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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How should Sarah Palin cash in on her media-doll-hood?

Forget the political as personal. The political is entertainment-a-licious in 2009. Variety recently pondered the media future of soon-to-be ex-governor of Alaska Sarah Palin:

In the days since she announced her resignation as Alaska’s governor, Sarah Palin’s decision has remained a source of mystery, speculation and debate. But there’s little doubt that she’ll have a future in the cable news universe, if that’s what she desires.

Even before last year’s presidential election, TV producers and packagers speculated that, should she be freed from the constraints of elective office, she’d be a big “get” as the host of a Fox News show or even a daytime syndicated yakker. When she made her bombshell announcement on Friday, one theory was that she had been made an “offer she can’t refuse” from some TV network.

In a world where Rush Limbaugh is treated as the de facto head of the Republican Party, with tremendous sway over lawmakers given his talkradio perch, Palin could do a lot worse than establishing some kind of a TV or radio brand. Freed from the provincial politics (and investigations) that come with a statehouse job, she could wield more influence from a media platform.

A radio or TV talk show would be easy, of course, but — not forgetting that she hates the media — surely Palin’s prospects are so much larger than that! A sitcom (That’s Our Governor!, Mondays on CBS)? A cable detective drama (Little Miss Lieutenant, in which a hard-nosed homicide investigator [Palin] in the 1970s is constantly battling the sexism of her fellow cops)?

Let’s find Palin a new job! How should Sarah Palin cash in on her media-doll-hood?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • doa766

    I guess she could sell full size Sarah Palin and the First Dude sex dolls

    or she could sell the rights to Hollywood for some sort of evil alternative to Being There/Forrest Gump

  • Mark

    She should have a TV series, just so she can quit it just after the midseason sweeps.

    I know — a quiz show: “Do you know more about U.S. Civics than a former governor?”. If she can get that past the White House “Department of Law”…

  • PJK

    She seems to be raising a lot of money through her PAC.


  • doa766

    she could write a self help book called “how to increase your brain power by not breathing”

    (in case you’re wondering, when asked about her fast speak rate on the latest press conferences she really said that)

  • Fett101

    I like the TV show idea. How about a game show, “Are you smarter then Sarah Palin?”. Pretty much “Are you smarter then a 5th grader?” but with a new host.

  • mark

    Give me a break.

    Your all so down on Sara because you know she’s a serious threat.

    With Obama morgaging our future and Biden unable to properly mask the crazy ideas of this administration its only a matter of time until the current admin self distructs.

    We’re going to need someone to pick up the pieces. Maybe its Sara, maybe no.

    Time will tell

  • doa766

    if you thik like that then it’s not surprise that you have trouble spelling her name

  • Fett101

    Maybe someone who can complete their first full term as governor of a state. Someone who gets a better reaction from a debate then “She did better then I expected her to”.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Republicans seem to have two ideas about why liberals don’t like Sarah Palin. The first one, as Mark’s just demonstrated, is that we’re secretly scared of her because she presents a plausible threat to Obama in 2012. The other one that I’ve heard a lot is that we’re trying to hype her up in the hope that she’ll get the Republican nomination in 2012, because she’s a joke and we know we can beat her.

    If you can believe both those things at the same time without crossing your eyes and falling unconscious, you have successfully mastered the style of gut-level, hypocritical, mushy thinking that is necessary to be a Republican.

  • mark c

    Obama’s policies will be his undoing.

    Government control of private industry, of health care, his plans to rewarding people who do not work hard and to punishing people who do work, etc will not work in the real world. This has failed every time its been tried ala USSR, Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, etc. etc.

    Palin simply believes in freedom of choice. Personal responsibility. Equality. and less government.

    Attack my spelling of someone’s name and ignore the facts. Personal attacks, deflection of issues, changing the English language to make something as reprehensible as Discrimination sound like a good thing ala affirmative action.

    Have you read 1984, if not don’t bother its here now.

  • mark c

    BTW –

    If it were not that Sara was a threat why would people on the left continue to attack her. Seems to me, if she was not a threat she would simply fall out of ala Dan Quale John McCain, or on the other side Geraldine Fierro.

    BTW – What happened to Miss California, oh yea she’s no longer in the news…..Get my point!

  • Victor Plenty

    As a member of no political party, I am ceaselessly amazed by how many people believe the Republican party’s claims about wanting “smaller government.”

    Under every Republican administration, the government gets bigger and more powerful. It does the same thing under Democrat administrations, but at least the Democrats don’t usually claim “smaller government” as one of their major goals.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    This has failed every time its been tried ala USSR, Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, etc. etc

    And the whole of Europe…er… No, wait, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    Personal responsibility.

    “No way did voters not like little old me! It was the liberal media’s fault, you betcha. And the McCain campaign’s fault, also. And now you’ve all offended me so much I’m going to have to resign and take my ball home. P.S. can I keep these suits?”


    Well, unless you’re gay. Or not a Christian. Or outside “real America”.

    and less government.

    A statement that, as Victor Plenty points out, dwarfs everything in terms of ridiculousness.

    We’ve all read 1984. I suspect your knowledge of it ends at “something about Commies”, because so much of it is far more relevant to the current Republican party than it is to the Democrats. Torture? Check. Two minutes hate? Still there, with “Emmanuel Goldstein” replaced with “Hollywood liberals”, “activist judges” or any number of a rotating cast of folk devils. “We have always been at war with Eastasia”? But of course.

  • mark c

    Last time I checked auto industries in “western” Europe were still in the private sector ala BMW, VW, Mercedes, etc….

    As for health care….Medicare / Medicaid / social security have all been so successful that we should impose that on everyone? I have heard horror stories with regard to medical care in countries that have socialized medical programs as well.

    With regard to Equality – It seems that some on the left would like to claim to be supportive for minority groups, but let a minority with conservative ideals gain some traction ala Sarah P or oh yea Miss California -> This blog shows the result!

    We are still (for a little longer) a democracy founded on principles stated in our constitution which protect our free choice of religion and more….

    We hold these truths to be self-evident,
    that all men are created equal,
    that they are endowed by their Creator
    with certain unalienable Rights,
    that among these are Life, Liberty,
    and the pursuit of Happiness.
    That to secure these rights,
    Governments are instituted among Men,
    deriving their just powers from the
    consent of the governed.

    With regard to torture – Would it have been if “W” had allowed the terrorists to go ahead with plans of mass destructions in the United States following 911. I suggest that had that happened you would be arguing that he was asleep at the switch.

