Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Liberals – Philosophy part XI 117

We are going to use logical argumentation, as if we were judging debates, to look for patterns of irrational thought in order to get some hints at what has gone wrong with liberalism since its freedom-bringing triumphs of the mid-nineteenth century. Modern liberalism is a different thing – it thinks different, feels differently and perceives differently than its origins.

There was a conversation from readers of Teagan Goddard's Political Wire dealing with whether or not Obama is a socialist. The initial posting by Teagan Goddard sarcastically noted that the stock market is up a lot this year, indicating the criticism of Obama as a socialist is unfounded.

= = = = as part of the reader's comments, I entered the conversation as the urban coyote = = = =
From: Urban Coyote
  • Let's see, there's a dead cat bounce in the stock market (aided by Treasury and the Fed) with some corporate profits (but not enough to lift the NASDAQ above 1/2 its high from ten years ago), therefore, magically, ObamaCare isn't socialism. Ask the 25% of Medicare recipients who have an "advantage" plan who are about to be cheated out of it under this legislation.

    Magically, TARP2 isn't socialism.

    Independent voters didn't buy that logic. They gave the new Congress about 242 Republicans.

From: Tom P
    Social Security and Medicare are also socialism, you know. Did the voters give the public a mandate to remove those, or is there a degree of socialism the independent voters are prepared to accept?
From: Azselendor
    urban_coyote just doesn't want the government touching his government-run entitlement programs[1].

From: Urban Coyote
    Stuck with a Ponzi scheme like Medicare, I'd at least like the federal government to keep its word about allowing "advantage plan" contracts. Instead there is new legislation in which the federal government breaks contracts with those still working who WERE going to receive a certain program. Keeping the government's word to its "people" is no part of socialism. The people are always cattle that can be redirected to different pens when the political winds shift under socialism or any statist philosophy. It also interests me that "private" "non-profit" AARP went along with this theft in order to feather its own nest. AARP endorsed Obama Care because its insurance arm offers a plan lousy compared to advantage plans -- so they supported laws that would eliminate the competition. SO this kind of bait and switch is a government-lobbyist partnership, ain't it?

From: Leo
    Actually you've got this the wrong way around. Medicare Advantage, run by Insurance Companies, was supposed to be the cheaper option. Instead it cost a ton of money more than normal Medicare; And apparently, some of the beneficiaries think they're entitled to it no matter how deep in the red the rest of the country goes. Interesting.

From: Azselendor
    Wow, all the keyboard mashing and it boils down to a wrong assessment [2].

From: Urban Coyote:

Yes, I do know that social security and medicare are socialism. They are also responsible for tens of trillions of dollars of "net unfunded debt" an actuarial term that means they are dead broke.

Are independent voters prepared to accept on-going Ponzi schemes like this? Stay tuned for 2012.

Medicare is a dead failure. It's cost-push inflation in medicine has made medical expenses the number one reason for bankruptcy. If medicare were "pay as you go" self-funding, it would be about an 8% payroll tax and 8% employer tax. Instead we think we can continue to borrow money from the Chinese indefinitely instead of abandoning the Ponzi scheme. Regarding Medicare and its socialism, I can't resist adding the historical fact that a week after LBJ signed Medicare into law (now that I've got your bodies under my control), he quintupled our commitment of troops in Vietnam to 125,000 (I'm gonna use 'em as cannon fodder). Socialism means "your means of production and your bodies belong to your government to use and control as the government see fit."

Social security is a lower-to-fail Ponzi scheme that was set up with a lock box that was taken away and no longer has the tens of trillions to pay for baby boomers. I personally don't know anyone under 30 who is so stupid they expect any benifits from this corrupt socialistic "security."

But let's see what the coming election cycle brings.

