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Child's hand grasping old person's hand.
The "coalition of the ascendant" is the new conventional wisdom around D.C., with serious pundits soberly advising Democrats that they must cut loose the old people if they ever hope to appease young people and win an election again. The call to punish the old in the name of Democratic electoral victory started with Ron Brownstein and was picked up by Ezra Klein. Now it's Beltway "sage" Charlie Cook, snidely mocking Democratic “Flat Earth Society members” who “ignore the numbers and think we can just go on.” Never mind that most of Cook's "Flat Earthers" have plenty of ideas on keeping Social Security sustainable that don't involve a catfood diet for granny or generational warfare, are younger voters really calling for austerity for the parents and grandparents?

Not if you actually ask them. That's what the National Academy of Social Insurance did in a major report [pdf] released in January. They asked 2,000 Americans ages 21 and older what they wanted to see happen to Social Security. Here's what they said they want:

  • Gradually, over 10 years, eliminate the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security. This would mean that the 5% of workers who earn more than the cap would pay into Social Security all year, as other workers do.
  • Gradually, over 20 years, raise the Social Security tax that workers and employers each pay from 6.2% of earnings to 7.2%. The increase would be so gradual that someone earning $50,000 a year would pay about 50 cents a week more each year, with the employer’s share increasing by the same amount.
  • Increase the COLA to more accurately reflect the inflation actually experienced by seniors, who typically pay more out-of-pocket for medical care than other Americans.
  • Raise Social Security’s minimum benefit so that a worker who pays into Social Security for 30 years can retire at 62 or later with benefits above the federal poverty line ($10,788 in 2011). Currently, lifetime low-wage workers are at risk of falling into poverty in their old age, even after paying Social Security taxes throughout their working lives.
And here's the age breakdown of who supports this approach.
Support for Social Security expansion programs by age group
No, Democrats, you don't need to cut Social Security to appease anyone, or at least not anyone besides Republicans. Republicans and the Very Serious People who have based their entire austerity program on an Excel spreadsheet error. You've heard of death by spreadsheet? This is taking it to a new level. And it won't win any Democratic votes.

Send an email to President Obama and congressional leadership telling them to strengthen Social Security instead of cutting it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 12:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (111+ / 0-)

    "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 Apr 17, 2013 at 12:39:48 PM PDT

  •  If Social Security is cut (53+ / 0-)

    those Generation X and Y folks are going to have to spend more of their money taking care of their Baby Boomer parents and grandparents. Maybe even have to have Mom or Grandma move in with them, which means less money for them to support their own kids, send them to college, or whatever, so the cycle of poverty just continues to another generation...and another...and another.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 12:45:19 PM PDT

    •  Got Worse News Than That, the Already Lost & (26+ / 0-)

      slashed pensions, and lost savings means that Gen X & Y are going to be taking boomer elders into their homes in far higher percentages than boomers had to host Greatest Gen.

      That's before further cuts.

      There's going to be some serious generational tension coming around 10 years down the line.

      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 Apr 17, 2013 at 12:50:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fortunately with both Mr. Scribe's pension (7+ / 0-)

        and Social Security eventually, we should be okay, otherwise we'd be trying to figure out which one of our nieces or nephews to mooch off of.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 12:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Did you see this? Came to mind after reading your (10+ / 0-)


          Best of luck to you two.

          I think we should leave Social Security alone, or change the COLA to the Elderly Index CPI .

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:17:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Scrap the cap? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm ok with this option. Really I am. But let's just be clear on the fainess comparison vs means testing. The currently retiring generation is the demographic bubble that causes the shortfall. Scrap the cap says make the subsequent generation pay for that shortfall. Another option would be to cut benefits to wealthy recipients in the bubble generation that's the reason for the shortfall, the generation that put off dealing with the problem until they could pass it off to someone else and rant about how they earned their benefits.

            Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

            by play jurist on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:34:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Means-testing Unfair (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greenbell, elwior, coffejoe, nanorich

              If you means-test people on what they have you when you retire you are punishing people who save and rewarding people who don't. Only about 5% of the population has enough money to live comfortably without SS. If you means-tested say the top 25% all you would accomplish is pushing a larger number of Seniors towards the poverty line. But I'm sure the rich would be fine with that. After all why should their be Middle Class retirees. We should just have the Billionaires and everyone else.

              Buy I'm already completely screwed by SS. My spouse and I make the same amount of money so we loose out on the nice windfall given to couples in which one person makes most of the money and the other spouse gets 50% no matter how little they made as long as they qualify for something. Plus we are Self-Employed so we get to pay both the workers and employees SS tax.

              •  This incentives argument is compelling. (0+ / 0-)

                I'll think about this more. Thanks.

                What bothers me about lifting the cap is that my generation pays payroll taxes on everything in order to pay for boomers benefits. If we lifted the cap 20 years ago, it would be different. Means testing has the advantage of boomers taking accountability for the boomer demographic bubble. I won't add a tirade of generational grievances, but they are real (going both ways) and they need to be dealt with sensitively in these discussions.

                Anyway, a lot of factors to balance in thinking this through. I really thank you for the incentives point because that's one I hadn't considered.

                Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                by play jurist on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:17:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm confused (0+ / 0-)

                  If you make enough money to exceed the SS cap then you would be part of the group that would be means tested and loose part or all of  your SS benefits. How would it be more fair to pay taxes on part of your income and have no SS benefits then to pay SS on all of your income and receive benefits?

                  •  ... (0+ / 0-)

                    I think that to answer your question involves a lot more detail than I have to give. I don't think that the suggestion would be that benefits are eliminated, but reduced based on means testing. Of course, if/when the demographics shift more favorably benefits could be increased. That would be a debate to have later on. My point is just this. Those arguing for lifting the cap are arguing for X and under to pay more to balance the boomer retirement. In plain language that doesn't evade the issue, that's what it is. If we want to talk in terms of "shared sacrifice" my point would just be that wealthy boomers should maybe share in the sacrifice.

                    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                    by play jurist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 04:37:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Define Wealthy (0+ / 0-)

                      To be in the top 25% of income earners you only need an income of 66k which is nowhere near wealthy. If you cut anything out of that person's SS then they will almost certainly be at or below the poverty line during their retirement years.

                      The problem is that people talk about means testing as if there is a smooth curve in wages when in fact 95% of wage earners are bunched up together at the bottom end. There are not enough people to means test to make any difference. Almost all of the income is at the top. The top 10% earn 43% of all income and the top 5% earn 31.7% of all income. The cap is having a huge impact on the SS fund because a growing percentage of all wages are going to a small percentage of people who hit it.

