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I do not receive Social Security yet.  I am 44.  My husband is 48.  I'll admit that we do not have a lot saved for retirement.  We plan to be working for many years to come.  However, I am also counting on Social Security and Medicare.  I really hope cuts are not made to these programs.

We can raise the payroll tax cap and Social Security will be solvent for many years to come.  Here are Ed and Bernie Sanders discussing the issue from last night's show:

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President Obama already offered a decrease in Social Security benefits in December.  I thought he did it in a very sneaky way by offering the Republicans Chained CPI as a new way of calculating inflation.  This is a decrease in Social Security benefits.  Here is some information from Common Dreams:

a measure of inflation, the Chained CPI has shown a rate of inflation 0.3 percentage points lower than the current index used to calculate Social Security annual cost-of-living adjustments. This slower rate would add up over time: 10 years after switching to the Chained CPI, Social Security benefits would be 3 percent less; after 20 years there would be a 6 percent cut; and after 30 years the cut would be 9 percent. The change to the Chained CPI would also cut benefits for veterans, low-income children, people with disabilities and many others who rely on government programs
Chained CPI Cuts Social Security Benefits

Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation to raise the payroll tax cap.  

Under Sanders' legislation, Social Security benefits would be untouched. The system would be fully funded by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax already assessed on those with incomes up to $106,800 a year. The idea follows through on a proposal that President Obama made when he was running for office in 2008.
Raise the payroll tax cap

Our opportunity is now.  I am so impressed Ed and Bernie Sanders are out in front of this issue.  We can't wait until Obama proposes Chained CPI again.  Next time Republicans might actually take the offer!!

We need to stand in opposition to cuts right now.  We need to support Bernie Sanders payroll tax cap right now.  

Originally posted to Boppy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:52 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Even the Present CPI Cuts Seniors. (11+ / 0-)

    It's based on costs of younger people with not nearly enough emphasis on health care spending which mostly occurs after retirement.

    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 Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 06:58:13 AM PST

    •  This is an excellent point. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lunachickie, Boppy, rolet, Bisbonian, ladybug53

      And now the President wants to change it so there are even more cuts??

    •  I have a question. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Boppy, rolet, Arlys, Raggedy Ann, Bruce Webb

      I keep seeing people make the point that health care spending goes up when people are older. That is obviously true for most people. But is it true for the senior as opposed to what is paid for by the senior and the government and insurance?

      Since most retired people have Medicare and over 90% of them have a supplemental (Medigap) policy, the cost to seniors would seem to me to be lower than before they got Medicare. I know that is true for me. Previously, my medical and insurance bills were between $10,000 and $15,000; now they are slightly over $3000 for everything (insurance premiums, drugs, etc.). It is a huge savings. So even though the total amount someone pays for my healthcare may be about the same, I am paying only 20-25% of what I used to pay.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:11:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Less than when you were 64 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        probably more than when you were 35.

        The current CPI is calculated on average cost increases across all Urban Workers at all ages. And many (if not enough) of those folk have existing insurance whose premiums (if any) and out of pocket costs (co-pays) are much smaller than the premiums and drug co-pays of your typical senior. Now the ACA  will be a big help, particularly as to the drug piece with the elimination of the donut hole, but still leaves the average senior exposed to higher health care inflation than the average Urban Worker of all ages. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

        by Bruce Webb on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:17:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see what you are saying, but ... (0+ / 0-)

          The increases in Medicare premiums are very modest compared to any premiums I ever had, as well as the premium itself being much smaller. In 2012, my Medicare Part B premium decreased about 15%; this year it increased by about 5% so it is still $10 less than I paid 2 years ago.

          It is around $105/ month for Part B, which is an 80-20 plan with fairly modest deductibles. Don't most people still have an 80-20 plan? And for another $140/month I have a supplemental which pays all deductibles and copays. So for less than $250/month, I pay nothing except drug costs. I will grant you that the Part D is a POS, but mine costs $15/month and I have not reached the donut hole ever. But the ACA change of eliminating the donut hole is a big deal and will make Part D almost a good deal.

          I personally have never had better insurance or cheaper insurance - probably even when I was 35 if it were indexed for inflation. For one thing I never had the option of a supplemental to take care of the 20% and I always had a higher deductible than the Medicare deductible.

          And the fact is that for most people,  health care costs go down when they get on Medicare so their personal healthcare inflation rate is negative. And from past experience and what I read, the increase in health care premiums in general is much higher than the increase in Medicare premiums.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:43:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Smarter people than me have run the numbers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            including Dean Baker at CEPR and Paul Van de Water and others at CBPP and even BLS in their experimental CPI index for the elderly CPI-E (where oddly the E doesn't stand for Elderly but instead Experimental).

            And all their preliminary calculations agree (preliminary because BLS hasn't been funded to turn CPI-E into a true comprehensive index) that health are inflation is a larger component of CPI-E than it is of currently used CPI-W.

