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You want to know how to save the economy?

Temporarily lower Social Security eligibility to age 55 and raise benefits by 15%.

Sounds crazy, right?

But only because the One Percent and the Media have moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we can no longer see out of the room and into reality.

The reality is that we need to move older workers out of the workforce so that young people can get the job experience and training that they need.

The reality is that we need to raise benefits to match the shadow cost of living increases over the last thirty years that government has excluded from Social Security by conveniently leaving out skyrocketing costs in housing, food and fuel from its calculations.

The best thing about this?

It's also a tremendous economic stimulus that will flush billions of dollars into the consumer economy, while providing security for old people and opportunities to work for the young.

Sounds crazy, right?

Not really.

What's really crazy is the government practice of requiring that all monetary expansion be brokered through a few privileged banks. We need to get money into the hands of humans, but our government is refusing to spend adequately into the economy at large, preferring instead to present gifts amounting in the trillions of dollars to its corrupt bank partners in the form of so-called QE.

The banks won't lend and they don't spend.

Instead, they are hoarding the cash, or using it to enrich a few insiders.

Reuters published an article recently where the author, a well-known economic journalist, suggests that central banks practice QEP -- Quantative Easing for the People -- instead of just giving money to banks:


No -- the crazy thing is that we ever considered doing anything else.

The money that the Fed is giving to the banks is our money.

Lowering the Social Security Eligibility age to 55 and raising benefits is a great way to start.

It just makes sense.

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  •  Tip Jar (278+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:55:31 AM PDT

    •  You could live on Social Security?? (19+ / 0-)

      More power to ya, I guess, if you can.

      But most people could not live on SS at 55.. even if it were raised 15% or even 20%.

      •  S/he just might have a bit of savings. Or (31+ / 0-)

        would do something s/he really enjoyed on a part time basis.

        And I'm afraid a lot of people are indeed living on SS.  Not well, but many have no options.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:46:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  True, it would really only work for people with (10+ / 0-)

        either incredibly low cost of living, or with somewhat substantial additional retirement funds or other trust-like incomes. And to the best of my knowledge, you can't start drawing off of a 401 K without penalty until...65?

        I think in order for it to work the government would have to do a retirement trifecta - lower medicare, SS, and the 401 K withdrawal age.

        Though from my POV, I couldn't retire at 55. It would be a major income loss for me.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:53:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  59.5 without penalties, and there are ways to take (15+ / 0-)

          withdrawals even earlier as an annuity.

          Where are we, now that we need us most?

          by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:34:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Of course (6+ / 0-)

          This scheme isn't going to work as well as people think it will.

          People with income and earning power aren't going to be the ones leaving the economy over this. All these good jobs that bink thinks will open up aren't going to. Why would someone quit a good job for the uncertainties and economic pain of 'retirement' at 55, not to mention the boredom?

          The people who will stop 'working' are going to be people who are unemployed or have marginal jobs with low pay
          (I.e. the people that need SS and Medicare at 55).

          They will start drawing on SS and Medicare, impoverishing the rest of us (since SS and Medi are payroll paid, the rich aren't going to cover it; they don't have the money in any case).

          So at the end of the day this scheme is a wealth transfer from younger people to middle-aged people who don't have good jobs or prospects for jobs. Try selling that to young people mired in debt, barely making ends meet, etc.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:14:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Guess what happens when you drain the pool (19+ / 0-)

            of laborers competing ferociously for 7.25 an hour and no benefits so that they can afford some Top Ramen to eat in the back of the mini-van they live in?

            Workers are empowered to demand better compensation.  Wages rise and benefits increase.

            The jobs we've allowed to become shit jobs become instead living wage jobs.

            Yes.  I think we can fucking sell this to young people.

            All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

            by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:31:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is never a free lunch (5+ / 0-)

              All this economic productivity to pay for all these 55-year-old SS/Medicare recipients, where is it going to come from? Who physically is going to do the work to support these people? And who is going to pay these people?

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:18:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Misquoting Heinlein isn't actually an argument. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FarWestGirl, BusyinCA, zesty grapher

                The velocity of money matters.  When it's immediately spent rather than horded, our economy gets stronger.

                What do you think people pressured into early retirement by economic circumstance will do with their money?  

                My bet is that most of it will go directly towards goods and services.

                Who is going to pay these people?  We The People.  The only power with the just authority to issue currency or determine to what purpose it is put.

                All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

                by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 05:16:28 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, first off... (13+ / 0-)
            This scheme isn't going to work as well as people think it will.
            Of course it isn't. Because it has a roughly (to four decimal places) a zero chance of happening. Ever. Much more likely that we'll raise it to 75.
            People with income and earning power aren't going to be the ones leaving the economy over this. All these good jobs that bink thinks will open up aren't going to. Why would someone quit a good job for the uncertainties and economic pain of 'retirement' at 55, not to mention the boredom?
            No, they wouldn't leave the job market. But I'll tell you one thing it could tempt people to do: move to jobs where they're making very little money but are giving back to society.

            Right now, if you're a small-to-medium-sized nonprofit, it's next to impossible to get really top-notch experienced people to come work for you. Because you can only afford to pay low wages, and the high-powered people who have a lot of experience tend to be the ones who, you know, want paying.

            If people like me could retire early, and draw SS, and also get some money from doing something that helps society, I know I'm not the only one who would seriously consider it.

            They will start drawing on SS and Medicare, impoverishing the rest of us (since SS and Medi are payroll paid, the rich aren't going to cover it; they don't have the money in any case).
            Wow. The rich don't have the money. I'm sorry, and here I thought I was in the reality-based world, where the top 1% of households (a little over 1M households, with an average combined income and capital gains income estimated to be over $1M, although of course what with tax shelters and offshore bank accounts and so forth we don't really know) could pay for social security singlehandedly and still have nearly half of their income left over.

            And of course we're not asking them to do that. Indeed, we only ask them to pay, say, 6% or so of Social Security. Instead of the 3-4% they currently pay (once you factor in how much they get back.)

            •  As for how much you could raise from "the rich" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              See here.  

              Under the longstanding Social Security structure, raising the cap doesn't even generate enough to make the existing system solvent over the long term.  

              Changing the fundamental nature of Social Security, severing the tie between the amount of wages insured and the amount of Retirement Insurance Benefits paid, does get you enough to make the system -- now, with a retirement age of 67 for most of us  -- solvent.

              Nowhere is there the money to fund something like this.  If you think there is, I'd appreciate your showing me the numbers.  

              •  You link shows raising the cap works. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wu ming

                I'm not sure what you are trying to say. And anyway, we are discussing 'problems' that hit decades from now, so IMHO it's about like discussing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

                Raise the cap, get money in people's hands with government spending aimed at helping the middle and working class, and reap the benefits.
                And the deficit peacocks can go squawk in the corner together.

                Life is a school, love is the lesson.

                by means are the ends on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:45:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It shows that if you change the nature of (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MGross, VClib

                  social security and sever the link between the wages insured (taxes paid) and retirement benefits paid, you can make it solvent.

                  For all the reasons I stated in other comments, for all the reasons FDR gave in 1935, it's a huge mistake to make that fundamental change in the nature of SS.  And no Democrat is about to run on a platform of "change Social Security as we know it."  

                  But even if you do that -- even if you make that fundamental change in the nature of Social Security -- there's no money to pay for something like the diary suggests.

                •  means - you can't raise the cap and not raise (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  the benefits for those paying in higher amounts. If you do that you end SocSec as we know it and violate all of the rules set at its inception.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 02:07:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I can think of another group (11+ / 0-)

            that would likely take advantage of this -- workers who have been paying into Social Security but who also are due a pension from their employers. Many public transit employees fit into this category. I know several who would love to be able to retire who are in their late 50s or early 60s, but they've got to hang in there for the paycheck because pension alone wouldn't support them and their families. (We're getting by on my spouse's pension, but we don't have kids to worry about.) You take those folks out of the driver's seat or mechanic's coverall and fill those jobs with younger people and you've lowered unemployment, especially for those who may not have a college degree. Sure, you're never going to get rich as a bus driver and the hours suck when you're starting out, but it's a steady job that's not going to be sent off to China, and there's room for advancement if you decide you want to go into supervisory or technical training.

            Others who might consider taking the opportunity would be those who have reached a certain point in their career where they want to try something different -- maybe they want to start their own businesses, or go into a different field. A colleague of my spouse's talked about how he was going to go into real estate after retirement...unfortunately he crashed his motorcycle and was killed 2 months before his planned retirement date. Maybe they'd just want to switch to part-time so they can spend more time with the grandkids or do some volunteer work in the community.

            It's an idea at least worth exploring -- no one's hiring those folks who are over 50 anyway so why not let them draw on their Social Security?

            "If we ever needed to vote we sure do need to vote now" -- Rev. William Barber, NAACP

            by Cali Scribe on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:11:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And teachers... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              antirove, SME in Seattle, wu ming

              As an added benefit, school districts which are currently strapped for cash and cutting positions could see great numbers of people at the upper end of the pay scale retire at 55. Each of these highly expensive workers, who do pay for themselves, incidentally, in efficiency and wise decision making, would be replaced by 2 or sometimes 3 younger workers who are at the start of the pay scale. Students would notice of course, but we have to do something quicky to open up the pipeline for new teachers, because, like farmers, their age is advancing and there are few newer people to move up and take their places. We call it "eating the seed corn"in the business. Not good for the future unless you want to starve.

              Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

              by OregonOak on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:59:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                Each of these highly expensive workers, who do pay for themselves, incidentally, in efficiency and wise decision making, would be replaced by 2 or sometimes 3 younger workers who are at the start of the pay scale.
                So which is it, do they pay for themselves or not?  

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:09:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  In Cost or Value Added? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wu ming

                  They cost more, and the value they add to the students, some of it unmeasurable, is greater than the cost each year. True in my case, anyway. Not in ALL cases, but I dont know of a case which is true in All cases.  

                  Accountant: A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. (Ambrose Bierce)

                  Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                  by OregonOak on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:32:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  the hell the rich don't have the money n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  That depends on your definition of "work for" (3+ / 0-)

          One group of people it would "work for" big time is the unemployed in that age bracket who really have no hope of getting a full time job at living wage with benefits again. This would totally enable them to focus on putting their lives back together and finding a situation that would indeed be sustainable, like a part time job or self-employment.

          Full disclosure: I am in that age range, but I am self-employed and would continue working, so I'm not sure how it would affect me. Medicare? Bring it on!

      •  Most people are already going to... (25+ / 0-)

        ...have to get by on little more than that.

        We need to stop deluding ourselves that the current non-system based on the myth of "personal responsibility" is working and can work for most people."

        The intent is and was from the first financial deregulation proposals to separate most of us from most of our money before we plan on using it and then blame us for not being "sufficiently responsible."

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:39:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What viable alternative is there? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, MGross

          I have seen no plan to replace SS with something else that would bring retirees more income and not bankrupt the nation.

          •  Well, For Starters (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zesty grapher

            A 50% cut in defense spending - which, btw, would still leave us spending more than the next 10 nations combined - redirected in full to Social SEcurity would allow for somewhere between a 33% and 50% increase in current benefits.

            Or, we move to a single payer healthcare system and use the enormous savings to increase Social SEcurity benefits.

            Or, we simply raise our historically low tax rates a bit.

            There are a LOT of viable alternatives out there - they just require us to make different CHOICES as a society.  

      •  Works for me 'cause I'm too old for the job market (35+ / 0-)

        I'm 60. My business failed, thanks to the banks and their new "I got my bailout but won't do ANY loans to small business even though I advertise I will" policies.
        I had a ten-year profitable record, but needed to clean things up and expand the product line in order to survive the new reality, post-recession. Went to my local bank, all the community banks, all the big banks. Same response: I know you have a good track record but we won't even think about loaning unless you have one piece of real estate with 2x equity to back the loan, and honestly you ought to have a second property to back up the first. Really, that's what I was told. And with the exception of one local bank, they were all dicks about it, like it was beneath them to even talk to me. My bank was busy processing $2M in flow per year but wouldn't give me the time of day, while at the same time refusing to pay THEIR TARP money back.

        So I walked and ended up BK. Suddenly the bank was all "Oh we could have done something for you", same guys. Sure, dudes, and FU.

        Now I'm out there on the job market, highly qualified in several categories and I'M TOO OLD. Can't get an interview and I know why. Have had HR "experts" tell me to lie on my resume and dye my hair. Not gonna' happen, I've hired folks for thirty-five years and I wouldn't give the time of day to someone who lied on their resume to get an interview.

