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View Diary: Politico: Liberals want to save Social Security with the chained CPI (106 comments)

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  •  I don't know why the focus is on SS (14+ / 0-)

    it doesn't have the same huge long-term problem that Medicare does.  

    You could probably bring insured wages back up to 90% of all wages and cover most of whatever deficit there is in SS without changing the basic nature of the system as wage insurance.

    Medicare, on the other hand, has a very big long-term problem, as the Medicare Trustees Report (linked above) indicates.  

    •  Medicare is where the long-term (7+ / 0-)

      problem is.  The government needs to find away to have the benefits remains and still maintain the program.  The elderly are already buy supplmental insurance to pay for what medicare does not cover.

      Say "No" to Chained CPI.

      by Arlys on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:46:06 PM PST

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      •  Medicare is means tested in a way. The more (0+ / 0-)

        Affluent pay more premium.

        As far as SS goes, the more you earn when receiving SS, the more income tax you pay.

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:43:47 PM PST

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    •  The problems faced by Medicare could be (11+ / 0-)

      significantly lessened by negotiating volume discounts for pharmaceuticals. As long as protecting windfall profits for drug companies remains the number one priority, we will continue to have a difficuult time paying for them. Or legislators and PBO full well know this, we don't need to tell them, but it wouldn't hurt to let them know that WE know it, too. They do care about their legislative positions (not their jobs) from which all their blessings flow.

      •  RJD - drugs are a small part of the problem (4+ / 0-)

        Medicare spends about $560 billion/yeat and Part D costs less than $50 billion. So if you cut the Part D cost in half you would save 4-5% of the total program. While that might be worth doing, it isn't going to bend the cost curve.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:41:42 PM PST

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        •  There is a drug component in Part A (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, wsexson

          Any and all drugs given to patients in Hospital are charged to Part A. In fact before Part D that was how large numbers of seniors got access to what drugs they did, they went to the hospital to have conditions that could have been treated by an out-patient drug basis but weren't instead handled on an in-patient basis..

          And even discounting that factor there is a substantial expense for medication for conditions that were always handled under Part A: serious heart attacks and strokes, cancer treatment, anti-transplant rejection drugs and all those medications not available at your local Payless pharmacy.

          I don't know what percentage of Part A (Hospital) that makes up or whether hospitals in fact are able to bargain with Big Pharma but in any case you need to add that to your bottom line calculation of possible savings.

          socialsecuritydefender.blogspot.com - SocSec.Defender at gmail.com - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

          by Bruce Webb on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:23:53 AM PST

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      •  One thing that is interesting, however, is that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Minnesota Deb, Roger Fox

        Medicare's deficits started in 2008, around the time the economy tanked.  Full employment and decent wages (with attendant Medicare contributions) would go a long way to resolving the shortfall.

        And that's the shame of the administration's delegation of unemployment to secondary problem status.  Lots of other problems are lessened if people are working and paying taxes.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:31:35 PM PST

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    •  a good chunk of Medicare is demographics (0+ / 0-)

      There's a good graph at economistsview: Projected Medicare Spending.

      Austin Frakt: I'm not sure I buy my own statement that we only need a bit more revenue [for medicare]. The demographics are costly. The real message is that there is nothing much we can do about it. Cutting beneficiaries or benefits amounts to a cost shift, and is probably net cost increasing, system-wide. So, we must spend the demographically-driven amount. We then just need a bit more to deal with health care cost inflation. One would like to reduce that to zero, but a modest increase won't kill us, and certainly not quickly.
      •  One wishes economists would (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare

        learn a little about the underlying field they yammer about.

        We can reduce some costs, that of unnecessary over treatment and the treatment of the results of preventable medical error by reducing both. But there will be increases in costs for very new technologies and medications.

        We need to put more into R&D especially in the areas of preventing high cost problems like Alzheimer's treatment and care, infection control (need more and better antibiotics and virucides).

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:37:16 AM PST

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    •  Why Social Security? It's FDR's. (4+ / 0-)

      The hate is inherited along with the wealth.


      Markos! Not only are the Gates Not Crashed, they've fallen on us. Actual Representatives are what we urgently need, because we have almost none.

      by Jim P on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:42:21 PM PST

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      •  AND, there's over $2 Trillion in the Trust Fund (3+ / 0-)

        Just THINK of all the ways Casino Wall Street and investment bankers and money managers could conveniently "lose" that in offshore accounts where no one can get at the funds ever again [remember Enron?]....

        Oooooooh, shiny mountains of gold and silver and flying hundred dollar bills [like the pallet of hundred dollar bills worth several billion flown to Iraq; no one knows where that money ended up].

        It dazzles the greedy senses, doesn't it?

