Mar 8, 2013

Response To Ehrlich Attack Piece

     Ethel Zelenske of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) responds to the awful Robert Ehrlich op ed piece in the Baltimore Sun.
     What I don't understand is the Baltimore Sun's recent interest in Social Security affairs. For many years, the Sun studiously ignored one of the largest employers in its area. Now, we're seeing Social Security articles in the Sun on a regular basis. Maybe part of this is that the op eds have ended up in the Sun only after the NY Times and Washington Post turned them away.


Anonymous said...

So because she disagrees with him, he's wrong? Now, I'm not supporting his position 100%, but what continues to bother me is that no one is willing to address problem areas. Was his piece too harsh? Maybe. Was hers too wishy washy? Probably. Did either address a workable solution or provide thought provoking insight? NOPE!

Anonymous said...

right...we is an opinion considered an "attack piece".

With this logic, most of Mr. Hall's opinions are attacks on taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Ehrlich is a former Maryland govenor - for our sins. A typical R - he now has a regular (once a week) column in The Sun and spouts some of the usual right-wing "Ive got mine - to h--- with everyone else" line of drivel. He nad his wife used to have a radio show on AM radio - not sure if they still do. She tried to get herself appointed as the COunty Executive for Anne Arundel County to replace ther R who was just convicted of abuse of offfice. Luckily for AA County, the County Council seems to have picked an outsider business type instead of a career politician. Just ignore Ehrlich - everyone else in Maryland does.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Ehrlich over Martin O'Tax-us any day.

Anonymous said...

Why do some folks base the strength of an position on the political beliefs of the speaker? At least that appears to be the determining factor for too many people. I it too uncomfortable and/or time consuming for them to evaluate information and come to a balanced decision, so they prefer a type of shorthand. Zelenske's response is little more than to say it is good to give more because the bill collector will never come. The "awful" Ehrlich points out that actions do have consequences. I refer you to an item in the LA Times,0,966731.column that provides more details on the SSA situation and also illustrates the corruption of the term "entitlements" in this discourse. Leaving Medicare aside, the Title II program has at its heart the idea of a social insurance program based upon eligibility rules, benefits issued based upon taxes paid, and a structure balanced by the laws of math and statistics with a little bump to give more to those those who worked but earned less than average during their working lifetimes. Not a bad system! Use this, and then separately establish and fund a welfare system to help the truly needy. Not a bad idea!

As to entitlements and what they have come to mean, perhaps that is evaluated based upon a person's views about the phrase "You didn't build that". The great majority of those who are financially successful paid attention in school, worked hard, and lived in a way to earn their success. They did build something. For those less financially successful, there are some who took a different path with a belief that tommorrow will always be a sunny day and the world will care for them just because that is the "right" thing for the world to do. All these folks had a variety of roads built by others for them to travel, but each one had a responsibility for the roads taken and when to rest or continue on their journey.

Anonymous said...


First, I disagree that a "great majority of those who are financially successful paid attention in school, worked hard, and lived in a way to earn their succes." And even for those who worked hard, their privilege and easier road to success is too oft ignored.

Allow me do a takedown piece by piece.

"Paid attention in school"

perhaps a lot of successful people did. But please, privilege and existing family wealth allowed many people to not pay so much attention in school and still magically get good grades, get into the "best" business schools or take over the family business, etc. For those who actually did pay attention, I'd posit it's much easier to do so when you aren't hungry, part of a dysfunctional or impoverished family, etc.

"worked hard"

yeah, plenty of them worked hard. And plenty more slid into their positions solely due to things their family members did long before they were born. Hate to beat a dead horse, but how hard did ol' W work in undergrad or biz school? Shoot, I grew up "just" middle class and didn't have to work that hard to ace high school, undergrad, and law school because I had 1) a decent amount of intellect; and, 2) the luxury of being able to concentrate on school because I wasn't worried about my home life. When you haven't seen what this worry does--how it consumes and defeats--it's hard to give it proper weight. Also, you mean to tell me the construction worker, janitor, etc. don't work hard?

"lived in a way to earn their success." This doesn't make much sense to me (aside from being a tautological combination of the other things above), unless you define "lived in a way" to mean "fortunate to be born into a life that made success infinitely easier than most--so much so that for these super fortunate few, not finding great success is harder to do than finding even moderate success is for someone from a disadvantaged background."

We get caught up with the Bill Gates' and one dude from extreme poverty who became a billionaire. Sure, there's always the rare bird who beats insurmountable odds and makes it big. But he had to beat INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS. It's really strange that we hinge the fairness and morality of our capitalistic society on the fact that a rare anomoly can break through the admittedly insurmountable obstacles once in a while. That's like saying a gunshot wound to the head isn't really deadly because once in a while someone can take one to the dome and walk away unscathed.

I have one question for you--

If working hard is all it takes, then why is the success ratio for people coming from already wealthy families so much higher than the ratio for poorer people? Do you want to go on record and say there is some DNA-based reason--that poor people's offspring come out of the womb less intelligent? Or less hard-working ones?

Clearly the answer is no. So, then, those mismatched ratios are due to something else--either already rich folks have disproportionately higher access to success, poor people disproportionately low access to it, or some combination of the two. There's no other way to slice it unless you believe poor offspring are genetically inferior. Since most everyone can agree on that, why do we allow the rare success story to make us believe this inequitable system is ok?

Anonymous said...

Right on, 10:22.
And as for the Ehrlich piece, it was full of opinion and allegations that he didn't bother to support with facts (if there were any to support them). All of his op-ed pieces follow that format. If you think he walks on water, you read and cheer. If not, you ignore him.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:59 is exactly right, and the piece is well-written with universal truths. the response is typical left-wing propaganda--wealth only comes from wealth, the system is stacked against me, it's not my fault I'm a failure, etc. Most successful small-business people did not come from wealth, and did build their own businesses from their own hard work. The left continues to denigrate the value of hard work, which is exactly why we are in the mess we are in.

Anonymous said...

"most successful small-business people did not come from wealth."

this is true, but highlights the problem with how we define and discuss "wealth" and "the wealthy."

anyone with a brain who is concerned about income inequality could give two s--ts about the folks making 100k, 200k, 500k, even a million in INCOME from WORK. Let's not raise their taxes at all. It is not they who are the problem, well, not really.

Too many of those high-income earners fancy themselves rich, and in a meaningful way they are. But when it comes to politics, policy, the economic system we have--they have less in common with the SUPER RICH, whose income is derived mostly from investments (not work), than they do the guy pulling down minimum wage. Just like with religious red herrings (gay rights, war on christianity), the super rich who control the republican party have duped the rich-but-not-RICH crowd into supporting their causes with stories of the mooching "others" taking their hard-earned income by way of increased taxes.

I'm a progressive who says leave alone the people who get paychecks and make a few hundred K a year. I wish we could get those folks on our side to tackle the real enemy, the super, duper rich who set policy (and get the not-really-rich crowd onboard with them by rallying around taxes). Just remember, small business folk people, the super rich are not pro-small biz. They are the wal-marts, GEs, etc. that are trying to put you out of business. the only thing you have in common is the hatred of paying taxes, and shoot, everyone shares that in common. If only the guys and gals making $500k in income realized that in the macro, they are more like the dude on disability than they are the Koch brothers...