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Now that the government is back up and running, the GOP is already working on their next set of demands to take to the Budget conference committees.    And of course the issue of entitlements once again comes to the forefront.  At the beginning of the year, I wrote that Dems should not touch entitlements but instead take the issue to the people making certain that they understand that there is a very clear difference.   Apparently the AFL-CIO is concerned about the Dems caving to get a budget deal.  

In an article published this week in Huffington Post (AFL-CIO To Democrats: We'll Work To End Your Career If You Cut Social Security Or Medicare) its president was quoted saying: “No politician … I don’t care the political party … will get away with cutting Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Don’t try it,”   So what actions towards entitlements, if any, would be acceptable to the public without drawing a target on your back?

First of all, I need to reiterate what I wrote then which is just as valid (maybe more) today as it was at the beginning of the year.   People are not going to approve of any entitlement cuts as long as there is money on the table.  And as long as marijuana is on the controlled substance list, there is money on the table.    Over 50% of the general public favors this action (Support For Legalizing Marijuana Grows To Highest Point Ever In Gallup Poll) including a majority in some of the most conservative voting states in the Union like Utah and Texas.   So, until Congress is will to do this, they are not going to be able to CUT entitlements.  

However, there are measures that can be taken that the public approves of.  Politicians can poll this again if they like, but the results will be the same.

First of all, Medicare needs to be able to LEGALLY UNDER THE LAW, negotiate drug prices.  The public supports this at a very high rate.  Drugs prices make up 25% of the Medicare budget.  Under the current law, they cannot negotiate Medicare drug prices.  This is resulting in Big Pharmacuetical Welfare.  If the GOP is so concerned about deficits in entitlements, this is the place to start.   Of course, if POTUS Obama proposes it, the GOP is sure to say NO.  Let them.  This is a winning strategy and must be done before any other changes to Medicare/Medicaid are done.  

BTW, the public does not support structural changes to these entitlement programs so plans like Paul Ryan’s to privatize does not go over at all with the American people.  Why?  Because the American people don’t trust Congress not to MUCK IT UP!   The programs currently work to everyone’s liking.  The public supports tweaking these programs to make them better but they don’t want you to tear down what works and put something else there in its place.   So let Ryan keep on with his losing plan.   Every time the GOP goes against what the public wants, it only makes them more out of touch with those who vote.

As far as Social Security goes, there are tweaks that will be accepted by the public.  For one, the public supports modest raises in the retirement age for those born after 1970.   A two year across the board raise in  the age for those born from 1970-1999 and an additional year for those born from 2000 onward, will not create a public uproar.

Also, it is imperative that the maximum contribution level is raised from it artificially deflated current status.  I say this because it has been on purpose kept low to keep rich people’s taxes down.   It should be raised to $150K and tied to growth in real wages.  If real wages grow, it should grow proportionately.  If real wages shrink, it should decrease automatically.  This should be an automatic increase/decrease not tied to anything political, just real statistics.  These two changes alone, will help propel Social Security’s future much further down the track.  

Then there is the subject of means testing which is a GOP favorite.  This is a very tricky slope deliberately.  The GOP goal is to let rich people opt out of  the SS system.  However, it is important to the program that everyone participates just as it is for everyone to participate in the Affordable Care Act.  

You cannot tax someone though and then turn around and tell them they can’t receive benefits.  It won’t fly and will end up in court.  So the idea, that people making more than the maximum would be required to pay in but then would not be able to receive benefits won’t fly.  It won’t fly in the court of public opinion and it won’t fly in the courts.  

What we need is what I like to call Benefit equalization.   This term polls very favorably.    It would work something like this.  Currently there are 3 levels of Social Security.  There is early retirement that pays the least.  There is regular retirement age and then there is late retirement that pays the most.     People that pay SS tax on 100% of their wages, in other words they make less than the maximum contribution) would still be qualified for all three levels.  However, if you pay SS tax on less than 100% of your income you would only be qualified for one or two levels depending on your income.  For instance people who pay SS tax on less than 100% but more than 50% would be eligible to receive benefits for early retirement and regular retirement.   People who pay SS tax on 50% of their income or less would only be eligible to receive early retirement benefits no matter what age they retire.   This would only require one additional line of code to currently modify the SS program.    This would allow rich people who only pay SS on a small part of their income to still receive benefits but they would not receive the same benefits as someone who pays SS on 100% of their income because a) they don’t need the same benefits and b)they didn’t pay the same percentage as others.  

