More of This, Please (SocSec edition)

I really like the analogy Bob Herbert uses in his latest NYTimes column to rebut the catfood-commissioners “Raising False Alarms“:

When you see surveillance videos of some creep mugging an elderly person in an elevator or apartment lobby, the universal reaction is outrage. But when the fat cats and the ideologues want to hack away at the lifeline of Social Security, they are treated somehow as respectable, even enlightened members of the society.
__
We need a reality check. Attacking Social Security is both cruel and unnecessary. It needs to stop.
[…]
__
“If we didn’t have Social Security, we’d have to invent it right now,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “It’s perfectly suited to the terrible times we’re going through. Hardly anyone has pensions anymore. People’s private savings have taken a huge hit, and home prices have been hit hard. So the private savings that so many seniors and soon-to-be seniors have counted on have just been wiped out.
__
“Social Security is still there, and it’s still paying out retirement benefits indexed to wages. It’s the one part of the retirement stool that is working.”
__
The deficit hawks and the right-wingers can scream all they want, but there is no Social Security crisis. There is a foreseeable problem with the program’s long-term financing, but it can be fixed with changes that do no harm to its elderly beneficiaries. One obvious step would be to raise the cap on payroll taxes so that wealthy earners shoulder a fairer share of the burden…
__
The folks who want to raise the retirement age and hack away at benefits for ordinary working Americans are inevitably those who have not the least worry about their own retirement. The haves so often get a perverse kick out of bullying the have-nots.

This would be an excellent column to forward to all those Facebook friends and teabagged relatives, IMO.






81 replies
  1. 1
    aimai says:

    You know if we didn’t have social security for the general fund to borrow money from we wouldn’t have had all that god damned money to play around with over the last forty years. No social security fund *no slush fund*.

    I wish Obama would lean forward and say “Americans paid for their social security benefits in advance, and they are going to get every penny they put in and every penny of interest they deserve.” Of course, I wish a lot of things.

    aimai

  2. 2
    aimai says:

    Sorry, more than forty years.

  3. 3
    Scott says:

    I wish Obama would lean forward and say “Americans paid for their social security benefits in advance, and they are going to get every penny they put in and every penny of interest they deserve.”

    “And we’re not going to force them to wait longer to get their money back either. They can retire at 65, same as always. That’s what we agreed to, and we’re sticking with the deal.”

    Of course, I wish a lot of things.

    Yeah, you and me both. :(

  4. 4
    Bill says:

    This would be an excellent column to forward to all those Facebook friends and teabagged relatives, IMO

    Only if they actually cared…

  5. 5
    Xenos says:

    WaPo is reporting that Obama will reject any increase in retirement age or decrease in benefits in the SOTU tonight. It amounts to a flat refusal to accept the false assumptions that the Catfood Commission based their report on.

    Very good news, if true.

  6. 6

    its all fun and games until they mix rahm and koch, then assume the crash positions, and kiss your asses goodbye.

  7. 7
    SFAW says:

    You bleedin’ hearts need to have a reality check.

    Old people don’t like eating cat food? Tough. Let them work for their food, just like everyone else.

    Sorry. I was going to write more, taking up the Galtian call-to-arms or some such, but my brain threatened to shut down if I tried it.

    Some semi-recent philosopher – Rawls, maybe? – had a test of sorts. I think it was something similar to having the “haves” switch places with the “have nots”, and see how much they liked the result of their policies towards the “have nots”. It would be interesting to see what would happen if such a switcheroo really took place.

  8. 8
    SFAW says:

    its all fun and games until they mix rahm and koch,

    Thanks, that was almost as good as “the trite man’s burden”.

  9. 9
    Lee says:

    I don’t remember where I read it but there is a very simple method to ‘fix’ Social Security that none of the villagers seems to want to talk about.

    Just raise (or remove) the ceiling on SS tax. Currently it is set at the absurdly low amount of $100k. So any amount over $100k that someone makes they do not pay any SS tax.

  10. 10
    Luci says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Bob Herbert rocks!! He is straightforward, speaks truth, and he writes about stuff that needs saying! Any poll I’ve seen says that most people do not want to cut Social Security, and frankly, I think it would be disaster if they do. I hope this scares people enough that they think about it in the 2012 election. :-s

  11. 11

    I see anti-Social Security people make the argument that old people don’t need Social Security because they are the age group with the lowest poverty rate of any cohort in America.

