The GOP Plan to Stiff Millennials on Social Security

According to Pew Research, this year the Millennial generation (ages 18 to 34 in 2015) is projected to surpass the Baby Boom generation (ages 51 to 69) as the nation’s largest living generation — with 75.3 million Millennials vs. 74.9 million Boomers. The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is also projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028. Where will Social Security be for them when they retire?

The Social Security trust funds will start paying reduced benefits to the disabled and retirees if Congress doesn't do something very soon to shore up its finances. Via another post at the Economic Populist:

Because the Social Security disability trust fund is projected to pay 19% less in monthly benefits to recipients sometime in 2016, and because the old age trust fund is projected to pay only 75% of benefits to retirees by the year 2033, the current debate is two-fold: shoring up the disability trust fund with revenues from the old-age trust fund (as it's been done 11 times before); and shoring up the old-age trust fund for retirees by raising the $118,500 income cap for Social Security payroll taxes.

In a recent town hall meeting Ohio's Republican Governor John Kasich dusted off a very old and failed idea when he referenced his 1999 Social Security plan (which most Republicans support) that would base future Social Security payments on the Consumer Price Index, which reflects increases in prices, rather than the current formula that reflects increases in wages. The results would have been that the average worker beginning to collect Social Security in 2020 would have received almost $4,000 less in their first year of retirement than he/she would have otherwise expected to receive under the current formula.

Also, the difference increases with time. By 2070, newly retired workers (including young Republicans) would have received almost half as much than they would have received under the current program.

And almost all the career GOP politicians are STILL pushing for this — including some newbies who are towing the old GOP line, just to advance their careers to get ahead in the GOP party machine. After all, the older politicos already have their Social Security benefits locked up, including their federal pensions. It's their aides, secretaries and campaign supports that they plan on sacrificing on the block of "fiscal austerity" — not themselves.

Kasich had claimed that those workers could make up the difference by investing (gambling) part of their payroll taxes in the stock market. Could you imagine retiring during the last recession when the first Baby Boomer had retired — after the DOW had dropped from a high of 14,164 in October 2007 before bottoming out at 6,547 in March 2009? All those old folks (Republicans and Democrats alike) would have been so screwed!

Kasich's plan (then and now) would have allowed workers under age 55 to voluntarily divert some of their Social Security taxes into private accounts. The lowest-wage workers would be allowed to divert the largest portion of payroll taxes (up to 3.5 percent of their wages) into private accounts. Workers earning more than the maximum income taxed by Social Security (capped at $72,600 in 1999) would have been allowed to divert only 1 percent. His proposal would not affect current retirees, nor those workers 55 and older — or as he currently says: "At or near retirement."

In other words: John Kasich and the GOP would stiff young Republicans — and everybody else under 55 — the Millennials, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z and your future great-great granddaughters (etc.) on Social Security — but older workers (the Boomers and the Greatest Generation) would have nothing to fear but fear itself.

The older GOP politicos will throw young Republicans under the bus right along with everyone else — and that's why it so odd to see those young fresh faces at the GOP rallies, smiling and clapping, all while they're getting something very unpleasant rammed ... it's just pathetic ... and if anything, we should pity those young people who just don't seem comprehend what their GOP "heroes" are actually proposing for them.

In a post at the Economic Populist, it's noted how stagnant wages has affected the funding of the Social Security trust fund, and why raising or eliminating the cap should be implemented to make up for the shortfall (something the GOP won't do, because it only taxes the rich). Via the economist Dean Baker at the Center for Economic Policy Research (per the 2015 Social Security trustees report) where he wrote:

Wage growth is the key to the program's solvency for two reasons. The first is that the upward redistribution of wage income over the last three decades has played a large role in the projected shortfall. As income has been transferred from ordinary workers to those at the top of the wage distribution, a larger share of wage income has escaped taxation. When the Greenspan Commission set the cap for taxable wages in 1983, it covered 90 percent of wage income. Currently the cap only covers around 82 percent of wage income. If the cap had continued to cover 90 percent of wage income, the projected shortfall would be roughly 40 percent less than it is now.

The other reason why broadly based wage growth is key to the program's continuing solvency is that the burden of possible future tax increases would be much less consequential if most workers will share in the gains of economic growth. The Social Security trustees have projected that real wages will rise by more than 34 percent over the next two decades. (They are projected to rise by another 30 percent over the following two decades.) Even if the payroll tax is increased by three percentage points, it would take back less than one-tenth of the projected rise in before-tax wages if wage growth is evenly shared. On the other hand, if most of the gains from growth continue to go to those at the top end of the distribution, any tax increase will be a major burden.

