Skip to main content

Social Security card with $100 bill
Did you know that the chained CPI was a liberal scheme? And that turning Social Security and Medicare into welfare programs by means testing them is, too? If that's news to you, you haven't been reading Politico. An article titled "The quite liberal plans for entitlement reform," (those sneaky liberals) argues that there's secret agreement among "liberals" for a raft of reform that "could allow President Barack Obama to get the discussion on entitlements going without infuriating his base."

Among the ideas Politico presents are some that most on the left do agree make sense, because they do make sense and if the debate wasn't totally dominated by making old, sick, and poor people pay the price of low taxes on the rich would make sense to everybody. Like lifting or even eliminating the payroll cap on taxable earnings so that income over the current limit of $113,000 is subject to Social Security taxes. That's in the Politico list for good reason. Another good idea in there, that's truly a progressive one, is drug rebates for Medicare, the same system that saves billions for Medicaid.

What Politico includes that are not liberal ideas that progressives champion and could very well infuriate the Democratic base are implementing a chained CPI for Social Security, making Social Security means tested and Medicare even more means tested. Here's how they say it plays out in the case of Social Security.

Another big item on the liberals’ agenda would be to change the way Social Security is distributed — giving more to low-income seniors and less to high-income seniors.
That's not on any liberal's agenda that I've ever seen, but it is popular with Third Way. Which tells you something about Politico if that's what passes as liberal as far as their editors are concerned. That's means-testing, which advocacy groups have been arguing against for decades because what it does is turn Social Security into a welfare program, eroding public support and changing the fundamental compact of the program made between the nation and its citizens. That's a stealth "reform" that comes not from the left, but from the corporate wing of the party.

Being "blessed" by Third Way doesn't make any of these proposals liberal or progressie. That Politico would try to pass them off as such, with clear evidence to the contrary, gives a pretty good idea of why they won this award.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:13 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I don't know why the focus is on SS (14+ / 0-)

    it doesn't have the same huge long-term problem that Medicare does.  

    You could probably bring insured wages back up to 90% of all wages and cover most of whatever deficit there is in SS without changing the basic nature of the system as wage insurance.

    Medicare, on the other hand, has a very big long-term problem, as the Medicare Trustees Report (linked above) indicates.  

    •  Medicare is where the long-term (7+ / 0-)

      problem is.  The government needs to find away to have the benefits remains and still maintain the program.  The elderly are already buy supplmental insurance to pay for what medicare does not cover.

      Say "No" to Chained CPI.

      by Arlys on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:46:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Medicare is means tested in a way. The more (0+ / 0-)

        Affluent pay more premium.

        As far as SS goes, the more you earn when receiving SS, the more income tax you pay.

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 11:43:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problems faced by Medicare could be (11+ / 0-)

      significantly lessened by negotiating volume discounts for pharmaceuticals. As long as protecting windfall profits for drug companies remains the number one priority, we will continue to have a difficuult time paying for them. Or legislators and PBO full well know this, we don't need to tell them, but it wouldn't hurt to let them know that WE know it, too. They do care about their legislative positions (not their jobs) from which all their blessings flow.

      •  RJD - drugs are a small part of the problem (4+ / 0-)

        Medicare spends about $560 billion/yeat and Part D costs less than $50 billion. So if you cut the Part D cost in half you would save 4-5% of the total program. While that might be worth doing, it isn't going to bend the cost curve.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:41:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a drug component in Part A (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chuckvw, wsexson

          Any and all drugs given to patients in Hospital are charged to Part A. In fact before Part D that was how large numbers of seniors got access to what drugs they did, they went to the hospital to have conditions that could have been treated by an out-patient drug basis but weren't instead handled on an in-patient basis..

          And even discounting that factor there is a substantial expense for medication for conditions that were always handled under Part A: serious heart attacks and strokes, cancer treatment, anti-transplant rejection drugs and all those medications not available at your local Payless pharmacy.

          I don't know what percentage of Part A (Hospital) that makes up or whether hospitals in fact are able to bargain with Big Pharma but in any case you need to add that to your bottom line calculation of possible savings.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:23:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  One thing that is interesting, however, is that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Minnesota Deb, Roger Fox

        Medicare's deficits started in 2008, around the time the economy tanked.  Full employment and decent wages (with attendant Medicare contributions) would go a long way to resolving the shortfall.

        And that's the shame of the administration's delegation of unemployment to secondary problem status.  Lots of other problems are lessened if people are working and paying taxes.

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

        by dinotrac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:31:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  a good chunk of Medicare is demographics (0+ / 0-)

      There's a good graph at economistsview: Projected Medicare Spending.

      Austin Frakt: I'm not sure I buy my own statement that we only need a bit more revenue [for medicare]. The demographics are costly. The real message is that there is nothing much we can do about it. Cutting beneficiaries or benefits amounts to a cost shift, and is probably net cost increasing, system-wide. So, we must spend the demographically-driven amount. We then just need a bit more to deal with health care cost inflation. One would like to reduce that to zero, but a modest increase won't kill us, and certainly not quickly.
      •  One wishes economists would (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare

        learn a little about the underlying field they yammer about.

        We can reduce some costs, that of unnecessary over treatment and the treatment of the results of preventable medical error by reducing both. But there will be increases in costs for very new technologies and medications.

        We need to put more into R&D especially in the areas of preventing high cost problems like Alzheimer's treatment and care, infection control (need more and better antibiotics and virucides).

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:37:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why Social Security? It's FDR's. (4+ / 0-)

      The hate is inherited along with the wealth.


      Markos! Not only are the Gates Not Crashed, they've fallen on us. Actual Representatives are what we urgently need, because we have almost none.

      by Jim P on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:42:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  AND, there's over $2 Trillion in the Trust Fund (3+ / 0-)

        Just THINK of all the ways Casino Wall Street and investment bankers and money managers could conveniently "lose" that in offshore accounts where no one can get at the funds ever again [remember Enron?]....

        Oooooooh, shiny mountains of gold and silver and flying hundred dollar bills [like the pallet of hundred dollar bills worth several billion flown to Iraq; no one knows where that money ended up].

