged wrong.

              But it’s pure hyperbole to say he has been the most police state president ever. Bush II was definitely worse than Trump has been so far. Obama and Trump are round abouts the same. What has Trump ACTUALLY DONE that was “police state?” He’s continued previous BS he didn’t start. But he didn’t start up any massive new programs.

              Picking the lesser of two evils sucks. I’d like to have had a perfect candidate, even Johnson was pretty lame really. But I’m glad we got Trump instead of Hillary. Just as I would have preferred Mussolini to Stalin. They’re both pretty garbage, and I’d prefer Thomas Jefferson to either… But if I HAD TO CHOOSE, Mussolini allowed way more freedom, and his people had it a lot better. Hitler versus Stalin would be tougher, but as long as you’re not a Jew Hitler was still a lot better than Stalin for ethnic Germans compared to Stalin and the Russians.

              Those are fucked up examples, but they’re also factually correct. You could own property in Nazi Germany, own a business, change jobs as desired, a lot less likely to be thrown in a death camp… Not so in the USSR.

      3. No, it was explained by me.

  5. The important things in life are simple.
    The simple things in life are very hard.

    Social Security:
    Admit is was a scam from the start; politicians wanted the old guys to retire so the unemployed young men could get their jobs and not riot in the streets.
    Remove the earnings cap from the tax to infuse a few more bucks.
    Remove the disability portion and make ‘social security’ a pure retirement program. Either roll disability into medicare/medicaid, or just set up a new bureau to deny (I mean review) the claims.
    Index the retirement age to life expectancy. (closing the gap will take a few years, but we all have time, right?)
    Pick a year when enrollments will cease. Those born after that year will be on their own.
    Medicare:
    Everybody has health insurance now. Stop enrollments in Medicare. Continue the program until those enrolled die out and the program dries up.
    Health care / Health insurance:
    There is a character limit, so you have to figure that out on your own.

    1. Pretty much. Another alternative to keep SS going is to just invest even a portion of it into REAL investments instead of uber low yield government bonds. It would be waaay more than solvent if they invested even 25% or 50% into the stock market, even keeping the rest in shit bonds. These problems are all so easy to solve it makes me want to puke to see the can just get kicked down the road endlessly.

      1. Pretty much. Another alternative to keep SS going is to just invest even a portion of it into REAL investments instead of uber low yield government bond

        Impossible. Every penny AND MORE is budgeted for paying benefits. Even Cato’s bullshit says it’s Congress’s job pay for it!

        Michael Tanner just babbles that transition costs are a one-time thing. .. (lol) … the “one time” lasts 30 years or more. with losses declining slowly from $370 billion per year. But, he says, indexing military spending to inflation ALONE will save $20 billion!

        1. Solving one problem causes others, VEK, you should know that. If the feds invested our social security money in the stock market, the amounts of capital would be so huge, that with even minimal returns, “SS-Corp” would be making so much money that every public debt would be paid, and eventually, taxation of ANY kind would be unnecessary. The downside is that as the major stock holder of every corporation on earth, the federal government would very soon be telling the corporations how to run their business, what to sell, for how much and who to hire and who to fire. Debts and deficits would be a thing of the past, but the federal government would own every corporation of earth. It would be the ultimate expression of fascism, and a de facto world government. No matter how saintly and beneficent our government is now, once it ruled the world, it wouldn’t be so nice, i bet.

          1. But … how can you get elected by shitting in Medicare and Social Security?
            Your math also sucks.

          2. It’s a legit fear. But also overblown. First off you could write the law so that they are ONLY able to legally buy into say index funds that own the whole DOW, NASDAQ etc. No individual investing, period. So they could not have anything close to a major share in any given company. They could also make the law say that IT IS FORBIDDEN to ever vote on any matter based upon shares owned in any business.

