I’m on the way to Cleveland. I guess I might as well leave my brains on the ceiling, where this story deposited them:
“The House on Tuesday passed legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for suspected Nazi war criminals. Passed 420-0, the bill was approved after an October Associated Press report found that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals forced to leave the U.S. collected millions of dollars in federal benefits.”
On the plus side, See? We can have bi-partisan agreement in Congress!
On the other side: why do we need the Associated Press to point out to Congress that we’re giving millions of dollars to former Nazis to keep them supplied with fresh Zykon B? Why wasn’t this bill passed six years ago? Sixteen years ago? As long as President Obama thinks he can rule by fiat, where was the executive order directing the Treasury to stop paying non-resident Nazis Social Security?
You can read the original AP story here, which I was going to post on until it got lost in the shuffle.
File this one under “Incompetent Elected Officials,” or perhaps simply, “We’re doomed.”
36 thoughts on “KABOOM! Now I’m Satisfied That The U.S. Will Never Solve Its Debt Problem, Since It Takes This Long For Congress To STOP PAYING ENTITLEMENTS To NAZIS”
I hate to say this…. I really do…. But was this actually the right decision?
From the article: “”Social Security is an earned benefit hardworking Americans pay as a portion of their wages for promises of future benefits,”
If they paid into social security, isn’t it theirs? I may be misunderstanding the program, we have that I think is something similar here, which is CPP. The second P there is ‘pension’. Did America take the equivalent of pension payments from Nazis for decades, and then confiscate it? Do seniors on social security who are convicted of a crime otherwise have their benefit removed?
And then, from a contract point of view, America had said “If you save us the trouble of spending the money and time to deport you, we will pay you social security.
From the original AP article:
“The deals allowed the Justice Department’s former Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, to skirt lengthy deportation hearings and increased the number of Nazis it expelled from the U.S.”
“Austrian authorities were furious upon learning after the fact about a deal made with Martin Bartesch, a former SS guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. In 1987, Bartesch landed, unannounced, at the airport in Vienna. Two days later, under the terms of the deal, his U.S. citizenship was revoked.”
I’m hung up on the word deal. It infers that the practise wasn’t a ‘loophole’ so much as it was exactly what the law was designed to do.
Did America just violate a contract?
Likely. My hang-up as well, in addition to the whole “suspect” bit. Not proven…but action was taken against them?
But the additional take-away from this, which I alluded to below, IF this action is justifiable, it only makes sense it took forever and possibly an accidental discovery to find out given how colossal and inefficiency our system is.
But to be clear, Social Security will NEVER pay out what was put in, so in that regards it can’t even live up to it’s goal.
The accused had an opportunity to defend their name at the deportation hearings; they waived these hearings by voluntary emigration. It was effectively an admission of guilt and a plea bargain to escape.
Admitting to being a Nazi should come with the implicit understanding that you will lose (at a minimum) your social security benefits; we are of course dealing with the least ethical sludge of the earth that would not think twice about defrauding the people of the United States.
These individuals did not so much enter a “deal”, as see an opportunity for short term loot if they left, knowing full well the funds would not and COULD not last (they are Nazi’s, not knaves, they knew the gravy train would eventually come to an end).
So we stop honoring plea bargains once we get what we want from the accused?
And do people lose Social Security for being convicted of a crime normally? Real question, I don’t know.
The difference is that by admitting they are Nazis, they are admitting that they were never eligible to receive social security benefits (because they would never have been admitted to live legally in the country, for starts). Thus terminating their benefits is perfectly just and legal.
Presumably, they all entered the country under false pretenses; they assumed new identities or obscured their pasts, and were admitted under the color of proper procedure. When they were tracked down, the accused knew they were guilty and that they would have little to no chance of prevailing at the extradition hearing. When the Justice Department offered to allow them, inexplicably, to keep their benefits if they left, of course they would jump at the opportunity.
Presumably, if there were sufficient evidence of guilt, they would have been criminally tried and put in prison, rather than dumped stateless in Austria. If they chose to contest the extradition, and failed their fate would be largely the same. There is thus no particular motivation for a truly innocent person to take the “plea bargin”. If I were accused of being a Nazi, I would damn sure appear before the extradition board to defend my name.
Thus leaving the country with a bag covered in money signs is an admission they were illegally receiving those benefits from the start. The eventual termination of these benefits was the only possibly outcome, and both sides knew it.
The bottom line is that neither side entered into this agreement in good faith, and both were OK with that.
Further, these individuals are still free to appeal the withdrawal of their benefits. If they can prove they would have prevailed at the extradition hearing, then the benefits could be reinstated as lawfully earned income. Their silence acceptance of the loss would be a tacit admission they never legally entered the country, and thus never have lawfully earned the social security benefits.
