Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Have Got to Be Kidding!

What a mess. When he was asked about cuts he would recommend to the President and Congress, Alan Simpson said “We are going to stick to the big three,” meaning Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Alan Simpson starts from the premise that the Treasury will default on the bonds issued to the Social Security trust fund, because all the best people apparently know that it’s better to default on America’s senior citizens and plunge them into poverty than it is to default on, say, the Chinese.

Despite Simpson’s assertions, raising the retirement age to 70 IS a benefit cut. It would put an estimated 1.5 million senior citizens into poverty. After two years of watching billions of dollars in taxpayer money being paid out to Wall Street CEOs in lavish bonuses, that takes a fat load of nerve.

You know, my gentle snowflakes, raising eligibility age for Social Security is just wrong on so many levels: 70 for a Congress person may not be old, but it is really old to a miner, a crude oil driller, a ditch digger, a waitress/waiter, a farm worker, a carpenter, a fisherman, a mason, etc., etc., etc. If you don't get this, I can not even begin to explain it. I have tried. Lord knows, I have tried.

[As] more and more old people began to receive SS benefits, the quality of life of the older population increased dramatically. Their lives regained some dignity. The poor farm closed.

As far as I am concerned, "good" fixes for Social Security include (there may be others):
  • means testing (if you have enough other taxable income to render your SS benefits taxable, reduce or eliminate your SS benefits)
  • raise the limit from which Social Security is withheld; still limit the top benefit received
  • income taxes paid on benefits of high income individuals should be returned to Social Security fund
  • increase the % of benefits subject to income tax to those with high incomes.
Let's keep the poor farm closed.
As for our esteemed Congress Critters:
The Congress, with it's relative geezerdom, isn't a particularly fair reflection of life in the real world, where few 70 year-olds have multiple staff people to get them through their days. That's true now, and it will be true for the now middle-aged people who will be facing a longer working life if these guys get their way.

Here's something our Members of Congress should be occupying their noggins with: the middle-aged and older are the largest group of the long-term unemployed. A little job creation could potentially go a long way here. Maybe if they actually were working, and contributing into the system by paying both income and Social Security taxes, our economic picture would be a little less bleak. Telling these people now--who want to be working--that they'll have an extra 15 years to be stigmatized by being unemployed is just cruel.
Official "Retirement Age" has been advanced enough. No more.

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