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No, it's not the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013 authored by Senator Mark Begich (D. AK) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D. FL-21) that I have written quite a bit about:

But it's a good sign that Senator Al Franken (D. MN) is serious about protecting and preserving Social Security:

Apr. 28, 2010 - Washington, DC, UNITED STATES - epa02135574 U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders discusses the need for Wall Street reform debate outside U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. USA, 28 April, 2010.  (Credit Image: © EPA/
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced legislation cosponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to strengthen Social Security by making the wealthiest Americans pay the same payroll tax that nearly everyone else already pays.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced the companion bill in the House. He joined Sanders at a news conference in the Capitol to discuss their bill to bolster Social Security without raising the retirement age or lowering benefits.

Under their legislation, those with yearly incomes of $250,000 or more would pay the same 6.2 percent payroll tax already assessed on those who earn up to $113,700 a year. Applying the Social Security payroll tax on income above $250,000 would only affect the wealthiest 1.3 percent of Americans, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Social Security officials say that simple change would yield about $85 billion a year to keep the retirement program strong for at least another 50 years.

The legislation is based on a proposal that President Barack Obama made in 2008 during his first campaign for the White House. - VT Digger, 3/7/13

Along with Franken, Sanders and Reid, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D.-R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) are also co-sponsors.  You can call either Sanders or Franken's office to get more information on the bill so you can urge your Senator to become a co-sponsor:

Sanders: 202-224-5141

Franken: 202-224-5641

Sanders plan might be a good thing for any of you to submit questions about to Franken.  He wants to hear from, according to this e-mail I received from him today:

If you’ve ever read one of my emails and said something like, “You’re right, Al!” or “You’re nuts, Al!” -- bad news. I can’t hear you through the screen.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you. That’s why we’re introducing a new feature called “Ask Al,” where I’ll answer questions from members of our grassroots team.

Just click here to send in a question -- I’ll answer some in an upcoming email:

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to hear from Minnesotans all the time -- teachers and firefighters and business owners and middle class families. I love hearing their ideas -- and I’m always just as interested in their questions.

But I know that there aren’t enough hours in the day to talk to everyone in person, especially because our online network has grown so large.

So if you want to know about my position on an important issue, offer a new idea, or just ask me what I like on my pizza, now’s your chance.

Click here to Ask Al (that’s me) -- and I’ll answer some of your questions in an upcoming email:

Can’t wait to hear from you.



P.S.: You can ask me anything -- except for the details of my “extra ask in the P.S.” strategy. That’s proprietary. But click here to ask me about anything else:

Here's the link again so you can submit your question to Al:

Also, Former Senator Norm Coleman (R. MN), who Franken narrowly defeated in 2008, has confirmed that he will not be seeking a rematch in 2014:

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman will not run for office in 2014, meaning there will be no rematch with Al Franken that many Republicans wanted.

In a series of tweets late Thursday, Coleman said he wants “to mentor a new generation of optimistic, limited government focused leaders who aren't afraid to find common ground to solve problems.”

Many Republicans had hoped that Coleman would get into the race as Democrat Franken seeks election to a new six-year term next year or challenge Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.

Coleman promised to “focus time and energy helping Minnesota elect senator and governor who support free enterprise, efficient government and seek to bring folks together.” - Grand Folks Herald, 3/8/13

11:58 AM PT: Off topic but still important.  I just published a diary about the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and the Democratic Governors Association teaming up to stop Gov. Tom Corbett (R. PA) from rigging the electoral college.  Petition and info are in the diary:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:20 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Social Security Defenders, and Income Inequality Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (164+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, webranding, Youffraita, poliwrangler, Involuntary Exile, Pinto Pony, PhilJD, 420 forever, MrJersey, DefendOurConstitution, kevinpdx, bobswern, Glen The Plumber, joedemocrat, BobBlueMass, slapshoe, Doctor Who, Catte Nappe, pbearsailor, geebeebee, Debbie in ME, motCT, ichibon, IB JOHN, fixxit, The Marti, Brown Thrasher, Gowrie Gal, leonard145b, greenbell, crankypatriot, Loge, hubcap, tofumagoo, 3goldens, blukat, Crabby Abbey, elwior, Ditch Mitch KY, Klusterpuck, KayCeSF, TomP, jbob, fb, Jim R, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, shypuffadder, where4art, howarddream, GeorgeXVIII, magnetics, petulans, Bisbonian, shaharazade, Ken in MN, cynndara, puakev, 2laneIA, wdrath, Bob Friend, Zinman, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, musicsleuth, Chaddiwicker, Quilldriver, cassandracarolina, thomask, profundo, rapala, anodnhajo, Leftcandid, Mac in Maine, TooFolkGR, DvCM, gchaucer2, Joieau, Grandma Susie, alkatt, Einsteinia, One Pissed Off Liberal, Aspe4, MeToo, Lily O Lady, trumpeter, jediwashuu, onionjim, Simplify, carpunder, whataboutbob, ColoTim, TheDuckManCometh, flowerfarmer, Raggedy Ann, also mom of 5, cheforacle, cybersaur, pgm 01, Glass Navel, Minnesota Deb, orlbucfan, bythesea, MJ via Chicago, greenbastard, deben, Polly Syllabic, sobermom, asterkitty, OpherGopher, randallt, arizonablue, NonnyO, Sybil Liberty, Heart of the Rockies, YaNevaNo, Alice Olson, eeff, Peace JD, JekyllnHyde, pat bunny, Angie in WA State, Arlys, Alma, wader, Roger Fox, Showman, zerone, Brian82, Gemina13, vigilant meerkat, Jim P, Boppy, JDWolverton, terabytes, ancblu, ItsSimpleSimon, begone, akmk, blueyedace2, Alumbrados, dkmich, jamess, Gooserock, greengemini, Nulwee, sabo33, peptabysmal, Larsstephens, TexDem, kefauver, Rosaura, Jeffersonian Democrat, Steveningen, CarolinW, LinSea, chickeee, myboo, Puddytat, LaFeminista, riverlover, HarpboyAK, Williston Barrett, Mentatmark, allenjo, Zera Lee

