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Social Security is NOT broken. What the hell are "Universal Savings Accounts" Obama talked about?!

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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:19 PM
Original message
Social Security is NOT broken. What the hell are "Universal Savings Accounts" Obama talked about?!
:wtf:
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nc4bo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. I want to know too.
:wtf:
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Kat45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
2. I know. I wasn't happy to hear him talking about that.
Makes me nervous to hear that, especially from our guy.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
3. Probably a concession to the Republicans. nt
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Vincardog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. They are just an excuse not to say Universal Single payer Health care
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Hello_Kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Didn't sound like a replacement for SS. More like an alternative to 401ks.
There's another thread where a DUer got the exact quote and that's what it seemed to be.
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Connie_Corleone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's like a 401K for everyone IN ADDITION to social security.
It won't replace social security.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
21. Why not just have a freebie $5 or $10K in interest and dividend income?
Sounds like it would be easier to do. Matching money would have to come from somewhere. Why do I suspect Social Security?
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debbierlus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:17 PM
Response to Reply #6
29. Why the hell should we be investing our retirement in stocks - my dad lost his ass doing that?
401k now worth a fourth of its value when he retired.

After this economic crisis, this is a plan? Gross.
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
79. Those 401K worked out so well
:sarcasm:
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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:21 PM
Response to Original message
7. Here is the line, spin it as you wish

"To preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the growing costs in Medicare and Social Security. Comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come. And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans."
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I'm not spinning anything. That job belongs to the politicians who are robbing all of us blind.
You can sit there and pretend they are watching out for you, but I'm not so naive.

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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I didnt say you were spinning
I'm just pointing out the line is pretty vague.

Calm down.
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garthranzz Donating Member (983 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:35 PM
Response to Reply #7
16. Grammar lesson
From dictionary.com:

WHILE conjunction
3. during or in the time that.
4. throughout the time that; as long as.
5. even though; although: While she appreciated the honor, she could not accept the position.
6. at the same time that (showing an analogous or corresponding action): The floor was strewn with books, while magazines covered the tables.

It's clear from the context and wording that the use of the word "while" here fits into the 6th definition - at the same time that. If we assume that Obama chooses his words carefully - safe assumption - then the passage reads as follows:

Health Care Reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare.
(We've already begun to do that - mentioned in the speech.)
Thus, Reform is also the best way to strengthen Social Security.
(We have not yet begun to do that, so let's talk about it.)
In addition to strengthening Social Security,we should also create tax-free savings accounts for all Americans.
(Some Americans have tfsa; all Americans should have them)

Three financial vehicles - health care, social security, savings/retirement
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Uzybone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:45 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. Your post makes the most sense to me
Those who fear Obama will privatize (for some unknown reason) can spin the line to mean whatever they want.

It was a vague line, but I agree with your interpretation. It makes the most sense.
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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #16
39. You make the most sense of all the angles I've read so far. I'll hope this is correct.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:08 PM
Response to Reply #16
62. First, unlike health care, I do not concede that social security is in need of reform.
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 01:10 PM by lumberjack_jeff
What is in need of reform is a system which relies on our social security taxes to pay for non-SS stuff.

The SS system is loaning money to the US government. Figuring out how to repay that debt may very well require some head scratching, but that isn't a problem of Social Security, it is a problem of a general fund who has an obligation to repay it.

If he wants to make IRAs accessible to everyone without regard to employment, I'm listening.
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GeorgeGist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #7
56. If comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare ...
then why would comprehensive retirement plan reform not be the best way to strengthem Social Security?

Answer: Because Social Security is a single-payer system; there's no wasteful spending on profit.
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. Something Clinton did too..
Edited on Tue Feb-24-09 10:22 PM by Why Syzygy
But I'm not familiar with.

http://www.network-democracy.org/social-security/bb/proposals/usa_accounts.html

Here's How USAs Work:

98 million adults would receive an automatic government
contribution to their Universal Savings Account every year.