            As far as them controlling huge amounts… Yes and no. SS trust fund doesn’t need to be that huge to be solvent with most of the cash coming in and going out every year. A few trillion like it is now would suffice. Public pensions already own more stock than that in the US, and though there is crony shit going on, the market has survived. If market returns ever got too great and the fund was actually growing after paying out benefits at too great a pace, the law could state that FICA taxes will be automatically lowered to XX amount, ensuring the FedGov never ends up owning 20 trillion of the market when it really only needs saaay 3 trillion to keep SS solvent.

            The problems can be worked out. Not saying our idiot politicians will do it, but it is more than possible.

            1. It’s a legit fear. But also overblown.

              Repealing Social Security and Medicare is EASY

              First off you could write the law so that they are ONLY able to legally buy into say index funds that own the whole DOW, NASDAQ etc. No individual investing, period. hey could also make the law say that IT IS FORBIDDEN to ever vote on any matter based upon shares owned in any business.

              Says the BLATANT fascist, thus proving my point (shudder)

              1. LOL Just like state and local public pension funds do now! It’s sooooo fascist!

                It’s not ideal, and it could be arranged differently, or optimally gotten rid of completely… But it is at least a viable way to “save” the current system. No program, or some other program forcing people to prove they have an account with a private brokerage might be less “big governmenty” but not by much. It’d be the same argument as Obamacare, FORCING somebody to buy a private retirement account.

                1. From a quick search?, it looks like SS (old-age, surviors and disability) had total expenditures in 2016 of about $922,276,000,000, or $922 billion. Assuming 5% annual rate-of-return, you would need a pot of about $18,445,520,000,000, or $18,455 billion invested to pay off just from the growth.

                  The current reserve is $2,847,687,000,000, or $2,847 billion. At a 5% annual rate-of-return, that can only cover about $142,384,350,000 or $142 billion from growth, or 15% of annual expenditures.

                  Doing a “back of the envelope” calculation, it looks like based just on growth, it would take until 2055 or so for the reserve to be large enough to support the 2016 pay-outs, and that’s assuming that pay-ins (up to that point) are entirely covering the pay-outs?.

                  Factoring in growing retirement population, inflation and so-long is more financial statistics then I can do, but the bottom-line is that while investing might help, it’s not enough.
                  ________
                  ?All numbers pulled from ssa.gov
                  ?And if you recall, the entire “Social Security is running out” problem is that while pay-ins currently are higher then pay-outs, the boomers retiring is going to reverse that.

                  1. But it WOULD. You don’t need, or even necessarily want, the income paying the whole thing. You want it to close the negative cash flow they have.

                    2015 they had 70 billion less cash come in from current payees than they needed to send out. That’s the big problem. They’re going to have to start drawing down their slush fund to pay current expenses soon. Which only exacerbates the problem as investment income from bonds will drop. They made 93 billion in interest in 2015, so still came out ahead, but that’s coming to an end now.

                    5% is conservative, 7-8 would be more realistic for super long term historically. 7% would have brought them in approximately 196 billion. More than double what they make now, and nearly triple the shortfall from that same year.

                    In other words they could grow their way out of worrying about the negative cash flow from current receipts. Even your 5% would do this maybe. Government bonds won’t.

        2. But they have a ton of assets that are not paid out every year. The supposed trust fund. They would need to get their cash back from FedGov, which would have to sell bonds to the market to provide it to them. And then they would invest it in the market. Their returns would be greater, hence the negative cash flow would go away on paper by appreciation of the stocks value. They would receive dividends on many stocks, but could pay cash out by selling Gov bond assets. After a period of transition it would be in the black every year, and the bond market will have readjusted. But it would be solvent.

          1. But they have a ton of assets that are not paid out every year. The supposed trust fund.

            IT’S BEEN DECLINING FOR YEARS

        3. Not impossible at all. We just transition from pay-as-you-go to mandatory retirement savings accounts. Pay-as-you go is a big part of the problem. It makes a big fraction of the savings rate invariant to the rest of the economy.

          You miss the point. It’s not about the excesses beyond what’s budgeted to pay for benefits: “benefits” (that is, current consumption by retired people) should come entirely from income that was saved and invested in the past. This is inherently preferable to redistributing a fixed fraction from a young person today to an old person tomorrow because markets allocate capital more efficiently than governments and because the present value of future consumption is not fixed.

