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Harry Reid
"We are not going to mess with Social Security," Reid told reporters as he left a post-election news conference that he used to call for cooperation between the two parties in dealing with U.S. fiscal woes.
So said Harry Reid. As we get into the deep weeds of the negotiations, Democrats need to secure a public commitment from that White House that keeps Social Security out these negotiations.

We all know Social Security is not contributing to the deficit. Even President Obama himself has said so.

I think the first step of any plan to pressure the White House has to begin by getting Social Security out the target range. Probably not possible with Medicare or Medicaid, considering House Democrats ran hard on the Medicare message and still lost. Social Security, however, has been avoided by Paul Ryan and the President. Nobody ran on any changes whatsoever to Social Security. The mandate there is clear: status quo. Therefore there is no need for it to be part of the discussions now.

The logic here is simple. When these guys begin looking at the numbers to make their deficits trend downward, they are going to look at the pot of gold that is Social Security in order to fix deficits in other parts of the budget. That's terrible. Let them cut something else or find revenue somewhere else. Worse, so long as Social Security is on the table, its surpluses can be used to reduce the demand for revenues in the form of taxation.

First things first: take Social Security off the table.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:26 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I would take reducing Medicare/Medicaid bennys (50+ / 0-)

    off the table as well.

    Eliminate the cap, include investment income, apply FICA to the whole pie, cap benefits to retirees who earn more than $250,000 in income otherwise, and POOF - next problem?

    Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

    by Words In Action on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:29:52 PM PST

    •  Lets be realistic...that isn't going to happen. (9+ / 0-)

      Lets face facts: we had a slew of candidates who ran hard on a Medicare message and they lost. Even Kathy Hochul (who was the poster child for the Medicare message) lost in  New York in a state Obama carried by 30 points.

      Medicare is on the chopping block. Lets face it.

      Social Security, however, wasn't campaigned on. The message there is clear: Status quo. So the first thing we should do is get Social Security outside of the negotiations so that it cannot be used to supplement the revenue side of things.

      If they need money from this or that, they need to get it from revenue or cut something else. Don't go fucking with Social Security.

        •  Might not be as bad as it could be (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, jrooth, evangeline135

          if we stick it to the doctors. They're all republicans anyway.

          •  Not all of us providers are Rs (19+ / 0-)

            I'm a Ph.D.-level speech-language pathologist.

            I can tell you straight up that both Medicare and Medicaid have been 'sticking it' to us for several years now.

            We continue to take Medicare because we have to if we want to take any private insurance.

            Medicaid reimbursement rates in the state where I work are so bad that it's laughable. I think we're currently reimbursed $16 for a therapy session.

            As bad as Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates are at least the 2 government insurers pay.

            As a field, we have about a 75% reject rate on claims because the policies are written such that insurers don't have to pay if we (the clinicians or physicians) can't link the communication problem directly back to accident, illness, or injury. Basically, that lets private insurers off the hook for paying for developmental (read kid) therapy at all.

            •  Never met a broke doctor yet. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, megisi, jrooth, evangeline135

              Not even once.

              Sorry, if somebody is gonna be on the chopping block, it ought to be you. Not a factory worker or poor minorities.

              But I'd be fully in favor of jacking up taxes if we could get that passed by doing nothing. Unfortunately, we have a reelected president  (who doesnt need us anymore) who is sharpening his meat axe. Somebody is gonna lose limbs.

              •  Not on our side then, goddamnit (5+ / 0-)

                Who says he doesn't need us anymore?  He's looking at four years of twiddling his thumbs right now, with the little people he could do anything.

                Fatalism is one thing, generalizations another.  I'm truly surprised, surely you know a great many physicians are superb liberals, democrats and human beings.  They have educations I dream about, and their immediate compassion and action can be immensely powerful, far more than my puny keystrokes can do.

                [looks at you] Surprising.

                •  I do. And they all could give up some $$$ and (4+ / 0-)

                  still be alright. But the fact is the vast majority of physician advocacy groups in Washington are heavily republican.

                  But the president, lets face it, is in a very strong position. Not only over Republicans, but over Democrats too.

                  If you saw that memo about what he was willing to give up last year, you should be far more concerned about what he's going to do now that he doesn't need to respond to the electorate.

              •  I understand where you're coming from but... (4+ / 0-)

                Physicians leave school with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. As for me, I just paid off my student loans from my Master's degree after 15 years this past March. Fortunately, there is enough of a shortage of Ph.D.s that I didn't have to pay for that degree.

                At $16 per therapy session from Medicaid, I couldn't afford to keep the doors open if I were running a private practice. If I were running a private practice, I couldn't bill for seeing patients in groups. That's just not an option with Medicare, Medicaid, or the private insurers. If I tried it, they'd shut me down. Group therapy is only an option in the school districts.

                Most people are enrolled in speech-language therapy for 1-3 years depending on the disorder type and the severity. We generally see clients 1-2 per week. Any less than that and they might as well not come at all.

                To give you some idea of the overhead we face, one of the standard language tests we use for kids costs $515 for the ages 5-8 version. The score forms are $60 for 25 forms. A frequently used artic test is $200 and the forms are $55 for 25. I frequently use a literacy test that is $800 for the picture plates and $90 for 25 forms. One form per individual and those original forms better be in the file. That doesn't include all of the other consumables I'd need - gloves, tongue depressors, anti-bacterial wipes so your kid doesn't get sick from the kid before him, games, iPads to run therapy apps, etc. Nor does it even begin to cover the costs of malpractice insurance premiums - even in my field.

                •  Primary Care Physicians (7+ / 0-)

                  are often very stressed these days too.  They can't bring in the income of specialists and the insurance companies and the hospitals are squeezing them like crazy.   Many are retiring early, at least early compared to the age physicians liked to retire when they enjoyed the job.  Finding providers is going to become a problem for Medicare patients.

                •  That's why we should fund Medical School, like (0+ / 0-)

                  they do elsewhere.

                  If we at least subsidized malpractice and enacted some sensible tort reform, then doctors could live well on a lot less income...

                  So much more civilized that way.

                  Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

                  by Words In Action on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:20:15 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Doctors on chopping block? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Liberaljentaps, helpImdrowning

                You clearly don't understand what entails becoming a doctor or how BUSINESSMEN have absolutely ruined my dad's previous group practice.

                It's expensive to become a doctor and even more so if you had to borrow for your education. My dad's colleague still hasn't finished paying off her student debts. She's in her 50's now.
                You pay to take expensive tests - USMLE, COMLEX.
                You have to get a BS degree, minimum, to apply for med school (fees, fees, fees).
                You also receive a bare bones salary when you are a resident and work a ton of overtime and on calls (40k).
                "Administrators" with "business degrees" decided that doctors should be paid less in my dad's former workplace. They didn't make any cheaper to be seen by my dad. In fact, they just justified their pay increases.

                Go talk to today's med students. Ask them if they want to be in primary care. Hell no they don't. You wonder why they want to become specialists? Because they need the money to pay off their debts and specialists can pretty much charge as they like. Primary care, not so much. OBGYN? Forget it, malpractice insurance is too high and parents will sue the doctor for outcomes that truly are, acts of God, or their bad habits. Yes there are bad doctors out there, but the good doctors won't mention them by name.

