Obama Says No To Social Security Privatization

Good stuff from the President:

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    Obama also said... (5.00 / 11) (#2)
    by Romberry on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:35:10 PM EST
    ...he's "committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security."

    We've seen this game before. The catfood commission was the opening move. This "committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security" is something we've seen before. Read between the artfully crafted lines.

    If the president wants to "strengthen" Social Security rather than open it up to be torn apart, he should say exactly what it is he means by "strengthen" and propose some actual ideas for getting there. I submit that what the man is doing is speaking in the code of political rhetoric which tells "conservative" Republicans and Democrats that he'll work with them (or at least get out of their way) on gutting the program.

    It's the same crap from the campaign and from the war and from health care deform all over again. Obama must be parsed carefully.

    Social Security doesn't need "strengthening." What it needs is actual support from our elected leaders.

    This is spot on accurate: I wonder, based on how (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 10:50:30 AM EST
    Obama et al handled health insurance "reform," ie. HCR (High Corporate Revenue) for the Big Health Insurance Players, whether Obama or some of the et al's have already made the backroom deals with Banksters and Wall Streeters to sell out access to the SocSec funds. Have they, has Obama, sold out future retirees by simply stacking the Obama Pete Peterson Cat Food Commission with deficit hawks and anti-SocSec types?  

    Watch what Obama et al DO, not what they say. Pretty words go pretty far in bamboozling the public, but, sooner or later, people are going to catch on the Obama Corporatist bent and how well he takes care of Big Bidness. He just doesn't see the need to help out the little people that way.  

    Oh, he'll use pretty words to get their votes; he just may not fulfill any of those promises. Based on his presidential campaign, he tends to save his more truthful comments and promises for those private fund raisers or other private meetings with the powerful and wealthy.

    Ask yourself --and Obama if you ever get the chance-- just why he put SocSec in play, to be attacked by the Republicans? And Corporatists in his ostensible party? Recall that he did this early in Dem primaries, causing Krugman and others to raise the alarm.  Now, we're stuck with him as our president.  What will we do to contain his rightward tendencies???

    BTW, recall that in 1983, all SocSec payers began to "pay forward" with higher deductions to manage the Baby Boom Bulge. And ages for full SocSec were raised. At the time, I thought nothing of it; no problem: I had education and experience, there would be no issue with working until 66.

    D'uh.  Downsizing at a "bad" age to find another job. Cancer, so now expensive to cover with health insurance. Major recession (looking more like a depression for employment). Suddenly, getting to 66 is not going to be in any way "easy."

    I have a great mechanic, but, alas, last time I was in getting work done on my aging car, he was having to take pain pills repeatedly...for arthritis in his elbows. Working on cars and trucks is hard physical labor; it takes a toll on the workers' bodies. And this guy is supposed to do this work until 70 so Obama can please Repubs who hate SocSec??? And he dasn't really tax the wealthy? Wow.

    Take a moment to think about the effects on others, those who aren't desk jockeys. Please.

    And, again, what what he does, not what he says.


    Read and bookmark this Angry Bear chronology of (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 10:53:48 AM EST
    WATCH what he does, not what he says -- typo (none / 0) (#73)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 10:51:06 AM EST
    You know (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:41:28 PM EST
    this is a ridiculous complaint.

    I like to think I am not shy to criticize Obama, but come on, the guy said the right things here.


    It might be ridiculous... (5.00 / 8) (#7)
    by NealB on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:14:15 PM EST
    ...if Obama were trustworthy.

    It is pretty hard for me to have faith (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:26:32 PM EST
    When Peter G Peterson is into the secret catfood commission up to its hilt.  Obama said one thing on heathcare reform, but I ended up with his "secret" plan and I got exactly what he intended for me to get.  I have almost no faith in this either.

    pols are pols . . . (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:14:35 PM EST
    the guy said the right things here

    . . . and do what they do


    You think it's ridiculous. (5.00 / 10) (#12)
    by Romberry on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:27:42 PM EST
    I think it's right. Why is Obama talking about "strengthening" Social Security while offering zero plans to do so and while his catfood commission is hard at work? You know the answer.

