Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tea Party Keeps it Pomises


The Huffington PostJeremy Binckes First Posted: 03-31-10 11:50 AM | Updated: 03-31-10 11:57 AM

A Tea Party leader acknowledged she supports abolishing Social Security in an appearance this week on "Larry King Live."

St. Louis Tea Party co-founder Dana Loesch said she would "absolutely" eliminate the program, which has existed since 1935.

Talk show host and Libertarian leader, Wayne Allyn Root agreed: "At best I'd do away with it, because I can find a better way to spend and save my own $15,000."

More from the transcript of the "Larry King Live" segment:

Center for Economic and Policy Research

NYT: It's Already Been Decided, Social Security Will Be Cut

Thursday, 17 March 2011 04:47

The NYT told readers this morning:

"Once this year’s budget battle is settled, Congress will move on to potentially bigger fights over whether to raise the national debt limit and how to rein in the costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

Wow, huge majorities oppose cuts to Social Security (Medicare also), but the only debate in Congress is over "how" to cut the program. So much for democracy in America.

Center for Economic and Policy Research

One of the important untrue items circulating in policy debates in Washington is that we can have substantial budget savings if we cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for "wealthier seniors." Peter Peterson, the billionaire Wall Street investment banker regularly announces that he doesn't need his Social Security when highlighting his efforts to reduce the budget deficit.

In fact, everyone in the policy debate knows that there are very few people like Peter Peterson among Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and it would not matter one iota if we took away their benefits completely. The billionaires or even millionaires are such a small share of the senior population, that it would barely affect the finances of these programs even if we could find a simple way to take back all their benefits (we can't).

This is why it is incredibly dishonest when the Washington Post puts forth its case in an editorial for cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits for "wealthier seniors," a change that the paper describes as making the programs "more progressive." Invariably what the Post and others mean when they use this line is cutting benefits for people with incomes of $50,000 or $60,000 a year. While these incomes would put a senior household way above the $29,700 median for the over 65 population, these incomes would not fit anyone's definition of wealthy. By contrast, President Obama put the cutoff at $250,000 when setting an income floor on people for raising taxes.

Loss of Social Security will mean reduction in standard of living


The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
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public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal
is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and
control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive,
entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes,
Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental
People with less income could not adjust fully to the loss of Social Security benefits by reduced consumption and increased savings. As a result, they would face substantial reductions in their living standards at retirement:
  • If Social Security were abolished tomorrow, 35-year-old couples with annual incomes of $200,000 would reduce their current consumption almost 24 percent; but at retirement, they would have 39 percent less discretionary consumption than under the current system.
  • Singles earning $100,000 a year would reduce their current consumption about 16 percent; but at retirement they would have about 42 percent less.
What about a less drastic cut in benefits? In the face of a 30 percent cut in benefits, even the highest-income retirees would reduce their consumption by 11 percent. Low-income retirees would reduce their consumption almost dollar for dollar with the benefit cut.
Social Security online: women, Retirement and Security.
SS admin
  • Women Have Lower Income in Retirement than Men -- And Thus Higher Poverty. In 1997, median income for elderly unmarried women (widowed, divorced, separated, and never married) was $11,161, compared with $14,769 for elderly unmarried men and $29,278 for elderly married couples. Thus, the poverty rate for elderly women was higher than that of men: in 1997, the poverty rate of elderly women was 13.1 percent, compared to 7.0 percent among men. Among unmarried elderly women, the poverty rate was significantly higher -- about 19 percent.

  • Social Security Is Particularly Important to Women. Elderly unmarried women -- including widows -- get 51 percent of their total income from Social Security. Unmarried elderly men get 39 percent, while elderly married couples get 36 percent of their income from Social Security. For 25 percent of unmarried women, Social Security is their only source of income, compared to 9 percent of married couples and 20 percent of unmarried men. Without Social Security benefits, the elderly poverty rate among women would have been 52.2 percent and among widows would have been 60.6 percent.

