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Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) poses a question to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during Secretary Vilsack’s testimony on “Healthy Food Initiatives, Local Production and Nutrition,” before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 in Washington, D.C. USDA photo by Bob Nichols
Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown sees another big safety net fight looming: Social Security Disability, and he's seeing a real opportunity here for Democrats to start fighting on the critical front of expanding Social Security. He told Greg Sargent that Republicans have requested hearings on the program, and pointed out one Republican effort to cut the program:
Brown says Dems should seize this occasion to get behind a proposal that would lift or change the payroll tax cap, meaning higher earners would pay more, while adopting a new measure for inflation that would increase benefits for all seniors. Instead of getting drawn into debates about “Chained CPI” and other entitlement cuts, Brown says, Dems should make the case that stagnating wages and declining pensions and savings demand an expansion of social insurance.

“We should stop playing defense on Social Security, and instead talk about why Social Security is a public pension that we should be proud of, that has lifted tens of millions of people out of poverty,” Brown tells me. “The three-legged stool—Social Security, pensions, private savings—has seen two of the legs sawed off for a large number of people. It's time to look at expanding Social Security as an issue of retirement security.” […]

“They want to separate ‘good’ Social Security (retirement security) from ‘bad’ Social Security (disability insurance), to win support for structural reform,” said Brown, who is holding a Senate Finance sub-committee hearing tomorrow on the overall program. “The attacks on disability insurance will accelerate. This is how they will try to back-door the dismantling of social insurance. But the public is with us on social insurance.”
Brown noted that such an issue could play well in the midterms. “The electorate is older, so the field is fertile for Democrats to talk about this,” he said. “We should turn up the volume.”

The disability portion of the Social Security trust fund, SSDI, is depleting, but a fix for that is a reallocation of funds that's been done before without much fuss, and can certainly be done again. Republicans, however, will make a fuss this time because, ultimately, destroying our social insurance programs any way they can is at the top of their agenda.

Brown is smart to be advising Democrats to go on offense with this one, and it does provide a tremendous opportunity to talk about the urgent need to expand Social Security. There's an acute retirement crisis looming, something everyone in the voting public even thinking about retiring in the near future is all too aware of. So it's another issue of smart politics and smart policy converging. Brown is absolutely right to be pushing it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue May 20, 2014 at 01:58 PM PDT.

Also republished by Central Ohio Kossacks, Social Security Defenders, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Look at how mimimum wage took the public (22+ / 0-)

    imagination, and how the ACA is now being recieved..... this should be a hit as well.  
    In our society where government and corporations conspire to reduce, dismantle, underfund or just plain cancel their side of the social compact, Democrats could win big by expanding the public pension.

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:26:51 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely (21+ / 0-)

      They should also eliminate the cap, and apply it to all income, active and passive.  That way they could reduce the payroll tax rate or exempt the first few thousand dollars of income, and still collect enough to pay for the benefit hike.

      I think the rate should be doubled on passive income above a certain high rate.  Damn Wall Street thieves should start paying the rest of us back for all the trillions they stole from us.

      We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

      by Dallasdoc on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:52:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Medicare has no cap. (13+ / 0-)

        It is only logical to lift the the OASDI cap also.

        It would help to moderate CEO salaries possibly as it would involve a matching corporate payment. Income inequality would perhaps moderate for the executive class.

        Let's all rub down in bacon grease and play Twister

        by Brahman Colorado on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:16:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Social Security payroll tax (15+ / 0-)

          … was what I was suggesting.  Those "flat tax" fans like Steve Forbes couldn't possibly object to a flat tax on all their income, could they?

          We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

          by Dallasdoc on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:26:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is no logic to ending the cap on SocSec (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          contributions. It would turn SocSed into a welfare plan and not the wage insurance program that is its foundation. I wrote a diary about it:

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

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:55:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is plenty of logic. (4+ / 0-)

            There is also logic to taxing non-wage income.

            1935 has come and gone.
            One major adjustment has already been made to the Social Security program with the addition of Disability beneifts in the 50s.

            This is the 21st century.

            The not-so-great depression has come, along with collapses in 401(k)s, elimination of pension plans, loss of housing wealth, and drained savings.

            Getting with the times doesn't seem so terrible, especially when you consider that workers are already taxed at a rate six times the original rate of 1%.

