Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ponzi to Perry: The Truth About Social Security

AEI economist Andrew Biggs (formerly principal deputy commissioner of Social Security) writes in the American.com (emphasis added): 

"What makes the Social Security/Ponzi references so common is the similarity in the way they are financed. In both cases, early participants receive payments, not from interest on their own investments, but directly from inflows from later participants. If you were describing the mechanics of how Social Security’s financing works, it wouldn’t be illogical to refer to a Ponzi scheme. 

And, also like a Ponzi scheme, Social Security paid early participants incredible returns on their money, because they contributed to the system for only a few years but received a full retirement’s worth of benefits. A person who retired in 1950 received around a 20 percent annual return on the taxes he paid (which happens to be exactly the same return that Madoff promised to his investors). Put another way, that person received around 12 times more in benefits than he’d paid in taxes. That helps explain why Social Security became so popular: it was simply an incredibly good deal. 

Similarly, like a Ponzi scheme, there really isn’t any actual investment going on with Social Security. While the trust fund has a $2.5 trillion balance it can call on to pay benefits, this fund won’t be of any help to the taxpayer. When Social Security goes to redeem bonds in the trust fund, the Treasury must raise taxes, cut other programs, or borrow the money—exactly the same steps as if there weren’t a trust fund at all. The trust fund records how much we have borrowed from Social Security but, as the Congressional Budget Office points out, “trust fund balances convey little information about the extent to which the federal government has prepared for future financial burdens.” While legally important, the CBO says, the trust fund has “little economic meaning.” 

The biggest difference may be that Social Security can go on forever while a Ponzi scheme can’t, but that’s mostly because Social Security can force you to participate. If Madoff could find enough people willing to accept a 2 percent return rather than a 20 percent return, his plan could keep going indefinitely. With Social Security participation mandated, the program can go on forever, so as long as Congress makes the changes necessary to keep the system from going broke. 

Which, in the end, is what Perry and the other presidential candidates—including President Obama, I might add—should be talking about. Whether Social Security was constitutional and whether its pay-as-you-go financing structure is optimal, we’ve got what we’ve got. A differently designed Social Security system in 1935 might have produced better outcomes today and in the future, but we can’t turn back the clock. We have to deal with the system we have and figure out how to make it solvent and how to make it work better in the future. Instead of arguing about what’s wrong with Social Security, we should be thinking about how to put things right. (For my part, I put together this proposal.)"

205 Comments:

At 9/14/2011 9:59 AM, Blogger Broll The American said...

http://moslereconomics.com/2011/09/14/social-security-is-not-in-ponzi/

The US Congress spends by instructing the Fed to credit someone’s member bank account at the Fed.
This process is operationally independent from taxing and/or borrowing.
It is not dependent on revenues of any sort.

All Social Security payments are a matter of the Fed entering data on its computer.

That is, all Federal spending can be said to be ‘printing money’.
And Federal taxing can be said to be ‘unprinting money’.

Also, Federal borrowing is nothing more than the shifting of dollars from reserve accounts at the Fed to securities accounts at the Fed.
And paying down the Federal debt is nothing more than the shifting of dollars from securities accounts at the Fed to reserve accounts at the Fed.
Neither is involved in the actual making of payments by the Fed.

Bottom line, the notion of Ponzi isn’t applicable when it comes to the issuer of the currency.

 
At 9/14/2011 10:57 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Broll The American,

For one thing, the Fed does not the government's accounts payable department. Payments are made from the Treasury, just as any corporation would. The Treasury is required to balance its books. I'm not a Fed expert, but as I understand it, the Fed can, at a whim, declare there are more dollars and use those newly created dollars to purchase Treasury bonds on the market and then basically not make a claim on those bonds. We've found out that the Fed also does this for certain favored businesses.

If all federal spending is printing money, then there would be no need for taxes. Of course we would also have triple-digit inflation.

Federal borrowing is the Treasury floating bonds to individuals, corporations, hedge funds, and governments. The Fed does not (I believe by law cannot) purchase bonds from the Treasury.

Bottom line, currency creation has nothing to do with the fact that Social Security is based on the premise of having more "players" join over time than beneficiaries that start drawing on it.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:01 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Bottom line, the notion of Ponzi isn’t applicable when it comes to the issuer of the currency." -- "Broll"

The debasement of the currency is a tax on savings. Bottom line, you're a moron.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:03 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

To the quoted piece, isn't Mr. Biggs basically saying "The system isn't good, but there's no way we can do anything else, so let's make the best of it"? Is this the attitude that's prevalent in Washington, that no entitlement, however bad, must be maintained indefinitely?

 
At 9/14/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

IF SS is a ponzi scheme - what is Medicare Part A and how does it differ from Medicare Part B?

of the 3 which would be the worst ponzi scheme?

how would you fix Medicare Part B?

 
At 9/14/2011 11:30 AM, Blogger Broll The American said...

@Kevin -

You touch on some key points the illustrate the lunacy of our current monetary operations...

"The Treasury is required to balance its books."
- Why? This is arbitrary. A remnant policy from the gold era. Every dollar in circulation was created out of thin our by the Treasury. To "balance its books" would mean it would have to destroy each dollar as it generates it.

"there would be no need for taxes. Of course we would also have triple-digit inflation"
- Exactly. Taxes regulate aggregate demand, therefor inflation. With high unemployment and low aggregate demand taxes can and should be done away with.

"Federal borrowing is the Treasury floating bonds to individuals, corporations, hedge funds, and governments. The Fed does not (I believe by law cannot) purchase bonds from the Treasury."
- More like giving those entities risk free revenue streams. You are right that the Fed, by antiquated law, cannot purchase bonds directly from the treasury. Instead they have to go around their ass to get to their elbow. Its one government, interdepartmental operations should be more linear... if one believes that bonds should be used at all.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:35 AM, Blogger Broll The American said...

@Che -

What's with the personal attack?
Inflation is a tax on savings, but inflation is low. Taxes are a tax. High unemployment and increasing poverty have taxing effects on society. A little inflation might get those sitting on mountains of cash a little incentive to get it moving around a bit.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:37 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Larry G.: "how would you fix Medicare Part B?"

Social Security, Medicare, etc. are all financed through ponzi schemes, but at their heart that are simply tax and spend welfare programs, welfare programs predominantly for the richest demographic in the country (i.e., the elderly). And government welfare programs are all about political largesse.

People want money. Old people vote. Politicians want votes. The state has the guns. Old people get money.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:38 AM, Blogger Steve said...

@Kevin: "that no entitlement, however bad, must be maintained indefinitely?"

Is that your view of SS - it's been bad for this country?

"the fact that Social Security is based on the premise of having more "players" join over time than beneficiaries that start drawing on it."

Not true. Once the Trust Fund runs out (which is smoothing out a demographic bulge that is currently passing through), it is an annual pay-what-is-collected system that, even with changing population demographics and with no changes to law, is expected to pay 80% of forecasted benefits for the rest of the century. With a shift of less than 1% of annual GDP into Social Security, that system will pay 100% of benefits for the rest of the century. That is not a Ponzi, and doesn't depend on more players.


"If all federal spending is printing money, then there would be no need for taxes. Of course we would also have triple-digit inflation."

Correct. And so in order to not have much higher inflation, the government taxes in order to destroy increases in money and prevent that. The fact that they don't sterilize enough in any particular years is no reason to freak out. Seen much out-of-control core inflation recently? I'd settle for an answer pointing to anything triple digit, double digit, or even mid/high single digit.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:52 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"A little inflation might get those sitting on mountains of cash a little incentive to get it moving around a bit." -- Broll

Yes, and cutting off welfare payments and the seemingly endless extensions of unemployment insurance payments might get those sitting on their assess to "move around a bit" also.

Those that have acted prudently do not owe you their savings.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:53 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Broll The American: ""The Treasury is required to balance its books."
- Why? This is arbitrary."

It's only arbitrary if you consider reality arbitrary. Scarcity is real. Supply and demand are real. Unbalanced accounting, increased fiat money supplies, deficit spending, all operate within the laws of economics. These actions all happen in reality and the consequences are also real.

By your logic, time, gravity, entropy are just arbitrary constructs we can simply ignore or follow based on whim. People that think they can ignore these physical laws are soon brought back to reality by the consequences of such ignorance. What we're experiencing today in our economy are the same consequences of ignorance.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:54 AM, Blogger Broll The American said...

@geoih -

"People want money. Old people vote. Politicians want votes. The state has the guns. Old people get money."

Most old people NEED money. There are many who were fortunate through life that had circumstances go their way. There are many more who overcame circumstances and did well for themselves through their youth and middle years. But even the majority of those two camps, plus those who managed to never establish reasonable retirement savings need assistance to survive after their productive years are behind them. I, for one, don't believe a country that has every teenager sporting a $300 smart phone with a $50 per month data plan should think allowing seniors to wither and die in the street is some sort of Darwinian justice.

We have no problem funding our military for how ever many umpteen wars we'll be engaged in for the next 25 years, yet we KNOW that our SS "fund" will run dry. Its a choice of social responsibility to make sure those in their twilight years can at least survive just above poverty.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:57 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Not true. Once the Trust Fund runs out ..." -- Steve

There is no trust fund. It's an accounting fiction. When the system goes into deficit, which it did this year, the difference will be made up through general revenue. General revenue is the product of income tax collection. So, we will all have the privilege of paying for our government retirement checks twice - once in the form of payroll taxes and then again in the form of income taxes. If you cannot figure this out, you're hopeless.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:02 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

- Che

I don't believe the majority of those on unemployment are there because its such a sweet ride. But I agree there are more productive ways of treating the issue.
Instead of paying people to be unemployed, there should be a job component. Pay people to scrub the streets with toothbrushes until clean (hyperbole), but make them do something. You can get some sort of marginal production while eliminated traditional unemployment benefits, welfare, food stamps, and the associated costs of crime, policing, courts, and prisons associated with high unemployment.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:07 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

every penny of FICA goes into general revenues and SS receives redeemable "notes" for that money.

At the same time FICA goes into the general fund and notes given in lieu, SS is redeeming older notes for cash which it then sends to retirees.

the "trust fund" is basically a check book.

SS is not the only trust fund.

Medicare Part A also has a trust fund as does Disability Insurance, Medicare Part B and Part D.

they all have trust funds of which they pull money from to pay benefits.

the Part B trust fund is "replenished" each year with 210 billion dollars of income tax money.

Part D is funded similarly...from a trust fund which the govt replenishes with income tax money.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

the Treasury must raise taxes, cut other programs, or borrow the money...

==================================

But how treasury pays for its other programs when they can no longer borrow from social security has nothing to do with how social security is paid for.

And it has everything to do with how all those OTHER programs were introduced and never paid for, except by borrowing from social security.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"We have no problem funding our military for how ever many umpteen wars we'll be engaged in for the next 25 years ..." -- Broll

Providing for "the common defense" is a primary function of government, enshrined in the Constitution. We are now spending less, as a percent of GDP, on the military than at almost any other time in history. I know that you lefty douche bags think that all that is needed to achieve socialist nirvana is to defund the military, but that is just another fiction. Once you've destroyed the nations defenses, you will simply invent another "right" that entitles you to a claim on the public treasury. If this is the world that you wish to live in, fine. There's an island "paradise" that subscribes to your world view 90 miles off the U.S. coast. We'll leave the door open.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:11 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

With high unemployment and low aggregate demand taxes can and should be done away with.


======================

Nonsense.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:14 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Providing for "the common defense" is a primary function of government, enshrined in the Constitution.

=================================

So is promoting the general Welfare

 
At 9/14/2011 12:16 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

@Broll,

Am I correct in interpreting that as you are for a totally profligate monetary and fiscal policy?

@Steve, I was referring to Mr. Biggs' (and many others') criticism of the structuring of Social Security. If you wish to claim it is not Ponzi-like, you can argue with all those on the left and right who have drawn such a comparison.

Also, I am not of the mind that the Fed has sole control over inflation or demand for money and credit in general. However, history has shown that extreme debasement of a currency is very damaging.

If the government ever stops accumulating debt and tries to pay it down, then future taxes will go to pay off spending that will have been long past. Many argue that the debt will shrink relative to the economy, which is true, but to justify large deficits for that reason is to imply that the government is right to at least keep pace with the economy's growth if not surpass it. Even if we were to keep the debt as a constant fraction of GDP, it would be unwise. And such a policy would mean the debt would have to shrink during downturns, which if Keynesian policy continues we can be sure will not happen.

I agree with Broll on the point that we ought to question the very idea of government bonds. They are, after all, a promise to give future tax revenue to individuals. I would say that if debt were used by the government in the same way households and businesses use it - to amass capital for spending whose utility will be realized over a term longer than the debt repayment - then it is understandable. But we have issued debt for very temporary spending sprees

Government debt does matter, especially when it's spent in ways that will not have a return greater than the cost of the borrowing.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:20 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Che is Dead, I agree with you on a lot of things, but I'd like to point out that the US spends almost as much on "defense" as the rest of the world combined. If I were president, I'd attempt to cut the military by at least 50% and return it to a true defense force rather than a global police force.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:23 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

... because people feel that what they will ultimately get back what they pay into the Social Security system, they don’t have the same resistance to Social Security taxes that they do to income or sales or other general taxes. This makes it much easier for government to keep raising Social Security taxes. Indeed, as I noted previously, these taxes have been raised 40 times since the program’s inception so that the 12.4 percent payroll tax that we pay today represents a 400 percent increase over the original after adjusting for inflation.

What’s more, these taxes weren’t raised to necessarily fund retiree benefits. They were raised to bankroll general fund programs. Right now, according to Jagdaeesh Gokhlae of the Cato Institute, Social Security Trust Fund has $2.5 trillion in accumulated surpluses. But these “surpluses” are really debts (talk about a “convenient fiction”)—they are IOUs of the country to retirees that future generations will have to redeem by paying higher taxes or taking on a bigger debt or cutting spending on other programs. If the government was taking in more than was needed to pay retiree benefits why did it simply not cut payroll taxes to a level needed to just cover the benefits? The question answers itself. ...

But there is an even deeper problem with Drum’s claim. It is true that given the declining worker-to-retiree ratio, Social Security’s problem going forward is remaining solvent. But that’s based on certain assumptions about tax levels and benefits. There is absolutely no guarantee given the government’s long track record of raiding the program that, push come to shove, it won’t raise taxes or pare back benefits or both to create yet another “surplus”to fund the political priority of the day. Should the country, for example, reach the point of defaulting on its debt or ObamaCare’s universal coverage liabilities start breaking the federal bank, all bets would be off.

Reason

As Rick Perry said, this program is a "monstrous lie". By taking such a large portion of a persons earnings during their working lives the government makes it very difficult for them to adequately save for their retirement. This ensures that they will be dependent on SS, AND dependent on the political party that promises to "sustain" their benefits. If you cannot see how this forces people to surrender their independence and individual liberty to the benefit of the statists, then you are blind.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:25 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Pay people to scrub the streets with toothbrushes until clean (hyperbole), but make them do something.

=================================

Why make them do something that is not cost effective?

If it is cost effective private enterprise can do it.