  • Fett101

    1. The American health care system was rated 37th in the world according to the WHO. Why would anyone ever want to destroy such a delightful system?
    2. Christians are a majority, not a minority.
    3. So it’s OK to repress a minority at the want of a majority?
    4. Statements gained under torture are unreliable. But even arguing if it worked or not is absurd as it is not only against Geneva convention, it is a insult to what this country stands for.

  • Accounting Ninja

    Funny how conservatives always equate “freedom of religion” to “there shall be none but christianity!”

    As an atheist fiercely supportive of gay rights, let’s just say that I don’t find anything to love about the right. Too bad, really, because I’m not a complete pinko commie. I’m actually fairly fiscally cautious and think less government in some areas may be ideal (simply because massive, lumbering beaurocracies seem to take forever to get anything accomplished ;P). But I will ALWAYS vote Dem, because of the religious, gay-bashing, woman-stifling and war-lovin’ I’ve seen far too often on the right.

    Just my .02.

  • mark c

    I’m not sure that Sara is the right person to lead this country. However she clearly does not deserve the level of slander that has been heaped her way.

    The real issue with Sara is that she took on crooks and less than ethical politicians on both sides of the isle. If she were to do that in Washington, I guarantee you that sparks would fly. Folks on both sides of the isle are threatened by Sara.

    Sara in Washington would be a little like peroxide in a cut. Peroxide on an cut – no infection and no bubbles, infection and the peroxide bubbles like crazy. Could it be that we have allot of graft and corruption the Government, and concern is boiling over that someone might try to clean that up? It would explain the emotional personal attacks from both sides. Has Sara really said or done anything that can compare Biden. Biden’s become a joke and Sara’s become a target ((maybe there is a little discrimination going on here – the white dude in a suit, vs the dumb chic? – Where are the real feminists)).

    It may be time for another revolution in the United States. We need political leaders with the same drive and intestinal fortitude that drove the signers of our declaration of independence.

    We need leaders that are willing to dedicate their life to save our country. People that will say, and mean it….Give me liberty or give me death!

    Maybe its time we clean house in Washington!

    Maybe Sara will help to inspire change.

  • mark c

    Why is it that the left is obsessed with attacking christianity?

    We have the freedom of religon in the USA. To practice, not to practice. Most people belive in God. If you don’t thats your deal. Why is open hostility toward christianity acceptable?

    Is it ok to attack christianity because the majority of americans are christian?

    Is discrimination wrong? If so then why is it openly supported by the left?

    Is poverty a problem? Then why do we give a pittance to the poor, shouldn’t we find them work so that they can feed and shelter themselves?

    Many have difficulty even discussing sexuality. Is it a surprise that sexual choice is a difficult subject. I’m only 50, and I can tell you that freedom of choice on this point is way way way more mainstream than it was even 30 years ago.

  • mark c

    Re healthcare – Government can’t run anything efficiently because they have no reason to. In the private sector, if a Dr is not good you can simply choose another.

    Here are some facts to ponder.

    Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers. Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the United Kingdom and 457 percent higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

    2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians. Breast cancer mortality in Canada is 9 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher, and colon cancer among men is about 10 percent higher.

    3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries. Some 56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them.

    4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians. Take the proportion of the appropriate-age population groups who have received recommended tests for breast, cervical, prostate, and colon cancer:

    •Nine out of ten middle-aged American women (89 percent) have had a mammogram, compared to fewer than three-fourths of Canadians (72 percent).

    •Nearly all American women (96 percent) have had a Pap smear, compared to fewer than 90 percent of Canadians.

    •More than half of American men (54 percent) have had a prostatespecific antigen (PSA) test, compared to fewer than one in six Canadians (16 percent).

    •Nearly one-third of Americans (30 percent) have had a colonoscopy, compared with fewer than one in twenty Canadians (5 percent).

    5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians. Twice as many American seniors with below-median incomes self-report “excellent” health (11.7 percent) compared to Canadian seniors (5.8 percent). Conversely, white, young Canadian adults with below-median incomes are 20 percent more likely than lower-income Americans to describe their health as “fair or poor.”

    6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom. Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long—sometimes more than a year—to see a specialist, have elective surgery such as hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada. In Britain, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.

    7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed. More than 70 percent of German, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and British adults say their health system needs either “fundamental change” or “complete rebuilding.”

    8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared with only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).

    9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain. An overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identify computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade—even as economists and policy makers unfamiliar with actual medical practice decry these techniques as wasteful. The United States has thirty-four CT scanners per million Americans, compared to twelve in Canada and eight in Britain. The United States has almost twenty-seven MRI machines per million people compared to about six per million in Canada and Britain.

    10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations. The top five U.S. hospitals conduct more clinical trials than all the hospitals in any other developed country. Since the mid- 1970s, the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology has gone to U.S. residents more often than recipients from all other countries combined. In only five of the past thirty-four years did a scientist living in the United States not win or share in the prize. Most important recent medical innovations were developed in the United States.

    Despite serious challenges, such as escalating costs and care for the uninsured, the U.S. health care system compares favorably to those in other developed countries.

  • JoshB


    There seems to be a serious difference in grammatical correctness between most of mark c’s posts and the most recent, essay length one.

    Care to post a link to the article instead of quoting the entire thing?

  • mel

    Hey Mark, As an Australian I am dissatisfied with my government health care.
    Do i want your system?
    I want greater levels of government funding for hospitals and shorted elective surgery lists.
    Having had a number of my family go through extended hospital stays and surgeries and recoveries and not have private health insurance, and still get the best and most prompt treatments in state of the art hospitals, without having to pay for any of it makes me quite content with the services I’m getting.
    Could it be better?
    Could it be worse?
    Yeah, it could be the US system

  • Accounting Ninja

    I did NOT “attack” christianity. But, I cannot stand silent when our former president had “faith-based” initiatives and I have spoken with more than one conservative who would be comfortable with making america a theocracy (with christianity at the helm, of course).

    The moment I mention I am an atheist you types just scream “attack! persecution!” Even that “most people believe in god” was a little dig. The rest of that sentence was no doubt “so YOUR viewpoint doesn’t count, minority atheist”. In my personal experience (not claiming this as fact, just anecdote), I have had many religious people hassle me about my atheism. I even lost a job once. I have NEVER hassled a single person about their belief in god. To me, it’s a personal choice that is none of my business. Do I want religion in my government? NO. But I respect your personal choice to believe, as long as we do not have institutional discrimination (like against gays) based solely on religious beliefs.