                My father treats California prisoners now (lawsuits galore from ambulance chasers - but the state pays for his legal defense in full). He threw his physician pride away to earn more money and make sure I had ZEE-RO debt when I graduated from college. He would be more than happy to treat regular people as long as it paid his bills and allowed him to save for his retirement. Not much different than the goals of the patients he has treated now, huh?

                He has also given medicines away, whenever he could, to help seniors manage the cost of their prescription. He knew business people were greedy, but his hands were more or less tied when it came to controlling the cost of healthcare.

                Why hello there reality, how are you doing?

                by Future Gazer on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:59:33 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Do we want medicine to become an aristocracy? (3+ / 0-)

                Because that's where it's heading.  Medical school is hugely expensive, such that a good chunk of the people who attend do so on their parents' wealth.  The rest of them have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt when they leave.

                Bad enough that undergraduate admissions are often largely need-based (i.e., your parents don't have money, you don't get in unless you're a star; if they do, you do, even if you're a mediocrity).  I don't want the person operating on me, reading my pathology, and choosing my course of treatment to be a dimwit on a trust fund legacy career.

                Medical care is too expensive?  Support medical school reform.  Go after for-profit (or "not-for-profit") hospitals that overcharge.  Go after unnecessary testing.  Support preventative care (which saves money) and universal care (which saves money and lives).

                Blaming the doctors is short-sighted and counter-productive.

                © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

                by cai on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:15:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Couple years back, there was a comparison (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AuroraDawn, cai, evangeline135

              for common treatments, of the doctor payments for private insurance, medicare, and Canadian healthcare, posted to this very websote.

              Medicare paid about twice what the Canadian system did, per procedure.

              So, while there may be specific areas where our doctors are underpaid by Medicare, I find it hard to believe this is the case across the healthcare system.

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

              by Robobagpiper on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:23:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  You fix Medicare... (18+ / 0-)

            .....by letting people who aren't high medical risks (you know, like old people and disabled people are) buy into Medicare as their primary insurance.

            No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

            by Doug in SF on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:22:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Break the AMA's control (4+ / 0-)

            of the medical labor market.  Increase the supply of doctors and costs will go down.

            “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

            by jrooth on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:07:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe if you were (4+ / 0-)

            a little older  or maybe a little less healthy  you might be less inclined to "stick it" to people you could end up depending on in a serious way.

          •  All Republicans, OH SHIT No (0+ / 0-)

            that is embarrassing

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:28:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Hochul blew it this time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, MKinTN, pistolSO

        She really didn't run much on Medicare this time against Collins.

      •  Medicare is the public option. (22+ / 0-)

        You give up on Medicare, you've given up on the Public Option this country needs to survive private healthcare insurance.

        Purging predominantly minority voters and requiring them to present IDs to vote in the face of VIRTUALLY NON-EXISTENT VOTER FRAUD is RACISM! I hereby declare all consenting Republicans RACISTS until they stand up and object to these practices!

        by Words In Action on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:50:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nobody's giving up on it. I just think if its (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          evangeline135

          going to get cut, and it is rest assured, then the right folks ought to get caught.

          I think we can do this by sticking it to the doctors. They're all republicans anyway. If we can convince the business community to turn on the doctors, we can come out of this in good shape.

          •  They're all republicans anyway (6+ / 0-)

            Even if doctors were all republican voters -- and they certainly aren't -- it's a piss poor argument for "sticking it" to doctors.

            Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

            by winsock on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:30:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Please stop with the "docs are all R's" meme. (6+ / 0-)

            It simply is not true.

          •  Not all doctors are Republicans... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wasatch, joanneleon

            mine isn't, and neither are these guys (and ladies)!

            Physicians for a National Health Program is not exactly a right-wing group.

            Physicians for a National Health Program is a non-profit research and education organization of 18,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.
            Some doctors are conservative, but not all.

            Not even I expected Romney to let his entitled Lord-of-the-Manor freak flag fly as proudly as he did on Tuesday night ~ Charlie Pierce

            by AuroraDawn on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:06:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They aren't all Republicans (0+ / 0-)

            And we won't find our way out of this problem by "sticking it to the doctors". I work with a hospital full of pretty much lefty physicians. The Primary Care physicians aren't making a ton of money, and they work their butts off. Plus they have those immense student loans to pay off. One problem is the insurers. Take away the middle man, and that will help. The other is having everyone have healthcare. We all pay more for the patients who end up in the hospital without any insurance. The hospital can't turn them away, and we all end up paying for it. Much less expensive to treat people as they need preventive care, or early care, than to pay through the nose for ED or ICU care.

            "Facts change, but my opinion never does." ~Stephen Colbert

            by Liberaljentaps on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:18:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Do you mean people running against (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pistolSO, Code Monkey, Roger Fox, FG

        House incumbents? After all of the gerrymandering last cycle, a brain dead House incumbent on life support has about an 90% chance of winning regardless of party or policy positions.

        (Hochul won a four-way special election in a very red district last year to replace a rethug, and lost to a rethug in her first straight-up general election - so perhaps a one off.)



        Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

        by chuckvw on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:51:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, the House picked up at least (11+ / 0-)

        eight seats which was extremely decent given how gerrymandered the districts have become under Republicans.  There is almost no constituency in this country that supports cutting Medicare.  Further, protecting both social security and Medicare, and raising taxes on the wealthy, was the calling card of nearly every newly elected Democrat.  Obama just expanded Medicaid to millions of Americans under his health care act.  It make no sense to then turn around and cut Medicaid.  There is no reason for Democratic constituency groups to have expended millions of hours over several years advocating for universal health care, to then turn around and raise the white flag on Medicaid and Medicare with a Democrat in the White House.

        The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

        by masslib on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:52:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Great Distraction (13+ / 0-)

        They take Social Security off the table and you rejoice.  Meanwhile they cut Medicare.  But to the senior what matters is their net income and net worth.  If a person is receiving $20K in Social Security and you make Medicare more expensive or require them to spend down assets for several years by raising the Medicare eligibility age you impoverish them just the same.  

        And it has struck me watching the coverage of senior age folks on Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey etc. that there are plenty of people out your way who don't live like Manhattan fat cats and $20K probably doesn't go far enough as it is.  

      •  That's absurd (5+ / 0-)

        those candidates lost for other reasons. There is absolutely no way that seniors will put up with any kind of cuts to medicare except maybe the disfunctional part "D".

        Medicare is not on the chopping block and never will be.

        "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

        by Phil In Denver on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:09:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mitt Romney won Seniors by 30 points (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          justmy2, evangeline135

          in Florida.

          But we will see. Perhaps nothing will happen at all and we get the best possible outcome, which is doing nothing. But president obama, who really doesn't need liberals for jack shit anymore, seems to want to get something done.

          •  So the answer is to just write them off entirely? (7+ / 0-)

            Which is basically what'll happen if the WH strong-arms Senate Dems into supporting some POS bill to cut Medicare and Medicaid.  

