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Fri Aug 10, 2012, 10:57 AM

Lower Social Security Eligibility to 55; Raise Benefits By 15% [View all]

Lower Social Security Eligibility to 55; Raise Benefits By 15%

by bink


You want to know how to save the economy?

Temporarily lower Social Security eligibility to age 55 and raise benefits by 15%.

Sounds crazy, right?

But only because the One Percent and the Media have moved the Overton Window so far to the right that we can no longer see out of the room and into reality.

The reality is that we need to move older workers out of the workforce so that young people can get the job experience and training that they need.

The reality is that we need to raise benefits to match the shadow cost of living increases over the last thirty years that government has excluded from Social Security by conveniently leaving out skyrocketing costs in housing, food and fuel from its calculations.

The best thing about this?

It's also a tremendous economic stimulus that will flush billions of dollars into the consumer economy, while providing security for old people and opportunities to work for the young.

Sounds crazy, right?

Not really.

What's really crazy is the government practice of requiring that all monetary expansion be brokered through a few privileged banks. We need to get money into the hands of humans, but our government is refusing to spend adequately into the economy at large, preferring instead to present gifts amounting in the trillions of dollars to its corrupt bank partners in the form of so-called QE.

The banks won't lend and they don't spend.

Instead, they are hoarding the cash, or using it to enrich a few insiders.

Reuters published an article recently where the author, a well-known economic journalist, suggests that central banks practice QEP -- Quantative Easing for the People -- instead of just giving money to banks:

http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2012/08/09/suddenly-quantitative-easing-for-the-people-seems-possible/

Crazy?

No -- the crazy thing is that we ever considered doing anything else.

The money that the Fed is giving to the banks is our money.

Lowering the Social Security Eligibility age to 55 and raising benefits is a great way to start.

It just makes sense.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/10/1118528/-Lower-Social-Security-Eligibility-to-55-Raise-Benefits-By-15


Great idea. Harkin's proposal is also good if only Congress would move on it, now or next session.

Dave Jamieson

Raise Minimum Wage By 35 Percent, Peg It To Inflation: Senate Dem

WASHINGTON -- Legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Thursday included a litany of measures aimed at boosting income for low-wage workers, most notably raising the minimum wage significantly and pegging it to inflation.

Along with spending on school modernization and renewable energy development, the Rebuild America Act calls for raising the minimum wage from the current federal level of $7.25 to $9.80 -- a 35 percent hike -- over the course of two and a half years, then indexing it so it rises with the cost of living. For restaurant servers and other tipped employees, the minimum wage before tips would leap from the current $2.13 to $6.86, and then track at 70 percent of the normal minimum wage.

The bill would also require employers to offer their workers paid sick days, make more white-collar workers eligible for overtime pay that they're currently exempted from, and give more workers the right to join a union.

In short, Harkin's bill, pitched as a prescription to rebuild the American middle class, hits all the right notes for worker advocates who say low- and middle-income earners are falling behind. The package was quickly praised by groups such as the AFL-CIO federation of labor unions; the National Employment Law Project, which advocates for low-wage workers; and the Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a national group representing restaurant employees.

- more -

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/minimum-wage-tom-harkin_n_1389457.html



Harkin’s Rebuild America Act Builds Economy for 99%

Mike Hall

Saying there can be no economic recovery without the recovery of the middle class, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) today introduced the Rebuild America Act. The legislation would, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

achieve shared prosperity by putting America back to work, rebuilding our infrastructure, repairing our safety net and insisting that shared sacrifice start at the top—with Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans.

<...>

The Rebuild America Act, says Trumka, “addresses many unmet needs that have been ignored for far too long.”

The bill would revive the manufacturing sector so we can make things in America again, increase Social Security benefits and restore the minimum wage’s purchasing power. Sen. Harkin recognizes that fairness requires us to ensure workers don’t lose overtime protections to inflation, discourage rampant speculation on Wall Street, alleviate the cost of child care for working families and other overdue reforms.

Harkin says his legislation “will ensure that all workers have a right to join together and stand up for fair wages and working conditions and that employers face real penalties for violating that right.”

Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, says the bill:

offers strong medicine for what ails America—and a stunning rebuke both to those who say we can’t afford to invest in our future and to those who would cut vital investments to the bone.

http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/Harkin-s-Rebuild-America-Act-Builds-Economy-for-99



Harkin bill would revive the American Dream

by Lawrence Mishel and Ross Eisenbrey

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has introduced a bill that shows the way to a better economic future for most Americans. The Rebuild America Act tackles many of the biggest problems that hold back the American economy and shut off opportunity for working families.

It’s an omnibus bill that will increase employment by making big infrastructure investments, developing renewable energy systems, addressing unfair foreign trade practices, providing assistance to state and local governments to retain police, firefighters and teachers, ending tax breaks that encourage companies to move jobs offshore, and promoting manufacturing in the United States.

It will help workers get a decent return on their education and their work by strengthening the minimum wage and overtime laws, better protecting the right to join a union and bargain collectively, enhancing retirement security, and guaranteeing paid sick leave.

<...>

We want to particularly applaud Sen. Harkin for his courage in swimming against the tide in two critical areas: Social Security and labor policy. The Rebuild America Act rejects the notion that Social Security is too expensive and that we can’t afford to meet the promises we made to America’s workers: That if they worked hard for a lifetime, they could retire with guaranteed benefits and inflation protection. Too many other politicians are ready, if not eager, to cut Social Security’s cost of living protection and to reduce benefits by raising the retirement age, no matter that such changes have the biggest impact on the retirement security of women and blue-collar and low-income workers, many of whom have seen little or no increase in life expectancy. By contrast, Sen. Harkin knows workers need more help, not less; that fewer and fewer workers have pensions; that 401(k) accounts are insufficient and undependable sources of retirement income; that Social Security is steadily replacing less and less of pre-retirement income; and that the Social Security COLA is not too generous, but rather too skimpy to keep up with the cost of health care inflation that drives the spending of older workers.

The Rebuild America Act therefore replaces the Social Security COLA formula with one that better accounts for cost inflation in the products and services that older workers pay for. It raises benefits across the board. And it pays for these improvements and addresses the program’s long-term revenue shortfall by “scrapping the cap” – eliminating the loophole that shelters incomes above $110,100 from Social security taxes.

- more -

http://www.epi.org/blog/harkin-bill-revive-american-dream/


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