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Here's some news for the austerity fetishists who insist that "everyone knows" Social Security must be cut. The public emphatically disagrees.

Chart showing majority view for paying more in taxes to save Social Security.
That's from a survey released this week by the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. As NASI points out in their press release, they find "a sharp contrast between what Americans say they want and changes being discussed in Washington, such as cutting benefits by using a 'chained' Consumer Price Index to determine Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)." Huge majorities, including 74 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of Democrats, agree that “it is critical to preserve Social Security even if it means increasing Social Security taxes paid by working Americans.” Comparable numbers, 71 percent of Republicans and 97 percent of Democrats, support lifting the payroll tax cap on income of the current limit of $113,700.

In addition to being asked basic support/don't support style questions, survey participants were given the opportunity to choose a preferred package of changes from a "various combinations of 12 possible changes, including raising taxes; lowering benefits by raising the full retirement age, changing the COLA, or means-testing benefits; and increasing benefits."

The most favored package of changes—preferred to the status quo by seven in 10 participants across generations and income levels—would:
  • Gradually, over 10 years, eliminate the cap on earnings taxed for Social Security. This would mean that the 5% of workers who earn more than the cap would pay into Social Security all year, as other workers do.
  • Gradually, over 20 years, raise the Social Security tax that workers and employers each pay from 6.2% of earnings to 7.2%. The increase would be so gradual that someone earning $50,000 a year would pay about 50 cents a week more each year, with the employer’s share increasing by the same amount.
  • Increase the COLA to more accurately reflect the inflation actually experienced by seniors, who typically pay more out-of-pocket for medical care than other Americans.
  • Raise Social Security’s minimum benefit so that a worker who pays into Social Security for 30 years can retire at 62 or later with benefits above the federal poverty line ($10,788 in 2011). Currently, lifetime low-wage workers are at risk of falling into poverty in their old age, even after paying Social Security taxes throughout their working lives.
So much for what "everybody knows" about Social Security. The people who are actually going to have to live with the decisions policymakers land on, the people who really truly do have skin in the game recognize that Social Security benefits shouldn't be cut, they should be increased, and that it's such a critical priority they are willing to pay for it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 03:48 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  No, neither did I (20+ / 0-)

      except that I think a replacement tax credit like the original Making Work Pay credit, should have been put in its place. I think we still need that stimulus, and most working people still needed that paycheck boost.

      "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

      by Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 03:56:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  also why I could deal with a chained cpi (10+ / 0-)

      (I'm speaking only for myself b'cuz I know a couple of other widows who couldn't make ends meet on less) if I knew the money saved went back in the trust fund to keep it solvent for our kids and grands.

      But I'll be damned if I'll SD&STFU! if it's tied in any way to paying down "the deficit" under bush's drunken-sailor spending-binge or any Bank CEO's big fat bonus.

      nuhuh

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

      by Sybil Liberty on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 04:15:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  solvent..... (4+ / 0-)

        create jobs and raise the min wage. This will do more for the trust fund than any Chained CPI BS.

        I simply dont understand people who think solvency is an issue for SS, its not. In the low cost scenario the SS Trustees tell us SS is good thru 2090.

        But you seem to think there is a solvency issue, well yeah if there is 20 more years of recession, the trust fund will draw down by 2029 or 2032. But predicting the largest economic downturn since the Black Plague killed off half the humans on the planet is a bit unrealistic.

        SO based on this very unrealistic assumption, you're will to have a chained CPI?

        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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:01:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm getting scoffed at b'cuz I care about my kids? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          2dot

          Roger sweetie, to begin, they're women making .77 on your freakin' $1, and yea if this recession continues until 2025, the oldest will be up shit creek.

          Now I wouldn't think of calling you an asshat or anything like that

          ...just to be clear.

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

          by Sybil Liberty on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:19:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Using a false premise to advocate for chained CPI (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            3goldens

            is caring about your kids enough to send the very best in benefit cuts to those same kids?

            http://www.ssa.gov/...

            Notice the part where the Trustees write:

               

            The Trustees estimate that the trust fund will not be exhausted within the projection period.
            That projection period ends in 2090.

            I'm not going to bore you with all the factors that go into making 2090 possible, but I will list the large order factors:

            1) Job creation.
            2) Wage growth.

            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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:39:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you read my initial post, (0+ / 0-)

              which apparently you did not, I clearly wasn't "advocating" for the chained cpi. Nor did I "advocate" for the payroll tax holiday.

