by Carl, 12/18/2012, 8:03 AM

It looks like it’s inundate your member of Congress with notes not to cut Social Security day. So I don’t want to hear that Washington didn’t do our part.

Here are the numbers for members of the House. Just call yours, the rest are just a waste of time:

DelBene 202-225-6311
Larsen 202-225-2605
Herrera Beutler 202-225-3536
Hastings 202-225-5816
McMorris Rodgers 202-225-2006
Dicks 202-225-5916
McDermott 202-225-3106
Reichert 202-225-7761
Smith 202-225-8901

And the Senators:

Cantwell (202) 224-3441
Murray (202) 224-2621

Be polite but let them know that you’re opposed to cuts in Social Security or to raising the age. If you’re on Social Security, or are nearing that age, let them know. If you’re young but resent having your generation played against retirees, let them know.

37 Responses to “Call ‘Em Up”

1. MikeBoyScout spews:

Carl, thank-you.

Also, to the extent that anyone feels the need to improve the long term viability of the SSI program, the best and easiest approach will be to raise the max income limit on taxable income on lucky SOBs like myself.

NO change to the benefits of current or future SSI beneficiaries. NO age change. NO chained CPI.

2. rhp6033 spews:

I told them that SSI, Medicare, and Medicaid need to be off the table in any debt negotiations. They can be handled in a rational fashion seperately. And raising the retirement age of Social Security receipients only increases the funding problems regarding Medicare and Medicaid.

3. rhp6033 spews:

If you think about it, the current problems with SSI have far more to do with the Bush Great Rescession than they do with any fundamental problems with the program. Lots of unemployed led to massive reductions in SSI tax collections, and the Payday Tax Holiday was a poor compromise in order to increase consumer spending.

So, like most Banksters who made their millions going into the rescession and throughout the recovery (foreclosure investments, etc.), they now want the little guy to pay for it by retiring later.

If I remember my actuarial tables correctly, a retiree at age 56 is expected to live until age 83 or so (I haven’t checked this in a while). So SSI would cover them for 18 years according to the current schedules. Of course, the compromise made some fifteen years ago extended that to age 68 some time back for younger workers. So what the Republicans want to do is take another five years or so off the 18 years of coverage which we have already bought and paid for through SSI taxes.

4. Tea for everyone spews:

This whole country is as is being loudly stated, “is BROKE”.

As Margaret Thatcher so eloquently stated,

“The problem with Socialism is sooner or later you always runs out of other people’s money!

5. wharfrat spews:

@4 I understand the responsibilities of trolls….inane comments, deflection, cliches, sound bites, hyperbole, panacea, nostrums, bumper sticker logic…have you ever considered, though, critique with reasoned argument? Refreshing, though difficult. Maggie is dead as is her vision of England.

US is not broke. We have the healthiest economy amongst our peers. Our TBills pay out minimal or occasionally negative interest because we are the best investment around.

6. ArtFart spews:

If the government is “broke”, how come it’s still loaning large amounts of money for next to nothing to big banks which then loan it to credit card holders for 29% interest?

7. Politically Incorrect spews:

Social Security needs to be adjusted to reflect the increased life expectancy. In 1935, life expectancy for men and women was around 62. Now it’s something like 78. Previous changes have not been enough to make up for the actuarial realities of today.

The normal and early retirement ages both need to be adjusted upward. A normal retirement age of 75 with an early retirement age of 72 would do a lot to ensure Social Security is self-sustaining and will continue forever.

Usual suspects, you can piss and moan about it, but the reality of increased life expectancy can’t be ignored. For those who work in more physical jobs, those people must realize that they must all plan their retirements if they still intend to stop working at 62 or 65. They will require IRA, 401k, 403b, or other retirement vehicles to retire early and fund their lives until becoming eligible to Social Security retirement. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: The Social Security age must be raised.

