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Social Security 2.0: Coming in 2007?
US News & World Report ^ | Oct. 24, 2006 | James Pethokoukis

Posted on 10/25/2006 6:42:36 AM PDT by DredTennis

In a television interview last weekend, President Bush said Social Security reform was "still alive" and again declared that it would be one of his top goals when the next Congress convenes. Of course, that's what Bush said right after the 2004 election. And despite pushing the issue hard and personally campaigning for it around the country–60 cities in 60 days in early 2005–the idea's beta version never really took off with the American people, and no legislation was ever submitted. So, what are the chances of reform happening in a Congress that will almost certainly be less hospitable to Bush than the current one?

Ask any veteran Washington hand, and you'll certainly get a skeptical response. "Bush has fought the good fight on this issue," says Charles Gabriel, political analyst for Prudential Securities, "but he wasn't able to get it done when he had enhanced political capital after the 2004 election." Gabriel thinks that the White House will have a tough enough time just getting Congress to reauthorize fast-track trade authority next year, much less starting a revamp of perhaps the most politically sensitive federal program in existence.

... In Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's first speech after being confirmed in the post, he spent a good chunk of his time advocating entitlement reform. "I have always tried to live by the philosophy that when there is a big problem that needs fixing, you should run toward it, rather than away from it," Paulson said in an August 1 address at Columbia University. "That is one of the reasons I decided to come to Washington, and that is the reason I admire the president's political courage and willingness to address entitlement reform."

(Excerpt) Read more at usnews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 10/25/2006 6:42:37 AM PDT by DredTennis
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To: DredTennis

I am sure we would get some type of reform if the Congress stopped fighting george Bush and speant some time working on a better solution.

IMO one of the Problems today is that demovcrats dont want a solution while George Bush is in the Presidency, and the republicans havent the courage to stop playing around and push their agenda. Stop this super-majority BS.

You can bet your butt if the Democrats regain the Congress the Super majority is a dead issue.


2 posted on 10/25/2006 6:48:37 AM PDT by sgtbono2002 (The fourth estate is a fifth column.)
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To: DredTennis

This article omits some relevant information:

In June, 2004, President Bush's Social Security Administration negotiated a deal with Mexico named "Totalization", to allow Mexicans who work for a period of time (legally or illegally) in the United States to collect money from the U.S. Social Security system when they retire in Mexico.

Thanks to the efforts of members of The Conservative Caucus, this deal has not gone into effect yet. The President must send it to Congress, which has 60 legislative days for either house to reject it by majority vote to kill it. If Congress does nothing for those 60 days, it will automatically go into effect. Because the Mexican raid deal is not a treaty, the Senate does not have to ratify it by a 2/3 majority. It was negotiated by authority of a law passed by Congress in 1977 giving the government the ability to negotiate such agreements, subject to Congressional review.

The Conservative Caucus has led the fight to block this irresponsible deal which would drain our Social Security budget. Due to our efforts, President Bush has not sent the agreement to Congress for fear it would be rejected. We have alerted by special mailings over a half million Americans, made tens of thousands of legislative alert phone calls, and delivered to date more than 136,000 signed petitions to Congress and the President opposing the deal with Mexico. With your help, we can keep President from ever sending the deal to Congress, we can get Congress to pass H.R. 858 to permanently ban it, and then our Social Security system will be forever safe from being raided by Mexicans.
http://www.conservativeusa.org/mexico-socsec.htm


3 posted on 10/25/2006 6:49:44 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: DredTennis

I've always figured the long term govt plan was to get everyone to save up a lot of 401k money in accounts. Then put a new "gotcha" surtax on withdrawals by "the rich" as baby boomers start to retire.


4 posted on 10/25/2006 6:52:13 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: 3AngelaD

oh please. Mexico will be the 51st through 58th states some day soon. Sooner the better I say. We need the low wage worker base to keep social security solvent.


5 posted on 10/25/2006 6:53:01 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: 3AngelaD
Won't they have to have PAID INTO Social Security first? And won't the infusion of Social Security money paid by workers now help the current system? And won't those who worked here illegally have to offer some proof that they worked here? And should they have proof that they worked here, won't that give the government evidence against those who employed them illegally?
6 posted on 10/25/2006 7:00:41 AM PDT by Miss Marple (Lord, please look over Mozart Lover's and Jemian's sons and keep them strong.)
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To: kinghorse

I smell Ponzi. How are "low wage" workers going to be able to support all of us "high wage" retirees?


