Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts

Monday, December 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders Sayings

From 1971 to 1981, the combined Social Security and income tax bills of median income families shot up 329%, while the combined tax bills of individuals and families with income of more than $1 million fell 34%.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Can we supplement Social Security with junk mail?

More on this concept later but it is important to note first that, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll on public attitudes about Social Security, “…53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations.”  Keep in mind that this is today’s adults thinking about their kids and grandchildren.  There are 36% that would cut benefits and most of us would agree that are the radical conservatives, including primarily the Tea Party.

To help balance the SS budget, another “…53 percent said they would raise the retirement age, while 35 percent said they would cut monthly payments.”  Because many low income seniors depend entirely on SS as their sole means of income, an across the board cut here would not be fair.  But Social Security is one of those American institutions that we have come to expect; sorta like setting a legal precedent that guides a court in their decisions.

Now the GOP would have us believe there are ways to play with SS and make it better.  Republican supposed genius, V.P. contender Paul Ryan, presented a plan in 2005 to privatize Social Security in a way that brought such a colossal price tag that even the Bush administration called it “irresponsible.”  Further, he wants to reduce the amount of money paid out overtime leaving seniors in the lurch when costs go up.  All because of a refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy.

47% said they trust President Obama to handle SS better than Mitt Romney at 44%.  Although Romney is against raising taxes on the higher incomes, he is for slowing the growth of benefits for those with higher incomes.  In 2008 Obama said he would raise the level on Social Security payroll tax from $110,100 to $250,000.  It is obvious that what is needed is a combination of increased taxes with program adjustments, and perhaps some limitation of benefits. 

The Young Turks on Social Security one year ago:

Only 20% of young adults (those under 35) think that SS will be there for them when they retire.  And this is where that wild idea of mind came into being some seven to eight years ago that we could supplement Social Security income in the future using some of the profits the junk mail list industry makes from the sale of your name and personal data.  I know this because I spent 35 years in junk mail selling you name and private information making a lot of money.

By my estimates—and this is because junk mailers refuse to release to the public just how much they make from what should be your personal property—the list industry grosses over $4 billion every year from you name and personal data.  I came up with a formula back in 2004 to determine what would happen if one-half of that $4 billion was placed in a simple interest-bearing account in the early stages of your working career that you could tap at age 65.

The outcome was that junk mail shoppers could supplement their retirement income by an average of $607 per month.  Since a majority of Americans do buy regularly through mail order, they would automatically enrolled in the program.  Plus, when the advantages of this program were noted by the balance of the population, junk mailers would naturally add new customers.  Those people remaining would then be more manageable for the feds.

In 2008, nearly 40% of retirees received their income from Social Security.  Maybe it is this group where junk mail supplement should be most applied, using some kind of formulation for fairness.  Another 19% have pensions and annuities, 23.7% from earnings, 15.4% from other assets such as IRAs.  However, in low-income households, 87.6 of their income came from Social Security, another profile the junk mail supplement should favor.

In all cases, high incomes and the wealthy would be eliminated from receiving the supplements.  These conditions combined would easily increase the $607 monthly figure for others.  

FDR signs SS Act in 1934
What we have agreed on here is the fact that we want to save Social Security and most of us prefer that it stays close to its current format.  Yes, we have to attack the two biggest drains on the economy, SS and Medicare, but we don’t have to take a scalpel to it as the GOP would have us do.  A junk mail supplement may be a far out answer to the problem but, then, Social Security was considered unparalleled when FDR signed the SS Act in 1934.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Social Security Law mirrors Health Care Mandate so is it unconstitutional?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made the point in the Tuesday, March 27, arguments over President Obama’s Health Care Reform Law.  She drew a parallel between the 1930s Social Security Act in its financing of senior retirement, which uses the input of revenue from donors who will not take advantage of its benefits until a later date, to fund the program.  She said:

"If Congress could see this as a problem when we need to have a group that will subsidize the ones who are going to get the benefits, it seems to me you are saying the only way that could be done is if the government does it itself; it can't involve the private market, it can't involve the private insurers."

