jointhecommunistpartyOne of us! One of us!

We never thought we’d see the day, but the Atlantic, fresh off a story kind of blaming workers for killing a company already in bankruptcy, has published a piece decrying the unfair distribution of American riches and arguing that Job Creators should maybe cough up some tip money so Olds can see the doctor here and there.

This piece has been published just in time, because you may refer to it when you inevitably get into an argument about politics tomorrow with a loved one who wants Waitress Moms to sling hash until the age of 70 because “Americans are living longer” and “we can’t afford it” and whatnot.

But au contraire, we CAN afford it and also, welcome to the Liberal Elite, Atlantic, and also, some thoughts on why entitlements might be suddenly in need of “reform”…

…It’s a mistake to fixate on the federal government’s budget and ignore the aggregate budget of the American people. The federal government exists to serve the American people, not the other way around. The real question is whether we as a society can afford our current level of entitlement spending.

The answer is obviously yes.

So the real point isn’t that we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare. It’s that some people don’t want to pay the higher taxes necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. This is a question of distribution, pure and simple.

“Some people” *cough* job creators *cough* don’t want to pay higher taxes probably because it is their God-given right to pay something around 1% in taxes. If they feel like it. Anyway, we know we can afford entitlements because the Atlantic has provided us with a chart of the real per capita GDP as projected by the CBO:

So, in other words:

When people say that we can’t afford our entitlement programs, they’re really saying that rich people won’t pay the taxes necessary to sustain our entitlement programs. To be fair, many rich people probably would be willing to pay higher taxes if they knew the facts. But a small number of extremely rich people have successfully spread the myth that we can’t afford our entitlement programs.

Decades ago, Congress decided that anyone who worked for ten years, and his or her spouse, deserved a basic level of health insurance. If they deserved it then, there’s no reason they won’t deserve it in the future.

Your Wonkette agrees with the Atlantic’s James Kwack that Olds should be able to retire with dignity, and with health care. HOWEVER, we would just like to point out a few things. ¬†Kwack says that “decades ago, Congress decided that anyone who worked for ten years, and his or her spouse, deserved a basic level of health insurance.” But that’s not quite true! Kwack forgets that Social Security, when introduced, excluded women and nonwhites from eligibility, so it’s more realistic to say that “decades ago, Congress decided that any white man who worked for ten years deserved a basic level of insurance, along with his spouse.”

Of course, later race and gender barriers to entitlements were far less explicit. Between 1960 and 1980 when the full retirement age was 65, black men could theoretically qualify for benefits, but the average life expectancy of an African American male  was roughly 62 years old. So Blacks would pay into the program their entire lives and die before they could take any substantive advantage.

Then in the 1980s, when Black male life expectancy had finally increased to 65, it was decided that entitlements needed an overhaul and the age of full retirement was raised to 67.

Currently, Black male life expectancy is finally at 70, and what a SHOCK that Romney/Ryan would have raised the age of Medicare eligibility to 70.

Of course, this is just one big coincidence, and not the REAL reason why entitlements are in need of reform. No sir, the real reason has something to do with protecting job creators. And loving America.

[The Atlantic]

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  • Beetagger

    Wait, blacks get to retire?

  • memzilla

    Funny how it's only white asshats born with a sense of entitlement who say the country can't afford entitlements.

    • Terry

      Oddly enough, there are more than a few white asshats who get government checks who say the country can't afford entitlements.

  • PsycWench

    Extremely wealthy people will pay the lawyers and the pacs to avoid taxes, but they don't want to pay taxes? You don't say.
    I had thought that the argument that the wealthy deliberately keep the poors uneducated and uninformed might be a little over the top, but I believe this election has convinced me.

    • Walter_White

      Was hoping they would keep us medicated, at least.

    • BadKitty904

      An ignorant electorate is an easily manipulated electorate.

      • glasspusher

        Let us meditate on this truth.

    • An_Outhouse

      If we tax the lawyers and the pacs then maybe the whole thing will work out in the end.

    • Sparky

      It's really all kinds of Huxley, without the soma.

  • kittensdontlie

    I am sorry. If I have to support the olds or Wonkettes, I choose the Wonkettes.

    • Tow may toes, tow mah tows, all the same and all love you long time, too.

    • Biff

      What about us old wonkeets?

