Glenn Beck's $53 trillion asteroid

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by TheQuestion, Mar 28, 2008.

  1. TheQuestion macrumors regular

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    #1
    Why do I hear a lot of talk on lots of issues this election, but not this issue?

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/26/beck.deficit/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

    Can any one find anything on McCain's, Clinton's or Obama's web sites that talks about this metaphorical asteroid?

    Is Beck fear-mongering (he is a conservative after all, right?)? Is this a mythical asteroid? Can someone please help? Would a real asteroid be better to talk about?
     
  2. hdsalinas macrumors 6502

    hdsalinas

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    #2
    Beck is so right on many issues. I appreciatte his point of view and I just wish any of the candidates had as much common sense as he does.
     
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #3
    Sounds like he's either ignorant or, much more likely, deliberately as misleading as possible:

    This is apples to oranges comparisons. The "entire US economy" he quotes is the US GDP per year. The $53 trillion dollar (what exactly? He never defines this. Is that $53 trillion for all currently living Americans, including babies, some of whom won't die until somewhere around 2110? What does that $53 trillion mean? One thing for certain is that it's $53 trillion over many many years, not over one year, wherein the US economy is $14.1 trillion (and growing by the way).

    I've never heard of this guy before, but this article makes me think he's not exactly qualified to write on economic issues to audiences capable of doing math.

    Aha.

    http://www.financialsense.com/editorials/turk/2008/0109.html

    it's $53 trillion over 75 years.
     
  4. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #4
    Glenn is making the point, lets face it the federal govt is a train wreck on so many issues it aint funny. Someone with both party's help or without needs to fix the problem of a govt gone astray even with itself.
    Glenn doesnt talk much of Clintons surplus and Bush's lack of the Veto pen.... Though Bush sort of discovered it after 6 years and the democrats taking congress by a hair but before.........Spent more then all combined presidents before him put together if im not mistaken.
     
  5. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Which begs the question, who is qualified in the MSM or political arena to offer an opinion (and this an op-ed piece)?
     
  6. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #6
    I like Glenn, but as with everyone's opinion (which he clearly states everything he says is his opinion, and it comes from a conservative (not Republican) viewpoint) it must be taken with appropriate dosage of salt.

    You should never take anyone on TV or the radio at face value, check the facts yourself - from several different sources.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Folks need to get over worrying about the political views of who said what, and look at the numbers.

    From the data provided by the SS people, who know more than any of us do about the income/outgo, the rising curve of outgo meets the declining curve of available income in 2019. Isn't that easy?

    IOW, right now, there is more money coming in via FICA than is being paid out in benefits. That ends in 2019. After that, either there is an increase in the FICA tax or the new benefit-money comes from the general revenue fund. In either case there is an increasing number of recipients and a declining number of those who pay in. Fewer workers per Olde Phart, to be expected in an aging society. In its own way, SS is a Ponzi scheme, albeit much longer-lived.

    This has been known since at least the 1970s, insofar as public discussions. It was predicted soon after the Social Security program was instituted. Congress, in its infinite wisdom, has avoided and evaded this political hot potato.

    "There is no problem so important that we cannot turn tail and run." -- Congress

    Granted, there have been a few "trial balloons" for folks to think about. Raising the age of eligibility, lowering benefits, making benefits need-related. All have met with howls of outrage from the public, AARP in the forefront. (People 55 and older are the most likely to vote, and re-election is the most important thing in a Congresscritter's life.) There is also the occasional rumble about raising the FICA tax rate from the present 7.65% and to raise the amount of income subject to the tax.

    Overall, Beck is indeed correct that, "U.S., we have a problem."

    'Rat
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    If you cut back some more on healthcare for the elderly, you can kill two birds with one stone. As it were.
     
  9. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #9
    It has been many years since I took two semesters of economics. However, I do not think a person has to be fluent in that field to understand some of the obvious issues facing America today.

    Each of us has, or will, learn that you cannot keep accumulating debt. Eventually, it will engulf you and you will not be able to cover the cost of debt service. When you are constantly spending more money than you are making, you go in the red - very easy for anyone to understand. So, how smart is it to decrease your income by providing reduced taxes?

