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Fri Dec 21, 2012, 11:58 PM

Austerity is a Lie.



A Web of Convenient Fictions

Democrats, Social Security and the Fiscal Cliff


by ROB URIE
CounterPunch
Dec. 21, 2012

With democrats ecstatic that political dysfunction has postponed their cutting the social insurance programs that Americans have paid for and count on for a few weeks, discussion of the intricacies of ‘chained CPI’ (Consumer Price Index) versus other measures of inflation used to adjust Social Security can now apparently wait for the New Year. Still, this probably isn’t a bad time to ask: why? Why cut Social Security? The program is currently solvent, is expected to remain solvent for decades to come, and projected shortfalls in the future could be better addressed by raising the incomes of the people who pay into the program, not by cutting payments to those who depend on them. What is to be gained by ‘solving’ a problem that isn’t?

SNIP...

Ultimately the entire ‘debate’ is nonsense—the U.S. doesn’t fund spending directly from taxes. As the Federal Reserve is in the process of demonstrating with its QE (Quantitative Easing) programs, it can buy an unlimited quantity of government debt with money it ‘creates’ –the ‘debt limit’ is an arbitrary misdirection. This isn’t to argue that there is no relationship between economic production and money creation, but it is to point out that the ‘Federal budget’ is a convenient fiction. So, given his repeated analogy of the Federal budget to a family budget, is Mr. Obama ignorant of government finances or does he understand them and is purposely using the misleading analogy to further unstated goals?

The ‘Fix the Debt’ committee of politicians, corporate executives and connected financiers claiming to be concerned about the Federal deficit isn’t discussing eliminating the ‘carried interest’ deduction that benefits billionaire hedge fund managers, raising effective corporate tax rates that are currently the lowest in modern history, materially cutting end-of-empire levels of military spending and raising personal income tax rates on the titans of finance who would be begging for change in the street were it not for Federal government largesse in the (ongoing) bank bailouts. But they are deeply concerned about the Federal deficit, as are Mr. Obama and congressional democrats.

SNIP...

The ‘Fix the Debt’ committee of politicians, corporate executives and connected financiers claiming to be concerned about the Federal deficit isn’t discussing eliminating the ‘carried interest’ deduction that benefits billionaire hedge fund managers, raising effective corporate tax rates that are currently the lowest in modern history, materially cutting end-of-empire levels of military spending and raising personal income tax rates on the titans of finance who would be begging for change in the street were it not for Federal government largesse in the (ongoing) bank bailouts. But they are deeply concerned about the Federal deficit, as are Mr. Obama and congressional democrats.

SNIP...

Effective corporate tax rates are the lowest in modern history and job creation, even before the economic calamity began in 2008, is the weakest since the 1930s. As global warming caused by largely private production and the predatory, dysfunctional private sector demonstrate on a daily basis, the ‘efficiencies’ of private production come from cost shifting, not by levels of human motivation intrinsic to capitalism. As QE is demonstrating, the Federal Reserve can control both short and long term interests rates—the ‘bond vigilantes’ are only in control when they provide cover for private interests. And Barack Obama didn’t choose the ‘least bad’ option with his healthcare ‘reform,’ he chose the private option to which he is ideologically committed.

CONTINUED...

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/21/democrats-social-security-and-the-fiscal-cliff/