        I was the last qualified candidate for a great position with a good company, yet it took four weeks to make the final decision--I found out they hired a just-out-of-business-school guy with zero experience but a fresh MBA and they had to wait for him to graduate. That's how bad it is.

        Oh, and the classic fallback of retail/service? Forget it. I have a friend that runs the local OfficeMax and he needs retail people, including an assistant manager. Went through the interview process with Corporate and everyone liked me, then it suddenly stopped and they hired some young workers. That's just the way it is: agism is real and everywhere.

        So, SS for over 55? Yeah that might be the only way most of us who are suddenly on the job market can survive. We won't have our houses anymore, we'll live by shopping at Ross and TJ Max and probably food stamps, nursing our aging cars along, but we're talking survival here, OK? And health insurance? What a joke. I can afford very high deductible insurance for my family at $1,000/month? Ha!

        Having said all this, I'm now working with another gentleman in his 60's who's invented a killer product--we're combining his engineering and my business talents to build a new company, are into three investors now. It's cross-your-fingers time.

        But what about all the rest of the older folks who have talent, energy, intelligence, and desire to contribute, but don't have the opportunity to create a new business? They are truly fucked. SS and Medicare might be their only hope to stay off the street and off the cat food.

        •  Good luck. I'm am paranoid about that happening (5+ / 0-)

          to me; i feel like in my industry that you either have to be at the top to stay alive after 50, or get laid off and rot till SS. What would you do differently had you known what was going to happen? I'm thinking about learning Spanish and perhaps getting my appraisal license =/

          •  Would have jumped ahead before rescession (10+ / 0-)

            Which of course I couldn't have done; who can know what's happening next year? If I knew that, I'd time the market and be so rich I'd be running as the GOP presidential nominee. Heh.

            But seriously, here's what I'd do if I were in my 50's today: (I'm doing some of this at 60)
            -Catch up on the degrees and/or certifications, if you don't have them, or get the MBA (or other type of advanced degree specific to your industry) if you can. Make a plan, set aside one to two hours a day, one full day a weekend, and crank on it. When you are older, the degree is even more important to the job hunt.
            -Figure out a good business you can run PT at home, with your family if possible. Something that can produce a decent income, even if it's not a FT income.
            -That might mean gaining new skills, outside of the degree suggestion. Like web programming, or bookkeeping (a classic "retirement" job), or farming or baking or psychology or... What have you always wanted to do?
            -Downsize or work a second job, or cut back on everything else and get the house paid off. If possible. Or consider alternative options, like co-op ownership of a 'compound' or small farm or something, protected by a contract with the other parties. This is a little radical, but I think it's one alternative to single-family home ownership in the future. Anyway, do think of someway to get out of your mortgage payment or get it WAY down.
            -Or just rent. I can be cheaper or more expensive, depending on where and what you rent.
            -If you can handle living in a cheaper area, and still make a decent income in something you like, move. My daughter went to college in Richmond Indiana. To me, California native, it's the sticks...but the people are lovely, the area is nice, and the housing is incredibly cheap. Big lots, killer soil for gardening, and real weather (pro and con!) If I could move, I'd consider it, but my family is tied to our lovely/expensive coastal paradise. Though we do kick around the idea of rural NorCal.
            -Review what you do. Make a list, skills, knowledge, passions, etc. Do some mindful thought on it, with your family. The more we know, the more realistic we are about our lives and talents and skills, the better our choices.
            And so on. It's about thinking both ahead and out of the box, while being very realistic. And it's hard.

            Bottom line: figure out something that you love, that you can do, then invest the time to do it really REALLY well.

            Sorry to sound like a life coach. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately...

        •  Agism in the job market (10+ / 0-)

          I'm also a former small business owner and boy, I know this story well...

          I'm 54 and even with all the connections I had for a decade at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, I couldn't get a seasonal job sewing the buttons back onto to the costumes for $9.50 an hour. This is when I saw the cold reality - I'm probably never going to have regular job again, ever.

          All I wanted was a Pepsi!

          by La Diabla on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:12:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I always laugh(in anger) when the talking idiots (11+ / 0-)

          say that the problem with small business is government regulation, the problem for small business is THE BANKS, they are not lending and have not been lending since the start of this recession.  They are too busy taking government welfare and gambling in the stock market with the money we have given them at 0%.   The two things we need to do is fix the banks and the housing market.  We will become a jobs engine overnight.

      •  Millions of Americans *do* live on Social Security (16+ / 0-)

        It's not comfortable, but it beats the shit outta fighting rats for scraps.

        All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

        by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:27:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Most Pople WILL Be Living ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ....solely on Social Security.  Sadly.  

    •  I agree also, this is absolutely crazy! (8+ / 0-)

      The worst thing liberals could do right now, is to come out in favor of a free lunch!  The Republicans would knock this one right out of the park.  This is a crazy idea that would quickly cause huge economic problems, most likely leading to big inflation.  This is Greece on steroids.

      There are ways to do QE3 for the people, including buying underwater mortgages and writing the principle down, but simply giving money away is absolutely not one of them.

      Very bad Idea.

      •  Yup. This feeds right into the (4+ / 0-)

        tax and spend meme they throw around so carelessly.
        this is  a over simplified throw it all to wind who cares non solution.
        honestly - this is one of the most ridiculous recc'd diaries I've ever read here.
        and it's insulting to boot - get out of the way old folk (55?!?!)  and go live on the meager SS scraps so the whippersnappers can take over your job.
        that pays you well. that you may love.
          (speaking for me).

        and yes - Greece.

        We consume the carcasses of creatures of like appetites, passions and organs with our own, and fill the slaughterhouses daily with screams of pain and fear. Robert Louis Stevenson

        by Christin on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:07:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Writing down principal on underwater mortgages (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, MGross

        is giving money away to a specific group, and the perception issue is even worse.

        Where are we, now that we need us most?

        by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:36:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From your right leaning point of view, of course (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Hi Frank, haven't run across your right leaning posts in a while, hope you're doing well.

          •  I've voted for every Democratic candidate since I (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            worked on the McGovern campaign, and I volunteered for the Obama campaign, though living in Idaho makes it an exercise in futility.

            The comment that has you upset was in response to one that suggested the diarist's proposal would suffer in comparison to a mortgage principal writedown directed to underwater borrowers.  Perhaps you could explain why my disagreement with the comment is "right leaning"?

            It is true that I poke fun at the naive or delusional nonsense that various Marxists and anarchists post here.  If you don't like what I have to say you might direct your reply to the subject matter instead of indulging in cheap shots.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:10:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Marxists and anarchists at DailyKos? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And you poke fun at " naive or delusional nonsense" you read here?

              Despite your global warming denialism (which unfortunately calls into question your rationality), and talk about nonsense, I've never HR'd you, nor would I ever, and I've never even called you a troll.  Trying to respond to irrational denialism is a complete waste of time and serves no purpose.

              Idaho?  I border WY so we're almost neighbors, and we both probably have seen a part of the Republican party that others don't realize is out there.

              Here's what you said:

              is giving money away to a specific group, and the perception issue is even worse.
              One of the right wing big talking points, is the government shouldn't be choosing winners (like the auto bailout).  Your comment is very much like this, but maybe you had something else in mind?

              I'm not taking cheap shots, just interpreting what you are implying.  In fact, it's obvious you have some good background knowledge on many subjects, and I read your posts when I run across them.  Just count on me answering your posts when you post denialim BS and imply a right wing talking point.

              •  Yes. Anarchists at DailyKos. Right here. (0+ / 0-)

                You rang?

                All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

                by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:35:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Concerning the subject of this diary and comment (0+ / 0-)

                thread, I asserted that offering principal write-downs to those mortgage holders who are underwater would be perceived as unfair, in contrast with the social security changes the diarist proposed.  I did not state a position on the economic utility of such a mortgage plan.  In fact, I favor a comprehensive approach to government intervention in the housing crisis, with subsidies allocated to those in most need, including renters.  My ideas would undoubtedly be labeled as "socialism" by the right.

                Now for the off-topic claims about "global warming denialism".  I have never denied that the climate is warming, or that human activity, including fossil fuel use, meat production, and various other land use issues contribute to the warming.  If you can point to an example that contradicts this, I'd appreciate it.  I have also repeatedly argued for energy policies which reduce carbon emissions while protecting low income families from the price shocks involved in a transition to alternatives.

                What I have done and will continue to do is to point out the scientific evidence which calls into question some of the more hysterical claims one finds in climate change diaries and comments.  The term "climate change denier" may be accurate when applied to certain cynical or irrational individuals but it is simply a slur when used to suppress any skepticism about specifics of data series, paleoclimate reconstructions, or modeling skill.

                Where are we, now that we need us most?

                by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:54:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Fair enough, a couple of questions: (0+ / 0-)

                  1) Do you accept that global warming is a fact and that the vast majority of increasing temperatures is due to man made introduction of "global warming" gases?

                  2) Do you accept there has been an increase in extreme weather events over the last several decades and that the chances are many of these events are relate to the warming climate?

                  3) Do you accept that if we don't address the man made causes of global warming, now, it will lead to catastrophic conditions for billions of people in the next several decades?

                  Don't mean to put you on the spot, but I've heard many global warming denialists first move from denying any warming, to denying man made warming, and now trying to attack the details of the science in order to confuse the public into believing the general conclusions of the science are in question.

                  •  Fair enough, I'll try to keep answers brief. (0+ / 0-)

                    1.  The earth is warming, and there was an especially large increase in global temperatures in the last few decades of the 20th century.  Depending on what temperature series data is used the magnitude of this warming and spatial and temporal variations are still in question.  Satellite lower troposphere series, which only date to 1979, show less warming than surface station records.  Reliable ocean heat content series are even shorter, but show an increase in both surface layer and bulk energy.  I won't bother posting links here but you can see for yourself that uncertainty exists in the empirical record.

                    Of course the earth has been warming since the end of the Little Ice Age.  Proxy reconstructions that cover the last millennium show a warm medieval period, a cold LIA and modern warming.  If you accept the Mann et al reconstruction there is less variation than shown by other studies.  The importance of accurate reconstructions and a properly adjusted surface station record can hardly be overstated, since the attribution problem depends on back-fitting the global climate models to the data. When you say a vast majority of recent warming is due to greenhouse gases, that implies we understand the details of natural variation, as well as other anthropogenic factors such as land use changes and various aerosols.  It also implies that critical albedo, ocean oscillation and hydrologic cycle feedbacks are properly attributed.

                    I certainly think it is possible that most of the warming is due to CO2, but I also think it is possible that other forcings are not adequately understood.  There is a popular strawman used to dismiss solar influence, for example.  The total solar irradiance does not vary enough to account for much, but the scientists who are working on solar forcing are looking at UV and magnetic field variability, and the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation.  Given the current state of our understanding I think it is not justified to claim 80% or 50% or 30% of the observed increase is due to CO2.

                    2.  It depends on what you mean by extreme weather events.  Given the general warming one would expect heat waves to be hotter, but the 1930s episode in North America is not statistically different than today's exceptional summer here.  If we make claims about today we also need to explain past events.  You can go find papers that disagree with Hansen's attribution of the Russian heat wave as well.  IPCC in its latest impact publication states that drought in North America has decreased in severity and extent, while increasing in other regions.  NOAA has good info on these topics.

                    There is also data to suggest heavy rainfalls have increased over the period of record.  But there is no evidence of an increase in severe tornadoes, or of tropical cyclones (hurricanes).  

                    3.  I have always argued that an honest discussion of our policy choices should invoke the precautionary principal in the face of uncertainty.  Instead, we see unsupported claims of certain doom, which could backfire badly on those making them if we happen to see a decade or two of flat or cooling temperatures, which even the most pessimistic climate researchers admit is a possibility.  The best available data series on sea level, ocean heat content, tropospheric temperatures and ice mass balance do not suggest any sudden acceleration is underway.  We probably have time to deploy new energy technologies and to adapt to whatever changes in weather and ocean conditions develop in the near future.  Our predicament today is more driven by overpopulation and unsustainable resource consumption than by climate change.

                    Where are we, now that we need us most?

                    by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:03:57 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Thanks for the honest answer. (0+ / 0-)

                      It's natural variation, sunspots, 1930's dustbowl, Surface station flaws, Mann (nobody takes the Mann reconstruction seriously)...

