The best PM’s – Thatcher and Attlee

Margaret Thatcher and Clement Attlee have been chosen as the best British Prime Ministers of the 20th century. Historian and author, Francis Beckett, assessed the politicians not on their policies but how well they implemented them. Attlee and Thatcher both took “one sort of society, and turned it into another sort of society”.

  • Keith M

    I can see how someone might want to rate Attlee as equal with Thatcher to give a right/left balance, but in truth Thatcher had no equal. She shifted the whole political compass.

    Lloyd-George getting a 3/5 is far too high, although a lot most of his most spectacular errors were made when he was out of office.

  • DK

    “At the other end of the scale, Neville Chamberlain, who was the Conservative Prime Minister from 1937-40, came in as the worst Prime Minister of the 20th Century alongside Robert Anthony Eden, Conservative Prime Minister 1955-7.”

    Chamberlain wasn’t really so bad. He tried to keep war averted by negotiation and was the one to get Britains war economy geared up & ready and actually declared war on Germany – sticking to principles. Eden was shite though – thought Britain was still a world power & got a rude shock in Suez.

    How come Callaghan and Heath did so well – didn’t they preside over massive industrial unrest and collapsing economy?

  • Butterknife

    Lloyd-George was by far the greatest PM if it wasn’t treatment of the coal mine industry. He planted the seeds for the welfare state by giving a pension of a shilling or what ever it was.
    I am sure some one can quote the difference between the primiership style of Atlee and Churchill where the former was better organised.
    As for Thatcher – that is why the UK is ship shape today and Tony is conservative in labour clothing.

  • lib2016

    Britain’s future lies as part of Europe. Thatcher destroyed Britain’s standing in Europe, a process which Blair certainly hasn’t been able to change.

    Why has there been no comment on how little Britain has contributed to EU policy towards the Middle East? One knew that Britain had slipped into a position somewhere in the middle with the other second-rankers but the last few weeks have been extraordinary – a major world crisis with regular European conferences taking place and the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary remain on holiday while Reid and Prescott play musical chairs in London.

  • KeithM:

    “She shifted the whole political compass.”

    So did Adolf Hitler. Your point?

    Attlee is understandable- he brought about many of the great social welfare reforms which still affect many people’s daily lives in a positive way today.

    Thatcher, on the other hand, harked back to the worst excesses of mid-nineteenth-century laissez-faire economics, her policies still affecting many people’s daily lives in a negative way today.

  • Butterknife

    If you had saw the programme on last night about Anne Frank you will know exactly why the EEC was created; it was an attempt to prevent another World War lib2016 not an attempt to promote Federalism and to harmonise social policy to a EU spec.
    What we have now is not a risk of World Wars between sovereign nations per se but between ideologies that exist in these organisations.

  • fair_deal

    I can’t understand how Heath did so well.

  • David Vance

    Thatcher, truly one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, ranking alongside those such as Regan and Churchill.

  • lib2016

    Butterknife,

    Your point about federalism may or may not be true. Britain still has no voice in EU foreign policy as has been very publically demonstrated this week.

    Previous American administrations have made it quite clear that Britain is important to them precisely because of it’s voice in Europe. Since Britain has based it’s foreign policy for much of the last century on the relationship with America these matters are of more significance than theological arguments about what is or is not encompassed by the creation of a common economic bloc. Arguments which the Brits have long since lost BTW.

  • David Vance

    Britain must ditch Europe for the leftist/dhimmi dominiated cesspool that is currently is, and realign herself alongside that great bastion of freedom, the land of the brave and free, the United States, our only true ally. The time WILL come when the UK must stand alongside the US and take affirmative action against an islamic dominated europe by overt means and we must prepare for that day. Which side the Irish Republic takes on this conflict will determine its future existence as an indepent state or not!!

  • lib2016

    Britain’s tragedy is that she has had a succession of pygmies masquerading as statemen. One De Gaulle figure willing to break with Empire and Britain could have enjoyed a similar sture to France or Germany or Italy.

    Instead it has become an increasingly irrelevent embarrassment. Mandleson’s daft talk of ‘Britain at the centre of Europe’ while he messed up the trade agreement is as bad as Tony’s handling of the EU Constitution.

    No wonder Europe comes to Bertie when they need a safe pair of hands.

  • Colm

    That’s some fightin’ talk there Davy boy!!

  • GPJ

    ” I still hate Thatcher ”

    Her legacy of prejudice and dogmatism made far right xenophobic politics respectable among sections of the political class in Britain.

    Her Britain was ugly, unemployed and unfriendly.

  • DK

    “Britain still has no voice in EU foreign policy” – one could argue that there is no EU voice for foreign policy anyway. All you get is the lame duck Chirac bravely announcing that France has brokered a deal on Lebanon, but will not commit troops, Mon Dieu – I meant 1600 troops.

  • David Vance

    “No wonder Europe comes to Bertie when they need a safe pair of hands” – I take it that this comment was made in jest??
    On the other hand, no better person suited to operate the uber-corrupt EU than a shifty, thick tounged terrorist appeaser such as ‘the Bertie’ , with a great talent for leeching funds from my country via the EU, even though he constantly proclaims the wonder of the modern world, the Celtic- Kitten economic nirvana!! lol

  • GPJ

    “islamic dominated europe”

    Dave as the population of the whole of Europe, Atlantic to Urals is approx: 730 million people and the combined Muslim population of the same area is 60 million.

    When do you expect Europe to be dominated by Islam?

    http://www.islamicpopulation.com

  • Keith M

    DK “Chamberlain wasn’t really so bad. He tried to keep war averted by negotiation..”
    And failed miserably, that’s why his premiership is seen as a disaster.

    Butterknife “He planted the seeds for the welfare state by giving a pension of a shilling or what ever it was.”
    I wouldn’t see “the welfare state” as an achievement.