This is a fair equalizer of benefits.  It is easy to explain and easy to understand by a public which sometimes doesn’t always get it.   But Dems need to make certain they call it benefit equalization not means testing.  

These suggestions are workable and reasonable to the American public.  They will go over better if Congress would remove marijuana from the controlled substance list because the public will then understand that Congress is doing EVERYTHING possible to bring down the debt.  But the cut and slash ideology of the GOP to cut everything that poor people rely on while spending more than the rest of the world on Defense doesn’t play well with the American People.  Dems have the ability to take back Congress in 2014.   If they want a big turnout they really need to take up all these issues, especially the marijuana one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

    by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 05:47:58 AM PDT

  •  Fix the Shortfall Not the Debt nt (7+ / 0-)

    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 Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 05:49:48 AM PDT

  •  eliminate the SS ceiling and drop the rate to 5% (4+ / 0-)

    nt

    •  I love this idea. That makes it a tax cut for... (0+ / 0-)

      not just people under the current cap, but even some people a little over the cap. That would be an extremely progressive change to the tax code.

      You don't have links to any reports about how the numbers would work for that, do you?

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:42:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just raise the base already (9+ / 0-)

    There is no need  to screw around with the way benefits are paid - unless we raise them, which needs to be done.  Just raise the wage base.  Problem solved.

  •  Raising retirement age is a CUT (21+ / 0-)

    And is most cruel to people in lower wage jobs. If anything, we should lower the retirement age.

    Just abolishing the cap on wages subject to SS fixes the projected shortfall, so why not just do that?

    I can't agree with raising the retirement age to 70. It's not necessary and it is a mean way to cut benefits.

    "If Republicans were once the daddy party, now they're the abusive ex-husband with a substance abuse problem party." Henry Blodgett 11/13/2013

    by Urban Owl on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:06:49 AM PDT

    •  Pleasing everyone (0+ / 0-)

      There is an old saying:

      You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't please everyone all of the time.  

      Regular retirement age would be for anyone born from 2000 or later.   It is expected that those born at this time will be much healthier and live a lot longer.  

      You may see it as a cut but it's not really and the general public overall will not see it as a cut.

      Perception is everything.  Everyone perceives that entitlements need to be addressed.   In general people  perceive that raising the age as something that comes with living longer.

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:12:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is, however, possible to deprive almost (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        millwood

        everyone of all their rights all of the time. Fortunately, it isn't even necessary because empathetic humans will deprive themselves when they are confronted with the deprivation of others. The sight of others starving will prompt them to starve themselves to make up for having been selfish, especially if nobody bothers to tell them that fully a third of all the food produced globally goes to waste, and not just because it doesn't taste good.

      •  One of the big problems I see with (9+ / 0-)

        raising the retirement age is that there isn't the job security
        to support it. Companies don't like to hire people over 55 and certainly not over 60. This country is currently full of folks over 55 laid off in the great recession who have never been able to replace their salaries. Many remain unemployed or underemployed.

        The issue of ageism in our country is huge and not often enough discussed. Will it change for those born after your cut off year? I'm very skeptical looking at the path we're on now.

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:00:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Older employees (0+ / 0-)

          I understand your point very well as I am 59 years old.  

          But benefits received at 62 are not much better than minimum wage and certainly won't allow a person to live their golden years with any quality of life ESPECIALLY if they have no savings.  

          Look, it has been shown that people who take early retirement in their 40's and 50's go back to work not for financial reasons but mostly for something to do.   Work gives people purpose.

          Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

          by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:11:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Work as a hobby has nothing whatever to do (5+ / 0-)

            with the necessity of earning a living wage.  It's one to thing to pick up a few bucks as a barrista.  It's another thing to have no other income when you are in your sixties and have fixed expenses.  