  • sbj1964

    It's just another plot to keep a brother down.Look at the game of pool.Whats the last ball to drop? The eight-ball,and it gets knocked into a whole by a white ball.How come green olives come in a jar yet black olives come in a can?How come the weatherman doesn't say shit about ice unless it's black ice?And how come Frosted flakes are GRrreat!! Yet Cocoa puffs will make you go Coo Koo?

    • kittensdontlie

      If my teevee screen goes black, then it is considered broken. What's up with that…

      • But when a company is doing good business they say they're "in the black". That does not compute, except in a sexual context, Katie.

      • Yet if it doesn't get a signal, that's called "snow".

    • not that Dewey

      Even in chess, there's a white advantage.

    • OneDollarJuana

      Your story doesn't hold together. That fungus that's killing all the bats? Whitenose. The worst kind of snowstorm? Whiteout. The natural color of most of the worst drugs? White. The worst metal band in history? Whitesnake. I'm just sayin'.

      • Lascauxcaveman

        And Herman Melville went on at great length to convince us in Moby Dick that white is the color of evil. Though I think Mitt Romney and his supporters make a better case for that.

    • White people do whatever like this. But black people do whatever like this!

    • calliecallie

      And they call asphalt "black top" but the longer-lasting and more expensive concrete highways are white.

    • frostbitefalls

      And Black History Month is the shortest month of the year!

  • C'mon you guys, it's only been like 30 years. The trickling takes time. Rome wasn't built in a day. It'll be trickling down any day now.

    • Dudleydidwrong

      What's tricklin' down is sorta yellow and smells familiar.

    • glasspusher

      The only time something trickles down is if there's a leak.

    • An_Outhouse

      Maybe the drain's clogged.

    • athirson

      Stood next to any dogs and fire hydrants lately?

  • ttommyunger

    Remove the Cap on SS Contributions. FIXED! But NOOOOOOOOO! If you're making 3 shitloads of moneeeze, you just can't afford it.

    • BadKitty904

      The GOP – Poor Americans fighting to preserve the entitlements of rich Americans.

      • ttommyunger

        Eggzackly!Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

    • CrunchyKnee

      3 shitloads of said moneeze is 2 shitloads more than most folk even need.

      • ttommyunger

        Fer sure!Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

    • Callyson

      My accounting instructor told our class "Kobe Bryant pays everything he is going to pay into social security halfway through the first quarter of the first game of the season." At the time, I was wondering what his point was because he seemed to be going off topic. Now I understand everything…and I am glad I gave him a glowing review on the evaluation form. Thanks, Professor!

    • Biff

      I get mine by the fuck-ton.

      • ttommyunger

        I've always made dingleberry dimes.Sent from the Field, not in Garrison.

  • And yet when you try to Death Panel the Olds, they get upset.

    Make up your minds, Conservatives!

    • Please leave my 1950 Futuramic 88 out of this debate.

      • Lascauxcaveman

        Do you really have one of those? That would be awesome.

  • VinnyThePooh

    The problem is trying to explain basic economics to the 50 million Fox News Economists who are too busy spitting their toenails at the television.

  • Mahousu

    To be fair, Romney/Ryan didn't directly say they were going to increase the Medicare eligibility age to 70. It's just a logical consequence of what they said. But Romney/Ryan don't believe in logical consequences, so it doesn't count.

    • BadKitty904

      They were very careful not to directly say much of anything about their policies, other than "Trust us." Even they weren't *that* stupid…

  • noodlesalad

    I've decided that I'd rather just be a taker. I'm tired of working 12-hour days and answering emails until 10 PM just to cover my mortgage, bills, health insurance for a family of four, and all my rescue animals. Can anyone please tell me where I can get all these free munnies and pills, please? In exchange I promise to start watching fox news and be as hypocritical as possible, as I am a white male.

    • FNMA

      Go for it!
      Little tip: I would recommend slow-cooking your rescue animals. They can be stringy.

    • me, too. i voted for Barry in 2008 and 2012 and all i got was this lousy job that i have to work at today.

  • What, wait, job creators WANT to pay something around 1% in taxes?
    Only at gun point, and that's 'cause guns and ammo are people too, my friend.

  • Beowoof

    The arguments of the right aren't new. Of course most Americans have no knowledge of history so this is the first time they are hearing right wing bullshit. And to them it sounds good, and you say but we tried their way before and it led to the great depression, (in addition to various other crashes through the late 1800s to the early 1900s). and to the great recession. But poor blah's are getting checks and they don't work so they don't deserve it.
    Paying attention in school was important, who knew you would need to know that bullshit, as they would keep running it by people. Oh and like God just like me evildoer, or you will have to go to jail.

