BlogWatch: Social Security in Peril, Candidate Avoidance & Other Budgetary Debacles

September 5th, 2008 Billy Hallowell

The BlogWatch is a weekly piece that is published on the non-partisan web site Facing Up to the Nation’s Finances.  Stay tuned for more weekly, non-partisan fiscal recaps brought to you by Billy Hallowell and Facing Up.With the discussion primarily focused on both the Democratic and the Republican national conventions, the blogosphere has been quite distracted. With that said, we were still able to dig up some interesting discussion about issues related the federal budget:To begin this week’s BlogWatch, the Economist Mom blog covers the current absence of candidate discussion surrounding the federal budget in the current political conversation. On the EM blog, Stan Collender’s most recent “Fiscal Fitness” piece is highlighted and paraphrased, as he explores the reasons why the federal budget isn’t on the candidates’ radar:

“You have to ask yourself why the budget isn’t being discussed more often in this year’s election. All polls show the economy as the No. 1 issue for most voters, and federal spending accounts for more than one-fifth of the economy…Shouldn’t voters be demanding to hear more?”

A few weeks back, the director of the Congressional Budget Office posed a very interesting blog entry on America’s Social Security debacle. We missed it in our last BlogWatch, but it’s surely worth noting here. According to the entry, a recent study conducted by the CBO substantiated some scary projections:“…the number of Social Security beneficiaries will grow considerably as the baby boomers become eligible for retirement benefits. Absent legislative changes, spending for the program will therefore climb substantially and exceed the program’s revenues.”And over at the Mises Economic Blog, talk is centered upon the fiscal weight of the American vice-presidency, as the entry takes on the position and explores its worth. Interestingly, the cost associated with the position comes into play:

“Why is there an Office of Vice President at all? There’s little compelling reason for the taxpayers to spend over $200,000 in salary and several million dollars more on staff, housing and transportation for a person who does little more then serve as an emergency backup.”

In other budgetary news, OMBWatch blogged about a Sunlight Foundation piece by executive director Ellen Miller. As per OMBWatch’s budget blog, Miller penned a piece about the legacy of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 — a bill that requires that all federal spending be logged and searchable online. According to Miller, the bill has also affected policy at the state level:

“Since 2007, 11 states…have established, via legislation or executive order, free and searchable Web sites that give access to state spending. And 24 other states are working on it, with more than half introducing spending transparency bills this year.”

That’s all for today’s BlogWatch. Check back next week for more updated news and information about America’s fiscal challenges.

Technorati Tags: facing up to the nation’s finances,election 2008,billy hallowell

Rating: 3.9/5 (15 votes cast)

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please subscribe to my blog!


MyAvatars 0.2 Sceptical Republican
Sunday, September 7th, 2008 at 6:07 pm

The Obama camp's change message has basically two components.

One is a call for "post partisanship", an end to "politics as usual", and a farewell to cronyism, special interests and corruption.

The other part of that change message is about *policy* change. Obama wants to take the US in a different direction. There's talk about nationalizing health care, tax changes, global warming initiatives, pulling out of Iraq asap and so on.

Lately Obama has been emphasizing the second kind of change, the policy change, and for good reason: His track record doesn't back up the post partisanship type of change. He's got the most inflexible liberal voting record of any member of the senate. He grew up in Chicago politics and yet his campaign cannot point to a single instance where he challenged the old corrupt Chicago ways. For all his talk about ending politics as usual, Obama has zero track record to back this up.

McCain is now starting to eat Obama's lunch and it could get interesting. Simply put, McCain has a real authentic claim to the first kind of change. McCain demonstrably fought earmarks (he's never requested a single one), corruption (he led the charge against Abramoff, a republican lobbyist who's now in jail), and he's reached across the isle and worked with democrats on numerous issues, often infuriating his own party: Campaign finance reform, immigration, global warming etc.

The brilliance of McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is that it allows him to stress his independence. Voters always knew that the Obama claim that McCain was just "more of the same" was a stretch, but with Palin securing the conservative base, McCain is free to remind voters of his track record. If anything, Palin reinforces the reformer image, herself a political maverick who threw out the incumbent governor from her own party.

There will be a ferocious fight now about who's the "real candidate" of change. Obama has, for the first time, been put on the defensive on this his most crucial message. Predictably, he's saying that the choice of Palin is just "more of the same", but that clearly won't fly: A woman governor, mother of five, with a strong reformer image and no Washington background, cannot credibly be relegated to "more of the same".

Obama knows this and that's why democrats are furiously trying to reign back the "change" mantel and put Palin back in the box. But the genie is out of the bottle and the wheels are starting to come off the Obama bandwagon. This will be a more exciting election than anyone had imagined.