            But there are a lot of moving parts. Dean suggests it would take $80-90 million to fund a total workup of CPI-E and given that we are talking adjustments to literally  trillions of dollars of   benefits that seems a small amount to pay to insure that we actually have an accurate measure of inflation for this population (and advocates of Chained CPI ALWAYS claim it is more accurate, based on nothing more than theoretical arguments about economic substitutions being chosen rather than forced).

            But I think most everyone understands (at least Kossacks reading this) that the real impulse here isn't accuracy or even solvency but instead kicking the olds and pissing on FDRs grave.

   - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

            by Bruce Webb on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:06:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

              Will look them up.

              You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

              by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 12:45:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  That was interesting. (0+ / 0-)

              Seniors spend a greater percentage of their income on healthcare than the population as a whole, not necessarily a larger amount of money. That makes sense. Same with housing. Of course, seniors spend a lesser amount of their income on food, transportation, education, clothing, smoking, and drinking.

              The most interesting thing to me is that although the CPI-E rose 0.2 percent more than the CPI-W or CPI-U over the period  1983-2011, the CPI-E (and the CPI-U) actually rose 0.1 percent less than the CPI-W from the time period 2005-2011. This is because the relative inflation of housing and medical care has gone down compared with the the overall inflation rate. One might expect that trend to continue in medical care as a result of the ACA. Therefore, a change to the CPI-E at this point in time might have the unintended consequence of reducing the COLA by as much or  more than the chained CPI.

              As you say, there are a lot of moving parts.


              You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

              by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 01:47:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  ACA and CPI-E (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                The same thought occurred to me. Which of course is a compelling argument for a full work-up of  CPI-E and letting the inflation chips fall where they do.

                There are good faith arguments to be made about both the initial benefits formula (tied to Real Wage and driving Scheduled Benefits) and the continuing benefits formula (tied to CPI). Unfortunately there is not a lot of good faith to be observed in this debate.

                As such I am a little reluctant to even point out that scheduled benefits are set to increase in real basket of goods terms in ways that would seem to fully offset even the combination of Chained-CPI (in its 0.3% per year reduction formulation) and the reset in benefits by 25% at Trust Fund Depletion. Because there is a clear danger that the enemies of Social Security will seize some first order arithmetic calculations to impose 'solutions' that totally fail any test of social equity.

                Although it might not always seem that way Americans generation over generation are 'enjoying' increased consumption of material goods. Whether 'enjoy' equates to 'happily deploy' and whether that increase can be justified in light of the externalities imposed are important questions. And perhaps as important is the distribution of the overall basket of goods. Still you would have to be daft in the extreme to claim that the 'olds' and the 'poors' are materially suffering in 2012 compared to 1963. And you might even be pressed to make that argument between 2012 and 1982. On the other hand the slope has clearly changed as income share per capita has continued to go disproportionately to the top even as the curve actually hasn't gone totally flat.

                Now it seems to me that income per capita should at a minimum go up in a way that allows every cohort to maintain a proportionate share, if income doubles on average everyone's income should double. Now in material terms this STILL means widening inequality in goods consumption, that continues to go up at the 10:1 ratio or whatever. But the argument that any given level of consumption is 'good enough' and that freezing that level of consumption in place (poor people having microwaves and cell phones after all) for some even as others take not only their 10:1 increase but even the doubling the 1 would get makes Randian Selfishness TOO much of a Virtue.

                That is it may be true and even in some weird sense desirable that "The Poor Will Always be With Us". But that is not an argument for Hunger Games type outcomes on the basis that even rich people's great great great grandparents didn't have indoor plumbing. Which is exactly where the underlying logic (if not necessarily the first order numbers) of Chained CPI drives us.

                As an example under current projections Social Security looks to grow from just under 5% of GDP to just over 6%. This is presented as 'crisis'. But at the same time the percentage of SS beneficiaries projects to go up from 17% to 25% or at roughly the same rate of increase. Which does mean that each worker has to support slightly more orphans and seniors than before. But is that really an argument for slashing the total share of GDP down and so squeezing the rate of growth of basket of goods consumption and in the process reducing the percentage of GDP per capita (as opposed to per age cohort)? Well not when we are still only directing 6% of national income to 25% of the population, obviously someone in that remaining 75% is making out like a bandit. And I think we all know which percentile that is.

                But bloated rant aside, a good start is actually pinning down the actual rate of inflation for seniors. After which we can examine issues of societal equity. As it is the B-S people are just insisting that the olds are loading too many porterhouse steaks in the back of their Lexuses because they are too good to eat chicken. Because after all they COULD substitute downwards. And when presented with an income squeeze DO.  And so they SHOULD. Well those last two statements are pretty circular and self-justifying for the would be rationers.

       - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

                by Bruce Webb on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:46:01 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Great comment, Bruce. (0+ / 0-)

                  All three of the analyses of the CPI-E that i read noted that there are definitely problems with the methodology with the CPI-E, particularly when used for SS benefits, since some are younger than 62 and many are older while the CPI-E is just based on age 62 and older. A better way of measuring is definitely needed.

                  And the problem of income inequality certainly adds to this problem, to say nothing of the fact that it is a huge problem in and of itself. As middle and lower income people get a smaller piece of the pie, the contributions to FICA become insufficient since they make the bulk of the  contributions and they are eligible for smaller benefits since they have smaller incomes on which to base their benefits. A catch-22.

                  One thing I would like to see addressed better is what would be the result of the chained CPI if it is coupled with a higher minimum benefit and an increased benefit for those over 80 as Obama has indicated he would require.

                  Thanks again for your comments, which I always find to be insightful and lacking in knee jerk reactions.

                  You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

                  by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:21:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  No -- for most seniors they're higher (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr Robert, ladybug53, neighborm

        If you are blessed with good health, they will be lower. But for any senior who is dependent on medication, they tend to be higher.

        I'm retired, and since October my prescription costs have gone up because the generic drugs I was on for high blood pressure stopped working. The two generics I was taking cost me $20 for a 90-day supply; the two brand name meds cost me $150 for a 90-day supply.

        I'm on a fixed income, I won't be getting COLA increases until I'm 62, and I'm hoping to wait to apply for SS until I'm 67. I had been planning to wait until I was 70, but my health and/or finances may not allow that.

        And that's just medication -- if you become disabled there are a wealth of expenses that cascade down on you.

        As for Medigap plans -- seniors only have those IF they can afford them. I know folks who have had to drop them because they can't manage those premiums on top of increasing fuel and food prices.

        •  Actually, I have ulcerative colitis and asthma (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mr Robert

          and those drugs are brand name (though the colitis one is supposed to go generic this year). They are each $267 for a 90 day supply. And because of the colitis, I have to have a colonoscopy each year.

          And while the Medigap plan is an expense, it is less than the 20% co-pay would be. Over 90% of seniors have Medigap plans and for very low income seniors, Medicaid is the supplement.

          Yes, medical costs are a bitch, especially drug prices, but it is still much cheaper than before I was on Medicare.

          Good luck to you. Sorry the generics stopped working.

          You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

          by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:43:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Moonspinner, Please read excerpt below . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          President Obama proposed in his Super Committee recommendations, Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future, that the cost of Medigap insurance be raised substantially.

          Here's an excerpt, but you really should read Pages 38-39, very carefully:

          Introduce a Part B premium surcharge
          for new beneficiaries that purchase near
          first-dollar Medigap coverage.  Medigap
          policies sold by private insurance companies
          provide beneficiaries additional support for
          covering healthcare costs by covering most or
          all of the cost sharing Medicare requires� This
          protection, however, gives individuals less
          incentive to consider the costs of health care
          services and thus raises Medicare costs and
          Part B premiums�  Of particular concern are
          Medigap plans that  cover substantially all
          Medicare copayments, including even the
          modest co-payments for routine care that
          most beneficiaries can afford to pay out of
          pocket�  To encourage more efficient health
          care choices, the Administration proposes a
          Part B premium surcharge equivalent to about
          15 percent of the average Medigap premium
          (or about 30 percent of the Part B premium)
          for new beneficiaries that  purchase Medigap
          policies with particularly low cost-sharing
          requirements, starting in 2017�  Current
          beneficiaries and near-retirees would not
          be subject to the surcharge� Other Medigap
          plans would be exempt from this requirement
          while still providing beneficiaries options for
          protection against high out-of-pocket costs�
          This proposal will save approximately $2�5
          billion over 10 years.
          Here's the link to the entire proposal.

          [This document always looks "messy" when copied and pasted.  Sorry about that.]


          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:59:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  We need to call out Republicans... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, Bisbonian, Mr Robert, ladybug53, Boppy

      and Democrats (including Obama) for even talking about the social safety net in any budget/debt/deficit negotiations.

      The conversation has to be changed to corporate welfare, Pentagon cuts and real tax reform. If you added together the potential wealth that could be squeezed from those three government functions our debt would be wiped away in the span of a decade. Consequently, if cutting any/all of those three programs isn't included in negotiations... then either should the social safety net.

      In fact, the only way "entitlements" should be addressed at all is to come up with ways to strengthen all three programs; plans such as raising caps in payroll-taxable income for Social Security. (in a progressive way) negotiating prescription drug prices with Big Pharma and paying doctors by the patient to lower costs to save Medicare, and expanding Obamacare in order to eliminate Medicaid altogether.

      Of course the inherent problems [caused by Congress alone] in the two latter programs could be easily mitigated once and for all by enacting national single-payer healthcare.

      We're being played, folks. The so-called "fiscal cliff" was a ruse to ensure that the vast majority of the Bush/Obama tax cuts exist in perpetuity while setting up "entitlements" to be slashed in the [very] near future.