Currently about 94% of all wage earners pay Social Security tax on 100% of their incomes (those who are earning $118,500 or less a year). Some Democrats want to raise the cap to $250,000 — almost 99% of all wage earners make $250,000 or less a year — so the top 1% still escapes paying this tax, and the top 0.01% (the multi-millionaires and billionaires) are exempt from paying this tax on ANY of their capital gains — where the majority of their income originates (because they aren't paid a "wage" per se).

In the 4½ minute video below is the Republican Ohio Governor (John Kasich, now as a 2016 Presidential contender) at a recent town hall meeting in Salem, New Hampshire last week. Jane Lang, a vice president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, asked whether he would look at expanding Social Security and scrapping the "cap" on earnings that are subjected to Social Security payroll taxes (currently capped at $118,500 a year in income subjected to this tax).

John Kasich said that eliminating the cap would essentially make 99% of workers welfare recipients if we start taxing the 1% more by "de-linking" Social Security benefits — meaning, having them pay this tax on all earnings above $118,500 a year, but without also proportionately paying them more in benefits. They won't raise wages in proportion to worker productivity and profits, so what's the difference? Doesn't that in some way also make the wealthy "job creators" welfare recipients?

As John Kasich sought to wrap up Jane Lang's question while reaching for the microphone, she said she wasn't done. Kasich: "How about a handshake and a little hug?" he condescendingly asked her as he pulled her in for a brief embrace (The young fresh faces in the crowd laughed, grinned, cheered and clapped). Then Kasich said, "Listen, she's steamed up, and I don't blame her." Then he launched into a long-winded and meaningless response to her original question — a political tactic that Hillary Clinton and most other politicians often use when they don't want to honestly answer someone's question. Or as W.C. Fields was quoted:

“If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”

John Kasich never really gave Jane Lang a direct answer. Later she said, "I thought the whole meeting, the whole thing was danced around." And the same thing happens whenever someone specifically asks for a "yes" or "no" question. The politician always feels the need to bloviate, pontificate and elaborate on a litany of issues that isn't even related to the one simple question that was initially asked by someone (also known as "Clinton Speak").

(* The full unedited video of Kasich's town hall meeting is here at C-SPAN)

John Kasich's views on Social Security are similar to almost ALL Republicans — with the exception of Donald Trump. Via ThinkProgress:

Trump has strongly criticized the rest of the Republican field for advocating deep cuts to programs relied upon by the elderly, the disabled, and the poor. In April at the New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit Trump said that he was “disappointed with a lot of the Republican politicians.”

“Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut,” Trump said.

Jeb Bush, a favorite of the Republican establishment, quietly proposed [last month] that Medicare — a program relied upon by millions of people — be “phased out.” Virtually the entire Republican field supports reducing entitlement programs through cuts, privatization, or both.

A few of the Democrat's different plans for Social Security

Former Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland announced a proposal to expand Social Security, enhancing its benefits while holding the retirement age steady — not raising it to 70 as the GOP would like to do — or eliminating early retirement at age 62 as John Kasich suggested at his town hall meeting.

As to O'Malley's ideas, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont [who caucuses with progressive Democrats] has expressed similar views — but Hillary Clinton has yet to weigh in on the issue, and progressive groups that are closely aligned with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s wing of the party (many who now support Bernie) have been pressuring Hillary for more details on her plan for Social Security.

The New York Times did a recent post on this: ("Groups Press Hillary Clinton on Protecting Social Security") noting that progressive Democratic groups want to hear more from Hillary Clinton on Social Security:

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America and MoveOn.org all pressed her to join her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination in promising to, not just protect Social Security, but expand the program. “Any candidate who wants to secure the Democratic nomination must commit — clearly — to not only defending but expanding the social safety net,” said Nick Berning, a spokesman for MoveOn.

Jim Dean, of Democracy for America, also asked Mrs. Clinton to show solidarity on the issue: “With Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders proudly campaigning on the popular idea of Social Security expansion, the only question is whether the other major candidate in the 2016 race is going to join them.”

The centrist Third Way group [who Hillary Clinton is a part of] panned O’Malley’s plan as "political pandering". [The centrist Third Way group also attacked Senator Elizabeth Warren's plan for expanding Social Security.]

