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View Diary: Bernie Sanders goes against grain, introduces real plan to save Social Security (166 comments)

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  •  I don't understand the rationale (11+ / 0-)

    for exempting income between $106 and 250 K.   Social Security taxes are withheld from even the poorest paychecks.  If there were a bottom limit, you might be able to to argue for a gap.  Without that, there should be no income exempt (except for retirement checks).

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 02:41:05 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  It's pure politics. Fewer, richer people pay up. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, NM Ray

      Making the tax increase kick in at a lower level would make it harder to pass.  That's the simplest explanation I can come up with.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 02:47:14 PM PDT

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      •  Political, yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, vets74, joe from Lowell

        because the original proposal was part of Obama's campaign, wherein he said he wouldn't raise taxes on anyone making under $250k.  Sanders is probably sticking to that to neutralize any potential objection from the White House.

        •  He also promised (0+ / 0-)

          to close Guantanamo, stop torture (ask Bradley Manning how that's working out), and walk a picket line with workers among many other promises that he forget on November 4th.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 04:43:20 PM PDT

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          •  Manning was transferred ASAP after embarrassing (0+ / 0-)

            the military for allowing this to happen.

            Closing Gitmo ??? There's no one willing to take these prisoners. No one.

            Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

            by vets74 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 05:50:49 PM PDT

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            •  Manning was transferred (0+ / 0-)

              after such a significant time in horrendous conditions he's psychologically devastated (perhaps as a "warning" to anyone else who wants to stand up against military abuse and lawlessness).    It wasn't because the military felt badly about his treatment or recognized that it had crossed the line - it was to stop the stories about the legality of what had been done to him and the questions about it that they wanted to avoid.

              And the "nobody wants them" isn't a reason to keep Gitmo open.  Nobody stood up to the RW shillery about trials in US courts.  The Oh Noes Crowd won because rational people with faith in our judicial process folded like cheap suits and caved again.  

              There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

              by Puddytat on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 11:12:16 PM PDT

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              •  The Oh Noes Crowd had the votes in Congress. (0+ / 0-)

                And they used them. Or maybe you want Obama to break the law ???

                Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

                by vets74 on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 04:38:20 AM PDT

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                •  How long do you think (0+ / 0-)

                  people should be held in Guantanamo?  Nearly 10 years without a trial not enough?

                  I'm not asking Obama to break the law.  I'm saying that Bush broke the law opening Guantanamo.  Continuing an illegal act, even for years, doesn't make it legal just like repeating a lie over and over doesn't turn it into the truth.

                  There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

                  by Puddytat on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 11:04:11 AM PDT

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          •  Oh, look, off-topic bitching about Obama. (0+ / 0-)

            This was an actual conversation about a topic, you know.

            Thanks for putting an end to that with your threadjack.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Fri Aug 26, 2011 at 07:07:35 AM PDT

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    •  I don't understand (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Robobagpiper, Puddytat, bthespoon

      the rationale either and I am in that "gap" group. It includes a lot of working professionals who vote regularly, that is the only theory I have. I am okay with the "no cap" approach.

    •  It's even more bizarre than you think (0+ / 0-)

      If the cap is lifted, but with a donut hole, the guy who spent the last decade of his working career averaging $107k would get the same SS benefits as the person making $249k for that same decade - but the guy making $1000k would get a shitload more SS benefits when he retired.

      People who advocate for the donut hole are either pandering, or don't have a clue how SS works. Shame on Bernie for this silliness.

      Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

      by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:01:24 PM PDT

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      •  But does the Sanders proposal increase benefits... (0+ / 0-)

        ... for those above $107K? I doubt it. If it does, doesn't that blow the financial boost that contributions above $250K would give to the program?

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:20:40 PM PDT

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        •  Benefits are calculated based on the last (0+ / 0-)

          decade (IIRC) of cumulative contributions. If the cap is lifted, the benefits go up. Simple as that.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:36:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Retirement benefits are based... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            antirove

            ...on the average of the highest 35 years of your salary subject to FICA tax.

            The current payout is progressive. Simplistically, the first penny paid in FICA tax each year results in six times the retirement benefit that the "last" penny paid in FICA tax on the (currently) 106,800th dollar.

