Privatizing Social Security unworkable politically, economically

In this morning’s post, I talked about today’s political environment as “a primal scream of denial, an insistence that easy answers be found — right now!” A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll adds some weight to that description.

wsjheader
wsjpoll

Voters were read a series of positions or actions and were asked whether they would make them more or less enthusiastic about supporting a candidate for Congress. In response, 50 percent said that they would have reservations about, or would be very uncomfortable about, a candidate who supported the economic policies of Barack Obama.

On the other hand, 62 percent said they would feel that way about someone who supported the economic policies of George W. Bush.

The poll also found that 49 percent of voters would feel very uncomfortable about a candidate who proposed to phase out Social Security and instead allow workers to invest in the stock market. Only 21 percent said they would be enthusiastic or comfortable with a candidate taking that approach.

That’s an interesting number, given that more and more Republicans are once again beginning to raise that possibility. But I want to set aside the polling numbers for a moment and consider a very practical problem with that idea.

Proponents of that approach almost always say that they will guarantee the Social Security of all current recipients as well as those over 50 or 55, while allowing younger workers to opt out the system in favor of private accounts. Politically and morally, that kind of guarantee would be essential, and everyone understands that.

So here’s the problem. The Social Security benefits for those older folks would have to be financed by continuing taxes on those still young enough to be working. For better or worse, that’s how the insurance system works: Today’s workers help finance today’s retirees.

So where is the money that those younger workers would set aside to invest in their own retirement? That would have to come on TOP of what they’re paying to support Social Security. They will be paying to support today’s retirees AND paying to finance their own private accounts, in effect paying for two retirement systems at the same time.

If you add in the fact that today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers are obliged to repay $2.5 trillion to the Social Security Trust Fund — money that was borrowed over the last 25 years largely to help offset tax cuts for the more affluent — you’ve got a third retirement-related burden to handle.

I haven’t heard any proponent of private accounts explain how the accounting of all this could possibly work. Even President Bush, in his aborted attempt at privatization, never really explained how that transition could be financed without adding trillions more to the national debt. In other words, those 49 percent are right to be deeply uncomfortable.

248 comments Add your comment

stands for decibels

September 8th, 2010
12:04 pm

So where is the money that those younger workers would set aside to invest in their own retirement?

Tax cuts. Ain’t you learned nothin’, boy?

USinUK

September 8th, 2010
12:05 pm

dammit, Jay, I misread it and thought you were talking about PIRATIZING social security! after all, national talk like a pirate day 2010 is next Sunday!!

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html

aaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh

N-GA

September 8th, 2010
12:16 pm

Ever since the school system started teaching the “new math”, Americans have been unable to understand how politicians calculated the costs of things like Social Security, war, Medicare, unlimited importing of goods and offshoring of jobs, etc.

Low interest rates for too long = excessively easy credit = out-of-control spending = economic disaster

JohnnyReb

September 8th, 2010
12:16 pm

“If you add in the fact that today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers are obliged to repay $2.5 trillion to the Social Security Trust Fund — money that was borrowed over the last 25 years largely to help offset tax cuts for the more affluent–”

Those nasty old rich, job providing people. Let’s punish them some more. Never mind the top 1% of wage earners already pay 39% of federal taxes! They and the 50% of wage earners who pay 97% of federal taxes can just pay more so that I can keep getting my food stamps. After all, if I don’t use my welfare check to pay my cell phone bill I won’t be able to talk to anyone. And, I absolutely have to make the payments on the widescreen.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 8th, 2010
12:16 pm

There’s a talk like Rupert Murdoch day?

USinUK

September 8th, 2010
12:17 pm

“There’s a talk like Rupert Murdoch day?”

me, I’d like a Talk Like Carol Channing Day …

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 8th, 2010
12:19 pm

Jay…your mistake is trying to talk about reality and nuances…. Crazy cons don’t want to discuss either, they just want to get elected. Cause “con just wanna, just wanna have fun.”

Mick

September 8th, 2010
12:19 pm

Fix it, up the cap from 106k to 300k, and then move on.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:22 pm

Jay–In case this article was in response to your “debate” with Harry Callahan yesterday, don’t sweat it. You won hands down.

What Harry and others overlook in their calls to privatize SSI in the hopes of a better return on the money is the simple relationship between risk and reward. In the case of SSI, virtually no risk is acceptable. As such, we have to accept that fact in advance that the return on investment (ROI) will always remain low.

The way forward

September 8th, 2010
12:23 pm

So where is the money that those younger workers would set aside to invest in their own retirement? That would have to come on TOP of what they’re paying to support Social Security.

1. Preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older.

2. Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to Federal employees. Includes a property right so they can pass on these assets to their heirs, and a guarantee that individuals will not lose a dollar they contribute to their accounts, even after inflation.

