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Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:27 PM

Wait...these aren't actual CUTS to SS, they are a reduction in INCREASES...

Or are they cuts because if increases do not keep pace with inflation, it results in a defacto decrease?

AND...is there NO risk to SS if we go over the cliff? Because while there are no actual provisions for cutting SS in the sequestration, there are cuts to every other damn thing and tax increases for everybody. My mother lives with us. If WE get hit, SHE gets hit. Also, is there not a risk that doctors and other health care professionals could deny care to Medicare patients if Medicare cuts payments?

I am trying to winnow through all the hysteria to figure out what the hell is at stake here. Both sides are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, which makes it hard to figure out what is REALLY going on.

My personal take is that this is a complex issue where we might have the White House, but we definitely are not even close in the House, which means some kind of compromise. Unfortunately, in any compromise, SOMEBODY is going to be pissed. In this case, it looks like EVERYBODY is pissed. If we feel like the chained CPI is something we are not willing to offer as part of the compromise, what is? We are going to have to put something else on the table. What would that be?

I KNOW we could probably solve everything by doing some presto changeo tax deal where everybody over $250K goes back to 39% and we close corporate loopholes. But the House isn't going to allow the solution to be made up solely or even mostly of revenue increases. WE are going to have to have skin in the game. I am just trying to figure out which hunks of skin we can live without in the long run.

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Reply Wait...these aren't actual CUTS to SS, they are a reduction in INCREASES... (Original post)
renie408 Dec 2012 OP
DrDan Dec 2012 #1
kenny blankenship Dec 2012 #7
renie408 Dec 2012 #11
DrDan Dec 2012 #19
JackRiddler Dec 2012 #2
JHB Dec 2012 #3
Lone_Star_Dem Dec 2012 #4
renie408 Dec 2012 #10
Lone_Star_Dem Dec 2012 #15
renie408 Dec 2012 #21
littlemissmartypants Dec 2012 #5
renie408 Dec 2012 #14
Comrade_McKenzie Dec 2012 #6
RomneyLies Dec 2012 #8
renie408 Dec 2012 #9
tkmorris Dec 2012 #22
renie408 Dec 2012 #23
OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #12
Glitterati Dec 2012 #13
Bake Dec 2012 #16
Glitterati Dec 2012 #20
Blue_In_AK Dec 2012 #18
Fumesucker Dec 2012 #17
xchrom Dec 2012 #24

Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:31 PM

1. let the seniors carry the load . . . they can obviously afford to take less in future increases

a

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Response to DrDan (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:04 PM

7. And the fewer of them that remain, the less it will cost to support the dwindling survivors

Win-Win.

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Response to DrDan (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:17 PM

11. That is SO helpful!

I have found that snide, sarcastic remarks make such good explanations when someone is trying to figure things out. And they really incline people to take your viewpoint.

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Response to renie408 (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:12 PM

19. there is a message there . . .

that would be asking seniors to take future cuts to meager increases so those with annual incomes above $250K can hang on to more of their money.

It seems like such a no brainer to me that only a snide snarky post is warranted.

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:33 PM

2. Benefits would be lower than under the present formula, so it's a cut.

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:48 PM

3. It's your "or" option: use of a COLA that doesn't keep up with actual costs...

The idea behind the chained CPI is to account for substitutions (e.g., if the price of ham has gone up, people might substitute chicken when buying groceries). Except that doesn't necessarily follow for people in the age range covered by SS and Medicare -- somethings don't have a cheaper substitute -- and another measure of inflation that does try to measure for that group (CPI-E (E for elderly)) actually tends to rise higher than the CPI measure now in use.

Also, this wouldn't just be for Social Security; tax brackets would be indexed to it too, so we would have a return of "bracket creep", where you'd find yourself moving into a higher bracket without actually having gained a higher standard of living. This would affect everybody, but those already in the top bracket would be affected the least.

Part of what creates "hysterics" on this issue is that hard-core conservatives see these programs as "big government", and they have billionaires among their number to fund an array of interest groups and think tanks to create a hysteria that "something must be done," until the programs get tinkered with enough to undermine support for them. It's a case of "is it paranoia when people really are trying to kill you?"

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 12:57 PM

4. It changes the formula used to calculate the COLA.

Here's a link that helps to explain how that applies to Social Security.

Economists have grumbled for decades that the CPI overstates the real increase in the cost of living, in part because it assumes that the only way consumers react to changes in prices is to switch between more and less expensive versions of the same product. It doesn't consider how consumers change what they put into their shopping baskets in the face of rising prices by, for example, replacing meat with pasta. The "chained" approach to CPI factors in changes in the shopping basket as well as the price of the items therein to reflect more accurately the products people are actually buying.

