Saturday, March 12, 2011

Guest Article: The Truth About Social Security

Et tu, Jack Lew?
By Charles Krauthammer - syndicated columnist.

"Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three - Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security - Social Security is the most solvable.

Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett's check gets redirected to a senior in need.

The relative ease of the fix is what makes the Obama administration's Social Security strategy so shocking. The new line from the White House is: no need to fix it because there is no problem. As Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew wrote in USA Today just a few weeks ago, the trust fund is solvent until 2037. Therefore, Social Security is now off the table in debt-reduction talks.

This claim is a breathtaking fraud.

The pretense is that a flush trust fund will pay retirees for the next 26 years. Lovely, except for one thing: The Social Security trust fund is a fiction.

If you don't believe me, listen to the OMB's own explanation (in the Clinton administration budget for fiscal 2000 under then-Director Jack Lew, the very same). The OMB explained that these trust fund "balances" are nothing more than a "bookkeeping" device. "They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits."

In other words, the Social Security trust fund contains - nothing. [my emphasis]

Here's why. When your FICA tax is taken out of your paycheck, it does not get squirreled away in some lockbox in West Virginia where it's kept until you and your contemporaries retire. Most goes out immediately to pay current retirees, and the rest (say, $100) goes to the U.S. Treasury - and is spent. On roads, bridges, national defense, public television, whatever - spent, gone.

In return for that $100, the Treasury sends the Social Security Administration a piece of paper that says: IOU $100. There are countless such pieces of paper in the lockbox. They are called "special issue" bonds.

Special they are: They are worthless. As the OMB explained, they are nothing more than "claims on the Treasury [i.e., promises] that, when redeemed [when you retire and are awaiting your check], will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures." That's what it means to have a so-called trust fund with no "real economic assets." When you retire, the "trust fund" will have to go to the Treasury for the money for your Social Security check.

Bottom line? The OMB again: "The existence of large trust fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the government's ability to pay benefits." No impact: The lockbox, the balances, the little pieces of paper, amount to nothing.

So that when Jack Lew tells you that there are trillions in this lockbox that keep the system solvent until 2037, he is perpetrating a fiction certified as such by his own OMB. What happens when you retire? Your Social Security will come out of the taxes and borrowing of that fiscal year.

Why is this a problem? Because as of 2010, the pay-as-you-go Social Security system is in the red. For decades it had been in the black, taking in more in FICA taxes than it sent out in Social Security benefits. The surplus, scooped up by the Treasury, reduced the federal debt by tens of billions. But demography is destiny. The ratio of workers to retirees is shrinking year by year. Instead of Social Security producing annual surpluses that reduce the federal deficit, it is now producing shortfalls that increase the federal deficit - $37 billion in 2010. It will only get worse as the baby boomers retire.

That's what makes this administration's claim that Social Security is solvent so cynical. The Republicans have said that their April budget will contain real entitlement reform. President Obama is preparing the ground to demagogue Social Security right through the 2012 elections. The ad writes itself: Those heartless Republicans don't just want to throw granny in the snow, they want to throw granny in the snow to solve a problem that doesn't even exist! Vote Obama.

On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia denounced Obama for lack of leadership on the debt. It's worse than that. Obama is showing leadership. With Lew's preposterous claim that Social Security is solvent for 26 years, Obama is preparing to lead the charge against entitlement reform as his ticket to reelection."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Confessions of the National Teachers Association

Union Contributions
As an ex-dues paying member (12 1/2 years) to the National Education Association (NEA), experience shows that the teacher's unions do NOT represent their respective memberships - especially at the national level. They never have! Teachers forced to "contribute" union dues. Teaching contracts all have a "closed shop" clause that mandates teachers pay into the union coffers like it or not. This is a compulsory condition for employment. You have no choice but to join the union and pay dues or go elsewhere. (Reminiscent from the movie the God Father - "I'll make you an offer you can't refuse...")

Union Representation
Consequently, teachers have no choice about whether they even want to pay the NEA any dues. Teachers also have no choice in directing union dues (or not) for political donations to campaigns. Union bosses ("leadership") decide who gets campaign donations and how much they receive. Teachers, have no say on this matter. In fact, it's quite the opposite. They're told by the union representatives how to vote and for whom to vote! That's dictatorial - not representative! AND, it's also the union way! (Taxation without representation - sound familiar?)

Words of NEA's Legal Council
If you have any doubts as to why teacher's unions exist, their motivations, and their reasoning, this should make it quite clear for you to understand. Here are the words quoted by a National Education Association legal council bragging about the NEA union at a national meeting:

"Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because we care about children, and it's not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child.

NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have POWER. [my emphasis] And, we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year

In Brief
Teachers unions - especially the National Education Association, have become nothing more than power-hungry entities who have considerable influence on National politics at the expense of the people who "Willingly" contribute their dues each year. This has to stop. This is corruption and power lust at its best.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest Article: Stay Out Of Libia

It's Their War, Not Ours
by Patrick J. Buchanan - syndicated columnist.

"Before the United States plunges into a third war in the Middle East, let us think this one through, as we did not the last two.

What would be the purpose of establishing a no-fly zone over Libya? According to advocates, to keep Moammar Gadhafi from using his air force to attack civilians.

But if Gadhafi uses tanks to crush the rebellion, as Nikita Khrushchev did in Hungary and the Chinese did in Tiananmen Square, would that be OK?

What is the moral distinction between using planes to kill rebels and running over them with tanks? Do we Americans just want to see a fair fight?

To establish a secure no-fly zone, we would have to bomb radar installations, anti-aircraft batteries, missile sites and airfields, and destroy the Libyan air force on the ground, to keep the skies secure for U.S. pilots.

These would be acts of war against a nation that has not attacked us. [my emphasis]

Where do we get the legal and moral right to do this? Has Congress, which alone has the power to declare war, authorized Barack Obama to attack Libya?

The president may respond to an attack on American territory or U.S. citizens, but Libya has not done that since Lockerbie, more than two decades ago.

Since that atrocity, George W. Bush and Condi Rice welcomed Gadhafi in from the cold, after he paid $10 million in blood money to the families of each of the Lockerbie victims.

What, then, is our present justification for attacking Libya?

The U.N. Security Council has not authorized military action against Libya. No NATO ally has been attacked. Why is Libya not a problem for the Arab League and the African Union, rather than the United States, 5,000 miles away?

Last week, the Senate whistled through a nonbinding resolution urging the creation of a no-fly zone. Call it the Sidra Gulf resolution.

But what are U.S. senators doing issuing blank checks for war eight years after George W. Bush cashed the last one to commit the historic blunder of invading Iraq? Do these people learn at all from history?

That war cost the Republican Party the Congress in 2006 and presidency in 2008. Far worse, it cost the country 40,000 dead and wounded, a trillion dollars, and the respect of hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims who saw the war as an imperial attempt to crush a nation that had done nothing to the United States.

Assume we attack Gadhafi's air defenses, and in the collateral damage are a dozen children -- like those kids collecting sticks on that hillside in Afghanistan -- and Al-Jazeera spreads footage of their dismembered bodies across the Middle East, as commentators rail, "The Americans are killing Muslims again, this time for Libya's oil." The pro-democracy demonstrations across the Middle East would instantly become anti-American riots.

If we destroy Gadhafi's air defenses, could we simply let the rebels and regime fight it out? If Libyans, seeing us intervene, rose up against Gadhafi, could we let them be massacred as Bush I let the tens of thousands of Shiites be massacred who rose up in 1991 against Saddam after Bush urged them to do so?

If we attack Libya, we could not let Gadhafi prevail and plot revenge attacks on U.S. airliners. Having wounded the snake, we would have to go in and kill it. And the interventionists know this, and this is what they are all about.

Never strike a king unless you kill him. In for a dime, in for a dollar. If we declare a no-fly zone, we have to attack Libya. And if we attack Libya, an act of war, we have to see that the war is won.

And after that victory, we could not wash our hands and walk away. We would have to ensure the new government was democratic and a model to the Muslim world, as we are trying to do in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Do we really want to adopt another Muslim country?

Don't start down a road the end of which you cannot see or do not know. There is no vital U.S. interest in whether Gadhafi wins or is deposed. We ought to stay out. This is their war, not ours.

Churchill once said: Take away this pudding, it has no theme.

What is the theme, where is the consistency in U.S. policy?

We backed the dictators Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, who were as autocratic as Gadhafi, whom we demand be deposed.

We support the dictator in Yemen, the absolute monarch in Saudi Arabia, the king in Bahrain, the sultan in Oman and the emir in Kuwait, but back pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran, though there have been more elections in Iran than in all those other nations put together.

America has taken a terrible beating for what she has done and tried and failed to do in that region for a decade.

Let the "world community" take the lead on this one.

Tell them, this time, the Yanks are not coming."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What To Do About America's Debt

Congress at Work
Last week Congress postponed shutting-down the government by writing a two week extension on government spending. Last year the Democratic controlled Congress didn't even create a working budget - they just borrowed and spent. Since last week, Congress has "negotiated" to come up with two deficit reducing proposals, as follows:

  • Democrats have proposed a total of $4,000,000,000 ($4 Billion) per year in spending cuts.

  • Republicans have proposed a total of $67,000,000,000 ($67 Billion) per year in cuts.
Wow, they seem to be really far apart in cuts - don't they?

