Sunday, November 01, 2015

Chris Christie As Preznit Would Be A "Greedy Thief Who Is Good At Plundering" Re The Social Security Trust Fund

Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower (10/14/1890 to 3/28/1969) the 34th (Republican) President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

Note: This commentary concerns the 3rd Republican presidential debate, which was held on 10/28/2015 in Boulder CO at the University of Colorado. Whining about "gotcha" questions posed by the CNBC moderators, RNC Chair Reince Priebus cancelled NBC's involvement in the 9th debate scheduled for 2/26/2016 in Houston.

I think the chances that the Republican electorate would vote to send Chris Christie to the White House are slim, due in part to the fact that, if he were elected preznit, he would attempt to abolish Social Security. This he made clear during the debate, during which he made the following remarks concerning the Social Security Trust Fund.

Chris Christie: It's not there anymore. The government stole it and spent it. All that's in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money on they spent on something else a long time ago (What you should know about Christie's claim that Social Security funds were "stolen" by Max Ehrenfreund. The Washington Post 10/28/2015).

What Christie is talking about is the fact that the 2.8 trillion in the fund (as of the end of 2014) is invested in Treasury Bills. But why would he say the money has been "stolen" (a claim that echoes the sentiments of ex-preznit bush when he said "There is no trust fund — just IOUs" on 4/5/2005).

The Washington Post: Perhaps Christie was suggesting that those "IOUs", in his words, won't be paid back, but few mainstream economists believe that the federal government will be unable to pay back all its debts. That fact is reflected in the extraordinarily low interest rates that investors worldwide will accept to loan the government money. If they were concerned about the government's ability to pay its debts, they would demand higher interest rates to compensate them for the risk of default. Christie said that he and the other presidential candidates need to tell elderly Americans "the truth".

The TRUTH, IMO, is that Chris Christie, if he is elected preznit, would attempt to steal from Trust Fund receipts by slashing benefits, raising the retirement age and means testing.

Christie wants to cut benefits by tying the COLA (cost of living adjustment) to the chained CPI. The CPI (consumer price index) is a way of measuring inflation. The Chained CPI is based on the idea that "in an inflationary environment, consumers will choose less-expensive substitutes". It's a sneaky way to reduce COLAs for seniors. The trouble with it is that "retirees don't spend money the same way as young or middle-aged families; they spend disproportionately more on healthcare and housing" (The chained CPI: A zombie benefit cut still walks).

In regards to raising the retirement age, Christie proposes increasing the normal retirement age from 67 to 69, which will reduce the total amount of money paid out over a recipient's lifetime.

...every year's increase in the normal retirement age is the equivalent of a 7% benefit cut (Chris Christie's big presidential idea: torch Social Security by Michael Hiltzik. LA Times 11/1/2015).

Lastly, Christie says we should start "phasing out retirement benefits starting for seniors earnings above $80k and zeroing them out for those earnings more than $200k annually". The trouble with this proposal is that this idea transforms Social Security from an earned benefits program into a welfare program. A reclassification that would make Social Security easier to cut in the future (SWTD #93).

Christie also claimed "they know they can't pay these benefits because Social Security is going to be insolvent in 7-8 years", which is a huge whopper. Instead of being truthful, Christie lied through his teeth.

CNN Money: Chris Christie put it this way: "Social Security is going to be insolvent in 7 or 8 years". But that's not really the case. Here's the deal: The Social Security Trustees estimate that likely starting in 2034 - 19 years from now - the program will no longer have enough revenue coming in to pay out 100% of promised benefits to retirees on Social Security.

But it will still be able to pay 79% of those promised benefits. The Congressional Budget Office is somewhat less optimistic. It expects the program will run short as soon as 2029, with a 95% chance it will do so between 2025 and 2040 - or within 10 years to 25 years - according to a fact check of Christie's assertion by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. That's closer, but still not 7 or 8 years. All these estimates assume no reforms are made to the program before then (Setting the record straight on Social Security "insolvency". 10/29/2015).

So what's the point of all this dissembling by Christie? I think it's quite clear that Christie is on the side of those who wish to rob from Trust Fund beneficiaries. "When is it acceptable to break a social compact" moderator Becky Quick asked Christie, and Christie responded by claiming that the compact was broken years ago... because the SS administration invests the fund in Treasury Bills, presumably (which earn interest). Instead of setting aside cash (which would cause the fund to lose value due to inflation).

What the mendacious Christie didn't say is that Social Security reliably pays benefits. For the compact to be "broken" payments would need to cease. I mean, if the money has truly been "stolen". If it's all spent and gone, who can any mere cuts be enough? As Mike Huckabee said, we need to keep our promise to seniors (not because he's a good guy, but because he wants the votes of seniors). Chris Christie wants to break that promise (and doesn't want votes from seniors, I guess).

This is why I'm saying that Chris Christie is a greedy thief who is good at plundering. Although by "good" I mean he has the rhetoric down. As for the rhetoric being "good" at fooling the American people, I predict NO... given the fact that "the American public strongly supports Social Security, across party and demographic lines" (Public Opinions on Social Security).

Video: Chris Christie statements on Social Security during the 3rd GOP debate fact checked by Kyle Kulinski, a Progressive Talk Radio show host (7:23).

Image: A comment by a Conservative blogger in which the accusation of being "a greedy thief who is good at plundering" is made against one of the Democratic potus candidates. Although the accusation is laughable, given the fact that this candidate is one of the STRONGEST defenders of Social Security in Congress (SWTD #145). Note: The reason this is an image is because the blogger in question deleted what he wrote out of embarrassment when I linked to it in another commentary (TADM #82).

SWTD #316

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