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View Diary: Raising the retirement age means poor people subsidize rich people's retirements (38 comments)

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  •  Read this piece this morning. (5+ / 0-)

    Apostate warning: this data does argue for SS reform, but combining two aspects: means testing and eligibility age. The wealthy should receive retirement benefits later, the poor sooner.

    I've been hesitant to make this observation (I'm not flameproof), but the demographics argue for such changes if fairness is a goal.

    Republicans represent both sides: the insanely rich and vice versa.

    by Crashing Vor on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 11:43:07 AM PDT

    •  If Fairness is the Goal It Should Be a Progressive (6+ / 0-)

      program in benes and FICA payments both. The notion that keeping it level so it won't be attacked as welfare has ended. The right and the rich want to end it altogether even though they can draw it. There's no longer a justification for not making it thoroughly progressive.

      Of course there's a REASON for not doing it: we can't legislate.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 11:46:29 AM PDT

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      •  Simpson /Bowles want means testing to (6+ / 0-)

        Turn social security into a welfare program to undermine support for it. If you turn into a welfare program it will lose public support and be cut.

         

        •  I've heard this argument many times, but for the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WheninRome

          life of me, I don't see the likelihood of this happening.

          People, generally speaking, aren't well informed on Social Security.  Their taxes are deducted, they get older, retire and receive Social Security.

          At some point - assuming means testing or eligibility dates are tied to income -- we're supposed to believe they suddenly become enlightened about all the various subtleties of the system and cry out "Welfare!"?

          I don't see it.  And that may be a fault of mine.  But everyone pays in and everyone receives benefits.  Just like today, we don't see seniors arguing with each other over the formula by which their exact amount is determined, I don't see how means testing for amounts paid or dates eligible would instantly cause a total loss of faith in the system.

          If anything, the vase majority of our population who are lower wage earners would see the system as more "fair" and be stronger supporters.  

          We could make the same argument in reverse:  Millionaires receive the most generous Social Security benefits, therefore, it is welfare for the rich and must be discontinued.

          Anyway, I just have been unable to see that that particular argument holds "reality water."  :-O   Again, it may just be me.....

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:11:30 PM PDT

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          •  Seniors are informed (0+ / 0-)

            I recently applied for Social Security.  There was no means test.  You don't think I'd have noticed it if they'd asked me to document all sources of income and reduced the benefit accordingly?  I mean they have the calculators all over the place to estimate your benefit or you can request more accurate estimates at various retirement ages.  Your benefit is based on past wages earned not on your gross or taxable income or your wealth.  If you have to add all that into the calculation of your benefit, you betcha that will cause resentment.  

            And you know where that resentment is going to come from?  It's going to come from all those "affluent" seniors with only about $50K or $60K in income when they find out their benefit is going to reduced.

            •  decreasing benifits without cutting taxes (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbell, YucatanMan

              Is a tax increase.

            •  I don't see why people at that level of income (0+ / 0-)

              would have their benefits be reduced.

              The means testing should focus only on the very highest earners - like those who escape the tax due to the cap.  At that level or double that level or wherever.

              But it should not apply to people who earn the average household income in the USA.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:47:48 PM PDT

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          •  I have never heard any old and/or (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            YucatanMan

            conservative person grouse about SS.

            Ever.

          •  "Entitlements" (0+ / 0-)

            I beg to differ about means testing.   Once you start means testing the corporate media will be doing the work of the powers to be and calling Social Security the "welfare program".  

            How do you think something that everyone pays into got labeled an "entitlement"?  

            Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

            by howd on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:56:14 PM PDT

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            •  They could say the same things today. There's (0+ / 0-)

              nothing tying them to accuracy or reality as it is.

              The "entitlement" usage simply proves that it true.  

              The exact details don't really matter (see "Obamacare").  The media says what it wants these days.

              In Roosevelt's time perhaps the media were tied to facts. And it isn't just FOX.  I had to hear some RW wacko ramble on and on today on the Diane Rehm show about how government spending cannot possibly help a recession.

              The media will say whatever they want, regardless of the details of any program.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:43:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Do you really think they will not quickly learn (0+ / 0-)

            once they hear stories of how their parents had to go around their house and add up the value of every little thing they own down to each and every plastic cup, knife, fork, and spoon once means testing is implemented?

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:19:47 PM PDT

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            •  I think that's a bit much. There are many (0+ / 0-)

              programs active today where your wealth and income has to be documented, but they are all aimed at the poor.  The paperwork isn't nearly as crazy as all that.

              And this would be somehow more onerous if the rich had to do the same thing?   Somehow, that's hard for me to see.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:46:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Once you make it welfare (9+ / 0-)

        then people can no longer claim that they have "earned" their Social Security benefits.  It's then just welfare -- charity -- for old people.  And, people will start to complain that this group or that group doesn't deserve it, or didn't work hard enough, or whatever, and "reform" it.  (Remember welfare reform?)

        This country has a very strong work ethic,  a very strong belief that people are entitled to what they work for, and a very strong belief that people should not expect something that they didn't work for.  FDR built on that when he designed SS.  He made a system where people could claim that they "earned" their benefits, because he knew that then, the opposition could not kill it.  People would be up in arms about the government taking away something that they had "earned" and "paid for" all those years.  If you take that away, and make it welfare for old people, you completely undercut the system and make it far, far easier for the opposition to kill it.  

        •   well said, coffeetalk (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye
        •  Yes, Means Testing = Welfare (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye

          Very nicely said indeed!

          As I mentioned above, once you start means testing the powers to be will have their corporate media begin undermining SS by starting to equate it with welfare.  

          If we really had a 4th Estate and not a corporate media, the public would universally know that one of the main reasons SS will be underfunded is that it is only capturing, i.e. taxing, approximately 83% of the wages whereas it was designed to capture at least 90%.  Raise or eliminate the cap and the SS funding issue is greatly mitigated.

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 01:05:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree about raising the cap back to (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, Noddy, howd, denise b, VClib

            90% of wages.  

            I disagree about eliminating the cap.  That would result in paying millionaires retirement benefits of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.  The small amount of extra money you would reap is not worth the political problem that would cause.  

            When we in New Orleans went through Katrina, those of us who didn't know before learned that federal flood insurance was capped at $250,00.  Wealthy people who wanted more coverage had to buy (more expensive) private flood insurance over and above the $250,000.  SS should be like that -- you are allowed to "insure" up to a certain amount in wages.

            •  Agree On Raising, Not Lifting, the Cap (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              I agree that raising the cap and not lifting the cap entirely is the way to go.  

              In addition, I think the fairest thing to do is to increase the SS cap to capture 90% and then, just so those making over the new cap don't feel like they aren't contributing their fair share, increase the income tax rates on incomes over the cap.  

              Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

              by howd on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 02:53:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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