Gemma: Absolutely No Reform to Social Security

Yesterday, Anthony Gemma made his well-telegraphed announcement. As Patrick notes, the announcement was very light on issue substance.
Thanks to the ProJo’s John Mulligan, however, we have at least one substantive morsel to gnaw on. Towards the end of Mulligan’s article in yesterday’s Providence Journal, which went to press before Mr. Gemma made his announcement, we learn about this fascinating and disturbing stance.

For good measure, Gemma embraces a Social Security policy to the left of most Democrats: “no changes, ever” in the tax or benefit structure as a means of ensuring the program’s long-term solvency.

Really? Even though, in 2010, social security began paying out more than it took in and, in 2036, social security benefits will be exhausted?
So Mr. Gemma will disregard the advice of the Treasury Secretary? (For the record, that’s not President Bush’s Treasury Secretary, but President Obama’s.)

“Social Security and Medicare benefits are secure today, but reform will be needed so they will be there for current and future retirees,” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told reporters at a Treasury Department news conference.
Geithner said the report underscores “the need to act sooner rather than later” to make reforms to entitlement programs.
“We should not wait for the Trust Funds to be exhausted to make the reforms necessary to protect our current and future retirees,” he said.

In light of the precarious financial condition of social security, is no reform to social security – “no changes, ever” – really a wise and sustainable goal, either as a fiscal policy or a political stance?

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Russ
Russ
10 years ago

Say, through what year are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq financed? In light of “precarious financial condition” of these occupations, perhaps we should call on candidates to propose their plans for spending cuts, er I mean, reforms. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Monique to answer that one.
Would that the right paid 1/2 as much attention to defense spending as they do programs like Social Security, which are financed for decades to come. Fascinating and disturbing, indeed, and a clue to what these folks really care about. Note that Social Security could still pay out 80% of the benefit even after 2036 when Monique says the funds will be “exhausted.” A concern, yes, but hardly the crisis these anti-social spending zealots would have you believe.
See “Social Security ‘Problem’ Doesn’t Exist”
http://www.moneynews.com/StreetTalk/Economist-Dean-Baker-Social/2011/07/05/id/402556

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Russ – As usual, your comment is based on logical fallacies. A lack of attention paid to military spending does not justify social security spending – in fact, it makes the problem more serious. Also, many of the contributors and commenters here have expressed concern over military spending, so to paint everyone with a broad brush is not intellectually honest.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Also, many of the contributors and commenters here have expressed concern over military spending…”
I don’t doubt there’s a few libertarians over here whose views are closer to mine than to these faux conservatives, but I can’t recall even a single diary on the subject of the need to cut military spending. Not an approved talking point, I suppose.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

I went back five years in the archive and could only find one diary on military spending, and that one asserted that Obama was an enemy of the US for suggesting we honor our nuclear treaty obligations by reducing our nuclear arsenal (estimated to cost $52 billion a year btw).

Max D
Max D
10 years ago

As usual, Russ strikes back with his same old crap theory that conservatives believe in overspending by the military and therefore allowing social security to fail is justified. You’ve been rebuffed before on this ludicrous justification. Time for some new material.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Hey Russ, write one up and ask Justin to post it for you.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“As usual, Russ strikes back with his same old crap theory that conservatives believe in overspending by the military and therefore allowing social security to fail is justified.”
Well, ignore what I said if you like. I made two simple points:
1. Social Security is not failing, although it will have a 20% shortfall in payouts in several decades if we don’t make adjustments;
2. The fact that many faux conservatives focus on minor issues with spending on social programs decades in the future while ignoring spending on everything else speaks volumes about their real concerns. I never suggested that conservatives believe in overspending. I suggested Monique is not a real conservative.
Patrick, I don’t need Justin to post anything for me. You do know I write on that other blog, yes? I’ve even posted on the topic of military spending before, but we didn’t load the old site content to the new platform so it’s no longer available.

Max D
Max D
10 years ago

“2. The fact that many faux conservatives focus on minor issues with spending on social programs decades in the future while ignoring spending on everything else speaks volumes about their real concerns. I never suggested that conservatives believe in overspending. I suggested Monique is not a real conservative.
Russ,
Minor issues with social spending??? Military spending was 19 percent of Federal spending in 2011. Social Security was 20 percent and Medicare and Medicaid was 23 percent. You call that minor spending issues? You’re so blind it’s not even funny anymore.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Sure, but you were just mentioning that you’d never seen a post on it, so that’s why I suggested you submit one and if Justin were to post it, then we’d have one.
I’m a believer in massive cuts to the military budget (and probably just about every other federal budget) but before I write it, I’d want to have some research on specifically what would get cut. Otherwise someone would take the “Washington Monument” defense and claim that I want to cut raises to the soldiers or something like that

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

“Military spending was 19 percent of Federal spending in 2011…”
Not sure why you think those percentages should mean anything. Are you arguing conservatives should ignore 20% of the budget? How about this, what percentage of military spending last year was funded vs. borrowed? What percentage of the debt is attributable to DOD spending? You don’t find it odd that it’s seldom if ever mentioned over here?
I won’t argue that medical expense is not a big concern, but that’s not what this diary is about.

Max D
Max D
10 years ago

Russ said:
“Not sure why you think those percentages should mean anything. Are you arguing conservatives should ignore 20% of the budget?”
The percentages are in response to your “minor issues with spending on social programs” comment. Those social programs were 51% of the Federal spending in 2011. The military was 19%. This thread was a discussion on Gemma’s lack of will to address Social Security. You tried to justify that point by accusing conservatives of ignoring military spending, although I’m not sure why, if you truly consider yourself a progressive, you would care to justify anything Gemma had to say. Very perplexing but I know you’re just playing the usual Russ game so I’ll leave it at that.

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

Is “playing the Russ game” the same as bringing facts and information to the discussion?

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Yes, when those “facts and information” are logically irrelevant to the discussion.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

And notably no one answered my questions about deficits and the military budge or the amount of debt attributable to DOD spending. Pay no attention, conservatives. Nothing to see here, conservatives. (I’m guessing a few of you know I’m right on this one)

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Russ-I opposed Iraq from the get go and I was in support of the Afghan campaign iinitially ,but it turned into another never ending morass like Vietnam.
Now I’d like to see out troops out of Sinai,Bosnia,Macedonia,Japan,and korea in addition to the aforementioned war zones.
I think North Korea can get one message:use your nuke and your country will be volcanic glass.We don’t need so many troops on the DMZ.

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