                      Yep, straight out of the Global Warming denialist handbook.  CO2 could be a cause, but you have to disprove every pseudoscience nonsense I can come up with first, and I have infinite possibilities.  Muddy the waters by questioning data accuracy.

                      Sorry Frank, I've heard virtually every point you came up with above, in many different discussions with denialists, and they have either been repeatedly debunked, or are so trivial they have no impact on the conclusion reached by 98% of the scientists who have studied the subject.

                      You are indeed a denialist, but you're a good one.  You obviously have made a lot of effort to use the terminology and quote some studies to muddy the waters.

                      Do you have a science background?

                      •  So what is the numerical percentage of warming (0+ / 0-)

                        due to CO2 for any time period you care to specify, with error bars please.  I would really like to understand, as you apparently do, the allocation of warming (cooling) to direct forcing by CO2, other greenhouse gases, black carbon aerosols, SO2 aerosols, anthropogenic land use changes, cloud feedbacks, ocean quasi-peridodic oscillations at all known time scales, changes in TSI, changes in UV flux, changes in solar magnetic activity, and any thing else that you care to include.

                        It is hard to be a denier when you won't give me something specific to deny, or not.  I understand that matters of religious conviction do not usually come with uncertainty metrics, but in this case I'm sure you'll agree that it is important to provide an envelope around the numerical estimates or both past and future climate change.

                        Yes, physics, but a career in computer engineering.

                        Where are we, now that we need us most?

                        by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:33:09 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  As I said, I've been through the wack-a-Mole (0+ / 0-)

                          stuff many many times before.  If I tell you it is widely accepted that increases in greenhouse gases have caused about 1.7W/m^2 of forcing, and that aerosols still have a high potential for some error, you will simply come back and say what about this, or that.

                          The fact is, 98% of scientists (involved with studying climate) agree, virtually every national science organization in every country in the world agree, that man made global warming is occurring.  But the denialists will continue to claim the earth is flat, and there is nothing that can ever be said to bring them back to rationality.

                          Physics is good.  Started out with Physics for me, finished with Physical Geography, ended up writing software.

                          •  As they say, the direct forcing at TOA due to the (0+ / 0-)

                            increase in CO2 is simple physics.  None of the serious skeptics you like to call deniers questions this.  Very few try to argue that none of the measured warming is due to this forcing.  The rest is not as simple as you seem to believe.  I could send you link after link to reviewed papers differing with IPCC on the net sensitivity after feedbacks, or on reconstructions that differ with Mann.  Not to claim that they are Truth, but that there is active debate on these issues.  But I'll still be called "denier".  I'm getting thick skinned about it.

                            Where are we, now that we need us most?

                            by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:12:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  I do not understand why we are writing "down" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, means are the ends

          the principal (and that sounds like we are 'recording that it exists' not writing it OFF the books as we used to say)- anyway-

          Why are we not lowering the interest rates on everybody's principal???

          •  If done right, it would work, but it's risky (0+ / 0-)

            The banks will naturally increase interest rates if they knew the gov was going to step in and subsidize payments for mortgage owners.  If the FED buys the mortgages, or the mortgage backed securities, they inject money into the economy, and it's completely out of the banks hands as to what the FED does with those mortgages.

            I think that would be a good idea for the FED to buy mortgages where homeowners can't get their interest rates lowered by the banks, and then lower them down to almost 0 if need be.  It makes little difference to the FED if they have to hold those mortgages to maturity, and if they don't make a profit, so what.  The FED simply needs to get money into the economy (and be able to withdraw it), fast.

            •  Brilliant idea. Buy junk securities at face value (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              nuclear winter solstice

              and let the taxpayer take it in the shorts for another half trillion.

              That'll fix it.

              The highlight of my morning so far has been watching you and Frank Knarf argue about whose right-wing pro-Money Power nuttery is beyond the pale and whose is acceptable.

              I just want to thank you for that.  Colbert could not write the arguments either of you have been pushing.

              All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

              by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:38:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Who Cares What The (GOP/Rightwing) Perception (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Van Buren, Brooke In Seattle

          on this issue is? In fact, the government "gives money away" (via tax breaks/subsidies/tax credits) to various groups all the time -and the GOP never complains, especially if the "winner" is one of the GOP's campaign contributors -such as subsidies for big oil, or capital gains tax breaks for the wealthy, etc. The mortgage interest tax deduction is another example of the government picking "winners" (in this case homeowners), I could go on and on. You have fallen for GOP talking points.  

          •  I think we should be careful to separate what we (0+ / 0-)

            view as ideal solutions from what we understand to be politically viable policy options in the world we actually inhabit.  As I stated above, a just approach to the housing crisis would help renters as well as homeowners.

            Where are we, now that we need us most?

            by Frank Knarf on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:07:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  An interesting choice of words (3+ / 0-)

          Writing down principal is giving away money to a specific group but handing out bailout money to corrupt bankers isn't?

          Sorry, I'm not seeing any perception issue. I'm seeing a turnabout is fair play issue.

          "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

          by Phil In Denver on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:23:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Note however that you're just reinforcing (5+ / 0-)

        the diarist's point.  You don't give any economic reason to avoid the plan, only political reasons.  It's like the exact opposite of what politician do about global warming.  It's crazy to not do anything about it from a practical stand point, but it's also crazy to do something about it from a political stand point.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:47:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not so, QE needs to have sterilized injections (0+ / 0-)

          Typically QE is done by the Fed buying treasury bonds and if you have good fiscal policy, the government will invest in America's future by building things like solar/wind, mass transit, rebuilding infrastructure (without trying to add more cars), education, science...  But the Fed will get paid back over time.

          Simply giving money away, without being paid back, runs the risk of run away inflation (which hurts the poor and middle class), when and IF there is a big recovery.  If the FED buys underwater mortgages, they immediately help the people who are in over their heads, they help the housing market recover (not to the bubble years) which creates job, and with the recovery, the mortgages they just bought increase in value, so the FED can withdraw the excess money in the economy when the time comes.  And all those toxic MBS the banks owned, all of  a sudden aren't so toxic, so we put off another freaken banking crises for awhile.

          •  This is about more than just QE (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sethtriggs, JesseCW, wu ming, askyron

            And lowering the age that people can receive SS has more benefits than just getting more money into the system, it also would reduce the labor pool thus pushing down unemployment.  And the correlation with Greece is just wrong.  Greece has a relatively high retirement age.

            I think there probably are better ways to get a bunch of money out into the economy, but we aren't doing any of them because the left is too damn scared of being labeled leftist.  Which is just stupid in my eyes.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:02:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We are in great danger of having another lost (0+ / 0-)

              Generation.  When I look at my son and his friends, I see kids with little or no hope of finding jobs, much less careers.
              My kids pretty safe, but his classmates? This is something that might give them hope.

      •  not to mention (4+ / 0-)

        how exactly do you pay for this?

      •  We must always think "What would Republicans say" (4+ / 0-)

        before we have the gall to actually propose something that would benefit the people.

        We can give trillions away to Bankers, and that flow doesn't cause inflation, well, except in food, fuel, and commodities driven up in price as the the Banksters make speculative profits, but that stuff isn't official inflation .... but to give billions away to ordinary people (who paid for it) that's just bad news. What we need is to think of ways of cutting back getting money into the hands of ordinary people. This is the only way to restore the economy to the only economic system which ever really worked: feudalism.

        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:29:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The American People voted overwhelmingly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        for Government Intervention in 2008, and stayed home in droves in 2010 after not getting it.

        Your desire to preserve the Money Power isn't good politics, and would be cost us the White House as well as the House and likely the Senate, if the Republicans were running a serious candidate.

        The status quo is not sustainable and tiny cowardly tweaks will not make it so.

        All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

        by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:34:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mr anarchist :) this is supported by Stiglitz (0+ / 0-)

          Mortgage writedowns are supported by many economists, and as recently as a couple weeks ago, Krugman said the head of the FHFA should be fired for standing in the way of writedowns.

          Writedowns could effect $trillions of Mortgages, to call it a cowardly tweak is to not understand the economics.

      •  Not crazy...IF we can pay for it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        not sure where the money would come for this though. The reference to Greece is an absurdity, it's not at all comparable, but I'll tell you what IS comparable if we don't do anything: Spain. Where they currently have 52 percent unemployment for people under 30.

        "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

        by Phil In Denver on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:19:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, give everyone $billions IF you can pay (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          misslegalbeagle, Sparhawk

          I'm all in favor of lowering the retirement age to 35 if you can pay for it.  The whole point is you can't have something for nothing, and simply printing money so people can retire at 55 is mathematically impossible without major unexplained changes.

          •  First it's not "giving" money (0+ / 0-)

            Social Security is a contract between the government and its citizens. As citizens we pay into it for the entirety of our work lifetime, and we expect to draw upon it when we retire.

            Anything we get from it is money we have earned, nobody is "giving" money away to anyone, and it sure as hell isn't "something for nothing". Not by a very long shot.

            Now if you want to make a salient point, perhaps you can explain by what magic drawing on Social Security at the age of 65 is legitimate but not at age 55.

            "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

            by Phil In Denver on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:31:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are breaking the contract (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              misslegalbeagle, Sparhawk

              The contract is for working people under the age of 65 to pay the Social Security for people over 65.  You now want to change the contract so people under 55 will pay for people over 55.

              The arithmetic says, there will be a hell of lot more people receiving Social Security, and a hell of lot fewer people paying for it.  Plus you want to give them a 15% raise!  Social Security will run out of money in about 30 years when a far less severe demographic condition takes place.

              That is absolutely asking for something without paying for it.  

              •  This is absolutely false on its face (0+ / 0-)

                While it's true that the boomer generation is large and basically are the ones you are talking about, what every projection and prognostication I have seen on this issue fails to account for is the fact that the millennial generation is much larger even than the boomers. They will be soon paying in far more than boomers could possibly take out.

                That's just basic arithmetic. So the notion that social security will run out of money in thirty years is absolutely unfounded. It' s simply incorrect. It's really just right wing talking points and always has been.

                "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

                by Phil In Denver on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:45:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  "Anything we get from it is money we have earned" (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Not under this plan.  This plan would drastically increase benefits paid out, without requiring that beneficiaries pay an additional cent into the program.  How is that an earned benefit?

              •  What "plan" is that? (0+ / 0-)

                First, this "plan" is nothing of the sort. It's merely a suggestion at this stage, an idea, an objective, nothing more. That's important because details such how it is going to be paid for, which I explicitly questioned are left out.

                Let's not make knee jerk proclamations that were never stated nor even implied. The diarist posits a laudable and legitimate goal. All I'm saying is that this right wing notion that you apparently support of calling Social Security a something for nothing program is insulting and inaccurate.

                It is not something for nothing, and every year as a matter of course is is adjusted with COLA. I don't see you whining about that. That is not really that much different than simply adding 15% to the payout schedule. It's a matter of how funds are invested and paid for.

                "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

                by Phil In Denver on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 02:11:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I like this idea, but I would... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, fwdpost, Cedwyn

      drop the age permanently. Perhaps only to 60. Maybe to 55 temporarily and then slowly bring it back to 60 over a period of time.

    •  Not crazy. I've been saying this for years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, fwdpost, Nina Katarina

      We'd solve the unemployment problem by freeing up jobs. The new spending power of seniors would create even MORE jobs. It's a no-brainer!

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:19:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Turnin' 52 in a couple weeks (29+ / 0-)

    3 year to retirement!


    Unfortunately the last several years have devastated me finacially and I'll STILL have to work until I'm 70 or 75.... (barring my discovery of some tooth-whitening method that makes dentists furious...)

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 05:01:24 AM PDT

  •  Agreeeeeeee 1,000% (24+ / 0-)

    I have been saying for a couple of years now that lowering the retirement age to 60, immediately was a great way to both jumpstart the economy and improve quality of life, 55 may even be better.

    It is unfortunate that the solution to our countries economic woes is not that complicated if you take the politics out of it and just do what is logical and right, but alas that is never going to happen :-(

  •  The quote I used in today's (33+ / 0-)

    What's Happenin' diary from Bernie Sanders:

    “You have given the wealthiest [portion] of the population a break, and now you are coming before the American people and saying, 'We don't have enough money to protect the sick and the old,”
    ~ Bernie Sanders
    Well, as OPOL says you might be a crazy dreamer but it should not be considered so. I put a link to your diary in today's What's Happenin' Blog Posts of Interest section.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 05:33:42 AM PDT

  •  Which is Why Howard Dean Proposed It 4 Yrs Ago. (37+ / 0-)

    For similar reasons I was proposing Medicare for Micro-Biz to the Obama campaign and later the transition team. There are people moonlighting at all levels of income who can't quit to self-employ because of health care. Let self employed people buy into Medicare and millions would quit jobs, again opening up employment all up and down the ladder. And Republicans voting against it would be voting against business.

