The legitimate object of government

vote_imageThe legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves—in their separate, and individual capacities.–A. Lincoln

The focus should be on reforms (cuts) that do not affect those who currently receive or will soon be receiving benefits, but those who are a generation out.–Tom Reed

We need somebody who’s ready to stand up for Social Security and Medicare, the right to retire with dignity.–Martha Robertson

Hands off Social SecurityI want to quote Tom Reed on Social Security, but he has been coy, seldom committing his views to writing. At townhall meetings, not so often recently, he has been more forthright, saying that benefits must be cut to save Social Security for future generations. The Evening Tribune article cited below is a good example of Reed’s evasiveness. We read:

“Pretty much the consensus has come clear” on Social Security going bankrupt, Reed said.

This is vague. Tom may mean to say that Social Security benefits will eventually exceed revenue if nothing is done.  Tom doesn’t mention a solution in the Evening Tribune article, other than suggesting that those on disability be encouraged to return to work, but has suggested on other occasions that benefits must be cut for future retirees. No wonder seniors, who don’t want reduced benefits for their children are concerned.

In an NewsfromTown article on an April 5 townhall meeting in Baldwin, we read:

Reed talked briefly about Social Security, asking if anyone knew when Social Security was due to go bankrupt. Chris Sherwood spoke up and said, “About the time I’ll be able to retire.” The congressman replied, “Then you will be retiring next year.” and went on to point out that in 12-16 months the Social Security program could go bankrupt yet there is no real plan to deal with the issue. He said the current way of looking at things is the plan to shift money from one account to the other, which is simply “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. 

Again an irresponsible reference to bankruptcy without a hint of support for a responsible solution. Reed claims that working with No Labels he seeks to  “secure Medicare and Social Security for at least 75 years,” but how, NY-23 asks?

© William Hungerford – September 2014;view=fulltext



About whungerford

* Contributor at where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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54 Responses to The legitimate object of government

  1. solodm says:

    I’m still scratching my head over Tom Reed getting away with out and out lying. I remembered a teleconference I had reported about in the New Ny 23rd blog. Here is the excerpt that relates: ” [Tom Reed] “Said that SS and Medicare “were never configured to become a permanent Welfare Program for the future generations”. Answered that the SS program is in dire need of reform and is sticking to the Ryan party line on how a cut off age should be introduced for people age 54 or younger to have “the opportunity to create their own secure future with SS and Medicare reform”. Rep. Reed admitted that the last 6 kids in his family were supported by his father’s military pension and, you guessed it, Social Security. That’s why he is just adamant that we need to “save SS for future generations.”

    Reed’s silver tongue may be a bit more slippery just before election time – but his objective is the same as back then ( March 2013) – that’s the Ryan Plan.

    • whungerford says:

      Thank you Deb for your comment. I didn’t know that Tom had claimed that SS and Medicare were intended to be temporary. Tom saying that something is temporary is often a prelude to an attack as with SNAP and UI. On the other hand he is quite willing to make temporary tax cuts permanent as he did with Bonus Depreciation. Can he get away with duplicity? Time will tell.

  2. BOB McGILL says:

    why don’t you ask pystew about his teachers pension ? Ask him which pays more, his pension or SS. Without doing a comparison as to how much needs to be invested and how much the return will be, you are just blowing smoke.‎CachedSimilar
    If our workers were able to invest his Social Security taxes in a private account …
    in retirement, or more than three times the return that Social Security provides.

    bet stew gets 3 times more from his pension than he does SS

      • BOB McGILL says:

        TWO AND A HALF ? maybe you should have worked for a bigger school system. Some teachers retire at close to 80 % of their pay when they were working.

        • Kriegar says:

          And yet he did not. Mr. Stewart graciously, and successfully, worked at ours. And we appreciate that.

        • josephurban says:

          The size of the school district has no bearing on the percent of your retirement pay (but suburban districts do pay much higher salaries, generally), it is based on the number of years you work. A young teacher starting today (Tier 6) will have to work for 43 years to attain an 80% retirement figure. That will not be 80% of their final salary, but 81% of the average salary of the last 5 years. A teacher starting today and retiring after 20 years can expect a whopping 35%, minus early retirement penalties. Still, it is better than most jobs, since it is a guaranteed income. (Of course, the kind of person who goes into teaching does not do so with the intention of getting rich).

    • Kriegar says:

      Frankly, the last thing in the world I want, if for some corporate entity to take my retirement fund down the drain, and tell me how bad that was, and how they are so sorry. And then go vacationing in Barbados as the point of embarkation of their cruise around the world, on their year end bonus. And in any event, that would be another bail-out by the U.S. taxpayer, anyway. We can save money, then, by leaving the current system in place, it would seem.