TIME writes:

O’Malley will set himself apart from frontrunner Hillary Clinton by calling for increasing the number of Americans with access to adequate retirement funds by 50 percent over two terms in office ... The plan would boost monthly Social Security benefits for retirees, though O’Malley’s campaign did not say precisely by how much. For Americans who have been in the workforce for 30 or more years, the plan would increase minimum payouts to 125% of the poverty line, and it would also well increase benefits for minimum wage and lower-income workers. It would tie benefits to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, which O’Malley’s campaign sees as a more accurate basis for determining payouts. A number of Republican presidential contenders have called for reducing Social Security benefits (except Donald Trump), either by raising the retirement age or privatizing the program. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has promised to “protect” and “enhance” Social Security, while Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has promised to expand it with a more detail plan than O’Malley’s. [Sanders’ plan would increase Social Security by a modest $65 a month for most recipients, but it also raisees the cap to properly fund the program for years to come.]

In an op-ed published in the Quad-City Times in Iowa (first, you have to answer an annoying survey question to read the post) O’Malley makes his case with an implicit jab at Clinton, whose call to “enhance” Social Security is seen by some progressives/liberals as intentionally ambiguous. Just like Bernie Sanders, O’Malley writes that Democrats should expand Social Security benefits, “not cutting or merely ‘enhancing’ them.”

As a nation, we must do far more to ensure the retirement security of American families. And we should start by expanding Social Security benefits — not cutting them or merely “enhancing them” — to provide a foundation for a more secure retirement to all those who have worked hard to achieve it ... Social Security is not in crisis. It is not bankrupt, and it would not be better off if it were privatized and run by Wall Street ... We collect the payroll taxes that fund Social Security. Right now those taxes are capped, so that they only apply to the first $118,500 of a worker’s income. This essentially means that millionaires stop paying into Social Security in mid-February, while middle class workers contribute a portion of their wages all year. I am proposing to lift the payroll cap for the highest earners, starting at income above $250,000. In this way, only wealthier Americans would be asked to pay additional payroll taxes, and we could still raise enough revenue to shore up Social Security’s finances for generations to come ... I would also reform Social Security to support, rather than penalize, caregiving. Women who take extended time off to care for their families should not receive lower Social Security benefits when they retire ... It is especially important that we raise wages for all workers, because when 70 percent of us are making the same or less than we were 12 years ago, fewer and fewer of us will be able to save enough for a secure retirement."

Representative Mike Honda (CA) is introducing legislation (CPI-E Act of 2015, or H.R. 3351) that will require Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) to be based on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). This index more accurately reflects the actual cost of living for older Americans which can sometimes be higher because seniors spend more on housing and health care than the general population. This is NOT what the GOP or Third Way Democrats want to do (Obama and other Third Way Democrats actually proposed cutting COLAs with chained-CPI — which Bernie Sanders and progressive Democrats were against.)

The progressive Roosevelt Institute Fellow Mike Konczal wrote a piece at Democracy Journal titled The Voluntarism Fantasy: "Conservatives dream of returning to a world where private charity fulfilled all public needs. But that world never existed—and we’re better for it."

In the wake of the Great Recession, charitable donations fell at the moment people needed it the most. Konczal says that a public social insurance state can manage risk better than individual donors. Note the big difference between a privatized program for Social Security vs. a government-backed program. (Konczal's podcast is here at Talk Poverty at the 46-minute mark of Episode #015).

Maybe Konczal should have also noted that, of the charities that we do have, many (such as Bill Gates and the Clinton's foundations) does it's charity on a global scale, and doesn't just concentrate it's efforts on fallen Americans. For example, they wouldn't have paid millions of Americans unemployment benefits. And Religious organizations and local food banks could not have matched the SNAP program; nor could charities afford to pay them a retirement benefit — or a disability income if they were sick or injured.

Here are a few different plans for Social Security proposed by some of the Democrats, just to compare with Ohio's Republican John Kasich's plan and the rest of the GOP:

Elizabeth Warren: Protect, expand Social Security (December 2013)

Bernie Sanders Files Bill to Strengthen, Expand Social Security (March 2015)

Hillary Clinton Wants To Improve Social Security Benefits For Women, Low-Income Seniors (August 2015)

Martin O'Malley: Expanding Social Security so ALL Americans can retire with dignity (August 2015)

Friends don't let friends vote for Republicans — or for Third Way Democrats, who are EXACTLY the same as "moderate" Republicans on the economic issues. Vote for either Bernie Sanders (as a Democrat) or Donald Trump (as a Republican) to save Social Security, raise wages and to stop outsourcing our jobs. Even billionaire Donald Trump thinks the rich should pay their fair share of taxes.