If it is not cost effective, then it is counterproductive to the "general Welfare" to have them do work that is worh less than it costs. It might be better to pay them (some small stipend) to do nothing and let them use their time to find better paying work, training, or start their own work.


What you are suggesting is basically creating thousands of more government employees, and we all know how worthless they are.

Besides, what you are sugggesting is demeaning and crushing to the spirit.

Having said that, I can recall seeing men everywhere in Portugal repairing the intricately laid mosaic tile sidewalks. At the time I thought that there was an endless job and it must be their form of workfare, but at least they have gorgeous sidewalks.

I just don't see any reason to insist that people work for the sake of working, when there is really not enough work to be done.

If there is work to be done, then hire or contract people to do it, raise the taxes to pay for it, and quit whining that government spending does not create jobs.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"I'd like to point out that the US spends almost as much on "defense" as the rest of the world combined." -- Kevin

This is a meaningless statistic. Should military dominance ever shift to another country without our relative benevolence you will learn in very short order the true costs of cutting our defense budgets.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:29 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" By taking such a large portion of a persons earnings during their working lives the government makes it very difficult for them to adequately save for their retirement. This ensures that they will be dependent on SS, "

actually many employers treat SS as one leg of the stool....

and recommend that along with SS and the company pension that they have an IRA and/or a 401K.

SS is treated as the foundation... baseline..safety net...

anyone who relies on SS ONLY for their retirement knows that the max benefit for those who pay minimally into it - is not much.... less than the poverty level...

Singapores mandatory payroll tax is twice as much as ours and they have one of the longest life expectancy rates in the world so it can't be all bad, eh?

 
At 9/14/2011 12:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

A ponzi scheme has two essential elements. one is that earlier joiners are paid by contributions from later joiners.

The second is that the payouts rise exponentially, guaranteeing eventual failure.

That component is missing from Social security so it is incorrrect to call it a ponzi scheme.

If you wreck your car, your payment comes from money others are paying as premiums: that isn;t a ponzi scheme and neither is social security.

No matter how many times people call social security a ponzi scheme, they are simply increasing the number of times they are wrong.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

folk should actually read the report...

it's a pretty comprehensive REFORM proposal for SS...and Medicare...

and the authors do not advocate walking away from SS and Medicare but rather reforming them so apparently they want to continue the "ponzi" schemes, eh?


more pinko-commie ideas :-)

here's a proposal -

combine Medicare Part A into Parts B and C and D and increase the premiums/reduce the benefits ....

and give the Medicare Part A payroll tax to SS - to fully fund future retirement benefits.

make the geezers pay for their health care or go without... if they cannot afford it...

 
At 9/14/2011 12:34 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

By taking such a large portion of a persons earnings during their working lives the government makes it very difficult for them to adequately save for their retirement. This ensures that they will be dependent on SS,

=================================

Nonsense.

As larry points out it is one leg. If one were to save for retirement absentg social security, a good proetion of the savings would prudently be placed in conservative investments.

The security of social security makes it EASIER to save adequately for retirement, bdcause the money you invest can now be invested more agressively.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:39 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

Che -

"Providing for "the common defense" is a primary function of government, enshrined in the Constitution."

Right, and Congress funds the military today in today's dollars for whatever it deems necessary. Just as import to the common defense should be the common pursuit of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." For seniors who are no longer capable of pursuing this due to the incapacitating effects of age we should have the same "must fund" attitude and stop all this nonsense of "trust funds" and FICA taxes.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This is a meaningless statistic. Should military dominance ever shift to another country without our relative benevolence you will learn in very short order the true costs of cutting our defense budgets.

=================================

This is exatly the same stupid form of argument that environmentalists use to argue for increased spending against global warming, nuclear power, or whatever.

The potential of catastrophic risk is so great that we must throw every penny we have at it in order to prevent losing everything.

Duh.

EVERYTHING has a cost and a benefit ratio and a risk and reward ratio. If ONE of them is claimed to be infinite or nearly so, then nothing else maatters.


If anenvironmentalist handed you that argument, you would laugh at him.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:42 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is a monstrous lie for Rick Perry say, this program is a "monstrous lie".

Therefore Rick Perry is an unfit candidate for president.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:44 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

Hydra -

My "scrub the streets" example was labeled "hyperbole" and not meant as a literal example.

One of the barriers to the unemployed trying to find work are gaps in employment history. New employers view large gaps as negatives and skills erode. Federal transitional job subsidies could maintain skills, teach new ones and bridge gaps.

As far as demoralizing effects... what has happened to us when personal pride has gone so low as to someone would rather collect a check for doing nothing than to put in an honest days labor?

Also, I think such a program would pay for itself with the reductions/eliminations in unemployment costs, welfare, food stamps, police, crime, etc.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:46 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Rick Perry ...if he backs off of his initial assessment of SS as a "ponzi" scheme would be just another typical unprincipled lying-his-ass off politician, eh?

at least Ron Paul doesn't flip-flop like Perry , eh?

and Perry... the man DID issue a govt mandate for vaccination...

right?

so the man proves that he believes in "mandates" for the 'correct' reason, eh - as opposed to being against any/all govt mandates...

 
At 9/14/2011 12:49 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

Hydra -

I take issue with your statement that "we all know how worthless government employees are."

I'm not a government employee, but come on, you're going to make that blanket statement?

Police, teachers, soldiers... all government employees. Worthless? Really? Don't confuse these groups with politicians.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:55 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Just as import to the common defense should be the common pursuit of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." For seniors who are no longer capable of pursuing this due to the incapacitating effects of age we should have the same "must fund" attitude and stop all this nonsense of "trust funds" and FICA taxes." -- Broll

If you say that you have a "right" to health care, retirement income, etc. and you cannot provide those things for yourself, you are saying that someone else has a corresponding responsibility to provide it for you. In plain language we call this slavery. You do not have a right to the fruits of another mans labor, no matter how noble you believe the cause that you seek to advance.

 
At 9/14/2011 12:57 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"It is a monstrous lie for Rick Perry say, this program is a "monstrous lie". Therefore Rick Perry is an unfit candidate for president." -- Hydra

Coming from someone too stupid to figure out the underlying fiction of SS, I'm certain he would welcome your statement as an endorsement.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"This is exatly the same stupid form of argument that environmentalists use ... The potential of catastrophic risk is so great that we must throw every penny we have at it in order to prevent losing everything." -- Hydra

Get back to me when the environmentalists have a history of political fanaticism including fascism and communism, and the corpses of hundreds of millions of people to point to in support of their arguments.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:14 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

Che -

No one exists in a vacuum. The ability to work, earn, and save for your own private retirement has been established by generations before us. The relative luxury we all enjoy here has more to do with our collective history as a society than any one person's intelligence or effort. If you don't believe that's true, we could drop you off in the middle of the Congo and see how well you fair.

I wish you well, but who knows, one day you might live well beyond your retirement years and come down with an unexpected illness not covered by your insurance and you'll run out of savings. For your philosophical sake I hope your surrounded by people who will not attempt to help you out, because I'm sure that would really irk you.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

" ... one day you might live well beyond your retirement years and come down with an unexpected illness not covered by your insurance and you'll run out of savings." -- Broll

Yes, anything could happen. I accept that as a free man. The one thing I will never do, is to let fear lead me to enslave another to my needs and desires.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

 
At 9/14/2011 1:25 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

My "scrub the streets" example was labeled "hyperbole" and not meant as a literal example.

=================================

I understand that.

I don't think it changes the rest of the argument. And, my example of the Portuguese endlessly repairing their elaborate sidewalks is not all that different from scrubbing them with toothbrushes, and it is real, not hyperbole.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Yes, anything could happen. I accept that as a free man. The one thing I will never do, is to let fear lead me to enslave another to my needs and desires.

================================
Or you could consider it a fair trade: the small chance of catastrophic risk being covered by a small payment from everyone subject to the risk. As much as they are enslaved to the payment, they are freed from the risk.

Same as your auto insurance, only istead of GEICO it is GICO.

You know, part of the general Welfare thing that is in the constiution right next to that common defence thing.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:38 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Get back to me when the environmentalists have a history of political fanaticism

==============================

You mean like the environmental terrorists who destroy timber, burn homes under construction, etc.

Some environmentalists already have a history of political fanaticism. I am not one of them, though I am an environmental scientist by training.

My comment had nothing to do with environmentalists, per se, but I merely used them as an example of bad argumentation and how silly it is.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:41 PM, Blogger Broll The American said...

Che -

So do you not drive on paved roads as we were all "enslaved" to pay taxes to create them? You must live on a lavish remote and completely self sufficient outpost devoid of all societal benefits and influences. Good to know that if someone steals from you, you wouldn't call the cops because their salaries are paid by taxes from slaves.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:43 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Social Security is and always has been either a "pay-as-you-go" system or one that was partially advance-funded. Its structure, logic, and mode of operation have nothing in common with Ponzi schemes or chain letters or pyramid schemes.
http://www.ssa.gov/history/ponzi.htm

Kevin: But we have issued debt for very temporary spending sprees

One should never borrow to pay for day-to-day living expenses. That is what the U.S. has been doing since the tax cuts, wars, and the Medicare expansion.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:46 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I'm certain he would welcome your statement as an endorsement.

===========================

No, but he might like my vote, which he won't get by lying to me, or twisting the truth.

Quite a few people depend on their social security totally or partly, they probably don't think it is a monstrous lie when their check clears.

Social security works, and so does my car. They both need a little work, but that does not transform my car into a monstrous lie, any more that it does SS.

I don't thnk someone with thinking that twisted will make a good president.

He and his supporters still have time to change my mind, and of course that will happen quickly if they just call me stupid.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:52 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I take issue with your statement that "we all know how worthless government employees are."

I'm not a government employee,

==============================

That was a sarcastic statement. Government paying people to do work makes them government employees. But the argument is frequently made that government employees cost us more than they produce, so they are a waste and should be eliminated.

At the same time the argument is made that government payment (stimulus) does not create jobs, and yet here someone is arguing that if we are going to pay we ought to pay for work (create jobs).


I find the whole circular logic amusing, sorry it wasn't clear.

 
At 9/14/2011 1:53 PM, Blogger Steve said...

@Che "There is no trust fund. It's an accounting fiction."

No, it's how you manage intertemporal fund accounting. SS taxpayers and beneficiaries are not the same as federal income taxpayers and general revenue beneficiaries.

How else would you account for demographic fluctuations year to year under an annual pay-as-you-go system - different SS taxes and disbursements every month? And you don't think the SS program would just hold trillions in U.S.cash, do you? US Dollars are a liability of the US Govt' just the same as US Treasuries are.

Would it make you feel better if the SS Trustees bought IBM/GE/Boeing bonds instead of US Treasuries? Same diff - the SS Trustees could sell either in the market, and how those bonds are repaid is not SS's problem (outside of a default on the bonds they own).

The Treasuries that the SS Trust Fund holds are future claims on Federal income taxes. Which perfectly mirrors the lowered historical income taxes paid as a result of the Federal budget borrowing from the Social Security Trust fund in the past. Federal income taxes were lower than they needed to be back then, and as a result federal income taxes will be higher than they otherwise need to be in the future. Which makes sense.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:07 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"US Dollars are a liability of the US Govt' just the same as US Treasuries are. Would it make you feel better if the SS Trustees bought IBM/GE/Boeing bonds instead of US Treasuries?" -- Steve

No, I prefer to end the system. Until then, I believe that they should have reduced th payroll tax so that SS payments and payroll taxes balanced. As the Reason article I linked to above points out, "If the government was taking in more than was needed to pay retiree benefits why did it simply not cut payroll taxes to a level needed to just cover the benefits? The question answers itself. ...". As is also pointed out in the piece, the fiction of having this money returned enabled the government to collect taxes and spend money that they would otherwise have had to defend and fund through higher income taxes. So, your "perfectly mirrors the lowered historical income taxes paid as a result of the Federal budget borrowing from the Social Security Trust fund" is built on a fraud.

Retirement savings in the hands of individuals free to invest them as they see fit are not equivalent to "savings" held collectively in the form of non-transferable IOUs which can only be redeemed through further taxation.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

to someone would rather collect a check for doing nothing than to put in an honest days labor?

=============================

But you assume they are doing nothing. They might be startinga business or learning a skill on their own, which they cannot do if we force them to work.

I don't consider it an honest days labor if it is only makework designed just to make sure someone is not goofing off. And I can think of quite a few people I would rather have goofing off than working: they are dangerous screw ups from the get go.

And, where will this work be? If they have to travel to do makework they could be worse off than if we just pay them for nothing.

If the good of society is the sum of how well each individual does, this is no way to improve things, by making people worse off.

But, if the makework is actually worth doing, then hire people to do it and shut up about raising taxes or government employees and government spending not creatng jobs.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:12 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Quite a few people depend on their social security totally or partly, they probably don't think it is a monstrous lie when their check clears." -- Hydra

And isn't that exactly why statist assholes like you love it so much? It creates a real sense of dependence and fear in a large segment of the electorate that you can then exploit to to your benefit. Steal from them when they're young and trying to start a family, and blackmail them when their old and scared. What a fucking creep you are.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:16 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

the fiction of having this money returned enabled the government to collect taxes and spend money that they would otherwise have had to defend and fund through higher income taxes. So, your "perfectly mirrors the lowered historical income taxes paid as a result of the Federal budget borrowing from the Social Security Trust fund"


=======================

Sounds like the same argument stated differently to me.

We charged more than we needed to for SS and less than we needed to fro everything else.

That was the fraud.

Now we are reversing the process, fixing or undoing the original fraud, and NOW some are screaming fraud.

It is our money we borrowed from ourselves for projects to benefit us. If we pay it back we won't have the money we pay it back with, and if we don't pay it back we won't get back the money we loaned, and we will be out THAT money, which was supposed to be part of our retirement plan.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/14/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Now we are reversing the process, fixing or undoing the original fraud ..." -- Hydra

Just who is "we"?

Fixing or undoing the original fraud? How? By increasing income taxes and destroying the economy so that you do not have to face the hard reality that you have been had? Like you say, you've already been paid in the form of "projects to benefit us". Now, you want more at someone elses expense. Grow up, the world doesn't owe you anything.

 
At 9/14/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

Che is dead....you should run for president... your clear understanding of the problems at hand and your obvious solutions are only surpassed by your eloquence....

Can you just imagine a Perry/Che debate???? On the one side we'll get Bible quotes and on the other we'll get a litany of "morons, douche bags and assholes" LOL


Che, buddy.... you're choice of words says a lot more about you than the people you are attempting to brand.

 
At 9/14/2011 3:48 PM, Blogger mike k said...

Providing for "the common defense" is a primary function of government, enshrined in the Constitution.

=================================

So is promoting the general Welfare-Hydra

Umm...Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid only promote individual welfare. My life is not benefitted by a hip surgery on someones 84 year old grandmother. Nor am I, or anyone else, benefitted by Social Security unless I get a rate of return greater than I would expect had I invested my FICA taxes myself.

Hydra, I don't think the founders envisioned wealth transfer payments or generational transfer payments as "promoting the general welfare".

