Monday, September 20, 2010

Beware the hermit crabs in the political class

THE LATE A.J. LIEBLING, the iconoclastic journalist and acerbic critic of newspapers, once described two Columbus papers housed under the same roof as "two hermit crabs living in the same shell." That also seems to be the crabby case now with the former Republican Party and its Tea Party proprietor that have been clawing the Obama Administration. In their meteoric rise, the TP's have shared time, space and manic attacks on their Democratic victims as well as bashing some of the programs that have been around for more than three-quarters of a century. For example, Social Security.

While many Republican pols find ways to lessen the political consequences of an all-out appeal for ending the program that has served countless millions of retirees, the Tea Partiers toss it into the same stew as, say, street cleaning or 4th of July fireworks. If it comes from the government (i.e., taxpayers) , it has got to go. Some of the very same pols even quietly deny that they are in accord with their Tea Party friends on all counts and that neither occupant of the shell really wants to deprive us of monthly Social Security payments. That's baloney, of course., that only the Fox News culture would have us believe.

I would excuse some Tea Partiers who only know what they heard from Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin. But if you want to know what they are really thinking, pay attention to Dick Armey, the former Texas congressman and bloated chairman of FreeomWorks, whose comfort zone is squarely in the Tea Party base. In an interview with ThinkProgress at a Tea Party rally in Chicago, Armey declared that Social Secruity was a "corrupt goverment practice" and a "pay-as-your-go Ponzi scheme."

Such damning seems to come easily for a person of Armey's means who would live very well, thank you, without those monthly checks. Trouble is, such calculated madness has taken root in a lot of people for whom Social Security, Medicare and other forms for federal assistance are literally keeping them alive these days. W hen the wealthiest among us pretend to empathize with folks living on the edge, what hope is there for a level playing field in this year's elections?


Bill Sloat said...

Hi Abe. It's "Glen" Beck. Still, a great piece.

Grumpy Abe said...

I promise not to forget it, Bill. Good to hear from you.

Bill Sloat said...

I added you to my blogroll at The Daily Bellwether. Now folks in Cincinnati and SW Ohio can learn of your wisdom.

Mencken said...

No it's Glenn with two "N's" unless that was a private joke.

Grumpy Abe said...

Mencken, he's just trying to get even for all of the misspelled words I had to correct in his copy even though he was a great reporter!

ChrisChristieFan84 said...

The problem is that social security is now paying out more than it takes in and is projected to go bankrupt by around 2040. For those of us in our 20's and 30's, we are currently paying into a system that probably won't be around when we reach retirement age. So you can see how someone might come to regard social security as a ponzi scheme. And yet here we have the Obama adminstration creating new government entitlement programs when we can't afford the ones we currently have.

Anyone that thinks we can continue with the status quo when it comes to social security is living in a liberal fantasy land. Benefits will eventually have to be cut in some fashion. Unfortunately, whenever Republicans make any attempt to introduce reforms to the program, they end up getting demagogued to death by the Democrats.

joe Hill said...


The only fantasy around here is the wasteland between your ears. As usual your positions are devoid of factual information or even a reasonably constructed argument. You are the type of fool that the wall street boys prey upon. One who would give up a guarantee in exchange for a maybe.

Mencken said...

So CCFan, what should we tell all these hard-working Americans in their 50's & 60's who are counting on SS in the coming years? Forget it because there may be a shortfall in 40 years?

And what would be done with all those folks who lost their asses in the market by being overly aggressive or reckless, or just plain unlucky if the system was privatized?

CCFan, you should be smart enough to know that the market is gamed by a very tiny group of investors. For the most part, the average investor is just cannon fodder for these Wall Street generals.

It wasn't liberals who created the market collapse, it was super wealthy Republican hedge fund managers who sucked the money out of system, collecting millions in commissions even as these firms & funds were collapsing from the Ponzi like schemes you seem so fond of mentioning.

Liberal programs are killing our future? Does the GWBush trillion dollar debt from Iraq & Afghanistan, borrowed from the Saudi's and Chinese bother you at all? Did you ever complain on a blog site about the $8 billion in cash that just disappeared in Iraq?
Did you ever lament the thousands of dead American soldiers, and tens of thousands of wounded that will need federally funded health care for the rest of their damaged lives?

I doubt it.

I think it's great that you care enough to voice your opinion. But really, educate yourself or go snark with your frat brothers somewhere else. It's adults only here and your bumper sticker grasp of the issues is getting tiresome.

ChrisChristieFan84 said...


I don't have to tell Americans in their 50's and 60's anything. They are going to get their social security benefits. It is the younger generation of Americans who are going to end up getting screwed. They are the ones paying into a system that will be bankrupt by the time they get to retirement age. The real question is: what would YOU tell THEM? And why should they have any faith in our government as it creates even more entitlement programs?

As for a partial privatization of social security, that is something that I would definitely support. First off, it would only be an elective option for those sophisticated enough to manage their funds. No one would be forced to participate. Second of all, how can anyone argue against giving Americans more control over their personal finances? I just don't understand the mentality that people are dumb and need government to manage every aspect of their lives.

The rest of your comments regarding Iraq and the stock market collapse have absolutely nothing to do with social security being insolvent. Listen Menchken, I am sure that you are a very intelligent person. I just get the feeling that maybe you aren't used to having your views challenged. Perhaps my responses will help you begin to think critically about some of your deeply held beliefs.

Mencken said...

Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but you are currently free to invest as much of your discretionary income as you care to, wherever and whenever you like.

My point about Iraq was simply to point out that if you were truly concerned about the government wasting a trillion dollars, then you should be consistent and admit that it was a colossal waste of taxpayers money.
I'll stand by my assertion that you've never thought critically about that aspect of government waste.

Never had my views challenged? More tunnel vision on your part.