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admin | Getting An Ex Back | 27.01.2016
What causes more brain damage: (1) having your umbilical cord tightly wrapped around your neck for twelve minutes as you're being born, or (2) being one of the people who runs the United States? Walter Russell Mead is a truly talented writer who somehow went from writing a funny book about how Henry Kissinger lies all the time to becoming the Henry A. The Washington Post has finally laid it out: Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, not a prudent savings program. While quacking disingenuously about a valuable a€?trust funda€™, the government has already spent the payroll taxes you and your employers paid to provide security in your future.
Of all the dumb things our elite dumbasses say about Social Security, this may be the dumbest of all. From a certain perspective, it's true that the Social Security trust fund is a mytha€”not because it's invested in government bonds, but because it's impossible for societies to collectively "save" in the same way that individuals do. Moreover, an increase in the amount of the economy we "spend" on Social Security isn't a crisis. But if the Social Security trust fund isn't an "investment" in the way individuals own investments, what it is?
Social Security is largely a direct transfer from today's workers to today's retirees: workers pay their payroll tax, and that money is mailed out to Social Security beneficiaries. But payroll taxes, which fall regressively on working people, were raised in 1983 above the amount needed for 1983's retireesa€”and it was the excess from those higher taxes that, ever since, bought the government bonds in the trust fund.
So the agreement embodied in the trust fund was that when working people from the Baby Boom began to retire, the cost of their Social Security wouldn't fall solely on younger working people via regressive payroll taxesa€”instead, it would also fall on the richest people, either via higher taxes or by borrowing more from them. Thus, if we declare the trust fund null and void, it would constitute the greatest theft in the history of the world. Buta€”if societies overall can't "save" in the way individuals save, they absolutely can save in another way: by working to make their future citizens more productive.
FINALLY: If you meet anyone who believes what Walter Russell Mead does about Social Security, you should feel comfortable literally betting your life that they were also completely certain Iraq had terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction. Everyone in the mideast will be thrilled that their neighbor the United States will be protecting them from outside interference. People with long memories might also remember the disgusting attempt by Iran to influence itself.
The interesting thing is this happens everywhere with everyone: people with money and guns and power ALWAYS hate and fear everybody else. The hostility of those who have power toward those who can be called inferior because they are differenta€”because they are others, the strangersa€”has been a historical constant.
So America's dumbasses with their dumbass contempt for the people they're brutalizing is about as surprising and interesting as the sun coming up every day. In the street [in San Salvador], I saw an old woman dragging herself down the sidewalk with a gangrenous leg, a crazy man shriveled in a corner, bone-skinny kids who played music for coins with a pipe and a stick. On the bus one day in downtown San Salvador, a blind man came begging, and people who could ill afford it gave him a coin. Nearly every student upon arrival would begin expressing his antipathy for the caprine breed. A few acknowledged what the program was actually doing without seeking these comfortable rationalizations. The book Confidence Men by Ron Suskind describes an Obama interview with Rolling Stone from September, 2010 that I didn't read at the time. RS: Therea€™s also a concern when it comes to financial reform that your economic team is closely identified with Wall Street and the deregulation that caused the collapse. OBAMA: I read some of the articles that Tim Dickinson and others have produced in Rolling Stone.
It would be nice if we had presidents, or music magazines, who were able to remember the past. Anyway, these folk see themselves not as the victims of society, but as modern day American pioneers, like their fabled forefathers who moved West and conquered a wilderness through hard work, grit and determination.