  • Women Face Greater Economic Challenges in Retirement. First, women tend to live longer: a woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live to 85, while a 65 year old man can expect to live to 81. Second, women have lower lifetime earnings than men do. And third, women reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assets than men do.
  • Social Security Will Continue to Be Important for Women in the Future. As the labor force participation rates of women continue to rise, women in the future will reach retirement with much more substantial earnings histories than in the past. Therefore, the percentage of women receiving benefits based solely on their own earnings history is expected to rise from 37 percent today to 60 percent in 2060. However, this means that 40 percent of women will continue to receive benefits based on their husband's earnings.

  • Poverty Rates Among Unmarried Elderly Women -- Especially Widows Who Make up 45 Percent of All Elderly Women -- Are High. Divorced women are a growing share of the elderly population, and their poverty rate is higher than the overall elderly poverty rate. And finally, poverty rates among elderly minority groups are unacceptably high.

  • Among Current Retirees, Women Have Much Less Pension Coverage Than Men. Only 30 percent of all women aged 65 or older were receiving a pension in 1994 (either worker or survivor benefits), compared to 48 percent of men.

  • Pensions Received by Women Are Worth Less than Those Received by Men. Among new private sector pension annuity recipients in 1993-94, the median annual benefit for women was $4,800, or only half of the median benefit of $9,600 received by men. And among women approaching retirement, pension wealth is much smaller: for example, single women had average pension wealth that was 34 percent of the single men's average.

  • Among Workers, Women's Pension Coverage Depends on Work Status. Overall, fewer women workers have pensions through work, 40 percent of women compared to 44 percent of men. However, women in full-time jobs are equally likely to have pension coverage as men; in 1997, 50 percent of women in full-time jobs had pensions compared to 49 percent of men. It is important to note, though, that women are much more likely to work part-time or be out of the labor force than men.
Elderly poor
center for American Progress

Between 1959 and 1974, the elderly poverty rate fell from 35 percent to 15 percent. This was largely attributable to a set of increases in Social Security benefits. The elderly poverty rate has continued to decline in subsequent decades, reaching 9.4 percent in 2006. Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits continue to play a key role in reducing elderly poverty, especially among women and people of color. If Social Security benefits did not exist, an estimated 44 percent of the elderly would be poor today, assuming no changes in behavior.

By Summer Smith, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Doctors worry that looming cuts to Medicare could leave patients without care.

On Wednesday afternoon, doctors, medical staff and Medicare patients held a rally in Bradenton to protest the pending cuts. The rally was just one of many protests held around the United States.

Physicians are slated for a 23 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements on Dec. 1 and another 6 percent Jan. 1.

The reduction is being mandated by the federal government as a way to reduce the budget. The cuts are based on a formula that guides Medicare funding.

So far, Congress has stepped in three times this year to block those cuts from happening. Another push is underway to block those cuts again.

Dr. Andrew Clark, a family physician in Bradenton, said the change would impact his practice. About a third of his a patients are on Medicare.

"It would basically stop us from being able to take care of Medicare patients," Clark said.

Dr. Aaron Sudbury agreed, saying the cuts would limit the number of physicians Medicare patients can see.

"Medicare rates are our lowest paying," said Sudbury, who practices obstetrics and gynecology. "So if we reduce that rate even further, it negates my ability to care for those patients because I can't cover my costs to my office."

Patients like Norma Dunwood are also concerned about the cuts.

"We worked hard for it, they promised it," she said. "Therefore they should stick to their word."

The Manatee County Medical Society recently conducted a survey that found if the cuts go through, 20 percent of doctors say they will stop seeing new Medicare patients. Ten percent said they will opt out of Medicare altogether.

For Barbara Cook, it's a double-edged sword. Not only is she on Medicare, but she also works as a medical assistant.

"If they cut Medicare, then we'll have to cut back with our office staff," said Cook.

The cuts would not only affect Medicare patients, it will also impact private insurance because they base their rates on what Medicare does.

Clark said those cuts could be devastating to the entire medical community.

"It would inhibit us from adequate healthcare," said Clark.

The American Medical Association urges citizens who oppose the cuts to call their Senators and Representatives using the Association's toll-free Grassroots hotline at (800) 833-6354.

These cuts are not the fault of the New republicans but the republican congress of the 90s. Yet there now the new tea party budget assassins are in and they have a mandate to cut all aid and murder the poor and elder. No one to stop them. The chickens are about to come to roost.