            •  He's got some pretty strong arms right now. (0+ / 0-)

              And if you read that memo from last year, we could end up with a deal so shitty you could fertilize Iowa with it.

              So the question I have is what leverage do we have over Obama now? I don't see any.

              How about Senate Democrats who rode his coattails, and especially those who didn't? (Indiana, North Dakota, Montana, Missouri)

              That's not even considering Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia. That's 8 Dems right there.

              If we had won the House, I'd be all in favor of taking a stand pat and do nothing position. But since that didn't happen, President Obama is going to look towards getting a deal ASAP.

              Our goal should be making sure it doesn't look like that deal from last year.

              •  Where's the fire? (4+ / 0-)

                His leverage increases - exponentially, I might add - on Jan. 1, at which point the problem is too much revenue - to the tune of $5T.  Not chump change (in fact it's interesting to watch the deficit scolds writhe in hysteria about the fiscal "cliff" when it's more like a gentle slope.  

                I simply do not understand the rush to a deal, any deal, no matter how crappy.  

                Not to mention, he'll also have a new - and much more favorable - Congress to work with.  

                •  Obviously he doesn't see it this way (0+ / 0-)

                  and I agree with him.

                  He's got maximum leverage now because he doesn't have the same goals as you and I.

                •  Fiscal Cliff eh? Deficit Scolds are Full of It (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Timothy J

                  So let me see if I got this straight, according to the deficit scolds the deficit is the biggest problem our nation faces.  So a modest tax hike (3-5% increase -- Freedom(R) isn't free donchya know?) and government spending cuts both which will substantially cut the deficit are being defined by the same fiscal scolds as a "fiscal cliff", something we MUST avoid at all costs?

                  But here is the real kicker, cutting the deficit by way of the "fiscal cliff" is just terrible, but cutting it by making Grandma eat catfood and raising Medicare age to the age "when you die", is just fine.  

                  Agree that Obama's leverage increases after Jan 1.  And not only that but it is time to start changing the narrative.  And that starts with SS and Medicare are off the table.  Hell the plan they got now, i.e. "fiscal cliff" lowers the deficit without touching SS and Medicare.  And the beauty is it was the Republican's plan that they passed!

                  Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

                  by howd on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:28:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Into the streets (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timothy J, howd, Old Gardener, joanneleon

                Our leverage is to speak out and to demonstrate. Occupy Wall Street changed the narrative, not by getting Obama to do or say something, but by doing themselves.

                Our job is to get hundreds of people to call or write Obama and their member of Congress, send dozens of letters to the editor, and show up at vigils, rallies, and marches that end up  in front of their Congressmember's office. The Tea Party gets media coverage with a half dozen people, but we probably have to have at least a hundred people. It helps if some of those people are respected members of the community: clergy, professors, union leaders, business people, bankers, celebrities, etc. Sometimes creative actions can help: street theater, costumes, banner drops, Overpass Light Brigade, showing a movie on the side of a building, etc. And sometimes occupying or blockading an office can help.

                We need to do things electronically too: Facebook, Twitter, targeted Google ads, etc. that illuminate what the Congressperson is doing and criticizes it.

                The point is to make a big stink, get some media attention (or create our own media attention) and force Obama and Congress to respond to us.

                •  Yeah...good luck with that. nt (0+ / 0-)
                  •  Thanks for helping (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Old Gardener

                    For some reason, Democrats in Washington think that they should cut deals with the powers in Congress. But the currency of Washington is money and power (having monied friends). We don't have much leverage there.

                    But we do have people power. That is what won us the election. And that is what we need to rely on to pressure Congress. Relying on Joe Lieberman and the other ConservaDems to cut a good deal for us before December 31 is not a good strategy. Begging Obama to give us some crumbs is also not a good strategy. We need to act like people who just won an election through our hard work, not like beggars hoping for a handout.

          •  Not because of his medicare policy (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wasatch

            but in spite of it. They were blinded by their overwhelming racism. Obama's first priority seems to be to raise taxes on the wealthy. And finally, FINALLY, he seems ready to use the bully pulpit to do it. Maybe he won't need to offer any more sweeteners than he has already, like you said. We will see.

            "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

            by Phil In Denver on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:53:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  on the chopping block....but that doesn't mean (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J, quagmiremonkey, Roger Fox

        it needs to be chopped...we still have some fight left...

        and guess what, chopping Medicare with 10-20 Republican votes isn't going to save anyone...

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

        by justmy2 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:22:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ACA's (0+ / 0-)

        Medicare provisions will cut costs without cutting benefits
        Medicare doesn't need to be on the table.

        There's not going to be any repeal of Obamacare. Romney lost ...remember?

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:09:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This, pretty much (4+ / 0-)

      but why do we have to keep repeating ourselves? are there hidden numbers or factors? This is such a clear, clean path for Ds to take -- why the dithering?

    •  I don't like means testing (0+ / 0-)

      Here's why.  All means testing does is lend to a narrative that only poor people and "the others" are using Social Security, (a la Republican arguments about "Welfare Queens"), and will just create a firestorm from the psycho rightwingers to gut that program too.

      We can solve the issue with Medicare and Social Security (even though the latter is fine for a long time) but just getting rid of the income cap for FICA and the social security tax.  That will solve most of the issues right there, without giving the rightwingers a meme to complain about.

      It is done. Four More Years.

      by mconvente on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:16:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The contribution limit needs to be raised. (10+ / 0-)

    Individuals don't pay on income over about 110K.  If they need more revenue, this is where they should go.  The immediate question is whether the payroll tax cut will be extended past the end of the year.

    •  Raising the cap (4+ / 0-)

      Is something many have said should be done.  If our "leaders" had not raided the trust fund S.S. would not be a problem.  Also, consider that lower taxes we're currently paying reduces the amount being paid into Social Security.  The only President (to the best of my knowledge) who did anything about Social Security was the hero of the Republicon Party, Ronald Reagan.  He raised the age requirement for full benefits yet there are people who still have him with a halo on his head.  

      As for Medicare/Medicaid they should also be taken off the table.  Medicaid is for the sick (including children) who need long term care and seniors living in assistate living factilities.  Without this how would many seniors who live on fixed incomes and don't have savings be helped if they need these services.    

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

      by Rosalie907 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:22:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nobody raided the trust fund. The money is still (5+ / 0-)

        there in the form of IUO's, just like the money you put into your bank account.

        You don't think that when you make a deposit that the bank just puts it into a vault, do you?  They loan it out, just as is the case with ALL government bonds.  And by the way, these bonds are the safest investment in the world.

      •  WE have the receipts 4 payroll tax holiday (5+ / 0-)

        Treasury has paid into the SS trust fund.

        There is nothing wrong with SS that cant be fixed by fixing the economy. SS was never designed to survive a 30 yr recession.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:16:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fix the Economy = Income Equality (0+ / 0-)

          The income inequality is at the root of the problem.  I think I read where today SS is only capturing like 80% of the income while it was designed to capture 90% in order to remain solvent.  Over the last 30 years the top 1% has increased their share of the income pie by almost 10%.  10%!!!!  That is 10% that use to go to the middle class and which was fully taxed by SS.  Now, basically none of it is.  

