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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Republican suicide begins

Republicans have not enjoyed this much success since 1928.

And Republican Congressman Sam Johnson of Texas has begun the fight to throw all that away with his "conservative" tax-exempt think tank nonsense about Social Security.

I agree with Democrats. Leave Social Security alone. Wait till the crisis arrives before dealing with it. There is no upside to touching it now. Did we not learn that in 2005?


From Yahoo:
On Thursday, Rep. Sam Johnson, a Republican from Texas and chair of the Social Security subcommittee, introduced legislation to significantly cut Social Security.
The bill introduced by Johnson, who was recently acting Chair of the Ways and Means committee, slashes benefits, adds means testing, and would raise the retirement age from 67 to 69.
For most workers, the bill would cut Social Security benefits substantially. As Michael Linden, associate director for tax and budget policy at Center for American Progress, pointed out on Twitter, a letter from Social Security’s Office of the Actuary calculated workers making around $50,000 would see checks shrink by between 11% and 35%.
Nearly every income bracket would see a reduction, save for the very bottom. People making around $12,280 in 2016 who have worked for 30 years would see an increase of around 20%. But young people making the same amount would be hit hard by the changes. If they had 14 years of work experience by 2016, they would see their benefits cut in half.
The plan would also cut entirely cost of living adjustments (COLA) for retirees earning above $85,000.
If nothing happens, Social Security will start to lose its ability to pay benefits in full in the 2030s. However, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo notes that by 2090 it will still be paying at 74%.

Absolutely no.

You did not means test the damned program when I was making $1.30 an hour at 16.

President Trump needs to call this Johnson idiot to Trump Tower and smack some sense into him.


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  1. Will try out entitlement reform the deficit you always rail against will disappear up into the heavens. Whose ox will get gored? Where is the little red hen when you need her? This is just an opening shot anyway. Calm down.

  2. Chile has a good program for their Social Security, I don't know the methods but apparently it is not a drain on the Government budget. Perhaps the smart folks in Con-Gress might study other countries for a better idea of how to repair the mess.

    1. Chile privatized Social Security. It's mandatory, but you own your own money.

    2. Our congress won't adopt Chile's method because that is like our IRA's or 401k's and not available for congress to "borrow." Although from time to time some dem talks about confiscating the IRA's and 401K's to fund social security.

  3. The bigger the Republican party gets, the more odd voices will come out of it. Unlike the Democratic hive mind, the Republican Party actually has some diversity of thought.

    One proposal is not partisan suicide. Note it. Call your favorite congresscritter to kill it. That's part and parcel of the phrase, 'Eternal vigilance..."

  4. Alls I know wife turns 62 next June and I have insisted - nay, DEMANDED - that she file for the SS benefit in January. I called this two years ago. The bastards will do everything they can to reduce or deny the benefit WE PAID FOR our entire working lives so they can hand out food stamps to the 2,000 illegal immigrants a day pouring through the border. I mean, how f---ed up is that? Get it while you still can, is my view...

    And Paul Ryan is probably cool with this horrible idea.

  5. I think this is Ryan's way of trying to undercut Trump.

    Won't work.

  6. One thing they could do is make SS liable on ALL income and not set a cap. I do think a means test may not be a bad idea nor raising the age to 69. Changes for the most part should be for people just getting into the work force.

    1. If the cap isn't there the amount paid out should go on up, too. You would not believe the total amount of taxes I paid during my most productive years. Consider that a physician running two offices as if they were both full time in different towns, with full time staff in both of them, paying in essence in addition to all of their salaries, all of their withholding taxes, and indirectly even all of the income and state taxes that the employees paid because the physician is the source of all that income. Is it any wonder that when the Clintons coma along and tell me that I ain't payin' my fair share that I start shutting down an office and downsizing? Eventually joining a group practice to share expenses? Eventually getting incorporated into one of those university megacorporations where you are nothing but a number and you end up seeing "physician extenders" and gatekeepers ad nauseum before getting access to an expert by which time your problem is harder to deal with than if you had the freedom to decide who you would see in the first place?
      What this all boils down to is that the more you think you know the more you are liable to fool around where you shouldn't and the more likely you are to screw up and the bigger the screw up is.
      Fiddling with stuff got us where we are.
      Surber is right. Let the coming crisis sort it out. If they mess around with it now no one will be listening when the listening becomes of supreme importance.

  7. Maybe Linda McMahon can supply the muscle. Bring in some of the ex-rasslers and hit him (and the other jerks) with a folding chair or apply the sleeper hold or pile driver.

