Social Security and politics

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Social Security and politics

Postby rickoshay85 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:19 pm

According to the Social Security Administration...

For 2011 only, employees will pay 4.2% of their wage earnings for the Social Security tax, instead of the normal 6.2% rate. Employers still pay the full 6.2% rate.

That accounts for the first Social security deficit in history.

Rick Perry must know the deficit is only short term, so why is he pushing reform? Surely he must know the game's up when the old rate goes back into effect in 2012. Stupid or desperate?

Not to worry, young workers, Social Security has paid off for 74 years and will do the same for you when you finally retire. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is WHAT WE DO. John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:09 am

Old thread... new information. The next Congress, surely will decide to properly fund - or possibly de-fund Social Security with a `means test`. (Or is that a meany test?)

Is Social Security too generous? Not likely

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-colum ... m=referral

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:21 am

SS has been bankrupt since signed into law. Just gets worse each year.

Sucks, don't it?
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:45 am

Erm... the article says...
Replacement rates will fall in the years ahead, from 40 percent in 1985 to a projected 30 percent in 2030, according to CRR.


soo, I don`t see bankrupt since inception, unless you are referring to a moral bankruptcy? But certainly not a financial bankruptcy - yet.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:05 pm

Don't confuse bookkeeping with reality. In reality, SS is totally NON FUNDED meaning its disbursements are made from the general funds by congressional action. SS "contributions" don't go to SS==they go to to the general fund.

Its what "the locked box" is all about.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby OutOfBreath » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:44 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Don't confuse bookkeeping with reality. In reality, SS is totally NON FUNDED meaning its disbursements are made from the general funds by congressional action. SS "contributions" don't go to SS==they go to to the general fund.

Its what "the locked box" is all about.

..which means that SS can live on merrily for eternity or as long as politically influential groups want it to. Or to put it solidarically: As long as the population wants to collectively take care of their old.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:40 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Don't confuse bookkeeping with reality. In reality, SS is totally NON FUNDED meaning its disbursements are made from the general funds by congressional action. SS "contributions" don't go to SS==they go to to the general fund.

Its what "the locked box" is all about.


Yes - I get that, and actually practice it myself. I have a budget for water, sewer, movies, etc. - but the fund that support these extravagances is one bank account - comingling all of my budgets in a simple bookkeeping manoeuvre. It makes sense – less work for me. And it gives me reassurance that all of my bills will be paid even if I go overboard with spending on grandchildren.

Or… is your claim that the actual revenues that fund SS thru this bookkeeping mechanism (SS taxes collected), come nowhere near the SS expenditures? Vs … Simply fully funded in some years, and not in others, since inception? My understanding was that the long term trend is current underfunding – and this is why Congress needs to take action.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:10 pm

Lots of common sense economic practice such as what we use in our own lives has little application in Gubment economics............but........if SS was a private insurance corporation, it would be a bankrupt Ponzi Scheme. The very first recipient demonstrates the issue: some old lady paid one months premium, then retired and got 10 years or so of retirement income. Most people getting benefits today pay in about 20% of what they get out. See the issue?

The bankruptcy is that there are no dedicated funds or reserves for the actuarial risk undertaken. In non-Gubmental terms: a fraud. You already recognize the system as it is now has to be adjusted to stay "solvent." So..... its a bookkeeping issue. Able to make current payments by securing funds from non-SS sources, but unable to cover the actual exposure.

Its a spendthrift Republican Already Too Rich approach to the "Security" of the Program.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:02 pm

Sounds like government supply of national security - never paid for in advance, so bankrupt, a Ponzi scheme... Or it could be seen as a government responsibility - an income insurance program mostly paid for by potential recipients. Those who die early get nothing. Those who live just a bit longer only get back a portion of what they paid in. Those who live the longest, get more than they paid in.

I started looking for data related to your 20% support rate, and found that 96% of the SS income came from payroll taxes. Retirees seem to annually receive between 5% (high wage earner) and 13% (low wage earner) of what they paid in, so `break even for an age 67 retiree` (not counting interest, nor payments from those who die early and thus receive nothing) is roughly at ages 86 and 74 respectively. And to recoup 180%, they need to live to ages 102 and 80 respectively – which few do, as the average life expectancy is almost 79.

So in my opinion, it seems to be a very well thought out insurance program – particularly if you don`t want to see old ladies (those who live longest), freezing or starving to death. The adjustment I would be looking for would be to increase the funding from payroll taxes - increasing the cutoff, maybe means testing, etc.

http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:02 pm

These are processes that have come a far way in many european countries because of an aging population. Norway have already adjusted its SS system with more adjustments to come.