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:44:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The cap should be DROPPED to $70k (0+ / 0-)

      Most people never hit the cap, and anyone can survive in retirement on the income replacement for 70k.

      A problem now is that people who earn above the current cap are also the people who tend to live longest, so the big SS checks get issued for 30 years while the little ones only go on for 5 to 10 years before the recipient dies.

      I also recommend dropping the retirement age to 62 with no increase in benefits for delaying. It's ridiculous that 20-somethings can't find jobs because 66-year-olds are forced to hold on to them.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:46:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're wrong. Raising the cap would solve the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan, RandomNonviolence

        long-term shortfall in the Social Security trust fund, even if you let rich people get bigger Social Security checks.

        •  I beg to differ. IOW: I call bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

          Removing the cap would result in $50k/month SS checks, unless you throw away FDR's concept of Social Security and declare it a welfare program.

          Is that what you have in mind?

          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

          by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:12:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  not as much as 50k, a lot less (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomNonviolence

            but your point stands, no means testing adjust the income CAP at 90% and leave SS alone.

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:22:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  do you have a link for that (0+ / 0-)

            statistic, and also, I thought the current program had some steps, that even as the cap goes up, what you can be paid hits a limit?

            •  AIME benefit formula based on income CAP (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:27:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  so we could substantially raise caps (0+ / 0-)

                and create further 'bend points' as SS admin calls them, and then an ultimate maximum benefit as they do for the family benefit.    All ideas already in the law.  There is no reason to pay out $50k/month.

                •  Why not just have Congress play with the benefits (0+ / 0-)

                  every damn budget year?

                  Because that's what will happen when you decouple benefits from contributions.

                  As FDR designed it, every dollar you earn - up to the cap - results in an increase in your benefit when you retire.

                  The bend-points are at the breaking point already.

                  There is nothing wrong with taxing income and distributing the revenue to those who need it, even ear-marking it for needy retirees only. But why do you insist on calling that - falsely - Social Security, which is designed on a completely different model?

                  Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                  by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:56:44 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  first of all (0+ / 0-)

                    caps don't have to be removed entirely, so one false assumption.

                    And the steps were there in the original, so it isn't exactly something anyone has played with every damned budget year, is it?  And no reason to start.

                    So other than made up reasons, do we have some reasons that some raise in the caps can't or won't work to provide additional funding.  As I recall, in real dollars, adjusted for inflation, the caps are actually at about the lowest point in a real long time.

                    No one is saying create a welfare model. I do understand the reason it applies to everybody.  But such black and white dichotomies when looking for solutions, no room for modification,   that just strikes me as fear over function.

                    •  You recall really poorly (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      howd
                      As reported by CRS, "Since 1982, the Social Security taxable earnings base has risen at the same rate as average wages in the economy. However, because of increasing earnings inequality, the percentage of covered earnings that are taxable has decreased from 90% in 1982 to 85% in 2005. The percentage of covered earnings that is taxable is projected to decline to about 83% for 2014 and later. Because the cap was indexed to the average growth in wages, the share of the population below the cap has remained relatively stable at roughly 94%. Of the 9.5 million Americans with earnings above the base, roughly 80% are men and only 9% had any earnings from self-employment income" (Mulvey 2010).
                      socialsecurity.gov

                      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                      by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:30:51 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Dude JFromga is right, the income (0+ / 0-)

                        CAP is at its lowest point in years, about 84% according to your link, traditionally it was at 90%.

                        And thats after the COLA last year, when the income CAP was lifted from 106k (83%) to 110k (84%). Lifting the income CAP to 90% might mean as much as $4,700 increase to the max annual benefit. IIRC the CBO scoring tells us this adds a little bit of revenue over benefits paid.

                        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                        by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:19:56 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  For the record (0+ / 0-)

                          The cap in 1990 was 51,300 = 90,827 in 2012 $
                          in 2000 76,200 was 76200 = 102,400
                          in 2004 87,900 was 87900 = 107,680
                          in 2013 113,700

                          so jfromga is not correct.

                          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                          by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:34:18 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Clem, Clem, Clem (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Clem Yeobright

                            You posted this comment, saying the same thing as the other person.

                            http://www.dailykos.com/...

                            Its by %

                            Your own link said PERCENT.......

                            the percentage of covered earnings that are taxable has decreased from 90% in 1982 to 85% in 2005. The percentage of covered earnings that is taxable is projected to decline to about 83% for 2014 and later.
                            1982=90%
                            2012=84%

                            84% is as low as its been in years.

                            You two are saying the same thing using different language. Lets save our energy for the GOP.

                            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:22:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hearing you. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Roger Fox

                            Joe/Joan from Georgia wrote:

                            As I recall, in real dollars, adjusted for inflation, the caps are actually at about the lowest point in a real long time.
                            and he/she is wrong. So what?

                            You and I have been here before, and I - more than you, to your credit, I suppose - get exasperated when people here post:

                            Oh look! Something shiny over there in the trees! It may be gold or silver! Let's tax it! And call it Social Security!
                            I'm waiting for the proposal that we tax alcohol and tobacco an additional 6.2% and solve the [non-existent] Social Security problem forever!

                            I'm not afraid of our enemies; FSM save us from our friends.

                            No?

                            Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                            by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:33:03 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  \ this is what was said (0+ / 0-)
                            As I recall, in real dollars, adjusted for inflation, the caps are actually at about the lowest point in a real long time.
                            Was that said 100% accurate?   Well maybe not 100%, but its close.

                            Today if we taxed at 90% the SS income CAP would be about 186,000. See table 3

                            http://aging.senate.gov/...

                            But we dont, today the cap is  at about 84%, 110,100.

                            The Trustees dont use normal inflation adjustments because they dont account for increased income disparity.

                            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:52:47 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                      •  yes I used the wrong measuring (0+ / 0-)

                        stick but reached the right conclusion, I should have looked it up.

                        If we kept the caps so that the same percentage of the working populace paid into the system, then the cap would be substantially higher.  Not a change in policy, but resetting the policy to what it has historically been.   That would not turn the system into a welfare system.  It would produce more revenue.  And yes,  higher earners would get bigger checks, and they would live longer.  Which is why another step or two could be added.  

                        While I may agree there is absolutely no problem with SS now,  it is not in fiscal crisis.   It will eventually need some adjustment just to remain as fair as it was, ie, top earners drop out too quickly and fewer are paying in on a substantial portion of their incomes.

                        No one here has suggested creating new taxes totally unrelated and calling it social security.

                        Public polls show people would rather pay more withholding tax and leave both Medicare and Social Security in tact.  I don't think anyone is trying to argue for fundamental ways to alter these programs at this blog.  Merely tweaking the income streams in ways that are consistent with the original program.   I fail to see how raising additional revenue using the traditional structures is the cause of such alarm and angst.

