Godwin's Law
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woohooligan Oct 10, 2010
woohooligan NEW! Check out our best laughs from 2016!
Yeah, I'm always a little hesitant to put up "political" images also... just like "adult" images... because I'm always a little concerned that people might misconstrue them... anyway...

God do I wish I could go to John Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. Unfortunately I can't afford the trip. But I'm sure I'll see video and that will be cool too. :D

I think this comic does a pretty good job explaining the purpose of the rally. Here's an argument in which people on both sides of the argument are behaving badly and at least if you pay any attention at all to the news, this is pretty much what our public discourse looks like through the lens of our media.

On the one side, you've got a modern conservative guy calling our Social Security system a Ponzi scheme and we should eliminate it, which is way out of line. The reality is that young people have taken care of the older generation through millions of years of human history. We take care of our grandparents because it's the right thing to do. The only thing social security does is attempt to ensure that we do the right thing. And its only challenge is that in recent years medical science is allowing us to live longer, so we're approaching a time when our seniors may massively outnumber everyone else and it's going to become increasingly difficult to make the money stretch to support them all. The "failure" of social security is actually no real failure at all -- it's evidence of massive success in medicine! :D

On the other side, you've got a modern liberal being reactionary and invoking Godwin's Law against the conservative, putting words all up in his mouth... For the record, although I agree with his sentiment that we should care for our grandparents, don't do what he did there...

If you find yourself in this conversation with someone, the best thing to do honestly is to simply and calmly ask them "who do you think should pay to care for our elderly?" Because if they suggest we should dismantle Social Security, then they need to provide an alternative solution. I suspect that most people who say they're in favor of dismantling it won't be able to offer you any alternatives. I really don't think most of them have thought through this whole line of reasoning at all, I think most of them just heard "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme!" and it hit their "that's shocking!" button, so they parrot it back, not really understanding what it is exactly that they're saying.

That's part of the reason why invoking Godwin's Law is so bad here -- they're not deliberately saying "we should just not take care of our elderly" -- they just haven't thought through the fact that this is what cutting Social Security means. To then call them Nazis because they hold an unfortunate or ill-educated viewpoint is also way out of line. The reality is that we've all been there at one time or another, parroting back some shocking thing we heard that turned out to be incorrect -- we need to learn to allow other people the dignity of making those mistakes without branding them as monsters.

And lastly... both "the liberal agenda" and "the conservative agenda" are wrong, because they're both based on old ideas... we should all be progressives, because frankly, the world changes. While our values shouldn't change, for example, we should still want to take care of our grandparents and there's nothing we can do to stop the world from changing. We can't change the fact that there are going to be more seniors in the coming decades any more than we can change the fact that the earth spins, so we're just going to have to reform our laws (the progressive agenda) until we figure out a way to solve the actual problem.

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What's on your mind?
ThornsInOurSide Whoa, that's one long rant...
Magravan Oct 11, 2010
Magravan I thought he was calling him a Nazi because he was suggesting death camps as an alternative...
The Archiver Feb 16, 2012
Personally I just want to get rid of social security, because I'll take care of my own bloody family, and I don't want to be paying for anyone. Not to mention even with social security our elders have had to come out of retirement to get jobs, so social security doesn't even bloody WORK anymore, or all that well and it'll only get worse as the number increases. I'm just saying if I'm ponying up that much freaking cash, they better be giving something back to society, beyond the wisdom of their years. I understand that's cruel since they've worked, giving back to society for the last 65-75 years, but when they'll live another 25 years sapping money, my sympathy dries up. I'll take care of my parents as much as they'll allow me, and make sure they know they're loved, and visit them often, but I honestly don't think anyone else's elders should be my problem, especially when they system stops working well. And the fact that its a success of our medicine, doesn't mean its not a failure. It just means one success caused a failure in a different system. Its still quite a failure, as for alternatives? Give them money proportional to the amount of work they contributed to society in a meaningful way, and based on how much they made, and have. And put a reasonable time limit on the amount of time they'll be receiving this money instead of "until you croak." Except for well payed doctors. They don't need more money. We pay them 4x as much as anyone else as it is. Small clinic doctors we can cut a break.
Guest Dec 12, 2012
Actually Hitler privatized Germany's health care system when he was elected president of Germany.
ThorstenV Oct 24, 2014
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Socialist_People%27s_Welfare A main issue was to eliminate "useless eaters" who could not in any way contribute to the military machine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4
Grimjac100 Jan 20, 2013
Social Security - It's not the government's `job' to take care of the elderly. The way it's been done for hundreds or thousands of years is the family unit. Your gramma lives with you, my grandad lives with me, all is cool. Taking money from everyone to support all the grandparents in the country is just not logical or sustainable. No matter how good an idea Social Security *sounded* like, it's not viable long-term in practice.

My grandparents are long dead, as are my parents. Why should my money go to support yours or anyone else's? They should NOT have been forced to pay into the system, the system should not have been available to fund other `necessary' government programs.

The solution to a broken, unworkable system isn't to hide the rusted rotted mess behind a shiny new curtain and pretend it's necessary. We got along for hundreds and thousands of years without it; our seniors will get along when we try something different that will (hopefully) work.
woohooligan Jan 21, 2013
woohooligan Well there are several incorrect statements here...

