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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

The easy and obvious solution: a law forbidding any member of Congress from receiving any federal pension (other than Social Security) or any federally funded healthcare. When members of Congress have to face the same realities as the average citizen, perhaps they will start actually representing the average citizen.

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Ryan- Their pensions and benefits aren't that great. You must base that comment on folklore.

Got to eliminate "legalized bribery," i.ee. campaign contributions that unduly influence their conduct. Money should not equate to speech. No insider trading.

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It appears you are correct. https://www.healthinsuranceproviders.com/what-medical-insurance-does-congress-have/ . Indeed, I agree on both counts.

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This article us written by a private insurance company. They may cite true information about the health insurance that congress pays for but would also be aware of any agenda they may have. While it’s true that congress members pay for their own premiums as AOC said she paid more as a waitress. The article tries to justify that and perhaps some of that is true but it is also true that very often people who are poor pay more for everything.

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I should add that while my initial comment is wrong with regard to Congressional health care and pensions, a great many of us here share the instinct to demand that the interests of our elected officials--and, as suggested in these comments, political appointees--be aligned with those of the people they are supposed to serve. I don't see how we can survive as a democracy when people and organizations with lots of money can buy representatives and senators: "vote as I say or I'll support your opponent in the next election." The whole January 6 debacle and the fate of the Republicans who had the guts to stand up for their principles demonstrates that relying on the character of our elected officials isn't enough.

There are some good ideas in these comments and we all need to work on figuring out answers ... which for the moment appear neither too easy nor too obvious!

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As far as pension the above article does not address that. Congress members do get a pension and are eligible at age 62. The rest of us are not eligible until age of retirement 65 thru 70. An age requirement that republicans want to raise, by the way. And if a congress member has served for 20 plus years they may be eligible at age 50. I believe most of the population does not have this type of benefit. They need to be held at the same standard ALL Americans are held to.

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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

as mentioned above (and below).. the big issues are Dark Money campaign funding and stock trading potentials for corruption and issues of that nature.. Dems had legislation written and moving in congress to rectify so much of this but that is dust now that GOP have the US House.. that folk stayed home Nov. 2022 and did not volunteer to have the good folk win is Tragic

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Yes, that precisely why so many government employees are auditioning for much higher paying private sector jobs

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Daniel, Before ACA they did get free health care. Senator Dayton was in Congress from 2001-2007. He called Washington DC a toxic cesspool. Sounds apt.

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Also…if not free..what did they pay previously? I doubt it was painful or even too noticeable. Plus they had better access to high end care.

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Most pensions changed in 1986. Even before ACA health care wasn't free. Members of a group. Had to pay premiums.

What is true is that most make a lot after they are members -- based on superior knowledge.

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Daniel, a point of clarity. "Superior Knowledge", as in the cushy position with very nice corporate compensation for who they know and where to go to lobby for the most advantageous information to better their position at the government trough?

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Yes. They also get detailed insider info on subject matter involving business and industry. They know more about the businesses they are regulating than the owners of the businesses do.

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Superior knowledge? HA that’s questionable.

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AIC did say she paid more as a waitress.

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They don’t deserve a pension after stealing from the social security fund!

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I've always wished that after being elected to congress it should be required that one live on minimum wage for 6 weeks... Just to be given a flavor of what that's like.

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Not necessary. Many wealthy people have a sense of noblesse oblige. FDR and JFK came from wealth and did more for poor people than the trailer trash now occupying some seats in the House.

IMHO candidates should be tested. The MMPI shows whether a person has empathy.

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Lynn wrote "required... minimum wage for 6 weeks". Intriguing idea. I agree with you about "noblesse oblige", but that's not what she's saying. MMPI is a terrific idea!

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What is “trailer trash”?

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Jan 7, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023

Good question within the context of this discussion thread. I have often believed that those who are designated as trailer trash are by and large citizens perpetually down on their luck, unable to find affordable housing. I feel for them.

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I’m glad you do. But, Mobile Home living is the last vestige of “affordable housing” left in this country for many people. Especially the elderly. And for many younger people is a good starter home. I question what is affordable housing in this country anymore… Americans are getting out prices of affordable housing anymore to the point of there is no such thing. Many people in this country can’t afford to live in a house without two incomes. And if you really look around at many of the houses today many of them look worse than a mobile home. I’ve always looked at these monstrosity apartment complexes going up around our nation as the homes for people unable to own their own home because it’s not affordable for them. I don’t consider that really living the American dream. I’ve never looked down on people for how they choose to live for any reason especially if they’re happy. Trash is what you throw out and put in landfills etc and trailers are what you pull behind a vehicle. I don’t know what the answer is but I also feel sorry for the people that can’t live a happy life the way they want to and many times today that’s more than just being down on their luck.

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Daniel's comment is worth thinking about.

The term "trailer trash" is used to demean people who resent members of the privileged class who use it. People are not trash. And referring to them in that way is emblematic of an elitist mindset that's all too prevalent among liberals. We police our language so as not offend our allies, but think nothing of using de-humanizing terms for anyone else.

BTW, I have never heard a person of color use the term "trailer trash".

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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023

Andrea Haynes; I have never consider the term being used for anything other than those who demonstrate choices they have made. Like say, a particular congresswoman who would dog a teenager down the street because he advocates against gun violence. It got her face on TV, and no doubt more friends in the gun lobby, it was a choice. To me, it seems to be more a moral position than an economical one. As usual, I could be wrong.

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Read this bio. There are several just like her. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lauren_Boebert

Greene, Boebert, Gaetz are extremely popular in the trailer park/biker set. IMHO Ironically about 20% of the population never work "on the books" and have low earnings records, even after a lifetime of work. They choose short term gratification over long time security. They may have causes of actions against the millions of employers who operate beyond the law, but resent "the system" and will not jeopardize going to court.

Unfortunately there are politicians in both parties who grift their constituents, but IMHO on a national level the vast majority are Republicans. They are able to get funding through the party, and PACs that McCarthy controls is their main pot of gold. Trump is an example and a potential source of funds.

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That is my interpretation of the phrase, as well.

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DW's definition is the way I've always interpreted the phrase.

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I don’t agree. FDR and JFK lived in a much different world. While there may be a few wealthy that think this way I would wager their are more that don’t, and they will justify their actions. Current economic theory praises greed , which was famously touted by the infamous Gordon Gekko. Profit at all costs is the goal and this is the business model most corporations use. It’s very obvious if you watch what they do, not what they say.

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ABSOLUTELY! I remember writing on one of the newsletters I follow that my husband, who is Tibetan, had to take a very thorough test to become a U.S. citizen which included knowing about the three branches of power in the U.S., what each branch is responsible for doing, what the Constitution is about, and a bit of U.S. history. I was surprised, as well as very happy about it. Now you and I both know that the orange sadist knew NONE of this when he supposedly became prezident (actually, pukin got him in, as you know). I was appalled. I couldn't believe that any old guy or gal off the street could move into a position of such incredible power that they could decide to destroy our Earth on a whim.