            •  Why do you advocate turning a retirement program (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              midwesterner, vigilant meerkat

              into a welfare program?

              And oh, by the way, there is no shortfall.

              •  Scrapping the cap does the same thing. (0+ / 0-)

                It makes the program more redistrubitive and less of a earned benefit program, because upper incomes won't take out in direct proportion to what they put in when we do away with the cap. So it's a moot point in this context. However, the answer to the question is because I'm a progressive and I don't think there's anything wrong with redistributive programs.

                Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                by play jurist on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:10:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Let me get this straight... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  vigilant meerkat

                  by achieving something closer to parity by removing the cap, and having upper income people pay a tiny percentage of their income in payroll taxes or in self employment taxes...this is somehow income redistribution, instead of a balance of the rich getting more free money, which they were able to garner by the generous tax cuts for the rich.

                  All retirement programs are a roll of the dice.  My husband died before he could collect a dime of social security, yet for every person who dies before they can get their lousy grand or so a month, there will be wealthy person who will collect the maximum benefit (currently $2,513. a month) dine out pretty well on that extra cash.  

                  The point of social security isn't getting all your money back or redistributing insurance isn't about getting all your money back in medical care, either.  Nor is car insurance.  

                  •  It's redistrubution, (0+ / 0-)

                    if some pay in more than they take out. That's a pretty simple concept. If you lift the cap on payroll taxes but not the cap on benefits, it will become a more redistributive system. Don't get me wrong. As I said I have no problem with redistribution or welfare. My point was just that I don't see how that's a criticism of means testing but not of lifting the cap. Both are redistributive in effect. With means testing, upper income boomers take the hit for the boomer demographics. With lifting the cap, mainly younger earners take the hit. So the real issue between these two plans is generational. My problem is with people trying to paper over the fact that there really is a generational issue here. Someone or another will have to pay more or get less to balance the books. I prefer it to be boomers, because I feel that my cohort is getting screwed on a whole lot of other stuff already.

                    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                    by play jurist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 04:31:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  You must have missed the Greenspan Commission (4+ / 0-)

              Which came up with the plan that has been funding and sustaining SS since the '80's.

              Boomers were told in no uncertain terms that their retirement would cost a bundle; in order to pay for their Social Security and their parents' (because up till then, each generation paid for the previous generation's Social Security, and nobody who mattered thought it was fair for anyone but Boomers to pay for their own Social Security since there were so many of them) Boomer payroll taxes would double, and their full retirement age would increase from 65 to 66 and then to 67 for people born after 1960.

              In other words, Boomers have been pre-paying for their own Social Security as well as paying for their parents' Social Security for the last 30 years, and they've been postponing collecting their full SS benefit.

              The so-called "shortfall" is not due to Boomers or their failure to pay sufficient payroll taxes, nor is it due to a failure to deal with the problem "until they could pass it off to someone else."

              The so-called "shortfall" is due to something else... what could it be?

              Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

              by felix19 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 08:45:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I know the history. (0+ / 0-)

                There's not enough money in the trust fund.

                Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                by play jurist on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:11:56 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's plenty of money in the trust fund (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nanorich, vigilant meerkat

                  If you know the history, then you know that, too. Boomers have been pre-paying for their own Social Security, and they have been paying for their parents' Social Security for the past 30 years.

                  The problem is not the Boomers or the trust fund.

                  The problem is elsewhere.

                  Where do you suppose it is?

                  Blogging as Ché Pasa since 2007.

                  by felix19 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 09:19:51 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  There is not enough money there. (0+ / 0-)

                    Arguing with some of you guys is like arguing with climate deniers. Here's the most recent trustees report documenting the deficit and calling for action.


                    "Social Security and Medicare are the two largest federal programs, accounting for 36 percent of federal expenditures in fiscal year 2011. Both programs will experience cost growth substantially in excess of GDP growth in the coming decades due to aging of the population and, in the case of Medicare, growth in expenditures per beneficiary exceeding growth in per capita GDP. Through the mid-2030s, population aging caused by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement and lower-birth-rate generations entering employment will be the largest single factor causing costs to grow more rapidly than GDP. Thereafter, the primary factors will be population aging caused by increasing longevity and health care cost growth somewhat more rapid than GDP growth. "

                    It's math. Deal with it.

                    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                    by play jurist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 04:42:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  If boomers don't pay more or get less, (0+ / 0-)

        then Xers and under will. It's not our demographic bubble. The math has been known for years. We keep putting it off. All options are politically poisonous. It reminds me of the climate change debate, speaking of problems boomers are punting on.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:31:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You understand "the trust fund" ? (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, ferg, nanorich, JeffW, lostinamerica

          Because, as you say, "the math HAS been known for years."

          Prior to 1982, Social Security was on a pay-as-you-go basis, each generation paying the old age and disability of the generation before,   (Hence the rubric: "Ponzi scheme."

          During the Reagan administration the SS payroll tax was sharply increased so that  the Boomers would pay for the Greatest Generation's (smaller) pensions while funding the greater part of their own larger ones.

          But ... y'know ... if Class War is confusing  (are we all "workers" or are we "middle class") ... Generational War is at least clear cut and quantifiable.

          And sad to say: Boomers did invent it with our : "Never trust anyone over 30" nonsense.

          •  We just need open borders. (0+ / 0-)

            That'd be one way to correct the demographic imbalance and get back onto pay-go budgeting.

            My crazy scheme is to institute a progressive wealth tax and inheritance tax to create a fund that each year Congress would allocate between deficit reduction, social security funding, infrastructure spending, and a need-based college scholarship fund. Call it the "Pay It Forward" fund. Whenever the demographic tide comes on social security there would be strong progressive political pressure to maintain allocations to the other parts of the fund, thus pressure to raise the wealth and inheritance taxes. Couldn't possibly pass this congress, though.

            Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

            by play jurist on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:07:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  And... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, kyril, joanneleon, oceanview

      they are going to have to work longer to make up for the lack of funds that the won't be getting in the future.  Or spend a lot less money.

      'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

      by RichM on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:22:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  College Cost a Factor as well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, lunachickie

      Parents struggling to help their kids with college are fast approaching retirement (possibly forced) and are weighing the cost of using retirement contributions or risking pulling equity from their house if they are lucky enough to have some against saddling their kids with huge college loans. I know that's the situation my family is in.

      The financial well-being of the various generations within the typical American familie is intimately entwined. Trying to divide and conquer on SS by playing one generation off the next is not going to work.

