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Atrios has been on a one-man crusade to inject some sanity into the Social Security debate, arguing that decades of wage stagnation, the disappearance of pensions, shrinking 401(K)s, and the loss of home equity for millions makes a comfortable retirement an iffy proposition for a lot of folks. The obvious answer, lower the Social Security eligibility age and increase benefits.

His argument is buttressed by this long and important story in the New York Times, putting the lives are real retired or should-be retired people who have to keep working if they want to survive.

Some delay retirement because they are still healthy and love to work. But many put it off instead because their 401(k)’s are so puny, or because their medical bills, even with Medicare, are so high. Or some delay because their stock portfolios haven’t fully recovered from Wall Street’s swoon five years ago, despite new highs set on the stock market last week — nominal records spurred by low-​interest-​rate policies that have at the same time hurt retirement savings. [...]

While retirement has assumed myriad forms across the country, many economists and other experts on retirement see some common, increasingly worrisome trends. A growing number of workers are convinced they will not have a comfortable retirement. A Boston College study in October found that 53 percent of Americans were “at risk” of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living once they retire, up from 30 percent in 1989. A study last May by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that 44 percent may not have enough money to meet their basic needs in retirement.

It is well known that many workers live paycheck to paycheck and find it hard to save much for retirement. A result is that one-​third of retirees in the United States rely solely on Social Security, with benefits averaging just over $15,000 a year for an individual and $30,000 for a couple. [...]

Most American workers with 401(k) plans save far too little to assure an adequate retirement. The Federal Reserve found that the typical household with workers aged 55 to 64 had a combined $120,000 in 401(k)’s and Individual Retirement Accounts. If that amount were used for an annuity, it would pay out only $6,000 or so a year. Added to the average Social Security benefit, that would come to just $21,000 a year in retirement income for an individual, or $36,000 for a couple with both receiving Social Security.

Making Social Security work once again to provide secure retirements isn't the only answer. Making wages liveable again, so saving money is even possible for working people is imperative. Of course, actually having a job is pretty critical, too. Job creation, just for a start, should me a much, much higher priority right now than the deficit and cuts to social insurance programs.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (136+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, Boppy, ferg, musiccitymollie, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, blueoregon, Mary Mike, tardis10, OldSoldier99, onionjim, gooderservice, whaddaya, Hirodog, Diana in NoVa, OregonWetDog, Grandma Susie, Arlys, means are the ends, where4art, Bailey Savings and Loan, countwebb, sunny skies, arizonablue, rodentrancher, wu ming, Senor Unoball, Angie in WA State, Frankenoid, hubcap, dotsright, Cassandra Waites, orphanpower, cybersaur, Minnesota Deb, elwior, mickT, SmileySam, petulans, camlbacker, Gowrie Gal, PrometheusUnbound, Zinman, jamess, cslewis, Chi, One Pissed Off Liberal, melpomene1, AnnieR, renzo capetti, tofumagoo, science nerd, Brooke In Seattle, Brown Thrasher, carpunder, LamontCranston, YucatanMan, roses, Alumbrados, badger, praenomen, kevinpdx, SlightKC, angry hopeful liberal, Alice Marshall, Quilldriver, night cat, shopkeeper, annieli, GeorgeXVIII, splashy, Vico, OlyPenDem, doingbusinessas, puakev, profundo, gharlane, quagmiremonkey, anastasia p, Loudoun County Dem, Jeffersonian Democrat, BusyinCA, basquebob, poopdogcomedy, J M F, TheMomCat, Rosaura, NonnyO, eeff, Jim R, jiffykeen, jbob, historys mysteries, GwenM, Egalitare, big mouth, MartyM, democracy inaction, remembrance, rolet, maryabein, OregonOak, TomP, lunachickie, psnyder, Bob B, Glen The Plumber, deviant24x, susakinovember, greenbastard, leonard145b, Dark UltraValia, WheninRome, el dorado gal, poliwrangler, srkp23, coral, Hot2na, stagemom, IL clb, allergywoman, bronte17, hyperstation, greenbell, Timothy J, MPociask, NotActingNaive, Sun Tzu, Robynhood too, FogCityJohn, Preston S, wader, Farugia, deben, catilinus, asterkitty, Larsstephens

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:14:00 PM PDT

  •  I also appreciate Atrios's crusade (39+ / 0-)

    for Social Security.  It seems like the media pundits keep talking about how it is not sustainable because there are not enough young workers and the elderly numbers are increasing.  I hope the Social Security payroll tax cap is increased.  

    He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

    by Boppy on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:24:27 PM PDT

    •  This is my crusade too (16+ / 0-)

      And while I agree with all the reasons Social Security should be expanded and payments increased because of the diminishing options for people to be able to save on their own for retirement, I think there's another more immediate reason: it would jumpstart the economy and make it roar. Two reasons: older people would retire, leaving more jobs for younger people and decreasing unemployment, and the increased SS money would be spent and flow back into the economy, creating still more jobs.

      It really frustrates me how the entire discussion has derailed into the Very Serious Pundits pushing things that are obviously a loser for both retirees and the country's economy as a whole. They all deserve a smack upside the head.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:36:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah! Thanks for this diary, Joan. Got to run (17+ / 0-)

    for now.

    But, here's a topic that I am fully in agreement with, and can fully and enthusiastically support!

    Thanks, again.


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


    by musiccitymollie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:24:36 PM PDT

  •  Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!!!!! (34+ / 0-)

    What's wrong with Obama? Doe he have no understanding of the hardships 75 to 90% of Americans face?

    And what about women? Especially older minority women?

    His stance is a total betrayal of those who worked so hard for his election and reeelection?

    Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

    by coral on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:27:12 PM PDT

    •  The real situation for women (as exemplified (15+ / 0-)

      by my sister).