45 replies, 3562 views

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply Austerity is a Lie. (Original post)
Octafish Dec 2012 OP
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 #1
Octafish Dec 2012 #3
woo me with science Dec 2012 #2
Octafish Dec 2012 #7
woo me with science Dec 2012 #18
duffyduff Dec 2012 #21
raouldukelives Dec 2012 #35
Teamster Jeff Dec 2012 #4
Octafish Dec 2012 #30
Overseas Dec 2012 #39
sabrina 1 Dec 2012 #5
catzies Dec 2012 #6
Jack Sprat Dec 2012 #10
KoKo Dec 2012 #17
Octafish Dec 2012 #31
WillyT Dec 2012 #8
Octafish Dec 2012 #37
Jack Sprat Dec 2012 #9
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #14
Octafish Dec 2012 #40
grahamhgreen Dec 2012 #11
xtraxritical Dec 2012 #12
grahamhgreen Dec 2012 #28
xtraxritical Dec 2012 #32
newfie11 Dec 2012 #15
Octafish Dec 2012 #41
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #13
Octafish Dec 2012 #43
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #16
woo me with science Dec 2012 #19
TheProgressive Dec 2012 #20
Octafish Dec 2012 #44
99Forever Dec 2012 #22
Octafish Dec 2012 #45
wildbilln864 Dec 2012 #23
byeya Dec 2012 #24
forestpath Dec 2012 #25
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #26
PufPuf23 Dec 2012 #27
me b zola Dec 2012 #29
idwiyo Dec 2012 #33
CrazyOrangeCat Dec 2012 #34
Kurovski Dec 2012 #36
Overseas Dec 2012 #38
LeftInTX Dec 2012 #42

Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:01 AM

1. K&R

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:11 AM

3. Most of the wealth in human history was created in the last 32 years.

Due largely to militarization, deregulation and fiscal policy, the lion's share has ended up in the hands of the one-tenth of the one percent.

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/Octafish/802


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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:09 AM

2. You bet it is. A vicious, murdering lie.

Corporate morality kills. When you let it into governments and give it power, it kills by the millions. People in other countries know this. Americans are just beginning to learn.

We are heading down a deadly serious path.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:14 AM

7. HSBC 2011 PROFIT = $22 Billion; MONEY LAUNDERING fine = $2 Billion

From Greenwald, connected dots missed by the Sunday morning talking heads:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/12/12-4

These are worse than gangster times. The rich are above the law, one of the benefits of owning the government and its three branches.



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Response to Octafish (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 11:30 AM

18. Thank you. That's useful to have bookmarked.

Just reposted that in another thread already:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2054857

Absolutely rotten to the core.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:05 PM

21. These people ARE gangsters

Our government is increasingly in control by gangsters.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 08:36 PM

35. And everyone invested in Wall St contributes to the HSBC defense fund daily. nt

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:12 AM

4. K&R

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Response to Teamster Jeff (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:25 PM

30. William K. Black marks the 'Failure of the July 2011 Great Betrayal.'

Let's Celebrate the Failure of the July 2011 Great Betrayal

William K. Black | Dec 20, 2012 10:57 AM EST

In July 2011, President Obama and Speaker Boehner reached an agreement in principle on a deal crafted to inflict $4 trillion in austerity by raising taxes modestly, slashing social spending, and beginning to unravel the safety net. The deal would have been a disaster for America. Unemployment was 9.1 percent. The deal would have thrown us back into a recession and caused unemployment to surge. Recessions and increased unemployment cause tax revenues to fall and increase demand for social services (e.g., for unemployment compensation) - they produce large deficits. Austerity kills jobs and frequently increases deficits. The Eurozone is the latest demonstration of this fact.

We should, therefore, all be celebrating the failure of the July 2011 austerity deal. We almost committed an act of economic self-mutilation of tragic proportions. Instead, because of the failure to adopt austerity in July 2011 we followed an economic policy based on modest stimulus. As predicted by most economists (including my UMKC colleagues) that policy produced modest growth and modest reductions in unemployment. The recovery produced the sharpest reduction in budgetary deficits in modern U.S. history. The Eurozone's leaders' austerity policies forced many nations back into recession. Austerity was most draconian in the periphery where it produced Great Depression levels of unemployment, particularly for young adults. The dominant media meme about the "fiscal cliff" is that it is an insane austerity program that would force the U.S. back into a gratuitous recession and cause large increases in unemployment. Logically, that should cause the media to recognize that the far more severe austerity blows that Obama and Boehner sought to inflict on the U.S. in July 2011 at a time when our economic recovery was much weaker than it is today would have been disastrous and that we should be overjoyed that the deal fell apart.