  •  And Glen Ford is not a racist. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Big Nausea: Waking Up With an Obama-Ache
    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    “Black folks have been forced to come to grips with the finality of Obama’s second term.”

    The Obama Hangover has begun. The drunken delirium that descended on Black America after the pale Democratic caucuses of Iowa endorsed a brown-skinned corporatist just after New Years Day, 2008 – conveying white “viability” on a Great Black Hope – is definitively over. It’s the morning-after in Black America, a scene of economic and political ruin bathed in the searing daylight of Obama’s second term and umpteenth betrayal.

    It would be easy to say that the Great Nausea of 2013 was occasioned by Obama’s blunt object assault on Social Security and the whole array of entitlements. However, the First Black President’s obituary is not written in his budget. The onset of post-Obamaism has more to do with the calendar than anything else. Since Election Day, November 6, Black folks have been forced to come to grips with the finality of Obama’s second term – the impending emergence from the dream. There is the sound of a finger snapping. “In a few moments, you will wake up.”

    The awakening will be uneven and, for many, dreadful: a dreamscape dissolving into the rubble-strewn nightmare left by the Great Recession, a catastrophe that set African Americans back as much as two generations, but which was not subjectively experienced as such by huge segments of the Black community. Instead, reality was subsumed by the mere presence of a Black person in the White House.
    •  Glenn Ford has been a consistent critic of (6+ / 0-)

      Barack Obama since at least 2007, if not before.  To date, however, polling shows that his position is not the majority view among African Ameircans, or, for that matter, all Americans.

      It is premature to assume that general opposition by all sorts of folks to chained cpi translattes into opposition to President Obama, or embrace of a left-wing critique of President Obama.  I'm not saying that it will not, but the evidence simply is not in at this time.  

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by TomP on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 12:59:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good post, McJoan. (13+ / 0-)

    It''s beltway punditry gone wild.  Not a pretty sight.

    Good thing few people out here in the world outside the beltway read that crap.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 12:53:13 PM PDT

  •  ACA wil impact younger voters with Insurance cost (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RichM, slinkerwink, ChadmanFL, elwior

    The Affordable Care Act limits the ratio charged for older and sicker people Vs young and healthy to 250%.   This means very large rate increases for younger voters.  Some younger voters will not see the change because their employer will fully pay for the increase, others will see the full impact as they pay for their own insurance directly or indirectly or at worse go without and pay the penalty.

    This has the potential to cause tension between younger and older voters and some pressure on Democrats.  Democrats need to prepare for this in 2013 as this impact will be  in 2014 as the rate increases go into effect.

    On the whole, ACA is a major improvement for US healthcare, some people will benefit greatly from the changes, however others will see higher costs.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:14:07 PM PDT

  •  Gee if Democrats have their demographics right (15+ / 0-)

    And there are zillions more people 18 to 50 than there are 50 to 95 then they should have no trouble funding Social Security anyway.  Otherwise, this would seem to end badly when all those 50-95 year olds vote these ageist traitors out of office.  

  •  Hard to believe this needs to be said to democrats (11+ / 0-)

    just unbelievable

    Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. --Edward Abbey

    by greenbastard on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:20:41 PM PDT

  •  It's stupid... (13+ / 0-)

    If the cuts came with a lower rate on FICA - then MAYBE they would have a point.  But it doesn't.  So my kids are going to be paying the same rate as their grandparents, but getting a lot less when they retire.   Where is the bargain there?  And, as I stated earlier, there is a more insidious part to this that no one is talking about.  Many corporations (and state and federal governments) base their cost of living increases on SS COLAs.  Change those formulas and employers will have an excuse to offer smaller increases - uniformly.

    'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

    by RichM on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:21:51 PM PDT

    •  If you look at it as a robbery, it makes sense. (9+ / 0-)
    •  the way things are going, no one under 45 (8+ / 0-)

      will collect a dime from SS. Not because of some mythical "bankruptcy" that is legally impossible, not because the Trust Fund will be depleted by the Boomers (which was the whole point of having the frickin' Trust Fund in the first place). In short, not because of any of the stupid reasons the 1% are claiming.

      But because the politicians will cut it to nothing within the next 20 years. I'd be shocked if it survives 10 years, frankly, if the Grand Bargain goes through. Come the next economic downturn (which is pretty much imminent within a couple years), they will use it as an excuse to privatize the whole frickin' thing. What with Obama pushing the whole "we need to cut SS to solve our deficit problems!" meme, they've already fooled enough of the senseless and ignorant into thinking that SS is a budget problem, that they can push through cuts more easily the next time there's a big crisis.

      People under 45 will still be paying FICA, all right--why would the 1% get rid of a perfectly good regressive tax? They just won't get SS. The money will be funneled to the top. And since the retirement age will probably be raised to 75+ in the next decade, the Gen-Xers and the Millennials will be having to work a lot longer than the Boomers. Especially since they'll be up to their eyeballs in debt--college debt, mortgage debt, car debt, credit card debt, and, of course, insurance debt (thanks, ACA! The gift that keeps on giving).

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:39:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, slinkerwink, YucatanMan, kyril, JeffW

        And the budget carves out a 'bump' for the 'very poor' or 'very elderly' which creates a nice little political football.

        'Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost' - Ronald Reagan, Communist

        by RichM on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:47:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yep... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass, elwior, JeffW

        we've known this pretty much since birth. And we've known why.

        Believe it or not, though, that still doesn't make us want to take SS away from our parents/grandparents. We want them to retire, and retire securely, so that (1) we can have their jobs and (2) we don't have to support them ourselves.

        Our kids won't be so lucky. I'm guessing they live with us until they're 40, then we move in with them when they're 50.

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:56:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not Buying That (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, JeffW, midwesterner

        Everyone starts out when they are young thinking that SS is not going to be there for them - I knew I did back in the 80's. I thought that because retirement was a long way off and I was kind of hazy on the whole life experience thing. They one day I woke up and starting thinking about how many years I've being paying into SS and realized that retirement age isn't all that far away and unless I won the lottery (which I can't because I don't even play) I am going to desperately need that SS check to survive and nobody is going to take it away from me.

  •  According to Klein's post... (25+ / 0-)


    “The keening on the left” over the Social Security cuts, Brownstein says, “suggests that large portions of the Democratic base still don’t understand the political and economic dynamics of the party’s changing electoral coalition.”
    This deeply idiotic statement indicates that Brownstein--and a good number of Democrats that listen to him--don't understand their own coalition.  It's also a signal that Democrats are about to f@ck over one of the most vulnerable of their constituencies.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:23:20 PM PDT

    •  That statement reflects the agenda of the GOP (23+ / 0-)

      to kill social security and have democrats do it.