                        Over the long term, job growth, younger workers finally making it into the job market instead of being shut out, good wages, will increase revenue as well.  We need to pursue all fronts.

                        •  Money FROM higher cap goes TO higher earners (0+ / 0-)

                          Raising the cap doesn't affect the benefits of those below the cap, although it MAY result in more of their contributions going to their bosses 30 years after they're dead.

                          The cap is not a problem, except that it's too high.

                          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                          by Clem Yeobright on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:04:41 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  since current revenues (0+ / 0-)

                            don't go to those who pay in now, but to those receiving benefits currently, raising revenues now covers current shortfalls now.

                            What you are trying to tell me, by yelling "You're stupid", not explaining, never a good way to gain allies or even educate someone, is that it will increase deficits in the out years making the current projections of shortfalls worse. I had not seen that argument before or thought of it in that way.

                            If you have some sources for these projections I would still like to see them.

                          •  Can you project medical innovation? (0+ / 0-)

                            Where would the SSTF be today if the cardiac bypass had not been developed, if thousands and thousands of workers were still dying in their 50s before they collected a penny in SS?

                            What CAN be projected is that any increase in life expectancy will redound more to higher-income people.

                            SS is intended to replace income at a comfortable level, not at all levels. Let's stick with that principle.

                            Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                            by Clem Yeobright on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:37:37 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am a math person (0+ / 0-)

                            in some respects.   I want to see what lower caps do to the ability to fund current obligations, as well as projections on future obligations.  I acknowledge that projections are suspect because the world is not covered in horse dung right now.  Nevertheless,  for a short/medium term decision pattern,  we can see what various proposals will do with real numbers.  I find those more convincing than discussions of bypass surgery or horse dung.

                          •  There's a huge amount of data at ssa.gov (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            jfromga

                            Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                            by Clem Yeobright on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:06:58 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  thank you for the page (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Clem Yeobright

                            the report addresses the issue of subgroups without modeling it,  clearly minorities/lower income workers, etc.  may show a different pattern.

                            It would seem that payments of benefits is mildly progressive, less so now than originally.  The proposal to take caps back up to the 90% still comes out as more progressive than the current projections.   The  indexing of benefits would be a small amount more progressive than the current scheme as well.

                            The model did not look at lowering caps, so I still don't know if that would be even more progressive,  but it doesn't seem to be suggested by the progressive nature found for raising the caps.  

                            I will read the article and study on it some more.

                            Do you have a policy objection to benefit payouts being overalll progressive, ie,  lower income people getting a greater return for money paid in (pretermitting the issue of minorities being especially shortchanged for which there is no data in this report) ?

                          •  My concern is 'welfare-ization' of SS (0+ / 0-)

                            I think the system is fine as it is; the 15% bend-point is scarcely 'fair' but it is accepted as part of the income-replacement formula and that's what counts.

                            I worry that an even lower 'bend-point' would break the principle, that it would look just too cynical. What do you call a contribution that generates no (or a tiny) associated benefit? A tax.

                            There's nothing wrong with providing old-age relief via a tax, via the income tax; I think we should do more of it and we might be able to relieve some of the pressure on Medicaid, which pays for a nursing home but not staying home. But SS is still contributions -> benefits, and we're foolish if we futz with that.

                            Of course we can't really lower the cap because the fiscal effect on the current budget would be prohibitive. As you've pointed out, we need today's collections to fund today's payments. But raising the cap outside the current calculation doesn't provide any long-term benefit that I can see.

                            In summary: SS has a mystique about it, rightly or wrongly, that must be preserved. That's all I'm concerned about.

                            Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

                            by Clem Yeobright on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:18:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  but do we let perception (0+ / 0-)

                            rule reality.  The numbers in the report show earliest cohorts receiving a redistributive no. of .3,  current is about .15,  raising caps back up to the traditional cut point,  goes about .19 (all from memory so I might be off a little),  the scale is 0-defined contribution plan effect (dollar in dollar out)- to 1-redistributive as in a fixed benefit regardless of contribution plan.  So the plan, untouched or the tweaks as described in the report always was and remains closer to defined contribution plan, and very mildly progressive (redistributive).

                            Personally, I don't think a slightly redistributive plan, anything that stays below .5 turns this into welfare.  We are far from that point now, and would stay there even with some tweaking.  IF people simply didn't know how the system works, but are pretty happy with the way it was and is traditionally, surely it isn't going to suddenly become welfare in the average American's mind?

                •  Lifting the cap would create a massive monthly (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Clem Yeobright

                  benefits check. More like 12-14k a month. 50k  is a slight exaggeration.

                  I think Bend points just are confusing when looking at the bigger picture, which is the Income cap, and the AIME formula.

                  FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:11:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  but the formula (0+ / 0-)

                    relies on bend points to reduce the total check so that payout is proportionally higher on lesser initial incomes.  The tax is regressive in that it taxes lower incomes more than the highest incomes, but is somewhat progressive in returning more to lower incomes on a proportional basis because of the bend points.   Both are vital pieces of the calculation, both offer points at which payouts can be adjusted to achieve greater fairness.

            •  Here is an excellent report from the Senate (0+ / 0-)

              Social Security Modernization: Options to Address Solvency and Benefit Adequacy -- see the table on page 8 for a nice summary.

              The option to eliminate the cap and increase benefits to the rich, but not by the full amount (the third option under revenue boosters), would solve Social Security's problems.

              •  Sigh, have you ever read the 2012 SS trustees low (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Clem Yeobright

                cost scenario component in the 2012 report?

                Well it turns out some job creation and wage growth makes SS good thru 2090.

                SS was never designed to survive a 25 yr recession. If you think thats a realistic projection....... 25 yr recession... well then I guess you feel the need to fix SS based on an abnormally crazy projection.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:05:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  The formula does not provide for limitless (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RandomNonviolence

            increase in SS payments to beneficiaries.

            There is an upper limit to the payout.  

            I'm not sure you and Bob are talking about the same thing, but "raising the cap" -to me- refers to applying the FICA tax to income over $110,100 per year.  

            In fact, I think it should be applied to all income, period.

            Since there is an upper limit to the benefits paid out, the rich will pay considerably more money into the fund, but not be the recipients of any higher benefits when they are old.

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

            by YucatanMan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:35:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is no upper limit. That would be a welfare (0+ / 0-)

              program, and SS is not a welfare program.

              SS replaces income at - I think - 11% for the highest 'bracket' (it may be 15%; check it out on ssa.gov - I haven't time now).  This has to do with the 'bends' in benefit calculation. So if someone makes $500k/month and pays FICA on it, his/her retirement benefit will indeed exceed $50k/month - for every month he/she lives ...

              If you are arguing that SS should collect taxes on some income but that that income should be irrelevant to benefit calculation - then you are making SS a welfare program. Why not collect that tax as income tax - which it is - and use it as 'general revenue' to supplement Social Security where necessary? In other words, why declare it SS when it is outside the principle of the program? Because when SS becomes just another welfare program, like food stamps, then Congress can futz with reimbursements every damn budget year and is not constrained by formulas.

