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Seniors Are Getting Slowly Strangled by Social Security’s Flawed Math—Here’s How to Fix It


Seniors Are Getting Slowly Strangled by Social Security’s Flawed Math—Here’s How to Fix It

Nancy Altman

As a result of inflation, people on fixed incomes find that their incomes decline in value over time. One extremely important feature of Social Security is that its benefits are adjusted every year automatically to offset increases in inflation so that the modest, but vital, benefits do not erode over time. It is important to understand that these adjustments are not increases. They are intended to simply allow people to tread water, to maintain their purchasing power.

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The chained CPI proposal was also promoted and pushed by Barack Obama and only dropped when it became clear the backlash would be enormous.

The Democrats are not “opposed” because they care about the well being of Seniors. They are opposed because being against it might garner them votes. The reality is this. Neither Democrats or Republicans genuinely want what is best for the Workers and Citizen. The policies they push are intended to either garner them votes, or monies coming from the Corporations , or payback once they leave Public office from the Corporations they served in the way of being hired to the various boards as “consultants” or Lobbyists. There only a handful of Politicians that are genuinely concerned about the plight of seniors , or the poor or the working class. The rest just ride the wave of “feigned concern” to enrich themselves.

This is inevitable in ANY society that bases its entire foundation on “self interest” and individualism where every act is a Competitive act so that one side “wins” and one “loses”.

Since around 1994 the number of seniors declaring Bankruptcy in the USA has increased by 400 percent. There has been a lot of time to act.


The only Reformation of the Democratic Party will be when enough Americans come to the realization that they have been voting their entire lives for politicians that vote against the masses interests.

I fear none of us will see that come.


Suspira thinks all democrats and republicans are evil bastards. I disagree. The way it has worked for a long time is that there are not enough votes in Congress to get decent legislation, and don’t give me crap about smallish democratic control because there are always some democrats who are disappointing to say the least. Another thing that many don’t seem to realize is that there is an argument, made by many younger republicans, that since older people, in general, hold much more wealth than younger folks, then why should we continue to throw our FICA money toward them. As far as Suspira’s claimed 400% bankruptcy increase, we have far more senior citizens now than a quarter century ago. Also, many seniors have increasingly been giving assets to their children. It is very common out here in farm country as old folks hate to see their farm or home given to the government. I am a liberal who simply wants to point out the fact that pie in the sky is not easy.


How is it so quickly forgotten (and unmentioned) that Obama actually STOPPED Social Security COLA’s
for two full years —

and then put GOP’s Alan Simpson, someone who has always attacked Social Security, in charge of the COLA’s. The result has been COLA payments which when they resumed were only a very small percentage of what they had previously been.

Those changes have cost seniors $10,000’s of loss in their benefits over this now 10 year period.

When I have time, I think the article has to be re-read as not sure this is an honest broker.

People who are protected can’t go below zero, and lose some of their Social Security benefits, but they can certainly see no cost of living adjustment, despite the 2.8 percent increase. In 2018, about one-quarter of beneficiaries saw no increase whatsoever and another 18 percent received a monthly benefit that was only $5.00 or less.

Nancy Altman
Author …
Nancy J. Altman has a thirty-five year background in the areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is co-director of Social Security Works and co-chair of the Strengthen Social Security coalition and campaign. She is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) and co-author (with Eric Kingson) of Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It will Help Us All (The New Press, 2015).


With rising homelessness and poverty, where tent cities of the homeless torn down by the police every day, where personal debt and personal bankruptcies soar and where the State Claims Medicare for all un-affordable , 90 percent of Senate Democrats voted for an increase in Military spending.

If the priority is KILLING people in foreign lands and WAR while the people at home suffer at home and are forced to sleep under bridges or give up meals to get prescription drugs , then YES those Democrats that voted for a bigger Military are evil bastards.

With a trillion dollar a year plus Military spare me this “we have more seniors now” bullshit. No one FORCED those Democrats to sign their name to more Military spending.


