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View Diary: Even in dark red Alaska, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich wants to increase Social Security benefits (53 comments)

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  •  I also wonder what Obama thinks (6+ / 0-)

    as well as the people on this website who have repeatedly argued for Chained CPI.

    I wonder what Third Way thinks of one of their vaunted moderates—whom they claim they are so concerned with protecting—bucking their advice to put the hurt on the olds. Begich, like a lot of real Democrats, recognizes both the political advantage and the policy—not to mention moral—imperative to keep the nation's promise to older Americans.

    Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
    Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

    by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:03:35 PM PDT

    •  I'm not all that offended by Chained CPI. There (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, charliehall2, worldlotus

      is a certain logic to it.

      What offends me is an unwillingness to pay benefits commensurate with all of the money people put in through their working lives.  Social Security is not a gift. It's not exactly savings and it's not exactly insurance.  There is definitely a lot of "Robin Hood" involved, but, for God's sake, don't be so freakin' miserly that people who have worked all their lives can't stay alive.

      Do that, and all I care about for COLA is that it fairly reflects increases in the cost of living.

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

      by dinotrac on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:33:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fine. Then adopt Chained-CPI-U-E (10+ / 0-)

        An existing index that measures senior's actual cost of living and THEIR replacements rather than the broader brush of regular Chained-CPI.

        If the goal is accuracy in adjusting $100s of billions in annual benefits why not spend the $40 million or so Dean Baker estimates it would take to remove the E for 'Experimental' and replace it with R for 'Retiree'.

        The answer is not hard. Chained CPI-E shows that retirees have experienced HIGHER cost of living expense because by and large they have a significantly different basket of purchased goods. That is adopting a more ACCURATE inflation index for SS Cola would ENHANCE rather than CUT benefits.

        In other words there is no logic beyond "Fuck the Olds" that would justify going to the proposed Chained CPI. It is punitive and not corrective. If you use real numbers.

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

        by Bruce Webb on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 04:54:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, if that's a better measure. (0+ / 0-)

          I like the idea of taking into account of the substitutions we all make when the price of one thing changes relative to another, but I know that seniors have a different market basket from young folk, and, if we can measure that better, I'm all for it.

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

          by dinotrac on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:27:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Begich is wanting to expand Social Security (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib, Team Leftie

        Your argument to decrease it via Chained CPI is I believe a losing one. Much prefers Begich's strategy as a winning strategy to run on,

        Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
        Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

        by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:15:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Who is arguing in favor of Chained CPI? (0+ / 0-)

          I must have missed that.

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

          by dinotrac on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:22:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Then you must have missed the entire thread (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Team Leftie

            That's what this thread is about --- the original comment compared Begich, who is for expanding Social Security, with people who are favor of cutting benefits through chained CPI.

            I'm in favor of Begich's approach and I think it's  much better approach than those Dem's in favor of reducing it via chained CPI.

            Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
            Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

            by BentLiberal on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:20:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you replied to the wrong person (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BentLiberal
              Your argument to decrease it via Chained CPI

              Wasn't me.  I'm fairly indifferent to Chained CPI.  I prefer to see higher benefit levels because they should be higher and COLA serve no purpose other than to maintain those levels against rising costs.

              From that POV, the best COLA is the one that best reflects reality.  Another poster mentioned a variation of Chained CPI that relies on a market-basket reflecting the needs and preferences of us old fogeys.  That would suit me fine.

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

              by dinotrac on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 12:50:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think that in the context of this diary (0+ / 0-)

                chained CPI is such a wonky thing to talk about. That's why it's such loser issue politically. Expanding Social Security is a much simpler concept, resonates better, is understood better,  so better electorally

                Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
                Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

                by BentLiberal on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 05:42:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  What Offends Me Is That (4+ / 0-)

        A chained CPI is a Social Security benefit cut in the name of deficit reduction to a program that doesn't have anything to do with the deficit.

        Could you please explain the logic of cutting Social Security to today's beneficiaries so that they don't have to be cut for future beneficiaries?

        I wouldn't ask if I thought you could.

        If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

        by stewarjt on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:29:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There IS a logic to it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Team Leftie

          'Reformers' acknowledge the voting strength of the Olds generally and the upcoming surge of Boomer Olds specifically and believe that absent 'reform' (benefit cuts) when push comes to shove at projected Trust Fund Depletion that olds will demand full delivery of Scheduled Benefits at the expense of the Top 1%.

          That is their definition of 'Crisis' at '23% cut in benefits'. Their answer is simple: simply drain the Juice out of the Third Rail of American Politics so that future retirees just accept a fait accompli. That is "What benefit cut?"

          They could give a shit about retirement security as such and still less about explaining why a cut now that results in an ultimate benefit 30 years down the road at least as big as the overnight cut would be. If 'reformers' get their way this whole conversation would end up being like debating Angels Dancing on Pins. Irrelevant to normal life because the cuts started almost imperceptibly back in 2014.

