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Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:00 PM

are there any proposals to reduce SS benefits to the wealthy?

And is there any support for this? The wealthy use Social Security to put off having to touch their investments while poor people usually end up taking SS early so they can eat and buy medication. I'm just wondering if there is any thing in the fiscal cliff talks about benefits for the wealthy and is there any support for reducing benefits or raising age requirements for when they can take SS?

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Reply are there any proposals to reduce SS benefits to the wealthy? (Original post)
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #1
Downwinder Dec 2012 #2
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #4
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #11
meanit Dec 2012 #29
Downwinder Dec 2012 #30
Loudly Dec 2012 #3
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #12
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #17
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #24
TheMastersNemesis Dec 2012 #5
leftstreet Dec 2012 #6
Hoyt Dec 2012 #7
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #8
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #9
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #10
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #16
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #18
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #25
duffyduff Dec 2012 #13
liberal_at_heart Dec 2012 #15
mythology Dec 2012 #31
Bluenorthwest Dec 2012 #14
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #19
mainer Dec 2012 #20
forestpath Dec 2012 #21
ProSense Dec 2012 #23
Cleita Dec 2012 #22
Turbineguy Dec 2012 #26
limpyhobbler Dec 2012 #27
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #28
buzzroller Dec 2012 #32

Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:02 PM

1. Lindsay Graham has put

"Means testing" out there. At least for the debt ceiling debacle we will be facing soon.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:04 PM

2. They paid in, the contract should be honored.

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:07 PM

4. in theory I agree with you

But when they are talking about chained CPI it is the poor people who will starve. The wealthy will not starve. If there is no other choice but to cut benefits then we can't possibly expect poor people to starve while the wealthy are simply using SS as a wealth protector.

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:17 PM

11. I don't think there is any proposal to end their benefits,

but reduce them based on other income. Considering what they have been getting away with for decades, re: federal income taxes, I don't think that is an unfair proposal.

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Response to Downwinder (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:34 PM

29. I'm curious

how long it takes for the actual amount of what a person has paid into SS to be exhausted, once they start getting full SS benefits?

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Response to meanit (Reply #29)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:39 PM

30. I think I am slated for age 82.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:07 PM

3. Social Security income is pretty much reclaimed in full from the wealthy.

If you look at the tax return of a retired person who receives substantial investment income, the amount corresponding to their Social Security entitlement goes right back to the Treasury.

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Response to Loudly (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:18 PM

12. What is substantial investment income? n/t

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:26 PM

17. It is not very much and it is not just investment income but any additional income one might get.

There are many other forms of income, including private pensions for Union and other employees. The formula is thus: take one half your SS income, add that number to all other income. If you are single and it is 25,000 you start paying taxes on SS portion of your income. 32,000 for married couples.
So 'substantial' means any amount that when added to 50% of your SS benefit is more than 25K if you are single.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #17)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:42 PM

24. I have a modest private pension...

I paid taxes on a portion of my SS last year, but I can assure you that total was nowhere near the total of my full benefit which is what 'Loudly' has claimed.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:08 PM

5. Wealthy To The GOP Is Anyone Making Over $30,000 A Year

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:08 PM

6. Are there any proposals to reduce the gap between rich and poor?

No, I didn't think so

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:10 PM

7. Lot's of proposals for "means testing."

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:11 PM

8. I hope not, because there shouldn't be. It's not welfare.

If you pay the premiums, you're entitled to the benefit. That's why they call it an entitlement.

What they should do is eliminate the cap on taxable income.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:13 PM

9. I'm not sure poor people take SS early....

it is a big cut in benefits to take it early. I think those who take it early are people who have some other income as well, not all of whom are wealthy. The wealthy use SS to pay for things like their membership fees at the more exclusive golf courses here in Palm Beach County. I took SS early, which had not been my intention, because the job market was so bad here I couldn't find anything that didn't entail ripping off old people over the phone...in bound sales, aka "customer service" But taking it at 62 rather than 66 meant a 25% reduction in my monthly benefit. I have a modest pension, but I am far from wealthy. I know someone worth $100+ million, who takes 3 month cruises and collect his SS benefit because "WTF, I paid into it." The rich can never have enough. We seem to forget that in our dealings with them.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #9)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:16 PM

10. my father and father in law both took it early

Poor people who work hard labor and whose bodies are too beat up to continue working have no other choice but to take it early.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #10)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:26 PM

16. There are always exceptions, of course.

But taking it early is very costly. Not that long ago, accountants used to advise people to take it early as they would have to live longer than the mortality tables predicted, in order to recover the lost money. Today the story is just the opposite. Currently 70% of retirees began collecting SS at age 62. However, only 51% of the Boomers who have become eligible have chosen to take it early.

Do you father and/or father-in-law have additional income? The inequality in this county is disgusting on so many levels.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:27 PM

18. no, no additional income

my father gets about $1000/month in SS. I don't know how much my father in law gets but it probably isn't much more than what my father gets. I guess most baby boomers were fortunate enough to have desk jobs that didn't destroy their bodies. I'm glad there are so many that don't have to take it early.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:56 PM

25. Whoa...

That's less than the average benefit of $1,235 a month and simply terrible. The first Boomers turned 62 in 2008, so it's early days yet. I've known roofers whose hands were crippled from holding a hammer all day for 40+ years who didn't retire until age 65. Our system is so screwed up... As a nation we seem to have no respect for physical labor whatsoever.... While I believe education is important, what would we do as a nation if no one was willing to collect the garbage, or pave the roads, or fix our roofs, or do any of the hundreds of jobs that receive lousy wages and few or no benefits. We really need to rethink "fairness" in this country. My son, who is a tax attorney in Miami, became a tad indignant (until he thought about it) when I said to him "Every tax attorney in the city of Miami could decide to leave the city to set up practice elsewhere, and the city wouldn't even miss them. If no one was willing to collect the garbage in Miami, the city would become a dead zone within a year..."