      My sister's husband died last fall. He was 88, about 20 years older than my sister, but the common situation is that wives survive their husbands by some number of years.

      While he was alive, they both collected Social Security. His payment was larger, because his jobs paid better. Not only does lower pay for women make their working lives more difficult, it makes their Social Security benefits lower.

      Now that my sister is alone, she has the choice of a) her SS benefit check, or b) his benefit check. Obviously she'll choose his, but she'll lose hers - that means a big cut in pay, but not a big cut in expenses. Rent or mortgage payments don't go down when a spouse dies. Property taxes aren't lower for individuals than couples. Car insurance stays the same - he no longer drove - as does car upkeep and gas. Some expenses are less, like food and some medical bills, but she'll have to reduce her standard of living (and probably sell their house) to get by.

      If, on top of all that, women see their benefits fail to keep up with the cost of living, as chained CPI will do, life is going to be more difficult for many of them.

      Modern revolutions have succeeded because of solidarity, not force.

      by badger on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:54:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "What's wrong with Obama?" (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Marshall, coral, Timothy J, MPociask

      Obama knows the truth; so why does he insist on hurting the most vulnerable people in our nation? Especially after enabling the criminals on Wall Street to escape accountability for their crimes, and then making them wealthier than their wildest dreams?

      The answer is obvious, but don't expect his followers to admit it...and his popularity numbers are plummeting, but what is happening now is nothing compared to how fast his popularity will drop if he actually makes cuts to our social safety net programs.

      Let's hope the Democratic Party doesn't go down with him...

      •  Well, except his popularity numbers (3+ / 0-)

        AREN'T plummeting, because that's more complicated. But if the Democratic party "goes down" because people get discouraged and disgruntled, these things we're pissed about will progress at warp speed with other catastrophes we can barely imagine shoved through with nothing to prevent them. The Republican Party is far more likely to go down than the Democratic Party if the discussion is fully aired.

        Let's not project disaster, OK?

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 10:39:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Respectfully, polls have his numbers in various (7+ / 0-)

          categories dropping from five to eighteen points (depending on the poll question, obviously).  I'm not sure what 'complications' you're referring to.

          From what I can tell from the many blogs that I regularly blog at, the Democratic Party will probably be in the wilderness for years to come, IF the party of FDR actually goes through with "austerity" measures--raising income taxes at the same time that they begin to dismantle the social insurance and retirement programs.

          If a Grand Bargain is struck, the losers are definitely the Democratic Party.

          The President who signs the legislation will 'own' the cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

          This would also have been true is President Bush had followed through on Social Security reform.  You may recall that the Repubs ran like scalded rabbits when he talked this nonsense.

          I'm just shocked that Dem politicians don't have the good sense to do the same.

          That's what's truly puzzling to me.


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


          by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:05:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not puzzling at all (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timothy J, maracucho

            that Dems no longer give a damn tells me that there is no longer any way for The People to fight this through The System.

            The System has been irretrievably broken by the 1%. The President now simply does their bidding or else.

            The ONLY way we're going to be able to make any headway on change is if we get bodies in the streets en masse and keep them there. It will be  hard and it will be ugly. People will be arrested. People will be killed. But it must be done. The will of fairness and of democracy must prevail or our Constitution and our social compacts will be lost.  

            It is time to #Occupy Media.

            by lunachickie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:59:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And then the insane, right-wing, legitimate rape (0+ / 0-)

            GOP will rule not only the House, but the Senate and the White House as well.

            Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

            by coral on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:39:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  polls are less reliable than they once were (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and they always had problems. Nowadays, the % of respondents who are reached and refuse to cooperate has increased- it's less than 10%. There is also regression to the mean. Obama poll numbers improved after the election with the visible nuttiness of Republicans and relief after the disgraceful fiscal cliff package because Jose Six Pack hoped that all these nasty budget battles were over. Now that he and his friends see that fiscal disputes are here to stay, he's less approving of Obama's actions. If forced to choose between Obama, Boehner, Ryan or McConnell, he'll go for the big O.

            The big O appears to feel a powerful internal desire to compromise and get the approval of WaPo and the NY Times as a “serious person”. He really doesn't feel this stuff about how little most Americans have saved for retirement, how bad wages are for most new jobs. That information comes in on a peripheral line and doesn’t access the central core. Take him at his word when he says that he could be mistaken for an old fashioned moderate Republican, somewhat to the right of Richard Nixon on domestic policy.

            That leaves progressives standing in quicksand. We can hope that the Rs overplay their hand enough to rekindle public disapproval. We certainly don't want more Republicans in Congress in 2014, but our Captain and his Lieutenants (Pelosi, Hoyer, Reed & Schumer) don't understand the problem. They see nothing wrong with "giving a little on entitlements" and they can’t grasp corporate tax breaks as entitlements. They won’t fight fiercely against tax breaks for Big Oil, hedge fund managers, etc. There’s a big gap between what they say and what they will fight for. Keep voting but start working on a new offense, turning over the tables in the crooked casino.

        •  Third party dreaming (0+ / 0-)

          This is the conundrum I keep running into. The Democrats--at least many--are bad, but the Republicans are bat-shit crazy and extremely dangerous.

          What to do? Especially when so many efforts at third-party work-arounds have failed so miserably.

          The Tea Party has been effective in pushing the GOP rightward (basically off the map). But they are heavily funded by Koch brothers and others. And their anti-tax ideology is appealing to the richest and most powerful forces in the country.

          Any true progressive third party cannot amass the kind of financial support that would enable success in pushing the Democrats in a more progressive (and democratic) direction.

          Plus, the constitutional structure of the country, with the heavily unrepresentative Senate (CA and WY both have the same number of Senators, representing 38 million and 576,000 respectively, for example) and the crazy gerrymandered House (more people voted for Democrats than Republicans, but the House is still dominated by GOP). Mix in the Citizens United decision and the attack on voting rights nationwide.

