Nov 202012
 

By Pat Garofalo, ThinkProgress.org


Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein — evidently taking a break from doing “god’s work” as the CEO of Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs — told CBS News’ Scott Pelley that he believes the retirement age needs to be raised because “in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained“:

BLANKFEIN: You’re going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people’s expectations — the entitlements and what people think that they’re going to get, because it’s not going to — they’re not going to get it.

PELLEY: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid?

BLANKFEIN: You can look at history of these things, and Social Security wasn’t devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. … So there will be things that, you know, the retirement age has to be changed, maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, maybe some of the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.

PELLEY: Because we can’t afford them going forward?

BLANKFEIN: Because we can’t afford them.

Maybe working until a later age is fine for a Wall Street CEO whose net worth is $450 million. But it’s simply nonsense to assert that the retirement age needs to go up because Social Security is no longer affordable.

For starters, Social Security can pay full benefits for decades without any changes at all. (Imagine the accolades that would received if any other federal program had guaranteed funding for that stretch of time.) One simple change, raising the cap on the payroll tax, can guarantee that the program will pay nearly full benefits for three-quarters of a century. In the meantime,

Social Security is statutorily barred from adding one dime to the federal deficit, so cutting it doesn’t change the nation’s deficit or debt picture.

Raising the retirement age, meanwhile, adversely impacts those workers most in need of a robust social safety net. While a year or two of extra work may not seem like much to a Wall Street CEO with his cushy corner office, for a factory worker or janitor, it can mean real problems. Life expectancy is only increasing for wealthier workers in non-physical jobs. Poorer workers doing physical labor have not seen the same gains. Overall, raising the retirement age to 70 would “cut benefits for the average retiree by 19 percent.”

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Nov 202012
 

By STEVEN JONAS

Ever since the results of the 2012 elections came in, the GOP has been engaged in a combination of mourning and infighting.

Apparently, the Romney folks actually believed the bulk of the polls (the bulk of which were on a GOP-tilt) and actually thought that they were going to win. After all, they had raised a gazillion dollars from the likes of the Koch Brothers (Inc.) and Sheldon AIPAC Adleson. And after all, Romney had been a successful business executive, at least in the Bain sense of the term.  And what else do you need for running what is perhaps the most complicated country in the world?  And after all, they were running against the (at least semi-) black guy in the White House, and the GOP Congress had been monstrously successful in: A) preventing him from doing virtually anything that could get the economy back on track, while B) blaming him for the outcomes. But despite all of this, they lost. And so, they ask, why did what happened happen? Continue reading »

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Nov 202012
 

Inside the Psyche of the 1%
by DON FITZ


By wile or brute force handsome sociopath Ted Bundy perhaps killed 50 or more young women in his murderer’s career. While  the capitalist sociopathic personality is of a different kind, far more diluted than a Bundy’s criminal makeup,  it still retains enough unfeeling traits to make it toxic to the majority of society.

Do the rich and super-rich tend to be psychopaths, devoid of guilt or shame?  Are the 1% lacking in compassion?  Does their endless accumulation of possessions actually bring them little to no happiness?  To each of these, the answer is “yes” — but a very qualified “yes” with lots of subtleties.  Even more important is what these issues suggest for building a society which does not ravage the last remnants of wilderness and rush headlong into a climate change tipping point. Continue reading »

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Nov 202012
 

by JENNIFER LOEWENSTEIN


Ahmed al-Jabari: fame through high-tech pulverization and instant demonization by the servile media.

It is a recurring nightmare. The sounds and smells are so familiar; the tension in the air so thick that you can see it like the grit and grime that collects on your clothes and shoes after being outside for only a short while.

In July, sand blows in off the shore whipping its tiny grains across your face until your eyes sting shut with tears. Drones buzz in the night sky and tracer flares speed past like little comets. In November there is a chill in the wind when the booms go off in the dusty overcrowded streets of Gaza. The killing is high speed and slow motion together; and later, in January, when the rains start, the streets will flood and the muck and debris of the earth surges upward making patterns of dirty, broken-lace detritus on the curbs and corners, unable to drain away quickly enough for easy passage. Dying in the cold and damp is worst of all when your limbs are left to bleed uncovered. Month after month, the leitmotif of death in all its creative varieties eats away at the people of Gaza.  Were it not so unnatural, we might wonder if the seasons had somehow been poisoned. Continue reading »

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Nov 202012
 

What caused the Dust Bowl?
Much of the planet may soon become a gigantic dust bowl plunging not millions but billions of humans and nonhumans into an abyss of unprecedented misery.

The answer:

Ignorance • Everybody for himself. • Greed. • An ineffectual, slow-to-respond government. • UNCHECKED PREDATORY CAPITALISM, And finally, nature itself..

But nature should not be blamed, cannot be blamed. She gave humanity plenty of time and warnings to realize what was coming. .. 

Editor’s Note: The enormous suffering and ecological devastation of the Dust Bowl, one of the greatest ecological catastrophes in history, with its epicenter in the Southern Great Plains, has apparently not registered enough among many Americans, especially those in the Southwest, if we consider that the region continues to be a rampart of hard-core libertarianism, Republicanism, and hostility to government, a tribute to the power of nonstop business propaganda to deny even the most self-evident truths. What can America and the world expect now that through global warming we have unleashed a far more catastrophic ecological nightmare?—PG Continue reading »

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