    Of course, before Social Security, they were the cohort with the highest poverty rate in America.

    When you’re a right-winger, those agencies and programs that actually work are much worse than those that do not, and thus become much bigger targets, because they undermine your ideological line of bull.

  12. 12
    Suck It Up! says:

    Keep going after Obama on Social Security instead of going after and exposing Republicans. Some on the left do this stupid shit all the fucking time.

  13. 13
    Ija says:

    Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t have been clearer about the crucial role of the payroll taxes used to finance Social Security. They gave the beneficiaries a “legal, moral and political right” to collect their benefits, he said. “With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my Social Security program.”

    This is why I don’t understand all the hate directed towards SS. People pay taxes, they get back something in return. No one is stealing other people’s hard-earned money here. The government is not extorting you of your rightful properties and giving it to someone else.

    OOT, but ED Kain has descended from heaven to bless us with his thoughts on the fetus = slave analogy. Not here at his fake home, but at his real home. Shorter Kain: It’s a bad analogy but I know why pro-lifers use it. There’s nothing else in the world, no other comparison in the whole wide world except for the Holocaust that they can use to show how abominable abortion is (“a calamity of truly epic scope”).

  14. 14
    SFAW says:

    Keep going after Obama on Social Security instead of going after and exposing Republicans. Some on the left do this stupid shit all the fucking time

    Might have something to do with the idea/belief that the Rethugs will only tell libs (and real moderates) to go fuck themselves (in other words, can’t be influenced), whereas Obama might listen and actually attempt to do something about it.

    “Exposing” Republicans doesn’t seem to have worked especially well.

  15. 15
    Joe F says:

    As a huge proponent of SS, allow me to at least point out two misconceptions in framing the debate:

    First, SS is NOT separate from our deficit issues, not because the money it takes from our Treasury, but rather because of the money it deprives our Treasury. by mandating contributions to a national pension plan, it takes nearly half of our tax payers off the hook for paying for the rest of government services, so only half the country pay for all discretionary spending.

    Second, while raising the cap on taxable income for the payroll tax, it is not hitting the super rich, but rather those who make between 100k and 200k. not exactly the poor of this country, but not the super rich either, so the added burden would be borne by the upper middle class, not the upper class of income earners.

    I dont believe in reducing benefit and agree that the problems are ultimately solvable, but it is intellectually dishonest to say that SS does not have an impact on our overall budget woes. it does because it relieves half of our population from contributing to the cost of the rest of government. if there were no payroll tax, every tax payer would be contributing to the general fund and our finances would be substantially different.

    again, not suggesting that it should not be this way, but to claim that SS is revenue neutral is just not the case

  16. 16

    @Suck It Up!:

    Keep going after Obama on Social Security instead of going after and exposing Republicans.

    Who are you talking to?

    Some on the left do this stupid shit all the fucking time.

    Yes, they do, and it is both harmful to the left, and annoying – but that doesn’t appear to be happening here.

    There needs to be a recognition that there is a difference between talking about how Obama should approach the fight, and accusing him of being on the other side. Nobody has done the latter on this thread, so hold your fire.

  17. 17

    @Joe F:

    First, SS is NOT separate from our deficit issues, not because the money it takes from our Treasury, but rather because of the money it deprives our Treasury. by mandating contributions to a national pension plan, it takes nearly half of our tax payers off the hook for paying for the rest of government services, so only half the country pay for all discretionary spending.

    Nonsense.

    Approximately $2,300,000,000,000 in Social Security taxes have been shifted into the general fund over the years, to pay for “the rest of government services.”

    “As a huge proponent of SS,” you should know that.

  18. 18
    Ija says:

    @Joe F:

    .. by mandating contributions to a national pension plan, it takes nearly half of our tax payers off the hook for paying for the rest of government services, so only half the country pay for all discretionary spending.

    Okay, talk to me like I am stupid. Well, I am stupid on this topic. Are you saying that only the money collected from payroll tax are used to pay for government services? What happens to the money from income tax, corporate tax, “death” tax, tax that is only there to punish our Galtian overlords, etc etc? And that only half the country pay payroll tax? Only half the country is employed?

    This can’t be true, right? I’m not just being exceedingly stupid?

