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Old 09-03-2011, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,744,100 times
Reputation: 32309

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Here's how it works. The normal formula for determining Social Security benefits is applied as follows. Your average monthly earnings are indexed for inflation, and you get a percentage of them depending on the amount of monthly earnings:
The first $749 is multiplied by 90%.
The next $3,768 is multiplied by 32%.
The remainder (up to the cap amount) is multiplied by 15%.

Under the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), only the 90% multiplier of the first small amount is reduced (to 40%), and you keep all the rest, and only if you have another pension. The idea is that low-wage earners get a big boost (the 90% multiplier), and if you have another pension outside of Social Security then you are not a low-wage earner and you don't deserve the big boost on the first part of your SS earnings.

This information is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov and I sure wish Zarathu would check it out before posting misinformation about it.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:08 PM
 
9,200 posts, read 9,278,507 times
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Quote:
This is not something that people want to hear.
Its why I keep bringing this topic up in different forms. I think it dearly needs to be discussed and people need to stop hiding behind generalizations, cliches, and stereotypes and address it.


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Most certainly there are several things that need to be done:
Probably more than "several", but you are giving a more specific list than I did, so don't take that as criticism.

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1. Raise taxes on everybody, but do so by eliminating the unfair current tax system and using a flat tax on everyone.... 5% would proably work. Of course those who are now making 2.5 billion a year like Buffet, will now have to pay a flat 125 milion instead of nothing. IF Mitt Romney wants corporations to be people, then they too will have to pay the 5% on gross profits just like "OTHER PEOPLE".
You are correct taxes need to be raised. I will absolutely promise you though that a flat tax of 5% wouldn't come anywhere near to meeting the legitimate needs our country has for paying for government. It would pay the interest on the national debt and that's about it. Remember, top tax bracket payers are paying about 33%. A 5% flat tax is a recipe for a very, very limited defense, no social security, and no medicare. Too many people have it backwards. We first need to agree on a budget for government--through democratic means--than we decide on the tax structure to raise money for it. Even if you abolish deductions, I guarantee you a flat tax will result in the bulk of the wealthy and well-to-do paying less than they currently are. Some people claim otherwise, but they are propagating a lie.

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2. Raise the early retirement age for social security for everyone who is 45 and below to 66, the regular age to 70, and the final age for the most to 73.
I'm virtually in complete agreement with this.

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3. Eliminate any state or federal laws which allow forced retirement of anyone who is under the age of 73. Vigorously prosecute, and provide serious penalties a portion of which goes to the plaintiff in any circumstance where it looks like age discrimination is being used to eliminate an employee.
I'll agree with this and go a step further. We need to redesign jobs in this country, so that elderly people can do them. That mean more breaks during the day. It may mean more automation. It may mean delegating heavy lifting and loading tasks to younger employees. Early retirement, in my mind, has made it too easy for employers with crappy jobs to get out of fixing the job. If a job is bad than make it better. Don't eliminate complaints about it through early retirement.

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4. Eliminate any loopholes which allow the federal government to touch any of the money that is in the SS Fund.
I'm not against it Although the people who make the "the government raided the trust fund argument" are crying over spilled milk. What's done is done. Its time to stop whining, move on, and fix the system. Its what responsible people would do.

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5. Eliminate the allowance of the federal government to attack any country for any reason at all, unless that same country has made direct attack on American Soil. Terrorists are not countries. US Warships in foreign ports are not considered foreign soil.
I wonder how many conservatives here supported George Bush when he wasted a trillion dollars invading Iraq? How many have the cajones to admit that they were 100% behind that effort? We do need to get involved less in foreign conflicts. Yet, at the same time we can't avoid spending enough money to have a strong defense. History has shown that new threats develop to our nation.


6.
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Limit the maximum that medicare will pay per year. Anyone who needs more than this amount for some reason will need to purchase a supplementary private policy to kick in after medicare stops paying. People who choose not to do that will lose health service after their medicare runs out for that year. Alterntively, use a smaller interval with a correspondingly less smount per interval. The less convoluted regulations, the easier it will be to understand. My last employer before my recent retirement had a vision and dental amount. Everybody knew that we had a maximum of $1600 that they would pay for dental or vision or both. When we ran out, we paid for it ourselves.
A better plan is to ration the care provided under Medicare. Stop paying for $100,000 drugs that only extend life by one month.

