Thou Shalt Not Steal…Unless You Have To

posted at 5:01 pm on May 26, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

Public policy question of the next decade: Is it okay to steal?

Follow-up question: Would it be okay to steal a significant amount of money from a generation of people, or a smaller amount from multiple generations, to avoid a national fiscal collapse?

Final follow-up questions: Are these questions academic due to simple mathematical reality?

As 2012 wears on and Congress worries about November, the mathematics of these questions as they relate to our national debt are increasingly hard to ignore. Unfortunately, as I described earlier today at Right Wing News, the politically possible solution to fixing the major drivers of our debt – Social Security and Medicare – consist of one word: stealing. In fact, they consist of lots of stealing from one or more generations of Americans.

Last July, Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Doug Elmendorf explained things well in a post on the CBO blog:

Thus…limiting federal spending to 18 percent of GDP would require a cut in spending relative to CBO’s baseline projections for 2021 of roughly one-quarter…[I]f Social Security and the major health programs faced no cuts, then defense and other non-interest spending would need to be cut by about 60 percent. Alternatively, if defense and other non-interest spending faced no cuts, then outlays for Social Security and the major health programs would need to be cut by about 40 percent…

The budgetary imbalance could also be addressed by boosting revenues above historical levels relative to GDP—but it would take a substantial increase to bring revenues in line with projected spending under current law. For example, under current law, the expiration of the tax cuts enacted since 2001, the growing reach of the alternative minimum tax, the tax provisions of the recent health care legislation, and the way in which the tax system interacts with economic growth would result in revenues in 2021 reaching about 21 percent of GDP—about one-sixth above their historical average. But even then…debt would be rising slowly relative to GDP. Thus, with older Americans receiving the benefits projected under current law, fiscal policy is not on a sustainable path even with: (a) tax revenues rising above their historical average share of GDP; and (b) the rest of the government apart from programs focused on older Americans playing a much smaller role relative to the size of the economy than during the past several decades.

In other words, Elmendorf is saying that in order to get our debt under control in the next decade we would have to significantly raise taxes or drastically cut federal spending. And yet even this wouldn’t be enough to keep our debt under wraps in the long run, as the budgetary impacts of Social Security, Medicare and interest payments would truly begin to take over the federal budget around that time. To quote Michael Linden of the liberal Center for American Progress last year:

It’s true in the long run…the major drivers of the federal deficit are an aging population, which means higher costs for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and also rising health care costs generally…we are going to have to have some really serious conversations about how to get those things under control.

So what can be done? In short, we as a nation need to accept that stealing is going to dominate the major public policy debate of the next two decades: reforming entitlement spending so our nation does not fall off the proverbial fiscal cliff. Or in other words, to quote my friend William Beach of The Heritage Foundation, “You can’t balance the federal budget and stay inside today’s policy lines. Rethink the lines, however, and you’ll be amazed how quickly we could move toward fiscal sanity. It’s all a matter of those tricky lines.”

What is outside of those lines? Necessary reforms such as the following (note: these are opinions I hold, not necessarily those of Beach, whose quote I stole from his Facebook page):

  • Aggressively focus on eliminating fraud, waste, abuse and duplicity in the federal government. I believe up to twenty percent of the federal budget is likely lost every year to simple mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.
  • Rethinking how our military is run, both from a mission standpoint (get out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible, to start) and from a structural standpoint (starting with reforming the contracting system currently in place, especially non-compete contracts).
  • Eliminate a federal bureaucracy or three, starting with the Department of Education, the Transportation Security Administration, Head Start and DARE. All of these agencies cost the taxpayers tens of billions of dollars yet have not actually accomplished their respective goals.
  • Raise the Social Security and Medicare retirement ages to 69 or 70 by 2030 and begin means-testing the programs. Is this stealing from current seniors and those nearing retirement? Yes. Is this necessary, considering that Congress has not told the truth about the sustainability of the programs for decades, and the American people been willfully ignorant? Yes.

Personally, I would prefer to phase out both Social Security and Medicare over a 23-year or so period, with reforms slowly phased in so retirees are less dependent on them, but I recognize this is politically impossible unless the programs simply implode. Which they are on the path to doing.

  • Phase out all federal tax loopholes and either enact a low-rate flat income or – preferably – eliminate all federal income taxes and enact a national sales tax.
  • Phase out all federal subsidies.
  • Allow greater cultivation of our domestic energy resources and allow the construction of more nuclear power plants.

Politics is full of soft language that hides harsh truths, but given the fiscal reality America faces I think conservatives ought to stand up and say what’s really going on: the most important spending reforms of our generation are those needed to prevent the collapse of Social Security and Medicare, and the most politically plausible of those reforms consist of stealing from at least one generation of Americans. Politically harsh and risky? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

[This was originally posted at Race42012.com]

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
To see the comments on the original post, look here.


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It’s not stealing if done by Congressional action.

RickB on May 26, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Public policy question of the next decade: Is it okay to steal?

A.) If we wait until the next decade to address this, it will be a great deal more unpleasant than if we address it now.

B.) Doesn’t the answer to the question depend on what your definition of the word “is” is?

MessesWithTexas on May 26, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Would it be okay to steal a significant amount of money from a generation of people, or a smaller amount from multiple generations, to avoid a national fiscal collapse?

There is no collapse. Every contingency is already built into the market. It may hurt, and it may hurt really bad for a while, but at some point one of the big boys is going to have to be allowed to fail.

http://www.fiscalwars.wordpress.com

stout77 on May 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM

The simple fact, nothing will get done until we simply run out of money – unless all the progressives are replaced with conservatives.

Elections matter.

Rebar on May 26, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Aggressively focus on eliminating fraud, waste, abuse and duplicity in the federal government. I believe up to twenty percent of the federal budget is likely lost every year to simple mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

I believe it’s more like 40 or 50 percent.

kg598301 on May 26, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Dustin Siggins

…clapping to everything Dusty wrote!

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Budget is up over $1.0 Trillion since 2006… cut it by $1.0 Trillion

phreshone on May 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM

I agree with your points but I don’t think congress or the people have the stomach for it.

For instance. Changing military contracting rules is a good idea but we are stuck with the current mess because the constitution doesn’t allow for more that a two year budget when it deals with matters of the military.
or
Even if we eliminate departments what do we do with the people who have civil service protection. Will the Courts agree to terminate that protection or will congress have the stomach to change civil services rules.

Those are the difficulties with just some of the low hanging fruit.

chemman on May 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

unless all the progressives are replaced with conservatives.

Rebar on May 26, 2012 at 5:09 PM

…and NOT ‘progressive’ conservatives!

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

What ails the land.

Schadenfreude on May 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

We need to all get over this fear of some calamitous Thunderdome scenario if we don’t bail out the next failure. In every failure there is another opportunity. We are becoming an old-growth forest where big, entrenched trees blot out opportunities for younger, greener trees. A forest fire from time to time is good for the economic environment over the long run.

stout77 on May 26, 2012 at 5:17 PM

The “theft” already took place – the government took the tax receipts and squandered or misappropriated a good portion of them. There is not enough money now to pay the benefits promised, and the question now is only what to do about it. Doing nothing is probably a larger “theft” as the term is used here, in that even MORE people will eventually not receive the benefits they were promised.

The remedies being discussed are not “theft” anymore than a bankruptcy plan is “theft.” And, frankly, what purpose does the use of the term serve here? If people really think this way, then reform will be impossible.

Pumaman on May 26, 2012 at 5:17 PM

To soon to begun Hunger Games?

yankeegohome on May 26, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Politicians.. name;y a lot of Democrat ones as well as some RINOs should be going to jail for what they have done tho America! If our nation were a corporation and these guys were CEO’s they would all be doing perp walks by now!