    You think my complaint is ridiculous? I think my complaint will be prescient. One of us will turn out to have been right. Time will tell.


    But, but, but... (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by christinep on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:57:56 PM EST
    It strikes me (more & more) that some people do not want him to say or do the right thing. Because the pigeonhole would have to be adjusted. Sorry...but the kind of commen to which you reply, BTD, is starting to get a bit stale.

    He can hold the bull (5.00 / 5) (#57)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:29:06 PM EST
    He has already "bulled" me plenty.  I want him TO DO the right thing.  I don't want him to pretend to support one thing and then pretend that I'm going to have to take some sort of legislation that was what he planned all along.

    Look a few steps beyond this speech...see the (none / 0) (#81)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 12:51:26 PM EST
    Obama/Pete Peterson Cat Food Commission looming, with a House vote automatic in the lame duck session if it passes in the Senate.... (Thank you, Speaker Pelosi...NOT.) See Repubs vote for the recommendations (if they're bad for SocSec's future), see the Blue Dogs vote the same way.  See the recommendations pass....

    Let's hope there are some Dem senators who are capable of pulling off a filibuster, otherwise...Katie bar the door!

    It's what Obama wants to accomplish. This channeling of St. Ronnie has got to stop -- or be stopped.  Who will challenge this ostenstibly Dem president?


    The President's statement on (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:04:20 PM EST
    privatization of social security is a welcome one, and, at the least, may take that discredited idea off the Cat Food Commission's table (previously, everything was on the table).

    I am hopeful, too, that the parts of the statement that recognize FDR's "cornerstone" for retirement with dignity and a program to be sustained for all Americans today, tomorrow and forever, does not go unnoticed by this hostile commission (save for a few, such as Dick Durbin and Jan Schakowsky).

    Not a means-tested program that would be the antithesis of FDR's idea, but a social retirement safety net for all Americans.  Means testing is just second best to elimination, it would just take a little longer until it becomes a politically vulnerable welfare program.  The timing of President Obama's declaration may also be convenient for the Harry Reid/Sharron Angle race, since Ms. Angle is for the Chile model of privatization (since the Bush model imploded in 2005, apparently). Also, it may intended to ameliorate the Gibbsian rant on professional lefties, by taking on Paul Ryan, an advocate of privatization who is also on the Cat Food Commission.

    The puzzling comment in the president's address was how to "strengthen" social security and "cover the higher costs".  The Trustees Report of 2010 does not seem to support that statement, and suggests that social security is a target, albeit not via privatization.

    Meant this as reply to Molly Pitcher and apology (none / 0) (#76)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:10:13 AM EST
    to CaseyOR for missing your pertinent reply. I just leapt to the defense of SocSec!

    Talk is cheap, really cheap. (5.00 / 13) (#18)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:13:07 PM EST
    And while I believe the president should be against privatizing Social Security - or any of the social safety net programs - this president has a track record of saying one thing to our faces, and doing other things in the background that are inconsistent with those public pronouncements.

    As long as that Cat Food Commission is out there, doing its thing in secrecy, planning to report after the election, with anti-entitlement co-chairs that Obama himself named, I won't be convinced by "just words."

    It's all part of the seduction leading up to the election, lulling the people into thinking Democrats are on their side; it remains to be seen whether a Democratic party and a Democratic president who haven't delivered on their end of the 2008 electoral bargain have any intention of delivering on the the one they are making now.

    My trust level is at or below zero.

    Are you kidding me? (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:24:42 PM EST
    Obama is desperately looking for a political wedge to use against the Republicans.  SS would have been perfect except he created a commission hell bent on cutting social security.  No one aside from Paul Ryan, an Obama commission appointee, is even proposing privatizing.  The new name of the game is raising the reitrement age, which represents an enormous benefit cut.  