      •  No offense intended, but also a zombie lie !!!! :) (11+ / 0-)
        Actually Charlie Cook, Young People Want to Protect Social Security
        By: Jon Walker Tuesday April 16, 2013 8:37 am
        To begin with this so-called pig in the python line is completely inaccurate. The Millennial generation is as large or larger than the Baby Boomers. It is not smaller.

        More importantly, Cook is implying without any evidence that cutting Social Security is something my generation wants. If only there was a way for political analysts to survey people to find out their positions. Oh wait there is.

        Poll shows young people do not want to cut entitlements. The Politico-George Washington poll from last year found young people oppose raising the Social Security retirement age as much as the general population. A Pew poll from 2011 found 56 percent of people under 35 think it is most important to keep Social Security benefits as they are while only 39 percent said deficit reduction was more important. Similarly a poll for the The Hill conducted just two months ago, found 60 percent of people under 40 would oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security to reduce the deficit. Only 28 percent of this age group thought cuts were acceptable.

        If Democrats actually want to appeal to young people they should supporting marijuana legalization. At least that is an issue the polling has found my generation actually supports and economic analysis has even found it would save/generate in revenue almost as much as Obama’s proposed cut to Social Security to reduce the deficit.

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:19:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They will get slaughtered in 2014 (17+ / 0-)

      if they keep this shit up.

      People will only vote for progressives that fight for preserving the social contract. Fuck the corporate Dems.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:36:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not Obama's problem. (9+ / 0-)

        In fact he might not see a Republican-led Senate as the worst thing that could happen ["I didn't want to do this to ____ (fill in the blank, Medicare, SS, Medicaid, etc) but look what they made me do, I had no choice, they're so unreasonable, etc."]

        Hopefully Dem leadership starts realizing this - and damn soon.

      •  Don't worry. the 18-29 yr-olds (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, k9disc, midwesterner, limpidglass

        will turn up in droves at the midterms and save the Democrats, because the Democrats understand people like 18-29 year olds and African Americans and Hispanics, all of whom are really very 21st-century in their concerns. Never mind that there are lots of African-Americans and Hispanics who are, you know, older, and are actually on Social Security right now. We're all in the "coalition of the ascendant" together. And remember, 18-29 yr-olds love to vote in midterms. They do it all the time. And it's not like lots of them just participated in a multi-month anti-government, anti-Wall St demonstration, or anything.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 05:34:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats will not win a battle against (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Blue Knight, elwior

      Seniors...its just plain dumb....

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

      by justmy2 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:18:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there is no "battle against seniors," (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Willinois, tardis10, elwior, k9disc

        any more than there is a "war on Christmas," but it is convenient for the 1% to pretend that there is. The battle is, as always, between the haves and the have-nots.

        This propaganda is part of the battle for the senior vote--to peel enough of them off the Democratic rolls so the GOP can cheat its way to victory in 2014 and 2016.

        The GOP cannot make meaningful gains among the younger voters; it is futile for them to try. But among older voters closer to retirement, who are more likely to vote on the single issue of SS/Medicare, they can make more gains by convincing those older voters that the Democratic party (run by that conniving  Gen-Xer whipper-snapper Obama) is scheming to kick Grandpa and Grandma out into the street.

        These gains will be marginal still, but considerably more than they would get trying to crack a younger voter demographic, and they will be significant in a close election.

        In 2016 the GOP will offer the Boomers a chance to save the scraps of their retirement. All they will have to do is sell out their children and grandchildren and vote for someone who is guaranteed to be 10 times worse than Bush.

        I really don't want to have to find out how the Boomer demographic will respond to that offer. But I suspect the answer will put the lie to many of those who are now talking about generational solidarity and how the young don't appreciate the sacrifices the older generation has made.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:33:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  and who is feeding the narrative? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica, midwesterner

          it would have nothing behind it if dems would denounce chained cpi.

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

          by noofsh on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:42:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This coalition of the ascendant class takes class (0+ / 0-)

          out of the political equation, I think.

          It strikes me as a marketing ploy.

          Your point about the real politik being the haves vs have nots is quite apt.

          Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

          by k9disc on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 09:16:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But there is--led by the One Percent and the VSP (0+ / 0-)

          who 'define' the debates.

          This has all been focus group 'tested.'  The PtB wouldn't be framing the discussion this way, if they weren't fairly sure that it would be a winner.

          Just read some of the contentious comments on this, and other threads.

          And respectfully, it's rather unfair to claim that Boomers, or any generation for that matter, would 'owe anyone' in regard to how they cast their vote in 2014 and 2016, or beyond.

          I'm sure that you're aware that this Administration has been carrying out various recommendations of the President's Catfood Commission, for several years now.  

          And remember, when he came into office, NO Republicans were calling for cuts to ANY of the social insurance programs.  

          As a matter of fact, Republicans ran like scalded rabbits when Bush brought the topic of Social Security reform up, in his second administration.

          This entire can of worms was opened up with absolutely no initial public prompting from the Republican Party.

          We (progressives) need to face the facts straight on--this Dem Administration appointed the Commission in the first place.

          So the Democratic Party (or at least the Dem lawmakers who cast votes in favor of cuts) should be held accountable, if they go through with the ill-conceived policy proposals that they've put on the table.  


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


          by musiccitymollie on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Brownstein must be one of the "Serious People," (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, JeffW, lostinamerica

      because they're the ones who always don't have a fucking clue.

      Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

      by Alumbrados on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:52:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, I understand our "changing electoral coalition (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc, midwesterner

      just fine.

      Blankfein, Dimons, Immelt...

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 05:25:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  then dems deserve to lose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if they are that stupid about their base then they shouldn't be in office.

      this was a trick that republicans tried to play to privatize cial security.  it was proven to be a lie back in 2004 and its still a lie.

      fuck brwntin and klein and their made up right wing bullshit.

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

      by noofsh on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:39:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yay! Finally! Thank you Orchid for getting this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been reading the whole thread and nobody responded to this point yet, and you knocked it out of the park.

      I read about this "new coalition" the other day, and it really bothered me. "WTF? Who decided this?"

      It's like they are going to abandon the values based members of the coalition: the poor, unions, greens, human rights, civil liberties - in favor of demographic and economic based members.