            For an example of how this progressive structure affects lower wage earners... Adjusting for inflation, someone who had a consistent annual FICA taxable income of $40,000 will receive about 50% the "return on investment" in retirement on their FICA taxes compared to someone had a consistent annual FICA taxable income of $9,000.

            I've got no idea what Bernie Sanders' plan does with this. As the benefits system is already progressive, it seems a precedent exists to make it more progressive above the $250K level - even, at some level, potentially to taxes not increasing benefits at all.

            •  My mistake on the time period, mea culpa (0+ / 0-)

              But technically the payout is regressive - that is, the payout rises more slowly than linearly with contribution.

              ("Progressive" doesn't mean "nicer to the poor")

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 04:31:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And, the law can be amended to cap benefits, too, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                chadlupkes

                ... and that wouldn't be any harder to write or justify than other proposals to "fix" Social Security.

                Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

                by TRPChicago on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 04:34:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It would be harder to justify (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  seaprog, denise b

                  Because it would convert SS from insurance into welfare.

                  Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

                  by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 04:36:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  SS always has been a safety net. And ... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... the well off do not need a safety net. And if they suffer adverse circumstances and do help, well, it is there for them, albeit not at the income levels they are used to.

                    If the operating premise is that some kind of fix is necessary because down the road, SS will run out of money, then increasing the SS contributions base, perhaps gradually over time, without changing the maximum benefit is a fine solution whatever term we use for "safety net."

                    (For the record, I agree entirely with your following comment, that we should be focusing on general revenue shortfalls and income taxes and reform "than 'fixing' problems that might - if the economy remains sluggish - appear a quarter century out.")

                    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

                    by TRPChicago on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 07:02:13 PM PDT

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              •  True... (0+ / 0-)

                ...I meant 'progressive' as a political philosophy, not as a finance term. I need to stop using the term in ambiguous contexts.

      •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

        The benefit calculation isn't tied directly to the taxable income. Without changes to the benefit calculation formula, both of your hypothetical people would get the same benefit under Sanders' plan as they do under the current system.

        •  No, the benefit calculation is tied directly (0+ / 0-)

          to the cumulative contributions of the last few years before one is eligible. So if those contributions go up, the benefits would go up - unless the benefits structure were also changed.

          This is an unnecessary complication, and pure pandering - and SS doesn't even need the money for a quarter century.

          Our time would be better spent focusing on general revenue shortfalls and income taxes than "fixing" problems that might - if the economy remains sluggish - appear a quarter century out.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:39:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's only tied to income (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            WiddieDawg

            In that only income below the cap is used in calculating AIME. Without knowing how this would change under Sanders' plan, we can't know how the benefits for those straddling the "donut hole" might change.

            And SS benefits are not tied to contributions of the last few years of eligibility... they're based on the 35 years of highest SS-qualified income over your working career.

            I couldn't agree more that this is a non-issue right now...if anyone on the committee is going to the mat for a revenue increase, I hope it's for the general income tax and not SS.

            •  As above, mea culpa on the time period (0+ / 0-)

              (going from memory here), but - and Bruce Webb will correct me if I'm wrong - but there's no benefits cap hard-wired in. It's a consequence of the contributions cap. If the contribution cap goes away, without additional changes that basically take an insurance premium with no corresponding benefit (which itself violated the spirit of SS), then a removal of the cap increases benefits - slowly at first, but once an entire career is covered under the lifted cap, considerably.

              Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

              by Robobagpiper on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 04:34:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Obama boxed himself in with a stupid pledge (6+ / 0-)

      not to increase taxes on anyone making under $250k. And when the topic of cap increases came into play he was stuck with the donut hole.

      The reality is that most people got only $300 or so from the Bush tax cut and in the course of trying to extend cuts for those under $250k while letting the upper income cuts expire the Administration is giving away many more equivalent dollars just to keep a particular misconceived campaign promise.

      But for better or worse that was the rationale.

      Please visit, follow or join our Group: Social Security Defenders

      by Bruce Webb on Thu Aug 25, 2011 at 03:18:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it might be to protect small business from (0+ / 0-)

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