            •  Nauseating (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Amber6541, greenbell, millwood

              isn't it? It's as if the diarist actually believes that most social security recipients collect it early, and then go get a part-time job for something to do in their middle age. Such demonstrable nonsense...

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:32:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  $72,000 cut for someome with $2K in benefits (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lunachickie, StellaRay, Urban Owl

                if you raise the age 3 years.  If your benefit is only $1200, you lost over $40,000.  

                I call that a cut.

                •  And note that you don't contribute less you both (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lunachickie, Urban Owl

                  lose $70,000 in benefits AND pay 3 more years in payroll taxes.  It is an ENORMOUS cut.

                •  Chained CPI and raising the retirement age (5+ / 0-)

                  are nonstarters because they are cuts. People are getting wise quickly, due to the insistence of "New Democrats" on pushing it down everyone's throat before the ink has even dried on the latest kabuki song and dance on the Budget.

                  People are not stupid--they know that there are other options besides "cuts". Anyone with two brain cells to rub together understands that. Raise the cap and start creating some jobs. This is not rocket science--move the cap to about 150-160k. That, coupled with millions of desperately needed jobs, simply fixing this country's decaying infrastructure, would solve the "funding problem".

                  I hope the diarist understands this quickly. Because nothing else is gonna fly. Nothing. I don't care if "Democratic leadership" endorses the Catfood Commission, they'll never get the rest of us on board with such craven bullshit & lies...

                  This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                  by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:47:16 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Wrong. It is a cut (4+ / 0-)

        And actually, poor people live shorter lives, so would collect a lot less SS under your plan. Collecting 4 years instead of 6 years of benefits is a cut, and matters most to those who will not live to see 70.

        The rise in expected life expectancy is leveling off, falling for some groups, and no longer a given. Look at life expectancy starting at age 60, and note that it is not rising at all for lower become people.

        Perception is not everything, not everyone perceives that entitlements need to be cut, and making policy based on a fallacy (all people live longer is false) is not acceptable.

        You proposed a cut in benefits to ensure solvency of Social security. The elimination of the pay cap fixes the problem without cutting benefits to the people who need to retire before 70.

        "If Republicans were once the daddy party, now they're the abusive ex-husband with a substance abuse problem party." Henry Blodgett 11/13/2013

        by Urban Owl on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:54:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This could be a problem for people who work (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urban Owl, phonegery, spacecadet1

        hard physical labor all of their working lives.  When some portion of their body gives out, they do not often have other skills to use for alternate employment in order to keep working.

        Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

        by Amber6541 on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:22:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I need to buy YOU"RE GOING TO HEAR ME ROAR!! (7+ / 0-)

        tune.  You're nuts.  Do some elementary math and figure out how many thousands of dollars you lose in benefits as the retirement age goes from 65 to over 70.  You not only deprive people of tens of thouands of dollars many will die before ever collecting a penny.

        People aren't nearly as stupid as you think and if Democrats do this they will lose my vote FOREVER.

        For one, the public supports modest raises in the retirement age for those born after 1970.   A two year across the board raise in  the age for those born from 1970-1999 and an additional year for those born from 2000 onward, will not create a public uproar.
    •  Next GOP plan: Raise the age to 77 (8+ / 0-)

      That will cut costs, you betcha.

      •  Not reasonable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell

        That would not be perceived as reasonable by the public.  We are talking about what changes to entitlements will sell.  Why do we need to discuss it?  Because it's going to come up in Budget negotiations.

        The public will accept raising retirement age for people born in 1970 -1999 from 62 to 64, from 67 to 69 and from 70 to 72.   Add an extra year for people born in 2000 and later and that puts early retirement at 65, regular retirement at 70 and late retirement at 73.  But that is for people born in 2000 or later.    That would mean that a person born in 2000 is currently 13 and is projected to live an average of 10 years more than their parents.

        So many people born between 1970 and later don't believe that Social Security will even be there for them.  Raising the age 2 years for these people guarantees them it will indeed be there.  

