Washington Post: Work Till You Are Dead Or Iran Will Kill You Anyway

  very serious people

A "serious" policy analystListen you guys. We know that you were looking forward to retiring at 67, but we just can’t have that because if we do, Iran will get a nuclear weapon and blow us up. This is the ACTUAL ARGUMENT that “Security Analyst” Robert Kagan is making in the Washington Post, so do not laugh (yet) because this is apparently not meant to be funny. It is meant to be a Serious plea for us stupid liberals to be reasonable and compromise with John Boehner in the upcoming “fiscal cliff” negotiations, because if we don’t, Iranians will come kill us and it will be ALL OUR FAULT for refusing to eat cat food and to continue working till we are dead.

I am not an economist or a budget analyst, so I don’t presume to know exactly what a “grand bargain” should look like. It seems pretty obvious that a compromise will require both tax reform, including if necessary some tax increases, and entitlement reform, since those programs are the biggest driver of the fiscal crisis. What I do know, as a national security analyst, is that our continuing failure to address the crisis in a way that makes possible a return to stable economic growth has become a serious foreign policy problem.

He doesn’t know what a grand bargain should look like, but he know it should like something like less Medicare and less Social Security, so let’s just get that settled. Also, and we cannot stress this enough, Social Security is NOT A DRIVER OF THE DEFICIT. This is according to Bernie Sanders, Ronald Reagan, the AARP and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew. Social Security is not “broke” because we have been paying out more benefits than we take in, it is “broke” because the government borrows from it. Now, were we concerned for the future viability of the program, the government could borrow more money to pay it back, which won’t happen because we suddenly care about deficits now that a Democrat is in office. Or, we could raise the payroll cap from $110,000 to a million dollars. Perhaps that would satisfy the terrorists who want us to retire later, or live off cat food.

A principal victim in the absence of a deal to address the fiscal crisis has been and will continue to be the national security budget. Republicans and Democrats alike have been prepared to see hundreds of billions of dollars cut from the defense budget, with even more cuts coming if Congress fails to avoid the automatic “sequestration.” The already shrunken foreign-aid budget is also being cut at a time when, in the Middle East, for instance, we need to be spending more, not less, to support stable economies as the basis for democratic reform.

Given that the next paragraph talks about the tumultuous and uncertain results of the Arab Spring, we can only translate this to mean that we need to spend more to help Israel. Fun fact, we already pay about 20% of Israel’s military budget, maybe more, depending on whom you ask. Israelis enjoy universal health care and opportunities for free higher education but yeah, it seems only fair that we cut Medicare reimbursements and tighten our belts so that we can buy them more F-16s.

The present global economic and political order, which has provided the environment in which the United States has grown and prospered for decades, is built on and around American power and influence. Were the United States to cease playing its role in upholding this order, were we to retreat from East Asia or to back away from the challenge posed by a nuclear Iran, the result could only be global instability. From a purely economic perspective, it would be far more costly to restore order and stability — both essential to a prosperous global economy — than it would be to sustain it. Indeed, if there is no deal on the fiscal cliff and the long-term fiscal crisis because Republicans and Democrats won’t make a sensible compromise on raising revenue and reforming entitlements, and the result is further cuts in the defense and foreign affairs budgets, then the cost — including the dollar cost — could make the present budget arguments look absurdly petty.

In case you thought we were kidding in that opening paragraph: there it is. Retire later, Americans, or Iran will nuclear weaponize you and also terrorists. Remember that this week and next week, when you are called upon to just Be Reasonable and retire later in return for millionaires’ tip money.

[Washington Post]

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Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

View all articles by Kris E. Benson

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201 comments

    1. MARCdMan

      I think I had the Koch Spins this weekend, I woke up Sunday with an overwhelming urge to rollover my IRA into t-bills and bust a union.

  1. Come here a minute

    And as Paul Krugman splains with his handy chart, the people that need Social Security already had their increased life expectancies eaten up in the eighties.