But I do understand that the left must fight any notion of SS being labeled a ponzi scheme on pure principle. For once the scheme is exposed, for what it is, the entire progressive house of cards starts to fall.

 
At 9/14/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger mike k said...

"A ponzi scheme has two essential elements. one is that earlier joiners are paid by contributions from later joiners.

The second is that the payouts rise exponentially, guaranteeing eventual failure.

That component is missing from Social security so it is incorrrect to call it a ponzi scheme."

Sorry Hydra, but again you are mistaken.

Payouts don't have to rise exponentially, they only have to be maintained at an unrealistic level.

And I notice many posters here say SS is fine if benefits in the future are REDUCED.

Sounds to me like SS is the classic example of a ponzi scheme.

 
At 9/14/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" And I notice many posters here say SS is fine if benefits in the future are REDUCED.

Sounds to me like SS is the classic example of a ponzi scheme."

SS is like a variable annuity that you pay into every month.

how much you end up getting is not guaranteed because performance of the investments AND actuarials make it not absolutely predictable.

this is why defined benefit pensions went away.

SS is basically a defined benefit plan is a world that has changed to a defined contribution world.

If your IRA or 401 did not perform the way you hoped - then why expect ANY annuity to do that?

based on the criteria being used here to use the label "ponzi" just about any private sector annuity or insurance would also qualify.

any kind of annuity / insurance that is affected by demographics is going to have similar problems to SS.

private annuities have a reputation as risky business simply because companies come and go now days and there is no guarantee that they company you bought the annuity from is going to be around by the time you retire.

 
At 9/14/2011 5:36 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"IF SS is a ponzi scheme - what is Medicare Part A and how does it differ from Medicare Part B?"...

Pandering to the parasitic for their vote,,,

"of the 3 which would be the worst ponzi scheme?"...

Theft is theft is theft...

"how would you fix Medicare Part B"...

Get rid of it or let those think that any part of medicare or medicaid are good ideas pay for it all and leave everyone else alone...

Its really not that complicate Larry G...

 
At 9/14/2011 5:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Che, buddy.... you're choice of words says a lot more about you than the people you are attempting to brand"...

Well T or C Che tried to be polite and show you and others by example (by many excellent examples in fact) but your persistent inability to grasp the simple concepts or condemn said concepts out of hand ended up pegging Che's tolerance meter...

Hence Che's eloquent descriptors...

 
At 9/14/2011 5:53 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"SS is like a variable annuity that you pay into every month.

how much you end up getting is not guaranteed because performance of the investments AND actuarials make it not absolutely predictable
"...

Larry G, did you bother reading commentary by Andrew Biggs?

Maybe you should reread this particular paragraph a few more times: 'To begin, Perry questions whether the Framers would even have considered Social Security to be constitutional. This sounds a bit wacky in today’s context, but his claim is almost certainly true. Even the Roosevelt administration was worried that Social Security wouldn’t pass constitutional muster, going so far as to delink taxes from benefits—that is, to eliminate the ownership right in benefits that Roosevelt thought so important—in order to bypass the objection that the federal government had no constitutional authority for a federally run insurance plan'...

 
At 9/14/2011 5:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Steve says: "How else would you account for demographic fluctuations year to year under an annual pay-as-you-go system - different SS taxes and disbursements every month?"...

Spooky bookkeeping Steve...

From David John of the Heritage Foundation: 'The Social Security trust fund is merely an accounting device filled with IOUs that future taxpayers must repay. Far too soon, payroll taxes will be insufficient to pay all of the promised benefits. Unless Congress promptly takes action, taxpayers will have to pump hundreds of billions of additional tax dollars into Social Security to pay the promised benefits'...

 
At 9/14/2011 7:26 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Che, Mike, juandos, you guys are wasting your time. No matter how many times you patiently explain that a real pension fund buys marketable securities like ETFs while SS simply spends the "trust fund" money on bridges to nowhere then makes the next generation make up the difference, SS apologists like Larry, Hydra, etc will keep evading the issue and try to spin it that it's all above board. As they might say, "We're not taking money from someone else, we paid for it! (Ignore the fact that we let politicians take the money out and spend it on us, so the next generation has to pay that money back in now, not important)"

Che, funny how you keep bashing statists, yet defend so much defense spending. It doesn't much matter if we're spending less on defense as a percentage of GDP, what matters is how much of it we actually need. If we're spending far more than anybody else, clearly at least half of that is wasted. I don't see any viable threat from anyone for which to maintain double the defense budget we had in 2000, let alone what we were spending then.

 
At 9/14/2011 7:27 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

that's not what he says in this:

Fiscal Solutions:
A Balanced Plan for Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth

where he advocates reform.....

 
At 9/14/2011 7:29 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

but then again the "forefathers" did vote for this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Act_for_the_relief_of_sick_and_disabled_seamen

so they believed in payroll mandates?

 
At 9/14/2011 7:35 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

well.. I'm not an apologist for SS... I just insist that the truth and facts be used in discussing it.

and if someone tells a lie .. I'll call them out on it...

I just don't think a good decision can be made if we're not using facts.

Of all the fiscal problems that we do have.... SS is the least of them...

if you want nightmare - look at Medicare Part B or even the drug prescription plan whose unfunded liabilities EXCEED SS.

 
At 9/14/2011 7:46 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry, then stop repeating the lie that the SS "trust fund" is real or that the money isn't forcibly taken from younger generations to pay for the spendthrift ways of retirees. Stossel had a good op-ed on SS today, laying it all out. Interesting how he notes there that the govt itself has argued that SS is not insurance, and that the Supreme Court ruled that it is not an annuity, two fudges that you are found of making. I agree with you that SS is not in the biggest hole, that's Medicare, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't privatize SS first.

 
At 9/14/2011 8:10 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

on the trust fund - I'm pointing out that there are almost 20 and they all function very similarly in that money is collected -

such as the gas tax -

as soon as it is collected, it goes into the treasury and they issue securities for the money and then when they need to disburse money for highways, - they cash the securities.

the same is true of Medicare Part B and D.

people pay premiums... and the money goes directly to the treasury and issues notes.

the notes are redeemed and sent as payment for services.

stossel is just parroting more lies and propaganda ... he parses this words carefully but the impression he gives is not the truth.

the trust funds are check books not investment funds.

they were never designed to be investment funds for ANY of the 20 or so trust funds that exist.

There are separate trust funds for SS, Disability Insurance, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare Part D but you never hear Stossel talking about these other trust funds either because he is ignorant or he doesn't want to really and truly explain the facts.

The SS trust funds were only supposed to hold the excess funds generated over the years so they could be used in recession years when FICA failed to produce enough revenues to fund payouts.

the program itself was explicitly designed as a pay-as-you-go program.

that's the truth despite Stossels ignorant and misleading blather.

the formal name of Social Security is

"Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund"

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/42/401.html#a,

as far as lawsuits are concerned...

take a look - more than a few:

http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/rulings/rulfind3.html

 
At 9/14/2011 8:12 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Sprewell: the lie that the SS "trust fund" is real or that the money isn't forcibly taken from younger generations to pay for the spendthrift ways of retirees.

The Social Security Trust Fund is money collected from payroll tax surpluses, and by law is held in special issue securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

As for your second point, that is correct. Social Security is an income transfer from young to old. That is how the system was devised originally, and that is still how the system works. It's a pay-as-you-go program with some prepaids to handle demographic shifts and the economic cycle.

 
At 9/14/2011 8:17 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

here's a couple of things worth reading:

http://www.ssa.gov/history/court.html

http://www.ssa.gov/history/nestor.html

 
At 9/14/2011 8:19 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

In a way, Social Security is similar to how the U.S. 5th Politburo forced healthy seamen to pay for the health care of sick and disabled seamen.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_United_States_Congress#Leadership

 
At 9/14/2011 9:03 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

"But what is a Ponzi scheme? Lately, the term has become a synonym for anything in the financial world that you're unhappy with. But it does have a specific definition. First, existing investors are paid with money raised from new investors. Second, the number of new investors has to increase geometrically to pay old investors. Finally, it has to be a scheme to defraud......"

=======<<<<<===
I was wrong. It is geometric, not exponential.

Does not affect the argument, anyway.

 
At 9/14/2011 9:11 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

By privatize ss, do you mean make it voluntary? Or leave it mandatory but allow self directed accounts, free to invest in anything?

What do you do when someone who was diversified in Enron and Lehman brothers can no longer work?

I suppose you could avoid this by requiring a certain minimum investment in US bonds.

 
At 9/14/2011 9:23 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

the problem with SS is the same problem with health care.

we say that we want personal responsibility not govt mandates but what do we do with people who are not responsible ...won't save for their retirement or health care?

Oh yeah.. we say.. let them die...but we don't have the courage of our supposed convictions, eh?

but then how many leaders / posers have actually advocated getting rid of EMTALA and MedicAid?

not one.

Perry calls SS a Ponzi Scheme.

MedicAid consumes 10 times as much income taxes than SS does... but did Perry say MedicAid is a "ponzi" scheme?

nope..

you would have thought that Perry would have advocated killing SS, Medicare and MedicAid and stood by his principles...

but the man folded like a cheap suit....

and.. the man supports govt mandates for vaccinations...so he supports govt mandates.. right?

 
At 9/14/2011 10:16 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry and Zach, amazing that you two can admit that SS is not an investment fund and really a transfer scheme, yet defend such a ponzi plan. The way SS works is that the dumbo politicos make people "save" by giving them money, which they then spend on those same people through bridges to nowhere or other giveaways, then make later taxpayers pay that money back. That is exactly analogous to your mom and dad "saving" by putting some money in a savings account, then deciding they'd rather spend it on a big-screen TV and water bed for their bedroom, only they put some IOUs in there that their kids will pay that money back in 30 years, for their retirement. That you people keep calling this idiocy a "trust fund" either goes to show your deep ignorance or unwillingness to confront reality.

I have no problem with letting people die on the streets if they didn't save for their retirement or illnesses and if nobody is willing to lend them the money because they aren't likely to pay it back, or they're not willing to take whatever lower level of private charity is available. Perry is a joke, yet another run-of-the-mill centrist like Romney, who's desperately trying to camouflage his mixed record with "extreme" statements to attract more conservative primary voters, before he inevitably switches tacks to the center again if we're dumb enough to nominate him.

 
At 9/14/2011 10:19 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hydra, if you made SS voluntary, is it even SS anymore? ;) Privatize has only one meaning, make people invest in 401ks, where they choose their own investments. Investing in US bonds would be no better than what we have now, so that wouldn't work, and given how the politicians, particularly the Democrats, keep borrowing the govt to the point of default, no safer. If someone "invests" in Lehman and Enron, tough luck, they'll have to work longer or depend on private charity. You can't make the world risk-free, but if they just put their money in a mix of corporate bonds and an index fund, they come out way ahead of US govt bonds.

If you try to "fix" this by making everyone pool money together in SS or Medicare, you just end up making things worse. I knew a retired immigrant doctor, a friend of my dad's, who somehow brought his mom over here from his home country and got her on Medicare. So he now had the govt footing the bill for her expensive dialysis and care, because he didn't want to blow his retirement money on it. My dad defended his friend by saying that he probably put more money in through the high income taxes he paid on medical income over the years than what he was getting out now, nevermind the fact that his mom was born and had lived for 70+ years outside this country. The fundamental problem with all public "services" is that you create a giant slush fund where everybody puts their money in and everybody feels entitled to their cut out, no matter what they put in. Since there's no effort to track how much you put in and how much you take out, everyone ultimately wants more than they put in and these public schemes always fail. People like you don't care, because you think you're transferring money from the rich to the poor in the process, but what you ignore is that it is likely often going the other way and corrupting everyone involved with the process. That is why private schemes always work better, because it is only you who is responsible for your own actions.

 
At 9/14/2011 11:12 PM, Blogger truth or consequences said...

hey juanny....

"Che tried to be polite and show you and others by example (by many excellent examples in fact) but your persistent inability to grasp the simple concepts or condemn said concepts out of hand ended up pegging Che's tolerance meter..."

if that's true it either means Che was not persuasive enough (fail)....or he gave up and started calling everybody that doesn't agree with him names (another fail, how "committed" is he to his ideas if he's going to give up that fast??????? As if that kind of behavior was going to "convert" anybody to his point of view(????)

Che can't grasp this very simple concept but he professes to TELL us what's what about complex issues?????.....LOL

Maybe he should just go over and kick his dog....if that'll make him feel better. What the heck, maybe he should just shoot him....LOL

 
At 9/15/2011 3:26 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

juandos,

I don't believe "The Trust Fund" could have worked any other way than to be an accounting device. I don't think the surplus funds could have been invested in any private assets without screwing up the markets for those assets.

The main problem with the SS surpluses is that they were allowed to grow so large. Our elected officials were able to raise government spending from 1994 to 2008 because FICA tax rates were much higher than needed.

The coming demographic problem - where FICA tax rates are insufficient to pay out promised benefits - would exist regardless of whether SS had run surpluses the last two decades.

The big lie - the Greenspan Commission lie - was to lead voters to believe that 15% FICA taxes were sufficient to fund retirement with medical care without raising retirement ages beyond 67.

 
At 9/15/2011 3:37 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"if that's true it either means Che was not persuasive enough (fail)"...

Well T or C, the fail part is on you for not being able to understand the point Che provided assuming you actually read the link...

Then again I can see where Che's point would seem to upset your narrative since in might call into question your values system...

Mind you I'm just guessing but...

 
At 9/15/2011 3:52 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/15/2011 3:55 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"- Exactly. Taxes regulate aggregate demand, therefor inflation. With high unemployment and low aggregate demand taxes can and should be done away with."

Oopsie! There it is. as soon as I saw that phrase, I knew I could stop reading.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:07 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"[receiving unemployment benefits] Pay people on to scrub the streets with toothbrushes until clean (hyperbole), but make them do something."

No, Broll, that's not as silly as you think. I like that toothbrush idea. That would likely end all claims for benefits by the end of the week.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:10 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Most old people NEED money.

You mean more than everyone else does? Can you support that claim with a reference?

 
At 9/15/2011 4:15 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I don't think the surplus funds could have been invested in any private assets without screwing up the markets for those assets"...

No doubt jet beagle especially if the surplus was dumped into the market in large amounts instead of being allowed to trickle in...

That's why I wondered for a very long time (decades actually) why a portion of one's FICA couldn't have gone either into the stock market in a variation of a IRA or something similer or into some sort of savings account with similer rules...

 
At 9/15/2011 4:16 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"So is promoting the general Welfare"

"With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

- James Madison, the fourth U.S. president and the "Father of the Constitution"

 
At 9/15/2011 4:25 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Besides, what you are sugggesting is demeaning and crushing to the spirit. "

Oh noz!! We can't have that! After all, being unable to support yourself or your family, and expecting all your neighbors to support you for 99 weeks certainly isn't demeaning or crushing to the spirit.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:28 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"and recommend that along with SS and the company pension that they have an IRA and/or a 401K."

Company pension?

 
At 9/15/2011 4:34 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Hydra: " Why make them do something that is not cost effective?"

