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Social Security and the 1 Percent


#1

Social Security and the 1 Percent

Nick Buffie

In February of last year, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report titled The Effect of Rising Inequality on Social Security. The report shows how the increase in economic inequality in the U.S.


#2

So what you're saying Nick, is that most politicians are lying sacks of crap who would rather see old folks destitute and wandering the streets rather then let go of a few dollars of their stolen wealth?
Yeah, that sounds about right.


#3

"... it would be quite easy to cover Social Security’s future costs simply by raising taxes on the rich."

There in a nutshell is exactly why it will not happen. Both major parties would prefer death over offending their constituency by asking them to contribute their fair share.


#4

The only group that the politicians would be offending would be their wealthy donors in the top 20%.
They aren't paying their fair share.
The rest of us are paying, in most cases, more then our fair share.


#5

More than our fair share indeed.

Statistically, in the US a working married couple earning similar taxable "earned" income (plus or minus 20%) during their working lives will not live long enough to collect the amount of money from Social Security that they contributed during their working lives.


#6

Exactly.


#7

Great to see one of Dr. Baker's colleagues at www.cepr.net providing such informative, accurate analysis so we have more information to make important decisions in our lives, e.g., on Social Security. The corollary being of course that we can't rely on the capitalist, corporate media for the same fact based analysis. Their only concern is profit. Therefore, their main aim is to provide content that attracts the readers and viewers that their advertisers covet. Informing the public is literally beside the point.


#8

Their constituency consists of the citizenry. Their donor class is another matter...


#9

True and fairly obvious. But the real difference is not with the top of wage earners, but with the rentier class that has already socked away "reserves" of their own (including Treasury notes) far beyond what they can ever spend. The unearned income from this principal is grossly undertaxed and entirely safe from payroll tax.


#10

This is only part of the calculus.

Media is not just about selling product. These days, it's about selling everything from domestic policy to wars abroad.

Advertisers are an extension of major corporations--Big Pharma, Big Agri., Big Energy, Big banks, etc. And these corporations are just as committed to protecting a set of domestic policies that favors the 1% as they are in selling their products.

Any argument that only sees one cause reflects a very narrow prism. I've noticed how often it's ONLY the profit motive that's covered by commentators as if there was nothing to the idea of power itself, and how power enables the few to control the many.

Profit is a part of the equation. However, without strongmen and a well-armed set of militias answerable to the 1% (or those token governors, congressmen, and even presidents who defend THEIR interests), very different priorities would set the agenda.


#11

Both sales and lobbying are focused on constant dividends to shareholders, primarily the rentier class who enjoy all the unearned income they can spend and then some. The "and then some," of course, becomes new principal, taken permanently out of circulation.


#12

After defunding the Social Security trust fund by reducing payroll contributions for 2011-2012, Obama and his Simpson/Bowles catfood commission came close to executing their 2011 "grand bargain" that would have included Social Security benefit cuts.

Joe Lieberman and Jon Huntsman have teamed up and are reviving the catfood commission with their No Labels organization that will be ready to help Clinton take action on "day one".


#13

Too much code in that post. I'm curious about your problem with No Labels, but I don't think this is the place for it.


#14

Rey, I'm with you in spirit. The payroll tax cut's lost revenues were replaced by general revenues so the effect on SS's finances were nil. I agree that President DINO would have cut SS benefits if he could have using a chained CPI. However, the one thing doesn't necessarily have to do with the other.


#15

Well, you know, I learned what you said so long ago in school, but then there's all that darn evidence in the meantime.


#16

Exactly, raise taxes on the rich. That seems to be the answer to most of our financial woes in this country, and of course cutting the bleeding Pentagon budget.
The Dems and Repugs are so sold out we have no representation, so of course it's all for them, none for us.


#17

It is becoming more apparent that in the near (at least) future, discussion of Social Security and Medicare will often address what No Labels is doing with respect to those programs. My concerns with No Labels are as follows:

By emphasizing "bipartisan" in its problem statements and mission, No Labels is adopting the myth perpetuated by the establishment that partisanship is a major part, if not all the problem to be solved.

Ever since the Raygun revolution and concurrent formation of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) in 1985, however, the GOP and Democratic Party have become ever more aligned on economic issues while differentiating themselves on social issues, with corporate, media and DC spin fabricating the partisanship myth. Although a few third party candidates attempted to shift the spin, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) actually did shift the spin from being a partisan spin to a 1% verses 99% spin. Warren Buffet concurrently validated the breakthrough when he told the world "there is a class war and my class is winning". More voters are recognizing that from 1986 income tax "reform" to present the term "bipartisan" has been synonymous with capitulation to the demands of the 1%.

In view of the above, and the fact that the 2016 POTUS election is being heavily influenced by the 1%/99% divide, not the alleged partisan divide, any organization (including No Labels) with bipartisanship being at the hub of its mission is suspect and needs to be considered guilty until proven innocent by those of us who are fact/evidence based rather than being faith based (not spiritual faith in this context).


#18

Abolish all taxes. Our money is too dangerous to give to politicians to play with.

Instead of raising taxes on the rich, cap their wealth beyond an amount decided by yearly referendum. Distribute all excess wealth among all citizens equally.


#19

We could also stop putting the money that is supposed to go to social security in the general fund, and then dropping it into the black hole of the MIC.

I wonder if everyone under, say, $300k could pay less, and then $300 start a graduated uptick. Some of the strong sentiment against it is from the "meritocracy" voters--worked hard and been lucky enough to earn a lot, but don't want to suddenly lose a lot of it.


#20

Social Security is funded through federal payroll taxes

This is not accurate actually. Taxes really do not fund anything. Taxes end up controlling the amount of cash people have to spend and therefor control inflation and spending. The scholars at the Levy Institute are experts on this and have invested many hours of time educating the public on how our money system works. The paper referenced in the link is a bit technical but does state:

After carefully considering the complexities of reserve accounting, it is argued that the proceeds from taxation and bond sales are technically incapable of financing government spending and that modern governments actually finance all of their spending through the direct creation of high-powered money. . .It is further argued that the proceeds from taxation and bond sales are not even capable of financing government spending since their collection implies their destruction.

While making the argument that tax revenues that pour into the U. S. Treasury are accounted for on spreadsheets for each taxpayer and show whether that individual has met their obligation. The paper shows how government spending goes on apace separate from revenue and the two are arbitrarily linked by laws Congress wrote back in the days of the gold standard, before 1971.

Keeping inflation concerns and full employment goals in mind, the U. S. Government (unlike local, municipalities, county, state and other taxing entities that are not a sovereign state) can spend to its hearts content. Scary stuff given that these days Congress seems incapable of really governing. But that behooves all of us to educate ourselves and confront ruling elites when they give out inaccurate information on how our money system works. So keeping Social Security functioning is not a matter of how many tax dollars are gathered by the IRS but rather a matter of political will on the part of Congress to aid and abet the general welfare of the population as a whole. In particular one of the main tenets of any conception of justice would consider the well being of those among us who are the least fortunate.