Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Story Told by White People

(Revised 10/28 to be less of an asshole)

It's way past time to air out & beat like a rug the central myth of the 2012 election : The Welfare King. It's the story, created by plutocrats and spread, openly & through back channels, down the pathways of darkness, that gives body to all the old ugliness & fake nobility to the rankest tribalism of white America. It's not directly racism, but that's the fertilizer.

In its basic form, the myth is that Obama is King of the Hobos, out to build a coalition of dependency while Noble Sir Willard will unbind the Galtian Heroes that the rest of us are holding back.

In the form I first heard it:
Obama: "I'm going to give you free insurance. Free food. Free housing and jobs!"
Crowd: "Why do we need jobs?"

From Romney, this is expressed in the "free stuff" speech about Obama & the NAACP, the 47% nonsense, and the endlessy repeated lies about repealing the welfare work requirement.

Of course, nothing like this is found in any actual speeches or policies of the last 4 years. So it's easy to look at the people who spout it as outliers, deluded souls. But the thing to remember is that most of them are aware that it's not literally true. It's a unifying myth, expressing something that most of us have felt at one time or another. The point is to make the followers feel that they are the chosen, and the Others are worthless.

There are some people in the world who are naturally good & decent. Many, like me, are prone to resentments (no matter how many second chances and undeserved blessings we've had). With all the history & diversity of the US, especially for those of us who were here a long time ago, there are easy, evil paths for this to emerge. We grew up surrounded by the detritus of race, class, homophobia, ancient wrongs, empire, heroism, mistakes, and all that a self-invented nation produced and smashed on its way up in the world. Mostly, when some unresolved garbage comes bubbling up, we have enough restraint to face it down, look at the origin, and Get Over It.

So, when those of us not pure of heart see the Beast not confronted, but unleashed as Virtue, it's a very scary thing.

It needs to be confronted directly in it's falseness & hatefulness. Then we can chill out & dance a bit.

Our text this weekend is a meditation on initiative from 1Samuel 15:

Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’”
4 Then Saul summoned the people and [c]numbered them in Telaim, 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 5 Saul came to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the sons of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 So Saul [d]defeated the Amalekites, from Havilah as you go to Shur, which is [e]east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were not willing to destroy them utterly; but everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from [f]following Me and has not carried out My commands.” And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the Lord all night. 12 Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on [g]down to Gilgal.” 13 Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the Lord! I have carried out the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel said, “What then is this [h]bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the [i]lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait, and let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And he said to him, “Speak!”

17 Samuel said, “Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you king over Israel, 18 and the Lord sent you on a [j]mission, and said, ‘Go and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord, but rushed upon the spoil and did what was evil in the sight of the Lord?”

20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord, and went on the [k]mission on which the Lord sent me, and have brought back Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the choicest of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said,
Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination,
And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king.”
Remember kids : Bible is wack. Ain't enough you kill all the babies, you can't wait to dinner time to slaughter the sheep.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'd never heard of Bob Meister

Now he's my hero. He's the Presiddant ot the Council of UC Faculty Associations & did an analysis of the University of California systems bond issues. Turns out, they built a lot of expensive stuff, pledged tuition reveue to cover it, and then started hiking tuition.

So now we finally have open warfare between faculty & Regents. Part 3 gets downright mean;

On October 20, UC issued a press release[1] (10/20/09) in which VP’s Taylor and Lenz respond to my Open Letter to Students: “They Pledged Your Tuition.” The UC press release confirms two major points I made:
1. It admits that all student tuition (including the education fee) is now pledged as part of the collateral for UC construction bonds.
2. It assumes that it would be wrong to use the Education Fee to pay for construction, or to service construction debt.
I say it assumes this because VP Taylor did not in any way qualify his categorical statement to the press on 10/20 that “educational fees are not used to pay debt service.”

I think I've mentioned that out of state tuition at USC is higher than tuition at Harvard. One problem about overbuilding? Tuition gets so high, enrollment declines, buildings go unused.

