No sex! Thanks anyway, but you’re conservative.

LysistrataIn Aristophanes’ comedy Lysistrata, the women of Athens withhold sex until their lovers and husbands agree to stop fighting the Peloponnesian war.

Not content to pacify their own men, the emancipated Atheniennes reach out to their distaff Spartan counterparts and convince them to pursue the same strategy. The play ends with the signing of a peace treaty and a party that may or may not (stage directions were notoriously bare in those days) climax in an orgy.

In America today, women truly are facing a conservative media that is at war with them.  Think that’s over-the-top?  On October 20, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly told viewers that “American women continue to favor Democrats no matter what happens to the nation“.

On October 21, after Fox’s Greg Gutfeld suggested that young women lack the wisdom to vote as  conservatives, co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle suggested that they should be excused  from jury duty, because they lack life experience and just “don’t get it.” Instead, she said, they should “go back on Tinder or Match.com.”  A few years ago an audibly enraged Limbaugh snarled that America’s “problems all began when women got the right to vote“.

I recommend that women (and men) follow Aristophanes admittedly tongue-in-cheek tactic. If your spouse or lover insists on consuming right-wing misogynist media, cut him (or her) off (figuratively).  No more sex until the radio stops blaring the Limbaugh-Hannity station.  You want some loving? Turn off Fox.

Is this unrealistic? Hardly. I mean do you really want to be close to somebody whose media favorites are so contemptuous, so dismissive, so derisive of you (or someone you love)?  Really?

The Peloponnesian war ended with Athens in tatters and Sparta victorious but fatally weakened. Perhaps this tragic and unnecessary outcome occurred because, as far as historians can tell, the women of Greece never pursued Aristophanes strategy. Now may be a good time to reconsider its wisdom.

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7 Responses to No sex! Thanks anyway, but you’re conservative.

  1. jeff linder says:

    Hal,

    Should people withhold sex from others because they listen to hate-filled left wing media outlets?

    Would you like some examples of hate-filled speech from left wing media outlets or don’t you believe there are any?

  2. jeff linder says:

    Hal,

    You and John are clueless.
    The SSA buys special issue bonds from the Treasury. Only SSA can buy these bonds. The federal government takes the money that from the bond sales and uses it to pay some current operating expenses and borrows money to pay the rest.

    So now the government has taken money paid by people to fund their retirement, spends its and promises to pay itself back.

    There is no money in the trust fund. There is a promise from the government to pay itself back.

    That promise can be broken with a stroke of the pen. Future benefits have been, can, and will be cut with the stroke of a pen.

    Also, income subject to SSA taxation is capped because benefits are capped.

  3. hal says:

    Social security is an 80-year old program. So far, it has worked pretty darn well notwithstanding all of Jeff’s criticisms. Moreover, it is one of the government programs responsible for the stark drop in poverty rates over that time. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=4037 The program does have some problems, largely due to growing income disparities and raids by Presidents of both parties on its funds. These problems have obvious solutions. Jeff’s criticisms would be more palatable if he proposed solutions. He does not.

  4. jeff linder says:

    Hal,
    So you don’t know what you’re talking about when you discuss the workings of the SSA. I point it out and somehow you absolve yourself by claiming I have no solution. Wow. Did they teach you that in blogging school or law school or did you come up with that dodge yourself?

    I’m sure you don’t recall what I’ve said in the past because it doesn’t fit your worldview; Social Security will have to be means tested in the near future or it will collapse under its own weight.

  5. hal says:

    Thanks Jeff. Means testing is a terrible idea for two reasons: 1) Social Security’s not or shouldn’t just be about protecting the least affluent, it’s about guaranteeing an income to all retirees. 2) Means testing will reduce public support for the program. One has to wonder why Jeff doesn’t support lifting the income cap and the minimum wage since both would ultimately lead to more revenues per retiree.

  6. Shade says:

    Given the large number of WWII baby-boomers in the workforce in recent decades, SSA has had an excess of revenues for some time. By law, the excess funds collected can only be invested in specially created, especially low-yield government bonds. While it was argued that this was the safest possible investment, reality has been that the low interest rates paid on these bonds has served to lessen the security of the investment. The inexpensive money source has encouraged government overspending on dubious items such as tax-cuts for the wealthy & wars for oil on foreign soil. Worse, our gov’t is now addicted to the excess money SSA has brought in, but that gravy train is about to end.

    Now as the baby-boom generation ages, many of its workers can no longer do the jobs they previously performed. This is especially true for those that previously performed a large amount of physical labor. Also, the current bad economy has reduced the number of available jobs and so older experienced workers, who often in the past could demand high wages, now often cannot find work at all due to age discrimination. Many in the baby-boom generation are now filing for Social Security disability benefits and/or early retirement (if they have reached age 62). The result has been that the excess of inflowing cash to the disability “trust funds” has stopped and the excess of funds to the retirement/survivors trust funds has been rapidly decreasing (& is expected to stop within a decade). At that point, SSA’s cash-flow goes entirely negative, and SSA will increasingly need the government to start making good on the bonds it holds (else it will default to some extent on already promised benefits).

    The funds used to allow SSA to cash out its bonds will of necessity come from other general government revenues obtained elsewhere. Most likely it will be extracted as an income tax from those still working, from new borrowing, and/or from printing money. None of these options is good during a poor economy, and the inflationary aspect of the latter two options tends to be extremely harsh for retirees (who often live exclusively on “fixed incomes”).

    If SSA can’t collect on its bonds rapidly enough, one option would be to raise the maximum income limits on which SSA (FICA) taxes are collected (currently $117k). While this may initially seem a viable and a progressive taxing option, it has downsides in that high earners are likely to be able to juggle the method in which they receive their financial compensation to ways that do not trigger such taxes. In addition, at least under current law, those workers that do pay the additional higher FICA tax must eventually be paid higher Social Security benefits (creating a bit of a vicious circle). Worse, often such earners are close to their retirement years.

    Collecting more money for SSA from current income earners will also be difficult for some additional reasons. For one, unemployment/underemployment means a lower percentage of the population is now earning money & paying taxes, and those that are working are often making less money in real terms. In addition, as the baby-boom generation retires, they leave an increasingly lower percentage of the population working (compared to recent decades). It also won’t help that the government will no longer have the excess SSA revenues that has been helping to finance its day-to-day operation (& this money will have to be replaced from somewhere). The previously listed factors will all combine to make it a struggle for our government to repay the bonds SSA currently holds (& thus the promised benefits to future SSA beneficiaries may become seriously in question).

    It is said that SSA will only be able to repay about 75% of promised benefits within a few decades – even if the government does make good on the bonds SSA now holds. What is more disturbing to me is that SSA will not even be able to pay out promised benefits this long if the government defaults on the bonds SSA now holds.

    In my opinion, the determining factor as to whether or not all SSA beneficiaries continue to get paid promised benefits is going to be the relative strength of the U.S. economy over time. Right now our economy sucks. In recent years, the national economy has been a zero net sum gain affair, with money flowing uphill from the working-class to the uber-rich. In today’s economy, workers repaying our government’s indebtedness to SSA would be a crushing chore. I believe the only method of fixing the SSA problem is to somehow set the national economy back on course & once again distribute our nation’s national income more uniformly. If we can find a way to do that, the other problems listed above will become manageable.

  7. jeff linder says:

    Hal,
    Interesting comment. You don’t want to means test SS but you want to lift the cap on taxable wages. If you lift the cap on taxable wages would you also lift the cap on benefits? If not, then you are essentially means testing by another method. Tell me, are you unwilling to means test SS because it would reduce your benefits?

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