April 10, 2010

For Us to Be Them, Somebody Must Be Us

Justin Katz

Advocates for bigger government love to cite the small, still relatively homogeneous nations of Europe as an example of the bounty that awaits the United States if it just relies more on government to make decisions. Europeans, they say, are happier, more secure, less stressed out, etc. On Anchor Rising, we have argued, can argue, and will surely argue again the merits of these various claims, but for a moment let's grant that they aren't complete bunk.

The missing consideration — again, as we've argued before — is that Europeans have the space to create their little oases because the United States stands as a giant blocking the beating sun. Canadians can dictate lower costs for prescription drugs because Americans can pay more and thus keep innovation going. Great Britain can finance greater social welfare benefits because the United States finances global security. The French can take months at a time off from work because Americans will continue to work hard creating the technological innovations that give the world a semblance of moving forward.

Jonah Goldberg offers this analogy:

Look at it this way. My seven-year-old daughter has a great lifestyle. She has all of her clothes and food bought for her. She goes on great vacations. She has plenty of leisure time. A day doesn't go by where I don't look at her and feel envious of how good she's got it compared to me. But here's the problem: If I decide to live like her, who's going to take my place?

Europe is a free-rider. It can only afford to be Europe because we can afford to be America.

The essential political question currently on the table, in the United States, is whether enough Americans see the country's current path for what it is and are willing to plug their ears to the siren call of welfare infantilization.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

I think that is so much BS.

It seems to indicate that we do things for them, and not for our own selfish means. It also would suggest that American workers should continue to be wage slaves, working more hours for less pay than 40 years ago, in order to "feel good" about enabling the French to take a year off work (paid and with child rearing help) when they have a baby.

I know Americans can be generous, but I doubt they would willingly do so.

Let me offer a more mathematical reason for their higher quality of life.

France spends less than 3% of GNP on their military. We used to spend less than 5%, but now are up to 6% plus (and probably much higher) for our security state. Most of this money does absolutely nothing to protect either us or europe.

Figures just released show we are now up to 17.3% (higher now, of course, figures are always looking back) of GNP for our inferior health care.

European countries spend from 7% to 12%, so let's average is at 10%.

OK, so the difference including just those two factors is about 10% of our GNP. That means our wage slaves and federal deficit have to come up with 1.5 TRILLION extra per year just for that extra profit of the military-industrial complex and the medical/insurance corporations.

This would be like entering a foot race with your legs in a potato sack. We lose!

What would 1.5 trillion extra do for an American taxpayer? Just to put that in perspective, that means Justin and I each would have $15,000 more (each taxpayer) to spend EACH YEAR. Or, we could have $10,000 extra to spend while $5,000 went to pay down the Federal Debt.

It amazes me that Justin uses words and guesses - goes through severe machinations to GUESS why we cannot keep up with the rest of the world - when the math is so simple and so obvious.

We make choices. Justin, do you know about choices? When we make the choice to not have limits on military and security spending and the choice to allow predatory behavior by the Health Insurance and Hospital industries, then you also have the consequences of being broke.

You cannot have it both ways. These problems cannot be solved until you do the math. Words will not suffice.

Posted by: Stuart at April 10, 2010 9:45 AM

Where would Europe's healthcare be if not for the huge investment in medicine here in America? Where would Europe's technology be if not for the ingenuity of Americans? Wouldn't European countries have far greater defense budgets if it were not for America's military strength?

Europe enjoys socialism on the back of American capitalism.