  • LibrarianX

    When confronted with "facts" Fox viewers are known to shoot at their teevees.

    • That was more fun when they had picture tubes.

      • DCBloom

        Faux news viewers still have tubes in their tvs, so it's all good.

      • One more example of how there's not much boom for your buck these days.

    • It seems that they just shove their heads farther up their fat asses.

  • TootsStansbury

    Out of many, one. Percent that is.
    Silly commies.

  • Breitbart responds that the Atlantic piece was written by a Kwack-head in 3, 2, 1…

    • gullywompr

      He's a college professor, so yeah… libtard.

  • Fear of a Big Black Entitlement.

  • gullywompr

    Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Commie party!

  • HarryButtle

    Was looking at a Woody Guthrie video on YouTube yesterday and was kinda blown away by the really nasty comments from the fuckwit conservatards about him being a Communist and all…I mean I know they're dicks and I ought to know to expect it by now, I just didn't expect to find it there on Thanksgiving.

    Hope they choked on their fucking turkey. With votes.

    • BadKitty904

      I think "hatred" and "fear" are pretty much all they have left to motivate them. They certainly aren't trying to "build" or "better" anything…..

  • gullywompr

    Oddly enough, The Atlantic is also calling the criticism of Susan Rice "stupid", and blames the Walmart strike on consumers rather than the Waltons or union thugs. Is wingnuttery over? Was it all just a bad dream? Oh, Auntie Em – there's no place like home!

    • Geminisunmars

      Enjoy it while you can.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      I'll believe it when they fire McMegan McArdle's whiny, useless overprivileged ass.

  • mavenmaven

    recycle the poor and olds as protein! The market speaks!

    • athirson

      Soylent Green upsets my tummy

    • Sparky

      Soylent Green!!!11!!1

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      That sounds like a a modest proposal.

  • poorgradstudent

    Huh. I guess Andrew Sullivan slithering away was good news for the Atlantic.

  • glesslib

    I'd be happy if "job creators" coughed up a few jobs. I listened to every GOP turd here in Missouri, who was running for first time office, claim to be a "job creator". It was the obviously the marketing term most talked about at whatever organizing meetings PR jerks have before these elections We need more "job creators", but all they really seem to want to do is get out of business and go to work in the government they hate so well. Is a puzzlement.

    • PubOption

      All the ads used the same script. I couldn't tell who was running for what position.

  • friendlyskies

    The "job creators" now control 80% of the USA's wealth (instead of 40% like they used to), and have decided they don't want pay taxes on it. Which means we aren't taxing the USA's wealth anymore, just because that wealth is in fewer hands, therefore it wouldn't be fair to tax it like we used to back when it was in more hands.

    This kind of logic annoys me. It's the same money, for crying out loud…. just because it's concentrated with the top 10% instead of top 60% shouldn't make it magically off limits to the IRS. It doesn't make any sense.

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      We don't tax "wealth" anymore, now that the estate tax is out of fashion. What the rich object to is that with higher income taxes, they'd be getting even richer more slowly.

  • Radiotherapy

    It's Red Friday.

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    "Between 1960 and 1980 when the full retirement age was 65, black men could theoretically qualify for benefits, but the average life expectancy of an African American male  was roughly 62 years old. So Blacks would pay into the program their entire lives and die before they could take any substantive advantage."

    Please, everyone stops needing to use this faulty, oversimplified logic when talking about SS and Medicare. The largest variable when dealing with life expectancy is infant mortality. As infant and young child mortality increases, average life expectancy goes way up. So in order to talk about the fairness of SS, we must discuss the average life expectancy of AN ADULT ALREADY PAYING INTO THE SYSTEM, which would be much higher than the overall rate of life expectancy as those people have already survived infancy.

    <rant off>


    • MosesInvests

      Ya beat me to it. Very well said.

      BUTTSECHS, also, too.

    • glasspusher

      Really. I wonder what the life expectancy is of a man after 25, once they get the "angry young man" out of their system…

      nice finish to your post, btw.

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        Angry young men are being taken out of the system, all right … but that might not be what you're referring to.

    • athirson

      It is also worth noting that retirement insurance is but one of the types that Social Security provides. There exists also survivors and disability insurance benefits, neither of which are restricted to those who reach retirement age.

    • Thanks for this.

      Bush used this argument when he was pushing for privatizing SS, also too.