      But that isn't right... I just can't quite wrap my head around it, but I do think it's a watershed moment. This is the start of a new corporate Centrist party, I think, but again, I can't quite dial it in...

      Thanks a bunch for posting this. Love to hear more of your thoughts.

      Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

      by k9disc on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 09:13:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hysterical (6+ / 0-)
    The "coalition of the ascendant" is the new conventional wisdom around DC, with serious pundits soberly advising Democrats that they must cut loose the old people if they ever hope to appease young people and win an election again.
    Let's reword this so that it reflects why I think it is so funny:
    The "lose the old" is old historical and still prevailing conventional wisdom around DC, with serious pundits soberly advising Republicans that they must cut loose the old people if they ever hope to appease young people and win an election again.
    Repubs are too focused on a fringe element and folks that are older and aren't being replaced by the attractiveness of the republican worldview.

    Some of the snarky commentary after the repubs lost in 2012 was that they need to attract or create more cranky old white people.

    So it's the GOP, whose talking points the media repeats, that needs to lose the old cranky old .

    Thats why it's such a funny thing to hear.

    Of course the dems have to change.

    Dems always have to change: repubs get to stay exactly the same.

  •  Just ask them if they (10+ / 0-)

    want their parents to move in with them.  Or if they want to live with THEIR children when they get older.

    Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind. Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. John Donne

    by scurrvydog on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:28:16 PM PDT

  •  It's sad this had to be said (12+ / 0-)

    and even sadder that some are using this as an argument to defend cutting Social Security based upon the premise that the Democratic Party no longer represents the elderly.

  •  It ought to be awesome (0+ / 0-)

    right around the time a number of people retire, SS benefits shrink to 75% of contributions because nothing could be done, and the deficit goes up because the government has to pay back what it borrowed from SS.

    "But the problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence." - President Clinton

    by anonevent on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 01:57:56 PM PDT

    •  Benefits go to 75% (6+ / 0-)

      when the Trust Fund is totally paid down/paid back. Repayment doesn't START then.

      And under the (admittedly screwy) deficit scoring rules we have today under current law Social Security would add hundreds of billions to deficits the year before Trust Fund exhaustion and nothing the year after. Moreover trillions of dollars of "unfunded liability" disappears off the books at that same time.

      Did I saw "screwy". Well yes I did and meant it. And things only get worse when you start talking "debt". Strange as it may be Social Security goes debt free on the same day it goes 'bankrupt'.

      Meaning discount almost everything the enemies of Social Security say when they use the words 'deficit' 'debt' and 'liability' in relation to it. They just don't mean and don't move in accordance with what simple English and simple Math would have you assume. And the smarter Bad Guys both know that and are counting on it.

      (Cough cough 'Andrew Biggs/Chuck Blahous' Cough cough)

      SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:58:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We must keep up the pressure. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, JeffW, midwesterner

    The American people must be heard but must make a tenacious effort.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:00:16 PM PDT

  •  Yes...cutting social security without (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, midwesterner

    addressing the fact that our trust fund is being stolen will really get the younger generation enthused....

    the talking points are pretty darn dumb at this point...

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

    by justmy2 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 02:17:05 PM PDT

    •  Nothing has been stolen (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, tardis10, elwior, midwesterner

      A whole bunch of Progressives have simply swallowed Right propaganda whole.

      Remember it was the Bushies who were pushing 'phony IOU' and 'the cupboard is bare' and basically daring the Left to admit the Right had successfully stolen all the horses out of the Trust Fund barn.

      But unless the Left totally loses its nerve they can insist that every horse is still in the barn built pursuant to the Social Security Amendments of 1939 and that the answer is hanging the would be horse thieves rather than unlocking the barn.

      This is going to sound harsh but the truth hurts sometimes:

      Every Progressive who believes Reagan looted the Reust Fund to pay for Tax Cuts got chumped. He didn't and it wasn't, not legally, not operationally and not while I have a breath to resist not politically.

      Every penny ever sent to Social Security has been spent or retained in exactly the way designed by FDR and Frances Perkins and implemented by the 1939 Amendments. Nothing was stolen and supporters who believe differently not only bought but consumed the Snake Oil sold by the enemies of Social Security.

      And yeah that is not the story you hear. For a reason. Surprise the MSM is not your friend here. In fact the topic of Joan's post.

      SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:10:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It hasn't been stolen, yet (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, justmy2

        The push for chained CPI isn't for show.  The 1% likely has a plan to steal it  those "savings" and Obama will help them.  Why else would they count those cuts as part of the effort to reduce the deficit?

        It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:30:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are missing my point (0+ / 0-)

        all of these policies are intended to still from it...the second a cut is made due to "pretend" missing funds, and the not returned, it will be stolen.

        I think you are underestimating how well informed progressive are on this issue, unlike many others where there are gaps in knowledge...

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

        by justmy2 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:40:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  nothing was stolen (0+ / 0-)

      please stop feeding this false narrative.

      its all in special bonds that have to be paid ack with interest.  there is nothing new about that.  this is how the system was designed to work.

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

      by noofsh on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:45:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You missed my point...please see (0+ / 0-)


        But to put it briefly...these proposals are specifically intended to steal from SS.  That is the goal.  Keep those bonds from being paid in a way that makes it appear as though they have been defaulted on.  

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

        by justmy2 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:42:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  When did Charlie Cook turn into a hack? (8+ / 0-)

    I seem to remember him having a great reputation but lately he's been talking a lot of shit.

    Also, let me just go on the record here. I'm 29 and I think social security benefits should be doubled and the eligibility age for SS and Medicare should drop to 60.

    If we can put a man on the moon, we can figure out a way to properly fund entitlements.

  •  Ignoring them won't either. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, JeffW

    Of course young voters aren't itching to cut Social Security. However, many are tired of two programs that benefit the most subsidized and wealthiest per-capita age group being sacred cows while the very thin safety net for younger and poorer Americans is cut again and again.

    I watched the Clinton-era act party as though young people didn't exist while they chased after the voting demographics that vote in higher numbers (those over 50). I saw student aid and climate change ignored. It has to stop. America cannot sustain itself with a one-sided safety net that regressively taxes the young.

    And let's be honest that Chained CPI is a spring picnic compared to the impacts of climate change. Anyone over 50 who argued that dealing with climate change should wait while Congress passed health care (another initiative that will disproportionally help older generations) should really keep their mouth shut. Don't expect young people to defend your benefits if you're condemning them to a future full of death and disaster. A majority of those over 50 still don't support serious, immediate action on climate change and that's outrageous. Sorry, but boomers are living up to their "me generation" reputation in this debate.