And the battle goes on.   Bady & Konczal in Dissent have a lot of history, & some rather damning info on the Regents:
UC Regent Richard Blum, for example, is not only the largest shareholder in two for-profit universities, Career Education Corporation and ITT Educational Services, but also, as Peter Byrne reported in a 2010 exposé, oversaw investments for the UC’s $63 billion portfolio at a time when the UC invested in the very same two for-profits.
 (found via a somewhat disappointing Crooked Timber post)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the sinkhole

A while back, a sinkhole opened in Louisiana. Little sinkhole grew into a mighty pond. Now it's getting ugly:

Bubbling gasses & swirling oil. Still no clear word on what all is going on underground, where there are many holes & much strange stuff in storage.

Details are important in energy. Get them wrong, and you've got a $5,000,000 dry hole, or a major disaster. Which is why the Associated Press had Jonathan Fahey write its latest survey of the energy picture. Fahey is pretty close to clueless, (I'm pretty sure he has no idea what the differences are between hydrocarbons and carbohydrates, or shale oil & oil shale) but unlike some AP reporters, seems willing to listen to people who know better. He updated his story to fix an error in prior peak, although there is still a huge comparability problem, and he still doesn't know what a hydrocarbon is. On the whole though, it's a reasonably decent look at the absolute basics of where we are. Not so good on where we will be in 8 years, but the future is usually a lot cloudier, isn't it? A few years ago, people were still promoting cellulosic ethanol (which now looks like a loser) while underestimating the tight oil potential. Now, I think he's underestimating the problems that are about to his corn ethanol, and overestimating the duration of tight oil - but that's more or less the area of opinion. Neither of us are in the top 1000 experts on where liquid fuels are headed, which brings us to the main point. (YES! A main point, for once)

(Pause to anticipate Hurricane Sandy, and remember Isaac, yet another trouble visited on Louisiana exacerbated by all that's been dumped on that state)

The whole model of journalism as reporters calling people and writing stuff down is failing. In energy, for a while, Matt Simmons had broken through it, and was bringing expertise directly to the public. Then he died, and it went back to some reporter with a communications degree and a tape recorder. Nowadays, what with the industry clearly dying and all, they aren't  loading up on new talent. My dream - that people who actually know what's what will inform the public directly, is still, far away. Probaby the worst case is climate change. How many people are even aware that September 2012 was the warmest September on record? Yet long debunked calumnies against climate scientists still circulate freely. I dream of the day that something ike the Dover case - where Intelligent Design scammers were forced to defend their rubbish in court, and failed miserably, will happen in oh so many more fields.

Throw in a strange DeathCult called the Republican Party, and the modern system of journalism became worse than useless very quickly. If you assume that there are 2, and only 2 sides, to everything, what happens when one side decides that reality is irrelevant? Exactly what has happened in the last 10 years.


 (Hence, the Romney approach : Media friendly! Like midwestern weather : If you don't like Romney's policies, wait 15 minutes. (The reality, of course, is that the fascist* advisor's will set policy) In a world where media still had a function I wouldn't have lost my breakfast this morning. Asked what they like about Romney voters cited  - Honesty.

Honestly, I canna take it no more.

*Aware that Fascist is a loaded term, but have to go with accuracy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

U R. what U R & U ain't what U ain't

One of the greatest jobs in the world is advice columnist "Ask Wendy" for the Santa Royale Gazette. To get in the mood for my audition column,

As it happens, Megan McArdle is also trying to break into this business. I shall leave it to your judgement whether this is something I should worry about, or just another sign of the collapse of Western Civilization.

On to some letters!


I've always been GTG, and my boyfriend too. Last night, I forgot the safe word after a Cleveland Steamer, and left him for 3 hours with a ball gag. Now he's angry with me about the spinach stains and breath issues. Should I distract him with anal?



In this life, we are confronted with choices. Who can say that there is a single way, other that those who do say so? But is their way your way? We cannot know what tomorrow will bring. Is reduction of suffering an increase of pleasure? Is pleasure selfisness, when it is both given and received? All we know is that there is or is not a plan, and that the pathway to forgiveness may be lubricated with pain..



