consultants are sandburs

Saturday, July 26, 2014

McFadden, Mills, and that Fleet Farm logo. Is the logo as orange as an NRA vote-this-way mailing card?

image credit

image credit - 2008 - interesting commentary
Start with the logo. And the card. A fine eye is not needed to see, yes, a difference in the shade of orange. Oh, if it were only that ... But it's not.

MinnPost online today, headline: "Mills taps Scott Walker's former campaign chief to help with race against Nolan"

Go green on that one, yes?

That is about all that's needed to cover Mills III and his sorry privileged ego trip.

Moving to The McFadden -

MinnPost online today, another headline: "Mike McFadden open to raising the age for Medicare benefits"

Yes: Eric Black on pinning The McFadden down on an issue being as hard as pulling hen's teeth:

In order to head off the projected insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden would favor raising the age of eligibility for Medicare benefits.

McFadden is open to other fixes for the analogous problem with Social Security, but wasn’t willing — despite being pressed on it several times in a recent interview — to indicate any measures he would endorse to extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund.

McFadden took several other policy positions in an interview last week, which I will write about soon. But this piece will focus on a long, somewhat strange exchange over the big senior entitlement programs.

As regular Black Ink readers know, I’ve been pursuing McFadden for policy specifics. To his credit, he has granted me several interviews recently to pursue those positions. Last Friday, we went over a specific set of issues on which, to my knowledge, he had not yet taken a coherent position.

One of them was the projected insolvency of Social Security and Medicare. “Insolvency,” by the way, doesn’t mean going broke, as it is too often termed. It means that official and reasonable projections for both Social Security and Medicare indicate that they will in the foreseeable future not be able to pay all promised and projected benefits from the dedicated income streams (mostly FICA payroll taxes) that have supported the programs for decades.

In the issues section of his campaign website, where many of his position statements raise far more questions than they answer, McFadden says:

Save Medicare & Social Security From Going Bankrupt. We can keep our promises while also being realistic about the challenges our current program faces. The senior safety net is heading towards bankruptcy because of irresponsible politicians like Al Franken who’ve used scare tactics to win elections. We have to take action to preserve this important program for future generations.

I had been asking what action McFadden proposed [...]

Eric Black: What is your proposal for extending the actuarial life of these programs?

Mike McFadden: We have a problem in this country. We have a problem with our senior entitlements and I believe this is a perfect example of how broken Washington is. We don’t address the issue. Here’s the facts, Eric, and you know them. Right now if you look at Social Security and Medicare, in 1950 there were 16 workers per retiree. Today there are three per retiree. And we’re headed toward two per retiree. The Social Security Administration says that Social Security is insolvent in 19 years, in 2033. Insolvent. That’s from the Social Security Administration. The CMS [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] says Medicare is insolvent six years later, in 2026. [EB: I know, the math on those two dates doesn’t work].

EB: OK, so what’s your proposal?

MM: My proposal is that we address it now, in a bipartisan fashion and that every issue is on the table. Anytime a politician in Washington tries to address long-term entitlements they get demonized. You asked about what scare tactics Al Franken used. In 2008, a Franken ad falsely implied that Norm Coleman would take away survivor benefits, [...]

EB: What is the way that you would favor. I understand that you want to negotiate, but which of the proposals to make this happen would you support at the table?

MM: What I would support at the table is sitting down and looking at, when I say everything is on the table, everything’s on the table. [...]

[...] EB: OK, so you disagree with people who say there’s no problem. You think there is a problem. You want to sit at the table and you want to do something. There’s certain things you don’t want to do. You haven’t mentioned yet anything that you do want to do. To change the program.

MM: So what I want to do, let’s look at Social Security. Social Security you have two issues. You have a demographic issue and you have health-care costs. [At this point, he apparently realized that he was talking about Medicare, not Social Security, so he switched]. So on Medicare you’ve got two issues: you’ve got a demographic issue and a cost issue. And I think we need to look at the retirement age and what age an individual becomes eligible for Social Security, excuse me, for Medicare.

EB: Obviously look at raising it?

MM: Yeah. Absolutely. [...]

[and more of the same -- you get the flavor, but read the original, it's truly a hoot]

[note - italics in original; but bolding added] What a gentleman, he'd postpone his Medicare eligibility, so his class could continue paying minimal taxes. Yes, Medicare, and while on the subject of age-to-qualify, why not Social Security in the same bucket? Goose up the qualifying age. Again, McFadden a self-consistent man who doubtlessly would willingly postpone his qualifying age for receiving Social Security benefits; same altruistic motive being likely too. How do you find a guy like that, Norm? Did you know that in advance, Vin?

HOWEVER, some Commie-Marxist liberal freaks will be whining, they do that, yet one might even yield there, FICA taxing [yes the bolding in the extended quote], give Mike and his upper class golfing partners a break and don't raise the rate.

Only raise the ceiling.

Table is from the SSA online.

The McFadden, his handlers, his golfing buddies, their entire social class including Vin and Norm, they have the income wherewithal and can pay more. The pain would be their gain. As in meeting a moral imperative. Since it won't kill them it will make them stronger. Morally. A boost in character in knowing they can do more, for more of us, and will be made to.

We should all help them along towards achieving that epiphanimonious moment of truth and character enhancement, by our reelecting Al. Help Washington to "address the issue" that way. Nineteen years from now, in 2033, you will be glad you did.

I have had the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Jim Abeler. One thing Jim Abeler is, is unevasive. He gives direct answers to clear and direct questions. Whether or not you like the answer, you can trust it as Abeler's, not handler-prompted gobbledegook.

Sure. I like Al. In the November election, I vote Al. But wanting the better opponent, in case, that's not a political fault. It's plain and simple common sense.

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