Tag: Deficit Commission

Senate’s Conrad Cashes Out

North Dakota “Democratic” Senator Kent Conrad, 62, has announced he is not going to run for re election in 2012. He is the current majority Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.   He is also on Agriculture Nutrition Forestry, Finance, and Indian Affairs committees.  Kent Conrad


Conrad said he would serve out his term.

“Although I will not seek re-election, my work is not done,” Conrad said in his statement. “I will continue to do my level best for both North Dakota and the nation.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

He says he’s going to spend his remaining time and energy trying to reduce the national debt and dependence on foreign oil.  And working on a Farm Bill.  http://www.valleynewslive.com/…

Senator Kent Conrad’s legacy will include recommending former OMB head Peter Orszag for his White House position early in the Obama administration (Orszag sharing Conrad’s curious blind spot on what drives the deficit, see more of that here: https://docudharma.com/diar…    ) , being a phony “deficit hawk,”  who couldn’t see anything wrong with increased military budgets and decreasing domestic needs being met, and opposing the Public Option during the Health Care reform legislative battle. Voting for reducing the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and for continuing the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest in Dec of 2010 during the Lame Duck Session.  http://www.thestate.com/2010/1…    Oh, and being part of that Democratic Senate Supermajority of 2009 That Didn’t Do Any Energy Policy, Global Climate Change,  or Tax Code Changes.  Other than a lot of stimulus money got earmarked for “research.”

Kent Conrad was also on the President Obama Deficit (“Catfood Commision”) Committee of 2010, which called for cuts in Medicare and Social Security.


“You know, a certain amount of this is shock therapy,” Conrad said. “There are different options and, of course, what everybody has fastened on is the most extreme of the options. But, look, the important thing for people to know is that we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. That’s utterly unsustainable. It can’t continue much longer, so it’s got to be dealt with.”



“Fundamentally, if we’re going to raise revenue, I don’t think the way to do it is to raise rates. I think the way to do it is to eliminate some of the loopholes that exist in the system,” the senator said.  

November 14, 2010.  Kent Conrad in an interview with Christiane Amanpour on “This Week” about the Deficit Commission

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek…

Social Security: Beyond Red and Blue

George Carlin said it bluntly a few years ago, and it was dismissed as comedy by more than a few who saw that it wasn’t – who saw that he he was using the comedic stage as a platform to deliver a serious warning, to pass on the truth as he saw it clearly:

They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations, they’ve long since bought and paid for the senate, the congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear.

They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else.

But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting f*cked by a system that threw them overboard 30 f*ckin’ years ago. They don’t want that.

You know what they want? They want obedient workers – obedient workers – people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.

And now they’re coming for your social security money.

They want your f*ckin’ retirement money. They want it back. So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street.

Carlin was a unique talent – he had a stage presence that was fun to listen to and he had a way with phrasing and delivery that made the depressing message he had to pass on a little easier to swallow than dry facts would have.

Entice the Rich and Scrap the Cap

Cross-posted at DailyKos.

Doing away with the cap on Social Security tax would allow the Social Security trust fund to continue in the black indefinitely and the nation would never need to confront the fact that this peoples’ trust is the one debt elected officials don’t want to pay. It could also raise benefits and there might even be enough left over to lower instead of raise the retirement age.

But with the direction of the national debate, getting high income Americans to pay on a larger portion or their entire income is a pipe dream. I would like to point out a diary written by fake consultant, Social Security: If The Rich Paid Taxes Like You And Me…Problem Solved.

A diary not about the more sensible but unobtainable goal of getting the rich to pay in support of the rest of the nation. Instead of removing the tax cap to support the middle class, remove the cap and increase the benefit schedule. This does not shore up Social Security as much but it could get another class of people interested, people with influence.      

Jan Schakowsky on the PBS NewsHour

Posted last night at DailyKos and Stars Hollow Gazette.

It was so good to see a bit of reality from an elected official. Last week Chris Bowers presented Jan Schakowsky’s deficit reduction plan and last night she spoke up on the TV.

You can find the transcript here. The interview is really worth viewing and really worth passing around. A proposal that says we don’t have to go after the middle and lower classes and should go after the rich coming from an elected official was refreshing.

But will anybody else ever hear Rep. Jan Schakowsky?