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

            by dinotrac on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:49:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is no logic to taxing investment income (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MPociask

              As FDR noted "from capital nothing is asked and to capital nothing is given". SocSec is about income after you stop receiving a steady paycheck. Investment income isn't tied to employment and doesn't stop when you retire. There is no logic whatsoever to have investment income taxed for Social Security unless your interest is only higher taxes and more transfer payments. What many who want to eliminate the cap really want is a second income tax on high income earners, taxing both their W2 and investment income, to fund an income redistribution plan. That violates the entire foundation and spirit of the SocSec program where benefits are earned by the participants and every dollar provided by you and your employer improves your retirement benefit. If the goal is higher taxes on high income earners and higher transfer payments, why not be honest about it and just raise the income tax and start a federal welfare program?

              "let's talk about that" uid 92953

              by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:09:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Maybe in FDR's time nothing was given to capital. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                stewarjt, jbsoul, Just Bob

                These day, corporate welfare is rampant. A lot of that money ends up in the pockets of shareholders.

                Republican Health Care Plan: marry a Canadian.

                by shoeless on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:34:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That was 1935 and a world where Hooverism was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                stewarjt

                barely past.

                It was also a world in which employers offered pension plans, people stayed in their jobs, et -- or, at least, to those who were working.

                It was a wonderful sentiment for 1935.
                Probably still wonderful in 1956 -- but Congress elected to expand the program then.

                Now?
                Capital has always been greedy.  It's in the nature of the beast and that's OK.  Now, however, it seems unwilling to honor any sort of unspoken agreement with workers.  Hell -- the 401(k) debacles of recent years, with Enron leading the way, amount to outright warfare against workers.  

                Besides, who's asking anything of capital?
                We needn't demand tax returns from a single machine anywhere, but...

                In a world where hedge fund managers can get laws passed to treat their income as if it were the result of personal capital investment, it's time to ask those people who derive their income from capital to pony up like the rest of us. They will, of course, be eligible for benefits just like the rest of us.

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

                by dinotrac on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:35:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  dinotrac - no hedge fund manager had any laws (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  nextstep

                  passed. I need to do a diary on this topic, just so I can refer to it. There was never a law passed to allow managers of investment partnerships to characterize their incentive income (not their salaries) as long term capital gains. These incentive payments are called a "carried interest". That came from a Tax Court ruling in the early 1970s and EVERY investment partnership (venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, oil & gas, movies etc) since that time has baked in the feature, using the Tax Court rulings as their guide. This Tax Court ruling preceded the formation of hedge funds by decades. To qualify you must be a manager of an investment partnership. So that disqualifies all corporate executives. In a partnership, unlike a corporation, profits and losses are allocated by contract between the managing partners and the limited partners (the investors). That contract is the partnership agreement. Under the terms of the contract the incentive compensation is paid in actual ownership units in the partnership. When the partnership sells appreciated capital assets all partnership units, and all partners, are treated the same. If the asset sale qualifies for long term capital gains treatment, both the managers and the investors have a long term capital gain, taxed at lower rates. While this was an industry standard for forty years, it was under the radar until a few hedge fund managers had carried interest of $1 billion in a single year, and that generated a lot of press.

                  I hope that was helpful.

                  "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                  by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:30:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Tax Court? Ouch. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nextstep

                    Why hasn't that been fixed?

                    The hedge fund manager isn't ponying up the money, partner or not.  His earnings may take the form of a partnership share but is more in the nature of a commission or performance compensation like salesmen and executives get.

                    So nobody paid to get the law changed, betcha somebody's dropped a few bucks to keep it the same.

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

                    by dinotrac on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:48:39 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  As I noted it was under the radar for 40 years (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dinotrac

                      But when the press hit about the hedge fund managers there was a big push in Congress to change the tax code and tax carried interest as earned income. That Congressional action had the effect of kicking a sleeping dog. Most very wealth investment managers, of private partnerships (this is very different than mutual funds) are non-political, in large part because their investors often include state, local and union pension funds. So they keep a low political profile with few campaign contributions, or if they make them to balance the contributions to both parties. However, now you were dealing with a change in the tax law that could cost them collectively billions. The industry organizations, and the personal checkbooks came out and individuals were writing as much as seven figure checks to lobby against the changes. There was some compromise language that almost passed. It would have required a longer holding period for carried interest to qualify as a long term capital gain. For most of the heavy hitters that was fine because private equity, venture capital, real estate, and oil & gas all hold their assets for at least three to five years. What it would have done is throw the hedge fund managers under the bus because most of their trades don't meet the current one year standard. But in the end not enough votes in Congress were available to have it passed.  

                      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                      by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:11:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  You foolishly applied reasoning to tax law. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dinotrac, PatriciaVa

                      Tax law is highly irrational from an economics perspective, as political power and poor economic understanding are its foundations.