    True, acceptance of gays has come a long way, but the last vestiges of bigotry lay in religious intolerance of homosexuality.

  • JoshB

    without having to pay for any of it makes me quite content with the services I’m getting.

    mel buddy, you are paying for it. You think Australia just prints money to give to hospitals?

  • mel

    Well, duh Josh. Do i have to contribute some of my after tax wage to health care though? No. Will i still get quality care without having to worry about whether my insurance covers it? No. Do i need to find a new job because of the health benefits program? No.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    It seems that some on the left would like to claim to be supportive for minority groups, but let a minority with conservative ideals gain some traction ala Sarah P or oh yea Miss California -> This blog shows the result!

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but how the hell have these people been “oppressed”? People calling you an idiot is not oppression. People disagreeing with you is not oppression. Even people spreading rumours about you, nasty as it may be, is not oppression. Grow a spine, Mark.

    The real issue with Sara is that she took on crooks and less than ethical politicians on both sides of the isle.

    Cough! Cough! Choke! Yeah, she showed those corrupt politicians, alright – claiming hotel expenses for nights spent at home, swiping suits that were born with campaign money, blowing the best part of Wasilla’s annual budget on a frigging ice hockey stadium – truly, this is a model of ethical fiscal conservatism which had those fat cats in Washington shaking in their boots!

  • mark c

    Come on Bruno –

    Surely there are more important thins to talk about than what Sharah wears on the campaign trail. My guess is that every one on a government payroll at this level is spending way more than most of us on cloths.

    Too many people are way to focused on Sarah’s son who has downs, her daughter who got pregnant (without being married – oh my gosh that really happens), that Sarah can see Russia from her back door. Give me a break! This stuff is not the issue any more than what Barrack’s wife thinks about government, what she wears, who Barrack hangs out with, what his middle name is, or even if Barrack was actually born in the USA.

    The news on both sides has us all talking about the wrong things! It would be great to see an honest debate over the real topics with real and verifiable facts.

    Facts are friendly, if we could have real discussion on that, then we would have a chance of electing leadership that might be able to pull us out of this mess.

    Josh B
    Quite astute observation. I am not an English major, have made no attempt for grammatical correctness, and yes I did scrape those facts from someone else’s work.

    Do a search for articles that reflect no political agenda and you will find facts on this stuff.

    We all need to be careful. It’s really easy to spin this stuff to support a political view. In the end this isn’t about politics – ITS ABOUT OUR LIFE and yes OUR MONEY!

    Mel – Have you ever had any procedure in an American hospital?

    My wife was lucky enough to have a top surgeon in Vanderbilt remove her synovial lining and reconstruct her left knee. This surgeon was one of only a few people in the world that is doing this procedure, (others wanted to amputate). She was in the hospital for a total of 2 days! Trust me, private insurance companies have no interest in extended hospital stays. Our (private healthcare plan) which is paid for by payroll deduction paid for nearly all of the cost!

    How would this have played out in Germany, England, or Australia? Would she still have her leg?

    If I get sick or need serious medical attention there is no where in the world I’d rather be than her in the USA.

  • @mark c: My wife was lucky enough to have a top surgeon in Vanderbilt remove her synovial lining and reconstruct her left knee. This surgeon was one of only a few people in the world that is doing this procedure, (others wanted to amputate). She was in the hospital for a total of 2 days!”

    my sister, who lives in tennessee, works as a driver/nurses aide for a senior assistance company. this company does not have *private* health insurance. my sister had to wait for over *two years* before she could even get a vascular doctor to look at her leg after being told by the local health clinic they could do nothing for her. every one she called, when they found out she had “no insurance” told her: “We don’t prescribe pain medication.” because she had no insurance and her income was low, they *assumed* she was a junkie looking for pain medication.

    i’m no communist, but i think that a government should supply its citizen with some basic standards of living. i have a decent job and because i’m single, i pay very high taxes… and i pay for the health insurance (which doesn’t cover my eyes and teeth, by the way!) my firm “provides”… why can’t some of my tax money go to supplying some basic care for my sister so she can go about doing her job and paying *her* taxes.

    the “socialist” bugaboo about health care has been around too long…time to put it to rest. we all pay taxes (at least those of us who aren’t rich enough to have shelters that avoid them) and i think my idea of where my tax money should go is as valid as the next persons. i want my taxes to go to keeping america healthy, productive and educated.

    none of which really has anything to do with the original question of this post, which was, what should Sarah Palin do with her media-doll-hood? nothing. spare me any more of her rambling and platitudes.

  • mark c

    the government cant provide anything becasue they dont produce anything.

    The government can only collect money and redistribute it.

    If government takes enough money out of the private sector, we will all live in poverty.

    Look at what happened in east germany versus west.
    The same people on both sides, govenment was the difference.

  • mark c

    By the way, the ritch pay most of the taxes in the US – The shelters bugabo has been around too long as well.

    As has the idea of our tax system being “Progressive” its actually quite regressive the harder you work the more of your money is taken away.

  • mark c

    What do you do when your employeer doesn’t pay you what you think your worth?

    Find another job. Healthcare is a benifit that employers provide. Its part of your salary. If yours isn’t enought – Change jobs.

    Oh yea, Washington is in the process of driving us into the next great depression and jobs are hard to find.

    Another stimulous is clearly not the answer. We need to reduce governemetn spending, reduce taxes, and get the economy going again.

    Then maybe you can find a job that provides you with the level of compensation you need.

  • mel

    But this is my question Josh, Why should healthcare be related at all to your job?
    I love my job, and it pays well enough, i’d hate to have to give it up to go somewhere else because of the Health package. And i really don’t understand why i should.
    But then, i don’t have to. I have my super nice government health system that allows me to do what i want.

  • JoshB

    But this is my question Josh…I love my job, and it pays well enough, i’d hate to have to give it up to go somewhere else because of the Health package. And i really don’t understand why i should.

    I assume you meant to address that question to mark c?

    You shouldn’t, unless you find a private insurance package that offers better coverage for the money than the national plan. In that case you should weigh how much you love your current job versus the benefits of the better coverage.

    I could make a flowchart…

  • mel

    Sorry Josh, yeah i did mean it to him.

    But again, i really, really don’t think i should be weighing up anything to do with health as part of my job.
    but again, i don’t. I’m Australian.

  • mark c

    Don’t change jobs then, that is your choice.

    What I don’t understand – Why should my money (taken by the government) subsidise your choice to stay in a job that doesn’t pay you what you want.

    Unless your disabled, it’s your job to make sure I have a place to live, food to eat, and health care.

