Republicans Have Been Deceived by a Satanist

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Eugene Shubert, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Eugene Shubert Valued Senior Member

    Noam Chomsky says that Social Security is extraordinarily cost-effective and that the reason that Republicans fight against it is that they hate the message of solidarity it in, that we should care if the widow across town has enough food to eat. Naturally, I provide many Chomsky videos in my exposition on the three demons' messages:
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  3. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    right social security is a ponzi scheme. and the new deal lengthened the depression, there are aliens at area 51 and Elvis never did no drugs. when say stupid shit like this and than wonder why no one takes libertarians seriously. lets go with maybe because the movement lives in a fantasy world. the problem isn't big government vs small government but of good government vs bad government.
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  5. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    Social Security lacks the defining features of fraud and embezzlement which characterize Ponzi Schemes.

    Meanwhile, I note the total absence of actuarial analysis of Social Security's solvency in coming decades. While there is a gap between projected revenues and costs, it exists only in the long run and is not particularly severe (a haircut to the tune of 20% would result in Social Security being stable and covered indefinitely). Social Security is not particularly in danger, nor does it threaten to bankrupt the country or the government - the suggestion that it does is right-wing scare propaganda employed to distract from the ideological, culture-war motivations for the GOP assault on the safety net. I get that you're a libertarian, but it is still troubling to see you repeating that stuff.

    Instead of analysis, meanwhile, we get a lot of generic ideological bromides and scary analogies. Where is the data?

    You give no reason why that cannot continue. The USA is still rather sparsely populated, given how much space and arable land we have at our disposal. I see no reason that large scale immigration will not continue indefinitely. And I note that the GOP is not opposed to large-scale immigration by any means - they'll rage on about illegal immigration during campaign seasons, but the fact of the matter is that their business establishment supporters like illegal immigration. It's one of these wedge issues they use to fire up the base and then never do anything substantial about. And I've never even heard them so much as propose curtailing legal immigration.

    Japan also happens to be very densely populated to begin with. Japan has almost half of the population the USA does, in an area smaller than California. .

    This claim needs some further support.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Okay, I'll accept that. But government stupidity falls into the same category in my book. Besides, when my generation began contributing, all of our elders told us that the government was going to invest our FICA payroll deduction for us. With their knowhow and their much larger risk pool, they could invest it far more safely and profitably than we could. I call that "fraud and embezzlement," since no one from the government ever stepped forward to deny those widely repeated assertions.
    How many decades are you looking at? The entire world population will reach a maximum and then start decreasing in about 100 years. It will surely happen a lot sooner in the USA. That means that for a couple of generations every three working Americans will be supporting four retired Americans--that's a rough estimate but the basic phenomenon is untenable. Japan is very close to the tipping point right now, something like 2 working citizens supporting 1 retired citizen.
    I may be a member of a non-traditional party, but I have a degree in business with a minor in economics, and before that I took more math classes than most people. I understand this stuff and it scares the crap out of me. The way the U.S. government is going, run by a generation of innumerates who don't know the meaning of the word "compromise," in thirty years it will be exactly what people now call it in jest: the world's largest insurance company, guarded by the world's largest standing army.
    I guess I figured that by now the well-read, educated people on SciForums all know that the second derivative of the world population fell to zero in the early 1980s and is now negative. The aggregate birth rate of the entire species is falling, and by the end of the century it is universally predicted to drop below replacement level. There won't be any excess population in any other countries who need to emigrate. Sure, some of those countries are in bad shape and can't feed the people they have now, but they're changing rapidly. Every year there are fewer despots in power and more representative governments. Prosperity has been discovered to be the most effective contraceptive (people don't need twelve children so that two will survive, or so somebody will take care of them when they're older, or because there's nothing else to do at night when you're poor except procreate) and in places where the average family used to have twelve children they now have eight, where it was eight it's now six, etc. The poverty rate is falling faster than anyone predicted 25 years ago.

    Perhaps ca. 2100 when the human population begins to decrease for the first time in something like sixty thousand years, there will still be some destitute people left in Uruguay and Angola (or maybe Greece

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    ) and they'll migrate to America. But that won't last long before they're all here, replacing a native-born population that's dying off faster than it refreshes itself.
  8. Eugene Shubert Valued Senior Member

  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    I don't really accept that there is, or ever was, anything unclear or misrepresented about the structure of Social Security. The Trust Fund and all the details about it have been a major Presidential campaign issue repeatedly in the recent past. Moreover, I'm not going to answer to weasel words: if you can establish that there was some genuine campaign of deception or that people are generally in the dark on this, that's one thing. But you seem to be simply addressing a canard, and a GOP talking point at that.