          The deck seems to be stacked against getting anything resembling a fairly elected government that truly represents the American public and that serves the needs of most Americans.

          Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

          by coral on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:37:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hard to believe that he knows (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome, Timothy J

        what a devastating impact cuts to Social Security will make on the lives of most Americans. I think he's lost in the bubble. But if he does know the truth, then ... he doesn't deserve the support he gets even now.

        Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

        by coral on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 07:27:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Am I asleep? (0+ / 0-)

          Has Obama actually cut Social Security? When did he sign this into law?

          I do know he is talking about chained CPI, which, by the way, is attached to many pensions. It is attached to mine, and I have never had a cut in my benefits. I have, in some years, received little cost of living increase, but never a cut.

          As for Medicare, I agree that Medicare for the wealthy should cost them more. I agree that waste be eliminated as best as possible. But I have not heard Obama say he thought Medicare benefits should be cut.

          Those on the left need to let the President know how they feel, but refrain from "setting their hair on fire" before something is being done.

          Because by speaking of Democratic betrayal, etc. will only keep voters home in 2014 when we need them.

          Unless, of course, you are ready for Republican control of both the House and Senate and the Presidency in 2016.

          Then SS or Medicare won't matter. It will be gone.

          So we tweak the programs now and make them law, or allow the Republicans to wait it out and rather than tweaking, move to abolishing.

          •  So we cut or they cut more? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And you think you won an election?  So you win again in 2014 and then your position is again, oh, let's us cut some more so they don't cut more... and repeat... and that's why we are where we are today with two parties who will not defend Social Security and Medicare.

            Even if Obama doesn't wind up cutting Social Security his messaging is radically opposed to where I want this country to go.  

            I oppose the Grand Bargain.  I oppose the balanced approach (because the balance is a lie).  I oppose the shared sacrifice (because the shared is a lie).  

            My hair is on fire because I no longer trust the Democratic Party because I cannot get any of my representatives to make a commitment to support the programs and issues that motivate me to vote.

          •  Respectfully, I don't know--are you? ;-) (0+ / 0-)

            Seriously, I have posted relentlessly the Administration's proposal for a Grand Bargain (H/T greenbell) which includes the Superlative or Chained CPI, and greatly expanding Medicare 'means testing' from 5% to 25% of the population.  It's posted at the WH website, so you should be able to access it with no problem.

            Oh, and since you're 'OKAY' with the wealthy paying higher premiums, maybe you'd like to take a gander at this Kaiser Health News piece, which spells out "wealthy" in regard to the President's proposal:

            Affluent Seniors Could Take A Hit On Medicare

            By Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini
            KHN Staff Writers

            Nov 13, 2011

            . . . House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has left the door open to asking wealthy seniors to pay more, and public opinion polls show support for the idea. . . .

            Current law already requires seniors with annual incomes of $85,000 and above ($170,000 for couples) to pay more than others for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor bills and other outpatient costs.  In 2012, the standard premium will be $99.90 per month.  Premiums for wealthier seniors will range from $139.90 to $319.70 per month.

            About 5 percent of seniors fall into the higher-premium group now.  President Barack Obama wants the share of beneficiaries paying more for their coverage to grow over time to one quarter of all beneficiaries. If that were the case today, people with incomes as low as $40,000 a year would be paying higher Medicare premiums, according to Tricia Neuman, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. . . .

            As for 'setting hair on fire,' if getting the facts out, especially as presented by experts does that, so be it.  ;-)


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


            by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:54:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  We must (7+ / 0-)

      put supreme pressure on Obama because he is doing this on behalf of the 1%. He does not care about seniors and poor people. He is the only one who could get this passed as you know no republican has been able to do. Democrats have to stop being in denial Joan, and not pay attention to the republicans who just distract us, and make it easier for Obama to get away with this insanity. Se how Dean Baker at Firedoglake looks at this.

      "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

      by angry hopeful liberal on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:30:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama's stance on Social Security IS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coral, Timothy J, greenbell

      a betrayal to those who worked so hard for his election and reelection.

      No question mark needed, coral. None. It's obviously a statement of fact.

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 05:54:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Has Sanders Spoken for This? I Know Howard Dean (25+ / 0-)

    pushed for dropping SS and Medicare to age 55 back at the time of the original transition, both as a service to those seniors directly, and as a jobs creation program for those who remain in the work force.

    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 Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:37:20 PM PDT

    •  Lowering the age=good policy. PBO wants to RAISE (0+ / 0-)

      the age of eligibility - baffling. Bad politically* and horrifically indefensible on policy grounds.  


      * Well, maybe not for him but for the Dem Party for a generation - not his concern anymore, I guess.

  •  How could I not wreck this? (11+ / 0-)

    Solid economic logic, clearly the right thing to do. That's why the GOP hates it.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:40:38 PM PDT

  •  Totally agree with this diary--thanks, Joan (11+ / 0-)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:42:11 PM PDT

  •  I keep thinking Obama is offering Chain CPI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, musiccitymollie

    as a small cut to Social Security to see if Republicans will really stand by what they constantly talk about.  Will Republicans vote for a cut to Social Security when Social Security is so incredibly popular?  I don't think so.  And Obama knows it won't pass.  So it doesn't cost him anything to offer it up.

    Say "No" to Chained CPI.

    by Arlys on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 04:42:49 PM PDT

  •  If the Medicare age were lowered.... (25+ / 0-) would be even more beneficial I think because many older people put off retirement for health care reasons. If they retired, some of these jobs might be available to others x

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:00:47 PM PDT

  •  expand both medicare and social security (22+ / 0-)

    into universal health care and a livable pension, and let the private sector focus on making their widgets and delivering services instead of half-assing the basic functions of a modern state.

    it would make the economy better and the deficit smaller, if done right, and would improve our standard of living and reduce the barriers to entrepreneurs significantly.

