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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:01 PM
Original message
WP: Bush's Budget Expected to Be Aggressive
Program Cuts and Spending Freezes for 2006 Are Intended to Trim Record Deficit

The Bush administration is preparing a budget request that would freeze most spending on agriculture, veterans and science, slash or eliminate dozens of federal programs, and force more costs, from Medicaid to housing, onto state and local governments, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

The White House also plans to reintroduce measures to stem the growth of federal health care and other entitlement programs that rise automatically each year based on set formulas, they said.

The tough budget for the fiscal year that begins in October is intended to signal President Bush's commitment to reining in the record federal deficit, and to satisfying conservative critics who note spending has soared since Bush took office.

(snip)

"We have to find the money somewhere to , and I don't know how you find it if everything is tighter than a drum," said one House Appropriations Committee aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "They are on the war path."

more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1953-200...
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chomskysright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. TRIM THIS!! 21 talking points why Bush's SS plan sucks....

21 REASONS WHY PRESIDENT BUSH'S PLAN FOR SOCIAL SECURITY IS A BAD IDEA AND IN FACT IS MISLEADING :
(WAYS TO INNOCULATE YOURSELF AGAINST THE ONCOMING MEDIA BLITZ):
A story of how Social Security is not like a 'pig in a python' (but that's what Bush and company are telling you)
We are being scammed to pay for the war on Iraq & associated deficits


You will notice that points have references; see those references at the end of these points. This is not intended to be an 'academic presentation'; thus, the URL's which you can check for yourself.



1. WHO WANTS THE CHANGE AND HOW WILL THEY 'FRAME' THE ISSUE? Wall Street wants privatization in order reap a windfall profit. Everyone else should be very suspicious. If the stock market goes down, your benefits go down.

This is what you will hear from Bush and company: "right now we are on an unsustainable course." They say, 'its unfixable as it is.' They will say: 'the problem will just grow and grow as more and more boomers come on board to obtain their Social Security benefits.' They will say: "the trust fund is empty.

Quite the contrary: Social Security funds are actually increasing and....and will actually expand for 10 more years because of the interest it receives from Treasury bonds. Could it be that Bush and company are worried because, "the government has already used the annual surpluses to finance its operating deficits." (Edmund L. Andrews; The New York Times ; Monday 10 January 2005)

That's right: Bush and company have used the surplus which usually accumulates along with the principal money in order to do something about the deficit that they have created over the past 4 years.



2. EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE SURPRISED: WAS THIS 'TWEAKING' OF SOCIAL SECURITY MEANT TO TAKE PLACE PERIODICALLY? : YES "What people forget is that the baby boom is not like a pig in the python," said Kent Smetters, an associate professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a former senior official in Mr. Bush's Treasury Department. "If you just balance it over the next 75 years, it just means we have to come back and do the same thing all over again about 15 years from now," Professor Smetters said. (Edmund L. Andrews; The New York Times ; Monday 10 January 2005)



3. WHY ARE WE BEING TOLD WE NEED TO 'DO SOMETHING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY'? The nation's baby boomers start to retire at the end of this decade and relatedly the cost of retirement benefits is expected to rise much faster than payroll taxes from active workers. Obviously, payments become higher with each generation of retirees, even after accounting for inflation. By 2042, the trust fund will have used up its reserves and payroll taxes will cover only about 70 percent of the promised benefits.


4. WON'T WE HAVE TO PAY FOR CHANGING TO PRIVATE ACCOUNTS?? HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST US? : the Bush administration deems the current system, with its average monthly benefit of $955, as too generous (that's less than $12,000/ year). The Bush Administration wants to cut benefits by more than 40% to help pay the trillions of dollars that would be needed for the creation and maintenance of private accounts. http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=41481

This doesn't make sense given that now Social Security is the most efficient government system ever instigated, utilizing only 1% of the overall funds to manage the monthly Social Security payments for millions of people. More than 99 percent of Social Security's revenues go toward benefits, and less than 1 percent for overhead. The Social Security System is legally separate from the rest of the budget. Bush wants to discontinue that. This will make it difficult it not impossible to track in terms of is the Social Security money really being used for other purposes like making war on Iraq.