  • Mark C

    Mel – I ask again – Have you ever experienced health care in the USA?

    Sounds like your Australian system has a few of the problems that worry me….


    [edit] Issues

    [edit] Aboriginal Health
    Indigenous Australian health and wellbeing statistics indicate Aboriginal Australians are much less healthy than the rest of the Australian community. One leading indicator, infant mortality rates, including stillbirths and deaths in the first month of life, show Aboriginal infants die twice as often as non-indigenous Australians.[6]. Another revealing statistic is the 17-year gap in average life expectancy between indigenous and other Australians.

    [edit] Preventable diseases
    Cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of death and disease in Australia. [7] Australia has one of the highest proportions of overweight citizens in the developed nations in the world. [8] Consequently Australians are constantly reminded by initiatives and advertising, to eat healthy foods and maintain an exercise program to avoid suffering obesity related disease such as diabetes.

    See also: HIV/AIDS in Australia

    [edit] Poor services
    State governments are responsible for managing hospitals and community health care centres. Services across the country have been routinely criticised for lengthy waiting times in emergency rooms and for non-life threatening operations[citation needed]. Poor standards at New South Wales hospitals were highlighted after Jana Horska had a miscarriage in an emergency room toilet at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital. In October 2008, many hospitals in New South Wales were threatened with closure from non-payment of bills for necessary medical supplies.[9]

    [edit] Remote, rural and regional services
    Many parts of remote and rural Australia suffer from a shortage of doctors and health care services, so the federal government started the Medical Rural Bonded Scheme to encourage medical practitioners to settle in rural areas. The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides medical services to remote stations and communities separated by great distances. The Kimberly and Pilbara regions of Western Australia are at a crisis point due to a chronic lack of GPs.

    Abortion laws in Australia are determined by individual states. For legend, click image.
    [edit] Other
    Australian health statistics show that chronic disease such as rheumatic heart disease, particularly strokes which reflects a more affluent lifestyle is a common cause of death.[6] Australians are prone to a high skin cancer rate with cancers reducing and disabling Queensland the most.[6]

    The Morris Inquiry and then the Davies Inquiry, were instigated after whistleblower Toni Hoffman reported medical malpractices by hospital doctor Jayant Patel

    Other issues include compensation for victims of asbestos exposure related disease and the slow development of HealthConnect. The provision of adequate mental health services and the quality of aged care, are other problems in some parts of the country[citation needed].

  • mark c

    Hey Mel – Check this out.

    When you adjust for these “fatal injury” rates, U.S. life expectancy is actually higher than in nearly every other industrialized nation.

    Diet and lack of exercise also bring down average life expectancy.

    Another reason the U.S. didn’t score high in the WHO rankings is that we are less socialistic than other nations. What has that got to do with the quality of health care? For the authors of the study, it’s crucial. The WHO judged countries not on the absolute quality of health care, but on how “fairly” health care of any quality is “distributed.” The problem here is obvious. By that criterion, a country with high-quality care overall but “unequal distribution” would rank below a country with lower quality care but equal distribution.

    Other good critiques of the WHO study include Glen Whitman, who blogs about it here and published a summary here, which also links a more detailed Cato policy analysis here.


    tags: foreign, John Stossel, quality

    United States has best cancer survival rates
    “Universal” Health Care Kills
    Critiquing the latest Commonwealth Fund study
    British National Health Service denies care
    Czech medical care no longer “free”

    Don’t just listen to Michael Moore and CNN (aka Communist News Network)

  • mark c

    If Sarah could help draw attention to the facts, and dispel some of the lies she would get my vote, and the vote of millions of others!

    If she just wants people to leave her alone, she should switch parties and the attacks would stop.

  • Paul

    The idea that just switching jobs will cure one’s problems is an interesting idea that doesn’t bear close examination. Employers are trying to find ways around paying benefits. They hire part time workers and work them as many hours as possible without them turning into full time workers; the same goes for temp workers. They ship jobs overseas.

    And some jobs just aren’t going to provide a middle class lifestyle regardless. Imagine an America where everyone was at least middle class. Who would sell us tickets, serve food in restaurants, wash cars, be the nanny, or any other number of services. Certainly, there is no reason these people should be rich, but why should 40% of Americans be without health care insurance simply because their job pays so poorly? Someone has to do those jobs until we invent robots to do all the boring stuff.

    Before anyone suggests just bringing in more immigrants, which has been the American strategy so far, remember that the same political party in the way of helping the unemployed and under-employed is the same party that wants to keep foreigners out.

    As for Palin, I say let her have a talk show. Run it up against Oprah and let them duke it out in the ratings. If Palin loses, then foot in mouth disease might drive her out of politics. If Palin wins, then why would she take a pay cut to be President?

  • mark c

    Ah yea it is an interesting time.

    How to stay in business when forced to compete against people who are willing to work for a little of nothing in developing countries.

    Shifing the admin of health care from the private sector to Governement doesn’t really address that one. Is government better at managing anything than a business that is in competition with outers?

    Health care will continue to cost money. That money has got to come from somewhere. Will govenment really be more efficient at manageing healthcare than private industry? Is better at managing any business than a business with true competors?

    By The Way – There is no chance of footin mouth driving anyone out of politics. Biden is the proof.

  • mark c

    40% without healthcare – You might want to check that.

    Start with the math. We have 300 million Americans. Subtract the 45 million — 15 percent of us — with no health insurance. That leaves 255 million Americans, or 85 percent, with it.

    And the insurance is lousy, right? Not according to a 2006 ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today survey. It found that 89 percent of Americans were satisfied with the quality of their own health care.

    Nearly half of the 45 million fall in the category of my 26-year-old nephew. He smokes cigarettes, dates, eats out, goes to movies and, like all young people, lives through his cell phone.

    …With a change in priorities, these young folks — far more representative of those without insurance than the forlorn husband and wife sitting on a porch swing — could both afford and qualify for health insurance. They simply consider it a low priority.


    Life is all about choices. I don’t want the government make the choice for me.

  • Unless your disabled, it’s your job to make sure I have a place to live, food to eat, and health care.

    Ahem. You appear to have a bit of pronoun trouble, Mark C.

    Given the political philosophy expressed in your other posts, I’m quite sure that the above quote is not what you meant to say.

  • mark c

    Do we allow a complete government takeover of the section of health care it doesn’t already run, for 10-15 million or so without health insurance on a persistent basis? Again, 255 million Americans already have it. Many millions more could get it if they wanted to. And 89 percent of Americans are satisfied with the care they now receive.