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There’s a really great book called “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich. She was someone who had some privilege and went out to work minimum wage jobs in an effort to support herself and find out what it was like. She basically came to the conclusion that it is pretty much impossible, as anyone who has ever done it or to try to do knows well. I don’t know how well a six week minimum wage experiment would work on someone who wasn’t already predisposed to caring about their fellow human beings. Selfish people with tons of money already know that it would be horrible to be without. That’s why they work so feverishly to maintain and expand their great wealth at the expense of other people, seeing other people as competitors and/or people to exploit, rather than people to care for and be considerate of as fellow humans.

I don’t know how you could screen for how easily someone could be manipulated by political bribery. To some extent, most everyone can be manipulated with money. That’s kind of how the economy works. There would probably have to be laws against major politicians actively trading in the stock market and whatever other forms of bribery they personally benefit from. I don’t even know if that would work. Insider trading is already illegal, but I’ve never heard of a political figure going to prison for it.

With regard to a politician’s personal socioeconomic background and how it might inform their decision making, you don’t necessarily have to come from poverty to come to some understanding of what people are struggling with, as well as some potential solutions to alleviate people’s burdens, but you do have to, at least, be willing to listen.

A local (quite large) food bank organization recently reported about going to the White House to talk about the experiences and issues that people who use the food bank are dealing with. One of the big themes was dignity, or the lack of dignity that poor people are often treated with. Like people who have come to experience involuntary unemployment. The food bank didn’t report on the following questions/scenarios. I am just making up these questions/scenarios based on some of my own experiences and observations. Where once, when asked, “Where do you work?” or “What do you do professionally?” you could say, “I work at this place,” “I’m a data entry specialist” or “I drive a forklift” or “I’m a roofer” or “I’m a dentist” what do you say after you’ve been forced out of work? “I’m unemployed, and now I have to go to a food bank just to survive” “Nobody wants to hire me” “I feel really bad” “I’m not considered a valid person anymore.” It can be even worse for the “chronically unemployed” and/or homeless. Of course, how you’re treated when you’re struggling is going to depend to a great extent on the person/people you are interacting with. My opinion, more people rather than fewer treat people badly for struggling. There are a lot of ugly social perceptions that are cast onto people who are struggling financially, which can turn into bad treatment, which in turn can make it even harder or impossible to get out of that socioeconomic tar pit.

I think there are policy changes that could/would reduce inequality, as Professor Reich so often informs us of. Reduced socioeconomic inequality would also, in my opinion, reduce some of the meanness that swirls around in our country’s survival of the fittest social sphere.

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"That’s why they work so feverishly to maintain and expand their great wealth at the expense of other people, seeing other people as competitors and/or people to exploit, rather than people to care for and be considerate of as fellow humans." You've explained that ugliness of human nature, quite beautifully. Re laws against Congresspeople dealing in the stock market -- there ARE laws! They are just broken/slid around with very disturbing frequency. Stephanie Land's autobiography, "The Maid", about her years working as a maid, but having to live in a homeless shelter with her baby in order to survive, is eye-opening.

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"Nickle and Dimed" should be required reading. It is an excellent account of what life looks like at lower income levels. Sadly many people are born into it and spend their lives in endless struggle.

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Our local food bank doesn’t question anyone. All are welcome to get a free food box, no questions asked. Thats the way it should be.

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It isn't that any food bank will question anyone, but pretty much anyone else might. In the case that you casually encounter a new person, they might ask, "What do you do for a living?" Or if you are in any type of social situation, like a Church group, or any other social setting, people sometimes ask stuff like that, typically just as a way of trying to get to know someone new. It's not that the food bank was questioning anyone, but, people being social may speak to people they're interacting with. As far as talking to the people at a food bank when you're experiencing hardship, well, nobody else wants to hear about it, much less offer any consolation, but people at a food bank might, right?

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Brilliant idea!

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That pension may help them, but I'm sure they have many, many other retirement resources. Some of these people have been on the take for years.

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For sure. 401 K, Roth IRA. The wealthy are always looking for places to park money so they don’t get taxed on it. Retirement accounts are famous for this.

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I've always thought the same way as you.

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Ryan, you are so right about all of that. I get it that most of the members of Congress are rich but there are some who are not. If they had to accept Social Security with perhaps a bit of a pension, say a couple hundred a month as many Americans do, it would be great. Then they get Medicare or if not of retirement age, a basic medical insurance plan they have to pick just like the rest of the American people who do not have a union to represent them do. Members of Congress, particularly rich ones like Greene, are not even in touch with their people except for the few they permit to "grace their presence." They were only elected because they had the money to enchant a bunch of overworked underresourced rural people in Confederate Georgia. She needs them only to get elected, then she and the rest like her forget them until next time. Their constituents don't even realize nothing has been done to help them because of Greene et al. They get to hear Fox Not Nearly News and Greene herself lie that it was the horrible Democrats who got nothing for them and blocked everything Greene was trying to do to them (I mean for them).

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Actually that's all they get, Ruth. Pretty much the same as me.

Many of these extreme right wingers are up from poverty. Many had nothing until they became professional Republicans, which was their ticket out.

The people who complain most abut SSA and Medicare are those who did not contribute enough to generate more than SSI. Greene and Bobert are most popular in the trailer park/biker set.

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Daniel, I didn't realize there were so many "poor" folks running on the Republican side. So, I guess the money from the donors has now made them rich, a bribe so they will forget where they came from and work to ruin more of the lives of the people in that world. That is even worse than being rich, ignorant, and cruel like the majority of the Republicans.

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In flyover country in the vernacular, the vast majority of Republicans do not have a pot to piss in.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states

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For clarity, that map is based on Federal Elections. NH is classified as "Blue" but the state government is a QUADRAFECTRA. Currently, we are a Red state @ the state level for all FOUR branches of state gov't-Governor, House, Senate, and Executive Council. (The last makes decisions regarding distribution of state contracts and other financial issues and input regarding state judges.)

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The best advice to these people about their own representatives is, “ watch what they do, NOT what they say.” These people are famous for gaslighting and out right lying. People can find what issues their reps voted on relativity easily. There is no excuse for ignorance.

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Jo, I would like to think there is no excuse for ignorance, and I keep hearing "ignorance is no excuse for the law" but the truth is people don't intend to be ignorant. They get caught up in whatever media source they follow if they follow any at all and don't go past that because it is just easier. For a lot of the Republican supporters, the people are working many hours a week just to make rent, utilities, and basic food costs. If someone who is even slightly attractive, white, and loud, and says they will help them in their struggles or it sounds as though that is what they are saying, they will go along with it. Then, there is the "R." Their parents were "Rs" and probably great grandparents too. Once that "R" may have stood for a level of progress, support for farmers, and a few other positive things. That has not been true for say 60 years, but habits are hard to break. A Democrat or Independent who wants to reach these folks will have to be able to speak their language of work and struggle and point out how they have benefited from or would benefit from the changes they would make if elected. Wisconsin voted for a terrible senator, Ron Johnson who wanted to ignore the votes of the people and overturn our government, because he was white and a loud-mouthed guy. The man who could have actually helped the people, Mandela Barnes was Black, and so many rural and other white Wisconsin folks just couldn't manage to mark a "D" next to a Black man who is not loud-mouthed either. Two strikes kept an insurgent in office. That should be teaching us as a nation that race is at the center or nearly everything in our country. Until we deal with that, white men will continue to rule at every level outside a few cities, and it will trump ignorance.

