It says a lot—maybe everything—that Hillary Clinton is joining the GOP and the conservative-to-right-wing political pundits in asking how can the federal government possibly afford to pay for Bernie Sanders’ proposals like “Medicare For All” and free higher education.
They’ve convinced the non-thinking voters who adamantly support the presidential candidacies of Clinton and the Republicans to ask that same question. If those voters were actually thinking people they would realize they are being instructed to ask the wrong question so that don’t get the correct answer. The correct answer is: Bernie’s programs will be paid for by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy and closing all IRS tax loopholes that enable many corporations and wealthy people to pay little or no taxes at all. Bernie’s programs can be paid for by passing laws enabling the federal government to seek out and find all offshore accounts that hide income and assets that so they can’t be taxed.
They can be paid for by forcing stock traders to pay for the millions and millions of automated transactions, which would also serve to drastically decrease these types of transactions that can quickly affect the stock market either positively or negatively or increase or lower stock share prices in a matter of moments.
These programs can be paid for by ending once and for all the corporate welfare by which working people subsidize the very corporations that pay them minimum wage, cut their benefits, raise the costs of their healthcare insurance, or lay them off entirely. Lastly, although there are still other ways to generate more federal income, the military budget can be cut by billions and billions of dollars.
But here’s the problem: politicians like Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, train non-thinking voters to believe that they have absolutely no say about the federal budget because those decisions are made by powerful forces totally outside their control. This is the primary message of Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, instill in non-thinking voters: “You have control of nothing. You need to elect us to control it for you.” Or they convince non-thinking voters that both parties are the same, they’re all crooks so there’s no sense in voting.
This is all mostly true under the present system. And this is what makes Bernie’s presidential campaign so important: he wants to change the system. Hillary Clinton claims that as president Bernie will never get his programs enacted because: 1. They’ll raise your (lower-and-middle class) taxes, and 2. No one in Congress will work with him to pass these programs. Non-thinking voters never stop to think that #2 would cancel out #1. And they never stop to think that, as I explained above, they shouldn’t have to be the ones to pay for all these beneficial programs anyway.
She is correct—under the present system. However, if you elect Bernie, chances are you will also vote to elect like-minded politicians who WILL work with him. And that’s the key. Incrementally over two election cycles it would be possible for thinking voters to elect enough like-minded politicians at every level to change the system so the programs that Bernie proposes will be enacted. And once that genie is out of the bottle there’s no going back. Unless enough non-thinking voters re-elect politicians like Hillary Clinton and the Republicans in sufficient numbers to reinstate the old system.
This is why Hillary Clinton and the Republicans, reinforced by the corporate media, keep telling non-thinking voters that they are the agents of change, because non-thinking voters keep buying into that fiction by electing and re-electing politicians who perpetuate the unchanging system.
Elect Bernie Sanders president. He is in the vanguard of like-minded politicians who want to actually replace the outdated system with a new one. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand spanking new system in Washington, D.C. for a change?
This article is a primary reason why you don’t read MSN Money for actual money advice. It just serves to perpetuate the cover-up of the greatest ongoing theft in US history: the raid on the Old Age, Survivor And Disability Insurance trust fund. It’s just more of selling the scam.
“It’s widely regarded as the best deal in retirement. Researchers can’t figure out why more Americans aren’t taking it. The deal, of course, is putting off Social Security benefits, which can boost your monthly paycheck by more than three-fourths if you delay until the maximum age of 70.”
What you’ve just read is total bullshit. Is the article writer, Ian Salisbury, by chance a Republican? The best deal in retirement was when full Social Security retirement benefits were payable at age 65. Then came Ronald Reagan who, along with both chambers of Congress and Alan (Mr. Andrea Mitchell) Greenspan, started the mass raid on the OASDI trust fund with the signing into law of the Social Security Amendments of 1983. And the theft just keeps on growing.
Unless Salisbury is a Millennial he and “researchers” should know damn well that most of us in our 60s can’t wait until we’re 70 to draw our SS retirement checks. And we shouldn’t have to. We’re not the ones who, like a federal Dracula, have been feasting on the blood of the Social Security trust fund for 32 years. But this article wants us to be good little Social Security benefits blood donors and wait until we’re all 70 years old to start making our withdrawals from the SS blood bank.
First, with this lousy economy that every Congress and every president since Bill Clinton has saddled us with, I don’t have any savings to tide me over for the next seven years and there are millions of baby boomers riding in my same financial boat.
Secondly, how do any of us know we’ll make it 70? I’m pretty confident about reaching 65, just about as confident of hitting 66 which was at one time where the age for full benefits was pushed back to. But 70? If I am still alive by then what is my life expectancy beyond that? You can bet that the Social Security Administration already has those actuarial tables on file and are updating them as needed.
