I’m OK With Cutting Social Security Benefits

by jhwygirl

I’m OK with cutting back on social security – let’s start with eliminating benefits for Warren Buffett and George Soros. They don’t need ’em.

Both of them, incidentally, have indicated they’re OK with that.

Another thing I’d do is eliminate the cap on social security deductions. Currently, after $106,800, social security payroll deductions stop. Why? What’s the logic to that – especially if we’re handing out “social security” to people who have plenty of that on their own – due most likely to the U.S.’s generous tax policies regarding investment income.

So let’s Cut the Cap with regards to social security.

Let’s cut the cap on deductions…and let’s cap benefits for those that are safe and secure in their own, and leave that social security check for those that need it.

Those that take that check and put it right back into the economy. It’s not like granny down the street is banking that into Wall Street investment firms.

Senator Jon Tester? Senator Max Baucus? Rep. Denny Rehberg? Are you listening?

While we’re at it – like George and Warren, I’m OK with taking away their Medicare benefits too.

Can’t call this stuff insurance when the people who are using it don’t need it. It’s at that point it becomes an entitlement, and that’s where I’m OK with cutting these social programs.

  1. Absolutely. If that’s the discussion on Social Security, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  2. Let’s have it. Everyone is up in arms that Obama is talking about cutting social security. Maybe this is what he’s talking about?

    I hope so – because this is where to start.

    • I hope that’s what he’s talking about because SSI and SSDI benefits are quite low for most people. SSDI for instance is only $674/month if you have been disabled since birth and have not been able to work. Even in subsidized housing they take 30percent for rent,which doesn’t leave much for living expenses.

      People surviving on SSI and SSDI a just getting by. Hopefully Obama is on the same page as you, or he is doing something quite wrong.

      • Geithner made the rounds this morning, and he was vehement about not doing it on the backs of the middle class.

        I wrote Obama, Max, Jon and even that waste-of-a-representative Rehberg and told them what I thought.

  3. lizard19

    i think what has folks the most bewildered is the fact the Obama administration initiated the Social Security aspect of these talks, and there’s a good case to be made for Social Security—a program that will remain solvent for decades—NOT being part of this discussion, because it’s adding exactly NOTHING to the deficit.

    now that it is a part of the discussion, it’s sucking up a lot of the oxygen in the debate, which means other areas are getting neglected that need some attention, like defense spending.

    Obama would be in a good position to make a case for cutting defense spending. he’s got decent cover with the targeted assassination of Bin Laden to avoid the “soft on terror” label, and his preference for bomb-from-above military incursions is much less costly than occupation wars, which Bush preferred.

    the burning question now is this: why is this administration putting Social Security on the table when it doesn’t need to be?

    if he’s going to pull some black ninja move (Bill Maher’s term) he better do it quick, because the backlash was/is fast and severe. Paul Krugman is wondering if Obama is a Republican, and the term “Manchurian candidate” is being tossed around in more than a few comment threads.

    anyway, great post j-girl. you’ve done your own ninja move with this one.

  4. Steve W

    If you want to make Social Security and Medicare into welfare programs for poor people then I would say you are on to the best way to do it.

    If you want to make them (as they were set up) to be a pay as you go system that everyone pays into and everyone benefits from, then your suggestions would seriously alter that model.

    There are some very good reasons, IMHO, not to turn SS and Medicare into welfare for the poor programs.

    i do support raising the cap.

    I do oppose the welfarization of SS and Medicare, and I oppose means testing.

    i won’t be supporting Obama for re-election next year. His deal with the Repos in Jan is but one of a whole lot of reasons I won’t be supporting him again.

    • Aren’t they really entitlements when they’re given to people who don’t need them?

      I don’t see them as entitlements when poor and middle class do pay into it and then collect as needed.

  5. Steve W

    Yes, they were set up as entitlements so the Government couldn’t take them away (like they do welfare, food stamps, etc.)

    It is a good thing they are entitlements or they would fast disappear.

    They are given to people who have paid into them, regardless of your income. You paid for them, so you are entitled to them.

    Poor people are not entitled to food stamps, and when the economy (or the politics) head south, people go hungry.

    I’m not sure why you associate the word ‘entitlement” with something that’s bad. We purposely and deliberately set up Social Security and Medicare to be entitlements so that they would be immune to being slashed/radically changed on a whim.

  6. Hold on to your hats… I am going to conditionally agree with both Steve and Lizard in the following respects.

    A) I absolutely agree that SS should not be on the table. SS is a solvent system (at least for decades) and if Americans go back to work, it is probably a solvent system period. There is no reason this should have even been brought up other than just one more cave-in to the misinformed push by the Republicans to back the Congressional Democrats into a corner.

