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Old 10-25-2010, 06:47 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

Here is an interesting article I just read and I want to see what you all think about this. Are the facts in this article wrong or has the misinformation right-wing media been incredibly successful at making stuff up and presenting it as truth?

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/...s-they-go-vote
Quote:
Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

There are a number things the public "knows" as we head into the election that are just false. If people elect leaders based on false information, the things those leaders do in office will not be what the public expects or needs.

Here are eight of the biggest myths that are out there:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.

4) The stimulus didn't work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.

This stuff really matters.

If the public votes in a new Congress because a majority of voters think this one tripled the deficit, and as a result the new people follow the policies that actually tripled the deficit, the country could go broke.

If the public votes in a new Congress that rejects the idea of helping to create demand in the economy because they think it didn't work, then the new Congress could do things that cause a depression.

If the public votes in a new Congress because they think the health care reform will increase the deficit when it is actually projected to reduce the deficit, then the new Congress could repeal health care reform and thereby make the deficit worse. And on it goes.

Last edited by Rekna; 10-25-2010 at 07:41 AM..
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Source please.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Robert Gibbs, obviously.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It's some guy named Dave Johnson. Here is the original blog post. It has links.
Eight False Things The Public "Knows" Prior To Election Day | OurFuture.org

Now, are these things false or not?
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry I just added it. The source is Dave Johnson. Some of his points are subjective but most of them seem to be a listing of fact.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Okay, now that we've dogpiled onto the original blog post, are these eight things false or not?
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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No disrespect to Renka, but these talking points are so stupid, it doesn't even matter if they are false, or if Dan Johnson's version of them are true. If the boat is sinking, does it really matter which cannon blew which hole through your hull?
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cimarron29414 View Post
No disrespect to Renka, but these talking points are so stupid, it doesn't even matter if they are false, or if Dan Johnson's version of them are true. If the boat is sinking, does it really matter which cannon blew which hole through your hull?
It doesn't matter if they are true or not? That is laughable. It does matter if it is true. If the deficit is primarily due to the Bush and the Republicans then putting them back in power probably isn't a good idea. If health care is going to save us 200 billion dollars a year then repealing it isn't a good way to cut the deficit. Now can we please address if these points are true or not.

---------- Post added at 04:14 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:06 PM ----------

I'll start the analysis with a few of these:

Quote:
1) President Obama tripled the deficit.
Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.
This is a statement of fact and it should be easy to verify.

Quote:
2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy.
Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been.
The first half of this is a statement of fact and should be easy to verify. The second half is a prediction and is subjective and we could argue about it all day and in the end we will never know what might have happened.

Quote:
3) President Obama bailed out the banks.
Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama.
This is a statement of fact. The bailouts were passed by Bush and continued under Obama. Thus I'd say both of them should share in any blame or praise resulting from the bailouts.

Quote:
4) The stimulus didn't work.
Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.
This one is tough as it is an estimate not a fact. Also it doesn't take into account if the jobs created were worth the money.

Quote:
5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts.
Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.
Well this one is subjective I'd say there is a lot of logic in it. Employment is primarily driven by demand. I do not believe tax cuts would significantly increase that demand unless they are tax cuts directed at purchasing (ie tax rebates).


Quote:
6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion.
Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.
This is again a prediction and we won't know until the end of the year if we spent more or less on health care.
Quote:
7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.
Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.
This is true, social security only recently went in the red and could easily get in the green again. Though I do think we need to consider incentives to keep people working longer.

Quote:
8) Government spending takes money out of the economy.
Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.
Government money only takes money out of the economy if it is being spent outside the US, Let's say on a couple wars....
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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7 posts in and we've already arrived at the point I intended to make - 'truth' isn't a primary concern in politics. Most people are solidly decided on what they believe, and rationalize it with points like Rekna addressed. Whether those things are truth is really only a secondary concern, since they are only rationalizations.