3. Makes the program permanently solvent – according to the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] – by combining a more realistic measure of growth in Social Security’s initial benefits, with an eventual modernization of the retirement age.–Congressman Paul Ryan

JohnnyReb

September 8th, 2010
12:23 pm

How is it that Progressives think it’s OK to rob the treasury for entitlements “they approve of,” yet the thought of adding to the deficit to fix SS is unthinkable? Oh no, we have to keep controlling those poor people, they are not smart enough to function on their own, and lord help us, if they actually succeed they could vote Republican!

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 8th, 2010
12:24 pm

I sure wish someone would show both sides of the discussion that JohnnyReb is putting across. He claims that the top 1% pay 39% in taxes but other claim they hardly pay anything.

So which is it? Can someone put the two sets of data side by side so all of us can see who is telling the truth. My guess is they’re both wrong and it is somewhere in between but I’d love to see that.

I’m still of the mind that if these so-called rich have all this money then where were they during the Bush years when the economy was shedding jobs at 500k – 750k a month? They could have had their pick of good experienced people to help them run that new business they’ve got all this money for.

But please, please, please someone put this to rest and show the sets of data that both sides claim as fact in this question of who is really paying their fair share.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

“They will be paying to support today’s retirees AND paying to finance their own private accounts, in effect paying for two retirement systems at the same time.”

Imagine that…boomers being subsidized for their greed by their children and their children’s children. How’s that revolution working for y’all? Well, it sucks for the x’ers and y’ers. Though I did run across a new and very apt name for gen-xers…Baby Busters.

larry

September 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

Yep, those job-providing rich people. Where are they providing jobs at ? Just wondering.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

Fix it, up the cap from 106k to 300k, and then move on.

Mick, that is a simple solution along with raising the minimum age for eligibility. When SSI was started, people didn’t live nearly as long as they do today. The only wild card in the mix is that fact that minorities, as a group, don’t live as long as whites. Those concerned with social justice find this a bitter pill to swallow.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

USinUK,

“me, I’d like a Talk Like Carol Channing Day …”

Do we get to wear a blonde wig? ;)

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 8th, 2010
12:28 pm

I see the ad by Deal on this page now. ‘Roybama’, is that all he has? Can’t he tell us what he plans to do instead of trying to tie Roy to Obama. This is Georgia, not Washington DC last time I checked.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
12:32 pm

I think we should spend ourselves into debt so heavily we can’t recover, let the economy crash, suffer for years and then see if people want to be more fiscally responsible.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:32 pm

I sure wish someone would show both sides of the discussion that JohnnyReb is putting across. He claims that the top 1% pay 39% in taxes but other claim they hardly pay anything.

Fly–In terms of income taxes, the rich certainly do pay the lion’s share of all taxes collected according to the IRS:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

From the article:

“In 2007, the top 1 percent of tax returns paid 40.4 percent of all federal individual income taxes and earned 22.8 percent of adjusted gross income. Both of those figures—share of income and share of taxes paid—are significantly higher than they were in 2004 when the top 1 percent earned 19 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) and paid 36.9 percent of federal individual income taxes.”

and

“For the first time this year, we are also presenting data on the top 0.1% of tax returns (the top 10 percent of the top 1 percent). This 10 percent of the returns in the top 1 percent amounts to only 141,000 tax returns but accounts for nearly 12 percent of the adjusted gross income earned and approximately 20 percent of the nation’s federal individual income taxes.”

JohnnyReb

September 8th, 2010
12:34 pm

Fly On The Wall – here’s a link to who pays taxes.

http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

JohnnyReb

September 8th, 2010
12:35 pm

Bruno, you beat me to it. We posted the same link.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:35 pm

Yep, those job-providing rich people. Where are they providing jobs at ? Just wondering.

larry–Hold tight, things will pick up in January when the anti-business Democrats are thrown out on their collective rears.

RW-(the original)

September 8th, 2010
12:35 pm

If you add in the fact that today’s and tomorrow’s taxpayers are obliged to repay $2.5 trillion to the Social Security Trust Fund — money that was borrowed over the last 25 years largely to help offset tax cuts for the more affluent — you’ve got a third retirement-related burden to handle.

Does anybody really believe that if income taxes were higher in the upper income brackets that this shortfall would be funded? First off I don’t believe you would have as much extra money flowing to Washington as you think, but even if you did there’s not a snowball’s chance that the politicians wouldn’t find someplace else to spend it.

TaxPayer

September 8th, 2010
12:36 pm

Well, if we had left healthcare alone, then the hard work of folks like Massey, the Koch brothers, et al, would have taken care of the dilemma of paying for all these old retirees all on its own. So, let’s start rolling back the regulations and stoking those coal-fired furnaces and such like we did in the good old days before government intervention. Then, retirees will die at a more reasonable age, actuarially speaking, and we will have that social security problem under control in no time at all. But just to play it safe, have an egg or two for breakfast every day.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 8th, 2010
12:37 pm

First, as pointed out…the $2.5 trillion owed is because Congress decided to dip into the funds paid for SS to fund other programs. That money rightfully belongs to SS and the IOU’s must be repaid. That means that money will have to be collected to pay it back.