JellyToast on May 26, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Greece is the word.

faraway on May 26, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Public policy question of the next decade: Is it okay to steal?

I gotta go check with Corzine. Be right back.

a capella on May 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Any money that went into the Social Security system is already stolen, with a “promise” from government of paying it back. Government promises have no value. We should just stop the stealing process altogether.

TBSchemer on May 26, 2012 at 5:29 PM

JellyToast on May 26, 2012 at 5:25 PM

…they should be someones girlfriend…in prison!

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 5:35 PM

I gotta go check with Corzine. Be right back.

a capella on May 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

…Ha!…(he may be on a golf course with a guy with big ears…check there first!)

KOOLAID2 on May 26, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Isn’t this a reprise of your May 25th column. Everybody is stealing from everybody else? As far as SSI is concerned, maybe there are too many people in the system that were never intended to be, but for dhimocrapt political reasons (they vote dem) they are in the system and stealing the principal.

Old Country Boy on May 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Social Security is now pretty much bakrupt because all the money I payed into it has been stolen.

davidk on May 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Historians will discover that the Obama administration has stolen $6T that will take a century to repay.

faraway on May 26, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Stop stealing from future generations. Make Social Security and Medicare VOLUNTARY. If you’re too damned stupid to provide for yourself, let the government help you.

GarandFan on May 26, 2012 at 5:43 PM

“…the major drivers of our debt – Social Security and Medicare…”

No. The major drivers of our debt are the people who simply don’t want to pull their own weight and faithfully vote for liberal politicians who promise them they’ll never have to.

When did self-reliance become something to mock and ridicule? It’s a VIRTUE, dammit!

Doug Piranha on May 26, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Budget is up over $1.0 Trillion since 2006… cut it by $1.0 Trillion

phreshone on May 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Can’t be. There hasn’t been a budget in 4 years.

Mitoch55 on May 26, 2012 at 5:48 PM

I object to your term ‘stealing.’ The stealing was done, primarily by dhimocrapts to raid the trust funds to buy votes. This stealing was done between 1964 and 2000. Those of us that voted to stop the stealing were never able to prevail because there were too many dhimocrapt dependents sucking at the public teat.

The republican contribution was under Reagan who robbed the trust fund to build up the military tothe point we no longer needed the draft and that our children would have the best weapons we could produce to reduct their chances of calualty. That was probably was the best use, but I don’t want to hear any bitching from any of those who did not have to report to the draft or who went into combat with the lowest caluslty rate in history.

I suggest we take all those who are living off the public largess(welfare, not SSI) and put them to hard labor at minimum wage to pay back all they have stolden from us during thr last 25 years.

Old Country Boy on May 26, 2012 at 5:52 PM

Aggressively focus on eliminating fraud, waste, abuse and duplicity in the federal government. I believe up to twenty percent of the federal budget is likely lost every year to simple mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

I would say FWA in the government approaches 40% myself, having worked in the military and the commerce department and seen it first hand. Also, eliminating Congressional pensions would go a long way towards SS and MC. No other two year federal employee would be eligible for any benefit, so why do congress critters get a pension even if they serve only one term? Rules for thee, but not for me.

Mini-14 on May 26, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Also a lot of this could be solved by repealing the 17th amendment so State Governments could have their intended say in Federal Government.

Mini-14 on May 26, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Since Muslims may lie to Christians, can we pass an encyclical or something justifying the theft of some other nation’s oil?

We have been accused of it for years. A hippie claimed we were in Viet Nam for uranium and huge gold finds. Then there is the fact that Iraq’s oil could pay our national debt three times over. The fact that they control it and their revenues does not stop the libs from seeing the war as a national theft exercise. Oh..the left!

The Iranians are sick of talking to the Obama administration.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/98257-iran-should-not-engage-in-further-talks-with-51-group-analyst-

And they found super refined traces.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/05/26/iran-claims-traces-enriched-uranium-technical-issue/?test=latestnews

I like Iranians but this has been a real problem. They have lots of oil….

IlikedAUH2O on May 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM

The next generation analogy is flawed. A shitstorm of increases in the cost of living is directly in our path. Thats just 3 or 4 years down the road. What is peculiar is the left refusing to admit failure, but instead deciding our whole system is flawed. It is just a free for all of jackels in DC to see who can pick clean the carcass of the country faster.

sonnyspats1 on May 26, 2012 at 6:04 PM

What ails the land.

Schadenfreude on May 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

That’s a symptom of a couple problems. The problems probably won’t be cured until there is a complete crash, however. Unfortunately we may get to put my theory to the test sooner, rather than later.

Every day, I survey the web looking for financial news to send to Ed and I’m seeing many news pieces that are starting to shape up to a global financial meltdown.

If Harry Reid was extremely smart and cared about our country he would get with people in the GOP and save the country by passing some of the job bills the GOP has passed in the house. He would come up with a budget with the Republicans. Reid could also work with the GOP to prevent Taxmageddon.

This makes great sense for the dems strategically, giving them some share of the credit for keeping us from complete financial disaster. No, doing these things probably won’t help Obama very much. It WILL help the country.

But Reid doesn’t really care about the country. He’s proven that time and again.

dogsoldier on May 26, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Thou Shalt Not Steal…Unless You Have To

OWS 2011-2012

CW on May 26, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Is this stealing from current seniors and those nearing retirement? Yes. Is this necessary, considering that Congress has not told the truth about the sustainability of the programs for decades, and the American people been willfully ignorant? Yes.

Which part of the populace might that be referring to? Willfully ignorant? Seriously?

lynncgb on May 26, 2012 at 6:14 PM

We need to get Romney in office as well as a conservative controled house and senate stat. This election is for all the marbles. If we fail be prepared for a slide into the abyss.

sonnyspats1 on May 26, 2012 at 6:19 PM

The “theft” already took place – the government took the tax receipts and squandered or misappropriated a good portion of them. There is not enough money now to pay the benefits promised, and the question now is only what to do about it. Doing nothing is probably a larger “theft” as the term is used here, in that even MORE people will eventually not receive the benefits they were promised.

The remedies being discussed are not “theft” anymore than a bankruptcy plan is “theft.” And, frankly, what purpose does the use of the term serve here? If people really think this way, then reform will be impossible.

Pumaman on May 26, 2012 at 5:17 PM

The left financed their whole movement off government programs .

sonnyspats1 on May 26, 2012 at 6:24 PM

Essentially, since those generations to come have not been permitted to vote, and since the current crop is saddling them with taxation – This ammounts to Taxation without Representation.

Tryany.

jaydee_007 on May 26, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Let’s start with the people that are stealing from the government! There are thousands on SSDI that are perfectly healthy and capable of work. They just learned how to cheat the system. Corrupt doctors, negligent judges, and a system wide open to fraud. How much there?

Let’s also look at fraud in SNAP, WIC, etc. The organizations, state or federal, that are set up to administer the freebies, see increasing enrolment as a sign of their personal and departmental success!

Think how insane that is. It’s like a corporation awarding subsidiaries that have the most warranty returns. Come on team, let’s see how much money we can lose this month!

Start with a rewards program modeled after that of the IRS, you get money for confidentially turning in someone that you know is cheating.

slickwillie2001 on May 26, 2012 at 6:54 PM

…Even if we eliminate departments what do we do with the people who have civil service protection. Will the Courts agree to terminate that protection or will congress have the stomach to change civil services rules.

Those are the difficulties with just some of the low hanging fruit.

chemman on May 26, 2012 at 5:15 PM

That thought has been festering on the back lobe for a couple of months now. After Obamacare is struck down, what do we do with thousands of people at HHS and the IRS that have been hired to administrate it? What happens to Frau Sebelius’s dozens of committees?