In addition to the automatic contribution, the government
would match, dollar for dollar, voluntary contributions to
the USAs by low and moderate income workers. Eligible
workers with higher incomes would have a match rate of at
least 50 percent.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
9. I don't go for that @#*! at all. nt
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bottomtheweaver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
10. This could be worse for Obama than Afghanistan.
I don't think even he will be able to sell an SSA privatization scheme of ANY kind in this environment, and that's a damn good thing.
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leftstreet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
11. Social Security is NOT FUCKING BROKEN!
:argh: :mad: :argh: :mad: :argh: :mad:
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #11
47. It has major underfunding problems. Gov't has been spending the
surplus willy-nilly. It has major problems--but not as big as Medicare.

Watch I.O.U.S.A.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TjBNjc9Bo&feature=related
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #47
57. I.O.U.S.A. is misleading.
SS is not underfunded, but I.O.U.S.A. lumps it together with other "entitlement" programs that are. But the main problem with those (Medicare & Medicaid) is skyrocketing health care costs. bring those under control, and I.O.U.S.A.'s scary numbers disappear. And a lot of its talk anout debt obligations are similarly dependent on something that can be changed, or are just the natural order of things (e.g., having a child incurs a certain "debt obligation" for what it will cost to house, feed, clothe, educate, and otherwise raise the kid to adulthood. Most people don't have a lump sum of that amount of cash lying around when they have the child; they work and earn it over the years the kid is growing.)

Also note how the film frets over the trade deficit, but under the guise of "it doesn't matter how we got here, just that we get out" it never gets into the (government) policies and (corporate) practices that have expanded it. But that problem won't get fixed until those problems are named and confronted, and that's going to take a fight that goes against the personal interests of the Concord Coalition's members.

If you think the film is a must-see (and it is worthwhile, as long as you're aware of its shortcomings), then William Greider's article in the Nation is also a must-read:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090302/greider
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B Calm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #47
60. It can be fixed immediately by raising the cap on rich people!
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #11
49. Just stop robbing it! Where is that 'lockbox' Gore spoke of, when we really need it?
The past four Administration looted SS funds. LEAVE IT ALONE, you greedy bastards!
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rgbecker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:25 PM
Original message
He wants to give savers a tax break....what's wrong with that?
May shut up the Repugs who want to privatize SS.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
77. We already have IRA accounts up to $5,000 per person
IRA contributions can be deducted from your income (with certain limitations) on line 32 of the 1040. There also is a Retirement savings contribution credit on line 51 where the government will pay 50 cents or 20 cents or 10 cents on the dollar up to $1,000 for certain income levels (for poorer people they pay 50 cents on the dollar. It is those two deductions that I use to reduce my income taxes down to zero.

But I was against the higher limits. The reason being is that they are a tax shelter for the more wealthy. Who can afford to put $5,000 in an IRA - somebody making $20,000 a year, or somebody making $60,000 a year?

You don't have to answer that. IRS figures from 2004 show that only 10.15% of eligible taxpayers contributed to an IRA account in 2004. For taxpayers with income more than $20,000 and less than $25,000 that number was 6.5% and the average amount contributed was $1,854. For tax filers with income between $500,000 and $1,000,000 28.42% contributed to an IRA account and the average contribution was $9,241.

I would be against another tax break for wealthier people.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:25 PM
Response to Original message
12. Here are some examples of what he might mean.
It is in my mind a form of personal accounts without using the name.

But if you say that you will be attacked here viciously. So let me do it for you. It's the dream of the DLC in various names.


Maybe the American Dream Account?

http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=450006&subid=900157&contentid=254252

From 1999...Universal Savings Accounts.

http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=125&subid=165&contentid=695

From 2002 Universal Pensions

http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?contentid=250222&kaid=125&subid=164

Gephardt announces the USA in 2002

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb5554/is_200202/ai_n21802679

Some will argue, but I do not like the term.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Read these links, look for more of your own....don't let others tell you
what it is.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:28 PM
Response to Original message
14. Details from Gephardt's plan and that of the DLC. pdf format
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Kip Humphrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
17. In addition to SS, tax free savings interest to improve American's savings and improve bank deposits
CALM DOWN!
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:41 PM
Response to Original message
18. In the spirit of bipartisanship, and at the behest of his corporate masters,
It sounds like Obama is willing to hand over our Social Security money, that we paid for, to the same thieves and thugs on Wall St. who've been fleecing us over the past few years. Change indeed.
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:50 AM
Response to Reply #18
50. No, no, no. That's not what he said.
Savings accounts IN ADDITION TO Social Security!

