Friday, August 26, 2011

Social Security will be history?

There was a time that I thought Americans remembered why there were pensions and programs like Social Security. I thought they understood that someday they also would be old and that average working people cannot save enough money to retire if they must do it alone. Between rising costs of everything (forget the lies that inflation is low- it's not with basic things people need most) there is no way the average family can hope to retire without either a corporate or government pension, Social Security or two out of the three.

I think a lot of the righties and Independents who have decided Social Security is bad simply don't want to pay for it. They don't remember what it was like for oldsters before it came along. They weren't born then. They listen to fools like Marco Rubio who say it's taken away people's independence. *taking a deep breath to avoid screaming*

Rubio is a baby basically and he's listened to lies from the right as well as knows it's what the right want to hear. So he goes to Reagan's library and says what the right wing wants him to say-- SS has hurt American independence. I guess he only knows people who don't mind the elderly moving in with their family or maybe he thinks for an oldster to work all their lives is what independence means.

Here's the thing-- no pension system is any different than Social Security. They are the same thing. Government, corporate, whatever you want to call them. People pay into them for a future chance to not have to work when they get old. That was the whole idea and those who think it's not needed anymore either are counting on their own pension system to bail them out, or are too young to care and don't like the payroll tax (which Democrats seem determined to end making Social Security fail that much sooner).

There is an easy fix for SS if not for government pensions. With SS, just have everybody pay the tax on all their income. It would take care of the shortfall and then make sure that the country understands, it's not to the advantage of any to have old people in poorhouses or forced to live with family members who don't want them. Remember how it used to be or let me tell you for babies like Rubio.

Some elders would move from one house to another within the family and had no home of their own. Others moved in with one daughter's family. The ones without family faced a very bleak future with old folk homes and dependent on charity which Rubio likes the idea of a lot but it doesn't give independence.

Back then very few had the option of quitting working based on savings to maintain a home. That is why there became Social Security. It was not some evil plot of Democrats but came from evaluating a situation that Americans didn't want to see going on where the elderly were living in poverty unless they came from families that had left them a lot of money.

The photo at the top is of my great grandfather and grandmother. He died at 65, working still for mining companies in Deadwood, South Dakota. My great grandmother then forever after lived with her kids. Is that the future for America? Really, truly, that's what people like Rubio and Perry want so they can save people making over $120,000 a year from paying a payroll tax on all of their income? Truly?


Kay Dennison said...

If it is, it's a death sentence for me and a lot of other elders.

Kay Dennison said...

I hope not. Maybe if we tell them that their mother-in-law will be their responsibility, they'll back off.

Rain said...

I would guess even the irresponsible like Perry or Rubio really don't want to end it. They want the votes for saying it but reality is they would realize they cannot do it without destroying the American economy. It's not just the people who would starve or be thrust onto welfare, it's the stores that would suddenly have less customers. The rich get a tax break and likely don't even spend it. SS is spent and pretty much all every month. The thing that is frustrating is that they would say things like this and there are those, even dependent on such programs, who then vote for them. Americans need to pay attention though and be out voting when elections come along.


Social Security is not broke and is not part of the debt so why do the tea party folks keep talking about it. SS is not under their jurisdiction or did something just happen that I am not aware of.

Like your photo at the top of your post. May I have permission to put it in my photo archives and possibly use it with your name given as resource? -- barbara

Rain said...

Barbara, feel free to use it. :)

What amazes me is how somebody like Rubio is one of the new stars in the Republican party. Amazing.

Rita said...

Rain: I swore I would never comment again because too many times I have been called nasty names when I do. But.

If Rubio said what you posted, please post the link.

What I have researched is that he and others like him are trying to save Social Security by limiting the benefits to people my age, not those already drawing social security.

I'm 52. I've heard for probably 30 years now that SS would not be there for me, so I never assumed it would be.

If if takes lowering my benefits when I hit whatever retirement age will be in effect at that time, they I'm good with that. I would rather take less in 11 years or more if that means my in-laws do not have to take a nasty hit in a couple years that they simply cannot afford.

Ryan is not some evil monster that people want to paint him to be.

He wants to save SS for those that depend on it.

The social security problem wasn't something started by the TEA party, the Republican OR the Democrats. It's been a problem for a long time.

I have no great illusion that I will be able to draw one dime from a system I have paid into my entire life.

I'll accept that fate if the current or near-current beneficiaries can keep their benefits.

OK, NOW I promise never to post again. I've watched your posts and comments go from an intelligent exchange of ideas to you posting your hatred of the TEA party (if you don't remember that rant, I'll gladly send you the link) and your followers have now dropped off to only those who comments are "BRAVO, I AGREE WITH YOU TOTALLY." I find that sad that there is no longer a civil, intelligent debate of the issues.

Rita - OUT!!!

