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Recently, (only) 24 Congressional Democrats promised to vote against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.  That's about 10% of Congressional Democrats, and it's a promise - and politicians don't always keep promises.  There may be a few elected officials who will entirely protect these vital programs, but the contrast with large majorities of the public who want these programs protected from any cuts is dramatic.

The campaign to cut Social Security is coming from both Republicans and Democrats, sometimes in subtle ways - such as the plan to change the cost-of-living adjustments so benefits will fall further and further behind inflation each year.

There are a number of excuses used for undermining these popular services.  One is that the "baby boomer" generation is a big generation and is about to retire.  That is supposed to mean comparatively smaller generations of working people will be paying into the Social Security funds in order to pay the bills for the comparatively larger retired population.

The first thing to remember about this situation is - at worst - it's temporary.  As time goes by the baby boomers will pass away.  Any solution which may be necessary need not be a permanent one.  But clearly, the attacks on Social Security are aimed at permanent changes.

Another point those attacking Social Security will not address is the question of where the funding for Social Security comes from.  Its primary source is payroll taxes taken from working people.  (To be more precise, a special tax only on wages which is only calculated on wages up to about $100,000.  Those who have far larger wages don't have to pay based on their entire salary.)  But why should that be?  A working person labors for several decades before receiving Social Security and Medicare.  That's a large contribution to society - one which deserves rewards, including a decent retirement.  A person who is born into a wealthy family, who never works a day in his life, doesn't contribute decades of his life to providing society with goods and services.  That person should pay more financially towards government services than someone who labored for decades.  But today, that idle rich person pays nothing in Social Security taxes (and his capital gains have a special income tax rate half what would be charged for an equal amount of wages).  If we can't afford Social Security for those who worked and paid payroll taxes for it, how can we afford people who never work a day in their lives and live in luxury?

There's another crucial point.  We've known for decades the baby boomer generation was larger, was paying into Social Security and creating big surpluses in the Social Security fund while they worked, and would eventually retire and collect benefits.

The strongest advocates of cutting Social Security are the kinds of people who argue that government should be run more like a financially-sound company.  Well, what would a financially-sound company do if it knew it had surpluses of money coming in during the present time, but in a number of years would be facing additional expenses?  Answer: It would spend that surplus money in a way so its operations would minimize those extra expenses in the future.  It would look at what third party companies it was paying to do work that it could do itself.  It would expand the company to be able to do what those third parties were doing now - and save money that way.

Social Security could do the same thing.  A couple of years ago, CBS 60 Minutes had a segment on fraudulent medical supply distributors.  Phantom medical supply companies were stealing tens of billions from Medicare each year by submitting bills for medical supplies they claimed to have provided to Medicare patients.  It was tricky for Medicare to catch all of these crooks and ensure that patients got their supplies in a timely manner.  If Social Security were to create its own medical supply distribution network, it could eliminate both the billions in fraud, plus simply eliminate the middle man.  Rather than paying a business which provides medical supplies to patients, runs a billing department to send bills to Medicare and gives profits to the owners - Social Security would do the job itself.  It could save money to keep Social Security well-funded.

There are various other ways Social Security might be able to save money by doing the job itself.  If Social Security ran senior apartment complexes, when seniors paid their rent, that money would go back into Social Security.  If Medicare produced some of its own drugs, it would be paying itself for its operating expenses rather than paying a for-profit company.

If the government were following this kind of approach to bolster Social Security rather than trying to shrink Social Security, Americans would have confidence that Social Security would always be there.  Americans might then see Social Security as a safe place to invest their savings.  We don't want personal investments to replace guaranteed Social Security benefits - we've seen that can be disastrous.  However, there are Americans who want to put aside retirement saving above and beyond what they will get in Social Security pensions.  If they saved that money with Social Security, the Social Security Administration could collect a fee which would help fund the program.

There's one way this might not provide Social Security with additional funds.  Some of the people working for private companies may be paid less than people who would do these jobs for the Social Security Administration.  But that's not such a bad dilemma.  We simply have to choose whether we want Social Security to pay these employees similar to what they'd be paid working in the private sector (which creates more funding for Social Security), or whether we want to provide those employees a better standard of living although it wouldn't contribute as much toward Social Security benefits.

In any case, these are the kinds of choices we could take if our starting point was to provide the best possible lives for the people who work for decades to provide society with food, housing, health care, transportation and all our other needs.

   *   *   *   *   *  

Those who are more concerned with helping business may argue that the US Constitution doesn't permit the federal government to run the kinds of businesses I suggest Social Security could operate.  At best, any such limitation in the Constitution is one which is selectively applied depending on what is convenient to big business.

Those who would argue Social Security could not operate a program for individuals to invest savings, will not tell you it's unconstitutional for the Federal Reserve to lend money to huge corporations at interest rates far below the market rate.  Or that it's unconstitutional for the federal government to let regular folks invest in US Savings Bonds and folks with more money to invest in Treasury Bonds.

They'd argue that Social Security can't distribute medical supplies to the sick and disabled, but when private companies can't make enough of a profit on passenger train travel the government can run Amtrak.

They'd say Medicare can't make it's own medications, but it will allow the National Institute of Health to do research which medical companies may later use to make profits without having to do their own research.

When private insurance companies don't want to gamble entirely with their own money, they'll let the federal government get involved in flood insurance.