I say throw their butts onto the street, but can we do that legally?

slickwillie2001 on May 26, 2012 at 6:58 PM

The argument that modifying the terms of Social Security and Medicare would be “stealing” is ludicrous. Those programs were theft from day 1, and everyone in the system, whether a payer or recipient, is already a victim. Forcibly taking from person A to pay person B, under the promise that one day we will pay person A by taking from person C is still theft, regardless of the terms.

Zolf on May 26, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Which part of the populace might that be referring to? Willfully ignorant? Seriously?

lynncgb on May 26, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Seriously. If you haven’t realized that SS is a Ponzi scheme and there is no way the government can possibly pay what they’ve promised, you’re being willfully ignorant. When SS was set up the retirment age was set at life expectancy-most people were supposed to work til they dropped. Life expectancy has increased by many years. Until the mid 20th century there was no healthy retirment to the south-if you were able, you kept working. I still have patients who have worked into their 90′s-at their primary occupation, shoemakers, lawyers, accountants, heating and air conditioning repairmen. It is totally unrealistic to expect to retire at 65 and be supported by the government (younger taxpayers) for 30 years.

Everyone should understand that the government doesn’t keep your SS money set aside for you-they spend it on current beneficiaries.

On the similar topic yesterday someone mentioned the problem with increasing the retirement age was that it shuts younger workers out of employment.

The US labor force has not changed its structure in about a century, although productivity and the nature of most jobs have changed dramatically. In addition to raising the age at which SS pays retirement benefits as well as means testing the benefits, we need to look at changing the work week. In order to allow for the employment of more people maybe we should start looking at reduced schedules-20 hour work weeks, shared positions, etc. with at least some benefits-basic health insurance, retirement plans. Most people could do 20 hour work weeks not involving heavy labor well into their 70′s. People could work more if they wanted, but many people would be happy to have a reduced work week over no work. Parents with children at home might prefer this. It was a big deal when the US went to a 5 day work week, now it’s standard. Maybe it’s time for another change.

talkingpoints on May 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

It’s not stealing if you steal from Bill Gates (Microsoft).

bw222 on May 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Stop stealing from future generations. Make Social Security and Medicare VOLUNTARY. If you’re too damned stupid to provide for yourself, let the government help you.

GarandFan on May 26, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Exactly – here’s a good example of just what a sham SS is:

http://fiscalwars.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/some-perspective-on-social-security-for-30-somethings/

I could literally (not in the Joe Biden sense, but literally) retire probably 15 years sooner if I was able to have control over that portion of my income.

stout77 on May 26, 2012 at 7:49 PM

There’s another way to steal, -steal from everyone that has money. It’s called inflation.

slickwillie2001 on May 26, 2012 at 7:50 PM

Personally, I would prefer to phase out both Social Security and Medicare over a 23-year or so period, with reforms slowly phased in so retirees are less dependent on them, but I recognize this is politically impossible unless the programs simply implode. Which they are on the path to doing.

Yeah, those that have (or believe they will have) healthy retirement accounts be they through military/government service, through union-negotiated plans, or through wise investing in 401Ks and such are the ones most likely to see SS go bye-bye…especially after they’re dead.

Unless the government mandates that individuals maintain some kind of retirement plan, you’re going to have tens of millions living in poverty in their old age, and all except the most hardcore fiscal Conservatives will demand that something be done about it.

We can sit around here all day and take personal responsibility for granted, but the fact of the matter is many Americans will not on their own, and even if they do won’t be able to put enough aside/invest with what they’re making…and that isn’t going to get any better.

Another thing is that even a private retirement plan’s health is predicated upon how well the Market and the rest of the financial system does. From what I’m seeing you’re probably going to at the very best break even down the line, which is no help at all unless you’ve put hundreds of thousands of your own money in in the first place.

More than likely you’re looking at a loss.

And what if there is a re-evaluation of the dollar?