7 posted on 10/25/2006 7:03:28 AM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: DredTennis
Do you realize WHY Social Security is a third rail of politics?

It's because the government is taking my money, saying they are investing it, so they can give it back to me IF I make it to the age of retirement (whatever age that may be by that time).

If I had that money I could invest it myself, win - lose - or draw, but if the government takes that money, I expect back at least what they took, even if it's without the interest.

If I don't get it back there will be holy hell to pay and other people think just like me.

8 posted on 10/25/2006 7:06:20 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: nascarnation

I hadn't thought of that, but I believe you are right.


9 posted on 10/25/2006 7:07:32 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: Just another Joe
Well, you may be thinking, but you don't have enough facts to think intelligently. First, people ar collecting many multiples of what they actually paid in. Because of inflation, actual contributions look puny compared to benefits. In fact, my first check from Social Securty, which made me wait 2 years, was more than the sum of my contributions. I will draw benefits for about 30 years based on the contributions of others.

One way out of this mess would be to means test and then refund contributions of those who do not need support. However, that is just pandering. If SS is insurance then all who do not become dissabled or impoverished shoud be grateful for that and thankful for the coverage. They don't get their accumulated car insurance payments back wieh they quit driving. Likewise, they ar not entitled to a rfund of social insurance payments, either.

Bush, as a lame duck, should be able to lead some bipartisan efforts like this.

10 posted on 10/25/2006 7:46:49 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: ClaireSolt
Well, you may be thinking, but you don't have enough facts to think intelligently. First, people ar collecting many multiples of what they actually paid in. Because of inflation, actual contributions look puny compared to benefits.

1) Your "facts" are only your experience and do not represent all reality

2) I've been paying SS tax since 1959 and on a present value basis, at 5% apr, the value of my "contributions" would have been $3.3 million at age 65. Compare that to the roughly 2K per month I now receive, that is puny.

3) Do not state that contributions are puny compared to benefits. Nothing is farther from the facts.

11 posted on 10/25/2006 8:12:19 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: USS Alaska

I think you're overestimating what you would have if you kept your SS tax yourself. Even if you made the maximum taxible amount from 1959 to 2006 and kept both the employees and employers tax you would only have $430,000 at the end of 2006 at 5% interest (before paying taxes on the earnings).


12 posted on 10/25/2006 9:11:26 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Do not remove this tagline under penalty of law.)
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To: ClaireSolt
First, people ar collecting many multiples of what they actually paid in.

Make that people and I'm with you.
Others will never collect a dime, and others will collect less than what they put in.

In fact, my first check from Social Securty, which made me wait 2 years, was more than the sum of my contributions.

Then you are one of the lucky ones in this regard. Count your blessings.

One way out of this mess would be to means test

They already do this. If you make over a certain amount per year, and it's not a large amount by any means, you can't collect SS.

As far as insurance goes, I pay my car insurance out of my own after tax money.
The government TAKES my SS, I have no choice to participate or not unless I choose not to work and starve.

It comes down to the government telling me that it knows better than me what to do with MY money.

13 posted on 10/25/2006 9:14:22 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Just another Joe; ClaireSolt
That should have been, "Make that some people".
I must have goofed on the HTML.
14 posted on 10/25/2006 9:16:03 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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To: Just another Joe
If you make over a certain amount per year, and it's not a large amount by any means, you can't collect SS.

incorrect

from ssa.gov:

We use a formula to determine how much your benefit must be reduced: If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, we deduct $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit. For 2006, that limit is $12,480. For 2007 that limit will be $12,960.

In the year you reach full retirement age, we deduct $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit, but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age.

If you reach full retirement age in 2006, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $33,240. (If you were born in 1940, your full retirement age is 65 years and 6 months.)

If you will reach full retirement age in 2007, the limit on your earnings for the months before full retirement age is $34,440. (If you were born in 1941, your full retirement age is 65 years and 8 months.)

Starting with the month you reach full retirement age, you can get your benefits with no limit on your earnings.

15 posted on 10/25/2006 9:59:57 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: KarlInOhio
I think you're overestimating what you would have if you kept your SS tax yourself. Even if you made the maximum taxible amount from 1959 to 2006 and kept both the employees and employers tax you would only have $430,000 at the end of 2006 at 5% interest (before paying taxes on the earnings).