              FDR designed SS as an income-replacement program. It works great. Why confuse it with programs designed on different principles?

              Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

              by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:47:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Cap is on income, no cap on benefits (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright

              AIME formula is used to link income to benefits, in essence making it seem like there is a cap on benefits.

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:10:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  IIRC 2011 CBO scoring makes it a Wash (2+ / 0-)

          The Shortfall in 2011 was IIRC about .6% of GDP, removal of SS income cap creates .6% of revenue.

          Theres nothing wrong with SS that cant be fixed by fixing the economy.

          Take a look at the 2012 report, low cost scenario, its good thru 2090.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:25:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  dropping cap to 70k drop benefits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        drastically. Big time.

        AIME formula:Calculates benefits based on income CAP.

        It's ridiculous that 20-somethings can't find jobs because 66-year-olds are forced to hold on to them.
        I agree, so lets create 25 million jobs.......

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:20:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's bigger than that. (0+ / 0-)

          CEOs in the U.S. are in their 60s; those in Europe are in their 50s.  It's been argued that 50-somethings make more daring and more rational decisions than do 60-somethings.

          If you have worked with people in their 50s and people in  their 60s, it's hard not to favor a lower retirement age from an argument for efficiency and economic growth.

          Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

          by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:35:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL, I'm mid 50's (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright

            And I dont care what age you are, I will run your ass ragged.

            I'm that crazy assed younger risk taker, but all grown up, and I learned how to assess risk better than the kids......with the wisdom of the mid 50's age group.

            I can go 35 hours with just naps.

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:59:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Exactly my point. You won't do that in 2022. (0+ / 0-)

              Move everybody under 62 up a level of responsibility - and income - now and get the dead weight off the executive floor, and the entire economy will benefit. GDP will go up as the number of happy retirees (drawing SS on a max of $70k qualifying income/year) will go up too!

              Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

              by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:05:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Take all social programs off the table. (12+ / 0-)

    If the Republicans wanna get serious, let's talk about wars we're still fighting.

    Let's talk about corporate welfare.

    Until such time, they can pay some worker to enact their power fantasies.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:32:23 PM PST

  •  asdf (11+ / 0-)
    House Democrats ran hard on the Medicare message and still lost
    Odd statement

    The Dems totaled more votes than the GOP. They also increased there representation. It was all but mathematically impossible for them to take the House with the current districting.

    Other than that I agree with the diary completely and it is great to see you champion this approach.

  •  Take it off the table, sans semantics... (8+ / 0-)

    ...meaning, aside from NO CUTS, no increase in the eligibility age, no chained CPI, as well...etc., etc., etc.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:35:28 PM PST

    •  Here are the questions to pose: how much of the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jfromga, bobswern, Don midwest, howd

      federal debt is because of Social Security?  {The answer is zero (or something close to it)!}  Now if Social Security did not contribute to this monster debt, why should the people that have contributed to Social Security pay off the debt?  Shouldn't the defense contractors (and other corporate welfare recipients) that created/benefited from the majority of this debt be the ones to pay?

      One more: I have paid into SS & Medicare for nearly 40 years, but since I'm under 55 I should be OK with getting screwed?

      Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

      by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:35:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cuts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pistolSO, DefendOurConstitution

    I believe this is true. Wasserman-Schultz said pretty much the same thing. Social Security isn't contributing to the debt or the deficit, it's fine for now, no need for "readjustment" at the present moment.

    That said, when they say SS is off the table, that implies Medicare/Medicaid are on the table. With the health care reform bill passed and in the clear, I'm less mad about it since hopefully people won't be stuck without health insurance, they'll just wait longer for Medicare. I think Bill Clinton laid out good reasons not to slash Medicaid, of course.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:38:47 PM PST

  •  it's not really on the table (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, Timothy J, FG

    but we still you need you scaring the shit out of everybody.

    lets do this tea party style!

    -You want to change the system, run for office.

    by Deep Texan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:39:49 PM PST

  •  Dems Lost the Medicare Message 2-3 Years Ago (6+ / 0-)

    and have never won it back. Every age over 39 voted for Romney. Republicans were judged better able to handle Medicare.

    This is a real problem leading into these negotiations.

    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 Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:40:22 PM PST

  •  YEAH, Considering OBAMA said that he and Romney (5+ / 0-)

    kind of agreed on Social Security.

     

    "I suspect that on Social Security, we've got a somewhat similar position," Obama said. "Social Security is structurally sound. It's going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker -- Democratic Speaker Tip O'Neill. But it is -- the basic structure is sound."
    HuffPo article "Obama's Social Security answer leaves Democrats uttered Baffled

    "It is the difficulties that make us stronger."

    by Chamonix on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:40:33 PM PST

    •  that's only because Romney was running (0+ / 0-)

      towards the center.  we all know they want it privatized.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:42:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  the "reforms" which Reagan/O'Neill pushed through (5+ / 0-)

      included a payroll tax hike. The argument given then to justify it was that that tax hike wasn't really a tax increase, because the money would be put in the Social Security Trust Fund--separate from the budget, they said--and would be available to those who were hit by the hike when they retired, in the form of SS benefits.

      Now they are saying the Fund is part of the budget and needs to be drained in order to preserve the government's finances. So that money will no longer be available to those workers who paid those extra taxes.

      In other words, they now want to use that money that they promised would be dedicated to Social Security for other things.

      That is called theft.

      It's a long con the 1% play. Reagan and friends set it up nearly three decades ago, and now Obama and Co. are looking to knock it down.

      The Reagan Revolution is not dead--just the opposite, in fact. It is only now just coming to fruition and will achieve full flower very soon. In the next four years, the transfer of wealth that Reagan initiated will finally be completed under a Democratic administration. Then we will see the full scope of what the Great Communicator, and his successor, the Great Compromiser, hath wrought together.

      That, my friends, is the true meaning of bipartisanship. A project thirty years in the making, a joint collaboration between two very different presidents of opposing parties, temperaments, and personal styles. It's almost beautiful enough to make one shed a tear.

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

      by limpidglass on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:06:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What if Other Forms of Income Paid SS Tax? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCaliana

    Interest and cap gains for example.

    What's the funding potential; might payroll tax actually be able to come down?

    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 Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:42:52 PM PST

    •  For a lot of retirees, that would rob peter to pay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein

      paul peter. Unless the rate was graduated based on income.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:47:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  SS is not broken, the economy is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      Remember the Earned Income tax credit..... We got it because it addressed the regressivity of FICA.

      Payroll tax coming down, we need to look at 2062, thats when the SS Actuaries say us Boomers will be dead, they predict that assets will climb after 2062 in the 2012 low cost scenario.

