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View Diary: US already has high elder poverty rate, so why are Social Security cuts even on the table? (223 comments)

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  •  Your diary means a lot to me. (43+ / 0-)

    It seems like so many people are in favor of cuts to Social Security to keep it solvent.  I actually sat at a Democrat precinct meeting where a guy thought it was fine to raise the age to receive Social Security.  This was very disheartening.  We can make Social Security solvent by raising the payroll tax cap.  Why take away benefits?  Everyone should have to pay the same percentage of their income into Social Security.

    Say "No" to Chained CPI.

    by Arlys on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 04:54:25 PM PST

    •  Personally I have no qualms about working (12+ / 0-)

      a couple of years longer if someone would hire me. I made it through the GFC with a job, toxic as it was only to be retrenched one month before my 65th. No luck yet in finding something. Torn between applying for SocSec 10 months early or just riding it out.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:00:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But to add to my comment, there are lots of folks (9+ / 0-)

      who can't go on and who get no other pension. These folks should be able to get full benefits at 65.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 06:02:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Social Security IS solvent. For the next 20 years (19+ / 0-)

      at least.
      If the economy picks up and more people have jobs -- I assume it will recover sometime within the next 20 years -- then SS is solvent a lot longer than 20 years.

      Don't buy the "SS is insolvent" PR scare mongering.
      It ain't broke.

      •  It's certainly being spun as (10+ / 0-)

        "it doesn't matter what we think about it". It's perfectly fine to cut Grandma's bank account funding. Someone else will just have to take care of her, that's all.

        That's The Balanced Approach, don'tchaknow?

        It is time to #Occupy Media.

        by lunachickie on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 09:04:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  right now, as we type, (0+ / 0-)

        SS is not pulling in enough payroll tax revenue to meet its obligations.  right now. it makes up the difference by selling off securities it was able to invest in during times of surplus.

        but due to population dynamics, the days of SS running a surplus are over.  so those securities will run out eventually.  the last time the SS Trustees revised their estimates, the date got bumped forward a few years.

        once those securities are gone, the program will only be able to pay out on 75% of its obligations.  that is what will happen unless something is done.

        and the thing is this.  immigration is seriously the only real answer to fixing it.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

        by Cedwyn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:35:19 AM PST

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        •  Right now, as we type, the SS trust fund has (6+ / 0-)

          enough surplus to cover the costs for the next 20 years.
          The govt borrowed against the surplus to give the
          wealthy tax breaks and now they must pay it back.  The wealthy don't want to pay it back.
          Too bad for them.

          SS is the only govt program in the black for the next 20 years.

          Improve the economy, increase jobs, and any problems go away.

          •  True (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert

            SS is safe and solvent for at least the next 20 years.

            If the US returned to full employment, as in Clinton years, the surplus would last even longer, as much as 30 years.

            It says something about our generation that we chose to pay more to build SS and pay for the retirement of our grandparents and parents, as well as putting money away for our children.

            What does it say about Obama supporters that they only want to steal from the program and demonize those who are defending it?  

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:34:36 AM PST

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        •  What's with the "misinformation" about SS? (5+ / 0-)

          This is more typical of GOP fearmongering against innocent people.

          Is this something you are all being told to disseminate by OFA or something?  What is the purpose?  

          Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

          by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:31:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah, those silly SS trustees! (0+ / 0-)

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

            totally misinformed!  and simultaneously owned by both OFA and the GOP.  or something.

            Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

            by Cedwyn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:37:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Did you read this part? (6+ / 0-)
              A temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax rate reduced payroll tax revenues by $103 billion in 2011 and by a projected $112 billion in 2012.
              Can you explain why the WH pushed a tax cut that they knew would weaken SS?  

              Can you explain why OFA and other Third Way enablers are trying to sell the idea that SS should be cut because not enough seniors voted for Obama?

              Can you explain why the WH is insisting on throwing SS cuts on the table during the deficit battle when SS has nothing to do with the deficit?

              Can you explain what their next tactic will be if cuts to SS are enacted and the deficit doesn't shrink?  More cuts?

              This WH is deliberately setting SS up for failure. Why?

              Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

              by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 07:52:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes i did (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Zinman
                Can you explain why the WH pushed a tax cut that they knew would weaken SS?
                because it was stimulative

                because it was temporary

                and because the shortfall was made up from the general fund.  i.e., it didn't weaken SS.

                Can you explain why the WH is insisting on throwing SS cuts on the table during the deficit battle when SS has nothing to do with the deficit?
                because of SS's internal deficit problem, as outlined by the SS Trustees.
                Can you explain what their next tactic will be if cuts to SS are enacted and the deficit doesn't shrink?  More cuts?

                This WH is deliberately setting SS up for failure. Why?

                see above

                Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

                by Cedwyn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:08:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  SS issues should be addressed separately (3+ / 0-)

                  They have nothing to do with the federal deficit or the debt ceiling.  To conflate SS with this debacle in the minds of the public is dishonest and breeds distrust in our government leaders.

                  Social Security does not have an internal deficit problem. It currently has a surplus, one that would be much greater if we had full employment.

                  because it was stimulative
                  The WH had many other tools available to stimulate the economy without tapping into SS Trust Fund revenues.  The fact that the Obama Administration was the first to try to engage in a campaign of disinformation by conflating SS with the federal deficit indicates their opposition to the program.
                  Can you explain why OFA and other Third Way enablers are trying to sell the idea that SS should be cut because not enough seniors voted for Obama?
                  You still haven't answered this question.