    "Just words"? I hope not, but (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:49:39 PM EST
    I wonder why I am to trust that these words today are going to be exempt from the usual pattern of being restated by Gibbs on Monday, retreated from on Tuesday, restated again on Wednesday, etc.

    And to rule out privatization is hardly reassuring, as there is a lot of wiggle room short of that in, ahem, "strengthening" Social Security, isn't there?

    May need the president's definition (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:37:09 PM EST
    of privatization to really analyze his statement.

    Come On BTD, how could you fall for his crap! (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by pluege2 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:50:02 PM EST
    ask yourself,

    • why is anyone even talking about SS?

    • What other government program is fully funded for the next 27 years?

    the is no reason in hell to be talking about SS at all. The ONLY thing that can come of it is screwing the average American.

    tell obama to STFU on SS and work on something important like the criminally obscene military budget bankrupting generations of Americans and the out of control security apparatus shredding our rights to privacy and security from abusive government.

    Why? (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:05:13 PM EST
    Seems reasonable considering Paul Ryan wrote a WaPo OP ed about it yesterday.

    The Democratic leadership will seek to brand every Republican running for office with my road map. Ironically, if Democrats succeed in demagoguing to death efforts [my plan lol] to save Medicare, that political victory will hasten the program's end. While I am proud to have 13 House Republicans co-sponsor the legislation, and have been overwhelmed by the support outside the Beltway....

    And seems quite reasonable, considering the toxicity of the Rand's idea, to attach it to the GOP as a wedge issue.


    Too bad Obama appointed him to (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:16:08 PM EST
    his catfood commission.

    Keep Your Enemies Close (none / 0) (#35)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:18:45 PM EST
    Looks like he answered Paul's op ed, pretty quickly.... lol

    Better than having spies.


    Responding to crap (5.00 / 2) (#65)
    by pluege2 on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 08:32:17 PM EST
    only gives it legitimacy. But then again obama has been bringing up the need to "fix" SS over and over and over again for a very long time. So who's the real enemy here?

    Also (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 01:44:01 AM EST
    Only one candidate (5.00 / 3) (#69)
    by Makarov on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 01:47:32 AM EST
    for the Democratic nomination in 2008 referred to social security as being 'in crisis'. We knew then and know now that 'crisis' won't happen for 25 or 30 years. We also know that simply lifting the cap on the FICA tax would make social security 'solvent' in perpetuity.

    I also know one thing President Obama didn't say here. He didn't say he would commit to not raising the retirement age. My retirement age was raised once already, in 1983, not long after I began paying in. It went from 65 to 67 to receive full benefits.

    The only reason I'm in danger, now, of seeing it perhaps raised to 70 is Barack Obama.

    Yup. And good luck to us all! (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:15:00 AM EST
    Anyone who had to take funds out of a 401K during this fiscal crash sure has seen how their "savings" can shrink massively....

    Regarding fair payout (5.00 / 1) (#84)
    by Babel 17 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 05:40:37 PM EST
    Male, blue collar, construction worker here.

    Do I need to remind those who are outraged at the idea of removing caps on the tax how "unfair a deal" SS is for those of us with occupations that offer a life expectancy notably below that of white collar workers?

    I'm in the Laborer's Union, I do asphalt work, mainly.

    Half of the people I've worked intimately with have died before collecting SS.

    My father and uncles, all blue collar, barely got a taste of SS.

    At our OSHA mandated safety meaning our instructor asked those of us who work with asphalt to raise our hands.

    He then pointed at us and said, "You're dead, you're dead, you're dead," and so on, as he pointed us out.

    Recycled asphalt is all the rage and that unavoidably contains asbestos.

    And then there's the silica in the dust from construction sites.

    But we're not whining about this, SS is an awesome program.

    Just don't keep that brass ring totally out of our reach, Mr. President.

    Strive to be as progressive as Bob Dole at least. He swore he wouldn't raise the retirement age so high that it would be tantamount to asking workers to die on the assembly line. (IIRC)


    No Surprise (3.50 / 2) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:32:23 PM EST
    Although, I am certain that some here are sure he is lying, just as some out there are sure he is a Marxist Muslim.