The media, however, constantly warns us of the need not to repeat the "failure" to reach the July 2011 deal. They show no sign of recognizing the logical incoherence in simultaneously warning that the fiscal cliff's austerity must be avoided lest it force the nation back into recession and that it is urgent that we adopt austerity. Media reports virtually never explain that if the July 2011 austerity deal had been finalized the results would have been catastrophic.

The media is similarly incoherent when discussing (more precisely, ignoring) another key aspect of the fiscal cliff - its origins. The "fiscal cliff" is not really a cliff, but it is definitely an economically illiterate and self-destructive austerity program. That is the first key analytical aspect of the origins of the fiscal cliff - it was known to be an economically illiterate and self-destructive austerity program when it was adopted. The obvious question, which the general media studiously ignores, is why the parties agreed to the "fiscal cliff" deal when it was obvious that it would cause catastrophic damage to our economy and people. The "fiscal cliff" (austerity) deal is the deal that did not fail - it was the bipartisan deal that became law in August 2011.

CONTINUED...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/william-k-black/obama-fiscal-cliff-austerity_b_2338440.html



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Response to Octafish (Reply #30)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:19 PM

39. Excellent article. Calls out our media very well.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:18 AM

5. Anyone who doubts the awful results of Austerity should read what happened

to Argentina, and then read Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine'. And then do some research on what the same criminals have been doing to third world countries for decades to see just what a disaster these policies are for millions of people.

Then go read about Latin America and how they have finally emerged from under the disastrous thumb of the Austerity mongers.

After that see how, after devastating the Third World they moved to the Second World and now they are destroying the First World, see Europe.

They steal the sovereignty from nations, as they have done to Greece and Ireland and every other country they forced into debt them 'rescued' with the IMF and the The World Bank creating overseers of sovereign nations removing their independence, plunging their populations into poverty and suffering and even death.

And now they are trying to do it all here.

And we have only a few elected officials willing to stand up against these policies.

Every time you hear about 'sharing the sacrifice' you should view it as a declaration of war by Global Corporations against the people and that is how t they need to be approached, as the enemy. Because they are. And so are any our elected officials who push these policies on this country. They are not our friends, they do not care about this country, they are after the country's resources, as always.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:06 AM

6. You said that so well it could be an original thread. "Declaration of war," indeed. n/t

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:53 AM

10. This is why I have always thought

 

what we really need, more than ever before, is another Roosevelt to stand up to the corporate powers. Teddy was a Republican and Franklin was a Democrat, but both of them had the brass in their brittle to take them on and both men came from the same backgrounds as the monopolists and tycoons themselves.

This nation needs a populist leader with an ego the size of Manhattan to fight for the masses. But they have successfully divided the population with their 'teaparty whoredom', so that it's not as easy as it should be to unite behind a leader.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 11:03 AM

17. Agree and many in the Business Community Blogs and even some establishment

and academics are waking up to this reality. It's hard to deny when the demise of Glass-Steagall, the ram through of the Commundites Futures Revision Act and some other policy changes done with the blessings of Alan Greenspan and Phil Gram allowed the derivitaves trading the Housing Bubble that occurred both in US and Europe in the same time frame. Now the people suffer as Austery replaces hard won safety nets and wages won through decades of Unions and Guilds working to give the working people some counterweight to the Corporate Wealthy and safeguards against unbridled greed and corruption.

So many want to say "Conspiracy Theory" and try to put well respected business writers and academics into the "Alex Jones" camp. Or, business reading isn't their interest. But, it all comes back to Wall Street and Global financial interests whose whole business model depends on exploitation. It's the nature of their beast and the beast needs a leash...that leash has been broken.



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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:41 PM

31. If money is Free Speech, austerity is telling We the People to Shut Up and Sit Down.

Austerity means taking away freedom, going by how the ownership class sees things of money and power.
As they happen to own and operate DC, that means somebody else is going to be doing the giving up of freedom.
That is societal control - determining the course of governmental policy.