8. Politically Incorrect spews:

Also, if the government wants to “borrow” from the Social Security trust fund, it should pay a minimum of 10% APY or the 30-year Treasury note rate plus 3%, whichever is higher, on any money borrowed from the fund. After all, if the government is going to borrow the peoples’ retirement funds, shouldn’t it pay an appropriate price for the privilege? Social Security was not set up to be pay-day lender for the federal government.

9. Tea for everyone spews:

It’s still printing large amounts of money out of thin error, and loaning it to big banks which loan it to consumers who are having their jobs offshored, wages slashed, interest income slashed, CD income slashed, Muni bond income slashed, unemployment at an all time high

10. MikeBoyScout spews:

@7 & 8 Usually and once again Incorrect,

Social Security needs to be adjusted to reflect the increased life expectancy. … Previous changes have not been enough to make up for the actuarial realities of today.

WTF are you talking about?
What is an “actuarial reality” and how is it used or not used by accountants? Do you actually believe SSA accountants are using life expectancy data from 1935 when they annually report on the fund?

Look, wingnut, if you want to raise your age for receiving the benefits of SSI all YOU need to do is delay your application for whenever you think a good age will be. If you think there are others who want to delay receiving their benefits, you can tell them that they need not apply for those benefits until they think it is a good age.

As long as we’re at it, do you have an audited financial plan for yourself that shows the condition of your solvency until 2035?
Do any of the investment instruments you use to take advantage of tax advantaged investment accounts have an audited financial plan out to 2035?

Why don’t you wake up and get a library card?

11. rhp6033 spews:

PI @ 70:

“Usual suspects, you can piss and moan about it, but the reality of increased life expectancy can’t be ignored. For those who work in more physical jobs, those people must realize that they must all plan their retirements if they still intend to stop working at 62 or 65. They will require IRA, 401k, 403b, or other retirement vehicles to retire early and fund their lives until becoming eligible to Social Security retirement. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee: The Social Security age must be raised.”

Hey, pick a meme and stick with it. From the 1970′s through the present, the banker have been telling us that we have to contribute to 401(k)’s and and IRA’s because the full benefits of Social Security won’t be enough to live on after retirement. Now you are claiming we need to use those funds to get us by from the time of our actual retirement (for whatever reason) to the time when Social Security begins to pay out.

The age 65 retirement age worked just fine until we had to adjust for the demographic balloon caused by the Baby Boomer generation. That compromise was reached in the 1990′s, which graduated the retirement age for younger workers (my own retirement age is 67-1/2).

But what wasn’t expected was the Bush Great Depression, and the destruction of America’s manufacturing base, which had a devestating effect on the tax returns into the Social Security retirment and Medicare funds. Now most workers will be lucky to keep a series of minimum-wage jobs for the ten or fifteen years or so until they retire (current H.R. execs of big companies are well educated in how to cut out higher-paid older workers without getting caught violating the law).

So now I’m in my mid-50′s, and the future of my current job is probably 50/50 over the next couple of years – less so beyond that. Networking events with my colleagues at other companies have become a roster of “consultants” as those similar to me were laid off in corporate mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring, and now trolling for new jobs to last them the last five or ten years until they can officially “retire”. But as all the financial advisors have told us for decades, these are the years when we are supposed to be saving the most for retirement, now that our obligations to our kids are reduced with them through college, married, and with a house of their own. But instead, many are struggling to get by with their adult kids and their families returning home to live in the basement.

But it’s a lot worse for those involved in hard physical jobs. A friend of mine is an auto mechanic who spent years learning to work on heavy trucks, investing in tools, etc. But he hurt his back a decade ago, and it’s a challenge to get up each morning, much less climb under a truck on the roadside and make a repair in the rain and the cold. Yet PI is willing to claim that he should have saved up enough money from his $15 per hour job to get him through a decade or so of retirement until his Social Security kicks in – even though that won’t be enough for his house payment and utilities, much less other expenses. Talk about living in a dream world!

