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Seriously. I'm 27. I won't see Social Security benefits for half a century. But I pay payroll taxes (actually Self Employment Taxes, because I have my own small business, a REAL small business). Anyway, I think Social Security needs a major reform effort. But not the way selfish (why don't we use this word more often?) conservatives and deficit-hawks think. Retirement-aged people deserve MORE benefits.

Personally, my spending priorities are economic growth, low income safety net, national defense, and everything else ... in that order. At some point, people are too aged to work. At that point you are almost certainly "low income." Nothing has diminished retirement-aged poverty more than Social Security - except for maybe Medicare.

So, this is a high priority. The government (by which I mean, society, by which I mean, America) should provide a livable income for ALL senior citizens. This isn't radical. This patriotic guarantee can't be radical if it's 79 years old. It can't be radical if there is virtually no one who can remember a world without Social Security.

Right now Social Security benefits simply don't meet that standard. But, it's good economic policy, good social policy, and, quite frankly, is the Christian thing to do:

25 And one day an authority on the law stood up to put Jesus to the test. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”
26 What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you understand it?”
27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength and with all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ”

If God loves my elderly Grandparents and there whole generation - I should love them too. I would support my Grandparents, as America should support our retirement-aged Americans. That government is involved doesn't excuse us from our moral duty.

So, yes. Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner, et al. We do need Social Security reform (and maybe even Medicare reform, although the program seems fine to me). We need to bridge the gap between OUR commitments and OUR promises.

Silly, immoral gimmicks like "chained-CPI" represent an abandonment of our most vulnerable Americans. It's not American, and it's not Christian. It's just dumb.

(P.S. - advocating for more money to old people, who are really, really good at voting, might be good politics - pass this along to the White House)

Originally posted to sanchez101 on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:22 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Youth Kos 2.0.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Easy to undo (4+ / 0-)

    In fact, tinkering with the CPI and the rate of increase of Social Security can be done every year. Work hard to get more Dems in the House and this "concession" can easily be undone.

    It doesn't change the essential nature of either SS or Medicare, as Ryan would have loved. So don't get too frustrated.

  •  any change to CPI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ahumbleopinion, RainyDay

    should be tied to raising the cap on paying into the system.

    We want to give more benefits?  Increase the amount going in.  Tie the cap to the CPI, so no matter what the changes in the worldwide economy, enough money will come in to cover the increases necessary to ensure benefits in real dollars stay the same.

    Then have discussions about "is SS paying enough?  To Much?"  You then increase or lower benefits tied to increasing or decreasing the income cap vs current inflation...and then again have it float with the CPI as inflation moves.

    One advantage of this is all "fixes" to SS for cost of living increases come out of progressive tax increases (raising the cap affects those who make more money) without changing the basic social contract of SS (benefits are capped, so the income insurance that SS represents are paid for with capped income tax)

    •  SS benefits are capped? (0+ / 0-)

      for real? I mean the law has a cap for benefits........

      We know the income cap is $110,100... I cant find the benefit cap.......

      Hint AIME formula sets benefits by income.

      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 Dec 18, 2012 at 08:01:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reform the cap (5+ / 0-)

    Social security taxes only apply to the first 110,100 of wages. Non-wage income is exempt; Romney is among the many who get out of paying SS by having income that is designated "investment" income although it is really not.

    So the best reform is to raise or eliminate the cap, close the loopholes on what is considered wage income, and then there is enough in the Trust Fund to increase payments, lower the retirement age, or both.

    BTW, there is NO shortfall in Social Security before 2033, so there is time to make changes. Repeat, there is NO crisis.

    And there is no reason to include Social Security in any deficit or debt discussion. The Trust Fund is separate from the budget and has nothing to do with the deficit.

    We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

    by Urban Owl on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 06:52:04 PM PST

    •  There is a chart around (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Urban Owl, Mr Robert, splashy, JesseCW

      that I can't find ... It shows the length of time SS is currently considered "viable".

      It is currently fully funded for the next twelve years.

      But here is the thing .... That is right on the average for the program for every year since it's inception.

      Sometimes it is funded for 25 years. sometimes only for two. Twelve is average.

      It has to do with employment levels and taxes coming in, and some other stuff, but the fact remains that the SS program is about as healthy as it has ever been.

      The whole debate is a lie.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      by twigg on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:00:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Part of the Peterson campaign (8+ / 0-)

        Peterson has been trying to destroy Social Security and Medicare for 30 years or so. He is behind all these deficit-concern groups.
        He's spent millions fear-mongering about the deficit and insisting that it is due to the "crisis" in Social Security.
        You are absolutely right, it's all lies.