        It dazzles the greedy senses, doesn't it?

        For the record: I don't want Chained CPI.  I would rather have a logical COLA, which would be possible if the cap on FICA was taken off, and it would extend the number of years Social Security would remain solvent - provided our arsehole Congress Critters and the president don't start any more stupid, expensive wars and borrow against it.  I also want everyone to be able to buy into Medicare, a not-for-profit single-payer government-run program (actually being managed efficiently; surprise!) without interfering corporations who need profits we will be paying for, thanks to Obamacare and corporate interference in government.  For a Medicare buy-in to run efficiently, new employees would need to be hired to handle the paperwork (instant impact on the economy, job creation), and cost limits would need to be imposed on the skyrocketing greedy medical institutions who keep raising their prices which necessitates expensive supplemental insurance that SSI and SSDI recipients can't afford since they're already paying for Medicare Part A and Part B, and were forced to buy private prescription insurance for Part D.

        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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:40:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is no money in the trust fund. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          auapplemac

          There is debt in the form of T-bills.

          The actual money's already been spent in the form of payments to recipients and whatever Congress has chosen to fund with the proceeds from the T-bills.

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

          by dinotrac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:32:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What the bloody hell do you want (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            earicicle

            the government to do with the FICA funds, the Social Security Trust Fund? Sleep with the checks under their pillows? Put it into non interest bearing (or at .01% interest, same thing) at all the banks and credit unions?

            Those funds are invested in the safest investment in the world which just happens to be US Treasury Bonds. These bonds generate interest which go to increase the balance on the Social Security Trust Fund — no where else.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:45:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What the bloody hell is your problem? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox

              Can you read English?
              Can you do math?

              Did you read the parent comment to mine?
              Did you understand my response?

              Those T-Bills do not represent money available to the government.  They represent an obligation by the government to repay the Social Security System so that future benefit payments can be made.

              There is no pile of gold to be spent by anybody.  For that matter, it's entirely possible that big chunks of that money actually did get spent lon

              the pallet of hundred dollar bills worth several billion flown to Iraq; no one knows where that money ended up
              .

              That's what happens to excess Social Security payments. They go into the General Fund to be spent on whatever Congress wants to spend them on.  At least we get an IOU in return.

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

              by dinotrac on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:45:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Think you replied to the wrong comment. (0+ / 0-)

              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 Jan 30, 2013 at 01:29:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  That true. But how does that explain that one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, midwesterner

        member of our Democratic Party Leadership (James Clyburn, SC) forcefully and unabashedly supports "means testing" Social Security.

        This video was posted on another progressive blog, some time ago.

        Watch the last couple minutes of this YouTube video, where Rep Clyburn spouts "right-wing" talking points

        [Clyburn states that at almost 70 years old, he's not "thinking about retirement."]

        Folks, we need to start calling Clyburn's office to urge him to drop his support for this ASAP.

        Thanks, Joan, for the diary.

        And yes, Politico likes to throw around the word "liberal," when it's totally unwarranted.  

        The question is:  "What can we do about it?"

        Mollie

        “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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:01:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry, can't do it (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie

          One of the most fundamental things I believe is that we as a society should help out the poorest among us more than we help out the most affluent (for obvious reasons! the wealthy don't need our help).

          Why shouldn't Social Security be tilted towards the poorest and neediest? Why shouldn't Mitt Romney's Social Security check increases be tied to a chained CPI?

          I know the reason most given is that this would be the first step on a slippery slope towards abolishing the program, but I find that argument entirely unpersuasive.

          •  You might want to rethink, then. (0+ / 0-)

            Name one actual welfare program that hasn't been slashed to bits over the last 30 years--even by Democrats!

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:04:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I can tell, there is no third rail of politics (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryduck

              anymore, since it is clear that the hatchet is going to be taken to Social Security and Medicare.

              So, what does it matter anymore, whether or not this is a "welfare" program?

              IOW, we wouldn't all be having this conversation if it weren't for the fact that the Administration, and our bulk of lawmakers appear to be quite willing to make cuts to the social safety net (and there is no means testing of Social Security at this point, in time).

              Mollie

              “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:47:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, I agree with you there, to be sure! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musiccitymollie

                Making anything a welfare program, though, surely greases the rails--the non-welfare programs have held out the longest . . .

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:13:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think the long game is to make it less (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TracieLynn, midwesterner

      responsive and helpful to people who really need it. Weaken it anyway possible and then try to get drowning retirees to accept 401k type private accounts. Wall St to the rescue.

      The average 401k earns financials $150,000 in fees over its life. Multiply that by millions of accounts and you are taking real money, even by Wall St. standards, if you can put Wall St in a sentence with standards.

    •  Why do you rob banks? (0+ / 0-)

      Because that's where the money is.

      Perpetual crisis means never having to say you're sorry.

      by chuckvw on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:06:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not necessarily why, but here's how... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bensdad

      From Paul Blumenthal..paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com

      "According to a review of tax documents from 2007 through 2011, Peterson has personally contributed at least $458 million to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to cast Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and government spending as in a state of crisis, in desperate need of dramatic cuts."
      That's "at least".  And that doesn't include the Koch's, de Vos', Waltons, Simmons and the other sociopaths.

      Mental illness is rampant among rightwing billionaires.

      If we had doctors declare them to be insane most of the ills of society could be solved.

      Are there any doctors out there willing to begin the process of committing Linda and Peter Peterson, bros. Koch, etc.?

    •  The focus is on SS because it generates Dem votes. (0+ / 0-)

      The reason Medicare is a problem is the Republicans screwed it up.

      Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

      by arealniceguy on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:55:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Behold my man made of straw! I shall call him... (13+ / 0-)

    LIBERAL!

    What's that you say Liberal? You think Americans need to work harder for less pay?  Why, what a stunning display of bi-partisanship!  Let's do it!

    /snark

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

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:22:42 PM PST

    •  This bit is unintentionally hilarious: (0+ / 0-)
      "The quite liberal plans for entitlement reform," (those sneaky liberals) argues that there's secret agreement among "liberals" for a raft of reform that "could allow President Barack Obama to get the discussion on entitlements going without infuriating his base."
      Without infuriating his base?