    It would have been nice if the ACA had "Medicare for all" to prevent so much of the health care spending going to the middlemen, but somehow I don't think Mr. Kagan was calling for that.

    At least Mr. Kagan did a great job predicting what would happen after we invaded Iraq.

  2. ManchuCandidate

    It seems to me the biggest problems in US Amercia are Bajillionaires who believe it is good to cut taxes in times of WAHR and idiots who think that all those gold plated weapons systems and WAHRs they masturbate over come from the wahr fairy, and not actually paid for by the US Amercia taxpayer.

    1. WhatTheHolyHeck

      I'm going to apply for the position of Foreign Events editor, based on my experience of not being a former administration official, poli-sci major, or a journalist.

      1. boskolives

        Sorry, but not having any Generals in war zones that you've fucked recently on your resume indicates a lack of foreign affairs experience and makes us say, eh, no.

    2. Negropolis

      You'd have thought after the debacle that was Iraq that the fuckers would have ran as quickly as they could to the left. But, no, because that'd be too much like right.

    1. SmutBoffin

      You are receiving this notice because "BRING IT ON" is a registered trademark of George W. Bush Presidencies and its subsidiaries. We enjoin you to cease and desist use of this phrase IMMEDIATELY.

      If your behavior persists, we will be forced to take legal action against you.

      GOOD DAY AND GOD BLESS Y'ALL

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        "If your behavior persists, we will be forced to take legal action against you."

        Well, I guess that's better than a 500-lb daisy cutter delivered to my living room by B-2 bomber stationed out of White Man AFB, MO.

  3. OneDollarJuana

    The only solution for me is to join the Army, I guess. At least there is the potential for lots of identical-twin-sister booty.

  4. PsycWench

    Oh, I thought maybe they were going to recruit the guys who drink coffee at our local Hardee's all day to do volunteer sniping or something.

  5. James Michael Curley

    Just another reminder asshole. One F-22 taken off the shopping list can provide the Family Tri-Care Copay for every person in the military for years.

  6. Lascauxcaveman

    Let's see: I'm 52 (today is my B-Day!) I've got one daughter going to college next year, and another one five years after that… [gets out calculator/actuarial tables] …

    Yup, I'll be working 'til I'm dead anyway. Go ahead and nuke us, Iran.

    1. Jus_Wonderin

      HBD! I am in a similar boat. Well, okay, dingy. 53. My (only) daughter is out of college. I don't have one in reserve that will be going. And yet, I will also work until I am dead…or almost.

      Part of this is my lack of planning. Part of it is a divorce where the ex "wah, wah, couldn't contribute jack" to the college fund.

      I don't regret it but I am in overdrive to try to retire with my head held high.

    2. SmutBoffin

      You get to quit working when you die!? Lucky!

      A goodly portion of my afterlife will be spent catching up on emails.

      ****EDIT****
      Well, it's time to celebrate your birthday, it happens every year
      We'll eat a lot of broccoli and drink a lot of beer
      You should be good and happy that there's something you can eat
      A million people every day are starving in the street

      Your daddy's in the gutter with the wretched and the poor
      Your mama's in the kitchen with a can of Cycle Four
      There's garbage in the water
      There's poison in the sky
      I guess it won't be long before we're all gonna die

    3. MosesInvests

      Happy Birthday! 48 yesterday, here. One kid will be going to college in 2 years, the other in about 11 years. So I owe my soul to the company store, too.

    4. proudgrampa

      Happy Birthday, Lascaux!

      FWIW, I am 61 and put all three of my kids through college when I was in my 40s (it pays to start young). Because of that strategy, my retirement account isn't what it would have been otherwise.

      But I figure that the kids can support me because of those great jobs they have (heh!) so I'm gonna retire anyway, Iranian nukes be damned.

    5. BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Happy Birthday! I'm younger than you but plan to turn cannibal in my retirement/apocalypse.

    6. Nothingisamiss

      I know it's been said many times, many ways….MerryBirthday to you!

      (It's hard to come up with something original. But thatnks, your comments enrich my life. *sniff* Thanks.

