OT: How to Save Social Security

Page 5 of 8  
OK, I'm not sure about the purpose being to pay down debt. But, I do recall reading that the tax hike in 1983 was purportedly to save SS. My main point from the article is that the excess funds being collected from SS have been used to make our budget deficits looks smaller than they actually are. Thing is, these (SS excess) started out fairly small - merely ~$35B. Now, that excess is ~$300B and our current prez is taking FULL advantage of this and then some.
SS wasn't meant to be a retirement program. I believe it was to be a sort of safety net to preclude seniors living in poverty when they can't work any more. And gee, it kinda works rather well.
Listening to the radio last evening, I heard that the average payout is soemthing on the order of a million dollars per citizen, including medicare. This is absurd, but could there be folks actually collecting that million? I tried to find the transcript but wasn't successful - yet (CSPAN radio, ~5PM Wed in Wash DC area; conference w/CBO director (I think) and others).
An example of a person I know, who falls into that "safety net" criteria is a guy who worked all his life, provided for his family but all their $ went to living ( _basic_, not luxury, or even close) expenses. No extras to save in a 401K even had such things existed back then. His SS check was ~$1000/mon (at the end) minus a deduction for medicare. $12 grand a year. He retired, I think, at 65 (his place of employment went under, and other factors (age, hearing problems) made it difficult to find work elsewhere). He lived to ~80. 15 years time 12 grand a year comes to $180,000 (did I do the math right ;-). I cannot believe that medicare costs would add an extra $800,000.
So, whoever's collecting their million - maybe we outta be examining exactly who we're paying out this money to and how much we're paying out. 'Cause that million is sure way beyond a safety net.
Folks today, barely getting by, shouldn't be paying into SS so that rich old folks can live the high life, supplementing their pensions with that extra from SS. Ultra rich ought not be getting tax cuts heaped upon tax cuts, so that more of the excess from the current SS intake is utilized to fund war & government (but those same politicans cry about SS being in crisis). Etc.! But, all this this gets complicated...
And, BTW, no one is stopping anyone from setting up a 401k or other savings for their retirement. Perhaps we oughta consider SS, not a Ponzi, but just another tax that serves some purpose (see safety net above) - and examine exactly what that purpose is and whether it's accurately serving it. But, that would require logic and not pandering to special interests, etc. and I don't think the current goverment critters are capable of that.
[I will now, slowly, step down off the soap box! Thank you for your, I'm sure, undivided attention ;-) ]
Renata
On Wed, 23 Feb 2005 08:30:31 -0700, Doug Winterburn

-snip of retirement program ideas-

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snipped-for-privacy@norealbox.com says...

Well, I'm certainly not going to collect a million ($1200+ monthly) but I can guess how they might get close to that figure.
My wife will collect on my account rather than her own when she gets old enough, because she'll get more that way ($600+). When I die, she'll get what I get.
On top of that, my ex-wife, whom I divorced over 35 years ago gets to collect on my account because she had my children - the fact that those children are now in their 40s doesn't seem to make a difference.
So we're up to $2400 or so a month on SS alone, without Medicare. If I live to be 95, that's over $850,000. Of course it's more likely to be about half of that. But then there's Medicare.
And I doubt we're in the "rich collecting SS" class, because even with adding IRA savings to SS, we'll still be living on about $2500 monthly - not counting the ex-wife :-).
So I can see the million as an upper limit for SS, and maybe Medicare makes it the average. But I suspect it was hyperbole by someone wanting to make a point.
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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Are you quite sure about this Larry? This is the first I've heard of anything like this.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net says...

Yep. I was surprised when I heard it too. But I did some research and that's the way it goes. Again, if we'd had no children she couldn't collect from mine. If I divorced my current wife (Ouch! Put down that rolling pin!) she'd be ineligible to collect based on my income.
Since she only worked long enough to get the bare minimum, she has an incentive to keep me happy :-).
--
Homo sapiens is a goal, not a description

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On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 16:45:02 -0800, Larry Blanchard

How about alive ? :-)
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I've heard this bull many times and it is just that. If a business could raise prices to cover those taxes, why wouldn't they just raise prices to increase profit whenever they felt like it? They don't because then their products wouldn't sell. Businesses ARE paying their taxes. Let's turn this around. You actually don't pay taxes. Your employer does. That is where the money came from, right? Make sense to you?

