Skip to content

Social Security Defenders Circling the Wagons

Social Security

By Philip Moeller

Defenders of Social Security are taking steps to alert or, depending on one’s point of view, alarm the public about possible changes to the program. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed earlier this year by President Obama, is expected to address Social Security and other major sources of federal red ink in recommendations late this year. Enormous budget deficits have raised both sincere and politicized concerns that spending cutbacks are unavoidable, and that no programs should be considered off the table when considering changes.

Last week, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare sponsored a public opinion poll on attitudes toward Social Security. The poll found that people overwhelmingly oppose messing with Social Security. Little wonder.

The vital role of Social Security was newly demonstrated during the recession. When private retirement accounts and even some pensions were diving quickly into the tank, Social Security continued to meet its obligations. And due to long-term cutbacks of employer retirement benefits, the role of Social Security has grown even greater.

Without Social Security benefits, most retired Americans would be thrown into poverty. Most retirees and those near retirement age have little or no private savings set aside. We can bemoan the failure of individuals and their employers to create meaningful private nest eggs. There have been big improvements in 401(k) participation in recent years, but it will take a long, long time for such changes to add meaningful amounts to retirement portfolios.

So, with Social Security being the last and only line of financial defense for millions of older Americans, why would anyone want to change it? For starters, it’s running out of money, and the recession has accelerated this process. True, the program has enough resources to meet all anticipated payment needs for the next 27 years. When many people are wondering how to pay next month’s bills, 2037 seems so far off as to be irrelevant. Yet, younger Americans don’t believe Social Security will be there for them. They deserve the same kind of assurance about the program that older Americans have enjoyed.

[See Social Security Looks Good From Here at 75.]

The second reason to financially mend Social Security is that the federal deficits have to stop. And while Social Security is a relatively minor problem, it has assumed mythic stature as an untouchable program. What better way to convince people — citizens, businesses, and the foreign governments and investors who own U.S. debt — that we are serious about tackling our deficits than to take on Social Security?

Third, the sooner we adjust Social Security the smaller the corrective steps need to be to get the program on a long-term sound footing. Most senior advocates support the idea of raising the amount of money higher-income employees pay into the system. This wouldn’t fix the entire shortfall, experts say, but combining it with a gradual increase in the retirement age could largely close the gap. Given that most people already are living, on average, more than 15 years longer than when Social Security was enacted in 1935, tacking on a few years to the retirement age doesn’t seem like a calamitous burden.

The next “least painful” change from where I sit would be to s-l-o-w-l-y make the annual cost of living adjustments (COLA) for Social Security a bit less generous. And a bit should be just that. We don’t need a major rollback in the COLA.

If we could agree on closing the funding gap using some combination of these three levers, we can avoid proposals that would affect benefits directly. A debate on actual cutbacks would turn nasty in a hurry, and should be avoided.

AARP supports closing the Social Security funding gap but the only change it has publicly endorsed is increasing the current $106,000 wage cap on Social Security taxes. Last week’s National Committee poll also found this the only proposed change to the program that received strong support, including from the higher-income individuals who would be affected by it.

The poll floated three other trial balloons that were all shot down:

1) Raise the retirement age to 72: strongly opposed by 65 percent of the respondents; not so strongly opposed by another 13 percent.

2) Create a flat rate benefit regardless of a person’s income: strongly opposed by 61 percent; not so strongly opposed by 13 percent.

3) Reduce the starting benefits for new retirees: strongly opposed 42 percent; not so strongly opposed by 18 percent.

The first two questions involved changes that are more extreme than most of the measures that have been suggested. It would be helpful to see how people felt about raising the retirement age by smaller amounts. However you slice it, the changes need not be huge or disruptive. A U.S.Senate compilation of possible Social Security changes, and their financial impacts, was released in May. Here are three changes that would pretty much close the gap entirely:

Increasing the retirement age. The age at which people are entitled to full Social Security benefits is now 67 for younger employees. Raising it by two or three years over as many decades could close about 30 percent of the program’s funding shortfall.

The COLA. Subtracting half a percentage point from the annual COLA would reduce 40 percent of the gap all by itself. (This means that if the cost of living went up 4 percent in a year, the COLA would raise benefits by only 3.5 percent.)

The wage cap. Gradually boosting the cap to 90 percent of earnings would trim an estimated 28 percent of the shortfall.

It is understandable that senior advocacy groups are leery of volunteering cuts in Social Security. You don’t show your cards before you bet in poker. Let’s hope that behind the scenes, they are working on a package of modest adjustments that seniors can live with. However, if they adopt a “status quo” stance toward the program and oppose changes, they appear as just another special interest group.

More to the point, there is no way for the country to start the financial healing if we can’t even agree on this set of relatively easy and painless changes.

View the original article at Veterans Today

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Rants & Opinion.

Tagged with , , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.


Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?