In an interview with CBS News anchor Scott Pelley last week, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein immediately brought up a highly sensitive subject that liberals in the media and highest levels of government refuse to acknowledge: entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unsustainable at their current rate and need significant reform to ensure those programs exist in the future.
In response to the clip, MSNBC host Ed Schultz and Teamsters President James Hoffa were beside themselves on Tuesday night's Ed Show -- offended that Blankfein would voice such a "misinformed" view on national television. The only son of the notorious Jimmy Hoffa was ardently opposed to the idea that there is anything currently wrong with the system as is, to suggest otherwise is just "outrageous" he thundered. [ relevant video & transcript below ]
Not only did Hoffa misinterpret the selected quote, but he perpetuated the belief that keeping the Bush tax cuts for all Americans is unsustainable and undesirable, while reining in spending is more of an option. Minutes earlier, Hoffa argued that if Republicans don't want to raise taxes on the top 2 percent and protect the safety net then maybe we should go off the fiscal cliff, despite the consequences that would be hard-felt by the majority of his union members. Indeed, there was no consideration from either of them throughout the segment about how miniscule the added tax revenue would be from hiking taxes alone.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the wealthiest Americans could raise an additional $40 or $50 billion every year. To put that into perspective however, interest payments on the National Debt alone are estimated to consume 6 percent of the federal budget this year or almost $360 billion. In fact, it is not unheard of for the Treasury to increase the net debt by over $24.3 billion in a single day -- like it did on Black Friday for instance.
The Freedom of Information Act requires government agencies like the Department of Treasury to publish these facts and figures on its website. Liberal talk show hosts like Schultz seemingly avoid them like the plague.
Partial Transcript Below
The Ed Show
Nov. 27, 2012
8:23 p.m EDT
ED SCHULTZ: I also want to bring up this. Here's what the CEO of Goldman Sachs said about entitlements. Here it is.
LLOYD BLANKFEIN: You're going to have to undoubtedly do something to lower people's expectations. The entitlements and what people think that they're going to get because they are not going to get it. Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement after a 25-year career. So there will be certain things that the retirement age has to be changed. Maybe some of the benefits have to be affected, the inflation adjustments have to be revised. But in general, entitlements have to be slowed down and contained.
SCHULTZ: Got to point out that the average worker gets 16 years of Social Security benefits. What's your response to that mentality and that misinformation that he's throwing out?
JAMES HOFFA: Well, it's so outrageous. Here's a guy that's a billionaire, and he's telling people that go out and work every day, work 40, 50 years and try to get some benefits for a short period of time that they shouldn't get it? They paid into the system. It's so wrong and so wrong-headed. It's funny that the rich people really resent basically the average American out there, the guy that works every day. They resent him getting anything from the government. While they're the ones getting the TARP, getting all the benefits that the government gets. They're the ones that are billionaires. But they resent the average worker, even getting social security. It's really an odd mentality and it's wrong. It just shows you how selfish they.
SCHULTZ: If that comment by that CEO doesn't unify Democrats, I don't know what will!
8:25 p.m. EDT