    El Matador (on changing the political compass) “So did Adolf Hitler. Your point?”
    If you can’t see the difference between Thatcher’s change which brought everyone (including “New Labour”) along on her coatails and Hitler’s change (which shifted Europe in the opposite direction, and ended the style of fascism he helped create), then you’re a fool.

    lib2610 “Thatcher destroyed Britain’s standing in Europe, a process which Blair certainly hasn’t been able to change.”
    No, Thatcher showed the EU that the UK was not going to be walked on by vested interests like French farming, something which successive French governments have failed to do. She may not have been popular in the EU, but she was certainly respected.

    ” One De Gaulle figure willing to break with Empire and Britain could have enjoyed a similar sture to France or Germany or Italy.”

    Thatcher was the UK’s DeGaulle. She was the person that put national interest first and earning the country respect in Europe. Today the UK is doing a lot better than the three countries you mention, and given that Blair has done little or nothing to undo Thatcher’s work, she can still take some of the credit.

    Regarding breaking with empires, the UK did a much better job than either of the three countries you mention. If you want an example, compare French relations with Algeria today with the UK’s relations with India.

  • willis

    DV

    I’m interested in your use of “dhimmi”. What are you on about?

    I thought you cared about the U.K. Why should we align ourselves with the U.S. rather than the rest of Europe?

    If you love the U.S. so much, emigrate like many Ulster-Scots before. Undoubtedly you would find a warm welcome.

    For my part I’m glad to see that Attlee got his rightful due as the equal Greatest UK PM, in another 50 years he will stand out even more.

  • Butterknife

    I would say you will glad of the welfare state some day Keith M or maybe you even go private when you get dental or other emergency treatments. The fact is i guess all PMs have tried in their own way to better the State. But consider this the civil servants, think tanks and commissions such as law etc are the same so is the PM really the one to take cedit or is it the team behind him or her. After all he or she is just the first of equals.

  • lib2016

    David,

    The world needs pragmatic ‘fixers’. When the British counted for something they were proud to accept that role but since they have vacated it the Irish are more than happy to take their place.

    Margaret Thatcher threw away the chance to acess EU funds to modernise Britain’s infrastructure when the rest of Europe, including France and Italy did so in the 80’s. If Ireland thought that the whole point of joining a common economic bloc was to help grow our economy then we were in good company.

    The rest of Europe including Ireland, like politicans who live in the real world. The Brits were getting chummy with Pinochet and the South African apartheid regime when that world was drawing to a close.

    It’s time to get friendly with Islam and even moreso the Chinese. That’s were the money is.

  • John East Belfast

    fair deal

    “I can’t understand how Heath did so well.”

    I suspect it is to do with the judging criteria – ie did they have objectives and did they achieve them

    Heath secured UK membership of the EEC which he would consider his greatest triumph.

    They should have used criteria such as the nation’s prosperity and measured issues like health care and educational achievement, infant deaths, civil unrest, etc etc

    ie judging someone on having objectives and achieving them ignores the substance of those objectives and the consequences (beneficial or otherwise)of achieving them.

    Having said that Maggie will always be my hero for the reasons Beckett says.
    Any economic success being enjoyed by Blair and Brown today had its foundations laid by Thatcherism.

    Indeed that would be another problem with a study such as this – The impact of many policies – good and bad – are not often seen for many years to come

  • pith

    David Vance: “The time WILL come when the UK must stand alongside the US and take affirmative action against an islamic dominated europe by overt means and we must prepare for that day.”

    What would “affirmative action against an islamic dominated europe” involve?

  • John East Belfast

    Keith M

    “I wouldn’t see “the welfare state” as an achievement”

    I very much disagree with you there.

    It was essential for its time.

    How else would the son of an East Belfast shipyard worker like me growing up in a 2 up 2 down have had my health cared for and been educated to my current standards without the post 1945 Labour Govt reforms.

    I may be a Thatcherite but I have not lost sight of where I came from and what movement helped me get there.

  • willis

    JEB

    Shouldn’t that be heroine? – I can see where you are coming from though.

  • willis

    “It was essential for its time.”

    That is precisely why Attlee is great and why Wilson, Callaghan and Blair score so low.

    It is also important to remember that Attlee was DPM from 1942-5 and effectively ran the country as opposed to the war.

  • Thather made the changes that were needed to be made in the British economy. The medicine was harsh but Britian would be a worse place without her. On the other side her dealings with Pinochet, South Afria etc tarnished her fine economy legasey.

    with a great talent for leeching funds from my country via the EU,

    Ireland is a net contributor to the EU now. As for your other points David. A few things I disagree with for instance
    Britain must ditch Europe for the leftist/dhimmi dominiated cesspool that is currently is,
    I think ditch is too strong a word, reform back to its open markets orginal idea would be better. The EU is messing itself up with all the regulation and CAP

    It’s time to get friendly with Islam and even moreso the Chinese. That’s were the money is.

    Other then the oil Islamic countries are nothing. They have some how lost the ingenuity they had in the middle ages. Took caught up all kinds of stuff to be real economic powers. India will be the big power I think bigger then China. The chinnes economy is showing holes. While India has the most high-tech grads in the world. That is where the power will be.

  • the welfare state The welfare state has its place in society. There is no doubt the economy needs everyone to have a shot at education. We need the best of the best not the best of the rich. But the state owning industry is ludicrious waste of money and diverts funds from where they are need.

  • Thrasymachus

    “The world needs pragmatic ‘fixers’. When the British counted for something they were proud to accept that role but since they have vacated it the Irish are more than happy to take their place.”

    LMAO! Watch out dictators, change your ways or quake before the mighty military and economic powers of the RoI!

  • kensei

    “Thatcher, truly one of the greatest figures of the 20th century, ranking alongside those such as Regan and Churchill.”

    Of course, FDR towers so far above all the rest of ther 20th Century US Presidents it is unbelievable.

  • David Vance

    “Of course, FDR towers so far above all the rest of ther 20th Century US Presidents it is unbelievable. ”

    Nonsense kensei, the 3 greatest US presidents in descending order are Regan, Bush (Junior), and Nixon.

  • fair_deal

    JEB

    He did get us into the EEC (even if admitted to lying about it the likely impact to do so) but the rest of his policy agenda was pretty disastrous. MT scores top marks becuase she won the battles he decidedly lost yet he only drops one point. The issue was not properly secured until the referendum in 1975 again bringing his role into question.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    GPJ: “Dave as the population of the whole of Europe, Atlantic to Urals is approx: 730 million people and the combined Muslim population of the same area is 60 million.