The only consistency in the application of these rules is to benefit businesses rather than the vast majority of our citizens.

Even if you believe private companies can usually do things better than the government, it would be foolish to think there are no exceptions to the rule.  As a matter of fact, we've seen examples of what companies won't or can't do themselves.  The duty of the government is to act in the interests of the majority, not the business minority.  So, it is the job of the government to do these things at least in some cases.  It makes no sense for it to be unconstitutional.

      *   *   *   *   *

Does Social Security still have the surpluses to take these actions?

If action was taken swiftly, I think that at least some moves in this direction could be taken.  Of course, the reality is, this won't happen at all until our politicians aren't siding with big business as they have been.  Businesses have been exerting pressure to prevent these kinds of financially-sound policies which would benefit the working majority in this country.  They are the ones who insisted on policies which allowed a temporary decline in the Social Security fund.  Those companies profited as a result of government policies that sided with the business minority.  If the Social Security fund no longer has enough surplus to do what is needed, then we need to make those companies put more into the fund now.

Whether or not we can get the rich to pay their fair share and support the Social Security fund as they should, we have to demand no cuts now just because they haven't done what they needed to in the past.

Originally posted to workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:23 AM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good diary (57+ / 0-)

    In 1983 the retirement age was raised and the payroll tax rate increased.  We were told that this was all that was needed to fund the retirement for boomers.

    To see that we're being used as the scapegoat again is infuriating.  I'm 53 and it looks like I'll have my social security fucked with twice before I'm even eligible for it.

    You raise some good points here - very well researched and informative.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:52:19 AM PDT

  •  Good ideas (20+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the good ideas.

    We all need to support real Democrats for election to Congress and the presidency, from now on. It is urgent.

    The American people in large majorities, including Republicans, oppose any butchering of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The GOP/Pseudo-Dem clients of the corporatist oligarchy need replacing with real Democrats, progressive Democrats if you prefer that term.

    FDR, JFK, LBJ, Humphrey Democrats. Real Democrats.

    Either we figure out how to keep corporate cash out of the political system or we lose the democracy. -- Molly Ivins

    by Obfuscation Rescue on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:06:08 AM PDT

  •  Pretty radical proposals in your piece, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabucat, alice kleeman, Arlys, ladybug53

    in today's slash and burn political arena. Considering that our legislature has swallowed the deficit emergency koolade, "entitlement" (I dislike the phrase - as opponents of the social safety insurance net know, it sounds like the free giveaway that it is not) shredding does not include irritating the comfortably wealthy.
    So as sensible as many of your notions are, there's no chance most of them would even be considered.

    •  You're right that today's politicians (7+ / 0-)

      will only act within the bounds acceptable to one or another group within the wealthy minority.  Many of my proposals would only be considered by officials who care about the fact large majorities of the people who want Social Security protected and want the rich to pay their fair (larger) share of taxes.

      "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

      by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:26:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  714day, I understand your sentiments, but maybe (7+ / 0-)

      we all need to heed the axiom in my signature line, which is a reminder to me, as much anyone else, ;-).

      Hopefully, the progressive community will come together, and begin to fight the 'learned helplessness' that seems to have taken a grip on the American Populace, as a whole.

      Until we do, I am afraid that you are probably correct.


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


      by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:40:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I don't mean that I intend to give up (9+ / 0-)

        because of the status quo. I have children, for one thing, and have no intention of tossing in any towels so that the programs they have contributed to can be cast to the wolves.
        Also, being an oldth, I understand that working against the tide does bring rewards eventually. For example, I had a gay mentor as a kid who helped me eventually make a stand for gay rights. He and his partner participated in the Stonewall riots. Sadly, they didn't live long enough into this century to see the turning of the tide.
        Anyway, I don't mean to imply anything other than what I said; the current toadies of the corporate wealthy are not going to give us anything reasonable with regard to SS, let alone anything good. So, we fight on...

  •  Thank you, workingwords, for this diary. It is (5+ / 0-)

    good to see someone look outside of the 'status quo paradigm' of the Washington Establishment when they make policy suggestions for "saving" Social Security.

    Certainly nothing can happen, if we aren't willing to dream, and then work at making it happen.

    Isn't it great to have a forum in which policy prescriptions can be discussed and fleshed out.

    Thanks for caring enough to put forth your views and recommendations in such a thoughtful manner.  ;-)


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


    by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:49:59 AM PDT

  •  'Socialist Revolution' vs Simple Fairness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fabucat, Arlys, ladybug53

    The writers ideas are VERY interesting in that they show that there are many solutions, but all are 'unthinkable' by our politicians because their devotion to big business is greater than their concern for retired people. These changes are so complicated for the general public to embrace.  The simple solution is to expand the Social Security funding base, without raising the RATE on anyone, perhaps even reducing the rate.  The expansion would apply the tax to ALL INCOME with not cap, and including dividends, interest, and capital gains.  The could be done, if it were seen as FAIR, to have a FLAT TAX.  That is a solution that could grab the public imagination.

    •  Progressive taxes are better (5+ / 0-)

      Funding Social Security by progressive taxation would be good.  Expansion of Social Security taxes to all income at the current flat rate might be an improvement, but should not be premised on flat taxes being better than progressive.

      "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

      by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:11:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Progressive income taxes are needed to reverse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        income disparity.

        If we remove the SS cap we create 14k monthly checks for some uber rich person, who already has the best healthcare, and will live much longer than a worker in the bottom 50 percentile who will die at 81. While that rich person lives into their 90's, and inflation turns that 168k check into 346k 26 years later.....

        If we apply FICA to cap gains we make those benefit checks even larger. And we are rewarding Speculative behavior.

         photo create20millionjobsFICA.png

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:18:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was reading an opinion piece in WaPo (18+ / 0-)

    about how Harry Reid won't let Feinstein's assault weapon ban bill go to the floor because he's afraid Dems will lose the Senate in 2014 if he does. It seems to me that Dems are far likelier to lose the Senate if they harm Social Security and Medicare.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:49:22 AM PDT

    •  Seriously! Republicans already hammer Dems (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sunspots, fabucat, alice kleeman, Arlys

      on the gun issue, with the caricature of libruls who want to take away your second amendment rights.  But Republicans can't yet hammer them on SS and Medicare, which remain, albeit in a fragile way, Dem-strong issues.

      WTF are Reid and other likeminded Dems thinking when they don't vociferously clamor to defend Medicare and SS?  Even in face of a President who seems to want to put them on the table?

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:08:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It does--but from all I've read or seen on C-Span, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they truly don't see it that way.


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


      by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 02:07:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  C-Span (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        why is it I always see republicans attacking common sense during prime viewing hours and obscure dems at the most unlikely hours?
        Also, the hosts seem to smirk at dem callers and cut them off while allowing uniformed, misleading or outright lying repub callers go on and on w/their distorted uniformed tirades.

        "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

        by BrianParker14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:09:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It appears to me, BP14, that since the mid-1990's (0+ / 0-)

          the station has really been 'corporatized,' for lack of a better term. ;-)

          I mainly listen to it on the C-Span Channel on XM Radio, so I'm spared the smirking faces, etc.

          It is worth watching or listening to the various congressional hearings, forums, etc., on occasion.


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


          by musiccitymollie on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:55:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really glad, MCMollie, that I wasn't just (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            imagining the lineup. Describing it as 'corporatized'  is being kind.  I see it as an attempt to be a more erudite, yet equally distorting and misleading and lying faux news. Similar to NPR, it has been captured.  (today NPR had a half hour of right wingers trying to mimic the same arguments they used for Iraq to explain why we "have to do something" to Syria. At first I thought they were replaying a segment of the Iraqi justifications.

            "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

            by BrianParker14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:29:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  My grandfather was born in the 1880's (13+ / 0-)

    And he was still receiving Social Security when I started paying the payroll tax.  My mother was born in 1921 and she is still receiving Social Security.  They forget that the Boomers paid in for both the WWI and WWII generations.   You never see them mention that do you?  Boomers are just beginning to enter the receiving end of things.  It's been all paying for decades.        

    They better remember that we are the ME generation.  We have a lot of votes and we're going to be voting for the next 20, 30 and even 40 years.

    •  Fair enough, but here's the deal. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We've been running a increasing deficit for almost the entire working lifetime of the baby boomers.  This means they've been enjoying (collectively) more services than they've been yielding to the government.

      Even if a debt reckoning never comes, future generations will have to spend real dollars servicing accumulated debt.  Dollars that can't be used to provide them with services.

      •  Most debt not boomer splurging (4+ / 0-)

        There was little national debt when George W. took office.  Tax cuts for the rich, a war in Iraq based on lies, and reckless irresponsibility of Wall st. and the banks caused most of the current deficit.  In the past the Vietnam War and other vast military spending has caused much short-term mega-spending and then long-term spending on veterans and war-based debt.  Our current spending on terrorism is at least partly founded on the US helping to overthrow the Iranian democracy in 1953 and the backing of Afghan Islamic fundamentalists in the 1980s.  Meanwhile, scientific studies tell us Canada's single payer health system provides similar care to that in the US at a far lower cost per capita - our government is "splurging" to keep corporations profiting from the sick.

        "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

        by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 01:00:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've always said we should have been taxed (3+ / 0-)

        Boomers while we were working.  And it's not just the Boomers who've supported the tax cuts.  The time to get the money is when we have it not when we don't.  That's exactly why the Bush tax cuts were unforgiveable.  Taxes got cut just as Boomers were in their peak earning years, so blame that on the GD centrists who refused to filibuster and stop them and let most of them continue even today.  

        Nothing sends me into a rant more than these Democratic neo-libs who've fostered all the wrong policies for decades and now want to blame people for the sin of falling into the wrong demographic group.  And it's these same neo-libs who are going to setup a generational war between Boomers and the younger generations just to push through their right wing agenda.  

        •  Let's not forget that pay for workers has been (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, greenbell, vigilant meerkat

          stolen by the one thousandth of one percent.

          As Elizabeth Warren has said, if productivity increases were paid to workers the minimum wage would be approx twenty-two dollars an hour (and if they were just paid at the rate of inflation the minimum wage would be approx fifteen dollars an hour. That's the minimum wage.) Wages have been stolen by the super wealthy.

          If they hadn't been stolen, but paid to workers, the SS fund would be in fine shape.

          Our labor has been stolen and now the super wealthy have another scam to send retired workers to the poor house. This is all absurd.

          And, I find it absolutely disgusting that so called Dems like Dick (stab us in the back) Durbin and Ed (Pete Peterson Fix the Debt sycophant) Rendell (not to mention the sociopaths Simpson and Bowles who smiling would knowingly see people die) are colluding in the theft of our lifetime efforts to support ourselves.
          And, they are impervious to any efforts by workers to change their positions.

          Mass demonstrations, email, the internet, phone calls, voting,  letters are useless. There has to be another way, but I don't know what it is.

          "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

          by BrianParker14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:26:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            As Elizabeth Warren has said, if productivity increases were paid to workers the minimum wage would be approx twenty-two dollars an hour (and if they were just paid at the rate of inflation the minimum wage would be approx fifteen dollars an hour. That's the minimum wage.) Wages have been stolen by the super wealthy.
            I was about to post a message describing how your math makes no sense, but I went back and actually checked the math and it sort of makes sense.

            Presently, the top 1% makes 18.9% of all income and pays 37.4% of all federal income taxes (source: here).

            The top 5% make about a third of AGI and pay about 60% of federal income taxes.

            The bottom 50% make 11.7% of AGI and pay 2.4% of all income taxes.

            In theory (there are massive complications, but to first order), if you took half of the top 5%'s income and gave it to the bottom 50%, the average bottom 50% wage would increase from around 12% to about 30% of AGI. Then the top 5% would be making 18% of AGI.

            There are further complications in the fact that I don't think that doing this would result in an equivalent real purchasing power gain for the bottom 50%, and some of the bottom 50% are simply unemployed and don't make a wage at all.

            (-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 Mar 22, 2013 at 10:15:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A few issues (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk, BrianParker14

              The question shouldn't be what fraction of total taxes the 1% pay, but what tax rate they have.  The further into the 1% you go, the more their taxes are based on capital gains with a top tax rate half that of the top rate for wages.  Also, there are several tax brackets between non-capital gains incomes of $1 and $400,000, but there are no higher brackets for $4 million, $40 million or $400 million.  And that's not to mention their tax evasion schemes.

              That's only federal income tax.  Most other taxes are much more regressive, so the entire tax burden falls heavier on lower income people.

              Further, if wealth was more fairly distributed, fewer people would need government assistance, which would reduce the need for revenue.

              "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

              by workingwords on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 08:47:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's honest of you. Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

              Thanks for "the math", 'cause I know it makes sense, I live it. That's honest of you, instead of ideologically attacking reality.

              Yeah, and many of the top one percent don't work either but take alot more out of our economy than those at the bottom "who don't work at all".
              And of course that 18.9 percent that the top 1% claim, are only the amounts they report. Wage earners don't have the luxury of hiding billions of dollars in the miriad of ways the wealthy can avoid paying taxes on.

              Numbers are really funny, especially if one can afford lawyers for accountants. Tax lawyers are awesome.

              Our entire economy would be far better off, and the average worker would be better off and SS would be better off, and public schools would be better off, and less children would be hungry and more people would be able to pay for medicine and health care,etc.  if the one thousandth of one percent had fairly distributed our work efforts and hadn't purchased republican legislators (see Jim DeMint's new job to track and primary all legislator's who vote against the Koch bros. front group The Heritage Foundations efforts to rape America) at all levels and allowed for a fairer distribution of work efforts.
              But of course there are those who believe that anyone who takes as much as they possibly can are just acting reasonable, even in a "civilized society", but then again, how civilized is it if virtually all of labors efforts go to the very very very few but then again, to some that's just okay because 1) they can and 2) they deserve anything they can take, even if they've purchased the laws that 'allow' for it, because, hey "that's life" and to heck w/a civilized behavior 'cause anything other than greed is socialism and society is just another way of saying socialism.

              Working for a company w/one hundred employees (no benefits including no sick days or vacation days or any benefits at all), ninety four make just above minimum, the CEO, makes several million per year not counting many perks, like vacation and health care (has five cars including a ferrari which he drives to work in blue jeans) and the entire infrastructure is paid for by a megacompany.
              We provide business to business phone and intercom services w/virtually no overhead and the company generates over one hundred forty million dollars a year, (he show's us the numbers) almost all profit. But the workers who keep it going get nada and the CEO who didn't build it or think of it or create it or innovate it gets hundreds of times the wages of the people who run it. He wouldn't know how to do any single job the workers do. But he knew (knows) somebody and always has a smile on his face while talking w/workers who make eleven or twelve dollars and hour and buy their own pens.
              But hey, there are some who are delusional and would say "that's our choice", instead or reality  which they deny and don't want to understand that the "system" is rigged by the wealthy who purchased those laws.

              "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

              by BrianParker14 on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 07:00:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  You Realize Boomers Have Been Taxed, Right? (0+ / 0-)

          You do realize that boomers have been taxed while we have been working? I don't see what your saying is any different from what Congress and Ronald Reagan did when they hiked the Social Security tax and put that money into a trust fund in the 1980s. The explicit justification for that was that the boomers would need it when they retired.

          Go look it up.

          You must be thinking of the federal income tax, not Social Security.

      •  Sorry, I Didn't Get That Dividend (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW, greenbell, Mike08

        Some dolt spent it on a war we didn't need and couldn't afford. Other people got the money and I got nothing but a pile of IOUs.

        This has nothing to do with Social Security, either. The reason Social Security funding is down is purely because we have fewer people working and we pay them less. Whatever problem people think we have with Social Security, workers just have about ten times as much of that problem.