As for the other proposals, the problem still seems that the hard decisions are being avoided and a shell game continues.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:37 pm

Bruno, you beat me to it. We posted the same link.

LOL. Milliseconds count in today’s world, Johnny. Plus, I included some text and quotes as well.

(putting six-shooter back in holster)

Vinny

September 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

Seeing as how my yearly SS statements state that I will only be receiving 0.75 cents on the dollar to what I PAID into this government run ponzi scheme, I’d rather take my chances with privitization.

The government can’t do anything right or without some measure of corruption.

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

Bruno,

Thanks, that helps. Now a question. Are they just earning a ton more than us or do they have investments somewhere else that offset their taxes? Because the usual argument I hear is that the ‘rich’ have so many more ways to hide income.

Are these figures you listed before any type of ‘deductions’ or ‘reductions’ that could be claimed? In other words are the figures listed just showing the income and taxes owed but does not then include any deductions against their tax bill? That would be an easy thing misrepresent, I show their income and tax bill but not show the deductions to reduce that tax bill. I could then claim that someone is paying too much or too little without really showing the whole picture. Do you know which this is?

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:41 pm

As for the other proposals, the problem still seems that the hard decisions are being avoided and a shell game continues.

You’ll need to take that up with the AARP, Good Fight. Neither party is going to risk alienating that voting bloc.

Jay

September 8th, 2010
12:41 pm

Way Forward, here’s the Tax Policy Center on Ryan’s “Roadmap.”

“The Ryan plan proposes large cuts in Social Security benefits — roughly 16 percent for the average new retiree in 2050 and 28 percent in 2080 from price indexing alone — and initially diverts most of these savings to help fund private accounts rather than to restore Social Security solvency. Because the plan would divert large sums from Social Security to private accounts, it would leave the program facing insolvency in about 30 years, just as under current law. The plan would avoid insolvency by transferring $1.2 trillion from the rest of the budget to Social Security between 2037 and 2056, and those transfers would not be fully repaid until 2083.

The plan also seeks to entice higher-income seniors to divert a substantial share of their payroll tax contributions to private accounts. It would exempt from taxation all income drawn from these accounts in retirement, while retaining the feature of current law that counts as taxable income most of the Social Security benefits these affluent seniors could receive. In addition, the Ryan plan would require the federal government to guarantee the performance of the private accounts; if the stock market fell and value of the accounts declined sufficiently, the Treasury would have to make up the losses.”

In other words, it rearranges the deck chairs. Furthermore, guaranteeing the performance of private accounts is yet another way of privatizing any gain from those accounts, while keeping the risk of poor performance in the public sector.

TaxPayer

September 8th, 2010
12:42 pm

The next thing you know, the Republicans are gonna start whining about those unemployed folks not paying a poor tax or something and dumping their burden on the billionaires. Don’t they care about the billionaires! I mean, how can we expect billionaires to pay millions in taxes. It’s just crazy talk. It’s like if a billionaire made a 100 million and was asked to pay a million of that in taxes , then that would like rob this poor billionaire of almost a whole one percent of earnings that could have been trickled down on society in the form of real help. Like man. Doesn’t anyone care about the poor people that have to pay taxes any more, man.

A blast from the past

September 8th, 2010
12:44 pm

stands for decibels

September 8th, 2010
12:46 pm

my yearly SS statements state that I will only be receiving 0.75 cents on the dollar to what I PAID into this government run ponzi scheme,

You know how long you’re going to live? Really? Can you tell me how long I’m going to live? Because that’d be a neat-o thing to know.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

September 8th, 2010
12:46 pm

Well, the problem is, Bookman writes like we got to keep Social Security. I say cut those old geezers loose and let them go to work as greeters at WalMart. They can’t do no worse than the ones they got there now. If you ask one where the white socks for your monthly bath are, they’re as likely as not to send you to the grocery section.

I’m a Conservative and that means it’s all about me, me, me. I don’t mind putting money in a account for my own retirement, but dang, I don’t want to pay for somebody else’s. That’s Socialism.

It’s a cruel world out there and I’d rather be the wolf than the sheep.

TaxPayer

September 8th, 2010
12:47 pm

Seeing as how my yearly SS statements state that I will only be receiving 0.75 cents on the dollar to what I PAID into this government run ponzi scheme, I’d rather take my chances with privitization.

Wow! I didn’t see that anywhere on my statement from Social Security. I imagine you must really be distraught over being singled out like that.