I got a much better idea for a better deal in retirement—MY retirement. Close down the pension system for all members of Congress and the president, remove the $118,500 cap for OASDI payroll deductions, and then mandate it that all members of Congress and each president must have enough quarters of earnings paid into the system to draw their retirement benefits when they reach 70. But in this case, I’ll be generous: I’ll allow Congress to lower the age for full benefits back down to 65.
That change alone will pay enough into the fund to keep Social Security solvent for, well, forever. Or at least until all life on earth dies out from global warming or the sun supernovas in 5 billion years and takes the Solar System with it.
But until either of those events happen, I can wait two years to reap the rewards of the best deal in retirement.
Like many other Democrats, I was angered by the GOP’s near-sweep of national and state races. There were pockets of Democratic victories but by and large the United States will be much redder starting January 2015.
I said I was angered, but I wasn’t surprised. In fact, none of us should have been surprised. All the signs were there and this GOP victory had been predicted months in advance. Besides, this has been years in the making. Young Republican college students like Grover Norquist hooked up with the Koch Brothers back in the 70s and formulated the basics of this plan, revising and expanding it over the years. The Kochs had enough money and enough time to take the long view for achieving their goal of total dominance over the American political system. And, based on last Tuesday’s elections, it looks like the plan is working. Karl Rove has been quoted as saying his plan to lead and to keep the GOP in political dominance extends to 2020, which happens to be the year in which it is predicted that Hispanics will make up the majority of the populace in Texas and perhaps in other areas.
Look at what Koch and other wealthy right wing powerhouses have wrought: they virtually control the corporate media, they control the US Supreme Court, many state governments, most of the US District and Courts of Appeal, and now Congress. Under normal conditions, I would agree with some liberal columnists who claim that with the GOP in control of Congress, they will fail dismally as they always do, angering voters to the point where the pendulum will again swing leftward in 2016.
I’m not so sure that prediction will be borne out this time. As I said, for the first time people like the Kochs now control almost all political, legislative, judicial processes and the media in this country. So, they not only control what their minions see, hear, and read, I believe they just about control the election process as well which has given them control of everything else that I’ve mentioned.
This didn’t happen in a vacuum. Check the voting records of many Democrats over the years. How do you think the five Koch employees on the US Supreme Court were appointed? And all of the right wing judges in the US District Court and Court of Appeals systems? I don’t remember any Democratic filibusters against any of these nominations. The Democrats also supported all the takeovers and mergers which allowed just a few media companies to monopolize control of all communications in this country.
The Democrats have proven to be wimps, unorganized without the capability of creating and instituting a Liberal plan along the lines of the GOP plan which would wrest control of the political, legislative and judicial processes from the hands of the Kochs, et al. A successful, 50-state plan was created and managed by ex-Gov. Howard Dean after he became the Democratic National Committee chair in 2005. In return for this great plan and his successful fundraising work has been totally snubbed and discarded by the Obama administration and by the DNC. Under Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC has mismanaged Democratic campaigns and getting the Democratic message out to voters to such an extent that we now have a Republican-controlled Congress in fact. Since 2010, the GOP has had de facto control of Congress.
President Obama deserves his fair share of blame for the right wing takeover of corporate media. He has been no different from his Republican (and some Democratic) predecessors in appointing industry hacks to run and sit on the board of the FCC. The most egregious example of this is current FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Consequently, control of printed, broadcast, and telecast media along with cable systems are concentrated in very few but extremely powerful corporate hands, all of them run by CEOs and boards who lean very far to the Right. As I write this, the FCC is poised to introduce a proposal that ignores the will of 3.7 million protestors as it will virtually eliminate net neutrality, placing the internet under the control of those same very few but extremely powerful corporate hands. And there’s not one thing any of us can do about it. If the President ignores our protests, and the new Congress will certainly ignore them, what peaceful options are left to us?
So, in 2016 we will be entering a media and political environment totally hostile to Liberal and Democratic politics. The one and only goal of people like the Kochs will be to embed in cement GOP and right wing control of virtually all aspects of life in this country for their own personal political and financial enrichment. Expect more voter ID laws to pass in states controlled by the GOP since SCOTUS has placed its imprimatur on it; more GOP gerrymandering of state and congressional voting districts, and more control of the voting and vote counting processes. And, of course, SCOTUS effectively gave control of political campaign contributions to the GOP via Citizens United.