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founding

I am with you. That should also hold true for any political appointee which could mean Supreme Court. In addition, maybe Congressional salaries should be held to the average salary in their state. Wonder what that would do for the GOP in the South.

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Susan, wow, wouldn't that be a good idea? And, if members of Congress could earn only the average salary of workers in their state and the incomes of a million dollars and above were eliminated, they might see what real workers experience. Members of Congress, at least Republicans don't even work as hard as most workers in their states. Saying "no" takes no effort especially when they are not even expected to come up with an alternate plan. It makes me laugh to think of Ted Cruz having a real job or Kevin McCarthy. Cruz would be the lawyer in the firm that did as little real work as possible, but wasn't fired because the firm might lose Cuban business if they fired him. OK, that was mean, but that is how I feel each time I hear him talk in all his Harvard ignorance.

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Not a bad idea on its surface, but what do we do about the fact that today so many of our elected officials and appointees come from wealth? The salary means little to them.

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Agree it’s about power for many and if the US’ reputation overseas is anything to go by it’s about abuse and misuse of power with many oppressed and poor people suffering because systems are inadequate for them unless they have a lot of money and work constantly and with power projected outward and lots of money spent on war elsewhere demanding of others what is not done at home. I think it’s about following the public money and seeing if it’s spent in the US publics good same as everywhere. American exceptionalism is a thing where the same rules as everyone else don’t apply to it. The US has positive things to do being a major military power but doesn’t really engage with the rest of the worlds organisations but acts unilaterally to keep the same old 1930’s industries going. Stuck in an old world order a bit. Much like Russia. Reforming for the good of themselves and the environment is an inside job and yesterday illustrated to me, quite obviously, that the internal divisions haven’t been so deep since the Civil War and need urgent attention not violent rhetoric or acts. Anywhere. This is not a view from within the US though. The financial system and exploitation is the most obvious problem. With Civil and each persons Human Rights being ignored as I don’t think the US is a signatory to provision of citizens human rights via UN either so naturally lagging behind on citizens rights.

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Ryan certainly makes a good point about congressional perks. I agree.

It is, however, clear that the larger problem is and has been that these people--the GOP--aren't interested in governance. They want to destroy, by scalpel or sledge, whatever they can. They want to exclude, downsize and throw out. They prefer throwing hand grenades and inflicting inequality and hardship to the intricacies of sound policy. Need one look further than the way Newt Gingrich ushered in zero sum bellicosity and helped ill, say, the AFDC only to force its replacement by the disastrous TANF? The repeal of Glass-Steagall? There's a straight line from Goldwater in 1964 to the mutated morass we now see. Reagan was the apex and logical outgrowth, a triumph of style over substance. After Reagan, the festering bitterness found a new expression in people like Gingrich; the seething grievance and anger, the disdain for the government they would like to dismantle and destroy. As Grover Norquist infamously remarked, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub." And Norquist really only came to the fore at Regan's behest.

The Tea Party, Freedom Caucus, election denial, science denial, disdain of academia and other "elite" people and institutions; the entire "you aren't gonna be the boss of me" attitude has been with this country long before 2023--look back to, say, those Europeans who colonized Appalachia and kept moving west and south as the federal government dared to declare territories states and impose some kind of law over chaos. The contrarian strain among us is nothing new. What is new is its pervasive--and perverse--ubiquity and the ways in which it has become normalized. We saw it with little things like bumper stickers that read "My kid can beat up your honor student." We saw it larger ways and in almost every aspect of evolving American life. Again, it seems to have started its most forceful and vociferous expression post-Watergate.

It is to laugh to read how Gingrich chastises Rep. Gaetz and others for their immaturity and lack of vision, as he was one of the ideological parents of this current crop of belligerent clowns (many dangerously armed and willing to take stands and die on lies and misinformation).

Perhaps a question at this juncture is who will be calling for McCarthy's replacement this time next week? And over what? He's already sold his soul, and now he's neutered himself--a Speaker mostly in name, sans the full power of the position. What a disaster. The willingness to self-immolate is astonishing but no longer surprising, and that's disturbing.

We could have done better, but so eager are we in our self-appointed genius to be heard and validated that we have allowed every thought and idea to rise to the same level; we seldom discriminate, maybe because we cannot discern or choose not to--we lionize "my opinion is just as good as your facts" and so forth. Me, me, me, me. No longer we, we, we, we, as at other times in our history. Unless one allows that today the "we" more or less means "people who agree with me."

The planet's on fire. Tens of thousands of souls are stranded in inhumane conditions on our southern border. Income and wealth inequality (one worse than the other) are skyrocketing. Our institutions lack the faith of the electorate and are increasingly targets of attack, defunding and mistrust. American-style capitalism is destroying itself; the parts are savaging the whole, dealing possibly fatal wounds. We are concerned for "democracy" in Russia's war in Ukraine, but cannot make it work better most of the time for the most people with the most positive outcomes at home. From food insecurity to congressional perks no other is entitled to, how do we come together for dialogue that will lead to action, and ask ourselves what the hell we're doing? Social media photos of smiling legislators holding bags of popcorn? Jesus, please spare us. We need help. We need action. We need to look around like it's World War II again. As the New York Times today reported, this is simply governance by chaos. We need some order. And rebalancing.

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Greg, thank you so much for your assessment of our current situation. As you mentioned the various names of those who have been corrupting the Republican Party which, of course has gone willingly into the morass, I noted that a group of non-entities, men with no positive ideas kept rising to the top like scum on a pond. Anyone of substance among Republicans was silenced. Some stayed anyway, a few left the party. In any case, those who care about this nation, our people, e pluribus unum and all that no longer have weight. Each subsequent Republican Speaker has been less connected with the people and has put themselves and what they want in place of what the nation needs. I think of them as the toddler set. They have figured out that being a whiny, nasty, selfish, demanding, tantruming 3-year-old, their constituents will pay attention or at least just mark the "R" and let the toddlers play in the mess they are making, ignoring any adults who would want to teach them or help them to learn discipline. The constituents act like toddlers too. When asked why they like a particular candidate, they can only say, "I like what he is doing." If the interviewer dares to ask a follow-up question, they make up something like "He stands for what I believe in." How can you argue with that since they really don't know just what they do believe beyond that white is good, women are bad, abortion should be banned, and immigrants can be treated any way the border patrol wants to because they shouldn't be here anyway. If one were to ask why to any of these, there would be no coherent answer, and if you were to remind them that their words don't match with Christianity, they will start making threats. I have seen that kind of discussion. Now we've got the toddlers in charge of the House. Whatever they do that is not successful will be the fault of the Democrats because spoilt toddlers don't take responsibility for anything they do either.