  •  By 2050 Almost The Whole Baby Boom Will Dead (6+ / 0-)

    By 2050 the youngest Boomers will be 85 years old (2050-1965=85) and, according to Social Security survival curves, half of even the youngest boomers will be dead. The oldest boomers will be 104 years old (2050-1946=104) and the number still living will be statistically insignificant.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:57:12 AM PDT

  •  We need to stop subsidizing tax breaks and (13+ / 0-)

    incentives for companies who offshore jobs, who headquarter outside the USA, or who otherwise use financial avoidance mechanisms under the tax code to avoid creating jobs and revenue in the USA.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:06:32 PM PDT

    •  There are two major (5+ / 0-)

      "avoidance" aspects.

      One is corporations that sell in the USA but cost shift out of it. This could be dealt with by limiting deductibility of out-of-line expenses such as intellectual property royalties.

      The second is where an American Corporation uses a low corporate tax country such Ireland to claim much of the profits which are refused to be forwarded to the US unless the US tax rate is lowered. This could be dealt with by taxing capital gains of companies that don't repatriate at the full rate instead of at 15% or half the taxpayer's normal rate.

      •  If you haven't diaried this, could you? It would (4+ / 0-)

        be a great topic on which to educate a whole lot of us-- the specifics of how "avoidance" could be limited through the tax code.

        That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

        by concernedamerican on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:44:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When I lived in one state & worked in another (7+ / 0-)

        I had to pay income tax to my state of residence. Then pay to the other state the difference between what I would have paid if I lived in my job's state and what I paid to my state of residence.  Living in the lower-tax state gave me no reduction in taxes - I just paid part to one state and part to the other.  This is a system implemented by US politicians to squeeze as much as possible out of working people, but they don't apply a similar system to corporations that claim they only owe a low tax rate to another country.

        "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

        by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 01:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  On the idle rich (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, ladybug53
    A person who is born into a wealthy family, who never works a day in his life, doesn't contribute decades of his life to providing society with goods and services.
    These same people don't collect SS either, though.  You have to have enough eligible years of paying tax to collect.
  •  If you start FICA taxing investment income (2+ / 0-)

    then you will also eventually have to pay Social Security benefits based on that additional taxed income to be fair to the taxpayer.

    •  People pay taxes for programs they don't use (4+ / 0-)

      I pay taxes that go to farm subsidies. I don't own a farm. There's no reason why rich investors who won't collect SS shouldn't contribute to the retirement of those who've worked for decades.

      "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

      by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 01:20:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They do collect SS benefits (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RJDixon74135, vigilant meerkat

        I'm not sure where get the idea that a rich investor has no earned income from age 16 to 65.

        Statistically there might be a few people in the US in that position, but I have yet to see a stat on that.

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:40:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have to work 40 quarters (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to Qualify for SS. Now, many rich people can do that, if they want. But if they really are the idle rich, they don't qualify...and they don't need to, so they don't care.

          But if they really don't work, then no matter what the cap, they don't pay in either.

          But it's not the idle rich that are the problem - we should solve that with better rates on carried interest and dividends... it's the UPPER Middle class making $110,00 to $400,000 that needs to have the cap raised....

          Without geometry, life is pointless. And blues harmonica players suck.

          by blindcynic on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:18:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Raise the cap or remove it? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kareylou, vigilant meerkat

            2 entirely different things with utterly different implications.

            Raising the cap to 90%, about 186k, creates about a 36k top benefit, removing the cap creates a 168k benefit.

            A network exec making 20 million a year wont want to pay well over 1.2 million in FICA just to see an annual benefit.

            Thats an easy way to make an enemy of SS of a lot of people.

            And folks with capital still see a return when retired, wage dont have capital, and rely on SS.

            Now if we want the rich to pay more, lets do it the right way and increase income top tax rates and Cap Gains.

             photo create20millionjobsFICA.png

            ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:49:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You ignore the obvious fact that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              starduster, ladybug53

              our labor, over the past forty years, has been stolen by the one thousandth of one percent.

              As Elizabeth Warren has reminded us, if minimum wage workers income had been increased only by their productivity they would be earning $22/hr now.  And, if it only kept pace w/inflation it would be $15/hr. All that money has been stolen. All that money would have kept SS solvent, and required the super wealthy to come up w/another excuse to destroy SS and hurt average people, who they disdain.
              But no, the super wealthy absconded w/it. And now they intend to hurt us further.  Any argument against these facts is a distortion of reality for the purpose of hurting people and is a delusion by someone who gets pleasure from trying to defend the super wealthy (likely for some mental illness that enjoys seeing people hurt). Our productivity and labors have been stolen by the super wealthy.
              Some jerk by the name of Clem argues that we're whiners because we are not the super wealthy, but just jerks for being lowly wage earners.

              "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

              by BrianParker14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:40:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I Agree (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think raising the cap is the right solution. The basic problem is that wages have been suppressed and employment levels are down. The real question is how we raise them. Getting more funding for Social Security would be an automatic result of that.

      The problem isn't the baby boomers (that was fixed in the '80s) or the cap. The problem is that wages are depressed.

      I have a longer comment on this elsewhere here.

  •  Remember Reagan's Grand Bargain with Tip (9+ / 0-)


    The "reform" was, essentially, the boomers were to see their SS payroll taxes double to pay for the current beneficiaries and then later, themselves.