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I’m sure Barry has been weighing the option of confiscating all the bank accounts in the name of social justice, but I think he knows it’ll cost him more than a prison term.

Justice is harsh sometimes, but mob justice is deadly.

Wolfmoon on May 26, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Sure, some of the “theft” came from squandering the so-called SS Lock box…….

….but alot and most of it came from the SS aged wailing for some 40 “cost of living” increases to SS over the decades……and no corresponding increase in SS to keep it actuarily sound…

The politicians got the senior vote, but kept the working mans vote that way……..but royally screwed future generations that would yet to vote…..

and now here we are………..the ‘greatest generation” is shafting the next generations.

sbark on May 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM

No one likes to be taxed. However most Americans do like the RESULTS of the safety net programs that exist today in Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid. What do I mean by that? I mean that the elderly and disabled and poor being able to have access to decent heath care, and in the case of the elderly, a pension, allows the rest of society to avoid having to care for aging relatives with no help, or be forced to have to step over sick or dying people on the curbs and in front of door ways as they go in to work or out to dine. There is a payoff and benefit to the younger workers BEYOND simply being able to claim benefits when they become seniors or disabled people. The freedom NOT to have to shoulder the burden of care for the seniors and disabled alone is one of them.

Further, taxation is not theft. The government cannot function with out taxation. The military cannot function without taxation. The nation cannot exist without taxation. This is the hard reality.

The only remaining questions are: How much can we afford?… and… What kinds of services do we value enough to pay for them?

As to younger generations not wanting to pay for their elders…I don’t recall the Boomers quailing at the idea that they would contribute more to the national coffers than any generation before them or balking at the necessity to provide for the care of THEIR elders. Its not the Baby Boomer generations fault that the Social Security Trust Fund has been pilfered by politicians to pay for pork projects. They( the Boomers) put their taxes in faithfully,now that it is too late for the Boomers to start over and build a new retirement plan, they deserve the benefits that they were promised in exchange for that contribution.

This is the United States of America. We do not leave our elders or our frailest citizens by the wayside. The safety nets must be preserved and Paul Ryan has offered the most comprehensive plan to date to begin to accomplish that task. We must be mindful in the debate about how best to serve the needs of the nation and NOT TO VILIFY seniors and disabled people, veterans and those who truly are poor or relegate them to the status of objects , units, or ‘problems’.

thatsafactjack on May 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM

the government doesn’t keep your SS money set aside for you-they spend it on current beneficiaries.
talkingpoints on May 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Among other things. I would agree that the increase in life expectancy is one contributor to the drain on the fund, however, the Social Security Trust Fund has had Congress as it’s Trustee, which I believe is the bigger problem. The fund has been looted, misappropriated and commingled. I think a trust fund in the private sector managed like that would have the trustees in jail.

lynncgb on May 26, 2012 at 10:04 PM

I would submit that the stealing has already occurred. It happened when Congress appropriated the Social Security receipts, spent them on government programs that gave money to others, then replaced those receipts with worthless IOU’s. So, the question now is how do we deal with the loss of what was stolen.

AZfederalist on May 26, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Its not the Baby Boomer generations fault that the Social Security Trust Fund has been pilfered by politicians to pay for pork projects.

thatsafactjack on May 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM

And SSI payments to those who have never paid into the system, or for for far fewer years than someone who has worked until retirement.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 26, 2012 at 10:22 PM

They( the Boomers) put their taxes in faithfully,

And then some. In 1983, SS payroll taxes were increased in anticipation of the retiring Boomers. This money was supposed to be put in a trust fund when benefit payouts would exceed tax receipts. So for the past thirty years, Boomers have been lead to believe we’ve been contributing a little more to help offset the cost of benefits for our generation.
So I ask again…willfully ignorant? I say no, just snookered.

lynncgb on May 26, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Forgot the link.

lynncgb on May 26, 2012 at 10:57 PM

Almost everyone here has stolen content off others.