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:20:40 AM PST

  •  Al Franken is one of the good ones (43+ / 0-)

    Proud to have him as one of my Senators.  Just hope his working for the people gets more press here.  Forget hope, we'll make it happen !

    Nuance is lost upon those who choose not to look.

    by poliwrangler on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:37:15 AM PST

  •  Go Bernie! Go Al Franken! n/t (17+ / 0-)

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

    by DefendOurConstitution on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:59:55 AM PST

  •  I'm on board. WE must save and protect the (7+ / 0-)

    safety net!!!!

  •  Warning! SS gap left over. (13+ / 0-)

    Obama/Biden 2008 did push a version of this Donut Hole Plan with rates suggested between 2-6% depending on the occassion. But even the top end (as here) would not backfill the entire SS 75 year gap and leave a remaining hole almost precisely the same as would be addressed by adoption of Chained-CPI.

    Given that the Obama/Biden campaign NEVER suggested their Donut Hole was a total solution, ALWAYS came down pretty hard on the side of 'shared sacrifice' and 'tweaks', and had a major economic advisor (Liebman) with a published plan that included benefit 'tweaks', there is a danger that Sanders and Franken, perhaps without even realizing it, are greasing the skids for a Obama Petit Bargain on SS to include the Donut Hole, Chained CPI and perhaps some further 'tweaks' to retirement age.

    The Devil is always in the Details. - SocSec.Defender at - founder DK Social Security Defenders group - (hmm is there a theme emerging here?)

    by Bruce Webb on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:07:56 AM PST

    •  There isn't even a gap unless we continue (10+ / 0-)

      to do nothing about income inequality and the economy stays stagnant for the next three decades.

      income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

      by JesseCW on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:27:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Increased income disparity hurts FICA revenues (0+ / 0-)

        ALex, I'll take 20 million jobs for 200.

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 04:27:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would recommend sending Franken your (5+ / 0-)

      questions about that in the link I provided in the diary.  I also recommend calling Sanders office and asking him about that.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:27:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:52:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great point - if this is kabuki to distract us (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun, NonnyO, Roger Fox

      from the Grand Bargain, there will be hell to pay with me.

      •  Bernie Sanders doesn't play kabuki. (7+ / 0-)

        Funny Stuff at

        by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:26:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bernie Sanders is the Cat's Meow! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DuzT, Arlys

          Or the Cat's Pajamas.  Take your pick.  :-)  I think he's terrific, at any rate.  I wish both of my Dem senators were more like Bernie with his consistent viewpoints.


          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 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:15:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bernie don't Play! But------ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox

          That doesn't automatically translate to:

          "Bernie don't GET played!"

          All I want to see if a CBO score of this bill vis a vis the current SS actuarial gap and some explanation from the sponsors on how and if they propose to backfill anything left over.

          A progressive plan to start to reverse the income inequality we have seen by capital grabbing almost all gains from productivity from labor (because increases in labor share goes a long way to restoring solvency and moving scheduled benefits back to the 'payable' column)? If so GREAT!!!!

          A shared sacrifice plan based on "See we taxed the rich, now you pensioners just need to suck up a "corrective" "more accurate" "tweak" that starts at the low, low, low rate of only a 0.3% cut in benefits". Well if so, hmm, Not so great. In fact really sucky.

          Frankly if it was just Sanders and Franken I would be a lot more reassured, seeing Obama proxy Reid on board is what has me asking questions.

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

          by Bruce Webb on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:08:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I put the contact numbers in the diary so you can (0+ / 0-)

            talk to Bernie's staff and answer more of these questions.

