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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:30 PM
Original message
The ONLY correct fix for Social Security
Now that I have looked deeply into the so called
looming Social Security crisis, I have concluded
that there is only one correct way to fix it.

And to understand my "fix" first we have to understand
what the problem is. The problem is NOT lack of privatization.
It is also NOT insufficient payroll taxes.

Currently, the SSA (Social Security Admin) collects more
dollars than they pay out to all the current beneficiary's.
The problem is they do NOT SAVE what is left over as excess
collections. They just go out and buy Treasury bonds which is
nothing but a glamorized IOU from one branch of Government to
another.

Therefore there is no need to start a whole new program of
private accounts which will create another set of problems.
Instead we need to put the current surplus into a RETIREMENT
FUND administered by the SSA. It will do the exact same thing
that the current Federal Employees Retirement fund does. It
invests in all the low risk investments such as large mutual
funds, high quality corporate Bonds, etc etc. That way the
money will be there for today's young workers. It will not
simply be spent in the federal budget as is happening now.

The shortfall of money my solution will impose on the federal
budget by not having the surplus payroll taxes can then be
corrected by rescinding the taxcuts for the top 2%.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. The so called crisis is because there are fewer working Americans
paying in as opposed to those drawing it out. The answer is to increase workers and wages period.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. There are NOT fewer Americans paying in Vs taking out AT THIS TIME
That problem won't rear its ugly head until anywhere from 18-24 years from now. Actually even then there will be more people putting in than
taking out, but the ratio gets smaller.

The most important thing is to get away from letting the SSA buy
US Treasury bonds which then puts money into the US Treasury and
then it gets spent in the federal budget.

If we start putting the excess payroll taxes in a SEPARATE RETIREMENT
account for future benficiary's and make only non-governmental
investments in that account, the looming demographics problem goes
away.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:03 AM
Response to Reply #4
37. I agree :-) But the only real result of selling the bonds now is to remove
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 05:03 AM by papau
the silly arguement that "the Trust has worthless IOU's" from the GOP Talking points.

The Clinton approach of running the gov on a surplus while we have the payroll surplus, is much simpler as allowing the investment of that surplus in gov bonds then means the gov retires other gov bonds, and the tax burden on our friends the rich for future bond redemption is unchanged.

But the GOP want to fake a crisis with the buzzwords of "worthless IOU's" - so the change in investment vehicle chosen seems necessary.

Besides, I half way believe there might be a tiny gain in investment return with long term investment in equities, and see no reason the Trust should not chase that gain.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. Bull.
The shortfall is more a result of depressed wages plus a laughably low cap on earnings subject to premiums plus a 20 year history of having Congress embezzle the overage to disguise the damage that tax cuts for the rich have done to the treasury.

First, raise the earnings cap.

Second, keep Congress away from overpayments.

Third, raise the minimum wage to a level that a single worker can actually live on if he works full time.

Fourth, when it becomes impossible to hide the devastation that letting the rich and the corporate off the tax hook has caused, RAISE THEIR DAMN INCOME TAXES.

Social Security is under attack because it's a socialist program that has WORKED for 70 years without the support of the rich. That is why they despise it.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. If we TRIPLED the payroll taxes on the rich, it still won't work
Edited on Thu Feb-10-05 04:04 PM by googly
because first of all there is NO CURRENT SHORTAGE in
current payroll taxes to pay all current benefits. If
we raised the payroll taxes on rich, and operated the
same way we are now, the excess dollars will as usual flow
into the US Treasury, to be spent by politicians. And no
matter how much money comes in, the politicians will find
a way to spend it. The repugs are even more profligate
spenders than democrats.

Therefor it is VERY VERY VERY important to put the current
surplus in a lockbox which is not accessible for current
spending in the federal budget. And the lockbox must not
invest in any federal bonds. That is like writing IOU to
yourself and you go out and blow the money.