    No Democrat's going to propose anything like that.

    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 Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 05:35:58 AM PDT

  •  I don't think it helps young folks much. (4+ / 0-)

    But, as I posted above, I think it's a good idea anyway to solve the UE issue with the older folks, and Medicare needs to be dropped to 55 as well.

    Problem is that the UE older folks mostly don't have in-demand skills, which is why they don't have a job, which is why there won't be hiring of young people to replace them anyway. The folks making a good living at 50+ won't quit for SS benes; that'd be silly unless they have a shit-ton in their 401k/savings/retirement.

    •  I'm 54, make a decent living (9+ / 0-)

      and would retire in a heartbeat. When I get old enough to get my employers retirement plan payout, Social Security and Medicare, I will be making more than I make now, while working full time.

      "I'm grateful for my job - truly, but still...ugh." CityLightsLover

      by Audri on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:23:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not necessarily (20+ / 0-)

      A month ago I was one of the folks making a decent living at 50+, with a 401K that was coming back, education opportunities and a chance to learn new areas related to my current area of expertise.

      Now I'm job-hunting again at the age of 54 after 12 years in a company that I, at least, was planning on being with until I retired (at say, 70 or 80, the way things are going).  My husband is long term unemployed and over 55 -- he's been househusband and school volunteer and unpaid librarian and so on for the past decade or so.  We're facing months on unemployment while everything we've held onto over the past decade crumbles despite our best efforts.

      My "day job" is in demand (IT) but I am competing with people half my age who have been aiming their education and skills at exactly what I do. They don't have my experience, but on degrees and certs they have me beat.  

      Too many 50+ folks face exactly what I am now facing -- the subtle ageism of being the substantial salary that's just begging to be cut so that someone younger and cheaper can be brought in a few months down the line "when things have gotten better."

      President Obama could not throw us a better lifeline than SS and Medicare right now.  Let me stabilize our health situations; let me know there's money coming in and I can keep food on the table and the credit wolves from my door, and who knows?    See, I'm also a writer with books in the works.  Maybe I'm the next Richard Castle .  And if I am, I promise to pay my taxes in full and without question.  Wouldn't THAT be nice for the economy?

      "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

      by stormicats on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:27:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have no idea how this relates to or disagrees (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, martini, antirove

        with my comment in any way. If you don't have a job, then you won't be "replaced" if you're allowed onto SS.

      •  Degree and certs (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        martini, peregrine kate, akeitz

        Western Governors University has a program that delivers a BS with all the certs. WGU is cheap, non-profit, online. If you're an IT admin, you're used to focusing for hours on a problem, you'd crank this thing out. You probably have bunches of credits anyway that would speed up the process.

        Meanwhile, consultant IT is the direction a lot of business is going. If you've got a specialty or a group of specialties, start marketing, or affiliate with a temp group or a consultant group. You may earn enough to live on and get that degree.

        I have several friends "of a certain age" that make a decent living doing IT consulting, one is doing nothing but DB work, another is admin'ing systems, another is doing networking admin, and I know a couple of people that now do nothing but Web development (though one now has contracts to write ios apps).

        Make a list of all your experience, skills, systems, and languages. Look around at what's needed. If you've been working on older systems, realize that legacy systems are difficult to admin and upgrade and folks that do that are few and far between--and there aren't any recent grads with those skills. The DB person I know is completely legacy systems. Anyway, turn this list into a bulleted list that addresses the market--it's like a resume, without the flowers. You're just telling the employer/company/consultancy what you can do. Realize you are a PRO with great value that can solve their difficulties and market yourself as such.

        •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

          I'll look into WGU and believe me, I'm looking into what's needed and what I can offer.   But thanks definitely for the encouragement and the advice -- it's all golden at this point!

          "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

          by stormicats on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:49:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It would help young folks a great deal. College (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, Brooke In Seattle, wu ming

      age kids would no longer have to fight their grandparents for McJobs.

      All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

      by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:46:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah yes, so they get to replace them at McD's. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Good plan.

        Meanwhile, the folks 50+ with college degrees and good jobs are going to giggle at the notion of retiring early because they lost 60% of their 401k's 4 years ago.

        •  Wait - you're arguing is bad because a privileged (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alice Olson, wu ming

          minority of workers that are disapointed they're not as outragously privileged as they wanted to be won't choose to retire?

          Someone has to flip burgers, if people are going to eat burgers.  

          We either decide that some people just deserve lousy lives,  or we make a choice to make those decent jobs.

          The only way to make those decent jobs is to build a floor under the labor market.

          All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

          by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:12:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  50+ people with good jobs aren't going to leave. (0+ / 0-)

            Not for SS. So yeah, somebody's gotta flip burgers, but maybe we can look at some other policy if that's the only workers that will be replaced. I'm pretty sure we can't send the 50%ish young grads that are UE'd right now all to McD's to work.

    •  Ok. I just have to blunt. FUCK your right wing (3+ / 0-)


      Problem is that the UE older folks mostly don't have in-demand skills, which is why they don't have a job
      This is just fucking horseshit.  

      They don't have fucking jobs because the real economy is still in a goddamned Depression.  We're only posting GDP growth because of churn and burn bullshit on Wall Street.

      The jobs aren't fucking there because there is no demand, and there is no worker confidence.

      All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

      by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:48:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just more of your bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

        Standard JesseCW stuff. Not worth anyone's time. We wouldn't be talking about lowering the SS eligibility age if there WERE jobs, so that's the context that the grownups are discussing this within. Since there AREN'T many jobs, yes, employers are laying off and not hiring older folks who they don't feel are worth the $$$ to train-up. I

  •  Fantastic idea!! (11+ / 0-)

    This comes at just the time that the baby boomers are clogging (not a very nice word is it?) up the late stages of employment  - much against their desires - who wants to work until they are 70 (ok, some do - bank presidents might want to hang in there)?

    Dropping the age threshold for Medicare is also key - healthcare costs for the 55-65's are outrageous!

    bink - how can you think that Obama will propose/sign any such thing? Too fantastic I think.

    •  Didn't work in Greece, probably because the (0+ / 0-)

      economy was really in the crapper and some industries had tight rules for job recruitment and advancement.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:15:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That would be life changing (19+ / 0-)

    for me and so many others in these hard times. I was a military dependent, raising 4 children for over 30 years and now at 60, divorced, without health insurance and unemployed, I struggle to pay my bills and put food on the table. And who is going to hire a 60 year old woman when there are so many young people that need jobs. I haven't been to a doctor in several years. Although I consider myself very fortunate to be healthy, I know that nobody is immune to sickness. I'm just hanging on til I turn 65 for medicare.

    You can't stop progress!

    by gigihopes on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:07:05 AM PDT

  •  I agree that we need to get money into the (9+ / 0-)

    hands of people who will spend it. I think that lowering the retirement age for medicare would allow many older folks who are now unemployed to retire with some degree of security. The problem arises with those of us who are 60+ and still working. I have an old-fashioned job as a tenured professor at a large university. If I were to retire, the odds are that I might not be replaced my a 30-something newly-minted PhD in a tenure-track position. My job might be sliced and diced into several part-time positions at a much lower salary and without benefits. These are not the kinds of jobs we should be creating.

  •  Hear! Hear! (8+ / 0-)

    This is a personal project of mine: The correlation between increasing the number of Social Security beneficiaries and lowering the unemployment rate.

    I agree. Lower the eligibility age. That would be instant stimulus.

    Today we have the most unfortunate employment dynamic in which new workers (high school and college graduates) are competing with their grandparents for the same jobs. If the Social Security eligibility age increases, that dynamic will worsen.

  •  How do you propose that Social Security (10+ / 0-)

    pay that?  You'd significantly reduce the number paying in, and significantly increase the number getting benefits, dropping the ratio pretty dramatically.  I can't calculate the revenue hit that would mean to Social Security, but I suspect it's a lot.  

    And, of course, you'd have to decrease the eligibility age for Medicare proportionately, or all those retirees wouldn't have health insurance.  Medicare already financially is on an unsustainable path, according to the CBO.  

    So, sure, it's fun to say wave a magic wand and do x, y, or z.  But if you want a proposal to be taken seriously, you have to address the down side (costs and paying for it) as well as the upside.  

    •  Print it, if you have to (5+ / 0-)

      Same as the trillions for the banks.

    •  Oh, come on, that's been answered for years (28+ / 0-)

      Raise the cap.  Stop pretending that any income over $106,000 is invisible and we can't touch it. Stop pretending that capital gains isn't income.  Stop pretending that Social Security is a piggy bank that can be raided with impunity and pay back -- with interest -- all the money that's been borrowed from it.

      Like the Post Office's money problems, Social Security's "insolvency" is a manufactured problem.

      "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

      by stormicats on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:31:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  stop pretending that's enough (6+ / 0-)

        Raising the cap puts the current program much closer to 100% solvency. But expanding the program like this will be dramatically more expensive.

        I'm all for raising the cap as the first best solution to the current state of Social Security, but if we're talking about expanding the program, we're going to need to raise the tax rate.

      •  Nope. See my comment above. (5+ / 0-)

        Under current law, the more wages that are insured, the more retirement benefits that person gets when he/she retires.  So, making all income subject to SS insurance would raise some money, but not all that much since by law you'd have to pay those millionaires and billionaires hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits.  And that is, of course, a political problem.  

        The only way to change that is by legislation -- passed by both Houses, signed by the President -- changing the fundamental nature of SS as FDR designed it. (FDR correctly recognized that a system that could be sold as "you get what you paid for" would enjoy huge support and be impossible to kill.)   And how many people are running on "I want to fundamentally change Social Security as we know it"?

        As I said above, the most feasible thing is to increase the amount of wages that can be insured back up to 90% of covered wages.  That can be done without fundamentally ending the Social Security program that FDR designed and turning it into what he famously called the dole for the elderly.  That raises some money (because the return on your wage investment goes down some proportionately at the higher ends) but not all that much money.  

        •  Means testing. (0+ / 0-)

          Sure. Means test the SS recipients. That would be a very small change to the program. Social Security was designed to lift the elderly out of poverty. It was not designed to benefit those who are independently wealthy.

          •  and there goes the widespread political support (5+ / 0-)

            Means test it and it becomes welfare for the elderly. Then it becomes welfare to work for the elderly as it loses political support and the whole program is unwound.

            •  I do not follow your thoughts. (0+ / 0-)

              It could be spun that way, I suppose. As I see it - that would be a fulfillment of the fundamental principles behind Social Security.

              •  Once you means test social security (9+ / 0-)

                it becomes an anti-poverty program, not a retirement program. once that happens, it becomes a program

                "for those lazy people who didn't work hard enough to save,"

                the same way welfare/SNAP/Medicaid are for "lazy people who don't work hard"

                It will be much easier for the rightwingers who want to end the program to do so once it can be portrayed as for poor people, and once benefits aren't going out to 100% of Americans.

              •  Not "could be". Will be. (5+ / 0-)

                The Great Society has been undone.  The Poverty Rate is now higher than it's been since 1960, before Johnson got Welfare enacted.

                That is almost entirely because Bill Clinton took the floor out from under the labor market by torching the safety net.

                That drove wages down massively once it kicked in (and he was safely out of office).  Welfare was worth every dime the average worker paid in to it, simply because of its impact in supporting said workers wage.

                But nothing that looks like a give-away will last in America, no matter what it does.  Welfare cut Poverty in half and meant most men (sorry, the world is sexist) could support a family with only a High School diploma and a strong back.

                But if you can call it an unearned benefit, the American People will support its destruction.

                All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

                by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:54:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  SS was designed to be a (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OffTheHill, Calamity Jean, We Won

            "you get what you paid for" system.

            It was specifically NOTdesigned to be a "welfare" system for the elderly.  

            FDR correctly recognized that if seniors could say "I only want the SS benefits I paid for" the system would enjoy widespread support.  

            •  The Financial Elites have forced us to... (6+ / 0-)

              ...reconsider Social Security as something other than it's "original intent."