    This is Reagan economics. Give the appearance of spending less, while you are actually spending more. Then 'hide' your excessive spending by borrowing. Republicans project a myth of fiscal responsibility and being good for business and the economy. They are neither. Their focus is on personal wealth preservation. I remember T. Boone Pickens quote about the national debt, "Hell no I do not worry about it, I am not going to pay for it". And so it goes.

    The only way America can solve the current financial crisis, and also invest in the many different areas we need to, is to reduce unnecessary spending and raise taxes. Greedy citizens will scream 'rape' over this, but those people have no face anyway. I do not think most Americans mind paying taxes if they see a well-managed economy in place. We must have leadership that can accomplish this. And, that sure is not McCain and his fellow republicans.
     
  10. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    So would you agree the best solution is to cut spending and increase taxes, as hard as it to swallow?? Would this not at least give your children and grand children something less than a complete fiscal mess??
     
  11. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #11
    I actually opened this story today on CNN.com. I really thought an asteroid might be coming, then I saw it was a Glenn Beck piece. This guy could blow an asteroid off course with all the hot air he spews from his mouth.

    Is SS a problem, of course. Is Beck exaggerating the numbers to get you to listen to him, absolutely.

    If you really want to know more about the state of SS (and it's really not good), read the comments of the SS trustees.

    And to the OP, yes, a real asteroid would be better to talk about. Then you might see some action.
     
  12. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #12
    We have to pay down the debt. It will take many generations to accomplish this. Those who have prospered by this irresponsible policy will no doubt snicker as America's middle-class corrects the excesses of the elitists. However. It will be the middle-class who suffers most by not 'righting the ship'. Government pisses away billions of dollars. The first place to start is getting rid of poorly managed, or unnecessary programs. Those saving can then be diverted to programs which lack funding, or need more. That only gets us part of the way to our goals, however. Our budget/taxes must include a yearly levy to pay down the debt. Start by paying off loans with unfavorable terms, or interest rates. The dollar will see a decent bounce when creditors recognize a responsible fiscal plan is in place and is being followed. Right now, we are borrowing at unfavorable terms. We are desperate to keep funding the war and still maintain tax cuts. Americans are generally too lazy to educate themselves about what is going on. This is alarming to me (but not surprising).
     
  13. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Which numbers are exaggerated? For what purpose? Did you admit the situation was bad?
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Sheesh! Beck's not exaggerating the numbers! He's merely replaying the numbers given by the Trustees. Multiplying the years by the dollars per year.

    Among other things: The incremental cost--that cost over and above the usual spending--for the Iraq war is somewhere around a hundred, maybe a hundred-fifty billion per year. The national debt is some $9 trillion. Divide, and figure out how much help ending the war in Iraq actually would be. Well, okay, sixty years.

    Given our existing social programs and the proposed expansions by the presidential candidates, how much more money per year do you want? Then, how much money do you think is actually available toward paying down debt? Even Clinton's tax hike didn't really balance the budget. It was the surplus income from FICA that was juggled to make it appear to balance.

    As far as FICA, a self-sustaining rate would be roughly double today's number. Roughly. Do you work? You're now paying 7.65%, doubled (Your employer "contributes" another 7.65%, but that's money that he could otherwise be paying to you.) 15.3% of your paycheck to FICA? Enjoy! And that's just to break even on SS; it won't help the national debt's reduction.

    Unless and untiil we somehow create a younger and larger workforce, making items for export sales in excess of our consumption, we'll never regain any sort of position as a leading economic system. For now, we're merely on the downslope of a decline...

    CUL. Onto the Superslab for a couple of days...

    'Rat
     
  15. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #15
    Quoted from Beck:

    And $53 trillion is (drum roll please) the approximate size of this country's bill for the Social Security and Medicare promises we've made.


    The $53 trillion is exaggerated, because he gives no time frame as to how that money is broken down over the years. He's merely throwing as large a figure out there as possible to hit the reader over the head. He needs to quantify this figure in order to give the reader perspective and he does not. His purpose is to stand on a soapbox and attract an audience.

    Of course I admit the situation is bad, and getting worse everyday. I'm not defending SS or its administration, I'm merely calling out Glenn Beck for being irresponsible. He's not a journalist and should never be mistaken for one. Journalists use facts to present a story, not create one. He's a talk show host trying to stir the pot.
     
