Sure, Social Security has its problems, but is it accurate to call it a Ponzi scheme? It depends on who you ask. Using Venn diagrams, two political columnists, Nick Baumann, a liberal, and Tim Carney, a conservative, make their case.
Baumann, a writer for Mother Jones magazine, quotes political scientist Jonathan Bernstein:
“[A]nyone who says that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme either misunderstands Social Security, misunderstands Ponzi schemes, is deliberately lying, or some combination of those… After all, a Ponzi scheme is a deliberate fraud. Saying that Social Security is financed like a Ponzi scheme is factually wrong, but saying that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme or is like a Ponzi scheme is basically a false accusation of fraud against the US government and the politicians who have supported Social Security over the years.”
Not so fast, says Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney.
“Yes, Social Security is regressive, as liberals will often point out,” Carney writes. “You pay 6.75 cents on your first dollar, and probably on your marginal dollar, but the wealthy don’t pay FICA on their marginal dollar.”
“I think Baumann left some things out,” he added, and created his own chart:
Well, that didn’t last long
A Republican-led congressional redistricting plan in Michigan has complicated the re-election plans of John Conyers and Hansen Clarke, two Democratic representatives from the state. But the lawmakers have found a novel way to avoid that challenge: they’re switching their Detroit-area districts.
“Rep. Hansen Clarke looks forward to running for reelection in the new 14th congressional district of Michigan!,” freshman Clarke tweeted Sunday.
The 14th district is currently represented by Conyers, a longtime member of the House.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will not run for president this elections cycle, according to a statement released by his office Monday.
“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for President. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation,” Ryan’s statement read. “I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has many ideas about how to change the government’s founding document. From ending lifetime tenure for federal judges to completely scrapping two whole amendments, the U.S. Constitution would see a major overhaul if the GOP presidential candidate had his druthers.
Perry has laid out these proposed innovations to the founding document in his book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington, and occasionally referenced them on the campaign trail. Several of his ideas fall within the realm of mainstream conservative thinking today, but, as you will see, there are also a few surprises.
Here’s a rundown of Perry’s suggestions for revamping the Constitution:
1. Abolish lifetime tenure for federal judges by amending Article III, Section I of the Constitution.
The nation’s framers established a federal court system whereby judges with “good behavior” would be secure in their job for life. Perry believes that provision is ready for an overhaul.
“The Judges,” reads Article III, “both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”
Perry makes it no secret that he believes the judges on the bench over the past century have acted beyond their constitutional bounds. The problem, Perry reasons, is that members of the judiciary are “unaccountable” to the people, and their lifetime tenure gives them free license to act however they want. In his book, the governor speaks highly of plans to limit their tenure and offers proposals about how to accomplish it.
”’[W]e should take steps to restrict the unlimited power of the courts to rule over us with no accountability,” he writes in Fed Up! ”There are a number of ideas about how to do this … . One such reform would be to institute term limits on what are now lifetime appointments for federal judges, particularly those on the Supreme Court or the circuit courts, which have so much power. One proposal, for example, would have judges roll off every two years based on seniority.”
2. Congress should have the power to override Supreme Court decisions with a two-thirds vote.
Restricting tenure of federal justices isn’t the only way Perry wants to suppress the power of the courts. His book excoriates at length what he sees as overreach from the judicial branch. (To give you a sample of how Perry has warmed to this theme, the title of Chapter Six is, “Nine Unelected Judges Tell Us How to Live.”)
Giving Congress the ability to override their decisions would be another way to take the Court down a notch, Perry says.
“[A]llow Congress to override the Supreme Court with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate, which risks increased politicization of judicial decisions, but also has the benefit of letting the people stop the Court from unilaterally deciding policy.”
3. Scrap the federal income tax by repealing the Sixteenth Amendment.
The Sixteenth Amendment gives Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration” and should be abolished immediately, Perry says.
Calling the Sixteenth Amendment “the great milestone on the road to serfdom,” Perry’s main point of contention is that it provides a virtually blank check to the federal government to use for projects with little or no consultation from the states.
Congressional approval would be needed for those plans, and that’s far from assured. But some of the other measures said to be under consideration, like mortgage relief for struggling homeowners, could be done through executive orders.
Nearly 14 million Americans are officially unemployed, though the figure would be much higher—around 25 million—if it included those who have given up looking for work.” —Obama jobs ideas to target long-term unemployed | The Lookout - Yahoo! News
In less than 200 pages, the Republican presidential candidate finds fault with almost every federal institution in existence. Our excellent Chris Moody read the book and gives you the gloss, but for the list inclined, here’s a ranking of Perry’s political enemies:
1. The Courts (specifically the Supreme Court)
2. The Executive Branch (because of the department rules—think EPA—set on the states)
3. Congress (for taking all the money and doling it out back to the states with coercive strings attached)
4. Climate Change (“one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight. Al Gore is a prophet all right, a false prophet of a secular carbon cult.”)
5. Social Security (“crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal.”)