The US have a much minor increase in the overall share of old workers because of continous imports of young immigrants. So it needs less tweaking really. Then again, noone in europe campaigns on getting rid of SS wholesale, as some americans seem to propagate.

No natter how you twist it, society works by the working-age population providing for the young and elderly. It will always be "pay as you go" since goods needs to be freshly made and at any time supported by the current working populace. No magic bookkeeping can eliminate that basic fact.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:12 pm

http://www.justfacts.com/socialsecurity.asp

TJ: Excellent review of the SS program. Thanks for finding and posting. Its not directly said but the "Trust Fund" of SS is unlike any other non-Gubment Trust Fund in that there is NO MONEY in it--just a bunch of IOU's from the Feds.

Bankrupt or not?

Its definitional.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:14 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:No magic bookkeeping can eliminate that basic fact.

Savings. Insurance.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Mar 16, 2016 2:45 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
OutOfBreath wrote:No magic bookkeeping can eliminate that basic fact.

Savings. Insurance.

Just ways to legitimize the transfer.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:21 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
OutOfBreath wrote:No magic bookkeeping can eliminate that basic fact.

Savings. Insurance.

Just ways to legitimize the transfer.

No. Work done in your youth can be saved/invested for a continuing income/resources when you get old. Silly to say, think, post otherwise. Bad thinking is bad thinking.... regardless of the subject.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:26 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote: ... No. Work done in your youth can be saved/invested for a continuing income/resources when you get old. Silly to say, think, post otherwise. Bad thinking is bad thinking.... regardless of the subject.


Yes it can, and should be the case for more than it seems is the case today. But, there are still many for which it will not be sufficient. Just as in the case of national security - one could attempt to defend your patch all by yourself, but it works best if resources are pooled.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 16, 2016 9:48 pm

TJ--while I agree in the main, your statement misses or avoids the point that today, SS is a wealth income transfer from young and working to old and retired BECAUSE the old did not "save" enough. IE--taxes or contribution into SS should be more or the benefits should be less.

I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal: meaning I think benefits should be many and sufficient, BUT they should be paid for. In todays reality, I think that means more $ for the social safety net and all its programs, and less Fraud and Abuse, More regulatory fines and enforcement, greater income tax progressivity, elimination of capital gains, less military spending and activity...etc...really a whole host of things. Including death panels, but thats a whole other discussion.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Wed Mar 16, 2016 10:50 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:TJ--while I agree in the main, your statement misses or avoids the point that today, SS is a wealth income transfer from young and working to old and retired BECAUSE the old did not "save" enough. IE--taxes or contribution into SS should be more or the benefits should be less.

I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal: meaning I think benefits should be many and sufficient, BUT they should be paid for. In todays reality, I think that means more $ for the social safety net and all its programs, and less Fraud and Abuse, More regulatory fines and enforcement, greater income tax progressivity, elimination of capital gains, less military spending and activity...etc...really a whole host of things. Including death panels, but thats a whole other discussion.


I have no problem with calling SS a wealth transfer program - just as you described it. (Indeed, if wealth is to be transferred it is better to do so from the young and working than from the old and retired. :) ) SS started that way - with the earliest recipients having paid in little - and the early contributors paying into SS with the understanding and promise that they too would receive when their time came. Thus for recipients today, they have largely paid their dues - i.e. - a paid for program.

If I were tweaking it - I`d probably increase benefits slightly and tax revenues significantly - removing the cap on income levels, add non-wage incomes into the mix of SS taxable funds, and add a means test to limit benefits to the wealthy. Finding ways to encourage increased savings for retirement sounds like a good idea to me, and if successful, then at some future date – reduce SS benefits if they are no longer needed.

I am a lucky person – who scrimped and saved, and taught others to do the same – and TEOTWAWKI not occurring, will be able to quite comfortably live on my savings years beyond my use-by date – all without taking any benefit pay out from our national pension scheme. But I also recognise that I am probably an exception and would prefer to see the less fortunate not starve.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:17 pm

Well here is one nut in the ball sack: why should any changes be made at all to SS if the recipients and the general public all think it is an insurance program that is paid for?

If everyone understood the way you and I do that SS is a bankrupt wealth transfer system, "no one" would want it and changes would be made. Privatise to make it worse, do away with it which is beyond the pale, or MODIFY IT.

lets us make reality our touchstone.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:46 am

Interestingly Australia is socialist. There is no negotiation. Every employer must additionally pay 9% of an employee's gross wage into a nominated independent superannuation account, from the day you start, to the day you stop working. An employee can "add to the fund" and get a tax deduction up to a certain limit.