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

Bruno and JohnnyReb,

Since you both came up with that link so fast can someone else please provide some data. It’s not that I don’t trust you but I’d like to see someone else’s data. I know the Tax Foundation claims to be non-partisan BUT. I have my doubts but nonetheless this is one piece of data so I’d like to see someone from the side that claims the rich do not pay enough submit similar information. Thanks in advance.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

September 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

I always love the overstatement that government can’t do ANYTHING right. Of course we know corporations get everything right. Yep, there are problems with government, waste, corruption, and just plain stupid moves at times. But there is not one government and not one agency and not all is wasted or lost to corruption.

And just ask those working for large corporations whether there is any corporate waste or lack of efficiency. Most everyone I talk to that works for large corporations have complaints about the way they are run. And we have plenty of evidence of waste, inefficiency, corruption and greed in corporations.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

Are these figures you listed before any type of ‘deductions’ or ‘reductions’ that could be claimed? In other words are the figures listed just showing the income and taxes owed but does not then include any deductions against their tax bill?

Fly–The amounts listed are actual taxes paid, after whatever deductions can be made are figured in. In summary, the top 1% earned about 23% of income, and paid a little more than 40% of the income taxes collected. Whether this is fair or not depends upon your individual viewpoint, I guess. Personally, as long as I am living comfortably, I really don’t care if others are living better. Wealth envy isn’t part of my outlook on life.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
12:52 pm

Bruno,

“The only wild card in the mix is that fact that minorities, as a group, don’t live as long as whites. Those concerned with social justice find this a bitter pill to swallow.”

Want to talk about a bitter pill? Try being a gay man or woman who is unable to obtain survivor benefits when your partner dies b/c of our discriminating system.

Mick

September 8th, 2010
12:53 pm

Bruno

I say no to raising the eligibility age. If you are a skilled blue collar worker toiling in the trenches, those additional years would be pretty tough as opposed to some office paper pusher.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
12:54 pm

It’s not that I don’t trust you but I’d like to see someone else’s data.

Fly–The data provided on the link comes straight from the IRS. I don’t know what better authority exists on what income was earned and what taxes were paid.

I have my doubts but nonetheless this is one piece of data so I’d like to see someone from the side that claims the rich do not pay enough submit similar information.

On the “other side”, Fly, all you are going to find are anecdotal stories of particular individuals who didn’t pay a lot of taxes, e.g. Jay’s journalistic “scoop” that Nathan Deal didn’t pay a lot of taxes the past few years. IMO, the “Big Picture” is more important, not stories about a few individuals.

Fly-On-The-Wall

September 8th, 2010
12:56 pm

Bruno,

I agree with your statement – “Personally, as long as I am living comfortably, I really don’t care if others are living better. Wealth envy isn’t part of my outlook on life.”

The thing I get concerned about is the rich feeling ‘entitled’ to being rich and therefore they should stay rich (I think of Paris Hilton for some reason when I type this). I don’t want anything special for the rich anymore than anyone else. If they got there by hard work then more power to them (so to speak), they earned it. But don’t cut them deals just because they have money. Same for big corporations. They can do a lot of things but don’t give them tax breaks or special tax breaks just because they are a big corporation. If we truly believe in the capitalistic system and the free market then we wouldn’t give them a dime in tax breaks or sweetheart deals. My 02 cents anyway. Thanks.

TaxPayer

September 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

I tend to prefer this site’s analysis of such things as incomes and taxation and such.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
12:58 pm

We’ve got all the money we need. We’re currently on the hook for only $61.9 trillion. Should be easy to keep paying out money to all these programs, defense, etc.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
12:59 pm

The US Debt Clock shows us as being $110 Trillion in the hole. Check out those UnFunded Liabilities.

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

Paul

September 8th, 2010
1:02 pm

Silly Jay

You pass it, then you figure out how to do it! Seriously, the whole objective is to appear to give voters a choice and the illusion you’re the candidate who will “do something.” (I was late to your last post, but that idea’s fleshed out a bit right before the thread ended).

the way forward/Jay

way – so it takes a third of the contributions out of the SS system, not all contributions (which a complete changeover would do) so it still leaves a shortfall to be made up somehow, correct?

Jay – that ‘price indexing’ leading to lower benefits – does anyone who’s read the entire analysis know if that has to do with what was discussed yesterday – moving from a CPI based on some worker wages to a CPI that’s more broad-based, representative of most of the population, including retirees?

So far, it appears to me, it really is just rearranging the deck chairs with descriptors that appear to give people control over their future. I dunno if it’ll work, though. Those seniors comprise an effective lobby. And they vote.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:02 pm

Want to talk about a bitter pill? Try being a gay man or woman who is unable to obtain survivor benefits when your partner dies b/c of our discriminating system.

jewcowboy–I’m 100% with you on that account, not in small part due to the fact that one of my sisters is gay. Personally, I am completely in favor of legal “domestic partnerships” to circumvent this unfairness along with the other lost benefits that married folks automatically enjoy.