    When do you expect Europe to be dominated by Islam? ”

    Its a matter of vitality and will, GPJ… and demographics. Most Western European states are not even making break-even on their population. Meanwhile, the Muslim population is cheerfully fertile, bolstered by the wonderful little welfare state’s that the US security guarantee has allowed to develop.

    lib2016: “It’s time to get friendly with Islam and even moreso the Chinese. That’s were the money is. ”

    Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas…

  • Dread Cthulhu

    FDR: “Of course, FDR towers so far above all the rest of ther 20th Century US Presidents it is unbelievable. ”

    Not always for good reason, kensei. His effort to pack the Supremem Court, his internment of American citizens of Japanese descent (hint — any action too much for J. Edgar Hoover’s rather strong stomach ought to be reconsidered…), the Ponzi scheme commonly called Social security — there is as much bad as good there. His economic policy prolonged the Depression, relying on palliatives, rather than sound economics. Were it not for World War II, the real end of the Depression, who knows what would have happened?

    All leaders are held hostage to the broader history of their times.

  • pith

    David Vance: “the 3 greatest US presidents in descending order are Regan, Bush (Junior), and Nixon.”

    Ignoring the Bush (junior) and Nixon remark, tell me, who is this Regan fella you keep mentioning?

  • Nonsense kensei, the 3 greatest US presidents in descending order are Regan, Bush (Junior), and Nixon.
    Bush (Jeb) is the greatest US pres. What? Too soon

    But seriously Kennedy, Eisenhower, Regan

  • Butterknife

    David Vance
    Give your choices as the best President of the USA it is no wonder you are known as a superpatriot.

    ===================================
    It is not impossible to leave the EU but by doing so we would have to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 but as all common law has been interepreted in line with EC law then i do not see a point in leaving. Moreover it generally has introduced social welfare reforms albeit by the EU door due to Labour being unable to get elected in its old guise as a Socialist party.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Neville Chamberlain was indeed very unfairly treated by historians, given the truly appalling hand he was dealt by the buffoon Baldwin, who left our armed forces capable of defending the UK from an invasion from DeValera, but just about noone else, and who was prepared to depend on the League of nations to stop Hitler. Nev had to play for time by painfully abandoning allies- and of course , as usual the UK was let down by those cheese eating surrender monkeys in Paris.
    At the risk of a full blown Vance-attack I would actually say that Churchill is as overrated as Chamberlain was underrated- but Winnie had great stage presence and wrote the history of the war – always a good trick to insure your legacy. He was certainly no benefit to the country in his second spell as PM, and , of course David, he was prepared to sell us down the river for the war effort- at least Nev only abandoned “far off place(s) of which we know nothing”

  • fair_deal

    Kennedy was an empty shirt. He made great speeches but precious little else. He made promises but it was actually LBJ who delivered e.g. serious civil rights legislation.

  • darth rumsfeld

    er, David -Donald Regan was never President. Ronald ReAgan was.

    And what about “Silent Cal” Coolidge?, or Harry S Trueman? or Teddy Roosevelt? All better than Tricky Dickie IMHO. I quite like Warren Gamiliel Harding too, as the prototype for Bill Clinton, whose death has never been fully explained, but his colourful life suggests a scandal of some note.

  • darth rumsfeld

    and the best person never to have been president?
    Unquestionably Barry Goldwater

  • Kennedy was an empty shirt.

    He stood up to the commies. How else did.

  • Who else did even

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Darth rumsfeld: “Neville Chamberlain was indeed very unfairly treated by historians, given the truly appalling hand he was dealt by the buffoon Baldwin, who left our armed forces capable of defending the UK from an invasion from DeValera, but just about noone else, and who was prepared to depend on the League of nations to stop Hitler. Nev had to play for time by painfully abandoning allies- and of course , as usual the UK was let down by those cheese eating surrender monkeys in Paris. ”

    Please — the proper time to confront the Germans was at the Czech frontier, nicely mountainous and fortied, and in alliance with the modern Czech army, equipped with tanks comparable to the German main offensive tank, the PzKw III. The Austrian Army was still sub-standard, the German officer corps was weak and the reserves were long on numbers and short of equipment. Chamberlain could have substituted a world war with a regional one — one that Germany almost could not win.

  • fair_deal

    Ignoring the berlin wall is standing up?

    Truman stood up to them with the Berlin Blockade and in the Korean war. LBJ sacrificed his Presidency because he believed it was vital to fight Communism in Vietnam. Ronald Reagan was hardly a best buddy either.

  • pith

    That’s all very interesting but what I really want to know is how David Vance intends to conduct a war on an allegedly islamic-dominated Europe. Will there be sieges and armour?

  • Burkean

    Atlee and Thatcher, despite the many differences, both reached out to and won the support of the C2s – the upper working-classes and lower middle-classes. Attlee gave them the welfare state, providing security and opportunity in a way their parents never had. Thatcher (as argued by Shirley Letwin in ‘The Anatomy of Thatcherism’) connected with their sense of independence, hard work and patriotism, just as Labour handed itself over to an ideological left whose prejucides the C2s found repugnant.

    It was the children and grandchildren of Attlee voters who gave Thatcher her landslides. The similarities in the appeal and vision of both leaders is, perhaps, much more significant than their differences.

  • kensei

    “Nonsense kensei, the 3 greatest US presidents in descending order are Regan, Bush (Junior), and Nixon.”

    Either you are an extreme joker or an extreme nut.

    At a time when the entire world was falling to Facism and Dictators, and the US was in just as much danger of that as anywhere else, FDR inspired people, gave them hope and tackled problems. He won 4 elections and fought World War II. Oh, and of course, he did it despite being crippled by Polio. The weight of some people’s greatness bears down on you.