    And yes, you can skip the defensive "your comment doesn't apply to me because I support blah, blah, blah..." because the polls show you're the exception.

    •  Anyone who thinks SS supports the (10+ / 0-)

      "wealthiest" and "most subsidized" just doesn't understand the math. And deserves to be pitied rather than argued with.

      Nuff said. Life is short enough.

      SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

      by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:14:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Facts are facts. (0+ / 0-)

        Retirees get more federal dollars than any other generation. Social Security taxes are being taken from the working poor and a portion of that money goes to the comfortably retired who don't need it. I know it's good propaganda to pretend that each and every Social Security recipient is living on the poverty line and desperately needs it, but we all know that isn't the case.

        •  Caps and contributions (4+ / 0-)

          The working poor get a equitable deal lifetime due to the PIA structure. The cap insures that the wealthy never take out that much and certainly get a smaller replacement value.

          The only question is whether you are some sort of progressive not understanding you are mindlessly repeating AEI and Cato talking points or some sort of right wing troll mindlessly repeating them or some Right wing troll repeating them with malice aforethought.

          Your "facts is facts" translates to "chump?" "fool?" or "knave?"

          No we don't "know" what you do and people who have run the numbers understand that means testing the actual folks who "don't need it" which we could say is people earning over household median in retirement would close 10% or less of the actuarial gap.

          Me? I am betting you fall into 'Chump'. Though your deployment of 'propaganda' argues for 'Knave'. So maybe the consensus will fall on 'Fool'. Call it Hobson's Triple Choice.

          SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

          by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:56:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, you can't refute what I wrote. (0+ / 0-)

            That's why you're name calling and questioning my motives. The facts make you uncomfortable. Yes, I'm aware of your caveats. The fact remains that Social Security is a regressive tax that punishes the working poor and gives some of that money to people who need it far less. Replacing it with a progressive tax with benefits going to those who actually need it would be more progressive than what we have now. It was never a savings or investment program so let's stop pretending.

            •  Of course I can refute it (5+ / 0-)

              I have spent the last dozen years refuting it with links back to actual data tables and literally hundreds of blog posts at top econoblogs like Prof Mark Thoma's Economist View, three or four of the front pagers posts at EconoSpeak including Professor Barkley Rosser and PGL and SandwichMan, as well as on it's predecessor MaxSpeak. Or you could examine diaries here at dKos right back to 2004 or review the Angry Bear Social Security series of 2008-2010 (available at a Google near you).

              Or I could continue to spout a line of self-indulgent link rot and King of the Hill claims until I piled up enough crap to make the Good Humor man hurl.

              Which is basically what you are doing here with your claims except without the back trail.

              Social Security is not regressive. Not if you understand the math.

              Your proposals for a system based on Social Democratic principles are pretty compelling. For people totally ignorant of the actual politics in play during the 30s and through to today.

              Read Dean Baker's 1999 "The Phony Crisis"' Nancy Altman's "The Battle for Social Security" or Eric Laursen's recent "The People's Pension" for a clue about the actual history and politics of Social Security since 1934 (sic). Because those folk are among the nation's top supporters/defenders of Social Security and are totally respected by everyone who knows something about this topic. At least ON TOP of the Troll Bridge.

              Feel free to mention my name. Because they are all on a first name basis with me and think I am the RADICAL here.

              The only one pretending anything is you thinking you have a body of knowledge backing up your tired talking points. Learn something from experts (not necessarily to include me if you like) and come back with citations and numbers demonstrating the regressivness of the system and the political calculations that would lead you to believe it could be improved given 8 decades of actual history.

              Christ ANYONE can build Castles in the Sky. If you ignore the foundations needed.

              SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

              by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 04:36:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lots of words. No rebuttals. (0+ / 0-)

                I always find it a cute logical flaw when people respond to the regressive nature of the SS tax by bringing up how benefits are distributed. Those are two completely separate issues. Benefits could be distributed the same way with a different taxation method and vice versa. The SS tax is the most regressive federal tax. End of story. Cite red herring numbers about how it's distributed till you're blue in the face and none of them will change that reality. It punishes the working poor and some of that money goes to people who don't need it. Distribution is doubly irrelevant to the regressive nature of the tax because how benefits are distributed may change before current workers retire.

                Yes, I'm fully aware that SS was passed by allowing the middle class to believe they aren't taking welfare. That same political compromise is allowing many retirees to throw other welfare recipients under the bus while they proudly claim they themselves would never take welfare. It's a selfish, self-deluding and destructive compromise that has inevitably resulted in the erosion of the safety net for everyone other than retirees. No sale.

                •  Insurance is regressive (3+ / 0-)

                  Social Security is Insurance

                  The decision to call it a "tax" rather than a "premium" has to do with its mandatory nature but doesn't in itself change the structure of Social Security from 'insurance' to some socially provided public good that (under Social Democratic) principles should be paid for out of progressive taxation.

                  Could Social Security and Medicare have been sold on Social Democratic grounds as pure income support and universal coverage? Fine make the case. Absent that arguments that draw on the hypothetical equity of a Social Welfare system that could have (in some alternative political universe) been enacted are logically empty.

                  YOU might wish we were Sweden. I might wish we were Sweden. But there are historical reasons why the New Deal and the Great Society produced Social Insurance rather than Social Democracy.

                  "If Wishes were Fishes, We Would All Cast Nets"

                  And the root meaning of 'Utopia' is 'No Place'. Because smart Utopians keep an eye on political reality. And ANYONE can design a perfect theoretical system. Because 'Everything is Simple. if you Ignore the Complexities'

                  SocSec dot.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders Group

                  by Bruce Webb on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 05:30:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Insurance or entitlement? (0+ / 0-)

                    Opinions differ, but as an insurance system, it's an expensive one.

                    I'm sure we agree about the historical founding of social security, but that doesn't bind us to continue the same regressive system that punishes the working poor. Continuing an unjust system simply because it's what you're used to is the definition of conservatism.

                    •  Yes it's insurance (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JeffW, lostinamerica, midwesterner

                      It's money that US workers pay in, then draw out in benefits when they reach retirement.  The SS Trust Fund only contains money that workers have contributed.  The federal government contributes nothing to it.

                      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

                      by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:47:01 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, Joan (7+ / 0-)

    You nailed it.

