Watching “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a documentary about the making of the Simon and Garfunkel classic. They did a TV special when the album came out, and they chose funeral footage of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. as the background for the title song.
“The sponsors told us it wasn’t balanced,” Paul Simon said. “We said, what do you mean? They said, ‘They’re all Democrats.’ We said, ‘We think of them as all assassinated people.’”
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, is considered a strong dark-horse candidate. Dimon has said he is not interested in public office but many on Wall Street believe he would accept the job if asked by Obama. But the White House will have to decide whether Dimon, who leads the most successful bank in the U.S., is too closely aligned with Wall Street.
Do you hear a noise like power saws cutting away at your Social Security benefits? That’s the sound of the politicians working on the “Chain Gang.”
They’re promoting the “chained CPI,” Washington’s latest gimmick for tricking voters and cutting their hard-earned benefits to protect the wealthy. That may sound like inflammatory rhetoric, but the numbers don’t allow for any other conclusion. People retiring today could lose more than $18,000 in benefits over their lifetimes – and people who are already retired will feel the pain too.
What’s wrong with this idea?
1) It’s an underhanded way to cut Social Security benefits (its true intent).
2) It’s unnecessary.
3) It’s unfair to women, the poor, minorities, and the very elderly.
4) It reflects a un-American political culture of pessimism and lost faith in the future.
Any politician who signs onto a “chained CPI” approach to Social Security will feel the wrath of the voters – and deserves to.
Although they’re using hocus-pocus to make the idea sound complicated, it isn’t. The government calculates the cost of living in order to do things like determine next year’s Social Security benefits. The “chained CPI” approach would alter that calculation by including changes in the way people spend their money when prices go up.
As a government agency explains, “Pork and beef are two separate CPI item categories. If the price of pork increases while the price of beef does not, consumers might shift away from pork to beef.” So if people can no longer afford pork, they’re spending less. Under a chained-CPI approach cost of living adjustments (COLAs) would then go down.
See where this is going? If not, stick around.
Go read the rest. And then read Dave Dayen.
This is the same insane policy that was pushed last week by former progressive Andy Stern. Jared Bernstein explains why it’s so stupid.