Skip to comments.No reasoning with the elderly on issue of Social Security
Posted on 05/25/2005 8:42:08 AM PDT by qam1
The debate over whether to reform Social Security is full of idiosyncrasies.
Here's a big one: No matter what fix we're talking about - partial privatization, raising the retirement age, means testing so millionaires forfeit benefits, tying benefits to inflation rather than wages, etc. - the most ferocious opposition comes from the demographic that won't be affected either way by any proposal being discussed at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue: Americans already 55 and over.
If you can imagine that, you're already two steps ahead of the Bush administration. White House officials seem baffled that their biggest fight has turned out to be with a group with whom the administration went out of the way to avoid picking a fight. The polls on this issue back that up. Most show the same trend: The older the polling sample, the less support you find for tinkering with Social Security. The younger the sample, the greater the support.
The more the administration tries to reassure seniors that they'll squeak by before any rule change takes effect, and so this debate doesn't concern them, the more concerned seniors get. Here's what the White House missed: This isn't just about self-interest. It's also about sentimentality. No other generation is as passionate - and therefore as protective - about Social Security as the World War II generation, those Americans now in their 70s and 80s. For that demographic, this debate is about preserving a program that served their generation well and which they hope will be around several decades from now to serve their grandchildren.
That's interesting. If they really wanted to protect their grandchildren, they'd do everything they could to ensure some generational fair play. Unless something is done, the current system will - 10 or 20 years from now - soak taxpayers with tax rates that experts say could easily top 50 percent when you combine income taxes with the payroll taxes necessary to fund Social Security and Medicare.
But there's no reasoning with the elderly on this issue. I know. I tried.
Recently, I agreed to sit on a panel here in Coronado and discuss Social Security reform. Home to a lot of retired naval officers, the well-to-do community has a reputation for being conservative. But you wouldn't know it from the way the audience - made up almost exclusively of senior citizens - seized every opportunity to tear into President Bush and his proposal to allow young people to invest part of the money they contribute to the current system into private accounts.
The way these seniors see it, this isn't about demographics and the undeniable fact that, with every year that goes by, we have fewer workers supporting more retirees. This isn't about the fact that Americans are living longer, and so it only makes sense to push back the retirement age.
For this crowd, the whole issue of reforming Social Security comes down to trusting George Bush. For those who don't, it's tempting to buy the argument that the administration is manufacturing a crisis to gin up public support for a scheme that will make a fortune for ''Bush's friends on Wall Street.''
Judging from their questions and comments, that's what many in the Coronado audience believed. And they couldn't get past it. They insisted on making the issue political, when it's really generational.
That disappointed me. So did the fact that these seniors had convinced themselves that there was no ''crisis'' in Social Security because the best estimates are that benefits will continue to be paid out for the foreseeable future. They didn't seem to care a whit about the financial strain that future taxpayers will be put under to make that happen. This is the real crisis.
You know what else was disappointing? That many of the seniors were so openly contemptuous of the idea of letting poor and working people invest their own money in private retirement accounts. To listen to these seniors, the less well-off aren't smart enough to know what to invest where, and so need the government to provide them with a guaranteed benefit.
Putting aside the rank condescension, such comments were horribly naive. Given the demographic changes ahead - beginning with the retirement of 70 million baby boomers - don't expect the Social Security system to give out any guarantees or to honor them if it does.
That's something that older generations need to understand - and which younger generations figured out a long time ago.
Actually, you were going by what another poster said.....
Anytime. Your right to my money ENDS when it detracts from my ability to provide a good quality of life for my family.
I don't want to pick nits, but the above is impossible. FICA is, what, 6% up to $90,000 right now? $5400 max. $10,800 if you include your 'empolyer's' portion. And it was less than $90,000 max for most of the last twenty years, meaning an average (probably) of less than $10k/year for both portions. Your and your employer's tax for the last 20 years can't be $200k, much less yours alone.
I am not saying that SS doesn't need to be changed, it does. But arguing with false numbers doesn't help.
Except it is the only one gaining sponsorship for legitimate legislation.
Anybody know, say, a "REPUBLICAN" that would turn DOWN a government CHECK.?...
How bout' you.?.. Would YOU turn down a federal government check.?.... Socialism is insidious.. thats why its a social disease.. not easily CURED..
You have it about right. You did not mention the democratic party run AARP. They support anything that will hurt Bush. (Even though Bush got their support for his drug plan, they AARP quickly kicked him in the rear by saying that the plan was not all they wanted. The AARP has been agains private accounts because they will take money from the government and keep it in private hands, thus the government has less to spend to buy democratic votes. Of course taking the money from the government is the only way to stop the government from spending it. Much of the ove 55 crowd believe the AARP is looking our for their interests, and overlook the support for democratic party interests, but FDR was part of the democratic party, so maybe they are the same.
I don't mean they're horrible. That's not the case. But they were truly the 1st sheeple gen.
I just hate the moniker "Greatest" - very recently penned by liberal Brokaw, making HIM famous.
The greatest gen of the US will forever be the "founding generation". Now THAT was sacrifice. As well as selfless self-sustenance.
You are so right, so why not accept private accounts and let people keep their money. The government will have to learn to get along without this "tax". Surely this would be a good thing from your point of view? Yes?
It is not about fixing social security althought a lifetime of investment would build a bigger nest egg than social security ever would. But just to take the money away from the government warms my heart. BTW, I am retired as well, not drawing SS, but living on investments I salted away myself.
AARP = DNC violation of so called "Campaign Finance Reform Laws"
The elderly are socialistic because they are informed by the AARP (which is socialistic). Most people on SS believe they are taking out that which they put in, never realizing that after a few years they end up taking out much more than they contributed.