Going by what works best for controlling the masses: money, television and dope. So weird how few notice what's happening to themselves, let alone democracy, the USA, and the planet. Infinitely appreciate that you do, Sabrina1.



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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:31 AM

8. K & R !!!


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Response to WillyT (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 03:17 AM

37. Bernanke free to print all the money Wall Street Banksters need in 2013...

2013 Is Bernanke's Year: Unlimited QE And Total Control Of The Fed

Agustino Fontevecchia
Forbes 12/20/12

Barack Obama‘s decisive victory over Mitt Romney in the presidential elections has cemented the future path of monetary policy under Ben Bernanke.  After unveiling a fourth round of long-term asset purchases, or quantitative easing, and a new threshold-based guidance, the Federal Reserve has put itself on a path of unlimited purchases of Treasuries and residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) until the unemployment rate falls.  The FOMC’s natural rotation will only strengthen the Chairman’s control of the committee, while an Obama Presidency and a Democratic Senate guarantee a continuation of current policies, either under Bernanke or Vice Chair Janet Yellen.

Thus, interest rates will remain repressed through 2013, the U.S. dollar should depreciate moderately, and stock markets will continue to receive masses of liquidity.
Bernanke and several of his central bank colleagues around the world have unleashed a new era of monetary policy, marked by zero-bound nominal interest rates coupled with unprecedented and massive balance sheet expansion.  In this post-financial crisis world, the Fed has taken a Keynesian edict and turned it on its head: instead of the government stepping in after a crisis to make up for the loss of aggregate demand from the private sector, it has fallen to central banks.

Through that process, the Federal Reserve has become the most important market participant, flooding markets with liquidity and owning more than a third of the Treasury market by the end of next year, according to Barclays’ economics team.  The latest iteration of their asset purchases, or QE4, consists of $40 billion a month in RMBS purchases and $45 billion in unsterilized Treasury purchases, meaning the Fed’s balance sheet will grow at a rate of $85 billion until the Fed sees a substantial improvement in labor markets.

The Fed is set to turn even more bullish in 2013, as its natural rotation sees two centrists and Jeffery Lacker, head of the Richmond Fed and a lone dissenter in the FOMC, replaced.  In their place will come Esther George of the Kansas City Fed (a moderate hawk, which means she’s mildly opposed to more accommodation) and James Bullard of the St. Louis Fed (who has the potential to be a dissenter, according to Barclays), along with ultra-doves Charles Evans and Eric Rosengren.  Furthermore, Minneapolis Fed chief Narayana Kocherlakota, a former dissenter, has quietly moved to a more dovish stance, adding further support for the Chairman.

CONTINUED...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2012/12/20/2013-is-bernankes-year-unlimited-qe-and-total-control-of-the-fed/

Talk about deep doo-doo.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:40 AM

9. I agree whole-heartedly.

 

I've often wondered why we don't settle the deficit spending immediately, if deficit spending is such a detriment to our fiscal health as a nation.

As Democrats, we often clamored for a 'pay-as-you-go' budget during Bush's pre-crash spending spree and tax cuts.

It would give the nation pause when considering foreign wars, if we had to pay for them in heightened taxes of 50-plus rates and higher.

I realize that additional taxation is harder for some than others. But, for me personally, I would gladly pay more in taxes if there was some reward in sight like a balanced budget. Yes, it would mean higher rates for all of us and not just the rich. But the higher rates would only last until the spending came in line with revenues. It would also provide an incentive to end Afghanistan sooner than the end of 2014.

In no way would I want to see SS or Medicare/Medicaid penalized or cut, but I would venture that there are savings in spending of a discretionary nature such as defense. Yes, we need austerity on our vastly over-used Defense Dept, but not austerity on our population. We are acting and spending like an empirical world enforcer. If the old Soviet Union had ever used its' might like we are now, we would have confronted them with nuclear threats.

