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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:57 PM

A poll. Would DUer's accept a cut in SS benefits if...

... they were coupled with a larger decrease in Medicare Part B premiums?

That is, say an $80 monthly reduction in SS benefits, if that were paired with a $100 reduction in how much Medicare Part B costs you ($100 would make it free, I think)?

(I'm assuming SSI remains the same.)

From how I'm reading the proposals a lot of the question here between various ways of calculating inflation and cost increases is that we're arguing about what forms benefits take (cash vs. premium reductions vs. in-kind), so I'm curious how important the particular balance of forms we have now is.
30 votes, 2 passes | Time left: Unlimited
Absolutely not. SS benefits must not be decreased
28 (93%)
No. Benefits cuts to SS would require bigger concessions than the one in the hypothetical
1 (3%)
No. SS benefits cuts can only be offset by cash payments through another program
0 (0%)
Yes
1 (3%)
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Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

32 replies, 1854 views

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Reply A poll. Would DUer's accept a cut in SS benefits if... (Original post)
Recursion Dec 2012 OP
closeupready Dec 2012 #1
TheProgressive Dec 2012 #3
Recursion Dec 2012 #8
TheProgressive Dec 2012 #10
Recursion Dec 2012 #11
TheProgressive Dec 2012 #15
closeupready Dec 2012 #16
Broken_Hero Dec 2012 #32
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #2
closeupready Dec 2012 #17
whatchamacallit Dec 2012 #18
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #20
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #23
unblock Dec 2012 #4
Hoyt Dec 2012 #5
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #6
Recursion Dec 2012 #7
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #9
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #25
closeupready Dec 2012 #19
SomethingFishy Dec 2012 #12
Ganja Ninja Dec 2012 #13
Recursion Dec 2012 #31
dawg Dec 2012 #14
Bucky Dec 2012 #21
zipplewrath Dec 2012 #22
Glitterati Dec 2012 #24
djean111 Dec 2012 #26
L0oniX Dec 2012 #30
bowens43 Dec 2012 #27
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #28
L0oniX Dec 2012 #29

Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:59 PM

1. I'll accept no cuts. End of story.

The only thing we should be talking about is how to strengthen the programs.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:05 PM

3. Agreed.

Well said Closeupready...

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Response to closeupready (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:17 PM

8. The two ways to actuarially strengthen a program are to increase revenues and cut outlays

Though I personally dislike the whole separate FICA levy and trust fund accounting because it leads people to think of it as a self-contained program (that was the whole point). But cutting benefits would increase the longevity of the trust fund. It's a stupid way to do it, but it is a way to strengthen the program.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:19 PM

10. Social Security is a self-contained program.

And there is no reason to cut 'outlays' to strengthen these programs. It is *our* money after all...

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Response to TheProgressive (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:20 PM

11. I mean, notionally I guess

There's still just one US Treasury, though.

And it leads to category errors. The trust fund is a way of counting up how much FICA levies have contributed to the general fund in the past, and as a way to borrow to meet most SS obligations for the next several decades without increasing the net national debt (we basically front-loaded the debt acquisition). But the benefits SS can pay are not about any sort of pile of assets, they're about how much we're willing to tax or levy current workers in order to pay benefits to retirees, and I don't see how hiding that fact behind a notional self-containment helps anything.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:33 PM

15. I have no idea what your point is...

Each year, workers pay FICA. Each year, benefits are sent to the SS recipients. Worker's FICA payments cover
the expenses each year. And yes I am including the *interest* that my/our money *earns* from investing the SS trust
fund in special US Treasuries. The excess (revenues(fica) - expenses(ss payments)) is accounted for in the SS Trust Fund.

We, as Americans, should 'pay' SS recipients what they deserve and nothing less.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:33 PM

16. Yes, except that cutting benefits, by definition, weakens

that larger scheme from which those benefits are being cut.

So paradoxically, you are weakening a program by strengthening it.

What about strengthening a program by raising taxes? Simples. Eliminate the cap. Or even just raise it. Bingo, bango, bongo, we're done.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:37 PM

32. Ditto,

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:05 PM

2. I didn't vote ...

but I'm pretty sure most DUer wouldn't accept cuts in SS, under any circumstance ... including a plan that offered free food and housing to SS beneficiaries!

The mere utterance of the terms, "SS" and "Cuts", in the same breathe, interferes with the thinking process.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:39 PM

17. Well of course, part of that is Republicans tell us we are #1

in everything - GNP, health care, per capita income - and yet, almost every other country has a healthier social safety net.

Doesn't add up.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:39 PM

18. Yes, "they're so irrational"

Thanks for the lametry.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:43 PM

20. Everyone else is irrational & you're the only one with a clear thinking process?

ay ay ay

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:55 PM

23. Thank you for the recognition! n/t

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:05 PM

4. the entire point of social security is to provide assurance of a minimally funded retirement.

there's no particular guarantee that premiums will or won't be a certain amount. obviously you want the program to be cost-effective, but the whole point is to keep the benefits at a certain level.

at the ripe old age of 49, i benefit from "knowing" that social security will be there for me when i retire. that means i can be more aggressive with my own meager retirement funds. it means i could bet the farm on starting my own business knowing that NO MATTER WHAT happens to me financially -- bankruptcy, wall street crash, business bust, whatever -- i can count on a basic life of retirement thank to social security.

and it doesn't cost a penny right now to give me this security.

yet all this talk about cuts and such take away even from me.

complete b.s.

reagan DOUBLED premiums in order to keep the benefits the same (although he also hiked the taxes on the benefits...). that's the way to do it. keep the benefits where they are, up the premiums to fund it if need be (although i'd prefer this be done more progressively, by raising or eliminating the social cap).

