World View: 'Chained CPI' Proposal Enters the Farcical Fiscal Cliff Negotiations
- Domestic violence revealed in ancient Egypt
- 'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations
- Russia sends warships to Mediterranean for evacuations from Syria
- Hugo Chavez battles respiratory infection, following cancer surgery
- Taliban terrorist kill six female polio vaccination workers in Pakistan
Domestic violence revealed in ancient Egypt
The lid of the sarcophagus of Ramses III
After two years of scientific and archaeological research,
Egyptologists have solved the mystery of the death of Ramses III, the Pharoah
who ruled from 1187 to 1156 BC. Based on papyrus transcripts,
combined with an examination of the body itself, scientists have
determined that Ramses III was killed by his second wife Queen Tiya,
who wished to put her son, Prince Pentawere, on the throne.
However, at the trial following the murder, Queen Tiya and other
officials were sentenced to death, and Prince Pentawere was ordered to
Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Fitzwilliam Museum (PDF)
'Chained CPI' proposal enters the farcical Fiscal Cliff negotiations
Long-time readers are fully aware of what a farce have been the past
two years of negotiations among European leaders on bailing out
Greece. Every few months, they get together and announce a "nuclear
option" solution that solves the problem of Greece once and for all.
Investors, who I've truly come to believe are mostly total morons (at
least when they're investing their own money, and not someone else's),
push the markets up for a couple of days, thinking that the mid-2000s
real estate and credit bubbles are going to return. Within a couple
of weeks later, it becomes clear to everyone that
the solution actually did nothing but postpone the crisis without
resolving the underlying problems, thus making the next crisis round
The same pattern is appearing in the negotiations to avoid the US "fiscal
cliff" on December 31. If there's a deal, it looks like President
Obama will get his way and there will be tax hikes for "the rich,"
which will accomplish nothing, but there will be no cuts in the
entitlements that are the cause of the debt problem. So the crisis will be
avoided for a while, but will come back again later, worse than ever
-- just like Greece.
The latest sign of farce is the discussion over the Chained Consumer Price
Index (CPI). The Chained CPI grows the computed inflation rate slightly
slower than the ordinary CPI. Since things like Social Security increases
and tax brackets are indexed to the CPI, they would rise more slowly as
The CPI is computed by measuring how much the cost of each item in a basket
of goods increases each year, and averaging the results. So if the price of an
apple goes from $1.00 to $1.20, that's a 20% increase in the price of apples.
But the Chained CPI computation would say that if the price of apples goes up 20%,
then people will switch to oranges instead, if those are going up only 5%, and the
lower 5% figure will be used in the Chained CPI computation.
- Social Security cost of living increases would decrease. Payments
would still increase each year, but by 2020 they'll be 5% less than the would
- Tax brackets will increase more slowly, meaning that people will be pushed
into higher tax brackets more quickly, and have to pay more taxes.
So government payouts would increase less quickly, and tax collections would
increase more quickly.
Now, no one really wants to see Social Security cut. I don't, because I'll
probably be on it before too much longer. But I also know that there's no
choice, and that Social Security and Medicare are probably going to be thrown
out completely when the real financial crisis arrives. I'm all for reviving
those "death panels" we used to hear about a couple of years ago -- just put
us out of our misery when the time comes. You'll be doing us a favor.
The Chained CPI concept is favored by the White House and some Republicans and
Democrats in Congress, because it has these advantages:
- It will raise taxes and cut entitlements.
- Nobody's heard of it.
- Even fewer people understand it.
- The name "Chained API" is weird.
- Therefore, no one will complain about it.
Well, it turns out that the last item is untrue. Democratic Senators
Dick Durban and Harry Reid are strongly against it because it cuts
social security increases.
Or let's see how radical feminist Bryce Covert puts it:
As Brad DeLong put it yesterday, "'Chained-CPI' is
code for 'let's really impoverish some women in their 90s!'" This
change would end up reducing benefits by about .3 percent each
year and will hammer elderly women...
This hurts women more than men because they are more likely to
live longer and to be poor while they do so. The NWLC reports that
a woman is twice as likely as a man to get to age 95, scrounging
for ways to pay for two weeks of food.
So, we're talking about a debt of $16 trillion dollars and growing
rapidly, and we have to listen to this feminist get hysterical
about a 0.3% cut, when in fact we're going to be forced into a 50-100%
cut before too much longer?
So this brings us back to the fiscal cliff negotiations. Taxes are
going up on "the rich" because President Obama wants that, even though
it accomplishes nothing. But cut Social Security benefits by 0.3%?
That's hammering elderly women, so we can't do it. We can't do
anything else, either. It's a farce and a disaster. Washington Post and Bryce Covert (The Nation) and Moment of Truth Project
Russia sends warships to Mediterranean for evacuations from Syria
Russia's navy has sent five ships -- three warships and two support
ships -- from Russia's Baltic Fleet to join Russian naval forces in
the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria. There are some 20,000
Russian citizens in Syria, and according to the Russian military, the
warships are being deployed as a contingency for the possible
evacuation of Russian citizens from Syria, in case of the collapse of
the government of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.
reports that the warships are ill-suited for evacuation purposes, and
that they're being positioned to send troops into Syria in case
chemical or biological weapons are used by either side. In that case,
there will be forces from Russia, the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Turkey,
and possibly other countries as well, in Syria. Russia Today and Debka
Hugo Chavez battles respiratory infection, following cancer surgery
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who underwent lengthy, complex
cancer surgery in Cuba on September 11, has now been found to be
suffering a respiratory infection. According to Cuba's Information
Minister, "The general condition of the commander-president is stable
after he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and the medical
team treated him immediately. It has been controlled." Reuters
Taliban terrorist kill six female polio vaccination workers in Pakistan
Five female polio vaccination worker in Karachi, Pakistan, and one
more in Peshawar have been shot to death in coordinated attacks. The
perpetrators are assumed to be Taliban terrorists.
have been for years describing the polio vaccination programs as
Western espionage, or as attempts to sterilize Pakistani children to
prevent the births of more Muslims. These claims turned into demands
after the American administration, in the process of bragging about
having killed Osama bin Laden, revealed that a phony vaccination
program was used to help establish the identity of bin Laden.
polio vaccination program has now been put on hold, but it's
considered critically important for Pakistan, which appears to be on
the verge of a large polio epidemic. BBC (Check out the
BBC link for an interesting pictorial history of polio.)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Egypt, Ramses III, Queen Tiya,
Chained CPI, Fiscal Cliff, Greece, Harry Reid,
Dick Durban, Bryce Covert, Russia, Syria, Bashar al-Assad,
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela, Pakistan, Taliban,
Osama bin Laden, polio
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail