Friday, March 18, 2011

The Social Security Trust Fund Lie

Those Social Security trust fund "IOUs 'do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits' . . . [and] pay off seniors for the next 26 years. . .

That money is gone with the wind. Those trust fund trinkets are nothing more than a record of past borrowings. They say nothing about the future."

Read the Washington Post, It’s still an empty lockbox.

More Partisan Zealotry Through Highly Selective Editing of Reality

UPDATE: "James O’Keefe’s guerrilla video attack on NPR [had] . . . all the hallmarks of a hit piece. . .

O’Keefe did not merely leave a false impression; he manufactured an elaborate, alluring lie. . .

The result is more than a race to the murky journalistic bottom. It is the triumph of a thoroughly postmodern view of politics: Power means everything. Truth means little. Ethical standards are for the weak and compromised. Influence is gained, not by persuasion, but by deception and ruthlessness.

This escalation is really a descent. "

Read the Washington Post, The NPR video and political dirty tricks.

Another deceptively edited tape, causing a faux Republi-con firestorm. Read TheBlaze (Glenn Beck's website), Does Raw Video of NPR Expose Reveal Questionable Editing & Tactics?, which concluded that while "undercover reporting is acceptable and ethical in very defined situations, it is another thing to approve of editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented."

Budget Gamesmanship and Tough Decisions

UPDATE VI: Something else to cut, undeserved combat pay. Read the Washington Post, I didn’t deserve my combat pay.

UPDATE V: Another tough decision after years of irresponsible budget decisions. Read the Washington Post, Tricare target of Pentagon cuts as health care projected to reach $65B.

UPDATE IV: "Public media fear budget may pull plug" Read the Pensacola News Journal, Public broadcast cuts catch static.

UPDATE III: As noted before, "we should discuss some of the difficult decisions that will have to be made to balance the budget, with a case study of WUWF, focusing on the general expenses (I'm trying to get a copy of the station's $1.135 million budget), funding sources, and Public Radio's campaign to prevent cuts to government funding."

Well, I got a copy of WUWF's 2010 Audited Financial Statements. The total WUWF budget is $2 million.

I noticed that "Cash paid to Employees" (page 9) is approximately $730,000. To understand that number, I asked the station manager how many full-time paid employees work at WUWF. Also, what part of that budget item is attributable to his position. His reply:

"WUWF radio has 12 full-time employees. Of that, 3 positions are funded by federal or state grants. 7 positions are funded by the university (including mine). The remaining 2 positions are funded by the UWF Foundation. $55,334 of the salary budget is attributable to my position, representing 50% of my compensation. The other 50% is paid from our television operation, which I also oversee. The television operation has 3 positions (in addition to mine), funded partially by the university and partially from earned revenue. It receives no federal or state grants."

We can discuss on the next show.

UPDATE II: "We’re going to be doing a lot of deficit cutting over the next several years. The country’s future greatness will be shaped by whether we cut wisely or stupidly. So we should probably come up with a few sensible principles to guide us as we cut.

The first one, as I tried to argue last week, is: Make Everybody Hurt. The sacrifice should be spread widely and fairly. A second austerity principle is this: Trim from the old to invest in the young. We should adjust pension promises and reduce the amount of money spent on health care during the last months of life so we can preserve programs for those who are growing and learning the most. . .

[Third, n]ever cut without an evaluation process. Before legislators and governors chop a section of the budget, they should make a list of all the relevant programs. They should grade each option and then start paying for them from the top down."

Read The New York Times, The New Normal.

UPDATE: "Governing is not a 'hostile corporate takeover,' Morgan tells Gov." Read the Pensacola News Journal, Sheriff Morgan gets frank with Gov. Scott.

The article includes a link to the letter.

Imagine a politician who takes a logical approach to budget decisions by "recommend[ing] that the governor compile a list of agencies and tasks performed, then delineate 'want vs. need,'" instead of focusing on political gamesmanship. Read Rick's Blog, Sheriff Morgan questions Scott’s budget.