Cable tv is helping to destroy our political system because it dominates the airways and is a voice of the extreme of both parties.Good against evil is all we hear.No compromise in DC because of the lack of moderate independent people being heard and pandering is done to the base of both parties purely for votes.Our country right now in terms of its politics is a bad joke.Every word uttered by every candidate is subject to being taken out of context in attack ads or by sham expert panelists on Fox or whatever.Our wonderful Supreme Court has now made it possible for anyone to spend as much money as they want in this wonderful pastime.I am just about to the point that I do not even care anymore because everything is so lacking in truth,honesty and our elected officials mostly so gutless and selfish.We are also to blame the majority of voters mostly reject any needed solutions that are in anyway inconvenient to them or that require a financial sacrifice.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 2:17 pm
I agree with almost everything you say, Hoops, especially when you get to the financial sacrifice. We need to give more money back to the wealthy if this country is going to survive that way it always has, but we can't do that because most middle-class people are drawing outrageous wages and salaries. Checkout clerks in grocery stores, public school teachers, police and fire fighters. I think if we pared away say maybe 15-20% from their salaries, and made them buy their own health coverage, it would be a good thing for real Americans this country. Also, we need to reform medicare so that it puts a greater burden on the elderly. If they didn't have the foresight to save up for retirement then, well, who's to blame for that?
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm
Compromise is an interesting concept involving the relinquishing of part or most or your principles or core beliefs. Before worshipping at the altar of compromise, consider all you are giving up in order to avoid confrontation. If you truly believe in something, no matter what it is, compromise can be viewed as a sign of weakness.
The term moderate is interesting, as well, usually reserved for those that can't decide what they want.
Given those truths, adhering to your principles sounds like a strong position to uphold.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm
I agree with Steve. It's one thing to give up 15-20% of one's salary as all public sector workers and private sector union workers need to do if the wealthy are going to put us back on the right track to prosperity. But to forfeit one's basic principles or core beliefs, like hatred of unions, elitist teachers, low income housing dwellers, black muslim presidents, perverted gays, and illegal immigrants, well that's another matter altogether.
Posted by Hoops, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm
Leland...You seem to be a smart guy so I am confused how you interpreted my post as saying we are suppose to give more money back to the wealthy?.Steve....Sorry man but you just proved my point.When you are talking about taxes,energy policy,reforming entitlements,healthcare,etc,you CANNOT have an attitude that I am all knowing and will not compromise on our differences.That arrogance and rigid thought process is EXACTLY the problem.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm
Sorry about the confusion. I didn't mean to say that you said private and public unions should give back their outrageously irresponsible, unsustainably high wages/salaries and health benefits. But when you mentioned sacrifice, it's obvious that the bulk of sacrificing needs to come from the unionized middle class -- you know, the public school teachers, police, hotel and restaurant employees, checkout people at the stores that charge exorbitant prices for groceries.
And I'm not recommending that they give 15-20% of their salary/wage DIRECTLY to the wealthy. Although in the private sector that would be most desirable. (I contribute in this regard by never tipping waiters and waitresses. They've got their union safety blanket, so let them sleep with it, if you know what I mean.) But public workers should just take a 15-20% pay cut with that money going back to the state that would redistribute back to the wealthy and heroic job creators who have been shouldering the burden of our very unfair tax system for way too long. That would be a fair compromise, in my humble estimation.
I'm personally a very conciliatory kind of fellow. I'd be willing to compromise on the 15-20%. I mean nothing should be fixed. Maybe 12-18%, ballpark? But I also think Steve is right. That it's important that we not lose sight of all the people out there that earn our hatred. We need to be unflinchingly strong in our opposition to all the entitlement groups and the grabby kids they keep squirting out.
