Social Security Cannot Go Broke

If you have looked at a news site in the past two days, you know that Social Security and Medicare are set to go broke in the next two decades, which is earlier than previously expected.

The unsurprising revelation comes from the Social Security Trustees’ annual report on the state of the government retirement and Medicare trust funds. Social Security is expected to exhaust its trust funds by the year 2033, three years earlier than last year’s projection. Medicare, while stable at the moment, will see its hospital insurance fund go broke by 2024. Social Security disability insurance, according to the report, is in the most trouble; its trust fund will be exhausted by 2016.

From the report:

Social Security and Medicare are the two largest federal programs, accounting for 36 percent of federal expenditures in fiscal year 2011. Both programs will experience cost growth substantially in excess of GDP growth in the coming decades due to aging of the population and, in the case of Medicare, growth in expenditures per beneficiary exceeding growth in per capita GDP. Through the mid-2030s, population aging caused by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement and lower-birth-rate generations entering employment will be the largest single factor causing costs to grow more rapidly than GDP. Thereafter, the primary factors will be population aging caused by increasing longevity and health care cost growth somewhat more rapid than GDP growth.

This is not breaking news. The social welfare program has long been in trouble. The increased number of retirees and decreasing number of working Americans are rendering the “pay-as-you-go” social welfare mammoth unsustainable. However, even when the fund runs dry, about three-quarters of currently scheduled benefits could be carried by the taxpayer for about 50 years, according to analysis.

Some people have called the Social Security program a Ponzi scheme for workers who will be nowhere near retirement age by 2033 and call for an “opt out” option that would allow working individuals to invest elsewhere the money taken from their checks for Social Security.

But, how then would the government fund the program?

The Federal government can print fiat money to infinity; it will always be able to pay Social Security no matter what the balance sheets say. By keeping the presses rolling, Federal officials could take the advice of one Forbes contributor who says he can fix the program for $49.99:

We’ll buy a really nice pen (that’s what costs $49.99), have one of those federal workers write “44 quadrillion dollars” on it [the Trust Fund balance], and put it in the drawer. By my calculations, this will keep Social Security solvent through 3575, plus granny will get a free lifetime supply of Werther’s Original. Entitlement crisis solved!

Or, we could just admit that the Trust Fund balance is arbitrary and bears no meaningful relationship to the government’s ability to pay Social Security benefits.

The Forbes writer’s plan essentially removes any initiative for Americans to work and save in an attempt to retire with more than just monthly government bread, because in the end they will have had their savings taxed through inflation.

Social Security is not going to go broke, despite the mainstream media’s effort to make the Nation believe it will; and whatever the “plans” to repair the social welfare system, they will quit working, saving Americans in the same place: the pocketbook.

Executive Order, Un-Constitutional Congress

The use of executive orders by Presidents of the United States is not new, but the nature of these orders has become more alarming and totalitarian than at any other point in the history of the United States.

On June 8, 1789, three months after being sworn in as President, George Washington issued a Presidential directive asking his chief officers to issue him reports “to impress me with a full, precise, and distinct general idea of the affairs of the United States” that they each handled. This is considered by many historians to be the first executive order.

Since then, Presidents have signed more than 13,592 executive orders. Some of them, called “proclamations,” are fairly innocuous. They created holidays, recognized individuals, etc. Other executive orders were downright tyrannical in the eyes of many.

In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which ordered Cherokee Indians off of the lands that they inhabited by order of previous treaties with the Federal government. The Cherokee fought the legislation and won in the Supreme Court (Worcester vs. Georgia, 1832) in a decision rendered by Justice John Marshall. But Andrew Jackson disagreed with the court, and famously said, “John Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it now if he can.” Thus began the Trail of Tears.

During the Civil War, and with the help of a rubber-stamp Congress, Abraham Lincoln (whose Administration actually coined the term “executive order”) used the power of executive orders to shut down newspapers, imprison dissenters and eviscerate the Bill of Rights, in order to ensure that the Federal government would always hold supreme command of the United States.

Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the highest number of executive orders, though many were related directly to World War II, including his decision to intern Japanese Americans living on the West Coast.

Bill Clinton was often criticized for over-using the executive order. Clinton’s most significant abuse of his executive powers took place in using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to designate millions of acres of Federal land as protected national monuments. He also declared many non-emergency emergencies.

During the George W. Bush years following 9/11, Americans became the victim of executive orders which created the Department of Homeland Security and a number of liberty-quashing initiatives. The Bush Administration, playing to a public terrified of the “axis of evil,” expanded Presidential power vastly, often subversively through Vice Presidential actions and unConstitutionally.