There is already such arrangement in existence with the
federal employees. They contribute to a retirement fund
which invests just like any union or corporate or state
government retirement fund. If the surplus payroll tax
money currently collected was put aside, the baby boomer
retiring will have enough money in this retirement fund,
so as to not require cutting future benefits.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 04:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. The fact is there is already a 2 Trillion dollar surplus in the SS Trust
The CONmander and Thief does not want to have to pay it back. The problem of using the surplus to hide the extent of the real deficit is wrong. The answer to this FAKE CRISIS is and always will be to increase employment and wages in America. The bu$h a$$hatters have been sending our jobs to India and China to benefit their Corporate sponsors. They have even been using our money to pay them to do it.
The declining income in the US has started to depress the stock Market. aWoL wants to use SS to shore up the sagging profits of his Wall street Backers period.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. That "surplus" has ALREADY BEEN SPENT!
The SSA has a drawer full of IOU's from the Treasury, but guess
what in 18 years when SSA will need the money, there is none!
At that time, the ONLY way Treasury can pay it back is by
Additional borrowing in other words additional deficits OR
large payroll tax increases.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. It has been 'spent' on T Bills. T Bills mature and are paid off.
They are backed by the full faith and trust of the US Government.
The NeoCons Are scared to death that they will have to honor this commitment.
aWoL may have bankrupted the USA but he has not jut bankrupted Social Security. What part of his are you not getting? The way to 'FIX' social security if for the bu$hitters to face the facts and impose some budget restraint. Only an a$$hatter cuts taxes and starts a war, then blames the only effective social program left for his maleficence.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #13
61. Have you looked into the "math" when boomers start retiring?
The treasury will need hundreds of BILLIONS to repay all those
T-Bonds cluttering drawers in Social Security Admin. Where will
all of that cash suddenly materialize? Borrow more? Huge tax
increases? You know very well both will be very difficult.

And IMO, internal default of Treasury to repay SSA will not
hugely affect external sales of T-bonds so long as no default
occurs there. As an example, if one division of GM defaults
to another division, GM corporates still sell very well in the
market place.

So, what is wrong with stopping the spending of current SS surplus
and channel it into an arrangement exactly similar to the current
federal employees retirement fund, which has been returning far
better returns than the Social Security?
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #61
73. I believe we can start by rolling back the trillions in tax cuts for the
richest 2% that aWoL gave away. Then go after the estate tax on estates above 1MM. That is a BIG start.
Why are you trying to balance the disastrous budget the NeoCons created on Social Security? We can never cut social spending enough to offset the idiotic spending and crony capitalism of aWoL and the BFEE.

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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #73
79. Excuse me for being blunt, but you are missing my whole point
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 08:12 PM by googly
The problem is NOT lack of taxes in social security. In fact,
we have collected over a TRILLION dollars over what has been
paid out in benefits.

If we tripled the taxes on the rich and kept operating as we are
now, social security still goes broke when boomers are at the
peak of retirement. And for the umpteenth time, the PROBLEM IS:
EVERY DOLLAR COLLECTED THRU PAYROLL TAXES ENDS UP IN THE FEDERAL
BUDGET TO BE SPENT BY NEOCONS AND SOCIALISTS BOTH! The way SSA
is operating currently is to invest NOTHING in anything except
IOU's from the Treasury. So it won't matter how many taxes are
increased in federal income tax or payroll tax. It all winds up
being spent IMMEDIATELY in the federal budget.

My proposal is trying TO GET AWAY FROM THE SPENDERS USING THE
CURRENT EXCESS PAYROLL TAX to balance the budget ON THE BACK OF
SOCIAL SECURITY.

If you don't still get it, I give up on you.
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #79
82. excuse me Googly but YOU miss the point
investing the surplus in T Bills does not mean that those bills do not come due. The accounting games that the Right Wing Nuts play to hide the true size of the deficit not withstanding. You have not been paying attention. Social Security is not the problem. The lunatic spending and tax cut policies of the NeoCons and The Idiot Bush are the problem. They have systematically removed jobs from the US economy and depressed wages. All to benefit the richest 1%. That is the problem. The Social Security Trust fund was set up so they could not get their hands on it. That is why it can only be 'invested' in the most secure investment T BILLS.

My proposal is that we spend out money on useful socially responsible programs and not on the BFEE death cult. Quit pretending there is a problem with Social Security. It does not matter where money was spend it is still owed.