  7. Botlrokit

    "…the result could only be global instability." Oh, yes, because everything seems so stable right now.

  8. Dr_Zoidberg

    And here I thought I was unimportant in the grand scheme of things! Little did I know that our foreign policy rests directly on my flabby shoulders.

    1. Sean O

      I can't be the only one who read that in Zoidberg's voice.

      Need a new foreign policy? Why not Zoidberg?

  9. BaldarTFlagass

    "entitlement reform, since those programs are the biggest driver of the fiscal crisis."

    Defense, also, too. I don't know if dude stopped getting his Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook back in 1988, but someone should tell him that the USSR is no more.

    1. Esteev

      "entitlement reform, since those programs are the biggest driver of the fiscal crisis. don't make me or my military contractor friends any money"

      Fiqst

  10. kittensdontlie

    I don’t presume to know exactly what a “grand bargain” should look like.

    It does look like he knows what they should taste like. (Although cameras typically add ten pounds to your jowls.)

    1. Jus_Wonderin

      Given that the Fiscal Cliff is neologism (construct) for the across-the-board cuts (referred to as budget sequestration)…let's take some boards and construct a very tall scaffold and then wall this clown off of that.

  11. Not_Mother

    Okay, so Barry landslid their asses but we're still going with the neocons ongoing world domination and homeland looting? Got it.

  12. SayItWithWookies

    You know what's great about this week as opposed to this time last week? I"m not the least bit worried that we're going to have a president who looks at some bedtime fairytale cooked up by Bill Kristol and a handful of defense contractors and think it's evidence of an imminent need to bomb the shit out of some country that doesn't fuckin' matter.

    1. BlueStateLibel

      Especially since it seems our top CIA guy and top general mainly spent their time in the last several years composing thousands of emails to women they'd like to bang. Security indeed.

  13. Lascauxcaveman

    I am not an economist or a budget analyst, so I don’t presume to know exactly what a “grand bargain” should look like. It seems pretty obvious that a compromise will require both tax reform, including if necessary some tax increases, and entitlement reform,

    No, but if you were an economist you know pretty much instantly that tax increases will pretty much do the trick. Get 'em up to where they were when Reagan was president and our "deficit problem" pretty much goes away over the long haul.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        Well, I'm not an economist, but I usually buy one at the airport newsstand when I travel somewhere.

          1. James Michael Curley

            When I was getting the print edition I would turn to the back page first thing to check it out.

    1. James Michael Curley

      Not even a long haul if taxes were at the highest rate from the Reagan era with all the money flow which would be taxed at Reagan's Capital Gains rate. The national debt will go down also.

      During this tedious period when Republican Mendacity will run rampant to definitions to remember.
      Deficit – The deficit is the difference between the money Government takes in, called receipts, and what the Government spends, called outlays, each year. Due to close out fiscal year 2013 at $944,743,000. It was $1,412,688,000 when Obama took office.
      National Debt – The total debt is accumulated deficits plus accumulated off-budget surpluses. The on-budget deficits require the U.S. Treasury to borrow money to raise cash needed to keep the Government operating selling securities like Treasury bills, notes, bonds and savings bonds to the public. Due to close out fiscal year 2013 at $17,547,936,000,000

  14. bikerlaureate

    Republicans and Democrats alike have been prepared to see hundreds of billions of dollars cut from the defense budget, with even more cuts coming if Congress fails to avoid the automatic “sequestration.”

    Lower budget = less world influence. Of course. What could be more obvious?

  15. tracyhasfun

    It's the hand blender of destiny, full-on to whip the RWNJ to a nice, white froth. Iran! Nukes! WELFARE! Jeebus!

  16. Chet Kincaid_

    "For the last time, we've got plenty of money and we don't need any more!! Now I've got to get back to my, uh, email," said General Allen, looking somewhat flushed, and typing furiously.

