Sunday, September 07, 2008

The "New" Culture War of McCain and Palin.

I'm glad I watched John McCain's speech on Thursday. I got to see the would-be president proclaim his commitment to bipartisanship and "reaching across the aisle. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, he almost had me going too. But then he proceeded to outline a policy that keeps the entrenched political power in Washington exactly where it is. Still the most obvious disclosure of McCain's fealty to party politics is his decision to run with the GOP's culture war meme. Despite their record on the issues, the Republican Party is still insisting that it represents "small-town" values. Implicit in that contention is the idea that there is just something about city people that's essentially wrong and Anti-American.

Even the surface details of the Republican convention were carefully constructed to deliver this point. The slogan "Country First" was an insidious appeal to our nation's townsfolk. It took me a while to figure out what that essentially meaningless phrase was meant to suggest. Yet all it really took is one look at the projected back-drop behind McCain as he was giving his nomination convention speech- waves and waves of endless corn flowing in the wind. You see- it's the folks in the country and in the small town that really "get it", according to the GOP. They represent values like community pride, marital fidelity, honest and hard work, pride and love for family. That's their profile, and the Republicans claim to be the sole representatives of them.

To hear this cynical strategy shoved behind its "innocent" shell is particularly offensive to any city-dweller. The Republicans would like to portray us all as baby-killing, decadent, elitist, criminal-coddling, drug-addled, communist sympathizers and neglectful parents. They would like to make America believe that "community pride, marital fidelity, honest and hard work, pride and love for family" aren't values that are universally professed no matter where one travels. But they obviously won't come out and accuse us directly. Instead they have the audacity to suggest that urbanites look down on small-towns for what we ostensibly see as these "redneck values". We are enthralled by the Ivy-League elites who have propagandized us.

After leveling these charges they go one step further by warning us not to underestimate the "ordinary folks" who are just like the candidates (Sarah Palin, George Bush, etc.) that they float for national office. Never mind the reality behind these carefully-manipulated public personae. The GOP has even made higher education seem like a bad thing. This anti-intellectualism is the end-result of the cultural war that many Republicans are trying to foment (and have been for decades). What's needed is simple "common sense".... faith in these party leaders and in their ability to transform our entire nation into the "Shining City on the Hill" that will provide all the world's saints and sinners a perfect role model. This is where the "family values" platform comes from- wedge issues like gun ownership, abortion and gay marriage.

The thing is that I believe that it is the GOP that is actually insulting small town citizens. They are assuming that they are so stupid that they will never be able to see behind the facade. They act as if country people are too "simple" to catch on that the Republican leadership never has any intention of addressing the wedge issues that they promise to "resolve", and every intention to save them in order to encourage future divisiveness. They are too "naive" to challenge the hype- the reality is that the GOP continues to be led by the oil industries and the military-industrial complex. They won't notice that McCain has initiated a campaign of change that employs Sarah Palin as his front-line warrior in this age-old culture war. And they certainly aren't expected to see through the Bush-like hypocrisy of putting Palin* in the projected new role of "energy independence chief".

But you know what? I think the Republicans are wrong. I think that there are people all throughout the United States (the small towns, the cities, the exurbs AND the suburbs) that will see through to the truth of the McCain/Palin ticket. I think they'll reject this GOP "Culture War".


*Sarah Palin freely promotes "Alaska-first" values, is committed to the interests of "Big Oil", and currently married to a BP employee of nearly two decades. Here's an idea- why doesn't McCain cut out the middleman (and the middle-woman) and just appoint a board of oil company executives? After all they have the kind of experience the GOP is touting in their VP candidate. Palin is completely unqualified to work on "energy independence", as she is inextricably linked to the oil industry.

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27 Comments:

Blogger Indigo Red said...

It's been a week and Sarah Palin is still here and getting stronger. Thanks for the negativity; it's helped alot.

1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's go back to the night of the Palin speach. I didn't catch everything, but I saw most of the speakers. It was a well constructed line up. I remember Carly Fiorina, ex head of Hewlett Packard spoke; I think she was followed by Meg Whitman, who led ebay in it's transformation from a start up into a "corporate giant" and then Rudy Guliani, the long term mayor of NYC talked and then Sarah Palin.

So, what was the common thread -- all these people were executives and non of them were from Washington and several were major figures in the private sector( you know the one that makes the money Washington plays with) The contrast was not between "small town America" and big cities. The former mayor of NY spoke as well two former major corporate executives, both of whom were women. In fact, the only major speaker who could have been called "small town was Sarah herself.