Posted by: mikeinri at April 10, 2010 10:01 AM

Stuart-you really ought to meet "Klaus"on kmareka.He also has a love affair with effete European society'and by"European",I mean western Europe,not the former Iron Curtain(I realize that term offends your sensibilities Stuart)countries.
"Klaus"waxed on about how Europeans have much shorter workweeks,how they"dine" rather than just"eat"like us plebeians.
All so very nice,but those same western Europeans built their wealth(Scandinavia excepted)on large empires effectively enslaving hundreds of millions and raping their lands for the resources needed to maintain their lifestyles.Convenient to overlook that,isn't it?
Labor.management has a rough history in the US,but post WW2 most American workers in major industries(I said most,dont go nitpicking)had better wages and disposable income proportionately greater than anywhere else for people doing the same thing.
The laziness of western Europeans has led to the mass importation of "guest workers"who are distinctly second class people and treated like dirt.And now they're pissed.Too bad for the Eloi I guess.
An illegal aliens child born here is a US citizen.A child of a LEGAL guest worker born in most western European countries is not a citizen.Hmmm?Typical hypocrisy-that's why you love 'em Stu.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2010 10:32 AM

Joe, as to "love" of Europeans, it should be mentioned that our founders were definitely in that group, as Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton and others were enthralled with many aspects of culture and society in France and elsewhere. Jefferson, who is today a darling of the right, was a crazy Francophile (lover of ALL things French.

So it is not anything new for Americans to look to Europe for cues. The founders patterned our government after the best aspects of theirs!

Mike is simply repeating the same old lie - that somehow working class Americans are perfectly OK with working longer hours for less pay and benefits in order to protect Europe.

He seems to forget that France and UK have ICBM's, supersonic planes, atomic and hydrogen bombs and all the other assorted hardware for their protection.

Once again, I hear words and talking points but see no math.

Joe, it's no secret that BOTH Americans and Europeans don't want to do dirty work, and therefore import labor to do some of it! How many of your kids work in the fields or in chicken-plucking and meatpacking plants? I hope none of them do.

Joe, you are correct that post-WWII we had better wages and conditions, largely thinks to Unions. However, since the 1960's, real wages have stagnated or gone down, and they are now getting lower and lower still.

That is the "fruit" of Reaganomics, a discredited idea of "trickle down", which turned out to actually mean "piss on me".

Anyway, the point stands. We are spending big bucks of your and my money advertising viagra and anti-depressants, while they actually ban most advertising of drugs. We spend big bucks on optional and mistaken wars (Iraq), while they think more carefully about whether the march to war is a lie.

As with the founders, we need to look over there and take the best of their ways...and then adopt them or improve on them.

Remember, the founders did not revolt because they didn't like Europe! They simply did not want decisions about taxation and other matters decided there. I don't either.

Posted by: Stuart at April 10, 2010 11:03 AM

Hey Stuart, that's not what I said. We are not working harder for Europe. Americans are working harder for themselves and their country. European just happens to benefit from those efforts. We don't invest in medicine for Europe, but for our health, and therefore the benefit of all mankind. We didn't invent and develop planes, computers, the Internet, etc. for Europe, but for ourselves. Again, the world, including Europe, benefits.

And while it takes more than "hardware" to keep peace and deter enemy aggression, it is important to note that there are more than two countries in Europe. It wasn't that long ago that our military strength prevented further spread of the Iron Curtain.

Posted by: mikeinri at April 10, 2010 1:32 PM

>t wasn't that long ago that our military strength prevented further spread of the Iron Curtain.

Didn't do so in the largest war of the last 70 years - that being Vietnam. And is what happened really so terribly bad? Vietnam is now home of many US factories, and the people are basically happy - nothing amazing, but surely as good or better than they did under the thumbs of the French and Americans, etc.
Would it have been better to save hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of lives? You tell me!

Iron Curtain? That is all made-up stuff. We GAVE Russia those countries fair and square - it didn't really spread much! They won them as the spoils of war! But, at the same time, their system sucked and did not provide happiness to the people, and therefore disintegrated under it's own weight.

As to all these inventions, perhaps you should do some research. The WWW is credited to Tim Bernerds- Lee, a British man working in Switzerland. Many of the great pharma inventions come from Germany, Switzerland, France and UK. You might have heard of Pasteurization, Gyroscopes, Stethoscopes, Hot Air Balloons, Seaplanes, Sewing Machines and such things. Virtually all of the machines which build the modern world, from looms to foundries to printing presses were invented (and many still made) in Germany and UK.