                      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                      by nextstep on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:49:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Sen Schumer is the powerful force that he is (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jbsoul, dinotrac

                      in Senate politics because he extracts huge contributions from the finance industry to keep policies such as carried interest.

                      see http://online.wsj.com/...

                      In particular look for Mr. Schumer to protect the 15% tax rate on carried interest to please his hedge-fund contributors. A genuine tax reform would tax business income at the same rate.

                      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                      by nextstep on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:54:30 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  income redistribution plan? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jbsoul

                What do you think has been happening since 1980?

                We've had a redistribution from the top, or does that framing offend you when the direction is reversed?

                I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

                by Just Bob on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:51:22 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Something happened there that changed my (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jbsoul

                  intent.

                  Let me try again.

                  We've had a redistribution from bottom to the top. Does that framing offend you when the direction is reversed?

                  I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

                  by Just Bob on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:54:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  As generally defined an income redistributon (0+ / 0-)

                    program is when taxes are collected from high income earners and a government check is written and provided to people with lower incomes. I understand your view that tax policy has allowed the wealthy to keep more of what they earned and that has resulted in wealth concentration. However, the method that has been used, taxing the wealthy less, doesn't meet the classic test of an income redistribution program. The wealthy, for the most part, aren't receiving a government check in the mail each month.  I favor higher marginal tax rates on high income earners, but through the income tax, not the SocSec tax. I don't want the SocSec system to be made into a welfare plan. SocSec has such deep and broad support because people feel as though the benefits are "earned".  

                    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                    by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:40:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  ACA had income redistribution (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      through insurance subsidies based upon income, paid by increasing the Medicare tax and other taxes.

                      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                      by nextstep on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:56:51 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  But you can raise the cap, not eliminate it (0+ / 0-)

                      I mean you get the Catfood Commission folks wanting to mess with the COLA purely to cut benefits.  Democrats could at least play this game the other way and tweak the caps and COLAs in the interest of the beneficiaries and not against them.   This is what makes my blood boil.  We've got our own side trying to screw us over.  They're more than thrilled to cut the benefit of someone with a $40K income just to hold someone with a $400K income harmless.  

                      I swear you can't find a centrist plan that doesn't go directly at the middle class asking for sacrifices in a hypocritical effort to the help the poor while always holding the wealthy harmless.  When you go after a middle class senior who is 65 with COLA cuts and means testing all you do is make them poor when they are 85 and then the centrists crow about throwing a dime at them after they've made them poor.  

                      •  I favor raising the cap to $200,000 (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Dr Swig Mcjigger

                        and keeping the indexing and state so in the diary I wrote for Social Security Defenders.

                        The problem with the wealthy is that there aren't enough of them to provide the additional revenue to expand, or even save, the major entitlement programs. If you do the math you need significant additional contributions from the middle class to keep Medicare and Social Security solvent.

                        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

                        by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 01:09:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  "generally defined" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      Yes, that's a common frame, but framing is everything and if those on one side of the issue are always allowed to set the frame, that side will always win. Such tactics restrict the discussion to one perspective.

                      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

                      by Just Bob on Wed May 21, 2014 at 02:23:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  The cap should not be eliminated (0+ / 0-)

        it would change the fundamental structure of SocSec. I wrote a diary about it for Social Security Defenders. You can read it here:

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

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:53:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  On DKos? Or out in the real world? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, MPociask
      and how the ACA is now being recieved

      New Republic: So are the left-wing blogs as bad as the Tea Party ones in this case? -------------------------Chuck Schumer: Left-wing blogs are the mirror image. They just have less credibility and less clout.

      by AlexDrew on Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:32:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Social Security and Medicare (12+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see both expanded to age 55. Then a few years later move Medicare down to 50, and so on....

    •  Who would pay for it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer, shoeless

      Medicare, just for people over 65 is rapidly going broke. SocSec, with full benefits starting at 66 has long term funding issues. Neither can be solved by only letting the rich pay. Neither program can be expanded without bi-partisan sponsorship. How do you craft a plan to expand them that could attract at least some Republican support?

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Tue May 20, 2014 at 10:59:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shoeless, RadGal70, jbsoul, Just Bob

        framing sounds...oddly familiar.  

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:20:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  cardboard - what's not true? (0+ / 0-)

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:23:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This isn't... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jbsoul

            a matter of what is true and what is not true.  I was pointing out how you framed the issue.  There are many "truths" in politics.  There are many "fixes" to the issues we face, but not all of them are helpful to the largest number of people.  

            All I will say is that I disagree with you on the SS cap and the funding mechanisms for Medicare, given your comment history and the diary you linked.  I cannot convince you otherwise and will not try.  If you cannot entertain the idea of eliminating the SS cap, we probably don't have much to talk about.  