            Funny Stuff at

            by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:11:14 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't play that game. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox

              If actual constituents from Minnesota and Vermont want some answers then sure give Al and Bernie's Field or DC offices a call.

              But as a small bore blogger from California whose name for all practical purposes is Bruce Who? I might as well be shouting in the wind. Why waste my cell phone minutes?

              Now as it turns out I know people who know people who are actually listened to and I talk to a lot of the former and a few of the latter via back channels and maybe the message might get through in one form or another. But I am not in any politicians Rolodex and don't expect to be.

              I just hope some of my stuff is useful to you all in YOUR calls and letters.

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

              by Bruce Webb on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:21:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I call politicians who aren't even my reps. When (0+ / 0-)

                I got in touch with Begich and Deutch, they were great in getting back to me because I told them about my blog posts about the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act.  Some times you just have to give it a shot instead of saying "nah".  You might be surprised by the outcome.

                Funny Stuff at

                by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:46:56 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Everybody has got strengths (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't even like talking to my own family on the phone.

                  Guess some of you'all are just going to have to call for me.

                  Meanwhile I am waiting like every year for the Bestest Day Ever in the Bruce World: Social Security Report Release Day. Which used to be like clockwork on March 31 each year, and consistent enough that I used to be able to set up links to the key Tables in advance. Boom the SECOND the Report went Live my small tribe of followers were ON IT.

                  But the Obama Administration, seemingly following up on some anomalies in report release during the last Bush years, decided to give a big F-U to those of us who were Jonesing on Table IV.B4 and needed our hit, and nowadays nobody knows when the Goods are going to hit the Street. Err the Intertubz.

                  Another reason for disappointment with BHO. Though only one a freak like me experiences.

                  Barack! Unleash the Kraken!! Or at least the Trustees of Social Security.

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

                  by Bruce Webb on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:49:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  It would if they counted ALL revenue as income. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:50:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought the Donut Hole... (0+ / 0-)

      ... only applied to Medicare Part D - prescription insurance...?

      Up to a certain limit the insurance pays the retail price, we have no / low copays, then there's a huge gap once you've reached that limit, we pay full price for everything..., then it's back to insurance coverage once we pay all of the Donut Hole amounts.  [Of course it's f##ked.  This tripe was passed under Dumbya's regime and it was a big giveaway to insurance and pharmaceutical corporations!]

      That's the Donut Hole that was supposed to be fixed.

      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 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:11:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This "Donut Hole Plan" makes no sense at all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox

      We should just raise the cap to $200,000, pay higher benefits to people at the new cap, and not change the fundamental structure of SocSec. Charging people who earn over $250,000 a SocSec tax, but not providing them with higher benefits, is just a backdoor second income tax and changes SocSec as we know it. It's a defensible public policy view, but it is a fundamental change that violates the historic structure where your contributions determine your benefits.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:57:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let us descend into reality for just a moment, (0+ / 0-)

        shall we?

        The idea that OASDI (Old-age, survivors and disability insurance otherwise known as social security) is a 'defined benefit plan' based on contributions is nonsense, under the current program.


        Because the OASDI program has operated on a largely pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) basis, the level of contributions for each generation of workers does not directly relate to the benefits these workers will receive. Under a PAYGO plan, benefit levels do not depend on the accumulation of individual contributions, as in a defined contribution plan, nor do annual contributions depend on scheduled future benefits of current workers and beneficiaries, as in an advance-funded defined benefit plan. Rather, the total benefits paid in a year determine the combined amount that workers and employers need to contribute to fund the system for that year.

        Thus, money's worth ratios for a PAYGO-financed benefit program reflect only theoretical values for contributions on a cohort basis. Payments to beneficiaries each year, in comparison to the total cost of (or resources used by) the program for that year, determine the real value of benefits under a PAYGO social insurance program. On this basis, with current administrative expenses of about 1 percent of total program cost, the real value of OASDI benefits is extraordinarily high.

        Money's worth ratios do not reflect the value of reducing the risk to individuals for extreme outcomes, such as death or disability at very young ages or survival to very old ages. In addition, OASDI money's worth ratios do not compare adequately with similar ratios from private-sector plans, because many features of OASDI benefits are not typically available in private-sector plans. Two such features are annual cost-of-living adjustments and benefits for life in the event of disability. However, money's worth ratio analysis does indicate the relative value of benefits that the OASDI program provides across generations and types of workers.

        Because low end workers receive more in benefits than they pay in and high end workers receive less in benefits than they pay in, OASDI is a progressive tax on earned income which funds a government pension plan, with benefits paid based upon a Matrix (your age at application for benefits, etc).

        The idea that making the OASDI tax more progressive will transform the program from an Defined benefits pension plan into a wealth transfer program is a few decades late.

        The reality is that the poor in the country pay a higher ratio of their income to FICA taxes, while wealthy income earners pay a much smaller ratio of their income. Applying the tax rate equally to all incomes would be a more equitable tax scheme.