  17. smokefilledroommate

    We need to dispel the illusion that cuts to the national security budget really save us money.
    Well, you just admitted in an earlier paragraph that you weren't "an economist or a budget analyst", so, you know–grain of salt. Thanks for the disclaimer that I didn't fucking need anyway.

  18. Kid_Charlemagne

    Who still listens to this fat fuck? He has been wrong about pretty much everything he has ever prognosticated about.

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      "He has been wrong about pretty much everything he has ever prognosticated about."

      When your job is to tell Republicans what they want to hear, that's pretty much an expected occupational hazard.

  19. Tequila Mockingbird

    Ooh, you know what would be even better? If we eliminated the minimum wage and paid everyone what they were "worth"! Think of all the things I could buy with a buck-fiddy per hour!!!!!

  20. Geminisunmars

    This is totally OT, but I would like to nominate for the Nobel Peace Prize our fellow Wonketteer Weedlord Bonehitler for the amazing feat he pulled off: By keeping the odios moniker "Mittborg" for months and months he managed to singlehandedly defeat the Repubs. It should be noted that before that he had names that reflected the various flavor of the week during the Repub debates, and managed thereby to defeat them all, one by one. So — All Hail our very own Weedlord Bonehitler.

  21. BaldarTFlagass

    If this fucker is related to Elena Kagan, she should kick him in the balls next week at Thanksgiving.

  22. Goonemeritus

    I heard a reasonable argument that this approach saves very little actual money. It had to do with deferred medical treatment and other arcane bull-shit but it seemed reasonably scholarly. Any ho I plan to increase my red meat consumption and take up smoking so the joke will be on them.

  23. SmutBoffin

    BUTBUTBUT we NEED those shootin' planes to convince everyone else in the world we have large dicks!

  24. Chet Kincaid_

    "I'm not an economist or a budget analyst, but the film 'Team America: World Police' had a budget of roughly 30 million dollars. Now, imagine what it costs to re-make this picture with life-sized human beings on every street corner in the world — with no box office receipts to recoup!"

    1. Mumbletypeg

      Jindal shouldn't worry about the stupids in his party. What should worry him is the reasonably sane-in-other-arenas-of-life Repubs, like I've ascertained numerous Mumbletyfriends & -family to be, that inexplicably let themselves be swayed or dominated by teh stoopidz.

    2. Lascauxcaveman

      Bobby states the Obvious, to which I say, HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      Many very loud, vocal, prominent members your Republican party are already making noises about getting even stupider.

      So good luck with that, Bobby.

      1. Weedlord BonerHitler

        He doesn't seem to realize he is Brown in a very White party — one that just got kicked to the curb by another Brown recently, and is still smarting from the kicking. They're not gonna take kindly to this uppity PoS telling *them* what to do. Explosion in 5 … 4 … 3 …

    3. Defeatably_Joe

      Jindal has a point. The stupidz in the GOP are like a previously dormant, but presently unmonitored, volcano, which could erupt any day, but let's not waste tax dollars on seismologists or any nonsense like that.

  25. VodkaGoGo

    What's the big deal here? At the rate I'm saving I won't be able to afford to die until I'm at least 80 or so. Retirement is for liberal looters who borrow from our children's (read, bombs) future instead of working checkout at a Walmart and midnights at 7-11 until they're senile, like real Americans.

  26. StillGoinGreen

    We can't attack Iran – yet!! Who will be the enemy in the Red Dawn re-remake for our kids' kids?

  27. prommie

    My 401-K is worth pretty much exactly one-half what it would be worth if W Bush and the 2007 Bush Crash had not occurred. And hey waddayaknow, my fucking house lost $175,000 in value (and counting) since the W Bush economic collapse. The amazing thing is that as a direct result of W Bush, I am about $250,000 poorer than I would have been. In my circumstances, I am estimating this means I gotta work another 7 to 10 years before I can retire. I mean, 7 to 10 years longer than I would have had to work, not just another 7 to 10 years, so I am talking into my 70s. So, fuck giving up my retirement for to fend off Iranian hordes, I am afraid of having to give up my retirement if we ever elect another republican president. I know for a fact we just dodged a bullet, the first thing President Bain would have done is declare bankruptcy and steal our fucking pensions.