Yeah. Paying them to sit at home is cost effective.

You really say the stupidest things sometimes.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:39 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"No matter how many times people call social security a ponzi scheme, they are simply increasing the number of times they are wrong."

You have obviously missed some recent Carpe Diem posts on this subject.

You may want to go back and review them before you continue embarrassing yourself with more inane comments.

 
At 9/15/2011 5:02 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" SS is not an investment fund and really a transfer scheme, yet defend such a ponzi plan. The way SS works is that the dumbo politicos make people "save" by giving them money, which they then spend on those same people through bridges to nowhere or other giveaways, then make later taxpayers pay that money back."

Sprewell you realize of course that's the same way the pension funds work for Civil Service and our military boys, right?

when a civil service or military guy gets his pension each month do you really think it comes out of a govt 'investment" fund?

you're just being willfully ignorant of the simple realities here guy.

re: "the big lie"

when SS was created it also was required to ANNUALLY do a 75-year look-ahead using current and projected demographics and to RECOMMEND changes based on that analyses.

in the 65 years of it's history, MANY, MANY changes have been made to "course-correct" to keep it sustainably solvent.

this is not untoward.

virtually even insurance or annuity does a similar look-ahead and makes changes to it's premiums and benefit structure for the same reason.

 
At 9/15/2011 5:04 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" No, Broll, that's not as silly as you think. I like that toothbrush idea. That would likely end all claims for benefits by the end of the week. "

I too would agree that if you get unemployment - you work - at child care, public infrastructure, etc but you'd have to realize that you just can't take a construction worker and put him in child care or vice versa...there would be an ADDITIONAL COST to operate such programs.

 
At 9/15/2011 5:04 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Yeah. Paying them to sit at home is cost effective"...

Well Ron H, that might be a 'good idea' for some...:-)

 
At 9/15/2011 5:22 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Most old people NEED money.

You mean more than everyone else does? Can you support that claim with a reference? "

the funny thing here is that by the time you get old - you have had ample time to save for your retirement.

but there are two really, really inconvenient realities:

1. - before SS almost 40% of seniors were destitute - many who could be called 'working poor' who never earned more than what they needed for food and shelter

2. - the vast majority of seniors did not save for health care expenses - and although some had medical policies - those policies would be discontinued by the company as they started to use it.

Finally - this is not a uniquely American issue.

out of about 196 countries, 173 have some kind of social security .... "ponzi schemes" if you wish that have mandatory payroll taxes because they want the person getting the benefits to pay for them rather than other taxpayers.

and that gets to the idea of what you would do with older people who did not save with mandatory payroll taxes AND the working poor.

1. SS is sustainable solvent - it works and has worked for 65 years and will continue to work with relatively minor changes UNLIKE the other entitlements like Medicare Part B which will require draconian changes to make it sustainably solvent.

2. - we already know what happens when people don't save for their health care needs - WE PAY - through EMTALA and MedicAID and not only do we pay, we pay at about twice the rate that we should because people who do not get insurance don't go to the ER until the disease/injury has gotten much more serious and is much more expensive to treat -

.. and we are paying those costs -

we pay via our own policies that increase in premiums because of the effects of cost shifting and more and more people who are not offered insurance and/or cannot afford it.

and of all the entitlements to worry about being a Ponzi scheme - worry about MedicAid - a 500 billion dollar hole in the budget - twice as much as Medicare Part B and 10 times as much as SS.

I have yet to see a single reasonable solution to the individual mandate problem from anyone here, any think tank, Strossel, or 99% of the politicians.

how would we deal with people who don't/won't save.

They asked this question at the Republican debate - a 30 year old who did not get insurance and now needs 6 months of care to stay alive..

what would you do?

not ideology - or flip responses - but real solutions?

when I say "die in the streets" what I am really asking is - would you have govt do NOTHING and truly let people and charities figure out what to do or would you have the govt do "something" and if so what?

as I said 3/4 of the world has answered the "what should govt do" by mandating payroll taxes.

the other 1/4 are 3rd world countries.

so my challenge here is name a country that deals with this problem without mandatory payroll taxes.

... and has a better economy because of it....

because that's the basic premise...right?

so name the countries that don't have "ponzi" schemes and as a result are better off.....if not economically then pick your own metrics..

but name the country and say how it is better.

 
At 9/15/2011 5:33 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"not ideology - or flip responses - but real solutions?"...

So what it seems that you're saying here larry g is that if you don't like the response then it falls into one of those three horrible categories, eh?

Well how come YOU don't start taking in sick people and bring them to medical care with the contents of YOUR wallet?

 
At 9/15/2011 5:34 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Well how come YOU don't start taking in sick people and bring them to medical care with the contents of YOUR wallet? "

because I believe in mandatory payroll taxes to make them save for their needs....rather than waiting until they are broke and come to me for help.

 
At 9/15/2011 5:54 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry, just because all the other govt workers also have ponzi scheme pensions doesn't make SS any better, it just makes the govt look worse. That is why the DoD is looking to move the military to mandatory 401ks. In fact, most private pensions are also unsustainable, whether the ridiculous GM giveaways or "defined benefit" plans most everywhere else, which is why corporate America is making a big switch to "defined contribution" plans as we speak, though perhaps not as fast as necessary. The only one ignorant of all these realities is you. As for SS "course-correcting" over the years, you have no doubt swallowed the lie that those changes were to make SS more "sustainable," whereas the fact is that Nixon and many other Presidents kept raising benefits right before elections, to buy Seniors' votes with the SS giveaways. Easy to do when the people paying for it will come along only 30-40 years later, oh wait, that's now. Reagan did the same when he raised SS taxes to pay for the boomers' SS retirement and then immediately raided it, just as Clinton raided SS and fraudulently claimed "surpluses" after counting the trust fund with general revenue.

I'm not going to bother skewering the list of ridiculous fallacies you then regurgitate- for example, your ludicrous claim about SS ending poverty among seniors- because it would be a waste of my time and facts are lost on you anyway. Suffice to say, I don't want the govt to do "something" because that always involves politicians stealing from taxpayers, lining their own pockets, then paying off a few favored groups to keep the scam going. That scam has now grown so large, at 40% of GDP, that it threatens to bankrupt the Republic. The fact that you still can't see this mountain of graft speaks volumes about your lack of insight.

 
At 9/15/2011 6:08 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Larry, just because all the other govt workers also have ponzi scheme pensions doesn't make SS any better, it just makes the govt look worse. That is why the DoD is looking to move the military to mandatory 401ks. In fact, most private pensions are also unsustainable, whether the ridiculous GM giveaways or "defined benefit" plans most everywhere else, which is why corporate America is making a big switch to "defined contribution" plans as we speak, though perhaps not as fast as necessary. The only one ignorant of all these realities is you."

No. I have pointed out to YOU that there are MANY ANALOGS to SS and that folks like you ONLY call SS a "ponzi" scheme and THAT IS IGNORANT!

"As for SS "course-correcting" over the years, you have no doubt swallowed the lie that those changes were to make SS more "sustainable," whereas the fact is that Nixon and many other Presidents kept raising benefits right before elections, to buy Seniors' votes with the SS giveaways."

you can say that but it's more abject ignorance of the many, many changes NOT by Nixon and politicians.

how popular do you think it was when politicians increased FICA taxes, or raise the retirement age or started taxing SS benefits?

are you so ideologically blind that you just refuse to acknowledge these clear realities?


"Easy to do when the people paying for it will come along only 30-40 years later, oh wait, that's now. Reagan did the same when he raised SS taxes to pay for the boomers' SS retirement and then immediately raided it, just as Clinton raided SS and fraudulently claimed "surpluses" after counting the trust fund with general revenue."

I'd agree that the "surplus" was not a "surplus" but I'm not convinced that it was ONLY Clinton that did this.

Did Bush do it? you betcha..

there was no "raiding" as again you are being purposely ignorant about the facts and the facts are that there is no "fund".

Every day, every penny of the FICA tax goes into the general revenues and Treasury issues notes (IOUs) for them.

at the same time this is going on, SS is cashing in older notes and converting them to cash for benefits.

this is no fund guy.. it's a check book.

they put money in and take it out.


"I'm not going to bother skewering the list of ridiculous fallacies you then regurgitate"

you're not skewering anything.. you're just demonstrating how much you don't know or purposely want to lie about.

" for example, your ludicrous claim about SS ending poverty among seniors- because it would be a waste of my time and facts are lost on you anyway."

I did not say it ended poverty. I said when they instituted it about 40% of seniors were destitute and that that fact was a motivating factor in creating SS.

"Suffice to say, I don't want the govt to do "something" because that always involves politicians stealing from taxpayers, lining their own pockets, then paying off a few favored groups to keep the scam going. That scam has now grown so large, at 40% of GDP, that it threatens to bankrupt the Republic. The fact that you still can't see this mountain of graft speaks volumes about your lack of insight."

the fact that 3/4 of the world has mandatory payroll taxes for social security type programs says reams about what you don't know.

I asked you to name one country that does not have mandatory payroll taxes that...as a result of not having them is better off than the countries that do have payroll taxes..

and you have not answered that question.

and we know why....

because you are an ideologue...not really interested in practical realities.

 
At 9/15/2011 6:40 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

Sprewel -

you need to read this:

http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp

and after you read it.. I'd like you to tell me what parts of it are "lies".

and then tell me why what Stossel and your other sources say is not what this says....

and I want you to note that every one of these "facts" has a reference to the source - unlike Mr. Stossels rants...

 
At 9/15/2011 6:57 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Sprewell: amazing that you two can admit that SS is not an investment fund and really a transfer scheme,

It's not a secret.
http://www.ssa.gov/history/pics/pipeline.jpg

Sprewell: That is exactly analogous to your mom and dad "saving" by putting some money in a savings account, then deciding they'd rather spend it on a big-screen TV and water bed for their bedroom, only they put some IOUs in there that their kids will pay that money back in 30 years, for their retirement. That you people keep calling this idiocy a "trust fund" either goes to show your deep ignorance or unwillingness to confront reality.

That's right, but to be fair they were told the tax cuts and wars would pay for themselves. As they didn't, they have to face the fact that the money is gone, and once the economy starts to grow again, will have to raise taxes.

Sprewell: I have no problem with letting people die on the streets ...

That's your position, but you do not represent a majority. However, Americans are still coming to grips with the problem they helped create.

Jet Beagle: The main problem with the SS surpluses is that they were allowed to grow so large.

They needed to be large to cover the demographic bulge from the baby boomers. However, the budget was in balance just ten years ago, even after accounting for Social Security set asides.

Jet Beagle: The coming demographic problem - where FICA tax rates are insufficient to pay out promised benefits - would exist regardless of whether SS had run surpluses the last two decades.

That's why they overpaid, of course. But someone told the American people that tax cuts and wars would pay for themselves. Oh, and that markets were always self-correcting.

Broll the American: Taxes regulate aggregate demand, therefor inflation. With high unemployment and low aggregate demand taxes can and should be done away with.

That's right. Taxes should only be raised once the economy has recovered. Fortunately, the U.S. is in a position to borrow. But such borrowing should be combined with a credible plan for deficit reduction in the out-years.

Ron H: Oopsie! There it is. as soon as I saw that phrase, I knew I could stop reading.

Handwaving.

juandos: That's why I wondered for a very long time (decades actually) why a portion of one's FICA couldn't have gone either into the stock market in a variation of a IRA or something similer or into some sort of savings account with similer rules...

By law the Trust Fund had to be put into securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

Ron H: After all, being unable to support yourself or your family, and expecting all your neighbors to support you for 99 weeks certainly isn't demeaning or crushing to the spirit.

It's called shared risk. People pay into the unemployment fund, and into the general revenues. The former covers the normal circumstances of dislocations in the markets, the latter for economic disasters.

 
At 9/15/2011 9:15 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Quote from Broll The American: "Most old people NEED money."

Everybody needs money. Just because somebody is old doesn't give them a right to somebody elses money.

Whether somebody needs or doesn't need a smarty phone is irrelevant. People can spend their money on whatever they want. If you don't want a smarty phone and would rather give your money to some old people, then you go right ahead.

Social security will run out of money because it's a ponzi funded welfare program. "Social responsibility" (whatever the hell that means) has nothing to do with it. It's simple economics.

 
At 9/15/2011 9:21 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " It's called shared risk"

and anyone who buys health, auto or homeowners insurance is doing just that.

buying insurance - is sharing risk with a pool of others - is usually cheaper and more economically practical than self insuring - provided you can get insurance and can afford it.

and it basically means that the money you pay into it will get paid to others at some point and at some point - you'll be paid by others.

insurance (except for life) almost always has a term associated with it and at the end of the term - the insurance company has the right to change the terms.. and often do.

if we had permanent health insurance, we'd not have the problems with escalating health insurance costs but then again, we'd hot having any companies offering insurance anymore either.

we do not say that insurance is a ponzi scheme because they can charge more or reduce coverage for those covered, do we?

the limitations with SS are the same limitations with virtually any pay-as-you-go type of insurance...

"pay-as-you-go" insurance does not guarantee you a fixed and unchanging benefit.

Virtually everyone who has every paid into SS has had the program change on them.... while they were paying into it.


here's a list of changes made to the SS program that have affected every single person who has ever paid into the program - past or present:

http://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/crsleghist2.html

 
At 9/15/2011 9:25 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Everybody needs money. Just because somebody is old doesn't give them a right to somebody elses money."

that's exactly right - so why do we have EMTALA and won't repeal it?


"Social security will run out of money because it's a ponzi funded welfare program."

it will NEVER run out of money and repeating the claim will not make it so.

FICA generates almost a trillion dollars a year - and will continue to do so as long as payroll taxes are mandatory.

" "Social responsibility" (whatever the hell that means) has nothing to do with it. It's simple economics."

simple economics says that as long as FICA generates a trillion dollars a year - that a trillion dollars a year will be paid in benefits.

reduced benefits is not a "ponzi" scheme any more than when your health or auto insurance company reduces benefits or increases premiums.

 
At 9/15/2011 10:00 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/15/2011 10:01 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Speaking of "morons, douche bags and assholes", I see that "truth or consequences" has chimed in, upset with my use of language. I've also noted that he/she has failed to offer a substantive argument or counter-argument on the subject at hand.

Look, I'm not interested in "converting" anyone to my point of view. I'm content to challenge those with whom I may disagree and let nature take it's course. I know that those who are open minded will investigate further and that that way lies ruin for leftists.

So, if my language offends, feel free to skip my comments. Otherwise, focus on trying to make an intelligent argument. Judging by your previous comments, that will take all of the intellectual firepower you have at your disposal.

 
At 9/15/2011 10:24 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

zachriel: "That's why they overpaid, of course."

I was trying to explain the folly of raising FICA tax rates above the level which would generate current benefit levels. All the FICA surpluses could ever do is allow Congress to spend more money on programs other than SS and Medicare. There was no practical way to save those surpluses to use for future SS and Medicare benefits.

So why did Congress raise FICA taxes to 15% in 1986? The only justification I can see was to hide deficit spending from the public. In the process, Congress misled voters into believing they were saving for retirement.

