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Mon Aug 17, 2015, 02:53 PM

Krugman: Republicans Against Retirement

Something strange is happening in the Republican primary — something strange, that is, besides the Trump phenomenon. For some reason, just about all the leading candidates other than The Donald have taken a deeply unpopular position, a known political loser, on a major domestic policy issue. And it’s interesting to ask why.

The issue in question is the future of Social Security, which turned 80 last week. The retirement program is, of course, both extremely popular and a long-term target of conservatives, who want to kill it precisely because its popularity helps legitimize government action in general. As the right-wing activist Stephen Moore (now chief economist of the Heritage Foundation) once declared, Social Security is “the soft underbelly of the welfare state”; “jab your spear through that” and you can undermine the whole thing.

But that was a decade ago, during former President George W. Bush’s attempt to privatize the program — and what Mr. Bush learned was that the underbelly wasn’t that soft after all. Despite the political momentum coming from the G.O.P.’s victory in the 2004 election, despite support from much of the media establishment, the assault on Social Security quickly crashed and burned. Voters, it turns out, like Social Security as it is, and don’t want it cut.

It’s remarkable, then, that most of the Republicans who would be president seem to be lining up for another round of punishment. In particular, they’ve been declaring that the retirement age — which has already been pushed up from 65 to 66, and is scheduled to rise to 67 — should go up even further.

Thus, Jeb Bush says that the retirement age should be pushed back to “68 or 70”. Scott Walker has echoed that position. Marco Rubio wants both to raise the retirement age and to cut benefits for higher-income seniors. Rand Paul wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and means-test benefits. Ted Cruz wants to revive the Bush privatization plan.

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/17/opinion/republicans-against-retirement.html


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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Mon Aug 17, 2015, 02:56 PM

1. They are shooting themselves in the foot with their anti-SS positions.

It's not going to fly. Ever.

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Response to smirkymonkey (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 17, 2015, 03:00 PM

2. It's never going to be popular with the majority of people.

But, as Krugman points out it's not about the needs of the majority of the population. It's about what the wealthy want and what politicians they can purchase to make that happen.

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue Aug 18, 2015, 07:07 AM

3. They'll keep trying and, hopefully, losing ...

 

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue Aug 18, 2015, 07:58 AM

4. Finally! They've figured out a way to alienate the majority of people that vote for them!

Please proceed, GOP.

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue Aug 18, 2015, 08:24 AM

5. What Part of Promise Don't They Understand?

People non-voluntarily fund this thing from the time they're 16 to retirement age and then they change the rules as they go. And they somehow think this is a good idea?

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue Aug 18, 2015, 08:40 AM

6. "What’s puzzling about the renewed Republican assault on Social Security is that it looks like bad

politics as well as bad policy. Americans love Social Security, so why aren’t the candidates at least pretending to share that sentiment?

The answer, I’d suggest, is that it’s all about the big money.

Wealthy individuals have long played a disproportionate role in politics, but we’ve never seen anything like what’s happening now: domination of campaign finance, especially on the Republican side, by a tiny group of immensely wealthy donors. Indeed, more than half the funds raised by Republican candidates through June came from just 130 families.

You often see political analyses pointing out, rightly, that voting in actual primaries is preceded by an “invisible primary” in which candidates compete for the support of crucial elites. But who are these elites? In the past, it might have been members of the political establishment and other opinion leaders. But what the new attack on Social Security tells us is that the rules have changed. Nowadays, at least on the Republican side, the invisible primary has been reduced to a stark competition for the affections and, of course, the money of a few dozen plutocrats.

What this means, in turn, is that the eventual Republican nominee — assuming that it’s not Mr. Trump —will be committed not just to a renewed attack on Social Security but to a broader plutocratic agenda. Whatever the rhetoric, the GOP is on track to nominate someone who has won over the big money by promising government by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent.

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue Aug 18, 2015, 09:22 AM

7. The Pro-Birth, Anti-Human Party rears it's ugly mug once again.

Going to come a time where you're just not going to want to get up at 6:00 AM to sit at a desk for 10 hours a day. There are more things to do in life.

It's cruel to expect people to devote 3/4 of their lives to a job. How are younger people supposed to start a career when older workers have to stay at that same career because they cannot financially afford to leave?

An inherent problem in the Republican platform is that a human's success somehow depends on anecdotal evidence and pie-in-the-sky situations panning out entirely on their own doing while at the same time adamantly insisting there's no such thing as privilege, patronage or bad luck in 2015 . . . or ever.

In other words, they're a bunch of "Brightsiders".

"Brightsiders" and the whole "Brightsiding" industry revolves around a philosophy that gives the overlords who are suppressing us at every turn a free pass and instead, turns tables and insists that it's YOU who's the problem. It's rooted in victim blaming without even once examining the reasons WHY we can't save, without even examining the reasons WHY we have no extra money.

Financial planning of any kind depends on a great deal of factors. Economies can be just as favorable to a certain sector at any given time just as they can be unfavorable to others. The average Joe cannot prognosticate the future of the stock market or a company in even a hot sector. They don't know terms like "short" or when to do it, if it even works. If I have my own business, no one has to like what I sell. Studies show that tech giants were all born in the same time period. It's very possible that their initial crucial first years were met with no landmines, personal or business.

To discount luck in a person's success is being silly and borderline facetious. But the real reasons workers cannot save is that, for the past 33 years, workers either aren't that well compensated to begin with or didn't start early enough (the "shoulda/woulda/coulda" victim blamer's favorite "go-to"s) that the 401k could even work as a supplement when retirement hits.

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