These guys are following the myth that the market will always go up. we will just get richer and richer if capitalism is left to do its thing. They think they would be millionaires already if they didn't have to pay into social security. People are good little suckers who buy the idea they are supposed to feed the rich. We didn't learn a damn thing from the last eight years. We saw just got through watching capitalists left to do their thing, their thing was destroying the country. They stole all the houses. They collapsed the economy. The very same pie in the sky there's no limit to the market going up and up was the bull shit in the air when the great depression hit. There's a reason it's not a coincidence.

Stupid Americans so easy to fool. They fools for the rich. Now people have to die because little rich guys need their swimming pools.

Luke 4:16-21. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read... "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He appointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD... Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Ps. 140:12. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.

Is. 25:4. For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress.

Ps. 10:14. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan... O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed.

Is 41:17. The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, as the God of Israel I will not forsake them.

Luke 6:20-21. Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

James 2:5. Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

God's commands concerning the poor

This section collects some specific commands from Old and New Testaments on serving the poor.
Deut. 15:7. If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

Deut. 26:12. When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied.

Lev. 19:19ff. Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

Prov. 31:8ff. [Commandment to kings.] Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Is. 58:66ff. Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Jer. 22:3. Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Luke 12:33. "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys."

Luke 3:11. And [John the Baptist] would answer and say to them, "Let the man with two tunics share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise."

Mt. 5:42. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

Blessings on those who serve the poor

Serving poor may be The Right Thing To Do; but the Bible also associates it with material and spiritual reward. Here we'll look at the benefits promised to those who serve the poor; in the next section we'll examine the consequences of not doing so.
Prov. 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

Jer. 22:16 "Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it was well. Is that not what it means to know Me?" declares the LORD.

Deut. 15:10. You shall give generously to [your poor brother], and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

Prov. 19:17. He who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.

Jer. 7:5-7. "For, if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever."

Is. 58:10. "And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."

Luke 14:12-14. "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 12:44. "Sell your possessions and give alms; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Mt. 19:20ff. The young man said to Him, "All these commands I have kept; what am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

Consequences of not serving the poor

As there are blessings for those who serve the poor, there are consequences for those who oppress them... or who simply ignore them.
Ezek. 16:49ff. "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it."

Is. 10:1-3. "Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who continually record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights... Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar?"

Luke 1:52ff. [Mary's Magnificat.] "He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were hungry. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed."

Ezek. 22:29,31. "The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice... Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads," declares the Lord GOD.

Jer. 5:28f. "[The wicked] do not plead the cause, the cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the poor. Shall I not punish these people?" declares the LORD. "On such a nation as this, shall I not avenge myself?"

James 5:1-6. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. ...Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and with you have withheld, cries out against you; and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

Luke 6:24. "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full."

Luke 16:19-25. "Now there was a certain rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, gaily living in splendor every day. And a certain poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs would come and lick his sores.
Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.'
But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony...'"

Biblical attitudes for believers toward the poor

So far we've examined only the surface God's commands concerning the poor, what happens if we obey or if we don't. Here we consider the spirit in which we respond. Without some of these correctives, we might make many mistakes serving the poor.
Prov. 29:7. The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; the wicked does not understand such concern.

1 John 3:17. But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Luke 6:33ff. "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same."

2 Cor 9:7. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

Mt. 6:2-4. "When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

Mt. 6:24. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money."

1 Tim. 6:10. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

Gal. 2:9ff. Recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John... gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. They only asked us to remember the poor-- the very thing I also was eager to do.

Lev. 19:15. "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly."

Acts 2:44. All those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; and they began to sell their property and possessions, and share them with all, as anyone might have need.

Acts 4:32-35. And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need.

Eph. 4:28. Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need.


Miles said...

Well on the first point, the elimination of Social Security is ridiculous. On the other hand on you poll, cut is not the same as eliminate. I agree that it is a necessary program and to an extent a social obligation. However, the age was put at 65 in the 1930's becuase that was the average life span. If we went by the same logic, we would need to push it back to 78 (not saying we should). On a moral level, I would say that we also need to temper our zealousness with some practical wisdom. I agree on a pragmatic level that taxes need to be brought back up for the time being. However, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are the programs that need a cost evaluation. Becuase when the baby boomer population start to get at 65 we are going to have a serious financial problem.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

"Well on the first point, the elimination of Social Security is ridiculous. On the other hand on you poll, cut is not the same as eliminate. I agree that it is a necessary program and to an extent a social obligation."

you are totallyu underestimating the stuipdty of the stupid. they have told us now, almost all of them, the T party leaders, why donk't you believe them?

