Monday, December 18, 2023

Social Insecurity and Other Hangups

Candidate Nikki Haley is publicly pushing changes to our Social Security program, out loud. That’s risky and I think it’s necessary. But what she’s proposing and what people who aren’t bought and paid for by rich donors propose are two different things.

Haley wants to increase the age at which today’s younger workers would become eligible for Social Security, and limit the growth of benefits the wealthy receive.

Raising the so-called retirement age on young people is just kicking the can down the road, all the while screwing them dry. It’s so calculated because she knows that young people are the least reliable voters, so she faces much less blowback than she would if she recommended raising the retirement age of older Americans, who have retirement in their sights.

As tough as it is to make a living, it really puts the squeeze on the young. They can’t afford to buy a house, apartment rent is through the roof, and now they have to worry about setting more aside for retirement? Aside from what? I hope “the young” are paying attention because this is a purely Republican offering.

Her other prong is more aesthetically pleasing but ineffective. It sure looks like she’s putting the squeeze on the rich but it doesn’t really amount to much.

No, these billionaires shouldn’t be drawing their $3500 a month from Social Security. It’s like peeing over Hoover Dam... that little trickle isn’t going to make much difference. But the problem is that there aren’t enough billionaires to make these cuts add up to anything.

According to some snappy research I just did, there are 735 billionaires in the United States this year. Now, this $3500 per month comes to $42,000 per year. Multiply that times the 735 billionaires and you come to $308,700 annually. That is NOT going to bail out Social Security. That’s like dumping a soda can over Hoover Dam.

If you want to make a dent, remove the cap on Social Security taxes for people making over $160,000 per year. That will fix the Social Security shortfall. There is no rational reason to have such a cap in place other than a bunch of rich people telling their Congressmen, “But I don’t wanna pay more for Social Security!” and then writing giant campaign checks that ensure such a solution will never see the light of day.

If the rich people don’t like paying into a system where they never get to reclaim it, tough shit. Be glad we don’t close the other tax loopholes too. Say goodbye to stashing your profits in the Cayman Islands.

Speaking of the economy, remember in the late twenty-teens when Republicans used to defend the Trump Economy by saying, “But how’s your 401k doing?” As if that was the only barometer, but OK. So you’d think they’d have to admit that the Biden Economy is doing equally as well.

But no…

Once again, a prediction that the Very Stable Genius made went down in flames. He famously said the market would dive into a depression if he were not reelected. Contrast that with the news that the Dow just hit an all-time high.

Suddenly, TFG says the stock market “is only for making rich people richer.”

I don’t know why I even hope for fair play. Republicans will never admit they’re wrong and easily abandon a principle they espouse the second it becomes beneficial to do so, and espouse the opposite principle.

It’s comical that he goes on to blame the current high prices on President Biden, knowing that corporate price gouging is the reason for it. Inflation is coming down and corporate profits are way up. That’s only possible when their prices are being set higher than the sum of supply chain costs and their earlier profit margin. They’re raking in the dough due to their own greed and blaming their political enemy for it before laughing all the way to the bank.

The thing is, what is it that this president, or any president, is supposed to do about the way companies set their pricing? It’s not like raising or lowering taxes or tariffs would work because the merchandisers are not pricing for costs, but for how much profit they want. Any solution to price gouging would be guaranteed to elicit howls of protest from the Right: Socialism, Price-ism, and No Fair-ism. 

Have you also seen TFG’s new tactic when confronted with video of him saying or doing something that looks bad? He calls it Fake Video, just like he used to do with “Fake News.” What started out as a term for troll-farm disinformation, TFG turned it into a label for him to slap on any news item that he didn’t like or made him look bad.

Now, with AI becoming all the rage in video falsification, it has provided a new defense mechanism. So when someone counters his charges that President Biden is old and feeble-minded with video clips of TFG muttering, mumbling, mispronouncing basic words, and fidgeting around like a toddler, he calls it a fake video. It’s a given that the MAGAs will believe him. At this point, he could collapse on stage right in front of them amidst a pile of gibbering monosyllables and rubbing poo in his hair, and they’d just claim it was someone from Antifa in a Mission Impossible mask. Or Hunter Biden.


I like that Jack Smith has taken TFG’s main delaying tactic straight to the Supreme Court. TFG is charging that a President has broad immunity, so much so that anything he does during his term in office is legal by default. (In other words, the Nixon Defense.) So rather than having that fight court level by court level, where even though he could be confident in winning, the clock would be running out, the prosecutor asked for a judgment from the Supreme Court right now (as opposed to when it would inevitably end up there in the months to come.)

At this point, the issue gets tricky. We know there are 5 or 6 Justices in the bag for TFG. Maybe one, Roberts, might worry about becoming a national joke, should they rule for the defendant.

Compound that with the fact that the sitting president is a Democrat. I think it calls for an appearance from Dark Brandon, to step out and say, “So whatever the President does is legal. Where should I begin?

It should go without saying that such a finding would be disastrous for the nation. We’ve already seen what can happen when someone with neither morals nor scruples holds the office. With such a ruling, nothing could stop him from looting the treasury and national assets for trillions in assets.

So I don’t think the Supremes will make such a broad finding. I do think they’ll find some kind of technicality that will allow them to cover TFG with a narrow scope, without making it a precedent. They have a whole team of legal beagles over there. All they need is a sliver of Constitutional support, theoretical or not, upon which to build this legal house of cards. It’s not like they won’t ignore other more solid and traditional tenets that would suggest ruling the other way. They’ve done it before and will no doubt do it again. They’ve already shown that they treat “precedent” the way a baby treats its diaper.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm so weary of it all. Nothing will change. We are going into a dark place and it scares me. I don't wish for nostrodamus to be correct bluzdude.

Bohemian said...

Social Insecurity indeed... and it's been misused and raided a lot so running damage control has to happen some kind of way. Screwing subsequent Generations will add to the misery previous Generations have already left them as a Legacy to Clean Up and run Damage Control behind. I think the Young feel forsaken enuf, the obscenely Rich can relocate to any Country they can stay the Richest in and be met with Open Arms. Your solution makes sense... but sense in Politics is rare these days, no matter whose running the Show... but.., 45 getting re-elected would bring down the Nation and it troubles me that he still has such a staunch following or those who don't consider how much more damage he could do in a 2nd Term... or indefinitely installing himself as the first American Dictator.

bluzdude said...

It's beyond my comprehension how anyone who's paying attention can support this guy, without being rich or racist. To support him now, after having seen one of his administrations and listening to his speeches, is to knowingly support the dissolution of American democracy and the Constitution.

bluzdude said...

Peg, I have to believe that this is fixable, if only more people come to their senses and realize that the Republican Party is aiming for the destruction of American Democracy, all in favor of propping up the wealthy. The evidence is overwhelming. People just have to pay attention and turn out to vote.