  •  Couldn't agree more (12+ / 0-)
    Job creation, just for a start, should me a much, much higher priority right now than the deficit and cuts to social insurance programs.
    Tens of millions of Americans are ready, willing, and able to contribute to society and want and need to be self-sufficient and somehow they've become "surplus" citizens.

    It isn't as if there aren't plenty of things that need doing. Important things.

    For Christ's sake, let's help more of our frightened people get through this thing, whatever it is - Kurt Vonnegut on our "faithless custodians of capital"

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:34:36 PM PDT

  •  Josh Barro (yes the conservative) had (17+ / 0-)

    a pretty powerful argument on why SS should be expansion.

    It actually has the same title as this article...(assume that's just a coincidence)

    With everyone in Washington experiencing sea-bass-induced euphoria, we're talking again about a "grand bargain" to replace the sequestration and shrink the federal budget deficit. And that means we’re talking about using the chained consumer-price index, a lower and more accurate inflation measure, to modestly raise taxes and cut Social Security benefits over time.

    Back in December, I wrote that applying chained CPI to Social Security is the wrong solution to our budget problems: It’s just a way of dressing up a cut to retirement benefits at a time when retirement insecurity is rising. Despite its problems, Social Security is the best-functioning component of the U.S.'s retirement-saving system. Instead of cutting, the federal government should be expanding its role in retirement saving.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:39:42 PM PDT

  •  But the question is (5+ / 0-)

    where does the money come from to pay people increased benefits to stop working at 55?

    Right now what employed citizens pay is used to pay the meager benefits now.  And that, due to the Obama tax cuts and increased retirements of boomers, is not covering the cost of those benefits now.  Does this mean taxing at a higher rate? or borrowing to cover the cost?

    On a different point, "The Federal Reserve found that the typical household with workers aged 55 to 64 had a combined $120,000 in 401(k)’s and Individual Retirement Accounts."  Note how they coach this, workers 55 to 65 have $120k in 401k's.  

    I've had issues with that.  Workers 55 to 65 were in their late 30's and early 40's when the 401k's took off. They also tended to have it as an option along with a reduced pension. So they did not 'invest' like workers today.  What you need to look at is the amount a worker has in the 401k they have been paying into since 1994 and is only 43.  It will be close to $150,000 with another 20 years of growth and contributions to go. This makes the numbers less powerful for anyone not about to retire.

    of course the real problem with 401k's and IRA is what is known as the "Roth" versions.  Billions of dollars being sheltered tax free.  All the growth in a Roth is tax free.  Unlike a normal plan, where it is only taxed when you draw it out.  One of my employers has been doing its best to push the Roth401k plan they have over the normal plan.  

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 05:42:53 PM PDT

    •  The Money Must Be Found Even if You Privatize. (10+ / 0-)

      If there isn't the money to pay retirees from Social Security, because not enough people are working, then there will not be enough people to buy the stocks and bonds from retiring seniors who are flooding markets to fund their retirement privately.

      Either society can survive or it cannot. The cheapest way to do this is by government because it doesn't advertise, doesn't need to enrich investors, and doesn't need to pay half a billion to its executives.

      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 Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:28:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The other reason Social Security (6+ / 0-)

        (and defined benefit pensions) are better than 401(k)s is that shared risk reduces the total amount of money required to provide the exact same benefits.

        If the money required to pay out benefits is pooled -- a concept known to trade guilds over 600 years ago -- the amount required to cover everyone is smaller than if every single person maintained their own savings.  In fact, depending on the way it is calculated, the amount is roughly 20-25% lower.

        Said another way:  The total saved in individual retirement plans would have to be saved in an amount 20-25% greater than the amounts paid into Social Security (or set aside in a defined benefit pension) to provide the same payout.

        Once you know that, why would anyone recommend that "privatized" or individual plans be used?   It would cost everyone more. And Wall Street would love that, of course.

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

        by YucatanMan on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:35:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Expand them by (8+ / 0-)

      cutting defense spending (Mr. DrillSgt :) and corporate welfare, increasing taxes on the wealthy, including eliminating the cap. I know the latter makes SS solvent, and the former 2 should fund some growth.

      Also, if we had a trade policy we could establish some sanity on wages in this country, which would allow those who need SS most to put more in in the first place. We need international labor and environmental law and tariffs for countries who do not obey them. Get on a sane, level playing field rather than this race to the bottom to a standard of the greatest exploitation of people and the planet.

      One of the major differences between Democrats and Republicans is that the former have the moral imagination to see the moral dimension of financial affairs, while the latter do not. Some pragmatists are exceptions.

      by Words In Action on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:33:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If and when there is a shortfall, raise the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      payroll tax.

      They were doubled in the 1980's.


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


      by musiccitymollie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 07:26:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm no. They went up 2 points (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musiccitymollie, elwior

        Not 2X.

        From 10.4 to 12.2 over the ten years after 1983.

        The "double" thing is just one of those Internet memes. And serves ironically to bolster the whole idea that SS is unsustainable since it got that much out of whack in the past. When it really wasn't that much out of whack in percentage terms ever.

        On the bright side the actuarial gap going forward is just over that same 2 points. And because we are far farther from real crisis than we were in 1983 (when the Trust Funds were weeks from depletion and not 20 years) the needed increases can be stretched out over 20 years or more. Even if we never touched the cap.

        But to repeat someone back in the chain just misread +2 as x2 and it spread among supporters and detractors of SS alike. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:00:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Historical FICA and SECA (Med Pt A) Rates (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie, elwior

          Not that the first columns are "each" for employer and employee to get to the 10.4 and 12.2 above.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:03:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  10.8 in 82-83, 12.4 now. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie, elwior

          That is not EVEN 2 points for Social Security in isolation.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:08:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I got it from the Greenspan Commission (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gooderservice, elwior, tardis10

          report, but confused it with another statistic in the report, related to the 'delayed retirement credit.'  So I stand corrected.