        FYI, I am also in favor of means testing OASDI (SS and Medicare) benefits for those whose yearly income exceeds 200% of the national median income. For calendar year 2001 (based on US Census data) the median household income for all households is $42,228 (two or more persons).  

        "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

        by Angie in WA State on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 04:07:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its wage insurance (0+ / 0-)

          The fact its funded by a tax is truly coincidental in regards to your argument.

          If we applied the rate equally, it might put the EITC at risk. And it would difficult to revisit the negative income tax if we lost the EITC.

          Why are you citing 12 year old wage data?

          Median Household is about 49k in 2012.

          Means testing turns SS into welfare, lets not do the GOP any favors.

          Making FICA a flat tax opens up too many cans of worms, genies in a bottle, means testing or not.

          Plus what is your reasoning behind these drastic changes?

          ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 05:26:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm saying that the reality is that SS is already (0+ / 0-)

            a Welfare program. Just one which we have collectively agreed is a good one - since the 1930s.

            [I cited 12 year old Census data because it was the first official source for the type of data I wanted that I could find, and link to the relevant portion. Which is why I noted the date in my comment.]

            I hate that the Federal Government tries to social engineer via the tax code. It doesn't ever seem to work very well, and the political fighting which ensues seems pointless, after decades of watching it from the peanut gallery.

            On the other hand, when we label programs as 'welfare', everyone instantly takes offense and wants to denigrate the program. For a moment, please, stop and read that word as it is, without propaganda intruding on you. Well Fare should not be seen as a 4 letter word.

            It's something our Federal Government is supposed to watch out for, it's one of the few named purposes of our Federal Government for pete's sake.

            We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
            When we, collectively, decided not to let old people die in abject poverty and to require all working age people to contribute to a Trust Fund to ensure old retirees have a basic stipend, no matter their other circumstances - it was a welfare program designed to promote the general welfare of the older generation.

            But should that come at the cost of the younger generations? Today, the Fed spends about 7 dollars on retirees for every dollar it spends on the young (up to 25 years old). Is that reasonable?

            Isn't it realistic to at least have the conversation about means testing those of above average income once they reach retirement years? What is the reason to 'supplement' the retirement income of someone who does not need any 'supplement'? Why won't Congress even allow those who are financially able to voluntarily refuse SS benefit payments?

            It's either that or start telling the poorest of the old people to get ready to start getting by on less, because it's increase those Trust Funds or start cutting benefits - it's simple math, and the closer we get to the 2030s the harder these choices will get.

            "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

            by Angie in WA State on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 07:57:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Historic is not necessary just. (see slavery) (0+ / 0-)
  •  I have heard this idea criticized in the past (8+ / 0-)

    As I recall on the grounds that it would alter the understanding that all who pay in get proportional pay out, since the wealthier would be paying in much more than they could expect to get in return. I believe some have viewed this a slippery slope to means testing?

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:19:20 AM PST

  •  why this "donut hole" (14+ / 0-)

    for incomes between the present cap at 250k?

    Just eliminate the cap and get on with it.  

  •  Majority Leader Support Important (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MufsMom, TomP, cynndara, orlbucfan, DuzT, Arlys

    You can say whatever you want about Reid, but having the Majority Leader as a co-sponsor of the bill is important.

    Normally, bills like this are laughed at by Republicans and the conventional media gives them one day of attention (at most) since they are deemed not to have a chance in hell.

    But when the Majority Leader signs on it can't be dismissed so easily.  He has the power to bring the bill to the Senate floor (if he is pushed hard enough) under the new Standing Order which does not allow the "Motion to Proceed" to be filibustered (i.e., Reid can get the bill on the floor and the Republicans cannot stop him).  Although the Republicans will filibuster it if/when its brought to the floor, this is just the kind of bill you want the public to see getting filibustered.

    The Republicans are so often accusing our side for not wanting to do anything to preserve the long-term viability of Social Security.  So this bill is a great response to that accusation, and one that I'm sure the vast majority of Americans will support.  If the Republicans decide to block it with a filibuster to again protect the rich, it will be political GOLD!

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:32:01 AM PST

    •  May be 'political gold' (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, Simplify, NonnyO, DuzT

      but I'm sick and tired of putting the partisan political optics cart before the horse of decent governance. Then we still have the WH still flogging the by-partisan austerity/chained cat-food, victory for compromise. The DC kabuki is so convoluted by intent, that we end up cheering the dysfunctional contortions that have no connection to any outcome other then losing anything meaningful and calling it a victory. Yeah we win. Feeling a little pessimistic today, but what new about that. More kabuki wherein we get faked out and screwed by our own party.    

