Wednesday, August 12, 2015
On Social Security's 80th - The Solutions To Save It Are Clear
Bernie Sanders: His proposal to expand Social Security is common sense and can be achieved by increasing the wages covered by the payroll tax, and halting raids on the retirement fund.
As Social Security's 80th anniversary approaches, "solutions" are a dime a dozen to save the program - but in fact- most on offer (especially by Republicans) would either kill it, or make seniors' lives unbearable. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders - now besting Hillary in NH primary polls (44 % to 37%) - has made expanding Social Security one leg of his progressive platform.
By the simple, straightforward expedient of applying the payroll tax to all wages (instead of only the first $118,500) then 66 percent of the current shortfall would be wiped out overnight. The rest could easily be wiped out by ceasing to raid Social Security monies and instead doing what Al Gore always suggested back in 2000 - put it into an effective "lockbox". The idiot media made fun of it at the time, but by implementing the sequestration of S.S. monies from all other - no shortfall would emerge - assuming all wages are also subject to the payroll tax.
Meanwhile, we have conservative curmudgeons like Sen. Orrin Hatch barking (in response to Sanders' expansion proposal):
"Where will they get the money? They don't even care how they are adding to the debt and how long it will take to dig out of it!"
Excuse me, Sen. Hatch, but that debt was YOUR party's doing! You and your ilk implemented that ill-advised Medicare drug expansion (mainly at the behest of PhRMA) in 2003, and also implemented the Bush tax cuts while waging two wars that exploded the debt by $4 trillion. So don't hand me any BS about the debt and how Social Security was responsible! Hell, you bastards even raided it to help pay for the Iraq occupation to disguise the amount actually used for military operations, materials.
The other "solutions" now mainly being put forward by the conservos and Neoliberal Dems include:
- Increasing the retirement age (the age to receive full S.S. benefits) to 68 or even 70. But this really amounts to a benefits cut. And a severe one. It is claimed this would wipe out 29 percent of the shortfall but would more likely wipe out 29 percent of the most indigent seniors.
- Implement a "chained CPI" which decreases the cost of living adjustment received each year. This assumes that seniors would degrade their buying habits each year the COLA cuts are operative. So while they might afford chicken one year, for the next it will be sardines, and then the next kibbles, and the next....dumpster garbage.
Then there is the problem of Social Security Disability heading toward insolvency. As I noted earlier, e.g. http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2015/07/with-social-security-disabiiliy-nearly.html
both parties are to blame for this, having cut in half the payroll taxes collected for almost two years. Ending up with a loss nearly equal to the current disability fund deficit. WTF did they expect would happen when they embraced such folly?
Now the solutions are few, either redirect revenue from the much larger S.S. retirement fund to S.S. disability or ...let the disability fund empty in which case an immediate 19 percent benefits cut goes into effect.
The Repukes don't like the Dem solution of redirecting funds because "that would be like robbing seniors to pay the disabled."
But that "lockbox" pretension doesn't hold them back from continually robbing seniors to pay for more military toys like the F35, or increased defense plants. The fact is that there is no magic line or box separating the retirement fund from the disability fund, any more than a magical barrier separates the retirement fund from general revenues. So any transfers are simply a matter of account shifting.
If the Repubs were really so worried about disabled folks "robbing seniors" they'd have implemented a lockbox from the time Gore first mentioned it 15 years ago. In fact, since 1992 legislation entitled "the budget enforcement act' has existed to do just that. But it's never ever been enforced, despite the urgent need to do so.
The following data shows how much has been raided each year up through 2011, the data from the same Trust Fund sources and GAO:
Year: ................Amount raided
TOTAL: $2.63 TRILLION
Any person with a single neuron for a brain would realize that it doesn't matter if you fill a one gallon bucket with a cup every day (equal to 6 oz.) if there are massive holes in the bottom that let out 12 oz. in the same time!
Thus, the worker-to -beneficiary ratio is also a red herring meant to deflect attention from the REAL problem which is the yearly raids on monies received from payroll taxes and intended to go to future beneficiaries! So long as these raids continue unabated, NO solution or "re-tooling" of the program will work, not raising payroll taxes, not making cuts, NOTHING! The raiding has to stop first.
Add in expanding the wages covered by the payroll tax, targeted cuts to the bloated defense budget and Social Security can be expanded.
Will the Reepos pull their heads out of their asses on this issue? No way! No more than Jeb is capable of pulling his head out of his Bush ass on who is responsible for the rise of ISIS in Iraq. Obama for pulling out, as he claims? FUCK NO! His stupid ass brother for barging in in the first place and ousting a totally secular regime that had kept the Muslim factions (Shia and Sunni) at bay!