Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If Obama Cuts Social Security Benefits, He Should Be Thrown Out Of Office.

The Obama administration, while devoting trillions of tax dollars to war and to Wall Street give-aways, is caving in to the right-wing's demand that more social services for the citizens of this country must be slashed, so there is still more money available for Wall Street bonuses. When Wall Street gets their bonuses, they give generous kick-backs to the politicians in Congress, so that's why the politicians support bonuses for Wall Street.

How to pay for Wall Street bonuses, never mind the billions spent on war and on propping up the dictatorship in Columbia? Well, the neo-cons say, let's slash benefits for the public. Let's cut back on the schools, fire the teachers, take away the desks and books, no more summer school. Fire cops and firefighters. Take all the money that is supposed to be used to maintain the infrastructure, and send it to Wall Street instead. Of course the financial problems our country has right now are primarily the result of bush's tax cuts for the rich. Rich people and businesses no longer pay much if any taxes at all. That plus these insane wars are what's bankrupting our country. End the wars, tax all income above $250,000 at 90%, and solve the problem.

Now Obama has created a "commission" to come up with a list of other citizens' benefits that can be eliminated or reduced. Top of their list: Social Security. The conservatives want to eliminate Social Security altogether. Let Grandma starve, she's old and sick, no longer productive, half-blind, takes a bunch of drugs just to live, and nobody likes her anyway. So take away her Social Security and she'll die even faster.

Back when Ronald Reagan became president, he wanted to cut taxes for rich people and businesses, and he did. But the government soon did not have enough money to meet its obligations. Reagan didn't want to eliminate his tax cuts for the rich, so he asked that smarmy suck-up Alan Greenspan to fix the problem.

Alan Greenspan came up with a really sneaky plan. He increased the social security taxes that working people have to pay, so more money flowed into the social security fund. Then Reagan had the government "borrow" the money from the social security fund, money paid in by working people, and he took that money and used it to run the government, to make up for the deficit he created by cutting taxes for rich people.

In other words, the Social Security money belongs to us, to working people, but Reagan essentially stole the money and used it to cover big tax kick-backs to his rich friends. Our money was stolen and given to the rich. That's why we have a potential problem with Social Security: the Republicans have stolen the money from the Social Security fund.

There is no need to cut Social Security. If anything, Obama should eliminate the cap on incomes that are subject to the tax. Right now, only the first $106,000 of income is subject to the Social Security tax. Eliminate that cap so that rich people, including the criminals on Wall Street, have to pay a Social Security tax on every bloody penny they pay to themselves.

If Obama cuts Social Security, he should be thrown out of office. And every politician who supports cutting Social Security should be run out of town. Or better still, run out of the country.

There is always more money for Wall Street, more money for wars. But for the people, for the citizens of this country, there is nothing. This has got to stop. If we need 90-year-olds in wheelchairs sitting in government offices, then everybody needs to go to the old folks' home and start wheeling them out, because this looting and plundering of our country has got to stop.

AP Exclusive: Social Security needs small 'tweaks'

WASHINGTON — Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the massive gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits.

Some of the options are politically dangerous, such as increasing payroll taxes or reducing annual cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients. Others, such as gradually raising the age when retirees qualify for full benefits, wouldn't be felt for years but would affect millions.

Many wouldn't affect current recipients, according to the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the committee, said small "tweaks" are all that is needed to bolster Social Security's finances for future generations of retirees.

Currently, 53 million Americans get Social Security benefits averaging $1,067 a month. In 75 years, 122 million, or one-fourth of the population, will be drawing benefits.

On its current path, Social Security is projected to run out of money by 2037, largely because of aging baby boomers reaching retirement. For the first time since the 1980s, Social Security will pay out more money in benefits this year than it collects in payroll taxes. The longer action is delayed, the harder it will get to address the program's finances.

"Modest changes can be made over time that will keep the program in surplus," Kohl, D-Wis., told The Associated Press. "They are not draconian, as the report points out, and they can be done and will be done."

The committee is scheduled to release its report Tuesday. The report, obtained by the Associated Press, lays out options for fixing Social Security, but doesn't endorse any of them.

Kohl said lawmakers will probably combine several options to ease their impact. No action is expected this year, with midterm congressional elections looming in November. Lawmakers have said they hope to take up the issue next year.
Social Security is financed by a 6.2 percent payroll tax on wages below $106,800. The tax is paid by workers and matched by employers. Older Americans can apply for early retirement benefits, starting at age 62. They qualify for full benefits if they wait until they turn 66, a threshold that is gradually increasing to 67 for people born in 1960 or later.

The entire $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years would be wiped out if payroll taxes were increased by 1.1 percentage points for both workers and employers. It would also disappear if Congress started taxing all wages, not just those below $106,800, said the Senate report, citing projections by the actuaries at the Social Security Administration.

On the benefits side, more than three-fourths of the shortfall would vanish if Congress reduced annual cost-of-living increases by 1 percentage point each year. Social Security recipients get annual increases based on inflation. This January, for the first time since automatic adjustments were adopted in 1975, there was no increase because prices decreased last year.

About 23 percent of the shortfall would be gone if Congress gradually increased the age when retirees qualify for full benefits from 67 to 68. Nearly a third of the shortfall would disappear if the full retirement age were gradually increased to 70.

The Social Security trust funds have built up a $2.5 trillion surplus over the past 25 years. But the federal government has borrowed that money over the years to spend on other programs. The government must now start borrowing money from public debt markets — adding to annual budget deficits — to repay Social Security.

The Senate panel's report will be presented to President Barack Obama's deficit reduction commission, which is expected to review all entitlement programs in the search for savings.

Many of the options sound simple, but most would have widespread ramifications, said Barbara Kennelly, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

"If you raise the retirement age and you don't do anything about the pension law or anything about retraining, and there's been no discussion on that, where are the jobs?" asked Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut. "It's not so simple."

One expert cautioned that adjustments designed to fully fund Social Security for only 75 years will almost certainly have to be revisited well before then.

Here's why: In 15 or 20 years, the Social Security trustees will be looking at a new 75-year window, one that includes future shortfalls beyond the current 75-year horizon. Those shortfalls will have to be addressed years in advance to avoid dramatic tax increases or significant benefit cuts, said Kent Smetters, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school.

"If you only fix it for 75 years at a time, the same problem suddenly reappears every 15 to 20 years," Smetters said.


Social Security Administration:

Senate Special Committee on Aging:

1 comment:

  1. Very good post. I ran across your site today by googling "why did Clinton say he signed NAFTA." FYI.