Rain said...

I saw a clip, Rita; but the text is here: Rubio on government getting in the way of empowering people. The text of it and praise is pretty much everywhere on the right. It says what some want to hear. He said what is needed to get himself onto a right wing ticket come next year if the leader on that ticket is not an extremist. Or set himself up to run in '16.

I don't often mention tea party here because I see this problem as more about those who fund the group events like the Koch brothers and are behind candidates who would demolish public education. I think they say one thing and then get in and do something very different. My drive here is to put out what I believe their words mean.

SS can be fixed by changing the payroll tax which is not complicated. Instead the left and right are doing what they can to ruin and end it totally and I don't know why anybody ordinary would want that. I see those who do have government pensions might feel secure but they should not as they'll be next. I know what retirement was like before it from family member stories. I don't want to see that happen again. I will be okay no matter what happens but I want others to be okay also. I see this is about us as a people not just about me.

They might have to do one more thing to keep SS safe and that is means test it. I don't like that as everybody paid in to a certain level at least and it seems that to means test it turns it into another charitable program; but it might be required to keep it working until my kids need it.

I was likewise surprised to hear from you here but am not unhappy about it as you do express a viewpoint. If you read more often, you'd find that ingineer does defend the conservative position but he's not a tea partier.

Right now I think it's hard for left or right to read the other viewpoint. I used to read a couple of right wing blogs but it simply drove me nuts and yet I feel they were good people but just they saw what is happening polar opposite to how I do.

The reason I keep my main blog, Rainy Day Thoughts, separate from politics is because life is about more than how we vote or who we support for office. We have to do what we can to stay positive and live good lives in the midst of one of those very troublesome times in history-- transitional. How this will all end up is hard to say but I do still read right wing news sources where I can get the view of the right on the issues I care about. Just don't do the blogs; so can well understand how you feel. It's not a time to be in the middle unfortunately which is where I am most comfortable given my positions range from right to left on many issues.

Rita said...

I do agree with one thing you mentioned. Means testing. However, I doubt we would agree on what that number would be.

My husband starting drawing SS last year at 62. We decided to get his benefits while they still exist.

That also meant, he had to cut back his hours on his semi-retirement job to $14k a year. If he makes more than his quarterly allowance of income, he has to repay $1 back for every $2 over the limit.

So, what does that incent? People do what is in their best interest. Is he works more than his allowance, why would you keep working at half the pay?

Thankfully, at least now yet, they don't consider the household income. Since I am in my greatest earning years (at least I was until the nasty economy dropped by pay by 75% this year), he is able to continue to draw what he's paid into.

I can remember thinking back in my 20's it didn't make sense for people making a million bucks a year to draw SS. I still believe that, but on the other side, it certainly doesn't make sense for my husband to have to cut his hours to only make 14k before his benefits are cut. If he was a single man, how would you make a living making 14k plus SS benefits. Even in our affordable part of the country, it would be a sparse existence.

Rain said...

I agree, Rita. It seems they do all they can to keep anyone who works to achieve from getting ahead. That is true of both parties in different ways. Disillusioning indeed. I never liked the idea of means testing and punishing someone for earning any money at all, as happens now, seems unfair. My main concern is to keep it out there for those who need it the most.

Robert the Skeptic said...

What an amazing coincidence, my father was born in Lead, South Dakota, right next to Deadwood. Grandpa worked for the Homestake Gold Mine, my dad did too on summers when home from college.

Social Security is "insurance" not a government give-away. As you point out, we pay into it. And actually people making over $100k are exempt from paying into SS. If that one little rule that has been in place for decades were changed to have people earning over $100 k pay into the system, the SS system would be solvent.

Rain said...

That is a coincidence. My grandfather was born in the Black Hills (in one of the little mining communities back when it was illegal for whites to be there at all). My dad was born in Hill City where I'd like to visit someday. I have climbed Bear Butte several times (out of Sturgis) but never gone to the Black Hills where a lot of my ancestors are buried.

Ingineer66 said...

Robert people that earn more than $100k are not exempt from paying into Social Security. They pay into it for the first $106,800 that they make. The thought was that should more than cover the benefit that they later receive. Social Security Benefits also max out based on that salary. So if a person pays into SS based on a million dollar a year salary should they receive a SS payment of 20 or 30 thousand dollars a month? Anything else would be the same as was previously discussed. It will become means tested and just another welfare entitlement program.

Ingineer66 said...

That is interesting Rain. My grandmother was born in Oklahoma before white people were allowed to live there. But she came to California in a wagon when she was 3 or 4.

Rain said...

So to protect the richest Americans from paying the payroll tax on more of their income (it has been raised before as to how much income you pay it on-- regularly, I might add), you'd let it fail, ingineer? You'd leave those who depend on it to be without? Do you understand what that would do to this country?