    Thus, the surplus, which the onepercenters and their enablers, apologists, couriers and assorted fluffers would just LOVE to get their greedy !*~!## hands on.

    The "extreme wing" of the Democratic Party is the wing that is hell-bent on protecting the banks and credit card companies. ~ Kos

    by ozsea1 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:31:56 PM PDT

  •  The real reason...... (4+ / 0-)

    Is they want social security to continue have surpluses to fund the deficits.  Instead of taxing the rich they are making working people pay for the deficits.  Thus really making taxes less progressive.  Do you really think USA will pay back what it owes social security.  It looks like they want a always surplus

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38:39 PM PDT

  •  Behind every successful Republican (11+ / 0-)

    is a complicit Democrat.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:42:19 PM PDT

  •  thanks for diary... (7+ / 0-)

    i'm 56 and i'm not very confident that my elected Democratic representatives will fight for social security or medicare or medicaid.

    today on the yahoo health insurers are starting the propaganda's on obamacare

    Health insurers are privately warning brokers that premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans.

    i really don't stand a chance in the healthcare market at my
  •  One simple thing we could do is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jm214, SmileySam, Arlys

    take FICA all the to the top on salaries . . . it's what . . . $113,700.00 now I believe before withholding stops.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:53:59 PM PDT

    •  yup, if middleclass is defined as up to 450k...n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, milkbone, BrianParker14
    •  Why? SS might be good thru 2090 (3+ / 0-)

      Based on job creation and wage growth, ah yeah...........the Trustees in the low cost scenario state that in fact.

       photo SStrustees2090-1.png

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 04:45:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The chart also shows that benefits are going to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...less than 100% at a certain point as well.

        I am no fan of doing anything to SS except expanding it, but from my vantage point it the current discussion seems to be between a small cut using CPI or receiving about 70% of benefit if we do noting.

        It is dishonest to pretend that the fund will remain solvent AND be able to pay full benefits. It is also worth noting that the disability portion is in more urgent attention.

        It is true that SS has nothing to do with the deficit or the phony deficit crisis. It is not true that those of who will retire after 2035 or thereabout have nothing to worry about except defeating the proposed CPI crap. I wondering how I and my cohort are going to live off of 30% less in benefits? No one here seems to care much.

        If Progressives want to lead then we have to be completely honest and not just reactionary. SS is solvent for as long as the law stands, but solvent doesn't mean paying full benefits either.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:25:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  DI, well............... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Liberal Thinking

          The Ratio of FICA going into OASI and DI needs to be adjusted. Last done in 1994.

          ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 06:53:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That Assumes Wages Are Depressed (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike08, ladybug53

          We only have this issue if wages continue to be depressed and unemployment high. This is not a reasonable assumption. Wages and employment levels are depressed because of unrestricted globalization.

          We don't have to let that situation continue. But if we do then we have bigger problems than fixing Social Security. If someone is predicting Social Security can only cover 70% of its needs then that means that workers will only be able to cover 70% of their needs.

          Whatever you say about Social Security, you can just multiply by 10 and apply that to wages. If Social Security is going broke it implies the American worker is going broke.

        •  Solvent means paying full benefits if it is funded (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I will not long remain a member of a political party that believes the only choices for the American middle class are between less and lesser.

          Fund it.  Hey, figure out a creative way to fund it off the books for all I care.  I mean they do that with war and no one loses any sleep over it.  

          There's a temporary demographic bulge so you figure out how to cover it.  You go at the problem with the will to SOLVE the problem not with a oh I guess we'll just have to starve granny because there is nothing we can do attitude.

          When did the Democratic Party become the CAN'T DO PARTY?

  •  What does Social Security have to do with medical (0+ / 0-)

    supplies? It won't be Social Security doing anything. You will have to create a new government agency that will compete with private companies in this area. There certainly can be plenty of corruption there as well. And how is 'a program for individuals to invest savings' different from 'Social Security privatization'?

    •  answers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      1) Medical supplies have to do with Medicare and Medicaid which are part of the Social Security Administration. SSA could add a subsection for distributing medical supplies rather than using middle men.

      2) As I said, people have savings in bank accounts or elsewhere so they will have more than just their Social Security pensions. I suggested that in addition to maintaining SS pensions, Social Security could handle personal savings (so SS gets the savings fees rather than banks, and those fees would help fund SS.)

      "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

      by workingwords on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 01:52:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, got your point about #2. So you essentially (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox, Liberal Thinking

        want Social Security Administration to run a mutual fund? Other countries have done that so it's not impossible. But I don't see how it will save much money. Index funds charge 0.2% commission and SSA will have to charge smth as well. Assuming that it can charge 0.1% the difference will be slight. And if it gets into managing investments, there is a lot of potential for politics to get involved.

  •  fix for SS is simple, and universally recognized: (3+ / 0-)


    Everyone with an IQ above room temperature already recognizes that, and nobody with two brain cells disputes it.

    The fact that neither party is even TRYING to do that, though, indicates (to me, anyway) that neither party WANTS to do it, which means neither party is remotely serious about protecting SS.

    Everything else is just kabuki.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      No, no, no, no.

      That is not universally recognized. People got it in their heads that there's this great, untapped reservoir of money, and they want it.