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the total cost of the employee is factored into the price of the goods or services. same as the cost of the plastic, wood, glass, phones, advertising, business taxes, training, whatever. this cost is recovered when the business sells its goods or services.
businesses arent in business to sell the most stuff, they're in business to make the most money. they raise or lower their prices to maximize this number. you are implying the price is set on a whim. profit is a function of both sale price and overhead. taxes are just another type of overhead.
the money used to pay the business taxes, employee taxes, whatever taxes NEVER came from the business. businesses dont print money. nor do they create it out of thin air. it came from the person who bought the product from the business.
so to answer your question: what you say makes absolutely no sense to me.
randy

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xrongor wrote:

And businesses aren't in business just for the fun of it or just to give you a job, they are in business to make a profit, thus the business can stay in busines, keep giving you your job so you have the money to support your family, have the things you need and hopefully some of the things you want. Most businesses face competition and have to price their products to be competitive, so they may not be able to pay you that large salary you think you deserve, but pay according to what competition will allow so they can continue to make a profit, which allows them to continue to stay in business and continue to offer you a job. They don't raise or lower the price of their products at a whim, if they raise the price of their product at a whim just to get more profit, they will find the competition with a lower price gets the business. Competition drives the pricing of products, not whim. Taxes are part of the cost of doing business and of course taxes are a consideration in the pricing of a product. So what's wrong with that? A few years of no profit after taxes, then no business which means no job for you.
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to
No, that's what you were saying. Try to keep your story strait.
> profit is a function

By that logic, you never pay taxes either. Maybe you do. What kind of printing press do you use?

I am biggining to doubt if anything makes sense to you. You don't seem to have a very firm grip on reality.
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Let me clarify that point. Incorporated businesses have a special privilege, not granted to individuals, of limited liability. This makes it possible to accumulate large amounts of capital that would not be possible if the people investing in the company were fiscally obliged beyond their initial investments. Businesses therefore have an obligation to use that capital for the benefit of society as a whole, not only for the benefit of their investors.

Agreed.
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For William who said:

and for Randy who said:

I would suggest that both of you try to get a copy of the award-winning dicumentary "The Corporation". In the documentary, they show how corporations achieved the almost untouchable status that they enjoy as legal entities (persons); how corporations as persons fulfill each and every criteria of clinical psychotics; and how their *primary* legal duty is to create wealth for their shareholders /even/ /to/ /the/ /exclusion/ /of/ /environmental/ /issues/.
I think then that you will see why

and
can *NEVER* happen.
Gerry
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I would love to actually see the figures that both parties are looking at....(they have to be different)
AND
I would like to see the projections (wild ass guesses ) both parties are using for their projections....
Given this data...I still may not be able to state that SS is or is not headed for a crisis in (pick your own year here)
It is just that I can NOT FIND those figures.. therefor I have nothing to say on the subject....
GIVE US THE FIGURES.... let the people decide which set of figures is more truthful... Then pass a law ( aka ...joke) that directs the politicians to vote to will of the people not to vote as "my representive without knowing my opinion...
Bob Griffiths
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wrote:

The real elephants in the room are Medicare and Medicaid.
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The estimated shortfalls on these are _tens_ trillions of dollars. Possibly more.
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hmmmm...not sure how this got here, but it deserves a reply. to understand SS, you don't really have to understand anything but simple math and economics. problem 1. you can't pay out more than you take in. problem 2. the aging babyboomers and the overall population explosion here on planet earth. problem 3. the mindset of people that they are supposed to "took care of" by their goverment.
not alot you can do about 2 or 3. number 1 is a big problem too. everybody can't retire comfortably. everybody can't even retire. you can't produce money from thin air. everybody can't win. for every winner, there must be a loser. money is not "earned" in an investment, it is an exchange of wealth. for every person that wants to buy a piece of stock at XX dollars, there is someone who wants to sell it just as bad. to undermine this, promotes inflation. if the timing is good, then you will make better money with your private account. if it is not, then someone must lose..... or someone else must guarantee your return. guarantees cost "everybody else" instead of you. (back to square one) so there you have it. either pay more as individuals, pay more as a society, or accept spiralling inflation for decades to come. any way you look at it, it is a losing proposition. the privately funded accounts are only a band-aid...a temporary fix. better than what we have but there still has to be losers. when we accept this, we as a society will be better off.
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Social Security barely keeps people out of the poverty level. Actually, here in the Northeast SS is the poverty level. You can lose everything you own, but at the least the SS payments will keep some food on the table, and no one can take that away from you.
People, AND THEIR EMPLOYERS, have paid into the fund for the duration of their working careers, and should expect to have something paid back when they reach 67 yrs. and 8 mos. With the number of folks in the 40 to 70 year age bracket I see making the daily obits, I would think the fund would be cash rich??
At worst, wasn't the projected decreased payment at 75% for 2042? By law the payments would be reduced to meet available funds. The idea that the fund would bankrupt is Bush bullshit. Bush would be better served by stating the truth, instead of stretching it. And I did vote for him.
Why are immigrants coming to our shores, who have never paid a dime into SS, being able to collect SS immediately? If there isn't enough money there, the government should to themselves as being the cause.
We can spend billions on wars in Iraq to preserve our oil interests; we can take care of our own as well.
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Uncle Peter wrote:

First, SS was created as an extra kick after retirement, not as a sole source of income.
When SS was created, there were 50 people paying in for every person collecting. Now there is 2 people paying in for every person collecting. As the baby boomers continue to retire, there will be more people collecting than paying in. That is where the problem is. I would love to be able to take some of that money and be responsible for investing it myself. There are a lot of good funds and IRAs that can help it grow over time. Not to mention, the SS system does not truly guarantee that you will collect as the money is the property of the government and they can dictate what to do with it. By privatizing it, the government can't touch it as it is soley the property of the individual that earned it.
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Source? When it was created, it was a sole source for many Americans.

A big part of the problem is the government using funds to reduce the deficit. And, giving SS benefits to folks who never paid into it.
I

Various IRAs, 401ks, invest as you wish!!! Who is stopping you? I certainly am.
There are a lot of good funds and IRAs that can

and more importantly, it can't be legally attached as an asset, and taken from you. One good illness, and you might see all of your 401Ks, IRAs and bank accounts wiped out by medical bills.
Wouldn't SS be nice to fall back on then?
Pete
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On 2/19/05 8:39 AM, in article dcIRd.84009$bu.18240@fed1read06, "Uncle

Indeed, this whole thing comes down to the philosophy of the so-called "ownership society". As if privatizing social security would really give individuals any real control over their own money. Gimme a break. It will still be a huge government mandated and operated program, heavily limited in scope compared to true individual accounts like 401k's or IRA's. And it won't do anything to fix the solvency issue. Even Bush now admits to this.
Honestly, I think the whole idea is a non-starter. There isn't a single Democrat who will go for it, and there's plenty of very nervous Republicans too. They don't call it the "third rail of politics" for nothing. Far right conservatives are angry at the very suggestion by Bush that raising the cap on payroll taxes to fund it is on the table, yet no Republican moderates can justify the switchover without at least partial funding.
Worse yet, I think the public is very skeptical. Most people see it as a problem but not a crisis, and Bush has even dropped the word in his "sales pitches". This then begs the question why Bush has made this a front burner issue in the first place. Since he started beating the drum on this in November, public opinion for or against hasn't budged a bit. And right now, the majority is not convinced it is the right thing to do. Poll folks about the basic idea of private accounts and they like it. Mention the risks associated, or the cuts in guaranteed benefits, and support drops like a rock.
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wrote:

Right. If Bush were truly into an "ownership society," he would push through a reduction in SS taxes and benefits payments by 25% starting next January, recalculate future benefits to be in line with the revised payment schedule, remove the 25% returned from personal taxes, and give tax breaks oriented to small savers and investors, and let people decide for themselves what to do with the money they retain, including investing it for retirement.
Instead the administration will create another corporate boondoggle, like the "drug benefit" that will add a mammoth cost to people who actually pay taxes - the latest in the $800B range, close to double what the administration claimed (and lied about) when it was ramming it through congress; reduce benefits to seniors; and disallow price negotiations with drug makers. I wonder how much the drug makers "invested" in "campaign contributions" to pull off this monster transfer of wealth ?
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