Music, movies, etc.

If nothing else.

Mitchell Heisman on May 26, 2012 at 11:03 PM

I believe up to twenty percent of the federal budget is likely lost every year to simple mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.

If it is that simple tell us where that loss occurs. Seriously, my friends who are federal employees feel they are under assault. Everybody wants to balance the budget on their backs. We are going into the third year where federal employees have not had any cost of living raise. Gas didn’t get cheaper. Food didn’t get cheaper. Federal employees have been made scapegoats for the public disdain with Congress.

Happy Nomad on May 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Thou shalt not steal – unless the victim can be outnumbered in the voting booth…

Thou shalt not steal – unless you’re taking from a future generation which can do nothing about it…

Thou shalt not steal – unless it furthers your idea of ‘social justice’…

shinty on May 26, 2012 at 11:20 PM

We are going into the third year where federal employees have not had any cost of living raise. Gas didn’t get cheaper. Food didn’t get cheaper. Federal employees have been made scapegoats for the public disdain with Congress.

Happy Nomad on May 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM

Oh, poor muffin.

Then enter the private sector in a comparable job and see what it’s like there.

You won’t. You know it’s worse. Yet those people pay your salary anyway.

Mitchell Heisman on May 26, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Seriously, my friends who are federal employees feel they are under assault… We are going into the third year where federal employees have not had any cost of living raise.

I know many private sector workers who also haven’t had raises in awhile… and they don’t have the cushy retirement plan which federal workers get and which we all pay for… Just sayin’.

shinty on May 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM

Social Security is now pretty much bakrupt because all the money I payed into it has been stolen.

davidk on May 26, 2012 at 5:40 PM

1,000,000++

fullogas on May 26, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Seriously, my friends who are federal employees feel they are under assault… We are going into the third year where federal employees have not had any cost of living raise.

If there were a GS cost of living increase I wonder how that would compare to what we hand out in foreign aid, various pork/boondoggles, the “stimulus”, and what the Federal Reserve Board is doing to American’s spending power via inflation?

Surely it all adds up for the majority of American taxpayers, but I don’t think we should get sucked into worrying about what GS employees are getting which is such a small percent of our overall climbing debt. Still, I think that most GS types are getting paid plenty.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Further, taxation is not theft. The government cannot function with out taxation. The military cannot function without taxation. The nation cannot exist without taxation. This is the hard reality.

You earn money, to have it taken away by people you didn’t vote for so they can give it away to others. If you don’t give them your money you go to jail.

It may be legal and necessary, but that still sounds like stealing to me.

shinty on May 26, 2012 at 11:35 PM

talkingpoints on May 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

And how would I pay for all my bills, rent and food (ever increasing cost) while working a 20 hour work week? especially since I’m not breaking even now, on a 40-hour work week?

fullogas on May 26, 2012 at 11:42 PM

If it is that simple tell us where that loss occurs. Seriously, my friends who are federal employees feel they are under assault. Everybody wants to balance the budget on their backs. We are going into the third year where federal employees have not had any cost of living raise. Gas didn’t get cheaper. Food didn’t get cheaper. Federal employees have been made scapegoats for the public disdain with Congress.

Happy Nomad on May 26, 2012 at 11:13 PM

I work in medical transcription. I still make the same 9 cents/line that I did 5 years ago. Tell your gov. employee friends to suck it up. Could be worse, and all that.

fullogas on May 26, 2012 at 11:45 PM

The Worst: Americans Savaging One Another

I made a rotten remark above. It was along the lines of stealing oil.

This thread is more rotten. You have all turned on each other.

We are in a financial fix. We just look to take from each other.

But why should China be permitted to be Mercantile and rob the world since they “have to have” 7% growth?

Using our POWER to take stuff from an enemy is bad but it is fine to soak the rich here. Even if the rich don’t have enough to pay all our bills. See, our White House is very sensitive to a lot of foreigners who don’t vote and they can’t do math about the limits of our rich people’s pockets. That is why we are probably going to get new leaders.