 
At 9/15/2011 10:25 AM, Blogger mike k said...

"simple economics says that as long as FICA generates a trillion dollars a year - that a trillion dollars a year will be paid in benefits."-Larry

What does economics have to with it? Did you mean simple math and politics? Ooops! In Larry's world that's exactly what economics is.

Actually FICA hasn't always paid out 100% of revenue in benefits. Remember the surplus? Not really a surplus anymore though.

SS would actually be much more palatable if it indeed paid 100% of revenue in benefits. Benefits could be distributed on the same formulae used today with those benefits capped at 100% of revenue. Tax rates could be held constant and wage caps could be limited to some measure of inflation.

Of course, politicians can't buy votes this way so it has absolutely zero chance of implementation. So we are left with the ponzi scheme currently in use.

"reduced benefits is not a "ponzi" scheme any more than when your health or auto insurance company reduces benefits or increases premiums."-Larry

With two huge exceptions:

1. My insurance company cannot alter the conditions of my policy within the predetermined term.

2. I am not required (as of yet) to buy health insurance and even though my state requires auto insurance I am not required to own a car, or drive
one, for that matter.

So the comparison isn't relevant.

 
At 9/15/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

mike K,

If not for the accounting device known as the Trust Fund, SS would be required by current law to only pay benefits up to the level of SS tax receipts. As long as Congress does not raise SS tax rates - an incredibly stupid idea - that day will eventually come. I think it is projected to happen about 2026.

The projections I remember show that SS will only pay 73% of scheduled benefits after 2026. The big issue is how will the 27% shortfall be distributed.

I favor reducing payments of the top beneficiaries, but not eliminating them altogether. IOW, if the max benefit before 2026 is $24,000, then reducing that max benefit for everyone until the 27% shortfall is gone. The worker scheduled to get $12,000 would still get $12,000, but the $24,000 guy might only get $17,000.

 
At 9/15/2011 11:21 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

FICA taxes were raised to pay more benefits:

http://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/crsleghist2.html

 
At 9/15/2011 11:29 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Actually FICA hasn't always paid out 100% of revenue in benefits. Remember the surplus? Not really a surplus anymore though."

FICA tax was increased on purpose though to build the surplus so it would be around when there were temporary (not structural) shortfalls. It was designed that way on purpose.

"SS would actually be much more palatable if it indeed paid 100% of revenue in benefits. Benefits could be distributed on the same formulae used today with those benefits capped at 100% of revenue. Tax rates could be held constant and wage caps could be limited to some measure of inflation."

but it's always paid out about what it took in.. except for the small surplus that functions as a rainy day fund.

"Of course, politicians can't buy votes this way so it has absolutely zero chance of implementation. So we are left with the ponzi scheme currently in use."

so far politicians have done little but make proposals but in the past, politicians voted for major changes in FICA and SS - many times.

"reduced benefits is not a "ponzi" scheme any more than when your health or auto insurance company reduces benefits or increases premiums."-Larry

With two huge exceptions:

1. My insurance company cannot alter the conditions of my policy within the predetermined term."

but that's why they won't commit to more than a term at which point they CAN alter the policy. SS cannot do this. If SS could, one a year, do the same thing that private insurance does.. it could self-adjust just like private insurance does.


"2. I am not required (as of yet) to buy health insurance and even though my state requires auto insurance I am not required to own a car, or drive
one, for that matter.

So the comparison isn't relevant. "

the mandate is really no different than the one put on you by the state with autos or mortgage companies for homeowner insurance.

the basis behind both is that you have to demonstrate financial responsibility for potential future needs.

ObamaCare was an attempt to NOT do it with mandatory payroll taxes but to allow you to find other means to meet the mandate - by you shopping around.

but it's ludicrous for you or anyone else to think that _some_ day you won't need health care or retirement income and the question is what do we do with you if you do not prepare for that eventuality?

and no.. letting you die in the street is not a politically acceptable solution.

Not even Ron Paul would come out and admit that at the last debate - and no one else on that stage from Romney to Perry to Bachman... to Gingrich advocated a "let them die in the street" approach to those who don't save for their senior years health care and living expenses.

so what's the answer if not a mandate?

 
At 9/15/2011 11:31 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" I favor reducing payments of the top beneficiaries, but not eliminating them altogether. IOW, if the max benefit before 2026 is $24,000, then reducing that max benefit for everyone until the 27% shortfall is gone. The worker scheduled to get $12,000 would still get $12,000, but the $24,000 guy might only get $17,000. "

in other words, you're talking about changes and reforms similar to what has take place many times over SS's 65 year history - as opposed to saying it is bankrupt and walk away.

 
At 9/15/2011 11:42 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Jet Beagle: I was trying to explain the folly of raising FICA tax rates above the level which would generate current benefit levels. All the FICA surpluses could ever do is allow Congress to spend more money on programs other than SS and Medicare.

And cut taxes, of course. That is always the temptation, but it's not an inevitability. The U.S. budget was balanced just a decade ago with enough to set aside for scheduled Social Security payments. The U.S. also had even higher debt after WWII, and managed to work it down over time.

Jet Beagle: The only justification I can see was to hide deficit spending from the public.

Sorry, but the American people have some responsibility for the financial mess. Just because politicians promise tax cuts and wars will pay for themselves doesn't mean they shouldn't be skeptical.

 
At 9/15/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"And isn't that exactly why statist assholes like you love it so much? It creates a real sense of dependence and fear in a large segment of the electorate that you can then exploit to to your benefit. Steal from them when they're young and trying to start a family, and blackmail them when their old and scared. What a fucking creep you are."

*Like*

 
At 9/15/2011 1:37 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Just who is "we"? "

You must have missed the comment where Hydra talks about the mouse in his pocket.

 
At 9/15/2011 3:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"here's a couple of things worth reading:

http://www.ssa.gov/history/court.html

http://www.ssa.gov/history/nestor.html
"

LOL

As usual, given enough time, Larry begins to argue against himself.

What exactly are you arguing by invoking Flemming vs Nestor?

Here's your reaction to Stossel calling SS a Ponzi scheme"

"stossel is just parroting more lies and propaganda ... he parses this words carefully but the impression he gives is not the truth."

Are you aware that Flemming vs Nestor is the case Stossel discusses to support his claim that SS is neither an insurance program nor an annuity program, therefore a pure redistribution scheme?

I didn't think so.

Perhaps you have just changed your mind, now agree with Stossel, and are ready to apologize for the hurtful things you said about him.

A careful reading of the Court's opinion in that case makes it clear that no one has any right of any kind, to any amount of retirement income. The "contribution" part and the "benefit" part are entirely separate, and unrelated. There is no property right to an earned retirement income.

While that is true, and most of us are aware of it, this program has always been presented as some sort of retirement plan by the deceptive use of words such as "contibution", "earnings", benefit", "trust fund", "income", "special bonds", "accumulated", and rules regarding eligibility based on length of time worked as well as amount earned, to pretend that benefits are related to that, when they aren't.

Having all the necessary elements of a Ponzi scheme, including the deceptive representation, the only distinction is that contributers can't get out if they choose. So, no, the program can't crash when the deception becomes more clear, but that's the only difference.

If SS was truly intended to help the elderly in their retirement years, A far more honest method would have been to merely increased general income taxes, for the explicit purpose of handing people money based solely on their age, without all the deceptive packaging.

But, telling workers that they would spend their working lives paying a large chunk of their earnings to those who no longer work, and that they, themselves, weren't guaranteed anything at all when they retired, wouldn't fly very well, and would have cost proponents their elected office.

Now, in addition to that, workers will be told that they must cough up even more in general taxes to continue supporting beneficiaries at the current level, even though the workers themselves are guaranteed nothing.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:03 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" this program has always been presented as some sort of retirement plan "

by who? not the SSA - more likely your propaganda parroting friends like Stossel..

you say you've been led astray?

yup... sounds like those who are easily led....

:-)

if you think for yourself and go get the facts for yourself - you'll know that Stossel is shoveling guano...

there are more than 170 mandator payroll tax countries in the world that function similarly to SS.

are they ALL ponzi schemes?

name the best countries in the world that don't have ponzi schemes....

I bet you can't without naming 3rd world countries...

but go ahead.. let's hear the list of countries that don't have ponzi schemes....

or are you more than likely anti-govt in general to begin with?

 
At 9/15/2011 4:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Well Ron H, that might be a 'good idea' for some...:-)"

juandos, in the future please warn me when you plan to show me pictures of the Wicked Witch of the West. I need to take a blood pressure pill ahead of such a viewing.

Something like: "Caution, graphic images - May not be suitable for all viewers."

I'm really enjoying not seeing pictures of her every day like we used to.

But, yes, you're right. That would be truly cost effective, as well as helping my blood pressure.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"out of about 196 countries, 173 have some kind of social security .... "ponzi schemes" if you wish that have mandatory payroll taxes because they want the person getting the benefits to pay for them rather than other taxpayers."

And, once again, here's Larry arguing against himself.

After all this time, and hundreds of assertions that SS is a pay as you go system, he now argues that people are paying for their own benefits.

And you wonder, Larry, why no one takes you seriously.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:37 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

they are a pay-as-you-go system financed by mandatory payroll taxes and it's COMMON in the world not a system that is unique to this country.

If you think this country's system is a Ponzi scheme then you must think that other countries are also ponzi schemes...right?

so you're opposed to ALL countries that have Ponzi Schemes..right?

so show me some countries that don't have Ponzi schemes that you say do it "right".

not holding my breath here...

weasel seems to be the plan.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"as I said 3/4 of the world has answered the "what should govt do" by mandating payroll taxes.

the other 1/4 are 3rd world countries.
"

...and not to seem picky, but your prior claim in that same comment that 173 out of 196 have mandatory payroll taxes, is quite a bit different from this one that 3/4 do. Not a big deal in this case, but worth pointing out, as you are frequently careless with numbers.

Just sayin'.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:45 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"because I believe in mandatory payroll taxes to make them save for their needs....rather than waiting until they are broke and come to me for help."

Cough, cough, ...the hubris here is so thick it's choking me.

Yes, Larry, you know way better than most people what's best for them, and as they are sort of like children, unable to care for themselves, Wise Larry, through the agency of Wise Big Brother government, will see that they are forced to do something on their own behalf.

Bless you, Dear Leader.

 
At 9/15/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

there are different numbers reported for various entities but the germane point here is that mandatory payroll taxes for pay-as-you-go systems like social security are fairly common ...

if you think ours is a ponzi scheme.. you must also think Australia or Singapore or Italy's similar systems are also "ponzi" schemes.

correct?

 
At 9/15/2011 5:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"and after you read it.. I'd like you to tell me what parts of it are "lies"."

Well, gee, after just a few lines there's this:

"And finally, beginning in 1949, 12 years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year. That is the most you will ever pay."

 
At 9/15/2011 5:44 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

you remind me of W.C. fields who on his deathbed was found to be reading the bible - something he had avoided most of his life.

upon being asked what he was doing he answered: "looking for loopholes".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._C._Fields

;-0

 
At 9/15/2011 6:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

""pay-as-you-go" insurance does not guarantee you a fixed and unchanging benefit."

But what does that have to do with SS? SS is not insurance, and it is not an annuity, despite the fancy wording designed to make people think it is. The supreme court agreed that it wasn't, as argued by the then Secretary of HEW. Remember Flemming vs Nestor? Did you actually read it or just throw it up here to impress us with your ability to find important looking links?

There is no property right to a benefit from SS. There is a tax, and there is a welfare benefit. They are separate. You will pay the tax, but have no guarantees of recieveng the benefit.

 
At 9/15/2011 6:17 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program"

see the word?

but what are you arguing here?

it's a program that taxes and pays a benefit and was found to be Constitutional.

isn't that the bottom line?

my response has been to people who say that it is or should be a fund and it's clearly not and was never intended to be one.

there might be different views... between the SSA and the Supreme Court as to what you call it but at the end of the day - the payroll tax for the SS program was upheld and found to be Constitutional.

it is not a retirement plan and was never intended to be.

and that's the basis of many assertions that it's a ponzi scheme.

ON the Social Security website - it says clearly that it is a pay-as-you-go program which is very similar to insurance not investment funds which are prefunded while insurance pays out claims from what it takes in - in premiums.. there is no pre-funding.

all you doing here is playing word and semantic games.. of no real relevance.

If you think mandatory payroll taxes and SS are a ponzi scheme then you must also think all the rest of the countries in the world that operate like it - are also ponzi schemes.

and that basically makes you an anti-govt zealot...against ALL mandatory payroll taxes - and not a credible critic... because you cannot and will not name a country that has a better economy or other better metrics as a result of not having mandatory payroll taxes - which again, is one of the premise behind those who oppose mandatory payroll taxes - that the money would be much better spent on other things.

but you have no example - it's just theoretical ideology.

 
At 9/15/2011 6:38 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"and then tell me why what Stossel and your other sources say is not what this says...."

Have you read the entire page at the JustFacts link you provided?

I didn't think so. It is very long.

So far, though, what I have read agrees completely with the Stossel piece, as well as the Flemming vs Nestor decision you linked to.

"and I want you to note that every one of these "facts" has a reference to the source - unlike Mr. Stossels rants..."

Well, so far I'm impressed with the JustFacts piece, and plan to read all of it when I have more time. It seems well written, informative, and well referenced, although there's certainly nothing new here. If I like it, I may use it as a reference in the future.

You should be aware, though, that Stossel's source is Flemming vs Nestor, and so far as I've read, the JustFacts piece is consistant with that decision.

In other words, your link and the
Stossel piece say pretty much the same thing, except that Stossel takes a negative view of such a scheme.

 
At 9/15/2011 6:45 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"In other words, your link and the
Stossel piece say pretty much the same thing, except that Stossel takes a negative view of such a scheme. "

it's more than a negative view. It's a carefully worded disingenuous view that distorts and misrepresents the facts.

his premise is that it should be a retirement fund ...and he "proves" it is not by citing the SS references.

well.. that's just more bat guano...

and little more...

the court case proved what?

did it rule SS un-constitutional?

nope... SCOTUS affirmed the law.

so what is Stossel really arguing?

propaganda and blather...

Does Stossel and others like him say that every country in the world with a mandatory payroll tax and SS is a "ponzi" scheme.

No.. because if he did - the everyone would know what a whacko he really is...

the guy has gums for brains.

 
At 9/15/2011 7:18 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Have you read the entire page at the JustFacts link you provided? "

on the 2nd cut now... and using key word searches like "trust fund" and "ponzi scheme"

I didn't think so. It is very long.

you may not have noticed.. I do read... usually provide references ....

"So far, though, what I have read agrees completely with the Stossel piece, as well as the Flemming vs Nestor decision you linked to."

uh huh ...and how many times does it say "ponzi scheme" or "bankrupt" or any of the other bomb-throwing words that stossel likes to play with while acting like he's actually referencing material that says that?

"Well, so far I'm impressed with the JustFacts piece, and plan to read all of it when I have more time. It seems well written, informative, and well referenced, although there's certainly nothing new here. If I like it, I may use it as a reference in the future."