  19. 19
    Napoleon says:

    There is a great reason to “let the Republicans off the hook” and to go after Dems on the issue of SS. Lowering benefits or raising the retirement age is very unpopular with the public, and so long as Dems stand as a block against those changes, even if they are in the minority, the Republicans will either not be able to make the changes on their own or have the cover of bipartisanship to make such an unpopular change and therefore will not. So in this case the Dem rank and file can achieve their goal with the politicians that rely on our votes, the Dems.

  20. 20

    Ija,

    He’s saying that only half the country pays the federal income tax, which is true, and concluding that, therefore, only half the country pays for discretionary government services (that is, everything except SS and Medicare).

    Of course, the huge amounts of money transfered from the Social Security Trust Fund to the General Fund belie this argument.

  21. 21
    cleek says:

    @Joe F:

    it does because it relieves half of our population from contributing to the cost of the rest of government. if there were no payroll tax, every tax payer would be contributing to the general fund

    huh?

    how does the payroll tax “relieve” anybody from paying any other tax ?

  22. 22
    SFAW says:

    huh?

    cleek, cleek, cleek (shakes head sadly and sighs disappointedly).

    You couldn’t figure that out? (shakes head sadly again)

  23. 23
    cleek says:

    @SFAW:
    not just me. if there’s a way i can be relieved of paying taxes, i want my accountant to know about it!

  24. 24
    Ija says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Oh, he’s saying that poor people who don’t pay federal income tax are leaches who are sucking the life blood of society. Got that. I was confused for a second there. The guy sounds so reasonable and so darn smart, you know. I was suckered into his argument.

    ETA: Or her. Sexist to assume that a douchebag must be a guy.

  25. 25
    Mike in NC says:

    The deficit hawks and the right-wingers can scream all they want, but there is no Social Security crisis. There is a foreseeable problem with the program’s long-term financing, but it can be fixed with changes that do no harm to its elderly beneficiaries.

    In the weeks leading up to the 2010 midterm elections, the RNCC was running dishonest TV ads about how “Social Security was bankrupt” and only voting Republican would solve the crisis. Seems they conned a lot of gullible seniors with that lie.

  26. 26
    SFAW says:

    not just me. if there’s a way i can be relieved of paying taxes, i want my accountant to know about it!

    Hey, let me know too. ‘Cause I had a tough time parsing his banter (in case that wasn’t already obvious).

  27. 27
    jibeaux says:

    If you’ve ever spent any time talking to wingers, you know that “half the country pays no taxes” is a fav-o-rite topic of theirs. They are referring to the fact that due to federal income tax deductions and credits and shamefully low wages, there is a large chunk of the population whose “only” taxes are payroll taxes, state & local taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, and vice taxes. I usually say that I fully support a sufficient increase in wages to allow more folks to have taxable income in excess of their deductions and credits. Naturally, when they are referring to their own tax burden, they are careful to discuss only their effective federal income tax rate in order to keep the conversation oranges to oranges. They would never say anything like “I pay half of my income in taxes”, a figure apparently derived from combining the top MARGINAL tax rate and adding in every other conceivable tax under the sun.

  28. 28
    SFAW says:

    combining the top MARGINAL tax rate

    Well, they pay the top rate on all their income. Or so they tell me. And that’s why Going Galt! is such a great idea for them.

  29. 29
    jibeaux says:

    @SFAW:

    If there’s one thing that I put on my Old Man Shaking His Fist At the Kids On His Lawn hat for, it’s that How To Fill Out A 1040 And What It Basically Means isn’t taught in high school. There’s no reason why so many people of normal intelligence and education and uncomplicated taxes should be going to a strip mall tax preparer to figure out what their standard-deduction nothing-complicated tax bill should be. And there’s no reason why so very many people have no clue what the difference is between a marginal rate and an effective rate.

  30. 30
    SFAW says:

    And there’s no reason why so very many people have no clue what the difference is between a marginal rate and an effective rate.

    Well, there is a reason, but it’s not what you (i.e. a rational individual) want to hear. (Not slamming or snarking you, by the way.)

  31. 31
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Ija: He’s referring to those who make so little income they don’t pay income tax. Like my friend who for years made $6-7,000 a year. Paid no income tax. But he did pay SS payroll taxes.

    Let me also remind people that people getting UI benefits do pay federal income tax and probably in most cases, state income taxes. Their SS records reflect no payments to the SS system.

  32. 32
    satby says:

    Posted on FB, but honestly, it’s like pissing in the wind sometimes. I try to educate my little corner of the universe, and they comment on snow and puppy pics.

