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View Diary: Linda McMahon thinks it's time to 'sunset' Social Security (93 comments)

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  •  Robo (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not a lawyer, but I just found the case that I was talking about.

    http://www.ssa.gov/...

    Flemming vs. Nestor - SCOTUS 1960.

    SCOTUS ruled that social security was not a contractual obligation like that of an annuity.

    Therefore, Congress can amend the program at will or even end it.

    So the way I read the Nestor case is no one has a legal right to SS.

    Cato wrote a piece on this as well.

    http://www.cato.org/...

    Many people believe that Social Security is an "earned right." That is, they think that because they have paid Social Security taxes, they are entitled to receive Social Security benefits. The government encourages that belief by referring to Social Security taxes as "contributions," as in the Federal Insurance Contribution Act. However, in the 1960 case of Fleming v. Nestor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that workers have no legally binding contractual rights to their Social Security benefits, and that those benefits can be cut or even eliminated at any time.
    Now morally and given that we pay into it I disagree that people should not get their payments, but legally this does not appear to be the case.

    Please let me know if I'm misreading this.

    Thanks.

    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

    by bcdelta on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:06:34 AM PDT

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    •  The fact that Congress can write a new law (0+ / 0-)

      doesn't change the fact that under current law, it is a legal obligation, sort of by definition.

      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 Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:43:08 AM PDT

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      •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

        and I don't like the SCOTUS ruling one bit, but as it stands now outside of Congress' ability to change eligibility like age and they can also do away with it or as in Nestor's case deny specific persons from receiving SS.

        If you look at the SCOTUS ruling is it not a legal obligation under current law by definition or other.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:15:14 AM PDT

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        •  Cut or eliminated by a new law. (0+ / 0-)

          You're splitting an odd hair. Under current law, the government has a series of legal obligations to eligible persons. To change someone's eligibility, Congress must pass a new law (limited by Congressional prohibitions against bills of attainder), and the President must sign it.

          But the fact that law is mutable by the same process by which it was written doesn't change that the law - at any given time - is a legal obligation. It's not a contractual obligation - but no one ever said it was. It is a statutory obligation.

          And Cato might not be the best source; they're not an unbiased party on the matter.

          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 Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:26:03 AM PDT

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          •  "Constitutional prohibitions", that is. (0+ / 0-)

            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 Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:26:32 AM PDT

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          •  CATO (0+ / 0-)

            Was just the first article that I saw.  The SSA web page says the same thing.

            I agree that Congress would need to change the law if the age were to go up or rate changed, etc.

            I'm not a lawyer so you're losing me on the difference between legal obligation vs. contractual or statutory.

            The point I am trying to make and clearly not doing a good job of it is that many of us feel that we are guaranteed SS payments upon hitting the eligibility requirements - paid in + reach the age required by law.

            $4.5 trillion or so of the debt is intra-governmental holdings - roughly $2.5 trillion is money owed SS and things like military/federal pension, health care funds, etc.

            http://www.davemanuel.com/...

            The $2.5 trillion owed SS has been spent as has the rest of the intra-governmental holdings.

            I think beginning in 2013 and out the global economy is going to get very bad.  My comment here is not political rather there are economic problems everywhere.

            Imagine in 2014- it's so bad Congress just kills SS entirely.  Politically difficult, but if they did they are within their legal rights given the SCOTUS 1960 ruling.

            And the problem is people view SS as an annuity, pension, etc. and it's clearly not.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:55:56 AM PDT

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