This is why I believe that approval of Congress could sink to 0% by 2016 and almost all Republican incumbents along with Republican challengers will still be elected. Maybe I’m being overly pessimistic and paranoid here, but the creeping grasp of the GOP hand over most of everything that happens in this country. What’s the answer? That’s for Liberals and Democrats to organize and figure out. The answer might be a totally new coalition of voters disgusted with both Democratic and Republican parties. That could result in candidates and voters in large enough numbers to offset the GOP control of our elective process. Or maybe not.
So here we are in the middle of our postmortem after yesterday’s disaster yet some people are still not getting the reasons for what happened. I’ve already seen at least one person leap onto a soapbox promoting his chosen Democratic savior for 2016. This is the last thing we should be doing now.
The problem with this thinking is analogous to baseball. One losing team believes all it needs is a top slugger to turn it around. The successful team knows that a team of strong players in every position and a strong bench is what’s needed to win championships. To float one candidate’s name at this team shows the problem with the Democratic Party. If it refuses to learn the lessons of yesterday’s midterm elections, it will cease to even be relevant going forward from this point onward. Obama is the current big slugger and look at how well that’s worked out for us. Once your big slugger goes into a hitting slump he sinks the whole team if he’s the best and only big player they’ve got.
We don’t need ONE candidate to rally behind; we need a fundamental makeover of the Democratic Party in the way it chooses and runs candidates, and especially in how it communicates its message to the voters. We need to get liberal politicians with balls and vaginas of steel to stand up to the GOP, to refuse to approve right wing appointees to SCOTUS and to US District Courts, who will filibuster and otherwise refuse to vote for asinine legislation like budget compromises which create a “super congress” as well as the sequester which has proven to be a disaster for the poor and the middle class, politicians who will stand up to the NRA, ALEC, and people like the Kochs, who will stand up for women’s and for gay rights, and for immigration reform. We need a president who will not naively believe they can negotiate and compromise with Republicans while they are united in bringing down the presidency just because of the color and/or gender of the president. We need a president who will stare down the opposition with every Congressional Democrat standing behind him.
We need leadership at the top who will employ GOP and Fox-like tactics which hold up their politicians and policies to public ridicule, who can come up with simple one-line slogans and imagery to cement in even stupid voters’ heads that the GOP will surely lead them to ruin and the end of life as we know it, just like the GOP has successfully marketed the same thing about us to the voters.
So, right now the last thing we need is a Hillary or a Elizabeth or a Bernie in 2016. We need a real, actual, vital political party rebuilt from the bottom up which can engage and attract the millions of voters it lost after it decided to become Republican Light.
A home run slugger can’t win the ballgame if the team is losing and there’s no one on base.
Obama is again making the same mistake he’s made for almost five years now, and his 42% approval rating shows it. He keeps allowing the GOP frame the debate. Or to use a baseball analogy, the GOP keeps throwing fastballs at him: Obamacare, Benghazi, the VA, Iraq, and he keeps fouling them off or doesn’t even get the bat off his shoulder. He hit a grand slam with the killing of bin Laden but didn’t even hit it out of the infield with the capture of Ahmed Abu Khatallah.
Once again, Obama has got to take the field and start throwing fastballs of his own. Where is the GOP most vulnerable? Where are the jobs? Yes, Obama introduced the American Jobs Act in 2011, which was killed off by both Harry Reid in the Senate and the Republicans in both chambers of Congress. He’s avoided introducing anything of substance because of the advice he continually gets from his brain trust: Don’t introduce anything that the Republicans can embarrass you with by killing it. If Obama doesn’t think the Republicans will go for it, he doesn’t make a move, outside of the occasional executive action which, frankly, doesn’t affect most of us. His brain trust also lives in terror of any bill that just might possibly or very definitely increase the budget deficit, because the voters want the deficit paid down, right? No, the average voter could care less about the deficit because it doesn’t affect them personally in the slightest. The average voter is trying to just make it through the day, hoping to keep their job or to find a new one. They see that government services have been cut back, their kids’ schools are overcrowded and the students underperforming. They’re seeing food and gasoline prices rise while their income remains stuck where it’s been for the past 3 years of so. The last thing they care about is Obama paying down the debt.
So, what should he do? Around the beginning of this year he and Harry Reid were swinging some big balls around but since then there’s been some significant shrinkage and the GOP is keeping a close eye on that shrinkage. Obama needs to regrow a pair and submit a far-reaching, effective, and expensive federal jobs creation plan, and then dare the Republicans–in an election year with an unemployment rate that is still too high and an economy still not improving. Of course, the Republicans are responsible for this, but apparently the voters who respond to those approval polls don’t see it that way. They’re tarring Obama with the same low approval ratings brush that they’re also smearing on Congress in general and on the GOP in particular.
