Forum Thread

Social Security

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  • Democrat
    Illinois
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    Social Security was invented in Germany during a deep depression , caused in the late 1800's by the same organizations that created this deep recession . Social Security was invented to improve economic conditions in Germany and every other nation copied Germany's Social Security during depressions . Social Security makes it possible for the elder workers of leave the finite numbers of jobs in the work force and open jobs for the emerging youth . Which is the most important aspect of any economy .

    The only nation on this planet with a political party that advocates destruction of their Social Security program is the USA . Something that would obviously wreck the national economy . And those that advocate raising the Social Security retirement age also have malicious intentions towards the nation economy .

    That same political party also advocates the destruction of welfare for the general public . Welfare conditions happen during these same depressions when there is a shortage of jobs . That same political party prefers to have our taxpayer money used for corporate welfare such as bailouts .
    Welfare also improves economies . It puts money in the hands those that will spend it immediately thereby recirculating the money . Which a weak economy needs .

    The conclusion must be that we have a political corporatist party that intends to destroy the national economy from the bottom up .
  • Democrat
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    Entirely agree with you. In Canada, for example, the Conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, pushed through a megabill, without input from the other parties, and which never told those who would be affected of what was coming down the pipe. He is not a democratic leader, for sure.
    One of the requiremens of this bill is that people will have to keep working until age 67. It has an exemption for people who are currently--54, 56, I am not sure of this number--so that those two more years can contribute to the pension, the social security.
    I also remember that years ago there was rising concern about not having enough young people to fill the positioins that the large number of the so-called baby boomers would vacate. This was seen as a real problem. And now?" Arbitrarily increasing retirement age--not letting it to be a personal choice--does not mean that there are enough jobs for young people. Not at all.
    The other things was that people who got a tax return, a lump sum amount, which is meaningful if your income is not great, and a person wants to spend money on something more expensive, such a coat, boots, whatever, is now divided int 12 monthly payments deposited into one's account. This can benefit those who are pretty well off, as they can afford to use it as an investment that has some favourable conditions from the government, but certainly not people who get by on their retirement income.
    And yes, there can be no real democracy without social support for those who need it, especially in contries where the government is driven by capitalist interests.
  • Democrat
    French Lick, IN
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    Taxing all types of income for Social Security would greatly help the program. This could include taxing capital gains, dividends, interest, gifts, and inheritances for Social Security as well as incomes from employment and self-employment. The cap limit on a person's total income that is taxed for Social Security would still apply ($!06,000 in 2011). Other adjustments could also be made.
  • Independent
    Ogden, UT
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    I am very confused about entitlement programs such as social security. I constantly hear how cost reduction needs to be done in the entitlement programs such as medicare, medicaid and social security. The program I never hear about needing cost reduction is civil service. Is this not an entitlement program? If anyone out there knows the difference I would love to hear about it. When the Great Recession hit civil service received a cost of living raise, social security did not. Is civil service exempt from cost reduction because it would affect congress?
  • Democrat
    Meridian, MS
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    It is my understanding that civil service is for retired GOVERNMENT employees, since they pay nothing into social security during their working years. Social Security is a separate non-govermental pension system, where every non-government employee must contribute "x"% of their earned wage into the Social Security System, and it is also "matched" by whoever the employer is, so that this individual's account receives credit for having contributed his amount, and the System also receives the benefit of the employer's part of the contribution. My own dad worked for the government (civil service), and when he retired at age 55, he got a nice pension based on what he paid in. He died only 3 years later, and my mom received some percentage of his pension until her death, some 29 years later. Thus I would say that the Government Pension System works very similar to the Social Security System, but they are indeed separate programs.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I, as a social security receipent, have a hard time understanding how Social Security is an entitlement when I paid into it for over 40 years, perhaps those that the Administrators of the Plan had let into the plan without any payments into it can considered as being entitled, I thought that an entitlement was something that is not paid for nor earned but is something that is just given. The way these Congressmen and women have no qualms about cutting Social Security for the elderly is amazing, try cutting into their retirement plans by just 1% or discontinue their cost of living adjustments, and then watch their reaction.
  • Democrat
    Mojave Desert, NV
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    michaels39301 Wrote: It is my understanding that civil service is for retired GOVERNMENT employees, since they pay nothing into social security during their working years. Social Security is a separate non-govermental pension system, where every non-government employee must contribute "x"% of their earned wage into the Social Security System, and it is also "matched" by whoever the employer is, so that this individual's account receives credit for having contributed his amount, and the System also receives the benefit of the employer's part of the contribution. My own dad worked for the government (civil service), and when he retired at age 55, he got a nice pension based on what he paid in. He died only 3 years later, and my mom received some percentage of his pension until her death, some 29 years later. Thus I would say that the Government Pension System works very similar to the Social Security System, but they are indeed separate programs.
    The COLA that Social Security beneficiaries receive is based on a formula that uses the CPI as a guideline. When the CPI goes up, so does SS. When the CPI doesn't go up there is no COLA for SS recipients.