    • dr2chase

      SSSSSSSHHHH! If you tell the Job Creators they're not killing the Poors and Blacks before they qualify for Social Security, they'll want to raise the age even higher.

    • Ha, we've all got the same hot-button on this idiocy.

    • Don't feel you have to throw "buttsechs" or "snark on/off" onto a serious comment also, I expect Wonketeers to be smart enough to know the difference!

      • Biel_ze_Bubba

        There's a difference?

      • BigSkullF*ckingDog

        No it's just me. I don't feel complete until I say something innapropriate.

        • Did you kiss your mother with that mouth?

        • HistoriCat

          And when are you going to settle down and get married?!?

  • BZ1

    … and the problem with a means test is …

    • PubOption

      That it's socialist?

  • DixvilleCrotch

    They are "moving the goalposts" on hash slinging Waitress Moms!

  • BadKitty904

    OT: I hope everyone had a pleasant, safe holiday, with PLENTY of leftovers!!!

    Despite the usually lethal combo of family and alcohol… :0)

    • glasspusher

      Thanks, Kitty. We avoided the former but not the latter. I'm eating leftover apple pie (tart!) for breakfast right now! Hope yours was a happy as well

      • BadKitty904

        Yeah, buddy!!! There was FAR too much food, my realtives are mostly certifiable, but everyone behaved! My brother and his bf came up from Down South for the feast and stayed last night with me and Joaquin, as houseguests – our first!

        It was tons o' fun… :0)

    • TribecaMike

      Backatcha, Kitty. Incredibly, no hangover this morning, and a quart of yummy spaghetti sauce & meatballs left over for tonight!

    • Usually I don't have to deal with stereotypical white wingnuts at the holidays (a great part of being a Negro!), but we do have to go to a lunch with Mrs. Kincaid's ex-foster parents' relatives tomorrow. I'm going to hand out copies of this droll blog-entry if anyone's feeling butthurt:

  • Lot_49

    There's an unintentionally hilarious article on tax reform in today's NYT, in which someone named Floyd Norris asserts that "(t)he proper way to approach that proposal is to accept that the government needs to raise a certain amount of money," at which point you can stop reading, because Republicans do not and will not accept that idea.

  • glasspusher

    needz moar bad Excel graphs

  • CrunchyKnee

    I'm just gonna eat the rich (with votes), but I'm all out of (votes).

  • Well you know the boundary between freedom and tyranny exists somewhere between a 33% top marginal rate and a 37% top marginal rate — and here we are already flirting with that powder keg. I mean, we'd already survived the tyranny of the FDR, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton eras, and everyone remembers toiling under that yoke and how awful those times were — and now The Atlantic wants to subject us to that sort of bondage again?! It's like we never learn the lessons of history, people!

    • Biel_ze_Bubba

      That's so well done, you could post it on any wingnut board, and earn enough upfists to reach low earth orbit.

      • Lot_49

        Wookies is my hero too.

        • Aw shucks you guys — I appreciate that! But keep the compliments sparse, 'cause they go straight to my head.

          • I have to disagree, you are one of the least egotistical most modest persons I know — just keep doing what you do so well and be thankful the spoken kudos (I'm sure there are many unspoken,) are infrequent enough they give the recipient a lift when someone does opt to voice them~

          • Thank you my love. Also, I'm having "you are one of the least egotistical most modest persons I know" printed on a mug as we speak.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    If those shiftless colored fellows would simply go back to dying earlier, then we could all retire at 62 once again. They are so selfish.

  • glasspusher

    James Kwack? Oh please oh please tell me he has a brother named Jack…

    • PubOption

      and that the brother is a doctor.

  • athirson

    God forbid anyone might suggest that the ridiculous amounts of corporate welfare be cut, starting with the insanely bloated $761 billion annual defense budget. Because that might also reduce the profit$ of the bomb, er, job creators, CEO compensation would plummet, and we might have to use a little more discretion as to whether or not to invade, er, spread democracy to, other countries.

    Can't you see the whole Republican playbook falling apart, page by page, here?

  • Trinket

    Thanks for an excellent post, Kris. I'm too pleased with it and with the Atlantic piece to even try to snark. Which makes for a really boring comment. Sorry, everyone.

  • kittensdontlie

    Handy Tip to Hungry Oldsters: When you locate a hobo-bean bush, two birds should be present, so drop the one bird in your hand and catch them.

    • Dudleydidwrong

      Oh, on a bush! I've been dealing with another kind of bush. Certainly no hobo beans there. I'll keep looking for the hobo bean bush.