    This is a universal issue.  Those who try to deny it do it at their own political peril.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:00:52 PM PDT

  •  Where can I find an argument that this is a cut? (0+ / 0-)

    If proponents are right that this is a more accurate way to measure inflation then it keeps benefits effectively the same. I'm sure it's argued somewhere. I don't read every diary, and often read them not closely. So I've refrained from commenting on this. I might be ignorant, but the basic argument that this is not a cut seems plausible to me and all the ranting and aving against "cuts" strikes me as begging the fundamental question.

    Since it's 00:30 here I'm going to sleep. I don't want to get into a back and forth on this anyway. Anyone, please just post a link to an analytical argument without the polemical character the whole discussion has taken on and I will read it tomorrow.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:28:04 PM PDT

    •  Read this. (6+ / 0-)

      The disingenuous attempts to characterize this as anything other than a cut has been effectively ended by the proposal itself, which holds separate from chaining all means-tested programs because to not allow them to grow with inflation would be too much of a cut. Oh!
      Btw,there is no study that shows a c-cpi is a more accurate measurement of senior spending. Not one.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 04:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I will read the link, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

        Regarding your argument, I don't buy it. Exempting means tested programs and holding that chained CPI is more accurate are perfectly consistent. Maybe one just thinks the means tested programs should be increased.

        Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

        by play jurist on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:01:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry I wasn't clear enough. (0+ / 0-)

          No one has any reason to hold that a c-cpi is a more accurate measure for seniors. There is no actual analysis that has been done proving so and in fact, the BLS cpi-e (which has tracked some senior spending since the mid 1980's as part of the many, large SS changes enacted then) suggests otherwise.

          I would argue that the primary questions regarding SS are: How high of an income do we want to insure? How much of said income do we wish to replace? Now the answers to those questions are key. But it is a debate we are not having. Maybe because it is too technical (what with bend points,AIME's etc.),maybe because it isn't politically expedient. The mediocre wonks that injected c-cpi into this budget have made that necessary conversation harder to have.... or maybe those wonks aren't so mediocre after all... cui bono?

          On a different note,I have a feeling you might enjoy reading To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism if you get the chance.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:14:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If senior spending exceeds c-CPI... (0+ / 0-)

            that maybe shows that many seniors can afford luxury items and can afford not to make substitutions, not that c-CPI is not accurate. I think that there are some really weedy epistemological issues here. I wish I had more time to sort it all our, and maybe a modicum of real economic expertise. I'll just leave it at that I haven't been intellectually satisfied by the polemical eruption and have found the "it's a cut" refrain to be flatly question-begging in most cases. But thank you for not begging the question. I do see your point of view.

            Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

            by play jurist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:09:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It seems you are confusing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              play jurist

              the COLA (cost of living adjustment) with the mechanism we figure it by(whether a chained consumer price index, consumer price index-Urban or consumer price index experimental/elderly) The latter is,in all cases, basically a typical market basket of goods and what is tracked is how much the prices of those goods rise over time. Now a c-cpi adds the wrinkle that one might substitute the goods. A reasonable thought but not a more accurate measure of inflation.
              Given that the average SS benefit is $15,132 (the average for an aged widow or widower is $14,568) obviously there isn't much room for substitution for folks living on that alone. They are already living very lean,hence the 'cat food" meme and the understandable fear. (Further, how do you substitute healthcare,including one's Medicare premium or even rent at 75?) Since the number of seniors living on SS alone has been climbing (a trend that is expected to continue) enacting c-cpi now seems particularly unwise. (maybe especially so given the IMF's current calculations about austerity hindering economic recovery)
              Now,if one takes issue with the fact that some top quintile earners also have 401Ks and pensions to live on,then the discussion should be about (again) changing the tax structure. (SS benefits are currently taxable for those who have enough income from other sources )
              Of course all I've typed is overly focussed on seniors when both SS & a c-cpi affect so many more people  & programs.(including the fact a c-cpi raising taxes disproportionately on those making less than 40K a year)
              It has been very nice chatting with you. Virtual communication isn't easy,so much missing, but I think we each understand the other a bit better.  

              "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

              by tardis10 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:16:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've lost the plot. (0+ / 0-)

                I was responding to this claim:

                "BLS cpi-e (which has tracked some senior spending since the mid 1980's as part of the many, large SS changes enacted then) suggests otherwise."

                I took the claim to be c-CPI is not more accurate because it doesn't match actual increase in seniors' spending. I don't quite see how I'm guilty of the confusion you allege.

                Simple scenario just to get your response. Joe's Coffee shop sells cups brewed from four varieties:

                Sumatra: $1
                Ethiopian: $1
                Guatemalan: $1
                Blue Mountain: $2

                Joe's competition, Ed's, just sells the first three at the same price. There's suddenly a shortage of Blue Mountain, so Joe doubles the price. Ed runs an ad saying "Ed's coffee, still $1/cup. Joe's just went to almost $2." Fair advert? Does Ed's advert reasonably represent the changing costs to Joe's customers. Some of Joe's Blue Mountain drinkers may substitute. Some might be able to afford the luxury of drinking their favorite. Shouldn't that be taken into account?

                I haven't yet been convinced by the "cat food" argument: that the substitutions available to those at the lower end are disgusting and debasing. Nor do I find it particularly compelling to point out that some who can afford not to just won't make substitutions. The "cat food" argument, again, has been presented highly polemically and with a sort of "only evil people are not on our side" kind of tone. That's not to say that there might not be something there, and I would consider myself persuadable but not persuaded. I just haven't seen anything yet that convinces me that reasonable substitutions aren't available to those who can't afford their "Blue Mountain" products if c-CPI is enacted.

                Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

                by play jurist on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:24:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Seniors living on 15K a year (0+ / 0-)

                  are well past the Blue Mountain luxury stage. Imagine their budget....Medicare premium takes about 8%,medicare co-pays,meds, rent or mortgage if residence not owned, home maitenance/repairs,utilities,transportation,eyeglasses & dentists,groceries, & yes,even Grandma sometimes needs a new pair of shoes etc. Not much room for substitution that I can see. Nor do I believe we should cause elderly people with modest incomes to become less well off as they age,through the loss of purchasing power.
                  Currently,the US ranks 30th among 34 developed countries in the percentage of a median worker’s earnings that the public-pension system replaces.I believe we can and should do better.
                  The c-cpi as proposed does nothing to further that goal,so I remain opposed to it.
                  Now,I know you are not persuaded. But I'd bet $$$$ that if you met some of the seniors I meet,you would be.

