Oh No – Reality!

Post 1,023


Republicans have been trying to kill Social Seciurity only since it began in 1935. Just a few years ago Paul Ryan (D-WI) tried to replace Social Security with a voucher system that he insisted wasn’t a voucher system. But it was and his sneakily misnamed scheme didn’t fly.

Since that Ryan skirmish over reality, Republicans have reverted to periodic bouts of phony statistics, victim whining and magical thinking. But they’re just politicians doing what today’s Republicans do. What about the way the rest of We The People feel about the Social Security system and what to do about it?

First, start with the plain fact that everyone loves Social Security. That is true at least for old people and also for others who know old people and for people who hope to one day become an old person. So, if there is any truth to the claims that Social Security will one day run out of money (and the math suggests that it will on some hotly disputed date), then we are left to figure out what to do about that.

Should we:

Raise the retirement age?

Limit benefits to some generations?

Limit benefits to all generations?

Eliminate cost of living adjustments (COLA)?

Let Granny starve or freeze to death?

Put old people in retirement city collectives, which would be cheaper than individual dwellings (we won’t call them “concentration camps”). After all, we do public housing so very well.

Offer them a bonus to die so we can eliminate the cost of their upkeep and then harvest their organs?

Eliminate the cap on contributions so that rich people and corporations pay their proportionate share of taxes on all payroll, not just some?

Raise the Social security tax rate on everyone?

Make the tax rate progressive instead of a flat tax?

The Gallup organization did a recent study of how we Americans want to see this issue solved. Here’s the chart of their surprising findings:

That’s right: By a 2 to 1 margin We The People would rather raise taxes on ourselves than cut benefits. And I’ll bet you can guess who’s in the 31% in favor setting Granny adrift. Here’s the full story.

Don’t expect any Republican to show this chart as support for his/her speech on the floor of the House or Senate – not when they can instead go histrionic over their fantasy of a deep state. They’ll be arguing yet again against what We The People want, like the way they vote against gun safety laws and abortion.

BTW – and I shouldn’t have to tell you this –  If you don’t want to worry about what the Grinches want to do to your retirement benefits or to Granny’s, elect people who will protect your benefits.

That’s right: If you want Social Security to be there for you, you have to do something about it. That’s the reality.

Boomers Strike Back

All true. All Boomers can do those things.

Truth be told, not only can I write in cursive, but sometimes later on I can read what I wrote. And I can use it to prevent Trump from reading my secret messages – kind of like our WW II Navajo Code Talkers – both because of my semi-undecipherable cursive and because he can’t read anything but a teleprompter (not well) and Mein Kampf (too well).

That’s reality, too.

Worst Person of the Month Award

So many worthy candidates but just one award .  .  .

Ken Paxton, the Republican Attorney General of Texas, has made it his holy mission, his crusade, his bible-thumping idiocy to be the fundamentalist decider in all things in the lives of all Texans.

He’s fighting the federal greenhouse gas rule, as though global warming will somehow skip around Texas and too bad for the rest of us.

He’s snooping into records from a Seattle hospital regarding gender affirming care for Texas kids. You read that right: in Seattle.

He loves the Texas concertina wire fences that slice up people coming to this country from the south. They’ve already killed some asylum seekers. Why aren’t there murder charges against the perps? Oh, right – it’s Texas.

All of that and more is contrary to the will of the majority of Texans, but that’s okay, because Paxton can bible-thump away at anyone who disagrees with him.

One last thing: his impeachment trial on corruption charges is getting close to a verdict.

  • Query: How come so many moral zealots are found
  • to be hypocrites and morality violators?

The worst part of the Paxton story involves Kate Cox, a pregnant Texas woman carrying a fetus that has severe medical problems that make survival outside the womb nearly impossible. Plus, continuing her pregnancy to term with this fetus might cause Cox to lose the ability to have another child and might even prove to be lethal to her.

She went to court in order to obtain an exception from the draconian Texas abortion law. Her case was based on the threat to Cox’s life. She won in the circuit court, allowing her to have an abortion. That’s when Ken the Merciless showed up and appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to block the whole thing. Paxton’s halo glowed like the sun, as he ensured that both Ms. Cox and her baby would likely die. Ms. Cox was running out of time to take action, so she left Texas to get the medical care she desperately needed elsewhere.