    Federal employees receive no automatic raises. Each raise results from an act of congress. When and whether congress raises federal pay or why they do so is entirely up to congress.

    Federal pay has been frozen for several years.
  • Democrat
    Mojave Desert, NV
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    johnnycee Wrote: I, as a social security receipent, have a hard time understanding how Social Security is an entitlement when I paid into it for over 40 years, perhaps those that the Administrators of the Plan had let into the plan without any payments into it can considered as being entitled, I thought that an entitlement was something that is not paid for nor earned but is something that is just given. The way these Congressmen and women have no qualms about cutting Social Security for the elderly is amazing, try cutting into their retirement plans by just 1% or discontinue their cost of living adjustments, and then watch their reaction.
    The Social Security program was modeled after the Civil Service Retirement System which was established in 1920. With the exception of adding survivorship benefits for surviving spouses, CSRS has remained essentially unchanged since its inception. Social Security has been twisted and tortured into what it is today, a comprehensive insurance umbrella covering retirement, disability and survivorship for offspring. Unlike CSRS, SS has to be tweaked every generation or so to keep up with changing demographics.

    Both programs are entitlements, as are Medicare, Veterans benefits and food stamps.

    "Entitlement" originally meant only programs such as SS, where a participant pays into the program for X number of years to receive Y benefits because the law provided both access to the program and legal right to those benefits. Over time the term was broadened to include other programs such as Veterans benefits and food stamps. "Entitlement" came to mean not only programs directly paid for by participants, but also indirectly paid for like Veterans benefits and even barely indirectly paid for, like food stamps.

    I've heard of no proposal to cut Social Security. I have heard of raising the full retirement age and using a different cost of living index that would reduce future benefits. Any such changes effected would also apply to the Federal Employee Retirement System, the program that replaced CSRS in 1983, so nobody would be skating by because of whom they chose to work for.
  • Democrat
    Hot Springs Village, AR
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    In this age of income inequality, raising or eliminating the cap on both individuals and employers should be considered.

    epi.org/publication/raising_cap_on_soci...

    It obviously won't be considered as long as the GOP has any power. Their entire reason for being is to preserve and increase the riches for the already rich.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    The EPI article as well as this thread is a bit dated, although Dragon's post from 2013 is still applicable. Hillary Clinton's approach today is more comprehensive:

    Hillary Clinton: Social Security and Medicare

    She would expand benefits and get "the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system."

    If you are really going to ask the wealthy to pay more, then taxing much of their unearned income (capital gains, dividends, etc.) would get sizable increases in revenue. However, I can see a very difficult uphill battle to make that happen in Congress. It would need a mandate in both Houses but also a 60 vote veto proof majority in the Senate.

    While all of these feel good measures might buy votes, it is one reason why the public has become cynical of our government when candidates cannot deliver on their campaign promises because of petty tribal politics.

  • Democrat
    Hot Springs Village, AR
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    The crisis in SS is going to be accelerated and exacerbated by today's economy in that the average worker is often a free agent. It's called the 1099 or the "gig" economy. The trend is steep in this direction wherein employers hire only temporary workers if demand increases and when it drops again that worker's gig is over. The worker is often off the books and neither contributes to the fund nor does the employer.

    Uber is a prime example of the gig economy. Uber does not contribute to the fund as they consider every driver a free agent. Occupations like home care health, landscapers, roofers, nannies and tutors are all becoming more of the total work force becoming a significant share. It's estimated at 5-6% as of a couple years ago and I believe it is much higher today and growing. Eventually, if it is to survive, the general tax fund must be tapped.