  33. 33
    SFAW says:

    and they comment on snow and puppy pics.

    And why exactly do you hate puppies?

  34. 34

    @Ija:

    Oh, he’s saying that poor people who don’t pay federal income tax are leaches who are sucking the life blood of society.

    LOL, we want to take money from people like Joe the Plumber and give it to the welfare class. I call not-racist! Lol.

    Well, maybe he’s saying this, maybe not. I don’t see any reason to make that jump. Best just to rebut his point about taxation.

  35. 35
    cleek says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    that doesn’t explain :

    “it relieves half of our population from contributing to the cost of the rest of government.”

    by what mechanism does paying payroll tax relieve one of paying any other tax ?

    what actually relieves people from paying income tax is the fact that they don’t make enough money to hit the bottom of the lowest bracket (or, if they do, credits offset what they paid). payroll tax isn’t part of that.

  36. 36
    jibeaux says:

    @SFAW:

    See, if we taught people in a class how to fill out a 1040, then at the end we could teach them quite easily about effective tax rates — they could just divide their income into what their tax bill ended up being, and voila. Compare that to the marginal rates of the different brackets. Have conversation about how if your top marginal rate is 25% that your effective tax rate might still be 12% or whatever. Math! Logic! Practical skills!
    I’m just saying, in high school I spent an ENTIRE YEAR TYPING. We got into, like, how to draft a formal letter to the undersecretary of a foreign ambassador. We can make time for this.

  37. 37
    Xenos says:

    @jibeaux: Turbotax does this. Last time I used it I found I had a marginal rate of 25% and an effective rate of 11%. Now if I had thought my effective tax rate was the same as my marginal rate I would have been freaking out about underwithholding, calculating penalties, and so on.

    I am nearly innumerate, too.

  38. 38
    RalfW says:

    This would be an excellent column to forward to all those Facebook friends and teabagged relatives

    Um, its written by a black man and in the NY Times. What teabagger is gonna care one iota about it? I think the commentary is spot on, I’m just sayin’, y’know, they’ll consider the source.

  39. 39
    SFAW says:

    Math! Logic! Practical skills! … We can make time for this.

    EDIT: We can, but educating the masses is not part of the right-wing ethos. (Unless they go to private school or religious school or whatever – anything but public ejokashun!)

  40. 40
    jwest says:

    This may be a waste of time, but it might be helpful if someone brings a few facts into this discussion.

    First off, no one is suggesting eliminating or lowering (meaning paying less than is currently being paid) Social Security. There has been discussion of slowing the rate of growth in benefits, which is necessary to bring equilibrium between income and outlays.

    Raising the retirement age is also on the table, along with means testing.

    As to privatization, besides being sound fiscally it is more a matter of combating the rampant racism of the left. African Americans pay into the system their entire working life, but due to genetic and lifestyle differences, black males die far earlier than white females.

    Life expectancy for black and white men and women was as follows:
    • Black male: 69.8 years
    • White male: 75.7 years
    • Black female: 76.5 years
    • White female: 80.8 years

    What this means is that after working 45 years and retiring at 65, a black male can look forward to 4 years of payments prior to his death. The balance of his hard-earned funds are funneled to white women living in Miami in order to buy votes for the democrat party. If a privatized system were in place, his heirs would inherit the few hundred thousand in the account and have the means to take the first step toward building wealth.

    How do liberals live with themselves in the face of this injustice?

  41. 41
    PurpleGirl says:

    @cleek: I took that to be, again, referring to those who make too little to pay income tax. I didn’t read him as saying that paying the payroll absolved them from paying income tax (or any other tax). Maybe that’s just me interpolating what I know into what he said.

  42. 42
    satby says:

    Remember that “1/2 the country not paying taxes” (and is there really documentation on that?) includes people whose income comes from other than a job. Warren Buffet famously said once that he paid less taxes than his secretary

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @jwest: Means testing turns it into a welfare program, which FDR rightly feared could and would be cut or payout pitiful amounts. (May I remind you of the great Clinton success in the 90s that changed the face of welfare. Do you really want that to happen to retirement benefits.) That is still the reason not to means test, especially now that so few companies pay private pensions and the stock market is no guarantee of assets. For that you just have to see what happened to many people’s 401(k) or 403(b) accounts — they lost massive amounts of money in the crash. And so many people had to turn to their retirement accounts when their unemployment benefits ran out or were too little to live on. (For example, I’ve taken out all that I could from my 403(b) and now there is only administrative cost amounts left in it. Unless I get a very, very good job, there is no way I’m replacing that money any time soon.)