        There of course will be those who oppose it on both sides.  I'm just saying what will sell with the overall American voters.  Because that is what must be considered if Dems want to take back the house.  

        And Dems really need to take back control of the house in 2014.  

        Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

        by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:23:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you do understand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phonegery

      the nature of the SS program don't you? The benefits you receive are determined by what you contribute while in your working years.

      So if you remove the SS cap, you either have to radically increase the payouts to the very wealthy, or the program is transferred into a wealth transfer program.  You change the very nature of the program which will lead to an undermining of it's popularity.

      Essentially an 6% increase in the rates paid by the wealthy (12% if they are self-employed). The program will become a terrible deal for every wealthy person in the country. People will know that they are paying in hundreds of times more money then they could ever hope to get back in benefits.

      •  Yes but even the wealthy are capped (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe from Lowell

        in the benefits they receive.  

        This is why the above benefit equalization will work.  

        Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

        by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:27:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i know the benefits are capped (0+ / 0-)

          and capped benefits with uncapped contributions changes the nature of the entire program. That benefits are determined based on contributions.

          •  Uncapped contributions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe from Lowell

            OK, you were responding to the comment about uncapped SS taxes by another person.  Uncapped contributions isn't going to happen.   It would not be perceived as reasonable.  It wouldn't work,  And it would never pass Congress.  

            I advocated increasing the maximum contribution to $150K and tying its increase or decrease to increase in real wages.  

            Currently the cap never shrinks, it just increases with inflation rate.  But I believe it's increase has to be approved by Congress so it is politically connected.  I could be wrong about that though.  

            However, tying the cap to increase or decrease in real wages, keeps it realistic and takes out anything political.

            Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

            by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:51:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  so will (0+ / 0-)

              the benefits of the people asked to pay more be increased along with their taxes taken?

              if not, then it is a lite-version of the uncapped taxes.

              I care about this as my next paycheck should be the first without SS taxes taken. Makes a nice end of the year bump for Christmas expenses.

              •  Congratulations! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe from Lowell

                Whatever is in place under the current system would stay in place.   However it works now, would be the same, the maximum contribution would just be more reflective of real wages and their growth.  

                Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

                by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:01:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  personnally (0+ / 0-)

                  i prefer having the money now to having the higher benefit later.

                  How about allowing an option for people to contribute beyond the current maximum. That would be more popular and even allow for knowing how popular the provision is by how many opt in.

                  •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    edwardssl

                    Do you really think someone would volunteer to pay more???  Really?

                    I'm sure you do prefer having the money now.  But what if something happens and you  end up with no money in the end.   Then you will be glad you have that money then.  

                    Don't think it can't happen.  Remember Enron?  All those people many of who were soon to retire lost everything.  I bet they were happy to have SS benefits.  

                    We just don't know what the future will bring.  SS was started in response to old people being left with nothing during the Great Recession.    

                    What if the debt ceiling wasn't raised and the economy and stock market totally tanked?  This is why SS is important to preserve.  The GOP doesn't want to preserve it.  They want to dismantle it just like every other social protection program.  

                    But are we going to continue to not allow government to work correctly over these issues?  Because that's what it has come down to.  

                    When does it start to effect our credit rating and standing in the world?   Or has it already?  

                    At my age, it doesn't matter.  I've got another 20 years left but what about the future of these programs for my kids and grandkids.  

                    If everyone did what was right, we would not have need for social programs.  The fact is that they don't and we live in a country where the most important thing is the LOVE OF MONEY!

                    Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

                    by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:22:55 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  the option (0+ / 0-)

                      would only be for contributions beyond what is currently required. Not for all contributions. So i'd still have SS as protection.

                      raising the limit from 113K to 150K would only impact people like me who get over the limit now.  The upper middle class isn't where i think future retirement problems will come from.

                      Do you really think someone would volunteer to pay more???  Really?
                      Doesn't that question (all by itself) show how unpopular the idea would be?
                      •  undervalued (0+ / 0-)

                        But the maximum contribution has been undervalued for decades.   I realize that it effects a small group of people like yourself.   Had you been already realizing this benefit for awhile, it might not seem so bad.  but since you are just now receiving it, surely you don't want to give it up.    

