Politics

Social Security and the Democratic faux concern

The Democratic Staff of the Joint Economic Committee has a new Report on Social Security

The document is not an objective assessment of Social Security, but a political document intended to scare and create animosity; a farce.

A you can see from the excerpt below, it talks about cuts and harm to needy Americans and, of course, the ever present struggling family trying to make ends meet. The “report” alludes to eliminating Social Security which no credible person has proposed.

What is most interesting is what this report does not mention. It does not mention that the wide-range of benefits promised are not being paid for. It does not mention that in only sixteen years the program will not be able to pay the promised benefits or that as currently structured Social Security is not sustainable or solvent. It does not question where the money will come from to redeem $2.9 trillion in Social Security Trust Treasury Bonds between now and 2034.

And, of course, the report does not mention that Congress has ignored the problems for decades (despite annual warnings from the Trustees) or that during the Obama administration when Democrats had total control nothing was done to fix Social Security; indeed it was barely mentioned from the bully pulpit.

Social Security faces long-term threats to its continued existence, with many Republican efforts to break our government’s promise to disabled and senior citizens by cutting benefits. Despite the fact that SSDI and SSI are supposed to protect our nation’s disabled workers and children, Republicans in Congress and in the White House are preparing to slash the program in the coming fiscal year. The president’s FY2019 budget would cut $72 billion from disability programs over the next 10 years, jeopardizing millions of American workers, children, and families.

In addition to numerous cuts to SSI, the budget specifies over $10 billion in cuts to SSDI retroactive payments. The budget assumes more than $48 billion in net savings from “increased labor force participation” by those that would otherwise receive SSDI. Our American workers deserve better than what President Trump is preparing to do to this essential program.

Additionally, in the wake of the Republican tax overhaul, Speaker Paul Ryan and many other Republican leaders have reiterated the desire to cut benefits to those workers and their families who need them most, in particular those benefits for Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries.

Cuts to Social Security affect people beyond those currently receiving benefits. When an elderly relative has her Social Security benefits cut, it is her close family that will step up to support her. For working families struggling to make ends meet, supporting another family member is a difficult but necessary financial undertaking. This cycle will continue for working Americans who will be forced to make do with a less generous Social Security check after a career of hard work. We must continue to make good on the American promise that we will provide for Americans who are no longer able to provide for themselves with Social Security. We must ensure that for coming generations a system exists that will continue this fundamental promise of the American dream.

What we should be asking is why are so many Americans so dependent on Social Security after a “career of hard work.” Why are they “no longer able to provide for themselves?”

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8 replies »

  1. You ask why elders after working all their lives can’t afford to live comfortably and need social security. Well, Mom’s in an assisted living with severe dementia; 97,200 a year. if she was in a nursing home; 144,000 a year. Add in doctors, add in drugs, add in supplies. add in the cost of medical insurance. She is 97. Now for those with cancer; add in all that cost. Now consider many retire w/o medical and w/o pension. Even if they saved well, 2008 took much of that away. then they were taxed on their required distributions besides any investments. Property taxes for those still in their homes. transportation costs, clothes, food, utilities WHERE IS THE SAVINGS??? gone. We were told that Social Security would be there to protect us after we retired. We saved besides. Then catastrophic things happened and it was all gone. Now some only rely on what they get from SS. They have nothing left. And if Congress didn’t pinch the money in our fund; there would have been enough. IT IS A PROVEN FACT that they used our money for other purposes. It’s on the books. It was stopped in 2016 but may have restarted in 2017, no one came forward to admit anything. Interesting when you personally know folks who were there in Congress at the time.

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    • Sorry, but you are wrong on several counts. Yes long-term care for some people can be a big issue, but it is not all that common. But most medical costs are covered by Medicare/Medicaid and other insurance. 2008 took no one’s retirement savings unless they were foolish enough to sell all they had at a major loss which was unnecessary. Look at what the markets did since. All those expenses you sight are part of life fo everyone are they not? Finally, Congress did not pinch as you say the SS Money. The fact the Trust is held in US Treasury Bonds has nothing at all to do with its financial problems. In fact, when you hear the Trust will be out of Fund’s in 2034 that is AFTER the $2.9 trillion in bonds has been redeemed and used to pay benefits. Today full benefits can only be paid because of the $87 billion in interest earned each year on those bonds.