From my perspective, it seems to come down to a disagreement over terminology. In one corner, you have folks like josef who won’t accept any difference in legal language (marriage for straights, domestic partnerships for gays), even if the benefits are exactly the same. On the other hand, many polls I have seen show that a majority of Americans are comfortable with extending similar benefits to gay unions, but aren’t comfortable with equating such unions with heterosexual marriages in a linguistic sense. I count myself in the second group.

Jefferson

September 8th, 2010
1:08 pm

Let’s just add a middle man — not. Raise the cap, move on. There was plenty of wealth in the 50’s,60’s,70’s, the proof of how things are now was that Reagan was out in left field with a catcher’s mitt on, wondering why the 3rd base coach wants him to bunt.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:08 pm

Why does this thing eat my posts?

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

I say no to raising the eligibility age. If you are a skilled blue collar worker toiling in the trenches, those additional years would be pretty tough as opposed to some office paper pusher.

I understand your point, Mick, but it wouldn’t make any sense to me to create different layers of benefits based on whatever job you do. The bottom line is that the minimum age HAS to go up to prevent insolvency. If this creates an unfairness for blue collar workers vs. white collar, or for minorities vs. whites, that is simply the price you have to pay for applying the law equally to everyone, IMO. Otherwise, you would have to toss out key concepts in our legal system such as the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

Remember Mick, it’s all about equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

We are so deep in the hole it’s not even funny and everyone is worried about how we’ll fund all this stuff. I hate to be the one to break it to you but…we won’t.

One day we’ll have to decide to actually treat our national budget just like we have to treat the one we have at home.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
1:12 pm

“Remember Mick, it’s all about equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.”

Not anymore. It’s not the “pursuit of happiness” now the government has to guarantee it.

Doggone/GA

September 8th, 2010
1:12 pm

“From my perspective, it seems to come down to a disagreement over terminology”

It isn’t just at “terminology” disagreement. It has to do with the amount of work that would be needed to give “domestic partnerships” exactly the same rights as a “marriage.” It would mean changing and amending ALL the laws in the US that affect marriage to also include domestic partnerships.

Which would be ridiculous. All that is needed to is to make LEGAL MARRIAGES available to all, regardless of their sexual orientation…and no changes to any other laws would be needed.

What it comes down to…yet again…is keeping religion out of government. Marriages are LEGAL contracts, and religious sensabilities have no place in how they are handled.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:13 pm

Speaking of blue collar work, I have to get ready to help my friend dig a ditch so we can patch a leaking pipe in his front yard. I’ll check back in a few for rebuttals.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:15 pm

Bruno,

Separate is never equal. If there is a problem with linguistic’s, then make every legal union between spouses (including heterosexuals) a civil union. Or get the government out of the marriage game altogether.

And just curious, for those churches that preform gay marriages, such as the United Church of Christ, would you call those unions marriages?

The Brothers Koch

September 8th, 2010
1:18 pm

We just don’t understand this wealth envy thing that some little people have. All we want is for them to make their own fortunes and pay their own way and stop mooching off of us. It’s not like we were born with a silver spoon in our mouths. It was months before we started eating solid foods.

Bubba Bob

September 8th, 2010
1:20 pm

Koch,

I have no issue with helping people when they are down. I do have an issue with building a class of people who will never have to choose to help themselves. In the end they end up hurt the worst.

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:21 pm

It would mean changing and amending ALL the laws in the US that affect marriage to also include domestic partnerships. Which would be ridiculous.

What is so ridiculous about that, Doggone?? If the benefits are the same, why should the terminology matter so much?? To josef, it’s about forcing people to make a moral/biological equivalence that many aren’t comfortable making. He hasn’t stated as much, but I bet even Scout would go along with the idea of domestic partnerships. (Maybe)

What it comes down to…yet again…is keeping religion out of government. Marriages are LEGAL contracts, and religious sensabilities have no place in how they are handled.

In case you haven’t been following, I’m one of the least “religious” posters here. It ultimately comes down to biology, not religion, for me.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:22 pm

“The Social Security benefits for those older folks would have to be financed by continuing taxes on those still young enough to be working.”

I’m just curious as to whom the boomers think will be paying for their retirement, considering the record and almost epidemic proportions of the unemployment for those 18 – 30? Boomers and Greats have had their party, and have wrung every last bit for themselves and now expect their children to pay for it.