  3. josephurban says:

    Evidently some folks have no understanding of Social Security. It was not designed as an individual retirement account. And it has never functioned as such. It is a program designed to give the older folks a needed boost in retirement. A boost that keeps them from being dependent on families and dependent on welfare in old age. The suggestions that SS should somehow be turned into an individual investment account has been around a long time. Had that been the case, the retirement dollars of seniors would rest completely at the mercy of the stock market, which everyone knows has ups and downs that are not predictable. The recession of 2007-2009 would have wiped out millions of seniors retirement accounts. What were they supposed to then ? That is why the “individual account” argument is going nowhere. It is ludicrous.
    The idea that SS is going “bankrupt” is another talking point that has been used to discredit this very effective social entitlement. I have news for Mr Reed and others. The Department of Defense goes “bankrupt” every year.As does every other department of the federal government. Every year the taxpayer “bails them out” Why ? Because, like SS the Department of Defense is a necessary federal program. Without an influx of billions of dollars each year it would cease to exist.
    These common errors in logic and these fundamental misunderstandings of what SS is have been harped upon for many years. Luckily, most citizens understand that it is a matter of blowing smoke. SS will be extended. A couple simple fixes are all that is needed.

    • Deb Meeker says:

      I agree Joe. After speaking about this with “forty somethings” ( around 15 people ) I know, the idea of cutting them out of an assured safety net at retirement doesn’t go over well. They’ve been paying for your’s and mine since they started working
      The CDs I have are earning less than 1% interest for a sixteen month term. Wall St. may be getting ready for another burst bubble – who knows? People have their 401K and IRA plans invested in the market by default, and are at the mercy of the those whose malfeasance was a big part of the recession we’re still crawling out of. Tom Reed can call Ryan’s Plan anything he wants – it’s a raw deal for Americans.
      I can’t speak for others, but for me, knowing there will be an assured ( if small ) benefit to fall back on if times warrant, is a good thing indeed.
      Tom Reed isn’t concerned about my welfare in retirement, nor whether people retiring in the future will have that same assurance. He wants to break it, not save it.

      • BOB McGILL says:

        it is quite obvious neither of you know where to invest your money.…/us-households-finances-regain-lost-ground.html
        Jun 6, 2013 … Buoyed by a healthier housing sector and a soaring stock market, American
        households continue to regain ground lost in the wake of the …

        • josephurban says:

          You could be right Bob. I must assume that you are a millionaire by now with your incredible knowledge of the stock market and investment strategies. I am sure your investments have allowed an early retirement and fantastic income. Good for you. I applaud your abilities and expertise. For we mere mortals, however, SS provides a good supplemental income for the ignorant and weak. Also, many of us have and still do work for a living, raise families, work two jobs, etc. and don’t have the time or energy to become experts in investing. Have mercy on us. We are just takers ! Enjoy your wealth. you deserve it !

          • BOB McGILL says:

            stop spending so much time on your computer, read the business section of the Rockester D&C. Wait, forget that, you have no concept of how the real world works.
            ” SS provides a good supplemental income for the ignorant and weak ” really ? speek for yourself. 🙂

      • BOB McGILL says:

        SOME BUSINESS PERSON YOU ARE, CDs’ you gotta be kidding 🙂

        • josephurban says:

          Bob…where can I get a copy of the “Rockester D & C “? Doesn’t seem to be one in the “real world” ! 🙂

          • BOB McGILL says:

            ok rocHester, when you can’t win the debate nit-pick

          • josephurban says:

            Well Bob, I usually am not a “nit-picker”. But, when you imply that you are smarter than others ( personal comments about people and their intelligence) I think you have to expect to be “hoisted” once in awhile. Like we used to say on the playground, “He can give it, but he can’t take it” No hostility intended. No hard feelings, I hope. Just having a little fun. 🙂

        • Deb Meeker says:

          Nope, not kidding, and during the 2009 crash I wasn’t crying either..

          • BOB McGILL says:

            but you’re crying now aren’t you !

          • Deb Meeker says:

            Frankly Bob, if I were crying about anything, it would be that the dear and patient originator of this blog, allows childish stupidity to overtake worthwhile topics.
            Who knows if you are bored, lonely, or just enjoy being annoying –
            ( possibly all of the above)
            But the real issues of importance don’t get buried with your attempts to sideline, they just become that much more important to help others understand, so they don’t, like you – wind up confused, and wishing to be relevant.

    • Kriegar says:

      Where, exactly, do you get your information as to what the original Social Security plan was, as you employ the word “never”. Please, do cite your source. Thank you.

      • josephurban says:

        Yes. The original SS plan proposed by FDR was designed to make sure people over 65 had financial assistance if needed. It also included poor dependent children. Assistance to provide “reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health” for the old folks.(Title 1, Section 3) Congress appropriated funds to start the program, as no one had yet paid into the fund. It is a general fund. You do not have a specific account that keeps your money separate from anyone else’s. It was not designed that way. It has never been an individual retirement account (like an IRA). You and your employer pay the tax when you are working, and you collect at 62 or later. Here is a link to the original law:

  4. BOB McGILL says:

    can anyone tell me where the smart democrats chat ? If there are any that is.