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I agree that those elements are in play, Ruth, although to assert that those are the only problems would be simplistic--as is the overview I wrote. It's a small piece of the whole picture.

I do wonder whether GOP speakers have become increasingly out of touch? Those people were elected and they did, for a time, hold power, so they were in touch with a sufficient number of people who may or may not--as you noted--have been able to articulate why they approved of one speaker or piece of legislation or legislator or another.

The pugnaciousness that was encouraged and fostered by New Gingrich has grown wildly out of control, and demonization all around has become far too easy. But tempting. One must remember there is no "will of the people" anymore than there is a set of unified interests that one can point to and declare "society as a whole." I think that I, and others, fall back on this mistake when we're frustrated or angry, i.e., assuming there is some "right" or correct set of values and priorities we can point to and say, "There! *That* is what we should be doing, you dummies and hypocrites. That is what's in our best interests, not the other thing."

A problem with approaching any of this is we cannot even seem to dialogue anymore. We have sets of options and choices, but determining which are preferable, most workable, likely to succeed, receive funding, and so forth, requires people to come together and not say, "My way or the highway, Jack."

It does seem that bipartisanship to accomplish any meaningful change is largely dead, or leads to partial solutions that are hugely unsatisfying and not up to the urgency of the moment--and that's frustrating.

I think a ore responsive government would be quite interesting, one free of Citizens United/floods of Dark Money, and so on. It has been said that if one wants a more responsive government, what is needed is a parliament like Canada's or England's; but if one wants a more stable form of government, a parliamentary system more modeled after EU nations would be the way to go. However, as you know, our Founders very purposely did not give us a parliament and were terrified of democracy, or at least something close to direct democracy. It was a different world where slavery coexisted with Enlightenment ideals and much else, as much a contradiction as our present in its own way.

I do agree with you that the worst elements, the most unproductive, can appear like those kicking toddlers, and yet are arguably an expression--a very direct expression--of a bundle of feelings, emotions, thoughts (however deep or shallow), ideas, ideologies, and much else that roll around in each of us, our communities, counties, regions, states. That's one place where all of this is so scary, that a majority--slim or not--think someone like Lauren Boebert or Marjorie Taylor Greene or Donald Trump or even Kevin McCarthy somehow are emblematic of valuable representation. Again, as expressions of the dark matter of the human mind and soul, maybe they are. But as legislators, they lack, in my opinion, commitment, vision and steadfastness to principles and methods I would consider essential for good governance.

Can American-style capitalism deliver it, anymore? When we cannot ensure healthcare and so much else? When we divert billions to frenemies like the Saudis, who continue to prosecute a brutal, almost genocidal war against Yemen? Well, there's realpolitik and reality, and then there are ideals. Which we will choose to engage, how and how much is always changing.

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Greg, I would have hit "like" but I can't figure out how to do that, so I will just say your description of some of the challenges we are facing is spot on and I wish there were more of our legislators aware of them so some meaningful actions might be taken. However, when one party has decided that legislating is not worth their time and cutting programs, investigating non-entities and people just for revenge, and acting like children work best for them, we are stuck! Thanks so much for your comment.

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Ruth- if your "heart" button doesn't work, please try going to the search bar @ the top of the page. Look to the left of it-you'll see an incomplete circle w/an arrow @ the end. Click on that-it's a refresh button. The "heart" should work after that for at least a few times. Refresh again after that as needed. Hope this helps.

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Greg and Ruth : Thank you both for this lively and informative dialog. It made for heavy reading but brought into focus so many issues that ruminate in our collective minds that I scarcly know wher to rest my thoughts. Thanks again for your exhaustive discussion. Cudos on your joint views.

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Ryan, it should always have been this way! In fact former US Senator Dayton (who went on to become Minnesota governor), took a dollar pay per year because 1) He was a wealthy heir to the Dayton Dept store and 2) In protest of his failed introduction of a bill that would force Congress members to have the same health insurance most of the population had, not their privileged provided health care. It would have been a great experiment but shockingly 🙄 Congress voted it down!

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Seeking Reason, of course Congress voted making members have health insurance at the level of everyone else down. They want every privilege while they do their very best to make sure that no one else gets even a fraction of the things their privilege brings. How sad but says a lot!

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Not on the OP, but an observation of the reply thread: there is a lot of "othering" of the fellow citizens of the US; i.e. "trailer trash" "mouth berathers" "trailer park set" as though they are all less than. This, is the greatest problem in the US followed by the systemic destruction of public education.

Why did the "elitist liberal" moniker stick so easily? Why did Trump's rhetoric (albeit utter nonsense) appeal to so many?

People are tired of being made to feel less than simply because of geography or circumstance. Just because one lives in NE does not make them an ignorant hick. Just because one lives in AR does not make them a conservative MAGA follower. Think about how you approach your fellow citizen. They are not the enemy and they are not less than you or better than you, they are your fellow citizens. Only as a group can we succeed in making things better. Instead of pointing a finger, offer a solution.

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Someguy, I don't believe most of the people in these threads think people are "trailer trash" or anything like that. We are, however concerned that people who should know better, like DeSantis of Florida malign public education and through his rhetoric that seems to sound like he is "one of them," tries to convince parents and others that their little white kiddies are being harmed by learning about people who are different from them. That is not coming from progressives or liberals of any kind. It is from a conservative who is trying to be more trumpish than Trump. People see what the rich life style is and have been led to believe that would make them happy and that it is people not like them who are taking it from them. Those guys and it is usually men don't want anyone working as groups unless it is mobs of insurgents trying to overturn our government on behalf of white men who care nothing for them, but have learned at their top colleges the way to fake the kind of language that can reach overworked, underpaid, people trying to find a better way for themselves and their families. These people are vulnerable to folks like Trump because of his big mouth and words of blame those folks think will work for them. It won't.

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Wonderful commentary, Ruth!

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Someguy01 Maybe you should think more about how the media and MAGA crowd have endangered many citizens of this country before acting like it is a tit for tat. It’s from YEARS of abuses from the Republican Chriso-fascist party. That’s not name calling. They are the very definition.

Only one party has incited and acted on a deadly coup attempt. And we watch over and over again as Democrats win the popular vote but didn’t get to take office. It is the R party that has endangered the lives of people of color, women and anyone they deem to control. These MAGA people and the entire R party that refuses to admonish and remove these people…they BLOCKED IT! are NOT my “fellow citizens”. Snap out of the fantasy of what once was. We’re dealing with serious crime and racists hateful bastards.

And while I’m at it, their christian sharia fantasy adds to their crass barbaric behavior. Completely un-American.

Quit acting like these people have no responsibility for this because their feelings are hurt while they continue to slash & burn. Consequences are needed now!