If you don't still get it, I give up on you.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #82
83. If we can spend $500 billion per year on defense...
Could we not spend the same amount paying off the T-bills owed to SS fund? Are the people willing to pay taxes on $500 billion defense budget but not willing to pay that amount to pay Social Security? Is that what they are trying to say?
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:30 PM
Response to Reply #83
85. Well Kentucky it looks that way. I believe some folks are
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 08:56 PM by Vincardog
spouting RW talking points and trying to divert us from the true question. If a loan was not due because the money you borrowed was spend it would be news to my bank. I spent their loan money on a House, They still want to get repaid. Go figure.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #9
23. The money borrowed on the other Treasury notes has been spent also !
So what's your point? It isn't just the money borrowed from the Social Secuirty fund that has been "spent".
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 06:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
93. My basic point------------------> when the boomers are at peak of
retirement cycles, and if federal budgets are operating in
deficits (as they have in 49 of the last 50 years), then
it creates a catastrophic cash crunch in treasury. At that
point they have 3 optoins, 1. default 2. borrow more 3. raise
taxes. All three are highly undesirable and highly undoable.

The best solution is to force SSA to set aside all the current
surplus payroll tax dollars into an account which does NOT
invest only in treasury obligations. Every high quality
corporate bond will yield a return 2 to 3 times greater than
what the SSA is getting from the treasury. Historically. stocks
have returned even higher yields, but the risk factor is greater.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:57 AM
Response to Reply #9
29. That is right wing SPIN
Okay. SPIN.

They borrowed money from YOU and ME and they don't want to pay it back. They GAVE our money away in the Bush tax cuts.

I WANT MY MONEY BACK.

That is all.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:03 AM
Response to Reply #29
30. Are they going to tell the Japanese and the Chinese the same...
thing? We spent the money that we borrowed from you and the Treasury notes are no good? Huh?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:06 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. I agree
That's why I called the IOU shit right wing spin.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #31
32. You are correct...
It is right wing spin.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #30
84. BIG BIG difference between external IOU's such as the Japanese
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 08:31 PM by googly
and Chinese own, and INTERNAL IOU's from treasury to Social
security Admin. I use the example of a large outfit such as
General Motors. If the Oldsmobile division borrowed from the
GM treasury using profits from the Chevrolet division, and
the Olds division went broke (Actually GM has now completely
closed down the Olds div. since it was not profitable) then in
actuality, the Olds division screwed the Chevy division.

However, GM will have no problem selling more corporate bonds
so long as the EXTERNAL buyers of bonds are getting their
dividends and capital back.

The exact same thing will happen within the federal government.
The US Treasury will default only on the Social Security debt,
and the Japanese %& Chinese will happily keep buying T-bonds
so long as the treasury does not default on that EXTERNAL debt
obligations.

Not only that, but laws are already on the books, that SSA will
be allowed to cut benefits when US Treasury is unable to fund
the shortfall.

In summary, the ONLY correct fix is to not lend the excess
payroll tax to treasury, and set up a retirement fund emulating
the federal employees retirement fund. We get better returns,
no dollars go out into individual accounts, there is no shortfall
to pay the benefits.

We have 18 years of surpluses left in payroll taxes to get this
ball rolling. If we wait, we are fxxxed.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #84
89. That assumes there is more danger in external default than
than an internal default, such as on Social Security. My thought would be that the internal default would be more disastrous for our country.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #89
92. From social impact perspective you are right, but from practicality
viewpoint of treasury being able to keep on selling bonds, it
is much more critical that they do not default on any external
obligations. If treasury defaults on SS, the only negative for
them will be that T-bond ratings will be lowered and higher rates
will be the result, but no catastophic impact on ability to raise
capital to finance budget deficits.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:17 PM
Response to Reply #29
81. Social Security has given EVERY SURPLUS DOLLAR since 1940's
to the Treasury who in turn hands it over to the federal budget
to be spent immediately. It won't matter how much more tax is
increased for the rich, NOTHING GETS SAVED IN HARD ASSETS by
social security. SSA simply collects drawer full of IOU's from
the treasury and hands over all the excess cash.

SO we could increase taxes by tenfold and social security still
goes broke at the peak of boomers retitiring. The only way to stop
that is by forcing the SSA to invest the excess payroll tax over
benefits paid out in hard assets, not paper IOU's from treasury.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. Yes, they stole it fair and square and they don't want to pay it back.
The rich and corporations got all the benefits of our government, got funding and subsidies from our government, and didn't have to pay for our government because they used our Social Security money to pay for the government so that they could get tax cuts and keep all "their" money.