      The manufactured budgetary problems to come in the next few months are contrivances, created out of whole cloth to set up another round of wealth redistribution upwards towards the plutocrats.

      From here on out, I say the term "entitlements" should not be uttered by any politicians (unless it's to fix them) until significant defense cuts and corporate welfare are placed [in the center'] of the negotiating table.

      Democrats need to defend social programs with their political lives of need be -- instead of just regurgitating conservative talking points ad nauseam about entitlement reform. (which is always code in Washington for either cutting or eliminating programs that dubious politicians don't like)

      And we need to help them do it in any way we can.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:00:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am very concerned about (15+ / 0-)

    cuts to Social Security.  My husband and I live on Social Security.  My husband was delivering pizzas until he was 78.  He is 82 now and no longer walks well enough to deliver pizzas.  I am 74 and work part time at a Hallmark store.  We depend on Social Security to live.  We have already taken out a reverse mortgage on our house to help pay for things like a car payment.  We live modestly.  I don't understand how a Democratic President can suggest cuts in Social Security.

    •  I am not thrilled with Obama (0+ / 0-)

      suggesting cuts to Social Security.  However, he does keep talking about compromise.  I think the Democrats should cave just a little on entitlements if it is a compromise to get what Democrats want in other areas.

      •  Why does the compromise (8+ / 0-)

        have to be to Social Security and Medicare?  And shouldn't the Republicans have to compromise more because they lost the Presidential election?  And they have less seats in the Senate and House as well!  

        He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

        by Boppy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:28:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Compromise can't all be on one side. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Social Security and Medicare are huge expensive programs.  I do think a major cut should be to the amount Medicare pays Pharma companies for drugs.

          •  Social Security raises money through (9+ / 0-)

            a specific payroll tax.  It doesn't contribute to the deficit.  It is only "expensive" if we talk about it in those terms.  Social Security has been supporting the elderly in retirement for over 75 years.  The program is working.  We don't need to cut it.  We don't even need to raise the payroll tax percentage.  Just the payroll tax cap.

            He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

            by Boppy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:46:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Social Security doesn't add a penny to the deficit (7+ / 0-)

                                  To be clear,

            Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

            by Chacounne on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:01:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  They don't pay for the drugs... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bisbonian, neighborm

            Those of us who qualify for Medicare Part D pay private corporate insurance for prescription coverage...!!!

            Under Dumbya's regime, the "prescription drug coverage" passed with a clause "buy private corporate insurance or else."  [No penalty involved.]  This was ON TOP of the fact that Social Security Insurance or Social Security Disabled Insurance recipients already pay Medicare (for Part A and Part B - clinic and hospital).

            NOW for Obamacare the insurance corporations wrote into the law: "buy private corporate medical insurance or pay a $1000 fine."  Now the law comes with an order and a penalty.

            THIS is what's considered "constitutional," according to SCOTUS.  Ergo, We The People will be giving insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations record-setting profits in the future, so executive bonuses will go up, shareholder payouts will go up, and they'll all receive record-setting profits ... which, I'm sure, they'll all send directly to off-shore accounts from which they will not pay taxes....

            It hasn't been enough that we financed the illegal and unconstitutional wars that have given oil, mercenary, and military-industrial-congressional corporations their record-setting profits....

            Now corporations will be profiting handsomely from our ill health....

            I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

            by NonnyO on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:09:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  HHS should be empowered (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert, ladybug53, neighborm

            to negotiate prices on drugs paid for by Medicare. I assure you that this would cut costs -- that's why the pharmaceutical industry would allow that clause in the ACA bill.

      •  Why do you think Social Security (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Boppy, Chacounne, scurrvydog, ladybug53

        benefits should go down when the payroll tax cap can just be increased?  Just for the perception of "compromise"?

      •  This may sound harsh, (12+ / 0-)

        but I need you to really read what Arlys said:

        Her husband worked, because he had to because they needed the money, at a physical job (as opposed to in an office) , until he was 78 years old, and she is still working part time, at a physical job (standing for four hours is painful and difficult at that age), because they need the money at 74 years old.No one should have to do that at that age.

        If they could have retired at 65, there would have been two more jobs open for younger people.

        Compromise is one thing, compromising to force people who earned their retirement to keep working well after they should have to is quite another.

        Social Security doesn't add a penny to the deficit, which is what the Republicans claim they are worried about.

                           Just my two sad cents,

        Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

        by Chacounne on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:00:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But at least they (6+ / 0-)

          have Social Security.  It is something.  Cutting Social Security should not be an option.  And President Obama has made it an option.  I am very concerned.

          He that chooses his own path needs no map. Queen Kristina of Sweden.

          by Boppy on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:02:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  We are not completely broke. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chacounne, NonnyO, Mr Robert, ladybug53

          But we do depend on Social Security.  My husband liked delivering pizzas and did it after he retired from his real job in cabinet making.  Unfortunately, we did come to depend on the tips he was making and he probably did do it longer than he should have.  I was worried about him falling in the winter especially.