                        This is the mentality of the rich.  They earned it.  They don't want to give it up.  

                        Never mind that poor people are paying SS on 100% of their wages.   Rich people shouldn't have to, right?  

                        Look, some of these ideas are not going to make everyone happy.   Changes never make people happy.  By nature people don't like change.

                        But eventually were are going to have to discuss these programs because the GOP will insist that we do.

                        Until and unless we can elect Dems back to the majority in Congress, we are going to have to discuss it.   And despite what polls show right now about the GOP's popularity, a year is a long ways away and many things can happen to create a shift back.  

                        Of course the more popular ideas would be to remove marijuana from the controlled substance list and to give Medicare the right to negotiate drug prices.  

                        So perhaps that is the cause that the Dems should rally for now.  Unfortunately that will most like mean another government shut down.  And Sooner or later the rest of the world is not going to take the US seriously as a world power because we can't even run our own government.

                        Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

                        by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:40:51 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  the purpose of SS (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          a2nite
                          Never mind that poor people are paying SS on 100% of their wages.   Rich people shouldn't have to, right?

                          The point of the program is to provide social security. It isn't a 401K.  Once you've contributed enough to ensure that level of security you don't need to contribute more.

                          So yes it makes perfect sense to have a maximum income that is taxed. That it is currently undervalued is simply your opinion. You want to enforce that opinion on the rest of us even if we disagree.

                          I'd prefer to not put more into SS as it allows me to put more into a 401K or a Roth IRA. How about being Pro Choice and let me decide how to fund my retirement.

                          •  That's your policy proposal? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            millwood

                            "I don't want to pay more taxes, regardless of what that means for Social Security"

                            Of course you don't, but policy can't just be about what each of us wants from our selfish perspectives, right? Unless you have another proposal for Social Security?

                            The cap on Social Security was set to cover 90% of all income. It doesn't now, due to rising inequality. The cap was not indexed to inflation either.

                            The cap needs to be raised, should have been indexed to inflation, and really is too low right now.

                            Discussion of this:

                            Social Security history-Digby

                            "If Republicans were once the daddy party, now they're the abusive ex-husband with a substance abuse problem party." Henry Blodgett 11/13/2013

                            by Urban Owl on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:06:33 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i think you've missed the point (0+ / 0-)

                            of this part of the thread. The proposal under discussion was to raise the income limit to 150K and for that money to go for extra benefits of those who paid the extra money in taxes.

                            It would have no impact on SS beyond that small cohort of people.

                          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

                            OP had proposed raising the cap and somewhat raising the bnefit, but if all the increase goes to that cohort only, then it is not part of "fixing" Social security and make no sense.

                            If that was really the proposal, then you are right, it makes no sense. However, raising the cap is a standard policy proposal for increasing funding for the overall program. My response assumed that proposal, since it does have some basis in reality.

                            "If Republicans were once the daddy party, now they're the abusive ex-husband with a substance abuse problem party." Henry Blodgett 11/13/2013

                            by Urban Owl on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:21:51 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  yes... we do pay more... (0+ / 0-)

                      401k's. Pensions. AFLAC. Death Inusurance.................... for those who make it to a certain age w/o death & disease(s) this "retirement" is but a mirage. An oasis filled with...........
                      Only to be denied & cut later after we have contributed.........

                      Most? citizens don't look at their paychecks, bills, etc...

                      WONDER why they stopped sending those yearly Social Security contribution announcements?

                      Paperwork Reduction Act?

                      How about the Bomb/Bullet Reduction Act.

      •  No, you don't have to radically increase the (0+ / 0-)

        payouts.  There is a little program in the  1040 return that taxes your Social Security benefits.  For the first 26K or so, your benefits are not taxed.  The rest of the Social Security benefit you have received, you are taxed at increasing rate.  This tax works to keep the per cent of Social Security benefits  taxed at an increased rate.