What might work is acknowledging and respecting their lived reality, while gently trying to widen their view to include other aspects of reality that they've missed.
Likewise, wanting other people to have better lives is completely consistent with everyone's personal self-interest.
BONUS: It turns out that the 53% thing was created by Joshua Trevino, a bl*gger who once wrote under the name "Tacitus"a€”ie, the Roman historian. I've been looking at this tumbler We Are the 53%, which of course is a response to We Are the 99%.
I look at that and it tells me that I've failed, you've failed, we've all failed, and because of that we're all going to die. Along the same lines, Frank Oppenheimer (brother of Robert and creator of the Exploratorium in San Francisco) once said: "Just as present technology had to await the explanations of physics, so one might expect that social invention will follow growing sociological understanding. That's true, but it leaves out the unfortunate reality that anyone who tries to invent a better way of organizing politics and society will be punished severely.
MAZZETTI: The number one conspiracy theory in Pakistan is that ultimately the Americans' goal is to take the nukes, that we have designs to ultimately take the nuclear weapons out of the hands of Pakistan's government because of concerns about, that they might fall into the hands of militants.
Based on the way we've been lurching from debacle to catastrophe to cataclysm, I'm going to have to go with #2.
The government sells some of its Verizon stock to somebody, takes the cash and sends it to Social Security recipients. The government raises taxes slightly on Social Security-hating billionaire (and former Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations) Pete Peterson. ONE EXTRA STEP IN THE PROCESS.* Likewise, in both scenarios, the money from the excess payroll taxes gets spent in the same year it comes ina€”in MeadWorld, it's spent by the person who sold the Verizon stock to the government, while in this world it was spent by the government itself. When a 30-year-old saves for retirement, it's because they want to be able to eat food and drive a car 40 years from now. Any attempt by society to "save" in this way is simply, as Mead puts it, "government IOUa€™s to itself." That's because any money society overall "saves" in 2011 is going to be spent in 2011. It's exactly what you'd expect a society to do as it gets more productive: use some of that productivity to work less.
Again, this is neither a crisis nor unjust, especially in a society with massive income inequality. Essentially America's richest people would have stolen $2.6 trillion from the America's working people.
If America is making sure today's children have enough to eat, we're saving for the future. I supported it originally because I believed Secretary of State Colin Powella€™s assertion that Iraq had an active WMD program. The most likely interlopers who might try to influence the region include Iraq and Iran, both of which are located just north of Mexico. When I was training to be a medic, we used goats as "patient models." The goats would be wounded for trauma training, shot for surgical training, and euthanized over time by the hundreds for each 14-week class. It's not that normal people start out hating everyone else and then brutalize them; they brutalize everyone else as part of their job and then they HAVE to hate them, or they can't keep doing it.
But then we wouldn't get this kind of accidental honesty, so I guess it all works out in the end. What they're doing is probably what a lot of us do--make ourselves heroes in our own stories.
I strongly believe that every ideology is right in the sense that it is responding reasonably to some aspect of reality.
For instance, Saddam Hussein grew up poor, was extremely talented and worked really hard, and reached the very top. It just has to be a slightly more enlightened self-interest than the standard American version.
This gratifies me very deeply, and I would like to thank him for making the world a funnier place.


These people not only won't fight the killer billionaires stomping on their windpipe, they'll brag about getting stomped on and ask for more. And they always make me feel like this whenever I look at them: it's wonderful that people are able to invent and build something so beautiful, and it's horrible that people somehow aren't able to bring the same intelligence and effectiveness to invent and build better societies. If people who tried to invent better cell phones were regularly shot in the head, we wouldn't have good cell phones. If you're in New York, please go see Mike Daisey in The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Public Theater. Peterson sells some of his Verizon stock to somebody to pay his taxes, and the government takes the cash and sends it to Social Security recipients.
However, they don't can a bunch of tomatoes, buy three Ford Fiestas, and hide it all in a cave somewhere so they can go get it again in 2051.
So people working in 2035 can produce enough for all the promised Social Security benefits and still be much richer than workers today. If we're getting all of today's children a great education, if we're building a high-quality, long-lasting infrastructure, if we're pouring money into scientific research, we're saving for the future.
Digby runs down some vile examples here, including a foreclosure mill law firm that had a homelessness-themed Halloween party. Wouldn't you expect that people with a weird compulsion to be cruel would be less effective and replaced by those who didn't have it? If they can't keep doing it, they drop out of the Special Forces or the foreclosure mill law firm or Goldman Sachs, leaving behind only people who've managed to generate enough cruelty within themselves that they can. We lefties are the smart ones who see through the propaganda that surrounds us (or anyway I assume that's a temptation to self-glorification that others besides myself feel--I have to remind myself of how clueless I can be sometimes when I read something especially ridiculous in the MSM which is clearly intended to fool someone somewhere in the readership). In the case of the 53% people, they accurately perceive that individual effort, personal responsibility, etc. I would really like the people who do the maintenance on the plane I'm flying on next week to be well-rested and not worrying about whether their spouse is about to get laid off. And even reaching less rigid people is much easier when it's part of some kind of shared experience (which is why unions and churches can be such a powerful force for democratization).
We can admire the design perfection and business acumen while acknowledging the truth: with Applea€™s immense resources at his command he could have revolutionized the industry to make devices more humanely and more openly, and chose not to.
Instead, they buy pieces of paper called stocks or bonds, or pay payroll taxes, which gives them a claim on a share of the food and cars produced in 2051. The people working at any moment in history have to produce enough to provide for both themselves and the people who aren't workinga€”which includes not just children and retirees but rich people who live off their investments, such as Pete Peterson. That's why it's so unbelievably stupid to cut back on health, education, infrastructure and science today so as not to create a "burden" on our children in the future. I'd like there to be lots of money spent now researching treatments for the diseases of the old, because I plan to be old someday. But if there's a way to do it, it involves respecting the fact that people think things for a reason, even if they're missing a lot of the rest of the picture.
If we view him unsparingly, without nostalgia, we would see a great man whose genius in design, showmanship and stewardship of the tech world will not be seen again in our lifetime. Now those protestors against Wall Street are telling them that maybe they're not heroes--to some extent they're victims. They clearly have lived that, and trying to persuade them that they're wrong will be like trying to persuade them that they have nine arms.
We would also see a man who in the end failed to a€?think different,a€? in the deepest way, about the human needs of both his users and his workers.



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