1) Not all senior citizens have children and grandchildren to support them. Should we punish an older woman because she happened to be barren? Or should we instead, since she was a member of our community, support her like we support our own parents and grandparents? In the "thousands" (though the US has only been around for a couple hundred) of years prior, she would have been supported by the community, but that's much less likely in our modern society because our communities aren't as tight-knit as they used to be and around the time of white flight just after WWII we decided to stop having large extended families in the US (as in most other countries still) and just have small nuclear families instead. This offers little if any opportunity for the barren single child (as just one of many possible examples) to be supported in their twilight years.

2) Social Security is plenty sustainable. It's currently sustainable in many countries outside the US and as Robert Reich has pointed out, if we simply eliminated social security exemptions for certain types of income (that don't need those exemptions, like capital gains), then it would be indefinitely solvent.

3) I do agree that it shouldn't be available to other government projects -- there should be laws in place preventing the government from using the SS pension fund to pay for other things - that solves that problem.
Grimjac100 Feb 26, 2013
Yes, I'm Selfish :p - Sorry, was re-reading the archives and came across this post and reply. So here we go; I'd leave my email but the interwubs isn't very secure and can be skeery.

1) If we can't `punish' the old barren woman, why should we punish the younger working generation by making them pay for her? It's not voluntary; you don't get a choice whether or not you want that money taken from your check to go to SocSec. And I wasn't just referring to the US in my thousands of years comment...we've had old people as long as we've had people (well, maybe 30 or 40 years less than that) and we got by without SocSec.

2) I disagree. Look at any country that has `modern' entitlement programs and you see looming economic crises. Most of the EU, the US, SA, some Asian countries...look at the projections when the Boomers retire. Smaller generations mean fewer workers to pay into a system.

3) Yes, we've gotten away from the tight-knit communities in favor of assigning the responsibility to some other ephemeral entity. `The government'. How deep in debt are we? How much do we owe CHina? How much of our budget is assigned to entitlement programs like SocSec? And you think it's sustainable? We can actually spend more than we make every year forever? The bill is going to come due. And those who keep slapping paint on the SocSec problem are going to have real problems then.
woohooligan Feb 26, 2013
woohooligan You haven't addressed my response really at all. The world is different today than it was thousands of years ago, so our solutions to problems need to be different than they were thousands of years ago.

Expecting young working citizens to contribute to the health and well-being of their own communities is punishing them how?
There was a time, not too long ago, just a few decades ago in fact, that contributing to your community was called your "civic duty". And if you look back historically, since the dawn of man, that was the way of things. Only now is it even possible, because of the current political climate, for someone like you to suggest that the responsibilities that come with being a member of your community are somehow a punishment. How can you expect to have rights in your community without responsibilities?

The numbers are sustainable.
If they weren't, then humanity in general would be inherently unsustainable. There is plenty of food, shelter, clothing, medicine, etc. for everyone. Everyone's basic needs can be met -- the only reason that people's basic needs aren't met is because of crap like famines caused by government malfeasance. Remember the famous Ethiopian famine of the late 80's? You know why they were starving? Because their greedy government sold all their food to other places to get money for themselves. And that's been the case for nearly every famine the world-over for several decades going.

If we brought the wages for regular workers up to reasonable levels, like they were several decades ago when GM was the #1 employer in America instead of Walmart, that would go a long way toward resolving a lot of our economic problems...

SocSec specifically?
All we really need to do is lift the bs exemptions we gave to millionaires paying into SS on throw-away investment income (Capital Gains). We just need asshats like Romney to pay their fair share.

Read up on what award-winning economist and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has to say about it. Wait, no... he made a video.

Lastly,
in response to: "If we can't punish the old barren woman, why should we punish the younger working generation by making them pay for her?" So what you're saying here is that between these two choices:

1) A young working person has slightly less money
2) An elderly woman doesn't eat

That the lesser evil there is the old woman not eating. That's the line you've drawn. Feel free to continue pushing that idea, if that's really what you believe, but I suspect you'll be fairly lonely out on that limb there.
ThorstenV Oct 24, 2014
"Smaller generations mean fewer workers to pay into a system."

We don't eat money, do we? Unemployment is high, so there are more than enough workers for all production needs. We easily can produce enough for everyone's needs, it's a matter of distribution of wealth.
woohooligan Oct 24, 2014
woohooligan Thanks, Thorsten. That's a much more succinct way of explaining what I was describing about sustainability with my foray into the Ethiopian famine. :)
Ramjet Nov 26, 2014
We aren't supporting them !!! - All those people, starting with our grandparents or great grandparents PAID INTO the Social Securty funds for a minimum number of quarters (1/4 years of the tax) to become eligible to draw from the fund.
Thus, We are not paying for those Drawing, they already paid in, We are short funds now because Congress SPENT THE MONEY on other things instead of leaving it there to grow.

Want to Fix It? TAX CONGRESSMEN because THEY spent it unwisely. Most of them are Rich anyway. With few exceptions, Only the Rich can afford to run now. One known Exception: Sen Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Her Net Worth per Google is under $1,000,000 (including her husbands business) which is far below Congressional average in 2011 of $14,013,596
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