I have run the numbers on multiple occasions and can prove that my calculations are correct. However, for me it is an excercise in futility. When I reach the end, I just become fustrated with my current "benefit" compared with my "contribution".

Fortunately, I never planned to depend on SS as a means to secure my retirement and the "SS benefit" that I receive on a monthly basis is just a part of my monthly income. If it went away, I'd still be OK from a financial perspective {this is not an offer to give up my SS benefit}.

16 posted on 10/25/2006 10:00:29 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: Miss Marple
Won't they have to have PAID INTO Social Security first?
For as little as 18 months in the US. The point of a "totalization" agreement is to count all monies paid into both countries' retirement systems as one account, paid into the country you are going to take the money out of. That works for countries like Sweden and Japan, but Mexico's system is radically different than ours.

And won't the infusion of Social Security money paid by workers now help the current system?
Short term it will prolong the Ponzi scheme and lessen the pressure for SS reform. But don't forget, anybody covered by SS also gets disability and family benefits. And the Mexican system is so unstable, being able to come into the US and use our system will be a huge draw for more illegals to come here. That means millions of people and billions in liability for SS that isn't even taken into account in the current deficit projections.

And won't those who worked here illegally have to offer some proof that they worked here? That is the most contentious part of this, as most illegals use fake or someone else's SS numbers. So if several folks claim they worked under 000-00-0000 (and there are several thousand workers currently putting money into the system under that number according to a GAO report) how do you figure out who's legit? Particularly when fraudlent documents is a huge money maker for several of the drug cartels, faking pay stubs won't be a problem (one cartel alone was earning $300 million a year in fake documents according to an informant. That was mostly driver's license and SS cards, but I'm sure they'll be happy to expand.)

And should they have proof that they worked here, won't that give the government evidence against those who employed them illegally?You'd think. But we have employers in a lose-lose situation: if employers challenge documents for being fake (like having 000-00-0000 as a SS#) employers are then open to EEOC prosecution. Read up on the Tyson prosecution, the judge and jury both found the immigration law was too complex for Tyson to be held accountable for breaking it -- and this was a company whose middle management actually hired coyotes to get illegals across the border. The only real solution to this is both to mandate use of the Basic Pilot Verification System by employers (to verifiy a persons SS#) and tamper proof, biometric SS cards. But that's going forward, you still have the problem of 50 people claiming they were paid under 000-00-0000 by the Burfle Corporation, Burfle only paid 20 people under that number, so how to you figure our who the 30 fakers are?

For a really good, non-emotional look at the problems with a Mexican totalization agreement, go look at this report. The Mexican system only covers about 40% of the population (US is 97%), does not give back more money than you pay in (arguably not a bad thing to start here, but is a huge incentive to get to the US to get into our system), and vests after 24 years (ours is 10).

17 posted on 10/25/2006 10:28:04 AM PDT by justanotherfreeper
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To: kinghorse
oh please. Mexico will be the 51st through 58th states some day soon. Sooner the better I say. We need the low wage worker base to keep social security solvent.

----------------------------------------------------

I suggest that, considering your tagline, you get thee to an eye doctor.

18 posted on 10/25/2006 10:30:39 AM PDT by wtc911 (You can't get there from here)
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To: 3AngelaD

It seems obvious that the President and the Speaker are at odds with one another. And it seems therefore that the President will not be sad if the Republican House Majority is lost.


19 posted on 10/25/2006 11:00:31 AM PDT by Hostage
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To: DredTennis

I will always admire the President for his failed push for Social Security reform. It was a foray into visionary politics for the sake of the next generation. It was also the only time I have seen Bush suggest something really unpopular, back it up, and follow it through to the bitter end.

It didn't work, but when the bottom falls out of Social Security, no one can say we weren't warned.


20 posted on 10/25/2006 11:04:23 AM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: wtc911
Whatever. Get back to me when George Bush III is running the superstate.
21 posted on 10/25/2006 11:10:18 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: Miss Marple

To be elligible for Social Security, you have to have worked a number of qualifying quarters...for most it's 40, it used to be 13, which is curiously about the number that most people on SS now had to have worked....That wasn't a lot of working time if you ask me....I digress......What worries me is the one illegal that is young that becomes legal through whatever means, and then brings his whole damn extended family here (they can do this, and they do). For every elderly person in the family it's a trip to the SSA to see if whatever time they worked in Mexico is good nuff to qualify here...they're called reciprocal agreements and the US has them with a bunch of countries.... Voila, you got an old Mexican who is legal by virtue of his recently legal illegal status living of the fat of the land....ain't that nice?


22 posted on 10/25/2006 11:15:51 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: kinghorse

You've identified yourself as a globalist.


23 posted on 10/25/2006 11:40:41 AM PDT by Gradient Vector
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To: Gradient Vector

Naw, never said I wanted it. Called it like I saw it.


24 posted on 10/25/2006 11:41:33 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: kinghorse

actually I did say I wanted it but only because a modern western power cannot stay powerful if it doesn't grow the population. Technology necessitates we find a culture of fertile females who will procreate. Technology necessitates it because technology has made western woman mostly barren unless by choice they become fertile.


25 posted on 10/25/2006 11:43:48 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: kinghorse
"Naw, never said I wanted it. Called it like I saw it."

I think many in our government want it, but it won't happen. To many Americans would fight against it with violence. The north american union isn't happening.
26 posted on 10/25/2006 11:44:20 AM PDT by Gradient Vector
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To: DredTennis

The main reform will be some type of indexing (taxing) SS depending on how good your other retirement is. Sort of like was done with Medicare.


27 posted on 10/25/2006 11:45:23 AM PDT by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Gradient Vector

And that got me thinking. Was it wrong to annex Hawaii and purchase Alaska? Globalist stuff, no? We are globalists and our wealth and future is tied up in seeing a sucessful global Walmart, McDonalds, Home Depot and the like. These are our invading force. If they can hit their numbers, people who invest heavily in their 401K's can retire someday instead of working until they drop. We are tied at the hip with sucessful globalist policy. We will be hurting if our wealth is revalued as a result of corporate retreat from the world, something our competitors dearly want to happen.


28 posted on 10/25/2006 11:47:25 AM PDT by kinghorse (I calls them like I sees them)
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To: DredTennis
Simple solution:

1. Make it voluntary.

2. Let the recipient designate where the funds are invested.

3. Link benefits to monies paid in. If there's an insurance portion, separate it from the retirement portion.

29 posted on 10/25/2006 11:49:50 AM PDT by meyer (A vote for amnesty is a vote against America.)
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To: 3AngelaD
I smell Ponzi. How are "low wage" workers going to be able to support all of us "high wage" retirees? are they all coming alone? what if they have 4 kids that we send to school for $10,000 per year, that's a $40k loss right away

if they are making $40,000 per year (which is not low income) they will be paying a lot less than $40k in taxes they will always be a drain on the economy. if low wage mexican workers were truly good for an economy Mexico would build a fence to keep them in Mexico.

30 posted on 10/25/2006 11:53:34 AM PDT by edzo4
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To: ClaireSolt
One way out of this mess would be to means test and then refund contributions of those who do not need support.

That is exactly the WRONG thing to do. That would turn SS into more of a welfare program than it already is. The correct thing to do is completely separate the accounts of individuals so that each individual's SS benefit is directly linked to the amount that they "invested" over their working lifetime.

Means-testing is simply another layer of socialism added to what is already a redistribution scheme.

31 posted on 10/25/2006 11:55:44 AM PDT by meyer (A vote for amnesty is a vote against America.)
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To: kinghorse
"And that got me thinking. Was it wrong to annex Hawaii and purchase Alaska? Globalist stuff, no? We are globalists and our wealth and future is tied up in seeing a sucessful global Walmart, McDonalds, Home Depot and the like. These are our invading force. If they can hit their numbers, people who invest heavily in their 401K's can retire someday instead of working until they drop. We are tied at the hip with sucessful globalist policy. We will be hurting if our wealth is revalued as a result of corporate retreat from the world, something our competitors dearly want to happen."

Alaska was very sparsely populated, but Hawaii was a mistake. Mexico would be a disaster of epic proportions. They are comparable in size so we can't simply integrate them into our culture. Mexicans are poor, and don't value freedom. It'd be easy to annex Ireland than Mexico.

China is the fastest growing economy in the world and they aren't doing it by sending their jobs overseas. What do you think we'll sell in America when the Chinese make all our products? You don't think the Chinese will realize they don't need a middle man?

Thats assuming they just don't seize American owned possessions. What are we going to do about it, our war machine depends on products built in China. Plus I wouldn't fight for the North American marketplace. I'd fight for America, not for some international marketplace.