    On Kennedy, it is hard to say how things would have turned out exactly, but he had a much harder time than Johnson in pushing through reforms; his assination gave Johnson the political capital to et things through. Also, if Bush had have been leader during the missile crisis we would currently be little particles floating in the upper atomsphere. The Berin Wall is complicated. Berlin remained a risk that could trigger a nuclear war at any moment; the Wall ended that dager somewhat.

    He had good and bad points. There are several good biographies out, I recommend reading one. I thinkt he key is tha he inspired people, rather than playing on their fears, and that is a lesson I wish more politicians nowdays would follow.

  • kensei

    “Truman stood up to them with the Berlin Blockade and in the Korean war. LBJ sacrificed his Presidency because he believed it was vital to fight Communism in Vietnam. Ronald Reagan was hardly a best buddy either.”

    Kennedy did better – he stood up to both communism and the US Military chomping at the bit to have a go at the commies.

    People forget now, but Truman was almost as unpopular as Bush is now when he left office; Johnson destroyed his Presidency and handed power to the Reps for at least a generation; Let us be utterly clear – Vietnam was a horrendus mistake. The only real harm Reagan ever did himself politically was “fighting commies” in Iran-contra.
    And theobsession with communism gave us McCarthy.

    Kennedy faced up to the commies when they challenged him, but tried his best to prevent nuclear war otherwise. Hs judgement was dead right on this one.

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    “On Kennedy, it is hard to say how things would have turned out exactly, but he had a much harder time than Johnson in pushing through reforms; his assination gave Johnson the political capital to et things through.”

    He had it, he just wouldn’t spend it. Also LBJ had the pull and experience in the Senate and Congress that Kennedy never had enabling him to push through significant reforms.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “At a time when the entire world was falling to Facism and Dictators, and the US was in just as much danger of that as anywhere else, FDR inspired people, gave them hope and tackled problems.”

    He trampled on the Constitution, imprisoned people in interment camps without due process, fought at least one illegal war (the undeclared naval war against the Kriegsmarine in 1940), saddled the United States with the ponzi scheme known as the seemingly benign name of “Social Security” and did a great job of prolonging the Depression. He sought near Imperial power with his attempt to pack the Supreme Court and if favorably remembered mainly due to his death in office toward the end of the successfully prosecuted Second World War.

    Kensei: “Also, if Bush had have been leader during the missile crisis we would currently be little particles floating in the upper atomsphere.”

    No, we wouldn’t, and for the same reason that Kennedy was able to handle matters in the fashion he did. What’s more, Bush, like as not, would not have scuttled the Monroe doctrine, opening the door to the Soviet client-state of the Sandinista’s.

    Kensei: “Kennedy did better – he stood up to both communism and the US Military chomping at the bit to have a go at the commies. ”

    Bollocks — he expanded the US presence in Vietnam beyond advisors and took the first step on the slippery slope.

  • kensei

    “He had it, he just wouldn’t spend it. Also LBJ had the pull and experience in the Senate and Congress that Kennedy never had enabling him to push through significant reforms.”

    He simply did not have the capital to tackle Racial Equality in the way that Johnson did. Johnson, I grant you, was a master in pushing things through Congress but he was also gifted with a Democratic landslide. Johnson also painted this as Kennedy’s wish and legacy and that helped build support.

    It remains to be seen what JFK would have done in the remaining years of his term or in a second one. Kennedy remember, only narrowly won the 60 election.

  • kensei

    “He trampled on the Constitution”

    Nah, he really didn’t.

    “imprisoned people in interment camps without due process”

    This is true, but still substantially less bad than most other US Presidents of the 20th Century.

    “fought at least one illegal war (the undeclared naval war against the Kriegsmarine in 1940)”

    Don’t know enough about it.

    “saddled the United States with the ponzi scheme known as the seemingly benign name of “Social Security””

    Really? I’ve heard it’s rather popular. But, hey, I know, I know, old people should just starve to death and stop placing a burden on society.

    “and did a great job of prolonging the Depression. ”
    Only if you are a right wing nut that would have not implemented any of the New Deal procative measures and let the US become vulnerable to some crazy populist dictator.

    “He sought near Imperial power with his attempt to pack the Supreme Court”

    He sought to get his goddamn programme through. It wa sa mistake, but don’t over blow it.

    “and if favorably remembered mainly due to his death in office toward the end of the successfully prosecuted Second World War.”

    And Social Security. And most of the New Deal programmes. And for helping people out of poverty. And for his great speeches. And for giving people hope. And, no, you’re completely wrong.

    “No, we wouldn’t, and for the same reason that Kennedy was able to handle matters in the fashion he did.”

    Generals were telling JFK to go for it and have a nuclear war against China. JFK had some mixed voices in the room, whereas Bush has people who say the same thing. Bush standing up to forces pushing for war?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • Abdul-Rahim

    What an aweful picture of the lady

  • willis

    Burkean

    Thank God someone is addressing the subject.

    It is worth reading Becketts article for some of his reasons.

    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/politicspast/story/0,,1860576,00.html

    The point about both Attlee and Thatcher is that their “settlement” i.e. contract with the electorate withstood a change of government.

    However Attlee did not spend his declining years destroying his party. If you judged Thatcher on her legacy rather than her delivery whilst in power she would be diminished.

  • willis

    Oh no, a missing apostrophe!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei, your lack of knowledge, let alone comprehension, of American politics and history betrays your again.

    1) Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in concentration camps (British definition, not the German model), is without twentieth century parallel. One has to go back to the War between the States and Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus to find an equivalent violation of the Constitution.

    2) The popularity of a program has no bearing on either its efficacy or its sustainability. Social Security has neither. It is a Ponzi scheme — older “investors” are payed-off using new “investors” payments. Inevitably, the pyramid flips. The simplest objection is that I can do far better putting my money in a CD (5.25% return) or tax free government bonds (~4% return) than an “investor” does in Social Security (~1.5% return). Likewise, if I die, my heirs receive my investment, rather than the government. It is a program that is popular in spite of itself. His economic policy was similarly flawed.

    3) Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court was so naked an attempt that even some of his allies rebuked the effort.

    4) The Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t involve China, kensei. Do try to keep up. The reason Kennedy “won” the Crisis had little enough to do with the military and everything to do with American intelligence. Try reading a book and learning a thing or three before trying to speak as an authority on a topic.