      The first problem here is that Social Security does not need fixed. To the degree it's underfunded, it is suffering from the fact that workers are underfunded. They've been systematically screwed by the economy for thirty years or more, generally from unrestricted globalization. Wages are down. Employment is down. Ergo payroll taxes are down.

      Second, the point of Social Security is to keep retired people out of poverty. For that purpose it has done an admirable job.

      People making far more than the average can afford to (and should) put money away for retirement. We already have 401(k)s and IRAs for them, and if that isn't enough, they can put away additional funds on their own.

      Taking more money from rich people for Social Security creates an obligation to pay them more during retirement. Payments out are roughly related to payments in. If you increase the cap then you increase the payouts. Imagine some billionaire getting paid a million dollars a year out of Social Security because they paid in millions of dollars over their working life.

      And if you don't pay them, imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth! You can't even get them to pay their fair share of income taxes, which are supposed to be progressive. How are you going to get them to pay higher payroll taxes if you don't pay them out? It just creates a nightmare political scenario.

      The way to "fix" Social Security is to fix wages and employment levels. Every additional dollar paid in wages is another 10 cents into Social Security. And the worker gets the side benefit of the extra dollar.

      •  But you need to keep adjusting the cap (0+ / 0-)

        as incomes move up.  Otherwise, the structure collapses.  You don't have to remove it altogether but it can increased and that helps a lot with the funding problem.  

      •  it's not about "taking from the rich"--it's about (0+ / 0-)

        simple inflation. You MUST raise the cap simply to put everything back, relatively, where it was before.  In the decades that the cap has not been raised, plain old ordinary inflation has made both prices and wages go up (though obviously wages have not gone up as much as they should have) AND has also made SS payments go up. Yet the contributions to SS have NOT gone up--they're still stuck where they were decades ago because the salary cap was never increased to account for increasing wages and payments.

        The obvious simple solution is to adjust the salary cap to match inflation and reset all the math back where it was decades ago.That solves the entire problem. SS once again pays for itself, indefinitely. None of that has anything to do with "taking more from the rich" or "not paying the rich". We can all argue whether or not "the rich" should pay more or get less, but that argument has stuff-all to do with raising the salary cap.

        •  Right (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not against raising it some. It's suffered, just like many other things, from inattention.

          However, I think that's peanuts compared with fixing wages and employment rates. Consider how much more money would flow into Social Security if we just got the average unemployment rate back to what it was before 1979. That would employ about another million people in this country. It amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars over their average working lives. And wages are depresses, as well.

          Every time someone talks about Social Security we need to talk about wages and employment. It's the huge drop there that prevents Social Security from being 100% funded forever. Only restoring wages and employment levels will put us back in the black.

  •  "Earned income", not just "wages" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    special tax only on wages
     SS tax is also collected on self-employment (business) income, which includes such items as commissions.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:07:37 PM PDT

    •  Charge SS on Capital Gains of the wealthy! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Rmoney and his ilk can earn millions on capital gains and never contribute to SS.
      There are many ways to make SS secure if only the wealthy had to pay into it.

      "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves" Harriet Tubman

      by BrianParker14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:46:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The best thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, ladybug53

    that could happen to Social Security is to re-adopt the concept (and actuality) of a trust fund.  Let the Government set up a board of non-politician trustees that can make small and incremental changes as necessary to funding, benefit, and COLA issues to keep the system solvent and sustainable (and out of the hands of Wall Street).

    •  There never was a trust fund/lock box (0+ / 0-)

      Social Security was set up—from the get go—to have its payroll taxes paid into the general fund. I paid my taxes and I expect my benefits—adjusted fairly for inflation—to be there when I retire. That brings up a related topic: how we calculate inflation.

      •  Agreed in a way (0+ / 0-)

        While there is not a "lockbox" with specific treasury securities designated and managed for paying benefits,  there is a set of books, so to speak, that tracks income (FICA Taxes) and payments that is supposed to show the actuarial health of the system.  Trouble is this "trust fund" like nearly every other Government "trust fund" -- Highways, Airports, etc. is ignored by Congress almost from the start.   This due to the fecklessness and mendacity of those we send to Congress.  It's like George Wallace once said about the state's failure to rehabilitate prisoners, "We just need a better grade of prisoner."  

  •  They decide what's legal based on what they want. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, ladybug53

    I'm fed up with what they call justice and democracy.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:08:57 PM PDT

  •  This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, vigilant meerkat
    There's another crucial point.  We've known for decades the baby boomer generation was larger, was paying into Social Security and creating big surpluses in the Social Security fund while they worked, and would eventually retire and collect benefits.
    Always seems to get forgotten when the discussion turns to the cost of the retirement of the post war baby boomers. We have paid into SS all of our working lives. Where did our money go is the question DC doesn't want asked.

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty - Edward R. Murrow

    by Susan Grigsby on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:17:21 PM PDT

  •  Bait and Switch Republicans want to move goal post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Senators are a never-ending source of amusement, amazement, and discouragement" ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 05:46:16 PM PDT

    •  It is not just the repubs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster

      Plenty of dems seem to be on board for getting rid of SS and medicare.  Greed is not unique to the R's; the infection has spread and is rampant at this point.  .

      "It's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." ~ George Carlin

      by vigilant meerkat on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 09:04:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I too am grateful for your diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Some really great ideas--ideas that could be adopted by a new political party if our current parties continue to be unresponsive to the will of the American public.