    Not lying. (5.00 / 6) (#3)
    by Romberry on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:41:10 PM EST
    Evading and deflecting and destracting.

    I'm sure Obama doesn't want to "privatize" Social Security, but I am also sure he will be looking to the catfood commission to give him and "conservatives" of both parties in congress the political cover they need to "strengthen" Social Security through some combination of cuts to scheduled benefits and/or raising of the retirement age.* His post-partisan unity shtick line where he says he is "committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security" is the tell.

    *That is why the catfood commission was appointed by the president after congress refused to establish such a commission. It's the fundamental reason for its existence.


    When he says sfuff like that (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 12:42:19 PM EST
    Then we criticize him.

    There is nothing you can possibly criticize in this statement.


    Evading and deflecting and distracting. (5.00 / 9) (#6)
    by NealB on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:06:29 PM EST
    It's a fair criticism any time the president mentions social security. If he is truly a defender of social security, why did he create the deficit commission?

    There didn't need to be a deficit commission. If Obama wants to reduce the deficit, and I don't doubt that he does, there are many policies he could advocate directly.

    This is health care all over again: dictate that single payer may not be debated, say you're in favor of the public option, and do the dirty work of betraying the American people quietly behind closed doors.  The catfood commission, his statement today: we've seen this game played before by Obama. "Evading and deflecting and distracting."


    Sure there is (5.00 / 5) (#10)
    by Romberry on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:23:44 PM EST
    And I just did. ;-)

    Seriously, his "committed to working with anyone, Democrat or Republican, who wants to strengthen Social Security" is an open invitation to "fix" what ain't broke. You know it as well as I do. We've seen this story before, and we know how it ends.


    Exactly. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Edger on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:45:09 PM EST
    It's really an very impressive talk. He's always been a genius at reading good words from teleprompters. Why, I wouldn't be surprised if he even writes them himself, too.

    Or, just as "some here" ... (5.00 / 5) (#66)
    by Yman on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 09:45:29 PM EST
    ... didn't believe him when he said he would filibuster FISA, opposed offshore drilling, mocked individual mandates, said that any HCR plan must include a strong public option, would conduct HCR negotiations in public meetings televised on CSPAN, would renegotiate NAFTA, ...

    ... etc., etc., etc. ....


    from a beneficiary of SS: (none / 0) (#9)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:20:11 PM EST
    I keep getting petitions to 'sign' saying "Do not reduce benefits and do not raise retirement age!"
    We wouldn't be worrying about social security if they took the cap off paying in.  And about raising retirement age: when age 65 was chosen, male life expectancy was 58 years.  Commonsense (to me) says that since people are living (and working longer when jobs are plentiful), maybe 'raising retirement age' is a reasonable idea.  Of course, from my POV, cutting benefits is a lousy idea (for me and my kids).

    From another recipient of Social Security, (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:25:45 PM EST
    I hate to think my kids will have to work longer than I did to keep Social Security benefits flowing for me.  Isn't it true that if Congress quit using money from Social Security contributions for other things the fund would be solvent now and in the future?

    The fund is already solvent now... (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Romberry on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:37:41 PM EST
    ...and into the future at least as far as 2037 (or 2044) based on current projections from the trustees (and the CBO, respectively.)

    Krugman has been all over this the last few days. Links:

    Social Security Finances

    Live Long and Prosper

    A Minor Fiscal Issue

    Fun with Mortality Tables

    More on Mortality

    A Tale of Two Expenses

    Obama knows that Social Security is on firm ground far past the time that any accurate forecasts can be made, and the very best way to "strengthen" Social Security is to get the economy going and get people back to work at jobs that pay a decent middle-class wage...with benefits. His call here to "strengthen" Social Security with ideas coming from both Democrats and Republicans is just a set-up designed to allow him to seek "compromise" and "bi-partisan consensus" on an issue that isn't a problem. In other words, he's looking to make cuts.