I'm impressed with it also and with anything that has copious footnotes and references on a per sentence, per assertion, basis.

but we know why you're reading it and that is so you can use it to cherry-pick things out of context in your anti-SS narrative - not for better understanding or to explain to others what the program actually does but instead to stoke the wrong impressions and claims... being made by those who either don't understand themselves and/or are perfectly willing to parrot misleading propaganda and misrepresentations.. made by folks like stossel.

the man is not an objective journalist... just another blather butt...

 
At 9/15/2011 9:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"but it's always paid out about what it took in.. except for the small surplus that functions as a rainy day fund."

By small surplus I assume you mean the $2.5tn that will now be made up by taxpayers in some other way.

 
At 9/15/2011 9:55 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

so.. SS generates a surplus - and it's SS fault that it got spent?

ha ha ha.. I love the circular logic...

I assume you read this:

http://www.justfacts.com/news.impactSS.asp although a bit dated - 2001.

but be careful - it's entitled "for independent thinkers"...

;-)

 
At 9/15/2011 11:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

" this program has always been presented as some sort of retirement plan "

"by who? not the SSA - more likely your propaganda parroting friends like Stossel.."

"If youhink for yourself and go get the facts for yourself - you'll know that Stossel is shoveling guano..."

You need to understand that OAS is not an insurance program, nor an annuity, and there are no promises of benefits. SSA has argued that in court, and been upheld.

If you could read, you would know this. Your sources say so. Stossel says so.
They all agree. Only Larry disagrees. Learn to read.

Stossel hasn't claimed SS is an insurance program, in fact just the opposite. You are making claims opposite of what the references you cite are actually saying. You must not realize how stupid you sound.

"or are you more than likely anti-govt in general to begin with?"

Yes, indeed! I'm for sure anti-government. I get and I pay for way more government than I want or need.

 
At 9/15/2011 11:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

it's a program that taxes and pays a benefit and was found to be Constitutional."

Are you citing Flemming vs Nestor as support for the constitutionality of SS?

 
At 9/16/2011 12:00 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"" federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program"

see the word?
"

I see the term Disability Insurance. That would be DI. As you are fond of pointing out, that's a separate program, with a separate trust fund. OASI is not insurance. Flemming vs Nestor confirmed that it isn't.

I knew you hadn't actually read your own reference.

That SCOTUS decision confirmed that a person has no right to any benefit from OASI.

"it's a program that taxes and pays a benefit and was found to be Constitutional."

As it does so under two separate titles, the constitutionality of the entire program hasn't been challenged, because the individual titles, one a tax, like thousands of other taxes, and one a benefit program, like thousands of other benefit programs, haven't been challenged. It was intentionally structured that way for exactly that reason, to avoid being challenged on constitutional grounds. A similar New Deal program, the AAA, was successfully challenged and found to be unconstitutional.

 
At 9/16/2011 12:16 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"" this program has always been presented as some sort of retirement plan "

by who? not the SSA - more likely your propaganda parroting friends like Stossel..
"

When you get a statement from SSA each year using retirement plan type language, and listing your personal contributions for each year you have ever worked, and estimating your individual benefit based on your continued income through retirement, and listing amounts you might expect at various ages, and explaining how those estimated benefits are calculated based on your contributions, you might be excused for thinking you were reading about a retirement plan. Many people do, and they cant be blamed for it.

While there are no actual explicit promises, the whole presentation, in fact the idea of getting an annual statement, leads one to believe there is something substantial about it.

What other tax authority provides you with that amount of detailed information?

The fact that there is no actual connection between tax and any possible benefits isn't made clear.

 
At 9/16/2011 12:50 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"it's more than a negative view. It's a carefully worded disingenuous view that distorts and misrepresents the facts."

What facts?

"his premise is that it should be a retirement fund ...and he "proves" it is not by citing the SS references."

Stossel claims that SS isn't a retirement program, and shows that SSA also claims it isn't by citing SSA's own documents and Flemming vs Nestor, which found that it isn't. The court found that a person has no right to even one dollar in benefits from SS.

"well.. that's just more bat guano..."

It's the exact thing you keep claiming, Larry. You and Stossel agree. You have consistantly...well, not really consistantly...you have often claimed that SS is strictly a pay as you go system, with no guarantees, and with current contributions going to current beneficiaries.

You are really confused. You don't even know what you are claiming.

"the court case proved what?"

That a person has no right to any money from SS.

"did it rule SS un-constitutional?"

No it didn't, it didn't address the issue.

"nope... SCOTUS affirmed the law."

SCOTUS affirmed that SSA had no obligation to pay out any money to anyone, which is what SSA had argued.

"So what is Stossel really arguing?"

Stossel is arguing that SS is a bad deal as it pretends to offer a retirement income, but in fact has no such obligation, cannot now continue paying current benefits without additional money from Treasury to redeem IOUs from the trust fund, and based on the way it actually operates, is a Ponzi scheme. something most people accept as a pretty accurate description.

If you read the Stossel piece, you will know whether Stossel has anythig to say about social welfare programs in other countries.

I'm not familiar with such programs in other countries, so I refrain from commenting on them or making needless comparisons.

Unlike you, I try not to discuss things I know little about.

 
At 9/16/2011 7:02 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: If you read the Stossel piece, you will know whether Stossel has anythig to say about social welfare programs in other countries.

Let's look.

John Stossel: Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi! There, I said it. To the extent people believe there are trust funds with their names on them, Social Security is absolutely a Ponzi scheme.

One would have to be pretty tuned out not to notice that Social Security benefits have been subject to debate and revision over many generations.

John Stossel: Many people think that when the government takes payroll tax from their paychecks, it goes to something like a savings account.

We can be thankful to John Stossel for educating his readers. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, a compact between generations.

"Social Security is a compact between generations. For more than 70 years, America has kept the promise of security for its workers and their families. But now, the Social Security system is facing serious future financial problems, and action is needed soon to make sure that the system is sound when today’s younger workers are ready for retirement." — Social Security statement mailed to workers.

John Stossel: Social Security is nothing more than a promise from politicians.

A compact between young and old, apparently one kept for nearly 80 years.

John Stossel: So anyone who believes Social Security is an investment plan really has only himself to blame.

That's right, but it never hurts to remind everyone. It's an income transfer from young to old.

John Stossel: Ponzi scheme or not, we wouldn't need Social Security.

Social Security was implemented because the private sector left millions of elderly in poverty.

 
At 9/16/2011 7:43 AM, Blogger mike k said...

"Social Security was implemented because the private sector left millions of elderly in poverty."-Zachriel

And now it leaves the rest of us in poverty.

 
At 9/16/2011 8:27 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

mike k And now it leaves the rest of us in poverty.

Median household income has declined in the U.S., while rates of poverty and unemployment have increased. Yet, the Social Security payroll tax has actually gone down. So, that's not the problem.

 
At 9/16/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

so... ANY govt-imposed mandatory payroll tax for a pay-as-you-go program that provides income when you retire is a ponzi scheme.

correct?

is that you and Stossel's position?

list the countries that don't do this.

 
At 9/16/2011 9:05 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

it's a program that taxes and pays a benefit and was found to be Constitutional."

Are you citing Flemming vs Nestor as support for the constitutionality of SS?

"Social Security is a social insurance program that is primarily funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund"

you are correct - the "insurance" part is for the DI but it is also insurance for spouses and survivors.

you and Stossel can call it whatever you want but it does not change the fact that most everyone who pays the payroll tax will receive scheduled benefits commensurate with what they paid into it - UNLESS they have broken the law - just as police can be denied their pensions - legally even they though paid into them.

and that unlike the police pensions, it is a pay-as-you-go program - not a pre-funded program.

Same deal with Fed Govt employees. You can lose your pension for certain kinds of criminal convictions even though you paid YOUR money into the pension - you forfeit it.

so what does that prove?

nothing... other than it's part of Stossels one-trick pony ideological agenda to label it something it is not.

you'll not find one "ponzi" in the
http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp website

that's Stossels opinion and it's demonstrably false but reading that website.

most every industrialized and developing country in the world has some version of mandatory payroll taxes and retirement (and health care) benefits.

it's a COMMON program with more than 100 countries....

all you and Stossel are demonstrating is that you are opposed to the CONCEPT of mandatory payroll taxes for a program like SS but neither of you are honest enough to come right out and say you are opposed to it on a worldwide basis because you know if you did people would recognize you as a crackpot so instead you attack the financials....which are the same financials - worldwide - for all these programs.

there has to be a reason why a majority of people and leaders in the world believe that mandatory payroll taxes and SS are valid.

there has to be a reason for our own SCOTUS determined - no matter what you want to call it - that it is a legal and constitutional function of govt.

the forefathers themselves believed and supported the CONCEPT of mandatory payroll taxes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Act_for_the_relief_of_sick_and_disabled_seamen

 
At 9/16/2011 3:02 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry, you keep asking for other countries where they privatized, it took me a minute on google to find this. Oh wait, you don't care about the facts, you just want to lie and try to rationalize a ponzi scheme, just like when I linked to how the ponzi military pensions are likely going to privatized and you just ignore it. Of course we're against the concept of mandatory payroll taxes, precisely because the idiot politicians who you love aren't interested in helping anyone, they just want to raid the "trust funds" every year, knowing that it will be someone else's problem 30 years later. Guess what, that's now, as general income tax revenue is now going into the SS "trust fund," not coming out anymore. Of course, there's a reason why the majority of politicos do this, all politicians are interested in stealing money and if they can copy a ponzi scheme from elsewhere they will do it. The fact that you are too dumb to realize this is just amazing.

 
At 9/16/2011 3:15 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@Sprewell

what part of "mandatory" do you not understand?

I said ... "mandatory payroll taxes".

find me a list of countries that don't have this

and once you do - demonstrate how those countries - as a direct result of NOT having a mandatory payroll tax benefit - better than the countries that have them.

It's not the privatized aspect that sticks in the craws of most of those who are opposed here - it's the fact that the govt forces them to participate.

tell the truth - isn't that your problem also?

do you AGREE with mandatory for privatized?

yes or no... no waffling..no weaseling... just answer the question...

 
At 9/16/2011 3:45 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry, see, this is where you come across as an outright moron. From the third paragraph of my link, "all workers will be required to set aside 9 percent of their income in a superannuation fund of their choice." Do you know what mandatory means? Let me guess: you skimmed for the word mandatory, didn't see it, and then wrote your idiotic comment. As for mandatory vs public, it is true that I want neither. But I have said earlier in this thread that mandatory privatized would at least be a step in the right direction, so I would favor it over our currently mandatory "public" system, where the politicians simply spend the public "trust fund" every year.

The point is that the politicians and supporters like you will never agree for mandatory privatized: the thieving politicos because they wouldn't be able to steal that money as easily and supporters like you because you imagine that you "can spread the wealth around" easier with SS. No SS supporter is really interested in a real pension system, because if they were they would simply force people to invest in 401ks, you are only interested in stealing other people's money.

 
At 9/16/2011 3:54 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

@sprewell... a 1997 tome from the Heritage folks?

got an up-to-date reference - dufus?

you can't stand the govt forcing you to put money aside guy.

that's the truth.

the rest is smokescreen.

You can already set money aside into an IRA.. so it's the mandator part that you really object to.

Not only is Australia's system mandatory but it is means-tested and subsidized - both of which I suspect you'd not want.

you have yet to produce a country that has the system you want much less a country with a system you'd accept.

all you've done is hand wave using a 1997 propaganda piece from Heritage.

Find an up-to-date reference from an objective source loony.

 
At 9/16/2011 4:16 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Larry, wait a second, I though you said just a second ago that it's not mandatory. Must be nice when you are so dumb that such rampant flip-flops just go by unnoticed. If you think that link's too old, there's nothing stopping you from spending five seconds like I just did and finding out more about Australia's system and how successful the private part has been. Yes, it's not completely privatized, but the successful part is the private part, just like we see everywhere else in our lives and only outright morons like you still try to deny. There are many countries with the system I want, ie no public pension system for the political thieves to steal from, though of course they then just steal the private pensions, which is why those countries are even bigger shitholes. It is quite hilarious to see a dimwit political shill like you calling Stossel, arguably the brightest reporter out there, dumb or calling others loonies, when your arguments are inevitably so dumb or flimsy that you keep rapidly changing them. But that's the first symptom of stupidity I suppose, the inability to gauge your own idiocy.

 
At 9/16/2011 4:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Ron H: If you read the Stossel piece, you will know whether Stossel has anythig to say about social welfare programs in other countries.

You all: "Let's look.
"

After looking, you either found no references to social welfare programs in other countries, or you didn't consider them worth mentioning, as you left that subject, and continued with another..

And, I know, that unlike Larry, you can read, and even though filtered through your own statist and Keynesian biases, you understand what you read.

"JohnStossel: Ponzi! Ponzi! Ponzi! There, I said it. To the extent people believe there are trust funds with their names on them, Social Security is absolutely a Ponzi scheme.

John Stossel: Many people think that when the government takes payroll tax from their paychecks, it goes to something like a savings account.
"

You all: "We can be thankful to John Stossel for educating his readers. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go system, a compact between generations."

In fact, to support his contention that SS is a pay as you go scheme, with no connection between the tax and the benefit, he cites Flemming vs Nestor, A SCOTUS decision that affirmed that no one has a right to any benefit from SS.

I believe that you, but not Larry, understands that this decision doesn't uphold the constitutionality of SS. In fact SS was written to separate the tax from the benefit precisely to avoid constitutional challenges that the government shouldn't be in the insurance business.

Other than characterizing SS as a Ponzi scheme, to which you object, You and Stossel, and even Larry seem to agree, although Larry doesn't understand that.

""Social Security is a compact between generations". For more than 70 years, America has kept the promise of security for its workers and their families. But now, the Social Security system is facing serious future financial problems, and action is needed soon to make sure that the system is sound when today’s younger workers are ready for retirement." — Social Security statement mailed to workers."

The phrases we have highlighted above are examples of what we consider objectional language found throughout SS literature.

The first two have no actual meaning, and the third refers to nothing in particular, but suggest something that isn't really there. It would be easy for a trusting person to be deceived by such language, especially on a statement mailed to them each year advising them of their status.

America is not a sentient being, capable of making or keeping promises. Promises by elected officials are good, at best, for the elected term, and not necessarily even that long, as should be obvious during the current Liar In Chief's term in office.

Future elected officials can't be bound by previous promises.

"Social Security was implemented because the private sector left millions of elderly in poverty."

SS was implemented at a time when incompetents in government had for several years, repeatedly implemented disasterous policies during a depression that only made matters worse. They had left millions of people, not just the elderly, in poverty. SS was just one more attempt to "do something" rather than admit they were clueless.

 
At 9/16/2011 4:23 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

"Larry, wait a second, I though you said just a second ago that it's not mandatory." Must be nice when you are so dumb that such rampant flip-flops just go by unnoticed."

nope, dufus, I'm pretty clear about it. if I said otherwise, it was a unintentional.

I said - show me a country where payroll taxes is not mandatory because, in fact, that what most who object to SS - really object to.