The problem with applying the new measure to Social Security benefits is that the surveys that are used to calculate the CPI measure the buying habits of the broad U.S. population. Social Security recipients spend a larger portion of their income on healthcare, and those costs have been rising disproportionately fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has an experimental version of CPI for the elderly that reflects these higher costs, but it's based on a sample too small and generic to provide the basis for a truly accurate version of the price index for seniors.

Chained-CPI makes sense for programs whose participants are well represented by the CPI data. But if lawmakers really wanted a more precise cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, they'd have to invest in better surveys and accept less dramatic savings, if any. Such a change wouldn't solve the long-term funding problems in the program, though. Nor are those problems a factor in Washington's current deficit woes. Obama's proposal would supposedly shelter the most vulnerable seniors and other beneficiaries from the effects of reducing their cost-of-living adjustments, and that's a step in the right direction. But a better step would be to use chained-CPI only where it would improve accuracy, not exacerbate existing problems.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-cpi-fiscal-cliff-20121219,0,3512567.story


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Response to Lone_Star_Dem (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:16 PM

10. Yeah, that doesn't really sound like the total destruction of

Social Security as we know it.

So, why is everybody FREAKING OUT?

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Response to renie408 (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:02 PM

15. It adds up over time.

While it doesn't appear like a huge reduction at first, in 30 years it becomes significant. Then there's the issue with the current model not allowing for the actual costs seniors have to pay.

In a nutshell, it's a regressive policy that has no reason to be applied to a self funded program like social security.

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Response to Lone_Star_Dem (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:17 PM

21. That makes sense.

As I said somewhere else, I know my 81 year old mother would have a harder time if she had much less to live on than she does now.

But, as I also said, she lives with us and we can't take any more cuts, either. If we go down, she is going down with us.

So, if the chained CPI is off the table, and it probably should be, what do we offer in its place?

The problem I see here is that 'our' side is the 'poor' side. We have very little to offer. Their side is the side with the money and have more to give.

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Response to littlemissmartypants (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:23 PM

14. Ok, that looks bad.

I know my mom would be hit hard by a $140 a month cut in her benefits. She is 81 and in good health. We come from a long lived female line, so she could easily live to her late 90's.

So, if we can't take the cut there, where CAN we take the cut?

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:01 PM

6. Whatever it is, the criticism is hyperbolic. nt

 

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:08 PM

8. Wow, the spin is incredible.

 

Simply mind boggling the contortions people are willing to go to in order to justify the complete destruction of Social Security.

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:13 PM

9. Exactly whose 'spin' are you talking about?

I am asking a question here.

And is limiting the amount of increase really the total destruction of Social Security? It is crap like that which make this thing even harder to understand and which hurts YOUR case. What's the matter? If someone doesn't immediately jump on the panic wagon, they are the enemy??

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:56 PM

22. "the complete destruction of Social Security"...

You know that isn't even remotely true, and yet you keep posting similarly hyperbolic items all over DU. I wonder, why are you doing that?



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Response to tkmorris (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 04:47 PM

23. The thing is, that kind of hyperbole (I feel like that word is getting over used, but it applies)

just hurts the cause.

Over all, I agree that SS should not be touched to facilitate the fiscal cliff agreement. But when people start throwing around phrases like that, it makes me have to defend the cuts being made because they are NOT going to result in the complete destruction of SS.

Now, are there Republicans who want to get rid of SS?? Sure there are. Do we need to keep an eye on them? Sure we do. But going into these panicked paroxysms every time somebody so much as brings the subject of SS up tends to wear the rest of us out.

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:19 PM

12. Trial balloon. Period. nt.

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 01:22 PM

13. This year's COLA

1.7%

I got a whopping 15.00 increase in my Social Security benefits.

But, hey, it took me over 1400/month. Just barely, but whatever.

Of course, my electric bill is going up $36.00/year to pay for nuclear power whether or not I agree with nuclear power.

And, we won't discuss the increase in the price of groceries, or gas, or anything else.

And, the CPI will mean even LOWER increases forever.

But, hey, I'm old. I can just hurry up and die if I need to eat, right?

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Response to Glitterati (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:08 PM

16. Hurry up and die

That's what THEY want you to do! They, being both Obama and the Rethugs.

Yes, I proudly voted for Obama's re-election. And I knew that to some extent, he was the lesser of two evils. I just didn't realize how much "lesser." Now, apparently not very much less.

Bake

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Response to Bake (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:13 PM

20. I know

And, given my health with no insurance, they are very likely to get their wish.

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Response to Glitterati (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:11 PM

18. I'm going to live into my 90s just to spite them.

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Response to renie408 (Original post)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 02:09 PM

17. Are there no ice floes, are there no Soylent factories? n/t

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 19, 2012, 05:02 PM

24. Could it be there are dems who want people to die faster?

Starting to look like it.

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