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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023

I believe Someguy01 is talking about a group of voters who are struggling to survive and haven't got a lot of time to do deep thinking, believing people like Donald Trump when he says he is their voice. These are not necessarily the same people responsible for the insurrection, nor are they necessarily white supremacists. I believe Someguy0's point is that we need to separate those people and respond to them, rather than lump them in with the likes of Matt Goetz. Not everyone who voted for Trump belongs in what Hillary Clinton called the "basket of deplorables" if we can bring that group over to our "side" we would have a better world.

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Lynn, At this point, no adult has an excuse to vote for an obvious unhinged, hateful person like Trump. Yes, Trump supporters are deplorable and worse. He was a criminal the day he stepped in office. And his campaigning was violence-invoking. PUNCH THAT GUY, I’ll PAY YOUR LEGAL BILLS. That’s almost verbatim what Trump said at more than one rally. It’s BS that these people didn’t understand.

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Glad you didn't capitalize "Christian" in your third paragraph. Those traitors beliefs are180 degrees away from Jesus's teachings. They deserve (well, actually not at all) "christo-fascist".

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HRC's "deplorables" certainly helped her to lose the election. (Of course, Russian interference + Comey's illegal claim of her classified emails being open to the public didn't help.)

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Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

https://www.youtube.com/user/trailertrashseries

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Sigh.

Thanks for being predictable with a reply that reiterates my point.

I await the reply that contains a label.

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I noticed that too.

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A solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. Most members of Congress are at least in the fifth quintile of incomes; even the maximum benefit of social security (currently $4194/month, and that's if it starts at age 70) isn't even rent money for some of those folks.

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Yessss! Ryan, can we the people make this happen??

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founding

They are already beholden to Lobbyists. that ship has sailed

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I watched the entire debacle last night and I am ashamed disappointed and angry. How is it possible that George Santos was sworn in and then makes a sign of white supremacy? Is there no decency left in the government? The best and most inspiring event of the evening was Hakeem Jeffries speech it was brilliant. Today is a day of rest for me but thank you for everything that you’re doing to alert American people

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Kaleidoscopic sociopath George Santos is possible because the New York State "Democratic" party screwed up big time by losing at least 4 congressional seats through arrogance and lack of leadership.

We wouldn't have the McCarthy nightmare if the NYS democratic party did its job.

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You're so absolutely righton! The NY Demos spent most of their enrgy fighting their Progressive wing. I really haave the impression that they'd rather a Republican win than one of their liberal colleagues.

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I absolutely agree with you.

A thorough house-cleaning is long overdue for the dysfunctional NYS "democrats. "

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It's not only the NY Dems...The fight to save neoliberalism has been going on on the national level for years. Jeffries now carries the hammer to keep the left down.

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Agreed. I'm no fan of Jeffries and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

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What is the "corporate wing" of the Dem party and why do you think Jeffries represents it? I do not understand what the dynamic are that you think are going on - and I've been closely following both parties. From what I see, it is the (dark) corporate wing of the Republican party that is the problem here. Corporate interests of one sort or another finance (at one and the same time) both the corporate Republican and the right wing so-called Republican obstructionists. So I am struggling to understand your reasoning here.

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I am very much aware of the GOP's anti-government nihilism and corporatism, but this awareness doesn't prevent me or others from critiquing problems in the Democratic Party, where there are also many problems.

There are many reasons why I refer to Congressman Jeffries as a part of the "corporate wing" of the Democratic Party."

A good place to start is the creation of the "New Democrats" in 1980, where Bill Clinton and other Southern Democrats sought to attract conservative Reagan voters by abandoning FDR's legacy. There is much literature written about this betrayal.

Most recently, the excellent Thomas Frank wrote this column in the NYT on 12/24/2022: "The Deadly Lack of Imagination in The Democratic Party."

Jeffries has proven himself very much a product of Clinton's machinations, and as a result, he has been rightly criticized.

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Not disagreeing but don’t forget that the NY also lost safe seats due to re-districting.

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This is true, but the redistricting fiasco began with Cuomo in 2012 when NYS lost 1 congressional seat because he did little to help during the Census.

Cuomo then appointed conservative chief judge Janet DiFiore (currently under investigation, after her abrupt resignation), who smacked down the Democrat's redistricting plan.

Then Patrick Maloney selfishly switch districts and lost (deservedly so).

The NYS Democratic Party is still a Cuomo-induced mess.

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I am a Santos constituent. I have to live with that for now but I will fight like hell to see the back of him ASAP. The NYS Democrat party is a infighting, corrupt failure. Jay Jacobs has to go!

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If we didn’t have republicans that want to keep their thumbs on the poor and middle class in the first place it wouldn’t be an issue. Maybe all elected officials should have “the people” at the core of their agendas.

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I believe the dems thought (like many others) that there was going to be a large red-wave election. So many got scared off from running because they thought it would be a losing cause and resources could be used elsewhere for more competitive races. We can now see in hindsight what a shame it was that they didn't fight harder.

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Michael, The state of Georgia had a million fewer voters vote because of Brian Kemp signing a law to suppress/disenfranchise black voters. And it worked. There was a massive purge.

I will be watching the film “vigilante: Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman” and so should everyone else.

So many things are not as they seem when a real investigative journalist uncovers the truth.

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The Democrats have also forget how to fight in Florida! Let Facist DeSantis spread lies about the Democrats and ads and politicians didn’t fight back due to the DNC didn’t provide the funds to beat Rubio and Facist DeSantis. His racist, nationalist, Nazi approach to gerrymandering maps, change elderly voters party, his Gay bill, his initiatives to privatize Disney at Floridians expense, plus hiring a Surgeon General who didn’t believe in science encourage Floridians not to get vaccinated

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Ugh! The Democratic party does need an overhaul

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Susan, I agree that last night's performance by Republicans was a shameful display of the way Republicans make deals. The only ones who benefit are themselves. I do not know how Santos (if that's his name) was permitted to be seated when everything he told his district was a series of lies and his finances are really in disarray. There should be a threshold of behaviors below which people will not be seated in Congress or in state legislatures or governor's offices too. I do hope Brazilian law enforcement will charge Santos for his crimes, then ask for extradition. We need to send him there to face the music before he faces it here. It is just too bad just 6 Republicans could not get a little courage and vote for Jeffries for Speaker. He would be far far better than the self-seeking, stupid deal-making McCarthy, who will definitely bring shame on the House.

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There is not! The moment Bunkerboy, a KNOWN career criminal joke on morbidly obese a-legs was sworn in in 2016, ALL decency left the nation.

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No, it didn't. It certainly put a lot of decent Republicans in an impossible position in which either they dare not speak out, or were ignored if they did. Some chose to leave. Some chose to stay and fight honorably, though sadly not in Congress.