  5. Kriegar says:

    Hmm-by the standards of todays’ republicon, Abe Lincoln was a communist. “No wonder seniors, who don’t want reduced benefits for their children(,) are concerned.”

    And this is the very same reason that intelligent citizens are concerned about the situation with minimum wage. Has anyone considered replacing the funds purloined from the Social Security Trust Fund? Likely not, as that would be much to simple and normal a thing to do. Mt. Reed reminds me of any other overstuffed, too well-fed republicon. And I want no part of them.

    • BOB McGILL says:

      your link says-” I think the economic system is now structured to redistribute income upward unless something changes, and most of the present political establishment, both Democrat and Republican, is unwilling to change. ” Can’t you find one that blames TOM ?

      • josephurban says:

        It is not a matter of blame. It is a matter of implementing fair economic policies in the future. All studies show that while the upper 10% has done quite well over the last 30 years, the lower 50% or so has been stuck with stagnant wages. The role of government in this process has been central. The tax system and government policy which is geared toward assisting the wealthy at the expense of workers has been instrumental in helping create this growing disparity. No need to blame. But we do need to ask: How do we develop more democratic, fairer economic policies for all citizens in the future? How do we develop governmental policies that lead to long term stability and employment, not short term profit?

        • BOB McGILL says:

          Like everything else, it starts at home with the parents. Schools can’t teach the kids, they get lazier and dumber all the time. The American society is going down hill fast, but you think they should be making more money, ” just because. ” Get out in the real world once in a while, we are raising a bunch of screwups. That may include you as a matter of fact.

          • josephurban says:

            I guess you can’t respond to the points I made bout role of the government (especially since the failure of the Reaganomics supply side theories) so you once again resort to insults. The sure sign of a losing position. When 1/3 of US corporations pay no taxes, while workers continue to pay every week, there is something structurally wrong. I guess blaming parents for government policy is all you have in response. 🙂

  6. BOB McGILL says:

    corporations pay NO taxes, taxes are a cost of doing business and the tax is passed on to the comsumer. Raising taxes only raises prices.

    • whungerford says:

      Bob, you might just as well say that individuals pay no taxes as the tax is passed on to the employer.

    • BOB McGILL says:

      The “Millennials” Are Coming
      Morley Safer On The New Generation Of American Workers

      Nov 08 Correspondent
      CBSNews More
      + Stumble
      .This story was originally broadcast on Nov. 11, 2007. It was updated on May 23, 2008.

      It’s graduation time and once again we say “Stand back all bosses!” A new breed of American worker is about to attack everything you hold sacred: from giving orders, to your starched white shirt and tie. They are called, among other things, “millennials.” There are about 80 million of them, born between 1980 and 1995, and they’re rapidly taking over from the baby boomers who are now pushing 60.

      They were raised by doting parents who told them they are special, played in little leagues with no winners or losers, or all winners. They are laden with trophies just for participating and they think your business-as-usual ethic is for the birds. And if you persist in the belief you can, take your job and shove it.

      As correspondent Morley Safer first reported last November, corporate America is so unnerved by all this that companies like Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young, and scores of others are hiring consultants to teach them how to deal with this generation that only takes “yes” for an answer.

      • BOB McGILL says:

        MORE–“What are some of the do’s and don’ts in speaking to the generation of young workers?

        “You do have to speak to them a little bit like a therapist on television might speak to a patient,” Salzman says, laughing. “You can’t be harsh. You cannot tell them you’re disappointed in them. You can’t really ask them to live and breathe the company. Because they’re living and breathing themselves and that keeps them very busy.”

        Faced with new employees who want to roll into work with their iPods and flip flops around noon, but still be CEO by Friday, companies are realizing that the era of the buttoned down exec happy to have a job is as dead as the three-Martini lunch.

        “These young people will tell you what time their yoga class is and the day’s work will be organized around the fact that they have this commitment. So you actually envy them. How wonderful it is to be young and have your priorities so clear. Flipside of it is how awful it is to be managing the extension, sort of, of the teenage babysitting pool,” Salzman tells Safer

      • whungerford says:

        Bob, do you agree with Lincoln’s statement on the legitimate object of government? Why or why not?

        • BOB McGILL says:


        • BOB McGILL says:

          why is it that everytime you lose an arguement you change the subject or go back in time 100 years ? 🙂

        • josephurban says:

          Back to old Abe. Yes. I agree with him on the fundamental idea of the purpose of government. He understood that the disenfranchised needed a government to protect them. He would approve of Social Security, Medicare, etc. A real RINO by today’s defintitions.