Jeez, don't everybody panic. LISTEN.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #50
52. Actually he didn't say one way or the other
However it worries me tremendously to see SS and these Universal Savings Accounts mentioned in a way that's tied to Social Security. I would like to see more information on them now, before we get into the middle of a SS debate. I can easily see this as another attempt at privatization of Social Security.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:55 PM
Response to Original message
22. Want the skinny on that too!
:wtf: is right!
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
23. Here is a page of links from 2000 to 2005....explaining USA
http://www.dlc.org/ndol_sub.cfm?kaid=125&subid=165

Especially read this one from Will Marshall in 2002. Note the ugly sarcasm toward Campaign for America's Future....Borosage's group.

Social Security Pledge Failed Democrats
http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=125&subid=165&contentid=251076

"WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Nothing better epitomized the hackneyed and reactive character of the Democrats' 2002 midterm campaign than "The Pledge."

Like camp meeting converts swearing off demon rum, nearly every Democratic candidate for Congress dutifully took the Pledge. They vowed to never, ever allow working Americans to divert some portion of their Social Security payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts. In leftish circles, this goes by the name of "privatization" and is regarded as the ultimate political thought crime.

And lest Democrats entertain any impure thoughts about reforming Medicare, the pledge also requires them to swear fealty to a new prescription drug entitlement "that will cover all drugs beneficiaries need" and that won't "push beneficiaries into HMOs and other managed care plans."

The pledge is the brainchild of the Campaign for America's Future, a union-backed organization that is to Social Security and Medicare what the Inquisition was to medieval Christiandom. Its latter-day Torquemadas enforce New Deal-Great Society orthodoxy and ferret out heresy with religious zeal.

Their goal is simple: to preserve Social Security and Medicare as nearly as possible in their original 1935 and 1965 incarnations. And with the Pledge they encouraged Democrats to make this profoundly conservative, even reactionary, stance the centerpiece of their midterm election campaign.
"
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1776Forever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
24. After searching I found this on "universal savings accounts"
Edited on Tue Feb-24-09 11:05 PM by 1776Forever
After searching I found this on "universal savings accounts" =

,,,,,,,,,,,

Gordon Smith: Bill Clinton & Barack Obama's ally
by David Reinhard, The Oregonian
Saturday November 01, 2008

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/david_reinhard/index.ssf/2008/11/gordon_smith_bill_clinton_bara.html

(snip)

The campaign committee cites one vote that had some tangential relationship to Social Security. The 1998 Smith vote would have created personal savings accounts over and above -- not in place of -- Social Security. These funds would have come from the budget surplus that existed at the time, and the "universal savings accounts" would have existed outside the Social Security Trust Fund. The most prominent champion of universal savings accounts? President Clinton, and they were not called Social Security privatization by advocates or critics.

:shrug:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:08 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. We already have them...why create more?
We have 401k and other stuff.

Of course it is step to turning the whole thing over to the private markets.
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1776Forever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. I think it is just one idea being floated - Saw Clinton's name attached to it.
Maybe it is just to give an opening salvo over the bow of the Repub's to get some kind of corporation from some of them. It is almost like you have to give them some kind of camouflage in order for them to cross over to a reasonable idea.
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. Because 401ks are only for people whose employers offer them, right now.
If the government is offering to create 401ks for ALL Americans and contribute matching funds like an employer would, I am ALL for it. McDonald's cashiers, babysitters, paper carriers, and pizza delivery people all deserve a cat-food free retirement, too.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Why do we need it in addition to Social Security? And where would the money come from?
Why doesn't the government shore up that program they are saying needs fixing before starting something new??