      We need 25 million jobs, that is a lot FICA that the Trust Fund is not getting because our Gov refuses to invest in job creation at numbers that are remotely realistic.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:41:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why not take all of them off the table? (9+ / 0-)

    Dems didn't lose the house because they were insufficiently strong on Medicare and Medicaid, and I'd wager that a majority of voters who kept the GOP in control of the house don't want Medicare to be cut, and perhaps not even Medicaid since many of them are on it. I don't believe that there is a significant constituency of voters who support cutting any of these programs. The constituency for cutting them consists of RW ideologues, corporate and financial interests and media and political hacks. Why should Dems not proceed based on that?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 12:49:22 PM PST

    •  I think our progressive wing of our party (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      might have a bit of problems with the overall math of the situation. Which is, some of our electorally successful Democratic Senators are on board for cuts to Medicare. Like landslide Klobuchar. In fact, I think you're going to have a hard time finding 10 Senators who will take all three major entitlements off the table. Perhaps not even 5.

      So,...err...umm....I'd prefer a more realistic plan other than stop everything. Because all that's going to get us is ignored.

      I think, instead, we can get Social Security out of the scope of discussion and find a way to stick most if not all of the Medicare and Medicaid cuts to the doctors and providers.
      That's a better and more realistic path forward in my book.

      •  Landslide Klobuchar (0+ / 0-)

        will then be sticking it to Franken who can't expect to face an equally weak opponent in 2014.  There are still a few states where older white voters vote for Democrats and Democrats are still going to need them in 2014 and 2016.

      •  So, "shared sacrifice"--so long as only the (5+ / 0-)

        less well-off actually have to, um, sacrifice?

        Sorry, this can't be the default STARTING position of the left.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:48:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't disagree. My point is that (0+ / 0-)

          that isn't going to be the starting position of Congressional Democrats excepting Bernie Sanders. If you can find me some others who have taken a position close to his, I'd love to hear of them.

          Again, the best possible outcome is no deal. But I'm not seeing a path to getting there without first taking the Social Security pot off the table. If its take everything off the table, then we're going to get ignored.

          •  If Boomers age 50-60+ decide that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jfromga, ByTor, Don midwest

            Obamacare was a Trojan Horse to give Democrats an excuse to deprive them of Medicare (already I'm reading the "you don't need Medicare now, you can buy 'affordable' Obamacare" posts) Democrats might find a way yet to lose the Obamacare fight and the 2014 and 2016 elections.  

          •  Well, as Digby often points out (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            howd, evangeline135

            It appears that it was teabagger Repubs, not Dems, who killed previous attempts at a "Grand Bargain" because they weren't crazy far-right enough for the former, and not because they were too far right for Dems. I have to assume that even though this election has moved the goalposts a bit leftward so the specifics will be ever so little tilted out way, it's still going to be much the same dynamic. I.e. that anything that doesn't give enough away to the far right and/or requires that they give away too much will be DOA from a RW, not LW pov.

            Which to me gives shrewd Dems a convoluted 11D chess way to prevent such cuts, by "grudgingly" offering the GOP a deal that while certainly bad from our pov, won't be quite awful enough to make them able to accept it, thus forcing us all off the "cliff" and getting the post-cliff clock started, which is likely to lead to a better deal from our pov, since every passing day without a deal post-cliff makes the GOP looks worse than it does Dems, especially since everybody will know that it was the GOP that killed the deal, not us, a deal we hated but were willing to make in a "spirit of compromise and bipartisanship".

            It's a very dangerous gambit, of course, one that the GOP might well anticipate and lead us on in order to get us to make a bad deal that we believe they won't accept, which they'll then accept, in a "spirit of compromise and bipartisanship". And until its end game unfolds it will cause a huge outcry on the left (perhaps justifiably as Dems could play US with such a maneuver). But if played right, with good intel on the GOP whip count (surely our side has SOME plants on terra wingnut), it might just yield a much better deal than is currently likely.

            Ok, back to planet earth for me...

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:03:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  can't we end up with no deal if the teabaggers (0+ / 0-)

            refuse to play ball?  that is apparently what stopped it before...

            we just need the democrats to not cooperate with Boehner, right?  And that won't be so hard, because he will be trapped by the teabaggers and unable to make a deal the democrats can vote for....maybe...

    •  Take your hands off my SS and Medicare you (0+ / 0-)

      damned dirty Conservative.......

      No irony here, no sarcasm or facetiousness. Move along..

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:44:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This would kind of be the absolute bare minimum (4+ / 0-)

    I would expect of a Democrat.

  •  Raise the contribution limit! (0+ / 0-)

    Raise it ten grand a year for four years.  It doesn't take much to make SS fine for decades, if not forever.  Sadly, the clueless in our country lump it in with Medicare as something that is dire, when it clearly is not.

  •  Why the concern trolling? It gets old fast. (0+ / 0-)
  •  I find it hard to believe this diary is necessary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2laneIA, YucatanMan, LucyandByron

    Sometimes.  Then I remember the utter debacle--to put it fucking charitably, man--that got us into this humiliating mess and I know it's very necessary to remind leadership to protect the flagship liberal program of Social Security, best one we ever had.

    God help you if you touch a cent of it.  

  •  If the Dems took the steps to ensure (0+ / 0-)

    Earned Benefits were exempt from the automatic cuts effective on Jan 1 via sequestraton, it would be logical that they do not intent to agree to cuts to these programs in any other final agreement they work out with the repubs.

    However, never assume anything is a done deal.  Respectfully make your opinion known to the WH and your Senators/Reps.  WE have to make sure we push them in the right direction.  There is strength in numbers.

  •  Reid also trusted Lieberman on the public option (3+ / 0-)

    we do need a statement from the WH which I will have to see to believe.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 01:31:58 PM PST

  •  "Social Security has nothing to do with... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob B, jfromga, YucatanMan, LucyandByron

    ...the deficit. Reagan explains it as well as anyone ever has:

    A pretty good argument for taking Social Security off the table.

  •  I'm not against raising age to 67 for both SS & (0+ / 0-)

    medicare

    except keeping current 65 for miners, truck drivers, postal workers, police, fire fighters, and any high intensity labor job that wears down the body fast

    •  Well, frankly, you left a lot of jobs out... (6+ / 0-)

      How about waitresses, cab drivers, delivery people, factory workers.  Are you seriously thinking it's ok to ask a factory worker to just go ahead and spend another year or two working the shop floor eight hours a day.  The problem is almost all working class jobs become very difficult to do after 60 let alone until 67.  Not to mention life expectancy is not very high for working class workers.  After all those years, they lose another two years of what isn't exactly a generous retirement to begin with?  Seems grossly unfair.  

      The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.---FDR

      by masslib on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:29:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hell, they're damn hard to do when you are 55. (5+ / 0-)

        I have an office job (that's not my exact age, btw), and I can tell you that the extended hours and occasional all night work load is not easy to recover from.  

        When I was 20 years younger, maybe I got over it in a day or so.  Now, it's a week of exhaustion instead.

        Almost all jobs are much harder to do when you are 55 or 60 than when you are 20 or 30.  

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

        by YucatanMan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:40:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yup, I cant slam dunk anymore (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DEMonrat ankle biter

          Tho I still gotta bitchin crossover that you better honor cause I can go left handed to the hole.

          Ok, seriously, its true. But I'm might be some kinda freak, loading logs on a trailer clearing roads after Sandy, chain sawing, haulin. Yup. Freak.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:49:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I mean that my left hand is legit (0+ / 0-)

            I'll burn you on the dribble.