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  2. “What we should be asking is why are so many Americans so dependent on Social Security after a “career of hard work.” Why are they “no longer able to provide for themselves?”

    Hard work yes, but low pay for many workers is why many have only SS in retirement.
    My Dad born in 1930, worked from 1948 to 1995 as a mechanic / automotive body repairman.
    He raised 6 children, but never made more than $15,000 per year. My mom worked low wage jobs all her life, also. Never applied for government assistance, even though I am sure they could of qualified.

    50 percent of workers make less than $30,000 per year, some a lot less. I have never made more than $25,000 per year working low pay jobs from 1971 to 2006. I did do a very smart thing in 1975 I joined the USAF and 20 years later have a small military pension. I saved nothing, I did not have anything to save, raising 4 children, without any government assistance, but I am sure I could of received at least food stamps.

    Even if I would of been able to save 10% of my income for retirement it would of only amounted to $35,000 over my working years, many years it would of been less than $1,000 per year and even in 1994 it would of only been $2,500. I now have more income per year $35,500 in retirement than, I ever had while working.

    With an avionics / electronics background with 20 years experience working on aircraft systems, the best job offer I received was $15 per hour in Southern California, it did not make sense to move there because of the high cost of living.

    In 1973 I worked part time for Gallo Wine in Commerce, CA, union shop, making $9.10 per hour, working three 12 hour shifts, per week, loading trucks. Today you would have to make over $53 per hour to equal the same buying power. That is what is wrong with jobs today, most people are underpaid compared to the cost of living and what they make for their employer. Inflation is a big factor in lower standard of living for many, year over year.

    Say what you want about getting a college degree, 53 percent of 2014 college grads are working in jobs that do not require a degree and college debt just topped 1.5 trillion. I feel sorry for many grads because the average debt is $38,000, that many will not be able to pay off even in 20 years. So, the taxpayers will be on the hook for these debts.

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    • You are stating various conditions, but I have to ask why? Why don’t people get better jobs, why are they stuck at minimum wage? My father was born in 1910 lived through the depression and WWII and was a car salesman and managed to save, not a great deal but still save. I graduated high school unprepared for any job and started as a mail-boy at minimum wage, stayed with the company for 49 years and ended up near the top. Why can’t more people better themselves over a lifetime? Is it chance or choice?

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      • I think you both hit the nail on the head. Our parents saved, I saved. But somewhere during the 1980s credit really started to get easy. By the time my son went of to college in 2005, credit card companies were handing out cards to students without jobs for about a decade by then.

        I remember that my first credit card’s limit was like only $500 or about two weeks pay. By the 1990’s, my wife was getting credit cards in her name at about 3x her annual salary. For over 30 years or longer, people have been “condition” to spend now, worry about it later. Well it is later.

        We won’t even talk about 84 month car loans or 50 year mortgages for the McMansons.

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      • RD, Sometimes it is chance. Eight years ago my son, who was 22 at the time, worked at a local Walmart in Tahlequah, OK, for $9 per hour. A friend stopped by, when he was getting off work at 7 a.m. and told him of a job, thru a temp agency, providing part time workers at the Georgia-Pacific paper mill, in a town 45 miles away. It was the only day they were taking applications. He got the job, with no experience, and 2 years later the company hired him as a permanent employee he now makes $24 per hour, with medical benefits for $109 per month for him and his wife and a 401K, that he maxes the company contribution percentage every month. His current pay is double what he would be making if he would of stayed working for Walmart, with no added benefits. I will say there was a choice, that he made that day after working a 10 hour shift at Walmart, stocking product, he was tired, but he spent 6 hours after work, filling out paperwork and doing three interviews to get the job. The mill only has 800 employees in a town with a population of 38,000. So, I believe my son was very lucky.

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  3. The spending on Social Security and Medicare is as you say not fiscally sustainable under the current program structure. Trump, like Obama before him, has not taken the issue seriously. Bush’s (jr.) early attempt in his first term fell flat.

    The programs will be adjusted, likely along the lines of the Left, with minor and cosmetic compromises with the Right. The result will be significantly higher taxes for all, and very little benefit for what the Left considers the undeserving rich.

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