The contrast was between the "real world", and the world of Washington and academic experts. Meg Whitman didn't write papers about craeting jobs; she built a company that created thousands of jobs and helps millions of people earn income by selling things online. Rudy didn't talk about helping cities, he confronted running one and faced terror personaly when the towers fell-- almost on his head. Likewise, whatever one thinks about Sarah's opinion about abortion, one can see visible actions to back it up.

The contrast was between the real world and a vast and increasingly corrupt and distant Washington establishment.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

"The contrast was between the "real world", and the world of Washington and academic experts."

Gotta love anti-intellectualism. So you aren't a "man of ideas". That's fine. But to suggest that the Republicans who spoke at that convention were "real world" and distanced from the "increasingly corrupt and distant Washington establishment" is fucking ludicrous.

As far as Giuliani is concerned... yeah, he's a pragmatic genius alright. He's the guy who was leading the crowd in a chorus of "drill, baby drill". Yeah, that will solve our problems.

The GOP is singularly responsible for the fact that tax credits for companies investing in and actually building alternative energy (solar and wind power) have not been re-extended for the next year. That means development in the industry is frozen. Democrats have needed 60 votes to break the Republican filibuster on this issue. The last vote they had was 59 in favor. Where was McCain? He was somewhere in DC courting favors...a no-show for the 8th time on this issue. It's just partisan politics.

I thought the Republicans were supposed to be for encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and giving tax breaks to corporations to create jobs? Because of those that you are defending as "real world" doers, First Solar of Toledo Ohio is building their new facility (with 300 engineering jobs) in Germany, where they actually value being on the cutting edge of development. Meanwhile the Republicans are talking about drilling in Alaska, as if anything could stop the oil companies from doing so if they actually wanted to. Do you know how many acres and offshore drilling space they have to exploit, yet are choosing not to? No, you do not.

Because you have your head up your ass on this issue.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

If that's anti-intellectualism, then so be it.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There goes your idea again that the government "creates jobs".

Where did the government get the money to “create these jobs”, if not from taxpayers and businesses? So what one is seeing is the type of stuff one sees again and again in Pittsburgh with projects like the sports stadium or convention center. One clearly gets to see the jobs at the stadium but one can only only guess at the jobs lost or never created because of the taxes taken from the private sector. But one can get an idea of the success or failure of these ideas when one looks at the total unemployment rate.

"in Germany, where they actually value being on the cutting edge of development."

So let's look at how well they create jobs over there.

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/01/it-could-be-worse-we-could-have.html

"Germany's unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in 15 years in January. The jobless rate, adjusted for seasonal swings, dropped to 8.1%, the Federal Labor Agency in Nuremberg said today.

Comment: We haven't had an unemployment rate in the U.S. above 8% in almost a quarter century, since December of 1983 (see chart above, click to enlarge), following the longest post-WWII recession in U.S. history (16 months)."

They seem ecstatic to have gotten down to an 8% unemployment rate over there. For literally more than a decade the rate was hovering in the 10-12% range and it got over 15% which would be about what our worst numbers during the great depression were.

Let me bring up an early 19th century intellectual named Frederic Bastiat..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fr%C3%A9d%C3%A9ric_Bastiat

"[The socialists declare] that the state owes subsistence, well-being, and education to all its citizens; that it should be generous, charitable, involved in everything, devoted to everybody; ...that it should intervene directly to relieve all suffering, satisfy and anticipate all wants, furnish capital to all enterprises, enlightenment to all minds, balm for all wounds, asylums for all the unfortunate, and even aid to the point of shedding French blood, for all oppressed people on the face of the earth.

Who would not like to see all these benefits flow forth upon the world from the law, as from an inexhaustible source? ...But is it possible? ...Whence does [the state] draw those resources that it is urged to dispense by way of benefits to individuals? Is it not from the individuals themselves? How, then, can these resources be increased by passing through the hands of a parasitic and voracious intermediary. "

He goes on to deplore a condition in which everyone has their money thrown in a giant collective pot and then has to beg those in charge for some of it back.