Just a cut is the thin end fo hte wedge. they are not going to get enough form those cuts to make any difference. It's just getting people used to the idea.

"However, the age was put at 65 in the 1930's becuase that was the average life span. If we went by the same logic, we would need to push it back to 78 (not saying we should). On a moral level, I would say that we also need to temper our zealousness with some practical wisdom. I agree on a pragmatic level that taxes need to be brought back up for the time being."

WE can do all kinds of things to raise revenue. It's not a money shortage it's a revenue shortage.

"However, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are the programs that need a cost evaluation. Becuase when the baby boomer population start to get at 65 we are going to have a serious financial problem."

To the average repub that means cut. It doesn't have to. use competitive bidding on defense contracts, don't have two wars going at the same time, cut defense, raise taxes.

Miles said...

"you are totallyu underestimating the stuipdty of the stupid. they have told us now, almost all of them, the T party leaders, why donk't you believe them?"

OK, I guess you can't underestimate their foolishness. I was speaking as a moderate republican who despises the tea party.

I also remember that Robert Gates says that we can cut as much as 100 billion from the military and we will be out of Iraq at the end of the year.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

you are right, we can't afford to give in to stereotypes and labeling "them" and so on. We need to be critical and discerning and make good distinctions. There are intelligent moderate republicans. There are, I know they are out there...;-)

Kristen said...

I believe that when I was a conservative Christian Republican, I was mistaken about unrestrained capitalism being somehow "biblical." As Metacrock has shown in his citations of Scripture here, the Law for Israel as a nation included "taxation" on the income of landowners, specifically for the benefit of the poor (the gleaning law of Lev. 19:19), and required giving to the poor by all citizens (Deut 15:10). There was also the Jubilee Law, which was a required redistribution of wealth that occurred every 50 years, in which those who had lost their land or their freedom had it restored to them. The result of this was that wealth and power were prevented from being amassed into the hands of a few.

In short, the Christian right's contention that government has no place in support of the poor, and that such support must be entirely voluntary and not through taxation and redistribution, has no foundation in the Bible. Israel did not have government-run social programs in the same way we have, but it was a much smaller nation, and wealth was not shut away in banks but existed in the form of land, crops and livestock. The gleaning law WAS a social program-- but nowadays we need administrators, while they did not.

Lest anyone mistake my meaning, I am not talking about imposing OT law on modern America. But I am saying that the Christian right's stance against what they call "socialism" in law-mandated support of the poor, is without biblical foundation. Ancient Israel's system was regulated, restrained capitalism with checks and balances against greed and against the amassing of power and wealth by the few.

I now consider myself a moderate, Independent-leaning Republican. I believe in social programs and regulation of banks and corporations, and I'm against the Tea Party and all of its rhetoric.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

Thanks Kristen. I am really glad to hear that. I appreciate your comments.

I wish Obama was a socialist.

Loren said...

There's something that could save a *lot* of money, but it's something that the right-wingers spiked with talks of "death panels" and "killing granny".

Avoiding spending a lot of money to keep someone alive a few more weeks or months.

One can think of a religious justification for that, that it's avoiding wasting a lot of effort keeping an unsuitable home going for one's soul. Think of one's body as like one's car -- if one's car is failing all the time, one eventually want to get rid of it.

Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) said...

There's something that could save a *lot* of money, but it's something that the right-wingers spiked with talks of "death panels" and "killing granny".

Avoiding spending a lot of money to keep someone alive a few more weeks or months.

One can think of a religious justification for that, that it's avoiding wasting a lot of effort keeping an unsuitable home going for one's soul. Think of one's body as like one's car -- if one's car is failing all the time, one eventually want to get rid of it.

Usually not coming from government but insurance so that's not adding to the deficit. You are just confirming the inhumanity of atheism because a lot of times people do come out of comas.