As Senator Bernie Sanders said: we need "a political revolution", not more of the same old BS that we've been getting for the past 35 years. It's career politicians who are bashing other politicans as "career politicians". It's government workers (politicians) bashing other government workers. It's government politicians (with their big government salaries and big government allowances) who are bashing "big government". It's hypocrites (politicians) who are hypocritically bashing each other as "hypocrites".

"Fool me once, shame on you..."

The voters are looking for real and genuine people (whether we agree with them or not). You might not like Donald Trump's policy on immigration, but at least he won't be beholden to slimy corporate lobbyists — and he won't cut Social Security. Bernie Sanders may lack Trump's showmanship, but he has very solid ideas on tax reform, reigning in the banks, the offshoring of jobs, raising stagnant wages and strengthening and expanding Social Security so that the program will still be there long after the Millennials have retired — and when the old GOP party guard will have been long gone.

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Paul Krugman: Republicans Against Retirement

(* Paul Krugman at the New York Times in a piece titled "Republicans Against Retirement")

For some reason, just about all the leading candidates other than The Donald have taken a deeply unpopular position, a known political loser, on a major domestic policy issue. And it’s interesting to ask why. The issue in question is the future of Social Security...

Voters, it turns out, like Social Security as it is, and don’t want it cut. It’s remarkable, then, that most of the Republicans who would be president seem to be lining up for another round of punishment. In particular, they’ve been declaring that the retirement age — which has already been pushed up from 65 to 66, and is scheduled to rise to 67 — should go up even further. Thus, Jeb Bush says that the retirement age should be pushed back to 68 or 70. Scott Walker has echoed that position. Marco Rubio wants both to raise the retirement age and to cut benefits for higher-income seniors. Rand Paul wants to raise the retirement age to 70 and means-test benefits. Ted Cruz wants to revive the Bush privatization plan ...

These proposals would be really bad public policy — a harsh blow to Americans in the bottom half of the income distribution, who depend on Social Security, often have jobs that involve manual labor, and have not, in fact, seen a big rise in life expectancy. Meanwhile, the decline of private pensions has left working Americans more reliant on Social Security than ever. And no, Social Security does not face a financial crisis; its long-term funding shortfall could easily be closed with modest increases in revenue ...

What’s puzzling about the renewed Republican assault on Social Security is that it looks like bad politics, as well as bad policy. Americans love Social Security, so why aren’t the candidates at least pretending to share that sentiment? The answer, I’d suggest, is that it’s all about the big money ...

By a very wide margin, ordinary Americans want to see Social Security expanded. But by an even wider margin, Americans in the top 1 percent want to see it cut. And guess whose preferences are prevailing among Republican candidates?

What this means, in turn, is that the eventual Republican nominee — assuming that it’s not Mr. Trump — will be committed not just to a renewed attack on Social Security, but to a broader plutocratic agenda.

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Republican assault on Social Security is that it looks like bad

If you tell a lie often enough and loud enough it becomes the truth.

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I don't know if this is all Republicans

Seems Donald Trump and even Cruz are opening a window for paleo-conservatives or Populist conservatives who are not against things like social security, Medicare and so on.

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What to do?

You are against any reduction in Social Security and advocate for increasing benefits. Yet Social Security cannot maintain the current levels of benefits, much less increased ones you advocate. What would you change to ensure Social Security would be solvent? Something must change, or it will be a ~17%(?) reduction once the trust fund is exhausted. Is that your preference for dealing with the issue?

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"fixing" social security

Social security is solvent for well into the 2030's and at current rates of job growth that should only improve as more in the workforce are contributing - so one fix is make sure people have good paying job opportunities for two reasons - contributing to the fund, and so that people can have retirement and other savings

But to answer your question, there are three main ways that social security can be bolstered, one is to roll back the Bush tax cuts so that the government is adequately funded again as it was during the Clinton years (Not popular with the anti-govt, anti-tax crowd), raise the retirement age (not popular with 90+% of the public), lifting the salary cap on SS contributions (not popular with the 1%ers)

By far the easiest and least painful thing to do if we had a functional congress would be to raise the salary cap, as currently those earning over $118,500 do not contribute.