      What exactly do they think we get furious about, if not chained CPI?

      The chained CPI "fix" imagines a reform of Soc. Security that locates the solution for its putative financial "crisis" (itself a total invention) completely on the backs of non-affluent working seniors. In the meantime, it completely ignores the elephant in the room: the total absence of payroll taxes on any amount above the cap of $110,000.

      This is perhaps one of the more regressive tax structures we have. And they think that liberals want to exacerbate this regressive construct... by leaving the cap in place, and doling out less in benefits to retiring seniors?

      I can't wait till Politico invents a cabal of "liberals" willing to raise the retirement age on SS and Medicare. Those will be some interesting-ass "liberals," I can tell you that!

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 08:02:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dale, you might want to read on further. There (0+ / 0-)

        are indeed bloggers here who are in favor of implementing the Chained CPI.  Just read this entire thread, please.  :-)

        Mollie

        “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:50:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  What you don't mention is (16+ / 0-)

    that, as the Politico piece points out, the Center for American Progress also supports chained CPI. That's not surprising -- it's largely a mouthpiece for the White House -- but it adds a patina of credibility to Politico's claim that some liberals support this.

    Politico is Politico; the real problem here is CAP.

    •  The inclusion of (7+ / 0-)

      chained cpi in that CAP report is sloppy. No study shows that chained cpi is a better,more accurate measure for seniors' consumption habits. None. Guess the very serious person's club just needs it to be a fact,so whoomp,there it is.
      I'll side with Dean Baker on this. (bolding mine)

      While many policy types and pundits have claimed that the chained CPI would provide a more accurate measure of the cost of living for seniors, they have no basis for this claim. The chained CPI is ostensibly more accurate for the population as whole because it picks up the effect of consumer substitution as people change from consuming goods that increase rapidly in price to goods with less rapid price increases.

      While this is a reasonable way to construct a price index, it may not be reasonable to apply the consumption patterns and the substitution patterns among the population as a whole to the elderly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has constructed an experimental elderly index (CPI-E) which reflects the consumption patterns of people over age 62. This index has shown a rate of inflation that averages 0.2-0.3 percentage points higher than the CPI-W.

      The main reason for the higher rate of inflation is that the elderly devote a larger share of their income to health care, which has generally risen more rapidly in price than other items. It is also likely that the elderly are less able to substitute between goods, both due to the nature of the items they consume and their limited mobility, so the substitutions assumed in the chained CPI might be especially inappropriate for the elderly population.

      While the CPI-E is just an experimental index, if the concern is really accuracy, then the logical route to go would be for the BLS to construct a full elderly CPI. While this would involve some expense, we will be indexing more than $10 trillion in Social Security benefits over the next decade. It makes sense to try to get the indexation formula right.  http://www.cepr.net/...

      Of course,SS should not be a part of any discussion except how to raise the benefit. Funny,DC has such an appetite for including SS in discussions but none for a wealth tax or a FTT.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:35:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cheaper Petfood Index (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, Roger Fox

        as it is the increase doesn't reflect the actual cost of living.  SS went up 1.7% in 2013.

        Been to the grocery store lately?

      •  Excellent and informative comment (0+ / 0-)

        I was unaware of the test-model "Elderly CPI" you discussed.  Such a measure makes total sense and I'm a bit surprised that in an era when Reaganism remains our dominant national ideology that BLS would have the nerve to explore such a loaded question.  It gives some small glimmer of hope that our bureaucracy is not totally brain-dead, as Reaganism demands it should be.

        Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

        by ActivistGuy on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:47:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  CAP specifically EXCLUDES SS. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

        by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:39:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not in the CAP report entitled (0+ / 0-)

          Building It Up, Not Tearing It Down
          A Progressive Approach to Strengthening Social Security
          by
          Christian E. Weller  December 2010. It is on  page 44.

          "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

          by tardis10 on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:46:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Obama is not a fiscal liberal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midwesterner, musiccitymollie

      He's as conservative as a Republican, as he pointed out in this video.  So, why doesn't he just change his political party and put us out of our misery so we can get a genuine progressive liberal Democrat in office...?  He's done everything possible to please Republicans for his entire first term and is already doing the same for his second term because he's in love with the self-described label "bipartisan compromise."

      Obama: "More Moderate-Republican Than Socialist"

      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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:48:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He's more of a fiscal neo-liberal. (anti-liberal) (3+ / 0-)

        Per Prof. Bill Black:

        Progressives indoctrinated into supporting austerity.

        Neo-liberal economics has devastated the global economy and produced all of the predictive failures and evil consequences that progressives have long attributed to its micro-economic myths. Far too many progressives, however, continue to believe the similarly mythical and self-destructive macro-economic myths about deficits, debt, and austerity. It is hard enough countering Pete Peterson’s billion dollar campaign to inflict austerity and unravel and privatize the safety net. Peterson funds myriad front groups. We also have to counter the Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party, which dominates Treasury, OMB, the Justice Department, and the office of the Chief of Staff and favors austerity and unraveling the safety net.  We should not have to deprogram progressives indoctrinated into repeating neo-liberal economic dogmas.
      •  That would be counter to the objective. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NonnyO, chuckvw, wsexson, ActivistGuy

        The point is to dominate the entire political conversation, not one side of it. If the corporatists only owned one Party, there'd be a chance of the other falling to the popular will. Folks like Bill and Barack lead our Party so that popular will can be misdirected toward electing a softer, gentler brand of corporatism.

        "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

        by 2020adam on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:26:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The reichwingnuts have the wrong label (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2020adam, Mike Taylor, ActivistGuy

          Obama is not a socialist or instituting socialism.  If he had had that in mind, we'd have a not-for-profit single-payer health care system where everyone could buy into Medicare.  [No corporate profits or shareholders to worry about, low overhead.]