Think again. Boomers, I hope you’ve saved b/c your children might not be so willing to fiance your party any longer. Talk about personal responsibility…perhaps it’s time for the Boomers and Greats to finally find it.

harvey

September 8th, 2010
1:22 pm

It is symptomatic of how personal initiative and self-responsibility are going in this country when so many are opposed to taking charge of their own savings. There are many who would have no savings at all if left to their own devices, because they figure “big daddy” will come in and feed them in the end, so they can spend now like grasshoppers. I like privatizing because I would save, and it would make it harder for Pelosi and her ilk to rob my social security benefits because they wouldn’t be able to get to them as easily. Note, if Congress hadn’t robbed social security (and they ought to be in jail for this) by diverting these funds into the general pool of money, we wouldn’t be in this ditch. You cannot trust the government.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:23 pm

The Brother Koch,

“It was months before we started eating solid foods”

A silver nipple huh?

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:24 pm

jewcowboy @ 1:15–I’ll put you in josef’s corner, then.

Out of curiosity, given public opinion, are you willing to forgo the benefits of a civil union strictly due to a linguistic difference?? The bottom line is that you can’t force people to change their internal sense of “normalcy”. But, if you are willing to forgo the benefits of domestic partnership in a Quixotic quest to force your moral vision on the rest of society, then I won’t stand in your way.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:26 pm

harvey,

“You cannot trust the government.”

But you can trust the financial industry, huh?

getalife

September 8th, 2010
1:30 pm

Allowing corrupt congress to touch ss is ridiculous.

It should not be on the table. Period.

There are many wasteful military contracts to cut.

Audit the pentagon and the last occupation.

getalife

September 8th, 2010
1:31 pm

end the occupation.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:31 pm

Bruno,

“Out of curiosity, given public opinion, are you willing to forgo the benefits of a civil union strictly due to a linguistic difference??”

Again, separate is never equal.

“The bottom line is that you can’t force people to change their internal sense of “normalcy”.”

The problem is, the 14th amendment doesn’t let you legislate your sense of “normalcy” based on discriminating against people for no other reason that you feel like it.

And again I’ll ask, for those churches that preform gay marriages, such as the United Church of Christ, would you call those unions marriages?

AT

September 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

SS is a generational ponzi scheme. There’s no good way to keep it going without cutting benefits (ending the ponzi) or raising taxes(forcibly expanding the ponzi).

I’m not sure why Jay refers to it as insurance. It has none of the marks of insurance, at least not a viable insurance. Everyone gets to draw from it eventually, there is no risk leverage at all. Insurance only works if the costs of the risk are less that of the pool of insurance. SS has never had that, thanks to Congress spending what people put into SS. Auto Ins works because people like me pay for it, but I’ve never had a claim. Med. Ins doesn’t work as well now because more and more people have more and more claims, i.e., it isn’t insurance anymore but a medical payment pool. SS isn’t even close, because everyone gets it, unless you die before retirement, but even then, your spouse gets it.

SS is doomed for failure, like every other ponzi scheme. If we were honest about what it is, maybe we could deal with it.

Paulo977

September 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

Doggone/GA @1:12 pm
“Marriages are LEGAL contracts, and religious sensibilities have no place in the way they are handled” Absolutely ,that is so simple to understand. Why is it taking so long for the sheeple to figure it out?

Doggone/GA

September 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

“If the benefits are the same, why should the terminology matter so much?? ”

you’ve answered your own question. If the benefits are the same, why does the name need to be changed? Separate but equal is not equal. Marriages are legal contracts. I say get them out of the hands of religions and end the problem.

Doggone/GA

September 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

“In case you haven’t been following, I’m one of the least “religious” posters here. It ultimately comes down to biology, not religion, for me”

then keep your squeamishness out of it too.

@@

September 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

Have comments been shut down? Mine sure have.

Poor Boy from Alabama

September 8th, 2010
1:38 pm

Fly on the Wall @ 12:48

The Congressional Budget Office did a review of tax rates across income groups back in June. You can download a short version of their analysis using this link:

http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/tax/2010/AverageFedTaxRates2007.pdf

This report covers 2007, but the numbers are pretty close to those from Bruno and Johnny Reb. The CBO report also includes information on who pays all federal taxes, not just income taxes.

Jay –

It’s not hard to envision a way to transition Americans to privatized accounts as part of Social Security. Corporate America did it along ago with the transition from defined benefits accounts that traditionally pay retirees a fixed amount each month to defined contribution plans such as 401k’s where companies pay a fixed contribution to an employee’s retirement plan, but the employee gets to decide how the money is invested and lives with the results. This approach is riskier for the employee, but also provides the possibility of higher returns and a bigger pay-out.

There are lots of ways to skin this cat, including allowing those who are risk averse to sign up for annuity type investments.

It all boils down to whether people should be allowed to make investment decisions for themselves and whether they’re willing to live with the results. Many of us would answer with an emphatic “Yes!”

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:40 pm

@@,

“Have comments been shut down? Mine sure have.”

I’ve been having issues as well…it keeps eating posts.

Jimmy62

September 8th, 2010
1:40 pm

What you’ve described is a Ponzi scheme, younger workers forced to pay for older workers, with only the hope that new younger workers (suckers) will come in later and pay for the first group of younger workers to retire.