Again, I don't deny that America is innovative - after all, many of our people come from those places and brought the skills. If you have read the history of Rhode Island, you know that it was illegal for a British mechanic to come over here and show us their industrial (loom) designs. Only by eventually "stealing" the mechanics and the blueprints was RI able to become competitive.

We didn't start the industrial revolution and we won't end it either.

But all that is neither here nor there. The point is that innovation should not be used as an EXCUSE of why we cannot raise our quality of life.

Or do you think otherwise? Shouldn't innovation reward PEOPLE?

Posted by: Stuart at April 10, 2010 2:09 PM

We GAVE Russia those countries fair and square - it didn't really spread much! They won them as the spoils of war!
It's good to know Stuart is alright with the idea of expansion by conquest -- as long as he is defending a regime that held a totalitarian ideology (though I'm not sure what a good progressive like Stuart means by "us" having the power to give other countries away).

Posted by: Andrew at April 10, 2010 2:42 PM

Stuart-my son has always worked in that category of people who do "dirty"jobs.You have a sneering disdain for them.Don't you you see it in yourself?
My daughter is now in academia at an advanced level-but-she also worked at dirty jobs.
You've had it soft,Stuart-appreciate it and shut up about people who didn't.
Please grow up.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2010 3:07 PM

Ha, Joe - I was in demolition for years and also remodeling, including one job where I had to remove human....well, I won't go into that, but suffice it to say that I've been dirty!

Andrew, I'll let you read up on WWII, but Churchill and FDR and everyone else involved spilt up Europe and effectively gave a bunch of it to the Soviets. That's how they got it. They lost 30 MILLION citizens in the effort, while we lost...what? 250,000?

I don't write history- just read it! Sure, Russia was beyond brutal, but they were our 100% ally and they were awarded much of that territory by blood of their sons and daughters....and, of course, by the Potsdam Conference. Read up on it!

Snippet below from Potdam Conference (Truman, Stalin, Churchill)

"In addition to annexing several occupied countries as (or into) Soviet Socialist Republics, other countries were converted into Soviet Satellite states within the Eastern Bloc, such as the People's Republic of Poland, the People's Republic of Hungary, the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, the People's Republic of Romania, the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia the People's Republic of Albania and later East Germany from the Soviet zone of German occupation."

Posted by: Stuart at April 10, 2010 3:42 PM


You are confusing one of the Moscow conferences between Churchill and Stalin (with no American presence, I believe) with the Potsdam conference, so you should drop the condescending tone about history that you are obviously not very familiar with.

More importantly, your argument that, because Germany attacked Russia, Russia had right to occupy her non-German neighbors, impose communist governments on them, and forbid their citizens to travel away from them makes no sense. It really makes obvious that you are just defaulting over to defending the totalitarian system.

Posted by: Andrew at April 10, 2010 4:27 PM

I was in physically dirty and dangerous situations all my working career.And I'm still paying for it.
You don't get it Stuart-you aren't in the real world.
I won't say you're a liar because how can I know that?
But you DO throw out false crap about poeple you know essentially nothing about.
Be a mensch.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2010 4:28 PM

Joe, Joe, Joe....calm down, buddy, it's bad for you!

I will refrain from discussion with you if you can't take a back and forth.

Andrew, I am not approving of the treaties nor of the history, but the bottom line is that we allowed Russia to "police" and "occupy" those large swaths of land after WWII, and had neither the resources nor the means to occupy and hold them ourselves. They took advantage of it, just as many countries (including the good old USA) take advantage of the spoils of war.

The point of the thread is being lost. Once again, I claim that if so-called "helping the rest of the world" causes the American citizen and worker to live worse than they do, that seems like a raw deal. If it is even true, which I doubt (innovation should save us more than it costs us!), then I would vote against it!

And what that means in the real world is getting a handle on the 1.5 trillion we are spending on security and the debt for security each year.

You cannot make an omelet without breaking a certain number of eggs, so let us hear your suggestions as to how to to save trillions each year and thereby allow Americans to attain the higher average quality of life enjoyed by some Euro countries......

BTW, here are the top 10 in the world. Notice anyone missing?