          Instead Obama and almost all members of both houses went with the insurance, medical, and pharmaceutical corporations, forcing us to give up our money to contribute to the profit margins of corporations who have executive bonuses and shareholders to appease and pay.  This is on top of the oil, mercenary, and military-industrial complex corporations who are still making record-setting profits, thanks to two illegal and unconstitutional wars AND tax breaks on top of that again.  Corporations are now running the show. (... And the religious 'office of faith-based initiatives' run out of the president's office, hence, the proliferation of anti-woman, anti-choice legislation of all kinds being introduced somewhere in the state legislatures practically every week, and trying to be introduced into federal legislation when they can see how well it goes over in the individual states.)

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
          -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          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 Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:02:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  They are wrong and so are you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo

      calling names is such a Repub thing to do as is being inaccurate.

      Index federal programs, except Social Security, to chained CPI-U. Many federal programs, including federal employee retirement, have benefits that are indexed to the Consumer Price Index, meaning they increase with inflation. Many experts believe that the traditional CPI overstates how fast inflation grows, and that a different measure called the chained CPI-U is better. Indexing all relevant federal programs, with the exception of Social Security, to this new measure would reduce federal spending by more than $50 billion over 10 years.

      from CAP

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:37:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chained CPI is a decrease (12+ / 0-)

    in Social Security benefits.  Raise the payroll tax cap!  This will make Social Security solvent for many decades to come.  Everyone should have to pay the same percentage of their income in Social Security taxes.

  •  I can't really blame Politico too much (11+ / 0-)

    for saying this.

    Obama proposed the chained CPI, and he's very liberal, or so I've been told by many people on this very site. Like, did you know he's the most liberal president since FDR? That's what they say. Some say he's even more liberal than FDR.

    And when those people talk about the chained CPI, they say things like "I'm not completely happy with it, but I think it's a good start to help strengthen SS." So the answer is yes, they support it.

    So who is Politico to argue with them? Politico is merely repeating what many Democrats already say and think.

    And once the Grand Bargain passes into law, a lot more Democrats will say and think those things--everyone loves a winner, and no one wants to be the first one to admit that the emperor is parading around without a stitch on him.

    So you might even say Politico is being farsighted. Prescient, even, when they write this. It's pretty ballsy to write about news that hasn't actually happened yet, after all.

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

    by limpidglass on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:49:02 PM PST

  •  It's no little wonder (4+ / 0-)

    That Charles Pierce calls Politico 'Tiger Beat on the Potomac'.

    Chained CPI a liberal idea?  Where do they come up with this crap?  No true liberal supports this.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:59:46 PM PST

  •  I went to AM 950's Blue State Ball (5+ / 0-)

    in Minneapolis this weekend and Thom Hartmann spoke so wonderfully about the importance of Social Security and Social Security Disability.  His daughter's fiannce had died the day before of leukemia.  Thom talked about how Social Security Disability had helped this man when he could not work.  It helped him with transportation costs to doctor's appointments.  Thom really described it as disaster insurance, which is so true.  Everyone just takes it for granted.

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

    by Boppy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:00:07 PM PST

  •  RW MSM lies again, not surprised nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  Upholding the Republican Meme That Non-Repubs (3+ / 0-)

    are liberals.

    We have a lot of conservatives in the Democratic Party.

    No liberals not only don't want chained cpi we want something like CPI-E that properly accounts for the cost of senior living better than CPI.

    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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:30:59 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this important post Joan. Chain CPI is (5+ / 0-)

    a terrible idea and continues a compounding reduction of benefits forever.  The Social Security Trust Fund is solvent through 2034 and shouldn't even be part of this self-imposed fiscal crisis discussions.

    My understanding is that we could extend its current health solvency into the late 2070 by raising the income cap on deductions by about 10%, or raise the deduction rate by a fraction of a percent.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:32:19 PM PST

    •  Republished to Social Security Defenders (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NonnyO, musiccitymollie

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:33:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  2090- low cost scenario (0+ / 0-)

      In the low cost scenario, the trustees tells us SS is good thru 2090.

      2029 and 2032 are based on unrealistic assumptions of GDP, workforce growth and job creation.

      In the low cost scenario, the trustees tells us SS is good thru 2090.

      Create jobs, raise the min wage and you create lots more FICA....

      In the low cost scenario, the trustees tells us SS is good thru 2090.

      Remember the Boomers, if we all live to be a 100..... we're all dead by 2062. Once SS gets past 2040-2046 or so, its likely to see trust fund assets grow, after 2052-2054 assets climb quickly.

      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 Jan 29, 2013 at 05:33:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  CAP/Third Way may want chained CPI, not liberals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie
  •  We could solve Social Security, though it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, midwesterner, 2020adam

    doesn't need to be solved, and Medicare by simply declaring anyone over, say 67, a terrorist and sticking 'em on ships in international waters.

    Plus, this would be an enormous boon to the shipping industry, even if it is China's or India's.

    I don't know why you liberals are shilly-shallying with half-measures like slowly starving the aged or letting them die off, eventually, from lack of health care.


    Markos! Not only are the Gates Not Crashed, they've fallen on us. Actual Representatives are what we urgently need, because we have almost none.

    by Jim P on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:41:14 PM PST

  •  Save it from WHOM? (3+ / 0-)

    Themselves?

    Nothing's going to hurt it unless THEY DO IT.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:22:09 PM PST

  •  Hold up (0+ / 0-)
    Another big item on the liberals’ agenda would be to change the way Social Security is distributed — giving more to low-income seniors and less to high-income seniors.
    If you remove the cap, yu create something like a $14,000 monthly check for some uber rich retiree. IF you cap that benefit, its a means test, and what you end up with is exactly whats in the blockquote above.

    Plus if we remove the cap, we take away one of the reasons we got the EITC back in 1975.

    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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 09:03:35 PM PST

    •  Roger, it appears that high income folks presently (0+ / 0-)

      make considerably more than the "average" Social Security beneficiary.  The average recipient draws between $13,000 and $14,000 annually.

      Yet, for 2013, the maximum monthly Social Security benefit is $2,513 at FRA (Full Retirement Age) of 66.

      That's about $30,396 annually.

      I believe that the thinking by policy experts is that this is a generous amount for "gazillionaires" like Warren Buffet.