    I would say that the opposite is the sure thing - the USA is very much underpopulated compared to most of the habitable places in the world. The median projections I've seen indicate continued population growth in the US well past 2100.

    That has more to do with population aging than population growth. I do think that we will need to gradually increase the age of eligibility for such programs as life expectancies (and, likewise, productive career spans) increase. That does not render the system untenable, unless by "the system" one means a retirement system that gets steadily more generous as life expectancies increase.

    Japan is also heavily overpopulated and so cannot grow at all.

    So, then, you are familiar with the following?

    The 2011 OASDI Trustees Report stated:

    Annual cost exceeded non-interest income in 2010 and is projected to continue to be larger throughout the remainder of the 75-year valuation period. Nevertheless, from 2010 through 2022, total trust fund income, including interest income, is more than is necessary to cover costs, so trust fund assets will continue to grow during that time period. Beginning in 2023, trust fund assets will diminish until they become exhausted in 2036. Non-interest income is projected to be sufficient to support expenditures at a level of 77 percent of scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion in 2036, and then to decline to 74 percent of scheduled benefits in 2085.[49]

    In 2007, the Social Security Trustees suggested that either the payroll tax could increase to 16.41 percent in 2041 and steadily increased to 17.60 percent in 2081 or a cut in benefits by 25 percent in 2041 and steadily increased to an overall cut of 30 percent in 2081.[50]

    The Social Security Administration projects that the demographic situation will stabilize. The cash flow deficit in the Social Security system will have leveled off as a share of the economy. This projection has come into question. Some demographers argue that life expectancy will improve more than projected by the Social Security Trustees, a development that would make solvency worse. Some economists believe future productivity growth will be higher than the current projections by the Social Security Trustees. In this case, the Social Security shortfall would be smaller than currently projected.

    Tables published by the government's National Center for Health Statistics show that life expectancy at birth was 47.3 years in 1900, rose to 68.2 by 1950 and reached 77.3 in 2002. The latest annual report of the Social Security trustees projects that life expectancy will increase just six years in the next seven decades, to 83 in 2075. A separate set of projections, by the Census Bureau, shows more rapid growth.
    ("Social Security Underestimates Future Life Spans, Critics Say"[51][dead link]) The Census Bureau projection is that the longer life spans projected for 2075 by the Social Security Administration will be reached in 2050. Other experts, however, think that the past gains in life expectancy cannot be repeated, and add that the adverse effect on the system's finances may be partly offset if health improvements induce people to stay in the workforce longer.​

    Positive population growth is still positive population growth - and your analysis here is totally neglecting productivity growth, which is a major factor in the finances of such programs. It's the total productivity of the population that needs to be able to support Social Security, not just the population size itself.

    I think you mischaracterize the reasons for migration. It's not all about destitute, overcrowded people fleeing for sunnier shores. A huge amount of it already comes from developed places with sub-replacement fertility rates like Western Europe.

    You seem to be missing the double-standard you are implying here: in developing countries, a falling birth rate is held to reflect increased productivity and is actually a net enhancement to the social safety net for the elderly. Yet when it comes to the USA, you focus solely on the birth rate, ignore productivity entirely, and assert that the social safety net is endangered.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The entire Western Hemisphere is underpopulated compared to the rest of the world, because until 1492 its only two civilizations were in the Bronze Age, growing slowly, and much of the region was still in the Stone Age. Canada, the USA, Mexico, Argentina and Chile have huge areas of farmland that is a breadbasket for the rest of the world. I'm sure the U.S. population will continue to grow at a modest rate even after the population of the planet as a whole begins to decrease and the world population density levels off. Poorer people will continue to improve their lot by the time-tested tactic of simply relocating to a place with a higher per-capita GDP, and earning themselves a piece of that pie.
    Indeed. When Bismarck initiated the concept of pensions, the majority of the population did not live long enough to qualify for one. Today, on the other hand, it's common for people to spend fully half as many years drawing a pension as they spent earning the money to finance it. Considering that today "work" for a huge segment of the population is defined as sitting comfortably at a desk, typing on a keyboard and reading a computer screen (exactly the same thing most of us do at home

