The wealthiest nation in the world has half of its seniors living on $5 a day for food; that’s an out and out scandal. That’s completely unacceptable but more than that – it’s the result of an economic system that doesn’t allow people to save for decades. You have people who lost a fortune by reckless banks investing in risky credit derivatives and financial schemes … and in a blink – people lost their life savings. It is untenable.
We’re not talking about some minority of people who were simply irresponsible … we’re talking about HALF of America’s seniors. And the ONLY reason that number isn’t higher is because of Social Security; without Social Security … more families would become caretakers of their parents and for those without families … they would end up dying in some homeless shelter somewhere. And – no … that’s not hyperbolic; that’s reality.
The NY Times writes HERE:
Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers. Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day.
In my ad hoc retirement talks, I repeatedly hear about the “guy.” This is a for-profit investment adviser, often described as, “I have this guy who is pretty good, he always calls, doesn’t push me into investments.” When I ask how much the “guy” costs, or if the guy has fiduciary loyalty — to the client, not the firm — or if their investments do better than a standard low-fee benchmark, they inevitably don’t know. After hearing about their magical guy, I ask about their “number.”
To maintain living standards into old age we need roughly 20 times our annual incomein financial wealth. If you earn $100,000 at retirement, you need about $2 million beyond what you will receive from Social Security. If you have an income-producing partner and a paid-off house, you need less. This number is startling in light of the stone-cold fact that most people aged 50 to 64 have nothing or next to nothing in retirement accounts and thus will rely solely on Social Security.
Sometimes – someone … somewhere with no facts and only their gut to guide them repeats something they heard from some guy who heard it from some guy on Fox News who read a message written by some intern just looking to fit in to the conservative right wing machine … and that might sound something like this “Social Security won’t be there for me when I’m old.” You’ve heard that right?
Well – that’s just douchebaggery and dickish both in terms of its lack of factual merit and its ignorance. Let me share some facts.
Social Security has a panel of trustees who are required by law to report on the health of the Social Security Trust Fund every single year. The most recent report says that the trust fund has a $2.7 TRILLION SURPLUS (source). That’s hard for some people to comprehend because it flies in the face of everything they’ve been told but that’s a fact. The only thing that has a bigger surplus in this entire world are the $21 Trillion in money hidden in offshore bank accounts by ultra rich people throughout the world; you can read about that HERE.
In fact even with the devastating impact of the Bush economic crisis and current unemployment created by a lack of regulations in the banking industry – Social Security is 100% solvent until 2037 (source) and can pay out at 75% of present day rates until 2084. That is without any changes and only when you factor in current unemployment to be the new normal. So some changes need to be made but at the end of the day – it’s going to take a few tweaks and Social Security will be around for the next generations to come.
But unfortunately – Wall Street really, really wants to have access to that money. And so they’re paying their good friends in the Republican party a LOT of money to turn Social Security into private accounts. Knowing that Social Security (SOCIALISM) is very popular with even the most stone cold conservatives around … Republicans are just proposing to give people the OPTION of turning their social security account into a private account. It’s just an OPTION you see.
“Given the volatility of investment values that we have just experienced, I would prefer that individual accounts were added to Social Security, not diverted from it, and that they were voluntary.”
~Mitt Romney wrote in his book “No Apology.”
In fact – the Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has this on his website HERE:
For younger generations, gradually raise the retirement age and index the growth in benefits for higher-income retirees to inflation instead of wages.
For younger generations, create a premium support system that gives each senior the freedom to choose among competing private plans and traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
So even though there are a ton of options including raising the payroll tax on millionaires, they’d rather just make you work till you’re 70. Currently it’s capped at 104k in income i.e. a person making 500k only pays payroll taxes on regular income not capital gains up to 104k. The proposal to give people the option for private accounts is a slow drip to killing the program. It’s a divide and conquer proposal and it won’t work. Conservatives have a hard-on for anything labeled “private”; if we called it “private security” – it would be funded for the next 300 years.
But Mitt Romney isn’t the only one espousing this notion of privatization or partial privatization of Social Security … in fact – it’s a large percentage of the party.