Not really!

Our Current Debt
We currently owe $14.7 Trillion dollars. Both political parties are talking in BILLIONS - NOT TRILLIONS! Neither party is serious about making severe cuts in government spending. These facts bear them out. If the United States of America is to survive bankruptcy, we need to get down to large cuts in government spending. So far, Congress is counting "pennies."

Action To Take
They all need to hear from you. You need to let them all know that they have to begin cutting entitlements and paying special interests. They can start by defeating the bill to raise the national debt ceiling. Freeze it where it is and force the government to spend only what it takes in. If this closes the government, that's fine. What we bring in monthly, can support the essential government services like the military, Social Security and other true essential services. Why they could even shut-down Congress and save big bucks for a few months - Seriously! They don't seem to do much except spend what we don't have anyway!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tyranny is Here in the White House!

Tyranny Defined
Here is a brief definition of tyranny: An absolute ruler who governs without restrictions. Is this how Obama is behaving? It's time to look at the facts.

Constitutional Powers
The US Constitution says that only the Congress can pass laws in America. However, this President seems to think otherwise. He writes "Presidential Directives" and treats them as if Congress had enacted them as the law of the land. Obama passed a directive abolishing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The courts ruled against this. Obama IGNORED the court ruling by issuing another Presidential Directive to ban oil drilling. Obama wrote directives to give the EPA to regulate carbon and to the FCC to regulate the Internet.

It's Getting Worse
Yesterday President Obama wrote a directive that imprisons detainees at Guantanamo prison even if they have been acquitted of any crimes. How can he do this? This not only oversteps the powers granted to the President, but it tramples the US court system and justice in general. So if you are cleared of any war crimes or of Terrorism, he wants to be able to keep you in prison indefinitely.

Where did he get the idea that this is close to being legal? This is a perfect example of the President of the USA ABUSING HIS OFFICE! This should be considered "High Crimes and Misdemeanours." In plain words, he should be impeached for this action!

Action To Take
Let Congress know how you feel and stop this abuse of presumed Presidential "Power." Call for Obama's impeachment immediately.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pay It Forward...

Domino Effect
The domino effect is a chain reaction. It occurs when a small change (one domino is pushed over) and that causes a similar change nearby (the second domino fall over pushing the third). That in turn, causes another similar change, and so on, and so on, and so on.

OK, so what's this got to do with anything? Just wait...

Pay It Forward
Pay it forward is a concept that if someone does an unexpected good deed towards you, that you should repay the favor to someone else likewise. The idea is to help make the world a better place. So why not take this strategy and apply it to something else? The concept that an individual can and will make a difference does work using this strategy. You can, and it can make a difference in our government.

Here's How
As a single individual, it's hard to see how one person can make a difference when going up against a big establishment. It's not when you take a different perspective. What if the majority of the USA joined together towards a given cause? Wouldn't Congress respond in a positive way towards that effort? You bet! The Tea Party is a step in that direction. But we need more...

Most of Americans know that the USA is going bankrupt. Our country is drowning in debt and Congress is NOT acting in our best interests. We need to take drastic measures to prevent this disaster from happening. Right now our elected members of Congress are dragging their feet on spending cuts. They want to increase the national debt ceiling and prolong resolving the situation because this is the easy way out. They need a loud message from their constituents to force them into action.

Wouldn't you like to do something good to help this awful situation? Obama knows community organizing works. This is community organizing on a national stage. It begins with you.

You can start this effort going - just like a chain letter. You find two or three like-minded individuals like yourself. Tell them you want them to force Congress into action. Get them to commit to contacting two to three other like -minded people, and so on and so on... These are the dominoes. Have these individuals commit to contacting their national representatives. It's better to do this by email, phone, or fax because snail mail will be delayed a long time while the government "inspects" each letter for poisons and traces of anthrax. Have each individual demand that Congress STOP raising the debt ceiling and to live within their means. This will in-turn force Congress to start cutting spending. We don't care how, just start cutting.

Don't forget to choose a time frame for this activity. Say April 1st, 2011 (April Fool's Day). That's the deadline for contacting their representatives. They should all get the message about not raising the debt ceiling by April 1st. Make this a National message to all in Washington. The fact that you're reading this should make you a believer. Find two more like you and pass the message forward. Help SAVE America! Do it starting today.

The Weakest Link
It's easy to see that this strategy has a big flaw. If the individuals you contact do not fulfill their promise to follow through, this will never work. They have to be sincere to complete the task or the old axiom holds true:

United we stand, divided we fall...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barry's World

Obama's Closest Advisors

Obama's 2012 Logo

Obama's Foreign Policies

Public Employee Unions

Obama's Real Base