Now that it's obvious that we'll be wanting it back for our retirement they realize that they might be subject to an increase in the tax rate to pay for 1) the budget that won't be subsidized by Social Security and 2) the amount they "borrowed" from us in previous years.

They don't want to pay it back. That's it! That's the whole story! There is no other reason! They want ALL the money!
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:08 AM
Response to Reply #6
38. Raising the payroll tax ends the last GOP talking point - but without
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 05:14 AM by papau
either budgets that have a surplus, or a Trust that invests in non-gov assets, the borrowing (that does not worry the rich )will continue as the tax not collected is passed onto the next generation.
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Mich Otter Donating Member (887 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #6
95. How about this idea to fix SS?
I think the way to make SS better is to end the cutoff on how much wages everyone pays SS on. Everyone should pay into SS on all of their wages. Even Bill Gates would pay on every dollar he gets.
SS would be solvent for as long as we could see. When the money rolling into SS exceeds the amount paid out, benefits should be increased to raise as many people out of poverty as the extra money will cover.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
22. That's a helluva interesting comment, Warpy....
"Social Security is under attack because it's a socialist program that has WORKED for 70 years without the support of the rich."
=======================================================================

It really is a socialism vs capitalism question. In this respect, I doubt that the majority would believe that the marketplace, Private Accounts, could do better. Most would probably prefer the socialist system that has worked for the last 50 years or so... Interesting.
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. It worked for 70 years - and the tax rates that it took to
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 12:23 AM by qwghlmian
sustain it steadily increased.

(rates below are total, employer+employee)

1935 - 2%
1950 - 3%
1954 - 4%
1960 - 5%
1965 - 6%
1970 - 7%
1972 - 9.2%
1973 - 9.7%
1978 - 9.6%
1984 - 11.4%
1988 - 12.12%
1990 - 12.4%

Guess what, if the rates continue to rise like before, this program will work forever, with no need to fix anything. If that is your example of socialist program that "works", it is not a very good example. It would have been a much better example if its "working" did not require constant raising of tax rates.






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flaminbats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. payroll rates were last raised fifteen years ago!
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 01:30 AM by flaminbats
not what I consider a constant raising of tax rates. If the cost of this program increases, remember how much harder it will be for sick and elderly individuals to pay for it!

The private sector works best when the needs of the disabled are tended. Do you view this only as a government problem?

The generational gap in Social Security and Medicare are symptoms of a greater economic problem. What happens to jobs and wages for young workers as retiring boomers begin to pull money out of a declining stock-market? Where will our economy be once this cycle is complete? And how will investing our Social Security funds in a declining market provide us with positive results?
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #25
88. small correction
payroll taxes increase every year due to the cola adjustment. The cola adjustment is a baked in tax increase. On the other hand pensions are adjusted by the same amount, so I'm all for it, even though it socks it ot middle-class working families the hardest.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:46 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. I think it's been a pretty damn good bargain...
People's incomes were increasing at the same time and they had more disposable income, even though the taxrates were somewhat higher, they were not the same rate on the same income and did not have the same impact as the initial tax rate...
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #24
33. How much have wages fallen?
And would we have needed to raise taxes if wages were still on par with what they were in 1965? And don't forget, we've added disability and survivor's benefits since 1935 as well.
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #33
47. Let's see -
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/WagesandWorkingCondi...

Average annual wages in 1935 were $1244 ($16.5K in today's dollars). Average annual wages in 1965 were $6535 ($37K in today's dollars). Today it is somewhere in the same range (in 2002 according to http://www.bls.gov/cew/state2002.txt it was $36,764). So I wouldn't say wages have fallen since then.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #47
53. Constant 1982 dollars
Average earnings have been down since 1978.

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy05/sheets/b47.xls

This doesn't even consider median wages and the fact that average earnings now are skewed by the exorbitant wages the top 10-20% are making compared to earlier times.

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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #53
56. According to your .gov link, the average
salary in US is $28K/year. According to my .gov link (http://www.bls.gov/cew/state2002.txt ) in 2002 it was $36K+ (and I presume is about the same now). Which one is right?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #56
70. Not to be dense
But I'm not seeing where you got that $28,000 from.