      Oh, my–life teaches me hard lessons, even at my advanced age of decrepitude. (Now, what's for dinner? Rival or Ken-L-Ration? Savin' the Fancy Feast for Sunday…)

  • But most of us will be both young and old at different points in our lives,

    Kwak is like the Oracle at Delphi.

  • This reminds me of a section of a review of the new biography of Joseph Kennedy that I read yesterday:

    Habitually unable to contain his choleric temper, Kennedy cut loose when addressing his former Harvard chums in 1937…But unlike most of his classmates, Kennedy, who also ran the Maritime Commission, scoffed at the notion that the Roosevelt administration was destroying capitalism and turning America into a socialist bulwark. To the horror of his listeners, Kennedy did not deliver a chatty speech about their days as young swells, but, rather, delivered himself of a wholly partisan address defending Social Security and big labor. “And then, to add provocation to provocation, he praised John L. Lewis, the principal organizer of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and perhaps the single most hated man in banks, boardrooms, and Harvard clubs,” writes Nasaw. Kennedy concluded, “Without wishing to appear in a ‘Pollyanna’ role, I frankly see nothing which justifies the hate and the despair which are all around us.” Of course he was right. This was Kennedy at his best, a clear-eyed realist dispensing with conservative pieties. The reactionary bilge that his classmates were indulging in may have been emotionally satisfying, but it bore no relation to the dire reality of an economic crisis that Roosevelt was attempting to master anymore than the contemporary malarkey, to use Vice President Joseph Biden’s favorite word, about President Obama’s putative socialism does today.

    • Lot_49

      And yet Kennedy, as US ambassador to GB, was angry at the RAF for winning the Battle of Britain, thereby postponing Hitler's inevitable conquest of England.

      • Yes, he was an anti-semite and nearly traitorous as an ambassador, and a Ron Paul-style isolationist for the rest of his life.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      Hey, thanks for that link. That book on Kennedy sounds *awesome*. I've always had a sneaking admiration for the old bastard, a stock manipulating criminal who was appointed as first head of the SEC and then turned around and kicked ass the rest of the stock manipulating criminals on Wall Street. I guess he never heard of regulatory capture.

  • One of my pet peeves is a mindless view of life expectancy statistics, as if people died of old age at a stated average life expectancy. Folks didn't hobble around looking like 80-year-olds when they were 40 in 1850.

    In other news for the oblivious, there are no "boy cows," no matter what that cartoon said, and a scientific theory is not the opposite of a fact.

  • Kris, I don't get the amazement at The Atlantic publishing this. Ta-Nehisi Coates is a Senior Editor there, for God's sake, and they've never been a wingnut organ in my long memory.

    • Wile E. Quixote

      Yeah, but they also employ the massively entitled and incredibly stupid McMegan McArdle. Oh, and you said "wingnut organ", heh.

      • "In June 2012, McArdle left The Atlantic, and started writing for Newsweek/The Daily Beast."

        And besides, my point stands. The National Review is a wingnut organ, not The Atlantic.

        • Wile E. Quixote

          Well, you've got me there. I didn't know that McMegan had left The Atlantic and was now at "The Daily Beast", but hey, did I mention that you said "wingnut organ".

        • Wile E. Quixote

          And if we were to consider the circulation sizes of the various wingnut organs we'd have to conclude that National Review is one of the tinier ones. Heh, wingnut organ, get it?

  • geordie2

    I love you guys, but your account of the history of Social Security is very, very wrong in some respects – all workers – including women and minorities – who worked in employment covered by Social Security were covered by the program from the start. The point of the article you cited is that women were not in the paid work force in great numbers in the 1930's, and most black people were still farm laborers, employment that was not covered. Moreover, I helped to write the law that raised the retirement age in 1983, and I can assure you the only thing discussed was longer life expectancies and saving money. No conspiracy, racial or otherwise.

  • DahBoner

    The Atlantic

    Sorry, but I only read The Pacific

  • Ducksworthy

    You persist in confusing life expectancy at birth with the life expectancy of living people. All of us, especially and more recently including black people, appear to be living longer due to the decrease in infant mortality. Like, if the average life expectancy is 65, somebody who selfishly dies at 1, subtracts 64 years from the average. Whereas the life expectancy of somebody who 85 in 1930 increased from 85 1/2 to about 86 by 2012. A true miracle of modern medicine. But not a reason to screw all of us out of social security.

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