Let me see. A $5.00 increase. Maybe 3 or 4 cans of cat food for my kitty. WTF am I supposed to eat with the change? Yep, sounds about right. My healthcare costs over the last 6 or 7 years have increased about 300%. My stipend, about 3.7%. Yet there’s plenty of money to make navel ships and build more jet fighters for the military. And bombs and missiles…etc.


A lot of those folks sleeping under bridges are not senior citizens. Most of them are younger people, and if they work part time or whatever, they have to pay FICA to support older folks. It’s tough to get policy correct even with the best legislators. We both agree too much is spent on the military, but if democrats don’t go along then republicans whip up the fear campaign and it seems to work on a lot of folks. I would not mind a very strong military if people were not so easily .duped into the latest war project. Our problems are founded in ignorance, fear, and greed. It’s difficult to fix.


Clinton was no friend to any groups relying on govt assistance. We all paid taxes for SS and Medicare. These are NOT entitlements, erroneously referred to at times.


Did you sign the petition? Why not? I did, and so should you! I have been disabled for 25 years. I have been living below the poverty level for 25 years.


It’s the Status Quo from the Duopoly Yo!


Yeah Hippy,

There’s gonna be a lot of corrupt politicians dying from lead poisoning if they vote to steal our “entitlements” that we worked our entire lives for.

They should be real careful around pencils.


“…younger people…have to pay FICA to support older folks.” As you may know, the amount of Social Security benefits one receives are based on one’s earnings up to retirement. And one’s earnings determine the amount of FICA one has paid in. Thus one’s Social Security benefits are based on what one has paid into the system through FICA. So when one pays a FICA tax it is for the benefits one will receive at retirement.
Of course, Social Security was not a “lock box”, that is, FICA taxes were not set aside for the payment of benefits only, but were spent by the government to cover other budgetary shortfalls. Instead of managing and investing the finds until they were needed to pay benefits, the funds were looted.
To set it up as being the young having to support the old is the classic Capitalist ploy of “divide and conquer” to create a distraction from the real issue. The country is not run for the people, but solely for the profitability of the corporations, especially the so-called “defense” industry and Wall Street. Corporate profits are more important than people’s livelihoods or even their lives, particularly if those people are minorities.
In short, what you are suggesting by complaining that that the young are forced to support the old (even if it were true) is that the old should just fade away (or maybe in your idealized world, be euthanized).


Poor people spend every cent back to rich people, trickle up. They know this. They know every cent of Medicare and Medicaid goes right back to the medical industry and saves lives on the way, same with social security. It all goes right back to rich people because poor people spend it to eat etcetera. It is only socialism if it helps a citizen. peace.


The objective is to impoverish the 99% and reduce the population. Seniors who cannot support themselves on SS will become an expense on their family. The .0001% can make almost infinite money from the Cloud. True wealth is land, resources and labor. If people and countries are strapped that makes more land and resources available for control by the .0001%. All costs are increasing due to money being created at interest and the value of an hours work is going down for the same reason. Ultimately the .0001% want a small population willing to work as serfs in order to survive.
Public banking starting at the local and state level can reverse this trend and eventually retake the power to create money from the private banksters.
SS has been misused for decades. LBJ shifted the revenue accounting into the General Fund to hide the cost of the Vietnam War. SS has run a surplus every year and so this accounting trick has hidden the actual deficit. But the US needs the retirment money of old folks to kill and maim all over the world. SS recipients who complain are simply unpatriotic.


Screwing around with Social Security and retirement funds used to be called the Third Rail ie if a politician touched it they would die. Now maybe we can call it Lead Pencils instead :grin:


Why is there NO national campaign by the democrats supporting simple basic givens----even O’Rourke in deep red Texas is running on healthcare for all----run on getting corporate money out of politics and you would see a landside. But do it with a real national campaign.

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I wonder where you think the FICA taxes should have been “invested.” I see “looted” as a loaded word. I like the idea of our government using available funds instead of borrowing from others. “Investing” can become problematic. I agree with much of what you say and I am a senior and am seriously grateful for the benefits that I have long paid for.


Back at cha. :innocent:


Turning their backs on their corporate pimps is like a junkie going Cold Turkey.

Democrats and Republicans are all the same in that regard.