  44. 44
    satby says:

    @jwest: How do you live with your idiocy?
    Because “privatizing” and his heirs would inherit” assumes that the kleptocracy would leave some sort of crumbs in his investments. Have you looked at the average value of most 401Ks over the last 10 years?

  45. 45
    Xenos says:

    @jwest:

    How do liberals live with themselves in the face of this injustice?

    Because it is a social insurance program, not a retirement savings program. Also, in order to compare and contrast accurately, you need to look at the life expectancy of SS contributors, not people as a whole.

    The solution is to find ways to bring up AA life expectancy a few years, not to throw out a well-run and solvent social insurance program.

  46. 46
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Xenos: The solution is to find ways to bring up AA life expectancy a few years…

    Yes, this is an important point. One solution would be universal health care so that people get the care they need and don’t die of preventable conditions like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Conditions that so many do not take care of because they can’t afford the medical care and medicines.

  47. 47
    jwest says:

    Purple Girl,

    I’m not advocating means testing, just saying its part of the discussion. Under a privatized system, you would have control instead of the class warriors who want to steal from you to buy votes from others.

  48. 48
    jwest says:

    @Xenos: The solution is to find ways to bring up AA life expectancy a few years…

    Spoken like someone enjoying the good life in Miami on the backs of minorities.

  49. 49
    Ija says:

    @jwest:

    Under a privatized system, you would have control instead of the class warriors who want to steal from you to buy votes from others.

    LOL. Usually the talking point is class warrior who wants to steal from rich (read: white) people to give money to lazy poor (read: black) people. This is pretty creative, SS is stealing money from black people to give to white people. Is this part of the African American outreach program the Republicans is undertaking? What’s the matter, that “abortion = slavery, so black people should not vote for Democrats” thing not working out so well for you guys?

  50. 50
    PurpleGirl says:

    @jwest: Well, it shouldn’t be part of the discussion. There are good reasons not to construct the program with means testing.

    As to privatizing it: how do you guarantee benefits, what kind of system do you recommend (investment, savings, what)? Making SS private is not a magic action. Do you know what savings accounts pay in interest these days? Under 1% per year. And how does someone who makes minimum wage manage to save money… they can’t. So do they then have to apply for welfare to supplement the amounts they saved?

    Assuming you have a 401(k)/403(b): Did it survive the crash, did it lose money? All my friends lost money in their accounts.

  51. 51
    jwest says:

    Purple Girl,

    Every privatized system proposed so far has strict rules as to what type of investments can be made at what age. Most allow a higher percentage of an account to be placed in stocks during the early years, then phased into bonds and other safe investments as the person nears retirement.

    Even if a privatized system was set up that allowed only U.S. government bonds to purchased from the start, the primary basis of the plan would still be that it is the individual’s money, not the government’s.

  52. 52
    ericblair says:

    @jwest:

    What this means is that after working 45 years and retiring at 65, a black male can look forward to 4 years of payments prior to his death.

    Except you’ve forgotten about spousal benefits, widow benefits, children’s benefits, and any disability benefits that also are part of Social Security. Since you’re so solicitous of the plight of the African American man, have you asked many what they think of SS privatization?

    Nice that we’ve decided that the main problem facing the US black population isn’t discrimination, crime, or poverty, it’s rate of return on social security. I’m sure they’ll be relieved.

  53. 53
    PurpleGirl says:

    My TIAA-CREF account was in safe investments, it was in the risk-adverse category. IT STILL LOST MONEY in 2008. And since I’ve had to take that money out because my UI ran out, it’s now gone. And privatized programs don’t help people who do not make enough to save or invest. (Hell, they don’t make enough to live on decently).

    “Private” is not magic.

  54. 54
    Maude says:

    @jwest:
    Where have you been? Do you remember 2008 when the market melted down? Do you know what would happen to an account that was in that market?
    You don’t seem to understand what Social Security is at all.

  55. 55
    jwest says:

    Eric,

    If you’re happy with a system that steals from those with the least, I guess that’s your business. I, on the other hand, believe that most AA families will be able to see the benefits of being entitled to the full amount they paid in over a lifetime of labor.

    Purple Girl,

    The market lost money in 2008, but it made it back over the past two years. No matter. Like I pointed out, you could have a privatized system that only invests in U.S. savings bonds. The return would be just as good as SS, but you would own it.