          They are evil but not illogical, innumerate, or (many of them) ignorant. They are just working from a frame of "How do we avoid a tax increase on the top 1% in 2033?" Answer: "By a Death of a 1000 Cuts. And a Catfood diet."

          See how simple this is?

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

          by Bruce Webb on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:19:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If Olds Have Such Voting Strength (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dinotrac

            Then they will demand no cuts now and in the future.

            It doesn't seem this has much to do with the capitalist class or the "1%."  Dean Baker is very clear that if real wages rise with productivity, then an increase in the payroll tax will be sufficient to prevent any future shortfall and will be insignificant compared to the rise in real wages.  

            How does that affect the "1%"?

            If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

            by stewarjt on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 07:50:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which is why 'Reformers' (0+ / 0-)

              consistently put forth plans that exempt "Those in or approaching retirement", i.e. the 55s and olders and have done so since the publication of the Leninist Strategy in 1983.

              Now Chained CPI actually would hit the 55s and olders which is why R 'Reformers' were happy to see the Obama team take the hit on it even as they demoagogued "$500 billion Obamacare cuts to Medicare".

              And not to be unkind but the first sentence of the following fatally conflicts with the second. Because it is the "capitalist class or the "1%" " who or which is totally complicit in and the direct beneficaries of the failure of "real wages (to) rise with productivity".

              (Not to mention that Dean took a good part of that "an increase in the payroll tax" from our "Northwest Plan for a Real Social Security Fix". Which you could Google. Dean is a big time mentor of mine and a good (online) friend who has taught me a BUNCH over the last 15 years. That said he doesn't ignore what me and my collaborators on NW have had to say since we published the plan back in 2009.)

              But back to the point. The 1% undertook a deliberate campaign to monopolize those gains from productivity at the expense of labor and continue to. Why you seem to think there is some disconnect as if the Invisible Hand was ruling here is puzzling.

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

              by Bruce Webb on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 08:50:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The 1% are already pretty well insulated from SS (0+ / 0-)

            because of the cap in payroll taxes.

            The burden currently falls hardest on the middle class, which has to make up for what the wealthy fail to contribute.

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

            by dinotrac on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:25:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They wouldn't be insulated (0+ / 0-)

              if the response to an unaddressed 'Crisis' at Trust Fund Depletion was some sort of tax that fell disproportionally on them, say a transaction tax on securities sales.

              And they are not insulated from the current burden of having to pay cash interest and then additional cash to redeem principal on the $2.8 trillion in assets in the Trust Fund.

              Because it turns out that whether you close the current actuarial gap EITHER through benefit cuts OR increases in FICA that the arithmetic result is that the Trust Fund NEVER needs to get redeemed. Instead it simply gets retained to meet the legal mandate for a 100% reserve. That is to the degree that Chained CPI controls costs in a way that slows down or eliminates redemption of those Special Issue Treasuries it acts as a backdoor tax cut for the 1%.

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

              by Bruce Webb on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 06:48:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That would be fine with me. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bruce Webb

                Some folks seem to be awfully attached to that "But, but -- SS is insurance and we don't want to call it a welfare program even if it is a good thing" mantra that seems to keep it tied to payroll taxes.  Could just extend the contribution ceiling to some nice large sum, but I would rather tax that non-payroll income.

                And -- it's only fair that we extend SS benefits to the folks who are making contributions by means of non-payroll taxes.

                Not a bad deal as they don't tend to be at the low-end of the income scale where SS benefits are high relative to contributions.

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

                by dinotrac on Wed Mar 26, 2014 at 08:58:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Try reading more carefully. (0+ / 0-)

          I think Social Security should be increased, not cut.

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

          by dinotrac on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 09:23:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You're conflating a couple things (0+ / 0-)

      Yes there are people that have argued for chained CPI because they think it will make Social Security better.

      There are also people like Obama that have argued for chained CPI for because it's something the GOP wants and given a divided Congress some level of compromise is necessary.

      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:14:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chained CPI is a loser strategy to run on (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stewarjt, Laconic Lib, BusyinCA

        Expanding Social Security is a winning strategy to run on.

        It's as simple as that.

        I think that the argument that cutting Social Security will make it stronger is a BIG LOSER argument to run on.  And I think the premise of saying, "oh but it's not a cut it's chained CPI" doesn't help the strategy, but actually makes it into  BIGGER LOSER strategy.

        Begich's strategy is much better.

        Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
        Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

        by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:19:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Personally speaking I don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

          And as I said in my comment to the diary I really am hoping Begich wins as that would embolden others. That said I don't hold it personally against anyone for thinking another strategy is better.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:24:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Personally?" (0+ / 0-)

            What are you talking about?

            I stated in my opinion which I thought was a better strategy.
            The rest is all you.

            Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. - Voltaire
            Don't trust anyone over 84414 - BentLiberal

            by BentLiberal on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 05:31:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib
        Yes there are people that have argued for chained CPI because they think it will make Social Security better.
        And those people are called uninformed MORONS.

        If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

        by stewarjt on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 06:31:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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