Here's an article on median wage though. 2003 median wage was $13.63 an hour, which is about $28,000 a year. That means half the people in the country make less than $28,000 a year and I think that's likely to be more than what was the case in 1965.

http://cleveland.indymedia.org/news/2004/09/12003.php

Seriously, wages for the masses have not kept up. Automatically means a reduction in tax revenues. Plus we gave huge tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy, compared to pre-1980. It's no wonder we've got all these deficits.
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #70
72. From your link -
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy05/sheets/b47.xls

Average Weekly Earnings in 2003 is around $520/week in current dollars. Multiply that by 52 - you get $27K/year. What I did was take the $280 in 1982 dollars and converted it to 2003 dollars - I got $540, not $520, thus $28K/year. Note: this is average, not median.

Still don't understand why the discrepancy between $27-28K here and $36K+ here: http://www.bls.gov/cew/state2002.txt .
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:08 PM
Response to Reply #72
78. Ooooh
I didn't see that column.

Maybe the difference is in workers covered. :shrug:

Mine says private, yours says all. Maybe one includes government and one doesn't. Don't know.

One's the Bush Administration and one's not. Don't know.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:12 AM
Response to Reply #24
39. They rates do NOT continue to rise, and do not need to rise
Indeed the increase in rates was planned long ago as the pay as you go idea meant we start with zero retirees and grow to a standard size generation of retirees - so the tax rate must rise to the final rate that sustains the system - which is where we are at now
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #39
50. RE: Sustainable tax rate.
How can you claim that the currennt tax rate is sustainable when most estimates show that it is not?
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DebJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #24
43. Now compare that to income level raises, please. What would
the cap be if raised for merely inflation?
Anyone know?
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #43
46. In 1935, the cap was set at $3,000.
If you adjust for inflation that would be $39,500 in today's dollars. As you know, the cap today is $90,000.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:39 PM
Response to Reply #22
87. Then why are the federal employees getting better returns on
their own sysyem of retirement? Actuall more than THREE times better
than social security returns.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 06:54 AM
Response to Reply #5
44. "first raise the earnings cap"
NO!

First eliminate the tax cuts on the wealthy and put the revenue towards paying down the debt we took on as a direct result of those irresponsible corrupt payoffs to the very rich supporters of the adminsitration.

The SS payroll tax is regressive. Income tax is progressive.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 06:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
94. Chapter 8 "How Social Security Taxes Subsidize the Rich" in the book
Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich - and Cheat Everybody Else by David Cay Johnston

Explains in detail facts that the rightwingnuts cannot stand to hear. Chapter 7 is a good one too !
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Cocoa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
2. I've heard only the top 1% is necessary
that rolling back the tax cuts on the top 1% would fix it.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Even better if its only the top 1% but the MOST IMPORTANT
thing is to NOT let the federal government spend the money.
It must be put aside in a lockbox as a RETIREMENT FUND. I think
Gore talked about a lockbox but I don't recall how his lockbox
would have worked.
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BlueInRed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. I have a couple of links on the lockbox
Edited on Thu Feb-10-05 09:59 PM by BlueInRed
Here's one on the lockbox, from Clinton's factsheet from 99. http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org/legacy/062899-... . One thing that Clinton/Gore recommend is taking the Trust Fund off budget.

This second article gives you the history of the lockbox idea, as well as everyone's arguments about it (GOP view, Dem view, and the writer's personal take on it). http://www.tnr.com/091701/chait091701.html

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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #12
86. The LOCKBOX needs to be implemented SOON
otherwise all the SSA has is a drawer full of paper IOU's
from the treasury. The excess payroll taxes (over benefits paid)
are being spent IMMEDIATELY in each and every year it gets
collected.
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nickgutierrez Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
96. That's what I've heard, too.
In fact, I saw on C-SPAN last night that there were at least a couple of Dem. congresspeople making the same claim.
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. it already IS invested in a retirement fund
it's 100% invested in nice, conservative, us treasuries.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. and where will the US Treasury get the CASH to pay it back
if it has already forwarded the 2 Trillion to the federal
spending side for many decades? The money has been SPENT.
All the SSA has is a whole bunch of bonds in other words IOU's.