SS should be scrapped and replaced with something that is not an illegal scam!

Also, funny how you worry about polls and stuff regarding this. Didn’t seem to bother you that ObamaCare was polling very badly. Hypocrisy, thy name is liberal.

Union

September 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

no need to worry about this.. obama has much bigger concerns…

“Obama Reports America to the U.N. Claiming Difficulty in Forming a Union in This Country is a Human Rights Abuse”

weve been reported.. usinuk.. you should be fine..

Doggone/GA

September 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

“and whether they’re willing to live with the results”

The problem is: are YOU willing to watch people begging and dying in the streets because they couldn’t afford to save, or because they made “poor choices” in investments?

Because that’s what it came down to. During the Depression people WERE begging and dying in the streets and as a humane society we found a way to at least TRY to keep that from happening.

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ”
John Kenneth Galbraith

chuck

September 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

Jay, Jay, Jay. Too many false assumptions.

First, Those no longer on Social Security will NOT have to continue paying into the program BECAUSE, the 2.5 trillion (part of our enormous national debt) will cover them when we free up capital through privatization.

Raising the retirement age for those who opt to stay in the program will make it more solvent as well.

As an ADDED BONUS, the elderly people who will die as a result of denial of healthcare because of OBAMAcare will tend to make it a moot point anyway.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:42 pm

Bruno,

“But, if you are willing to forgo the benefits of domestic partnership in a Quixotic quest to force your moral vision on the rest of society, then I won’t stand in your way.”

If you were told that people who prefer beer to wine could not get married, but could have all of the same benefits under a civil union, and you loved beer, would you be ok with a civil union, when all the wine drinkers were getting married?

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:43 pm

The problem is, the 14th amendment doesn’t let you legislate your sense of “normalcy” based on discriminating against people for no other reason that you feel like it.

Unfortunately, the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply, because marriage is not a “right”, it is a “privilege”, in the same way that obtaining a driver’s license is not a right, but a privilege. And just like obtaining a driver’s license, obtaining a marriage license is subject to a host of requirements such as minimum age requirements, who is qualified (close familial relationships excluded), the number of people permitted to enter the agreement (only two people, not three or ten).

If you’re wondering why it is not a “right”, it is due to the fact that a marriage “right” is unenforceable. For example, if I had the hots for Jay, I can’t force him to marry me. I’m sure his wife will be relieved to know that.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:44 pm

Jimmy62,

“SS should be scrapped and replaced with something that is not an illegal scam!”

Are you willing to sacrifice your benefits and all you’ve paid into it so far to be the first to forgo ss?

chuck

September 8th, 2010
1:45 pm

BruDog…excellent points.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
1:46 pm

Bruno,

The 14th amendment doesn’t deal with the “right” to get married, it deals with the right to due process and equal protection. As I’ve said, and the Supreme Court has said before, separate is not equal.

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:50 pm

Gotta run and dig a ditch, but Jay, in case you change your mind, I make a convincing ingenue. ;-)

Bruno

September 8th, 2010
1:52 pm

BruDog…excellent points.

Tell you what, chuck: Publicly apologize to Matti for being such an ass to her, and I will restore you to my good graces.

The Brothers Koch

September 8th, 2010
1:55 pm

We one percenters (actually, “we” are more in a class all our own of more like 0.01 percenters) only managed to “earn” (sure, “earn” might be a stretch for some peoples vocabularies) 23 percent of the nation’s entire AGI. Surely most people would agree that such a quantity is less than a full one quarter and that is so much less than it could be if we did not have to pay so much in taxes. So do the right thing and make those Bush tax cut permanent. Do it for us. Give us the tax equality we so richly deserve.

@@

September 8th, 2010
1:55 pm

cowboy:

I’ve been having issues as well…it keeps eating posts.

It would appear that we are equal in jay’s discriminatory efforts.

No big deal. I’m needed elsewhere.

godless heathen

September 8th, 2010
2:00 pm

I take exception with the notion that money was taken out of the SS trust fund and handed over to the richest Americans. jay put it thusly: “…money that was borrowed over the last 25 years largely to help offset tax cuts for the more affluent….”

The correct language would be: “Government spent way more than it collected in income taxes, so it raided the SS fund.”

Taking less is not giving; giving less is not taking.

stands for decibels

September 8th, 2010
2:02 pm

I do kinda wonder how many of the people yelling the loudest about SS have been in a cash-economy binness and/or underreporting the hell out of their earnings, and have come to realize it’s going to bite them in the butt come retirement time.

Gotta be at least a few.

AT

September 8th, 2010
2:03 pm

jewcowboy @ 1:44pm

“Are you willing to sacrifice your benefits and all you’ve paid into it so far to be the first to forgo ss?”

I’m 36, been paying into it for 20+ years and I would do this today if I never again had to pay a dime into SS.