From: Tom P

I'm confused.
    England instituted a national health care system while engaging in systematic withdrawal from its imperial conquests during previous "free market-y" eras. Germany implemented one after its formation as a national state and well before the first world war. It was implemented in large part to steal the thunder of the large, active socialist movement in Germany. Also, Medicare is only available for old people, and relatively few old people fought in Vietnam. Can you explain your reasoning a little better? As a person under thirty, I don't expect to see Social Security benefits because I expect the old are going to shut down the program in order to lower taxes on corporate profits and gear it in such a way that I have to pay into it and then not get anything from it. If they did NOT do this, I would see no reason to not expect it.

From: Urban Coyote

LBJ was being a typical power-hungry politician: Make the deal that Truman failed (Medicare) to show how humane he was with expanded government power. Then, immediately, do what he wanted to do – get into a strategically needless war. Give a politician like that more power, and he'll immediately start using his overall power in new ways.

The same thing happened in September 2008 when Wall Street tanked. A $700 billion dollar bailout was proposed. The House voted against it. Porked up, it passed. Poof! Ever since, the deficit has been above $1 trillion a year. Give a politician power, and he'll abuse it – and this is true across party lines and across administrations.

The current president is also trying to expand government medical care while prosecuting a strategically meaningless conflict (Afghanistan). I hope American liberals have the political honesty to challenge him in 2012 with an anti-war primary candidate.

Since you are under 30, you must, absolutely must, develop a thorough understanding of a mumbly term used by actuaries and certified public accountants: “net unfunded debt” or “net unfunded liabilities.” This is the discounted present value of future expenses that have not been set aside as reserves. Corporations must report changes in this calculation as expenses for the year on their audited financial statements (but city, state and national governments need not do so!) under FASB 86 (for pensions such as social security) and FASB 106 (for non-pension benefits such as health plans or, governmentally, Medicare). Again, the federal government itself is exempt from this reporting requirement.

If the federal government had to report the “net unfunded debt” of Social Security (about $20 trillion) and Medicare (somewhere between $36 and $72 trillion), it would be the balance sheet of a bankrupt entity, as the USA spends about $3.6 trillion a year and the income is considerably less than that. This can't go on forever. It can't go on for 35 years. As a retired certified public accountant, I GUARANTEE YOU the money won't be there for you. The cupboard will be bare, unless we admit that and sunset Medicare (urgently!) and Social Security (we have some time for this). If we do the sunsetting NOW, we don't have to pull the rug out from the current recipients. The longer we wait the crueler we are going to have to be. Do nothing? Hyperinflation will take care of it for us by making all the old very poor and utterly helpless (the offspring will also be broke from wheelbarrows of money).


The Coming Generational Storm by Kottikoff and Burns (get it! Definitive on this subject)

Forgive Us Our Debts: The Intergenerational Dangers of Fiscal Irresponsibility by Andrew L. Yarrow

Comeback America by David M. Walker (former US Comptroller General – published in 2010)

The Concord Coalition – Social Security http://www.concordcoalition.org/issue-page/social-security
From: Azselendor
    GLOBAL WARNING WILL KILL US ALL [3] oh sorry, wrong thread. Doom was clearly the same however.

From: Azselendor
    "Tens of trillions of dollars" really, you're just making it up now, aren't you. If you're gonna lie, your numbers need to sound realistic! [4]
From: Urban Coyote
    net unfunded debt of social security is approximately $20 trillion. net unfunded debt of Medicare is approximately $30 to $70 trillion. Logical argumentation is a contract to seek the truth through certain protocols. You didn't do that, nor did you check my references, nor did you surf the net shrewdly. I'm sorry your skills are lacking. The horrific numbers in the tens of trillions come from others in my profession. I trust them before I trust you, because of the speed of your smearing.

From: Azselendor
    The Concord Coalition is lead by the former commerce secretary of Nixon (I'm not trusting a damned soul that worked under that man with 2 nickels and a paperclip let alone the budget), their treasurer is a Reaganite (because Reaganomics is really another word for tax'n'spend to stop commies), and the list goes on. They are hardly non-biased and nonpartisan [5]. When the right listens to al gore, then I'll listen to this madness [6].