              You may have a legitimate point, but you sure have an idiotic manner of making it.

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

              by Sybil Liberty on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:33:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I will gladly pay today... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RadGal70, 2dot

      for a hamburger I will receive on Tuesday.

  •  When It's Said That "Everybody" Knows It Must Be (20+ / 0-)

    cut they're referring to everyone in the conversation not the country.

    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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 03:56:08 PM PST

  •  A couple of additional points I'd raise with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    respect to making Social Security both more beneficial and more secure:

    1) Consider whether it's appropriate to set the minimum work requirement for collecting social security at only 40 quarters or 10 years. I've never understood why it should be so few.

    And, 2) Is it still appropriate to provide spouses' retirement benefits to spouses who are not wage earners and don't contribute anything to Social Security? These are additional to the wage earners' benefits.  At one time, this was to protect homemakers from destitution in their old age in case of desertion or death of the wage earning spouse. Who but the wealthy has a spouse who never earn a wage? If this benefit is determined to be necessary, how about having the two spouses pay two monthly contributions to earn two benefits?

    Otherwise, I have for some time advised younger people (that includes just about everybody, btw) that Social Security is WORTH paying a bit more for. The same is true of Medicare. I advise younger people to add a rate increase of a half a percent or so to the mix of steps that could be taken to preserve Medicare. It IS that important.

    •  There are still plenty of people (6+ / 0-)

      who do not earn a wage. They are everywhere. They are caregivers and parents and spouses and farmers etc., and there are more than you think. They are the silent shadow support economy.

      •  You're right. And that should be considered. N/T (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2dot

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:34:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your points are well-taken, but personally I (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bruce Webb, No Exit, auditor, DSPS owl, 2dot

      believe that for the most part, Social Security benefits need to be bolstered, not cut.

      Not to beat a dead horse, but according to the 2010 US Census Bureau, as headlined in this AP piece, "1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor Or Low Income."  Here's a link to my DKos diary, and an excerpt from it.

      'Dismal' Prospects:  1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor Or Low Income

      Dateline:  Washington D.C., December 15, 2011, 4:59 am, EST, By Associated Press.

      Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

      The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays.  The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

      "Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.

      "The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years." . . .

      The first cut would be terribly "regressive."  CBO's own analysis, which was done regarding the "Special Minimum Benefit" for very low income workers, bears this out.

      The way the Special Minimum Benefit works is that a much longer vesting period is applied (30 years, if I'm not mistaken, per Bowles-Simpson's proposals) to a low income worker's vesting period, in order to qualify for this benefit.

      And, apparently, only a relatively small percentage of low income folks can take advantage of this because very commonly, these folks don't have a long, unbroken work record.  

      And that's mostly due to the obstacles that the poor have to deal with.  Situations such as unreliable transportation (no car, broken down cars that they can't afford to get fixed, lack of money for gas) and a lack of child care are hindrances for them, which many middle class and affluent Americans don't have as much of a problem with.  Anyway, once they miss work, or are late one time to many (no matter what the reason), they're let ago.

      Bottom line--very few poor folks could meet a longer vesting period requirement.  (And we already know this from the above situation.)

      As for the second suggestion, I wouldn't eliminate it, since our social safety net programs are the skimpiest in the OECD by far.

      Don't forget that poor and lower income women (because they clearly can't afford to "hire" sitters for their own children, ill parents, etc.) often stay out of the workforce for long periods of time due to the demands of caregiving.  That will only intensify as health care costs (especially nursing homes) continue to skyrocket, and Medicaid (nursing home) benefits are cut back further.

      Certainly, if the PtB decide to go this route, they need to exclude near retirees, who were assured that this benefit would be there for them.

      Any change in this policy, should begin only with the very youngest members of the workforce, so that they are at least allowed a sufficient number of years to prepare for this change in Social Security benefits.

      I personally believe that raising the cap on taxable wages, and raising the payroll tax should be the two avenues pursued, once more revenue becomes a necessity.

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:31:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem of poverty should be addressed apart (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        No Exit, 2dot

        from the question of Social Security. I favor a wide of array of income support, tax credits, educational and training benefits, child care, health care support, and especially, jobs programs, but these should not be confused with a program like Social Security for which beneficiaries have paid a lifetime of premiums.

        •  Here's a link to The Moment Of Truth (below). (0+ / 0-)

          The "Special Minimum Benefit" has been a part of the Social Security since at least the Reagan Administration.