    B) Like Steve, I oppose SS becoming a “welfare” system. SS is based on the idea of “you pay in, you get some out”. I highly disagree with people paying into a system they are denied getting that money out. Period. I do agree with raising the cap (this would make SS even more solvent), but don’t ask people to pay into a system they will get no benefit from.

    Cutting benefits would be counter productive to anyone that votes for it. SS benefits (as has been already pointed out) are dismal as it is. My mother lives on about $670 a month – from which she has to pay supplimentary insurance (medicare has become a joke for people that actually need health care), all her bills and still have enough to eat. That is the primary reason my wife and I decided to move her in with us. “Struggling” is not the word I would use to describe people trying to make it on SS benefits. They are effectively SUB-poverty level. Making that situation worse would backfire badly on both parties and ensure incumbants that voted for it would face serious problems in the polls.

    • I pretty much couldn’t read anything you said when you said “SS is a solvent system” and then said “At least for decades” and THEN said “This would make it even more solvent.”

      Even you don’t know what page you are on.

      • Steve W

        i don’t see such a contradiction as you do, jhw.

        The system has worked as intended for a very long time. It’s going to keep working as intended if we leave it alone, but due to the demographics (which are variable, not constant in the system) at some point in about 30 years the system won’t be self supporting entirely. So if we were to raise the caps a modest amount, the system would be fully functional out 60 or so years or more, depending on what happens with the demographic variable and how high the caps were raised.

        So it would be more solvent for a longer foreseeable future.

        There are a lot of wall street people who would love to get a chunk of all that money.

        I’m glad Obama doesn’t know anyone on wall street or I’d be worried.

        Obama’s deal with Republicans in January 11 cut the amount that workers and self employed pay into the system by 33%. So Obama is purposely underfunding Social Security and then we are supposed to make it up out of general funds which are subject to annual congressional appropriations.

        I oppose that. And I oppose Obama putting SS up as a bargaining chip.

  7. Steve W

    Say Moorcat, we’ve agreed on lots of stuff and also disagreed on some stuff, but I don’t come to these boards expecting to disagree with you.

    You make a very good point in “B.” Politically it’s imperative that everyone participate both in supporting, and in the benefits, of a well run Social security system.

    While the rich may see their benefits as icing on the cake instead of as a necessity of life, it’s still important to have as wide and deep political support as possible so that the system operates as intended.

  8. ss and medicare should not be touched. the very fact that the republicans have us even talking about it shows how democrats have failed this country by starting this tug of war in the middle of the mudhole.

    we should be talking about taxing the hell out of the obscenely rich and the corporations that made money during the recession. we should be talking about seizing the assets of those who were dishonest during the wall street hide the pea under the walnut shell game.

    we should be talking about investing in infrastructure and much needed improvements to our transportation systems, national parks and security systems instead of continuing to pay billions for wars.

    we should be talking public option to provide struggling families with affordable health insurance. the recession has cost us workers dearly- mainly in the unemployment ranks. and you can bet all those people are putting off medical visits. these will pile up and when you combine this with the fact that most of the new jobs will not provide any health insurance, we will be facing huge increases in people showing up in emergency rooms for expensive treatments that are uninsured.

    affordable public option or single payer would save this country billions in unreimbursed health care. instead, we are talking about leaving more of the unemployed with no way to access decent health care. this is criminal negligence on the part of congress as far as i am concerned.

    all of the above is supported by a majority of the people of this nation. yet here we are, covered in mud and losing traction. and why? because the democratic party lost its way and became cowards. that is why.

    • Here is where you lose me, PB. While I agree that the rich are getting richer on the backs of the US taxpayer, addressing Medicare/Medicaid is imperative. These systems were set up with a flaw so basic, it is astounds me that people continue to belabor the point… Medicaid and Medicare were set up with the idea that the cost of actual health care would not increase faster than inflation. What a messed up assumption. Worse, Medicare and Medicaid do nothing to prevent costs from rising or to protect the system from Health care fraud.

      The system is – in a word – broken. The ACA (Read – insurance company handout) did nothing to fix the system other than put a few rules on insurance providers giving them justification to do an average of an 11% premium increase the first year after it’s passage. The ACA was touted as addressing the rising cost of health care, but in reality, it does nothing to prevent those costs from rising – in fact, the argument can be made that the ACA – in and of itself caused those costs to rise for the average person insured by forcing the insurance companies to provide coverage for “higher risk” customers.

      The obvious answer to both the American Health Care system and the bankrupting costs of Medicare and Medicaid is universal health care. Sadly, trying to sell that to the US public is – at this point – not going to happen. While it would increase the level of care, cost less, be far more effecient, and make care available to EVERY American, the American public would rather cut off their own nose than submit to “socialized” medicine.

