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View Diary: Ponzi scheme? My Mom's in trouble. (10 comments)

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  •  Great GOP talking points :/ (1+ / 0-)
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    pavlov dog

    I've been hearing the same thing from would-be SS killers since I was a young working pup in the 70's.  The dollar values and time frame was different then, but the message from the SS privatization adherents was the same.

    Then, in 2008, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation committed $1 billion  - you read that right, $1 billion - to dismantling Social Security, and using Baby Boomers as a wedge with Gen X and Y'ers to get that done.  Remember this ad that appeared on DKos and other leading progressive blogs?

    Tea Party manifesto: We're resigned to our collective fate because we don't want no stinkin' collective future with the likes of you

    by Richard Cranium on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 09:15:18 AM PDT

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    •  sometimes things are (0+ / 0-)

      talked because they are true. And calling it a talking point doesn't rebut the argument.

      I wonder if that example even accounts for the reduction in benefits that occurs when the trust fund runs dry.

      •  Well some caveats here (1+ / 0-)
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        One calling the Urban Institute a "non-partisan policy think tank" is in context very deceptive. In point of fact it is stuffed with veterans of the anti-Entitlements crusade including names like Rudolph Penner, Robert Reichshauer and most notably Eugene Steurle who sandwiched a past and now current stint as a top pensions scholar at Urban around a stint as Vice President of the Peter G Peterson Foundation, endowed with a cool billion dollars by hedge fund billionaire Peter G Peterson with the explicit goal of funding attacks on Social Security and Medicare. And as you will probably guess from Steurle's having bounced back and forth a generous funder of Urban's current efforts in this field.

        So that should have been a red flag. In fact over the last twenty years Peter G Peterson has practically put a trademark on the terms 'non-partisan' and 'bi-partisan', they are clear markers that the group you are dealing with is likely to be drawing financing support from one side of the advocacy divide. BTW the Bi-Partisan Policy Center is not a Peterson effort. Nope it was founded and funded by a DIFFERENT RIGHT WING billionaire.

        Plus the numbers are cooked in all kinds of ways. For example that man retiring in 1980 at Age 65 would have been born in 1915 and presumedly started paying into Social Security Title 2 in 1936. But he would have, if earning at that rate (which may are may not be in 2011 dollars, the piece doesn't say) he would have also been paying income tax to support retirees under Social Security Title 1, a state run General Fund financed pension system that covered more people at a higher cost until 1951 and then persisted thereafter. So realistically you have to add whatever proportionate share of his income tax went to Title 1 to his lifetime contributions to get the real take.

        Also that lucky ducky would have spent the first twenty years of his working life not being covered for Disability which only went into effect in 1956. In the example cited he never did get disabled so was dollars ahead for not paying for DI from 1935-1955, on the other hand he had to forego the insurance protection at the same time which surely had some quantifiable value, for example the equivalent cost of buying or self-funding an equivalent benefit prior to that.

        Three the current formula for setting initial benefits ensures that future retirees get a larger benefit check when measured in real basket of goods than current retirees do. Assuming that retiree of 1980 is dead or near dead today (at 96) the retiree of 1930 can expect to receive about a 50% better real check than the old man would receive today. At least per a 2003 CBO Study on the effects of real growth in benefits on projected growth in cost over the 75 years after 2003 (which they peg at 45% of total cost growth and a real benefit 80% bigger at the end of the projection period than the beginning.

        So when we talk 'non-partisan' I am going to put a lot more faith in CBO which is funded by everyone than the Urban Institute which is funded, at least in this area of study, by a small set of self-interested billionaires. At a minimum make them show you their arithmetic and the assumptions built into it.

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

        by Bruce Webb on Thu Sep 08, 2011 at 10:09:45 AM PDT

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