    I contend that people thing there is a problem because politions want to manage a biger part of our money.

    This is nothing but a power grab. Government is useing our compassion to attempt a HUGE power grab.

    Folks in the left leaning media are being played, and they are takeing a big portion of us with them.

  • mark c

    LOL – Tonio

    Unless your disabled, it’s your job to make sure I have a place to live, food to eat, and health care.

    UPS – It would be nice. But your quite right that is not what I meant to say.

  • Paul

    What really gets me is the commercials that say we don’t want the government between us and our doctors, but I wonder who pays for those commercials. Could it be the insurance companies that stand between us and our doctors?

  • mark c


    Understand, but who will do a better job admin the program? An insurance company that has to compete with outers for business, or the government with no competitors?

    When W was in charge the dem’s called for bipartisnship. Now, with the dems are in charge they say screw the bipartisnship.

    We have a full-out Socialist President now. This guy is pulling out all of the stops. Purchasing GM & Crysler, Government control of the banks, take-over of healthcare, and tax hikes for everyone that make more than 50 K/year are coming.

    Obama about to proove that it is possible for a one term President to cause a global economic depression.

    If O is successfull, none of us will have healthcare, or jobs to worry about.

    How can we feel good about this as the guy drives our country into a brick wall?

    I am for anyone that can stop the madness, if its Sarah, then Go Sarah GO

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, it’s great to not live in your imaginary world where you spout nonsense and you think that makes it magically true. It sounds like a very scary place. I hope you escape from it someday into the real world, where people start to realize extremist political pundits care only about winning elections.

    These people spewing thinly disguised hatred across the airwaves don’t care about accurate or honest descriptions of reality. They don’t care about the good of the nation. And they definitely, absolutely, will not ever care about you.

    They will distort reality as much as they can get away with, if they think it might bring voters to their preferred party. Here is just one example of the many outright lies they foist on their own viewers.

    It amazes me that you, or anybody, can still believe the craptastic doom prophecies coming from the exact same pundits who claimed everything was going just peachy when disaster after disaster resulted from their party’s policies.

    As for bipartisanship, it was the Republican leaders who opted to abandon constructive compromise this time around, just like they did back when they held all the power. And I say that without being a member of either party myself.

    Do I think the Democrats are perfect in everything they are doing? Of course not. Every policy decision from either party has plenty of mistakes that will need to be corrected down the line. I speak in their defense at the moment only because their policies are a pragmatic response to the current set of crises they’ve inherited from years of Republicans’ slavish adherence to unrealistic ideological purity.

    If the Republicans ever pull their heads out of their asses, start doing the real pragmatic work of political compromise, and stop trying to make me believe nonsense like “OMG Obama is so totally a socialist!!1!1!” I might someday speak in their defense, too.

    I hope they do pull out of this self-destruction spiral. I’d sincerely hate to see the Republican party in complete collapse. The last time our country lost a major political party, it was a harbinger of the Civil War.

    Nobody sane wants another one of those.

  • mark c

    You’ve just said a full page of nothing!

    Obama is running the national debt dramatically higher than at any time in history.

    Unemployment is quickly exceeding any recession in history.

    The number of people that are out of work and have given up is higher than ever (check the bureau of labor statistics).

    Obama is buying up private industry.

    In light of all this we hear about jobless recoveries, and how people are happy to have and spend less. Yea right…

    There are very few media outlets that go against the liberal group think, and liberals are trying to shut those down.

    The liberal meaning of bipartism is -> Agree with what I say. Its time republicans get some back bone and do the right thing and quit giving in.

    This is exactly why McCain lost, he came acrost a weak and unconfident.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, you should know, being a leading expert on the art of saying nothing.

    Funny how your side of the aisle always plays down the importance of deficits, telling us all not to worry whenever they’re the ones in charge of the budget. Everything else you’ve said is equally laughable to anyone who has followed the long line of ridiculous claims made by people like you.

    Screeching “liberal!” over and over again actually is your idea of a compelling argument, isn’t it? How sad. But I suppose it’s to be expected, given the complete lack of intellectual honesty in the pundits and party leaders who have purchased your soul for magic beans.

    I hope you break free of them before they finish the work of utterly destroying the Republican party. I really do.

  • mark c

    Again you attack me, but say nothing to support your point of view.


    Maybe an attack on my daughter, my son, my x wife.

    My claims can be verified.

  • mark c

    Are these the rediculous claims?

    Purchasing GM & Crysler, Government control of the banks, take-over of healthcare, and tax hikes for everyone that make more than 50 K/year are coming.

    I know it seems impossible, but it is happening now.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, I attack your claims, not you. How sad that you are unable to tell the difference.

    As for what you claim is happening now, you distort and exaggerate every issue you bring up, so why should I take seriously anything you say?

    I wish you well, believe it or not, and seek only your freedom from those who have enslaved your mind.

  • mark c

    Victor Plenty – Wake up and smell the coffee.

    I know it sounds crazy, but this is the brave new world that Obama and his co-conspiritors are crafting for us.

    America can only be defeated from within and obama is the key.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, I’m wide awake, thanks. People have claimed every president was secretly an enemy of the state, all the way back to and including George Washington.

    I didn’t believe the nutjobs who claimed George W. Bush secretly planned to declare martial law, call off the 2008 elections, and make himself Supreme Dictator for Life. There’s no reason to believe the nuts who claim similar nonsense about Mr. Obama.

    Sadly the nuttiness about Obama seems to penetrate much more deeply into the rank and file of the Republican party. Far fewer Democrats ever believed such obvious lies about Bush, judging by anything I ever heard them say.

    If anybody is trying to defeat America from within, they are mostly outside of the government, and probably among those who tell you lies that mislead you to irrationally hate and fear our own Commander in Chief.

  • mark c

    It does seem nutty, I must admit.

    Prior to this year, however, few one would have believed that Obama would increase the national debt from for 65 % of GDP to nearly 80 % in the first 6 months of his term. Current projection is that the national debt will exceed 100 % of GDP by year end!

    Bottom line – Our government is spending way to much money, and that that money is being spent in a way that does nothing to to stimulate the economy.

    Consumers will be left to pay back that borrowed money. Since consumers will burdened with repayment of Barracks debt, they will have less money to buy stuff. Companies will cut jobs in reaction to the lower demand. The laid-off ex workers will need money from the government to survive. This will increase debt and shift more of the burdon to the smaller group of people working etc. ect.

    Please help me to understand how this could be good.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, nobody denies that the national debt is a problem, but it’s nowhere near enough evidence to prove any of the wild-eyed claims being made against President Obama and other Democrats.