Dear Wendy:

I am starting to think my girlfriend might not ba a virgin. It's something about the way she dresses. Should I ask her? I have included a picture:

Ask her children, or the guy in your office with the huge classic porn collection.


I just think you're special, and think this song expresses that:

PS : What are you wearing?

Dear Committed:

A blue dress & pearl earrings, as always.
Why is there suffering in the world? I do all I can, but it just gets to be too much. I am on Terra putting into place a psychohistorical plan to deliver the most powerful government into the hands of a lunatic cult, Suddenly, the 60% chance that this will result in global thermonuclear war seems like a bad thing. Is there a way to override my progamming?
R. Daneel Olivaw
Belmont, MA


Belmont, MA? I see the Yale Lacrosse team was in your area last month. Don't think you New Haven boys can put anything by me.

So, that's the audition. Job is Mine, idnit?

& if you have any problems - downpup at will solve them, at wholesale or slightly above.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

3 Schools of Thoughtless

A question running through this blog is : What does a University President have to do to get fired? In the 3 track system that more or less exists today (Public, Private,Profit), which one is the quickest to react?

Call it the Graham Spanier derby.

Having your entire inner circle facing felony charges & the school getting whacked with $50 million in fines & damages is apparently still a deal-breaker. That seems a given, but what sort of lower level screwing up is enough?

Good old Linda Katehi still has her job at  UC Davis. Having dragged her school's name into the mud, and ensured that no sensible teenager will want to go anywhere near there, she has been haded her punishment : Send every kid that was assaulted a personal apology. (21 letters to be taped up over 21 toilets) The school has paid $1 million or so in legal fees, and another million or so in damages so far, but, Linda still has her job. And an award.

I don't like to think or write about for-profit schools, but The U of Phoenix (aka The Apollo Group) was in the news this week. They're closing down 25 "Campuses" & 90 smaller centers. Enrollment has fallen from 475,000 to 328,000 in 2 years. The whole industry, whose current share is 11% of students, will most likely implode once Uncle Sugar cuts off the loan money. It's really hard for a for-profit to compete with a non-profit in general. In most businesses, the for-profits are protected by the IRS Unrelated Business income tax rules, but education is a listed function for 501(c)3 protection. DeVry is not likely to have a Nobel Laureate teaching physics. There was always a hope that having the for-profits around might lead to other schools getting a bit more efficient, a bit more useful to a wider public. There has been a bit of outreach, free & open courses, but efficiency? Can we even dream?

We do salute all the kids working their way through college, even if the degree they eventually get will be worth a letter of apology from Linda Katehi.

Kings College is the little school that was foolish enough to hire Dinesh D'Souza at One Million Dollars a year as president. So, at last a new standard : Bring infamy & ridicule on your school while not bothering to show up for work. Even at a small (about 400 students, although they hide this by using lots of percentages and almost no numbers) religious school, there's going to be somebody who takes the mission seriously, despite the students tendency to bail after one or 2 years & 50% graduation rate.

I'm stockpiling tomatoes for the next college president to go down in flames.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swindletop Forever!

In the early days of the oil industry, if you popped a gusher the fools would rush in with money. Drill a mess of ever poorer wells, to ever greater costs and descending returns.

Not all that much has changed. The cowboy spirit still rules.

Oh, sure, there's proper spacing, much better underground mapping, much higher costs, bigger stakes - - -OK, a lot has changed. But not the dynamic of people so anxious to get in they - well lets consider WHX . Whiting set up this trust as to raise some money by selling a definite amount of future production from a field to investors. They've been quite careful to always explain the terms of the deal in quarterly reporting. The dividend is now about $2.76/share. In 3 years or so, the contracted amount runs out, and the dividend stops. It's trading at $7.23 right now, which seems reasonable.

In Mid-July it was selling for $18. People were buying it to get a 12% yield - not even looking at the BIG BOLD PRINT that said when it would run out. A chap named Shane Blackmon blew the whistle. Pop! Shall we see how Shane was thanked?