  8. Just five words about SS: "I WANT MY MONEY BACK!!!"

  9. Since I've been drawing Social Security for several years already, I have no problem on removing the cap on FICA tax maximum taxable earnings. If you make more than $118,500 in earned income, your FICA tax stops. Remove that cap. Let the FICA tax continue no matter what you make. Also make it so folks who don't want to collect social security don't have to.
    Those changes would add some solvency to the system.

    1. "make it so folks who don't want to collect social security don't have to."

      No one is forced by the government to collect Social Security. But if you don't sign up, you are not allowed to go on Medicare. Some retirement plans with health benefits, like mine, require retirees to go onto Medicare.

      If SS had originally been proposed as a means tested benefits program, the law would never have passed. Like Obamacare, SS was well intentioned but ignored the real world like some perpetual motion machine. When chickens come home to roost, it's time to slather on the sauce and throw a BBQ.

  10. Most people, apparently including Sam Johnson, have no idea how SS benefits are actually computed. The formula relating benefits to contributions seems to be a well kept secret. In any case, the benefits are already "means tested" in the sense that low income earners get higher benefits relative to their contributions than do high income earners. As your lifetime earnings go up, your benefits increase much more slowly, i.e., benefits are already heavily weighted in favor of the lifetime low income earners.

    When SS was first passed, the standard retirement age was 65 and the median life span was 72. What that meant is that the typical SS beneficiary stayed only 7 years on SS. The system was designed so that half the people died before they collected in benefits what they had put in, with nominal interest on their contributions, while half the beneficiaries lived beyond the age of 72 and thus collected more than they put in. These days, the normal retirement age for SS is 67 or 68, but the median life span is 82, which means that half of all SS beneficiaries can stay more than 15 years on SS while collecting benefits, i.e., twice as long as was originally forecast. Add to that the fact that the number of active workers per retiree is now much less than was the case back when SS was first started and you can see that there is no way SS can be stabilized without some major changes, including possible privatization of the entire program. At minimum, both the early and normal SS retirement ages for future generations of Americans need to be raised substantially, the normal retirement age to 75 and the early retirement age to 72. Anything less is destined to fail in keeping SS solvent.

    1. I'm afraid you've been misled. That isn't how it happened. When Social Security began, it operated like every other Annuity program, and guaranteed a set rate of return on the investment. The deal was the government would invest the money and would pay it back with interest, while using excess interest to pay the expenses of the program. From the original Act: "Such investment may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States."

      Further, the Act makes no mention of "Life expectancy", and clearly accounts for differing amounts paid in as a ratio of the amount earned by beneficiary since passage of the Social Security Act and before he turned 65.

      The government had to refund any balance due to the Estate of any person who died before collecting, or before receiving the full amount they were eligible for. That's also where the SS "Death Benefit" started.

      Conversely, if anyone collected more than they were entitled to (Sec. 206."Overpayments During Life"), their estate was obligated to repay the US government after their death. This prevented the Social Security agency from ever paying out more than any beneficiary was entitled to - no matter how long the person lived.

      Prior to the Federal SS program, the various states individually provided for destitute elderly people with "Old Age Pensions" which were often funded by a sales tax percentage. These programs worked fine, and provided for stability in residence in order to collect. When the Feds took it over, it was another method of eroding State sovereignty through federal overreach.

  11. You have to wait for a crisis, because when you have a crisis you find that there is the political will to do whatever those who appear calm and have a plan want to do, while all opposition is self-muted. Never let such a crisis go to waste, a man once said.

    -Mikey NTH

  12. The Republicans are giving Dims talking points. Those mean spirited nasty Republicans want to starve old people. Looking for places to cut? Howza 'bout salaries of Congresscritters? They have 12 months to pass a budget and they can't even do that! Talk about incompetence.

  13. You want me pissed instantly then just suggest means-testing (more than already occurs) to me. When you say "means-test" I hear "you're not getting shit, but we'll let you pay for the people who are "less fortunate."

  14. Further to my above comment on Social Security's founding as an ordinary Annuity investment, lest we be misled: here is a, actuarial chart from the SSA through 2006 showing how the Social Security Trust Fund has been overfunded - often vastly so - every year since inception except for 12 years, 8 of which were during dire financial crises in the US: only in 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982 did the Social Security Administration pay out more than it received in both workers' investments (ie FICA "tax") and interest on the accumulated funds.

    While it is possible that President Obama's "payroll tax reduction" for several years to make people think their incomes were increasing, may have created another brief imbalance, such an imbalance is artificial at worse, and should not be included in any calculation of the genuine health of this investment fund.

  15. They are not called the stupid party for nothing. And if they keep this up they will be nothing.

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