    In 1945 the national debt reached 117.5% of GDP. Over the next several administrations, both Democrat and Republican, that percentage went steadily downward. Over the same time period, the entire US economy rapidly expanded. The economic growth was so rapid, economists started wondering out loud how society could possibly cope with such an unprecedented increase in general prosperity.

    Now I’m not going to claim such rapid growth is about to happen again, but history does prove it’s possible to recover from a high national debt without the nightmare downward spiral of economic collapse you describe.

    One thing I can say with absolute certainty is that the voices of blind panic and irrational fear are not going to help make anything better.

  • mark c

    The federal deficit in the mid 1940’s never exceeded 100 billion.

    The federial deficit is now 150 times that.

    In the last 6 months the federal deficit has increased from ~ 400 Billion to more than 1,800 Billion! That is an increase of more than 10 times the total deficit of the mid 40’s.

    This is a very different time. I thought deficits were bad under GWB in the first 6 months of Obama the deficit has increased at an exponential rate.

    Don’t think I am over reacting. We are likely to be part of history soon, ie one of the most spectacular train wrecks in ever seen.

    my source http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1940_2010&view=1&expand=&units=b&fy=fy10&chart=G0-total&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=Federal%20Deficit&state=US&color=c&local=c

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, prophets of doom fail far more often than they succeed in predicting the future. Once in a very great while, a prediction of doom is followed by actual doom, but then again, even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.

    It is increasingly clear that you will keep tweaking the evidence to suit your preferred conclusions no matter how long we discuss these issues.

    Earlier you wanted us to panic about the national debt as a percentage of GDP. So I showed why those figures are not nearly as alarming as you might be led to believe. Now you switch to talking about total dollar figures, without even correcting for inflation, in yet another attempt to justify blind panic.

    Obviously you have decided to be terrified, for whatever reasons, and nothing I say will persuade you otherwise. For your sake, I hope something does change your mind, and soon. Everybody deserves better than to live in such constant irrational fear.

    Meanwhile, I continue in my conviction that a calm and pragmatic approach to solving our problems will always be more likely to succeed than alarmist panic and fear.

  • mark c

    Yes, but profits of doom are normally projecting based on emotion.

    I prefer to look at the facts, not rely on blind faith that all of these changes might possibly result in something good.

    Obama is making all of the wrong moves, and we will all be left holding the bag.

    At the end of the day, when the economy is left in shambles and the USA is no longer the worlds leading economy. Obama will blame someone else.

    Blind faith and hope in some undefined change that we can believe in, is irrational.

    Not all changes are good. I do believe that we are about to see change. This change however, will not be a change toward more prosperity for the united states.

  • mark c

    My prediction….

    The economy will bump along until the public realize how all of this borrowing will affect their personal finances (tax increases are coming).

    Obama will spend some of the 800 Billion that he has tucked away in an attempt to sway the public.

    The stimuluous will give the econoomy a temp bump, that bump won’t be sustainable because the is a fixed amount of money to hand out and when its gone only debt and lower income will be left.

  • mark c

    Victor, are you suggesting that the 1,400 Billion that we’re about to spend might be similar to the rebuilding of Germany and Western Europe following WW 1?

    Maybe I’m wrong, I sure hope so.

  • Victor Plenty

    Mark C, perhaps you mean the rebuilding of Western Europe after World War 2. Let’s also remember the construction of key infrastructure in those postwar decades, such as the interstate highway system. Such infrastructure investments enabled a great deal of the economic growth that North America, Western Europe, and Japan experienced in the second half of the 20th century.

    My understanding is that the current stimulus efforts include funding to rebuild and expand much of that infrastructure base. Their impact on the economy is not as immediate as simple cash payments or tax refunds, but they will pay much higher dividends over the long term.

    The same multiplier effect can be seen with education funding. Increasing the education level of our population is a long term investment, and will lead to innovations which could spur economic growth for decades to come.

    These constructive efforts to expand our economic base, and help a wider segment of our population contribute to the economy rather than draining it, are some of my reasons for guarded optimism about the Obama administration’s policy goals.

    Like every other policy initiative since the dawn of time, the Obama economic plan has its flaws, but I see no reason to believe the claims that it is a deliberate attempt to destroy the country.

  • Al

    Doesn’t seem like the Iraq war was such a good idea after all, as that it’s bankrupting the country, which is something cooler, less ideological heads predicted.

    The Dems have simply inherited an economic disaster already well in motion.

    Recovery will take awhile (if it’s even possible) no matter who is in the White House.

  • mark c

    Ideologies aside, if Victor is right I’ll be happy to admit that I was wrong!

    In the mean time I’m going to read about the post WW2 recovery efforts….

  • mark c

    Hey Al –

    Arguements about the Iraq war are a little like arguments with my x wife. Both sides convinced they are right, neither side willing to look at the facts.

    At this point I think we’ve at least slowed-down the threat fromt he middle east (given that there haven’t been anymore attacks in the USA).

    Will our luck hold out if we stop fighting them in the mid east? Time will tell on that one.

    What really worries me at this point is; how the current changes in leadership and policies affect our economy and our futures.

  • Victor Plenty

    Opinions will always differ on whether the United States should or shouldn’t have gone into Iraq, but Al’s main point still stands. War is always expensive. The money being spent on it is not available to help in the recovery from this recession.

    That simple fact has to be taken into account if we want to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of Obama’s policies.

  • Paul

    One of the ironies of the conversative vs. liberal debate is that the debt ran out of control because of Republican military spending. When Democrats wanted to find a few billion for schools, Republicans were against deficiet spending, but when it comes to invading other countries, they wave a magic wand and hundreds of billions appear. Both Reagan and Bush were like this: cutting funds for helping people, unlimited funds for killing them. Some of that money is defense spending, but that only accounts for maybe 25% of Pentagon spending, which is all we’d need to defend America. The rest is only needed to defend capitalism, bullying other countries into supplying our needs at the prices we want.

    Another irony is that the Republicans based their small government justifications upon Adam Smith, but Smith wanted a smaller government so it would stop helping rich people keep everyone else down, not stop helping poor people. Smith was anti-foriegn wars, anti-debt for military poper, pro-schools, pro-union, and pro-infrastructure.

    Another irony is that the GOP doesn’t want the government to regulate the economy, but does want the government to bail out rich people when the bubble bursts. That was Bush II’s policy before he lost the election.

    Another irony is that when liberals want to help people, the GOP says you can’t solve problems by throwing money at them, but when it comes to their own problems, they throw money at them.