“...Finally...we shall see the entire people transformed into petitioners. Landed property, agriculture, industry, commerce, shipping, industrial companies, all will bestir themselves to claim favors from the state. The public treasury will be literally pillaged. Everyone will have good reasons to prove that legal fraternity should be interpreted in this sense: "Let me have the benefits, and let others pay the costs." Everyone's effort will be directed toward snatching a scrap of fraternal privilege from the legislature. The suffering classes, although having the greatest claim, will not always have the greatest success."

12:41 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Anon,

Feel free to continue quoting your 19th century theorists. You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. When it suits you, you assume an anti-intellectual stance... then later you start your cut-and-paste responses of obscure philosophers.

Similarly, when you believe it suits your argument, you tout the benefits of privatization and corporate tax breaks. But when such values no longer work to support your argument, you drop them like a hot potato. You move like a bee and sting like a butterfly.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Steve,

"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach.

If that's anti-intellectualism, then so be it."

So what are your theories on education? Those who can were born with the ability? Sure...

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's look at the bio of Meg Whitman.

"Whitman was born in Long Island, New York, the daughter of Hendricks Hallett Whitman and Margaret (Goodhue) Whitman.[5][6] Whitman attended Cold Spring Harbor High School in Cold Spring Harbor, New York. She earned a Bachelor of Economics from Princeton University where she was a member of the student organization Business Today. She received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979.

"Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman[2] (born August 4, 1956)[3] was President and Chief Executive Officer of eBay from March 1998 to March 2008, when she stepped down from her role. She has been a director since March 1998, and continues to serve in that capacity. Ms. Whitman joined eBay when it was a small auction website with 30 employees and revenues of more than $4 million. According to Forbes magazine, Whitman was worth an estimated $1.4 billion in 2007."

It's not like she didn't go to school. The contrast is between who prove their ideas in the real world and are in touch with reality and those who are living in theoretical dream worlds seperated from it.

Why is Missouri known as the Show Me state?

6:38 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

anonymous,

Your wrote...

"The contrast is between who prove their ideas in the real world and are in touch with reality and those who are living in theoretical dream worlds seperated from it."

I find this distinction particularly ironic coming from a "libertarian" idealogue such as yourself.

But anyway... let's talk about your hero Meg Whitman. This Long Island-born billionaire certainly underscores the GOP's deception that they represent the "aw shucks" ordinary small-town folk they attempt to appeal to. I'm not going to venerate her because she's a free-agent, high-powered CEO. What exactly did she ever create? So you mentioned eBay- she presided over the largest virtual resale network in the world. Impressive. Let's model our entire economy on resale. "We don't manufacture anything, we just move it around. We're America's future!" What a "hero of industry" Ms. Whitman must be.

But what does she actually do in her capacity as corporate head? What ideas and philosophy does she profess to hold dearly? I don't know and you don't know.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, when she got her job Ebay had 30 emloyees and was a small venture capital (not government funded start up.

What dis she do?
What did Bill Gates, Jerry Yang and the founders of Google, Cisco Systems and companies like it do do? without them it's pretty unlikely you'd have a blog. Sorry, I know, Al Gore invented the internet.

I believe a lot of people have good jobs in these companies.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

It wasn't her idea. You have no idea whether she was indispensable to the growth of that company.

You still have yet to address the GOP's employment of the "small-town vs. city" meme. All you've done is re-imagined it and argued as if your creation was the original one promoted.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF!! The CEO of the company for the ten years from it's start up phase had nothing to do with the growth of the company.

Really, it's very reasonable assumption that she ahd a lot to do with it. As you said, you have no facts whatsoever to back up any claim to the contrary which would be pretty bizarre.

As far as the topic of your thread, it's basically bullshit. If the Republican's intended to push that kind of spin, why were almost all the speakers on the night of Palin's speach connected to the cosmopolitan world of business or the mayor of a major city? The consistant theme is anti Washington, "let's clean out the swamp etc..." There is also an attempt to paint Obama as a detached elitist intellectual.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

"As far as the topic of your thread, it's basically bullshit."

Then why don't you explain why the injection of Sarah Palin has "energized" the Republicans?

"And I think that the way that the Obama campaign came out and immediately attacked her from being from a town of 9,000, being the mayor of 9,000, was a major misstep, because it really played into the idea of them being elitist and out of touch with small town America, adding the bitter comments.

She is really speaking to that. She represents most of America, frankly. Most of America lives in small towns. And I think that that's very powerful."

-Kirsten Powers, New York Post, speaking of Sarah Palin on Fox News.