  28. Esteev

    a return to stable economic growth has become a serious foreign policy problem.

    Is Kagan admitting that cutting taxes during 11-years of war is a bad idea?

  29. BlueStateLibel

    WTF "Grand Bargain?" There's no "bargaining" when you lose, GOPeers. No, instead you show up at Appomattox Court House with your tail between your legs and take your medicine like men – or like reasonable facsimile of men in your case.

  30. GeorgiaBurning

    Less defense budget is less money for "policy consultants" and "security analysts". Kagan might have to get a real job.

  31. Chow Yun Flat

    .A principal victim in the absence of a deal to address the fiscal crisis has been and will continue to be the national security budget.

    And since that is the teat that Robert Kagan sucks it better stay filled with sweet, life giving mother's milk.

    1. prommie

      Long ago I was told that Ken-L Ration was the only one safe for humans to eat! And, you know, "my dog's bigger than your dog, my dog's bigger than yours. . . ."

  32. Chow Yun Flat

    The present global economic and political order, which has provided the environment in which the United States has been able to loot resources, exploit labor, destroy foreign domestic industries and which supplies stable, long-term employment for hacks and charlatans like Robert Kagan…

  33. Oblios_Cap

    The present global economic and political order, which has provided the environment in which the United States has grown and prospered for decades, is built on and around American power and influence.

    Actually, the shit we find ourselves dealing with these days is the result of this country throwing its weight around and bullying the rest of the world for so many decades.

  34. qwerty42

    I think we need a few dozen more aircraft carriers so we can name them after racist old southern segregationists. That and go to war with Iran. Then everything will come up roses.

  35. poorgradstudent

    Seeing someone involved with the military complain about how they're not getting enough because of the social safety net is just like seeing a fat, rich person demand that a homeless person give up a stale sandwich.

  36. StillGoinGreen

    Here in Texas, we "survived" the real estate bubble… if you count only losing $60 in equity on a $350k house survival (if you can find a buyer). Although our $350k here is $700-1M on the coasts. As for 401k, nobody survived that one. I am 45 and was ahead of pace to retire at 58 – now, I'm looking optimistically at 62-65, but realistically 68-70.

  37. Q_R_DeNameland

    I'm puzzled. I thought we were supposed to be all super excited about spending bazillions on Israel because Israel is a democracy. But they have universal health care, and so they are actually communists? So we should secede from them? Help!

  38. randcoolcatdaddy

    Touch my social security and you'll be probing to get a pitchfork and the sharpened teeth of my dentures out of your buttcrack.

  39. En_Buenora

    It will truly help our young people get jobs if all the older Americans have to hang onto them much, much longer, because, um, FREEDOM!

  40. Wile E. Quixote

    I'm willing to work until I'm dead if we institute a policy of immediately harvesting the organs of all neo-con policy wanks like Robert Kagan. Plus think of how much bio-diesel you could get from rendering his fat ass and the fat asses of everyone at Brookings, AEI, CEI, etc.

  41. AncienReggie

    If this guy/these douchnozzles really want to "reform entitlements" what they ought to do is jack the payments by about 100%. That way all the old and sick people could spend twice as much on cat food and ratty sweaters, which would be an actual boost for the economy. All the businesses that sell cat food and ratty sweaters would have to hire a bunch more people and then THOSE people could buy actual human food and pre-ratty sweaters … and the cycle of spreading prosperity could just go on and on and etc.

    This same benefit would accrue from giving lots more money to poor families with poor children,of course, except that group would make their economic contribution through buying shoes and school supplies!

    Is everybody happy? (No, of course not: Haters still all bummed that the misery index is dropping. But fuck them.)

  42. Woodshedding

    Was anybody else as dumb as me and somehow had a vague impression that once the election was over we'd stop hearing endless and utter INSANITY come out of the mouths of idiot republicans?