Sort of the same conclusion Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Congress came to in 1935 when he signed Social Security into law.  As part of FDR’s “New Deal,” it was designed to help those in need, and to provide against the dangers of modern American life in the future, including old age, poverty and unemployment.  It worked, and those who want to deny the President’s health care reform should ask themselves the question: “Where would we be without it today?”

The two sides are at odds over completely different issues.  On the left, the cry is that there are people out there who need help with their health care and shouldn’t be denied this assistance.  On the right, the complaint is that it takes away the freedom of choice, infringes on their constitutional rights.  The fact of the matter is that at times people do not make the right choice and it is in these kinds of situations that the government must step in to protect the future of the majority.

All about medicine and money
They did it for the seniors by passing the Medicare law, and now the President is trying to extend health care to the rest of the population.  Some form of universal healthcare must be passed in this country, and soon, or we can expect the health care system to end up in utter chaos, including swamped emergency rooms at hospitals and more bankruptcies from medical bills that can’t be paid.  The feds reported $43 billion in uncompensated cost for the uninsured in 2008.

A CNN/ORC International poll taken recently indicates improvement in the approval rate of the health care law.  On the individual mandate, 47 percent favor and 51 percent are opposed.  The huge difference comes along partisan lines with 71 percent of Democrats in favor and 78 percent of Republicans against.  The Tea Party has been a vociferous foe of the law, and anything else that Obama has proposed, making one wonder over the substance of the opposition.

In a new Gallup poll around 60 percent said the healthcare bill would make things better for the uninsured, and 56 percent said it would benefit lower-income families.  However, 44 percent believe the bill would make things worse for the U.S. as a whole.  Gallup says “The bottom line is that Americans perceive this to be a Medicare-type bill – a welfare bill mainly aimed at helping poor people and those without insurance.”  Duh…isn’t that what caring people do?

James Morone, chair of the political science department at Brown University in Providence, R.I. says, “No one really understands it.  Healthcare is a very high-intensity, low-information issue. People respond to conflict. As conflict escalates, [people] turn against what’s being discussed, they lose confidence in it."  With the obvious conclusion that this “conflict” is coming from right wing conservatives that will do anything in their power to block the President’s legislation (my words). 

In a doctor’s appointment last week, a medical technician told me that Obama’s Health Care Law would cap physicians’ income.  I have researched this pretty thoroughly and find nothing to substantiate the claim but if it is so, the provision should be removed.  And there are other complaints from the docs that are legitimate re. their payments from insurance and Medicare that must be addressed or we stand to lose the basic foundation of our medical care system.

Every time I check my Medicare payments to my doctors, I cringe because they look like something you would expect from a bargain basement sale.  It is very embarrassing but I rarely hear a complaint unless I bring it up, which I do regularly.  Physicians also think their top concerns for cutting costs are not taken into consideration.  They are:

·       Tort reform
·       Streamlining billing
·       Fixing the flawed gov. formula for calculating their reimbursements

Up to 66 percent of doctors indicate they would consider opting out of all government-run programs.  And the possibility arises that there could even be more reductions in what they are paid from insurance and Medicare.  Priorities in the U.S. are completely out of control and this is but one example.  Others include teachers’ and law enforcement and firefighters’ pay to name only a couple. 

When you compare this to Peyton Manning’s recent salary with the Denver Broncos of $96 million over 5 years, and the fact that Magic Johnson’s group is paying over $2 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers—a record for this kind of deal—it becomes abundantly clear that the real significance of basic human needs is not important to some.  There’s also entertainment industry and corporate salaries to name a couple more.

It is not clear from the Supreme Court Justices’ questions just how they will rule on the Health Care Law; the White House is confident but so are the law’s opponents.  What is certain is the fact that the health care system is in trouble and must be fixed.  I personally cannot believe the Court will go against Barack Obama and the Congress in this matter.  If they do, will the right attack Social Security next? 

Read more here.

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