I'd much prefer we waged war with facts instead of preconceptions rationalized by 'facts'. I'm more concerned with the truth then who it hurts. Thanks for sharing this Rekna, but I think the people most influenced by these things they 'know' will receive this with dead ears.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Truth has become the first causality of politics since, well since the first vote was ever casts.
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Old 10-25-2010, 08:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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i dont see the current levels of disinformation as a function of any "natural" process.
it is a function of a deliberate politics. this is what the conservative media apparatus does. that's it's stock in trade----it produces and repeats and provides velocity to and for this kind of politicized infotainment.

which is in this case a direct extension of the strategy developed by the right to enable it to run against its own record.

what the right is concerned with, really, judging from pretty much everything, is holding power. it is an end in itself.

the bush people left the republicans in a pretty shitty position at the end of its debacle of a period in office. apparently the decision got taken---let's pretend we're not the republicans exactly. and let's assume that people's memory really is the length of the last news cycle. and let's assume that people believe what they want to from within a range of prefabricated options. so by extension that politics is a consumer matter.

these statements circulate. everyone knows someone who believes one or more of them. they're mostly the sort of horseshit that the talking heads at fox or am radio pundits use alot. everyone knows they're out there.

the problem with the article, i suppose, is that it talks in terms of belief. what that opens up is the possibility for any given conservative to point at any one of the statements and say "i don't believe that" from which presumably it'd be possible to say "therefore everything is false."

which is unfortunate, giving an out like that.


paul krugman addresses much the same problem in todays ny times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/25/op...rugman.html?hp
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:16 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Well, I can address at least one of those truths. I recently received a letter from the SSA informing me (among other things) that I should start planning for my own retirement because by the time I'm eligible to collect social security they're only going to be able to pay 76 cents per dollar owed. Whether or not the SSA is actually going broke they certainly believe that they are.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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No, no, no Hektore - Dan Johnson and Rekna say it's solvent, so it's solvent. As a matter of fact and according to these seers, SS is so black, it's actually GREEN! Undoubtedly, this is because of all of the environmental jobs created by Social Security.

You go spend that retirement money on hookers and blow. You won't need it.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:04 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Are you retiring more than 25 years from now, Hektore?
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cimarron29414 View Post
No, no, no Hektore - Dan Johnson and Rekna say it's solvent, so it's solvent. As a matter of fact and according to these seers, SS is so black, it's actually GREEN! Undoubtedly, this is because of all of the environmental jobs created by Social Security.

You go spend that retirement money on hookers and blow. You won't need it.
You seem to be ignoring facts once again. Is this something that you do often? Does honesty have any meaning to you? Do you know what the ninth commandment is? If you want to talk about people towing the party line maybe you should look in the mirror.

I didn't say it was solvent I said this is the first year in the red and it doesn't necessarily mean the end of the world is coming. There are many small steps that we can take to make it solvent.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:25 AM   #17 (permalink)
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This is true, social security only recently went in the red and could easily get in the green again. Though I do think we need to consider incentives to keep people working longer.
Forgive me if I don't take financial advice from the guy who believes the color code for balance sheets is red and green. So, you are correct - I am choosing to ignore the set of "facts" that Dan Johnson and you have laid out. I am also recommending that Hektore ignore those "facts" as well, and depend on private investment to secure a sound future for himself and his loved ones.

I do find the biblical reference curious, though.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:28 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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fantastic, cimmaron. so not only are you willing to repeat bogus "anti-statist" bits of libertarian nonsense as if they were fact without bothering with actual data, but you're also resistant to the possibility that this bogus infotainment is problematic.

clearly the problem with dialogue comes from those of us who characterize conservatives as conservatives. clearly.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton View Post
Are you retiring more than 25 years from now, Hektore?
No, I won't be eligible for retirement for more than 40 years.

Here is a copy of part of the letter I received:


The relevant portion:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSA
Unless action is taken soon to strengthen Social Security, in just 10 years we will begin paying more in benefits than we collect in taxes. Without changes, by 2040 the Social Security Trust Fund will be exhausted. By then the number of Americans 65 or older is expected to have doubled. There won't be enough younger people working to pay all of the benefits owed to those who are retiring. At that point there will be enough money to pay only about 74 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.
I suppose I should apologize for my misremembering. It's actually worse than I thought.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtherton View Post
Are you retiring more than 25 years from now, Hektore?

My daughter received a letter like that, more newsletter then letter. The date on hers was 2037. So if she retired after 2037, 27 years from now she'll get 760 dollars for every 1000 dollars due.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:10 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cimarron29414 View Post
Forgive me if I don't take financial advice from the guy who believes the color code for balance sheets is red and green. So, you are correct - I am choosing to ignore the set of "facts" that Dan Johnson and you have laid out. I am also recommending that Hektore ignore those "facts" as well, and depend on private investment to secure a sound future for himself and his loved ones.

I do find the biblical reference curious, though.
Thanks for making my point. You and others don't care about facts all you care about is points and how you can score them. If you don't believe truth is important why do you even both posting here? Seriously people like you (on both the left and right) are horrible for this nation and will do nothing but harm it in the end.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:30 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Sorry, roach, not playing. Hektore, you believe whomever you want.