  56. 56
    Xenos says:

    @jwest:

    Spoken like someone enjoying the good life in Miami on the backs of minorities.

    What the fuck is that supposed to mean, punk?

  57. 57
    Rock says:

    @jwest:

    There has been discussion of slowing the rate of growth in benefits, which is necessary to bring equilibrium between income and outlays.

    This sentence is a work of art. First, it assumes a conclusion — that decelerating benefit growth is necessary to balance income and outlays. In fact, that is not the only option. It is also possible to balance these by increasing income (i.e. tax more). If we are all being open-minded here surely that’s on the table.

    Also, the rate of growth in benefits is driven by cost of living increases. If you decrease COLA adjustments, you are actually decreasing benefits in real dollars. Benefit growth isn’t driven by a government whim to keep giving away more money to undeserving people, it’s driven by the desire to provide SS benefits at a rate to allow people to contnue to purchase food and shelter.

  58. 58
    PIGL says:

    @jwest: the only class warriors are deceivors such as yourself, and your masters who wish only to pillage the last remaining pool of funds left in the country.

    Go DIAF.

  59. 59
    Rock says:

    @jwest:

    Even if a privatized system was set up that allowed only U.S. government bonds to purchased from the start, the primary basis of the plan would still be that it is the individual’s money, not the government’s.

    Except for the portion of the money paid in management fees to the firm handling the private accounts. That money would no longer be the individuals money. And if government bonds are the only investment allowed, why would we need a private form to do that? That’s horribly inefficient.

    If you want to argue that people should keep their own money, abolishing SS is a legitimate argument to make. People can then take the money that would have been taxed and invest however they will. But “privatization” plans don’t do that. What they do is confiscate money and funnel it to an approved list of private investment companies and a limited set of investment choices, with management fees flowing to the investment companies.

    Personally, I like the idea of SS — you get to put money into a solid assured return investment which is a difficult option to find. It provides diversification, rather than having everything tied up in the stock market. But if we want to argue about how people should own their own money, abolishing SS is the way to go and I would prefer that any day over private accounts.

  60. 60
    jwest says:

    Xenos,

    You would think that after liberals made the Faustian bargain with the teacher’s unions to trade the education of inner-city children for votes, that would have been enough. But apparently, you and your cohorts in the democrat party want more.

    The generational theft you support is unconscionable. When looked at objectively, how could the KKK design a plan more devastating to blacks than the Social Security program? You should spend the rest of your life going from city to city apologizing to each African American you see.

  61. 61
    ericblair says:

    @jwest:

    If you’re happy with a system that steals from those with the least, I guess that’s your business. I, on the other hand, believe that most AA families will be able to see the benefits of being entitled to the full amount they paid in over a lifetime of labor.

    And the AA man’s little old widow who lives to 97 and outlives their savings? Tough luck, huh?

    Of course we can avoid this by making the beneficiaries purchase a lifetime COI-indexed annuity with survivorship and children’s benefits at retirement age. This is, of course, on top of the mandate to buy US treasuries in the privatized accounts. So we’ll have a system that buys US treasuries and gives a COI-indexed lifetime benefit after retirement. So, um, this is different than social security how exactly? Oh right, so a bunch of financial companies can skim off the top for decades. Gotcha.

  62. 62
    elm says:

    BJ has finally gotten some decent trolls. It’s about time.

  63. 63
    jwest says:

    Elm,

    The minute he misses a payment, I’m gone.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Uriel says:

    @jwest:

    Life expectancy for black and white men and women was as follows:
    •Black male: 69.8 years…
    What this means is that after working 45 years and retiring at 65, a black male can look forward to 4 years of payments

    What a surprise!Someone blathering away on the internet who has no idea what they’re talking about!

    Here’s the thing, pal- your entire argument is based on a wildly wrong premise- that life expectancy at birth is the same as life expectancy at 65. It isn’t. See, life expectancy at birth factors in your likelihood of probability of dying at 6 months, 1 year old, 5 years old, 45 years old, ect.

    Thing is once you make it to, say 30, your likelihood of dying at ages 0-29 drops to exactly zero. You can’t go back in time and die of pnumonia at 10 once you’ve actually turned 11.

    How does this affect things? Well since you’ve factored out all those young deaths, your life expectancy in total age will now be increased!