As of 2010 – 104 Republicans publicly supported privatization of Social Security according to Think Progress HERE:
Here are the 104 Republicans in Congress who support privatizing Social Security (leadership in bold):
|Jeff Sessions (AL)||Richard Shelby (AL)||Jon Kyl (AZ)|
|John McCain (AZ)||Saxby Chambliss (GA)||Chuck Grassley (IA)|
|Richard Lugar (IN)||Pat Roberts (KS)||Sam Brownback (KS)|
|Mitch McConnell (KY)||Roger Wicker (MS)||Thad Cochran (MS)|
|Judd Gregg (NH)||James Inhofe (OK)||Tom Coburn (OK)|
|Jim DeMint (SC)||Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)||Bob Bennett (UT)|
|Orrin Hatch (UT)||Mike Enzi (WY)|
House of Representatives (84)
|Jo Bonner (AL-01)||Spencer Bachus (AL-06)||Trent Franks (AZ-02)|
|Wally Herger (CA-02)||Dan Lungren (CA-03)||Devin Nunes (CA-21)|
|David Dreier (CA-26)||Jerry Lewis (CA-41)||Ken Calvert (CA-44)|
|Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46)||John Campbell (CA-48)||Darrell Issa (CA-49)|
|Duncan Hunter (CA-52)||Doug Lamborn (CO-05)||Jeff Miller (FL-01)|
|Ander Crenshaw (FL-04)||Ginny Brown-Waite (FL-05)||Cliff Stearns (FL-06)|
|Adam Putnam (FL-12)||Connie Mack (FL-14)||Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18)|
|Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)||Jack Kingston (GA-01)||Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03)|
|Tom Price (GA-06)||John Linder (GA-07)||Phil Gingrey (GA-11)|
|Tom Latham (IA-04)||Steve King (IA-05)||Judy Biggert (IL-13)|
|John Shimkus (IL-19)||Dan Burton (IN-05)||Mike Pence (IN-06)|
|Rodney Alexander (LA-05)||Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06)||Pete Hoekstra (MI-02)|
|Vern Ehlers (MI-03)||David Lee Camp (MI-04)||John Kline (MN-02)|
|Erik Paulsen* (MN-03)||Todd Akin (MO-02)||Roy Blunt (MO-07)|
|Virginia Foxx (NC-05)||Howard Coble (NC-06)||Sue Myrick (NC-09)|
|Patrick McHenry (NC-10)||Jeff Fortenberry (NE-01)||Lee Terry (NE-02)|
|Scott Garrett (NJ-05)||Peter King (NY-03)||John Boehner (OH-08)|
|John Sullivan (OK-01)||Tom Cole (OK-04)||Jim Gerlach* (PA-06)|
|Bill Shuster (PA-09)||Joseph Pitts (PA-16)||Joe Wilson (SC-02)|
|Gresham Barrett (SC-03)||Bob Inglis (SC-04)||Zach Wamp (TN-03)|
|Marsha Blackburn (TN-07)||Louie Gohmert (TX-01)||Sam Johnson (TX-03)|
|Jeb Hensarling (TX-05)||Joe Barton (TX-06)||Kevin Brady (TX-08)|
|Michael McCaul (TX-10)||Mike Conaway (TX-11)||Mac Thornberry (TX-13)|
|Ron Paul (TX-14)||Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)||Kenny Marchant (TX-24)|
|Michael Burgess (TX-26)||John Carter (TX-31)||Pete Sessions (TX-32)|
|Rob Bishop (UT-01)||Jason Chaffetz (UT-03)||Eric Cantor (VA-07)|
|Doc Hastings (WA-04)||Dave Reichert (WA-08)||Paul Ryan (WI-01)|
|Tom Petri (WI-06)||Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02)||Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL)|
And there is actually one city in the U.S. that allows employees to opt-in to private accounts – Galveston, TX. So – how does Social Security stack up compared to private accounts? The non-partisan Governmental Accountability Office and the Social Security Administration compared the two plans HERE:
Furthermore, under the Galveston Plan, contribution rates (payroll taxes) are higher assumed to have two children (see appendix A than under Social Security; there is a risk of outliving one’s benefits under certain pay-out options (lump-sum or fixed annuity); there are no additional spousal or dependent benefits (benefits are based entirely on contributions); benefits are paid to a named beneficiary, and there is no guarantee that benefits will be provided to a spouse/divorced spouse or dependent child; benefits are not portable to future employers; benefits are not adjusted for inflation; and, in general, benefits are lower for those with lower earnings and/or with a greater number of dependents who qualify under Social Security.
Bottom line – if you’re poor with kids or just middle class with kids – you don’t do as well and that’s exactly who NEEDS Social Security the most. If you made a lot of money when you were in your working years – then this privatization plan is great! F$ck those poors – if they want to eat … they should have worked harder and saved more like the rest of Wall Street right? </sarcasm>.
Last year yet another Republican – Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) - offered up a bill to privatize Social Security called the “Savings Account For Every American Act” or SAFE Act. And the only reason they’re NOT pushing it is because it wouldn’t pass in the Democratic majority Senate and President Obama would veto it before it even got to his desk … not to mention – they would take a huge political whooping for it. You can read about it HERE.
“The Ryan budget is class warfare in its worst form–an attack on workers, seniors, and the most vulnerable to put more money in the pockets of wealthy individuals and corporations.”
~Joe Hansen- Reporter for Huffington Post
But to add to the cuts that “conservatives” are trying to chisel away at for Seniors via their privatization for all plan … they’re trying to turn Medicare into a voucher plan for future seniors via the House Republicans who passed the “Ryan Plan” twice (source). And in addition to THAT for all of the cuts to the so called “European style socialism” and “entitlements” – 90% of those cuts will affect Seniors, the disabled and people basically working for minimum wage (source). And in addition to THAT – they’ve passed a budget that has $2.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid which has a tremendous impact on Seniors as well (source).
In other words – I do not know for the life of me how Seniors who have only $5 a day to feed themselves could vote for a Republican.
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