1 Norway
2 Australia
3 Iceland
4 Canada
5 Ireland
6 Netherlands
7 Sweden
8 France
9 Switzerland
10 Japan

Lots of other ways to measure though. We definitely have the highest incomes, but we are #92 in distribution of wealth. What that means is that a large percentage of our country lives worse than people in mediocre countries - yet the top 5% in this country live as well as anyone in the world.

In my view, a great country should be able to have prosperity or at least basic services for all the residents. Of course, I am an admitted Social Democrat (does not mean I am Democratic Party politically, but that I believe, in general, in a Society where the purpose is to better that society as voted on by the people - Medicare, etc. etc.).

Posted by: Stuart at April 10, 2010 5:37 PM

"If I decide to live like her, who's going to take my place?"
Well, immigrants, I think will take his place. Quickly. This dynamic is what will propel the US forward in the next 50 years.

Posted by: David S at April 10, 2010 6:56 PM


Guess who's ranked #7 for best country quality of life?

The 10 best countries ranked by quality of life for 2010 are as follows:

1. France
2. Australia
3. Switzerland
4. Germany
5. New Zealand
6. Luxembourg
7. United States
8. Belgium
9. Canada
10. Italy

As reported by Huffington Post, Top-Ten-10.com and International Living magazine.

Posted by: Ken at April 10, 2010 6:58 PM


I haven't gleaned anything in this area from your previous comments, but the above makes me think that you have no children. How else could you so extremely misunderstand Goldberg's point?

He's not arguing that nobody will fill his shoes in the economy, but that his daughter's child-like liberty is purchased by his labor. If not for him, either his daughter's liberty would dissipate, or somebody else would have to support her, specifically.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 10, 2010 7:25 PM

I am beginning to think David S.might be David S.Bernstein(no relation hopefully)whose latest insanity is displayed in the Phoenix lead story,basically equating Michelle Malkin and Andrew Napolitano with Randy Weaver and the fringe militia arrested recently.Nothwithstanding that even other militias who somewhat hardcore had rejected these idiots.
it can't be David Segal-he owns up to his statements,like 'em or not.
Stuart-I just come here to have fun and debate-I never have discussions with people who seriously disturb me.They just need to stay out of my way and I'll stay out of theirs or one of us is gonna have a real problem.
Ever notice how homogeneous the countries you mention are?I'm not counting the guest workers and refugees because they don't count them as real people.
Netherlands excepted-they actually have a very diverse society.Try buying something at the supermarket after 6 PM,though.Can't do it unless it's Thursday.I spent some time there.I'm not exaggerating.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2010 8:44 PM


You are still butchering the history of the period. There was no extensive post-war "occupation" of Eastern Europe that was any more necessary than an extensive post-war occupation of Norway, or Greece, or France for that matter.

Only by treating totalitarian expansionism as the norm that the rest of the world has to adjust to, with less-coercive behaviors between governments and people being some kind of unfathomable deviation, can you reach the conclusion that imposition of communism on Eastern Europe after World War II was the result of the Soviets taking what they deserved.

Posted by: Andrew at April 11, 2010 10:12 AM

>>>>Guess who's ranked #7 for best country quality of life?

I'm fine with that, no problem!

However, you should not that most of the countries on there would be consider totally Socialist/Communist by our resident righties. That, once again, is an inconvenient fact.

The other issue...is that a Quality of Life list is NOT printed or distributed for lower class people! It is telling people of means where they want to enjoy life!

There is little doubt that many people live like Kings here. That is not the issue.

Posted by: Stuart at April 11, 2010 10:50 AM

>>>You are still butchering the history of the period.

Well, Andrew, commenting on what would take 1000's of pages to express properly entails some butchering.

Maybe this is more clear. The Russians were given or took possession of many lands within their scope - some of which had been lands in dispute (throughout history) and others being lands which they liberated (died for) in WWII. Some of these lands were under the direct government control of Moscow and others were under totalitarian governments - or similar - installed and/or controlled by Moscow.

At the time of the Yalta and other conferences, Stalin already occupied much of the land in question.