My tax planning for 20 years includes whacking the maximum tax deductible limit into superannuation, and getting a tax deduction, which I can't touch until I'm 60 as I was an early contributor. Younger people can't touch the money until they are 65.

Australia now has enormous private superannuation funds that are used for low risk capital investment.

The scheme actually worked "twice" for employees and then capital raising employers.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:21 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Well here is one nut in the ball sack: why should any changes be made at all to SS if the recipients and the general public all think it is an insurance program that is paid for?

If everyone understood the way you and I do that SS is a bankrupt wealth transfer system, "no one" would want it and changes would be made. Privatise to make it worse, do away with it which is beyond the pale, or MODIFY IT.

lets us make reality our touchstone.


I wouldn`t quite go to bankrupt - since it is paid for by taxes collected and additionally supported by the `full faith and credit of the federal government` - which by definition, cannot go bankrupt. It is only by looking at it as a separate and distinct program, and assuming that it must be separately funded, that any future bankruptcy would become possible. But since bankruptcy is a) inability to pay bills AND b) inability to borrow to meet those bills - bankruptcy just isn`t possible. Unless of course, hard nut politicians make it so.

So why tweak? Simply because it doesn`t pay enough, and politicians play to their base - and of course, because in principle everything should be funded - SS, the military, the government payroll, etc.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:31 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:Interestingly Australia is socialist. There is no negotiation. Every employer must additionally pay 9% of an employee's gross wage into a nominated independent superannuation account, from the day you start, to the day you stop working. An employee can "add to the fund" and get a tax deduction up to a certain limit.

My tax planning for 20 years includes whacking the maximum tax deductible limit into superannuation, and getting a tax deduction, which I can't touch until I'm 60 as I was an early contributor. Younger people can't touch the money until they are 65.

Australia now has enormous private superannuation funds that are used for low risk capital investment.

The scheme actually worked "twice" for employees and then capital raising employers.


I wish we had a similar program. Ours is national, much like US SS, with a 25 year vesting and 44(?) year pay-in assumption for the full benefit. My tax rate for the last 25 years or so before retirement was never lower than 37%, and I believe I had a high of 43%.

Actually, I believe that there is now a tax deferred `investment account`, but I missed it.

Our finance minister has been quoted as saying that old people just need to die. Our `consumption tax` (sales tax/value added tax), is set to go as high as 17% (now 8%), and was implemented with rhetoric of supporting social programs, including SS. But unfortunately, as with the US SS, the premiums go into the general fund, and then get spent to buy votes (provide support for dying industries, etc.). Quite a mess.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Mar 17, 2016 4:50 am

TJrandom wrote: I wish we had a similar program. Ours is national, much like US SS, with a 25 year vesting and 44(?) year pay-in assumption for the full benefit. My tax rate for the last 25 years or so before retirement was never lower than 37%, and I believe I had a high of 43%.
We have different social dilemmas. Japan has a natural ageing population with a lower ratio of younger workers to support them. Australia imported its younger population like the Germans, so we wont have the lower younger worker ratio, but they have no superannuation when they arrive. We got to feed them when they are older.

Additionally as Australia was a military colony and socialist everyone expected and still expects, the "dole" when they turned 55. Therefore there was no screaming from the masses when all superannation funds were locked in at 65 retirement age regardless of the term of the bonds you bought.


but now for the good news.....
Australia has been "shitting bricks' because the price of iron ore dropped drastically as China's economy is collapsing. However, a ten year old, child economist said "Don't worry, when it gets below a floor price, Japan will kick off again with capital investment, as China will continue to sink regardless of what anyone does". I think that has already happened in the last two months. I'm wanting for national accounts. You (Japan) may be heading back into the manufacturing sector as a long term player, unlike China.


TJrandom wrote: Our finance minister has been quoted as saying that old people just need to die.
That's very kind of him. I bet you that wins votes from the geriatrics.


TJrandom wrote: Our consumption tax` (sales tax/value added tax), is set to go as high as 17% (now 8%), and was implemented with rhetoric of supporting social programs, including SS.
Our "GST" is 10% and should go to 12%. It was introduced because no was was paying any income tax due to poor tax laws.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:24 am

Unfortunately, our political process is rigged - that is, issues are almost never discussed, debated, or made an issue in voting. Companies and industry associations tell their employees who to vote for. Vote-value disparity is 3:1, with easily bought constituencies (farmers, fisheries) in the stronger position. Politicians run on name recognition and party affiliation - and once a voter selects a party, they seem to rarely change in future elections. Manifestos can be found online, and an occasional TV talk-show may discuss issues. But if they are not deemed `fair`, they can have their broadcast license pulled.