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    ), one of the keys to fixing our retirement system is simply to work longer. I'm 68, drawing a pension and Social Security, and I'm still employed. I'm still contributing to both of those systems and in any case I'm hardly going to write to my Congressman and tell him to "fix" this, but retirement age should be a little less rigid, and take into account the health and abilities of the retirees. There are definitely plenty of people my age who simply can't work anymore, but there are just as definitely a huge number who can and do.
    Yes, although I haven't memorized the details. We have an incredibly slow-moving government (see my oft-posted characterization of a government as an organism and my litany of the ways in which organisms become slower, less responsive to external stimuli, and more focused on their own internal metabolism as their size increases) and I don't think a 75-year horizon is long enough to trust them. Americans are, after all, the people who knew damn well in the early 1970s that the software we were writing would still be running in 2000 (after having to throw it all out and rebuild it with every new computer generation up until then). Yet we refused to add two extra digits to the "year" field because it would be some other sucker's problem. We're doing the same thing with Social Security, and the irony is that many of the people who aren't giving it much thought will still be around in 75 years, hoping to collect.
    I don't think life expectancy at birth is the correct measure here. Life expectancy on the day one first begins contributing to Social Security would be more meaningful. I don't have all the tables bookmarked like you seem to, but I'm sure the life expectancy of a 20-year-old American is between 60 and 65 more years. There's a big mortality bump in late adolescence when road accidents, suicide, homicide and prescription medication overdose become four of the five leading causes of death.
    They plan to raise retirement age to 70. That means the average retiree will draw benefits for thirteen years instead of seven. That's a huge difference.
    That's a difficult prediction. We're making great strides in the prevention and treatment of disease, and the 21st century is predicted to see even greater strides--the "Century of Biology" as the 20th was the Century of Physics and the 19th the Century of Chemistry. Yet Americans are not healthier than they were 25 years ago. My generation does aerobics and gave up transfats, but our children (we don't have any but most people our age do) are finding new ways to beat the odds of long life.
    Good point. Every technological Paradigm Shift has leveraged the productivity of human labor by at least two orders of magnitude. The Agricultural Revolution created the first food surplus and turned the musclepower of non-human animals into a resource. Citybuilding created economies of scale and division of labor. Bronze and Iron metallurgy vastly increased the power of our stone and wooden tools. The Industrial Revolution turned the chemical energy in fossil fuels into kinetic energy, so 99% of the population was no longer needed in the food production and distribution industry. The Electronic Revolution (we still don't have a standard name for the Paradigm Shift we're living through) is automating virtually everything so soon most humans will be doing "knowledge work." They'll be working a ten-hour week and earning more money than we do in forty... and then they'll go home to build their own applications and create their own databases for entertainment, study, family activities, and surely other purposes that we can't imagine.
    In Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Washington, the three cities in which I've done most of my recent work, I'd say 95% of the immigrants are from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, about six African countries, several former Soviet republics, Russia itself, and Latin America. (Mexico has recently turned itself into a middle-class country so more Mexicans are moving home than coming here, and Brazil now has the world's sixth largest economy, but there are still several countries with high poverty rates.) I can't remember the last time I met an immigrant from Western Europe, although I know one American lady who emigrated to France--not an easily accomplished feat.
    Good point. Thanks for catching that. Although the way we coddle our failing Industrial Era corporations, it's not easy to see the increase in productivity. In Europe they let them die to be replaced by new companies with post-industrial ideas, but they also use government resources to retrain the jobless former employees so they can do the work needed by the high-tech companies.

    EDIT: Aha, here's the quote I was looking for, in yesterday's Washington Post. It's from Paul Samuelson, an advisor to JFK and LBJ, America's most influential economist when Medicare was on the drawing boards. In 1967 he wrote this in Newsweek:
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Meaningless verbosity, repetition, and an addiction to false analogies are not substitutes for intelligent thought and reason.
  12. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    You're probably looking in the wrong places. I know lots of immigrants from western Europe - they're all co-workers at high-tech engineering companies.

    Moreover, plenty of those immigrants from India and China come from the top of the socioeconomic ladders in their home countries. So, again, it's not all about destitute manual laborers.

    You seem to be thinking of a different Europe than the one I'm familiar with. The Europe I've dealt with is characterized by "national champion" companies that are effectively arms of the state.

    That quote is strange - he says it's "actuarially unsound," but then goes on to describe why it is sustainable. He describes it as a "Ponzi scheme," but fails to give any reason that it isn't sustainable (other than an end to population and productivity growth).

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