          • BOB McGILL says:

            lINCOLN WAS ON THE SIDE OF THE WEALTHY INDUSTRIALISTS OF THE NORTH. The south did business with Europe, mostly France. The north wanted the south to buy their manufactured goods and were in favor of the war.
            Central Question: Was economic difference—manufacturing in the North and
            slave-driven agriculture in the South—the primary cause of the Civil War?
            ” For years, textbook authors have contended that economic difference between North and South was the primary cause of the Civil War. The northern economy relied on manufacturing and the agricultural southern economy depended on the production of cotton. The desire of southerners for unpaid workers to pick the valuable cotton strengthened their need for slavery. The industrial revolution in the North did not require slave labor and so people there opposed it. The clash brought on the war.

            Economic divergence is certainly one of the reasons for the Civil War, but neither the major one nor the only one. Many factors brought about the war. Focusing only on different economies would be like arguing that one professional football team will always win because it has taller players.

            The true causes of the Civil War are downright intriguing and just as complex as the conflict itself.”

          • BOB McGILL says:

            the guy that wrote thid knows nothing about football, the taller guys are the ones most likely to catch a pass in the end zone–did you watch the Giants game last night .

        • whungerford says:

          There is a contradiction between the reverence Americans feel for the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, our founders, national holidays, soldiers and veterans, our flag, and the willingness of some to pretend that anarchy would be preferable to government. We pay our representatives at least $174,000 annually, yet some would be content if they did nothing.

      • josephurban says:

        I think it is quite refreshing that youngsters today refuse to see themselves as mere cogs in an organization. Isn’t freedom what America is all about ? It is very healthy to put your work in perspective. I applaud young people who see themselves as more than drones to be categorized and boxed. Actually, the smart CEOs will encourage this independent attitude among workers. It leads to increased productivity over the long run. As Morley Safer points out, it is a good idea for companies to hire consultants. Especially when the management lacks the intellectual tools to deal with adult workers who demand to be treated like adults. Adjust or go out of business. Good for them.

        • BOB McGILL says:

          where do uyou work ? ask your readers if they can show up at work if and when they want. Most employers fire workers who can’t show up or on time. Willy is just running at the mouth with a bunch of blabber, Lincoln would never get elected in todays world.

          • josephurban says:

            Things are changing. In many jobs today people have flexible hours. Many work one or more days from home. It is true that if you are focused only on factory production work it is necessary to be “on time and in the right place”, but so much of the new economy is based on computers today. I know a very successful computer systems analyst, for example, who works from home if he wants to. Often starts at 10 in the AM and works until he is finished. The old factory system paradigm still exists, but it is being replaced in some sectors of the economy. A smart employer recognizes this.

          • whungerford says:

            One group that needs be punctual–teachers.

  7. BOB McGILL says:

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    • BOB McGILL says:

      I remember a company that did a very good job of training their employees. Then they realized that the best employees were leaving and finding better paying jobs. Now their policy is to train employees just enough to get the job done. Government realizes we need people at the bottom of the economic scale to do the dirty work. If everyone was educated to be a CEO there would be nobody to do the work. Now you want to raise everyone up to a certian level by bringing down the successful without anyone having to earn it. The do gooders have made it so you don’t have to work your way out of poverty, just let somebody else do it for you. It’s not going to work.

    • josephurban says:

      Having looked at Common Core I have no idea why anyone would suggest it is “dumbing down” of our educational system. From what I have seen it is the opposite. It encourages critical thinking and critical reading and analysis. If anything, it might be pushing kids too fast in terms of their intellectual development. It does not focus on rote memorization, but rather interpreting data. These are higher level thinking skills. I would suggest that it may be a good idea to look at the actual Common Core requirements rather than the interpretations of others. Here is a link:

      I would keep in mind that like any curriculum, it is the teachers who in the end are responsible for teaching. I see nothing in the common core standards, properly applied, that prevents good teaching.That said, often school administrators get in the way of good teaching and learning by insisting on regimentation and standardization. Perhaps that is the problem . The application, not the common core idea itself?

  8. josephurban says:

    Yes, Bob, I do remember the 1980s. And the ONLY people (not “everybody” ) who thought moving jobs overseas was a good idea were the CEOs. Labor fought against it. I remember the Supply-side economics theory of Reagan (well, actually it was Reagan’s handlers). You know. Give tax breaks to the wealthy. They would create good jobs with that excess wealth. All Americans would get good jobs. “The rising tide raises all boats”…uh….whatever happened to that theory ? Tax breaks to the wealthy. They took the money and invested overseas (with US government help). Created jobs in Asia. Undercut wages here at home. All with tax dollars supplied by working taxpayers. Left the American worker with stagnant wages and a declining economy. Yep, I remember the 1980s. Reaganomics was a great time for the upper 10%…a disaster for working Americans.

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