  •  I see he has taken my advice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Klusterpuck, Arlys

    I told him my vote depended on him getting Amy to fall in line.  That could be a good sign. Amy likes to be on the winning side.   And it could be a sign that Amy understands that you do not win elections in Minnesota or Iowa without little old Lutheran ladies with white hair marching into the polls to vote for the party of FDR, LBJ, and HHH.  

  •  S. 500 - Sponsor Sen. Bernard Sanders (10+ / 0-)

    Link to bill summary and status here

    So far, there is no companion bill in the House.


    Sen Blumenthal, Richard [CT] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Franken, Al [MN] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Reid, Harry [NV] - 3/7/2013
    Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] - 3/7/2013

    As info.

    It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:50:59 AM PST

    •  Notice the text of the bill is not online (0+ / 0-)

      This summary doesn't keep either a pResident or Congress Critters from privatizing all SSI/SSDI monies by giving OUR money to Casino Wall Street, money managers, investment bankers, etc., by expressly forbidding them from doing so.  It also does not forbid anyone from borrowing against SSI to pay for illegal and unconstitutional wars.

      Latest Title: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to apply payroll taxes to remuneration and earnings from self-employment up to the contribution and benefit base and to remuneration in excess of $250,000.
      We need the lock box that Al Gore spoke about at the debates in 2000.

      It's all very good and well to make everyone, including the richest of the rich, pay the same percentage of FICA (it's about damned time!)..., but that won't protect the SSI/SSDI funds from being thrown away by idiotic pResidents and/or Congress Critters at some point in the future.

      I'm afraid I'm going to have to see the final wording on the bill before I can throw my support behind this 100%.

      Making the richest of the rich pay FICA will add to the total SSI/SSDI funds and extend payouts beyond the current 2033+/- (which means more money to steal if a pResident or Congress Critters privatize SSI above our protests), but unless I'm missing something from that brief summary, there's nothing to stop them from doing what we fear most for old age and/or disability insurance that We The People depend on to be there.

      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 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:41:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What do you do with this lock box? (0+ / 0-)

        DO you put money in it?

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 05:34:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What bank would take a 2.6 trillion dollar deposit (0+ / 0-)

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:38:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderful bill. very glad. (12+ / 0-)

    Now we can contrast Dem plans for social security with R plans to gut it.

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:55:03 AM PST

  •  This is problematic,it seems to me. (5+ / 0-)

    Since SS law, since it's inception, mandates that retirement benefits are calculated based on the amount of wages you insure (pay taxes on). It's a wage insurance program, where your retirement benefits are calculated based on the amount you insure.  FDR specifically designed it that way so that it would not be seen as "welfare for the elderly" but a "you get what you paid for" system.  And he was right -- that is one reason the system has such huge popular support.  The system is somewhat progressive (you get less return for each dollar of income insured at upper levels) but there is, and has to be, a link between the amount you insure and the amount of your retirement benefits. That's the fundamental nature of the program.  

    So, how will the retirement benefits be calculated for the income over $250,000 that is insured?  If you allow people to insure income of, say, $2 million a year, are you going to be comfortable paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, as the system is designed to do?  

    On the other hand, if the plan is that people who insure all that extra income are not going to get any retirement benefit for that, this plan will be accused as "ending Social Security as we know it," and -- in my view -- rightly so.  I would not be in favor of changing the fundamental nature of Social Security as a wage insurance program, where the amount of retirement benefits you get is based on the amount of wages you insure.  

    Far better, it seems to me, to keep the fundamental principles of the Social Security system that FDR designed and that has engendered so much popular support because people can claim that they "earned" or "paid for" the retirement benefits they get, and keep the SS fund ostensibly separate (which is why it now "doesn't add to the deficit").  The amount of wages we now insure is historically low, at 83% of total wages.  We should bring that back up to the historical norm of 90% of total wages, allowing people to insure up to about $150,000 in wages or so.  

    •  The Superlative CPI is an even worse policy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, orlbucfan

      It cuts the benefits for all middle class seniors but they're claiming that they'll adjust that for the most vulnerable.  And there is no raise in the cap.  So Obama's plan is asking middle class seniors to have their benefits cut taking some of their money and giving it to the poor.  

      To me that is the worst possible way to reform anything.

      •  If we raised the insurable wages back (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bisbonian, ColoTim, VClib

        to 90%, I think that resolves most of the issue with Social Security, at least for a while.  

        It's Medicare that is the real long-term problem.  I have no idea why the President is suggesting chained CPI for SS when SS is not nearly the long-term problem that Medicare is.  

        •  Because he's not really doing reform (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You have to watch it though because if you shift seniors more heavily into the for profit sector you aren't holding down overall costs and you will ultimately increase the cost of Medicaid when they spend down assets so who suffers then?  Women and children fighting with seniors for indigent care.  

          You can blame it on end of life costs but unless you are going to give people a lethal injection you have to do something with them when they are old and sick.  They don't just die when you stop treatment.  They just suffer.  

