Bill Resnick talks with Max Richtman, president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare , who clarifies that Social Security is an earned benefit, and the program is not broke or breaking. The current program can continue paying full benefits for twenty years; and with a slight adjustment of the payroll cap, it can continue long after that. (Currently, only the first $113,000 of income is taxed, no matter whether someone's total income is $113,000 or $113,000,000). Half of all Social Security beneficiaries rely on the program for 90 % of their income, though the average benefit is only about $13,000 per year. Bill and Max discuss how chained CPI would reduce benefits.
Clayton Morgareidge reads from and comments on David Graeber's The Democracy Project, which argues that our whole political system functions by bribery, and that the corruption of government entails the corruption of language through euphemism. For instance, rape, torture, and murder are now "human rights violations"; bribery of public officials is "lobbying"; soliciting bribes is "fundraising."
Movie Moles Denise Morris and Jan Haaken discuss Fruitvale Station, the dramatization of Oscar Grant's killing by Bay Area Rapid Transit guard Johannes Mehserle on New Years Eve 2008. They discuss some of the complexities of fictional films about real events, and suggest that director Ryan Coogler's film overcompensates for the otherwise negative portrayals of young Black men in mainstream media. They also consider the contrast between community intervention to defuse tense situations and the tendency of police to escalate violence, as well as the irony of appealing to the criminal injustice system for redress of grievances.