Sure, introducing a jobs bill now would make Obama subject to the same Fox and GOP “trying to change the subject” charges they throw at everything he tries to do. So what? If Obama made this bold move and sold it to the American people like it was part of his 2008 presidential campaign platform, that would be a fastball he could blow by the Republicans. What Obama needs to do is watch two movies: “The American President” and “Dave”. OK, he’s no Michael Douglas or Kevin Kline but the point is with those two characters we WISHED they had both been president. The closest we get in real life is Bill Clinton making a speech.
What do the Republicans excel at? Getting the entire party and their surrogates unified behind the same talking points which they spew 24/7 everywhere their voter base turns, watches, listens, or (in a few cases) reads. One of the Achilles Heels of the Obama administration is that his staff, the Democratic Party, and their surrogates continually let their talking points assault drop. Where is Democratic Senator after Senator or Congressperson after Congressperson giving press conferences and interviews? OK, we know in advance Fox won’t cover any of it but what about CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, the three who-used-to-be major networks? If PBS or NPR news editor refuses to give the same coverage they give the Republicans, the Democrats are also fully capable of voting to pull public broadcasting funding, too. And lastly, why the hell is Obama appointing communications industry lobbyists to the FCC instead of professionals who have the public’s interests and rights at heart? Reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine and that would do much to level the playing field.
I don’t see Obama as a master chess player; I see him as a guy who realized his dream but constantly fears it might be taken away from him, even though it can’t except by impeachment and conviction. I see him hemmed in by advisers who advise him on what he can and can’t do—and better not do if he knows what’s good for him politically. I think the GOP recognized this in him way before I did, and that has been the tale of his presidency. In his first term he chose to bend with the GOP wind (negotiate) and it almost broke him and it seriously wounded the Democratic Party in 2010.
Obama’s got two balls on him. He needs to use those balls to start throwing strikes.
I was engaged in a discussion in my Facebook group, Liberals Taking Our Country Back, as to whether or not Obama can be held responsible for the current scandal regarding the VA Administration. I maintain that he must be held responsible because he’s the Commander-In-Chief and he hired Eric Shinseki to head the Dept. of Veteran Affairs.
But let’s take a step backwards for a moment. While I assign responsibility to Obama, I assign the blame to the Republicans, who have voted to deny adequate funding for the VA at every opportunity. This is why they are also to blame for what happened at Benghazi.
OK, take one step forward again. The issue with the obscenely-long wait times for medical appointments at the VA—even to have VA medical benefits approved–predates Obama by several decades, at least all the way back to John F. Kennedy. Back in the ‘70s my dad complained about not only the long wait times but the revolving door his doctors passed through since a he seemed to be assigned to a new one every six months or so.
So, my point is this: Obama was well aware of the problems and publicly promised to fix it. OK, what did he do after that? And THAT is the big unanswered question. An even better question is: what did Eric Shinseki do after that? The Bush administration handed him memos which admitted how greatly they had screwed up, what was screwed up, the hazards of keeping it screwed up, and in essence “good luck with that”. Did Shinseki call for a top-to-bottom audit of the entire system so he would have an accurate snapshot of the state of (Veterans) affairs? I don’t know, but that’s what I would have done. Did he meet with the directors of the VA Health Admin and VA Benefits Admin and request full reports from them as well? Again, I don’t know but that’s what I would have done. Did Shinseki ever come up with a plan to reform, slim down, and modernize the VA? I don’t know but…
Yes, there are plenty of mid-level bureaucrats afraid of losing their phony baloney jobs and fiefdoms who drag their feet or otherwise sabotage attempts at change. But, even in civil service, there are ways to deal with such recalcitrant, parasitical Federal employees.
And, as I see it, this is how Obama remains culpable for this mess. Had he done all that I’ve just suggested, and then in first State of the Union speech itemize all that he had found wrong with the VA and then asked every member of Congress sporting a US Flag label pin to “support our troops” in fact by approving the VA funding he was requesting and the GOP STILL refused, the Republicans would’ve gotten an earful from their constituents. And you can be sure that Republicans, who are experts in the employment of dog whistles, have very fine hearing themselves and respond like the trained dogs they view their base to be.
But, unfortunately, as on many things throughout his administrations, Obama did drop on this. He chose instead, during his first term, to concentrate on bowing to pressure from the Right to decrease the federal budget deficit against the counsel of all learned and Nobel Prize-winning economists on the Left. And now he’s paying the price, having handed the GOP and Fox yet another club to bludgeon him over the head with. And it looks like this time, the hits are going to leave permanent bruises on his presidency. Maybe it’s time he got out in front of these big issues instead of always playing catch up.