Of course it is privatizing savings.
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Lyric Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:40 AM
Response to Reply #33
36. We need it because there are a lot of people who don't get enough
from SS to survive on--if anything. How many people work under-the-radar? How many people are women who've spent their prime working years raising kids, not working for wages? Social Security is only good for people who've worked and paid FICA tax during their lives, or who were legally married for at least 10 years to someone else who did. Unpaid work done in the home is ignored. Work done without FICA reporting is ignored. Not everybody lives within "the system," and those most likely to live outside of it are low-income people (especially women) who need retirement help the most.

Consider that legal marriage that lasts for at least 10 years is required for a spouse to collect SS as a dependent. Now consider how frequently couples are choosing to forego getting married, how soon marriages are breaking up, AND how many couples CAN'T get married--like me and my same-sex partner. I spent most of my 20's at home, raising our son, because childcare would have cost as much as the minimum-wage jobs I was qualified for. I'm in college now trying to fix that, but the economy has crashed and my job security is anything but secure when I graduate. If my partner, the "breadwinner," died tomorrow, my son and I would have nothing.

And what of young professionals who don't *get* married until they're in the 30's and 40's? What of the ones who choose to live together and raise a family without marriage, like some of our gay allies, who reject marriage until it's equally available for everyone? What of *their* spouses who've been at home raising kids and babysitting on the side, instead of working for FICA wages? What of desperately poor single mothers living on welfare for most of their lives for lack of available jobs, training, education, transportation, and/or childcare? What shall we tell them? Too bad--enjoy your elderly starvation?

Social Security is not "broken," but it IS incomplete. Too many people fall through the cracks. Too many people are shut out--especially those who can least afford it. Considering the frightful mess that is our economy, we need to do everything in our power to help these people survive.

As for where we'll get the money--let's start with that bloated military budget, the useless dollar-suck that is abstinence-only education, and other Republican sacred cows that need to be cut down and/or abolished.
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exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #27
35. One proposal that came out of the hearings on 401(k)s
Is to have accounts that invest in a specific account that would yield CPI+3% and would be federally insured. The Fed would take the dollars and invest them to try to match this yield in the market. The proposal was to force the 401(k)s already out there to convert to such an approach - this is a non-starter. You would absolutely destroy the capital markets as everyone became the first to pull their dollars out of the market. Also, does anyone else feel uncomfortable about the Federal government owning broad equity positions?

What I personally did is to take 40% of my retirement and invest in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities when they were running 3-3.2% over CPI (late October/November). I was able to do this because I had moved my retirement money from a former employer into a brokerage IRA. I only wish I had done 60% and not 40%. Everyone should have this option. Right now the yields are down to 2.2% over CPI.

What I would like to see would be the default choice for 401(k)s be access to well run (meaning low cost TIPS bond funds) with different maturity dates. An even better solution would be zero coupon TIPS like bonds that can be purchased directly with variable maturities (ie every year so many TIPS come due). 3% is too generous in today's market, but I would prefer that yield to be the portion which is subsidized by the Federal government. TIPS have never gotten a whole lot higher than 4%.

Everyone is yelling about 401(k)s and how bad they are. A 401(k) is just a device for investing - you can purchase different options within the 401(k). The expense ratios on well run funds are not that high (actually it is amazing that the index funds can pull off pegged performance to indexes given that folks still need to get paid to do the trades to mirror the index). The problem with 401(k)s is twofold. The first is the limited investment choices (some are really bad - others run by Fidelity and Vanguard are not that bad if they open their best low cost funds). The second is that amount of dollars held in equity investments (in particular by 50+ers) by those investing in them. A diversified portfolio could have gotten out of last year with a 20% loss (still large but can be overcome).

The biggest complaint with S.S. is that the rules can be changed anytime by the Federal government (you as an individual actually own nothing - this has been decided already in court). The fact that now, after 25 years of building up the "Trust Fund", Social Security is considered a problem is an example of how it is a constant battle to ensure the program's survival. You have to look at it from the Federal government's perspective. For the last 25 years the extra withholdings have been used to paper over the deficit. The budget is viewed as so much received from Income tax, Corporate tax, etc and SOCIAL SECURITY WITHHOLDING. An accounting game is then played that says a portion of the money received is put aside in a "Trust Fund". This "Trust Fund" holds Treasuries and is allowed to grow until 2017 when withholdings are less than dispersals. The "Trust Fund" then begins cashing out their Treasuries to make these payments. So where does the money now come from? We have only three options - increasing general revenue taxes, selling more debt, or getting the Fed to purchase more debt (ie printing more money so to speak). This is not a bad approach if fiscal discipline is demonstrated in the general budget, but.....