          1. Totally. I’m for getting rid of SS via a phase out period of some sort. But I’m just saying that even if we kept the stupid program we could do it a LOT better. That is the thing that pisses me off more than anything about all the big government welfare programs. Even if you concede society has some obligation to do XYZ, you could do XYZ 10,000,000 times better/more efficiently than they do it now, and without all the disincentives to work and such that exist now. It’s a sad thing that I, someone wholly against socialist welfare systems, could easily create better socialist welfare systems than the socialists!!! Maybe that explains why I’m not a socialist though. LOL

            1. Totally. I’m for getting rid of SS via a phase out period of some sort.

              Totally, every penny is budgeted to pay benefits … Current taxes now totally insufficient for even THAT … but you say the taxes can go elsewhere instead, because …. you BELEEB!

              Progressives are not the only totally brainwashed snowflakes,

              1. No, it’s because of math. If they made better investments, their total income taxes+profit would still be growing the trust fund for many years, if not forever. I haven’t run the exact numbers, but if it would still run into the red at some point just with the investment increases, with very minor tweaks at that point you could keep it in the black forever.

          2. Not impossible at all. We just transition from pay-as-you-go to mandatory retirement savings accounts.

            SIMPLE! Just elect a Congress willing to end all Social Security benefits next year!

    2. How can you get elected with anything even close to that?

      You have no idea how to REPLACE Medicare? No idea how to REPLACE Medicaid? No idea how a free market would do ANYTHING better than government? Then we’re dead.

      90% of what government does is what the people want done. We have no way to do any of it better? Then progressive will continue kicking our ass in the court of public opinion.

      “The free market does EVERYTHING better,”
      “How?”
      “Just BELEEB!”

      1. Do you think you are reaching and persuading anyone with these screeds?

        1. I can’t get over the pathetic, obvious sockpuppeting.

          1. Sammi
            I can’t get over the pathetic, obvious sockpuppeting.

            You cannot seem to grasp ANY of the issues at hand … with all your cowardly evasions and WHINING.

            33 comments, NOTHING on topic.
            All revenge for me kicking your ass two days ago (smirk)

        2. You are indeed a Colossal Doucjebag .. and a fool .. since YOU failed TOTALLY … adding one more failure to the growing listt!

    3. Of course the real way to save $ on Medicare & Medicaid is to deregulate health care & thus make it less expensive. Stop focusing so much on pushing the costs around, focus more on getting costs down.

        1. You seem to be more interested in who’s discussing the subject than the subject matter itself. Pretend there’s no Michael Hihn, then. Isn’t it better thinking to focus on what’s creating the costs than the hot potato that the costs have become?

          Yes, it does matter who pays, because consumer incentives work. But at this time the potato’s so hot that it’d be more productive to focus on producer incentives, i.e. the supply side.

          1. Robert, remember how the GOP worked with Kennedy on his tax cuts — VERY opposed by the AFL-CIO and the far-left? Tax cuts later copied by Reagan? Kennedy was not forced to go to his far left..

            It’s Republicans who fucked up on Obamacare … REFUSING a bipartisan deal that would have killed single-payer forever. The dumbfucks forcied Obama to his far left.

            Despite the crazy Obama haters, he campaigned (2008) as a MODERATE on healthcare .. with the BEST argument against a mandate EVER, “If a mandate worked, we could end homelessness by mandating everyone to buy a house.” (OMG)

            Obama’s original positions are in a Johnson campaign ad (just to squelch outrage by goobers)

            Even crazier, the libertarian establishment has NO CLUE what happened!. They cheered when the insurance co-ops failed …; but the ACTUAL proposal was a co-op PROVIDER. Based on Seattle’s Group Health Co-Op (GHC), a Co-op HMO. Doctors are salaried employees of their patients.. They own their own pharmacy and run their own hospitals. NO REIMBURSEMENT COSTS, so cheaper than ANY public plan on earth. There’s even a direct competitor. NO MONOPOLY!