          I guess I'd look at all these procedure centers popping up especially on freeways in well heeled suburbs telling every patient they need some expensive test or treatment.  Sheesh, my local news was shilling for some testing center setting itself up in a shopping mall promising to find diseases no one else would ever find.  Right.  No one else would.  

          •  Shills Indeed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Pathetic to see an ex New England Patriot pimping for an MRI center... no better than Fred Thompson pimping reverse mortgages.  Any hospital or service provide who needs to sell itself on mainstream TV obviously makes too much money already or their product sucks so bad or costs so much that no self respecting doctor bothers to refer it.

        •  90th percentile is about 215k (0+ / 0-)

          More revenue and an increase in benefits, 3k to 5k. And we dont have to open up a can of worms by removing the cap.

          My first choice:Create jobs and raise the min wage and watch the FICA roll in.

          ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:33:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The floor does need to be raised. (0+ / 0-)
    •  That would make a good diary for SS blogathon... (0+ / 0-)


      Let me know if youre interested....

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:37:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Works best for the high earners. Not so well for (0+ / 0-)

      the lower (and just as hard-working) and average earners.

  •  When a professional athlete or CEO.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    .... pays ALL of the SS that they owe for the year out of their first paycheck something is wrong.  What's so wrong about paying out of 2 paychecks.... or more?

  •  These are people who will save us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, JohnnySacks

    The discussion needs to turn toward strengthening Social Security not cutting it as proposed in the President's grand bargain proposals.  Hopefully the strongest opposition for chained CPI and other piss poor proposals come from within our own party.  Americans need to know that the Democratic Party actually is looking out for their best interests.  I'm glad to see (but not surprised) that my own Senator is a co-sponsor.

  •  Glad to hear this! Thanks Al and Bernie! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and a thanks to Harry Reid, my senator!

  •  By the way guys, looking back at my journals it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, kefauver

    looks like Franken and Begich themed diaries are tied for making the rec list the most.  Merkley and Landrieu are right after them.  I've had one Kentucky Senate diary on the rec list and most recced diary is my hate diary for Saxby Chambliss.  Thanks guys!

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:35:23 AM PST

  •  thank goodness for the Democratic wing of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, Arlys, Roger Fox

    Democratic Party. Now...lets make that wing not only the majority wing of the Democratic Party, but the majority wing of the entire Congress.

    When Democrats stand up for the best contributions Democrats have offered this country...they are always rewarded by the voters. Why are there so many who are incapable of grasping that basic fact?

  •  It is so sad and chilling that we have to fight (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, PorridgeGun, Arlys

    this hard, and be this happy, for a proposed common sense, TRULY A NO FUCKING BRAINER solution.

    Hmmm, rip the safety net to shreds....or....have wealthy folks pay what we pay....hmmm, let me ponder that for a few years and get back to you.  And you would think that proposed income tax increases on the wealthy were not marginal tax increases, which would actually make them literally inequitable.  Funny how the press never even reports on the marginal nature of proposed tax increases, but the sam the non-plumber total bullshit shitstain is (was) reported ad nauseum.

    What the fuck!!!???

    (I still marvel at the utter stupidity of those who buy into manipulating congress folks with agendas, and act like incentive to make money in this country is somehow now gone.  I would be quite happy to make over 250gg thank you very much.).

    What the fuck!!!???  (2X)

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:39:52 AM PST

  •  Two of the good ones (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, JohnnySacks, Arlys, Boppy, akmk

    I'm not quite "political junkie" enough to make a call how many "good ones" are serving this session, but I'd guess less than a dozen.

    Elizabeth Warren is #1 on my list recently when it comes to Democrats. But Bernie is at least tied for first.

    Input is one thing, stupid is another

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 11:45:56 AM PST

  •  I Don't Know (0+ / 0-)

    Isn't it true that the vast majority of income of people in the 1% is not payroll income, but rather income from investments, etc. Generally, these folks are not people with jobs who get a weekly paycheck.

    That being the case, how can a payroll tax expansion bring in $85 Billion ?

    A Southerner in Yankeeland

    •  It's Principle (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, Arlys, Roger Fox

      Social Security is an invented problem, it's solvent for far longer than I care to hear about at this point in time and any extra input makes it solvent for that much longer.  The Republicans are sitting back and gearing up the spin machine to put the weakening of the program squarely in the lap of the Dems the minute it passes.  Eliminating the cap is the only option for a premptive push-back.

      •  Well said. Boomers are mostly dead by 2050 or so (0+ / 0-)

        We have to get past 2050 then assets start to grow.

        Create jobs and raise the min wage and watch the FICA roll in.

        ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds good. Waiting for Al Franken To make mark. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Hit it hard. Deal, the cards.