Posted by Why?, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm
"Hoops" seems you are spending too much time trying to make sense of what is going on ... most people are not watching Fox and MSNBC ... 2-3 million at any point in time is a very small number of folks, more people are watching DWTS, American IDOL, NCIS, etc... stop watching "Hardball" and get back to basics ... coach some basketball, focus on your family, teach personal responsibility in your community and you will be doing more good than trying to "communicate" with the idiots on these forums ... trust me, you are not going to get through to the leeches in this society... and heaven forbid get them to "compromise" ... "small government" is the ONLY answer to the massive corruption now happening in our political world ... limit its scope and power or they will continue to dig deeper and deeper into your pockets and reduce your freedom ... shoot some hoops and relax and vote for "small government"...
Posted by Simpson - Bowles, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 12:32 am
....and ignore the smart a$$ jerks on this site, who aren't smart enough to grasp the magnitude of our problems, and childishly mock the survival of our country. I strongly urge all caring Americans who are bright enough, and have enough honest caring about saving the country to watch a very special show.
Google..Charlie Rose show... which airs at different times around the country in 24 hour cycles. On the Charlie Rose page, click on the 3/29 Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson hour long interview. VERY informative and chilling. No ads, just 60 min of straight talk. Drag back and make notes. Worth repeating. Worth implementing now. Sad so much valuable time has been wasted.
Posted by hoops, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 10:49 am
Why.....You are right and it is funny because I had been thinking about exactly what you said all week.
Leland....I guess you are the opposite of Steve but just as rigid in your thoughts and you pollute the process just as much as he does.You both have a degree of arrogance that only leads to what we have in DC now...gridlock and unsolved problems because you are unwilling to COMPROMISE to get something actually done..Good luck with that.
Simpson...I will watch that interview as should 2 other people on this thread.I believe I will also heed Why's advice.I just for the life of me cannot understand how people can be such idiots where politics is concerned.We go through life and we adjust day to day to survive and we do not always get what we want.It is just all such political BS.The major problems that we have in terms of taxes/revenue,healthcare,SS and Medicare,our infrastructure crumbling..... are all so obvious and actually quite easy to fix by REASONABLE PEOPLE WILLING TO GIVE AND TAKE TO FIX THE PROBLEMS.Sometimes I think our only hope is for some alien beings to land in DC and put all of our idiotic leaders in a room and force them to behave like responsible adults.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:32 am
You've really hurt my feelings, Hoops, but I'll respond nevertheless. First of all, I emphasized how I was willing to compromise, and gave many ways in which I'd be willing. Yet you say I'm a polluter....
Second of all, I agree with you that the major problems are taxes/revenue, healthcare, SS and Medicare, and crumbling infrastructure. We need more tax revenue, but that won't come unless job creating heroes like myself can hire people for less money. Eliminate minimum wage, which is against our constitution and tyrannical too. That'll give people more jobs. Many of them don't even pay income taxes. But they SHOULD be taxed. That would help alleviate the burden on people like me in the upper brackets such that another round of tax cuts for the wealthy would certainly be a most reasonable thing to do.
Get rid of unions, and union-scale wages, and that'll mean even more jobs. Most people will be poorer, but that is the compromise most people will need to make if we are to preserve our American freedom for everyone to become Bill Gates if only they'd get off their lazy rear-ends. Besides, it will bring down the unemployment rate. Most Americans are making the same or less than they were making in 1980. Making a little less, or sometimes even a lot less, is the kind of compromising they need to do.
Healthcare? Not in the constitution! What a drain on my resources! SS and Medicare? Eliminate both. Another drain on my resources, and such programs only promote an entitlement mentality among all the sponges in society, which is most people, you've got to admit. Our infrastructure is crumbling because all our tax money is going to pay for union teachers' salaries and pensions. Eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. There are many things REASONABLE Americans can do to compromise. Further tax cuts for the wealthy would probably be the best place to start.
Posted by Hoops, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 3:44 pm
Leland....I get it now.I glanced over your posts very quickly before.You see yourself having a brillant sarcastic wit that is above the conversation.You still offer nothing but your own ego gratification.If that makes you feel good about yourself go for it.