          I only brought it up because this benefit became obsolete in either 2010 or 2011 (due to a flaw in the benefit formula), and the "solution" that Bowles-Simpson proposed is awful, and insufficient.  Here's the link to The Moment Or Truth.

          But the Special Minimum Benefit is definitely not an unheard of, or even "new" concept.

          And, the Special Minimum Benefit clearly addresses poverty very directly.  It was created to help lift the poorest Americans out of poverty as a part of Social Security.

          And why would anyone, especially at this time of high unemployment, low, stagnant wage, and off-the-charts inequality, with the US, as I previously stated, lagging WAY BEHIND most other nations in the OECD, even want to consider lowering benefits for any Social Security beneficiaries?

          Guess we'll just have to "agree to disagree," on this issue.

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "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 Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:17:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be willing to pay more. At least I know (4+ / 0-)

    it won't be wasted which I can't say for other kinds of taxes.

  •  On the survey for Patty Murray (5+ / 0-)

    in your diary on Jan 29 I went to and filled out. I mentioned all these points.  I thank you for keeping us updated on surveys we might never have known of if not you posting them.

    Do not adjust your mind, there is a flaw in reality.

    by Shrew in Shrewsbury on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:46:23 PM PST

  •  5% of workers who earn more than the cap... (0+ / 0-)

    That would be 16%. The Cap is currently about 113k, thats about the 84th percentile.

    Dunno if thats a typo or the originating material had said 5%.

    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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:05:43 PM PST

    •  The mistake is from the poll, idiots (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ItsSimpleSimon

      Another stupid thing I read, is that they discuss an option of raising FICA incrementally, the last step in 2052, to 8.2%.

      IF all the Boomers live to be 100, we'll all be dead by 2062. The vast majority will be dead by 2052. In the Trustees low cost scenario, trust funds assets grow quickly from 2062 on.

      Asshats.

      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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:15:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Joan, scroll down the 2nd to last page (0+ / 0-)

    They use a Heritage foundation study to estimate the cost of means testing.

    What.... like the CBO wont do?

    http://www.nasi.org/...

    I would have rather you blasted the fuck out of this POS study, than consider it remotely seriously.

    You dont see the right wing slant in most of the options?

    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 Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:23:28 PM PST

  •  Lift the payroll cap! Tax dividends 1%! DONE! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    No Exit

    Seriously, you do those two things, you are totally done with social security and medicare financing forever, AND you can cut the base payroll tax rates for the lower 95% of earners.

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

    by TheCrank on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:02:53 PM PST

  •  Whaddya Know - Public smart - Beltway dumb (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, 3goldens, Van Buren
  •  Take that, right in your "Foundation" ,, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    Peter G Peterson!

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:04:56 PM PST

  •  Payroll taxes most regressive taxes on the books (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolet, No Exit, RadGal70, 2dot

    Seriously, I think it's time to turn the tables here. Flat taxes on income for social security are regressive, particularly when there's a large "donut hole" in payouts that doesn't correlate so there's a linear relationship between money in and benefit out.

    Let's make the social security and medicare taxes mildly progressive - take some heat off the poor (which will be stimulative) and make the freeloaders over $115K pay up.

    It's "social security" not "individual security" for a reason and it's a cheap investment for that.

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

    by TheCrank on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:05:34 PM PST

  •  Wonderful! (0+ / 0-)

    I am really glad to hear this.  I am very concerned about cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

  •  Since when do GOP give a shit what Americans want? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, No Exit, 3goldens, 2dot, Van Buren
  •  Which really means (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, tb mare
    Survey: Public not just opposed to Social Security cuts, they'll pay to strengthen it
    Which really means Obama will have no problem with a "grand bargain" that raises the retirement age and brings about the chained CPI.  That is, unless the GOP saves Obama from himself and rejects everything because he proposed it.  
  •  Here comes Alan Simpleton riding on his horse to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dodgerdog1

    call us all takers and immature children who don't want to pay for their goodies.....why that creep was ever asked his opinion is beyond me and iIexpect to see Obama on the tube tonight stripping Alan of his stirrups and six shooters....

    •  Don't hold your breath (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2dot

      A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

      by No Exit on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:48:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes i know. i am hoping the fact that the "grand (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        No Exit

        bargain" never actually happens is part of obama's brilliant plan but i am always expecting that foot to come through the door...