        Time is a long river.

        by phonegery on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 09:22:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you also work from the mistaken assumpion... (6+ / 0-)

      ... that the GOP considers something 'mean' to have any negative connotations.

      In fact, they revel in it.

      Any time they cut benefits for ANYBODY, in their own twisted little fantasy minds they are ripping their hard-earned tax money away from "lazy n****er slackers."

      That is the mindset of the modern GOP.

      •  Actually worse than you portray (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urban Owl, joe from Lowell

        The GOP don't care about the poor.  Why should they?  They poor don't vote.    If people don't care enough about themselves to participate, why should the GOP?  the GOP cares about the people who vote them into power and the people with the money to pay for it.

        Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

        by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:30:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No they don't care about the people who vote (0+ / 0-)

          For them. They get screwed less worse than the rest of us.

          nosotros no somos estúpidos

          by a2nite on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:39:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hierarchy (0+ / 0-)

            Of course they care about the people who vote about them.  They need them to keep voting for them.  However, they care more about the people with the money.  Because the people with them money pay for the people who vote for them.

            Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

            by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:41:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Entitlements that need to be cut. (10+ / 0-)

    The entitlements I am thinking of that need to be cut are low tax rates on the wealthy, special tax benefits and loopholes for the wealthy.  Corporate welfare.  Allowing companies to pay below a living wage.  "They" act like they are entitled to these unearned benefits.
    ----
    There is no reason to cut SS. Just eliminate the cap.  And if we count ALL income (not just wages) for calculating  SS and medicare tax I think they will be fine "forever." Simple. Easy to explain.  And politically acceptable for the vast majority of the population.

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      but we live in a world of Democrats, Republicans and a lot of apathetic and uninformed ignorant people.  

      The issue of entitlements will come up.  Do we want another stalemate?  Do we want to go another year without a budget?

      I'm not saying everything has to be done.  I'm saying what the American people will accept.

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:25:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, stalemate! Yes, another yr without a budget! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spacecadet1

        Let's have this conversation again after we've spent another year destroying the Republican party, and the Democrats hold the House.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:49:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good idea (0+ / 0-)

          back off now, and just hope that people forget about it.

          Ah, but what are ya gonna do, with bigmouths like me around to remind them? I'm really looking forward to advocacy this election cycle  :)
           

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 09:00:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your paranoia is getting out of hand. (0+ / 0-)

            You've now managed to come up with a reason why arguing against negotiating on entitlements with the Republicans is actually a secret ploy to cut entitlements.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 09:08:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Casting aspersions (0+ / 0-)

              again? Can you be more original some time soon?

              Seriously, tedious. Do better.

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 10:20:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Your argument deserves aspersions. (0+ / 0-)

                And your refusal to answer the point speaks volumes.

                You just threw a little paranoid freakout about how not negotiating over Social Security is a stealth effort to cut Social Security.

                I'm going to point and  laugh when you do things like that.

                Maybe you should stop.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Fri Oct 25, 2013 at 01:19:01 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  If you think raising the retirement age (13+ / 0-)

    will have "no negative consequences" you are delusional.  The real life consequences for people affected by it will be beyond brutal. Seriously, what kind of bubble do you live in? Do you know anyone 70 years old? And have you ever watched a roofer or a plumber or a home health care aide work? Now put those two images together? Retirement at 70 might seem fine for desk jockeys (it's still not), but for anyone who uses their hands or their back to earn their bread, having to work until 70 is a death sentence. And if you are limiting yourself to electoral consequences, do you think those 70 year old plumbers (and their kids and maybe grandkids) don't vote? Unbelievable naivete or straight up trolling.  Go peddle this weak-ass sauce in some other kitchen. These are all terrible ideas.

    •  No need to be mean spirited (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      Your tirade makes a lot of false assumptions, I assure you.  It's not necessary.  

      I should point out that these people are doing exactly than today anyways.   Most people at that pay level are working to 70 in order to get more $$ because what they get at 67 along with the lack of what they have been able to save won't carry them through retirement.

      Also, if we don't make changes like this, it may not be there at all for the 70 year old plumber who was born in the year 2000.  