---------- Post added at 03:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:23 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekna View Post
Thanks for making my point. You and others don't care about facts all you care about is points and how you can score them. If you don't believe truth is important why do you even both posting here? Seriously people like you (on both the left and right) are horrible for this nation and will do nothing but harm it in the end.
Yeah, Rekna, wouldn't it be just AWFUL if Hektore set aside a meagre 3.5% of his earnings in a private IRA and was a millionaire in 40 years? What a fucking prick I am for ruining this nation by giving that sort of advice!

Hookers and blow, Hektore. That Blackhawk helicoptor is just waiting to drop a metric shit-ton of cash on your lawn come retirement day.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:31 AM   #23 (permalink)
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There's a very easy fix for social security: raise the cap on taxable income. There's no reason why someone earning $60,000/year should have 100% of their income taxed for social security while someone earning $1 million/year has only about 10% of their income taxed for social security.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:43 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cimarron29414 View Post
Sorry, roach, not playing. Hektore, you believe whomever you want.

---------- Post added at 03:30 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:23 PM ----------



Yeah, Rekna, wouldn't it be just AWFUL if Hektore set aside a meagre 3.5% of his earnings in a private IRA and was a millionaire in 40 years? What a fucking prick I am for ruining this nation by giving that sort of advice!

Hookers and blow, Hektore. That Blackhawk helicoptor is just waiting to drop a metric shit-ton of cash on your lawn come retirement day.
When did this thread turn into what Hektore should do? I'm referring to the data presented in the OP. All I want is people to determine what is the truth, something that people are way to reluctant to do these days. Should Hektore invest money? Of course, everyone should. Social security is not a substitute for a retirement plan and it was never meant to be.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:48 AM   #25 (permalink)
 
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so the point of the article seems to have been made. which is not a great thing.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Social security is not a substitute for a retirement plan and it was never meant to be.
Rekna,

This might help. However, you might question the facts of the source.

Social Security history Frequently Asked Questions

question 4 is of interest.

Edit: Now that I re-read your point, I suppose you are technically correct - it was not a substitute for a retirement plan. Although, you still want to cling to the math that SS will exist in any form by the time Hektore ages another 40 years - something I am unwilling to believe as fact.

The original plan was to augment incomes for people who lived beyond the average expectancy. The problem today is that they have lowered that age, rather than raising it.

---------- Post added at 04:53 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:49 PM ----------

roach -

The article paints an incomplete picture of SS, and does so intentionally. If you view the timeline of the posts, I reacted negatively to Rekna saying SS has only not run in the "green" for one year - when in fact it has not run in the "black" eleven years (question 26 from SSA.gov above). So, I do find it amusing and reacted as such, especially since his entire thread is premised on the delivery of facts.

When, Hektore said, "wait, what about when I need it in 40 years?" - I made light of Rekna's obvious mistakes as well as Johnson's convenient change of the finish line to suit his needs. The fact is, the finish line is when Hektore and I need it, not when Johnson believes it has proven itself as a working system. The fact is the SS system is in unsustainable decline and can not deliver what it promises to the people that are paying into it (Hektore).

So, pointing out these facts as facts in regards to one of the eight points the writer makes does not mean that I am a destroyer of the nation, as Rekna says, or a giant dummy toting some party line, as you imply.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:18 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Rekna,
So, pointing out these facts as facts in regards to one of the eight points the writer makes does not mean that I am a destroyer of the nation, as Rekna says, or a giant dummy toting some party line, as you imply.
Poor form begets guff!