32 posted on 10/25/2006 12:26:24 PM PDT by Gradient Vector
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To: meyer

Means testing is a way to back out of a universal program to a smaller, more ;imited one. You obviously want more government than I do. I am appalled by the idea the the goverment is moving toward forced saving.


33 posted on 10/25/2006 12:51:07 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: Just another Joe

I don't think this is true, at all. "If you make over a certain amount per year, and it's not a large amount by any means, you can't collect SS." One think that irks me is to see that talk shos activist rhapsodizing about his $1500 monthy Social Security check and read he and Marlo thomas sold their house in Conn for $75m.


34 posted on 10/25/2006 12:56:16 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: ClaireSolt
Means testing is a way to back out of a universal program to a smaller, more ;imited one. You obviously want more government than I do. I am appalled by the idea the the goverment is moving toward forced saving.

How on earth can you equate being opposed to means testing as "wanting more government"? You're saying the exact opposite by promoting the idea that someone's benefit from SS should be linked to anything other than what they paid in. You want to steal from those that earned and paid in the most and give it to others. That's socialism.

If you're appalled by the idea of forced savings, then why are you even supporting social security in the first place? It IS forced savings. Realistically, it should be abolished. Short of that, if I'm going to be forced to save, then I should have all rights to that savings. You're advocating forced savings, but with the stipulation that only the 'select' should have benefits. Social Security is not, nor was it meant to be welfare.

35 posted on 10/25/2006 1:40:56 PM PDT by meyer (A vote for amnesty is a vote against America.)
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To: edzo4

Well, yes. You made the point much more eloquently than I did. I guess I just assume most people on this forum can think logically, but sometimes I'm surprised.


36 posted on 10/25/2006 3:13:45 PM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: ClaireSolt

Since we have all been paying into SS, your proposal to means test at this late date would come at the expense of those those thrifty souls who scrimped and saved to have a little more, on top of SS, at the end of their lives. It would punish them for saving. I don't think that is good policy, it would encourage irresponsible financial practices.


37 posted on 10/25/2006 3:20:28 PM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: meyer

You are selectively changing the vocabulary to fit your bias. Social Security is a social insurance program, not a savings program. Surely, you know that the money you pay is not saved but is used to pay current benefits. Realistically, I don't see Americans deciding to abandon care of the elderly poor whether or not you like it. People with high incomes should calculate whether they want to pay higher taxes or keep the money and invest it. If they prefer the second option, their own benefits will be lower.


38 posted on 10/25/2006 8:54:27 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: 3AngelaD

People like you are so smug about your virtues that you deserve to be hit by a bus and spend the rest of yout life paralyzed and dependant on the good will and generosity of others.


39 posted on 10/25/2006 8:56:51 PM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: DredTennis
I hope President Bush does take another run at it. In 2005, the strategy was obviously aimed at getting enough Senate Democrats to break the inevitable filibuster. Sadly, not a single Senate dem proved interested in fixing the problem. Instead, the dems served up a big lie campaign while refusing to put anything on the table.

Next time around, the strategy should be all-out attack. Put up our plan to shift to investment accounts and hammer the dems for wanting a 50% tax increase or a 30% benefit cut. The accusation has to be made, and forcefully. It is, first and foremost, true. It is also the only way to smoke the 'rats out of their holes.

40 posted on 10/25/2006 9:14:52 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: ClaireSolt

"People like you are so smug about your virtues that you deserve to be hit by a bus and spend the rest of yout life paralyzed and dependant on the good will and generosity of others."

That it quite honestly one of the most evil things I've seen posted here recently.


41 posted on 10/25/2006 9:35:14 PM PDT by Ethrane ("semper consolar")
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To: ClaireSolt
Social Security is a social insurance program, not a savings program.

And that's exactly what's wrong with it. A fully funded investment account approach would generate significantly higher benefits, plus an inheritable estate. Moving all Americans into the investor class would be a good thing. Democrats fear it because they want to keep people dependent.

42 posted on 10/25/2006 9:52:56 PM PDT by sphinx
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To: ClaireSolt
"If you make over a certain amount per year, and it's not a large amount by any means, you can't collect SS."

Then tell me why my Grandfather couldn't collect any SS unless me made below $12,000 a year?

43 posted on 10/26/2006 8:12:24 AM PDT by Just another Joe (Warning: FReeping can be addictive and helpful to your mental health)
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