              Yes, SS was supposed to be a minor supplement to personal retirement, but that was when most of us assumed that some reasonable, sustainable amount of income would be distributed throughout the economy for nearly everyone to count on employer-leveraged pensions or other deferred savings instruments FOREVER. Few people who work "big box" or fast food even have 401ks as an option, let alone have a few dollars to spare to "grow" one. 75% of us who do have 401ks have less than $30,000 heading into the last few years of our intended full time employment lives.

              Unless we (somehow) force every employer to go back to the deferred compensation system and rules as they existed 30 years ago plus adequately supplement those who got robbed during the 30 years this has been going on, I see no need to unilaterally abaondon any consideration on re-engineering Social Security.

              The Financial Elites are more than welcome to make us "a better offer."

              They won't.

              When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

              by Egalitare on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:03:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here's why the system needs to stay (6+ / 0-)

                structured as is (in the sense that it's insurance and not based on your other income or assets).

                The middle class people who go to work every day and pay taxes are big on things being "fair."  And SS's Retirement Insurance Benefits, based on what you pay in, seem fair.

                Here's what would not seem "fair."  Two people each work to a point where they are making $106,000 at their peak earning years.  Person 1 lives in a one bedroom apartment, saves every sent  he can, and amasses a retirement account of $500,000 by the time he retires.  Person 2 spends every send he gets and then some, borrows against his 401k, buys a big house and then borrows against whatever equity he has in it, and has only $2000 in a retirement and not much else in the way of assets.  Person 1 is clearly richer than Person 2.  Person 2 clearly needs the benefits more.  Is it fair that we pay Person 1 less in retirement benefits based on "need"? Most people would say no. They like the fact that two people who insure $106,000 get the same  benefits, just like two people who insure $50,000 get the same benefits, regardless of whether they spend everything or save everything.  And they like to maintain the notion that THEIR retirement benefits are something they paid for -- not "welfare" -- because it significantly strengthens the argument that they are entitled (to use a word that has gotten a bad connotation in some scenarios) to their benefits.  The "you get what you pay for" basis of SS means that it actually IS an entitlement in the GOOD sense of that word -- i.e. you are entitled to what you paid for.  

                That's why the system is based on having benefits relate to what you pay in.  The system DOES favor the less well off; it's somewhat progressive in that you get more for each dollar paid in at the lower end.  But the system needs to keep a sense that it's based on what you pay in, or it will lose support among the middle class.  

              •  It was never supposed to be "a minor supplement". (4+ / 0-)

                It was, from its inception (and FDR is not the source of the idea, in fact he opposed it for as long as he could) intended to be the difference between a humane standard of living and absolute destitution.

                All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

                by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:56:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I think it would have to be phrased differently (4+ / 0-)

            Something like the idea that Social Security is the guarantee of a certain minimum retirement income, based on what you have put into the system UP TO A POINT.

            There are absolutely people who get more out of the system than they put in.  They live to be 90-something, which is a lot more than Social Security originally counted on.  Nobody's going to tell them, "Hey you only put in enough to live to be 86, so you're on your own again."

            And there are those at the high end of the scale who will get the top level of Social Security available -- and it will NOT be equal to what they put in.  Just like the person who never lives to retire because they die at 59.  Just like the person who retires and dies 6 months or a year later.  Even the surviving spouse benefits may never equal what that worker (or the pair of them) put in -- and that's what cushions the system for those who have been treading water all their lives and have no other sources of income, or who live to be 96.

            My grandparents never drew on Social Security.  They made too much money from investments.  But it wasn't SS that was their concern -- it was Medicare.  The buffer between them and bankrupting medical bills. Keep Medicare strong, and a lot more well-off seniors, I think, could be persuaded that it's part of living in a civilized society to make sure the widow down the street isn't reduced to eating cat food.

            "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

            by stormicats on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:06:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How far do you get in Congress with a campaign (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, Sparhawk

              to fundamentally change the nature of Social Security?

              It was designed as "old age insurance." (yes, that's actually what they called it.)  Like any other insurance, you didn't get a payout unless and until the event insured against happened (reaching retirement age).  But once the event happened, like any other insurance, your payout is based on the amount you insured (and the premiums you paid on that amount -- the taxes).  

              That's the system we have, by law.  Do you think you the votes in Congress to fundamentally change that system?  Do you think Democrats are willing to campaign to fundamentally change Social Security?

              •  But what amount did I insure? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I think that's the question we're coming up against, and the fear that drives those people who do want to change it -- for the worse.  The argument that there ISN'T enough to go around because more is being taken out than is being put in; that once the baby boomers are all retired, the following generations won't be enough to sustain it, especially if boomers live well into their 80s or 90s, which a significant portion of them will.

                They point out that when SS started, the life expectancy had barely hit 70, and many people never lived to collect SS.

                I think that we must be bold enough to re-evaluate the system for its own continuance and protection.  People who want to privatize it or raise the eligibility age to 70 certain have no qualms about putting forward their changes, as damaging as those changes would be.  Leaving it as it is means leaving all those fears out there to be played on by those who simply see a big pot of money they'd like to get their hands on.  The Democrats have got to be able to offer a viable alternative to counter the shrill fear-mongering of the Right.

                Do I have the answers?  Doubt it.  I'm not an economist and I need a calculator to balance my checkbook.  But somewhere out there is a Progressive answer to the Regressive one that's already out there.  We can't just say, "Leave it alone," or be afraid to touch it -- because the other side isn't afraid and has all kinds of ideas, none of them good for the 99%.

                Every single law, every single program, every single rule we make in America should be made with the understanding that Times Change.  What worked or was politically acceptable in 1933 may not be what's needed for 2013.  America is a living country with a living government.  We must be flexible -- to bend, to change -- or we will break.  The Founding Fathers knew it.  Jefferson called for it -- warned people about it.

                I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

                "There isn't a way things should be. There's just what happens, and what we do." — Terry Pratchett (A Hat Full of Sky)

                by stormicats on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:45:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You insure the amount (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  you pay taxes on.  If you pay taxes on $55,000, you "insure" $55,000.  What percent of the amount you "insured" you get back every year in what the SSA calls "Retirement Insurance Benefits" is subject to a complex calculation, but it begins with the amount you insured.  That's why, for example, people who don't pay Social Security taxes (like Louisiana public school teachers) don't get Social Security retirement benefits.  And, if you make all your money on capital gains, even if it's someone living off a trust who only makes $50,000 a year in capital gains, and thus pay no SS taxes, you also don't get SS benefits when you reach retirement age.  That's why middle class people so strongly support the system, because they perceive it as "you get what you paid for" rather than "welfare" (or, in FDR's words, "the dole").  FDR correctly perceived that a system that was "welfare for the elderly who didn't save enough to retire" would NOT have that kind of broad-based support and would be easy to kill.  

                  I can't imagine that any elected official in Washington, Republican or Democrat, wants to change the fundamental nature for of the SS system, for the very reasons that FDR recognized when he intentionally structured it this way.  

                  •  really?? you "can't imagine that any elected (0+ / 0-)

                    official in washingotn, republican or democrat, want to change the fundamental nature of the ss system . . . "

                    then you haven't been paying attention to paul ryan's plan.

                    or you've chosen to pretend the republican house voted in favor of it & mitt romney endorsed it.

              •  you get into congress by saying (0+ / 0-)

                "it's time for the rich to pay their fair share, so regular folks can retire in dignity."

    •  Raise the cap. Vacated positions will spur hiring. (5+ / 0-)

      The $106,800 is a ludicrous cap on taxable income. Warren Buffett receives a SS check each month. Yet he only pays a percentage of the income cap into the program.

      A major part of the idea is predicated on moving older workers toward retirement so that younger workers, the recently educated, can fill the vacated positions. They will then start paying into Social Security.

      •  Fundamental misunderstanding of SS (7+ / 0-)

        See my posts above.  

        Assume Buffett insured the maximum amount of wages allowed under current law -- $106,000.  The "retirement check" he gets each month is exactly the same as anyone else who insured $106,000.  That's how FDR intentionally designed it, so that it would enjoy broad-based popularity and would be more difficult to kill.  So, Warren Buffett is treated exactly the same under the wage insurance system as anybody else.  His benefits are based on what he insures, not on his wealth.  It's just like any other kind of insurance.  My "premiums" are based on the value of what I insure, and my payout is based on the premiums I pay in.  If I insure a $100,000 property against destruction, I pay premiums on $100,000 and if it's destroyed, I get a payout of $100,000 regardless of other income and assets.  That's insurance, and Social Security is wage insurance.  If Warren Buffett insured $1 million of wages, his retirement check would be some proportion of that $1 million under the existing Social Security system.

        To just impose a SS tax on people with incomes higher than $106,000 without also raising retirement benefits proportionately would require legislation that fundamentally changes the system into what FDR called "the dole" for the elderly.

        How many votes are there in Congress for fundamentally changing the nature of Social Security?  

        •  It sounds like you are talking about an annuity. (0+ / 0-)

          We are in disagreement over this aspect of SS's structure. I read your description of the scheme as that of a retirement annuity whereas someone could receive either a lump sum payment on insured income or have periodic payments based on insured income.

          The fundamental structure of Social Security is that current payouts are funded with current contributions. Future contributions will be based on future payroll deductions. That is why someone could not request their lifetime contributions to SS to invest as they wish. That money has been disbursed to beneficiaries and the surplus borrowed by the federal government to fund deficit spending.

          •  It's insurance, not an annuity. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean, We Won

            And the payout is based on the amount of wages you insure.  I've provided link after link in my various comments, most from the SSA site itself.

            Even the SSA calls it "retirement insurance."  See here, for example.  

            The retirement benefits are called "Retirement INSURANCE benefits."

            See also here.

            Like any INSURANCE program, you payout is based on the amount you insure and the premiums you pay in.  FDR called it "old age insurance."  See here.  That was the whole point of the system FDR designed -- it was not supposed to be "welfare" -- what FDR called "the dole" -- but instead an insurance system, where you insured a certain amount of wages and, if you made it to old age/retirement, you got paid based on your "premiums" (taxes paid) and the amount you insured, not based on your other assets or income.

            If you change that, what you end up with is this.  Two people insure "$106,000 in wages.  Person 1 spends very very little over his life and accumulates a separate retirement account of $500,000; Person 2 is a spendthrift and all he has at age 67 is a $2000 and Social Security.  Do you want to say, let's "penalize" the person who saved by cutting the Retirement Insurance Benefits he paid for?  FDR specifcally wanted to avoid that -- under his system, both are paid the same RIB because they insured the same amount.  

    •  Get rid of the cap (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Small varmints, if you will.

      by aztecraingod on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:48:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Raise the minimum wage n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

      by grollen on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:01:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hell, even Richard Nixon was in favor of (4+ / 0-)

    a negative income tax.

  •  it would sure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, sethtriggs

    It would sure help employment around Baltimore.  

    Social Security just announced an early retirement package that a lot of the longtime IT folks are seriously considering taking.  If sudden legislative changes are going to happen in the way we administer programs, this would be a bit of a difficult time to make them with so much institutional knowledge about to walk out the door.

  •  QEP: "Quantitative Easing for the People" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stormicats, Calamity Jean

    Why are banks getting all the money?

    I could use some quantitative easing!

    Quantitative Easing for the People

    “No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love, they cry, they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference.”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:31:02 AM PDT

  •  No... would not work and its unfair. (8+ / 0-)

    First, you can't temporarily lower the eligibility age for Social Security.  Why should people born between a certain range of years suddenly be singled out for favoritism?

    Second, how do you pay for that- AND a 15% increase in benefits?  Recipients already get far more from the system then they paid in to it, even with the interest their contributions made- which is really just interest in government bonds.

    A much better way to do what you are thinking is to lower the Medicare eligibility.  If people want to retire at 55 and have the means to support themselves, then let them buy into the Medicare system for health insurance.   It wouldn't be "free" like it is after age 65, but have them pay at a rather reduced rate- something like $4500 a year or so.

    That would send quite a number of people into earlier retirement and open up the job market for younger people looking for work.

  •  It also acknowledges and begins to face the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip, Brooke In Seattle, JesseCW

    fact that with ever-increasing productivity there will be an increasing dearth of jobs going forward. We need intelligent, creative plans for that.

    I would, however, still combine the program you suggest with jobs and job training programs, especially in key forward-looking fields: green technology, alternative energy, robotics, genetics, nanotechnology, bioengineering.