There are plenty of honorable people in the Dem party who have been working hard to try to get the vote out and to inform people of the facts, both in our own states and in others where we had ties. Decency clearly exists. But dark money and people using the Republican name for their own ambitions on the one hand, and contrarian agendas on the other got in the way changed the system of registration and voting in some states- and that led to the election of those same people to the Congress. I am deeply dismayed by the performances this week. McCarthy's statements after his election disgust me: verifying that the man now the speaker of the house is not someone with the capability to run a functional collegiate body, or to work on behalf of the American people. He sold himself first to the highest bidders and then to the lowest denominator to gain that position.

But he - and his enablers and manipulators- do not represent the whole of the USA.

Yes, we can expect chaos, and little done for the nation in the immediate future, because McCarthy is clinging so deperately to his fantasies. But there is still the fact that progress is still being made at the local and state levels, and is still possible at the federal level as well. Florida is not representative of anybody but themselves, and I suspect that in a couple of years that could change as well.

Continual badmouthing will not solve that problem nor any others. People working together on issues with compassion and commitment instead of judgement can. Blanket statements are not made by people with a commitment to create positive change, but by people who want to get in the way.

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I don’t see too many” decent “ republicans IN the party. The very policies and bills they vote on everyday demonstrate very clearly where they stand. It’s not for the benefit of the majority of Americans!

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There are pictures of him giving that sign before his swearing in. I think George wants to be in with the in crowd. Or at least he thinks it's the in crowd.

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I think you are right. I feel sorry for Santos. For whatever complex reasons, he is a man without a sense of identity, and is desperately trying to create one. We know at least what Trump's identity is, and always has been, and it is solidly embedded in his history. The problem was, of course, that too many people didn't take him seriously, or did and felt validated because they share some of his characteristics.

I think the situation is different for Santos. He tried to cobble together a simulacrum of the kind of person he perhaps thinks can succeed at something. But he could not see how transparent and easily revealed his fabrications were. His is a child's story. As unacceptable as Trump's cruel behavior, but pitiful because there is nowhere for Santos to find a real sense of himself. He is so clueless that he thought that making a white supremacist sign is going to make even white supremacists see him as acceptable?

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I don’t feel sorry for him. He knows well what he has done with his financial criminality. He’s under investigation for his crimes and should be held accountable. He likely won’t because republicans need this useful idiot to do their bidding.

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Santos made the sign of white supremacists because no one else but them will give him the time of day.

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Yeah, sounds like the type of nut I'm likely related to.

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Relax. It's not even his real name.

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Brazil seems to think it is?

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Frank, say what! Jeffries is what! I think you have some names mixed up or were half asleep when writing your comment. Get some rest and check again with what really happened.

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But your expectations of others do not have to be met by you? Your last sentence is shameful.

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Oh, Frank, Santos is a serial liar, probably pathological. He may be Latino, but who knows if he is gay? I know there was someone who claimed to be his "partner" but lying is easy. I hope he is ultimately removed from Congress no matter which groups he is part of. He is a brazen liar and no one can trust if he intends to keep the oath he took. Also, he may well be a criminal. Ugh!

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Janet, Yes, I know Frank is a troll, but sometimes, I just like to tweak their nose a bit, more for me than for them.

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"THEY GOT IN, AFTER ALL."

Watching mccarthy pick up the Speaker's gavel, and listening to his first words, I had that sudden, chilling realization: "They got in, after all!" The insurrectionists who invaded the People's House two years ago, have now taken over the House. The coup happened. In the exact same place where they forced a delay in the vote of the Electoral College, the Capitol building; on the exact same date, January 7th; and at the exact same time, the wee hours of the morning -- here we are precisely two years later with 150 repugnicant election-deniers sitting in our House, and cheering for the corrupt mr. mccarthy. I am sick at heart.

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You're right, it's the Civil War all over again.

I now hope the DOJ does not indict Trump, just yet. Let him run in 2024 as an independent. End of GOP. THEN indict him.

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1. As of today, the insurrectionists have not been seated.

2. A request for a pardon is probable cause for an investigation and acceptance is an admission of guilt. At a minimum, under House rules, those who accepted pardons should be suspended pending a resolution..

3. As I keep saying all members should swear that they are not insurrectionists -- under penalty of perjury..

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Great in principle, but my understanding of yesterday's events is that the MAGA Republicans - with their power to remove the Speaker on a whim - would basically control the Rules Committee. How could you get your agenda accomplished? Why is this not a successful coup by MAGA wingnuts?

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#3 -- but who's going to bell the cat?

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I get your point, and love the thought of a repugnicant party split even further apart -- thus guarenteeing a Democratic victory. My fear is that he may -- as is the story of his life -- face no consequences, thus possibly strengthening the power of the pugs. Your thoughts?

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I believe that Trump is fundamentally a loser. His base remains enthusiastic (30%), however, enough to outvote the Republican nominee in 2024, but not to make Trump president again. As soon as that happens, he may remain the King-over-the-water, but the base, will basically desert him. Then he can suffer the legal consequences of his tawdry life.

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A "loser" who has committed crime all his life, including some of the very worst, with not even an hour spent in jail. Morally a loser of the worst kind, but in our society that coddles the rich & well-connected, he gets away with everything.

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I agree. I'm just "runnning scared" after watching last night's horror show (the giveaway of Committee Chairs to the worst of the worst in our Congress).

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Yes, I agree. They can continue when he loses.

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As am I. You are so right.

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Jan 7, 2023Liked by Robert Reich

Hell hath no fury like seniors whose Social Security and Medicare is being messed with. Those funds were earned.

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And yet there are plenty of seniors who, for decades, have voted for Republicans who have been telling them all along that their goal is to abolish Medicare and Social Security. I don’t get it...

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Jan 7, 2023·edited Jan 7, 2023

These people live in a bubble of cognitive dissonance where they somehow think it's possible that Republicans will only take away social security and medicare from "people who don't deserve it (ie, brown people)."

As with most things, Conservatives seem to have no capacity for empathy or critical thinking about an issue until it affects them personally, and in this case once it affects them personally it will be too late to do anything meaningfully to change it.

They're goosestepping their way to their own doom under the idea that only the "right people" will be hurt by terrible policies.

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They're too bigoted, sexist and racist to see how the trumplicans are ACTIVELY trying to murder them all. They only see that their Dear Leaders are facists that are FORCING THEM to do their bidding, which makes them feel "safe."

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President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." True 60 years ago, and sadly still true today. It seems to be the key to understanding the GOP’s success.

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I say we need to let the two parties dissolve and allow many more parties active say in our governing. Other countries have many parties which allows every viewpoint and belief a say in what should be passed or not. I'm certain this will not happen in my lifetime which can be measured in about 20 yrs now, but the writing is on the wall already that the old ways of two party governing is done with and needs replacing!

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There is nothing stopping the creation of new parties. We don't have to wait until one or more parties dissolves before something better gets created, but it's not easy. The Lincoln Party is a good example of a potential follow-on to the current Republican Party, but they've been at it for a couple of years now and don't seem to have much momentum.