        •  Respectfully, please don't count on this being a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          singe

          strategic tactic on the part of the Administration.  

          As the commenter above pointed out, the Repubs (specifically the Tea Party crowd's obstruction) are the reason that a Grand Bargain hasn't been struck.  That wasn't snark.  It's a fact.

          This is the account, as it is recorded in all the major mainstream media --NYT, WaPo, WSJ, FT, The Hill, Politico, etc.

          I'd sure love to be wrong on this.  But I really seriously doubt that we won't see a Grand Bargain.

          Unless, that is, we just continue to see more "mini-Bargains."

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "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 Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:08:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  shit, raise the amount of income getting ss tax (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musiccitymollie

            and the whole thing is fixed.....one can only hope and work toward the idea that if the will of the majority of voters is expressed enough times and loudly enough the meme of "we need to suffer more to fix things' will die....but i agree the powers that be seem to long for more suffering.

    •  Don't forget "lesser people," LOL! N/T (0+ / 0-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "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 Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 07:49:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to find a better word than "strengthen" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b, 3goldens

    The GOP has co-opted it to mean something Orwellian, i.e. actually weaken it, and all too many Dems like Obama & Pelosi have, in predictable "If only we kiss up to them then maybe they'll finally like us!" fashion, adopted it AS SUCH.

    You DO NOT "strengthen" anything by cutting it, be it by reducing the COLA formula or raising the retirement age, any more than you "strengthen" the earnings of employees by cutting their salary or benefits (with the the BS justification that if you don't, you won't be able to afford to hire them, even as you raise your own bloated and unearned salary, Papa John).

    How about we ACTUALLY strengthen Social Security, as opposed to pretend "strengthening" it, by adopting some of the above ideas?

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

    by kovie on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:40:39 PM PST

  •  The package of changes quoted. (0+ / 0-)

    If all were enacted how far would it extend solvency?

    2075 or beyond?

    •  That far out (0+ / 0-)

      It's all guesswork anyway. Too many unknowns.

      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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:51:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Forget that plan, understand this (0+ / 0-)

      For SS trust fund to draw down by 2029 or 2033 will require 20 more years of recession, pretty unrealistic isnt that?

      Thats the job of the SS trustees is to make conservative assumptions, they make 4 assumptions based on different scenarios:

      high cost-2029
      Intermediate cost-2033
      low cost 2090.
      Stochastic Model IIRC 2045.

      I cover some details here
      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Or read one line from the current SS Trustees report

       

       The Trustees estimate that the trust fund will not be exhausted within the projection period.

      http://www.ssa.gov/...

      That projection period ends in 2090.

      Creating jobs and raising the min wage will do more than any of these harebrained schemes in generating more FICA revenue.

      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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:57:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  SS (0+ / 0-)

    In that the agenda of American SS participants is in conflict with the agenda of our rulers, including the president and other DINOs, American SS beneficiaries will lose.

  •  Congress doesn't work for us (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl, 2dot, No Exit

    Congress works for the people who WANT a chained CPI and retirement age moved to 70.  All the Republicans and far too many Democrats don't hear us because our voices are not amplified by cash.

    •  As fonzie would say, exactamundo (0+ / 0-)

      A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

      by No Exit on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 06:56:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  These results explain a lot about polls. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2dot

    If you ask the bald question - Are you worried about the rising debt? Or, what worries you most? etc. - many of us will say Yes.

    But this poll focused responders' attention - "paying more" "to preserve". When the pollster provides a context or pairs it with a choice - such as "That said, do you favor keeping Social Security and Medicare coverage as they are today? - you get the kind of answer in this poll. [Yes, we could say "bolster SS and M benefits" but that opens the door for a more misleading set of responses. In marginal districts, defending what we have is simple and easy. Starting new battles, with full ObamaCare nearing, is not necessary.]

    Of course, this is no news, but it is very easy to forget. And it is even easier for elected officials to ignore - deficit hawks imbued with the notion that government is too big and people don't deserve social safety nets.

    So when we bring the message to the home districts, the ads need to confront the issue and talk in personal terms - _ % of the people in Rep. __'s district rely on Social Security and Medicare.

    There's no real "conversation" otherwise, because there's no other side to the austerity fixation. And, put the question simply and memorably.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:54:36 PM PST

  •  Social Security benefits cap at the $113,700 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2dot, Roger Fox

    level because after that the worker receives no additional benefits. Social Security is not a welfare program, it's a defined benefit pension plan. The surest way to bring an end to Social Security it is to advocate for turning it into a welfare program where workers pay in but don't get more out.