In a 2007 speech against this massive abuse of executive power, a young Senator from Illinois who had previously taught Constitutional Law classes said this: “It’s time to give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies the tools they need to track down and take out terrorists, while ensuring that their actions are subject to vigorous oversight that protects our freedom. So let me be perfectly clear: I have taught the Constitution, I understand the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution when I am President of the United States.”

Fast-forward to present, that young Senator, now President Barack Obama, is quickly shaping up to be a more unilateral President than his predecessor. A new report by The New York Times explains that Obama’s initiatives are less focused on issues that rip away privacy and liberty, and more on domestic social welfare issues.

When Republicans took control of Congress in 2010, Obama had no reason to worry with using his executive powers to increase spying and stealing liberty in the name of safety; most Republicans in Congress are completely happy to write bills that do just that. Obama’s problem has been GOP obstructionism in moving forward with growing the size of the Federal government and implementing socialistic welfare initiatives.

From The Times:

Mr. Obama has issued signing statements claiming a right to bypass a handful of constraints — rejecting as unconstitutional Congress’s attempt to prevent him from having White House “czars” on certain issues, for example. But for the most part, Mr. Obama’s increased unilateralism in domestic policy has relied on a different form of executive power than the sort that had led to heated debates during his predecessor’s administration: Mr. Bush’s frequent assertion of a right to override statutes on matters like surveillance and torture.

The U.S. Constitution has seemingly become null and void on all fronts as the President uses unilateral power to push his socialist initiatives and Congress pushes its own draconian “for your security” laws that are gleefully signed into law by the President. He has supported Bush-era assaults on liberty with no outcry from either his detractors or his devout supporters.

The Nation, in the words of Presidential candidate Ron Paul, has become an “elective dictatorship.” He said recently, “The drafters of the Constitution intended the default action of government to be inaction. Hopefully, this means actions taken by the government are necessary and proper. If federal laws or executive actions can’t be agreed upon constitutionally- which is to say legally- such laws or actions should be rejected… Sadly, previous administrations have set precedents that the current administration is only building upon. It is time for Congress to reassert itself and its constitutional role so that future administrations cannot continue on this dangerous path.”

It seems the political class of the Nation has two sides, with unConstitutional goals the same.

Michelle Obama, The White House Starlet

Michelle Obama is quite the ham. She has made cameo appearances on television about 44 times since her husband took office as the President of the United States.

It is not uncommon for modern first ladies to make television appearances — Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush both made appearances during their time in the White House — but Obama is the fitness-loving propaganda arm of her husband’s 2012 campaign.

Whether doing push-ups on “The Biggest Loser,” chatting with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” or appearing on children’s shows like “iCarley,” “Sesame Street” and Nickelodeon’s “Kids Choice Awards” alongside the likes of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, the first lady has been highly televised.

According to FOX News, Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center said Obama really is “off the charts” in the number of times she’s appeared in entertainment television cameos, even more so “than I dare say many big name actors and actresses.”

The first lady’s stated mission in appearing on so many television shows is to push her “Let’s Move” initiative and encourage Americans to exercise and eat healthy foods. Some people say she is also doing a great deal of campaigning.

“I think they have a great asset and they’re using it,” Schoen said. “At its core, there is an election in seven months and it helps.”

In light of recent criticisms about living a jet-setting lifestyle on the taxpayer dime, perhaps the first lady could get paid for her future cameos and put the money toward her Air Force One fuel costs.

The Collectivist War On Women And Everyone Else

Currently, the “war on women” and “war for women voters” memes are hot topics among the Nation’s news media as President Barack Obama and establishment-declared Republican front-runner Mitt Romney duke it out over women in America.

Obama and the Democratic Party often attempt to paint themselves as the women’s party, the minorities’ party and the protector of the underdog in the United States. At the same time, the party works to make the GOP appear to be the party of the affluent white male.

NPR pointed out last week that both Romney and Obama have distinct strategies for courting female voters: Obama’s focus remains heavily, and in traditional Democratic fashion, on “micro” issues — i.e., contraceptives or Republican disdain for Planned Parenthood — while Romney is focusing more broadly on the economy, jobs and how they affect American women.

Data from the Pew Research Center show that 66 percent of women aged 18 to 34 in the United States consider a fulfilling career high on their list of priorities in life, compared to 59 percent of men in the same age group. The data indicate what Pew describes as a shift in traditional male and female roles that has been occurring for decades.

Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen’s recent comment that Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife and a mother of five, had not “worked a day in her life” reignited the debate about women’s roles in the United States. According to some people, the focus of the discussion has been misguided. Rather than acknowledging that men and women both frequently take equal part in earning money and child rearing, political opportunists on both sides have muddied the issues.

With Democrats ramping up their “war on women” rhetoric and accusing Republicans of wanting women to avoid careers and with Republicans similarly accusing Democrats of hating stay-at-home mothers, a complex issue that is nearly impossible to view on a collectivist level is overly simplified for sound-bite politics.