The Last Refuge of Failed Economic Empires and Banana Republics

Laura Flanders of GRITtv.org talks with economist & Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington Dean Baker about the Obama Administration deficit commission‘s recommendations for massive cuts across the budget, most significantly to Social Security and health care programs, and with UK journalist Laurie Penny about the growing street protests in London last week. Flanders also talks here with Susan Leal, co-author of the new book Running Out of Water and about the corporate push to privatize water:

“It’s the wrong answer to not a problem,” says Dean Baker of the report out last week from the leaders of Obama’s deficit commission, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. The report, which recommends massive cuts across the budget, most significantly to Social Security and health care programs, has been roundly criticized by progressives for its targeting, but Dean notes that the biggest problem with it is that without the health care crisis we still have, we wouldn’t have deficits in the first place.

He joins us via Skype from Washington, D.C. to talk about the commission, the latest action by the Fed, and what can really be done to balance the budget–and why we should be much more focused on creating jobs and really reforming health care than on slashing programs that benefit us all.

“It’s fair to smash up someone’s future but not to smash up someone’s lobby,” notes UK journalist Laurie Penny of the student protests in London last week, now being branded as “violent” and “out of control.” Aside from one person who dropped a fire extinguisher off a building, she points out, the protests were free of violence against people, and property damage needs to be put in the proper perspective.

Laurie joins us via Skype from London, where she attended the protests and covered them for The New Statesman, where she is a columnist, to provide some perspective on misunderstood events–and to fill us in on why they’re said to be only the beginning.

“We’re on a collision course with our finite supply of water,” says Susan Leal, co-author of the new book Running Out of Water. It’s not just that the supply is limited, she notes, it’s our growing population, increased personal use, and climate change that are all playing into what journalist Anna Lenzer calls “the coming shock.”

Susan and Anna join us in studio to discuss water: why we’re limited, why privatization and drinking bottled water isn’t the solution, and why the problem has a better chance of being solved when people work together rather than have decisions imposed by private corporations.



GRITtv.org – November 15, 2010

Dean Baker, Laurie Penny, and the Coming Water Crisis

The Bonfire of the Insanities

Bobby Kennedy . . .

Whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children.  Whenever we do this, the whole nation is degraded.  Too often, we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force, too often, we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.

The degradation is far worse now than it was in the last year of Bobby Kennedy’s life.  Those who build their lives and careers on the shattered dreams of others control everything–the corporations, the banks, the media, the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and that presidency Obama has turned into a dream shattering ride into a firestorm.    

Welcome to Dresden.  

Welcome to the slaughterhouse of shattered dreams.

Where the only thing the votes of We the People determine is whether we burn or bleed to death.

Livestreaming the closed door debt commission pt. 2

Last week I livestreamed the first closed door meeting of the president’s fiscal commission. I did this out of frustration that we received no response to a letter that we sent from 81 organizations representing over 61 million Americans, asking that all the work of the commission be done in the open. Letters were also sent by Chairman John Conyers and Minority Leader Boehner asking for transparency.

Dan Froomkin sums up the problem with closed door meetings for the commission at the Huffington Post saying,

The move only heightens suspicion that rather than forging a national consensus on future spending priorities, the commission’s work will consist of backroom dealings in which members of the Washington aristocracy find high-minded excuses for cutting the social safety net.

You can watch the highlights of our previous livestream here

Billionaires for Social Insecurity Ask for Donations

Also posted at the Alliance for Retired Americans Blog

This week, Peter Peterson [net worth $2.8 billion] and his foundation convened a closed-door meeting of Wall Street billionaires and millionaires at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Building in D.C.

Peterson is a former CEO of Lehman Brothers and former chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He underwrites the foundation with his own money, and his agenda is not a secret.

Peterson says the coming retirement of baby boomers is a threat to the economy and the federal budget. He wants to see significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits, and would prefer a stream-lined process via a commission to implement these changes to “reduce the deficit.”

After taxpayers bailed out Wall Street for over $700 billion, Peterson is worried about the deficit. And, of course the real problem is… Social Security. (The problem certainly would not be recent tax cuts, unfunded wars, and billions of taxpayer dollars  squandered as bonuses to the very financial managers who brought the economy to near-ruin.)