As I see it, my money is gone as soon as my paycheck arrives. SS will not last long enough for me to see benefits. I’d much rather have my future “benefits” under my control, rather than the gov’t. My track record is much, much better.

Poor Boy from Alabama

September 8th, 2010
2:06 pm

Doggone/GA @ 1:42

As I said before, there are lots of ways to skin this cat. Individual investors and pension fund managers hedge their investments all the time. We could also limit the percentage of a retiree’s portfolio that was placed in riskier investments or we could decide to require folks to keep a portion of their money in the current system. That would provide a floor on their monthly payments.

The reality is that the current system is unsustainable. Changes will have to be made. Raising taxes, raising the retirement age, and other modifications to the current system are on the table. Why shouldn’t we consider alternate investment options as well?

We’ll agree to disagree if you think it’s conservative or selfish to want to have more say in how 14-15%, if you include employer match, of your compensation is invested for your retirement.

The Brothers Koch

September 8th, 2010
2:06 pm

* Households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum received tax cuts averaging $29, which raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 0.4 percent.
* Those in the middle fifth received tax cuts averaging $760, which raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 2.4 percent.
* The top 1 percent of households received tax cuts averaging $41,077, which raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 5.0 percent.
* Within the top 1 percent, those with incomes exceeding $1 million received tax cuts averaging $114,000, which raised their after-tax incomes by an average of 5.7 percent.

You see, the 2001 Bush tax cuts were a good first step in making taxation more fair. Just keep up the good work. Don’t let us down and don’t let those little people start whining about how much we make. That’s nothing more than wealth envy and if they were meant to be wealthy, they would be. It is just that simple.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
2:06 pm

stands for decibels,

“Gotta be at least a few.”

I read an article about how many of the people in south Louisiana are having that same issue with BP settlements. They lived on a cash basis so they didn’t have to report income and pay taxes on it, and therefore have no records of how much they should be paid.

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
2:10 pm

AT,

“I’d much rather have my future “benefits” under my control, rather than the gov’t.”

And how much control did you have over your benefit when the stock market tanked due to the market manipulation of others…and what would you do if you were close to retirement when that happened? What happens if you are (un)lucky enough to live an extra 20 years past what you planned?

SS is a safety net, and should be treated as such. It is not a retirement account, even though many treat it as such. However, if you are 95 and run out of money in those private accounts, who are you going to turn to?

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
2:11 pm

Poor Boy from Alabama,

“Changes will have to be made. Raising taxes, raising the retirement age, and other modifications to the current system are on the table. Why shouldn’t we consider alternate investment options as well? ”

As long as we start with the boomers.

godless heathen

September 8th, 2010
2:12 pm

Doogone@ “are YOU willing to watch people begging and dying in the streets because they couldn’t afford to save, or because they made “poor choices” in investments?”

Like happens to those today who aren’t eligible for SS, i.e. <62.5 years old?

Doggone/GA

September 8th, 2010
2:12 pm

“We’ll agree to disagree if you think it’s conservative or selfish to want to have more say in how 14-15%, if you include employer match, of your compensation is invested for your retirement.”

It is neither. When the “Bush recession” hit I lost half of my retirement fund. When THIS recession hit, I lost another quarter. But I’m lucky, I HAVE a retirement fund. People who don’t have a company retirment and especially who don’t have matching funds from their employer might not be so lucky. They could end up with nothing.

SS is working as it was meant to work, as a hedge against retirees ending up in abject poverty. We needed it when it was instituted, we need it now. And I have NO faith that if people were allowed to opt out that they would NOT come crying on the government’s door when they retire and have nothing to live on.

The Brothers Koch

September 8th, 2010
2:13 pm

The increase in the share of taxes paid by the wealthy is often cited erroneously as evidence that their tax burden is rising. In reality, the effective federal tax rate for the top 1 percent of households — the percentage of their income that they pay in federal taxes — declined from 33.0 percent of income in 2000 to 29.5 percent in 2007.

The top 1 percent paid a growing share of total taxes chiefly because they received a growing share of total before-tax income: 19.4 percent in 2007, compared to 17.8 percent in 2000. Indeed, the effective tax rate of the top 1 percent of households was lower in 2007 than in any year since 1990, demonstrating beyond a doubt that their tax burdens were decreased, not increased.

And this is exactly why this country needs to put Republicans back in charge. They know that the only right thing to do is to continue with more tax cuts. How else can we afford to trickle down on the little people even more than we already do.

chuck

September 8th, 2010
2:14 pm

jewcowboy, the defense of marriage act has been adjudicated and upheld as constitutional hasn’t it?…due process

jewcowboy

September 8th, 2010
2:15 pm

It’s interesting how no one on here can ever reconcile their anti-gay marriage views with the 14th amendment.

chuck

September 8th, 2010
2:15 pm

Bruno, first, who is Matti?