          •  ((((((((((((((((((Arlys))))))))))))))))))))))))))) (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, Mr Robert, ladybug53, Boppy

            You haven't done anything wrong. You did and are doing what you need to do to survive. I'm just sorry it is necessary.

            My dad worked as a props guy on movies and tv shoots until his cancer was diagnosed as terminal. He died two months later. He was 67.

            My mom worked in a dress shop for the last couple of years of her life, until she was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and never left the hospital again, dying two and a half months later. She was just past her 72nd birthday.

            I really understand.


            Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

            by Chacounne on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:10:06 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Are you a Republican, rolet? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bisbonian, Mr Robert, ladybug53

        Or do you just not understand how Social Security and Medicare are funded?

        NO Compromises need to be made.  Obama is totally and completely WRONG on that!!!  Republicans want to turn our Social Security Trust Fund (currently at 2.something Trillion) over to Wall Street Casino because they borrowed against the Social Security Trust Fund for Dumbya's illegal and unconstitutional wars (and goodness knows what else - we haven't been kept informed on this).  With all these tax reductions, they're having problems paying it back from the General Fund..., so the FAKE meme is that these two programs are costing a fortune.  They are NOT.  [Wall Street would promptly lose the money which would show up in some 'investment banker's' account in the Caymans or wherever.  Remember Enron?  Like that.]

        Do you work?

        Look at your pay stub that records the deductions.

        FICA goes to the Social Security fund.

        Medicare is self-explanatory and pays for Part A and Part B - clinic and hospital (altho if you live to be old enough to retire, you will still be paying Medicare out of your Social Security Insurance monthly amount; it's deducted before the remainder is deposited in your bank account; clinics and hospitals raised their rates so often it went over the amount Medicare pays so people usually have to get a separate supplemental medical insurance, so medical insurance corporations make out like bandits either way, or since the SSI/SSDI amounts put people in poverty level status, sometimes people can be assisted by county social service agencies - plus there's a third Medicare program; Part D the SSI or SSDI recipient has to pay for and that's a monthly corporate insurance premium to pay for prescription coverage; that does NOT get paid by Medicare).

        Neither FICA nor Medicare monies deducted from our paychecks goes into the General Fund which is where the problem of Deficit Spending arises.

        SEPARATE SSI/SSDI & Medicare FUNDS are what finance both programs.  [Caps need to be put on the medical and prescription costs, just like they do in the Scandinavian countries where they are not allowed to gouge people for medical costs and the government pays for everything because people have a high tax rate..., which no one seems to mind because they have "free" medical care, generous parental leave with guaranteed jobs waiting when young people have new babies, free education from kindergarten through college, which includes a stipend for rent and food if they have to attend college away from home; they can concentrate all their attention on studies and not graduate in debt from student loans.  A great many things for which we pay through the nose, they consider a right, not a privilege, and the government pays for many of those things from high taxes.  That's why they make the lists for best countries to live in consistently, often in the top five or ten.  Heck, in two of those three countries the old records we use in genealogy research have been put online for free..., thanks to taxpayer money.  I damn near genuflect at my computer screen in gratitude every time I search their records.]

        WE could have had a not-for-profit single-payer health care system in the US if the legislators had listened to us and had us all buy into Medicare.  The infrastructure is already there, working efficiently (believe it or not), and the only change that would have been needed (besides a law mandating it) would have been to hire people to handle the paperwork..., which could have had an immediate impact on taxes collected by the US Treasury, and the economy in general as people got money to pay for cars, transportation, work clothing, et cetera.  Something like that could turn our economy around in less than a year and then get better as the years go by.

        But... Noooooooo.... Insurance, Medical, and Pharmaceutical corporations bought off our senators and representatives a long time ago, thus making sure they would be allowed to write the damned laws that forced us to contribute to the profit margins of their corporations....

        Not that I'm bitter about the stupidity of our Congress Critters and the president for betraying us and buying into that cockamamie scheme that will impoverish us all while enriching the politicians, Wall Street, and corporations..., or anything like that....

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:40:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree. Dems just (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        settled for far too little revenue.

        They don't need to capitulate more to Republicans.

        What is best for the American People is what matters--not some show of bi-partisanship.


        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 02:37:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Listen to that Ed video again... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scurrvydog, Bisbonian, Mr Robert

      ... and again..., and again....  Pay attention to the part of the video that's dated before election day when Obama talks about "fixing Social Security."  That was always a buzzword phrase in my brain when he was still only a candidate.  [Repukes came up with "entitlement programs" later which makes Social Security and Medicare sound like welfare programs.]

      Obama was talking about cuts to Social Security [one phrase he said more than once was "fix Social Security"] since way back in the early days after announcing his candidacy, some two years before he won the '08 election.