From: Urban Coyote
    Oh, yeah. In about 75 seconds of internet surfing, I found an article talking about a March, 2004, CBS "Sunday Morning" show that listed the combined social security and medicare net unfunded liability as $50 trillion. OK? $50 trillion six years ago? Wonder how much it is now? Here's the link http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north258.html Or the references I listed at the time I made the estimate can be checked, of course.
From Azselendor:
    I dont hold individual/personal opinions on complex matters regarding non-linear systems in high regard. Even more when your sources don't cite unbiased sources [7][8]. Just to back over your arguments with a money truck, the US GDP is merely 14.59 trillion dollars. My argument stands, don't make up numbers [9]

From: Urban Coyote
    $51 trillion as reported March 21, 2004, by CBS News. That was six and one half years ago. The net unfunded debt of social security and medicare is surely higher now. Link to CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/18/sunday/main607191.shtml It's simple Azselendor: your government lied to you. It made promises it can't possibly keep. I know this because I used to count government money as a CPA. A simple point of information: the ultimate expert for this kind of calculation isn't a CPA like me or even an economist, but a "registered actuary," the folks who calculate the values of pensions and non-pension retirement benefits (health benefits, usually) for corporations for their annual financial statements. Registered actuaries are the highest paid profession in the USA because of the critical effect of their calculations.

From: Azselendor
    I read that article like media fear mongering. The suggestion of taking and handing over social security money to wall street makes me ever more suspicious of it's truthfulness [10]. If Registered actuaries are indeed the best source of information on this topic, then I'll accept nothing less than a peer-reviewed organization(s) position on this matter [11].
From: Urban Coyote
    a good summary news article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/01/AR2006050101448.html = = = = = = = = = = an ever better summary of medicare being broke -- $42 trillion unfunded liability correctly reported and published May 11, 2009 with an estimate of $46 TRILLION in net unfunded debt of Medicare & SS at 2009 from government actuaries http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/RetirementandWills/InvestForRetirement/is-america-about-to-go-broke.aspx = = = = = = = = = = official government actuarial annual reports = = = = = = = = = = 2008 medicare actuaries report – http://www.cms.gov/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/tr2008.pdf

  • page 203 of this pdf file shows a projected deficit over the next 75 years for budget purposes of
    42.9 trillion dollars.

    but wait, there's more! the 2009 medicare actuaries report


    page 207 of this pdf file shows a projected deficit over the next 75 years for budget purposes of $45.8 trillion dollars.

    In one year, the government's own actuarial calculation for net unfunded liabilities for SS and
    Medicare increased by $2.9 trillion. This is in addition to the reported $1.3 trillion deficit for FY 2009. This does not include federal pensions, military pensions, obligations for private pensions under ERISA, or the unaudited commitments of the Federal Reserve. But we can say that if the US federal government were a listed corporation with public stock ownership, it would have to have reported under FASB 86 and FASB 106 at least a deficit of $1.3 + $2.9
    trillion for FY 2009, which is $4.1 TRILLION. For a single year's federal deficit. Which congressperson or senator told you that truthful number as reported to them by the actuaries?

    Who are you going to believe? The politicians who sat on this report or a retired government fraud examiner? "Tens of trillions of dollars," just as I said in my first comment.
  • = = = = the conversation above was unedited from: = = = = =

  • http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/11/12/is_this_socialism.html#comment-97329282
except for the inclusion of footnote references [1] through [11] which are discussed below.

