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Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:17 PM

The $6.6 Trillion Retirement Problem: Unions Push Boost to Social Security Benefits

http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/12902/unions_solve_retirement_crisis_boost_social_security_benefits/


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks in support of Social Security with Sen. Tom Harkin and Sen. Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill March 28, 2011. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ORLANDO—Contrary to its enemies posing as friends, Social Security is not in crisis. But there is a real retirement crisis, the AFL-CIO executive council warned here on Wednesday, and increased—not reduced—Social Security benefits offer the best solution to that serious challenge.

Republicans may raise a cry for benefit cuts or privatization to "save" the program by destroying it. And some Democratic politicians may grant their false crisis claim but argue for smaller cuts. But ultimately Social Security faces only a potential shortfall after 2036 in its ability to pay full benefits—a distant problem Congress can easily fix by eliminating the cap on wages subject to FICA taxes.

But even without shrinking or privatizing Social Security, the retirement security of most working Americans is in danger. Wages have stagnated for most workers, reducing the opportunity to save. Traditional defined-benefit pensions are dwindling and under attack in the public and private sectors.

The executive council, spurred by the united New York AFSCME, strongly criticized Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo for deep cuts in benefits and for effectively dismantling the state employee defined-benefit plan. In addition, half of workers have no employer plan, not even risky 401(k) plans. Housing wealth shrank after the illusory bubble burst, and many workers' investments have fallen victim to growing financial volatility. Even existing Social Security benefits replace much less of pre-retirement income than pubic pensions in other advanced industrial nations.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:27 PM

1. it's time to push back and stop doing the GOP's work for them....

It's time for workers to begin demanding MORE from government and their employers, not less. It's time to stop accommodating those who say we cannot ask for our fair share of the nation's prosperity "in this tough economic climate." This economic climate exists because the 1% overreached. It exists because they have captured not only control of the means of production, but also control of nearly all the wealth that workers produce. The 1% created the economic climate that they now use as an excuse to stifle all calls for improvement of workers' lots, let alone any discussion of economic parity in the U.S.

This is still one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, if not the wealthiest. There is no excuse for there being a "tough economic climate" here other than the 1% WANTS it that way, and their wholly owned politicians do their bidding, all the while mouthing platitudes about democracy and freedom to keep the people confused and compliant.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:32 PM

2. Eliminate the CAP. Raise the benefit. Lower the age. fuck the conservatives

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:40 PM

5. talk of raising the retirement age when there's high unemployment is insane.

Let's see, too many people out of work, but some people WITH jobs could retire and make room for the unemployed?

No, let's make the old farts work longer and fuck both them AND the unemployed.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:43 PM

6. you could keep or even lower the cap AND rate AND still collect more revenue IF....

You applied the tax to the first $100K of EVERY kind of income.

Warren Buffett would hardly feel 13% of his first $100K, and while it might pinch some aspiring day traders, they are just as likely to need the SS safety net if they aren't high enough up the food chain to get the wink and nod when bubbles are scheduled to burst.

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Response to yurbud (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:54 PM

7. Why not apply the tax to ALL of EVERY kind of income? Then add a Financial Transaction tax

and we could start cutting the income tax from the bottom up.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #7)

Sun Mar 18, 2012, 03:27 PM

9. that could lower the rate to nothing. On financial transaction tax...

I think some poetic justice is in order: the initial rate should be set to bring in $700b, the same amount Wall Street and Hank Paulsen extorted from us for the bailouts.

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Response to Vincardog (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 08:15 PM

8. Amen to that!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:37 PM

3. and some have the balls to already talk up Cuomo for president in 2016.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Thu Mar 15, 2012, 03:38 PM

4. when private employers and even states can't be depended on to keep pension promises...

we do need a stronger and more generous Social Security program.

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