12. MikeBoyScout spews:

Regarding what I said @1,

For 2012, the maximum taxable earnings amount for Social Security (OASDI) taxes is $110,100.

Most folks who NEED SSI never see a year when they’re not paying that tax on payday.

Many, many folks who are fortunate enough to make more than $110,000 per year never notice when that tax stops coming out of their paycheck.

To the extent that we wish to improve SSI and/or its viability beyond 2035 (23 years from now) we could double the maximum taxable earnings with no effect on the broader economy nor those of us who would be paying a little more.

13. MikeBoyScout spews:

@10 rhp6033,
Your point about the impact of the Bush Great Recession usually goes unmentioned in discussions about SSI. In addition to what you’ve stated the Bush Great Recession’s and Austerity Now! policy reaction to it has left many older not yet wanting to retire people with no other choice but to begin to collect their earned benefits early because they can’t find a job. The net effect is that less people are paying in and more are taking out because the Banksters in collaboration and cooperation with Randroidian Republicans crashed the world economy.

14. MikeBoyScout spews:

edit: wrong thread. sorry.

FREEDOM!


A sixth-grader in Kearns, Utah brought an unloaded handgun to his elementary school on Monday, reportedly at the urging of his parents.

15. Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:

I suppose the trolls have begun to crawl out of the woodwork…

@4
The US is most certainly not broke, we merely have an unhealthy and unjust distribution of wealth and income. That is fixable. As noted above, on the world market, investment in the US is about the safest, most secure maneuver possible.

@6
You continue that life expectancy claptrap despite being debunked over and over. Longer life expectancy, now versus the ’30s, is almost entirely contained in the more wealthy slices of the society – that is, the workers that most rely on SS are hardly living longer than their 20th century peers. Moreover, asking such workers, whose bodies are often destroyed by their work, to continue working into their late 60s is both impractical and inhuman.

The cap on FICA taxes needs to be raised to better reflect the distribution of total income, which has migrated to the wealthier since the cap was originally enacted. Simple solution.

16. Liberal Scientist is a Dirty Fucking Socialist Hippie spews:

@13
I saw an account of a Lousiana gun show this week – where the crackers are out in droves, believing that the Mooslim in the WhiteHOuse is going to take away their guns.

Nearly everyone there was a white male. They interviewed (I think I saw this on TPM) one ordinary looking guy, and his response was, “Regulation, confiscation, genocide.”

These loons actually believe their existence depends on their having guns to ward off the bad guys.

It boggles the mind, the depth of the stupid+paranoia (stupanoia?)

17. Roger Rabbit spews:

@4 The problem with your “reasoning” is that Social Security and Medicare aren’t paid for with other people’s money; they’re paid for with our money — the FICA taxes we paid all our lives.

18. Roger Rabbit spews:

@7 Social Security doesn’t “need” anything. It has positive cash flow and contributes nothing to the deficit. So please explain the “logic” of cutting Social Security benefits to reduce operating budget deficits? There isn’t any, that’s just asking senior citizens to subsidize tax breaks for the rich. But it doesn’t matter anymore that you don’t know what you’re talking about, because your credibility on this blog is already shot to hell.

19. Red Roger Rabbit spews:

@15 I’d settle for making these yahoos confiscate their guns back from their own mentally disturbed kids.

20. Red Roger Rabbit spews:

This is for you laissez-faire dingbats out there: “Even Hayek knew that complete market liberalization is unworkable.”

Hey, read the whole article; and pay special attention to the comments about “information asymmetries,” because that applies to you.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1069231-from-positive-to-zero-to-negative-sum-capitalism?source=email_macro_view&ifp=0

21. Red Roger Rabbit spews:

@9 “Why don’t you wake up and get a library card?”

Watch it there, Scout! I don’t want this guy showing up at my local public library. We already have enough street people taking up space there.

22. Roger Rabbit spews:

WTF???