But maybe you think FOX is a bit biased. I understand...

Here... you don't have to trust my "bullshit". I know how much you love pop culture, like Paris Hilton and such... HERE's a link you'll enjoy.

"Sarah Palin's public persona is rooted in Small Town America, a place she took time to praise by quoting president Harry Truman: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity,'" she said, then added: "I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind."

and...

"For its fans, Small Town America is the heart of the country. It is the rose-tinted paintings of Norman Rockwell, neighbour helping neighbour, the farmer working hard by day and relaxing by night on his porch with family around him and Jesus at his shoulder. It is also the original article: Small towns were the first settlements, and, in the minds of millions, they resemble, more than the corrupted cities, the solid values of the first settlers."

LINK

-Quotes from "The Scotsmen". Apparently they heard it all the way across the Atlantic, while you had your head up your ass again.


OR...

"She is from a small town, with small town values, but that's not good enough for those folks who are attacking her and her family."

-Fred Thompson at the GOP Convention.

"Speaker after speaker at this week's Republican National Convention defended small towns from the perceived slights of urban elites. They talked of working people and ridiculed those with the time to become "community organizers."

-The L.A. Times, September 5th, 2008.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I think it is a statement on the natural born ability and charisma of the people that intellectuals deem as corporate marauders. If someone knows a subject well enough to teach it to college students and write meaningless papers, then people like you hold them in high regard. If someone knows a subject well enough to make a billion dollars doing it, then people like you characterize them as unethical, immoral, evil, exploiters, etc. College professors lean left, so you respect them. CEOs lean right, so you despise them. English professors are writers who couldn't get published. Business professors are entrepreneurs who couldn't run a company. Political Science professors are those who didn't have the personality to run for office. Theatre arts professors are those who weren't good enough actors make it on Broadway or in Hollywood. Art professors are those who aren't good enough to have their paintings recognized or valued. This is why these people are so bitter at the establishment, or people are actually successful at things they claim to be experts at.

10:45 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Steve,

I hardly know where to start picking apart this post.

Charisma? Yeah, Steve Forbes and Bill Gates are chock-full of charisma alright.

So now being able to teach and write knowledgeably on a subject is of no value? Don't you think you are being at least a little reactionary here?

You write...

"If someone knows a subject well enough to make a billion dollars doing it, then people like you characterize them as unethical, immoral, evil, exploiters, etc. College professors lean left, so you respect them. CEOs lean right, so you despise them."

This is just a string of flawed assumptions. I don't know who you think I am, but I can assure you that I have never assumed that just because someone is rich, that he/she is, "unethical, immoral, evil, exploiters, etc."

Neither do I respect all college professors and despise all CEO's. That's just a ludicrous accusation.

You are also fatally wrong about writers, artists, actors, entrepreneurs, politicians, etc.

Many successful men and women in these fields were educators- either before, during, or after their periods of success. In fact in most of these areas, you are almost guaranteed a position at a distinguished university after achieving success.

William Faulkner taught at the University of Virginia.

Robert Frost taught at Amherst.

Kurt Vonnegut taught at City College.

Jeff Goldblum teaches acting.

Henry Kissinger taught at Harvard.

Newt Gingrich taught college history before running for Congress.

That's a short list off the top of my head. You are woefully misinformed on this point.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous john morris said...

I know you will describe this point as off topic( like as in a thought that doesn't agree with yours) but lets's take a look at where the candidates are sending their kids to school.

It turns out that Sarah a Palin's kids are the only ones who attend public schools and she really is a PTA mom which no doubt resonates with the folks who don't have the cash to send their kids to private school.

Since Obama is such a fan of public schools, why arn't his kids going to them? Either, this Harvard educated couple are totally hypocritical elitists or they are educated enough to know about the how poor most public schools are.

"So it is with huge grief-filled disappointment that I discovered that the Obamas send their children to the University of Chicago Laboratory School (by 5th grade, tuition equals $20,286 a year). The school’s Web site quotes all that ridiculous John Dewey nonsense about developing character while, of course, isolating your children from the poor. A pox on them and, while we’re at it, a pox on John Dewey! I’m sick to death of those inspirational Dewey quotes littering the Web sites of $20,000-plus-a-year private schools, all those gentle duo-tone-photographed murmurings about “building critical thinking and fostering democratic citizenship” in their cherished students, living large on their $20,000-a-year island.