Posted by Simpson - Bowles, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 4:37 pm
I think we do need to be spending on decaying infrastructure. Instead,our money in the state of CA for 30 years,and sadly, the nation since transitioning to an entitlement society, have both become transfer agents to 'individuals', rather than infrastructure for the 'common good of ALL'.. The non-producers, those who breed beyond their ability to provide, the lazy, the introduction of public unions and later their unrealiztic retirements, illegals followed by providing their medical without citizenship, now adding their college tuition neglecting our own kids.
So although our leaders have difficulty 'comprising', and the fact that there is a shortage of money to do all, the cause of this government gridlock in the first place, was that we had already spent beyond our means on 'selected individuals'. Our founders provided us with the right to be free individuals to choose our course, which includes PERSONAL RIGHT AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITIES. PERSONAL responsibility, NOT government responsibilities, ultimately choosing some at the expense of others.
These 'selected' individuals were chosen by congresspeople BUYING VOTES from selected groups, with other workers earnings !! Those I listed above are on the receiving end of the transfer from the earning of others. Our founders had no intention of bumbling attempts to meddle in the impossible task of equalizing...only the FREEDOM AND RIGHT of INDIVIDUALS to choose our own course. Government should only do things like infrastructure for the use of ALL citizens. Instead, we are currently on 'entitlement' transfers to selected INDIVIDUALS ! ! ! It will take courage for government to get back to allowing individual to choose their course, and government to stop selective REdistribution. Our founders expected our US to have an army to keep us free individuals...but, they did not mean one giant 'Salvation Army".
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 8:58 pm
I'm not sure how Simpson's offerings are different than mine. Maybe you didn't read his very closely either? But, seriously, what are the differences? What qualifies Simpson as being any less sarcastic (idiotic) than me? For surely his remarks aren't to be taken seriously, are they? Could any living being on two legs without head damage offer such remarks with a straight face?
At any rate, so much for your professed ideal of compromise.... Rather difficult to compromise with hatred and stupidity, don't you think? Maybe it's a more difficult ideal to realize than you seem to suggest it is.
Posted by Simpson - Bowles, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 9:31 pm
I assure you Leland, I am quite serious. I had a very straight face as I was writing. There was no sarcasm or hatred, and can't imagine why you would think that be the case. Don't you believe in personal freedoms, personal responsibilities, personal choices, and minimal tax liability primarily for the purpose of national defense, and for US projects benefiting all ?? Our founder's government was never for a moment intended to be the great national charity, i.e. salvation army..(my tiny touch of sarcasm).!
Obviously, you didn't bother to invest the 60 minutes to access Charlie Rose, which pops up in an instant, and the discussion of Simpson & Bowles. Without fully understanding the depth of this this train which has gone off the rails.... you cannot possibly engage in a discussion in how to solve the problem long-term.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:23 pm
I especially relish personal freedoms when it's at the expense of others; it sends chills up and down my spine to know I'm well off while one in four kids goes to bed hungry in America. (Let their parents stand outside of the Salvation Army, and no hatred from me here.)
I really relish personal responsibility, especially when I claim others lack it because they receive unemployment compensation, or medicare, or health disability allotments, or food stamps. Why can't those poor saps be responsible like me? I don't hate them, mind you. It's just that they don't measure up to me.
Personal choices are great. It's too bad so many personal choices are constrained for so many saps standing outside of the Salvation Army, but them's rough rocks. My daddy gave me my millions, and the poor saps should have had parents like mine. Them's the breaks.
Yep, I hate paying taxes. Especially when the taxes underwrite our national Salvation Army. I mean, what gives with these sponges and freeloaders after all? I don't hate them. But gads, they are such leeches on the system, and especially the way they try to bloodsuck my inherited wealth.