Where's all that money right now? "The Social Security trust fund has accumulated more than $1.5 trillion in reserves, held in Treasury bonds." (Edmund L. Andrews; The New York Times ; Monday 10 January 2005)



5. WHO IN BUSH'S ADMINISTRATION IS DRIVING THE MATTER? Karl Rove, Bush's right hand man: He is attempting to convince the public that Social Security is 'heading for an iceberg." )http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6791950 )


4. WHY WOULD KARL ROVE WANT TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY? Rove sees it as : one of the most important conservative undertakings of modern times,....We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course, the e-mail said. That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the precondition to authentic reform.....government and toward giving greater power and responsibility to individuals, said Wehner, the director of White House Strategic Initiatives. " Who is this Wehner? : Peter Wehner, the deputy to White House political director Karl Rove. Thus, Rove is attempting to continue the line of 'getting government out of your lives' which is a recipe to allow corporations unbridled power and individuals no retirement through Social Security. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/679195


5. WHAT STRATEGIES ARE BEING UTILIZED IN ORDER TO CONVINCE THE PUBLIC OF THE NEED FOR PRIVATIZATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY?: "The administration has suggested that it would be justified in borrowing some $2 trillion to establish private accounts because doing so would head off $10 trillion in future
Social Security liabilities. It's bad enough that the $10 trillion is a highly inflated figure, intended to overstate a problem that is reasonably estimated at $3.7 trillion or
even considerably less. Worse are the true dimensions of the administration's proposed ploy, which were made painfully clear in a memo that was leaked to the press last week. Written in early January by Peter Wehner.".....(Rove's right hand person): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/10/opinion/10mon1.html?e...


6. WHAT WOULD ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE RE: THIS PRIVATIZATION EFFORTS PER BUSH/ ROVE / THE REPUBLICANS? : "Revamping the system to allow investment accounts would not shore up the future finances and would make the financial picture worse. The administration is considering borrowing $1 trillion to $2 trillion to continue paying benefits to current retirees while tax revenue is diverted into personal accounts, called transition costs, Wehner's e mail said (per this article, this e mail was verified by the White House). Separately, to address the future financial shortfall, the administration is looking at plans to cut future promised benefits, by 46 percent in some cases, with investments expected to make up the difference." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/679195


7. WHO ELSE UNDERLINES THAT THIS IS WHAT WOULD ACTUALLY OCCUR? : " The real impact of President Bush's Social Security privatization scheme: massive cuts in promised benefits. The White House is expected to propose a new system of calculating Social Security benefits called "price indexing." The technical change would mean "cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades" with even deeper cuts in the future. For example, if the "price indexing" change is made, "a retiree in 2075 would receive 54 percent of the benefits now promised." David C. John, a Social Security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation called the proposal "very much like sticking your hand in a wasp nest.": American Progress Action Fund" <progress@americanprogressaction.org


8. WHAT ARE SOME POINTS THAT YOU MIGHT EXPECT TO HEAR FROM BUSH AND THE REPUBLICANS? Talk about: PRICE INDEXING: The current method of calculating Social Security benefits is adjusted to reflect the standard of living when a person retires. That means when your benefits are calculated based on your average earnings, the salary you made 25 years ago is adjusted upwards to reflect the overall rise in wages (wage growth) since that time. The "price indexing" plan, expected to be proposed by Bush, would make that adjustment based on the rise of consumer prices essentially the inflation rate. Since wages rise much faster than inflation, that means your newly adjusted salary will be lower. The end result is far lower benefits for every new generation of retirees. If this system had been in place since Social Security's inception, people today would be retiring with a benefit tied to the living standard of the 1930s, when 40 percent of households lacked indoor plumbing.: progress@americanprogressaction.or