            Torch.

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 06:47:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The point is not that people cannot work at (0+ / 0-)

            all as they get older, but that working is much harder - physical work, mental work, showing up at work - as you get older.  The body and mind do not stay eternally young.

            But feel free to post about how great you are in comparison to people who are not up to your standards.

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

            by YucatanMan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:51:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Raise the cap, not the retirement age. Simpson- (8+ / 0-)

    Bowles (that's Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles) would raise the retirement age.

    Any politician who talks kindly of Simpson-Bowles should be taken to the woodshed.

    •  Dont touch SS, fix the economy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:50:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  we still need to raise the cap for long term (0+ / 0-)

        solvency, but it should NOT be a part of the current negotiation.  The only part that, IMHO, should be a part is the tax cut due to expire 6.2 to 4.2...that is contributing to the deficit as the difference is funded from geneeral funds.  At some point that has to get corrected.  I understand why Obama did it, but we cannot let it become the long term status quo.

        If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

        by k8dd8d on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:47:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OH Bullshit, you've never read (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          the trustees low cost scenario, or you're being willfully ignorant on the issue......

          .......you know where the trust fund is not depleted in the reported period....

          Which if you read it is 2090;

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:26:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Cancel the debt, put the bankers and Wall St (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LucyandByron

    criminals in jail. raise SS benefits and social programs.  Refuse to lose.

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:17:27 PM PST

  •  Whatever case ANYBODY on our side or theirs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, gulfgal98

    thinks he or she can make with respect to Social Security, it should be separated from the budget deficit / tax rate discussions.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:20:38 PM PST

  •  NYT sez Obama has already agreed to cuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gulfgal98

    Matt Bai refers to his article last spring in which Obama agreed to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Will Obama Agree to Entitlement Cuts?
    By MATT BAI
    He Already Has
    The cuts Obama agreed to are described in Bai's article last spring linked here:
    ...  And in a move certain to provoke rebellion in the Democratic ranks, Obama was willing to apply a new,Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal? less generous formula for calculating Social Security benefits, which would start in 2015. (The White House had rejected Boehner's bid to raise the retirement age.) ...

    Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?  Why the Debt Deal Failed: Matt Bai offers a primer in less than 60 seconds.

    I concur with the view that the only way to stop these cuts is to make Obama stop cutting these kinds of deals.
    •  Well, we are sincerely hoping that Obama has (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gulfgal98, LucyandByron, howd

      learned something from the past year or so and won't go down that road again.

      The Social Security funding situation is entirely and completely separate from the Federal budget deficit.

      To solve the budget deficit, they should look to revenues first, since taxes are at an historic low point point today.  Then budget cuts in wasteful defense spending.

      Social Security has its own stream of revenue which is nearly sufficient.  The shortfall projections can be greatly eliminated by erasing the cap on taxation of income above $110,100.

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

      by YucatanMan on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stop, ever read the 2012 low cost projection? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skywriter

        I like the part where it says, the Fund will not be depleted ... you know past 2090.......

        Adjust the income CAP to 90% and leave it the fook alone.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 02:53:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You and I and most of DK agree to that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        but I'm not so sure Obama and his opportunistic economic advisers do.

        I think the trouble they see is that there has been so much borrowing from Social Security, they see no way to pay it back. That's where Al Gore's discussion of the "lock box" is so important. Most of the debt the US owes is to Social Security and to bond buyers. I think they want to cut short what is owed the American people by, in effect, cancelling that debt by raising the age of retirement and as Matt Bai says cutting what has become traditional in Social Security, that is, raising what each retiree or disabled person receives according to the cost of living (inflationary) increases. So the Democrats willing to cut this deal with Republicans who love it, in principle, can make cuts without drawing blood that people can see. I think it's a terrible idea and Obama should go back to the drawing board about this.

      •  YucatanMan -- read the two Matt Bai articles (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        as the reporting gives credence to the view that Obama has already cut this deal and in all likelihood won't back off --- without a massive outpouring for him to back off this sellout.

  •  that is what I am talking about! (0+ / 0-)

    Organize and MAKE them stay strong against the beltway attacks.

    Let's MAKE them make good decisions :)

  •  some people think the President was bluffing (0+ / 0-)

    during the first Grand Bargain, but definitely not me...which led to this exchange.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 03:03:42 PM PST

  •  Social Security's surpluses have been funding the (0+ / 0-)

    rest of the federal budget since the 1980s.  I'm not sure it's possible to stop that, not unless they're currently running a deficit.  (In which case, cue the bays of "Social Security in crisis!" from the GOP and ConservaDems.)

    © cai Visit 350.org to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:08:32 PM PST

  •  well researched column earlier on DK (0+ / 0-)

    there was an article by the tax expert David Cay Johnston who argues that SS is not broke.

    When I first read it I though that Obama could win the election if he ran on that position. But then I realized that politicians have been playing games with the 3 trillion in social security for decades.

    one of the regular contributors here, Joe Shikspack, began his diary with the Johnston article ant then added a lot more.

    I truly hope that Obama does not put the social programs into the mix for compromise on the Grand Bargain. But given how he has done things in the past, I don't trust him. Extreme pressure is needed to ensure that he and the legislative branch do the right thing.

    Joe's article was first posted here on dailykos. Because of hurricane Sandy, it is not available on back ups here at this time.

    Someone will come back with "why are you giving a link to firedog lake?" And I will say that his writing is good enough that it is posted elsewhere. That is the quality of writing that dailykos should strive for.

    Here is the link

    http://my.firedoglake.com/...

    It got several hundred comments when it was originally posted here on daily kos

    Here is the title of the article:
    austerity-part-1-the-1-want-to-steal-your-social-security-pres-obama-is-helping-them/

  •  right now, SS IS contributing to the deficit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, limpidglass

    that cut from 6.2 to 4.2 that Obama championed to get the economy going is directly on the deficit.  The SS fund is still getting funded to 6.2.  The difference is coming from the general fund.

    I would hope that gets fixed as a part of any deal struck.

    If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

    by k8dd8d on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:45:28 PM PST

    •  You're right - but technically only (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      Remember when w sent everybody rebate checks?

      That was an economic stimulus plan that worked rather poorly, because big checks don't generate stimulus like many little ones do.

      The FICA 'rebate' was a convenient way to inject small individual sums and large aggregate sums into the economy  weekly over a period of years. Administrative costs were as close to zero as humanly possible and the benefit to the economy has been huge.

      So don't have a cow over it. It's worked.

      Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

      by Clem Yeobright on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:16:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some House Dems lost due to gerrymandering, (0+ / 0-)

    including mine, Kathy Hochul. (Okay, partly due to an unfocused campaign, but still.)

    I don't think any Democratic House candidates lost because they were too supportive of Medicare. To the contrary, the most damaging Republican attack was the vile and deceitful "$715 billion" Medicare Advantage lie. This bald-faced mendacity was repeated ad-nauseum on television in our market, and was repeated verbatim to me by many cranky seniors who were hoodwinked by it.

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