          Actually, Mr. Mollie and I have paid the higher rate, since we've often paid the self-employed OASDI rate.  But, I've also been taxed at the regular employee rate, and I've been practically exempt from paying payroll taxes while participating in the old Civil Service retirement system.

          So my history of paying this tax is 'all over the place,' now that I think about it, LOL!

          I wish that I could post the many video clips that I made of Janice Gregory and the other Greenspan Commission staffers, before C-Span 'killed the code.'  They ran from 1:00 to 3-4:00 minutes, and were great to get out major points, in a very direct and authoritative manner.

          I hope that you get a chance to watch the video, Bruce.

          Don't take this to the bank, cause I actually only HEARD it the first time (and I wasn't fully engaged), but I believe that one of the forum participants commented that because the Cost of Living formulas had been tweaked in the past, all of us will draw approximately only half of what we would have drawn, had these many "tweaks" not been implemented.

          So, folks--all of you listen up, please, to see if I heard wrong.

          I intend to actually watch this video fully engaged this weekend, to see if I heard that statement correctly.

          And they added that the Cost of Living Index was "tweaked" substantially under President Clinton.  And I mean 'to the negative.'

          Funny, I don't even recall hearing about it. That's why we must all be vigilant.  

          You can bet your 'pooties,' folks, that I'll be watching very closely from now on. ;-D


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


          by musiccitymollie on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 09:52:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well I don't know about the CPI thing (3+ / 0-)

             It doesn't ring true to me for a lot of reasons. For one thing I have been closely following SS policy since those Clinton years and it doesn't match up well with CBO estimates that the real value (measured in basket of goods terms) of scheduled benefits projects to be 180% of today by the end of the 75 year actuarial period. I mean that wouldn't seem to be consistent with a lot of past higgery-jiggery of past COLAs, particularly since they have been adjusted using the same CPI measures used to adjust most everything else (hence the additional harm by switching all of that to Chained CPI). If the overall measure was that far off you would have seen ramifications everywhere and not just in SS benefits.

            And while it is sorta vulgar to drop names without permission, I happen to be on good terms with a number of top staffers from the Greenspan Commissiom and if you like could confirm the impressions you got from Janice Gregory. Or help dispell them. In any case I would be quite interested in hearing a report of your re-listen of those clips.

            Because we are on the same side here. I just have kind of a fetish about precise use of numbers related to SS. Mainly because the Bad Guys misuse and distort them, and I think we Defenders do ourselves no favors by misstating them by accident or otherwise. Because by and large the real numbers strongly support our case.

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

            by Bruce Webb on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 11:15:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, as I mentioned above, I plan to watch this (4+ / 0-)

              video this weekend.  (I was listening on XM radio the other day when I heard the replay, and was also taking care of other matters.  Which is why I said allow me a 'relisten,' and or asked others to listen up, if they get a chance first.)

              There were no Greenspan Commission staffers on the forum, but one of the former staffers, Virgina something, did introduce herself and either ask a question, or make a statement.

              But nothing that was said at the 2010 forum that Gregory et al held (and that I had the embedded video of, until C-Span killed the code) had anything to do with the Chained CPI (that I recall, anyway).  The little clips that I cut simply addressed basic precepts and facts, but were helpful due to the speaker's 'credentials.'
              It was the video above, with Dean Baker and Stephen Goss, the Chief Actuary for Social Security, and I believe 3 or 4 other folks, including the moderator, that went into a great deal of detail regarding many, if not all of the former 'price index' formulas, etc.

              And Mr. Goss talked about terms like 'standard of living' increases and 'pure price' increases, 'modified price increases,' and the newer 'price index for the elderly.'

              I'll just have to give it a more thorough look and listen, Bruce.  But one of the speakers definitely stated that during Clinton's administration, there was a tinkering with the formula for measuring inflation.  And, it was not to the consumers advantage.

              I will listen and carefully transcribe that portion, as well.

              I found the chart of the OASDI rates from the inception of Social Security, and thought that I said that I accept those rates (or yours, whichever).  I found in the Greenspan Commission report what I confused with the increase.

              So I'll refer to that chart (it was on the Social Security website) when I make reference to the payroll tax increase in the future.  I agree that accuracy is important.  I source pretty much everything that I say.  I saw where I picked up the wrong statistic, when I checked the Greenspan Commission Report tables.

              Thanks for your reply.  I'll listen up good to the video that I posted.  

              Hopefully, it will shed some light on this "critter" called the Superlative or Chained CPI.  ;-)


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


              by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:39:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Virginia Reno of NASI n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

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

                by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:49:37 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That would be her. (I recognized her voice, which (0+ / 0-)

                  is rather distinct, IMO).

                  I've just checked at a couple of other blogs where I post heavily, and again, 'killing the code' made the embedded videos 'collapse.'

                  They have also killed the "link."

                  However, there appears to be a provision to "Tweet" the video.

                  I post Tweets regularly several other blogs, but have not been able to post a Tweet here, for some puzzling reason.

                  Is there anyone out there who can point me to a "DKos Tweet Primer" (for lack of a better description, LOL!), please.

                  I really have some valuable clips to share, if only I can figure out "how" to display a Tweet at this blog.

                  Here's a stunning statistic, Bruce, that bears getting out at a time that the Administration is threatening further cuts of ANY dimension.

                  I have Ms. Janice Gregory of the NASI (National Academy Of Social Insurance) on video clip, saying this:

                  According to Ms. Janice Gregory, President, National Academy of Social Insurance, Social Security benefits are already going down in the future (without further cuts).