"Stalin stipulated that Polish government-in-exile demands were not negotiable: the Soviet Union would keep the territory of eastern Poland they had already annexed in 1939"
"Roosevelt met Stalin's price, hoping the USSR could be dealt with via the United Nations"

Ok, so when you have the President of the USA agreeing and signing a document, I call that "fair and square".

The point, as made before, is that much of the territory behind the Iron Curtain was as much under Russian control as Western Germany was under OURS. It was agreed upon by the major allies of WWII as the spoils of war (or, in the case of Russia, there was really nothing we could do about it since they already held the land and had some historical claim to much of it).

In any case, the point stands. The Iron Curtain was not something which was broken by military force. Rather, they destroyed themselves from within - first by fighting wars like Afghanistan (sound familiar?) which the population grew tired of, and then by economic recession and depression, along with the fact that increased communication technology showed the people of Russia what they were missing (i.e., Europe and the USA were thriving, while they were suffering).

I would think that you would have learned that people become free because they want to - not because some other country 1/2 way around the world decides to bomb them. This is evident in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq where lots of outside military might for decades did not do much to "free" the people...although it has "freed" many from earthly life.

Posted by: Stuart at April 11, 2010 11:07 AM

You casually refer to the American invasion to overthrow Saddam Husein as "bombing" Iraq, yet you tell us that the Soviets had the right to impose a Soviet-friendly, citizen-unfriendly totalitarian system in places like Poland -- despite mass Soviet executions of Polish citizens (like the Katyn massacre, over 20,000 killed, which became sadly relevant to the news this week).

Your whole attitude about the Soviet government deserving to be able to expand, combined with the opinion that individuals stuck living under totalitarian governments are getting the government they deserve, makes for a fascinating juxtaposition: a totalitarian government has a right to expand across its borders, based on whatever it thinks it deserves, but people don't have the right to work across borders to throw off the yolk of totalitarian governments.

Expanding this kind of incoherence to 1000s of pages isn't going to make it any more worthwhile.

Posted by: Andrew at April 11, 2010 12:17 PM

Stuart ,like many of his kind,has a blindness about what occured between about 1946 or 1947 and 1989.
They considered the intervening period "progress"(just as long as they avoided it in person)and what followed "reactionary".
F**k 'em!!

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 11, 2010 1:56 PM

Contrary to popular belief, I was not alive back in 1945 and before, so did not sign those treaties giving Stalin Poland and oversight of much of eastern Europe.
However, the signatures of US Presidents and others are on those documents.

In my book, that means they were agreed to. You can rewrite history if you like, but war is hell and so is who ends up owning what afterwards.

I don't understand why what happened after the war means much to the current fact that Americans are busting their butts for less money......

But, just to be clear, Stalin and his friends made Hitler look like Ghandi. He was, it seems, the most brutal murderer of the 20th century, but who's counting?

Ironic that, with that plane crash yesterday, the death related to some of his crimes is still so fresh.

As to Iraq, we had absolutely no right to invade them based on lies put forward by Cheney and Bush and the neo-cons. We should leave and give it back to them.

But, instead - and getting back to the thread - we decided, probably with the full backing of folks like Andrew, to spend a couple trillion pursuing WAR instead of spending it where we should - on OURSELVES.

And that, my friends, is why America cannot afford to give our residents decent vacation time, schools and other things the rest of the civilized world takes for granted.

Posted by: Stuart at April 11, 2010 9:04 PM

I'm not re-writing history. I'm correcting the steady stream of errors you are putting out. (I notice, for example, that what you had attributed to Potsdam, you are now attributing to Yalta. The right answer is still Moscow).

But you're the one who says takings through war are legitimate (see any of your comments above regarding the Soviet conquest of Eastern Europe for examples). So is the objection to the war in Iraq that it wasn't cost effective? Or that organized violence is only legitimate when done by a totalitarian government (also consistent with your comments above)?

And it takes standard-issue progressive fiscal insanity to bold new heights to say that if we had only surrendered to Islamic radicalism after September 11, then all of our financial and economic problems would now be solved.

