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View Diary: The Third Rail: When Did Social Security Become A Dem Bargaining Chip? (314 comments)

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  •  Means testing is not a good thing...why you ask? (9+ / 0-)

    Talk about a reason for the rich to scream and holler and to start more "class warfare" until the Dems cave again and start cutting and cutting.....

    Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven. William Shakespeare

    by lutznancy on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 03:24:00 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Only a minute segment of 'the wealthy' take a (7+ / 0-)

      hit on this proposed cut.  Check out this table.

      Screenshot_032013_114400_PM

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


      hiddennplainsight

      by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 03:56:54 PM PDT

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      •  Actual Numbers Don't Matter (18+ / 0-)

        The difference is qualitative, not quantitative.  Once ANY sort of means-testing happens in Social Security, its essential character is transformed, from social insurance into welfare.  FDR's very conservative advisor Big Jim Farley understood this, and he was the one that from the outset of the internal discussions within the FDR administration insisted that it had to be a social insurance program to survive, that every welfare program is perpetually vulnerable to the vagaries of public opinion.  Farley's argument itself has well stood the test of time, as one after another welfare programs have risen, lost support, and vanished from the pages of history, while Social Security has rolled on like the tide.  The split second a crack in that wall is opened, the right will move immediately to drive a permanent wedge.  If a Democratic Party gives the right that opportunity to destroy the Dems crowning social achievement, the Dems will crumble as a party--and deserve to.

        Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

        by ActivistGuy on Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 07:53:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Social Security is an insurance (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie, YucatanMan

          program.

          You have to fall into a certain category to get disability benefits.  Another category to get survivor's benefits.

          There's no reason why the insurance for retirement can't be "above a certain age and under a certain income".

          It's not a huge change and it doesn't make it welfare.

          Welfare means you never need to pay in.

        •  I simply don't buy that argument. I know the (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, Creosote, zaka1, Geary, 3goldens

          folks advancing it are well-intentioned and want to protect Social Security to the greatest extent possible, but I don't buy that avoiding means testing keeps them from trying to destroy SS.

          Right now, there are billionaires spending about as fast as they can to destroy Social Security.  One billionaire has made it his single focus issue and spent for decades to destroy SS.

          And so it is protected now by avoiding means testing?  

          Seriously, the combined Wall Street, right wing, billionaire funded assault on Social Security is under way.

          And we're supposed to believe that, apparently, liberal billionaires will begin to attack it.. or what?

          The people we are talking about for means testing are already able to live totally w/o SS.  What would be their motivation to attack it more than they are already doing?  They already are trying to destroy it.

          "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 Fri Mar 29, 2013 at 09:40:20 PM PDT

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          •  Of course it doesn't stop them from *trying*. (4+ / 0-)

            Nothing can stop them from trying.

            That's not the point.

            It's about whether or not they can convince the people with the other 40% of all the wealth - the rest of the top 10%.

            Whatever the Lords can get the mere nobles to agree to will be made law.  The rest of us are irrelevant.

            income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

            by JesseCW on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 02:36:37 AM PDT

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            •  Well, that's a very good point. (0+ / 0-)

              I just think that if the other nobles have no heart, soul, or ability to understand how the safety net lifts all boats, then some detail or other about how the program operates is not likely to make any difference in their support or opposition.

              It isn't like the payout from SS at their level of income is going to make any difference anyway.

              Yes, I understand the argument.  And I respect those who are making it because certainly their hearts are in the right place.  But the nobles will do or not do whatever they wish, in my opinion, without caring much about SS payout.

              Personally, I feel their support or opposition is motivated more by their political philosophies - liberal, moderate, conservative - and by their attitude toward lower income workers.  The formula stuff -- how much they personally get back versus how much they paid in -- I personally don't think they consider much.  Likely, they never stop to calculate it, since it would be such a small part of their income.

              Anyway...  We all do agree that SS should not be cut.

              "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 Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 12:56:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  If you include the proposals to "bump at 80" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie

        the wealthy do even better, since they're far more likely to live that long.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 02:34:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's the proposal on the "bump" from The Moment (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          Of Truth, Bowles-Simpson's Chairman's Mark proposal.

          Here's the excerpt and a link to the proposal.

          RECOMMENDATION 5.3:  ENHANCE BENEFITS FOR THE VERY OLD AND THE LONG-TIME DISABLED.

           Add a new “20 year benefit bump up” to protect those Social Security recipients who have potentially outlived their personal retirement resources.

          The oldest old population--those over age 85--is projected to expand rapidly over the coming decades: from 5.8 million this year to 19 million in 2050.

          To better insure against the risk of outliving one’s own retirement resources, the Commission proposes a new "20-year" benefit bump that offers a benefit enhancement, equal to 5 percent of the average benefit, 20 years after eligibility.

          The enhancement is phased in over five years (1 percent per year).

          Eligibility is defined by the earliest eligibility age (EEA) for retirees and the determination of disability for disabled workers.

          These policy proposals would be hilarious, if they weren't so tragic.

          According to IL US Representative Jan Schakowsky (see Reuters Op-Ed above), some beneficiaries under Bowles-Simpson stand to lose up to 35% of their Social Security benefit.

          But we are supposed to 'jump with joy' that a small percentage of folks will likely live long enough, to recoup a very small portion of their initial loss?

          What's wrong with this picture?  ;-)

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


          hiddennplainsight

          by musiccitymollie on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 02:57:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Rereading my comment, did not intend to imply that (0+ / 0-)

            I am in any way AGAINST the '20-year bump up.'

            Just consider it way too stingy and insufficient.  

            Especially in light of the amount that the Bowles-Simpson recommendations would actually 'take away' from beneficiaries from the 'git-go.'

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


            hiddennplainsight

            by musiccitymollie on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 10:02:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The Table below is part of 'why' IL Rep Schakowsky (0+ / 0-)

        sounded alarm bells in October of 2012.

        The "big" drop in percentage of replacement value occurs for those of very modest means.

        IL US Representative Jan Schakowsky references this in her Reuters Op-Ed, The Sham of Simpson-Bowles.

        Here's an excerpt and a link.

        The sham of Simpson-Bowles

        By Rep. Jan Schakowsky, October 24, 2012

        . . . In one of its few specific points, for example, Simpson-Bowles mandates a top individual tax rate of 29 percent “or less.” Much like the vague Romney proposals, the Simpson-Bowles plan would make up the shortfall by eliminating tax loopholes, suggesting options such as having employees pay taxes on their health benefits. Not only is this likely to increase costs to middle-income families, it could threaten coverage altogether. The proposal for corporate tax reform would eliminate taxes on profits earned overseas, rewarding companies that move jobs offshore. . . .

        Under Simpson-Bowles, long-term solvency for Social Security is achieved mostly by cutting benefits. Seventy-five years out, the ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases is 4 to 1.

        For future retirees, all these changes taken together would reduce the average annual benefit for middle-income workers – those with annual earnings of $43,000 to $69,000 – by up to 35 percent . . .

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible."-- Frank L. Gaines


        hiddennplainsight

        by musiccitymollie on Sat Mar 30, 2013 at 02:43:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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