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Social Security
  • Chained CPI vs. Django Unchained

    Much to the surprise of of those liberal Democrats who have not paid attention to anything the president has done or said over the past four years, the White House may support cuts to Social Security as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations with House Republicans.

    Specifically, the administration suggested replacing Social Security's current system of annual cost-of-living benefit increases with an adjustment mechanism that relies on something called a chained Consumer Price Index, or "chained CPI."

    Policy experts like the idea because the inflation formula currently used to calculate Social Security benefits fails to take into account substitution effects. That is, when broccoli becomes expensive, Americans spend more of their money on spinach, without necessarily increasing their grocery budget. Just kidding, Americans don't eat vegetables. In fact, it's easier to explain Chained CPI via Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and let you decide which is more palatable:

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    Tags: Barack Obama, Debt, Fiscal Cliff, Movies, Quentin Tarantino, Social Security
  • White Is the New Not White

    For the first time since white people started saying they outnumbered the people who'd already been living here, they are the minority

    Population estimates show that 50.4 percent of children younger than 1 last year were Hispanic, black, Asian American or in other minority groups. That’s almost a full percentage point higher than the 49.5 percent of minority babies counted when the decennial census was taken in April 2010. Census Bureau demographers said the tipping point came three months later, in July.

    You're looking a little pale, old white people. Maybe you should sit down. Don't worry, everything is going to be fine. This growth in population diversity is going to change the U.S., but the U.S. is also going to change them. For instance, first-generation immigrants are used to eating at the McDonald's in their home countries, but their children will eat at the McDonald's in this country.

    Another thing that might make you feel better is that this bad economy has brought new immigration to a near standstill…

    William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, said the slowdown in immigration may delay the nation’s transformation to a majority-minority society from 2042 to 2050 or beyond.

    But he said it will not prevent it."Eventually, when the economy returns, we’re going to get more immigrants, maybe not from Mexico but from other parts of the world," he said. Without so many youthful immigrants, he added, the United States would look more like Japan, with its disproportionate share of elderly citizens.

    "We were already seeing a declining youth population in large parts of the country," Frey said. "Without immigrants, we’d be essentially youthless. We had a perfect storm. We got them all coming, younger immigrants having children, at a time when we really needed them.

    See? Who else is going to take care of you in your old age? Certainly not your children or grandchildren, who'll be working until they're 85 so they can retire and live out their golden year at the local Howard Johnson's. At least you're going to get Social Security.

    No, this isn't because we have a black president. In fact, if you think our economic woes are President Obama’s fault, it would make sense for you to vote for him, to keep the economy and immigration in a slump. Vote Obama!

    I am not Barack Obama and I don't approve this message.

    Photo by Andersen Ross/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Asia, Barack Obama, Immigration, Mexico, Racism, Republicans, Social Security
  • Rick Santorum Is Against Throwing Grandmothers Off a Cliff

    Rick Santorum is risking all his presidential hopes on one key demographic: women. From his hardline stance on abortion, to his hardline stance on contraception, to his hardline stance on women in the military, he wants all the women in this country to know that he cares about their safety. Especially if that means keeping them safe from their own decisions.

    Most women have the wrong idea about Santorum. He doesn't hate us. In fact, he frames every issue, social or economic, around how he believes women should be treated

    A voter asked Santorum about his plans to strengthen Social Security. He responded by saying the current system, under which people can retire at age 62 and live for another two decades, is unsustainable. That's a truth, he said, that politicians are unwilling to speak because it will result in campaign attack ads saying that people like him want to "throw Grandma off the cliff."

    "Sixty-two-year-old grandmas aren't in a wheelchair, and they’ll punch back if you try to push them off the cliff," he said.

    See? Santorum knows how strong women can be. Ladies, I say we give this candidate a second look. It's very brave of him to always go out on a ledge to protect us.

    And if we all vote for someone else in the upcoming election, we should be able to give him just the push he needs to finally send him over the edge of that ledge.

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Auto Industry, Church v. State, Michigan, Primaries, Rick Santorum, Social Security
  • Facebook to Put Political Ticker in Times Square

    If you've ever posted anything remotely political on Facebook, you know it's the perfect website to argue your deeply-held beliefs with family and friends. How else would you learn that your cousin intends to sacrifice his daughter for a Ron Paul presidency, or that the girl you slept with one time ten years ago thinks President Obama has been to Mars? Even relatively tame political opinions can create a comment thread that makes you wish you'd never been born to contrarian baby boomers with too much time on their hands. (Surely, I can't be the only one.)

    In an effort to tap into the gushing sewer line of political opinions this election year, Facebook — in conjunction with the R/GA advertising agency — has created a social application to put their users' political priorities on billboards in Times Square.

    And in their infinite wisdom, Facebook figured out a way to avoid posting divisive comments in crowded, public atmosphere

    The result was an app called 2012 Matters: What Matters Most. Starting this week, Facebook users will see poll questions in their newsfeeds asking them which of two issues matters more  – say, the economy or the environment. When a user answers the question, the result will show up on that user’s personal news feed and on friends’ newsfeeds. The friends also will be prompted to take the poll.

    The poll questions will lead users to the page where they can install the app from their mobile phones or from their desktops  – Once the app is installed, they can rank the three issues that are most important to them and opt in to having the results, including their Facebook profile photos, broadcast on the Reuters billboards.

    It may sound crazy, but now the guy walking down Seventh Avenue yelling "Like!" at all the flashing lights will seem completely normal.

    Photo by Uyen Le/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Economy, Environment, Facebook, New York City, Primaries, Social Security
  • Ron Paul Fans Plot to Annoy the Elderly with "Operation Grandma"

    It was only a matter of time. Ron Paul's army of supporters/internet trolls have finally crawled out from underneath their Reddit pillow forts to take part in a mission greater than themselves that doesn't involve leaving vaguely threatening all-caps comments.

    Commence Operation Grandma

    It's like 2008's The Great Schelp, in which comedian Sarah Silverman urged young liberals to talk to Bubbie about scary African Muslim Barack Obama, but much more annoying. Libertarian author Tom Woods wants Ron Paul fanatics to stop pestering celebrities on Twitter and start pestering their own grandparents to join the Ron Paul Revolution.

    Sure, Paul's ultra-libertarian policies would destroy much of the social safety net that keeps elderly men and women out of poverty. But he's a doctor. Grandma always wanted you to be with a doctor.

    Tags: Florida, Libertarian, Medicare, Primaries, Republicans, Ron Paul, Senior Citizens, Social Security