    "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

    by Shane Hensinger on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:06:20 PM PST

    •  Check the plans. One plan removes the cap, yes... (0+ / 0-)

      ...but it increases benefits, too. You're right that it's not a welfare program, but as taxation increases so do benefits. That link is not lost in the plan.

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

      See "option 2". 95% solvent for 75 years.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 04:00:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  AS soon as you remove the cap (0+ / 0-)

        you create a $14k monthly check for some uber rich retiree.

        Your comment is a bit vague.

        I will be clear, there is no benefit cap. Benefits are computed from income, which is capped. See AIME formula.

        By removing the cap you remove one of the reasons we got the EITC in 1975.

        Yet if we look at the Trustees low cost scenario, SS is good thru 2090, 100% solvent thru 2090. This requires we create jobs and raise the min wage.

        SS is wage insurance, and people who have capital dont need it, while their capital keep returning on investment till they pass.

        Its about Jobs and wages, not some silly plan that tweaks this or that.

        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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:46:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How is my comment vague? (0+ / 0-)

          I linked to the plan I support. I don't get your comment at all. My comment was ultra-specific as far as SS comments go.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:53:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Quote (0+ / 0-)
            One plan removes the cap, yes... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but it increases benefits, too

            The "plan" does not increase benefits, AIME does. When the cap went from 110k to 113k, AIME computed a new benefit rate.

            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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:00:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The plan I cited increases benefits... (0+ / 0-)

              it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

              by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:08:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  no it doesnt, (0+ / 0-)

                the AIME formula increases benefits, AIME is based on the cap.

                Hello?

                Unless you cite me how the plan changes the benefit formula, then I'll apologize. GLadly.

                If you do one thing, remove the cap, SS automatically creates a 14k monthly check. Not some plan which isnt needed anyway.

                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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:18:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The plan I cited removes the cap. (0+ / 0-)

                  it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

                  by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 08:28:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And thats all it does, remove the cap (0+ / 0-)

                    The plan you referring to doesn't touch the benefit formula.

                    The plan removes the cap, the SS AIME formula automatically recomputes all benefits based on income.

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

                    by Roger Fox on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 05:07:45 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Please read my citation... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...it is well vetted and says what it says. It's not done by some fly-by-night organization. I don't understand your confusion at all. It would do what it does, it would accomplish what it would accomplish. At this point it seems you're responding more to something imaginary than a well-explained plan that will, in fact, get 95% solvency over decades and decades when enacted.

                      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

                      by Addison on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 07:28:22 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  The reason for bringing an end to Social Security (0+ / 0-)

      has much more to do with libertarian ideology, and a  desire to partially or fully privatize Social Security to the benefit of Wall Street.

      Years ago, the masses might have objected to adjusting high earners benefits downward, but "the Crash" was a game changer.  

      Over 50 million Americans have either been foreclosed upon, or are underwater in their mortgages according to Robert Scheer of Truthdig.  [I assume he's including everyone in the households, not just the mortgagees themselves.  I sure hope so.]  

      Which is one reason that polls indicate that the majority of Americans think that it is reasonable to ask the wealthiest folks (many of whom have benefited from the Great Recession) to chip in more, if it takes it, to "save Social Security."

      Actually, I know that this is NOT necessary.  The PtB are simply robbing Social Security in order to offset the budget, in anticipation of the implementation of massive cuts in the marginal tax rates that have been recommended by Bowles-Simpson (the bipartisan Fiscal Commission).

      So, I'm not endorsing or hoping that anyone's benefits get the hatchet.  But be realistic, the PtB ARE GOING TO EXTRACT THEIR POUND OF FLESH BY CUTTING SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS.  It's a given, IMHO.

      And, it would be better to lower replacement rates 'a tad' when lifting the cap, than imposing the very punishing and regressive Superlative (Chained) CPI for all seniors, or raising the FRA, or implementing draconian cuts to future retiree's benefits through progressive price indexing.

      Guess we'll just have to "agree to disagree."  :-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "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 Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:46:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make capital gains subject to SS tax We did that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2dot, No Exit

    for Medicare taxes in the ACA it can be done for SS. Sure wages have only been taxed before, but so what. Why isn't all income subject to SS taxes? And you can add a small incremental benefit in the calculation for high earners.