      However, your tirade shows exactly why nothing has been done to entitlements.

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:34:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not "entitlements", EARNED BENEFITS. (5+ / 0-)

        And the scare tactics about them not being there for today's kids are straight out of the catfood playbook. There are lots of fine solutions that don't require hurting people, for this hypothetical problem that is 20-40 years away. Raise the cap slightly and index it to inflation. Maybe even raise the cap a bit further and lower the rate. Now you have a less regressive tax structure and solvency. More fair AND doesn't hurt old people. Wow, what a concept. Here's another one for you... apply SS taxes to ALL income and LOWER the retirement age to 60. Not only is it more humane and decent, it will remove all those older workers from the job market and make room for younger workers... which lowers unemployment, and reduces the costs of unemployment and SNAP benefits as a nice little side bonus. Wow, an option that saves money, gives our older citizens more respect, and shows basic human decency. There's got to be a reason not to consider that option... wait, it's coming to me... oh yeah, that's right - rich bastards that want to see the rest of suffer don't want to pay a few dollars more in taxes, that's why we can't consider decent options. Go poll that.

        •  Earned benefits, really? (0+ / 0-)

          Your rants are unreal.  Your perception of what should be is as bad as the GOP's and what contributes to the divide in this country.  

          You have missed the point of the entire diary.  Your tirade is a bunch of noise that I will no longer comment on.   Besides, I didn't write it for people like you.

          Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

          by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:45:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  "entitlements" is a dysphemism for "rights." (6+ / 0-)

    If the Cons were to announce, "we are going to strip you of rights," that might be a no-starter.
    On the other hand, the Constitution stripped all human beings who had been purchased of their human and civil rights and to this day minors have no recognized human rights and can be taken away from their parents and assigned to someone else. So, the belief that human rights are in any way sacrosanct is probably unfounded.
    Of course, if we keep electing representatives because they have good hair, their gender is right or they are well-spoken, then their intent to deprive us further will remain unidentified until they actually do it.

    Deprivation of rights under cover of law is such a neat invention because there is so little recourse against the law. Can't lop off its head or send it packing. If Saddam Hussein had been a law, he might still be writing novels or throwing out the ball at baseball games.

    •  Your comment is Out in left field (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sewaneepat, joe from Lowell

      This diary is not advocating stripping anybody of rights.  I support these programs and want to see them continue.  This diary is about what can be done by congress to make programs better and last longer that the general public will approve.

       

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 06:54:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Congress needs to stop dicking with the money (5+ / 0-)

        and pretending that dollars are in short supply. Congress needs to stop threatening the livelihood of people who don't vote right by cutting off their money supply. The supply of dollars is theoretically infinite. If they're not flowing back into the Treasury at a good rate, that's because Congress is encouraging hoarding and speculation instead of trade and exchange.

        •  If you don't vote, you don't count. (0+ / 0-)

          It is what it is.  If poor people can't be bothered to participate, they should not be surprised to get screwed over.   I'm personally tired of looking out for people who just don't care.

          Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

          by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:29:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, when abuse, rather than death or (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lunachickie, millwood

            extinction, is the issue, it is not possible for the victim to resist. Because, abuse, even psychological abuse, aims to injure and in resisting, the victim risks additional injury, thereby becoming the abuser's tool.
            "Stand up for yourself," is effective advice from the perspective of the bully in that it keeps potential intervenors from stepping in when they ought to.
            When authority stands silent in the face of abuse, it becomes complicit. And, since in a functional democracy authority rests with the whole population, standing by while anyone gets abused counts against us.
            Besides, the victims are not really the issue. The behavior of the victimizers is what has to be curbed. I agree that looking out for victims is discouraging, but that's because it's a useless enterprise. It's the aggressors that have to be addressed.

            It is difficult for citizens to accept that people who are supposed to represent their interests are out to suppress and deprive them. We also don't expect dogs to bite the hand that feeds them. Yet, sh&t happens and probably always will as long as humans are endowed with the gift of gab and use it to lie.