  • willis

    DC

    What is the British Definition of a Concentation Camp?

    How many innocent Boer women and children died of disease and malnutrition?

    How many Japanese and Japenese Americans died?

    Do not forget that Canada also interned 20,000 Japanese.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. define concentration camp as:

    a camp where non-combatants of a district are accommodated, such as those instituted by Lord Kitchener during the South African war of 1899-1902; I used this one, as opposed to the Nazi “death camp.”

    It is believed ~50,000 women and children died. This is Wikipedia, so real mileage may vary — I put this out as a point to start from. Seeing as the American camps only interned 120,000 Japanese Americans in the states, plus another 2,500 in Hawaii (again, per Wiki (at work, no real library available at the nonce… Wikipedia’s only real grace is its availability…), it is unlikely that the American numbers exceeded those in South Africa — a real comparison, using “real” numbers, both of total population, % of population interned and % of population interned which died to make any sort of meaningful comparison.

  • Crataegus

    Has to be Attlee. He brought in changes that were for the common good and which were much needed. Mind you his foreign policy was weak.

    Thatcher by comparison brought in changes that feed on greed and self interest. The problem in home policy is getting the balance right between how you do for the social good and how you pay for it and ensuring you don’t cripple the wealth producing sector in the process.

    What the right forget is that good transport, health and education are essential for a modern economy and they don’t necessarily have to be provided by the private sector. It is a myth that the private sector is always more efficient. What it is good at is turning round quotas and through put with profit margins. Hopeless at care for the elderly.

    However there is also a view on the left that you can continually spend without consequence and some believe that society should support all irrespective of their own obligations to try themselves. This is absurd for why should I support some layabout who won’t go out and get a job himself. Or to put it another way why should money be diverted from pensions to support some of the wretches. Unfortunately you have to try to make the whole of society productive in some way, no one should have a free meal ticket.

    On foreign policy I think neither excelled for both failed to grasp our the changing world stage of their times and no one should believe for one moment that the USA is of necessity always our best ally simply because we share a language.

  • lovely leitrim

    Margaret Thatcher might merit this particular accolade if her jurisdiction contained the south-east of England, exclusively.

    The large northern cities became economic wastelands during the Thatcher years. The coal-mining areas suffered greatly. The Derbyshire coalfields were closed, with Thatcher reneging on her original promise to keep them opened. And Scotland, a country with the largest oil reserve in Europe, suffered high unemployment and economic hardship as it’s natural resourses were eaten up.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Crataegus: On foreign policy I think neither

    excelled for both failed to grasp our the

    changing world stage of their times and no one

    should believe for one moment that the USA is of

    necessity always our best ally simply because we

    share a language.”

    Ah, but is was the US Security guarantee that
    permitted Europe’s, incl. the UK’s, dalliance
    with soft socialism.

    Irony – “soviet54” is the anti-spam word…

  • kensei

    “1) Roosevelt’s internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans in concentration camps (British definition, not the German model), is without twentieth century parallel.”

    I agree it was a bad thing. I just don’t agree it was the worst thing ever done by a US President in the Twentifth Century.

    “One has to go back to the War between the States and Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus to find an equivalent violation of the Constitution.”

    So…. about the same level of seriousness of War, then?

    “The popularity of a program has no bearing on either its efficacy or its sustainability. Social Security has neither.”

    No Social Security has worked effectivel for the past 80 years and will continue to do so. Yes, the number of workers per retiree has dropped dramtically since it’s inception but most of that change has already occured. Social Security, unlike the British Pension system has been generally well run and measures were taken early in the 80’s to keep it solvent. What has damaged Socials Security is Bushes massive defecit.

    “It is a Ponzi scheme—older “investors” are payed-off using new “investors” payments. Inevitably, the pyramid flips.”

    I know exactly how it works. the “Ponzi scheme” argument is as old as SS itself.

    “The simplest objection is that I can do far better putting my money in a CD (5.25% return) or tax free government bonds (~4% return) than an “investor” does in Social Security (~1.5% return). Likewise, if I die, my heirs receive my investment, rather than the government. It is a program that is popular in spite of itself. His economic policy was similarly flawed.”

    Both of which misses the purpose of Social Security. It is not provide you with maximum income in your retirement, it is to provide a basic guarenteed minimum to everyone. At it’s heart there is an amount of redistribution.

    It’s popular because a lot of families have seen it’s benefits, and they are happy to take lower returns for the guarenteed protection. You dislike it on ideological grounds, not because it is ineffective.

    None of that is to say that Social Security couldn’t do with some reform or innovation. Merely that if I was American, I wouldn’t trust the Reps do anything with it in the same way I wouldn’t trust the Tories with the NHS.

    “3) Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the Supreme Court was so naked an attempt that even some of his allies rebuked the effort.”

    It was a rare political misjudgement because he wished to get his programme through in a time of crisis. Probably through frustration. It was not an attempt at Godhood. Perspective, kids.

    “The Cuban Missile Crisis didn’t involve China, kensei. Do try to keep up.”

    Tired at the end of work day, meant Russia. I get my evil Communist Superpowers mixed up, you know.

    “The reason Kennedy “won” the Crisis had little enough to do with the military and everything to do with American intelligence. Try reading a book and learning a thing or three before trying to speak as an authority on a topic. ”

    How about that JFK biography I read? Or the RFK one I read that covered the same period. Oh wait, there was that Krushchev one I read too.

    JFK had a range of options, and military strikes on the bases were the ones most supported by the military and probably most of XCom, could have led to a strike on Berlin in return, which cold have led to more trouble. A lessor President may not have went with the military advice, or reacted differently to the Russians mixed messages. US Intelligence didn’t “win” the Crisis, JFK’s judgement and nerve did.

    If you want a debate on the merits, fine, I’ll go reread my books and pull out what I feel are the key points. But perhaps you should widen YOUR reading beyond right wing media and text and stop being obnoxious.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “I agree it was a bad thing. I just
    don’t agree it was the worst thing ever done by
    a US President in the Twentifth Century.