                  Benefits are modest, approximately $14,000 annually.

                  After paying Medicare premiums, the Social Security "replacement rate of lifetime average earnings" in 2010, was 39%.

                  By 2030, it will be 32%.

                  Neither of these rates count "taxing" Social Security benefits, so it understates the problem.

                  Please, if anyone can point me toward a "help" resource that shows me the procedure for posting "Tweets," I would be most grateful.  I have followed instructions from at least one very gracious commenter here (when I put out an SOS months ago), but they didn't work, and I made at least twenty attempts.  [And have never had a problem at any other blog.  It's truly puzzling.  And it's defnintely hampering my ability to share videos, etc.]



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


                  by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:27:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Seems like Janice is explaining Medicare's (0+ / 0-)

                    impact on Social Security via Part B premiums if cost controls are not successfully imposed rather than effects of COLA as such.

                    Which of course is something all supporters of Social Security can agree on, from Dean Baker and Paul Krugman on the economist side to Nancy Altman and the many others on the advocacy side, to the extent there is anything to "entitlements crisis' it is in the cost growth of the health care sector generally which effect Medicare specifically.

                    And as I noted above or somewhere in the last couple days, Medicare premiums are simply eating up even the inadequate COLAs that exist, particularly for lower income beneficiaries.

                    Another argument for working up a full CPI-E index to track the real inflation experienced by actual seniors. Because out of pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries starting but not stopping with front end Part B and D premiums hit those pocket books hard.

                    But at the risk of seeming just stubbornly contrarian I don't see this Medicare spillover effect as necessarily attacking the current structure of Social Security considered in isolation. Which per the numbers just needs a modest adjustment of revenues in much the same way as FICA has been adjusted many times before. (See FICA/SECA table linked above).

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

                    by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:23:44 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I'm not concerned about 'the current structure' (0+ / 0-)

                      of Social Security.

                      My only concern is to preserve benefits at the minimum at the current level.  And hopefully raise them for the bottom three quintiles (or so).

                      The MAIN POINT of posting that video (or the brief transcript, here) is to let folks BE AWARE OF HOW 'DINKY' THE REPLACEMENT VALUE IS, AND WILL BE.
                      I assure you, many folks, particularly those who have no other retirement income, will be outraged when they discover how little RV their Social Security benefit will provide them in their retirement.
                      39% and 32%--You've got to be kidding, LOL!
                      Many folks think that the RV is MUCH higher now. And they certainly (including myself) had no clue just how much it will be dropping over the next few years.

                      That's all that I was trying to achieve.  ;-)


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


                      by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:37:20 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  One more thing. My point in posting Gregory's (0+ / 0-)

                      short transcript from the video clip (that no longer works) was NOT ABOUT the Superlative CPI.  That was 'comments ago.'  You could say--that's history, LOL!

                      Seriously, I  have numerous clips that I will post the transcripts of, and Gregory barely touches on CPI.  

                      Heck, I'm much more concerned with getting out information on things like the extraordinarily puny 'replacement rate' of Social Security, etc., than all the technical aspects of the Chained CPI.

                      Again, most 'lay folks' care about the overall impact of these policies, not the minutia.

                      I also have short clips of several politicians and union leaders acknowledging that they support the "Chained CPI," which are embeddable or 'linkable.'

                      I will also be posting some of them (not all).

                      If someone can help me on the "Tweet" problem, I'll be able to provide more video links, at least.


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


                      by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:45:58 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  40% of Replacement is the official target (0+ / 0-)

                        The gold standard of Defined Benefit pension plans was 60% after 30 years. This for State and local workers NOT covered by Social Security. Back in the day the idea was that a career civil servant would be able to burn his 30 year mortgage papers on the same day he picked up his first pension check and that relieved of the biggest part of housing costs would be able to coast into retirement being able to afford the same or better basket of goods after retirement as before. And maybe a lake house and a boat or a snow-bird time share in Florida or Arizona.

                        I don't know of anyone ever who imagined that Social Security was going to provide the same level of retirement security that a union man or woman working for GM or the Feds was going to get from their pension, from that perspective 60% would represent a CEILING of expectations.

                        You suggest that 39% is a "you gotta be kidding" level and that 32% is an outrage. But historically I am just not seeing it. For example a quick Google on replacement ratios brought this longish study from the Social Security Bulletin
                        Income Replacement Ratios in the Health and Retirement Study. Scrolling down to the data table it doesn't seem that the bottom 25% ever got more than a 40% replacement ratio.

                        Now we can agree that this is not ADEQUATE. But I am not seeing that it is NEW or DETERIORATING. Which rightly or wrongly was my take away from your comments.

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

                        by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:16:10 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Another SS Bulletin Study 2004 (0+ / 0-)

                          Comparing Replacement Rates Under Private and Federal Retirement Systems

                          This study is kind of pimping add on accounts for Federal workers but also shows that replacement ratios from SS alone range from 50% for low income workers to 30% for workers earning near the cap (Chart 1).

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

                          by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:23:37 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Hey, Bruce, let me clarify something . . . (0+ / 0-)

                          Here's a paragraph excerpted from a blogger's comment on another blog site that I frequent (I've deleted the blog info and her user name.  Her comment was in response to Atrios' diary about increasing Social Security benefits.)

                          "Duncan does a good job of pointing out that there are some things that must be handled collectively. He needs to add that in many other wealthy countries a lot of expenses are handled by the state such as healthcare, higher education, excellent transportation, cheap heat, child care. In Germany, I believe, it used to be that the German retired with about 67%? of his salary for a pension whereas our Social Security only pays for about 47%, if that. If Americans were paid a living wage and didn't have all the other expenses, then, yes, they might be able to save some extra. But the system is rigged against them from the get go."
                          My point being that many folks have a misunderstanding of the replacement value of their Social Security.  I also believed that it was higher than Ms. Gregory stated.  And if the very sharp blogger whom I quoted above can be 'off' that much in her estimation of the replacement value, I don't hold out much hope that the public at large has an accurate impression of this, at all.