That’s why the Worst Person of the Month Award is hereby slimed upon Ken Paxton, the self-appointed dictator of Texas morality, This well-earned derision is for driving Kate Cox out of Texas without even a moment’s thought to her welfare. He’s quite like the medicine man with a bone in his nose, driving witches out of the village to die in the jungle.

“Congratulations, Ken! You’re the Worst Person of the Month, a first class hypocrite and a world class jerk.”

Come to think of it, he’s just like his boss, Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

Tell you what, crepes: You come after me and leave that poor woman alone. She has enough to handle without having to fend off your cruelty and overcompensation for your inadequacies.

Sadly, that’s reality, too.

Today is a good day to be the light


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
  • The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

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2 Responses to Oh No – Reality!
  1. Dan Wallace Reply

    Hi Jack! I hope you’re well! IMHO, this one is interesting. Consider/compare the two primary entitlement programs (“entitlement” because the gov’t is obligated to pay you if you meet certain conditions, mostly age, w/o specific appropriations) – Social Security and Medicare. Now that I’m on Medicare, I take back what I used to say about it being a simple system that works pretty well. It’s a ridiculously complicated system that works pretty well. Regardless, the reality of health care is that because consumption of it increases exponentially with age, the only way to pay for it is to confiscate money from young, healthy people and use it to pay for old, less healthy people. There are two ways to do that. One is to take money from today’s young and healthy and use it to pay for today’s older and unhealthier. There’s another word for confiscation of wealth, which is taxation. So a very good case can be made for a government role here. In fact, if you look at how our healthcare money flows, the truth is that we already have a single-payer system because all of the $$ are touched by the gov’t somewhere along the line. Private “insurance” (it’s not actually insurance, but that’s another story) is really just the outsourcing of the taxation and redistribution (Holy shades of ancient Rome, Batman!). We spend extraordinary amounts of money to pretend that it’s something other than what it actually is, which is kinda dumb in my view. The non- or at least less-gov’t alternative would be a system of universal health savings accounts, like what they do in Singapore. By creating an actual market for healthcare (in which everyone can participate because everyone has an HSA), they get better care at about 1/3 the cost. It might work here, but it also might not, and if it did, it would take generations to phase in. So we’ll almost certainly stick with a single-payer system. It would be nice if we called it what it is and got rid of the “insurance market” facade, which would cut our national healthcare bill by about 1/3. Whatever the case, there is a clear role for gov’t here, and even in free-market Singapore, the government is heavily involved in both funding and in the actual delivery healthcare.

    Social Security is very different. The rationale for a gov’t role is much less clear. When it was created, pensions were rare and there was not an investment market available to individuals. Neither of those conditions still obtains. Furthermore, when the Act was passed, the average life expectancy was 63. Against a Social Security retirement age of 65, that meant most people never collected benefits. If the retirement age had kept pace with the increase in life expectancy over the past 90 years, it would be 83. Just math. When the Act was passed, there were 160 active workers supporting each retiree. Today, that number is 2.7. We claim it’s a “trust fund,” but any surplus funds are lent to the federal government through the purchase of gov’t bonds. So it’s really just another source of general revenues, albeit one with an extra price tag in the form of interest. On the flip side of that, however, no one in their right mind would ever choose to invest 100% of their retirement savings throughout 100% of their life solely in Treasury bonds because while they are theoretically very safe, the return isn’t there, and young people can afford to take more risk. And unlike Medicare, there really isn’t a clear rationale for a gov’t role here. Taking all of that into consideration, it’s unclear to me what would be wrong with a phased in system of private pensions (IRA starting at birth) with limits on the degree of risk that can be taken (already the case with “cash balance” pension plans) and a welfare safety net as a backstop.

    I share your distrust of any Republican agenda these days. What they’ve done to themselves is a cryin’ shame, but they did it with their eyes open. Piling on, Paul Ryan, the supposed intellectual boy genius of post-Reagan Republicanism, is a knucklehead. His prescription for health care was block grants to states, which demonstrates that he never actually understood the problem.

    All of that said, I wind up being pro single-payer for healthcare and pro private pensions for retirement. What does that make me?

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Thanks, Dan. Just two things to consider.

      Pensions are largely a thing of the past, as so many pension plans have evaporated into the hands of our Willie Hortons (“That’s where the money is”), be they private or government hands.

      And answering your last question, it makes you a pretty smart guy, but only if private pensions can be made solvent and reliable. That’s pretty iffy.