I find a disconnect in that those who oppose social security are also the same people that have pushed people off of traditional defined benefit pensions and into the economically volatile 401k defined contribution plans. which makes people even more dependent on social security

Another thing that would have helped would have been Al Gore's much ridiculed 'lock box" that would have prevented the SS fund from being raided for other uses, had we this lockbox we probably wouldn't be talking about this right now

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Debt Does Not Matter to Liberals

So we are in $19trillion of debt. But the good news is that no one is poor so the welfare rolls and foodstamp needs are nill, right?
Oh wait. We overspent by $19trillion -with the third highest Corporate tax rate in the world- and people are still poor?
AND we cannot even afford Social Security soon? Is this anyway to run a household budget?
Bush spent like a drunken sailor and Obama spent like a shipload full of them.
If the author is so worried about millennials should he not worry that we will pass this debt down to many generations to come?

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The Debt, Budgets and Myths

Corporate Taxes - The "effective" tax rate and the "statutory" tax rate - BIG DIFFERENCE!

  • The corporate share of federal tax revenue has dropped by two-thirds in 60 years — from 32% in 1952 to 10% in 2013.
  • General Electric, Boeing, Verizon and 23 other profitable Fortune 500 firms paid no federal income taxes from 2008 to 2012.
  • 288 big and profitable Fortune 500 corporations paid an average effective federal tax rate of just 19.4% from 2008 to 2012.
  • Profitable corporations paid U.S. income taxes amounting to just 12.6% of worldwide income in 2010.
  • U.S. corporations dodge billions in taxes by shifting profits to subsidiaries — often post office boxes in tax havens.
  • U.S. corporations officially hold $2.1 trillion in profits offshore — much of it in tax havens — that have not been taxed here.

The "statutory" corporate tax rate may be one of the highest in the world, but the "effective" tax rate (what they actually pay) is one of the lowest.

The National Debt - $6.5 trillion since Obama and $4.9 trillion under Bush

George W. Bush more than doubled the debt. Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by launching "The War on Terror" (two unpaid wars) which drove military spending to record levels. Bush also used the 2001 recession as an excuse to pass the Bush tax cuts, which reduced revenue by giving tax breaks that the rich mostly benefited from. Bush also approved a $700 billion bailout package for the banks during the 2008 global financial crisis (which started in part by Clinton's deregulation of the banks.)

Both Presidents Bush and Obama had to contend with higher mandatory spending for Social Security and Medicare (which is less susceptible to a president’s policy preferences than discretionary spending; and that is spending that Congress must approve of an annual basis. Stagnant wages mostly contributes to the shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund. Bush also first approved expanding unemployment benefits (99 weeks) in July of 2008 in response to the Great Recession (which officially began in December 2007.)

Obama didn't inherit Clinton's economy, he inherited Bush's. Obama's budgets included the economic stimulus package, which included cutting payroll taxes (and at the insistence of the GOP, extended the Bush tax cuts for two more years). Obama also extended Bush's unemployment benefits, which was contingent on extending the Bush tax cuts. Under Obama, Congress also funded job-creating public works projects. Obama's budget also included big increases in defense spending. And federal income was down, thanks to lower tax receipts from the 2008 financial crisis (mass unemployment). Obama also sponsored Obamacare, which was designed to reduce the debt over 10 years (although, these savings didn't show up until the later years).

Government Budgets and Household Budgets (Apples and Oranges)

The U.S. may have $19 trillion in national debt, but it's not $19 trillion "in the hole". The U.S. most likely has over $200 trillion or more in net assets. The U.S. government's real constraint is inflation, not solvency (which hasn't been a problem). The "national debt" is a vastly different issue than the one the GOP and media usually harps about (with regards to the budget deficit and government spending). The U.S. government can be thought of as a contingent currency issuer who can issue funds to spend, making it very different from a typical household budget.

And none of this even touches on the operational realities behind the United States monetary system, and the fact that we’re not going bankrupt unless we choose to go bankrupt...and we’re not going to be unable to pay the bills on debt denominated in a currency we can print, unless we choose not to pay those bills.

If you had a job paying $50,000 a year and you owed the bank $150,000 on a mortgage, would you be very concerned about your debt or budget? Now imagine you also had $1 million in gold coins stashed away in assets. Now imagine you could also tax your rich neighbor. Now imagine you can also print your own money. That "household budget" and your "household debt" doesn't look so bad after all.