MyAvatars 0.2 toe
Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 6:35 am

"The brilliance of McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is that it allows him to stress his independence"

you have got to be kidding!  McCain has stepped away from what was popular at the time to come out against the Bush tax cuts- having found this not popular with his conservative republican votes we wanted and needed- did an about face 180 degrees- and is now in full support of this.

McCain took a stand on immigration reform- only to find that this also did not sit well with his need for conservative votes and promptly did an about face on this as well.  

McCain has proclaimed from the rooftops that he does not and will not support earmarks and pork- yet brings in as his VP choice a woman who
made a point of obtaining these without abandon.

please inform yourself before making such absurd statements, sir.

MyAvatars 0.2 toe
Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 7:09 am

^   self editing

"having found this not popular with his conservative republican votes HE wanted and needed- did an about face 180 degrees- and is now in full support of this."

MyAvatars 0.2 daddysteve
Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

It should be obvious why neither party wants to mention our fiscal difficulties. It is because there are no easy answers, just painful and  politically inconvenient ones.  There is no place for truth in an election year. Just ask Ron Paul.

MyAvatars 0.2 HOBOBOH
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 7:44 am

Naturally it is disheartening to watch the SOCIALIST PROGRAMS crumbling around us.  Gosh, how can they falter when they are so well administered by whom?  Thankfully, I will never need my social security 2% return stipend.  Of course the poor who have been screwed again by good intentions without economic logic (a Democratic party trait).  By the party which swears to protect them.  It's a big joke and the poor must suffer so a few may have power over their lives.

What's next?  Global warming using faulty data with carbon patterns skewed?  Oh wait, it's been done.


MyAvatars 0.2 Mike
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 9:02 am

Can someone explain to me why no one ever talks about phasing out Social Security altogether and give hard-working Americans back the 7.65% of their pay that comes out every pay period? Personally, I am sick and tired of hearing people whine about how to fix Social Security

There is NO WAY to fix Social Security. The program was not intended to last this long. It was a stop-gap measure created decades ago that should have been discontinued post-WW2.

Americans would be far better off having the extra money in their pockets now--to invest themselves. If there is one thing the Federal government proves time and time again, it is that it is good at wasting taxpayers money with ridiculous programs. I would feel much more at ease knowing that I planned for my OWN retirement years, instead of looking ahead for the government to rescue me.

Do away with Social Security altogether is what I say. Phase it out, so that our elderly population who depend on it right now will not be left out in the cold. But don't continue to waste our money trying to fix this broken Socialist system that doesn't work.

Conversely, this would also require Americans to plan their futures ALOT better. But at least the only person they could blame is themselves if they can't retire comfortably.

Blame Bush for the Social Security mess if you want to, but the fact is that this mess started decades ago and will not go away by taxing people more or dumping more money into it.

MyAvatars 0.2 amber
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 11:02 pm

stupid fucking republican destroyed our economy

MyAvatars 0.2 amber
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 11:05 pm

eradicate the conservative idealogy

MyAvatars 0.2 amber
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

save the environment destroy a republiican

MyAvatars 0.2 Urban Conservative
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 at 11:13 pm

amber - such thoughtful comments.  your public high school education has really served you well. thanks for giving me the ammo i need to write about liberal idiocy. 

MyAvatars 0.2 Mike
Thursday, September 18th, 2008 at 5:47 am

Urban Conservative---
Excellent point. This is what we have to look forward to if Obama gets elected. Supreme idiocy. Hopefully, there are still enough intelligent Republicans left in this country to prevent stupid, maniacal, Democratic socialists from ruining it altogether.

Unfortunately, this country continues to flush its brain down the toilet when it comes to political ideology. Our Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves. Someone stop the bleeding, before it's too late!

MyAvatars 0.2 Mike
Thursday, September 18th, 2008 at 5:51 am


We know you're bitter, but do you really know anything about who is destroying the country's economy? Everyone needs a scapegoat. so go ahead and blame President Bush. He's an easy target (albeit, an unfair target).

Perhaps, if you want to have an intelligent discussion, then we can begin to disect the garbage that has been fed to you by whatever insane liberals you have been listening to. Otherwise, try refraining from butting into a conversation which you seem to have nothing insightful to contribute to.

MyAvatars 0.2 ameriken
Thursday, September 18th, 2008 at 8:12 pm

"save the environment destroy a republiican"

That won't save the environment.....when a republican gets destroyed, they become a democrat.

"eradicate the conservative idealogy"

Then who's going to pay for all those entitlements democrats want?

What do you think? Join the conversation...