Given what is going on in Washington inflation indexed is the way to go. Those folks who are in Federal pensions, Indexed state pensions, and TIPS are going to do well. Those folks who have fixed pensions (like most private pensions) are going to get hurt. Equities??? well who knows but for anyone who wants to beat CPI+2.2% they are the only game in town. For folks who hate the capital markets, name one well running country in which you would want to live that does not have a capital market. How good is the state at buiding a tractor or developing a computer chip for commercial use?

What I think would be an interesting paper is to determine the impact of debt monetization on all these Federal/State commitments tied to the CPI. I am seeing the potential for a positive feedback loop.
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falcon97 Donating Member (343 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 10:58 PM
Response to Original message
25. Count me as concerned.
I'm in my early 30s and fully expect drastic changes to SS. But those universal savings accounts caught my attention....and not in a good way.
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POAS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
26. Portable accounts somewhat like a 401k
that are not tied to your employment, as I understand it!
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TacticalPeek Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:44 PM
Response to Original message
30. One can ALREADY have private savings accounts. grrrrr

Fuck this shit.

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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #30
38. but they are not tax free and not "universal"
Obama is talking in code to give the poorest Americans the ability to have personal retirement savings paid for by the government in addition to social security.
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glinda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #38
40. I am hoping he means we can withdraw our little remaining retirement money
tax free and move it to a safer situation.
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SmileyRose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:58 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. You can do rollovers tax free now.
My 401K money is with Fidelity - I have no choice in that with my current employer. When I left my previous employer my 401K was automatically closed and a check sent to me. As long as I deposited into another 401K account within so many days (I think it was 60) then there was not tax liability at all. One of my 401K choices is your plain Jane CD's

My IRA is with Vanguard. They have so many choices, such low fees, and such a careful approach to retirement planning, I would recommend them to anyone. They have a number of safer options.
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unkachuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-24-09 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
32. kick....and it sounded like bush-speak to me....n/t
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
34. That got MY attention.
The ONLY "reform" to SS I support is eliminating the cap.
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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:44 AM
Response to Original message
37. Tons of massively for-awesome smart guys keep publishing report after report saying NOT BROKEN!!!
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Economic Policy Institute

Start with those guys.

What do the democrats gain from pushing unneeded SS reform? Politically I mean...
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4lbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
42. Here's what a "tax-free Universal Savings Account" means to me.
It's a regular savings account, where the low but steady interest is not taxed at all as income.

You can take money out for medical emergencies, to pay for school for your self and/or children, or to buy a first home. Otherwise, it's for long term savings. Therefore, it's not as liquid as regular savings where you can withdraw money at any time.

At the age of 65, you must start taking money out on a regular basis over 5, 10, or 20 years.

Unlike the 401k, there is almost no risk, because the money isn't going into the stock market. It's just a regular savings account, with a low, but steady interest, say 2 percent APR. Once again, this interest is not taxed whatsoever.

Unlike the IRA, which is tax-deferred, this is tax-free, and what exceptions you are allowed to remove the money without penalty are more. Also, unlike IRAs and 401k plans, there is no annual limit.

The entire savings amount is insured by the Federal Treasury. No $250,000 insurance limit.

If I was doing a tax-free Universal Savings Account, that's how I would do it.

Now, we'll see how much of that is in the actual U.S.A. plan.

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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:08 AM
Response to Original message
43. we can't have any of those damned non-wealthy boomers thinking they get to retire
dammit!


don't you see?
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orleans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
44. "tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans"
well, i hope that means that i will no longer be taxed on the small amount of interest i get on the off chance i have a stupid savings account or a small cd.

that would be great.

it would encourage all americans to have savings accounts and not punish them for saving a little bit of money.