23. Roger Rabbit spews:

Mrs. Rabbit, under “enhanced interrogation,” has confessed that she fucked with my screen name. She claims she was trying to type in “Roger the Red-Nosed Reindeer Rabbit” in celebration of Christmas.

24. Roger Rabbit spews:

As the article @19 points out, we already have a “wealth redistribution system,” simply not in the direction our wingnut friends love to whine about. And because taxpayers get stuck when financial manipulation goes bad, it’s very appropriate to call it “socialism for the rich,” because that’s exactly what today’s financial industry is. And because it’s socially useless, or worse, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t tax the shit out of it. Want to eliminate deficits? That’s a concrete plan. Now, wingnuts, put up or shut up.

25. Roger Rabbit spews:

We need more, not less, regulation of the financial markets. Bring “shadow banking” under regulator scrutiny. Ban high-frequency trading, computer trading, naked short selling, and other economically useless market-gaming schemes that destroy the integrity of the markets. If we don’t, they’ll destroy the markets, because nobody else will participate. Small investors are aleady long-gone from the stock market. Why? Because they believe — rightly — the game is rigged. Unfortunately, they’re still getting ripped off, because the crookery reaches beyond individual stocks into pension funds, mutual funds, and ETFs. Above all, remember this:

“Regulation is usually your friend. Retail investors benefit from financial regulation, they are often the main victims of better equipped or more opportunistic parties exploiting information asymmetries, and suffer again as taxpayers when institutions have to be bailed out when they’ve taken on too much risk.”

The corollary, of course, is that people who oppose regulation of the financial industry aren’t your friends; they’re your worst enemies. But then, nearly everything the laissez-faire crowd spouts is aimed at making it legal and easy to take from you and give to themselves.

26. ArtFart spews:

@11 “But what wasn’t expected was the Bush Great Depression, and the destruction of America’s manufacturing base”

Like hell it wasn’t.

27. ArtFart spews:

It doesn’t take a financial genius to understand that mucking with Social Security is going to lead to another enormous crisis on Wall Street, and leave most of us wondering why our asses hurt so much. It’s going to force people who don’t get the benefits they were promised (and which they certainly deserve) to fall back on what they have. Now, what do y’all think is going to happen to stock prices when everyone tries to glom onto what’s in their 401(k)’s, IRA’s, Roth’s and whatever-the-hell-else’s all at once instead of leaving most of it for the shysters to play games with and taking it out in dribs and drabs over 10-20 years?

28. rhp6033 spews:

# 27: The robber-barrons who work Wall Street these days don’t care about the long-term effect of their actions on Wall Street, Social Security, or the nation. They just want to make their money and get out before the whole thing collapses. Then they will be like Mel Brooks in “History of the World”: “It’s good to be king!”

Their plan for making a lot of money now is running out of time. They want to convince us that Social Security is in danger of collapse, and that we would be better off with private accounts managed – by them. Then with access to the current surplus in the Social Security System (to pay for the Baby Boomer’s retirments), they will siphon off that money in fees, commissions, etc. until it’s all gone.

I says it’s running out of time because the crash of 2008 left them with a very skeptical public, and the Boomers are retiring daily. If they can’t get it done within the next few years, there won’t be enough surplus available to make it a viable target for them to raid.

29. Politically Incorrect spews:

OK, usual suspects, continue to believe that Social Security is just peachy-keeno. Remember that FDR said “no damn politician” would ever to be able to get his hands on “our” Social Security, but that proved to be incorrect. FDR sold it as a saving plan and not a tax, all the while his Justice Department henchmen were arguing before the Supreme Court that the FICA taxes were just that: taxes. And they were the property of the government, not the participant. Guess what? The fucking Supreme Court ruled that FICA was the property of the government, not the plan participants, you fucking dolts!