    Real, substantive trade policy would also help, such as setting rules about trading partners with regard to basic environmental and employment laws. Add hefty import taxes to items that come from companies with poor environmental and employment regulation. You know, charge for the externalized costs. That could actually shift jobs homeward to socially responsible companies.

    The only reason that change is so hard is that the moderates on "our" side are Tories who support the aristocracy.

    by Words In Action on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:34:58 AM PDT

    •  Declining population (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, Words In Action

      Human population rates have taken an unexpected plunge in developed countries.  The US is only positive because of immigration.

      We may, in the next decade, see a stable, and then falling, world population.

      Interesting times, to say the least.

      •  That's a good thing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action

        It messes with our current fallacious 'growth at all costs' philosophy, but overall a falling global population can net benefit everyone as long as we configure our economic systems to handle it.

        It's not like we need even more people sucking down gasoline, medicine, building materials, and other precious resources.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:15:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  we need to conceptually separate the idea of jobs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, zett

      from productive, valuable labor. there is a ton of worthwhile work that retired people with enough income to cover living costs can do, that might not turn an employer a profit, but which society benefits greatly from. we need to work out ways of guaranteeing minimum standards of living throughout our society without wedding it exclusively to a job in the private sector. most societies, historically, have benefited from the advice and work of elders, long after they weren't the best folks to be working in the fields. we need a 21st century analogue to that, treating jobs as a part but not the only part of that system.

  •  That would be better (6+ / 0-)

    than another stimulus because then millions of people would retire and twentysomethings can actually replace them.  But, for some reason the Very Serious People seem to have it out for everyone who just got out of college, so anything that will help them will be DOA in Congress.

  •  Ageree with the concept if not the mechanism (7+ / 0-)

    I was very fortunate to retire early from a high income position with rich benefits and when I left my position was divided into 5 lower level, lower paid positions with benefit structures that won't reach the same level as I had. I'm a '54 Boomer and won't draw from my pensions or 401k accts until 65 or from SS until 67. None of that influenced whether I could retire or not. No one factor, expecially SS, is sufficient to offset an income. Most of the Boomers I know that saved and invested and could retire did before SS eligibility.

    imo the key factor that would be a game changer in making retirement affordable is Medicare. Make Medicare eligibility 55 and I predict many more workers would be able to retire without lowering the  age for SS. Lower both and the number of retirees woiuld go up as you explain.

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:38:39 AM PDT

    •  Ditto to this... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck, Calamity Jean, wu ming

      I think the primary factor in many retirement decisions is affordable health care.  If Medicare were available at a reasonable cost to retirees at 55 you would achieve the effect originally suggested.  Messing with a system as delicate as Social Security is a disaster waiting to happen.  

  •  In the immortal words of Keith Moon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    the fan man

    "That will go over like a Lead Zeppelin!"

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:41:38 AM PDT

  •  The 'temporarily' (3+ / 0-)

    is not going to fly.  Just lower it to 55.  It is self sustaining long term with so many people out of work.  Besides, as a sovereign currency issuer, we can pay for social security benefits until infinity.

    Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

    by whoknu on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 06:45:58 AM PDT

  •  Love it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Add in medicare for all and we've got a real winner here.

  •  Don't play games with Social Security (11+ / 0-)

    As someone who has worked on Social Security law and policy for the last 35 years, I say this is nuts, unless it's intended purely as political theater.  And even then it's nuts.

    Social Security is the most successful and widely supported social program we have, largely because it was designed around a delicate balancing of appeals to conservatives (you have to work to be entitled to benefits) and progressives (it's a mildly redistributive formula and with indexing, provides almost the only secure way for most elderly people to get by as they reach extreme old age).  Using it as a stimulus tool - particularly this idea of a "temporary" change in age of eligibility - makes it just another program to be toyed with each year, further eroding its status as an institution that no politician dare screw around with.

    As I approach the age of benefit eligibility myself, I am even more acutely aware of the need to insulate Social Security from political and economic day to day demands.  This is our only program for providing elderly people with even minimal financial security as they reach the age of being unable to repair for themselves any damage caused by using the program to solve immediate macroeconomic problems.  The payroll tax games this year and last were bad enough.

    •  Curious, what do you think about eliminating the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Brooke In Seattle

      wage cap? Sounds like a historical hangover.

      Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. -Martin Luther

      by the fan man on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:16:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, raise it or eliminate it (9+ / 0-)

        Oh yeah, I would raise or eliminate it.  The wage cap was really an afterthought in program design - after all, the original designers intended for the program to be funded in part, at least a 1/3, thru general revenues, by the late 20th century.  Social Security benefits are based on your earnings, not on how much you paid in - which is why that AP article is so misleading - so raising or eliminating the cap really need not have any programmatic consequences.  And since the wealthy benefit enormously from the social stability brought by insuring workers that they will have at least one secure source of income in old age, to me it's perfectly defensible to tell them to pay more by eliminating the cap.  It's the least they can do, since they've destroyed the private pension system, by and large, leaving the vast majority reliant on Social Security alone in old age.

  •  Lower Social Security Age (10+ / 0-)

    We really need to lower the social security age to 62 for full benefits.  People think they will live forever but the average life expectancy in this country is still in the mid to late 70s.  Is being on social security for 15 years too much to ask after you've paid into it for 40 years???  67 is too old for full benefits.  Obama and the democrats need to lower that age.

    •  The less you earn, the earlier you should (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      be allowed to take your full retirement.

      First, if your earnings are low then your employment field must have a glut of workers.  Otherwise, your earnings would rise due to scarcity of labor.

      Second, while it's by no means a perfect correlation, lower paying jobs are often more physically demanding, sometimes to the point of making it positively inhumane to demand someone perform them over the age of 60.

      Third, the poor don't live as long.  For men in the bottom quintile, it's a 50/50 shot that we'll ever see a dime of SS.  Lowering the retirement age for the poor is nothing but justice.

      At the age of 60, and each year thereafter on a persons birthday, SS should look at the average of their last ten years earnings.  If it's bottom quintile, retire at 60, or in the year you entered the bottom quintile.  If it's top quintile, retire at 70.

      All Cretans are sockpuppets. -- Epimenides the Cretan

      by JesseCW on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:05:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Currant US life expectancy if 78.5 for (0+ / 0-)

      a newborn baby.  If one lives to an age when one is eligible to collect Social Security (age 65, just for ease of finding the data), one's life expectancy is 85.  Fifteen year's isn't too much to ask, of course, but 23 (from age 62 to 85) or more may be too much to reasonably expect would ever be funded.

      The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

      by Alice Olson on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 02:18:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A wonderful idea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If, that is, you wish to hand the election to the Republicans.  This idea plays into every meme they use against us, and would likely give them not only the Presidency, but majority control of both Houses of Congress too.

  •  A better idea... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    Amend Medicare itself. Triple the wage percentage that all workers currently pay, but remove all age restrictions.

  •  If this were passed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk, elmo, Cardinal96

    I would have to seriously consider voting Republican. It's utterly fiscally irresponsible. Let's look at some numbers:

    Now, this doesn't provide a breakdown of 55 to 64, but let's be generous to you, and suppose that of the 80 million people in the 45 to 64 range, we're looking at a 60/40 split for 45 to 54 vs 55 to 64 (I doubt it's that extreme). That would mean we'd be adding 32 million to the social security roles, nearly doubling the number of people eligible. In addition, we're raising the benefits by 15%. So, in short, your proposal effectively DOUBLES the amount we have to pay out in Social Security AND does so while possibly reducing the number of people who are working (and hence contributing to the fund) and reducing the tax base.

    This would be an economic disaster. And the fact that it's shot up the rec list makes me seriously wonder how reality based this community really is.

    "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

    by dedmonds on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:25:42 AM PDT

    •  It's a basic human desire to want to believe (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson, Sparhawk

      that you can have your cake, eat it, too, and not have to worry about your butt getting fat.

      Alas, not true. But it's been a staple of politicians since the beginning of time to try to get people to vote for them by exploiting this basic human desire.

      •  hello marie antoinette (3+ / 0-)

        we are shortly to be out of bread out here in the hinterland of merika.

        lowering the retirement age and creating a work corps for the elderly which allowed them to share their skills without working full time at all out tilt is precisely the kind of thing we need to consider if we are to ever rebuild this country and the planet.

        Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

        by BlueDragon on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:00:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  $14,600 (6+ / 0-)

    This Spring my wife and I both started collecting.. and remember a person can earn $14,600 without SS being effected. We both are Subs now in DPS which is perfect.
    We will pick and choose days and schools..and between us that $28,000 on top of SS is just fine.

    or a person working 30 hrs. a week at $8 an hour would not be in poverty when combined with their SS.

    Many folks, physically able can and do work  after collecting. SS allows us to have a base of survival and the opportunity to rise above it...

    Every goddamn day I think about Bradley Manning!

  •  With what money? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The dedicated funding stream for Social Security that has already been gutted of almost 20% of its inflow, the defunding of the Social Security system which is being trumpeted as a great Democratic policy triumph?

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:46:27 AM PDT

  •  Buy everyone a car, too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, Cardinal96, peregrinus

    Help Detroit, while we're at it.

    "Help me to be, to think, to act what is right because it is right; make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me." [Robert E. Lee]

    by SpamNunn on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 07:51:03 AM PDT

  •  While raising the benefits is a good idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    (although we need to figure out how it's going to be financed), I don't think decreasing the retirement age by this much is. The problem is that these things are almost impossible to do on temporary basis. There will be significant pressure for it to become permanent and it will be extremely expensive and not the most productive use of money. It makes more sense to extend Medicare to younger people.

  •  I would like to see (4+ / 0-)

    older people voluntarily retiring to part time work in which they mentor the younger people. This would give continuity to the work, training in exercising good judgment, and would enliven the workplace with ideas.

    I like bink's idea and have suggested similar before. Yes, it's a dream, but . When politicians speak of raising the retirement age or working into their 80s, I can see they are not the carpenters, nurses, and ditch diggers of the world--they are the elite who basically never have to get their hands dirty, or if they do, it's by choice. They enjoy the best of diets and lifestyles and healthcare. But they do not speak for the majority of workers.

    Speaking of which, isn't it remarkable how the right wing treats as "lazy couch potatoes" the very same Americans who, until they lost their jobs in this crash, worked hard to give the U.S. its incredible productivity rating?

    Some will say anything to justify their greed.

  •  I've been saying this since the bank bailouts (4+ / 0-)

    Ever since the mandatory retirement age was lifted, the young have been squeezed out of moving up the corporate ladder. Discouraged, they keep job hopping trying to earn more. Company loyalty falls and with it, employee morale takes a dive.

    I couldn't afford to take a major financial hit either, but I didn't have a choice. I now can see that, in the long run for this country, this is the only avenue for our future.

  •  could early early SS be budget neutral ? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Currently, people have the choice to start taking SS "early" at roughly age 62 instead of waiting to full retirement at roughly age 67. However, the early retiree takes a hit on the amount of SS so that the trust fund is basically indifferent to the early retirement.  If we allow people to begin taking SS at 55, we could make this budget neutral over an 30 year period by extending the actuarial discount factors to age 55.

    However, the discounted SS benefit would be a pretty small for most people, because the discounting factor would be very large.  Also, many individuals would have less years of income at that age, which will make their earned benefit smaller. And, if you have a part-time job while working, those wages will depress your social security benefit.

    So to be budget neutral, an early early SS option it is not going to be an attractive option for many people.  And if not budget neutral over the long-term, then where are we getting the cash...

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

    by TX Dem 50 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:19:41 AM PDT

  •  "Temporarily" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magnifico, Cardinal96, Sparhawk

    Among the many problems with this suggestion, the idea of it being temporary--ie, enjoyed only by the Baby Boomer age group--is the most problematic to me.

    I'm in my mid-20s. Under current law, I have to work until I'm at least 67--with politicians (and my own conservadem parents!) pushing to increase the age at which I can retire to 70, maybe 75 or beyond. You're suggesting that people aged 55--at least 12, and maybe 20 or more, years younger than me when I'll retire--should be able to retire and take SS benefits.

    I mean, beyond the blatant unfairness of having groups retire at vastly different ages, it would also massively disrupt the program's funding if the largest age cohort to stopped paying payroll taxes and started taking SS benefits at the height of their earning power in their mid-late 50s. Which means conservatives will have yet more reason to push for Social Security's privatization/dismantling due to its "insolvency," thus pushing back my future retirement prospects even further--or eliminating them entirely.