                          Obviously, the PtB won't point this out to the general public what the replacement rate equivalency is, when they are beginning the process of cutting our social safety net.

                          In one of the video clips, Ms. Gregory states verbatim:


                          "And all the other things that they had counted on--cheap healthcare, pensions, home values, and even jobs, are much less secure than they were in 1983."

                          After all, how does one expect the citizenry to 'push back' on detrimental policies, when they are clueless as to the actual policies that they are subjected to?

                          BTW, I've figured out how to get the links to the videos to work.  Now I going to continue to tinker with the "Tweets," since they are more attractive-looking than a hyperlink.  ;-)

                          My self-appointed 'gig' is to advocate for benefits.

                          I mostly plan to use the actual words (from transcripts) or the spoken words from videos of expert.  I won't even post an opinion with these media, for the most part.  Just a sentence or two of introduction of the speakers and the topics.

                          I'll let each commenter decide for themselves whether or not they consider the benefit to be sufficient, or fair.

                          I figure that folks can't possibly be in the position to make an informed decision as to whether or not they do, or do not favor cuts to the social insurance programs, unless they have a decent understanding of their Social Security benefits.

                          So, if I can help with that--my goal will be fulfilled.  ;-)


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


                          by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:25:42 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Don't miss the forest for the trees (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The only purpose for the CPI change is to cut benefits and they brag about over $100B is savings.  We're not reforming anything.  The only purpose is to reduce the cost of the programs through finding a calculation that results in cutting benefits substantially.  

              If you get lost in the woods on the technicalities of the calculation you are missing the purpose of the forest.  If this calculation didn't result in billions in benefit cuts, they'd find one that did.

              •  What does "doubling FICA" in the 80s (0+ / 0-)

                Have to do with Chained-CPI? Particularly when it is factually wrong?

                There are Bad Guys out there who know all this stuff inside and out, and while feeling free enough to distort stuff for their own purposes, will jump down your throat if you miss something.

                A little anecdote. Back in 2005 when I was even less known in SS circles than today I was hanging around DeLong's place when he turned a post over to guest Andrew Samwick who was pushing an early version of LMS (the Liebman-MacGuineas-Samwick Non-Partisan Social Security Reform Plan), in short a privatization plan.

                In the course of the sale Samwick made the unqualified claim that the current payroll gap was 3.5%. Which seemed odd since the most recent number for the standard 75 year window was then 1.92%. But Samwick needed the extra room and more to make his plan numbers add up.

                So I issued a cheeky "Whence 3.5% Samwick?" only to be slapped down online by Andrew AND upbraided as a rude fuck by DeLong via e-mail. Because in 2003 the Trustees (as I learned later under pressure of two specific members of the SSAB) had introduced a NEW actuarial window, this one measured over the I shit you not Infinite Future Horizon which in 2005 was indeed 3.5%.

                Now these days when I see those numbers I can counter-attack by explaining how stupid and self-serving Infinite Future is. Rather than just claiming, as I did, that Samwick had just made a dumb mistake.

                But no I just walked right into THAT one. And in the process made myself look like a fool in front of DeLong and his readers. At a time when Brad was pretty much the only straight center-left econoblog of influence out there. By not recognizing Samwick's slight of hand.

                Some of those trees are pretty important tactically for soldiers fighting on the ground. Even if the strategist-general just sees them as a forest on his battle map.

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

                by Bruce Webb on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 09:08:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Bottom line is that no one even need the numbers. (0+ / 0-)

                  I rarely mention them.  They're beside the point, because anyone can come up (usually) with a chart or table that counters a claim.  Which is why I almost never even take that up [plus, it's terribly boring, ;-)].

                  It's "the policies" that matter.

                  That why the President's own Fiscal Commission's proposals (Bowles-Simpson's The Moment Or Truth) is what I attempt to get out there.

                  That's what matters--not statistics, which the average guy could care less about, anyway.

                  I'm working on posting excerpts of a white paper, which demonstrate a great similarity between the privatization of Mexico's Social Insurance Program, to the Bowles-Simpson proposals.

                  Bowles-Simpson's proposals appear to have taken hugh swaths of their proposal from 'the Mexican Model.'

                  Have to wonder if that is one reason [aside from NAFTA] that so many Mexican nationals fled Mexico, after the privatization of their system in the 1990's.
                  The so-called reform of the Mexican system made it incredibly difficult to qualify for any benefit, unless you had years and years of qualifying work record (same thing B-S demands, really).

                  And before this so-called reform, they had a period of ten years or so, much like our present system.

                  I have got to put more emphasis on the changes in the B-S proposal which greatly effect low-income folks.>

                  I will also be posting portions or excerpts of The Moment Of Truth and an excellent chart I found on this, very soon.


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


                  by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:27:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I just saw your question about FICA above. (0+ / 0-)

                  A commenter above seemed to indicate that he had concerns about NOT IMPLEMENTING the Superlative CPI, because of costs to his children and grandchildren.  That's what he stated.

                  So, my answer was 'if you're worried about that [the financing of Social Security], support raising the FICA tax, as opposed to cutting benefits by implementing the Superlative CPI.'

                  And then I mentioned that the payroll taxes had been raised in the past, including as a result of the Greenspan Commission's recommendations.

                  That's the context for the discussion.  

                  At any rate, I was trying to address his concerns, not my own.  ;-)


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


                  by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, greenbell. The reason that I would (0+ / 0-)

                suggest listening to this video is because they discuss how much we've ALREADY been scr**ed by these "technical changes."