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:06 PM

5. Not only would I accept a cut if offset by lower Medicare premiums, I remember we got the donut hole


reduced recently, more "free" preventive services, etc.

And I would support a cut if it is best way to ensure unemployment benefits continue past 12/31 for those who need that; stimulus that will help young folks get jobs and improve economy; there are protections at lower end of SS scale; etc.

If the economy does not improve, we are going to be looking at a lot of other cuts in important benefits. That's just a fact.

Obviously, I prefer tax increases on wealthy, dramatic cuts in defense, increased SS cap, etc., first. But, that depends on the rethuglicans and it won't solve all our fiscal/economic issues.


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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:08 PM

6. What the heck is the reason for cutting social security?

There is no sound policy or political reason to even talk about cutting it.

If Democrats go for SS cuts, the GOP will turn around and hit them with it in the next election.

The only reason to cut social security is as a gift to 1%. They hate the idea of people being able to retire with dignity, or retire at all. They want everybody working until the day we drop dead.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:11 PM

7. Well, in the hypothetical I'm imagining the point would be to finance a Medicare premium deduction

There are better ways to pay for that; I'm asking if this is one you would be willing to accept if it came to it.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:18 PM

9. certainly not. We should increase social security benefits and make it a full robust pension plan.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:00 PM

25. I thinking ...

what I said earlier is proving truer than what my detractors will acknowledge.

You ask would this CUT - that is more than off-set by another benefit in your scenario, and the response you are getting is "No cuts ... we need to expand the program."

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:41 PM

19. Because as people live longer, making them work longer expands

the labor supply, which - in turn - exerts downward pressure (competitively) on all labor costs.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:23 PM

12. No.. This is insanity.. there is money everywhere

there is no reason whatsoever to take it from S.S. or Medicare. There are plenty of places to raise taxes or cut defense that will not hurt people in the slightest, yet people sit and debate cuts to S.S. like it's the only way..

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:25 PM

13. Cutting Social Security means the government isn't willing to honor it's debt to the SS trust fund.

If the government isn't willing to pay back the trust fund then there is no point in putting surplus funds in it ever again.

We should eliminate the payroll tax cap and from now on any payroll tax surplus should be divvied up and paid out to the recipients as it comes in.

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Response to Ganja Ninja (Reply #13)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:19 PM

31. Not at all

Social Security benefits are determined by statute. Even if Congress voided all the bonds in the trust fund tomorrow the government still has a legal obligation to pay scheduled benefits (and a law that the funds can't come from general revenues, though there's nothing to prevent the general fund from transferring money to the trust fund, which can then spend it). And even if Congress reduces the statutory amounts of benefits, the trust fund will still (in a couple of years, at least) be redeeming bonds to meet some of the outlays.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:26 PM

14. No.

Hell to the no.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:43 PM

21. Republicans want to means test Soc Sec so that in a few years, people will start resenting it.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:45 PM

22. Bad hypothetical

Reductions in SS should be to improve SS. I'm not sure how that would work, but that's the relationship that needs to be satisfied. I understand what you are trying to represent, but the problem is that the "connection" you are making isn't part of the structure of government. So the cuts to SS won't go away if the cost of Medicare rises, or if the Part B reduction is overturned in the future.

And we really shouldn't be talking about a Chained CPI, the current method is flawed and under estimates the rate of inflation for seniors. We should be talking about fixing it, not making it worse.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 03:58 PM

24. What about those of us on SS without medicare?

I don't get medicare for another 5 years, assuming they don't change the age before I get there.

I get Social Security Survivor Benefits. These benefits do NOT qualify for Medicare.

So, you're suggesting I should accept an $80.00 cut in my benefits with nothing offsetting it?

Thanks for suggesting my grocery money isn't necessary.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:18 PM

26. No.

And the argument that cutting the amount strengthens it is ridiculous.
Why not just cut it down to $10 - golly gee, it would be solvent forever!
Just raise the cap. It would have been nice if Obama had proposed THAT, instead of changing to a "less generous" COLA.
You don't start negotiations with something that bad - it goes nowhere but down.
And now, of course, the GOP can use that proposal against the Dems in 2014.
"The Dems wanted to cut benefits, but we wouldn't let them".
Don't think the 14-dimensional chess thing is gonna work there.

Want Medicare premiums to go down? Lower the age of eligibility and get younger people in.
Easy-peasey.

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Response to djean111 (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:16 PM

30. How about they cut their own pay!

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:26 PM

27. do not touch social security

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:12 PM

28. seems pretty lopsided so far.

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Response to Recursion (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:16 PM

29. I will leave the Dem party if Obama sells us down the river.

Cut the fucking pentagon! People over the war machine! ...and pay back all the money you fucking stole from SS!

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