Here are some issues that are largely disregarded:

  • Sometimes, stay-at-home parents are men.
  • There are a large number of non-working, single parents who rely on welfare as a primary source of income. Legislation aimed at helping them rejoin the workforce has been described as harmful to women’s rights to stay home and offer their children the best care.
  • Contention between women who pursue careers and those who choose to stay at home has been created by politicians and hyped by media to further other agendas.
  • Many families simply can’t afford the child care costs incurred when both parents are away from the home each day.
  • Some of the women/men earnings discrepancies are statistical fallacies. Contrary to what politicians and media say, women do not always earn less than men.

Both Obama and Romney have joined in using collectivism and political campaign rhetoric to create media hype around nonissues to take focus away from a terrible economy and the near-constant destruction of civil liberties in the United States by the political class. Perhaps women, and all Americans, would find a better advocate outside of the two-party paradigm in a candidate focused on the rights of individuals rather than groups — a rare commodity in the political world.

Panetta: U.S. Within An Inch Of Another War

The United States has been at war for more than a decade in the Middle East, and last week Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that every day it becomes more likely that the Nation will go to war with North Korea.

“We’re within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world,” Panetta said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, responding to a question about the threats in the Korean Peninsula. “And we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do.”

The Defense Secretary also said that charges from Republicans that President Barack Obama has been weak with regard to responding to foreign threats are unwarranted.

“I think it’s pretty clear this administration took a firm stand with regard to provocative behavior North Korea engaged in,” Panetta said. “We made clear they should not do it, and we condemned the action even though it was not successful.”

Panetta promised “worsened” relations between the U.S. and North Korea if the hermit kingdom attempts another nuclear test. The Defense Secretary also told the House Armed Services Committee last week that he believed China was aiding the country in its ballistic missile ambitions through “trade and technology exchanges.”

Along with the potential for conflict with North Korea, the U.S. remains threatened by Iran and Syria, Panetta said.

House Passes Sportsman-Friendly Bill

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the House passed legislation that makes it harder for areas to restrict hunting and fishing on public lands and ensures that lead will continue to be used in bullets and fishing tackle. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Republican sponsors of the bill say it is aimed at protecting American sportsmen, but Democrats have accused them of pandering to the gun lobby, calling the legislation unneeded because 85 percent of Federal land is already open to hunting.

The law requires Federal land managers to support hunting and fishing on Federal land, but allows them to close the areas for reasons of national security or fire safety. Upon doing so, they must submit a detailed report to Congress explaining the reasoning behind restrictions.

Anti-lead groups that have argued that lead poisons the environment are dealt a blow in the bill, as it blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring alternatives to lead be used in fishing tackle and ammunition.

Ted Nugent Will Be ‘Dead Or In Jail’ If Obama Re-Elected

Ted Nugent, The Motor City Madman, made headlines this week after giving Republican voters a spirited pep talk at the National Rifle Association’s convention about the need for change within the Federal government this November.

Whether or not you enjoy “Uncle Ted’s” music or agree with his politics, if you are liberty-minded, you likely agree with his feelings about the way the Federal government is treating the Constitution:

If you don’t know that our government is wiping its ass with the Constitution, you’re living under a rock someplace. And that there’s a dead soldier, an airman, a marine, a seaman, hero of the military that just got his legs blown off for the U.S. Constitution—and we got a President and Attorney General who doesn’t even like the Constitution. We’ve got four Supreme Court justices who don’t believe in the Constitution. Does everybody here know that four of the Supreme Court justices not only determined you don’t have the right to keep and bear arms, four Supreme Court justices signed their name to a declaration that Americans have no fundamental right to self-defense? That sounds like a stoned hippie. That doesn’t sound like a Supreme Court anything.

Nugent urged attendees to do everything in their power to convince people to vote for Mitt Romney and against President Barack Obama so that the United States does not become a “suburb of Indonesia.”  The musician-turned-conservative activist also promised that he will be “dead or in jail” this time next year if Obama is re-elected.

Nugent is being criticized by the liberal website Right Wing Watch for saying that in the spirit of Americans’ historical penchant for defiance against tyranny, voters should “ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Taxes Take Center Stage

Yesterday represented Tax Freedom Day in the United States, the day when the average American taxpayer has stopped working for the sole purpose of paying local, State and Federal taxes.

Republican Presidential contender Ron Paul took the opportunity to remind Americans of his dedication to undoing the U.S. tax system.