I appreciate your positive suggestions. I'm tired of all the complainers who say, in effect, the government screwed up. They are entitled to their benefits. And, finally younger people can go jump off a cliff if the benefits aren't there for them. Such people are hardly worthy to call themselves Americans.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:24 PM
 
8,266 posts, read 10,712,879 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
You are correct taxes need to be raised. I will absolutely promise you though that a flat tax of 5% wouldn't come anywhere near to meeting the legitimate needs our country has for paying for government. It would pay the interest on the national debt and that's about it. Remember, top tax bracket payers are paying about 33%. A 5% flat tax is a recipe for a very, very limited defense, no social security, and no medicare.
I'm not discounting this (as I have no clue of the numbers) but are you sure about this? I'd be interested to see the projected total revenue with current tax system vs. flat 5%.

It would seem that so people paying zero on much (all?) of their wages because of deductions, credits, exemptions becoming 5% would be a big pile of money.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,744,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
We are encouraged to start investing for our childrens extended education at their birth. We are encouraged to start investing for our retirement in our twenties...we do, and we are penalized for doing so.
Those who do nothing are given benefits, that, we who manage our money are not.
What is wrong with this picture?
There is certainly enormous merit to the above argument, but also problems. Not everyone who finds him/herself destitute is guilty of mis-managing their money; some people, for example, have had terrible accidents or illnesses which truly prevent them from working (as opposed to the fakers for whom we so rightly feel contempt as they are actually stealing from the rest of us). So what is society supposed to do with the "through no fault of their own" people, and how can we tell them apart from the others? (We've been doing a poor job of "telling apart", haven't we?) At least Social Security is based on having paid in - even if imperfectly based - so isn't it worth keeping this most basic of all social safety nets functioning and solvent? I agree that the responsible people are being "penalized" by having to support the irresponsible, but what is the alternative? Certainly not to allow a large group of totally destitute and desperate people to run amok and destroy the social fabric. It is the essential problem of our day which has no clear solution. It is also very polarizing, which makes it harder to find a sensible middle ground.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:42 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,955,483 times
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But not all proposal are a flat tax.Some broden teh tax base and lower taxes. Broadening :IMO;'isd important to wise spending.But as far as SS goes its been looked at with the Breaux commission and one can serach for their findings with alot of expert testimony.Another commissio is proably comig after feb when the presdient is notified by SS trustees.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
21,541 posts, read 44,028,155 times
Reputation: 15150
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainNJ View Post
you scrap social security/medicare and pick up the poor elderly in welfare and medicaid.
Not before I get the over $400,000 SS received from me/my employers/accrued interest over 52 years of working. tyvm. They can send me a check today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
I'm not discounting this (as I have no clue of the numbers) but are you sure about this? I'd be interested to see the projected total revenue with current tax system vs. flat 5%.

It would seem that so people paying zero on much (all?) of their wages because of deductions, credits, exemptions becoming 5% would be a big pile of money.
That would have been a windfall for me. The last ten years or so I worked, SS/Medicare taxes that I (not my employer) paid - 7.65% - was half of the taxes I paid. Between SS/Medicare and Income taxes, my rate worked out to about 15% of my gross income, and that is with the usual deductions for mortgage, property taxes AND maxed out 401k, IRA and HSA. So, for people like me, a 5% flat tax would have been a significant reduction. As someone said upthread, that 5% wouldn't service the debt this country has.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,745 posts, read 4,219,341 times
Reputation: 6866
IMHO, there is no point in arguing whether social security is an entitlement. If Congress wanted to end Social Security benefits today, it could legally do so.

Rather than increasing the full retirement age, perhaps we should consider eliminating early retirement. Those who are under the age of full retirement would still be eligible for disability benefits if they have an impairment that prevents them from working.

Another option would be eliminating retirement benefits for those still in the workforce, or expanding the earnings test to all retirees. Indeed, it wasn't until the year 2000 that Congress eliminated the earnings test for those in the 65-69 age bracket.