    You’d be wrong — it is a fundamental betrayal of
    his office and his oath.

    Kensei: “So…. about the same level of seriousness of War, then?”

    Not really. The Civil War was about the
    survival of the US. WW2 didn;t have nearly the
    same direct implications for the US.

    Kensei: “No Social Security has worked
    effectivel for the past 80 years and will
    continue to do so.

    Hardly. It has created a mountain of worthless
    “investments.” There is no trust fund, just a
    pile of IOU’s.

    Kensei: “Both of which misses the purpose of
    Social Security. It is not provide you with
    maximum income in your retirement, it is to
    provide a basic guarenteed minimum to everyone.
    At it’s heart there is an amount of
    redistribution. ”

    Ah, but that is not how it is either sold or
    presented, nor its origins. Nothing tops the
    hypocrisy of an American liberal talking about
    upping the “rate of contribution” a taxpayor
    makes into Social Security. Likewise, it was
    not intended to give “eveyone” a basic
    guaranteed minimum. That has been the mutation
    of the program — to save off the day of
    insolvency, more and more people have been
    dragooned onto the program to mask the program’s
    inevitable bankruptcy.

    Kensei: “It’s popular because a lot of families
    have seen it’s benefits, and they are happy to
    take lower returns for the guarenteed
    protection. You dislike it on ideological
    grounds, not because it is ineffective.”

    Feh — I get the same guarntee from triple tax free government bonds, at three times the rate.
    Its “popular” because no one has a choice and
    most folks are too ignorant to realize the better
    alternatives.

    Kensei: “It was a rare political misjudgement
    because he wished to get his programme through
    in a time of crisis. Probably through
    frustration. It was not an attempt at Godhood.”

    Bollocks — it was a naked grab at power, one his
    own party rebuked him on.

    As for Kennedy, the CIA informed him of Russia’s
    position and he played on it. No need to gamble
    when you already know the other guy’s cards.

  • willis

    DC

    Was that 50,000 Boers or Japanese?

  • willis

    Can someone do something about the Cinemascope?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Willis: “Was that 50,000 Boers or Japanese? ”

    Boers, but I’m not betting the house-payment
    on that number. Like I said, Wikipedia’s
    only real value is its availability.

  • Crataegus

    Dread Cthulhu

    The US has it’s own priorities and interests and there are times when they do coincide with ours and times when they don’t. Often the US (like all other countries) is a competitor.

    Foreign policy is about self interest.

  • kensei

    “You’d be wrong—it is a fundamental betrayal of
    his office and his oath.”

    Locking people up without trial for unclear reasons (I’ve heard the suggestion it was to protect them, for example) is wronmg but pales in comparison to the endless wasted lives in Vietnam. And that’s just one example.

    “Not really. The Civil War was about the
    survival of the US. WW2 didn;t have nearly the
    same direct implications for the US.”

    Don’t kid yourself. If Hitler had have won WW2, it would take time but there would have been an attack on the US. Possibly from both sides, with the Japanese coming in too.

    “Hardly. It has created a mountain of worthless
    “investments.” There is no trust fund, just a
    pile of IOU’s.”

    One of those things were you are telling the truth while lying. But the suggestion that the US would default on it’s bonds to anyone – Domestic, Foreign, whoever is simply incredible. It simply isn’t how the system works.

    And it has worked – people have had their benefits paid, and the world hasn’t exploded.

    “Ah, but that is not how it is either sold or
    presented, nor its origins.”

    Oh but is. You pay in, you get out. Everyone pays in, everyone gets out.

    “Nothing tops the
    hypocrisy of an American liberal talking about
    upping the “rate of contribution” a taxpayor
    makes into Social Security. Likewise, it was
    not intended to give “eveyone” a basic
    guaranteed minimum. That has been the mutation
    of the program—to save off the day of
    insolvency, more and more people have been
    dragooned onto the program to mask the program’s
    inevitable bankruptcy.”

    Stuff evolves, and sucessful proigrams expand. Welcome to reality.

    “Feh—I get the same guarntee from triple tax free government bonds, at three times the rate.
    Its “popular” because no one has a choice and
    most folks are too ignorant to realize the better
    alternatives.”

    Yeah, people are just so stupid.

    “Bollocks—it was a naked grab at power, one his
    own party rebuked him on.”

    Bollocks – it never would have happened if the majority of his programme got through. It was an important misstep and one I do not think was right, but don’t make it something it’s not.

    Though I often think a set term for Supreme Cpourt judges would probably be a good idea. Everyone else has them in some form, why should judges be different. Perhaps you know more as to why.

    “As for Kennedy, the CIA informed him of Russia’s
    position and he played on it. No need to gamble
    when you already know the other guy’s cards.”

    The CIA indformed Bush that there where WMD in Iraq. Intelligence getting it right plays a part, but the they got the Commies wrong so many times that it is no guarentee.

    But hey you hate the (former) President, you must hate America. That’s how it goes, right? Must everything you post be straight out of the Right Wing playbook.

  • Butterknife

    I think we have to stop referring to the President for he may be the Ececutive but Congress and the Supreme Court all can check him at each stage so if Bush Jr is culpable of a crime others share vicarious culpability for their acquiescence to it. How far can the maxim of when good men do nothing evil exist be stretched?

    As for PMs:
    Which ones acted Presidential?
    Which ones acted alone?
    Which ones followed convention and acted as first among equals of the executive?

    Its not the answer that is important. Its the question that gives relavence to the answer.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “Don’t kid yourself. If Hitler had have
    won WW2, it would take time but there would have
    been an attack on the US. Possibly from both
    sides, with the Japanese coming in too.

    Regardless, neither the Luftwaffe or the various
    Japanese air forces had a strategic bomber
    capable of reaching the United States, nor a
    payload worth dropping once they got there. The
    Germans had no Navy to speak of and the Japanese
    could not maintain the one they built. It wasn’t
    a war that could be lost, but the threat to the
    US wasn’t nearly the same as that faced during
    the Civil War.

    Kensei: “One of those things were you are
    telling the truth while lying. But the
    suggestion that the US would default on it’s
    bonds to anyone – Domestic, Foreign, whoever is
    simply incredible. It simply isn’t how the
    system works.