  •  Sorry, (7+ / 0-)

    but I have to call bullshit:

    As far as Social Security goes, there are tweaks that will be accepted by the public.  For one, the public supports modest raises in the retirement age for those born after 1970.   A two year across the board raise in  the age for those born from 1970-1999 and an additional year for those born from 2000 onward, will not create a public uproar.
    Like hell it won't. That's part of "unacceptable". Count on it.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:17:45 AM PDT

    •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      it may be BS to you, but you are but one person.   It will be acceptable to the general public who are a bit more lethargic than the progressives here.  

      If you are a Democrat, what are you going to do?  Stay home and let the tea party reign?????  Go to the Green Party?  Start your own party???   So What.  We did that in 2010 and look what happened.  

      There comes a time when threats are meaningless.  This is something that Republicans can learn from.  

      The age will be raised sooner or later.   the sooner we deal with the issue the sooner we can move onto more important things.  

      People focus on one thing like it's the only point I wrote about.  And this diary is about ideas that can be done, not will be done.  

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:28:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Urban Owl, millwood

        The general public is quite awake to this, now that they know that certain Democrats are willing to screw it up, too.

        "What I am going to do" is work tirelessly to defeat this spin and nonsense. Starting...oh, ages ago. If ever there was a tired, pitiful meme that has long outlived its usefulness, it's this one:

        If you are a Democrat, what are you going to do?  Stay home and let the tea party reign?????  Go to the Green Party?  Start your own party???

        And this:
        People focus on one thing like it's the only point I wrote about.  
        That's because when one is trying to foist BS talking points at large, sometimes one buries it in "otherwise seemingly-reasonable ideas". You'll just have to be a little more subtle next time, that's all.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:46:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  NO I will vote Republican out of SPITE (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        awakenow, lunachickie, sillycarrot

        I totally reject your proposal.  There is nothing Democrats could do that would make me angrier.  

        Why do you think I'm a Democrat?  So I can help screw millions out of Social Security?  

        You think that is what motivates me to vote?  

        If the Democratic Party raises the retirement age it can go to hell because the next thing it will do is raise the Medicare age to match the Social Security age which will wipe out all their assets, throw them onto Medicaid and leaving them living their last years without dignity.

  •  You can't keep raising the retirement age. (6+ / 0-)

    Employers won't hire anyone over age 50 now. Where are all those old people supposed to be working? And if they don't get out of the way, where do you suppose all the younger people will be working?

    It's absolutely wrong and mean and stupid to raise the age any more. It should be DROPPING to 55, not going up to 70. Not everyone has the physical or mental acuity after 65 to keep working at the same level as a 35-year-old. Some might, sure. But that's not the norm.

    Are you going to want to work with a 70-year-old? Want a waitress that age? A doctor? A plumber? Who will hire them? How will they live since there are no pensions to speak of and no jobs? Seriously.

    Get real.

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

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:37:29 AM PDT

    •  You need to get real. (0+ / 0-)

      You must be drinking the GOP's Koolaid if you think lowering the retirement age will ever sell to the Congress or the public.  

      Progressives might like it but that's about it.

      Visit the Iraq Memorial Quilt @ http://www.iraqmemorialquilt.com

      by pollchecker on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 07:42:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whoa, now you're just getting mean-spirited (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        millwood

        yourself.

        What, are you shocked and angry and disbelieving that people aren't swallowing this neoliberal nonsense without question?

        Get used to it. We're gonna keep on bringing it and you will not stop us.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:40:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You have some good ideas, but others are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lunachickie

    not quite reasonable.  
    Also, I don't understand why you have tied marijuana legalization to Social Security and other Earned Benefits.

    Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

    by Amber6541 on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:32:33 AM PDT

  •  A problem with your benefit equalization idea: (0+ / 0-)

    People earn different amounts over their working lives.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:40:15 AM PDT

  •  We already have means testing for SS: income taxes (0+ / 0-)

    If you are a high-income retiree, you are already paying a quarter or a third of your Social Security check back to the government, as that income falls into your highest tax bracket.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Oct 24, 2013 at 08:41:35 AM PDT

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