      The problem that I have with Bowles-Simpson is not "means testing" reasonably (capping what gazillionaires make), it's the fact that they start means testing at a ridiculously low annual income.

      As Rep Jan Schakowsky points out in her Reuters piece entitled "The Sham of Simpson-Bowles," if all three cuts were enacted that are recommended by the Fiscal Commission, "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."

      Here's the link.

      Truthfully, I don't know too many folks who will worry if the cap is raised on Warren Buffet, and they don't receive more than $30,396 in Social Security benefits annually.  

      After all, any amount, including the $14,000 per month, or $168,000 annually for people of their wealth (that you were projecting) is really only "chump change" to them.  And those folks are capable of maintaining a gazillionaire's lifestyle without any of their Social Security benefit, much less pumping it up to $168,000 at a time of 'austerity.'  [Not that I buy into the 'austerity as a necessity' meme--but that's what the PtB are trying to sell.]

      Respectfully, I believe that we need to raise the cap (if not entirely remove it), and lower the PIA formula bend points for the top earners.  If it's 5 percent now, cut it back to 2 or 2-1/2 percent.  But make certain that the top bend point is adjusted down to only the percentage that is necessary.

      And it's not like today's PIA formula is the original formula used by the Social Security Administration since the inception of the program.

      I wouldn't want this policy change, but raising the FRA would be absurd and beyond regressive.  And the implementation of the Chained CPI would also be extremely punishing for low income Social Security beneficiaries to bear.

      Unfortunately, there are no good options.

      Mollie

      “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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:35:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let me clarify, I don't 'want to see' any cuts to (0+ / 0-)

        Social Security.

        Above, I asked that folks call Rep Clyburn's office to ask that he pull his support of "means testing."

        But it appears that cuts will be the order of the day.

        So, if there must be a cut(s), "means testing" would be the least regressive one.

        Mollie

        “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 Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:37:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  regressive? (0+ / 0-)

          Thats why we got the EITC in 1975.

          Look, the best option is to create jobs and raise the minimum wage. The Trustees low cost scenario tells us SS is good thru 2090.

          The 2029 and 2032 dates are based on ridiculous workforce growth numbers of around .2% thru 2030, its a number the BLS doesnt use, the BLS goes as low as .62% thru 2050. They are also based on recession style low growth of 2.1% and 2.3%. PRedicting 20 more years of recssion is stupid.

          IF your talking about writing Reps....

          Lets start with the basic facts found in each Trustees report I've read since 2005.

          Removing the cap opens up a pandoras box, I dont support it. It puts the EITC at risk, it risks means testing benefits and turning SS into a welfare program.

          Its far wiser to not touch SS for the next 8-12 yrs.

          Remember, SS is wage insurance, capital keeps returning during retirement, wages dont without SS.

          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 Jan 29, 2013 at 05:22:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The EITC refers only to very low income folks, and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PJEvans

            basically those who don't have children, I thought.

            Honestly, I'm not sure what that even has to do with this conversation.

            My understanding the EITC was expanded under Reagan in an effort to decrease "welfare rolls."   What does that have to do with Social Security (sorry if I'm dense on this matter, LOL!).

            At any rate, don't misunderstand me, please.  

            I'm not the one wanting ANY CUTS.  

            But there is no way that Social Security (and more Medicare) cuts won't be enacted under this Administration.  Jack Lew told a Financial Times reporter in a taped video interview that the Administration "supports all six pillars of Bowles-Simpson."  [The reporter was James Politi.]

            The only reason I don't provide you the link is because my subscription has lapsed, and I can no longer access the video archives.

            So, all I'm saying is based upon the three (3) choices presented by Bowles-Simpson, the least punitive to very low, low, and working class folks (defined by Brookings economists in congressional hearings as households making less than $60,000-$65,000 annually) is to go with the progressive price indexing, as opposed to the Chained CPI or raising the retirement age.  So the formula needs to be adjusted upwards.

            I hope that the programs aren't touched, unless it to raise the cap on taxable wages and/or raise the payroll tax.  And preferably, to ONLY raise the  payroll tax.

            But, seriously, I believe that we can all 'take it to the bank' that Social Security will be cut, and quite drastically.  [I hope I'm wrong.]

            Mollie

            “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 Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:21:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  i've heard that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musiccitymollie

              about the EITC and the SS cap,too, and the people using that argument NEVER bother to explain their argument. (It makes it look like something put out by Turd Way.)

              (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

              by PJEvans on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:35:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I admit PJE, that I'm puzzled by that (0+ / 0-)

                rationale.  

                But maybe I'm just too dense to get it, LOL!

                Mollie

                “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 Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:27:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Prior to the EITC being passed into law in 1975 (0+ / 0-)

                The discussion went like this, Ok I'm on welfare...if I get a job, full time/part time or min wage, I now have to pay FICA...and I may lose my welfare....

                Its not worth it, I'll stay on welfare.

                So the solution is make work pay

                From the Brookings Inst.

                The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is an earnings supplement available through the income tax system that offsets payroll taxes and supports low- and moderate-income workers raising children.
                http://www.brookings.edu/...
                So in 1975 families with children could get up to $400 thru the EITC. That was a months salary.

                So part of the original reason the EITC passed Congress was to offset payroll taxes (FICA) which is a regressive tax. IF FICA was progressive it would have less of an impact on low income families and the need for the EITC would nearly be gone.

                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 Jan 30, 2013 at 01:14:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Apparently we're in agreement as to the reason for (0+ / 0-)

                  the expansion of the EITC.

                  But the point remains that many folks are excluded as "low income" if you use the measure of the EITC, who really shouldn't be.

                  If anything, with 1 out of 2 Americans Being Poor or Low Income (with and without children) as of the 2010 Census, we need something more far reaching than the EITC.

                  It was designed for a generally more prosperous era, with much less inequality than we have today.

                   

                  Mollie

                  “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:03:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks, Roger. Truthfully, I don't see a (0+ / 0-)

                  Pandora's Box scenario regarding the EITC.  I don't recall ever advocating lowering the payroll tax rate for anyone.