...hoping that is ALL that line means.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
45. Why not have the govt use the money to "shore up " Soc. Sec....
instead of matching these funds?

Isn't that going to be harmful to the Soc Sec they say needs fixing?

I say it has other motives behind it.
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:36 AM
Response to Original message
46. Jane Hamsher is one tracking and watching this question like a hawk.
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #46
70. Thanks for posting this information-I will read it asap.
:hi:
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chill_wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 05:56 PM
Response to Reply #70
73. Gladly.
:hi:
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Common Sense Party Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 02:03 AM
Response to Original message
48. The average retiree's SS check only pays for about 38% of their
basic living needs.

Most Americans retire with less than $25,000 saved up, which won't last long.

People need to save more. That's what this proposal is all about.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:51 AM
Response to Original message
51. thank you.
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slinkerwink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
53. thank you!
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Kablooie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
54. Universal savings accounts are accounts at the Universal Studios Credit Union - aren't they?
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 08:06 AM by Kablooie
Or maybe he was referring to the NASA Credit Union in a roundabout way.
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:11 AM
Response to Original message
55. Savings accounts generally have been used as a method not
to fully fund safety or social net measures. I prefer us give up some of our massive military spending for a little more help in promoting the general welfare of our people.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
58. Oh boy.... I couldn't watch him last night. Looks like I didn't miss much.
Sounds like an attempt to privatize. Why am I not surprised. K&R.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. Yep

And look at this place. Had bush said that the same ones that are vainly trying to put lipstick on this pig would be howling for his blood.

I suppose that's change of sorts.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #58
63. On balance, you missed a very good speech.
He struck exactly the right tone on the economy and on healthcare.

Comments about reforming social security yield a pavlovian response from DU, myself included.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:46 PM
Response to Reply #63
65. So far I've heard the comments about privatization of Social Security
and continued war-mongering in Pakistan & Afghanistan. I'll have to read the transcript to find the positive things about economy/healthcare. To be fair there's not a very high bar to reach to look & sound more competent than George Bush, but I will read it so I can make more informed comments on the rest.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #58
64. He's a good speaker, it's only when you hear what he actually says that the alarms go off.
OTOH, look at the alternative, this is what I have about the Corporate States of Amerika. We always have a choice between too little and not enough.


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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #64
66. Yeah, I'm going to read the transcript. He's a very good speaker
and much more eloquent than the last guy so some get caught up just in that. I'd rather read what he actually said.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #66
67. I haven't read it myself but someone here did and said it was even better
on the page. The too frequent applause breaks hurt his delivery.

Please, let me/us know what you find.


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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #67
68. OK, I found it -
At least the actual speech that was written up: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-of-President-Barack-Obama-Address-to-Joint-Session-of-Congress/

Assuming that he delivered it as printed here... and these are very cursory remarks after only reading it through once:

Good stuff: tax cuts to 95% of the country making under 250K, end tax breaks to top 2% of country, made comments to the effect that all Americans should have health care, comments on renewable energy, commitment to unemployment insurance, end tax breaks for corporation sending jobs overseas

Bad stuff: didn't see a commitment to public schools - specifically mentioned charter schools, "tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans"(that sounds like privatization of social security to me), "new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan" (sounds like more war to me), "swift and certain justice for captured terrorists" (that one really scares me - exactly what are they going to do to them??)

I'd be interested in hearing what you all think as well.
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Telly Savalas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #58
78. You didn't watch him last night, but on some vague hearsay from an internet discussion board
you're going to jump to the conclusion that he's making a proposal which is completely counter to the vision of governance he's articulated over the last few years?
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bottomtheweaver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #78
81. I watched it, and I was alarmed.
And I was already aware that Social Security "reform," which is absolutely unnecessary, is on Obama's agenda. Why, I can't begin to figure out. What he said last night was very similiar to what we were hearing about the SSA in 2005, and we were hearing lies.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #78
82. Why don't you go up a couple of threads and read what I wrote
after that instead of inadequately paraphrasing one line to your advantage? But that would take some intellectual honesty rather than simply rah rah, wouldn't it?
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CountAllVotes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
59. kick
:kick:
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ljm2002 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 03:02 PM
Response to Original message
69. TOTALLY agree!!!
We need to let him know, this is still a "third rail" issue. He needs to understand that he will be stirring a hornet's nest if he starts messing with it.