Here's the thing. Inflation has already changed what a dollar means. So the people making say $120,000 a year are living the same lifestyle that they would have lived years back on many less dollars. By not raising the limit, you are effectively ending SS whatever you want to think about it. So how do you deal with the elderly who can no longer work? What's your solution to protect the highest earning Americans from what all the highest earning once paid?

The limit was raised in the past when Americans looked at situations and didn't expect voodoo economics, manna from heaven. Now they do and where will that leave the oldest among us?

I might add that there is a limit to how much money you get anyway from SS; so your fear that somebody won't get the right amount seems a red herring. It's not a lot of money but maybe you don't know that.

What I'd like to see is all government pensions ended and everybody, including Congress, getting the same retirement benefits. I suspect it'd do a lot to fix the SS problem... Right now a lot of folks figure they are immune from the issue. That isn't likely to stay that way if they can get rid of SS.

Ingineer66 said...

I am not against raising the limit. Maybe it should be $250,000 or so. I am just asking what Robert was proposing. Did he want to increase the benefits along with the increase in the tax? Or just have it be another welfare type program. I agree that it should be means tested to save it. And I also agree that the income limits are too low for people that are receiving SS payments. That should be at least $50,000 or more. That way people are not discouraged from working.

Rain said...

Sounds like a plan to me, ingineer. Why can't Congress ever use their commonsense side and that means any of the 'partisan' groups. I would put the cap above $250,000 myself so that it didn't have to be done right away again. With inflation steadily eroding the value of the dollar, it would have to be done again all too soon if they didn't. They could even do a bubble as they did with the Medicare drug benefit and let off the ones making $125,000 from it and put the tax back on at $175,00 or some such figure and keep it there up to $1,000,000. They could explore which would help the economy the most given someone making $120,000 these days isn't as much as it once was. If it was me, I'd not up the pension except by inflation but they are not remotely doing a fair inflation calculation right now to avoid scaring Americans as if you look at what people have to buy which are not DVD players, there is more inflation than they admit. And definitely not punish someone who wants to earn extra money by taking away part of their SS pension.

There is a lot they could do if they didn't, each one and every single political power group, want to hurt the other side more than they want to do the logical thing to help Americans live better lives.

I tend to agree with what Robert in his Skeptic blog said that we are in a transitional time that won't be easy for a lot of people no matter what government does. But it doesn't have to do things to make it worse. Right now that's difficult to assess as each party has their own idea on what is worse.

A good example of this conflict is environment. I think most people, using commonsense, would agree we have to protect the health of the environment and earth because it's where we have to live; but where the argument comes in is whether something is for that or only to hurt someone else. Protecting a three-toed rat by not plowing up a field when there are plenty of two-toed rats(just a fictional example but not far from what happens) doesn't make sense to me anymore than the spotted owl controversy blocking logging when it really was, for the left wing, about stopping logging which is unrealistic as we need logging and logging the Amazon and other rain forests might actually be more harmful to the earth than doing it where the trees easily grow back and it's not going to change a region into a desert. We need building materials and it's not like concrete is without an environmental impact either. There would be ways to protect the environment and recognize government has to do it because only when men band together can they make some of these choices and doing that without making it into something that basically is only about trying to stop growth-- which can't be done until we are hit by plagues, natural disasters or famines and who wants those?!

Rain said...

The other point on keeping the SS pension where it is in terms of what it provides to the receiver is we aren't trying to provide cruises. We are trying to provide basic maintenance and it is possible for a couple to live on what is given now if one is frugal and already has their home paid for. I would keep it at that amount as it's really a safety net for the economy and old folks. Just because someone made a huge salary while working doesn't mean they cannot also live on less if they need to do it.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Igineer66 is right to call me on my facts; when I get in a hurry and pull figures out of my head, my foot goes in my mouth.

From the "Senate Special Committee on Aging" (12 Fixes for Social Security)

"Workers and their employers pay 6.2% of earnings up to $106,800, or as much as $6,622 per year, into the Social Security system. Self-employed workers are required to pay 12.4% of their pay, up to the same cap.

If the contribution rate were increased by to 7.3% of earnings, Social Security's projected deficit would be eliminated.

Ingineer66 said...

Robert I do the same thing sometimes in my haste to type my thoughts. And right now we are not even paying the 6.2% into the system. Obama cut the employee portion to 4.2% to try to create jobs. So it is going broke even faster.

I like the concept of cutting taxes to stimulate economic growth, but a temporary cut for employees with the massive new expenses on the way for employers from Obamacare are not really going to help create permanent jobs.

Ingineer66 said...

Why is it so difficult for Congress to figure out a fix? Robert and I agree on very little politically, but I bet we could sit down and pick parts of 3 of the 12 fixes and solve the problem in an afternoon.