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Here is what the entitlement rhetoric gets you

This women looked up my profile and is talking about me. The Tweets started when she criticized the fact members of congress can receive a pension. It then moved to Social Security.

I pointed out that nobody keeps raising the SS normal retirement age. The law was changed in 1983 to raise the age from 65 to 67 over 22 years with a eleven year hiatus. And I also pointed out that the life expectancy from age 65 has increased seven years since 1940; no matter, the change is unfair in her view. She says at age 65 employers just let workers go; spoiler alert, that’s illegal.

And then we have “keep them so low,” Social Security benefits that is. No matter the benefits increase each year based on wage growth plus COLAs.

But that is not the real point. The SS benefit reflects worker earnings and most people receive 40% or so of their earnings. The benefit calculation favors lower income workers.

The dollar amount is not the issue as much as how much do we want to pay in taxes to increase the percentage replacement. After all these years all too many Americans don’t understand that SS was never intended to be the only income in retirement.

What’s really disturbing is that when you don’t agree or point out different facts, you are labeled a “psychopath.” That’s what misleading rhetoric and politics of division get you.

w

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4 replies »

  1. Dick, it is right there in what looks like her first post. She says she “earned” those benefits.

    You may want to remind her that Social Security is an entitlement, not a contract … that no one “earns” the benefit, it never vests, it can always be taken away. Some pay more, much more than they will receive, others pay less, much less than what they will receive. And, always, a considerable portion of the bill from failing to effectively fund the entitlement and maintain solvency will be sent to our children and grandchildren to pay.

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  2. In terms of the 12 AARP items, many as fictitious as the 12 days of Christmas…

    1. Social Security is not going bankrupt.

    Perhaps not bankrupt, but a benefit cut will feel like bankruptcy for retirees without other assets or sources of income.

    2. Congress probably will not take up Social Security reform anytime soon.

    Agree. Much like 1983, not until the lack of funds forces their hand.

    3. Some ideas to reform funding are starting to take shape.

    The only thing some will accept are those shaped as increases in YOUR taxes to fund MY benefits.

    4. Lawmakers do not raid the trust fund.

    They only mortgage it! They borrow the funds and issue debt instruments. Taxpayers should expect massive increases.

    5. Many believe it can be run better.

    I know of no one who believes that it is designed and operated optimally. Do you?

    6. Your Social Security benefits can be taxed.

    Won’t be long before almost everyone’s Social Security benefits are taxed.

    7. Social Security is not meant to be a retiree’s sole source of income.

    Now you tell me. If you listen to members of Congress and policy wonks and retirement “experts” many who keep pining for increases in benefits (see yesterday’s WSJ for example), they want to violate the Golden Rule of Retirement: When you find yourself in a deep, deep, debt hole, first stop digging.

    8. The purchasing power of social security is diminishing.

    Bullcrap. AARP says “the formula used to calculate the COLA does not fully account for the medical costs of an average older American. These costs have been increasing faster than other goods and services.” Not at all true. The average annual increase in Medicare’s point of purchase cost sharing (deductibles and copays) for the past 35+ years has been less than 3.5% – not much different than the average inflation rate for all other goods and services (at least as measured by the CPI). Certainly true that everyone, older people included, use more medical services today than in the past – that’s called utilization, not inflation.

    9. You can work and get Social Security.

    But, you can’t get Social Security and defer commencement of Medicare Part A if you are age 65+.

    10. Social Security has gone digital.

    But, don’t try to explain an appeal or other issue on-line; I tried that and got a bunch of form letters. Further, I found out that they don’t disclose commencement of Medicare part A when you file online to commence Social Security Income benefits.

    11. Social Security is not just a retirement program.

    But, for most workers, they never receive disability benefits, and remember, you have to die to qualify someone else for survivor benefits. The Social Security death benefit is still $255.

    12. Most people get back more than they put in.

    No, another big lie. That may be true if you ignore the employer’s contribution and the lost earnings on those monies. But, that’s like telling you that if you give me $2,000 today ($1,000 out of your pocket and $1,000 that you earned but your employer was required to pay to someone else), I can give you $1,001 40 years from now and you are supposed to thank me. Bullcrap.

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  3. Last month, AARP put out 12 Top Things to Know About Social Security. I am not a big fan of AARP and how they push their brand of entitlements for seniors but they got these 12 things right. It is amazing to read the comments on the AARP site of people trying to discount the facts like the funds have never been raided or Social Security was never supposed be your sole retirement income. People believe what they want to believe and they often do not take an honest look at the facts for themselves.

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  4. Anonymous posts allow people to say things they would not say if they were identified by name. It allows them to state fiction as fact. Keeping in mind that by definition half the population has below average intelligence, anonymity provides for the display of endless, mindless stupidity.

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