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March 04, 2005

Over Social Security "reform" at the moment.

Via Josh Marshall.

Josh is chatting about how the Right's alarmist rhetoric about Social Security is nothing new and they're just repeating things they've been saying for years and years.

Possibly he and others objecting to this retread of never-proven and never-fulfilled claims are missing the real point.

The 1936 Republican platform: "Society has an obligation to promote the security of the people, by affording some measure of protection against involuntary unemployment and dependency in old age. The New Deal policies, while purporting to provide social security, have, in fact, endangered it ...the [trust] fund will contain nothing but the government's promise to pay ... [and is] unworkable."

Nothing but "the government's promise to pay" is the key phrase.

First, upon what do they base this unspoken assumption that our government, after having incurred this obligation, will some day decide to blow We-the-People off? Are they living in some fantasy world where the government could just tell the voting population, "hey, no money back on the money we took from you" and continue to operate?

Upon what do they base the assumption that the government would want to do this?

And if this is really their fear, why don't they make the "trust fund" a real trust and stop taking the money and spending it elsewhere?

And am I the only one noticing that by trying to force the phase-out of Social Security, the Bush Administration is making one more key move in the attempt to nearly bankrupt the federal government so as to prevent it from legislating or administering social programs, environmental programs, worker protection programs, and anti-discrimination programs, or does everyone else understand this so well it doesn't seem to need mentioning?

Because it's not really a Trust Fund when the government takes the funds and spends them to support itself, which is what happens. If that income stops...the programs it pays for stop. Or, if they can cut off enough other sources of revenue, your Social Security taxes will have to be used for bombs-n-bullets instead of food and shelter.

(Also? I wonder how Congress, a body that's awarded itself raises five times in the last seven years and lives on a diet of aides and secretaries and assistants and chauffeured cars and expensed vacations and postage-paid campaign and re-election flyers, not to mention pork to toss to the voters back home, can face the prospect of a nearly bankrupt federal government without nightmares?)

Yes, I'm back on the diet and I'm cranky. But that doesn't make the ill-defined, carefully fuzzy Bush Administration "plan" for Social Security any less suspect.


P.S. I think it's obvious. The dolphins beached themselves in a protest against our toxic pollution in their environment.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)
I Don't Like It

I don't like the idea of a "Doomsday Bill" for the House. Considering that the Bush Administration is doing pretty much everything it can to insure that we'll be attacked by someone, I don't like the idea that they are responisble for planning for the future of the country in the aftermath. (Although, arguably, Congress is the body doing the planning.)

This bill is better than last year's, the one that allowed replacement Representatives to be "selected" by the House itself, but I can't help but think they're desperate to keep the specter of "terrorist attack" in front of the public's eyes.

I don't like government buying journalists, either. These days, when I hear that a conservative columnist has resigned suddenly and without explanation, I wonder if there's a large check in his recent past that he's afraid someone will find out about.

I don't like the Bush Administration and I don't like the current Congress. Big surprise. But stories like this just confirm my opinion that the inmates have taken over the asylum.

A bipartisan coalition in Congress, backed by credit card companies and other business interests, has been struggling for eight years to enact a bankruptcy bill. A dispute over abortion protesters who might use bankruptcy proceedings to avoid payment of court fines has thwarted earlier attempts at compromise.

Bankruptcy reform stalled by antiabortionists. Is there nothing in these people's worldview that isn't about someone else's sex life or the potential consequences thereof? But read the article and contemplate Alterman on usury.

I don't like this trend toward "guilty until proven innocent". Really don't like it.

As far as that goes, I really don't like the fact that the people nominally "in charge" don't have to answer for torture carried out under their noses. The more I learn about how the "investigations" are being handled, the less I believe that finding the ultimate truth of who ordered what, and when, will ever be found.

The more I read about what's happening, the less I like the entire situation, but I'm getting to rock-bottom there. It would be difficult to be angrier or more outraged, both about what's happening and about the indifference of so many USofA citizens.

I don't like displays of your religion in my government spaces. (For one thing, I don't like your religion. It's violent, discriminatory, and hypocritical, which are qualities I'd like to erase from our government if possible.) Anyhow. Moses Didn't Write The Constitution.

Also? Told you so.

President Bush's advisers knew that the 2001 tax cuts would probably cause budget problems, and welcomed the prospect.

Totally told you so.

I'm...undecided, but I'm not sure I like the MSM's continuing obsession with blogs. It's stupid, okay? Some bloggers are doing worthwhile research and writing, but most blogs are just the ramblings of half-informed civilians. I'd rather see the MSM putting this much focus on their own behavior. What they're doing is turning blogs into the latest fad...something short-lived and only tangentially relevant to the population at large. It's an interesting article, even if I do disagree, very strongly with point #4. (And, indeed, with many of the conclusions.)

(And the show this references sounds inane. I've yet to read the blog that was written to be read aloud. Those of you who don't know the difference between text for reading and text meant to be spoken are to be pitied.) (And really need to 'speak' some Shakespeare.)

Unquestionably, we need more "news" in our news, but I'd settle for more honesty and passion from those pretending to bring it to us.

I don't like what passes for "entertainment" on television these days.

To end on a positive note, I do like the Diddly Award candidates. In a sort of non-liking of the actual people way, of course.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)
March 03, 2005

If I weren't so frantically busy at the moment, I'd be posting a huge, long rant about this.

Greenspan Urges Tax Code Simplification

WASHINGTON, March 3 - Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said today that the tax system should be simplified, perhaps with some kind of consumption tax, to encourage national economic growth and personal savings.

I just can't believe he could say that with a straight face.

Simplification of the system? Yes. It's time and past time.

"Consumption" tax? No way.

P.S. Hello. I'm back. Blogging will be sporadic until such time as I can once again see the top of my desk.

Posted by AnneZook at 04:56 PM | Comments (2)