      THAT was the #2 reason I didn't support his candidacy ["fix Social Security and Medicare" b.s. while he was still a candidate], aside from his lack of supporting investigating the Bushista lies and unconstitutional wars based on lies and war crimes.  To be "fair," the other "frontrunner candidates" also had the same opinion and didn't support impeachment or investigating the lies and illegal wars and war crimes, which was why I didn't support them either.  See Bill Moyers Journal from the week after that above cited newspaper article.  "Nancy Pelosi is wrong." [John Nichols quote.]  Pelosi's "Impeachment is off the table!" is one thing for which I will never, ever forgive her.  Others obviously do and think she's great; I don't.  She was absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong!

      Pelosi was also wrong, wrong, wrong to bring the dead and decomposing FISA fiasco '08 back to life one Friday morning and sprung it on the House, limited "debate" to one hour, held a vote and it was passed by noon.  I watched in horror.  The bill was passed in a rush and hand-carried to the Senate THAT DAY.  The only reason the Senate didn't act on it then is because most were already out of town campaigning.  Monday or Tuesday there was a funeral all had to attend..., so the Senate voted on Wed., and Obama voted FOR the FISA fiasco '08 bill even though he had just said the week before that he wouldn't vote for it if it had the telecom immunity intact..., which it did retain, so they are forever absolved of violating the constitution and being charged with breaking the law (notice the "limits" on that thing keep being extended, too, so illegal wiretaps are still going on).

      Three days after Obama voted for FISA fiasco '08 he told someone in DC that if he were elected he'd not only retain Dumbya's executive-order-created 'office of faith-based initiatives,' but he'd increase funding for it and expand it.  THAT, from a "constitutional scholar" who doesn't seem to grasp the whole concept of "separation of church and state."

      Obama wasn't in office more than a week before there was a news blurb (overlooked and ignored here) that drones were bombing along the Pakistani border.  A very few weeks later, he got the Nobel Peace Prize, flew to Oslo to accept it, then snubbed the post-award celebration.  I'm quite sure the Norwegians (too polite to say anything) are probably ruing the day they gave him the Nobel for simply NOT being the hated Dumbya; remember, he was a newly-minted president, and had not yet accomplished anything - he still hasn't accomplished much and Congress thwarts him at every turn, even as Obama offers up compromises before they even object.  Obama is in love with his projection of himself as a "bipartisan president."

      Remember how everyone first asked, then demanded, then begged for a single payer health insurance plan?  Did anyone - Prez, Senators, Reps - listen to We The People...?  Nope.  We are forced, by (unconstitutional) law, to purchase corporate health insurance.  That means that in a short time insurance, medical, and prescription corporations will be making record-setting profits and executive bonuses and shareholder profits will go through the roof (even as they still get tax breaks and pay zero in taxes or get refunds).  That, on top of the oil, mercenary, and military-industrial-congressional corporations STILL getting record-setting profits thanks to the illegal and unconstitutional wars that NO ONE has yet stopped (and troops were not brought home but only moved to adjoining countries so national guard units still go back to being close to Iraq, even if not IN Iraq).

      Obama's so far right in his leadership and political philosophies that I wish he'd just change his political affiliation to R and be done with it.  He may be a good husband and father, maybe a nice guy to some, but as a president he sux because he acts like a Republican, and this annoys me no end!

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:41:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Social Security has been (8+ / 0-)

    the "Third Rail of Politics" for a very long time, and for good reason. Today's media is falling all over itself to help those in power who wish to steal it to change that, to make it acceptable for those thieves to help themselves to the only thing many Americans have as a "retirement plan", since the GOP Bained our economy.

     The drip-drip-drip of constant discussion, designed to wear us down is expected. I welcome it so I can ask, as I always do:

    How many ways can I spell the word NO for you?
    That being said, I should qualify this--that it's Ed and Bernie in the subject here is a welcome relief from the Concern Troll diaries of the last few days (which you can expect to continue). Ed Schultz is probably the only "media" person NOT trying to wear us down and get us used to the idea of "changing Social Security". Thanks to them for trying to stay ahead of it, and thanks to you for spotlighting their fact-filled discussion here on DK. We must take this narrative and run with it, or we're going to be overwhelmed by the faction of turncoats in our party who would call us Left-Wing Teapartiers for daring to say "NO".

    It is time to #Occupy Media.

    by lunachickie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:20:11 AM PST

  •  thanks for this diary, Boppy (6+ / 0-)

    Ed and Bernie are really crusaders for our cause.

    psst: just added a few tags to it.

    We Must DISARM THE NRA The next life you save may be ONE OF YOUR OWN!

    by SeaTurtle on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:48:25 AM PST

  •  Bernie has always been right about this. (7+ / 0-)

    It's not complicated.  Raise the cap.  At one time, it only needed to be raised to like $175K, and both Medicare and SS would be healthy.