The sole INTENT of this story is to create fear/panic selling, causing the stock price to COLLAPSE, allowing the author and anyone else who is in on this SCAM, to profit handsomely. This is at least the 3rd such article on WHX in the past 1.5 years, always 1 month before the stock goes ex-div. This author is DEVOID of integrity! This is sheer price MANIPULATION!
18 Jul, 11:56 AMReply
But most people came around pretty quickly.

That's the kind of silliness that can happen when the promoter is being honest? So when a company actively sets out to deceive?

I'm surprised there hasn't been more oil related scamming at the low level, but that may just show how enforcement is done these days. In the big picture, there is a constant flood of disinformation about energy independence, drilling on federal land, 3,000,000 new oilfield jobs, going back to being the worlds #1 producer, smiting the Saracens, and just about any other bogus claim that somebody finds it convenient to make. Chill, & visit

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Name is Nobody

A day when the Sooners went down to Texas & ran amuck is a day for Westerns. When the genre was played out in the US the Italians & Spaniards produced some fabulous silliness. Our text today is a 1973 classic.

or to go to the center of things, the saloon scene:

For all the lucky skunks in the world, there are lots more unlucky. Upside down pistols, bad medicine. Is  there a point to any of this?

Not so's you'd notice. If you want to save Jane from hanging, you know what needs to be done. In any event, you can count on the chorus.  T-t-that's all, folks!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fox News, Springfield

One of the best excuses for avoiding elections is that nothing much changes that will personally affect you. For most of US history, that's been more or less true for most* people. The ascension of C+ Augustus was pretty unfortunate if you were a Reservist suddenly dropped into 2 tours of Iraq**, or lost your job, house and/or pension in the gutting of the US economy, but that stuff was unintentional damage.***

Keeping the effects of policy away from the main run of Americans was deliberate, of course. Maybe put some of the social issues in the platform to rouse the base, but don't push drop them on the rest of the public which moved into the 21st century even while the platform retreated into the 17th.

This years platform takes the War on People directly at us. With the True Believers having taken charge, there's no more time for denial.

They want to stop abortion, even though Willard bankrolled a contract where he might have to pay for one.

They want to restrict contraception. Starting with insurance plans, noving on to drugstores.

Medicare.  This one is personal for those of us in our early 50s, but EVERYONE will be paying for abandoning cost controls.

Taxing those with nothing. Their tax plan doesn't add up, at the most basic level. It's a 20% cut! It's not a cut! Yes, we did a more or less revenue neutral cut in marginal rates in 1986. Which means it's done. All the doable benefit cuts were done 26 years ago. What's the real plan? Buying it sight unseen is insane. If you listen to the background rhetoric, they clearly are planning some new non-income tax.

If you're gay, black, female or under 55, I don't have to tell you any of this, do I?

They're going to take away our porn, and the rest of the Bill of Rights, except the 2nd amednment.

Court packing, unaccountable vote counting and restricting who can vote are intended to lock in the loonies, no matter how badly their  schemes screw the rest of us.

*Did I miss any qualifying modifiers?
**Much worse if you were an Iraqi, but then you had no say in the matter
***Not to forget that the Romney program doubles down on all that. I've covered it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Brigadier & the Golf Widow

John Cheever, in the days of missile crises, wrote a story about people expecting society wide doom as a cover for their collapsing personal situations.  This is something that all us Prophets of Doom have to watch out for, but

this is not the time or the place. It's also a trap to not see the societal level issues that can be behind your personal difficulties. Really, really, easy in a society where hiding the social truth in a veneer of individualism is a recession proof industry. (Hi, Megan McArdle!)

The kings of delusion have long been airline pilots. Before deregulation, these guys were trained by the government then moved into very highly paid sinecures with union protection in an industry where routes & fares were doled out.

Of course, they considered themselves rugged individualists, self made men. Then, inch by inch, step by step slowly it turned. Suddenly, airlines were collapsing, pensions disappearing, wages getting squeezed. Now it's reached the point of farce. Bankruptcy can somehow be filed with the managers who file it getting richer instead of losing their jobs.  American Airlines is currently a disaster. Should we support the pilots? Damn straight But we're allowed to laugh. (Although not about the baggage handlers getting crushed down to minimum wage) Just like we could laugh a bit at the referees lockout in the NFL. Since refs are part timers, many spend their off season busting unions.

An uglier, more traditional version of class warfare is going down at Progressive Gourmet.
On the morning of July 16, workers at Progressive Gourmet were told they had to reapply for their jobs through a temporary employment agency that would not provide health insurance and other benefits they received as employees of the Wilmington specialty food-distribution company.
Those who refused to agree by 9 a.m. the next day were let go. In all, more than 70 about one-third of the company’s workforce lost their jobs.

This stuff could not happen if we maintained a functioning culture. The creation of an auto-centric, suburban culture with an absurdly high drinking age may not have been intended to separate people from their traditions, but it certainly has worked out that way.

Ah well.

You storm the Bastille with the mob that erupts, not the pony you wished for.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

It is I, Captain Vegetable

Nutrition is basic. I've been in a really stupid fight for the last week about Federally subsidized school lunches. Let's cut through all that.

Lately, I've been staying up late for the family ritual of watching Bleach. Not particularly difficult, since I'm allowed unlimited naps on the weekend. Another thing that makes it easy is that every plot drags on way beyond its natural conclusion. The fight between Ichigo & BulkyAura ran about 6 weeks, and never changed.

BulkyAura: Why dont't you surender?

Itchy: I can't.

then Itchy powers up to the next level, gets his ass kicked, and repeats, until he completely hulks out & Bulky finally checks out. All to the background music of Urahime whining : Ichigo! Ichigo!

And what's an Ichigo? Thought you'd never ask.
Yes, sports fans. The hero of a 366 episode cartoon is a small fruit. What can I say? It's a Barbie world.

Note that Barbie is never afraid to show her face. Barbie's Bankai is invincible. Not like the phony power of Koga Kuchiki. One look at him and you know he's a looser.

Anybody wants to explain why Bleach is not an utterly pointless waste of pixels, please jump in.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

A Day in the Death of Joe Newspaper

Last night  in Denver, Willard Mitt Romney unleashed a steady torrent of utter bull for 2 hours. He loudly ignored reality on everything from energy issues* to his own stated positions to the nature of the modern world. It was, in short, a performance worthy of the loudest drunk at the end of the flashiest bar in Atlanta. Everyone expected it except, apparently,  Jim Lehrer & Barack Obama (who may be catching on)

Must have been Romney's clever disguise.

You might think that a fact checking piece would have given some slight hint of the flavor of what went down. Well, you might think that if you'd been asleep for the last 45 years.  But we might as well fill in some details.

Calvin Woodward, Andrew Taylor, Stephen Ohlemacher, Jonathan Fahey and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar put the thing together. And it's balanced! Oh, yessiree, we have balance from the get go:

President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney spun one-sided stories in their first presidential debate, not necessarily bogus, but not the whole truth.

OK, so you can lower your expectations. Unless you were expecting some lame attempts to deal with minor random assertions that carry none of the flavor of what really went down.

And it gets really realllllly lame in the search for balance:

OBAMA: "Gov. Romney's central economic plan calls for a $5 trillion tax cut _ on top of the extension of the Bush tax cuts, that's another trillion dollars _ and $2 trillion in additional military spending that the military hasn't asked for. That's $8 trillion. How we pay for that, reduce the deficit, and make the investments that we need to make, without dumping those costs onto middle-class Americans, I think is one of the central questions of this campaign."
THE FACTS: Obama's claim that Romney wants to cut taxes by $5 trillion doesn't add up.
Sounds definitive, right? Read on, and find that in fact Romney, did, of course propose a $5 trillion tax cut, and Obama's fault is not counting the offsets - NONE of which Romney has specified.

So, the eejits try again on O'Bama:

OBAMA: It’s important “that we take some of the money that we’re saving as we wind down two wars to rebuild America.”
THE FACTS: This oft-repeated claim is based on a fiscal fiction. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were paid for mostly with borrowed money, so stopping them doesn’t create a new pool of available cash that can be used for something else, like rebuilding America. It just slows down the government’s borrowing.
Is there even a language this makes sense in??