    Neither here nor there — it’s a matter of
    honesty — there is not trust-fund. Its paper
    accounting on the order of magnitutde of Enron
    without the sophistication. Its one of the lies
    that keeps the program “popular.”

    Kensei: “Oh but is. You pay in, you get out.
    Everyone pays in, everyone gets out. ”

    Ask any American professional under, say, thirty five if they expect that money will be there when
    they retire. I daresay the answer will be “no.”
    Likewise, your analysis ignores certain facts,
    including at the time it passed, almost no one
    lived to collect Social Security, leastwise in
    comparison to today.

    Kensei: “Stuff evolves, and sucessful proigrams
    expand. Welcome to reality. ”

    This isn’t expansion to fill a need, its drafting
    more suckers to pay into the Ponzi scheme to let
    older “investors” collect. For decades, there
    was an “opt out” option, while those with certain
    plans did not have to pay in. These individuals
    have done far better than those who have payed
    into Social Security — the highest I know off
    the cuff is just shy of an order of magnitude
    better. These options were closed to support the program — not enough suckers paying in to
    keep the pyramid from flipping.

    Kensei: “Bollocks – it never would have
    happened if the majority of his programme got
    through. It was an important misstep and one I
    do not think was right, but don’t make it
    something it’s not. ”

    Spoken like a true believer in totalitarian
    systems… “it wouldn’t have happened if y’all
    just rolled over and played dead for the great
    man.” It was a deliberate effort to sabotage
    the system of Constitutionally mandated system
    of checks and balances, a base subversion of his
    oath and would cause irreperable damage to the Constitution. Even the “great men” need to learn
    to color inside the lines, Kensei. If he wanted
    dictatorial power, he should have remained the
    Governor of New York.

    Kensei: “Though I often think a set term for
    Supreme Cpourt judges would probably be a good
    idea. Everyone else has them in some form, why
    should judges be different. Perhaps you know
    more as to why. ”

    Once again, your ignorance of the American system
    bleeds through. Firstly, save for the President,
    there are no term-limits as a matter of Federal
    law. There are some state level laws, but they
    have proved weak and easily over-turned. You
    don’t get the like of Sen. Robert “Night-Rider
    Byrd in a system with term limits. As for the
    reason they do not exist, the founders never
    imagined politics as a profession — it was a
    duty to be taken up and then passed on.

    The only “hard” term limits are on the President
    and are the result of Roosevelt’s four terms and
    some of the antics he trotted out, such as his
    effort to pack the court. I say “hard” as there
    is a constitutional amendment, making it
    essentially with one appeal — anthoer
    amendment. Personally, I would
    prefer a system that has no seniority and does
    not allow consecutive terms. If nothing else,
    it would reduce efforts to buy voters with the
    disbursement of money from the public purse or
    through the redistribution of wealth from one
    segment of the population to another.

  • kensei

    “Regardless, neither the Luftwaffe or the various
    Japanese air forces had a strategic bomber
    capable of reaching the United States, nor a
    payload worth dropping once they got there. The
    Germans had no Navy to speak of and the Japanese
    could not maintain the one they built. It wasn’t
    a war that could be lost, but the threat to the
    US wasn’t nearly the same as that faced during
    the Civil War.”

    At that point, possibly not, but it certainly had the potential to be. 5, 10 years after a successful German victory in Europe, it would have had no jews and an awful of weaponary capable of threatening the US.

    “Neither here nor there—it’s a matter of
    honesty—there is not trust-fund. Its paper
    accounting on the order of magnitutde of Enron
    without the sophistication. Its one of the lies
    that keeps the program “popular.””

    Go look up about how bonds work.

    “Ask any American professional under, say, thirty five if they expect that money will be there when
    they retire. I daresay the answer will be “no.”
    Likewise, your analysis ignores certain facts,
    including at the time it passed, almost no one
    lived to collect Social Security, leastwise in
    comparison to today.”

    If they say no, it is because they have been scared by the Right Wing. I have not seen any evidence to suggest SS is in anywhere near the state of the British pension system, or that it couldn’t be fixed by noticeable but not fatal tweaks.

    The question, what is it for? If you want a system that maximises potential income at the expense of risk, that fails to protect the weakest, then yes SS is wrong. But that is roughly the opposite of what it was set up for.

    “This isn’t expansion to fill a need, its drafting
    more suckers to pay into the Ponzi scheme to let
    older “investors” collect. For decades, there
    was an “opt out” option, while those with certain
    plans did not have to pay in. These individuals
    have done far better than those who have payed
    into Social Security—the highest I know off
    the cuff is just shy of an order of magnitude
    better. These options were closed to support the program—not enough suckers paying in to
    keep the pyramid from flipping.”

    So, to sum: taxing the rich to pay more to the poor. Sucks.

    “Spoken like a true believer in totalitarian
    systems… “it wouldn’t have happened if y’all
    just rolled over and played dead for the great
    man.””

    You’re not listening, and it’s quite an irritaing habit. If I had have alive in the thirties, then I would have opposed FDR’s move. But I would have seen it for what it wa s- an attempt to push a program through rather than an attempt at dictatorship.

    “Even the “great men” need to learn
    to color inside the lines, Kensei.”

    I full agree. Fortunately, I don’t believe that you need to be perfect to be “great man”. Churchill would be fucked under those criteria, for a start.

    “Once again, your ignorance of the American system
    bleeds through.”

    I asked you a fucking question, I obviously want to fill gaps in my knowledge. Stop being a cock.

    “Firstly, save for the President,
    there are no term-limits as a matter of Federal
    law. There are some state level laws, but they
    have proved weak and easily over-turned. You
    don’t get the like of Sen. Robert “Night-Rider
    Byrd in a system with term limits. As for the
    reason they do not exist, the founders never
    imagined politics as a profession—it was a
    duty to be taken up and then passed on.”