    (BTD can say that my posts on this point are ridiculous if he wants. Doesn't hurt my feelings. I know the Obama playbook. I see what I see.)


    Top 5 Social Security Myths (none / 0) (#13)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:33:15 PM EST
    Myth: The Social Security Trust Fund has been raided and is full of IOUs

    Reality: Not even close to true. The Social Security Trust Fund isn't full of IOUs, it's full of U.S. Treasury Bonds. And those bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The reason Social Security holds only treasury bonds is the same reason many Americans do: The federal government has never missed a single interest payment on its debts. President Bush wanted to put Social Security funds in the stock market--which would have been disastrous--but luckily, he failed. So the trillions of dollars in the Social Security Trust Fund, which are separate from the regular budget, are as safe as can be.

    Read the rest digby


    As I read, excess funds (not needed to (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:47:35 PM EST
    pay current benefits) are, by law, used to purchase special federal government bonds.  When there isn't any excess, Social Security Admin. will redeem bonds, which will increase the federal budget deficit.  

    Personally, (none / 0) (#15)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 01:51:24 PM EST
    I don't mind the idea of my kids working longer than my husband did.  (I never collected on mine.)  He began getting SS payments when he had to retire (age 67) after a stroke.  I think one girl (age 50) is disturbed by the GOP predictions of no SS in the future.  My son, only 35, claims that he'd rather be a Buddhist monk than collect SS.

    the only buddhist monk i know (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:23:34 PM EST
    is now undergoing all the horrors of a liver transplant - hep C contracted in China from acupuncture needles - treatment fully funded by Medicare

    Wow (none / 0) (#17)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:12:48 PM EST
    My son, only 35, claims that he'd rather be a Buddhist monk than collect SS.

    That is an interesting comparison.. Hard to imagine where he is coming from.


    Clearly, he is coming from (none / 0) (#24)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:52:02 PM EST
    a higher plane of existence.

    Is it a healthier plane, too, or is he willing to accept Medicare coverage, hmmmmm?  Ooops, ommmmmm.


    Clearly? (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:56:27 PM EST
    Well that depends... sounds pretty enigmatic to me and could equally be attributed to an Ayn Rand type POV...

    i won't be here (none / 0) (#27)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:00:14 PM EST
    to see it, but (as of now), I think he would not do medicare, either.  Actually, he is starting the study of herbal medicine. This apple did not fall near the tree!

    Nice (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:05:48 PM EST
    not very libertarian sounding...

    Raising the retirement age (5.00 / 5) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:13:52 PM EST
    to 70 from 65 is a cut in benefits (some calculate it to be about a 20 percent cut--to avoid a 25 percent cut in 2037 if nothing is done, since even without the trust fund over 75 percent of benefits could be paid out).  Moreover, eligibility at 70 does not take adequately into account the various occupations. While it may be assumed that all of us work hard, physical, manual labors, for example, introduce especial hardship).

    65? That would be nice, but (none / 0) (#23)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:50:41 PM EST
    it was raised some time ago.  I'm past 60 and cannot collect until I'm almost 67, for example.

    Cream, how at your stated age (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:27:26 PM EST
    are you required to wait until 67?  I'm just less than a decade short of you but (according to the last several statement of benefits) still eligible for both 62 and 65.

    Short of qualifying quarters?


    Here: (none / 0) (#38)
    by oculus on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:45:08 PM EST
    62 is still the initial age one can draw (none / 0) (#44)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:07:44 PM EST

    Dollars at 62 have more worth than possible dollars at 65 and/or 67.


    But retiring loses a lot of benefits (none / 0) (#52)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:46:00 PM EST
    like health insurance coverage, and Obama's plan does not kick in for several years yet, and -- well, if you're not in your 60s, you may not see all the ramifications of early retirement. . . .

    Of course, perhaps this all will be easier for younger generations with national health care, oops, national health insurance coverage.