    For example, a black male in 2003 had a life expectancy of 69 at birth- but at age 30, that life expectancy grows to 71! And it continues, as your ability to die at younger ages becomes zero.

    So, for, lets say, the black man retiring in 2003, the actual figures for life expectancy would be- 79.9! Why, that’s almost fifteen years of payments! While the white woman in question has only gained 3.5 years since birth, leaving her with an 83.5-

    And white males (the real apples to apples comparison)? Why at 65 their life expectancy is a whopping 2 years longer!

    In fact, if they both males make it to 85, the situation reverses. At that age, black males actually can be expected to live longer than white males.

    Don’t believe me? Take a look at the table on page 33 here:

    http://aging.senate.gov/crs/aging1.pdf

    See, sometimes it helps to know a little something about the subject at hand before spouting off. But, I know, basic demography is hard and not nearly as fun as running your mouth.

  66. 66
    Xenos says:

    @jwest: I used to be an administrator for a SSDI-based program in northern Florida. There were lots of working class black men who were disabled by their early 50s by a life of hard labor. They may not have lived as long as your typical white-collar worker, but they often got just as many years’ worth of benefits.

    And again, it is a social insurance program, not a retirement program. We have some perfectly good retirement programs out there for those with enough surplus income to save for retirement. You can not compare them to SS, as they are different kinds of programs with different roles and standards.

  67. 67
    Uriel says:

    (And, in b4- yes, I simplified the issues involved somewhat, I know.)

  68. 68
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @Xenos:

    WaPo is reporting that Obama will reject any increase in retirement age or decrease in benefits in the SOTU tonight. It amounts to a flat refusal to accept the false assumptions that the Catfood Commission based their report on.
    ..
    Very good news, if true.

    If I may invoke the dreaded 11D chess here, it’s damn brilliant. Assemble a coalition of people you know are gonna come up with ideas your average Joe or Jane will not like, than in the most public speech of the year say that you will not be using those ideas. And then all the nervous people go ‘That Obama, he’s looking out for us, he won’t let anyone mess with our SS’.

    Don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but it’s awesome.

  69. 69
    Brian says:

    Hi all. Any discussion based on the solvency of Social Security, or the need to tax to pay for it, is based on a misunderstanding of how Federal spending actually works. The Feds do not tax or borrow to raise revenue so they can spend it. It is NOT analogous, despite the innumerable attempts by all sides to do so, to personal spending. You have to make dollars because that is the only way you can pay for things (even if you use credit, your obligations are still in dollars). You do not “make” dollars, you earn them. The Feds “make” dollars, in other words, their debt is denominated in currency they produce. Therefore, Federal spending is NOT constrained, at least operationally, by having dollars to spend. They can just “print money,” although this is a misleading term. The best analogy I have seen is to the scoreboard at a sporting event. The goals or runs or points don’t come from anywhere. They’re just put there by computer. This is how the Federal government (states are different) spends. Even Mr. Herbert, who makes an excellent moral/social argument, misses this fact. Now, before you freak out, I am NOT arguing that from a holistic, pragmatic point of view that we can spend without taxing or issuing debt. The reasons for that, however, are not directly related to the ability to pay on the part of the Feds. They have, strictly speaking, unlimited ability to pay. One of the obvious dangers of this kind of spending is inflation, but no serious economist argues that we are headed towards inflation. The idea of generational theft stated by someone above is also nonsense, but that is another topic…

  70. 70
    jwest says:

    Uriel,

    That was an amazingly cogent argument, for a liberal.

    I would counter that life expectancy at birth is the more relevant figure based on the fact that the more generalized number takes into account early deaths. Money paid into the SS system by a black worker who dies at 58 is essentially lost to the mar gong players at Boca del Rio.

    Black males have a tendency to die earlier because of factors such as hypertension, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, etc.

    Either way, the current system screws them.

  71. 71
    PIGL says:

    @jwest: @jwest: what are you still doing here? I thought I told you go DIAF.

    (Looks around for a hammer of smiting)

    Life expectency at birth don’t enter into it, as was clearly demonstated above. If you spoke of life-expentency at entry to work force, you might have a point. But then you’d have to account for all the non-lillied people who never work proper jobs because of jail terms and whatnot. In other words you’d have to account for expected earnings and payments in and out.

    You’re simply lying and/or trolling….peddling the old “Democrats are the real rascists” line.