This is a lesson in not making stupid deals. Not a lesson in “it’s ok to break a deal because you don’t like the guy you made a deal with”
Of course, are you obligated, ethically, to fulfill a contract you entered into after information is discovered AFTER the agreement, that would have led you never to make the contract had the other party, knowing your likely hang-up, made a good-faith disclosure of that information?
That is to say: If the US Government had KNOWN they were our enemies, I’m certain a whole different set of decisions would be made on the opening end of their attempts to live and work here. Knowledge that, mitigated AT THE TIME, would give those individuals a chance to say “hey wait a minute, you forgave us and said we could work here” or on the flipside the Government telling them, “no, you can’t live and work here, in fact, we’re going to put you on trial”. To at least clear up things before the “contract” is made.
My understanding of the contract is basically “We know you’re Nazis, if you go away quietly, we’ll pay you” I think they per se had to know beforehand…. Unless you’re talking about the pay-in to social security…. At which point I don’t know enough to comment. Are convicted criminals allowed to pay into social security? CPP is mandatory for everyone in Canada.
There’s a whole lot of ick in defending Nazis entitlements though. I don’t like it. I think I need a shower.
Missed that line in the article. Yup. If the agreement was “make it easy on us and leave and we’ll let you keep your social security” then as dumb as that agreement was, it probably shouldn’t be violated. But here’s the dumb agreement- not involving all parties involved… Especially the countries soon to receive the Nazis.
But it isn’t defending the Nazis. It’s simply holding up a bargain (however dumb). Why would anyone trust you if you don’t keep up your deals, regardless of who you made them with (with all information disclosed of course)
I would argue for a Nazi war criminal exception. I assume this was a “here’s the deal until someone gets wind of it and the lynch mob starts forming—you understand.” Paying SS to non-residents who are war criminals…not just Nazis—is more than a “bad deal,” no?
My reading of the story was that the entitlements weren’t part of the original deal, but rather a “loophole.” Imagine—Nazis exploiting a loophole!
Ah, that makes the story a bit more understandable; that it was not so much a “deal”, but more a side effect of not being formally extradited (thus no formal ruling of having enter the country illegally). Still, it should have been closed immediately.
But all that would seem to be negated by the lines from the report:
“Social Security benefits became tools, U.S. diplomatic officials said, to secure agreements in which Nazi suspects would accept the loss of citizenship and voluntarily leave the United States.”
“The payments, underwritten by American taxpayers, flowed through a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records.”
Sounds illegal to me.
Then it’s a lesson in why not to make stupid bargains.
With our Byzantine system and it’s colossal scope, I can completely see how something like this happens.
Too BIG to
toit will fail.
420 – 0 is still really nice to see. They CAN agree on SOMETHING!
Except it means 15 didn’t vote for some reason or another.
Yeah… I don’t know if I want to know those names.
Maybe they had the same hangups expressed above but know that a No vote would be political suicide?
In case you were curious.
Vacation probably. Our Congress is pretty lazy.
Lazy isn’t the word for it. Talk about an entitlement mentality.
Did not Vote:
Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Gary Miller (R-CA)
Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-CA)
Alan Lowenthal (D-CA)
Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
John Boehner (R-OH) – From the website: “The Speaker of the House is not required to vote in “ordinary legislative proceedings, except when such vote would be decisive.” In practice, this means the Speaker of the House rarely votes and only does so when it is politically useful.”
Kurt Schrader (D-OR)
Mike Doyle (D-PA)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
One of the secretaries said the congressman was out of town on a family emergency, I quit calling after 3 more were answering services saying the office is closed. I guess work quits early in D.C.
For those concerned about my time management as possibly having too much time on my hands, fear not, this process took less than 10 minutes…
I think Beth is right, I doubt that this is because of their… Oh my god… it’s been so long since I used this word in a political context, I’ve forgotten it…. It’s kind of like morals… personal justice… grr… PRINCIPLES! Hah! Take that Alzheimer’s! I’m totally leaving this in.
But yeah, I doubt this is a matter of principle so much as a matter of sloth and disinterest. Which is a shame.
Or family emergency in one their cases.
“Do seniors on social security who are convicted of a crime otherwise have their benefit removed?”
Benefits will be suspended only while they are incarcerated in a jail or prison, for either a misdemeanor or felony.
Since the war was over 69 years ago, I wonder how many of them still survive?
The article linked to said four.
So he savings at present is about $60,000 per year. Kind of irritating that this didn’t happen a long time ago, for a variety of reasons.
The primary reason being it was a stupid bargain to strike. Strike a different bargain that is less “do this and we’ll be nice to you” and more “do this or we’ll rock your world nazi scumbag, Israel doesn’t mind having you dropped off on their doorstep”
” Israel doesn’t mind having you dropped off on their doorstep”
Now, THAT one I like. Israel demonstrated with Eichmann that they did not mind doing what needed doing.