        For the record: I don't want Chained CPI.  I would rather have a logical COLA, which would be possible if the cap on FICA was taken off, and it would extend the number of years Social Security would remain solvent - provided our arsehole Congress Critters and the president don't start any more stupid, expensive wars and borrow against it.  I also want everyone to be able to buy into Medicare, a not-for-profit single-payer government-run program (actually being managed efficiently; surprise!) without interfering corporations who need profits we will be paying for, thanks to Obamacare and corporate interference in government.  For a Medicare buy-in to run efficiently, new employees would need to be hired to handle the paperwork (instant impact on the economy, job creation), and cost limits would need to be imposed on the skyrocketing greedy medical institutions who keep raising their prices which necessitates expensive supplemental insurance that SSI and SSDI recipients can't afford since they're already paying for Medicare Part A and Part B, and were forced to buy private prescription insurance for Part D.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:40:33 PM PST

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        •  There is no money in the trust fund. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auapplemac

          There is debt in the form of T-bills.

          The actual money's already been spent in the form of payments to recipients and whatever Congress has chosen to fund with the proceeds from the T-bills.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:32:47 PM PST

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          •  What the bloody hell do you want (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            earicicle

            the government to do with the FICA funds, the Social Security Trust Fund? Sleep with the checks under their pillows? Put it into non interest bearing (or at .01% interest, same thing) at all the banks and credit unions?

            Those funds are invested in the safest investment in the world which just happens to be US Treasury Bonds. These bonds generate interest which go to increase the balance on the Social Security Trust Fund — no where else.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:45:07 AM PST

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            •  What the bloody hell is your problem? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox

              Can you read English?
              Can you do math?

              Did you read the parent comment to mine?
              Did you understand my response?

              Those T-Bills do not represent money available to the government.  They represent an obligation by the government to repay the Social Security System so that future benefit payments can be made.

              There is no pile of gold to be spent by anybody.  For that matter, it's entirely possible that big chunks of that money actually did get spent lon

              the pallet of hundred dollar bills worth several billion flown to Iraq; no one knows where that money ended up
              .

              That's what happens to excess Social Security payments. They go into the General Fund to be spent on whatever Congress wants to spend them on.  At least we get an IOU in return.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:45:40 AM PST

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            •  Think you replied to the wrong comment. (0+ / 0-)

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:29:35 PM PST

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      •  That true. But how does that explain that one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, midwesterner

        member of our Democratic Party Leadership (James Clyburn, SC) forcefully and unabashedly supports "means testing" Social Security.

        This video was posted on another progressive blog, some time ago.

        Watch the last couple minutes of this YouTube video, where Rep Clyburn spouts "right-wing" talking points

        [Clyburn states that at almost 70 years old, he's not "thinking about retirement."]

        Folks, we need to start calling Clyburn's office to urge him to drop his support for this ASAP.

        Thanks, Joan, for the diary.

        And yes, Politico likes to throw around the word "liberal," when it's totally unwarranted.  

        The question is:  "What can we do about it?"

        Mollie

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:01:24 PM PST

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        •  Sorry, can't do it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie

          One of the most fundamental things I believe is that we as a society should help out the poorest among us more than we help out the most affluent (for obvious reasons! the wealthy don't need our help).

          Why shouldn't Social Security be tilted towards the poorest and neediest? Why shouldn't Mitt Romney's Social Security check increases be tied to a chained CPI?

          I know the reason most given is that this would be the first step on a slippery slope towards abolishing the program, but I find that argument entirely unpersuasive.

          •  You might want to rethink, then. (0+ / 0-)

            Name one actual welfare program that hasn't been slashed to bits over the last 30 years--even by Democrats!

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:04:16 AM PST

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            •  As I can tell, there is no third rail of politics (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryduck

              anymore, since it is clear that the hatchet is going to be taken to Social Security and Medicare.

              So, what does it matter anymore, whether or not this is a "welfare" program?

              IOW, we wouldn't all be having this conversation if it weren't for the fact that the Administration, and our bulk of lawmakers appear to be quite willing to make cuts to the social safety net (and there is no means testing of Social Security at this point, in time).

              Mollie

              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:47:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, I agree with you there, to be sure! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musiccitymollie

                Making anything a welfare program, though, surely greases the rails--the non-welfare programs have held out the longest . . .

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:13:54 PM PST

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    •  I think the long game is to make it less (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, midwesterner

      responsive and helpful to people who really need it. Weaken it anyway possible and then try to get drowning retirees to accept 401k type private accounts. Wall St to the rescue.

      The average 401k earns financials $150,000 in fees over its life. Multiply that by millions of accounts and you are taking real money, even by Wall St. standards, if you can put Wall St in a sentence with standards.

    •  Why do you rob banks? (0+ / 0-)

      Because that's where the money is.

      Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

      by chuckvw on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:06:02 PM PST

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    •  Not necessarily why, but here's how... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad

      From Paul Blumenthal..paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com

      "According to a review of tax documents from 2007 through 2011, Peterson has personally contributed at least $458 million to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to cast Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and government spending as in a state of crisis, in desperate need of dramatic cuts."
      That's "at least".  And that doesn't include the Koch's, de Vos', Waltons, Simmons and the other sociopaths.

      Mental illness is rampant among rightwing billionaires.

      If we had doctors declare them to be insane most of the ills of society could be solved.

      Are there any doctors out there willing to begin the process of committing Linda and Peter Peterson, bros. Koch, etc.?

    •  The focus is on SS because it generates Dem votes. (0+ / 0-)

      The reason Medicare is a problem is the Republicans screwed it up.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:55:32 PM PST

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