Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither, and lose both.
-- Benjamin Franklin

1984

As long as I’m referencing old music, how about an old book? Specifically, Orwell’s 1984


This from the Jesus’ General blog. I like it.

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Just noticed your counters re “which one has the crisis”. Confusing since the first is by definition a component of the second. For your info I refer you to http://www.concordcoalition.org/issues/feddebt/debt-facts.html and to the Peterson book Running on Empty … you have it.

Dad (OFWAIP)

Funny you should mention this. “By definition” is a bit of an overstatement. The US General Fund when calculated does not include the Social Security Trust fund, but when the Gross National Debt is calculated, it is. The counters are a bit misleading for that reason. These calculations are a recent adjustment of government accounting, to make the deficit look less than it really is. The book(s) you cite probably discuss this in more detail, I haven’t read it (yet).

Assuming what you say is true, doesn’t this emphasize the point even more? Social Security is taking in, right now, more than it spends and that won’t be reversed for many years. There may be an issue there, but it is not immediate, nor is it insurmountable. It has been estimated that removing the maximum contribution limit to Social Security would resolve this alone. (I haven’t hit it for several years).

We are, however, borrowing huge sums from foreign (saudi, japanese, chinese) sources every day to finance a war we should not, morally, politically, or fiscally, be involved in. The last three years have had the highest three deficits in terms of buying power in the history of the country, and that crisis is not being addressed by the administration, which has decided to give more tax cuts to the oil industry, already making record profits, and fund Katrina relief efforts by cuts to medicaid and student loans.

Great stuff, that.

I’m pretty well versed on the social security issues as well as the national debt …. Peterson is well qualified and articulate and respected by representatives of both parties. He and other notables founded the Concord Coalition. If you haven’t gone to that site, I highly recommend it …. great links that provide thought provoking info. There is a link to a speech given to the coalition by Bill Clinton that is a winner.

The national debt was an irresponsible disgrace, created by administrations of both parties long before the present one. Yes the the rate of growth is increased, however there are fundamental problems that allow the “richest” country in the world to be it’s biggest debtor, sucking up according to some, as much as 80% of the lendable savings of the worlds economies.

You treat the social security future too lightly …. it’s a shame that politics has kept it from being addressed.

If the “National Debt” of 8 Trillion includes trust funds in it’s calculation why is “by definition” inappropriate?
Your counters play with concept to make a point that that is misleading (intentionally ?) to the uninformed. To trivialize the magnitude of the coming shortfall while using the problem as a spring board to slam the administration shifts the focus contraproductively.

Is your blog totally dedicated to Bush bashing or is it a potential forum for constructive discussion of the problems
this country faces?

I’m willing, able and eager to kick ideas around free of the constraints of politics. I’ve had my fill of the self serving antics from both sides of the isle. I think the time has come when we should vote them all out and try to establish a real government “Of the people, by the people and for the people.”

William Falk, Editor-in Chief of “The Week” recently summed it up nicely. He said in, in part:

“Politics is a rugby scrum, not ballet. It’s about ideas some of the time, and self-interest most of the time, but very rarely is it about principles. Both parties will say and do whatever is necessary to win. We might all be less cynical if the players of this game, now and then, would just admit that.”

Let me know what you think of Clinton’s speech to the Concord Coalition.

OFWAIP

Just read the speech. To quote from it: I’m old enough now to know that most of the mistakes I made in my life happened either when I was too tired to think or when I thought crooked. So I’ll try to reread sometime after I’ve finished the first cup of coffee, more critically. In general I find it impressive. If the man could only have kept his fly zipped, we might no be in nearly the mess we are now.

National debt is a disgrace. We need to attack it, and the thoughts in Clinton’s speech sound reasonable and fundamental enough to be intuitively obvious, but apparently not. There is a chart and interesting analysis at http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm
which compares the various administrations reasonably, I think.

I do believe in a coming problem with Social Security, however I also believe there are present problems which if unaddressed will make the issue moot. The counters, by the way, contain a link to the site that generates them, and the analysis underlying it. Biased, of course, but I think a lot of the points are valid.

“By definition” is actually probably more appropriate than not, since it is the politicians that have (recently) redefined it this way. The Social Security Trust Fund was intended to be independent of the Federal Budget General Fund. “Borrowing” that money for the general fund is essentially a scam to lighten, somewhat, the national debt.

If the point you are making is that that money doesn’t actually exist, you’re absolutely right. If it weren’t being borrowed by the general fund, that number would be spinning much faster. It’s not necessarily that the Social Security system is dramatically broken, it’s that the rest of the government is so dramatically broken that it’s dragging down SS. Fully 30% of the national debt has accrued during the five years of the current administration.

You ask the point of the blog, and that’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot. In general, I think it’s an attempt to keep my sanity by being able to vent, or at least put into words, what is most bothering to me at the moment. An online diary, if you will. Feedback is welcome, but there are much more interesting and populated blogs out there than this one. Reasonable discussion is welcome here though, and I don’t even mind the occasional kook, because they are so easy and fun to shoot down.

Right now what is bothering me most is the degeneration of my country. While all politics may be dirty, the current administration is rapidly destroying nearly everything I hold dear about this country. Rule of Law, Equal Rights, our moral standing in the world, our economy, wildlife and natural resources, what I believe is an obligation to our less fortunate citizens to give them opportunities, the list goes on. I can not think of a single thing above the level of pardoning the thanksgiving turkey, literally, that this president has done which has not been detrimental to what I believe our country is supposed to represent.

Secret prisons in eastern europe, outside the rule of law. Seeking legal exemption to allow our spy service to torture prisoners. Denying, then admitting to, using white phosphorus munitions against troops. My god, what have we become?

I may be Bush bashing, but it is because every day brings another abomination from this administration. I do occasionally write about other things, but it’s hard for them to bubble to the surface given the layer of scum other issues puts above them. I suppose I could write about my three-day struggle to get viruses and spyware off my son’s computer, but I suspect that the families of the 13 soldiers who have died in Iraq in the last week alone would love to have that as their major problem.

What’s OFWAIP?

We’re on the same page in most instances. I think we need to recognize how we got into this mess, not the current Iraq dilemna, but the inertia of our elected officials in their inability to establish real priorities that address the interests of the citizens and their posterity and rise above their own mean self interests. Every opportunity to attend to the real needs of the country crashes on the rocks of political expdiency.

You must admit that there is plenty of blame to go around and that it isn’t all “W”‘s doings.

A while back you, in a posting to Jim, made reference to me as “our father”
Thus Our Father Who Art In Plattsburgh.

Dad

OFWAIP – ah. Now I understand.

I do believe we’re on the same page in most instances. Fiscally, you can’t spend more than you take in and last very long, it’s as simple as that. And, I don’t believe it is all W’s fault, though I do believe he is the worst of the lot.

If someone drives a bus into a ditch, your immediate problem is to figure out how to get the bus out of that ditch.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you let the driver keep driving for your company.

Were the fiscal problems the only ones the country faced I would be 100% with you. The fact that in addition my government is pursuing policies that I find morally reprehensible at the deepest level complicates the matter. I believe there are some moral absolutes. I need to speak out against the violations of these absolutes in whatever way I can (not just this blog) if I am to be true to my beliefs. See the Martin Luther King quote two posts previous to this one, or this quote from Rufus Jones:

There must be amidst all the confusions of the hour a tried and undisturbed remnant of persons who will not become purveyors of coercion and violence, who are ready to stand alone, if it is necessary, for the way of peace and love among men.

[...] Ramblings » 1984 Specifically, Orwell’s 1984 This from the Jesus’ General blog. … of the Federal Budget General Fund. “Borrowing” that money for … don’t even mind the occasional kook, because they are so easy … http://www.folsoms.net/wordpress/?p=216 [...]

Very nice! cgfagbkfee



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