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:18 PM

13. They paid into it and are just as much entitled.

Means-testing, as is done with Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8, etc. would destroy the universality of the program.

Why is this even been discussed on this board as some kind of viable alternative?

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:22 PM

15. it's being discussed because they want poor people to starve while the wealthy use

SS as a wealth protector. If they don't plan on any SS cuts at all then I say fine let the wealthy have their SS. They did pay into it. But if they are going to make any cuts at all they cannot expect poor people to starve while wealthy people are simply using SS to put off using their investments.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #15)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 03:00 PM

31. Social Security is one of the most popular government programs

Food stamps and welfare aren't. Why? Because Social Security goes to everybody while food stamps and welfare go to "others" for most people. If you make Social Security a means tested program, you lump it into the category of food stamps and welfare.

This is why I'm not sure that just lifting the Social Security cap would help as much as many think it would. If you raise the amount taxable, but don't raise the payout, I think it would cost the program support, especially since the cap is relatively low at around $110,000.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:18 PM

14. Aw, that's sweet but uninformed. First the GOP says YOU are the wealthy. Are you?

Second I say the actual wealthy spend so much money that your notion that a couple of thousand in SS money is the barricade upon which they protect their wealth is ludicrous.
Additionally, Social Security income is taxed for those with additional income, so if you have lots of other income, the SS is mostly taxed back anyway. It is peanuts to them anyway.
People have paid into it, and what should happen is benefits increases and an end to the cap that protects wealthy current earners from contributing more to the program.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:30 PM

19. They pay their membership dues with their SS benefits, and laugh about it.

No "welfare queen" ( I use the term sarcastically) ever felt the same amount of entitlement as do the rich.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:32 PM

20. They get taxed on it as part of their high income.

Easier to capture it that way than to do means testing.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:33 PM

21. Well, Obama only wants them to pay a "little bit" more in taxes

 

even though they are filthy rich. So it's obvious the only ones he wants to cause actual pain to are seniors whose only form of income is barely enough SS to survive on.

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Response to forestpath (Reply #21)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:41 PM

23. Reagan

started taxing Social Security.

The basic rule put in place was that up to 50% of Social Security benefits could be added to taxable income, if the taxpayer's total income exceeded certain thresholds.

<...>

In 1993, legislation was enacted which had the effect of increasing the tax put in place under the 1983 law. It raised from 50% to 85% the portion of Social Security benefits subject to taxation; but the increased percentage only applied to "higher income" beneficiaries. Beneficiaries of modest incomes might still be subject to the 50% rate, or to no taxation at all, depending on their overall taxable income.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022096027

Under Obama's proposal the rich will pay a "little bit" more than under Clinton.

New Affordable Care Act tax hike for high earners kicks in with the new year
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022093669

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/numbers/displayatab.cfm?Docid=3210&DocTypeID=2

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 01:35 PM

22. I hope not.

Imagine the whining if they don't receive SS back after paying into it all their lives. It's a sure way to make sure the program turn into welfare and it will disappear down the line forever for everyone.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:03 PM

26. Speaking for myself

and only myself, if I am fortunate enough, I would forgo it to help the system. But, if I was fortunate enough, helping the system helps me, the way wealth trickles up. OK, maybe it's not a trickle, more a flood.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:14 PM

27. I'm against anything that chips away at benefits.

I see it as the beginning of a "death by a thousand cuts" approach to destroying the whole program.

That "everybody" benefits from Social Security is one of the reasons there is such widespread support for it. We should keep it that way. Ideally I would want every worker paying in to Social Security and getting a retirement benefit. Once we allow them to chip away at benefits, they won't stop. It doesn't solve any real problem, so they will be back in a few years to chip away a little more.

That's because in their eyes, Social Security is the problem. They don't like the idea of a publicly owned retirement fund, because Wall Street wants to get its greedy claws into our money. To that I say tough shit. Don't negotiate with these terrorists.

If we are concerned about an inequality issue with this program, we can lift the cap on payroll taxes to address the fairness aspect.


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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 02:32 PM

28. Social Security's technical name...

is Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance (OASI). Note that last word: INSURANCE.

Social Security insures Americans against poverty due to old age, death or a spouse or parent, or the inability to work due to disability. It's insurance. Insurance policies pay out only when a covered person has a claim. If I reach the age of 65 and I'm not living in poverty, then I don't have a claim. If at some future time I due slip into poverty, then I should be able to claim benefits.

The "I paid into the system so I should have benefits" is ignorant bullshit. Go to your auto insurance company and demand payments even though you don't have a claim. See how far that gets you. Go you your homeowners insurance company and demand a new roof even though your old one is perfectly fine. Not going to happen.

It's insurance. No matter how many payments you make or for how long you make them, you don't have the right to cash payments unless there is a legitimate claim. What you've been paying for all along is protection against a loss. If you never suffer a loss, then you don't have a claim, and you don't get payments.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Original post)

Sun Dec 30, 2012, 04:40 PM

32. SS is already means tested

in two ways:
It is subject to income tax for people with more income (at 85% of the SS amount), which effectively reduces the benefit;and
It is somewhat progressive in that poorer retirees get back more than they pay in relative to wealthier retirees.
Also, if you take away benefits or reduce them for the wealthy, you could loose public support for SS.

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