    Currently the lowest rate applied to AME (adjusted median income) is 15% for income over $4,768. New brackets could added like 5% for over $50,000 and 1% for income over a $million.

    Point is that really high capital gains earners (Romney) would get some thing back for the large contributions SS but it would be severely graduated downwards thus really building up the trust fund.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:10:41 PM PST

  •  The Social Security Fix (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    paxpdx

    1.  Eliminate the cap on income subject to payroll tax.

    2.  Tax unearned as well as earned income.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:16:28 PM PST

    •  It's worth noting... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that with the cap eliminated, the rich get more back from SS too. They pay more in, they get more out, and the system retains that important fairness.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:57:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  SS doesnt need that much money (0+ / 0-)

      Thats totally over doing it.

      Create jobs and raise the min wage, and you'll do good for the trust fund, solvent thru 2090.

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

      by Roger Fox on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:37:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wrote a diary on this back in April... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and the reposted it a month or so ago.

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

    I believe that the most popular SS reform plan is approximately what's detailed there. It's worth noting that this plan, though supported by Americans, is seen as loony talk by the Very Serious People.

    It's not some sort of magical plan, though. It's pretty simple and not controversial. The powers that be just don't want to talk about it. They want Chained CPI.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 03:56:41 PM PST

  •  ridiculous... (0+ / 0-)

    First, they ensure that companies will take away our jobs (by shipping them overseas or exploiting a portion of the workers while dismissing the rest).  

    Then, the people who are let go must spend their retirement savings long before they are ready to retire (and if they are over age 45 or 50, they know it is unlikely they'll get another job, to replace the retirement savings they're spending prematurely).  

    Then, they decimate what remains of individuals' retirement savings by making irresponsible, reckless decisions that caused the stock market to collapse.  

    Then, they tell the people they've already kicked in the teeth, too bad, we're cutting your Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, so you really should have saved more and not invested it in mutual funds or other retirement vehicles advertised as conservative, relatively safe investments.  

    And finally, when the too-young-to-retire unemployed and the already-retired have nothing left and start living in their cars or on the streets, they're told to move along and die somewhere else, but before you do succumb, make sure you have $10,000 for a funeral plus extra money to buy a cemetery plot, because they are cutting back on sanitation workers, so no one will be available to pick up your garbage-corpse and haul it off.  

    Yet they feel justified and proud of their "maturity" and "prudence" as they collect more tax breaks and ever-bigger shares of gross national income, while stealing as much as they can from the rest of us.  

    What they didn't bother to tell us is that "trickle down" means all our savings, property, jobs and hopes will trickle away from us, drip by drip, until we are down and out.  

  •  Yes, please. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm one of those who'll "cap out", as we put it. I had no idea it was only 5% of the workforce who hits that level. I'm still several months away, but I'll stop paying into FICA at some point this year, and that same amount of money will be diverted to help people who need it. Pisses me off that those of us who least need those extra few percentage points of our salary are the ones who get it back.

    BUT - what I'd like to see along with that is an exemption of the first $30K or so from those taxes, under the same principle. I know. Snowballs in hell, and all that, but still.

    If there's any campaign of those of us who stop paying at some point in the year to try to end that stupidity, count me in. (And yes. I was also happy to see the additional 2% hit to my paycheck again this year. It is right and just, and all that.)

    "I like to go into Marshall Field's in Chicago just to see all the things there are in the world that I do not want." M. Madeleva, C.S.C.

    by paxpdx on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:31:08 PM PST

    •  not 5% (0+ / 0-)

      113k is the 84th percentile.

      186k is 90th percentile.

      The Poll and study is filled with errors, and uses Heritage Foundation work. POS it is.

      I explain POS in more detail upthread.

      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 Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 07:34:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wrong Question (0+ / 0-)

    What's frustrating is that it isn't even necessary to raise payroll taxes or increase the cap. What's necessary is:

    (1) Get people working again, and
    (2) Pay them what they are worth

    When people talk about Social Security needing money what they are talking about is workers needing money. The two are directly related.

    Want Social Security to be flush? Get workers working again and pay them well. That will automatically fix Social Security.

    •  LT, you're 100% correct. But the PtB are (0+ / 0-)

      determined to slash benefits.

      And will IMHO.

      So we're still back at "square one."

      If anyone figures out "how to stop this train wreck of a Grand Bargain," please get back to me with your plan, LOL!

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "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 Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 09:58:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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