He needs to hear from his constituents and be forced to BACK OFF Social Security, and any plans to privatize ANY PART of it.

Geez, just when you think you've got a kinda sorta progressive in the White House, he goes and puts his foot in it like that. For all of what a great speech it was, I could just kick him for that little tidbit.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
71. The Nation had an article on this a while ago.
I hope Obama is not giving in to the pressure:

Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid. The pitch sounds preposterous to millions of ordinary working people anxious about their economic security and worried about their retirement years. But an impressive armada is lined up to push the idea--Washington's leading think tanks, the prestige media, tax-exempt foundations, skillful propagandists posing as economic experts and a self-righteous billionaire spending his fortune to save the nation from the elderly.

These players are promoting a tricky way to whack Social Security benefits, but to do it behind closed doors so the public cannot see what's happening or figure out which politicians to blame. The essential transaction would amount to misappropriating the trillions in Social Security taxes that workers have paid to finance their retirement benefits. This swindle is portrayed as "fiscal reform." In fact, it's the political equivalent of bait-and-switch fraud.

Defending Social Security sounds like yesterday's issue--the fight people won when they defeated George W. Bush's attempt to privatize the system in 2005. But the financial establishment has pushed it back on the table, claiming that the current crisis requires "responsible" leaders to take action. Will Obama take the bait? Surely not. The new president has been clear and consistent about Social Security, as a candidate and since his election. The program's financing is basically sound, he has explained, and can be assured far into the future by making only modest adjustments.

But Obama is also playing footsie with the conservative advocates of "entitlement reform" (their euphemism for cutting benefits). The president wants the corporate establishment's support on many other important matters, and he recently promised to hold a "fiscal responsibility summit" to examine the long-term costs of entitlements. That forum could set the trap for a "bipartisan compromise" that may become difficult for Obama to resist, given the burgeoning deficit. If he resists, he will be denounced as an old-fashioned free-spending liberal. The advocates are urging both parties to hold hands and take the leap together, authorizing big benefits cuts in a circuitous way that allows them to dodge the public's blame. In my new book, Come Home, America, I make the point: "When official America talks of 'bipartisan compromise,' it usually means the people are about to get screwed."


More ...
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 05:08 PM
Response to Reply #71
72. Thanks for posting this-looks like a must read.
:hi:
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #71
76. I just finished reading that in the dead tree edition
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 07:42 PM by tbyg52
Gist: SS planned for the boomers, has a huge (2.5T) surplus (theoretically), which is being systematically looted while wingnuts scream that SS is bankrupt.

This article also mentions individual pensions, funded by a 5% payroll deduction and invested by nonprofit entities, as a supplement to SS. Perhaps that is what President Obama (I love saying that!) was talking about.....?

Edited for (hopefully) clarity.
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
74. I just wish if Obama is going to bring up SS then spell it out.
Don't toss it into some long speech of sound bites where no one knows what the hell it really means.

GW tried this and failed and I don't think Obama will be able to screw with it either but I don't like how it sounded.

He should be clear or STFU until he has a clear idea rather than using speech as a feeler gauge.
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blues90 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
75. here is the part of the speech where SS is brought up
"To preserve our long-term fiscal health, we must also address the growing costs in Medicare and Social Security. Comprehensive health care reform is the best way to strengthen Medicare for years to come. And we must also begin a conversation on how to do the same for Social Security, while creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all Americans."

I ask what he means by "growing costs in Medicare ( I understand the medicare cost) " and Social Security" I ask what the growing costs are in SS? We pay into it right, so how do the costs grow, the only cost growth I can imagine is what is taken out of the paycheck or what is paid out and the balance between the two. He is not very clear on this.
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Thickasabrick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
80. Maybe it's universal health savings account. More and more
people are getting them.
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