Posted by: Doug Henwood | June 17, 2011

Quoted in the NYT – tendentiously

It’s always flattering to be quoted in the New York Times, but the context looks designed to refute me—and the reporter calls me a “liberal.” Ouch.

AARP Is Open to Future Cuts of Social Security Benefits

But other advocacy groups that are pushing to preserve Social Security benefits accused AARP of effectively abandoning its core constituency.

Doug Henwood, the Brooklyn editor of a liberal business blog and Internet radio program who has written on Social Security, said AARP’s willingness to consider cuts in benefits “reads like a sign that this former lobby for the interest of older Americans has now transformed itself completely into an insurance company.” He continued, “Surely they can’t be persuaded by the merits of the arguments, since the alleged Social Security crisis is a phantom that can’t survive a serious round of fact-checking.”

The most recent estimates from the Social Security Administration, issued last month, indicate that under currrent law the program’s trust funds will be exhausted by 2036, and that $6.5 trillion in additional money will be needed over a 75-year period to pay all scheduled benefits.

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Responses

  1. Wouldn’t AARP, given their clout, be in contact with the Democratic leadership? If so, their statement could reflect what they now expect from the Democrats. In other words, perhaps they’ve been told that opposing cuts has become a lost cause.

  2. [...] (6/17/11) on Social Security actually quotes a defender of Social Security–but as that source notes, "the context looks designed to refute [...]

  3. One wonders how long a ruling class can preside over a population where the vast majority is experiencing a decline in their living standards.

  4. Looks like they cut you out of the article (apparently replaced you with Max Richtman).

  5. The US media is unable to call anyone on the left anything but liberal, even if they self-indentify as a Marxist, socialist, communist, etc.

  6. [...] (6/17/11) on Social Security actually quotes a defender of Social Security–but as that source notes, “the context looks designed to refute [...]

  7. The most recent estimates indicate that, under current conditions, The New York Times will be bankrupt by 2015, and that $6.5 trillion from Carlos Slims’ billfold will be needed over a 25-year-period to cover all the crap the Sulzberger family spews.

  8. Alas, the quote seems to have go into the memory hole for the online edition at this writing,

    But Winson is not always successful:

    http://www.disappearednews.com/2011/06/senior-organizations-rebel-against.html

  9. They obviously listened to your show on South American radical Keynesians and assumed you were liberal because of your denunciation of ‘left-wing purists’ who give Chavez a hard time because of his better-govt through-coups-&-ham-fisted-bureaucratization.

    Seriously, I am a huge fan, but this tendency to use Zizekian neo-Leninism to shock the ‘cool left’ is starting to bore. I understand where your politics come from and I know what a wonderful frisson it must give to stick it to the latte-sipping cultural studies hipsters, who’ve never got the hands dirty in all the compromises of organizing and necessary sectarian thuggery that constitutes ‘real politics’. But it starts to become a problem when it leads you to messy contradictions such as the fact that you simultaneously sneer at ‘reasonable leftists’ who want a nice, cuddly Lula neo-liberal lite and hold in contempt those infantile left ‘purists’ who want to go to far with all this freedom and stuff. It’s a shame Greg did not pick you up on the point when he talked about the necessity of social movements keeping Bolivian government accountable. Why is that O.K, but we should all agree to lay off Chavez, ‘cos it’s really hard to run a government? When you have to resort to the reactionary ‘well you try running things’ argument you display your own tendentiousness.

    This neo-Leninist spin also leads you to speak with ‘analysts’ whose only contribution seems to be that they share your disdain for libertarian leftist fops like Holloway and Tronti. I have not read ‘Blog Theory’ so I apologise if my impression of Jodi Dean is wrong, but it seemed like she had nothing to contribute to the debate about the role of new media in social protest apart from what she ‘felt’ about it (and what she felt pretty much exactly mirrored your own opinion). I thought Leninists were against soft hermeneutics posing as social science.

    Hey, it’s your show and I certainly do not want you to be ‘unbiased’ or ‘neutral’ (if anything you are too generous when it comes to discussions with neo-cons, but I do not begrudge that), in fact I would rather you be more open about your ‘democratic centralism’. Instead of taking cheap shots at anarchists and lefty poseurs with snide asides that go unchallenged, why not ‘bring it on’. Instead of having Dave Graeber and Ian Bone on and never mentioning your fundamental disagreement with their politics have a proper robust debate and make them defend their beliefs. Explain where you draw the line on people’s involvement in governments like Chavez’s and why. To be fair you did rip Steve Duncombe a new one along these kinds of lines and it was necessary.

    Bring on robust debate and let your Leninist Id out of the cage for some fresh air as it is obviously chafing you as it leaks out in bitter, snarky digs.

    Love the Show

    RI

  10. [...] on Social Security actually quotes a defender of Social Security–but as that source notes, “the context looks designed to refute [...]


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