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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Sat Jul 09th 2011, 02:18 PM
It's amazing browsing the internet and coming upon a jewel like this. Through the years these anti-Social Security groups have modified their message to make it more popular. However the goal is the very same. They want to turn Medicare, Social Security, and even education into profitable ventures.

And his group, Third Way, appears to have the ear of the president.

There is no doubt what Jon Cowan is saying in this op ed from the L.A. Times, March 1995.

Current payout levels can't be sustained; let the retirement savings system go private for all but the needy.

Despite the truth about this imminent collapse of the system, Senate Democrats recently killed the balanced-budget amendment with claims that it left Social Security vulnerable to budget-balancing. And House Republicans swore in the 1994 elections that they'd never touch the program. Why this doublespeak from both parties? A simple political calculation: Older Americans vote, and Generation X doesn't.

Unfortunately for America, this lie-to-get-elected approach is disastrous for our long-term fiscal outlook and will squander any hope of repairing the system before the crisis strikes early in the next millennium.

The time has come to reinvent Social Security based on a "cut and privatize" approach that will be fair to all age groups. This reinvention should be based on three principles:

I can't put the 3 principles in quotes or I risk an edit message for going over fair use. So I will just list them separately.

Start immediately to lower boomers' expectations of the returns they will get and encourage them to increase private savings.

Separate out the welfare portion of Social Security and pay out poverty benefits to today's--and tomorrow's--needy seniors from general government revenues.

Idea #3 is to lower the Social Security payroll to 10%
(where the heck was it in 1995...isn't it 6.2 now?) and "give workers the option of putting their money into private pension programs that offer far higher returns and sounder prospects than today's Social Security system."

Indeed, it is 6.2% and lower now. Wow.

Social Security and Medicare taxes
Main article: Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax

Federal social insurance taxes are imposed equally on employers<5> and employees,<6> consisting of a tax of 6.2% of wages up to an annual wage maximum ($106,800 in 2010) plus a tax of 1.45% of total wages.<7> For the year 2011, the employee's contribution has been temporarily reduced to 4.2%, while the employer's portion remained at 6.2%.<8> To the extent an employee's portion of the 6.2% tax exceeded the maximum by reason of multiple employers, the employee is entitled to a refundable tax credit upon filing an income tax return for the year.<9>

Also enlightening is an article from 1992 in Businessweek. These guys sure got the publicity then. It's amazing how easily their voices were/are heard, and ours are ignored by the media.

Cross my heart and hope to die, I'll cut the deficit.

Their movement, called "Lead or Leave," has the great virtue of reducing the complexity of restoring fiscal balance to a bumper-sticker slogan. But why would politicians promise to end their careers because of a collective failure that's not any single member's fault? Because, say the "Lead or Leave" organizers, the deficit won't be attacked seriously until a majority of Congress accepts personal responsibility for it. By November, they hope to secure the pledge from 100 elected officials. Says Nelson: "If we tie members' political careers to this, reducing the deficit will become the highest priority."

GRINCHES. That may sound like civics-class wishful thinking. But Cowan and Nelson are off to a surprisingly strong start. Seventy candidates for the House and Senate, including 10 incumbents and 15 likely winners, have sworn to lead or leave.

Other backers include such budget grinches as investment banker Peter G. Peterson, former Democratic Presidential contender Paul Tsongas, and retiring Senator Warren B. Rudman (R-N. H.). They've formed a nonprofit outfit called the Concord Coalition to force politicians to discuss deficit cuts. Trade hawk Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr. and Richard Dennis, a well-known Chicago commodities broker, are helping to bankroll Lead or Leave. Ross Perot, who made deficit reduction the centerpiece of his abortive Presidential bid, has also endorsed the pledge. But he has given no money.

..."Even before Cowan and Nelson appeared on the scene, some pols were swearing similar oaths on their own. In 1986, Senator Kent Conrad (D-N. D.) promised voters he would make a big dent in the deficit or he wouldn't try for a second term. To everyone's shock, Conrad meant it: He announced his retirement earlier this year. "This is a way to get enough people to take the pledge together so that nobody has to fall on their sword again," says Cowan.

There is little doubt that Third Way is controlling Democratic policy as witnessed by their publications website.

Perhaps Newsweek was wrong in 1995 when they called their group, Lead or Leave, a flame-out.

Looks like Cowan has come a long way, baby, to having the message control for the Democrats.
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