                  "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

                  by tardis10 on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:49:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Hear, hear, tardis 10. Dean Baker agrees! N/T (0+ / 0-)


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


        by musiccitymollie on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:35:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a video explaining the cuts (0+ / 0-)

      It also explains how the cuts build over time.  AARP also has a helpful calculator at the link.


      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:57:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The beltway and their ignorance are killing us (7+ / 0-)

    Ron Brownstein and Ezra Klein don't seem to understand that we all grow older and as a transfer program the young will be transferring their production to our retirement and when they get old the same thing will happen for them.

    That's the principle for all pensions. There is no magic cave with a dragon protecting retirement funds. The polling doesn't show that the young don'r care about Social Security either as you deftly show, Joan McCarter.

    They care about their parents and grandparents who care for them. Thank you. You are on fire, lately.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:36:58 PM PDT

  •  Well I reckon Obama has proposed these (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cuts because it is what he believes in. He and Emanuel had proposed something similar years ago (seems like hundreds, but). I am not sure if he is doing it to cement the younger folks to dems or not.

    My guess is that he truly believes that the root of our economic turmoil is due to the greedy retirees and disabled.  

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 04:13:03 PM PDT

    •  then he is dead wrong (0+ / 0-)

      if that truly is what he believed.

      i have another theory.  obama is desperate to end the sequester because he wants to restore the military gun money.  but he can not just cut ss and restore military spending without a trophy ... that is why he is pushing for some revenue.

      its truly shitty but i think once again the military industrial complex just like the gun lobby is bullying the politicians into doing the wrong thing.  the corporate blood suckers can not be appeased in this society.  they always get what they want.  our government no longer works for the people.


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

      by noofsh on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:52:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, it has been his agenda since before (0+ / 0-)

        his first inauguration.

        Please read this piece regarding his interview with the WaPo Editorial Board several days before he was inaugurated (2009).  I have provided a link to the piece, also.

        Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs

        [President-elect Barack Obama visited The Washington Post on Thursday for an interview before his inauguration Tuesday.]

        By Michael D. Shear
        Washington Post Staff Writer
        Friday, January 16, 2009

        President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare "bargain" with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.
        . . .


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


        by musiccitymollie on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 06:29:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a young person, I disapprove of this. (5+ / 0-)

    I have grandparents I love, so they're hurt by this.  I have parents nearing the age they'll get SS, so they'll be hurt.  I hope to get SS myself some day, since I'm paying into it now, so I'll be hurt.  So even thinking just about me and my immediate family, without considering the millions of others affected, I disapprove of this.  What the hell is Obama thinking?

    I'm likely making this up as I go along.

    by Anjana on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 04:44:45 PM PDT

  •  And maybe do something about that 90-32-15 (0+ / 0-)

    split which penalizes upper middle class workers.

    The reality is that we don't have a young vs old conflict here.
    We have lots of people trying to convince the young that they will never collect Social Security -- which puts them in a bind -- have substantial money taken from their pockets, which interferes with their ability to provide for their own retirements -- only to be stiffed when they get older.

    In that scenario, it really is old v. young.
    Assure them that Social Security will be around, and the conflict goes away because the young will be old someday.

    There certainly will be disagreements on the most equitable ways to collect how much from whom and to pay how much to whom, but that's the nature of public policy.  Young folks (at heart) want to treat old folks fairly for several reasons:

    1. Young people are people, too, not animals.
    2. Those old people are their fathers, mothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc.
    3. They hope to be old one day, too.


    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:24:03 PM PDT

  •  If I may throw another suggestion (0+ / 0-)

    I have spent between 1/3 and 1/2 of my life working full time jobs that didn't pay into social security.  That's just wrong.  The state of California can pay people but not pay social security.  Now, in my case, luckily I don't have to depend on it, but there are lots of people who can get a cat food future because of it.

    •  These are usually defined-benefit pension... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...plan-equipped jobs, such as my City of Chicago traffic engineering career, or my wife's run working for Social Security's Teleservice. If I had added quarters on my SS contributions up to 40, or beyond, the windfall rules would only allow me approximately 1/4 (at best) of what I would otherwise get in SS benefits. But I get about 70% of my takehome pay from my City job (before taxes) out of my pension. The maximum would be 80%, which I would have had to work until this year for, but we do quite well on what I get now. YMMV.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:51:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will they get active in the Democratic Party? (0+ / 0-)

    The Democratic Party will be what they make it. If they are not active they are making it someone else's party.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:31:25 PM PDT

  •  klein and brownstein are assholes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they are the sort who feed the frenzy for austerity.  fuck them.

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

    by noofsh on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:35:57 PM PDT

  •  They could win them with Medicare for All (0+ / 0-)

    along with a few other things.

    Like full amnesty for all undocumented workers and full implementation of the Dream Act.

    As you mention, expand Social Security into a true retirement plan. It's needed to offset the rapid decline in retirement plans once provided by employers.

    Make college tuition free for all public schools. Germany and the Scandinavian countries do this. We can do it too.

    Add new tax brackets for the super-rich to fund the above. Add a new tax bracket for 1 mil; 10 mil; 50 mil; 100 mil; 500 mil; 1 billion.

    Progressively raise tax rates for each new bracket, ending in 94% for the last one.

    Add a financial transactions tax of 0.5% on trades above 100K. That would yield trillions over the course of the next decade.

    Young people also want to see a clean, safe environment, so we need to start a major, Manhattan Project for green tech, covering agro, energy, transport, cleanup.

    Do those things and the Dems would own the youth vote for generations -- and most everyone else as well.

  •  I read about the coalition of the ascendant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a few days ago.

    It really bothered me. Seems like it's a marketing gimmick and a serious departure from a values based politics.

    I think this is a clean break with yesterday's Democratic party and a rush to the corporate center.


    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 09:02:07 PM PDT

  •  Employer's Share (0+ / 0-)

    We should stop hiding the half of SS taxes that are called "the employer's share", and doesn't get reported on withholdings. Every penny spent by the employer on the worker's work is the employee's, including the SS taxes. The worker should see how much they're contributing to their retirement fund in total.

    And for that matter, SS should report how much of each employee's SS taxes are loaned to the government, and how much return on that investment the employee has gotten so far. In fact, every year SS should send to each employee with the SS career payments/benefits statement a certificate indicating their share of the Treasury debt and other investments their SS taxes have been put into. Just like any retirement account. That would give tangible evidence of the system we're deeply bought into, and perhaps take the edge off so many old people's "destroy the government; keep your hands off my SS". And maybe even get more people to engage in what they should know is theirs.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 05:10:14 AM PDT

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