Posted by: Andrew at April 11, 2010 10:02 PM

It would have been nice if the eventual 3 trillion or more had "beat" an idea (Religious Fundamentalism), but it didn't, and it couldn't have and money never will. In fact, since you are so clear on the facts, maybe you should listen to our own NSA who claims we have fanned the flames and created MORE radical religious nuts.

But, frankly, my current worries are more about American right wing nut - like McVeigh, those Christian Militia they got last week, and the thousands of other right wing promoters of violence.

No way our financial problems are all related to war! But our federal debt largely is!

The rest is related to the systematic removal of decades old regulations - by the same people (GOP) mostly.

So, to be clear, the combination of unfunded and excess security spending (currently about 10K per taxpayer per year) PLUS poor economic policy involving lack of market regulations PLUS the greed of many Americans, especially wall street - that caused most of the problems......

Do you think otherwise?

Posted by: Stuart at April 11, 2010 10:50 PM

But, frankly, my current worries are more about American right wing nut - like McVeigh, those Christian Militia they got last week, and the thousands of other right wing promoters of violence.
Yes, but that is because you are quick to raise the alarm about potential acts related to "right wing promoters of violence" that might occur on American soil, but real acts of violence related to Islamist ideology that have occurred -- like the Fort Hood massacre -- create no commensurate concern. You seem to have varying levels of concern for the victims of violence depending on the ideology of the attacker, regardless of the nature or likelihood of the attack. That's not a rational method of threat assessment (unless you see yourself as on the same side as one of the ideologies).

Domestic entitlement spending was a record percentage of GDP in 2009 -- before you added in bailout money. Unless you believe that no level of domestic government spending can be too small and that government can never be too big or too expansive, that's where you have find away to get control of the Federal budget. Entitlement costs would have grown as they did, even if we had surrendered to Islamic radicalism sometime in the past decade or accepted continuing violence against Americans on American soil as a regular way of life.

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2010 7:59 AM

Andrew-Stuart has to know the Islamists would exterminate a "freethinker"like himself;he also know the extremist militias here at home,as fragmented and insignificant as they are,would like to do the same to him.
Stuart's answer is to cling to big government and the dictates of self-serving politicians like Sheldon Whitehouse and Janet Napoliano in the illusion they will make hime"safe".
His take on the Iron Curtain is quite simply the boilerplate position of the American extreme left-always has been.
Historically,the countries of Eastern Europe were not under Russian domination willingly.
Stuart shouls study the period 1918-1939.
Of course,this conflict between Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe goes back much further.
The last time the Russians,Poles,and Lithuanians were allies was in 1410 when they repulsed the Teutonic Knights at Tannenberg.
Stuie's assessment is laced with hatred for ethnic East Europeans.I bet he thought Radio Free Europe should've been shut down.
Roosevelt's signature didn't make things right.
Read "Radical Son" by David Horowitz to see how a ceratin segment of America used to think-and in Stuie's case still does.Many "red diaper babies" still infest academia and have poisoned the well.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 12, 2010 8:40 AM

>Domestic entitlement spending was a record percentage of GDP in 2009

So, you are against the Bush Budget?
(the 2009 Budget is, of course, put together and approved by Bush)
"The United States federal budget for fiscal year 2009 was a spending request by President George W. Bush to fund government operations "

Even assuming you hate Bush and what he did to this country (I know, that's a far flung assumption), you are trying to, and succeeding, at fooling your stupid friends on the right...however, I was taught math.

So called "entitlements" are, by and large, related to two things. Both of them are funded NOT by Federal Income Tax, but by SS and Medicare taxes.

Your definition of "entitlement" includes making sure our grandmothers get their beds cleaned up when they soil them. They include our parents, who paid in for 50 years, getting their social security.

And, considering inflation and runaway health care costs (due to the right wing fighting reform for 50+ years), wouldn't it be natural for every year to have "record" spending?