In a statement, Paul said:

My ultimate goal remains to repeal the 16th Amendment and end the tyranny of the IRS once and for all. Of the four men seeking the presidential nomination of one of the major parties — President Obama, Governor Romney, Speaker Gingrich, and myself — I am the only one who has consistently opposed increases in taxes and spending. I am also the only one who has consistently fought the Federal Reserve’s assault on the middle class’ standard of living. My campaign to Restore America Now is the clear choice for any American concerned about rolling back taxes, cutting spending, and curbing inflation.

Paul’s “Plan to Restore America” contains several tax provisions, it would:

  • Extend 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
  • Eliminate the individual income tax and the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent.
  • Get rid of the estate tax.
  • End taxes on personal savings and tips.
  • Eliminate the dividends and capital gains taxes.

Newt Gingrich’s “Jobs and Growth Plan” would:

  • Extend all 2001-2011 tax cuts that would otherwise expire in 2013.
  • Offer an optional alternative tax system, which would create a 15 percent flat tax rate and allow taxpayers to claim a standard $12,000 exemption for each individual and dependent.
  • Repeal the Federal estate tax.
  • Lower the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent.
  • Capital gains, dividends and interest income would not be taxable under the flat tax system.

Mitt Romney’s plan would:

  • Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.
  • Allow some provisions set by the 2009 stimulus act to expire, including the earned income tax credit.
  • Repeal the Federal estate tax.
  • Cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
  • Extend for one year the full expensing of capital expenditures.
  • Make the current research and experimentation credit permanent.
  • Allow a “tax holiday” for the repatriation of corporate profits from abroad.

On Monday, the Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s “Buffett Rule” that would raise taxes on those with incomes higher than $1 million. The plan had been denounced by all of the GOP candidates and conservatives as a whole as a wealth-redistribution scheme.

As Romney has been declared the inevitable GOP nominee by the establishment, many pundits have focused more heavily on the candidate’s tax proposals and how they will be implemented.

Romney has identified specific loopholes and deductions for the wealthy that he plans to eliminate in order to finance his tax cut and ensure that the Nation’s top earners face the same tax burden they do today.

“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said. “By virtue of doing that, we’ll get the same tax revenue, but we’ll have lower rates. The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses get to keep a larger share of what they’re earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business.”

To this point, he has been tight-lipped about the possibility of cutting Federal agencies to ease Americans’ tax burden. But a reporter recently overheard the candidate sounding much more like a conservative’s conservative at a closed-door fundraiser, according to MSNBC.

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

Michigan Lottery Winner Nabbed For Welfare Fraud

The Michigan woman who, despite hitting a $1 million jackpot, still felt entitled to food stamps has been charged with fraud.

Amanda Clayton, 25, continued to draw thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded food stamps after winning the Michigan Lottery “Make Me Rich” jackpot, according to reports. Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura D. Corrigan today announced that the Attorney General’s Criminal Division charged Clayton with two felony counts of welfare fraud after investigation revealed she failed to report her lottery winnings, as well as her employment, as required by State law governing public assistance programs.

“It’s simply common sense that million dollar lottery winners forfeit their right to public assistance,” said Schuette.  “We will continue to work with local, state and federal authorities to uphold state laws intended to ensure wise stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

Besides winning the jackpot, Clayton was employed while she was receiving the assistance from August 2010 to March 2012. It is alleged that income from Clayton’s employment during that time period was never reported.  From August 2011 through March 2012, Clayton allegedly collected approximately $5,475 in food and medical assistance benefits for which she would otherwise have been ineligible.

Clayton was arrested Monday.

Children’s Book Pushes Veganism

If one new children’s book makes it into your elementary-aged child’s school library, he or she may come home refusing to eat dinner because the food you have prepared has feelings too.

“Vegan is Love,” a children’s book set for release on April 24, encourages children to avoid animal products altogether, covering food, clothing and products tested on animals, according to The Daily Mail. The book was written by 29-year-old Los Angeles mother Ruby Roth, who is raising her child on a vegan diet.

A Kirkus review of the book says:

Presented in picture-book format, this nonfiction work features a different concept on each two-page spread. These concepts include clothing choices, animal testing and using animals in entertainment venues as well as eating habits, farming and environmental degradation. With each, Roth examines the impact of peoples’ choices on the Earth and the animals that live on it. Colorful, stylized paintings vary in subject matter, from cheerful organic farms to starving children, wounded animals and raw meat. The graphic nature of some of the pictures suggest that adults would be most comfortable sharing Roth’s message with older elementary children, a reality somewhat at odds with the appealing cover and brevity of the text. The lack of an index or print citations to specific information may leave readers wondering whether some of her sweeping statements are entirely (or still) correct, depending on when the book is read. Roth’s decision to ascribe emotion to animals may also leave some readers unconvinced.

 

 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will celebrate the launch of the book on May 5 at its Los Angeles headquarters. Some critics of the book say that it will scare impressionable children into unhealthy eating habits.