    Once a person winds their way through the GOP slogans and realizes their policies violate the teachings of not only Smith but Jesus as well, she sees the emptiness at the heart of their ideology, and has no reason to go back.

  • AJP

    “The federal deficit in the mid 1940’s never exceeded 100 billion.”

    Methinks someone needs to learn about inflation adjusted numbers and what they mean.

  • AJP

    “One of the ironies of the conversative vs. liberal debate is that the debt ran out of control because of Republican military spending.”

    This is often stated, and is patently untrue. All defense/intelligence/homeland security spending combined amounts to about 20% of Federal spending.

    Entitlements and interest on the debt, on the other hand, amount to about 60% of Federal spending. Entitlements have been, and will continue to grow as the baby boomers age. Expanding health care will only exacerbate this (the CBO, a nonpolitical agency of Congress, thinks Obama’s claims that health care changes will save the country any money are completely incorrect, and the various proposals will all increase Federal spending dramatically).

    Oh, and every year of his Presidency Reagan submitted a bidget proposal that would have resulted in a balanced budget. Every year the Democratic led Congress rejected it. You can’t blame spending cuts in services on Reagan, he never had a budget proposal he submitted pass.

  • mark c

    Many countries around the world do not belive that freedom of speach, freedom of religon, gay rights, equality among the sexes, etc.

    If not for protection provded by the ameriacan military, liberals would not even be able to engage in many of the silly ideals that you seem to support.

    Maybe in the afterlife we will be able to experience utopia. Until then we will need to speak softly, carry a big stick, trust and verify.

    There really are bad people in the world, some of those people would like to tell you how to live, what to think, what religon to follow, they would not allow free speach, they would fore women to be covered head to toe, and would like to take what we have.

  • Paul

    While it is true that the military’s official part of the budget is lower than entitlements, that percentage doesn’t include the emergency supplements that paid for the Iraq War. That’s hundreds of billions a year.

    Social Security is also paid for by social security taxes, so will be a self-supporting program (that’s been loaning money to the rest of the government) until too many people retire (I’ve heard estimates ranging from 2025-2040 when that will happen). I agree that in the long run, entitlements will have to be revisited, but that doesn’t mean that in the short run we should make things worse by spending as much money on our military as the rest of the world combined. Do we really need 11 aircraft carrier groups? Bases in over 100 other countries?

    A good way to look at our military needs would be to compare Bush’s two wars. Afghanistan was the smart war, fought with Special Forces, local allies, and some air support. It was a lot cheaper than the Iraq War, fought with conventional forces and with the intention of staying, which is why we started building superbases like the ones in South Korea.

    Remember, folks, that the British Empire went broke winning wars, or at least being on the winning side. They carried a stick so big that it broke their back, just as happened to the French, Dutch, and Spanish Empires that preceded them.

  • AJP

    The supplementals were far less than you think they were, and are accounted for. They still were technically “off budget”, but were included in the percentages I cited.

    Even with the war supplemental, entitlement spending dwarfs the military budget by about three to one. In historical terms, our military is ridiculously cheap.

  • JoshB

    AJP, you seem to think that knowing the spending pie chart is enough to base your opinions on. You also need to look at revenues. Entitlement programs have their own revenue stream. You can even see this on your paycheck, where it breaks up taxes into SS, Medicare, income etc. One might try to argue that we spend too much on entitlements, but the fact remains that their budget is balanced.

    What this means is that even if we reduced entitlement spending, or even if we eliminated it completely, we would still be facing a deficit, because income tax revenues do not cover their responsibility, which is discretionary spending. And the biggest part of discretionary spending, by an absurd margin, is defense.

  • AJP

    The idea that entitlement spending is balanced because it has a dedicated revenue stream is a fallacy. The federal government is a single entity, so its liabilities are all shared. “Dedicated” revenue streams are an accounting sleight of hand that have no basis in reality. When the chips are down, it all comes from the same pot.

    The primary problem with entitlement spending is that you have been fed a load of crap about it. They say we have set money aside to cover future costs. But what does that mean? That means that the SSA collects more money than it spends and then buys government bonds with it. In effect, it “saves” money by lending it to the rest of the government. What is going to happen when that money needs to be paid back? The government will have to raise general revenues to cover the cost. Just as it would have if there was no “dedicated revenue stream”.

    Imagine you owed $80,000. Imagine you had $20,000. You would say you were $60,000 in the hole, wouldn’t you? The government writes itself an IOU for $40,000 and says it is only $20,000 in the hole. That’s what the “lockbox” gets you. A pile of useless IOUs that don’t amount to any actual savings fund.

    Defense spending is historically low. That’s not the problem. The problem is that entitlement spending is at 60%+ of the federal budget and growing. And that won’t change unless the system is changed radically.

  • JoshB

    I haven’t been fed anything. I can do arithmetic.

    Entitlement spending is balanced because it’s not discretionary. It’s written into law. The government has to take in enough money to pay entitlements out. It doesn’t matter whether you think we’re spending too much on them. If we decided to spend less on entitlements, say by raising the age of eligibility on SS, then the revenue stream would get smaller to compensate, and it would still be balanced. If we decided to spend more then the revenue stream would get larger. It’s written into law to work that way, and thus is not an accounting sleight of hand, but a legal imperative.

    And, once again, if we got rid of entitlements altogether then that section of taxes on your paycheck would simply disappear. And we would still be running a deficit, because the section that says “income tax” isn’t high enough, or our discretionary spending isn’t low enough, take your pick.

  • mark c

    Oh good its written into law….

    And what happens to that law when there isn’t enough money to satisfy all of the legal liabilities – the laws will change to make it all work out.

    Entitlements are a black hole, money is sucked in and very little comes out. At some point there won’t be enough money, and the system will collapse.

  • JoshB

    mark c old buddy, reading comprehension is your friend.

    The conversation is about where the federal budget deficit comes from here in 2009, not the value of entitlement programs or their hypothetical collapse in the future.

    For your benefit, I’ll quote myself…see if you can refute my point:

    if we got rid of entitlements altogether then that section of taxes on your paycheck would simply disappear. And we would still be running a deficit, because the section that says “income tax” isn’t high enough, or our discretionary spending isn’t low enough, take your pick.

  • Paul

    AJP, now you’re complaining about the slight of hand that’s been used to move money from the savings meant for entitlement programs to be spent on the military instead? Guess who the biggest offenders of that were: Reagan and the Bushes.