As for turning down the money. Even if someone tried to "prove" that I don't need it, I want it the same as the next person. I believe if you commit to any program and allow people to base their plans on it, then a contract has been created. That is why I agree with the concept that change should be Phased in at the level of the newly employeed. Private accounts are such a program. Means testing and changing the age of collection are not.
"Defined contributions" are much better than "defined benefits." This is the essence of the Bush SS plan. At least (especially in the private sector) you can take it with you.
What a Jerk.
He's a liberal, for sure, I read his column regularly in the SLC Tribune. He's pretty big on giving amnesty to illegals, but with his Latino background, I sort of expect that. But on occasion, he does see some truth, and is not afraid to write about it in his column.
I think he did us all a favor with this one, by telling of his own personal frustrations with the aging New Dealers. To them, the whole scheme has been a magic money machine, put in a very few bucks back in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's, when postwar prosperity was lifting this country to new heights, like the world had never seen, and reap COLA-adjusted bennies until you croak. They fail to realize that by the time the postwar prosperity was starting to peter out (about 1970, by my reckoning) what saved the Social Security system from collapse was all those baby boomers entering the workforce in massive numbers.
Now, the boomers are standing at the door, waiting for their handout, but there's not enough money coming in through the door to keep the pyramid going. I'm glad that Navarette sees this for what it is, we need more liberals who do not merely stick their heads up their butts.
I am not advocating to back this system, don't get me wrong. The government propped up the elderly following the Great Depression by starting this "welfare", and avoided the mass exodus of the starving elderly. We do not need this system at all, and I would back a completely privitized system as suggeted in the CATO plan.
You people scare the holy crap out of me. There are times I'm ashamed you're my countryman. Now we have so-called conservatives calling for the elderly to tighten an already tight belt. I wouldn't blame Jim if he closed up shop in total disgust.
Your post was so on target, I figured I should repeat it in case any confused individual missed it.
I've said it before on this forum, if you take a look at everything the government has done "in respnse" to 9/11/01, you'll find that in every single case, it has not made us any safer, but has increased their control over us, and costs us more. The best thing they could do to prevent hijackings is to make sure that every pilot was armed. This wouldn't cost us a dime, or at least very little, as I'd expect pilots would want to carry their personal firearm. The only problem with this solution, is that it gives us power rather than FedGov. Of course, this just can't be allowed.
Then you are NOT a RINO... RINOs LOVE government checks..
RINO = smarter but very confused democrat...
You can take the democrat out of the party but its damned near impossible to take the democrat from the democrat..
The AARP also sells high fee mutual funds for retirement.
The cato plan is an excellent plan. I dont understand why people who are paying 50/60% of thier income taxes are demonized as not paying enough.
Its THE BIG LIE... no politician, not Republican nor Democrat, not Independent, NONE have told the truth that this is a GENERAL FUND TAX... not a system for the security of the people. They should change the name of the SSA to the Social Accounting Office.
Wait until they start giving you $1000 a month in return.
Good to hear. I just like to make sure that SS is discussed in the propert context. It is welfare, pure and simple....
I bet 90%+ of freepers understand this. I just wish the man on the street did.
Is it a conservative principle that we have people depending on the government for their well being?
Prescott showed that hours HAVE gone done in Europe because of the crushing tax load. I am advocating 'shock' treatment of a national strike so that we do not go the way of Europe.
Very true, but the word does get out. I tend to NOT back down when telling the truth of this "system" to people around me, and I believe that the grassroots effort will get the truth out. A wonderful thing ...the Internet.
Social Security has no chance of disappearing unless Americans realize it was never intended to be the sole source of post-retirement income.
"We can't support ourselves on Social Security" has become the rallying cry of the AARP. However, instead of proposing strategies involving responsible personal investment (low-to-no risk), the AARP, the RATs, and the media clamor for the government safety net to be expanded ad infinitum.
The bigger they make the net, the more likely it is we're all going to end up tangled in it.
No they're still the greatest generation.. Practically everyone from the greatest generation has passed (that I know of at least...). The greediest generation is the kids of the baby boom...
Mugs99, I agree about the government control part, but from a mathematical/financial standpoint, the proposals on the table in re social security reform are sound, viable, practicable, and necessary, in comparison to the status quo.
Because your a freeper and say your older, I'll assue that your an early baby boomer or a latter member of the great generation. When you were a youth, thirty people contributed for every person drawing benefits.
Due to the wonders of science and technology, people live longer, but that creates a small problem for social security, people live longer--drawing more money from a reducing roll of people paying into the system.
Now, if we had the same numbers of people paying in to drawing i'd probably be still for privitization, but saying "what's the rush?" well there isn't its more like 2 paying in for every person collecting, in about ten years it will be 1:1. That is why it is necessary..
As for government control, again, I'm with you...
agree to the max.
Of course not. However, the comment I responded to dealt with the elderly already dependant. I do not, will not, and cannot support any plan that would cut them loose as the post I responded entailed.
The point is more people will cut off, if we dont stop the spiral.
Knock it off
Anyone my age or older who doesn't see this is suffering from a condition I call cerebro-rectalopathy.
You're kidding, right?
Believe it or not, it is conservative to desire cutbacks in socialism rather than advancement of it.
SS in its current form is not sustainable. It must be grandfathered out so that the younger people of our country will be able to support themselves, their families, and provide for their own retirements in the future.
No problem there at all. However, that has nothing to do with what I responded to. My response was to the notion that we should just cut loose Granny and Grandpa who're already depending on the SS check.
Folks below that age limit cannot expect their SS checks to be the amount "promised" them years before.