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Response to Jack Sprat (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:50 AM

14. We don't stop deficit spending because we're running trade deficits (strong dollar policy).

 

By definition, total national saving is equal to the trade surplus. When we have a trade deficit, that means that the country on the whole is on net a borrower. This just logically follows from the notion that if we are buying more from abroad than we are selling, then we must borrow to cover the difference.

This means that either the public sector must be borrowing, meaning that we have
government budget deficits, or the private sector must be borrowing, which would correspond to a situation where we had very low household savings.


In the last decade we have seen both scenarios. We currently have very large government budget deficits. In this case, the government is doing the borrowing that corresponds to our trade deficit.

However, before the collapse of the housing bubble, when budget deficits were relatively low, it was the private sector that was doing most of the borrowing. This was due to the consumption boom that resulted from the $8 trillion in housing bubble-generated wealth. Consumers spent based on this illusory bubble wealth, sending the household saving rate to zero at the end of the 1990s, when the wealth created by the stock bubble led to another consumption boom that caused the saving rate to fall to what was at the time a record low.

There is no way to escape the simple accounting identity that national savings is equal to the trade surplus. This means that if we want the budget deficit to be brought down, and we don’t want to see private savings collapse, as they did during the years of the stock market bubble and the housing bubble, then we must want to see the trade deficit fall. This in turn means that we must want to see the dollar decline since there is no other plausible mechanism for bringing about large reductions in the trade deficits.


http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/debt-2011-06.pdf

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Response to Jack Sprat (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 07:41 PM

40. Socialism has come to America.

The worst parts...



"Conspiracy Theories" vs. the Real World of Financial Crime: Bankers Face Prosecution for Conspiracy

Danny Schechter
Newsdisector

EXCERPT...

Former NY State Governor Eliot Spitzer, and a former prosecutor who went after Wall Street commented on a refusal to go after the HSBC Bank on these charges, “”The decision to not prosecute in this instance belies everything that the government has ever done with regard to drug prosecutions everywhere.

“I mean, when you think about the way they behave toward ordinary people who get caught up in drug cases, where they seize all your property and they use absolutely the maximum sentences they can possibly avail themselves of, and in this case they catch a bank that launders billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels … for years on end, and they can’t find something to charge these people with?”

“If the law doesn’t apply equally to everybody, then you don’t really have a system of law.

SNIP...

•As Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted years ago:

“The system is set so that even if you’re caught, the penalty is just a small number relative to what you walk home with. The fine is just a cost of doing business. It’s like a parking fine. Sometimes you make a decision to park knowing that you might get a fine because going around the corner to the parking lot takes you too much time.”

SNIP...

Much of this tracks back to the financial crimes that are just officially being acknowledged. It’s important to remember the warnings of Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter who, years ago,  referred to the criminal practices of big bankers, when he said: “Never have so few done so much to so many.”

CONTINUED...

http://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiracy-theories-versus-financial-crimes-bankers-face-prosecution-for-conspiracy/5316660



We the People are asked to socialize the risk on Wall Street.

The ultrarich are asked to privatize the profit.

That's the deal. Any questions, they aren't taking any.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:24 AM

11. "Why cut Social Security? The program is currently solvent, is expected to remain solvent for decade

s"

Grand farce it is.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:08 AM

12. What about DoD?

 

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Response to xtraxritical (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:02 PM

28. The cost of Iraq and Afghanistan may be 7 trillion,

So, yes, I think we must slash the DoD budget.



"Readers of the new book, The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict will be surprised to learn just how difficult it was for the authors, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Kennedy School of Government professor Linda Bilmes, to dig up the actual and projected costs of the Iraq War for this thorough piece of accounting. Using “emergency” funds to pay for most of the war, the authors show that the White House has kept even Congress and the Comptroller General from getting a clear idea on the war’s true costs.

Other expenses are simply overlooked, one of the largest of which is the $600 billion going toward current and future health care for veterans. These numbers reveal stark truths: improvements in battlefield medicine have prevented many deaths, but seven soldiers are injured for every one that dies (in WWII, this ratio was 1.6 to one).