    But lets imagine a world without entitlement programs. This would be an America with thousands of elderly homeless with the veterans that Reagan kicked out onto the streets because he didn’t think being shell shocked entitled them to anything. This would be an America where people’s retirement would be at the mercy of ruthless companies. This would be an America where millions more couldn’t afford medical miracles.

    On the plus side, Americans would start saving money the way Asians do, from 30% to 50% of their income, in case they became sick or wanted to retire. This would stablize our economy in the long run, but can you image the drop in sales? The failed companies, the lost jobs, that would come from the end of consumerism?

    There is no way out of this mess without more pain than either side of the political divide is willing to pay, not until circumstances force them, at which point it will cost even more. One of the problems with life is that we don’t reward people enough for preventing problems; the rewards go to people who solve problems after they’ve occurred.

  • AJP

    If you think that your taxes will go down if entitlement spending disappears, then you simply have no grasp on reality. If you think that entitlement spending isn’t going to come out of general revenue to pay back the “saved” money the SSA has put into treasury bonds, then you have no idea how government accounting works.

    Do you know how social security was supposed to work? The eligibility age was set so that the average recipient would die within two years of getting the benefit. This is not longer the case. Lifespans have increased while the retirement age has not kept pace at all. Now the average retireee lives for 25 years or so after becoming eligible. The average retiree now gets four times as much in benefits as they ever paid into the system. The problem isn’t that there is entitlements. The problem is that the system is being asked to support people longer than it ever intended, and people end up getting out far more than they ever put in – a wholly unsustainable position.

    As to your “Reagan and the Bushes” did the sleight of hand, I think you need to revisit your history, and study who makes the actual budgetary decisions. Congress sets the spending. Every year of his presidency (as I noted earlier) Reagan submitted a balanced budget proposal. Every year, the Democratic controlled Congress passed a budget that had the lowered revenue, but not the accompanying spending cuts. Individuals, such as Waxpool, were incredibly creative at coming up with tricks to hide just how much spending was going up.

    If Americans started saving piles of money, where would it go? The primary problem with high savings rates, is that in order to make the savings worthwhile, someone has to be willing to borrow the money on the other end. The high savings rate of Asian countries is what drove down the cost of borrowing for Americans. But if Americans save a bunch as well, then the return on their savings will drop further because interest rates will be driven down by a vast oversupply of available currency, making it even more attractive to borrow money.

  • JoshB

    If you think that your taxes will go down if entitlement spending disappears, then you simply have no grasp on reality.

    This is an empty statement. Saying something really strongly does not make it so.

    Do you know how social security was supposed to work?…The problem is that the system is being asked to support people longer than it ever intended, and people end up getting out far more than they ever put in – a wholly unsustainable position.

    Yes, I know exactly how SS was supposed to work, and I believe I already said that it doesn’t matter whether we’re spending too much money on entitlements, what matters is that by law we have to tax enough to cover that cost. It is therefore balanced. You can stomp your feet all you want, but this is a mathematical fact. Entitlement taxes ≥ entitlement spending ≥ entitlement eligibility. It’s mandatory.

    What is not mandatory, what congress has total control over year to year, is income tax and discretionary spending. There is no law that says these two figures have to be anywhere near each other, and it is from here that the deficit comes.

    Every year, the Democratic controlled Congress passed a budget that had the lowered revenue, but not the accompanying spending cuts

    Probably because they didn’t have the political power *cough*presidential veto*cough* to either cut military spending or raise income taxes. And by “probably” I of course mean “definitely.”

  • AJP

    The problem you seem to be having is that you don’t realize that the SSA is being funded in such a way that it will require general revenues to keep it afloat.

    Right now you pay more in SS taxes than is required to make current payouts. This is supposeduly to “save” money for the future. But that money has to (as a result of Supreme Court precedents) be invested in government securities. Hence, the government is borrowing general revenues from itself using SS funds. Paying one hand with the other.

    The difficulty is that when those funds have to be paid back, they will be a tidal wave of spending that will come from general revenues, crowding out not just military spending, but everything else too. The real problem with entitlements isn’t today, it is ten years from now, when they will account for 70% of federal spending, and ten years later, when they account for 80% of federal spending, and a signficant chunk will come out of general revenues.

    Military spending is a decent chunk of federal spending, but it isn’t rising. It isn’t the problem. The entitlement spending that will go up to consume 90+% of the federal revenues is.

    Further, the rhetorical device of saying “the law says it has to be balanced therefore it will be balanced” is horsecrap, and you know it. Congress makes the laws. They could change that just as they eliminated things like PAYGO and Gramm-Rudman-Hollings. Believing that somehow the SS funds are safe and balanced because Congress, which has proven to be incompetent at financing everything else, says so. Well, that’s just delusional.

  • Paul

    I agree with what you said about savings, but it wasn’t quite my point. If there is no Social Security, Americans will have to either save money to retire or never retire. It doesn’t matter if the money sits in the bank doing nothing or is loaned out, if it sits in a bank or under a matress or in the stock market, Americans will become savers. Personally, I’m not putting a cent in the stock market until either the pre-Reagan regulations are put back in place or I have the time to be my own broker.

    One of the contradictions of capitalism is that it needs people to both spend money to buy stuff and save money to build capital for investment. That is one of the reasons the center of gravity for capitalism shifts from Amsterdam to London to New York to . . . we may live long enough to find out. It shifts from the spenders to the savers, who become spenders and the center moves to the next batch of savers.

  • mark c

    Josh – your point about being balanced may not be exactly true in the real world….

    Your point…

    “if we got rid of entitlements altogether then that section of taxes on your paycheck would simply disappear. And we would still be running a deficit, because the section that says “income tax” isn’t high enough, or our discretionary spending isn’t low enough, take your pick”

    If you elliminate entitlements, people who are paying into the system would have more money to spend. Spending would gerate demand, jobs growth, etc all of which generate more tax revenue and the deficite (assume we hold the line on spending) would drop.

  • AJP

    The way the SS system was designed, and the way it would continue to work would be for people to not actually retire for any appreciable length of time.

    People will save if the benefits of saving rise. Right now, the cost of borrowing money and the benefit from saving are so low it is almost irrational for Americans to bother saving. If the cost of borrowing rises (and the benefit from saving does along with it), then people will begin to save more.

  • mark c

    This is what we had under Carter.

    If the cost of borrowing gets high, people can’t afford to borrow so spending (on homes, cars, TV’s, etc) go down. With lower demand production goes down, employment goes down, tax revenue goes down, and the budget deficite goes up!

    This is what we are about to see again if Obama continues to do what he’s doing.

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