Meanwhile, Joseph Biden, the Amtrak senator, standing up boldly for the right to be a Roman Catholic, appears to have sent all three children to the lovely looking Archmere Academy in Delaware. Archmere’s Web site notes some public school districts allow Archmere students to use public school buses. Well, isn’t that great — your tax dollars at work in the great state of Delaware because with $18,000 a year in tuition, they can’t afford their own buses.

Then again, a spot of happy news for the Democrats: not only did John McCain’s four children attend elite private schools in Arizona, but collective donations to their children’s private schools between 2001 and 2006, totaled $500,000."

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/the-rantings-of-a-pta-mom/index.html

great stuff for a campaign ad

5:39 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Doesn't surprise me.

Palin had nothing to fear since she;s already prepared her children's schools with creationism in the science classes and abstinence-only sex education in health class. That's local control for you.

But back on topic- did you click on any of the links I helpfully provided you to discount your cries of "bullshit"?

6:24 PM  
Anonymous john morris said...

Perhaps or maybe I'm getting in the habit of not reading books or clicking links I think I don't agree with like you are.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Hey John,

Believe me, you don't have to convince me of your anti-intellectual, anti-academic position. You've already made yourself quite clear already in this very thread.

But anyway, you really ought to commit yourself to thinking through your accusations. Are you suggesting that I agreed with the fifty or so conservative blogs that I clicked on in the past week? Or what about my penchant for listening to Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Sean Hannity? I suppose I do that just to have my beliefs reinforced? Or listening to you drone on in the many conversations we have had- I guess we think alike then?

6:38 PM  
Anonymous john morris said...

For the record, I don't feel I made the claim that the McCain spin isn't directed towards small town America but I'm sure you know that most people in America live in or around urban areas. The McCain people know that too and it's highly unlikely he would be getting a bounce in the polls if he was only appealing to those voters. why did the Palin night have all these non small town types on?(By the way I watched that insulting but very funny link-- just the kind of humor that help Obama lose.)

What I consider B.S. is that it only clicks with those people. Something seems to be resonating with a much larger group of people and that something is the idea of Obama and Biden are Washington elitists, not in touch with reality.

One likely thing going on is that McCain's "tax and spend" ads are starting to hurt. People formerly enraptured by the long list of things Obama is promising are waking up to the idea that there might be a bill coming due. I don't think many believe that only the top 5% will be paying for this.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

John,

"For the record, I don't feel I made the claim that the McCain spin isn't directed towards small town America"

Well. It sure as hell sounded like you were saying it was "mostly bullshit". You can claim that they are just trying to set themselves against "corrupt Washington", but there is obviously a lot more subtext going on. I've experienced it personally while talking to conservatives. You're reading an entirely different message into it, but most people tuned in for the Palin speech. I don't know how much you actually get out... but I've seen it firsthand. Sarah Palin's the one that is responsible for the resurgence of the campaign. The base just tolerates guys like Giuliani and the others. Believe it... they aren't turning out for John McCain. He's merely a "weak sister" in this race.

I think this "we're just like y'all" bullshit is played out, and eventually people are going to see through it. They've had eight years of George W. Bush to ram the lesson home.

Eventually Palin is going to reveal herself as the lying sociopath that she actually is.

Meanwhile, I don't think tax-and-spend issues are that important in the Republican party anymore. They've abandoned the mantle of fiscal conservatism. No one's even talking about deficits and the national debt. McCain talks about pork barrel funding- but that's a very small part of the federal budget.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous john morris said...

"To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our callings and our creeds, as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four, give the earnings of fifteen of these to the government for their debts and daily expenses, and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes, have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account, but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816. ME 15:39

Really, I kind of feel sorry for Obama He's come to the party looking to have a bunch of fun and play the big man with other people's money just like all those white guys before him did but instead he's getting the trashed house and a whole bunch of credit card bills at least 53 trillion of them. What's worse is that more and more hidden bills keep on appearing.

Do you remember the organization called Lead or Leave? Well. nobody lead and nobody left.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_or_Leave

Sure right now we are the reserve currency but for how much longer? Did you know that The South Korean Government almost faced a run on it's currency because it held a lot of it's researves in bad Fannie and Freddie paper?(remember to delete this or place it where it won't be read)Foreign central banks don't appreciate crap like this and serious doubts are developing as to whether we are good for the money we owe.