            "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

            by cardboardurinal on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:37:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  OK - fair enough (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cardboardurinal

              I think that eliminating the SocSec cap is a public policy option that should be debated, and I respect the view that savings, and defined benefit pensions, are not the sturdy two legs that policy makers had hoped would be available upon retirement. However, I think that when you change the foundation of SocSec, it puts the program at much more political risk.

              If significantly higher contributions by high income earners, and their employers, doesn't lead to dramatically higher benefits then you have transformed SocSec into an income redistribution plan. However, I think that transformation is a legitimate public policy view, given the current wealth concentration and income distribution. All I ask is that people who wish to pursue that outcome be honest about it. Eliminating the cap isn't an "easy fix" or a "tweak", it's a fundamental change in the entire SocSec program.  

              "let's talk about that" uid 92953

              by VClib on Wed May 21, 2014 at 10:14:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Medicare is going broke because of the pool. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, jbsoul

        It takes all the sickest people off the hands of the insurance companies. It needs to expand it's member pool into younger people, preferably to age 0.

        Republican Health Care Plan: marry a Canadian.

        by shoeless on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:38:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's interesting the extremist word "broke" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shoeless, greenbell

          which implies financial armageddon is bandied around so lightly to gin up fear and hysteria and make people feel that it's sadly inevitable that we impose austerity on those who can least afford it. We never hear we're going "broke" when something like tax breaks for oil companies or subsidies for agribusiness is on the table.

          Nothing is "going broke." It's all a matter of priorities.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

          by anastasia p on Wed May 21, 2014 at 11:41:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  There ya go! That's how a Democrat talks! nt (11+ / 0-)

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:44:19 PM PDT

  •  Thanks Joan (3+ / 0-)

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue May 20, 2014 at 02:59:50 PM PDT

  •  Stay At Home Parents Should be Credited for SS (4+ / 0-)

    with time spent raising kids, perhaps at the average of their main career incomes before and after the parenting period. It's true they're not earning dollar income but let's hear the Republicans argue that they're neither working nor doing anything useful, so that they should have to sacrifice a 2nd time in old age for the rest of their lives after sacrificing income and advancement opportunity when they raised the kids.

    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 Tue May 20, 2014 at 03:20:59 PM PDT

    •  What about those... (0+ / 0-)

      who didn't have incomes prior to parenting?

      And I agree, anyone who has never raised a child has no clue how hard it can be.  Raising my infant nephew (only had him from age 3 months to 6 months) was one of the harder jobs I ever had in my life.  

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:26:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like Presidential material. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, jbsoul, avsp, joe from Lowell

    He's a far more electable choice than Warren.

    •  He's grassrootsier than Warren (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BMScott, avsp, Stude Dude

      but his wife posted recently on Facebook very strongly that he likes the job he has.

      Personally, Kirsten Gillibrand is my choice. She's pretty good too.

      I'd like to replace Portman with someone more like Sherrod. Portman's an OK guy, but he's not very in touch with the needs of ordinary people.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it. http://www.edfitzgeraldforohio.com/

      by anastasia p on Tue May 20, 2014 at 07:41:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's an acute retirement crisis looming... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    METAL TREK, J M F, cardboardurinal

    Looming my ass...it is already here...  Pension funds have been looted for years or just not paid into while corporations (cities, states and towns too) "negotiated" with workers for lower wages and benefits while promising nice pensions......and here we are....  I know many people who tried to collect their pensions only to be told that there wasn't one....and now they have SS benefits alone to live on.  It is going to get worse with low wage jobs and long bouts of unemployment eating up any savings that people may have had.  It is well past time to raise SS benefits to make up for those losses.....

  •  Bad idea. (0+ / 0-)

    Increasing the benefits of a program facing long-term difficulties is not a good idea. It would require significantly higher payroll taxes, and I don't think most voters would approve of it. This just strikes me as pandering to senior voters (a group which votes disproportionately compared to the young).

    •  SSDI covers far more (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bananapouch1, METAL TREK

      than just senior voters; my brother-in-law is on SSDI (and also Medicare, and he's only 56) due to physical and mental health disabilities, and even with that he still needs the occasional help from us or his mom to make it to the end of the month.

      As for the issue affecting older voters more than the young, it's true that I'm a lot closer to being affected by Social Security than my great-niece in college...but when you think about it they're affected as well. Do today's kids really want Mom and/or Dad moving in with them, or have to put their lives on hold to support their parents financially?

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:46:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bananapouch1, jbsoul

      Everyone retires someday, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

      Only the extremely short sighted would be against this.  Yes, everyone will pay more now, but later when they are retired they receive the benefits.