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There are plenty of GOP seniors who have no idea how SS or Medicare is paid for. They have no idea they paid into it and their employers also paid into it for them. I went through this with a GOP cousin. NO clue about SS and Medicare, but she sure did chant the Paul Ryan lingo. She finally got her SS and Medicare. She would probably kill anyone who tried to take it away from her.

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I remember when the Tea Party was new. News media were present every time they were, and often interviewed the "partiers" after whatever gathering they were attending (usually a town hall meeting) ended. The "partiers", rough, gruff, and determined, were adamant about our needing a smaller government, and one without "entitlements" and hand-outs. . and then, often as they left the interview and began to wander off, they'd yell, "BUT NOBODY BETTER TOUCH MY SOCIAL SECURITY OR MEDICARE!!!!"...... aptly demonstrating they had No Clue how anything worked. To top this off, many Many MANY people in this country do not pay attention to politics of any sort, period... so they don't hear/read about what the gop or their own politicians say..

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So we need to point the direction for them. Tell them to read up on Senator Scott’s bill to vote on SS and MC every five years.

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I do. They're dumb.

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They have been so thoroughly brainwashed into hatred for anything Dem or remotely liberal by Faux Noise that there a plentiful many of those folks who don't even care if they vote for something that hurts them as long as it hurts the "libruls" more.

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I see that often. Anything that has a D is bad. It doesn’t matter what it’s about.

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They don’t believe it because republicans gaslight them.

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I paid money toward my eventual Social Security in every danged paycheck that I earned and I worked and earned wages since I was 16 until I was 65...49 freaking years.

And, since my employer ALSO paid $$ to Social Security in every paycheck I earned, they should be mad as hell, too. Shouldn't we be hearing outraged noises from every employer in the country?

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Your former employers don't care whether you get the money they paid for you; they were required to pay that money, and that's where their interest ends. If Social Security is terminated, employers won't have to pay into it any longer, so they probably like the idea.

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Jan 8, 2023·edited Jan 8, 2023

Yes, that is likely true but how will hundreds of thousands of destitute homeless seniors losing what little they have been surviving on benefit these companies? How much clearer can this country--under the auspices of late stage capitalism--make it, that once we seniors retire and are no longer in "productive employment" (wage enslavement) that we are useless; both business and government would just as soon we off ourselves Charity hospitalizations will cost MORE in everybody else's insurance; destitute seniors will be living with their grown children and their grandchildren.

The Social Security Trust Fund is actually not a part of government--it's the debt service payments to the loans against the trust fund that are eating up the budget. If Congress (yes, BOTH Dems AND Repubs) hadn't decided that they simply couldn't resist somehow utilizing that huge pile of yummy money.

NONE of this has to happen, if only Congress would allow the cap on payroll taxes to be lifted.

SSA potential insolvency has an easy fix if only our elected officials would do the necessary hard work of making decisions, using statecraft and compromise and crafting legislation (not plagiarizing ALEC nonsense) that might not benefit their donor base, but instead be of some use to their actual constituents.

Alas, none of those things seem to reside in any of our legislators skill sets or toolboxes.

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They got tax breaks so they likely don’t give a dam.

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Hell hath no fury like grandkids who grow up to realize that we "adults" spent like drunken sailors and passed the bill for our selfishness on to them. You might find this interesting given that it is our working children who pay our Social Security today. Tax money comes out of their paycheck today, is routed through the federal government, and then sent to us seniors today. So when it fully dawns on our children that we've been screwing them for years, our Social Security and Medicare may get messed with.

Democrats vs. Republicans, makes no difference. Both parties are equal when it comes to endangering our children's future with irresponsible budgets.

But of course, we'll blame the whole thing exclusively on Republicans so as to hide from ourselves our own role in the theft.

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Social security is a Ponzi scheme by definition. Your money has already been spent. Take care of your retirement, that is not governments job.

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Troll. Please stop repeating yourself.

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Progwoman, The troll who clearly can’t define how SS is funded claims it to be a “Ponzi scheme by definition”. Puton-loving foreigner-trolls do say comical things!

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Please enlighten me on how SS is funded?

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I've reported the troll who likes to repeat itself.

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You reported me for repeating myself? A Ponzi scheme is where most recent investors money is paid out to earlier investors. SS is taken out of your paycheck and paid into an account that does not have the assets to pay its current liabilities, hence the money paid in now is already promised to someone else. They account manager (SS) is banking on enough futures payments to pay back its debt to you. Do you self a favor and do not rely on that, but instead invest the same amount taken out of your paycheck in real estate (or even gold) and see which you can retire on.

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It certainly is government's job to ensure that no citizen drops into poverty, which in the end costs the nation much more than if there was a guaranteed livable wage and SS for all. who need it. There isn't a developed country in the world that doesn't provide support for those who need it. In fact, most more socialist leaning countries score higher on ALL measures of human well-being than the US does. We are all in this together. Those of us who can create a good retirement fund for ourselves are welcome to, but not all can do so. Ever tried putting away money on a minimum wage job?

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No, but clearly there are probably millions of people in this situation, and there is no excuse for abandoning them.

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Please show me in the constitution written by the people for the people where to people wanted the “other” people to rule over them so that they would be protected. The law of the land was written to protect your personal liberties, it is up to is to take care of our brother and sisters. So no that is not the governments job. The government’s job is to uphold the law and provide equal access. Pretty simple.

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Nobody is an island. We are all interdependent. Some of us have had more opportunities than others. Some of us are born with privilege based on our sex and race. Some of us have had better early lives than others. Our whole society is improved when we help each other and when government works toward helping it be possible that we can all flourish. FYI All countries that lean more socialist than the US (and yes, we are socialist as well) score higher or much higher on all measures of human well being than the US, exactly because their governments see that their job is to help people live decent lives.

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6.5% is automatically taken out. Discipline would let anyone take out 10%, but we rather have an “adult” do it do us.

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OMG. Another person who expects all human beings to be exactly like you. We are all different. We all come from various backgrounds, with a range of experiences and have also different genetic makeup, temperament etc. Please, before you declare that all should be just like you consider that we are very different and with different levels of means. Whenever any person assumes they know what's the "correct" way to live based on their own behavior it has almost zero validity and relevance.

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I am very uncertain how you draw the above conclusions. I am merely advocating that we need to be responsible for our own actions and the help of others, not rely on a government that treat everyone the same.

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It seems only DOJ can save Social Security and Medicare by arresting Trump's enablers who are still in Congress and charging them with Treason. That would turn the House back into the D's control.

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YES! Get the DOJ to work on that right away!

We cannot allow anything to happen to SS or Medicare.

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We're WAITING!!!!!!!

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...and waiting and waiting and waiting...

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Social security is a Ponzi scheme by definition.

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Actually, it was not ... at least, not until Reagan's administration allowed the Social Security excess to be stolen. Check it out; SS was not only self-supporting, it was such a healthy fund that politicians saw it as a golden goose so they could fund other things that are not documented. THEY HAD NO RIGHT TO TOUCH THAT SS MONEY.

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SS has truly never been solvent. Inflation has been a major problem, as does the population growth curves. Linear calculations do not work for complex issues. Reagan only kicked the bucket down the street.