"If you think that link's too old, there's nothing stopping you from spending five seconds like I just did and finding out more about Australia's system and how successful the private part has been. Yes, it's not completely privatized, but the successful part is the private part, just like we see everywhere else in our lives and only outright morons like you still try to deny."

using a 1997 link is what is moronic... and I thought you guys think Wiki is not a credible source...so what are you doing here guy? more foolishness?

" There are many countries with the system I want, ie no public pension system for the political thieves to steal from, though of course they then just steal the private pensions, which is why those countries are even bigger shitholes."

so name three - and show how they are better because they don't have payroll taxes.

"It is quite hilarious to see a dimwit political shill like you calling Stossel, arguably the brightest reporter out there, dumb or calling others loonies, when your arguments are inevitably so dumb or flimsy that you keep rapidly changing them. But that's the first symptom of stupidity I suppose, the inability to gauge your own idiocy."

Stossel is Bachman in drag....only uglier and shriller..

he's dishonest and disingenuous and specializes in misinformation...

I know he's your hero.. but gawd o'mighty boy.. have you no sense?

 
At 9/16/2011 4:29 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" SS was just one more attempt to "do something" rather than admit they were clueless"

around the world in virtually every industrialized and developing nation ?

ha ha ha...

you're entitled to your opinion guy but the facts tell a different tale....

if SS is so bad.. how come it's so widespread?

and again.. SS is a gnat on a dogs butt in terms of a threat to the budget but you zealots don't seem to care...

Medicare Part B and MedicAid are 10 times as potent threats to the health of the economy but the half-wits here continue to chew on the one program that has managed to stay pretty much on an even keel for more than 65 years.

this is why you guys are not part of any real political process ...

no sense of proportionality in terms of what is most important in the budget.

If you guys started off on Medicare - and then ADDED SS you might have a point.. but the way you go about it is totally bass ackwards.

 
At 9/16/2011 4:44 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Ha ha ha, and Larry has finally entered the realm of the insane with his latest flip-flop of a comment. XD In trying to evade his hour-old assertion that Australia's system wasn't mandatory, he now says that he wanted me to "show me a country where payroll taxes is not mandatory." Do you even understand what a tax is? If it's not mandatory, it's not a tax. It is has finally become obvious to me that you don't even understand what basic words mean, so I might as well try to have this discussion with a dog: the responses would be as sensible. With that realization, I'm out, have fun barking your nonsense. :)

 
At 9/16/2011 4:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"UNLESS they have broken the law - just as police can be denied their pensions - legally even they though paid into them."

As happens with some regularity, you are wrong about this, but that's a different subject.

 
At 9/16/2011 4:55 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

If you take what Stossel and (some of) the folks here are saying to their logical endpoints this is how it would sound:

1. SS funded by mandatory payroll taxes is a Ponzi Scheme

... around the world

2. - Medicare and programs like it are ponzi schemes - around the world

this is what Stossel is saying and a good number in CP apparently AGREE with.

Now what doesn't Rick Perry or Ron Paul or even Stossel get up and say that?

answer: because if they do - they'll be recognized as wackos.

so I give folks here the same opportunity -

do you think that that programs like SS and Medicare - around the world - are Ponzi Schemes?

no weaseling now... just be truthful and honest...

Bonus Question: how many here think mandatory payroll taxes are illegal and unconstitutional?

Double Triple Bonus - if the forefathers of this country (you know, the ones who wrote the Constitution) supported mandatory payroll taxes does that make them socialists?

 
At 9/16/2011 5:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/16/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Larry: "@sprewell... a 1997 tome from the Heritage folks?

got an up-to-date reference - dufus?
"

Do you have any reason to believe that this information is no longer accurate?

I'm surprised your buddy Zach hasn't scolded you for hand waving. Maybe he just hasn't seen your comment yet, or maybe he knows it's useless to point out your errors to you.

"all you've done is hand wave using a 1997 propaganda piece from Heritage."

Oh. Nevermind, I see you don't understand any of this, so correcting you would be pointless.

 
At 9/16/2011 5:14 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" Do you have any reason to believe that this information is no longer accurate?"

a quick check confirmed it.

that liberal rag Wiki showed more up to date info including references and footnotes.

the point is you guys are getting desperate... with this kind of thing...

I keep asking you if you think mandatory payroll taxes for SS is a ponzi scheme worldwide..

did you ever say so?

I keep asking you to provide a list of countries who don't have mandatory payroll taxes and SS who, because they don't are demonstrably better than the countries that do...

and you have been MUTE....

give me a real world example of what you advocate.

there are a couple hundred countries out there.

surely you have a list of countries that do it "right".

 
At 9/16/2011 5:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Larry, wait a second, I though you said just a second ago that it's not mandatory." Must be nice when you are so dumb that such rampant flip-flops just go by unnoticed."

Larry can frequently be found arguing against his previous comments.

 
At 9/16/2011 5:22 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" "Larry, wait a second, I though you said just a second ago that it's not mandatory." Must be nice when you are so dumb that such rampant flip-flops just go by unnoticed."

Larry can frequently be found arguing against his previous comments. "

I think I've been pretty clear on it.

I keep asking you to name your favorite country that does not have a mandatory payroll tax and you evade.... obfuscate and weasel which seems to describe many of the folks opposed to mandatory payroll taxes.

then I ask if you think every mandatory payroll tax for a pay-as-you-go program - worldwide is a ponzi scheme...

Being honest about one's own avowed principles is apparently a difficult thing for you.

I understand. No one likes to be thought of as a wacko.

 
At 9/16/2011 5:24 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

Hey Ron - what does THIS SAY:

"The Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund is a separate account in the United States Treasury. A fixed proportion (dependent on the allocation of tax rates by trust fund) of the taxes received under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act and the Self-Employment Contributions Act are deposited in the fund to the extent that such taxes are not needed immediately to pay expenses. Taxes are deposited in the fund on every business day.

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/describeoasi.html

Lord.. they say INSURANCE and that FICA taxes are deposited DAILY!

gawd o'mighty

geeze... that's not what Heritage and Stossel have been saying...

they say the money is gone...but
how can that be if FICA is deposited daily ---- and people get their social security checks monthly and cash them how can the money be "gone"?

guano in = guano out

cheap to feed.

 
At 9/16/2011 9:05 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/16/2011 11:10 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Lord.. they say INSURANCE and that FICA taxes are deposited DAILY!"

Oh, Larry, why do I bother with you? You are such a moron. You're lucky I have so much time on my hands right now.


See this? It's labeled "Mouse", but it's not. It's a cartoon caricature of a mouse. We all know it represents a mouse, but we also all know - except maybe you - that it's not really a mouse.

See this? It says "insurance", but it's not insurance. It's a picture with the word insurance in it.

See this? It says "Insurance", but it's not insurance. It's a web page describing a SS trust fund, labeled "OASI Trust Fund".

This is some of the deceptive labeling I object to so strongly, found throughout SS literature. You and other gullible people believe this program is insurance, when in fact, it isn't. Some believe it is a mandatory retirement, but it isn't that either.

The legislation creating SS was intentionally written to describe a tax in one title of the bill, and a benefit in another title. This has helped shield it from constitutional challenges on the grounds that the government can't be in the insurance business. The tax and the benefit are, therefore, not legally connected in any meaningful way.

The SSA has argued in court that SS is not insurance. HEW Director A. S. Flemming argued that SS isn't insurance in the Flemming vs Nestor case in 1960, in which the court affirmed his position that SS is not insurance, and that no one has a right to a benefit from SS just because they have paid FICA taxes.

This is the pay as you go you have been arguing, Larry, Why are you now arguing against yourself?

 
At 9/17/2011 4:50 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" This is some of the deceptive labeling I object to so strongly, found throughout SS literature. You and other gullible people believe this program is insurance, when in fact, it isn't."

if it calls it insurance - I'd believe it before I would you ..loony.

and pay-as-you-go describes virtually every tax-funded program fool.

Medicare Part B is also tax-funded pay-as-you-go insurance.

you're arguing semantics here... you can call it what you want but it functions basically as pay-as-you-go insurance - funded by a mandatory payroll tax.

and it's legal.

and it's replicated around the world.

what's moronic here - is the failure to recognize simple realities and to continue to insist the world is not what it is.

 
At 9/17/2011 3:42 PM, Blogger SlaveOfTheState said...

From Attarian, an expert on SS:

What mendacity surrounded the "is social security insurance" question?

"Perkins and Altmeyer promptly began promoting Social Security in the media, depicting benefits as an earned right and Social Security as insurance. Just four days after Roosevelt signed the bill, an article by Perkins appeared in the New York Times Magazine describing the Act. Its 'old-age annuities,' she wrote, 'will not be granted as a matter of charity' but will be 'earned annuities to which the recipients are entitled as a matter of right.'

...

The administration had been duplicitous in its initial approach to the other branches of the government. Fearing the Supreme Court, it had placedthe tax and benefit provisions in separate albeit adjacent titles, to give the impression that Social Security was not insurance. Yet its witnesses told the congressional committees that it was. It was being duplicitous again now. The anti-Court precaution had been taken further, with the separation of titles and removal of insurance language. Yet in promoting Social Security to the public, the administration was leaning on insurance language. Two diametrically opposed versions of reality were being concocted, to manipulate their intended audiences. The administration wanted the people to believe that Social Security was insurance, so they would support it. The administration did not want the Supreme Court to even suspect that Social Security was insurance, lest it kill it
."--Attarian, http://mises.org/pdf/asc/essays/attarian.pdf

 
At 9/17/2011 3:45 PM, Blogger SlaveOfTheState said...

Is social security constitutional? (Obviously *not* constitutional.) Again from Attarian:

"The majority of the Helvering v. Davis majority, Hughes, Roberts, Van Devanter, and Sutherland, were conservatives. Most had bitterly criticized the New Deal. Can anybody really believe that they found Cardozo’s half-baked opinion, mostly lifted from the Administration’s brief, an adequate expression of their views on Social Security’s constitutionality?

McReynolds and Butler dissented – but wrote no opinions. Did they have nothing to say? Or were they afraid of Roosevelt?

In saving Social Security, the Court saved itself – and people knew it. The decision, the Washington Post opined, drove "another nail in the coffin of the President’s plan to enlarge the court’s membership. Roosevelt’s Court pack failed, and Helvering v. Davis was a factor.

But its validity is shaky. Cardozo’s opinion is laughably weak: leaning on a brief full of duplicitous arguments, ignoring McClennen’s exposure of Social Security’s true purpose, and ducking the main issue. Clearly, the Court upheld Social Security for one reason only: Roosevelt was holding a gun to its head. Helvering v. Davis was a political act of self-preservation, made under duress. We know what things obtained under duress are worth.
"--Attarian, http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/attarian7.html

 
At 9/17/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger SlaveOfTheState said...

Zachriel> "A compact between young and old, apparently one kept for nearly 80 years."

There is nothing special about Zach's tripe. It is merely one I happened to quote. There is no compact between anyone; it is plain coercion. The amorphous "young" and "old" are too mysterious to make any sense of. SS is politicians promising one group the money of another. It is nothing else.

Larry> "You can already set money aside into an IRA.. so it's the mandator part that you really object to."

Cool that you're finally picking up on that. lol!

Larry> "you have yet to produce a country that has the system you want much less a country with a system you'd accept."

That is pretty goofy. But it makes sense for group-thinkers, I suppose. Cell phones didn't once exist. I suppose no one would ever want them.

Ron> "America is not a sentient being, capable of making or keeping promises."

You'll never get them to understand this. You'll see the animistic use of "we" and "us" peppered everywhere. It is group-think collective conciousness gibberish.

Ron> "SS was just one more attempt to 'do something' rather than admit they were clueless."

It was also part of Roosevelt's crackpot economics. By taking people out of the job market, he could drive up or sustain the pay rate amongst those still working, or looking for work. He killed piggies to drive up the price of pork too. Roosevelt was the stupidest on economics. He was brilliant on the politics.

 
At 9/18/2011 9:19 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

SlaveOfTheState: There is no compact between anyone; it is plain coercion.

As all laws are coercion, including stop lights and whiskey taxes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiskey_Rebellion
If you don't think that laws made by democratic republics have any legitimacy, then it's not clear that any reasonable discussion of policy based on those principles is possible.

 
At 9/18/2011 10:30 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"As all laws are coercion, including stop lights and whiskey taxes.

Some laws are prohibitive:

"Keep off the Grass"

"Don't steal other people's stuff"

 
At 9/18/2011 4:36 PM, Blogger SlaveOfTheState said...

Zach> "As all laws are coercion,...

Wrong. For example, "don't kidnap someone" isn't coercion. Kidnapping someone is taking their liberty away. Kidnapping would be coercing the victim to go where, and do what, the perp insists. It isn't coercion to say "don't coerce." (Although anything goes inside the cognitively dissonant progressive mind, anything does not go in the minds of rational and reasonable people.)

Some laws are social rules-of-conduct that are universal enough that they are codifed, like those against murder, for example.

Custom and laws against murder, kidnapping, and a host of others are those that say "you aren't free to take other's freedom away." One might even say they are laws against coercion, since the perp in those cases would be taking away the free will of the victim to do what they want with their own person and property.

Mutual respect, codified or not, is not coercion, no matter how much muddleheaded progressives want to abuse people.

Zach> If you don't think that laws made by democratic republics have any legitimacy,...

I'll bet you'd tell Rosie Parks to go to the back of the bus.

There is a difference between liberty protecting laws and coercive liberty violating laws. So far, you come off as a nut. It's your choice.

 
At 9/18/2011 8:11 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: "Keep off the Grass"

1: coerce, to restrain or dominate by force.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coerce

SlaveOfTheState: I'll bet you'd tell Rosie Parks to go to the back of the bus.

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust. and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."
http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/resources/article/annotated_letter_from_birmingham/

 
At 9/18/2011 11:22 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"1: coerce, to restrain or dominate by force.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coerce
"

While you were busy at Merriam's website, did you also look up the meaning of the word "prohibit"?

"I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust. and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

Well, now we know what Dr. King's thoughts on the subject were, but not Zach's.

 
At 9/19/2011 8:39 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: While you were busy at Merriam's website, did you also look up the meaning of the word "prohibit"?

More semantics? You had suggested that some laws were not coercive, as if prohibitions were not coercion.

Ron H: Well, now we know what Dr. King's thoughts on the subject were, but not Zach{riel}'s.

Our views are much as King's. But let's start with the fundamental principle of conservatism.

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration.html

The rule of law is so important that it should be upheld in all but extremity. In a representative democracy, the laws express, to some degree at least, the will of the people. Hence, as King said, evading or defying the law would lead to anarchy. So King gave the law the "highest respect."

As Lincoln knew, preserving the Republic, even if it meant preserving the evil of slavery, was the only way to ensure everyone's freedom over the long run. And he was right, of course, which is why the South rebelled. They saw the same equation, that if the Republic continued, slavery would eventually be ended.

The struggle of the last millennium has been to wrest control of taxation from the king and give it to the parliament. You have said that taxation itself is thievery, even when it is the free choice of a people expressing their will through elected representatives. It's hard to imagine what possible theory of government you envision that doesn't include taxation of some sort in order "to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty." Your belief seems to reject the very notion of republican government, and leave people to the whims of the powerful.