                  Anyhoo, I did take a few minutes to look at Wiki and IRS, which appeared to me to be a case of Wiki, frankly, just copying and pasting directly, or verbatim from IRS.

                  I checked out both Urban's and Brookings' websites.  Again, the main emphasis is always that it's "anti-poverty" aspect, and that the EITC disincentivizes folks from staying on welfare (which is sort of a joke today, since for the most part, it's practically nonexistent as a "cash" program).

                  The Tax Policy Center (Urban and Brookings project) says:

                  Given the concerns about participation, compliance, and disincentives for work and marriage, it seems likely that Congress will reconsider the credit’s operation in coming years. But this policy recommendation apparently has nothing to do with Social Security.

                  They continue:  

                  One option would be to replace the current earned income credit with an exemption from Social Security taxes for the first $10,000 of wages, and to supplement the exemption with a refundable family allowance tax credit based upon the number of children in the family (Yin et al. 1994). This approach would reduce marginal tax rates and their disincentive effects on low-income workers. Moreover, a Social Security tax exemption would reach 100 percent of low-income workers, and it would be less complicated than first collecting Social Security taxes and then using the earned income credit to refund them.

                  Since I did see several references to low participation rates in the EITC "program," this idea didn't sound that bad to me.  

                  Hopefully, we can just "agree to disagree" on this.  

                  One thing that I'm pretty sure that we do share in common, is our desire to "not see cuts" to the social safety net.  :-)

                  Mollie

                  “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:29:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  See my comment below Re explaination EITC (0+ / 0-)

                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 Jan 30, 2013 at 01:15:41 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Take trip to the EITC wiki (0+ / 0-)
                This tax credit is provided, in part, to offset the burden of social security taxes and to maintain an incentive to work.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                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 Jan 30, 2013 at 01:26:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  If we hadnt gotten the EITC (0+ / 0-)

          to counter the regressive nature of FICA, we would have had LBJ's NIT, Negative Income Tax.

          Removing the cap negates one of the reasons we got the ETIC, this opens up the EITC to GOP evisceration.

          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 Jan 29, 2013 at 05:25:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Means testing, cap increases scored by CBO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie, Roger Fox, elmo

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

    And Chained CPI is option 30 (last).
    I don't personally support simple cap lifts, instead proposing some combo of options 2 and 3, but the fact is that a simple cap increase that DOES allow benefits to go up will in fact close the gap without means testing. If you have to go the cap increase route that is the best combination of progressivism and overall equity you can get with nobody being screwed over in any particular way.

    (The reason that even with increased benefits the gap gets closed is that people above the second 'bend point'  get a smaller replacement value/ROI than people under the second and especially the lowest income workers under the first. As a rule of thumb under the current structure low income workers get an average 50% replacement rate, higher income 30% and workers overall get the target of 40%. Raising the cap would lower that 30% marginally while maintaining the 50% through the 75 year window)

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

    by Bruce Webb on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 05:58:47 AM PST

  •  The (neo-) "liberal" New Republic (0+ / 0-)

    helped pimp the Iraq war, so obviously liberals are why we attacked it.

    Most Jews are liberal, so liberals killed Jesus.

    Liberals support gun control, so Hitler.

    Liberals also destroyed Christmas.

    And Sarah Palin's career.

    (God, I wish we could take credit for that but she did it all by herself.)

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

    by kovie on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:19:13 PM PST

  •  So I got this straight, right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock

    barack obama who is presented to the nation as a liberal and is the man responsible for transforming chained CPI from some conservative bullshit to a phrase that is now on the minds of and a threat to the security to all Americans, he used that bully pulpit to get it on the evening news and moved from the conservative rags to the front page of our best newspapers and your problem is Politico?

    Well that's a fucking waste of time. This must be DailyKos.

  •  Means testing's foot already in Social Security's (0+ / 0-)

    door.

    If you choose to start collecting Social Security at 62 instead of you full vesting age, your earnings are limited to about $15k. Above that limit, you lose $1 of benefit for every $2 of earnings.  Somewhere around $40k, you are getting nothing at all.

    It's just a little crack, but big fat feet have been known to kick cracked doors wide open.

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

    by dinotrac on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:25:22 PM PST

  •  politico needs to be shut down (0+ / 0-)

    i have never viewed it as a credible source

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 10:15:24 PM PST

  •  however, apparently being liberal means you (0+ / 0-)

    don't have to proofread or even spell check your posts

    "quiet", "progressive (sic)" are just 2 that leaped out at me before I even read this piece -- and decided not to

  •  So what would you do? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo

    The numbers don't add up. Daily Kos can continue to take the view that:

    - all cuts to social benefits = bad

    - all raises to taxes for the wealthiest = good

    Sticking to these principles doesn't recognize the fact that:

    - the level of social benefits guaranteed today is unsustainable in the long term

    - they continue to be unsustainable under any realistic increase in taxes

    Living in NYC, my marginal tax income is almost 60% - there's just not much left to tax.

    So rather than attack any suggested changes to social benefits, the bloggers on this site might want to spend more time supporting reasonable middle ways than extreme and ultimately untenable positions.

    •  Move to Topeka and save money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musiccitymollie, bryduck

      Add a little chained CPI to your own lifestyle.  Moving from NYC to Topeka is just applying the same logic.  I'm not feeling sorry for your taxes.  

      And sell Pentagon and the aircraft carriers.  

      "Unsustainable" is just another word to add to the lie list along with

      reform,
      strengthen,
      save,
      fix

    •  For starters, don't buy into the "austerity is (0+ / 0-)

      good for us and necessary" meme.

      Below is an excerpt from a piece written by Dr. Margaret Flowers, entitled "Top CEOs Plan to Loot US Social Programs."

      [BTW, in case you're not familiar with Flowers:  Margaret Flowers, MD served as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now. She is co-director of It's Our Economy and co-host of Clearing the FOG Radio Show.]

      . . . the newest tactic to impose more austerity measures in the US comes from a group of over 80 CEOs who are starting with $60 million to spend on a campaign called "Fix the Debt". They plan to convince people in the US that not only are cuts to vital programs necessary, but that such cuts will strengthen them when exactly the opposite is true.