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So is all insurance. Do we do away with it all?

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SS is not insurance. Insurance is based on risk calculations while SS is based on your average earnings over your working career. One makes money as does gambling, the other makes a promise that it cannot guarantee. Yes we do away with it, but change the structure. Similar, but base it on need, not on a future promise.

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Self-interest is fine, but interest in the community is necessary to ensure that society functions for all of us. Without interest in the community it would be a sorry state indeed, which it looks like most conservatives want. They also fool themselves into thinking that they alone are responsible for their accomplishments, which is a myth. We are all interdependent. Like how traffic flows best when we all pay attention to the rules. Otherwise there would be chaos.

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I agree with most of what you say, but as you make a sound argument you managed to stereotype all conservatives.

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They have been prosecuting them. Whether their sentences are long enough is questionable but quite a few have been prosecuted already.

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deletedJan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023
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I will be surprised if they do, ever, including Trump. I’m not holding my breath. They should just let Trump run as an independent and hopefully him and DeSatan both would lose. Then prosecute Trump afterwards.

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Then Desantis may win in 2024.

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I was thinking about Trump. If Garland starts prosecuting politicians, he most likely will have to prosecute Trump. Therefore, Trump cannot run for re-election, the base is riled up, votes for wingnuts that are not in jail, and DeSantis wins.

If Garland (or Smith) prosecutes only Trump, same thing. But if he holds his fire, allows Trump to run as an independent in 2024, DeSantis loses, along with Trump's base, and we can all move on to the sunlit uplands.

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No, he's not. Stop it. Do you want a half assed investigation? Or do you want a complete investigation where the charges will be airtight? Has it ever occurred to you how many people are being investigated? This will go on for years.

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That is so upsetting - I feel like we are helpless. Sure wish we could start a movement to make all the politicians live on SS & Medicare so they we "feel the pain" of seniors today.

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That's AGEIST, you MONSTER! I went on SSD in my mid 20s from a debilitating traumatic brain injury. (I'm not mad at all, I'm just fooling around by the way.)

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I am sorry about your TBI. It's so tough not to be able to do work that you might long to do. (Went through that 11 years ago, at age 59. LOVED my work, and had planned to work parttime till I was in my early 80's.)

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Same here. Brain mostly ok, but took time. Body not so much, so stamina is an issue, though I get around. I'm lucky, because I found ways to do things related to my profession that I hope contribute to society. They certainly contribute to my sense of satisfaction with my life in spite of the limitations. And I keep meeting interesting and inspiring people like many of the folks here. My awareness keeps expanding.

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Jerry, unless you have evidence to support this, it shouldn't be said.

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Nonsense

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I find myself truly embarrassed for McCarthy: to see a man totally humiliate and debase himself - seemingly without the least bit of awareness, care or shame - is degrading to the institution he purports to now lead, to our democracy and to the citizens of the United States. He is a disgrace. And his radical right appeasement will harm us for years to come.

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It was a horrible thing to watch.

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I couldn't watch, but the Daily Kos, which I sometimes find a little cheesy, has a bunch of photos this morning, the worst of which is a Lousiana rep-elect hitting another Southern rep-elect on the back with a bible. Honest! Then there's Greene gossiping with Santos. And the horrified face of Rep. Omar when Rep. Gaetz approaches her is priceless.

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I'll have to google, and see those pix. Just saw them. They are all horrifying. (They missed the delightful photo of Mike Rogers of Alabama trying to attack Mattt, but being restrained by Richard Hudson of NC.)

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What bothers me is that major news organizations have access to the same material and yet they refrain from publishing images of the bible being used as a physical prop or Santos acting like some media idol when they say so much about these iconoclasts.

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I feel no embarrassment for him. Just total contempt.

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but how about ALLLL those gop'ers who were supporting mccarthy?? they are all still scared of tfg and the "base".... RIDICULOUS. IDK why those who were angry with gaetz and other "brethren" were so upset. . too little, too late and wrong approach!!!! What a bunch of spineless, ignorant, stupid sheep. They have no clue what they have done, big picture-wise. NO clue. Are they ALLLLL taking $$$$$ from the autocracy-loving, behind the scenes, manipulators??

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Gaetz eventually gave in. Who knows what was given to him in the end? Perhaps some billionaires got involved, as you suggest. Only 3 or 4 holdouts remained at the end. Not sure who they were since most of the focus was on attention-seeking chaos agents Gaetz & Boebert, who, I think, gave in on the last round, & Biggs, 1 of the insurrection instigators. Were they Rosendale, Self, Good & Biggs?

There is nobody left in the Republican Party who is decent. Kinzinger would never have been caught voting for McCarthy or any other traitor, which is what McCarthy is, along with many other despicable but accurate descriptors that can be attributed to him. The whole Republican Party should be declared illegal as a subversive terrorist organization.

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Washington Post kept a running list of who voted for whom in chart form, by election. It is still probably up. It was open when I was watching, but I'll check and see if I can come up with a link.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/interactive/2023/vote-results-house-speaker/?itid=mc_magnet-speaker-vote_inline_collection_5

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Did you receive my long reply thanking you for linking me to the site & summarizing what happened? It seems to have disappeared.

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No, I didn't get it-- A couple of my posts didn't come up, either. I'm glad you found it useful; I certainly did. My mind was reeling! The folks at WP must have been working hard to get that online and keep it updated!

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The 7th guy was Andy Harris, not Clyde.

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Shame on McCarthy! If there is any justice left, may this come back to haunt him and the radical right!

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That's a big "if" there, at least in regards to the people running (& ruining) the country.

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I have a feeling that he's about to get "bit from behind", and very soon. The rest of the rabid pack? Doubt it.

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Mostly it will harm us for years because we refuse to hold politician criminals up to the laws.

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Amazing these same “representatives” in the GOP want to reduce the number of IRS agents who would recoup billions of unpaid taxes from their “donors” and in some cases, themselves but choose to strip SS and Medicare? How do they stay in office?

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I was horrified to learn what they are doing, essentially closing IRS investigations to all but the middle class. Remember the excuse for never investigating the orange sadist's taxes?

"It was too complicated, and we didn't have enough agents to cover it." In other words, the middle class audits are quick and easy. Those of the super-super wealthy take too much time and personnel. Beyond sickening.

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Because there are just enough stupid gullible people to keep them in office.

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How do Republicans live with themselves? These are greedy, power-hungry, shameless people with no dignity, self-respect, or empathy. The only thing they want is to hold the debt ceiling hostage. I am hoping they will soon be too concerned about mounting a defense than anything else.

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Accurate description, and frightening to know that these are the people who determine our lives, and the nation's future.

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I've decided that many of them have personality disorders which includes a lack of empathy. Once empathy isn't there or isn't functioning, anything is possible. The toddlers in the House seem to have no empathy between them and exhibited a lot of characteristics consistent with personality disorders.

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And how do they sleep at night in good conscience?

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