 
At 9/20/2011 3:00 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

D of I: "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

And for balance, you might have continued:

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."

(long list of greivances follows)

Translation:

We don't take these issues lightly, nor have we come to this decision without much deliberation, but you, Georgie Boy, have really become an intolerable ass-hat, and we are throwing you out of the country.


"Hence, as King said, evading or defying the law would lead to anarchy. So King gave the law the "highest respect." "

Except that if conscience tells us a law is unjust, we have a moral obligation to arouse public outrage by disobeying that law and suffering the consequences.

"As Lincoln knew, preserving the Republic, even if it meant preserving the evil of slavery, was the only way to ensure everyone's freedom over the long run."

In other words, Lincoln knew that the only way to ensure everyone's freedom, was to deny them freedom of choice. Is that pretty close?


"And he was right, of course, which is why the South rebelled. They saw the same equation, that if the Republic continued, slavery would eventually be ended. "

That is the textbook explanation we have all learned in school.

Lincoln was intent in preserving the union at all costs, including his oath to uphold the Constitution.

In his first inaugural speech, Lincoln stated emphatically that he had "...no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

In addition he said he would not object to a Constitutional ammendment to enshrine slavery forever, if the Union could, thereby, be preserved..

He did, however promise to use force to preserve the Union, and inforce the Morrill tariffs which were extremely unpopular in the South.

His unconstitutional war of aggression eventually led to the deaths of over 600,000 people.

 
At 9/20/2011 6:40 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: We don't take these issues lightly, nor have we come to this decision without much deliberation, but you, Georgie Boy, have really become an intolerable ass-hat, and we are throwing you out of the country.

That's right. It's in the form of a syllogism. The root cause of revolution being that the colonists were denied representation.

Ron H: Except that if conscience tells us a law is unjust, we have a moral obligation to arouse public outrage by disobeying that law and suffering the consequences.

That's right. So if taxation is such an affront to conscience, if it is thievery even in a representative democracy, then respect for the law means breaking the tax laws openly, and suffering the consequences. If you reject representative constitutional government entirely, it may mean refusing your citizenship under such a constitution.

Ron H: In other words, Lincoln knew that the only way to ensure everyone's freedom, was to deny them freedom of choice. Is that pretty close?

The history of Republics was such that it was still an open question whether "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Ron H: In his first inaugural speech, Lincoln stated emphatically that he had "...no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

Precisely. Preservation of the Republic was paramount to preserve all possibility of freedom. Meanwhile, the South made clear their reasons for secession. They wrote them down: white supremacy and the preservation of slavery

Georgia: For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery.

Texas: We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.

 
At 9/20/2011 6:41 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This was left unanswered, and might enlighten our readers concerning your views:

It's hard to imagine what possible theory of government you envision that doesn't include taxation of some sort in order "to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty." Your belief seems to reject the very notion of republican government, and leave people to the whims of the powerful.

 
At 9/20/2011 6:44 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Mississippi: Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world... a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.

 
At 9/20/2011 1:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Zach: "This was left unanswered, and might enlighten our readers concerning your views:

It's hard to imagine what possible theory of government you envision that doesn't include taxation of some sort in order "to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty." Your belief seems to reject the very notion of republican government, and leave people to the whims of the powerful.
"

We hope our intentions won't be misconstrued if we allow Frank Chodorov to speak for us, as his clear, eloquent style makes a better case than our own poor efforts would.

The 1st and 4th paragraphs are particularly important as bases for our view.

Although it is lengthy, and includes other issues as it discusses taxation, we feel that those issues are directly connected to the subject of taxation, and deserve consideration also.

 
At 9/20/2011 1:58 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

What sanc­tion, in morals, does the State adduce for the taking of property?

According to the U.S. Declaration of Independence, "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,"

Most people today find those words to be convincing, though certainly George III thought differently. Notably, the American founders made sure that the power to tax was given to the legislature, while the power to enforce the law to the executive.

The vast majority of people know that if you get rid of one government, another will arise to take its place, and that democracy is the worst of all systems — except for all the rest.

Taxation is robbery

Without taxation, everyone is responsible for their own security. As we said, it is nothing but an excuse to leave people to the whims of the powerful.

 
At 9/20/2011 2:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If you reject representative constitutional government entirely, it may mean refusing your citizenship under such a constitution."

You are missing an important point here. If we reject government entirely, there is no acknowledgement of citizenship to refuse.

"The history of Republics was such that it was still an open question whether "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.""

And while these are noble sounding words, Lincoln, having just completed the subjugation of the Confederacy by military force, made it clear he didn't believe in that principle at all. Perhaps you have missed the irony in that speech.

"Precisely. Preservation of the Republic was paramount to preserve all possibility of freedom."

As above, it's difficult to understand how preservation of the Republic by denying freedom to those in Confederate states, protected their freedom



"Meanwhile, the South made clear their reasons for secession. They wrote them down: white supremacy and the preservation of slavery"

This is without doubt the bottom line: the growing power in Congress of non-slave states, as new states were admitted to the Union, caused well founded fears of a tyranny of the majority, and eventually led to secession.

 
At 9/20/2011 2:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

We have detected the word "consent" in this excellent document.

By the way, in connection with another subject of recent interest, we have read in the past, but cannot now find, a reference to the notion that the commonly understood phrase "life, liberty, and property" was changed in this context to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" to avoid enshrining the institution of slavery, a contentious issue even at this time.

"Pursuit of Happiness" is a vague, highly subjective idea, already pretty well covered by the concept of "liberty".

 
At 9/20/2011 2:47 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Without taxation, everyone is responsible for their own security. As we said, it is nothing but an excuse to leave people to the whims of the powerful."

With taxation, people are guaranteed to be at the whims of the powerful, those with the power to tax.

Direct taxation through coercion cannot be reconciled with the principle of an inalienable right to property.

If government can take our property, it isn't really our property. It belongs to government, and we are merely allowed to keep a portion of it for our own use.

 
At 9/20/2011 2:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

We should correct ourselves as to the Gettysburg Address, by noting that Lincoln hadn't just completed the subjugation of the Confederacy, but was still in the process of doing so.

 
At 9/20/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/20/2011 3:26 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The vast majority of people know that if you get rid of one government, another will arise to take its place, and that democracy is the worst of all systems — except for all the rest. "

Actually, a constitutional republic, as envisioned by the Founders, may be the worst possible system, except for all the rest. A democracy allows tyranny that differs little from a tyranny of one.

The fact that the very small, very limited republican form envisioned by the founders has now been twisted beyond all recognition, doesn't mean it was a bad idea.

The Founders were well aware of the danger of another government arising to fill a vacuum, and worked very hard to ensure that the new one they devised would have as few as possible of the problems the old one had.

They were well aware of the corrupting influence of power, and the inherent weakness of man. As Jefferson said at a later date "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

Despite their best efforts, these many chains haven't been enough to prevent Leviathan from emerging.

Considering how concerned the Founders were with keeping government limited, it's amazing that some can now claim way more authority for such phrases as "general welfare", and "necessary and proper" than the Founders clearly intended.

 
At 9/20/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

I don't see any magic in the "founders".

they were ordinary men with some uncommon vision perhaps but by no means not unique.

The same folks who wrote the Constitution just a few years later supported mandated payroll taxes.

 
At 9/20/2011 3:50 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: You are missing an important point here. If we reject government entirely, there is no acknowledgement of citizenship to refuse.

You're probably a citizen of some country by birth. You might want to let them know — just out of courtesy.

Ron H: This is without doubt the bottom line: the growing power in Congress of non-slave states, as new states were admitted to the Union, caused well founded fears of a tyranny of the majority, and eventually led to secession.

That's funny. A picture comes to mind of a couple of southern gentlemen, discussing their oppression, sipping mint juleps, while the songs of cotton-pickers waft from the nearby fields.

The rest of your comments seem to lack any semblance of a reasonable theory of human discourse. Hence, we can leave it here.

 
At 9/20/2011 5:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That's funny. A picture comes to mind of a couple of southern gentlemen, discussing their oppression, sipping mint juleps, while the songs of cotton-pickers waft from the nearby fields."

While we are fairly certain that such fine, cultured gentlemen as these were in a very small minority in the Antebellum South, even they deserved representation, and were rightfully concerned with a tyranny of the majority. Their solution was to withdraw from the Union, as they had every Constitutional right to do, and form a new, separate government that represented their interests, just as their forefathers had done, four score and 4 years previously.

"The rest of your comments seem to lack any semblance of a reasonable theory of human discourse. Hence, we can leave it here."

We take that to mean that you have no adequate responses, perhaps because this is a subject of which you have little actual knowledge, other than what you were taught in school.

We are hoping you read the entire reference we gave you by Chodorov. Even if you don't agree with him, or with us, you might find some interesting food for thought, and an opportunity to test your existing views against those presented in the article.

 
At 9/20/2011 7:23 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: While we are fairly certain that such fine, cultured gentlemen as these were in a very small minority in the Antebellum South, even they deserved representation, and were rightfully concerned with a tyranny of the majority.

Yes, as they made clear in their Declaration of Causes, they seceded to preserve their 'freedom' to own slaves and to a society based on white supremacy.

Ron H: We take that to mean that you have no adequate responses,

No, it means what we said. You haven't provided a reasonable theory of human discourse. If you think that Chodorov argued away politics or government, you are mistaken.

 
At 9/20/2011 7:23 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Our comments on the "America Is Still A Great Engine of Innovation and Growth" have been stuck in moderation. The thread may be closed.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Yes, as they made clear in their Declaration of Causes, they seceded to preserve their 'freedom' to own slaves and to a society based on white supremacy. "

And, while we despise their reasons, their legal right to secede was constitutionally protected, although Lincoln obviously didn't agree.

By the way, the use of slaves for manual labor in the western hemisphere was decreasing by the time of the Northern War of Aggression, and was gone entirely by 1888.

The US was the only country except Haiti to end slavery through military action, at a cost of over 600,000 lives.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Our comments on the "America Is Still A Great Engine of Innovation and Growth" have been stuck in moderation. The thread may be closed."

Threads close automatically after 14 days.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If you think that Chodorov argued away politics or government, you are mistaken."

He obviously didn't, as they still exist, but we hope your saying that is a result of having read the whole piece, rather than dismissing it due to preconceived notions.

 
At 9/20/2011 9:04 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Comments on posts older than 14 days have to approved, to prevent spam attacks on hundreds of posts. I check every day or so, and just approved two that were waiting. They don't disappear, they just get hung up waiting for approval.

 
At 9/21/2011 2:38 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

MP: "Comments on posts older than 14 days have to approved, to prevent spam attacks on hundreds of posts. I check every day or so, and just approved two that were waiting. They don't disappear, they just get hung up waiting for approval."

Thanks, Mark

 
At 9/21/2011 7:27 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Ron H: By the way, the use of slaves for manual labor in the western hemisphere was decreasing by the time of the Northern War of Aggression ...

Except in the American South.

Ron H: He obviously didn't, as they still exist, but we hope your saying that is a result of having read the whole piece, rather than dismissing it due to preconceived notions.

Yes, we read it, but it's a bit long for a single blog comment. The point is that he says "Taxation is robbery" even in a representative government. As government can't exist without taxation, and as some government will inevitably arise, then taxation with representation is the only solution that answers the problem of government instituted among men in order to safeguard liberty. There is nothing within the text that changes that one iota, meaning that Chodorov does not address the human condition rather than some abstraction that applies only within his own mind.

The only interesting point he makes concerns how society organizes itself spontaneously. And he is right about this, but what he ignores is that society will self-organize in ways that are often detrimental to the vast majority of people. From a detached point of view, it's really immaterial how humans organize themselves, but if you accept the basic principles of individual human liberty, then it does matter. To safeguard these freedoms, people have to organize themselves into some form of representative government. And that requires taxation.

Now, you might disagree with the particulars, or even fear the tyranny of the majority, but currently the political situation is far better for the vast majority of people than it was before the rise of parliaments.

 
At 9/21/2011 8:03 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

In 1908, in a wild and remote area of the North Caucasus, Leo Tolstoy, the greatest writer of the age, was the guest of a tribal chief “living far away from civilized life in the mountains.”

Gathering his family and neighbors, the chief asked Tolstoy to tell stories about the famous men of history. Tolstoy told how he entertained the eager crowd for hours with tales of Alexander, Caesar, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon.

When he was winding to a close, the chief stood and said, “But you have not told us a syllable about the greatest general and greatest ruler of the world. We want to know something about him. He was a hero. He spoke with a voice of thunder; he laughed like the sunrise and his deeds were strong as the rock… His name was Lincoln and the country in which he lived is called America.

 
At 9/21/2011 12:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The only interesting point he makes concerns how society organizes itself spontaneously. And he is right about this, but what he ignores is that society will self-organize in ways that are often detrimental to the vast majority of people."

If you found that of interest, you might also enjoy this.

 
At 9/21/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Except in the American South."

It is our opinion, that, although it was widely despised, and a highly contentious issue even before the founding of the Republic, slavery existed in the American South for as long as it did, due in part to the slow expansion of industrialization to that part of the world.

Steam power, in particular, helped make the use of slave labor uneconomical, but a history of high tariffs on imported industrial goods in the US may have delayed the transition to mechanical power that was occurring elsewhere at the time.

 
At 9/21/2011 12:56 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/21/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/21/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Those tariffs, as you know, were one of the issues dividing North from South before the war.

Lincoln, although willing to tolerate slavery in perpetuity, wasn't willing to forgo collections of tariffs from unwilling southern states, and threatened military action, if necessary, to collect them.

 
At 9/21/2011 1:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"The point is that he says "Taxation is robbery" even in a representative government. As government can't exist without taxation, and as some government will inevitably arise, then taxation with representation is the only solution that answers the problem of government instituted among men in order to safeguard liberty."

Your argument requires us to conclude that in order to protect our liberty, we must give it up.

 
At 9/21/2011 1:44 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"...but what he [Chodorov] ignores is that society will self-organize in ways that are often detrimental to the vast majority of people."

Although not apparent in this essay, in other works Chodorov makes a distinction between society and state.

Based on that distinction, it's possible you would have used the word "state" instead of "society" in your comment, and Chodorov would have agreed with you.

 
At 9/21/2011 1:56 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Black and white thinking leads you to this:

Ron H: Your argument requires us to conclude that in order to protect our liberty, we must give it up.

It's called the social contract, and it starts at the beginning, as a child learns to clean their room and to share their toys.

You pretend you have nothing to do with the social contract, but you inescapably do. The pretense allows you to disavow any responsibility for others, but to enjoy the benefits of civilization. In game theory, they are called "free riders."

An argument can be made about the dangers of too much government, or that government is a necessary evil, but your position is that government is necessarily an unmitigated evil and that any political accomodation to your fellow man is tyranny.

There is little chance of convincing you of the vacuousness of your position, or how little your beliefs shed light on the human condition, but it is enough to point out the implications of your position for our readers.

 

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