  72. 72
    PurpleGirl says:

    Black males have a tendency to die earlier because of factors such as hypertension, heart disease, AIDS, diabetes, etc.

    I will say it again: These issues could be better handled by a better health care system that permitted all people to get the care they need for exactly those conditions. And they’d live better and longer lives.

  73. 73
    jwest says:

    PIGL,

    You can try to muddle the main point as much as possible, but the obvious fact is that black males die sooner than white females. This being the case, Social Security is a wealth transfer scam from the poorest section of society to the richest.

    Liberals need to realize that a great deal of the programs they support cause immeasurable harm to the people they intended to help. Instead of admitting to errors and fixing what is wrong, they continue on regardless of the poverty and misery left in their wake.

  74. 74
    jwest says:

    Purple Girl,

    As an advocate of better healthcare, you must be a big supporter of government-run Death Panels, as I am.

    Unless wasteful spending that consumes over 60% of the total healthcare dollars on procedures to extend the last few months of life is reduced, proper care for the vast majority of the population will suffer.

  75. 75
    scarshapedstar says:

    It’s the one part of the retirement stool that is working.

    And if there’s one thing retirees need help with, it’s their stools.

  76. 76
    scarshapedstar says:

    You can try to muddle the main point as much as possible, but the obvious fact is that black males die sooner than white females.

    Liberals need to realize that a great deal of the programs they support cause immeasurable harm to the people they intended to help.

    Fuck off and die. Not gonna mince words here. I work in a free clinic for the poor/homeless, and the majority of the patients are black males with hypertension and diabetes. We treat them as best we can but we can only afford older medications. The health care system is the problem, and eliminating SS taxes will not help the poor afford it.

    Not social security. Come work a few shifts, see what we deal with, and then explain to me how it’s all the fault of Grandma’s SS check.

    I mean, really, what the fuck?

  77. 77
    scarshapedstar says:

    Wait, now it all makes sense. If we got rid of Social Security, then poor people could afford to buy a Prius; therefore, Social Security is the cause of global warming!

  78. 78
    jwest says:

    Scarshapedstar,

    Reading comprehension must not be a prerequisite for clinic workers.

    Go back, take your time and try to pick up on the gist of the conversation. (Hint – It has nothing to do Grandma’s Social Security check affecting the drugs you use for black patients)

  79. 79
    elm says:

    @jwest: I didn’t say I thought you were worth paying for, just better than the status quo.

  80. 80
    mrmobi says:

    …Social Security is a wealth transfer scam from the poorest section of society to the richest.

    Nice crocodile tears there, jwest, I did not know that all white people were rich, thanks for clarifying that! I’m going to go check my bank account, there must have been some error.

    You must be laboring under the impression that people here don’t understand that your protests on behalf of the African American community are wholly disingenuous. The fact that you keep repeatedly making this point is pure “meethinks the lady doth protest too much.”

    As an advocate of better healthcare, you must be a big supporter of government-run Death Panels, as I am.

    Unless wasteful spending that consumes over 60% of the total healthcare dollars on procedures to extend the last few months of life is reduced, proper care for the vast majority of the population will suffer.

    Only a troll would demagogue a change in policy which actually begins to address end-of-life issues by calling it a “death panel.” Of course, the government funding for these end-of-life counseling sessions with physicians is a Republican idea, as are many others in the final bill passed last year. Even so, it couldn’t garner even a single Republican vote. Why, you ask? The answer, as Anthony Weiner likes to say, is that “the Republican Party is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Health Insurance Industry.”

    Your creepy concern for people of color doesn’t change the fact that there wouldn’t be any kind of health care reform if Republicans had been in charge of the last congress. You going after Social Security here by falsely claiming it is racist proves it must be doing what it was intended to do, which is keep lower-income retirees out of poverty. That wouldn’t fit with your philosophy of “dog-eat-dog,” would it?

  81. 81
    jwest says:

    Mrmobi,

    By “Death Panels”, I am referring to groups of people who make decisions on which procedures to pay for and which to refuse. In the private insurance industry, these panels are made up of company executives. For Medicare and Medicaid, they are composed of bureaucrats.

    Since I believe preventive and normal health care should be paid for directly from the patient to the provider through health savings accounts, I am not a supporter of insurance companies. I also believe catastrophic care should be paid for through Medicare as a government-run single payer system.

    Since the only way a catastrophic government-run single payer system would work is by having rational Death Panel decisions, I support those panels.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

Comments are closed.