    Best check the website. (none / 0) (#46)
    by Joan in VA on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:20:48 PM EST
    Your statements seem incorrect for your age. :(

    Best check the math (none / 0) (#51)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:44:10 PM EST
    as to my birth year.  As the link says:

    1943--1954    66

    But the link is inexact, and I said "almost 67," because the link does not list the months as well -- i.e., I cannot collect starting on my 66th birthday but not until almost my 67th birthday.  

    Doesn't your annual statement also include the specific month as well as year for age to collect?


    I'll see if I can find the statement and post (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:55:57 PM EST
    what it says.

    Not to deflect, but doing the math and based on my family's average live expectancy (which is well beyond 65-70 years), there is no way I'll recoup the monies I've paid into the system.  

    It is a Ponzi scheme of the highest order.


    Wait -- the link does list months but (none / 0) (#53)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:47:24 PM EST
    not for my age group.  So the link is not what my annual statement from SS says -- just fyi for anyone relying on the link.

    Thanks, Cream, (none / 0) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:58:52 PM EST
    I meant 67, either a digital or mental typo, but a mistake all the same. The rest I stick with.

    That is a cut in benefits. (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 02:31:36 PM EST
    Some of us feel average Americans deserve some retirement.  And, what jobs do you predict are there for a bunch of over 65ers?  Already, the retirement age of 5 means millions of Americans spend years unemployed before they become eligible for their benefits.

    Life expectancy has increased (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by caseyOR on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 03:56:53 PM EST
    due to a decrease in infant and childhood mortality, not because we are now living so much longer in old age. So, the argument that we need to up the retirement age because we are living to such a ripe old age is wrong.

    Krugman and others have explained this many times. Obama's cat food commission and others who wish to destroy SS are deliberatly spreading false information.


    Did not get my statistic (none / 0) (#36)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:19:30 PM EST
    from a pol or commission.  But I can look around and see all the old folks like me, and I can recall how much older (in effect) were my parents' cohort (born before 1900).  I think working the kind of jobs there were back then was hard on people.

    The number to look at is (5.00 / 6) (#41)
    by caseyOR on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 04:49:43 PM EST
    how long people live past the age of 65. In 1950 SS recipients collected on their benefits for 14 years. Today that number is 18.5 years. And, since under the current rules the retirement age is increasing to 67, that number is more 16.5, an effective increase of just 2.5 years.

    These do not seem like crisis numbers to me. The people who established Social Security were really quite skilled when it came to mortality projections. They accounted for that.

    I believe that your anecdotal observations are that people died at an earlier age.  My observations are different. In my family, my grandparents, born around 1900, lived until their 90s. So did my great-grandparents, born in the early 1880s. And these people were farmers, a physically demanding job. This is why we can't based these decisions on personal observation.


    Thank you (none / 0) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:09:48 PM EST
    Bravo.  Well said.

    Who did not get SS? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Molly Pitcher on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 01:57:13 PM EST
    "Job categories that were not covered by the act included workers in agricultural labor, domestic service, government employees, and many teachers, nurses, hospital employees, librarians, and social workers."

    A couple of less physically demanding job categories in there.  By 1975 only 2 members of my extended family had ever collected on their social security contributions--and one of them (a teacher) affixed stamps to envelopes at the family business in order to qualify.

    Things have sure changed!


    Raising the age is a fine (5.00 / 3) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:07:10 PM EST
    idea for people who sit on their behinds all day to work.  For people who do physical labor, or even just stand on their feet all day, it's absolutely crushing.  Many of them can't even make it to the current full benefit age of 67.  The body simply wears out.

    Digby addresses the Age Myth - long used by Repubs (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:08:29 AM EST
    Like, since inception of the program practically.

    OK--read and weep for our public discourse.