That being said: (Aug 5, 2010 Trustees Report Summary excerpt)
Quote:
Social Security expenditures are expected to exceed tax receipts this year for the first time since 1983. The projected deficit of $41 billion this year (excluding interest income) is attributable to the recession and to an expected $25 billion downward adjustment to 2010 income that corrects for excess payroll tax revenue credited to the trust funds in earlier years. This deficit is expected to shrink substantially for 2011 and to return to small surpluses for years 2012-2014 due to the improving economy. After 2014 deficits are expected to grow rapidly as the baby boom generation’s retirement causes the number of beneficiaries to grow substantially more rapidly than the number of covered workers. The annual deficits will be made up by redeeming trust fund assets in amounts less than interest earnings through 2024, and then by redeeming trust fund assets until reserves are exhausted in 2037, at which point tax income would be sufficient to pay about 75 percent of scheduled benefits through 2084.
Social Security won't crash and burn till 2084, at current rates. Given that is a golden cow, or whatever the phrase, you can safely assume it'll be shored up or one-upped at some point in the next seventy-four years.
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Old 10-28-2010, 04:30 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rekna View Post
When did this thread turn into what Hektore should do? I'm referring to the data presented in the OP. All I want is people to determine what is the truth, something that people are way to reluctant to do these days. Should Hektore invest money? Of course, everyone should. Social security is not a substitute for a retirement plan and it was never meant to be.
What I was trying to do was bring up important information about one of Mr. Johnson's stated facts. The phrase he uses when describing social security is "completely sound for the next 25 years". I have a bit of a problem with that, as his definition of 'completely sound' and my definition must be very different. Operating at a deficit so great as to burn through a multi-trillion dollar trust fun in 27 years is not something I would consider 'completely sound' but, apparently, as long as all the benefits are getting paid, then Mr. Johnson doesn't see any problems. It doesn't seem to concern him that a mere two years after his deadline social security is expected to have no savings and be unable to pay benefits that will be in excess of the revenues collected. The tight timing of his forecast forces me to be believe that this was done deliberately and Mr. Johnson is playing games with 'truth'. While it doesn't impact on the truth value of his other 7 points, he certainly isn't doing anything to help his credibility.
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Old 10-28-2010, 05:42 AM   #29 (permalink)
 
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so what you're saying here is that maybe one of the conservative talking points that have substituted for information is less completely horseshit than the others.

seems alot of work if that's all you're after.
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:08 AM   #30 (permalink)
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BTW, Hektore: If I'm elected President, I can guarantee you will not receive one penny from the federal government in retirement funds in 40 years.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:18 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roachboy View Post
so what you're saying here is that maybe one of the conservative talking points that have substituted for information is less completely horseshit than the others.

seems alot of work if that's all you're after.
err...yes, that's the short point.

The longer point, which isn't spelled out is that perhaps it isn't helpful to call someone a liar while spouting half-truths of your own. Mr. Johnson could be completely accurate in the rest of his evaluation but he had the opportunity to enlighten the crowd honestly about the state of social security and instead stuck his fingers in his ears and blew some figurative raspberries at the people who think that there are problems that ought to be addressed.

Damaging his own credibility isn't very helpful to the other points. Take the stimulus; maybe it helped, maybe it didn't, I don't know. I do know there is enough (mis)information floating around on both sides of the issue (everything from Obama's part in the stimulus makes him the King Savior of the all World to that useless tripe faux news spouts about the bill itself consuming babies for breakfast) that you can find a source to credit to support any position you'd like. If I think he's more interested in towing a partly line with half-truths, because it looks like that's what he's doing with something I do know a bit about, it makes me less inclined to take him seriously about the stimulus.

But hey, the point of the thread and the OP was to evaluate all the claims, feel free to show me how much the stimulus helped, I'm honestly very interested to know.
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Old 10-28-2010, 07:38 AM   #32 (permalink)
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While it doesn't impact on the truth value of his other 7 points, he certainly isn't doing anything to help his credibility.
Ha, definitely. It reads like it's framed to counter their framing, rather than for accuracy. Framing, as far as these kinds of techniques go, is like some kind of sorcery when you're using it to pound existing beliefs. He's not really espousing a commonly held notion, though, when not-so-subtly framing for [Huge thing; can't go broke]
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Old 10-28-2010, 08:42 AM   #33 (permalink)
 
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the information in 6 of the 7 point seems ok intuitively.
you think that the other point is perhaps overstated.
so the problem is some imaginary character defect in the author.

how quaint.

conservative argumentation. it makes me laugh.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:21 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Radd McCool - To counter whose framing? Dave Johnson wrote every word of that article.

rb - Article title is "8 false things..." You seem to concede that 25% of the items he listed aren't necessarily false...in a list of eight. The author couldn't be precise on eight things in an article rooted in the premise of bringing the truth? I'll brush off the jabs since your argument has been no better.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:42 AM   #35 (permalink)
 
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cimmaron, it's an impressionistic editorial piece taken from a blog.
if we're going to talk about a text, keeping the genre straight is kinda important. unless we want to encourage meaningless critiques.
which a prerogative, i suppose. i'd enjoy it in the way i like putting tacks into my hand.

the question isn't whether the counters are true, really: it's more whether the assessment is accurate of the conservative misinformation points that have crept out of the space of conservative misinformation and are confused with "facts"---i've heard people say most of these things. have you?