9. WHAT ELSE CAN WE EXPECT TO COME OUT WAY RE: THIS PUSH FOR PRIVATIZATION? : You will hear talk about how it will be cheaper in the long-run to privatize at least part of Social Security. Specifically, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan claims, "The cost is $10 trillion if we do nothing. So what you're talking about would be a significant savings over those costs." There are two problems with this argument. First, the $10 trillion figure grossly distorts the modest long-range deficit of the Social Security program by projecting that shortfall over eternity. (There is no shortfall at all until 2052. Projections beyond 2052, obviously, are extremely unreliable.) Second, and more fundamentally, "borrowing $2 trillion to fund individual accounts does nothing to reduce Social Security's long-term deficit." Under the Bush plan the long-term deficit is reduced through deep benefit cuts.: progress@americanprogressaction.or


10. WHAT ARE SOME OTHER MATTERS ASSOCIATED WITH RETIREMENT SAVINGS THAT WILL BE BOUGHT UP? The Thrift Savings Plan: what is it land what might be the downsides of such a model, which could be part of the Rovian onslaught?
the Thrift Savings Plan could serve as a possible model for personal investment accounts in Social Security.
Numerous readers said the two programs are unrelated and that the TSP, which relies on federal payroll systems for its basic operation, cannot be replicated on a scale as large as Social Security. Others said a column about the plan failed to stress that the TSP is a voluntary savings program that supplements Social Security, a tax-based program. Cavanaugh's paper (The paper, "Feasibility of Social Security Individual Accounts," was published by the AARP Public Policy Institute. AARP is opposing Bush's plan), for example, says that personal accounts in Social Security will cost more to manage than those in the TSP, in part because the TSP can rely on hundreds of federal agencies to administer payroll deductions and provide retirement planning and other services.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61607-20...


11. SO THE THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN APPEARS TO WORK FOR LARGER PERSONAL INVESTMENT ACCOUNTS, YES? The paper also points out that TSP operates on a progressive fee system (usually 60 cents per $1,000 account balance) so that holders of the higher account balances absorb part of the cost of maintaining smaller accounts. Such a fee system would not work in Social Security because too many accounts would be small, the paper contends. Social Security relies on the government to absorb inflation and market risks, while the TSP shifts those risks to individual investors, Cavanaugh writes. "Attempts to combine these two fundamentally different programs are like mating a bear with a bee -- somebody is going to get hurt," he concludes.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61607-20...


12. WHY DOES WALL STREET WANT THE CHANGE? In the background, beyond private accounts, are various proposals to cut guaranteed Social Security
benefits in the future.


13. BUT WE WILL NEVER HAVE ANOTHER DEPRESSION AS IN 1929: wrong: In 1973-74, the stock
market lost 48 percent of its value. The stock market is a very dangerous place to put money



14. WHO DOES NOT WANT THE CHANGE? (1) AARP, the nation's largest seniors organization, is coming out
strongly against President Bush's plan to allow private individual accounts
within Social Security. (2) On January 10, 2005, a NY Times Opinion piece stated this: "In this and other ways, the administration is manipulating
information - a tacit, yet devastating, acknowledgement, we believe, that an informed public would reject privatizing Social Security." http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/10/opinion/10mon1.html?e...


15. HOW MUCH WOULD IT COST TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY? transitioning to private accounts could cost $2 trillion. See above information also.


16. TO REVIEW, WHERE WOULD THAT MONEY COME FROM? our taxes will have to be increased to make Bush's proposed plan work.


17. THEY TELL US THAT SOCIAL SECURITY IS BROKE OR GOING BROKE?: With all the clamoring about Social Security, a simple fact has been obscured: the Social Security budget is currently running a surplus; progress@americanprogressaction.or


18. OTHER COUNTRIES MUST HAVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MAYBE THOSE ARE BETTER? wrong: Chile's system, management fees are around 20 times as high. A privatized system will take money from your Social Security check.


19. SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED THAT YOU WILL NOT HAVE SOCIAL SECURITY? Nothing is going to change, in terms of benefits, for people near your retirement age.