In the end of course, it's the format, not the details that doom this enterprise. Pick some random statements. Ignore the Big Lies, (like energy), ignore the flow, and try to appear Balanced.
In sum, an utterly worthless piece, which has appeared in hundreds of newspapers at varying lengths.

Can we expect a worthy treatment?  Sure, but not in the newspapers. Watch Tom Levenson dance on David Brooks' head. Remember Hunter Thompson, or read Matt Taibbi. But in your average newspaper? Fuhgedaboutit.
Ohlemacher is no Danny Greene. He'll never be played by Titus Pullo. This AP crews goal is a little lower. Cash their paychecks & make the bar before closing.

The Golddiggers had a summer TV show when I was 11. The lengths I went to to see them, while trying to fix the blame on an older male....Yes, I was a Republican before age 12.

*Just the clean energy lies took the Annenberg Center all day to wade through. So the AP"s lame

ROMNEY: “At the same time, gasoline prices have doubled under the president. Electric rates are up.”
Is left looking as lame as it is. Sure, they deal with the essential silliness of this - but the real point? Of course not. Even the Annenbergers, though, miss the bottom line beneath the bottom line : While Obama's frustration at being unable to get even minimal growth measures past the insane Congress is ignored, what would happen if the US & Europe adopted economically sound growth policies?

Growth. Sure. For a few months. Then we'd have an oil crisis.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Ohlemacher, you SUUCK!!

Stephen Ohlemacher, AP Hack, having finished his Big Series on Social Security, milks it for one more time.

You should never go back to a dry well. It's just sad.
The issue:

Unless Congress acts, the trust funds that support Social Security will run out of money in 2033, according to the trustees who oversee the retirement and disability program. At that point, Social Security would collect only enough tax revenue each year to pay about 75 percent of benefits.
When your lead is that lame, why go on? Because, Wolverines! that's why.

President Barack Obama hasn't laid out a detailed plan for addressing Social Security. He's called for bipartisan talks on strengthening the program but he didn't embrace the plan produced by a bipartisan deficit reduction panel he created in 2010.

For the 10,000th time : The panel did not produce a report.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney proposes a gradual increase in the retirement age to account for growing life expectancy. For future generations, Romney would slow the growth of benefits "for those with higher incomes."

This means nothing. He's supported privatization at times. With a grifter like Romney, you ask not what he said, but what he did, and who he's with. He picked Paul Ryan. Ryan has a clear goal: Kill social Security.

Nevertheless, Social Security is ripe for congressional action in the next year or two, if lawmakers get serious about addressing the nation's long-term financial problems. Why? Because Social Security is fixable.

Despite the program's long-term problems, Social Security could be preserved for generations to come with modest but politically difficult changes to benefits or taxes, or a combination of both.

Some options could affect people quickly, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments for those who already get benefits. Others options, such as gradually raising the retirement age, wouldn't be felt for years but would affect millions of younger workers.
Fixing Social Security won't be easy. All the options carry political risks because they have the potential to affect nearly every U.S. family while angering powerful interest groups. Liberal advocates and some Democrats oppose all benefit cuts; conservative activists and some Republicans say tax increases are out of the question.
But Social Security is easier to fix than Medicare or Medicaid, the other two big government benefit programs. Unlike Medicare and Medicaid, policymakers don't have to figure out how to tame the rising costs of health care to fix Social Security.
The simple fact that there is no need to touch Social Security right now won't stop Ohlemacher - No Siree!
Social Security's problems seem far off. After all, the program has enough money to pay full benefits for 20 more years. But the program's financial problems get harder to fix with each passing year. The sooner Congress acts, the more subtle the changes can be because they can be phased in slowly.

We already covered this scam : Turning the effects of a bad couple years into the effects of not starving Granny* just won't cut it.

*Aunt Fritzi this week told Nancy that The Nutty Professor (1963) was a hit when she was Nancy's age. Which means Fritzi is pushing 60.
Needs reading glasses, but still hot.
 BTW : Suddenly getting traffic from Facebook. Nice! Could somebody let me know who linked this?