I'm no hater. Nope. I'm just about the dumbest thing on two legs I can imagine. I believe in the Bible. And I believe the Constitution is a dead and static thing that should have no flexibility whatsoever. Blacks should not be considered citizens; women should not have the right to vote. They weren't intended to by our thirteen Founding Fathers. Nor did our Founders intend for us to have a black muslim for president. Heck, I even voted for the guy because I actually thought he stood for what I stand for (hatred, selfishness, and stupidity). But I won't be voting for him again! Which simply confirms that I have to be one of the dumbest things standing on two legs anyone has every encountered.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 8:41 am
Simpson, I have a friend who agrees with us. He's an ideal American just like me and you. No one will employ him because he's incompetent and he's bagged down with a lot of 'issues', but he manages to work a few hours a day as a bartender during the lunch hours. (His employer is a saint.) Mostly, when he's not sponging off his wife's paycheck he's festering in his own hatred of self and others. Because the world is so unfair. The guvment supports entitlement groups (and especially the you-know-who's), but it doesn't support him. He spends his days railing about government workers who, unlike him, have a job and are able to keep it. He's got strong opinions, mostly in the form of hatreds and resentments, but when asked to defend he runs and hides. True American, just like me and you.
Posted by Leland, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 10:27 am
You know when I look at this whole picture of the expansion of the nanny state here in America and the administration reaching into every aspect of our lives, the Obamacare piece addresses about 1/6 of our economy and a great big chunk of our American freedom and liberty. I define it this way, the sovereign thing that we have is our own soul, and the federal government hasnít yet figured out how to nationalize our soul. They did figure out how to nationalize some investment banks, some insurance companies, some car companies and our skin and everything inside it. Thatís Obamacareóitís a nationalizationóitís a government takeover of our sovereign responsibility to manage our own health. Not only do they take over our skin and everything inside it, but they put a ten percent tax on the outside if you go to a tanning salon. I'll tell you, I've had it. I WILL NOT let some undocumented president nationalize MY soul.
I've got many friends who support me, too. Simpson, Steve, Hoops, and yet another one who parks on this site 16 hours a day while receiving her disability check from the government. We're not the brightest bulbs on the tree, but it doesn't take a Christmas ornament to figure out it's Salvation Army time for most of the freeloaders around us -- the union teachers, and unions, and poor people who don't have a union but want one. All of us must join together to fight the vampire government and the union teachers who unethically take overly generous wages and pensions. (Like I say, it's time they gave something back -- maybe 15-20%.) This isn't so much about me and my soul, its about our children, and their children, and their children. I don't have any myself, but you know what I mean. And I'm not talking about all the tax money the government has robbed from me either. That's not important to me. At all.
Posted by hoops, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 5:56 pm
Oh well......Maybe I am just an idiot that has had too many basketballs bounced off the top of his head but I take Simpson at his word and he believes what he says.Leland you are a smart guy and I will leave it at that.
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm
" ok for you to live at the expense of those of us paying into Social Security?"
Correction: Nobody "pays in" to Social Security. People pay taxes. The government redistributes those taxes and borrows to pay Social Security recipients, silly classifications on W-2 forms notwithstanding. Please stop reinforcing the myth that people "pay in" to Social Security. Some people pay the "payroll" tax, some don't. Some people receive Social Security distributions, and some don't, and it doesn't always correlate with those who pay the payroll tax. The same applies to Medicare.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
It's still called "paying into" Social Security no matter the underlying mechanism because not all employees and employers are required to pay that payroll tax. California is one of those states that did not join Social Security when it was founded because they already had a pension system. And because of Social Security's progressive pension benefit calculation that pays more to those who didn't pay as much into Social Security (theoretically they earned less), someone who worked for a time in private industry and then joined CalPERS or CalSTRS loses some or even all of their SS benefits to prevent them from receiving a windfall from Social Security.
It would be more simple if California just joined Social Security like many other government agencies have. It could be a boost to Social Security as well.
Posted by Patriot, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm
But, of course you are not "paying in" to some kind of bank account or something. You are just paying taxes. Those taxes are being redistributed. Anybody getting benefits from Social Security, CalPERS, or CalSTRS is living off those who paying taxes.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2012 at 7:43 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
That's an oversimplification that obfuscates the actual system.
Anybody getting benefits from Social Security is living off those who are paying taxes into Social Security. Social Security benefits are not guaranteed. It's an insurance pool, not an investment fund, and the insurance payout is subject to change, especially when there isn't enough money paid into the system.