(These all deal with Logical Argumentation)

[1] Azselendor attacks me, personally, because he assumes I am receiving a Medicare “Advantage” plan. My point was that the 2010 health care bill takes away an existing system fore Medicare recipients, a point Azselendor does not address at all.
[2] Azselendor uses Leo's post to reduce my discussion to “keyboard mashing” that results in a “wrong assessment” – a personal “ad hominem” attack instead of his duty to defend the government's right to break promises.
[3] This is another personal attack, accusing me of irrationality and hysteria through worshiping “doom.”
[4] Azselendor is agog at the notion that the federal government has over-promised by “tens of trillions of dollars.” He accuses me of lying instead of looking the numbers up himself on the internet. He is supremely confident he can handle this argument right off the top of his head with no references.
[5] Here Azselendor asserts that since former Nixon and Reagan officials work for the Concord Coalition, that proves the unreliable bias of the organization. He did not look at the bi-partisan board of the Concord Coalition or check into its sterling reputation. One guy he doesn't like proves it is stinking with unfair bias.
[6] Another ad hominem attack, thinking I am spewing “this madness” he need not listen to.
[7] Azselendor says he doesn't “hold individual/personal opinions on complex matters regarding non-linear systems in high regard.” This is wrong for two reasons – the opinions are from professionals and he asserts in a blanket manner that non-linear systems are too complex to analyze.” .
[8] He states that the sources in my link are biased, again, without any proof, again
[9] “My argument stands, don;t make up numbers.” Azselendor's arguments are based on personal attack and on the lie that I am making up the numbers for the net unfunded debt of social security and Medicare.
[10] Pay attention to this one. CBS has a very thoughtful and thorough simplification of the problem and the coming disaster. One of the suggestions is to shift to a risk-based system for social security. Therefore Azselendor dismisses the entire (excellent) discussion because of one point which he finds offensive. This represents magical thinking by Azselendor, surely based on his ersatz knowledge that the problem is a minor bookkeeping one rather than the tens of trillions of debt that I insistently content in my posts.
[11] Azselendor falls into my trap, telling me that he will only accept the opinions of registered actuaries (the experts in this technical discussion] providing “nothing less than a peer-reviewed organization(s) position on this matter.” How very foolish of him. I give him the name of the technical experts and the amount of the debt (over $40 trillion) and he doesn't do a search. My remaining links show that the government's social security and Medicare actuaries have provided the same numbers I've been talking about to the Medicare trust fund (a truth Azselendor should have picked up from the reliable news links earlier in the discussion).

Azselendor does not thank me for providing bullet-proof evidence of financial instability, he doesn't congratulate me for winning the argument on the facts and merits, instead he vanishes without another word.

Contention of this Blog Post
Azselendor is not an exception. I've been arguing with liberals since I was a teenager in the 1960s. This individual is not a stray irrationalist. The method of sly smearing that was used represents a standard approach of modern liberalism that is regarded increasingly as respectable because it has growing support in formal philosophy, a point that will be demonstrated soon in this blog. To understand this shift and trend, we have to go from arguments to philosophy. If we start with philosophy in the way that was done with the theology of the Christian conservatives, we could get “lost in the stacks” of books on philosophy and never get the point.

Tomorrow a huge and furious blind spot of modern liberalism will be examined through argumentation.

1 comment:

  1. There's an item you kind of dance around, but didn't explicitly state, probably because it's not central to the point of this post.

    Based on the liberals I've known there is this idea that "the government has money." I really don't think they put much thought at all into where money comes from, how wealth is generated or how governments balance their books. Even the collapse of the soviet sphere and the dramatic shift in the far east to market economies, western liberals seem completely oblivious to what national wealth really is.

    The EU is paying a huge price for this now, and it's citizens just don't get it. Keep the entitlements coming. they're not entitlements after all, their our rights.

    and that's another thing--it's hard to find rights in the Bill of Rights that cost anything. It costs the government nothing to let you speak and assemble peaceably; it costs nothing to refrain from searching your property without your consent; it costs nothing not to have slaves; it costs nothing to let you go to to church or not, etc.

    Prohibition, perhaps the only amendment to DENY a liberty, cost the government dearly in enforcement and lives, and strengthened the police state.