I know these options sound draconian and I'm not even sure I would approve of them, but they would bring us a step closer to reflecting the original intent of the Social Security Act as well as strengthening the trust fund.
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,744,100 times
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Default Early retirement at 62 is a wash for Social Security.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lenora View Post
IMHO, there is no point in arguing whether social security is an entitlement. If Congress wanted to end Social Security benefits today, it could legally do so.

Rather than increasing the full retirement age, perhaps we should consider eliminating early retirement. Those who are under the age of full retirement would still be eligible for disability benefits if they have an impairment that prevents them from working.

Another option would be eliminating retirement benefits for those still in the workforce, or expanding the earnings test to all retirees. Indeed, it wasn't until the year 2000 that Congress eliminated the earnings test for those in the 65-69 age bracket.

I know these options sound draconian and I'm not even sure I would approve of them, but they would bring us a step closer to reflecting the original intent of the Social Security Act as well as strengthening the trust fund.
I doubt if eliminating early retirement (currently allowed at age 62) would save any money in the long run. Since there is a penalty (reduced benefits for life) for early retirement, and since the amount of the penalty is actuarially calculated to be a wash for both the retiree (provided the retiree's longevity is "average") and for the Social Security system, there would be no net long-term savings.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:08 AM
 
Location: NJ
24,144 posts, read 30,265,066 times
Reputation: 16037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariadne22 View Post
Not before I get the over $400,000 SS received from me/my employers/accrued interest over 52 years of working. tyvm. They can send me a check today.
that money has already been spent. social security comes with no guarantees.

it certainly doesnt make me happy to think that the government has taken all this money from people with the false promise to pay it back in the future. but social security is just a tax and a burden that will only get worse and worse for the working people as they have to support more retired people. kill the beast.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:29 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,179,255 times
Reputation: 22375
I have several thoughts on this.

The first is - government officials imposed the moniker "entitlement" on a collective of programs, part of which (Social Security) should be called something else - such as an "investiture" - and part wh/ are best described as "welfare assistance" such as monthly subsistence checks, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, and HUD rental vouchers. It became politically incorrect to label "welfare assistance" programs what they were/are; and even tho there was an attempt to "disguise" what they are, eventually all such programs were put under the "entitlement" umbrella, along with Social Security.

Politicians would do well to insist that these programs be called what they are, especially when discussing an overall "cut to entitlements." I think few of us would argue that some programs, such as HUD rent subsidies wh/ can be transformed into mortgage payments are outrageous, and simply a matter of transferring wealth and creating net worth for someone who does not make enough money to even pay rent. If they did, they wouldn't need a voucher! If a person doesn't have the money to make a downpayment on a home and has to use a voucher that relies on taxpayer funds as their mortgage payment, then why the hell should that person hold title to property??? It is past absurd! Vouchers should be available to only 2 classes; the infirm and the elderly. Period. Let's see how many billions that would save taxpayers, for starters.

But back to entitlements. I find it very interesting that politicians and gubment bureaucrats are so quick to refer to statistics, yet there is one aspect of those stats they never mention!

Yes, folks are living longer, meaning they receive SS checks over more years. And altho that article states the net worth of 1/5 of seniors would be what they have deemed as "affluent" . . . a supposition about net worth wil include the value of homes - and we all know - what we THINK we could sell our homes for (and in most cases, these days, their TAX VALUE if that is the figure being used) may be very different than what we could actually SELL our houses for. So that figure used in the article seems VERY suspect to me.

In addition, the article points out how many years the average person is gonna live after 65, but it does not state the obvious: how about the many folks who DO NOT live that long? Or the people who die BEFORE they even start receiving Social Security? What happened to the money they put into the system? IT IS STILL THERE.

It is a clear attempt to skewer the figures not to include that information in this equation and I have cried FOUL for years on this.

So my belief is . . . if we are gonna have a discussion in this country (we meaning "Politicians and Gubment Bureaucrats) then how about getting honest about the facts surrounding it?

Last edited by brokensky; 09-04-2011 at 08:53 AM.. Reason: typo
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