        We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

        by Urban Owl on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:15:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder about Peterson. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, Roger Fox

          He's an old man and will be in hell soon. Why is he so fixated on cutting benefits for the elderly? Why does he even care?

          •  Vulture capitalist/financier (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, Roger Fox

            Social Security and Medicare show that government works.
            You don't need financial advisors, investment bankers, or any of the 1% to provide a basic safety net.

            Peterson wanted a cut of he money, but even more, he has always hated the example of efficiency in government.

            Same reasons he and his ilk attack public pension funds.

            His son now runs the Peterson Foundation, BTW.

            We can safely abandon the doctrine of the eighties, namely that the rich were not working because they had too little money, the poor because they had too much. JK Galbraith, 1991

            by Urban Owl on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:02:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Dont forget the low cost scenario (0+ / 0-)

        Where the SS Trustees say the trust fund is not depleted thru 2090.

        Thats the one with realistic assumptions.

        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 Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:30:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lets create jobs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer

      before we start taxing everything under the sun as Income.

      WE need 20 more years of recession for the 2033 date to be true..... sorry thats just not very realistic.

      Create jobs and raise the min wage, well now, thats a bit more 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 Dec 18, 2012 at 07:56:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Taxing capital gains creates jobs. (0+ / 0-)

        If you're going to have to give Uncle Sam half of it if you take it as profit, wouldn't you rather roll it over?

        "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

        by JesseCW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:42:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  As FICA - no. (0+ / 0-)

          Some complain that FICA is regressive... yeah its supposed to be. And we get the EITC because of that.

          I think of FICA as insurance payments.

          Cap gains at 30-33%..... fine....

          The point is that there is nothing wrong with SS that a good economy wont fix, and the SS Trustees tell us that with the low cost scenario...... the trust fund is not depleted 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 Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:25:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  That this hasn't been done yet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Roger Fox

      should tell you all you need to know about our government. Simple math doesn't spin and it doesn't lie and anyone that can put two and two together knows it.

      They want to welsh on their obligation. Well, pardon me if I get pissed off at any Democrat that wants to capitulate to their shit. This propensity to just give away my future--when I've spent over 30 years paying into the system. I have worked my ass off and I have nothing to show for it but that. My career has been outsourced, I'm lucky to find a job doing about the same work for half the money.

      I'm 52 years old. I have no savings, I own no house, I live check to check. The only thing that I have a guarantee on, in terms of any kind of pension whatsoever is that SS money I've been paying out of my salaries for all these years.

      It's a social contract and these people want to break it. Uh, NO. How many ways do you want me to spell that for you?  

      It is time to #Occupy Media.

      by lunachickie on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:14:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sen. Begich has a progressive bill on the table. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert

    Eliminate the SS tax cap and redo inflation calculation to provide more benefits where really needed.

  •  The present CPI formular didn't get social (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Roger Fox

    Security recipients a COLA for 2 straight years. Making changes to it now, would all but quarantee no COLA in the next 2 or 4 years. The formula that's on the table now, would have denied a COLA this year also. That would have been 3 years without a COLA. We barely got a 1.7% COLA increase for 2012. Doesn't take much of a change in the CPI to deny us increases in the next 2 years or more.

  •  Correction about when diarist might see benefits (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, OrganizedCrime

    Social Security also has a disability insurance which, God forbid, might kick in should you become disabled before retirement age.

    Thank goodness for it--I was disabled quite unexpectedly and it was Social Security Disability that kept a roof over my head....plus health insurance.

    Age 27 but you never know. You never know. . . .

    •  And their kids might see an SS benefit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LNK

      which will be subject to the same chained CPI.

      This matters to orphans, too.

      "Furthermore, if you think this would be the very very last cut ever if we let it happen, you are a very confused little rabbit." cai

      by JesseCW on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 03:44:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We do not need social security reform. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Roger Fox

    People need to stop saying that.  Social security has more than a 2 trillion dollar surplus or would if the US government didn't borrow against it.

    Why, because a lot of baby boomers paid into it.

    Because women started paying into it.

    Because millions of people died in wars and never reached old age.

    The very idea that SS isn't self sustaining is ridiculous.

    So what if baby boomers are starting to collect their due, eventually this will even out.

    Why is it that Republicans feel the need to pillage any surplus of money in America.

    This false rhetoric needs to stop.

    •  Thank you for the sanity. (0+ / 0-)

      The number one major issue with SS is the bad economy.

      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 Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:26:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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