    Hopefully there are people working for the Democratic Party and/or for Dem congressmen who are reading informative, thoughtful diaries like yours.  DailyKos discussions often contain excellent ideas and sound advice.  If Democratic officeholders are not paying attention they better start soon if they want to retain their jobs.  Chained CPI, raising the elgibility of Medicare, and other pro corporate, anti safety net proposals being bandied about today are non starters with mainstream Democratic voters.  They are inhumane, bad policies, and politically brain dead.

  •  Good Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First, they knew that Baby Boomers (of which I'm one) were going to be retiring and they knew this since we first started working in the 1960's but did just about nothing to help it.  The cap should have been increased to accomodate these retirees and also as base salaries increased.  When I started to work I made less than what the minimum hourly salary now is per week and that increased over the years.  When I left work making much much more.  Now you have workers making more than the cap yet their Social Security is held to the cap.  This must change.

    Additionally, we need to take bids on drugs like the V.A. does and I like your idea of the Government supplying medical equipment.  FYI, the drug store next to my sister's store is part of a small local chain and they were raided and closed down for medicare/medicaid fraud.  

    Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

    by Rosalie907 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:34:04 PM PDT

  •  Let's Focus on the Problem (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think this is the right approach. The way to make Social Security better funded is to raise wages and the level of employment. Social Security would actually be awash in cash if we hadn't neglected wages for so long.

    Workers in the U.S. are literally making about half what they would be if they had continued to be paid according to their productivity, as they were throughout the 20th century right up until the 1980s. That would almost double the amount of funding the program would be receiving from payroll taxes.

    At the same time, unemployment is about 0.9% higher than it was before the 1980s. That extra million people should be working and would be paying into Social Security if they were.

    The underlying cause of this is bad trade policy, which is totally the responsibility of Congress, and could be fixed. But it is our national policy to ship wealth-producing jobs overseas and hold down wages.

    I would prefer to attack the real cause of the problem, rather than trying to find a patch to fix the system. I don't think we should substantially change the cap. If you let more rich people pay more, they will have a bigger claim on the benefits paid out. That doesn't really change things.

    One thing that would help would be restoring the minimum wage to the spending power it had in the 1960s. This would raise it to probably $14/hour or so. It should be within haling distance of the living wage, which in many cities is much higher than that. Every additional dollar paid in wages means another 10 cents (roughly) into Social Security, and it helps Medicare, too.

    The biggest fault of people claiming the baby boomers are causing some problem is that they totally forget that this problem was fixed by Ronald Reagan and Congress in the 1980s. At that time, they raised the rates and created the trust fund that was supposed to pay for our retirement. As a boomer I've been paying this inflated rate for years. I've already earned that retirement, and for someone to come along and say that they want to reduce benefits (with chained CPI, for example) or voucherize the program or some such foolishness strikes me as just short of robbery.

    The one and only reason you hear about the sad plight of Social Security and there are constant attempts to "fix" it is because a very small number of very greedy, wealthy people want to get their hands on our money. They know about 3/4 of a trillion dollars a year goes through the Social Security system, and they want to siphon off a bit (just several billion dollars a year) for themselves. If they could just privatize it, they could get their grubby little hands on our money. This is a made-up problem to steal money. That's all it is.

    Social Security does not need to be changed. We don't need to change the rate, we don't need to change the cap, we don't need to change the benefits. What we need to change is payment for work. We need to increase the share of money going to workers. That share has dropped from about 60% of business income to about 50% since 1980. These hundreds of billions of dollars a year came out of paychecks. They've robbed workers, then point to Social Security funds, which are just a reflection of wages paid, and say, "Look! We can't afford your retirement any more! We have to take that, too!"

    My response is, "Tough. Where's my raise?"

  •  I talked with my 72 year old mom (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and she supports medicare for all!  One way to make that a winner is to charge the youngsters premiums for part A.

    As far as Social Security, the preferred solution is to raise the payroll tax cap to get back to 100% in those out years.  That would be the only situation I'd support any changes at all.

    But I'm really starting to think that the standard for all changes to SS/Medicare is "no/minimal phase in time".  This subject has been used so cynically by the Republicans that I actually do want the 55+ crowd to have skin in the game.

    Sorry for being random with the thoughts but those thoughts were the result of the last round of thinking/talking with people.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 02:59:24 AM PDT

  •  A fair number of baby-boomers are already retired, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    self included. These arguments seem to presuppose that we will all take retirement in the same (future) time period. Between those retired on disability and those who retired before they might have otherwise because of job cuts in their field, incentives to retire, etc, while probably not huge the numbers are, I suspect, significant. They also seem to presuppose that we are all immortal & will be collecting forever. Both my brothers died before ever getting a damned thing from social security; others will pass on after collecting for only a few years, etc. We're not all going to live to 90 or whatever.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 06:36:03 AM PDT

  •  Baby Boomers paid MORE than enough in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The first thing to remember about this situation is - at worst - it's temporary.  As time goes by the baby boomers will pass away.  Any solution which may be necessary need not be a permanent one.
    I reject this premise out of hand. Social Security is funded by the payroll taxes that have been paid in by the boomers all of their working lives. The cash is there, pure and simple. It's not an entitlement; it's a retirement savings plan, formulated as a defined-benefit pension.

    Compare our old-age pension to that of other civilized countries. Once again, our great nation pales in comparison.

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