      . . . The real reason for their push to cut spending on important programs like Social Security and Medicare is so corporate tax rates can be cut further.  Of course, they don't say that.

      They say things like Social Security and Medicare are running out of money and we must preserve and strengthen them (preserve and strengthen sound eerily like the language we used in 2010 when we were fighting cuts by the Deficit Commission). This push for corporate tax cuts comes although corporate profits have grown by 171 percent during the Obama presidency alone, the highest growth in profits since 1900.

      Check out the validity of her words, please.  Here's a link to the President's Fiscal Commission's bipartisan proposal entitled The Moment Of Truth (PDF).

      Here's an excerpt from Section II, Tax Reform (the section begins on Page 28).

      This from the report's "Guiding Principles and Values" page.

      Reform and simplify the tax code. The tax code is rife with inefficiencies, loopholes, incentives, tax earmarks, and baffling complexity. We need to lower tax rates, broaden the base, simplify the tax code, and bring down the deficit. We need to reform the corporate tax system to make America the best place to start and grow a business and create jobs.  (Is this not a familiar right-wing talking point?  LOL!)

      More specifically from Section II of (Bowles-Simpson) The Moment Of Truth:  Tax reform should lower tax rates, reduce the deficit, simplify the tax code, reduce the tax gap, and make America the best place to start a business and create jobs.

      Rather than tinker around the edges of the existing tax code, the Commission proposes fundamental and comprehensive tax reform that achieves these basic goals:

      Lower rates, broaden the base, and cut spending in the tax code. The current tax code is riddled with $1.1 trillion of tax expenditures:  backdoor spending hidden in the tax code.

      Tax reform must reduce the size and number of these tax expenditures and lower marginal tax rates for individuals and corporations – thereby simplifying the code, improving fairness, reducing the tax gap, and spurring economic growth.  Simplifying the code will dramatically reduce the cost and burden of tax preparation and compliance for individuals and
      corporations.

      Lower rates, broaden the base--Translation:  Increase taxes on poor and low income Americans, by bringing more of them into the system [many of whom were formerly exempt, due to their low income status].
      Please read the entire 66-page Fiscal Commission bipartisan proposal.  Here's the link.
      So, what was all the talk about raising the top marginal tax rates to the Clinton-era rates?

      Kabuki theater, distraction, posturing, misdirection, "look at the shiny object over here," etc., etc.

      All that the PtB hoped to set up was "a mutual sense of sacrifice," (i.e., the wealthy are paying higher taxes now, so never mind that it's only until the entire tax code can be finagled this year to drastically LOWER THEIR TAXES.)

      All this major production of Kabuki was to (hopefully, in their minds) give the PtB the "moral ground to ask for sacrifice" from all Americans, and to give them "cover" when they slash our social insurance programs, especially Social Security and Medicare.  

      [Medicaid not so much, because it figures prominently into Obamacare.]

      So, if you are inferring that you are in the Top 1% or 2%, don't worry.  

      You'll probably hardly miss it if your Social Security replacement rate went down a percent or two (or even 10 percent), since you are soon getting ready to have a 'huge gift' handed to you with "Tax Reform" that the Administration is planning to have in place by this August.

      The top Individual Tax Rate according to Bowles-Simpson should be between 23-28%.

      And they prescribe that the Corporate Rate be lowered to 26-28%.


      This, at a time when as the AP piece states, 1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor Or Low Income. Here's a link to my diary about this 2010 Census Bureau statistic (which is almost NEVER talked about.
      [BTW, nyap, hope you can read this garbled mess.  I realize that I got redundant, and hope that there aren't too many typos.  And please understand that any of my comments are strictly based on policy.  Any disagreement that I have with you, or anybody, is not meant to be personal.]

      Mollie

      “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:50:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Living with reality in a post-2010 world. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo

    Because so many progressives sat on their butts and didn't vote in 2010 we lost over a dozen state legislatures or governorships that shouldn't have been lost.  This was the census year, for Pete's sake, and the civics education-deprived non-voters got what they (didn't) pay for.

    And with over a million vote plurality of progressive votes for house members in 2012 the gerrymandered districts remain totally safe for most of the GOP house members for their lifetimes unless they are primaried from the right.

    So wishin' and hopin' won't make a bill pass in the House for any sort of budget unless there is some nod to limiting the future costs of medicare and social security.

    President Obama is smart. He knows that among the Draconian changes suggested, chained CPI is the easiest to change moving forward. It's a formula, not a change in the basic nature of the program. It makes the books look better, and in fact could be changed administratively by looking hard at how seniors really purchase.

    To sit here and write how he should just say NO to everything is just foolish. We have a adamant core of dogmatic House members who can't be threatened by the thought of the next election (although to some extent I would question that, because we do give up way too soon.)

    The key is that the Senate send over something REALLY progressive so there's room to negotiate, not some watered down compromise that starts out bad and then gets negotiated to worse.

    •  Gerrymandered districts in the House aren't (0+ / 0-)

      the reason for passage of (if and when it goes through) the Chained CPI, Progressive Price Indexing, or the Raising of the Full Retirement Age (FRA).

      Read this WaPo Editorial Board interview excerpt with then President-Elect Obama on January 16, 2009:

      Obama Pledges Reform of Social Security, Medicare Programs

      President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare "bargain" with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs. . . .

      "What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further," he said. "We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's." . . .  

      "This, by the way, is where there are going to be very difficult choices and issues of sacrifice and responsibility and duty," he said. "You have to have a president who is willing to spend some political capital on this. And I intend to spend some."

      Translation:  The American People are going to "take a haircut." And this was send before his first inauguration.

      Mollie

      “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:16:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Denying reality! (0+ / 0-)

        Spent part of last year in Toledo, Spain where the statues of Don Quixote rule.

        NO bill will ever pass the House without long term reduction in the rate of increase of Social Security. You can talk and write and bang your head against the wall. That won't change the facts at all. Don't kid yourself.

        In terms of ways to slow the growth of the programs and yet keep their nature, the first practical step is comprehensive immigration reform!!! The actual demographic pyramid changes dramatically. (I've read all the stuff about how folks are paying in right now. Not true at all. I'm sitting here in South Florida looking at half a dozen folks working for cash right now.)