If that was not the case, the 2 Trillion would go a long way
in paying the projected deficit from baby bomers retiring.
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. "us treasuries" and "iou's" are the opposite ends of the spectrum
us treasuries are the safest investment in the world.

iou's are commonly taken to imply personal credit, i.e., the riskist investments in the world.

all they have in common is that they are debt instruments.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #10
34. ROLL BACK THE TAX CUTS
I WANT THAT 2 TRILLION BACK FROM THE RICH FUCKS WHO GOT THE TAX CUT!!!
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BlueInRed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
11. as the poster papau has pointed out many times
Edited on Thu Feb-10-05 09:37 PM by BlueInRed
What you propose could be accomplished by simply changing the law to allow the Trust Fund to cash in the govt securities as they mature and reinvest in the types of private equities you describe. Currently it is not allowed (and was opposed by the GOP starting in the 1940s as "backdoor socialism"). But, I see no reason to bar the Trust Fund from investing in lower risk private equities, at least in part. This would certainly put an end to the discussion of whether it holds "real assets".

I hope papau will come on this thread and explain and elaborate on this idea. I'm sure with his expertise, he can clarify/restate this idea much better than I.

It appears you and papau are proposing the same solution.

It seems it would also make the budget situation clearer and potentially result in a proper focus on our ever-growing deficit.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Yeah thanks, but this solution requires weaning the pols away from the
Social Security surplus trough, and you know how hard that is.
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BlueInRed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Exactly, it's just too tempting n/t
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
28. Government control of business
Which corporationa the government chooses to invest in can make or break businesses when you're talking about trillions of investment dollars. That's why this idea was knocked down when Democrats discussed it back in the late 90's. THIS was what they were talking about, btw, not private accounts like Republicans are trying to spin it now.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #28
40. True - tight regulations will be needed to prevent "socially targeted
investing" by the Trust.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 04:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
36. You are correct BlueInRed, googly and I appear to agree that Trust selling
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 04:55 AM by papau
the bonds on the open market - Japan and China seem unable to stop themselves from buying US Gov Bonds - and using the money to buy typical non-gov but secure equities and bonds is the way to go to stop this rather stupid GOP claim that there is no money in the Trust.

What there is today is a class called "rich" that has had the government borrow from the Trust so that the government could give them the Bush tax cut for the rich (replacing the monies no longer collected from the rich with the monies borrowed from the Trust), and now that class called rich is worried that they have to pay that money back - as in a tax increase on the rich for when the bonds come due.

Let that class called rich explain to the folks in Japan that they do not want to pay back the money, rather than letting them screw the aged.
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BlueInRed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #36
45. Thanks for clarifying :)
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
51. I don't think government should own private businesses. n/t
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Kathy in Cambridge Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #51
59. Do you think Social Security should be privatized?
:freak:
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #59
68. Bush's plan is the worst of both worlds. Too much government to be a
private plan and too much private plan to be government.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #51
62. It is doing it NOW in the federal employees retirement fund, and
very successfully, with much higher returns for the retirees
than what the SS pays.
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #62
69. I still don't think government agencies should be able to do this.
I would prefer a 403b type of account for federal employees.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #69
75. Except when you switch into personal accounts such as 403-b, 401-k
etc, you are taking funds out of social security admin control.
That creates the dreaded shortfall of funds in SSA to pay middle
aged retirees. By keeping all the dollars in control of SSA, there
is no such problem. All that is different is 3 times the return on
our payroll taxes (using federal employees fund as an example) Vs.
what we are getting from the SSA now.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
66. Good point. n/t
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Auntie Bush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
18. Walla! Problen solved! That idea is a keeper!
Edited on Thu Feb-10-05 10:16 PM by Auntie Bush
Now to just get a Democrat in office and a Demo. congress and we can do it.
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T Bone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
19. Can anyone answer this Libertarian SPIN and debate stopper ?
Libertarian I know, everytime ss discussions come up-- stops all debate by throwing out what I know has to be some kind of canard, that "Roosevelt would be upset, because actually SS was supposed to be voluntary to begin with", ..."that no one should have to sign up for it now with their employer---but employers make us sign papers to pay into it, and then match the funds." I just tell him I never heard that. And he says well it is is so. Guy visits a lot of gun nut and libertarian websites. I am certain that is where he is getting this. Hope this is not a distraction from this thread, but how should I answer him?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #19
35. Roosvelt demanded mandatory taxes
He fought Democrats who wanted to make it a program only for the poor, etc.