      You can’t ignore the problem with Medicare/Medicaid. It is far too big a problem to ignore. SS is not the issue.. but Medicare/Medicaid is.

      • this country never got any change easily. we keep pushing for universal health care and just ignore those who say it ain’t gonna happen. eventually it happens. the naysayers are usually just political wonks and those paid to tout the health insurance corporate line to kill any momentum.

        eventually all the people putting off health care in this country are gonna get sick and tired of it and just make it happen. when it gets bad enough all the politicians and their lackeys will be swept along in the tide of anger and they will be forced to deal with it. until then, i for one, am never gonna repeat the line you just uttered. it is gonna happen. when? someday.

        it has to. the insurance companies are destroying health care in this country and bankrupting doctors, hospitals and medical clinics. meanwhile, we all get less and less healthy.

      • Steve W

        Vermont just passed single payer for their state and the governor signed it into law, moorcat. They need a waiver from the new Obama health care bill so that they can implement it.

        A bill is in both the US House and the Senate so that Vermont can get a federal waiver in 2014 instead of waiting until 2017 like the Obama care bill requires.

        So i’d say that there are definitely some people who are more than willing to go forward on real change.

        • when people say it isn’t feasible i just think of all the long gone wilderness champions in this country laughing their asses off about that. if anyone had ever listened to what is politically feasible in saving wilderness, we would have none.

          ya just gotta keep on keepin on and don’t let the naysayers win.

          or as hank stamp said in the kesey novel “sometimes a great notion.”………… “never give a’ inch.”

          a very sage old wilderness warrior who saved much of the 3 sisters wilderness near Bend oregon once told me…. when a congressional aide calls to ask you about what areas you really really want to save – tell him……

          “it isn’t the citizen’s job to help politicians make bad choices. it is our job to push for good ones.”

  9. It seems to me that there are more than a few of you all that are on a bit of a high horse.

    There is no social security lock box. Or if there was, that lock was lost a long time ago.

    Our last tax cut – via Obama – came on the back of social security (a “break” in the tax rate). Anyone here want to see that given back at a even higher rate to make up for what was lost + interest?

    ’cause I’m not volunteering.

    Two of you have used qualifiers when it comes to describing the solvency of social security. What you are saying – but you are having difficulty admitting – is that you have given into (at least) the meme that social security isn’t solvent.

    we have a few decades until it goes to insolvency? What? You’d rather wait until hell’s knocking at the door until you deal with it? Until the tires are bald?

    So that fixing it is pushed off on our youth?

    Enough. We’ve handed the class of 2011 quite a handbasket. I’ve heard it myself from UM Class of ’11 grads (especially after that wake-up commencement speech given by Tom Brokaw.)

    I can’t fathom we want to do that for the class of 2021.

    • Steve W

      I guess i just don’t feel the urgency you and Obama do to completely change Social Security, JHW

      I’d put climate change as a far higher priority for my children.

      But that’s just me.

      • I’m pretty certain you know I don’t disagree with you, Steve W. Thing is, i don’t drive the agenda. And right now, Obama is up there taking about fiddling with social security.

        I’m telling him my lines in the sand.

        • and those are good lines. i just don’t think we need to join the troupe of enablers that cheer on cowardice.

          • Is it cowardice? I circle back to the admittance by a few here that social security is not solvent.

            Failure to address even one tiny iota is pushing this off on grandbabies.

            • yes. only political cowardice can explain the trades that democrats are willing to make vs the firm stands that the republicans take.

              it is caused by corporate donations to campaigns.

              the republicans are complicit in the corporate looting of america. but the democrats have turned tail and run at every important juncture in the last 30 years.

              a principled stand that actually represents the majority of americans in this country is non existent except in a few. and they are marginalized by the corrupt cowards in the party.

            • there are other ways to shore up the budget and relieve the deficit. but that would require courage to stand up to monied interests. instead we get an offer to divvy up the the last bastion of trust between ordinary citizens of this country.and our government.

              it can only be called cowardice.

  10. maybe some day j-girl. but not while barbarians are at the gate with their corporate masters just drooling over the chance to wreck it. not now. leave it alone and tax the rich.

    • Boehner walked today from discussions because Obama’s compromise included tax increases.

      Will Boehner allow the U.S. default to it’s creditors? That, in my mind, would be treasonous.

      John should get out there are read JC’s post. Politics never solved anything. Time to get real.

  11. If congress fails this- all 535 of them should be locked up for violating their oath of office to uphold the constitution (14th amendment) until they get it done. Just like a sequestered jury. Except no hotel rooms. Just give them cots.

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