  16. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Do not both the article you cite and Beck's piece suggest that the fund becomes insolvent in 2019? Isn't then when repayments must be made or BOOM? Again, what's being exaggerated?
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Unless I'm mistaken, only a few years ago the date was 2014. Now it's 2019. It would seem to me that steps are being taken to slowly improve Medicare.

    The same goes with Social Security.

    I believe that viable solutions can be found for both Medicare and SS. The biggest problem in my mind is that successive administrations have raided the Medicare and SS "lockbox" to fund current spending. As the surpluses in Medicare and SS begin to diminish, they'll no longer have the luxury of using the surpluses to balance the budget.

    That, IMHO, is the biggest problem we face.
     
  18. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #18
    It was 2041.

    CNN

    Boston Globe
     
  19. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #19
    This is all such nonsense. OK. Raise the age to receive benefits from 67 to 68 starting in 2015 and to 69 2030. Some people will complain, just like they did the last time, but the fact is people are living longer. The adjustment needs to be made.

    I just "saved" social security.

    Also, I think we need to take the word of Bush appointees with a grain of salt. Just like Bolton in the UN, they were chosen probably precisely because they oppose the basis of the organization and want to abolish it or alter it beyond recognition (i.e., privatize social security).
     
  20. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #20
    $53 trillion are not due in 2019, though that is what his piece seems to suggest. That is the exaggeration.
     
  21. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #21
    Does he not say that 2019 is when the asteroid FIRST hits? Is not the point of his piece that the debt service to the American taxpayer will increase every year over SEVERAL years?
     
  22. GfPQqmcRKUvP macrumors 68040

    GfPQqmcRKUvP

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    #22
    Watch the stock market plummet if a Democrat wins the White House. Wall Street knows this, and while Wall Street is not the whole economy, it's certainly an important indicator, as most people on the street are betting the welfare of company's and their employees will dwindle.

    Of course, I'm a Republican and want fiscal responsibility. Don't over-generalize, as there are a lot of people with me on this. The elected Republicans, however, do pretend to be fiscally responsible while spending as much as the Democrats, so you are right in that way.


    How about just reducing unnecessary spending? As soon as taxes are raised, they ain't coming back down easily. That's the way the government works; They get used to more cash and then they find ways to spend it. You see the evidence in small fee raises everywhere, and I loathe the day when it becomes even more of a large scale problem.

    Greedy? You're calling people greedy who don't want to have HALF of their income taken away through taxes and fees?

    I agree with you here. But I do mind paying more in taxes when I see government spending sky-rocketing even higher.


    And it sure isn't Obama and his fellow Democrats. In fact, how is all this unnecessary spending going to be cut? I hear promises from the Republicans and Democrats and how things need to be improved, more funding for this, more funding for that, but little to any talk on how we're going to pay for it. So, oh wise Obamanites, WHAT exactly are we going to cut from federal expenditures that will reduce government spending significantly?
     
  23. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    #23
    Let's put the $53 trillion in perspective...

    If EVERY U.S. resident were a Social Security benificiary this year, and the total bill for SS this year were $53 trillion, each U.S. resident would receive over $175,000 this year.

    Call it a hunch, but I think that $53 trillion is NOT going to be the total expense of Social Security in 2019.
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #24
    I think this is somewhat less of an issue than it is often made out to be. In effect, the trust fund is invested in federal debt, which is not inherently a bad thing. It only becomes an issue if the federal government reneges on the debt. Not that this isn't a gathering issue, since federal debt is being continually kicked down the road.

    Also, the use of the term "insolvent" is a bit over-dramatic. If the trust funds running into a deficit is the definition of insolvency, then the federal government as a whole has been "insolvent" for over 50 years. Better words, please. Let's try to use better words.

    Beck is at least right in saying that Congress has no appetite for solutions because all of them are politically unpleasant, and the longer the solutions get put off, the more unpleasant they will become.
     
  25. TheQuestion thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    How does this mitigate the problem? Does it not make things worse?? Should we feel comfortable with debt because it's been a fact for generations?
     

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