20. WHO TAXED SOCIAL SECURITY TO BEGIN WITH? Ronald Reagan, a Republican, began the taxation on Social Security in 1983.


21. IF WE ARE GOING TO 'FIX IT' HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT TO DO AS RELATED TO WHAT HAS BEEN DONE IN THE PAST TO 'FIX' IT? "If you compare its position now with its position at the time of the last reforms in 1977 and 1983, it's clearly better," Professor Diamond said. "Even then, it was readily fixed without radical reforms, and it's obvious that can be done again." (a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a co-author of the book "Saving Social Security.")





There is no Social Security crisis, just as there were no weapons of mass destruction. Social Security has provided a lifeline to millions of Americans with
millions of checks, and in more than 60 years has never missed a paymentand this track record can continue. Social Security is basically a sound system
that can meet 100 percent of its obligations for the next 39 years, and with responsible changes it can continue to do so indefinitely.

"Social Security is not a crisis for which enormous borrowing, huge benefit
cuts and risky private accounts are a solution. Rather,
it's a financial problem of manageable proportions,
solvable without new borrowing by a combination of modest
benefit cuts and tax increases that could be distributed
fairly and phased in over several decades, while
guaranteeing a basic level of inflation-proof income for
life." http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/10/opinion/10mon1.html?e...


REFERENCES:




Edmund L. Andrews; The New York Times ; Monday 10 January 2005:

HTtp://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=41481

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6791950 )

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/10/opinion/10mon1.html?e...


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61607-20...


progress@americanprogressaction.or




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TheFarseer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. #16 is wrong
Taxes will not increase, only the national debt. It is frightening how many republicans have convinced themselves that the debt does not matter. It is conservatively estimated that 10% of our budget goes to pay interest on the debt. HOW CAN THAT NOT MATTER!!!
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 03:51 AM
Response to Reply #1
9. Simply put: Can you afford to lose your retirement funds?
If you can, by all means go with the republican plan and invest in the stock market.

If you can't, call your congressman and scream bloody murder.

And if they don't listen to you and vote in favor of this monstrosity over your objections, form a group to dump them at the next election.

(Simple things for simple republican minds)
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punpirate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. Long-term conservative plans coming...
... to fruition. Destroy the social contract as defined by New Deal and Great Society programs, increase overall defense spending and increase givebacks, credits, tax breaks and taxpayer-funded subsidies to big business.

All part of the program.... :grr:
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TheFarseer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. UNBELIEVABLE
Why do they go after the church mice for money? Saving a few million by cutting powerless folks like farmers, scientists, and veterans, and stiffing forest rangers their paychecks - while blowing BILLIONS on magic missile shields, bombing innocent people, corporate welfare, and no taxes on dividends so people who sit on their ass and count their money for a living can have more money to count - is not going to balance the budget. Jesus would be appalled that this is being done in his name.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. Bush will be cutting services to the needy
while calling himself a Christian. What a guy.
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Whoa_Nelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-05 11:45 PM
Response to Original message
6. WOw! This is REALLY GOOD news!
Edited on Tue Jan-11-05 11:46 PM by Whoa_Nelly
Am being sarcastic.


freeze most spending on agriculture, veterans and science, slash or eliminate dozens of federal programs, and force more costs, from Medicaid to housing, onto state and local governments,

Seems the "aggressive" budget means slashing the areas stated in this article means slashing our food supply, our vets, of whom there will be many more, trashing science so creationism can be taught more freely in the public schools, as well as pushing faith-based programs and funding, and destroying those very support areas for the most needy, all the while working adamantly and viciously to create state bankruptcies, all to "fix" his spending fuck ups over the past four years.

The next fours years already suck.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 12:19 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yeah
and my taxes remain the same. You know you have a government out of control when it won't listen to its funding sources.
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WildClarySage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-05 02:32 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Your taxes won't remain the same at all. They will increase
on the state level as states are required to make up for the lost revenues from the federal budget.
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