Figuring in macroeconomic costs and interest-the war has been funded with much borrowed money-the cost rises to $4.5 trillion; add Afghanistan, and the bill tops $7 trillion. This shocking expose, capped with 18 proposals for reform, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how the war was financed, as well as what it means for troops on the ground and the nation’s future.

Get the The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Linda J. Bilmes, and Joseph E. Stiglitz and read it, it’s amazing." http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/11/23/iraq-the-three-trillion-dollar-war/




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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #28)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:46 PM

32. Thank you!

 

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:21 AM

15. I agree

I wonder how many of our politicians are being bought off. Of course it isn't called that now days. It is a political donation.

Outside of AARP and the American people there really isn't anyone fighting FOR SS. When you consider the "big money" available in todays world to "bribe" politicians I am afraid SS is an easy target.
God help us all.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #11)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 09:58 PM

41. Diverts attention away from the REAL problem - systemic corruption...

...making people argue over what is their legal right, Social Security, instead of the crooked system.



Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his recent book, The Price of Inequality. Stiglitz argues that the American economy is dysfunctional, benefitting only those at the very top while the bulk of the workforce sees little or no gain in their standard of living over recent decades. Stiglitz blames this result on deregulation and the political power of the financial sector and others at the top. He wants an increase in regulation and the role of government in the economy and a more transparent Federal Reserve Bank that he blames for coddling the financial sector. The conversation also includes a discussion of the Keynesian multiplier.

SOURCE w Audio n Links:

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/07/stiglitz_on_ine.html



And the Cavalry is happy to look the other way for a piece of the action.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:37 AM

13. yes, it is.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 01:00 AM

43. US NEEDS A FINANCIAL SYSTEM THAT TACKLES INEQUALITY

Joseph E. Stiglitz's Blog

December 6, 2012

US needs a financial system that tackles inequality | Joseph Stiglitz

The system's focus must shift from speculative and proprietary trading to lending and job creation

After a hard-fought election campaign, costing well in excess of $2bn, it seems to many observers that not much has changed in American politics: Barack Obama is still president, the Republicans still control the House of Representatives, and the Democrats still have a majority in the Senate.

With America facing a "fiscal cliff" – automatic tax increases and spending cuts at the start of 2013 that will most likely drive the economy into recession unless bipartisan agreement on an alternative fiscal path is reached – could there be anything worse than continued political gridlock?

In fact, the election had several salutary effects – beyond showing that unbridled corporate spending could not buy an election, and that demographic changes in the US may doom Republican extremism. The Republicans' explicit campaign of disenfranchisement in some states – such as Pennsylvania, where they tried to make it more difficult for African-Americans and Latinos to register to vote – backfired: those whose rights were threatened were motivated to turn out and exercise them. In Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and tireless warrior for reforms to protect ordinary citizens from banks' abusive practices, won a seat in the Senate.

Some of Mitt Romney's advisers seemed taken aback by Obama's victory: wasn't the election supposed to be about economics? They were confident that Americans would forget how the Republicans' deregulatory zeal had brought the economy to the brink of ruin, and that voters had not noticed how their intransigence in Congress had prevented more effective policies from being pursued in the wake of the 2008 crisis. Voters, they assumed, would focus only on the current economic malaise.

The Republicans should not have been caught off-guard by Americans' interest in issues such as disenfranchisement and gender equality. While these issues strike at the core of a country's values – of what we mean by democracy and limits on government intrusion into individuals' lives – they are also economic issues. As I explain in my book The Price of Inequality, much of the rise in US economic inequality is attributable to a government in which the rich have disproportionate influence – and use that influence to entrench themselves. Obviously, issues such as reproductive rights and gay marriage have large economic consequences as well.

CONTINUED...

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6426.Joseph_E_Stiglitz/blog

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 10:38 AM

16. More than a lie. A euphemism for slavery. K&R n/t

 

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Response to Egalitarian Thug (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 11:31 AM

19. That's *exactly* what it is. nt

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 11:55 AM

20. We are being led to the economic slaughter house.

We can stop this - there are 300+ million Americans vs the kings&queens.