    "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

    by rigcath on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:26:17 AM PDT

  •  If Romney has a $100,000 million in anIRA legally. (3+ / 0-)

    Many others do too.  He told everyone.  The Son of BOSS strikes again.

    So with this giant sucking sound at the top, the ideal plan you describe . . . well, we can't afford it.  Nope, not any to spare.  

    The rich monster needs more, More, MORE.

    . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

    by 88kathy on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:29:08 AM PDT

  •  There would be no problem with affording (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Magnifico, Calamity Jean, wu ming

    anything our country needs if the rich paid their fair share.

    The idea that someone could manipulate IRA is or should be anathema to any reasonable person.

    Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 08:44:34 AM PDT

    •  Wow. Simply not true. (5+ / 0-)

      Letting the Bush tax cuts on "the rich " (two income families over $250,000) expire is, under the best of estimates, $80 billion a year.  

      Add the Buffett rule on top of that for another $3 billion a year.  

      Let me know how far $83 billion a year gets you with an annual budget deficit of well over $1 trillion a year, and an annual budget of around $3.4 trillion.

      "Tax the rich" raises some money.  Absolutely true.   But this

      There would be no problem with affording anything our country needs if the rich paid their fair share.
      is just a blatant falsehood, and it's irresponsible to perpetuate the notion that we can pay for everything just by "taxing the rich."  

      It's even worse when talking about Social Security.  While fundamentally changing the nature of the system (see my posts above) would make the program solvent with a little surplus, it's nowhere near enough to pay for this kind of proposal to almost double the number of payees while reducing the number still paying into the system.  

      •  Not the Whole Story, Of Course (4+ / 0-)

        Because that, if spent by the government into the economy, would be like $83 billion in stimulus, every year, with a multiplier effect. Government spending creates economic activity.

        "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

        by bink on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:07:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, I was thinking more about a top (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        marginal in the 70-80% range.

        AND figuring out how to collect taxes on some of the money being held offshore to skip taxes.

        And figuring out how to collect taxes on money shuffled between different parts of a company strictly to avoid taxess.

        And a few dozen other "loopholes" I'm sure are out there.

        It might not clean up the debt immediately, but could in a reasonable number of years.

        Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by maybeeso in michigan on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:07:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  70% today is completely unreasonable. Here's why. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, maybeeso in michigan, VClib

          You have to look at effective tax rates (what people actually pay), NOT marginal tax rates.  The 70% you are thinking of was in a system with so many deductions/exemptions/loopholes that the effective tax rate was much, much lower, according to the CBO.  
          In fact, because of that drastic change in 1986, the top 1% paid MORE in federal income taxes under Clinton's 39.6%, post Tax Reform Act of 1986, than it did under those supposed 70% top marginal rates in 1979.  The proof is the SECOND chart -- addressing federal income tax rates -- here.  So, the highest federal income taxes ever on the top 1% -- since the CBO began keeping track in 1979, when the top marginal rates were 70% -- was during the Clinton years.  

          Remember, that 70% started at an extremely high rate -- something like 2.2 million in today's incomes -- and had so many deductions and exemptions that nobody with half a brain and a tax accountant paid it.  So, to think you are going to impose anything like a 70% rate on today's AGI, and on people who aren't uber rich, is absurd.  The best you can hope for is a return to the highest taxes on the top 2% ever -- the Clinton Rates on incomes over $250,000 -- with maybe the Buffett Rule on top for incomes above $250,000.

          The "working rich" -- two income families making AGI $250,000 and up -- are already typically subject to the Alternative Minimum Taxand paying an effective rate -- not a marginal rate -- of 26% - 28% under today's system.  How much more does that group pay?  Take a look at that effective tax rate compared to the historical effective tax rate of the top 1% (again the second chart on that link).  An effective tax rate of 30% -- having people work 2 1/2 hours every working day from January through December just to pay their federal income taxes  (not counting payroll taxes and state income taxes) -- is about as high as anybody is ever going to go on people who work for a living but are very well paid (doctors, lawyers, accountants, Architects, engineers, small business owners, the group that has 2 incomes that total say $250,000 - $1 million).  

          The lower effective rate paid by people over $1 million is largely due to the lower capital gains tax rates.  That problem is solved by the Buffett Rule, which makes their effective tax rate on all income 30%, but as I said, raises only $3 - $4 billion a year because there are so few households in that income range.

          As I said, you can raise those rates up to the highest ever on the working rich, and you can then, on top of that, impose the Buffett Rule on millionaires and billionaires.  That's a start -- but it's about $83 billion a year.

          Thinking you are going to raise enough money to do whatever you want -- or even bring the deficit down to sustainable levels -- JUST by taxing the rich is just a lie.  Taxing the rich more is a start, but only a start.  Any sane person knows that.  

        •  maybeeso - "money held offshore" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nextstep, maybeeso in michigan

          For individuals is fully taxed just like if it was held in the US or is being secretly hidden which is a crime punishable by time in prison. The US continues to try and learn more about secret foreign accounts but that's a long slow process. Some countries have laws that make it a crime for bankers to tell the IRS anything. There is no "pot of gold" regarding individuals.

          Corporations who have cash offshore do not ever have to repatriate it to the US. If they do it becomes taxable. You should know that the US is the only country in the G20 that tries to collect taxes on products manufactured and sold in another country just because the location of the parent's headquarters. BMW pays no taxes to Germany for BMWs it makes and sells in the US. BMW pays US taxes on those cars. What rationale is there for the US to charge GM taxes for cars it makes and sells in China?

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 12:33:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  how about pre-JFK tax rates? (0+ / 0-)

        it is true that we can't close these gaps by going back to the pre-bush tax cut era, but that intentionally avoids considering anything before 2001.

  •  Lower age for Medicare too! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, Brooke In Seattle

    Even if the premiums for us at the lower end of the middle age bracket were higher at least we would not be facing bankruptcy to finance any catastrophic health issues without health insurance.

    I support your suggestion. The wealthy are clueless as to the plight of the remaining 99% in the financial world. How many of us are only earning wages that we did 20 yrs ago? A whole hell of a lot!

  •  I think this is a terrible idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peregrinus, dedmonds, Sparhawk

    People are living longer and longer.  Social security eligibility needs to start later, not soner.  Lowering the retirement age to 55 and raising retirement benefits by 15% will create huge liabilities.   Who is going to pay for this?

    •  How Will Generations (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, wu ming

      Of young people who can't find employment that pays a living wage pay for existing retirees anyway? This will move young people into jobs where they are actually making meaning contributions to Social Security.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:30:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have been listening to Republican lies. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, wu ming

      The life expectancy after age 65 has only gone up by a few years.  Life expectancy from birth is way up because of the elimination of many fatal childhood diseases that formerly killed babies and children before they were old enough to work.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent! Because the problem is (3+ / 0-)
    a math problem:  There simply are NOT enough jobs for our citizens.

    Right now the over-55 set have had their 401-K's raided, their job hours reduced and have been kicked to the curb in droves.

    We also have the college students who cannot find jobs and are losing their path to the middle class in the process.  

    We are paying a HUGE price to our societal fabric.


    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:16:05 AM PDT

  •  There's a problem with this... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rigcath, peregrinus, grollen

    Early retirees live MUCH longer than later retirees.

    I'm about to retire - at 57 - and my wife - 55 - just sent me this study:

    Retiree Longevity Study

    Retiring at 55, my wife can expect to live until 83, whereas someone working until 65 has a life expectancy of about 67.

    Simply put, the difference in cost of SS payments if we:

    1. Collect at 55 (forget the 15% increase) for an average of 28 years and not pay in anything


    2.  Pay in for 10 more years and then only collect for 2 years

    is massive, and would drain the trust fund in a few years if lots of people did it.

    But it's a nice idea.


    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

    by databob on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:26:02 AM PDT

    •  This Makes Sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle, wu ming

      If you think that people living longer than 67 is a problem, I guess.

      "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

      by bink on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:31:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a financial problem (0+ / 0-)

        The finances of Social Security are based on the actuarial tables, and on them, paying 2 years of benefits is 'good' in the sense that it costs taxpayers less money.

        And paying 23 years of even a reduced benefit is 'bad' because it costs more money.

        I think the idea of retiring at 55 (or 57) is GREAT! And I'm looking forward to it.

        I just don't think dumping tons of extra taxpayers money into this project is the way to go.


        Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

        by databob on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:46:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Boeing data is urban myth (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Brooke In Seattle

      THe old Boeing data is an urban myth. Early retirement does not materially increase lifespan.

      You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

      by TX Dem 50 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:04:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My father retired at 55. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson, We Won

      Dropped dead ELEVEN MONTHS later, a month before his 56th birthday. He didn't even get to collect a full year of retirement.

      Just because you can pull out a study from somewhere that says people are living longer, not everyone is.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:02:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Let's be clear (0+ / 0-)

      there's not even an "if lots of people do it." If we lower the age to 55, everyone gets it at 55 whether they retire or not. Between the increase of people eligible and the increase in pay out proposed, we'd be doubling the output of Social Security. This isn't a "plan." It's the kind of idiotic pipe dream that people on the right cite as evidence that we don't understand economics.

      "Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common." Dorothy Parker

      by dedmonds on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:36:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm in! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, BlueDragon, Brooke In Seattle

    I'm 50, debt-free and a renter with a meager amount of retirement savings.  I don't need much to live on.  I would LOVE to retire in five years.  

    The best psychiatrist in the world can't compete with a puppy licking your face.

    by AmyVVV on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 09:34:44 AM PDT

  •  lower to 60 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, BlueDragon

    not on board with 55, BUT lower to 60 makes tons of sense

  •  Is there some kind of snark I'm missing here? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:05:20 AM PDT

  •  to all the naysayers in this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    what is your proposal to get us out of the disaster facing us?

    clearly, radical things need to be done, very radical things, but none of them are likely to happen.

    so the vast majority of us should just suck on a wet rag?

    Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

    by BlueDragon on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:06:49 AM PDT

    •  How about something that benefits all of us, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson

      not just people over 55, and doesn't sacrifice the long-term future of the Social Security trust fund for short term gain?

      "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

      by rigcath on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:31:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll hit the 55 mark later this year. (0+ / 0-)

    Unfortunately, Social Security couldn't pay my current expenses.  I've still got a teenager at home and colleger looms in a few years.  Not to mention the mortgage, etc.   I suspect that I'm not alone.

    Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:11:12 AM PDT

  •  So expecting everyone to work til age 70 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    just might have had some unintended consequences?  Who woulda thunk it?!

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:27:18 AM PDT

  •  Glad to see things like this make it to the Rec (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, Alice Olson


    There is absolutely nothing in the world wrong with making recommendations that will actually cure a problem  - but neither party wants to hear things like that because there is really only one party and it is the party of the Mitt Romneys.

    Here is another idea that will actually cure the slow recovery problem.

    Lower the Standard Week from 40 hours to 36 hours for all companies employing more than 50,000 people and as an inducement to industry to go along with this let them repatriate their 3 trillion dollars in foreign profits at some n9omial tax rate instead of 35%

    But neither party wants to hear that either.

  •  Fighting over the scraps left to us by the 1% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is what it is coming to--the wealthy have drained so much from the world economy and are sitting on it. We are learning how we got in this situation, but what I want to know is: Why?

    Am I missing something? Are the wealthy really so insecure? Do they have a mental illness that renders them unable to be satisfied? Are they like hoarders?

    What could possibly be the point of amassing so much wealth-- even to pass it on to the next generation? The amounts are ridiculous.

    What's next--the barter system and subsistence farming? The crazy lady who ran against Harry Reid will be right! We'll have to bring chickens to the doctor. (Note to self: Wiki "incubators")

    This comment is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way are to be considered flaws or defects.

    by blue muon on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:44:39 AM PDT

  •  Crazy is right (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    absdoggy, Glen The Plumber

    For example if 20 people at my company take advantage of this "early retirement"

    I then realize that I can replace these 20 with 10 younger workers.

    Where do you make up this difference?

  •  I Live on Social Security (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, blue muon, zett

    I worked and paid into the system since High School. Now I have to live on it and I am barely above poverty level with no health insurance until I qualify for Medicare next year. Why did I work so hard? I am tired of the Republicans claiming this is an entitlement. Wrong! I paid that money in for years it is mine and I deserve it. I also deserve to be able to live at something just a tad above poverty!