  •  Anybody bellyachin' about Al Franken (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, Arlys, rolet

    not being 100% on the side of the little guys/gals like me--come on down here to Florida, the so-called "Sunshine" State. We've got Marco Barfio and Bill Blue Dog Nelson ('cept for the environment-his only good point). Plus, the one and only Guvenor Retch Scott. See what I'm saying? Glad to read this diary--T and R!!

    Some people make u want to change species! --ulookarmless, quoted w/his permission: RIP good man.

    by orlbucfan on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 01:19:15 PM PST

  •  this plus another payroll tax holiday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, rolet

    would be a godsend to so many people struggling to make ends meet. Not to mention it would free them from the worry of recurring discussions about chained CPI hurting them later.

    I understand that the justification for the system in place now has a logic that should preclude people from attacking it as some kind of insurance/welfare hybrid. But attacks from the right never include even a nod to this. We keep stressing it as if to remind them, and they shrug that off. So why be purists about remaining true to FDR's vision?

    If the system can be kept solvent longer while at the same time people making below a certain amount can take home an extra bit of paycheck they desperately need, and they don't have to worry their cost of living increases will be cut later, I'm for it. Let the right squawk about FDR's intentions. Let them put their own twists on the many excellent points along those lines raised in comments above. The only folks who won't see through it are in that choir already. And we know what they have in mind.

    "True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country." Kurt Vonnegut

    by scilicet on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 01:41:24 PM PST

  •  I wrote a question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... edited an additional comment to make it short..., clicked on 'Add Your Voice' - and it went to a contributions page!

    How fucking RUDE!

    I voted for Franken.  I always vote for a straight Democratic ticket.  [If I didn't my parents would spin in their graves; they were both Democrats.]

    No, Al.  FIRST you do the work... THEN I will consider contributing; maybe.  I have a limited SSI income, so I couldn't contribute much anyway.

    So, since I'm quite sure my question never got through because I didn't fucking PAY for the privilege, this is what I asked:

    Why did you vote in favor of Brennan being appointed head of the CIA?

    [Amy Klobuchar also voted for him.  You both disappointed me greatly with that 'Aye' vote.  IMHO, Brennan was an atrocious choice to begin with, and the president should not have appointed him.  Obama really must stop adding horrible Republicans to various posts!]

    I also voted for Amy Klobuchar - I see she has also signed on to the SSI bill Sanders has, but normally she leans waaaaaaay too far to the right for my comfort level (lots of medicos contribute to her campaign); she's proved to be a DINO so far, and she has previously said 'something must be done about entitlements' - which is ludicrous.

    Sooooooo....  We'll just see whether or not either Franken or Klobuchar help or hinder Bernie Sanders with actually protecting SSI and getting a law passed to do just that (not merely a resolution, which isn't worth the paper it's printed on and it's non-binding so it can be ignored), and only AFTER something positive is done to stop Obama, any future presidents, and Casino Wall Street and banks, etc., from stealing OUR money..., then maybe I'll reconsider my opinions.

    How about "campaign finance reform" - and NOT asking for money every time I turn around...?  It's a nasty and RUDE habit and it's why I just UNsubscribed from Al's email list about a week ago.

    Well, hell.  I started this day out so well, too, all cheerful and stuff.  That contributions page put a serious harsh on my feel-good mellow.


    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 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:03:36 PM PST

    •  I think you're taking that the wrong way. Look, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      don't let that bug you.  We live in a post Citizens United world now where even good guys like Franken and Merkley have the contribution page as an option because they know Super PACs, Wall Street, big oil, telecommunications, corporations, the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and the NRA will all spend big to get rid of progressives and Democrats.  Just relax, you don't have to donate.  Don't take it personally.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:12:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't donate (0+ / 0-)

        I have an SSI income.  I can't afford to donate.  Besides, when I was in the working world, I had to actually DO work to receive my salary.  All Congress Critters are getting salaries far above what an average peon makes (and a great many of them don't deserve those salaries + perks).  Campaign contributions are kinda like tips.  So far they haven't done enough work to get a good tip.

        Too bad I got that horrid contributions page.  I have a list of very serious questions I'd like him (or any other politician) to answer.

        OTOH, just adding a name to a bill as a co-sponsor doesn't mean a damned thing.  Getting the bill passed..., that's something positive.

        I learned that lesson in '06 when my then-rep (an old Dem) who had been in the House longer than just about anyone in MN signed on to the draft version of Conyers' impeachment bill.  The "promise" was that if these fellows were re-elected, they'd DO SOMETHING in the next legislative session.  About Feb. '07 after election day, I wrote my rep, asked when they were going to move on impeaching the lying war criminals.  he wrote back that they didn't think it was feasible for fear of "Republican backlash."  Turns out he had to fear "Voter Backlash."

        In '10 he was voted out of office (by a wide margin) and replaced by a Teahadist.  That took a lot of people by surprise (and the Dem rep was so ungracious in his thinking he was entitled to stay in Congress 'til he died, apparently, he didn't even concede - not that the Teahadist deserved it, but the old Dem rep's formal manners were sorely lacking).