    Doing this would also remove the constant drumbeat of Medicare being on life support, blah, blah, blah.

    Of course, there probably isn't a single Republican that would vote for it.  More reason to work hard for 2014.

  •  When I opened my browser this morning, there was (0+ / 0-)

    a page about chained CPI - must have clicked on some link last night and forgot about it.

    I learned a lot about this - including that the recommendations would include an initial bump for those receiving SSI

    (note:  SSDI are the retirement benefits you get from the social security fund you contribute to; SSI is supplemental security income for those whose SSDI is low or nonexistent - essentially a welfare program for the aged and disabled)

    the way it works when you get SSDI and SSI is that every increase you get in SSDI decreases your SSI almost dollar for dollar - there is a small disregard.  So the recommendations are for an initial bump in benefits to SSI AND to attach a CPI to the disregard.

    There was some other interesting stuff in this:
    Center on Budget and policy Priorities - Chained CPI Can Be Part of a Balanced Deficit-Reduction Package, Under Certain Conditions

    Totally changed my opinion on this issue!

    P.S.  My 25 yr old daughter receives SSDI and SSI

    "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

    by MRA NY on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 07:56:56 AM PST

    •  almost forgot, another big part of the (0+ / 0-)

      recommendations is to provide another 'bump' for those receiving either benefit for 15 to 20 yrs - essentially bringing the benefits for the most senior and those disabled young back close to what they would have gotten with unchained CPI.

      at first read, it seems that the chained CPI, with all the recommendations accompanying it, would generally affect those that are above poverty level for the first 15 yrs of benefits.

      i must admit, however, the realities of benefit levels escape me.  My mom receives SSDI and it seems at least 75% of any increase she gets goes to increases in Medicare costs.

      "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

      by MRA NY on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:03:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Social Security does not (5+ / 0-)

        add one penny to the deficit.

        Yes, there needs to be a bump up in SSI and in the asset limits for SSI and the allowable earnings under SSI, but them saying it can be part of a deficit reduction package is disingenous.

                            To be clear,

        Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

        by Chacounne on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:30:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thing is, if the program needs fixes (and I do (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          prefer the cap be raised - especially after seeing the graphic in BBB's diary on the rec list!), and whatever #s come from such fixes want to be included as deficit reduction, I say go for it.  

          Using numbers from something that otherwise will be done to 'fix' SS will, in that way, just reduce what other cuts need to be made elsewhere. No?

          "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

          by MRA NY on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:34:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Remember during the 2000 election (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, Mr Robert, ladybug53, neighborm

            Al Gore talking about a Social Security lockbox ?

            He was right ! That money needs to ONLY go for Social Security, as it was intended and designed.

            Basically, the problem is, two wars were put of the national credit card, off the books, and now the Republicans don't want to pay for them, or for their results in terms of hire costs for supporting those injured in those wars and their dependents.

            As well, those at the higher end of the economic bracket do not want their FICA taxes raised (by raising the contribution ceiling) , so they want Chained CPI, which won't cause them hardship and will instead place the hardship on those who depend on Social Security to survive, those at the lowest economic bracket. I, for one, am not willing to let them get away with that.

                                   Just my two cents,

            Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

            by Chacounne on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:56:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  No. Its a separate fund. (0+ / 0-)

            Counting it in as deficit reduction continues the false impression (lie) that is related to the deficit.

            When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

            by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:22:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I recognize it is a separate fund. And actually, (0+ / 0-)

              there is a whole lot of accounting bullshit that surrounds that fund.  It is totally borrowed against by the rest of the government, so it shows up in some places as an asset and others as a liabililtiy.  Several decades ago when it came up in a class of mine, i knew more where the funny numbers were - can't recall much now.

              So while I recognize that the Social Security Trust Fund and the program attached to it are not included in the deficit, trust me, it is weaved in and out of our fiscal problems.

              But none of that really has anything to do with the point I was trying to make which is totally built on the premise that SS has nothing to do with the deficit.  Again, if the other side/media wants to count savings from fixes to SS as deficit reduction, why wouldn't we want to let them?  It would just mean less cutting elsewhere, and despite what anyone says or writes, it will still not be part of the deficit.

              "Don't Bet Against Us" - President Barack Obama

              by MRA NY on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 07:04:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I wish you would be more clear (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chacounne, NonnyO

          Chacounne.  I've read each of your comments and it appears you are trying to make us understand that SS doesn't add one penny to the deficit.  Are you sure?  :) snark

          being mindful and keepin' it real

          by Raggedy Ann on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 08:37:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  MRA NY, please read my comment on this from (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        another diary.

        Here it is:

        Actually, my major source of reference is the President's own documents--his 2012-2013 Budget, his proposal to the Super Committee, and his own Fiscal Commission's proposal, which the Administration has repeatedly endorsed, The Moment of Truth.

        I've posted links to all of these at DKos repeatedly, and IMO, they tell the real story.