So, if you want to have an honest discussion, take Social Security and Medicare out of the equation and we'll talk about how large of a percentage of the Federal Budget is dedicated to "welfare" for individuals as opposed to corporations. My guess is that it is negligible, but that never stopped a rightie from spouting talking points. After all, you have a willing audience of people who don't do their homework.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 11:01 AM


Let me get this straight. You don’t think Social Security and Medicare should be counted as part of the Federal budget, because they’re funded through payroll taxes instead of income taxes?

Don’t accuse others of not having honest discussion, when you’re pushing this kind of stupidity.

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2010 1:28 PM

Exactly, Andrew!
You finally understand something!

The facts are this. We heard little or nothing about ss and medicare from the cons or gop for 2 decades - and those taxes have increased barely or not at all (%), so it defies logic to assume that a bunch of tea partiers all-of-a-sudden are concerned about things which have been normal for decades or generations.

In order for their cry of "taxed enough already" to make any sense, they have to be directing that cry somewhere. It appears to me (of course, I am speculating since they don't appear to know themselves) that their concern is with the Fed. Income tax they pay and the fact that the budget is not balanced (more spent than taken in). I make that crazy guess by the fact that their grief started on APRIL 15th, which is a day that has nothing to do with ss or medicare, etc.

So, all that being said, if they had any sense they'd be protesting for MORE taxes, since that is the only way you can balance the budget when it includes your loved war machine, etc.

Get it?

Maybe you can carefully explain what all those signs I see at the tea party mean?

Complaining about things which are many decades old and were similar under the GOP and conservative led rule seems....well....partisan.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 1:44 PM

You don't think money collected from American taxpayers through payroll taxes, that's used to pay for Federal programs, should be counted as part of the Federal budget?

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2010 2:13 PM

>>you don't think money collected from American taxpayers through payroll taxes, that's used to pay those same Americans back (pension and healthcare)......


I've been discussing politics for about 40 years and we never included it in the discussions because they are programs which are not discretionary and they pay back every cent they take in - you have an actual ss account and get a statement regularly.

So, again, my apologies to you if you were hitting the streets and internet during Reagan, Bush I and Bush II about all this bad, bad, bad social security.

If so, you are truly 1 in 10,000 of the current tea party.

If not, you are just using numbers and talking points to manipulate your brothers and sisters. I suspect the later - but you can't fool me!

I think your views are clear now. You don't believe in SS and Medicare. You want to roll the country back 100 years or so.

Fine. Say it out loud, Andrew and build a movement on it. But I suspect I won't see those "hands of my medicare" signs (seen at some tea parties) at your new movement.

That's the really diabolical part of it. The far far righties like you have a 100% different idea of where you are going than the pawns who you march in front of you.

I'm glad to hear your views. Let's hae them. Here are mine. I think SS and Medicare are great programs. Of course, we have to tweak them as per basic accounting and mortality stats, but they have saved MANY in American from poverty and suffering and, in general, increased the progression of our civil society.

I'm all ears....unless you are hiding something? You seem to talk a lot, but rarely answer - like why all this BS started when a black man or dem was elected? Yeah, I know, the answers are inconvenient. The truth often is.

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 4:18 PM


You are again spreading misinformation. People don't have an "actual Social Security accounts", in the sense of a bank account. If people are not disagreeing with you about this or anything else, it's probably because they're afraid you'll accuse them of racism if they do, because that often seems to be your answer after you say something ridiculous.

Tell me honestly, you don't really believe that programs paid for with payroll taxes are not part of the Federal budget; you just said something crazy, but don't want to back down, in order to save face, right?

Posted by: Andrew at April 12, 2010 7:37 PM

Andrew, you sound like a conspiracy nut, and I found it useless to debate with such views.

For instance, did you know that when you put money in your bank, it is not yours? That's right, you only get some digits (1's and 0's) in an electronic file! In fact, they don't even have to give it back to you, which is why that BIG BAD Federal Government has to use our tax money to guarantee your savings.

Now, I know you prefer hoarding gold in the cellar, but after the recent flooding even that is not safe.

Oh, those accounts with Madoff or Bear Stearns didn't work out too well either, did they?

You can play with words as much as you like. For anyone except conspiracy nuts, your SS account is something which you put money into and WILL be available for you or your dependents. I will be collecting in about 6 years myself - many of my friends and their parents are already collecting.

