Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gotta Act NOW!

We're being told we have to fix Social Security RIGHT NOW! "It's Broke!"

When you look at the facts, though, right now it has a surplus. In 20 plus some years, if we don't make some changes to fix it, it'll only be able to pay out something like 78% of it's obligations.


Let's see, 27 years ago.... in 1984.... when I was just a sprout...

Yeah, right, we have to act "RIGHT NOW."

It occurs to me: I used to work for some big banks and one of my hats was guarding against con men trying to diddle them as part of their brokered funds schemes (Think 'Nigeria emails' before email arived on the scene.) I even worked with the FBI on some cases.

Once, I was telling a young agent new to the white collar crime beat about how the brokered funds scams worked and how the con men tried to get banks involved. I mentioned that a hallmark of these cons was the pressure to "act now, right now" ["Before you have a chance to think about it.]"

The FBI agent responded that they use the same technique in counter-espionage in turning agents.

Gee, "Act Now!"

You don't think today's GOP is trying to pull a fast one, do you? Con us into abandoning our society;s needs so they promote corporate profitability?

(Maybe we can fix SS with the hidden Nigerian bank deposits the GOP candidates have in some Swiss banks...?)


  1. First, the people who are telling us that Social Security has 25 years of funding are the same people who told us that the GSEs were solvent. 2 months later, they weren't solvent they were hundreds of billions in the hole. The government has no idea how long the Trust Funds will last.

    Second, if 78% isn't a problem, let's do it today. If it isn't easy today, it isn't going to be easy whenever the system implodes.

    Third, what the Republicans are suggesting will make no one rich. When you pull apart what they are saying, it is "Let's make Social Security even bigger." They want to add ownership to the benefits. Somehow I don't think that adding benefits is the answer.

    FYI, Social Security was almost broke in 1983, and had to be revived by the Greenspan Commission which increased FICA taxes.

    Real solutions : www.FixSSNow.Org.

  2. Joe, thanks for the response.

    Was the GSE issue one of bad forecasting or bad information provided for the forecasting?

    I know that conservatives love to focus on them, but let's face it, their problems were an anthill compared to the major losses "Wall Street" has come up with over the years: The S&L crisis, the hundreds of billions lost in the LDC debt crisis (I was there for that - I had primary legal responsibility for a major bank's portfolio as it lost about 1/6th of its asset base from that wall street triumph) the dotcom boom and bust, the Enron imbroglio, the bank meltdown of 2008. etc.

    >>Second, if 78% isn't a problem, let's do it today.

    First, I didn't say it isn't a problem - I said there is a problem but it won't materialize for years - there is no need for immediate, precipitate action.

    And calls for immediate action while trying to scare people is a con.

    As you yourself pointed out, we've faced a "social security crisis" in the past and dealt just fine with it.

    What the right wing is trying to do is get everyone all worked up and scared and then gut the program.

    That is exactly what con-men and secret agents do to get people to do stupid things.

    >>Third, what the Republicans are suggesting will make no one rich.

    Except the brokers on wall street, and the investment bankers who invent some new bogus investment vehicle.

    Ad except for the private sector health insurance companies.

    "Nope, no one gonna get rich off this scheme...." ("Whatever you do Brer Fox, don't throw me in that brier patch.")

    >>They want to add ownership to the benefits

    LOL, "Hey, wanna be the owner of a government voucher to purchase health insurance from the private sector, and those vouchers are going to buy less and less as insurance company profits soar?

    Yeah, I really want my kids to "own" that pig in a poke.

  3. Joe: I looked at your linked site

    >>We reject the traditional Washington-think of raising taxes/lowering benefits.

    And what has the private sector done with health insurance? Raised premiums and lowered benefits.

    Do you really think the financial industry will do something better if they get their hands on the SS income stream?

    = = = =
    "Part 2: We let the Trust earn more money. Today Washington invests your money - into things like bridges to no-where."

    "Invest in bridges to no-where?" Oh come on, that is pure bs and demagoguery.

    The investments are the highest rated and safest investment instruments available (unless, of course, the extremists get their way and throw our governments credit rating down the toilet. Maybe that;s the real reason for trying to take our national credit rating down - so then they can argue: "Look, our credit rating sucks. Hey. your Honor, have mercy on us in sentencing us for killing our parents - after all, we're orphans!"}

    >> As a consequence, the Trust Fund doesn't earn much money. Our plan allows a small part of the trust to flow to more productive uses. Higher productivity means more earnings for the Trust and better jobs for the country.

    You left out a tiny little detail: risk - the higher the return, the higher the risk; and you want to create more risk for our elderly. Oh wait, maybe you'll have a federal guarantee of that risk so we can privatize the upside and "socialize" the inevitable Wall Street losses

    Actually, you left out a huge detail: what do you mean by "more productive uses?"

    Basically, I'm guessing that you want to force people into buying into the private sector financial markets.

    Crap, pension funds already lost a boatload by investing in Wall Street snake oil products like CDOs.

    Let's make sure everyone pays brokerage fees AND takes Wall Street risk.

    Good Lord almighty. "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen - today only, buy our all new, improved snake oil"

  4. RE the GSE (aka freddie mac and fannie mae:

    Timely report at Think Progress

    "However, at least one Republican lawmaker is not toeing the party line. In a speech, Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA) blasted his party for pushing policies that would make the housing market worse and for spreading lies about the role Fannie and Freddie played in the crisis:"