        The problem with reading an analysis like the CBPP's, is that if an individual is not familiar with the total percentage of cuts that are being recommended (and quite likely to be enacted), then the fact that there is a "5 %" bump-up at age 85, means very little.

        From The Moment Of Truth:


        Add a new “20-year benefit bump up” to protect those Social Security recipients who have potentially outlived their personal retirement resources.  The oldest old population – those over age 85 – is projected to expand rapidly over the coming decades: from 5.8 million this year to 19 million in 2050.  

        To better insure against the risk of outliving one’s own retirement resources, the Commission proposes a new “20-year benefit bump-up” that offers a benefit enhancement, equal to 5 percent of the average benefit, 20 years after eligibility.  The enhancement is phased in over five years (1 percent per year).  Eligibility is defined by the earliest eligibility age (EEA) for retirees and the determination of disability for disabled workers


        Even Representative Jan Schkowsky (IL) acknowledges that some beneficiaries stand to lose up to 35% of their monthly benefits, if all three (3) cuts are enacted (as recommended in The Moment of Truth).  Here's the link to her Reuters Op-Ed entitled, "The Sham Of Simpson-Bowles."

        Here's an excerpt:

        For future retirees, all these changes taken together would reduce the average annual benefit for middle-income workers – those with annual earnings of $43,000 to $69,000 – by up to 35 percent.
        So somehow, we're all supposed to be 'relieved and grateful' that a handful of seniors who live until age 85 may recoup 5% of their monthly benefits, after having already had up to 35% of their monthly check cut?

        Personally, I don't think so.


        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 03:28:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Just a couple of points. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bruce Webb

      SSDI is Social Security Disability, not regular Social Security retirement benefits, but SSDI is disability benefits for those who have worked long enough to contribute the required number of quarters (which I assume is 40 quarters since that is what it is for regular SS retirement benefits) as opposed to SSI.

      And yes, the increase in Part B premiums does eat away at the increase in SS benefits. It cannot exceed the increase in the COLA because of the hold harmless clause.

      You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

      by sewaneepat on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:19:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What "bump?" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      Thanks to "Chained CPI," those who received $1052/month SSI last year will receive $1069/month this year.  It was a 1.7% increase..., and Medicare premiums that SSI/SSDI recipients have to pay for are going up 5%.

      Those receiving SSI/SSDI and getting HUD assistance for housing will no doubt be stuck with another hike in rent.

      None of that covers the rise in grocery and gas prices.

      How is losing money a "bump?"

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 10:00:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Need info (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is there ANY way to contact The Ed Show by EMAIL...?

    I do not have the Book of Face, not interested in Twitter..., and want to send an email to Ed Schultz to tell him to STOP using "entitlement programs" to describe Social Security and Medicare since they are NOT "welfare" programs and the word "entitlement" implies they are (it's a Repuke meme, and Democrats in DC, including Obama, keep using Repuke memes and let them set the narrative).

    Social Security and Medicare are paid for by OUR payroll deductions when we're working, and even after we retire and collect SSI (or are forced to go on disability/SSDI before retirement age), we STILL pay for Medicare because it's deducted from our Social Security money before being deposited in our accounts.  These programs are not "free" welfare programs (I'm retired; I still pay Medicare from Soc Sec, AND additionally pay for private corporate prescription insurance for Medicare Part D which passed under Dumbya).  WE THE PEOPLE pay for them.  [Unemployment Insurance is also a payroll deduction, but now I understand that once we collect all we can that some are extended and that may come from the General Fund.  I'm not just sure about all that part, just that while we're working we each pay into UI, too.]

    In any case, does anyone have an EMAIL address to write to for The Ed Show?  I lead a boring life, can't possibly use Facebook or Twitter, so I'll be damned if I'm going to open a Facebook account or Twitter account just to leave a message no producer or Ed himself will ever read.  They probably wouldn't read an email either, but at least a flunky might and pass the info to someone who "matters."

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:00:05 AM PST

  •  In 2013, the cap is $113700. Why not scrap the cap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    •  Because. (0+ / 0-)

      Not satisfactory I know. But maybe I will expand after you answer this simple question.

      Given that a cap or equivalent has been a feature of Social Security since its inception why do you think you are smarter than FDR, Frances Perkins and the rest of the New Deal Brain Trusters?

      The Cap was a deliberate design feature. And before you assert that sweeping it away is so obvious a move as to not even need justification could you explain why it was a mistake to begin with. What WERE they thinking in 1934? And why is that thinking obsolete today? - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

      by Bruce Webb on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 11:24:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A thought (0+ / 0-)

    Every time I walk into a restaurant and see elderly people working as servers, I think about American Exceptionalism.  What is so great about a country that determines that the most vulnerable in our society should be forced to live with less just because the most affluent refuse to pay a little more?  Raise the bloody cap.  The problem is solved - properly - and the older people in this country can enjoy more of their retirement.  That would be an exceptional solution.

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