Again, mince the words up however you want - all you are doing is losing your audience....and you still have not answered the basic question:

Do you want to do away with SS and Medicare? Is that really so hard to answer that you keep throwing word soup out instead of yes or no?

No face to save on this end Buddy, we are just trying to suss out how your conspiracy mind works....yes or no, friend?

Posted by: Stuart at April 12, 2010 8:34 PM

Stuie throws the racism and antisemitism cards at the drop of a hat.He tried it on Tim because Tim correctly explained the genesis of "neo con",although the term has been applied to non-Jews as well.Not only left wingers use it.Pat Buchanan makes it plain that the "neocons" are mostly Jews.But Buchanan has had a hangup about Jewish people for many years,so on that subject he isn't very credible in my book.
Stuie can accuse me of whatever he wants-it's not like I care about some long-winded coward hiding his identity while using this forum to slander people.It's obvious that he wouldn't show up at an event and make these accusations face to face.
I know that some people are concerned for their jobs,so they post anonymously,but if Stuie is to be believed,he has been self-employed for around 40 years.No excuse for what he does here.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 13, 2010 8:13 AM


Calling Social Security a "trust fund" is just an accounting gimmick, one that apparently has successfully fooled you. SS is actually run as a pay as you go program. This year, it starting paying out out more money than it takes it, about six years earlier than people thought, mostly due to the big market crash, because nobody's plan for retirement is going to work, 401(k), DB pension, SS, or whatever, if there is not robust economic growth.

There can be a Social Security program, but it doesn't have to for all time keep the form of the one designed in the late 1930s. There can be a Medicare program, but it doesn't have to for all time keep the form of the one designed in the 1960s. There are more policy options in the world than "raise taxes to fund existing bureaucracy", or "raise taxes to create more more bureaucracy". The tea party movement is a response to the fact that these are the only options that the current Democratic party will consider in most policy areas (education becoming a notable legitimate exception).

It is fiscal insanity to look at what directly comes in or goes out of public spending programs and say "I'm not going to count part of it for ideological reasons". The honest thing to do is to count everything, make the information public, and let people decide if they getting and appropriate return for what they are paying.

Your suggestion that it is manipulative to look at all funds when assessing the Federal Budget is as Orwellian as it gets, and indicative of your affinity for totalitarian thinking. So stop trying to shut conversations down, because your positions are too ridiculous to be defended once all of all the numbers and facts are out there.

Posted by: Andrew at April 13, 2010 9:03 AM

Another long winded post by Andrew which simply does not give his opinion - does he or does he not want to abolish medicare and ss and break the current promises made to me and others?

Since he won't answer...I will. Yes. He wants to do away with those programs.

There could be no other reason why he is so hung on on how the budget would be able to be changed to save money....because with his amazing accounting skills, he certainly know that outside of these promises, there is almost NO money to be saved.

So say it Andrew, my friend. You will then be agreeing with folks in Idaho and many others. C'mon. Please?

Posted by: Stuart at April 14, 2010 4:02 PM

I'll tell you one thing about Medicare Stuart-I don't want to abolish it,but unless the fraud and waste in the program is treated like we treat heroin dealing,it will not survive long term.
Social Security is a fait accompli-I don't think it's realistic to discuss doing away with it.Not so with the Federal Reserve-THERE is an entity which needs to be dissected,audited,and probably reformed to the point where it is a different animal.I admit a lack of knowledge on economics,but the Fed seems to be way too powerful,and to whose benefit?

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 15, 2010 8:17 AM


Wait a second. Several comments ago, you told me that Social Security and Medicare were not part of Federal spending. Now you're saying that's where the money is (and presenting the idea of entitlement spending being major part of the budget as something new, not what I already said). Are you sure you understand what the concept of "a budget" is? Or do you still insist that Social Security and Medicare are not part of the Federal government's spending?

And your restatement of my positions from my last comment is as inaccurate as your statements on World War II history and the operation of Social Security.

Posted by: Andrew at April 15, 2010 9:02 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.