He said if he made everybody pay taxes for it "no damned politician could ever cut my social security"

Your Libertarian friend is wrong.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:20 AM
Response to Reply #19
41. What SPIN - in 1935 the IRS was given the job of chosing a way to
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 05:20 AM by papau
collect the funds - and indeed most folks thought they'd go to the Post Office and pay and get a stamped card.

The IRS went with gov record keeping rather than making you keep records - so we have the payroll tax!
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #41
55. Roosevelt approved
He wanted to make sure it was something everybody contributed to so that it would belong to the people. Your post is interesting, but it doesn't have anything to do with what Roosevelt wanted.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #55
57. Sorry - Roosevelt wanted everyone covered - but self employed and various
other groups had to wait until after the war.

The wage cap was more the result of the need to hold down revenue to the Trust in those years of near zero folks on the retirement roll - if we were to go pay as you go.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #57
71. Just not following
I don't see what this has to do with workers paying taxes for social security either. I'm not trying to be difficult, our brains must be operating on different internets today. :)
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #71
77. It may be past my time for my nap- as KO says - now what was the question?
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 07:25 PM by papau
:-)


Since we totally agree as to your points

"He fought Democrats who wanted to make it a program only for the poor, etc.

He said if he made everybody pay taxes for it "no damned politician could ever cut my social security"

Your Libertarian friend is wrong."

I do not know what I am adding! :-)


All I was saying that while FDR wanted everyone covered, the actual 1935 law that was passed did not cover quite everyone! FDR took what he could get past Congress. The remaining groups were added in the 50's.

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 08:10 PM
Response to Reply #77
80. Ah, I see
I suppose I should brush up on what was added when, then posts like yours would make sense to me! :)
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Muddy Waters Guitar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
20. Medicare is what needs to be addressed, not SS
The whole SS debate just seems IMHO to provide a convenient forum for Bush to push this privatization thing which has probably been his pet project since mid-2001 at least. It wouldn't do a thing to fix our budget mess-- far more helpful would be to stop invading vulnerable Middle Eastern countries, but that would actually require a halfway sensible foreign policy.
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flaminbats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Medicare faces greater peril because of medical inflation..
I love repeating old points. Social Security is a contract between the old and young. Medicare needs a tax increase on the young to remain adequately financed for the future. Young workers are unlikely to support this, unless they are covered as well.

Which is more costly..covering low-risk patients or allowing insurance companies and Doctors to jack up our prices? Which will all voters respond better to, paying more for diminished coverage..or a system including everyone? :grouphug:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #21
27. "medical inflation" because of the capitalist insurance companies...
and others that 'let the market determine the price of a basic necessity like healthcare. Big mistake.
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papau Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:27 AM
Response to Reply #27
42. True - medical care should not have a profit and CEO salary cost plus
single payer is 15% cheaper off the top because of easy forms/payment.

Net- net single payer should drop costs by 30%, while all the workers in the Health Ins industry are re-employed as Gov form review and check payers (as is done today with Medicare Part B where the Ins Folks run the actual administration)

We end up with a few rich CEO's and their friends in top management no longer having jobs - and Health Insurance sales folks moving on to sell something other than health - but those are changes I am willing to accept!

:-)
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cattleman22 Donating Member (356 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #27
52. Medical Inflation is due to a variety of reasons
1. Increased medical technology

2. Increased consumption of medical care

3. Increased age of the population

4. Others


Has the profit margin increased for medical companies over the years? In order for capitalism to be the sole cause of medical inflation, the profit margin in medical companies must be increasing exponentially year over year.


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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #20
63. Medicare is a whole another issue, but lets limit to SS here please
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cidliz2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
48. Duh!!!!! That is what we should have been doing from the beginning!
Why we aren't, is really the problem. The Government likes to "play" with our money and see who can get the fattest pockets. Why this idea is actually being "suggested" is really outrageous.
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
49. Why don't they just raise the age to 80.
Problem Solved.

