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As Social Security Reaches 80, Americans' Love for Program Remains Strong


As Social Security Reaches 80, Americans' Love for Program Remains Strong

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

An overwhelming majority of Americans supports Social Security's contribution to the common good, a new AARP survey has found.

The findings (pdf), released on the eve of program's 80th anniversary, show how vital the program continues to be.


Social Security should not only remain intact, but it should also be expanded, and the payments to people increased, especially for those who need it most.


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The COLA increase for 2016 will be close to zero, if not zero.
With housing costs increasing drastically over the last several years,
I don’t see how anyone can survive on what they pay.


“what they pay” keeps millions upon millions of people from living in the streets.


I’m saying they don’t pay enough. Don’t understand your reply. Sorry.


The scum right wingers and libertarian filth are working overtime to destroy and eliminate SS. The libertarian billionaire Pete Peterson has spent millions over the years in his war against SS. Bush, the dumba$$, tried to privatize SS in 2005 but thankfully failed. It’s a miracle that we have SS and thanks to FDR. So many lies about SS. It’s not going bust or broke and the trust fund is real and is worth over $2.7 trillion and it earns interest. Just significantly raise or eliminate the SS wage tax cap; that will keep the program viable for many decades. Don’t believe the libertarian lies and propaganda against SS.


Social Security is not a retirement account, where a person contributes money while he/she works and this money does belong to the contributor (my IRA is my money). Social Secuirty is an old-age public insurance plan (FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribuutions Act). What you pay into Social Security is no more your money than the premiums you pay for auto insurance, life insurance and home owners’ insurance are your money.

All insurance is a transfer of wealth from those who pay premiums to those who file claims. Social Security is a transfer of wealth from younger people who are working and paying FICA taxes to us geezers who are retired and not paying FICA taxes.

The issues of what benefits should be paid and; should there be a cap on contributions (the FICA taxes for Medicare are not capped because you pay FICA taxes on 100% of your income) are political questions that Congress should deal with. The calculation of the COLA is an economic question and most economists think inflation is over-estimated and we should use the chained CPI to calculate inflation. I don’t get a COLA for my retirement account, so I am thankful I do get a COLA for my Social Security benefit. The COLA was not part of Social Security when it was introduced by FDR.

The reason Social Security and Medicare are entitlements is because everybody is entitled to be part of the programs. No matter if you are Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, you can collect Social Security and be covered by Medicare. I have a brother-in-law who is a multi-millionaire. He needed a knee replacement and waited until he was on Medicare to have it done so he did not have to pay for it. He is also collecting Social Security even though he is so rich that his benefits are a drop in the bucket.

One of the ways to save Social Security would be to means-test people who apply for Social Security. If you are wealthy, you don’t need it. If this were the case, Social Security would no longer be an entitlement.


The Trust Fund: Currently SS FICA tax revenues do not cover SS’s expenses, the benefits it pays. So SS is drawing on its Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is supposed to serve like an electrical capacitor, smoothing out the ups and downs of taxes so that benefits can be paid at the legislated rate. … What is IN the Trust Fund are special US Govt. bonds. That are supposed to do the B. Clinton thing: invest in America so that higher taxes can be collected in the future. That recently has not paid off, the economy is not doing well since 2000, but we are still on the hook to tax ourselves to pay off those bonds in the Trust Fund. A bit like Detroit taxpayers face higher taxes to pay for the unfunded deficit in their city pension plans.
– The SS trustees look at everything, the state of the Trust Fund, prospects and projections of the economy and so forth. They see the Trust Fund being exhausted in about 2030. At that point SS would be “bankrupt”, in the sense that it will not be able to pay what has been promised.

The reason there is a wage cap on SS FICA taxes is because there is a cap on benefits paid out. (And benefits are already progressive, with those lower-down getting larger benefits wrt. taxes paid than those near the cap.) I presume that progressive advocating for lifting the tax cap have no intention of lifting the benefit cap. I can imagine that radical progressives think that Mark Zuckerman or Jeff Bezos paying millions more in taxes and not getting a dime more of benefit from it is social-justice; but it hardly seems fair.

A serious problem with SS, which Friedrich Hayek foresaw, is that the political managers of it over-promised and undertaxed. It hasn’t bitten yet, but it is structured like a Ponzi scheme and it will someday hit its limit.


The trust fund currently has $2.7+ trillion in assets, special issue treasury bonds which are earning interest. If nothing is done, the trust fund will run out in 2033 but SS will still be able to pay 75% of benefits. SS does not go bust or broke. Just raise the SS wage tax cap and that will solve the problem for decades. Means testing is a bad idea since SS would then be considered a welfare program and the rich would no longer have a stake in the program. The SS program works, it’s a success story and it has not missed any payments through recessions, wars, civil unrest and even the great mini depression of 2008…