    Also, bad phrasing by me. What I meant was – everyone else has limited terms. Presidents term is 4 years etc, then they must be re-elected. Supreme Court Judges are for life. I realise they do not need elected but it seems an anomaly in a system designed to stop the concentration of power.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “Go look up about how bonds work. ”

    Ah, but they’re not treated as bonds. The
    monies “borrowed” by the government from
    the “trust fund” are not invested in something
    that will produce either a public good or a
    return on investment, but used to pay current
    expenses. There is not sinking fund or other
    mechanism accumulating to pay off the future
    commitment, nor return on investment to be used
    to pay off the debenture. The trust fund is a
    polite fiction — the monies that come in are
    treated as any other tax revenue — they are
    spent without a thought. These aren’t even
    close to being bonds — bonds have to be sold on
    their merits, for a starter.

    Kensei: “If they say no, it is because they
    have been scared by the Right Wing. I have not
    seen any evidence to suggest SS is in anywhere
    near the state of the British pension system, or
    that it couldn’t be fixed by noticeable but not
    fatal tweaks. ”

    As I have said, your relative ignorance of the
    system bleeds through. You also ignore the
    utter lack of political will by a majority of
    politicians to grasp the nettle and do anything
    more than make a little noise and go on with
    business as usual. The system relies on current
    payors to pay off current recipients. At the
    time of inception, there was a ratio of 16 to 20
    payors to each recipient and almost no one lived
    to collect. That ratio is now down to about
    less than 3 to 1, iirc and, barring
    misadventure, most live to collect. This is
    with the great “retire-off” of the “Baby-
    Boomers” yet to come.

    Kensei: “I asked you a fucking question, I
    obviously want to fill gaps in my knowledge.
    Stop being a cock. ”

    If that’s not the pot and the kettle…

    Kensei: “Also, bad phrasing by me. What I meant
    was – everyone else has limited terms.
    Presidents term is 4 years etc, then they must
    be re-elected. Supreme Court Judges are for
    life. I realise they do not need elected but it
    seems an anomaly in a system designed to stop
    the concentration of power. ”

    Two reasons: the first is continuity — the
    adjudication of law relies on history /
    precedent and a too rapid turn-over subjects
    this to the passions of the day. The second is
    that, in theory, it keeps the position from
    becoming too political — one a man is appointed
    for life, so the theory goes, he becomes immune
    to the notion of having to “pay-off” his
    patron. I appreciate the former and put little
    faith in the latter, personally.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “At that point, possibly not, but it
    certainly had the potential to be. 5, 10 years
    after a successful German victory in Europe, it
    would have had no jews and an awful of weaponary
    capable of threatening the US.

    Not given Heisenberg’s inability (or
    unwillingness) to reconsider his math.
    Likewise, US aid to Russia would not have ended,
    nor the UK. War with Japan was unavoidable and
    would have ended far more quickly with the US
    concentrating primarily on that front. So long
    as the Eastern Front was active, Hitler could
    not spare the resources to invade England.
    Until and unless England and Russia were
    conquored, he had no time or manpower to
    threaten the United States. By delaying
    Barbarossa to save the Italians in Greece,
    Hitler pissed away his one good chance to defeat
    Russia. The United States was never seriously
    threatened.

  • kensei

    Too tired, can’t be fucked.

    “As I have said, your relative ignorance of the
    system bleeds through.”

    I have probably more working knowledge of SS than your average American pleb on the street because I have followed the debate with interets and I have read a book that covered the topic. Because I do not agree with your assertions or analysis, does not make me ignorant. And I think, you’;ll find, I’m not the only one that disagrees.

    Comments like this add nothing to the debate and make you come across as a self righteous cock, which is seriously getting my bvack up. It is neither big nor clever.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Kensei: “I have probably more working knowledge
    of SS than your average American pleb on the
    street because I have followed the debate with
    interets and I have read a book that covered the
    topic.

    That’s nice. I’ve read a book on airplanes and
    am interested in jets, that doesn’t make me
    sufficiently expert to tell anyone what’s right
    or wrong with a jet engine. I’ve got two
    semesters of governmental accounting (undergrad
    and graduate level), not to mention politics and
    policy courses. I happen to work in governmental
    accounting. Ergo, your opinion, just like
    the “avereage American plebe” is not what I would
    consider an “informed opinion.”

    The program is a sham. Its presented as
    insurance, but its plain tax and spend, wrapped
    in a lie, hidden by an illusion. The trust fund
    doesn’t exist, SSI “contributions” are lumped
    into the general fund and spent, with the
    government leaving an IOU in their place. Like I
    said, its Enron without the finesse.

    Kensei: ” Because I do not agree with your
    assertions or analysis, does not make me
    ignorant. And I think, you’;ll find, I’m not the
    only one that disagrees.”

    No, Kensei, that you disagree with does not make
    you ignorant… Your relative lack of knowledge,
    however, does leave you uninformed — sorry, but
    your having “read a book” doesn’t particularly
    impress me, all things considered. Your habit of
    attempting to speak authoritatively, despite your
    limited knowledge-base, doesn’t impress. Lastly,
    you’re not the one paying into this waste of
    money, Kensei. The program might have had noble
    intentions once upon a time, but it has become a
    disaster in the making.

    1) It’s a supplemental income program, yet some
    folks have had the silly-assed notion, encouraged
    by some in Congress, that it ought to provide a
    secure retirement and whinge on when it only does
    what its designed to do — provide a supplemental
    income.

    2) Any idiot could do a better job of preparing
    for their retirement by putting monie into tax-
    free bonds, an IRA invested in wildly
    conservative investments, like savings bonds, or
    tax free municipal bonds.

    3) The politicians have frittered away billions
    of the surplus, largely as a mechanism to get re-
    elected, for decades.

    A good reason to have ended the program long ago
    is that any money left in the hands of government
    will be spent, regardless of future liabilities.
    Likewise, its not as if these liabilities were
    not forecast — there is a whole profession made
    up of statisticians and math wonks who have been
    forecasting this problem for decades. The
    politicians will not lift the cap, as it offends
    the rich. They will not up the rate, as it
    offends the middle class and they will not cut
    the payment, as it offends the elderly.

    Most days, you can’t even get them to admit to
    the iceberg, let alone re-arrange the deck-chairs.