Anybody getting benefits from CalPERS and CalSTRS is living off of those who pay general taxes. Everyone who pays for Social Security in California is also paying for CalPERS and CalSTRS benefits for someone else since those benefits are guaranteed by all taxpayers, even when earnings fall short. For example, Pleasanton recently set aside funds from its general fund to establish a hedge fund for retirement benefits when earnings fall short. Other places issue 30 year general obligation bonds to pay for services already consumed. And earnings will fall short. The current discount rate guarantees only something like a 40% chance that investment earnings will cover promised benefits.
Posted by Simpson - Bowles, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2012 at 10:32 am
Leland, I don't think you can fully grasp the conversation without the Simpson-Bowles presentation. So easy, google, Charlie Rose show, up comes all shows, and right there at tops is 3/29, Simpson-Bowles, not opinion....facts and stats that speak for themselves.
After watching live on kqed, I emailed friends to access the presentation. A friend replied, 'I saw them present on stage at the Paramount two weeks ago...wonderful'. All citizens really owe it to themselves and their country to watch.
I anxious for your comments, after you have engaged yourself and opened your mind to the reality of your country's status.
Posted by Perko, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2012 at 8:32 am
You are extremely miguided. Fox News is the only major news entity that is reporting it like it is. The other major networks and most of the major newpapers in this country are die-hard left-wing loon and are doing everything they can to keep the Evil Obama in power. The most recent example of that is the revelation that the "tape" from Sanford, Florida played on NBC and MSNBC was a doctored tape, and most likely doctored by NBC. Al Sharpton has been doing everything he can to encite riots over that event and he has a program on MSNBC. It's time for the loons in this country to wake up and smell the roses.
Posted by Stacey, a resident of the Amberwood/Wood Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2012 at 9:28 am Stacey is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I appreciate the tone of your discussion. Right, the money doesn't go into a pool somewhere and I didn't say it does. It isn't an investment fund but an insurance pool. It's kept track of on paper. It is said that excess contributions are invested in Treasury securities which pay a low interest rate back and that the excess is used to fund benefit payments when contributions don't cover them. Congress though, being a poor trustee, borrows that excess so when you talk about payments coming from other tax sources, it's really to pay back that borrowing. If you look at the history of it, the Treasury investments were used to cover contribution shortfalls back in the 60s up to 1983 and now 2010 and 2011. (So when you say payments come from all taxpayers, there's the whole period between 1983 and 2010 when benefit payments were covered by FICA tax participants and not all taxpayers.) That's related to the size of the insurance pool (employment rate!), demographics, the FICA tax structure, and benefit calculations. Of course the biggest issue facing Social Security is the fact that, due to the demographics, contributions will continue to have shortfalls in the foreseeable future and the Treasury investments (debt owed by Congress) won't cover that shortfall forever. When the Treasury investments dry up on paper, there's no obligation by taxpayers to cover the shortfall in benefit payments, unlike with CalPERS and CalSTRS, where taxpayers are apparently still on the hook when public pension fund investments fall short and things like retirement age and benefit calculations can't be adjusted.
There's something like 6 million workers in the US not participating in Social Security. And when we lose jobs, that also hurts Social Security because it shrinks the size of the insurance pool.
It would also be useful if Congress stopped borrowing from the "surplus". But we let them.
Posted by Why?, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm
Tax payers are on the "hook" for everything the government is involved in!! When the Post Office goes broke - YOU PAY!! When Fannie-Mae and Freddie-Mac go broke - YOU PAY!! When the Government decides to bail out banks, GM, Chrysler, the UAW, Solyndra, A123 (10+ new "Clean" energy companies and counting)- YOU PAY!! When Social Security and Medicare goes broke - YOU PAY!! When any public employee or politician retires - YOU PAY!! - The Government and anyone or company or contributor related to the Government NEVER loses money - YOU DO!!!!!
You brilliant people on this board tell me one entity the government is involved in that WE DIDN'T PAY FOR - BEFORE or AFTER it went BROKE!!!! .... wake up People - SMALLER GOVERNMENT!!!!