Maybe the Imperialists were on to something.

IlikedAUH2O on May 27, 2012 at 6:15 AM

Means testing SS immediately? Stealing from people that are retired or near retirement makes sense to the author…….Wow, I guess two wrongs do make a right. I will bet BO would love to have you on his team.

David in ATL on May 27, 2012 at 7:54 AM

I’m sure Barry bamstahhhhh!!!you da man bammy baby !!!love ya barry ol buddy ol pallllll!!!yahhhhhhh!!!!

Wolf at 8:34 PM

cableguy615 on May 27, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Before you propose cutting government areas or programs that at least have some sort of constitutional basis, first completely cut those that have absolutely no constitutional basis. While there is some fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA) in the DoD for example, those government programs without a constitutional basis are 100% FWA (Dept of Ed.).

Silver on May 27, 2012 at 11:23 AM

It’s not stealing if done by Congressional action.

However, then there’s the fifth BOR about just compensation for property taken. There’s no mention in the 17th that the income tax overrides the “just compensation” rule — seems to this common dufus, unless otherwise specified, when two amendments clash, the prior should generally taken precedence.

Then there’s the Preamble guidance for the Federal Government to promote (not provide) the general welfare and preserve liberty to ourselves AND our posterity. These guidelines are all about NOT taxing future generations to pay for other generation’s benefits, they are not about PROVIDING special interest welfare (aka union pay and benefits) at the expense of PROMOTING the general welfare, or to promote the longevity of weak kneed politicians of any party.

That all said, this is really all about how gubermints and politicians around the world have assumed their proper role in society is to be the final arbitrator of how to manage and pass out the benefits of various social marketplaces, essential and not so essential. The looming bankruptcy of gubermints around the world point to the fallacy of this socialist supposition.

The solution to this international gubermint debt crisis doesn’t lie in adjusting tax burdens, it lies in devolving the various entitlement social marketplaces back towards individually controlled and managed entities. This process must also include mechanisms to provide access to these various social marketplaces for those of limited means that fit the “promote general welfare” and “preserve liberty for our posterity” principles.

Individuals, if given the chance, can and will make the hard choices about how to bring fiscally and morally bankrupt entitlements and devolve wasteful plus redundant gubermint social marketplaces to individually driven social market that are sensitive to their mission in a fiscally and morally based fashion. The evolution from morally and fiscally bankrupt social markets doesn’t have to be tramatic — except perhaps to the fiscally and morally bankrupt pols and burros who have made lush careers out of mismanaging social marketplaces for their own, not societies, benefits.

How might such a pie in the sky process be done? Amongst the many solutions available to move towards individually driven social marketplaces is a Taxpayer Directed Budget (TDB). A TDB puts the productive taxpaying segments of society in charge of directing the various social marketplaces and nation’s future towards what the productive society, not self serving politicians, see best for society in both the short and long term. A TDB can be used to fund both private charities as well as existing guberment based programs. It also provides a significant check and balance against mobocrats and their never ending war against taxing prosperity to feather their own nest eggs.

The bottomline here is politicians (worldwide) have proven themselves to be incapable of managing the various social marketplaces in a fiscally and morally responsible fashion. The solution isn’t about tweaking taxes and entitlements around the edges to kick the can down the road for another generation to deal with. It’s about using modern technology and marketplace fairness to restore common sense to the various social marketplaces.

drfredc on May 27, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Happy Nomad, I have no sympathy for anybody who didn’t get a raise since both my husband and I have been laid off and we have no job prospects whatsoever.

sherrimae on May 27, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I’ve said it before – as two people who paid into Social(ist) Security for 50 years – just have Washington cut me and my wife checks for for $1,000,000.00 each and we’ll leave SS and Medicare completely and take care of ourselves. Thank you.

oldleprechaun on May 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM