Sunday, February 22, 2009

Those "Entitlements"

It's getting pretty loopy to hear the essentials of our government's services, those things it's there to provide us, maligned as 'entitlements'. Of course, top of the list is social security. I collect social security. In every job I ever held, the money was taken from my paycheck to provide social security. If anyone wants to take that away, it's highway robbery.

This morning, the corporate welfare advocate Fred Hiatt used his undeserved podium at WaPo to persuade the gullible that we're ruining the country by keeping the social contract that is the basis for government. I quote from it extensively, so that you will not need to give WaPo a hit that will prove to Hiatt that he's 'popular', as he concluded from hits in last year's editorial wrap.

PRESIDENT OBAMA says that it's time to stop kicking the can down the road when it comes to dealing with runaway entitlement spending and the grim long-term fiscal picture. This week will put those words to the test.

"We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's," he told The Post five days before taking office.

Is that about to happen? The signals are mixed, at best. The fiscal responsibility summit that Mr. Obama announced with fanfare has turned into something of a fiscal responsibility improv, a slapdash affair in which invitations were being issued as late as Friday. It seems destined to end up being yet another gabfest about the dire fiscal situation -- albeit a presidential-level gabfest.
(snip)
There isn't likely to be a repeat of the Bush administration charade of submitting budgets that leave out known, huge costs, such as dealing with the alternative minimum tax. The administration's decision to return to showing a 10-year budgetary path, rather than the Bush administration's five, is another welcome sign of willingness to deal with fiscal reality.

To be clear, we're not talking about making cuts now; the economy needs boosting, and deficit spending is in order. But the large gap between revenue and spending must eventually be closed. Mr. Obama would be wise to use the economic crisis as a reason to rethink some of his campaign promises, such as not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year and to cut taxes further on those making up to $200,000 a year. How can additional tax cuts be affordable given the existing gap between spending and revenue? Likewise, if Mr. Obama is to propose -- and find a way to pay for -- a broad expansion of health insurance, he should reconsider his opposition to changing the preferential tax treatment of employer-provided health insurance. Why should some taxpayers without health insurance subsidize the overly generous policies enjoyed by others?

"This, by the way, is where there are going to be very difficult choices and issues of sacrifice and responsibility and duty," Mr. Obama said with respect to the fiscal challenge. "You have to have a president who is willing to spend some political capital on this. And I intend to spend some." The next several days would be a good time to start.


As usual, comments are much more intelligent than the editorial.

saulfriedman1 wrote:
Pls. Stop with this "entitlement hysteria." There is no problem with Social Security. It's more solid than GM, The Bank of America, CitiGroup, etc. Even if no action is taken SS will be solvent for 40 more years, can the Post Say that?
2/21/2009 9:05:37 PM
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dennis_donaghey wrote:
A little bit of history to gitarre and dembries is in order: while you talk about how dems spend please keep in mind that the deficit Obama inherited was a gift from 3 presidents, Reagan, Bush and Bush II. So while republicans TALK about "fiscal responsibilty" the ones in power never walk the walk.

Neocon ideas are bankrupt. We will not "remake the middle east", we won't win the war on terror by invading middle east countries, we will only exacerbate the problem.

Of course all of this is way above their heads. All they ever say is "tax cuts" while passing higher and higher defense budgets. While we spend more on defense than the next 45 countries combined, just exactly who are we defending against? You want fiscal responsibilty? Fine, then quit being the "policeman of the world" and focus on reducing tensions around the world.

The biggest problems facing the planet are due to unyielding certainty of the idealogues, both theirs and ours.
2/22/2009 10:54:36 AM
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My comment:

jocabel wrote:
'Runaway' entitlement spending is WaPo editorialists term, meant to prejudice the rest of the article. I actually was thrilled to think you were about to address real issues with the sentence "the Bush administration charade of submitting budgets that leave out known, huge costs, such as dealing with ..." but instead of the runaway costs of the deranged war, WaPo deluded its readers that the AMT was the big drag on U.S. fiscal sanity. Nope. Readers are again supposed to take the lead of WaPo editorialists and ignore reality. Entitlements like social security are taken out of individual paychecks, and are part of keeping individuals operative and contributing to the economy. Entitlements such as schools, post offices and roads make the nation function. The businesses so favored by WaPo have not done their part, and it has to be done for them, yet WaPo wants government to continue selling out the country to give welfare to the very element that has drained away our prosperity. There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see. Wrong again.
2/22/2009 4:39:24 AM
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4 Comments:

Blogger the bewilderness said...

So what then? After overpaying into Social Security Insurance for the past twenty six years they plan to give us our money back so we can gamble it on the stock market.
Criminy!

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that we worry about "entitlements" when it's Joe Blow getting $5K to save his mortgage, but it's fine when the B of A gets billions to save their accounts.

We worry about "owing taxes" when Hilda Solis' husband's business (of which she owns no part) owes $6K for 3 years of back taxes, but it's fine that Sarah Palin has to pay thousands for falsely claiming 'per deim' expenses for her 'trips' to suburban Anchorage Alaska, during her business week, and that she gets the state to take her family on her trips, took thousands in free clothes from the GOP for the campaign, and does not claim any of that as taxable income.

Fair is fair: If you're a Dem, it's bad. If you're a Republican, anything goes and it's fine.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

In the right wingers' POV, schools and safe bridges cost too much, while outsourcing jobs overseas earns tax credits so that businesses will ... create jobs. There's your healthy economy as viewed from the asylum these free marketeers inhabit.

1:19 AM  
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