Saturday, February 19, 2011

So, let's do this rather than make me eat cat food in my 70s

Budget baloney: Social Security isn't to blame for deficit. "In a former life I was a trustee of the Social Security trust fund. So let me set the record straight."

Remember, the Social Security payroll tax applies only to earnings up to a certain ceiling. (That ceiling is now $106,800.) The ceiling rises every year according to a formula roughly matching inflation.

Back in 1983, the ceiling was set so the Social Security payroll tax would hit 90 percent of all wages covered by Social Security. That 90 percent figure was built into the Greenspan Commission’s fixes. The Commission assumed that, as the ceiling rose with inflation, the Social Security payroll tax would continue to hit 90 percent of total income.

Today, though, the Social Security payroll tax hits only about 84 percent of total income.

It went from 90 percent to 84 percent because a larger and larger portion of total income has gone to the top. In 1983, the richest 1 percent of Americans got 11.6 percent of total income. Today the top 1 percent takes in more than 20 percent.

If we want to go back to 90 percent, the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax would need to be raised to $180,000.


Sounds good to me. Let's do it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lady Antebellum

OK. First, points for a name that requires some exposure to Latin to fully parse.
Second, points for winning 5 grammies! Well done, and congratulations!

Third, wow, that's a hell of a name with its racist connotations evoking slavery and an implicit yearning for the period when it was a common practice. I really have to ask how deliberate that was. Or was it just privilegedly thoughtless? Seriously? If the answer to "where'd the name come from" was "we just thought it'd be cool", I guarantee you the band members are all white. (Yep, just checked the band's website.)


So, you should really just go read What Tami Said on this subject, because Tami is far more eloquent than I.

I wish to make one critical point - whenever you yearn for some feudal, antebellum, medieval, whatever-nostalgic-past - you always yearn to be at the top of it. Those from oppressed minorities, however, shall we say, have a much harder time with the necessary suspension of disbelief to imagine oneself in that position. Because one knows that the place of a member of such a group, in such a nostalgic, dreamy, racist, sexist, classist past, wouldn't be at the top, but the very bottom. Or dead in a field/ditch/shallow grave/Atlantic Ocean/etc.