The actuarial adjustment made for the baby boomers was a fucking joke. It ain’t enough to insure SS goes on forever. What needs to happen is that SS needs to be run like the Federal Reserve – as a separate corporation owned by the government but not ruled over by the government. All government has ever done with Social Security is to use it as cheap funding for pork barrel projects. Get SS out of the hands to the politicians and under management by people with financial sense.

MiketheBoyScout,

If you ever call me a “wingnut” again, I’ll kick your fucking ass so hard that your nuts will pop out your nose. I mean it, too, motherfucker.

And, also, you arrogant cocksucking bastard, I manage my investments very well, thank you very fucking much! I’m up nearly 20% on my wealth this year. I know this because I have worked in the financial sector and know a fucking thing or two about investing and money.

How’s your portfolio doing so far this year, you dirty little sissy bitch?

30. N in Seattle spews:

@12 points out that the income limit for FICA is $110,100, and describes how (as always) said tax is regressive, affecting us working stiffs more than the wealthy.

I’ve long used baseball salaries as a handle on the limit and its regressivity. As in when during the season does Player X stop paying FICA? For this demonstration, I’m shifting Player X from its longtime identity of A-Rod to Josh Hamilton ($125 million, 5 years).

At $25 million a year, Hamilton makes $154,320.99 per game. So he no longer has to pay FICA after 0.713 games. If a game equals nine innings, that comes to 6.421 innings. With six outs per inning (three each in the top and bottom), and rounding up, we see that Josh Hamilton has a really good reason to take a 7th-inning stretch on Opening Day — he’s just made his final FICA contribution for the season.

Let’s look at the same thing from another angle. FICA is a 6.45% tax for employees. Thus, the highest total FICA contribution for any person is $7,101.45 (6.45% of $110,100). Which means that Josh Hamilton’s effective FICA tax rate is 0.0284%. Your FICA tax rate is more than 227 times Josh Hamilton’s FICA tax rate.

31. Politically Incorrect spews:

@30,

Would you just admit that Social Security is:

1. A source of easy funding for government, and

2. A system to re-distribute wealth.

If you want Social Security to last forever, get the government’s hands off of it and let it be run by a separate organization in the same manner as the Federal Reserve. Politicians simply can’t handle it.

32. N in Seattle spews:

@31:

Standard wingnut script.

Oh, and as for this:

If you want Social Security to last forever, get the government’s hands off of it and let it be run by a separate organization in the same manner as the Federal Reserve. Politicians simply can’t handle it.

Done.

Not that anyone in the Social Security Administration is a politician. They’re all bureaucrats and other such civil servants.

33. Roger Rabbit spews:

@29 “If you ever call me a ‘wingnut’ again, I’ll kick your fucking ass so hard that your nuts will pop out your nose. I mean it, too, motherfucker.”

You’re a wingnut. I mean it, motherfucker. You can find my burrow six paces to the left of the big tree on the east side of Green Lake Park. Just ring the doorbell. Make sure you bring water balloons.

34. Roger Rabbit spews:

Mrs. Rabbit constantly accuses me of passive-aggressive behavior. I don’t know where she gets that bullshit from. I guess females just like to hear themselves talk.

35. Roger Rabbit spews:

The first change I’d make to gun laws is make sentences for illegal gun possession the same as pot smoking, even if it means we have to build a million new prison beds.

36. Expat(!)Chad spews:

@29….who kicked the angry little wingnut’s cage?

Portfolio, my ass. Tin can full of pennies?

Somebody throw some water on him, he needs a bath.

It’s ok, I needed my morning (here in Asia) chuckle.

37. Topher spews:

Just wanted to point out that life expectancy for those who actually reach 65 is only about 3 years longer than it was the in the 30s. What seems like a big change is life expectancy is almost entirely due to the eradication of polio and a few other childhood diseases. Bottom line: the whole increased life expectancy thing means we have to raise the social security age is a zombie lie that needs to die.

Furthermore, the idea that people working in physically demanding jobs, which often don’t pay well, can simply save more to make up for the social security cuts is laughable.