      Seems like a good idea to me.

      This country has the worse social net of most of the "first world" nations.  We leave the old, the sick, the unlucky and the young out to fend for themselves.

      I would be willing to pay more taxes if I knew it was going towards making sure our bridges don't collapse, our seniors don't freeze in winter, and our school kids don't go hungry.  

      •  everybody does not get to retire though (0+ / 0-)

        Many people pay thousands into the system and dont' live long enough to collect. Younger workers, not without some justifiable concern, worry that S. S. won't be around for them, or will have to be cut back dramatically. Increasing S.S. payments now won't appeal to them in the least.

    •  Better than wasting the money in Iran (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jbsoul

      not to mention Iraq.  Did I tell you the Minnesota National Guard is only now going back to Iraq again?  Can't mention it too often.  

      As for pandering to seniors, pandering wins my vote.

  •  Time to go on offense. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    Take it to 'em, Senator Brown.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:39:16 AM PDT

  •  Note: find more Dems like him (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stude Dude, jbsoul

    In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds. In loyalty to our kind, We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

    by mojave mike on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:39:54 AM PDT

    •  good luck n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

      by cardboardurinal on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:39:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Need to End the Social Security Taxable Income (0+ / 0-)

    Cap and require filthy rich billionaires and millionaires to pay FICA taxes on every cent of their incomes . . . . . .

    that move will end any future insolvency problem of Social Security.

  •  There is a decent SS strategy for GOP to use if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    are so inclined.  In this case, "decent" means potentially successful and contains no moral connotations.

    The decent strategy:

    1. Go all retiree concerned.

    This will be hard for many Republicans, but, if they really want to, they can find a peg on all of the money we pay into SS during our working lives.

    They could note the collapse of the 2 legs, blaming Democrats for both.  Not sure how the argument would go on that, but they have some creative story-tellers.  I'm sure they could manage.

    Then, propose an increase for all of those deserving retirees.

    2. Rail against disability as an effort to make retirees pay for other people's misfortune. IE, disability benefits come at the expense of money for retirees.

    I don't know if that's remotely true, but SS is a rather squirrelly beast to begin with.  They can probably make it confusing enough to get mileage for a while.

    Classic upper class strategy: Not just divide and conquer, but divide and set the divisions against themselves. They do the conquering for  you.

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

    by dinotrac on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:42:21 AM PDT

  •  A very good idea, all things considered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jbsoul

    Social Security has remarkably lower overhead than any other retirement vehicle that isn't managed or influenced by Jack Bogle, and somewhat lower overhead even than those.

    It came through the financial crisis in no worse shape than it entered, which not even the best Vanguard index fund could claim for years.

    It stands as a splendid rebuke to all the mis-managed public-private-partnership pension schemes in Europe that have been falling like ninepins, and to several of their state pension counterparts here.  

    In the aftermath of the financial crisis, it's the only game in town for many people, arguably the most successful retirement program in the world.  

    I don't think anyone is proposing to overload it.  Instead, there's a very strong business case for expanding it, and yes, that would include new payroll taxes, in order to fill the gap left by all the private sector, P3 and state-managed pension and disability schemes that are failing.  This is basically on the grounds that no other anti-poverty program has proven to have lower overhead or greater effectiveness in practice.

  •  I suppose the rationale (0+ / 0-)

    is that we all age, but most people fake disability, really just get too lazy to work. After working enough quarters to qualify in the first place. Most of us working years more than enough.

    At 66, I just got switched over from SSDI to regular Social Security. But I doubt that I would have lived to be 66 without SSDI - not to mention the fact that since qualifying and getting Medicare I have twice had cancer.

    I agree that both Social Security and Medicare should be expanded - and increases figured differently. Not to mention that the first four or five years I ran out of money in the middle of the month, spending on such luxuries as housing, food, medications, and utilities.

    I don't understand why raising the cap on contributions hasn't been done long ago.

    We need a world in which we ask "What's happened to you?" more and "What's wrong with you?" less. (From a comment by Kossack nerafinator)

    by ramara on Wed May 21, 2014 at 08:59:54 AM PDT

  •  Yes! (0+ / 0-)

    The time for Democrats to take offensive, rather than defensive, action is long past due.

  •  Is this the beginning of the end? (0+ / 0-)

    Of a lot of Chained CPI and Grand Bargain junk?

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Wed May 21, 2014 at 09:23:12 AM PDT

  •  Yes, yes, and yes! (0+ / 0-)

    Sherrod Brown speaks the truth and we need to ram it down the GOP's throat just like they try to ram every lie down ours.

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