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Response to TheProgressive (Reply #20)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 10:45 AM

44. Game is rigged so the austerity falls on the same people who bailed out the crooks.

The commies, er, socialists, er somebody has noted something is very wrong.



The Libor swindle

World Socialist Web Site
22 December 2012

EXCERPT...

These are the very institutions that have been bailed out to the tune of trillions in public funds, and continue to be subsidized with virtually free credit, compliments of the world’s central banks. They are in the forefront of demanding that the resulting bankrupting of national governments be paid for through the destruction of social programs and the impoverishment of the working class.

Only last week, British–based HSBC admitted to laundering hundreds of billions of dollars for Mexican drug lords. Once again, no criminal charges were lodged, in this case for activities that contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of people in the Mexican drug war as well as the flooding of working-class neighborhoods in the US and other countries with narcotics.

In the UBS Libor-rigging case, the US Justice Department deliberately chose not to pursue criminal charges against UBS itself. Instead, it extracted a guilty plea on one relatively minor count of wire fraud from the bank’s Japanese unit. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “Justice Department officials said they decided not to charge the Zurich-based company, fearing such a move could endanger its stability.”

This is an admission that, no matter what crimes the big banks carry out, they are in practice immune from prosecution. The financial mafia, which engages in parasitic, socially destructive and illegal activities every day, is above the law.

Increasingly, society is defined by the aristocratic principle: the laws that apply to mere mortals do not apply to the financial nobles. America—as for that matter Europe, Japan and the other advanced economies—is a democracy in name only. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “plutocracy” as “rule by the wealthy.” Can anyone seriously dispute that this definition applies to the United States?

CONTINUED...

http://wsws.org/en/articles/2012/12/22/pers-d22.html



I'm beginning to understand the French Revolution.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:05 PM

22. K&R

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Response to 99Forever (Reply #22)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 10:47 AM

45. Joseph Stiglitz Educates Peter Schiff About The Austerity Trap & Cans His Austrian Nonsense (Video)

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 12:18 PM

23. k & r! nt

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:23 PM

24. The rest of the world does not want the USA to embark on a misguided austerity program.

 

There are several things that will happen with an austerity program and the biggest, I think, is that it will slow growth and stop, or reverse, the drop in employment.
It may also strengthen the Dollar when the USA has one of the strongest currencies in the world - and considering our balance of payments problem, the dollar is probably over valued at present.
Inflation is a scary face but but it remains hidden.
When employment falls, with austerity, wages will fall and then debt will worsen as a % of GDP.
As seen elsewhere, annual deficits are already down 25% as a % of GDP since 2009.

Austerity = Bad for the USA and the world.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:29 PM

25. K&R

 

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:55 PM

26. And far more relevant that what kind of guns we're going to allow people to own. n/t

 

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:57 PM

27. kr

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:04 PM

29. K&R

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 05:34 PM

33. K&R

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 07:48 PM

34. K&R

Thank you. Bookmarked.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 09:53 PM

36. K&R. (nt)

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 02:16 PM

38. It has been absurd to watch. "Supply side" economics has been revealed as a fiction, and yet the

pretending goes on.

The American people voted for more money into the hands of the 98%-- Demand Side economics. They know that if their fellow citizens have more cash in hand their local businesses will do better.

They also know that we need a new wave of government spending on infrastructure to better cope with the ravages of climate change and green our power grids.

We the people have seen the charts on where the money has been going and we are ready for change and voted for change, not austerity.

Change for us is acknowledging the positive role government can play if it puts our tax dollars where we want them to go and gets a more appropriate share of revenue from corporations and the top 2 percent.

I am so frustrated that it continues to be considered a "given" that going against an acknowledged fiction would be a Big Sacrifice for Republicans.


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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 10:42 PM

42. kicked and bookmarked - lots to digest

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