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 10:58:13 AM PDT

  •  Pretty stupid. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous diaries I have seen in quite some time, and on the rec list to boot. It displays a total lack of understanding of economics, labor markets and the role of government.

    Just a  few reasons (there are a gazillion)

    1. The proposal does nothing to redress the huge structural problems in the economy. It just kicks that down the road.

    2. The deficit gets even worse. The SS trust fund gets emptied very quickly meaning the government has to borrow more form the markets (and not from SS). Will the markets cooperate.

    3. Most jobs lost in the recession were in construction and also manufacturing. How does this replace or bring back these?

    Here is a better solution. Right now the world economy is constipated. Those with money are hoarding it (including countries with big FX reserves like China, the rich, and big companies like Apple). So whenever the government spends money this money ends up eventually in the hands of the rich (they run the businesses).

    The solution is to tax the rich, tax companies, raise interest rates (so savers get some money), stop giving free money to the banks, wipe out some debts, lend money at low interest rates so people can pay off credit cards (which have high rates).......

    The solution is to get more money flowing in the economy. It is going to take time because the country has been on a 30 years debt binge. You don't solve that in an afternoon.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:22:31 AM PDT

    •  I've been trying for years to get a national (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rightiswrong, taonow, blue muon

      dialogue started on just saying the words "tax the rich."  As with all propaganda, it'll take some time for America to get used to that idea.  The rich are royalty in America.  That must be turned around.  We should demonize the rich -- they're sponsoring all the shit that suckers the poor into venerating them.

      So far I've failed.

      Kick apart the structures - Seth

      by ceebee7 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 02:09:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  great idea, easy to grasp (0+ / 0-)

    will it get done?

    well done.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:34:27 AM PDT

  •  Helping actual people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    instead of "corporations are people, my friend"?

    Now, that's just crazy talk.

    Boy, though, it's NICE crazy.  If I could retire at 55 from the job I do to keep my mortgage paid and healthcare coverage in my back pocket, there is SO MUCH I could turn my attn to, and I'd love to.

    Dammit, now you're making me dream....

    Before you win, you have to fight. Come fight along with us at Texas Kaos.

    by boadicea on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:38:38 AM PDT

  •  Absolutely! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wblynch, Brooke In Seattle

    The right keeps harping that we have to raise the age of retirement and Medicare eligibility. how the fuck are people in their 70's supposed to find work when folks in their 50's can't find it?
    In Europe (France, i think), they shortened the work week and it created jobs. If you lower the age for SS (with your suggested increase in bennies) people will retire, or be able to survive if they're unemployed. No brainer. But then, the right has no brains!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:54:37 AM PDT

  •  As the Future Approaches... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Automation and other forms of productivity means there will be less and less demand for Human labor.

    We need to counter the smaller demand with a smaller supply.

    Who decided that Humans need to labor their entire lives?

  •  Agreed, but with a "tweak." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    Lowering the age to 55?  No problem.  That takes a big bunch of unemployed who can't find work and pulls them off the front line.  It might make the unemployment picture look better by 1-to-2 percent.  It also throws money into a subgroup who'll be more likely to spend n hme repairs and new cars --- both areas that can get the economy up and running again.  A special note on housing repairs: If a house is not in some level of disrepair, it's more likely to sell, which can give the housing market a bit of a healthy boost.

    Increasing the benefit by 15%?  Make it 10% instead of 15, and throw that one-third of your proposed increase into the ACA pot.  Multiplying that by the millions of new recipients could throw a few billion into the matrix every year, and guarantee a healthier "norm-referenced" senior in our overall population.

    I count even the single grain of sand to be a higher life-form than the likes of Sarah Palin and her odious ilk.

    by Liberal Panzer on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 11:58:47 AM PDT

  •  There's also the issue of over 65 (and eligible (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enemy of the people

    for Social Security benefits already) persons who continue to work.

    Even when they don't need the money.

    My mother (aged 71), has a gentleman friend who is 68 years old, drawing a $60,000 a year retirement income, who is also still working a full-time job.

    Obviously, for anything other than a 1%er lifestyle, his retirement income should allow him a relatively high standard of living without continuing to work.

    In addition, and more importantly, by not working, he would be leaving a job opening for someone who is, perhaps, desperately in need of that job to support his or her young family.

    It's more widespread than you might think.

    This is not to say that the same applies to those whose SS income is so low that without an active job income they would be in such poverty as to lack housing or sufficient food. That is a different kettle of fish, and I would hope that any reasonable person would see and understand the difference between the two.

    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 12:53:54 PM PDT

  •  Why not 45? Hell, 25? (0+ / 0-)

    With people living longer, we are going to need longer workspans, not shorter.

  •  Howard Dean suggested the same thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    a couple of years back.   Older folks would love to hang it up and let the kids take it.    If they can't trust Social Security, Medicare, their 401K, state pension, you'll have to pry their paycheck from their cold dead hands.  

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 01:47:03 PM PDT

  •  To go with this, how about a price (0+ / 0-)

    freeze on necessities -- basic food, utilities (gas/elec/coal, phone), rent... and free broadband internet access.  If you're retired, your vital costs are frozen.

    And eliminate income taxes on SS benefits, ferchrissake.

    I could live on SS if those were implemented.  Lots of people who say they couldn't really could, if they were willing to give up certain fringe costs -- high cable TV, eating out often, etc.

    I'm already doing it on unemployment benefits.  It's hard, but it's doable.

    And draft legislation to insure all current pention plans' value.

    Kick apart the structures - Seth

    by ceebee7 on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 02:05:45 PM PDT

  •  There more than a few things wrong with this idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    in my opinion. This proposal institutionalizes age discrimination. If we could retire at 55 with a "living wage" employers would consider people in my age group even more disposable than we already are. They could throw me out of my job tomorrow because after all, I'd be making a living wage right? And who gets to make the determination of what constitutes a living wage for me living in Chicago? Some fucking backwater Republican with an axe to grind? No thanks. So do I move to Hicksville and open up a meth lab? Again, no thanks.

    This idea also devalues experience in favor of lower salaries and allows business to shirk the few remaining social responsibilities it currently has. If business wanted us to retire early they could have paved the way with real federally insured pension plans instead of allowing the Mitt Romneys of this country to gut them and replace them with 401k's.

    I've already resigned myself to work until I can't. I have kids going to college in the next couple of years.

    If the government wanted to start paying me social security right now, I'd use it to assist with the funding of my kids education, in addition to what I already earn. It sure as hell wouldn't induce me to give up my job and live on cat food.

    Hell, let the wealthy and big business finance my retirement and have the government mandate it. I gave these bastards almost 40 years of my life, in a fair world, that should be worth something, right?

  •  do Medicare first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    If the intent is to entice people over 55 to retire I would reduce the Medicare eligibility age before I even thought about touching Social Security. I have known several people, who I would characterize as upper middle class professionals, who could have retired, and wanted to, long before age 65 if not for health insurance.

    They had relatively high retirement savings, but you have to be pretty stinking rich to afford individual health insurance premiums when you are over 55. One couple I know was quoted annual premiums over $15,000 at age 61 – and both were healthier than probably 95% of the other people in their demographic. You can have a good job and save all your life and still not have enough money to spend $60,000 (+ out-of-pocket costs) on insurance in the first four years of retirement.

    As it stands, the only people I know who retired prior to Medicare eligibility had retiree health benefits. They were all either public employees, union members or had the good luck to retire from a large corporation back when such benefits still existed.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 03:13:41 PM PDT

  •  and pair this (0+ / 0-)

    with an expansion of medicare to the entire population.

  •  Great plan, one small problem. (0+ / 0-)

    The Banksters have a stranglehold on both the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch.

    Make that two small problems.

    Another case in point:

    [ Thu Aug 9, 2012 ] The U.S. Justice Department said it will not pursue criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc or its employees related to accusations that the firm bet against the same subprime mortgage securities it was selling to clients.
    Why is the Obama Administration abandoning criminal probes into the greatest theft in human history? It is PRAGMATICALLY allocating limited law enforcement resources into battles it can win. It is courageously pressing ahead with its criminalization of medicinal marijuana and it is valiantly prosecuting more whistleblowers than all the other Presidents COMBINED.

    This Space for Rent. Expressions of interest from SuperPACs should be submitted in the form of a reply to one of my comments.

    by xynz on Fri Aug 10, 2012 at 04:44:55 PM PDT

  •  we should be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    turning SS into a real pension plan.

    enough of this wall street casino bullshit.

  •  The perfect solution (0+ / 0-)
    Temporarily lower Social Security eligibility to age 55 and raise benefits by 15%.
    You need to get older workers out of the workforce.  I'll take it one step further:  We need mandatory retirement.  
  •  instead permanently lower retirement to 65 (0+ / 0-)

    55 is too early.

  •  How do you "temporarily" do this? (0+ / 0-)

    If you lower the retirement age to 55 temporarily, you are committed to paying anyone who takes adavantage of that a benefit for at least seven years that they would not have otherwise been able to get.  That means that even if you revert back to the current retirement age in one year, you still have a "stimulus" that you are paying for seven years from now, and you have removed those people from the job for at least seven years, maybe more.  I certainly hope we do not need a "stimulus" for the economy seven years from now, but at any rate, there is no way to know, and so any stimulus spending should be spent very quickly.

    This is all aside from the question of cost.  Even if this is just an exercise in attempting to move the Overton Window, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect at least a back-of-the-envelope calculation as far as what this would cost.

  •  Great Idea; Politically Impossible Now... (0+ / 0-)

    Remember that Obama has talked about resuscitating the "grand bargain" after the election which would cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in exchange for the Republicans saying yes to a few minor tax increases.  

    So to get an idea like this to happen is going to take way more than re-electing Obama and the current crop of corporatist Democrats.  The only Senator who would be a solid vote for this plan is Bernie Sanders.  

    The member of Congress who represents me is George Miller, who is tagged as one of the more liberal Congresspeople.  I doubt that he would vote for such a plan today,

  •  Sanity (0+ / 0-)
    Temporarily lower Social Security eligibility to age 55 and raise benefits by 15%.

    Sounds crazy, right?

    NO, it doesn't.

    (OK partially crazy -- I'd skip the "temporary part").  

    The GOP has opened the Overton Window to allow a hurricane of fiscal malpractice to blow in and destroy our economic future.

    The Democrats must not only move the Overton window, but  smash through it to allow the sunshine necessary for the American people to see (1) How their hard earned money was stolen; and (2) where it went and who has it now.

    Since the mid-1980s, the FICA tax formula has obscenely subsidized the Military Idust. Complex and the uber-wealthy by putting the cost of government on the backs of those who toil at wages barely sufficient to keep them in the middle class. Or those who are toiling at wages that are not sufficient to help them join the middle class.

    FICA taxes paid, ostensibly, to support Social Security and medicare/medicaid is no longer a security blanket for those of us who pay those taxes.  FICA has become a convenient scam allowing several Congresses and Presidents, since the mid 1980s, to transfer money from -- (1) people who work, to (2 )people who live off of other people's work.

    We *(i.e., the government) can never fully repay those of use who unwillingly "lent" trillion$$ of our dollars into the Medicare and Medicaid funds, only to watch those funds raided to subsidize tax cuts for the wealthy and to camouflage military generated budgtet deficits.  
    However, we can acknowledge (Loudly!) the class warfare and wealth transfer financed by OUR  FICA/Social Security taxes. And we can demand to see a remedy (at least a modest one such as lower retirment ages and raised benefits) to decades of wealth transfer from workers to bankers/defense contractors/billionaires, etc.  

    If we are able to move the Overton window, then we need to confront the horror show that is taking place right in front of us.



    Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 07:10:09 AM PDT

    •  Estate Taxes -- (0+ / 0-)

      From FICA/Social Security/Medicare I digress ---

      . . . . .And speaking of the Estate Tax . . .

      Time to demand that Democrats campaign on a platform, and follow through with policies, that sound like this:

      The goal of Republicans is to tax working people: Democrats will tax dead ones.  


      Republicans are taxing working people to death,  it's time for the millionaires who are already dead to pay first..


      If the Republicans keep giving tax breaks to dead people, the Democrats refuse to tax the people who are working themselves to death.

      I agree that the Overton window has moved so far to the right that it no longer looks out to reality.  

      In many ways, I think the Overton window was nailed shut a long time ago on economic issues, such as who really carries the tax burden in the U.S.  It's time to smash the window as much as it is to just move it.



      Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

      by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sat Aug 11, 2012 at 07:16:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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