How dumb do you think our creditors are? The issue of what happens to the country is mostly up to them now.

11:58 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

John,

Obviously I am concerned about deficit spending and the national debt. In fact, if you bothered to read the last post (which I assume you are attempting to respond to), you could see that's what I was talking about.

You claim to feel sorry for Obama, as you expect him to enter the presidency at a time when the nation is overwhelmed with debt. That's understandable. Eight years of the Bush administration and six years of GOP-led congress (of which, if your claims are to be believed, McCain was a leader)have compounded the problem to the level of a national crisis. That's why I have so much difficulty understanding why you are a McCain supporter. The last president to insist on a balanced budget was a Democrat. The GOP is addicted to debt as an engine for the ecomony.

How in the hell can you still hold on to the foolish belief that the Republicans (under a McCain/Palin leadership) will address this isssue? Their agenda has been clearly expressed, and mirrors exactly the Bush promises of 2000.

Bringing this back to the culture war meme- did you fall for the Bush/Cheney "We're just like y'all" line? Did you vote for Bush in 2000 and/or 2008?

The reason I ask is because, if you did, I'm trying to help you avoid repeating your mistake(s).

8:49 AM  
Anonymous john morris said...

Here's what Martin Feldstein wrote about Clinton's social security numbers in 1999.

( and yes I know, "I've highjacked your thread, because your thread is a total waste of time.) If you were slightly concerned about the issues and facts you would have opened up honest open threads on major issues like Energy (which you have sort of done), Government debt etc.. Instead we really have a list of meandering attack treads filled on non issues like do country folks hate city folks etc.)

http://www.nber.org/feldstein/wj020199.html

"To keep Social Security on track through 2055, the president arbitrarily transfers another $2.8 trillion--the remainder of the $4.5 trillion surplus--from the Treasury to the trust fund over the next 15 years. The president described this as equal to 62% of the projected budget surplus but it is not part of the surplus at all. The entire surplus is already spoken for by the new spending, the savings accounts and the automatic additions of Social Security surpluses to the trust fund. This $2.8 trillion is a completely new additional grant of money from the Treasury to the trust fund. The Treasury credits the Social Security account with $2.8 trillion and debits the governments general revenue account $2.8 trillion. This permits the trust fund to acquire $2.8 trillion in additional government bonds. Cashing in these bonds between 2032 and 2055 will pay for the projected benefits in those years. Magic!

The issue isnt just transferring money from general revenue to the trust fund. Its double-counting. The trust fund accumulates the $2.7 trillion of regular Social Security surpluses. The same $2.7 trillion is then counted again in the $4.5 trillion the president uses to finance his $2.8 trillion to Social Security. Thus the president raises the Social Security trust fund by $5.5 trillion while spending nearly $2 trillion on other things, all out of a total surplus of $4.5 trillion.

This amounts to the biggest and most creative budget sham Ive ever seen. If the government gave $2.8 trillion to private individuals, it would create $2.8 trillion of budget deficits, and the national debt would rise by $2.8 trillion. But since the Social Security trust fund is part of the government, this transfer of money (and the bonds that are bought with it) does not count as deficit or add to the national debt."

I know this can be hard to follow and I also have to admit to not being an expert on economics or accounting. But, as far as I know, very few people have rationally disputed the facts given.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

John,

You wrote...

"and yes I know, "I've highjacked your thread, because your thread is a total waste of time."

This is the kind of shit that I've been talking with you about. Why would you lead off with that? Why wouldn't you just state the facts and let me respond without that kind of smug and insulting introduction? And then you whine about being ignored?

10:02 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Now how about answering the question that I asked you, instead of trying to chuck-and-jive your way out of a response?

10:03 PM  
Anonymous john morris said...

No, I voted Libertarian.

Now getting back to what we were talking about. You are obviously falling for the false numbers put out by the media regarding the true national debt after Clinton left office. Any illusion of a decline in debt was mostly caused by the huge Social Security surpluses during Clinton's time in office. He spent this money but left people to believe there was a "trust fund"

Yes, you are very correct in saying that George Bush did the same thing to paper over his war debts and huge increases in discretionary spending, farm subsidies etc..

However, it is a total falsehood to claim that the Iraq war makes up the bulk of problem we are facing. Estimates are for about a trillion in costs related to the war and it's legacy. Estimates for his Prescription drug entitlement run at around 8 trillion.

11:14 PM  

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