that seems to me about as far as one can go with this.

if you want to have a social security conversation, we could do it, but it'd require actual data rather than just the sort of infotainment that one could get sitting around in a publick house except without the beverages. but what's the point of sitting around a publick house if there aren't beverages to be had?

by which i mean that there is maybe an interesting other discussion about this to be had, because basic data and basic interpretations diverge quite considerably about social security and its sustainability. these divergences typically come down to restatements of premises. that's why this sort of "discussion" here is tedious--there's no pressure to demonstrate the premises so no pressure to expose why you interpret the information you have as you do---because there's no information.

it's like that, in my humble opinion.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:55 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Radd McCool - To counter whose framing?
Conservative framing. Specifically "going broke" and PONZI scheme. The definition of frame I've got is basically 'Cognitive Frame: A psychological device which offers perspective and manipulates salience to influence subsequent judgment.'
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #37 (permalink)
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the information in 6 of the 7 point seems ok intuitively.
you think that the other point is perhaps overstated.
so the problem is some imaginary character defect in the author.

how quaint.

conservative argumentation. it makes me laugh.
so...that I am failed to be convinced of the truth of something, about which I am admittedly ignorant, solely on the word of someone who was not completely honest with me about social security, something I am less ignorant of, is quaint. And makes my statement conservative, which in turn makes it laughable.

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Old 10-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #38 (permalink)
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How is "Ponzi scheme" a conservative framing? It's named after Charles Ponzi, the guy who took investors' money and used it to pay off previous investors. Will not social security use the money of current investors to pay off previous investors? Yes. Did SS know that the amount being taken from investors was not adequate based on their expected retirement draw to properly finance the plan - and that they would have to use other people's money to make good on their promise? Yes. Does the perpetrator of the plan benefit from its creation. Yes. If we can use cognitive framing of corporate personhood on one argument it's perfectly fair to have government personhood to explain the motivation (acquiring power) in creating entitlement programs.

I see you are uncomfortable that the venerated entitlement program parallels a popular fraud, but it is the very definition, not a cognitive framing.
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:00 AM   #39 (permalink)
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There is a superficial analogy between pyramid or Ponzi schemes and pay-as-you-go insurance programs in that in both money from later participants goes to pay the benefits of earlier participants. But that is where the similarity ends. A pay-as-you-go system can be visualized as a simple pipeline, with money from current contributors coming in the front end and money to current beneficiaries paid out the back end. As long as the amount of money coming in the front end of the pipe maintains a rough balance with the money paid out, the system can continue forever. There is no unsustainable progression driving the mechanism of a pay-as-you-go pension system, and so it is not a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.

If the demographics of the population were stable, then a pay-as-you-go system would not have demographically-driven financing ups and downs, and no thoughtful person would be tempted to compare it to a Ponzi arrangement. However, since population demographics tend to rise and fall, the balance in pay-as-you-go systems tends to rise and fall as well. This vulnerability to demographic ups and downs is one of the problems with pay-as-you-go financing. But this problem has nothing to do with Ponzi schemes or any other fraudulent form of financing; it is simply the nature of pay-as-you-go systems.
—U.S. Social Security Administration
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:09 AM   #40 (permalink)
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There is a superficial analogy between pyramid or Ponzi schemes and pay-as-you-go insurance programs in that in both money from later participants goes to pay the benefits of earlier participants. But that is where the similarity ends. A pay-as-you-go system can be visualized as a simple pipeline, with money from current contributors coming in the front end and money to current beneficiaries paid out the back end. As long as the amount of money coming in the front end of the pipe maintains a rough balance with the money paid out, the system can continue forever. There is no unsustainable progression driving the mechanism of a pay-as-you-go pension system, and so it is not a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.

If the demographics of the population were stable, then a pay-as-you-go system would not have demographically-driven financing ups and downs, and no thoughtful person would be tempted to compare it to a Ponzi arrangement. However, since population demographics tend to rise and fall, the balance in pay-as-you-go systems tends to rise and fall as well. This vulnerability to demographic ups and downs is one of the problems with pay-as-you-go financing. But this problem has nothing to do with Ponzi schemes or any other fraudulent form of financing; it is simply the nature of pay-as-you-go systems.
—U.S. Social Security Administration
By that very quote, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. The Social Security administration itself admits the trust fund runs out around 2038 and then they can't pay the promised benefits. 2038 is a long way from forever.

Sure, the government can fix this by either confiscating more taxpayer money or reducing payouts, but right now it fits the model of a Ponzi scheme.
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