I hope you are right on Japan`s recovery, but fear we are in our new-normal and that any new industrial investment will be in India, Vietnam, etc.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:27 am

TJrandom wrote: I hope you are right on Japan`s recovery, but fear we are in our new-normal and that any new industrial investment will be in India, Vietnam, etc.
Yep Greater India and Vietnam are pretty competitive. Vietnam is probably more a competitive worry as it has a controlled economy like China, is Russian educated and has just watched all the mistakes China, another controlled economy, made over the last fifteen years. India is a little risky as it is getting its anti corruption laws and workers safety laws in order, plus it has odd, but fast religious upheavals.

Off topic
My father took me to live with him in India for year. Indians are amazingly well educated and intelligent people, yet have this really weird cultural view on time. My father would endlessly set up conversations so I could see this in action. I have difficulty in explaining what it is. It's as though there is no such thing as "now" or "immediately".

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Mar 18, 2016 1:32 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
TJrandom wrote: It's as though there is no such thing as "now" or "immediately".

That is an interesting off topic if you could give it some meat. because... there is time, now and immediate. "Reality is what hits you in the nose when you think its not there." Not getting to a meeting on time, not delivering product on time...all very real. after that, is such lack of attention a concept of time, or something else?
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:53 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:
TJrandom wrote: It's as though there is no such thing as "now" or "immediately".

That is an interesting off topic if you could give it some meat. because... there is time, now and immediate. "Reality is what hits you in the nose when you think its not there." Not getting to a meeting on time, not delivering product on time...all very real. after that, is such lack of attention a concept of time, or something else?


Not my quote - but my experience was different, having no problems with `time` in India. Very well educated, hard working - and lucky for me at that time - they had all of the bodies to throw at a problem to solve it on time, with quality - but of course with a price tag. Mine were software projects, and my experience was golden.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:20 am

TJ--I agree. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Thailand all have "some" reputation as being relaxed about time: "mañana"... and generally, it was. Buses and trains on time out of the major hubs.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Flash » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:24 pm

Everybody needs a Mussolini sometime.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:21 am

Flash wrote:Everybody needs a Mussolini sometime.
That was a complex and obscure joke Flash, but I got it, :D

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Mar 23, 2016 6:55 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Flash wrote:Everybody needs a Mussolini sometime.
That was a complex and obscure joke Flash, but I got it, :D

I don't get it. I further would bet that its a private allusion known only to Flash and whatever anyone else thinks it means would be purely a coincidence. IE==>being complex CONFLICTS with being OBSCURE and therefore a joke.

Not that coincidences don't happen.

They do.
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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Walter » Wed Mar 23, 2016 3:14 pm

As mentioned earlier, social security is a government sponsored Ponzi scheme.

I am a minimalist, living well within my means and therefore a huge threat to our consumer economy. With a 2004 Honda CRV, an ATT GoPhone and a mortgage at 36% of the pre-approval amount, the term ‘social security’ cannot be found on my list of assets and projected retirement income. I have always assumed it will be zero.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby TJrandom » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:02 am

Walter wrote:As mentioned earlier, social security is a government sponsored Ponzi scheme.

I am a minimalist, living well within my means and therefore a huge threat to our consumer economy. With a 2004 Honda CRV, an ATT GoPhone and a mortgage at 36% of the pre-approval amount, the term ‘social security’ cannot be found on my list of assets and projected retirement income. I have always assumed it will be zero.


If you are a minimalist - you are not a huge threat, but rather a non-existent threat to the economy. Your lack of purchasing even a modicum of goods and services is not meaningful.

If you are paying into SS, you may choose to not list it, but it won`t be zero for you, unless you make it so.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:12 am

Walter wrote:I am a minimalist, living well within my means and therefore a huge threat to our consumer economy.
As TJrandom said, your statement makes no sense at all.

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Re: Social Security and politics

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:05 am

Walter wrote:I am a minimalist, living well within my means and therefore a huge threat to our consumer economy.

How many kids did you have?

....................and its not just SS. The entire economy, and most of them worldwide, are based on a Ponzi Scheme. Thats why "growth" is followed so closely.

Even the concept of minimalism is no threat to anything. Lots of services and products to sell into that market as well.
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?


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