                  Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                  by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 10:37:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes, it DOES have an internal deficit problem ... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cedwyn

                    Social Security does not have debt problem -- past surpluses have created a significant balance -- but SS is running in the red today, and that's the definition of a deficit problem.

                    This is the equivalent of having bank balance of $100,000, an annual salary of $50,000 and spending $60,000 each year.  You're not going to go bankrupt or even have to reduce your spending this year or next, because you can draw down your savings to pay for difference between what you're earning and what you're spending.  But after 10 years (or less, if your annual expenditures are increasing), there won't be any money left in the bank account.  At that point, you're no longer able to spend any more than you earn -- which will be a huge shock to the system for folks counting on those funds.

                    All that said, I would also point out that:

                    1.  None of this has anything whatsoever to do with the current Federal debt issue, the debt ceiling, the Federal deficit, etc.  You could completely eliminate the Federal deficit and you'd still have an SS deficit issue, and likewise, you could cut SS benefits in half and the Federal debt and deficit would be exactly the same as it is today.

                    2. There are a number of ways to fix the SS deficit problem that don't involve cutting SS benefits, e.g., raising the cap on taxed wages.  However, this isn't terribly popular because it translates into a significant middle-class tax increase.

                    •  If it has nothing to do with the federal deficit (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      midwesterner, vigilant meerkat

                      Why is it included in these negotiations?  There is no emergency.  There's no reason why SS changes can't be postponed until after the deficit wars are over.

                      The current negotiations are being handled on the fly, behind closed doors, with no public input and no transparency.  The public (and probably many members of Congress) don't even know what changes are in the bills until after they're signed into law.

                      Any discussion related to changes to SS should never be conducted in such a fashion. Ever.  Proposals to change  SS should be handled in slow, deliberate fashion, in full view of the public.  There should be hearings, Congressional testimony (under oath), fact finding presentations, periods for public comment and public debate about any final solution.  

                      No demagoguery, no lying, no outside lobbyists and conservative think tanks, no media consulting groups or sham public polling.  No using SS as a hostage.

                      When POTUS and his supporters take SS off the table of deficit talks and completely separate the issue of changes from the deficit reduction discussions, then I'll know they're serious. Until then, they're being dishonest and are doing a great disservice to the American people.

                      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

                      by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 12:12:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  medicare is a driver of *the* deficit (0+ / 0-)

                        especially with boomers moving into retirement.

                        SS is not a driver of * the * deficit, but has its own deficit problem.  it is burning through savings and will reach a point where it will not be able to pay out on its obligations.  something really does need to be done.

                        and dammitall, the GOP controls the House right now and likely will for a decade.  so there's your "why."

                        it's also true that SS has quite a population dynamics problem; i srsly think immigration is the only real answer.

                        boomers = 79-some million
                        gen x = 53-some million
                        millennials = 70-some million
                        gen z = on course to be smaller than gen x

                        millennials are, so far, not having children at the same rate as their boomer counterparts.  so boomers retire; gen x and millennials already in the workforce replace them.  no new net jobs.

                        the rest of the millennials will be in the workforce within 10 years; gen x will start retiring within 20.  still no new net jobs, as the boomers will have finished retiring in 10 years.

                        then gen z starts working, only they, so far, don't have the same numbers as gen x.  net loss of workers, and payroll tax revenue, for the millennials' retirement.

                        the population drop from boomers to gen x wreaked havoc on SS; the drop between millennials and gen z will be worse.  

                        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

                        by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:17:40 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Did you read this (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbell, Catte Nappe, Mr Robert

              analysis:

              Changes enacted by Congress in the 1980s to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security will cut retirement benefits by 19 percent for workers born in 1960 and later, and more cuts could undermine the basic economic security of future retirees, a new report (PDF) said today.

              The report (PDF), released by the National Academy of Social Insurance, said modest benefit improvements and revenue increases are affordable, have broad public support and can close Social Security’s long-term financing shortfall without more benefit cuts.

              “Social Security benefits are already being cut more than many people realize,” said Virginia Reno, NASI’s vice president for income security and a co-author of the report. “Cutting benefits further is not necessary to preserve Social Security for future generations. Other alternatives merit consideration by policymakers.”

              NASI is a nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance.

              •  This is so god damned ridiculous (3+ / 0-)

                American workers right now are more productive than any workers in the history of work. Instead of the value produced by that work going to the people doing all the fucking work, it's all going to line CEO salaries.

                We could have an economy based on leisure, the type that science fiction writers fantasized about in the 50s, but instead we get one of people dying at their desks.

                Small varmints, if you will.

                by aztecraingod on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:59:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  And if we raise, eliminate or create a graduated (4+ / 0-)

        scale for the cap, we could extend its solvency even further, or address the 20 year period in which contributions have not kept up with inflation, and benefits will thus be significantly less adequate.

        Doubtful we will hear this administration or its apologists pressing for THESE corrective measures instead of the cuts on the table, and then they will blame the voters when it comes back to haunt them in 2014...

        The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

        by Words In Action on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:42:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I got my SSA-1099 (8+ / 0-)

      last week.  Box 5. Net Benefits for 2012 is $16,668.00

      That's what they are ok with, that's what they want to cut

      $16,668.00

      For the whole year

      $16,668.00

      Have they no shame? - I'm not talking about Republicans either!

      Don't be a dick, be a Democrat! Oppose CPI cuts! Support Social Security and Veteran Benefits!

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:44:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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