Sarcasm of course.
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
54. hmm. i thought the only correct fix was
making Corporations pay their damn taxes, with no loopholes.


but maybe that's just me.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #54
65. You are overlooking the fundamental problem, which is that
no matter how many taxes are collected, if all that money
is spent IMMEDIATELY in the federal budget, all the contributors
got is a drawerful of IOU's from the treasury. We could triple
the taxes on those making over the current limit and we are
left with the same goddam problem....all that money is not
invested in anything concrete, just get more IOU's from the
treasury, and the treasury forwards the payrol tax money to
the federal budet to be spent immediately.
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MsTryska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #65
67. well yeah, there's that too.
Edited on Fri Feb-11-05 02:32 PM by MsTryska
If SS wasn't a little cookie jar for everyone to dip into, and it was back to PAYGO with their stupid programs and pork, there wouldn't be any "crisis" either.

kinda what i was gettign at, is it corporations paid their damnt axes, maybe we could lock down SS the way it was supposed ot be.
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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 07:14 PM
Response to Reply #67
76. Yeah, the rich corporations can always pay more, but there is plenty
excess surplus already in payroll taxes. In fact, 1 TRILLION
dollars worth of surplus so far, which instead of investing in
hard assets, has been frittered away by the government and SSA
has a drawerful of IOU's from the treasury.
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peterh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:39 PM
Response to Original message
58. My understanding of all this..
The Treasury owes SSA something in excess of one trillion but less than two
The IOUs are non-marketable securities drawing interest on paper only
the Treasury owns 100% of the securities
schedule of payments on said IOUs begin in 2018.I think

Privatizing SS 100% (which is their goal) will cost a minimum of 2 trillion at the start with no real top-end estimate to go 100%....maybe upwards of 5 to 8 trillion when its all said and done..all borrowed in the form of marketable securities.

Options:
Keep SS and raise the cap while defaulting on the IOUs
Keep SS, bite the bullet and borrow to pay back the IOUscap is status quo

Jump on the twits bandwagon and borrow upwards of 8 trillion to give to Wall Street


I opt for borrowing something less than 2 trillion between 2018 and 2042 to pay off the IOUs, enact a lockbox for future contributions and keep the status quo on caps, benefits and retirement age.if properly framed by the powers that be, it probably stands the best chance of gaining decent bipartisan support, which this whole argument needs in order to move forward. tis only my humble opinion of course

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googly Donating Member (801 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #58
64. I agree, and which is why my "fix" is better, it requires NO OUTFLOW
to private accounts from the SSA. My plan is really
nothing new, I just want SSA to emulate the federal
employees retirement fund, which has 3 times higher
returns than what the social security has been paying
retirees.
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txaslftist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
60. "Logan's Run"
That'll fix it.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-11-05 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
74. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
flounderinginflorida Donating Member (7 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
90. NO CRISIS
I personally don't believe there is a crisis. That said, I heard that once an individual has contributed $87,000 to SS that's it; no matter how many more years they work and collect a pay check. Obviously this would include the wealthy. If this is true then the cap should be removed and one should continue to pay into the system as long as they still work and collect. There would be continuous funds and plenty of it. If that works maybe they could try it with Medicare.
What do you think?
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qwghlmian Donating Member (768 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #90
91. Um - you heard wrong. n/t
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BlueInRed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-12-05 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
97. Did you see Rockefeller is proposing rolling back the tax cuts?
Pretty funny, not to mention a great idea. http://theintelligencer.net/news/story/0212202005_new1j...

~snip~
President Bush plans to implement $11.1 trillion in tax cuts, he said. It also is suggested by experts that adding $3.7 trillion to the Social Security system will assure its future indefinitely.

Instead of returning the money to taxpayers, Rockefeller proposes taking $3.7 trillion from funds set aside for tax cuts and putting it toward the Social Security system. This would leave about two-thirds of the money that still could be used for tax cuts and refunds.

. . . As for the tax cuts, those most likely to benefit are those earning at least $300,000 annually, he said.

Only about 6,000 West Virginians receiving Social Security would qualify.

"I would be one of them," Rockefeller acknowledged. "But I think I can make it without it (the tax cut)."
~snip~
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