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View Diary: They have been trying to "rescue" Social Security through the years. Looking back. (22 comments)

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  •  Well I am defending Social Security too (4+ / 0-)

    And my preference is to NOT eliminate the tax cap.

    It sounds as progressive as all get out, but has a strong risk of evoking the Law of Unintended Comsequences.

    And BTW "Scrap the Cap" has been proposed and is supported by a number of grass roots organizations as well as DC based policy advocates. Oddly enough the efforts are being spearheaded by two very loosely affiliated organizations with the same name: Social Security Works-WA, part of the Seattle based Economic Oportunity Institute headed by John Burbank (who I met) and Social Security Works (DC) headed by Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson, who together also serve as co-directors with Roger Hickey of CAF (Campaign for Americas Future) of the SSSC, the Strenghten Social Security Coalition. SSSC in turn has a membership of over 200 progressive, senior, and union organizations, most of whom have endorsed some sort of cap increase policy.

    You can find links to most of these organizations in the Blogroll of the dKos Social Defenders Group, the sponsor of this blogathon. So I think you will not find yourself as lonely in this as you might think.

    In fact it is progressive opponents of cap increases like me that are the outliers. I feel lucky that they return my e-mails and don"t relegate me to their spam filters. If you want to get busy in the Scrap the Cap movement there are plenty of opportunities, in fact Googling on that search string is a good way to start.

    Tell them Bruce sent you. Because most of them know me. Sure they think I am an out there loon. But hey as they say in Hollywood "there is no such thing as bad publicity" - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

    by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 02:50:20 PM PDT

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    •  What is their proposal for benefits? (0+ / 0-)

      New bendpoints or extend 15% forever?

      Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

      by Clem Yeobright on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:02:57 PM PDT

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      •  Not sure. Robbie Stern at EOI/SSW-WA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        Is the outreach guy. I am sure he would respond to e-mail.

        My hazy recollection is straight cap increase with no changes to bend points but LITERALLY don't quote me. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:12:37 PM PDT

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        •  Do you know the article at on this? (0+ / 0-)

          I'll have to read it thoroughly in the middle of the night, but I see that it deals with a lot of variables that have barely been touched on here.

          For instance, the effect on spouses. It's a topic I have touched on in several posts this week, but I notice the article analyzes the number of spouses who under present circumstances elect to receive their own earned benefits but with a higher cap (or no cap) would be better off with 50% of their partner's, i.e., a higher outlay by SS that would benefit ONLY high earners.

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:23:16 PM PDT

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        •  By the way, I took your advice and bought (0+ / 0-)

          the Laursen book. I'm less than half-way through it but I figure I'll be done by the ides of April. I'm enjoying it. Thx for the referral.

          Too late for the simple life, too early for android love slaves - Savio

          by Clem Yeobright on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:34:39 PM PDT

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    •  Hi Bruce..Could I ask (0+ / 0-)

      what exactly you think might happen as a result of raising the tax cap and the "law of unintended consequences?"

      I can guess - maybe the affected voter group would be less likely to defend SS in the future?  Etc??

      Also, do you favor any SS tax increase or any change in benefits (means testing, reduced COLA, etc)?

      As a member of Courtesy Kos, I am dedicated to civility and respect for all kossacks, regardless of their opinions, affiliations, or cliques.

      by joedemocrat on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 04:41:26 PM PDT

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      •  Crowding out of Social Democratic agenda (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright, Roger Fox, blueoasis

        Is no 1

        The financing problem facing Social Security is small and more important distant. And it has $2.6 trillion in current assets legally backed by Full Faith and Credit of the United States. In fact it is the very size of this asset that has led the Right on a desperate quest to 'prove' that Special Treasuries are not 'really' assets based on logical arguments that a single entity 'the Federal Government' cannot owe itself so that the whole idea of those Treasuries being assets to Social Security and debts to the Public Fisc are nonsense.

        Well this argument is legal and historical nonsense. On the other hand why send a huge new flood of revenue towards a program in a way that would only boost existing Trust Fund balances and have the actual collected revenues flow through to the General Fund in a way that gives cover to tax cuts and military acquisitions? I mean the Left just spent three decades bitching (incorrectly) that the 1983 Reform just enabled the budget liars and thieves and their preferred policy response is to send MORE cash into that pipeline? How does that make sense?

        Taking another tack. You might agree with me that top marginal rates should not only be restored to Reagan era 50% rates but even to Kennedy 70% levels. But even if you could achieve even the former there are only so many bites you can take at that same apple. And extending the current 12.4% combined FICA tax to all income, and say including 'unearned/non-covered income' (I.e. capital gains) immediately takes top rates on paper to the high 40s all to send money to (and through) a program that will not actually need new revenues for 20 years. If ever. As such raising the cap allows the wealthy to cry poor "Why you are already taking 46%' how can we possibly afford to pay for Head Start, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy whatever? You progressives ALREADY took it to pay for unsustainable programs for Greedy Geezers!" even as the actual cash flowed through in a way that financed Wars of Choice.

        Social Security on a combined basis does not need more income to add to current assets and won't at earliest until around 2023. On the other hand the DI program in isolation needs mor funds RIGHT now of around 0.4% of payroll. And if we backfilled that DI hole say by treating DI dedicated FICA like we do Medicare Part A Hospital SECA and lifting the cap ONLY ON THE DI piece we could put DI into 75 year solvency and push combined OASDI needs for more revenu back to maybe 2027. At a cost of a 3% surcharge/cap lift.

        Which would leave the 9.2% NOT LEVIED via a total FICA cap lift available for everything else. Like kids. And world health. And technology to reduce climate change impacts. All we have to do is abandon the 'crisis' mentality that insists we need to tax the rich RIGHT NOW on EVERYTHING to pay for OMG SOCIAL SECURITY CRISIS.

        Well news flash. The slogan we used to beat back Bush in 2005 was "There is No Crisis". And you know there STILL ISN'T. So why buy into knee jerk "Just Scrap the Cap" messaging that silently concedes that 'crisis' is imminent?

        And God Help Me that IS the short argument against the cap increase. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 05:25:55 PM PDT

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      •  Northwest Plan for a Real Social Security Fix (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        Some online friends and I devised a FICA only plan based on phased in and triggered increases in rates. It is similar to Option 2 of CBOs 2010 Social Security Policy Options but is more flexible, particularly in allowing future year increases to be cancelled or pushed back as projections change for each Report Year.

        That is the 2012 version permanently solves the actuarial gap while never departing too far above actuarial balance (I.e a Trust Fund with a Ratio as high as today's 350) and of course never having projections fall below a TF ratio of 100.

        If the 2013 Report shows some change in 75 year actuarial balance (and typically those changes are small) then some future years that didn't have increases would be scheduled for them or some that did would have increases cancelled but once the overall plan was implemented these changes would be not only very small on a year over year basis but typically years out in time.

        The result is a tax only plan that has a solution that is simultaneously permanent yet flexible.

        The Northwest Plan can be combined with other policy changes. For example modest changes to the cap formula would allow the subtraction of some future FICA increases. Equally macroeconomic policy that actually served to move future projections of productivity and real wage would automatically be accommodated by Northwest. And in the extreme case of Low Cost Plus (better than Low Cost outcomes) you would see either reductions in FICA rates in certain future years or improvements to scheduled benefits.

        Basically for Northwest the methodology is the fix and Social Security always maintained in 10 and 75 year actuarial balance by incremental changes in the out years set in the current year. Meaning there is never any "wait and see" or second guessing of the Trustees/OACT projections. Because even biases to the pessimistic side ultimately self correct as actual results roll in. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 08:31:03 PM PDT

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