Scrap the Cap

Eliminate the $118,500 income "cap" that is subjected to Social Security taxes so that even all members of Congress have to pay this tax on 100% of their earnings (They make $174,000 a year). That also means, don't just subject hourly wages reported on W-2 forms, but also income from capitals gains (which is taxed much less than the top marginal tax rate for wages — 23.8% vs. 39.6%)

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Fica tax cut

Good point about the FICA tax cut, if the concern was for SS and Medicare solvency, why on earth would the revenue stream be cut? made no sense then and even less so now

Another good point about wage stagnation limiting contributions as well There is an excellent article over at Manufacturing and Technology News linking wage stagnation and income inequality to stock buy backs

http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/2015/Stock-Buybacks-0827151.html

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AM radio fantasy

You may want to lay off the AM radio for a while. Deficits exploded under Reagan and Bush, and were reduced under Carter, Clinton and even Obama.

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Deadbeats

We need to realize that Reagan increased Social Security taxes 33 years ago in anticipation of today. There is a 2.7 trillion dollar surplus owed Social Security by the Federal Government. This debt is a direct result of Republican tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and, under Bush II, the middle class as well. Social Security revenues are down because job killing trade treaties are reducing both employment and wages. Corporate America and the uber wealthy have benefited from both. Further the Boskin Commission under Clinton recalculated the way inflation and Social Security adjustments were measured resulting in lower rates that are bogus.

The truth is that both Social Security and Medicare are funded separately from the Federal Government. They were included in the overall Federal budget under Johnson to hide the true cost of the Vietnam War. Virtually the entire deficit is due to everything except Social Security and Medicare. The truth is Republicans are against Social Security because they are deadbeats. The Government shutdowns prove they simply don’t want to pay the bills they themselves have run up. The Social Security income cap must be eliminated and unearned income (rents, dividends, interest, royalties and capital gains going mostly to the wealthy) must be made subject to the Employee portion of both Social Security and Medicare. Social Security payments should be adjusted upward and the inflation calculation returned to reality. In short the truth is the exact opposite of what the Republicans say and the only way that today’s young people will not receive their Social Security is if they allow the Republicans to take it away from them.

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New GOP plan to cut Social Security

From a recent New York Times article "The Neverending Fight to Save Social Security"

Becaused the disability trust fund in projected for a shortfall next year, instead of a reallocation from the old age fund, Republicans are floating the idea of forcing the disability fund to borrow the money it needs from the retirement fund. They seem to think that borrowing is more fiscally responsible than reallocation. It’s not. In fact, borrowing would make the disability situation worse, because without more tax revenue going into the system – the solution Republicans refuse to consider – there would be no way to repay the loan. Taking out a loan with no ability to repay would only dig the hole deeper. And when the hole is deep and dark and getting deeper, you can be sure that Republicans will sound the alarm over the fund’s immense debt, for which draconian benefit cuts are the only answer they can think of.

IN OTHER SOCIAL SECURITY NEWS...

The latest annual report from the Social Security trustees is projecting no COLA for 2016, because the price of oil has fallen so much it’s undercut all the other expenses considered when determining how much seniors get to live on. But it is projecting a big increase in Medicare premiums, which is going to hurt no matter how you look at it.
http://www.benefitspro.com/2015/08/14/no-social-security-cola-likely-in-...

From a recent report: "The adjustment for January 1, 2016 is based on the increase in the CPI for the third quarter of 2015 over the third quarter of 2014. As shown in Figure 1, the CPI-W dipped substantially from the 2014 third-quarter average of 234.2 and, although it has turned around, is still below that benchmark ... The 2015 Social Security Trustees Report released last month assumed that there will be no cost of living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of Social Security benefits in 2016 due to this year’s low inflation rate."
http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/IB_15-14.pdf

So seniors or those on disability who don’t drive at all (or those who drive very little) and doesn't benefit from cheap oil, won’t get an increase in their COLAs next year.

But Federal workers are on track to get 1.3 percent pay hike in January. Several federal employee organizations, with support from some Democrats in Congress, are pushing for a 3.8 percent increase.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/08/31/1-3-percen...

But those on disabilities and seniors are getting a finger shoved up their arse – with some facing hikes in Medicare premiums.

Now federal workers have launched a White House petition for a ‘meaningful pay raise’ above the 1.3 percent Obama is giving.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2015/09/01/federal-wo...

Government workers are so lucky to have good-paying jobs with great benefits ---and they’re getting a COLA too! --- but still they're complaining!!! (Like the GOP, I’m starting to turn against government workers.)

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