        The second (least offensive) change is chained CPI, combined with a lift in the cap level of who pays in. That's because the CPI is just a formula, and can be changed administratively.

        I've written previously on many additional, practical ways to slow the rise of Medicare, from common billing codes, new ways to pay primary care doctors, easier reimbursement for home care, negotiating drug prices, etc, etc, etc. Now there are probably small disadvantages to all of these but they are practical and ethical.

        But NO BILL will pass the House without significantly slowing the rise in the curves of these programs, because every single GOP House member (and most Senators) know they will be primaried from the right unless they achieve cost cuts.

        •  Hey, I have no problem with comprehensive (0+ / 0-)

          immigration reform--I didn't even address that, LOL!

          It is least offensive cut only in the sense that it does not cut as deeply as the proposed progressive price indexing or raising the FRA, but it is one of the two MOST REGRESSIVE CUTS.  

          From what I've read, they MAY spare folks receiving SSI, but for cryin' out loud, those are only the folks "in deep poverty."  What about all the other poor and working poor Americans?  

          Yes, I realize that's it's being sold as a "tweak" and/or a technical change.  This is intentional to fool people into thinking that "it's not really a cut."  But do you seriously believe that they would implement the cut, just to turn around appeal it, or make it less severe?  Sorry, but I don't.

          Sorry, I apologize that I don't have the time to post links to other comments that I've written on this topic, and the effects of the cut.

          I'm not against all Medicare reform.  A topic for another day, since I'm pushed for time now.

          I am truly bumfuzzled at your characterization of the Chained CPI as being "just a formula." The implementation of cuts always requires a change in the benefit formula.  How can you achieve a cut without a formula change?

          As far as the politics go, I'll leave that to you and others to hash out.

          My only point was that this Administration (as my link, and many other similar articles demonstrate) came in with the intention of cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits.  

          Did you see the Politico article?  It was incorrect that a "liberal" would support those cuts.  But it also made reference to so-called liberal think tanks, etc., being in support of these proposed cuts.

          Personally, I haven't and don't intend to defend anyone who supports unnecessary cuts to our social insurance programs.  

          IF cuts must be made, they should be done so in a way that protects those seniors near (early) retirement age, and that especially protects poor and low income seniors, widows, orphans, and the disabled.

          Others can get in the trenches to assign blame.  It appears from all that I've read that there is a strong bipartisan effort to implement cuts.  You need go no further than the Bowles-Simpson proposal, which is the President's own appointed bipartisan commission.  

          I'm don't have a "metric" to assign more blame to one side or the other.  So I consider both sides to be wrong.  Period.

          I am interested only in advocating on behalf of those who would be harmed by these proposed ill-conceived policies.

          Thanks for your reply.  

          Mollie

          “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:25:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Politico representation was incorrect (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musiccitymollie

            My point is that there will be no bill without future benefit cuts. I can assure you that with total confidence. That's reality--because a critical mass of House members have no threat to their future employment but primary challenge from the right. So to sit and argue that the benefit cuts will hurt (they will) or that progressives don't like them (they don't) is totally futile. Obama knows that.

            So the deal is to negotiate the least-"fixed in stone" benefit cut. Raising the retirement age would never be reversed. Changing the way the money is invested would destroy the program. Changing the formula? That could be fixed easily by an amendment on a future bill without much fuss at all, or even by administrative action since the formula is developed internally,not in the legislations.

            And without a bill, you get sequester--a regressive set of draconian cuts that will hurt the poor far, far  more.

            •  Thanks for your reply. Guess I'll just have to (0+ / 0-)

              "agree to disagree."

              The Chained CPI that Bowles-Simpson recommends will vastly affect all federal transfer programs (including the COLA for VA disability, not just the Social Security disability program; it will also raise taxes for working class folks, because of the adjustments it makes to the tax income brackets, etc.).

              Bottom line for me is--any "across the board" cut is obviously very regressive in nature.  And IMO should be the "cut of last choice."

              Last time I checked, though, you were as entitled to your opinion, as I.  :-)

              Namaste.

              Mollie

              “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 Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:40:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  What a nice conversation! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musiccitymollie

                I'd almost think you were European--and we were sharing a glass of wine this afternoon.

                Actually, I don't disagree with you in principle at all, but I'm just too practical. I worked all summer to dislodge one of the worst of the Teabaggers, and in the end (after a rush of Koch money) we lost by about 500 votes--all attributable to gerrymandering.

                And I do want to get this issue off the table, because I have such fear that eventually they will get enough power to actually change the very nature of the program and of course the nature of our national character.

  •  Screw this crap (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, musiccitymollie

    I had enough of the austerity crap.  There is something very wrong when corporations are posting record profits ( seen the stock market lately?) and we are still talking about cuts.

    Chained CPI is a cut.

    Means testing is a cut.

    Raising the retirement age is a cut.

    Improve these systems by increasing money in them and stop this crap already.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:23:47 AM PST

  •  Eliminate the payroll tax cap! (0+ / 0-)

    In one stroke, you will have "saved" Social Security and Medicare FOREVER, and you can likely reduce the payroll tax rates for everybody, just by making this regressive flat tax apply to all income levels.

    The current cap basically exempts over 90% of the income of the top 2% of earners from payroll taxes. And capital gains income, of course, is 100% exempt.

    If made capital gains subject to medicare and social security taxes, and removed the cap, we could vastly improve the standing of both systems while reducing the effective payroll tax rate by a third.

    Raise taxes by 5% on the top 2% of income earners to lower taxes by 33% on everybody else AND save social security and medicare forever? Why is this not being discussed???

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:56:24 AM PST

  •  Fun Politico fact (0+ / 0-)
    Which tells you something about Politico if that's what passes as liberal as far as their editors are concerned.
    Their editors are more concerned with grammatical errors then factual ones.  If someone says it, they post it.  It's the way it has always been.  It is almost as unfiltered a microphone as Fox is, they just happen to hand the microphone to whoever happens to be standing around more.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site