    The assignment is this and this post by Susan G at Daily Kos about Social Security myths. The first is this one about life expectancy, which is something that has driven me crazy for years. Much of the literature about "problems" with social security will tell you that longer life expectancy was unanticipated by the people who designed the system, which is ridiculous. They certainly did. And they will also tell you that life expectancy was only 63 at the time social security was designed, which is true, but they neglect to explain that life expectancy in those days was was shorter mostly because of childhood diseases, which means that the financing ratios were never affected. After all, kids who die at 3 never pay FICA in the first place. Anyway, the upshot is this, from Nancy Altman's important book on the subject The Battle for Social Security: From FDR's Vision To Bush's Gamble:

    For Social Security purposes, the correct question is not how many live to age 65, but rather how long those reaching age 65 live thereafter. Here the numbers are not as dramatic. In 1940, men who survived to age 65 had a remaining life expectancy of 12.7 years. Today, a 65 year old man can expect to live not quite three years longer than he might have in 1940, or 15.3 years beyond reaching age 65. For women, the comparable numbers are 14.7 years beyond age 65 in 1940; 19.6 years in 1990.
    (My emphasis throughout)

    See why these zombie myths are so insidious? They tell you part of the facts, which can mislead even those who know better, have been through this political fight before (BushCo, remember? When Josh Marshall marshalled his readers to demand that their Congress Critters spell out exactly where they stood on SocSec issues???) tend to forget all the niggling details. I did; I needed to refresh my memory. I knew it was untrue, but I'd forgotten the factual basis for proving it was untrue. If you don't recall the facts, the lies sound feasible, rational...and once we buy the premise, we can be sold the bad, bad deal.

    These politcal rats depend on our being busy, distracted, easy to bamboozle. Beware the deadly SocSec Myths!

    The links to the original posts are at Digby's post, so just click through and be prepared for the zombie myth lies.


    I am doing a slow-boil this morning, (none / 0) (#78)
    by Anne on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 11:37:25 AM EST
    having opened my Sunday Baltimore Sun to see this article:

    Social Security Turns 75, but will it survive to see another 75 years or more?

    And accompanying it is a "game" with ideas for how to "save" it - I kid you not - a game.

    But first: the poll...

    How to fix Social Security

    Social Security turns 75 this month. What would you do to ensure that it continues paying full benefits for another 75 years or longer? These are frequent proposals to fix the projected shortfall that the American Academy of Actuaries highlights in its Social Security Game. Most solutions fill only part of the hole. Vote for how you would solve the problem here or play the Social Security Game to see how your choices add up.

      Raise the age at which you become eligible for full benefits to 70 for future workers (It's now age 67 for those born in 1960 and later.)

      Reduce expected annual cost of living adjustments by 0.5 percentage points

      Reduce benefits by 5 percent for future retirees

      Reduce benefits for top half of earners

      Raise payroll tax from 6.2% to 6.7% for both workers and employers

      Make more wages subject to Social Security by gradually raising the cap on earnings that can be taxed (now $106,800)

      Tax Social Security benefits like pension income

      Add new state and local government workers to system; some governments don't participate  

    And now...the game.

    I am mulling over a response to the author of an article that does nothing - nothing - but feed into this myth that we have to "fix" SS.


    As w/ the Obama et al approach to health insurance (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by jawbone on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 12:38:20 PM EST
    there are only two real approaches. The others are "off the table."

    I don't see full employment anywhere in the possible ways to best fund SocSec....

    Oh, that's right, Geithner and Obama are on board with the New Unemployment Higher Level approach.


    When you have gone from mulling... (none / 0) (#79)
    by sj on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 12:16:06 PM EST
    ... to responding, could you copy us that?  I have no doubt you will be in rare form.

    Also, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to say that you speak for yourself AND sj.


    Has there ever been a govt program that (none / 0) (#47)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:21:18 PM EST
    has delivered what was promised AND stayed within the budget projections and assurances?  I can't recall one.

    That said, here is another view of the SS situation.


    I'd appreciate a warning... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by desertswine on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:31:09 PM EST
    the next time you link to some Cato Institute/Koch Industries shill.

    Look in the lower corner of your browser (none / 0) (#50)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:32:26 PM EST
    to see where any link is going to take you.

    Sounds like a shoot the messenger comment.