                Have to admit that the PtB are very creative in their memes and their attempts to shortchange 'the American people,' eh?


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


                by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:03:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, folks. Meant to say bet your "patooties," (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, maryabein

            as in a rat's patootie.  My sincere apologies.


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


            by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 12:15:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  They were nearly doubled for the self-employed (0+ / 0-)

          That may be where the meme came from.

          Thom Hartmann has been pushing the "doubled" meme hard., but then Thom is prone to wackadoodle bullcrap.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 04:45:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hey, quit listening to that 'sell-out' when he (0+ / 0-)

            moved to D.C.

            Hartmann has always been a name-dropper, and to some extent, a blowhard.  [Although years ago, he was one of my favorite radio hosts.]  He's not that well-informed on the social insurance programs.  

            I did call his show enough several years back enough that Louise knew my voice.  ;-)  

            Trust me--he doesn't have a clue beyond talking points, on some issues.

            So, no.  I definitely don't get info from him, LOL!


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


            by musiccitymollie on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:51:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  You assume the guy 43 will remain fully (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      employed.  That's the real problem for people over 45.  Your 401K may be on track until you hit a few bouts of unemployment at an age when it takes longer to get another job.  We haven't only lost pension security.  We've lost employment security.  

  •  The proper response to anyone wanting to cut (10+ / 0-)

    Social Security or Medicare for that matter is expand them both. Now that's a discussion I want to have!

  •  Expand Social Security. (6+ / 0-)

    That is exactly what I said in my email to the President.

    That with NO CPI, no diminished benefits for seniors.

  •  Cuts to social security are social insanity (8+ / 0-)

    because of the deadly effect on our people.

  •  Say it loud! (9+ / 0-)

    Progressive and proud!

    lower the Social Security eligibility age and increase benefits

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:35:43 PM PDT

  •  What does it say about us that (10+ / 0-)

    we allow our seniors to be treated in such an undignified fashion?  And what then can be said about the gophers in congress.  I know a 90 year old who gets less than $700 per month and needs food stamps in order to eat.  How do those  repeating cut "entitlements" sleep at night.  They make me sick and ashamed of us.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:45:14 PM PDT

  •  Working longer is all well and good (11+ / 0-)

    if you can keep your company from firing you when you turn 50, or you can find another job at similar wages if that happens.

    We are creating a new underclass of people who lose their jobs at 50 and can't find another source of income until they turn 66 or 67 and can draw Social Security. That also keeps one from participating in Medicare, because there's no money for premiums between 65 and 66 or 67.

    I know Republicans would like to "fix" that -- by raising the eligibility age for Medicare to 67.

    That will certainly "fix" the problem. Thousands of us will die from untreated medical conditions waiting to be eligible for care.


    "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 Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 06:56:31 PM PDT

  •  Bingo that is exactly what I have been saying (6+ / 0-)

    The President is dead wrong on this issue.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Mar 13, 2013 at 08:07:44 PM PDT

  •  There should also be some minimum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    stipend for the "helper" economy that worked/works in caregiving, child rearing etc. and has no SS paper trail. SAHM/F, relatives that care for family members etc., random people in arrangements of support, etc.

    There's no point in doing anything other than improving SS, the shortage will fall on other various disorganized agencies and mechanisms and cost us more. It needs to be streamlined. It's better to raise SS benefits than to have people running around looking for foodstamps and subsidized housing and all the other compartmentalized hassles we make them endure.

  •  Change how funded and how benefits computed (0+ / 0-)

    I actually believe that one of the reasons why Social Security is so hard to modify is the funding and payout model. The image is that of a kind of individual insurance account that pays back what each individual puts in. Yet, that is not even a reasonable approximation of what happens, and it interferes with rational management of the plan.

    Here's an example: a lot of people (me too!) are convinced that removing the cap on taxable income would benefit the system. Yet, according to the individual account model, that would have a net zero effect, because only those who would have paid in more would get back more. In fact, what people want is a heftier cap on payments and no cap on taxes, but that doesn't fit the standard model.

    If the entire program were handled as just another welfare program, that supported those who needed it, and paid for by ordinary taxes on businesses and individuals, then it would be much more possible to create a fair system that would not be so vulnerable to being held hostage or used as a sledgehammer by politicians.

  •  Bolster the Trust Fund in telling all 3 branches (0+ / 0-)

    of government that we are buying all American electric companies for the book price of each share in each company or if the share holder wants to he can refuse the offer that  way and then he can use the share per price of their shares times book price from his IRS taxes in the year going forward.

    Then we send all our electric bills monthly to the Social Security Trust Fund. You could even chrge a higher rate for Dallas Cowboy football games lights to offset struggling Seniors, etc. or the entire NFL.

    Just a thought I've had since setting behind KC Chiefs Coach Hank Stram and next to Clint  Murchison Jr.'s  secretary Mr. Jim Stroman as the Cowboys won their first Super Bowl in New Orleans 1972 Super Bowl VI...

  •  Will this be on the front page? (0+ / 0-)

    The contradictions here are enormous. ON the one hand, folks want a continually strong image for the president. On the other hand, this leaves them in a pickle if he proposes insane policies and practices, and carries them out. Grass roots politics is about supporting the policies and issues, not the people. If the politician practices what is sane and good for the people, fine. If not, then you must oppose and dissent, or your practice of politics becomes insane and principle-less, just like the politicians you purport to admire.

  •  Thanks, Atrios (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Since he published his article several weeks ago in USA Today advocating expansion of Social Security, several influential voices have jumped on the bandwagon. It's a good idea. It just makes sense.

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

    by bink on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:45:04 AM PDT

  •  I couldn't agree more. (0+ / 0-)

    They raise the retirement age when times get tight, but have they ever dropped it back down when the economy was doing well?

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 10:31:16 AM PDT

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