        In '12 the Teahadist was voted out (lots of people upset that his family lived in VT where one of his kids was going to a special school, so they weren't even residing in the district) and a fellow who used to be a rep from the 6th district many years ago, had quit after a few terms, started a business in Dist. 8, retired, ran for office in the 8th, and he seems like a pretty good Dem so far.  His acceptance speech on election night said 'Social Security and Medicare Earned Benefits, not "entitlements"' and I knew he'd at least theoretically be good for SSI & Medicare.

        PS.  I'll let it slide this time because I sense you are young and I don't think you realize how your words came across on this end, but you might want to be aware that some sentences in your comment to me are extremely condescending.  In my mind the tone of voice is akin to half a century ago when men used to tell women:  "Hey, Doll, no means yes, so just lay back and enjoy it." or if a woman called a man on his potty mouth or sexist comments they said "It was only a joke; don't take it personally."  Please do not do that any more.

        I think you're taking that the wrong way. Look, don't let that bug you. ... Just relax, you don't have to donate.  Don't take it personally.
        I didn't take anything the wrong way.  Al's trying to raise money.  He used the "Hey, I'm listening to you" good-ol'-boy's-homey-approach (we're supposed to think 'he's just like us') and invited people to send in questions that someone on his staff will pick through and he'll give a politician's "take this any way you want" generalized answer.  Before he was elected, Al was much more forthcoming.  Now he uses poli-speak with the best of 'em.  I quit writing to Amy Klobuchar because the so-called specific replies weeks after I sent in a question or comment were nothing but two or three pages of poli-speak that could mean any damned thing I wanted to read into it (she must be taking lessons from Obama), and she never did address the comment or question I had forgotten about by then and had to look up to see what I even said.

        I actually like Al - up to a point.  I do, however, have a built-in bullshite detector left over from my law enforcement days.  I can deconstruct poli-speak as fast as a politician can talk.

        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 Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 03:40:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I asked both of my Senators from NM (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, Boppy, rolet

    to support this legislation.  Senator  Udall hs established himself as the #1 Progressive and Senator Heinrich is a very bright young, talented leader with a great future.

    "Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers offering advice to the Republican Party.

    by NM Ray on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 02:35:57 PM PST

  •  Just Remove the Cap (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Bruce Webb, Arlys, Boppy, rolet

    This weird little carve out for no SS taxes on income between the current cap and 250k is stupid.

    •  Donut hole is the stupidest evah (0+ / 0-)

      Its very doubtful that the SS trust fund will be depleted in 2033, or about then, the Trustees report is very conservative in the intermediate scenario. Basically 20 more years of recession (2.1% GDP growth). I think over the next 20 years 2-8% to 3.0% is a bit more realistic.

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 05:38:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Are they building a coalition? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arlys, Boppy, rolet


    ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 04:11:11 PM PST

  •  Great! Al and Bernie support bill with no chance! (0+ / 0-)

    How thrilling! Franken joins Sanders in pushing a bill that probably won't even come up for  a vote in the Senate and isn't going anywhere in the House. This is big news.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you:

    by FischFry on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 05:29:10 PM PST

  •  Franken is my Senator and I appreciate (0+ / 0-)

    his co=sponsorship of the bill.  I hope Klobuchar gets on board.

  •  So what are the differences between this bill and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Begich's bill, please?

    •  Sanders bill has a donut hole see upthread. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But SS Trustees says with 2.8% GDP growth SS might good thru 2090. See low cost scenario


      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:21:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just emailed my Senators in NY (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, rolet

    I moved to NYC from MN in 1980 and still find this place politically conservative.  Not surprising I guess, since it is the capital of capitalism.  But I just asked both Schumer and Gillibrand to sign on to the Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act of 2013.  As a lawyer in NYC, I'm one of the beneficiaries of the current cap.  I remember being mystified that my pay check went up in September when I started working at my first law firm job.  Now it goes up in June.  It's time to put a stop to this inequity.

    •  But SS is wage insurance (0+ / 0-)

      If we want to reduce income disparity do it with income, cap gains and the Estate taxes.

      Remove the cap and you create a 14k monthly check for some rich person, is that what you want to do? Is that the purpose of Social Security?

      And why touch SS? Create jobs and raise the min wage and watch the FICA roll in.

      ...... Social Security blogathon March 25th thru March 29th. #HandsOffmySS 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 Mar 08, 2013 at 08:19:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For benefits the floor needs to rise and the top (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        needs to be no more than a certain number times the floor.

        If we can't have equality during working years, we sure can have a bit more of it as folks get older.

  •  Great Diary, Poopdog. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Way to hi-lite this.

    Rand Paul voted to extend the NDAA, but he spent 13 hours ranting against "droney!" He's a progressive hero now.

    by kefauver on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 09:58:18 PM PST

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