    Shoot The Messenger? (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by squeaky on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 06:48:19 PM EST
    Hardly is a propagandist ever a mere messenger.

    A question for the collective thoughts here. (none / 0) (#48)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 05:40:05 PM EST
    One of the proposed ideas for SS longevity is to increase and/or eliminate the cap on annual contributions, ala pay on one's entire annual salary vs stopping at first ~$80K.

    Of those in favor of that concept also willing to allow higher SS payments for those who do pay in those additional amounts?

    It is "their" money - right?

    I've said this before (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:33:44 PM EST
    but I like to say it so I'll say it again.  The rich should pay more.  They use more of the resources of all of our social infrastructure keeping their "wealth" safe from theives and destruction.  In this country now a days, money is made directly on the backs of the less fortunate.  They need to pay and pay now, and be grateful for the civil society they get to enjoy while being RICH.  Or else we can go back to the jungle and see how long they manage to hang onto that wealth.

    So you are quite happy to pay more (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:53:51 PM EST
    into a system yet get back the exact same as those that paid less?

    Does your private investments offer the same return on your money?  And/or would you accept that as an acceptable answer?


    When the system has rewarded me (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 04:53:59 AM EST
    so richly and I am the top of the pile?  YES

    Unless I am missing something, (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:36:15 PM EST
    the higher the income on which you pay SS, and the greater the number of years you are contributing, the higher your benefit; my aunt, who is 87, gets only $853.00 net a month - but my expected benefit in 9 years when I can retire with full benefits, which is based on what I have already paid in, and projected based on what I am currently earning, is almost triple that.

    Assuming my income continues to increase, my benefit will, too.


    There is a disconnect there (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:52:21 PM EST
    The higher income does not relate or equate to the number of years contributing.  

    If you, me or your aunt contributes $X based on their years of payments, then the benefit/payment is based on the contribution.  To balance out and make fair, the yearly maximum contribution is capped based on income.  

    To remove the actuarial based contribution but to keep the benefit the same is pure theft.

    I'd be willing to bet that anyone here who has planned for their retirement beyond SS would be outraged and jumping on desks of any financial planner who offered up the increased contribution plan like the SS concept.


    Soc Sec is guaranteed though (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 04:57:16 AM EST
    We already see what "financial planners" have for us now.  Retirements and pensions have evaporated, and this will worsen too.  Time to recommit to Social Security and stengthen it.

    Yes, this is quite clear (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 08:18:42 PM EST
    not only looking at my annual statement from SS but also when comparing it to my spouse's annual statement from SS. . . .

    if they don't NEED it... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Dadler on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:40:26 PM EST
    ...they shouldn't get it. but that would require people to be unselfish when being so risks nothing for them. are sentient human adults capable of such patriotic action?

    i think so.


    WOW, isn't the entire concept of SS (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by BTAL on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 07:46:03 PM EST
    is that you pay in YOUR money and govt then provides you with a retirement benefit based on the amount you paid?

    Otherwise it is just a pure wealth redistribution scheme which cuts the knees out of everything that has been said/promised from FDR onward.

    How much of your money do you want to send to me every month?


    OK, SS is simply another tax and welfare plan (none / 0) (#67)
    by BrassTacks on Sat Aug 14, 2010 at 10:13:49 PM EST
    for the needy.  I have no problem with that, but they should have told us upfront.  Most people expected to get their money back in a retirement plan.  If that's not to happen, then warn people, tell them the truth, SS is just another tax based on income.  

    So you were alive in '35? (none / 0) (#83)
    by Cream City on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 04:45:49 PM EST
    "They" did tell the American people that then.

    When were you supposed to be told?  Maybe in U.S. history class?  Can't say I've looked at h.s. history texts lately, but it's covered in the college text I use.


    Good stuff? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Aug 15, 2010 at 10:31:32 PM EST

    ...everyone would understand why we need to be prudent about investing the retirement money of tens of millions of Americans.

    Does he think we are all stupid?  SS money is spent not a penny is invested.