  43. Fuck Toad

    "the government borrows from it… the government could borrow more money to pay it back"

    No it doesn't. No it couldn't. Please please PLEASE read up on the structure of the Social Security system before parroting the right-wing line on this. (Did you notice your link here was to an advocate of privatization?)

    Social Security payments are made from the current year's Social Security tax. Any surplus collected is, by law, used to purchase (essentially) Treasury securities. This is intragovernmental debt — it's money the government owes itself. It's actually a huge part of our current federal debt.

    The federal government then goes on to spend that money on services like any other revenue. It could potentially sequester that revenue in a fund, but what would it invest it in? What form of savings is more reliable than Treasury securities? You can't just pile up money in a vault somewhere. So the government doesn't "borrow" from the Social Security Trust Fund — the government's debt IS the Social Security Trust Fund.

    The Social Security Trust Fund is not allowed to retain its surplus (how would it? the only stable way to save money is in government debt) nor is it able to sell those securities for any purpose other than covering current expenses. So no, the government can't "pay back" what it "borrowed" either — all it'd be doing is transferring its debt from the Social Security Trust Fund to the open market.

    Basically, when the Trust Fund was designed, it was understood that for a period of time the Social Security tax would collect more than the program needed to function. So they decided to 'save' the surplus as a legal obligation the US Government has to the program. The expectation now is that the US Government will pay for the program's deficit as long as the Trust Fund holds out — which is until the '30s or so. This means either transferring the debt to the market, raising revenue, or cutting spending.

    This gives us another 20 years or so to figure out how to adjust Social Security to make its long-run costs match its long-run revenue. To an extent, this happens automatically — after all, the Baby Boomers aren't going to live forever, and then the much smaller Generation X will be retiring and having their benefits paid by the somewhat larger generations that followed (such as mine). The point of the Trust Fund is to smooth over those troughs. However, we might need to adjust some aspects of the program to keep it solvent. We can increase or eliminate the payroll tax cap, or increase the payroll tax, or add a Social Security tax to other forms of income (like capital gains), or increase the retirement age, or reduce benefits. If we do nothing at all, the last option will automatically take effect: benefits will be reduced.

    In conclusion: ARGH, STOP SAYING THE GOVERNMENT LOOTED THE SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND IT'S NOT TRUE

    ETA: L@@K I made a SPREADSHEET: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AnwF

  44. GoodDogThor

    We can't touch the national security budget. Someone's gotta pay the per minute charge for all that military sexting.

  45. Negropolis

    I am not an economist or a budget analyst….

    [/endofthread]

    BTW, it's always about "upholding this order" isn't it? There is no debate allowed on whether "this order" is moral or right, and even if it is, where we could tweak it. No, our primary directive as a nation is to "uphold this order." Because. This not-so-curious adherence to giving deference to existing authority is a very dangerous worldview, and I'm glad we pushed most of Dubya's neo-cons and their thought out of this current administration.

    The military-industrial complex is hungry. It's always hungry. It will never be sated, and it's a the errand of a fool not to question it. I don't think many people truly appreciate the bullets we dodged in 2008 and 2012 with McCain and Romney. This beast would have eaten us alive.

    No, Kagan, we are not going to sacrifice on the altar of the complex our oldz and the future of our children because the military beast has no self-control, because the beast's stomach is a black hole.

    The beast is just gonna have to deal with it. No, you can not always have what you want. It's over, your motherfuckers. The Perpetual War Machine is being wound down and your asses just got beat for a second time in a row.

  46. aklibtard

    further fucking cuts in military spending?! What fucking cuts have they been making that they could be furthered? Unless spending more money on the military industrial complex actually means we're spending less money on it, then I think their increasing budget every god damn year means that there haven't been cuts.

  47. Biel_ze_Bubba

    You can have my job when you pry if from my cold, dead hands.

    ("Take This Job and Shove It" has been, er, retired as a working-class anthem.)

  48. ttommyunger

    So, what credentials are required to attain the lofty status of "National Security Analyst"? Oh, right: suck a Koch on demand.

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