            I was a member for 17 years. They’re the modern version of the fraternal lodges that provided all our heath care before FDR. But the lib establishment sucks up to Republican conservatives who called GHC … SOCIALIST! Is Kiwanis socialist? (lol)

      1. And wouldn’t all the ‘Professional’ organizations (not just Doctors) scream like Trump-frightened Democrats is we even suggested it? The Doctors LIKE being a are and therefore expensive item. They don’t WANT to be considered chancre mechanics. And the Lawyers know goddamned well that if GPs are as hard to find as jiffy-lubes, THEIR lucrative racket suing for malpractice goes poof…and their ‘Bar Association’ swindle might be in danger.

        1. It;’s REPUBLICANS who killed it. Not Democrats.
          Just above. https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_7120919

  6. Nothing. Left. To. Cut., period.

  7. This woman died last summer.

    1. Did they catch whoever’s been cashing her checks since then?

  8. In 1935 life expectancy was 58 for men and 62 for women. Retirement age was 65. FDR saw it as a government money maker.

    1. Go back to elementary school and retake arithmetic. (pees pants laughing)

  9. Not even Gowdy would accept the premise that the FISA warrant affected the rest of the investigation: “So to the extent the memo deals with the dossier and the FISA process, the dossier has nothing to do with the meeting at Trump Tower. The dossier has nothing to do with an email sent by Cambridge Analytica. The dossier really has nothing to do with George Papadopoulos’s meeting in Great Britain. It also doesn’t have anything to do with obstruction of justice. So there’s going to be a Russia probe, even without a dossier.”

  10. First argument: wait a minute here. what’s the big deal? it’s not like the US currency is gold backed or anything! it’s just paper! Didn’t government bail out the EU, banks, and everyone else during the “great recession”. Just print the money. Modern economies are just an elaborate form of kabuki theatre.

    second argument: how else are you going to get people to go fight in war? traditionally it is has been offer non-citizens citizenship, offer college tuition, retirements…. and the list goes on. stop picking on veterans and their families!

  11. yest that the good point.. Freebet Terbaru

    thats argument but..i think thats good

  12. Really?
    An entire thread based on some idiocy posed by Michael Dihm(wit)?
    If anyone is worried about federal payments exploding; wait until the scammers figure out the whole, libertarian supported, “anyone can ‘marry’ anyone” doctrine will have entire chains of generations getting spousal benefits.
    Widowed mother will “marry” son, who will “marry” daughter, who will “marry” dog – each getting surviving spousal benefits.
    I guess Saint Anthony didn’t think through his unconstitutional elimination of marriage restrictions the states had, legally set up.

    1. Spousal benefits don’t chain like that. You get benefits for your spouse, not your spouse’s prior or passed spouse.

      For that matter, in many cases spousal benefits stop if you re-marry. It’s actually a weird incentive for widow(er)s to cohabit rather then re-marry, because while cohabiting they can both collect their retirement benefits as well as their survivor benefits, but if they remarry then they can’t collect their survivor benefits anymore.

      And that said, Obergefel v. Hodges (2015) eliminated sex-based restrictions. Restrictions based on co-sanguinity, age, and consent are still fully valid. So no, you can’t marry your mother, daughter or dog. Except in Alabama.

    2. An entire thread based on some idiocy posed by Michael Dihm(wit)?

      Verbal Aggressiveness …A personality trait that predisposes persons to attack the self-concepts of other people instead of, or in addition to, their positions on topics of communication … Verbal aggressiveness is thought to be mainly a destructive form of communication

      Verbal hostility, or in other words, verbal harassment or abuse is basically a negative defining statement told to or about you or withholding a response and pretending the abuse is not happening.

      Cyberbullying
      The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

      Stalker
      A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention

      psychopath
      1. A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour.
      2. The Authoriarian Right
      3. The Authoriarian Left

      Left – Right = Zero

  13. “…our descendants…may curse us.” I curse the statists now. But I’m ahead of my time.

    1. Other than cursing, have you done anything about it?
      And what does that have to do with Lincoln’s view of the federal debt?

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