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Posts by justlurking

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  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 12:28:37 PM PST · 151 of 185
    justlurking to notdownwidems
    You did read the part where I said I was not receiving social security benefits, didn't you?

    Yes, I did. Did you notice my parenthetical expression acknowledging it?

    To answer your question, I would be lad to accept a 16% or whatever other arbitrary percentage decrease you can name if and when I ever get any benefits, because x dollars - 16%is much better than $0, which is what we are going to get if these irresponsible thieves keep on as they are doing.

    Actually, if nothing is changed -- you'll get more than $0.

    Contrary to a lot of doomsayers: Once the Trust Fund is exhausted, Social Security must only reduce benefits to the level that can be sustained by the payroll taxes.

    Currently, that is estimated to occur about 2034, and at that point benefits would have to be reduced 21%. The 16% reduction only if it were to be immediately applied to all current and future beneficiaries.

    But, I will withdraw my previous comment: I applaud you for making that offer. You may be the first person that has done so, and I also salute you for it.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 12:22:45 PM PST · 150 of 185
    justlurking to Bob434
    Bob, I really wanted to give you a chance. You were better informed than most. But, you disappointed me.

    Again I’ll ask- where’s the proof the government only spent the money on what they were supposed to?

    No, the burden is on you. You are making the claim of misappropriation of funds. Let's see it. I'm not interested in someone else's opinion: I want to see the hard proof in official government documents.

    You can look up the Social Security Trustee reports all the way back to 1941:

    https://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/trust/trustreports.html

    It's all accounted there. If you find an error, I'd love to hear about it.

    But, instead you have diverted into tin-foil hat territory, and thrown up irrelevant information in an attempt to confuse the issue and avoid the truth. And now, you are outright lying to people that don't know any better.

    I understand your concern about how the Trust Fund is accounted in the deficit and aational debt. You aren't the first person to notice that it's not. For that matter, neither is the Civil Service Trust fund, or any number of others. You can search for "US government unfunded liability" and learn a great deal.

    However, as long as the federal government pays back the surplus payroll tax deposited in the Social Security Trust Fund, plus a market dividend rate, they will meet their obligations. They started doing so in 2010, and if nothing is changed, it will be completed in about 19 years. At that point, it WILL be part of the national debt, having been converted into US Treasury Bonds held by investors and banks.

    But, while we can honestly disagree about how the Trust Fund should have been invested, or whether it should be included in the national debt (actually, I don't think we would), what I'm really trying to explain to you and everyone else:

    There has been no "theft". There's no missing money out there to be "put back". You and so many other people insist on focusing on that, because they don't want to admit where the "missing" money really went: to their parents, grandparents, and themselves.

    [Note: in the next paragraph, I use "we" in the collective, not individual. You or anyone else reading this may have personally opposed it. But individually, we are, or will be, reaping the benefits]

    Yes, Congress mismanaged Social Security. But, they did it because we wanted them to do so. When they voted to raise benefits drastically and add a COLA, we cheered them on without regard for the consequences. And we voted against anyone that suggested it might be unsustainable.

    The Reagan administration tried to fix it in the 80's. But, the assumptions were far too optimistic. Long ago, I had an article that pointed out how optimistic they were, in comparison to history. But, no one wanted to talk about it and since then, we've been steadily losing ground.

    Since then, the real "mismanagement" has been the refusal of Congress to address the problem. Again, that's our fault for not holding their feet to the fire and/or threatening the ones that dared suggest doing so.

    And that's why I'm so disappointed in you and everyone else that flames me for telling the truth. There's no secret accounting that ruined Social Security. There's no shadowy group of people that "got more than they deserved". It's all out there in the open, if you just paid attention.

    The problem with Social Security is that every Social Security recipient in the past 40 years and in the future (if no changes are made) has been or is getting more than Social Security can afford.

    And I believe that's the reason I see so much resistance from you and so many others: they don't want to admit the responsibility is (collectively) theirs, and that ultimately they must make personal sacrifices to fix the problem.

    The only alternative is to put an ever-increasing burden on your children. Maybe that's OK with you, but it's not OK with me.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 11:42:45 AM PST · 146 of 185
    justlurking to flaglady47
    I prefer Bob over you, thank you. I’m on to you now.

    LOL, I always love it when people say that. It helps me identify the people who are the real problem with Social Security.

    Since you can't face the truth, you have sided with the liar.

    I hope you figure it out before it's too late. Have a nice day.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 11:40:01 AM PST · 145 of 185
    justlurking to notdownwidems
    I haven’t gotten any checks nor are my hands dirty. Other people created that mess, just leaving it to me and my children and grandchildren to fix; however, I don’t see the slightest inclination of the federal government to reduce the amount of debt they are accumulating, so you can raise SS taxes 21% or whatever arbitrary amount you like, and it won’t do a bit of good until spending is brought under control...and it won’t be, until there is a thorough political revolution in this once-great nation!

    If you offered to accept a 16% decrease in your benefits (once you start receiving Social Security), I would have applauded you. But, I notice you didn't make that offer.

    The other problems with federal government spending are an entirely different discussion. I agree with you, but it's separately financed via other taxes, which can be mitigated various ways.

    However, the Social Security payroll tax starts from the first dollar, and for about half the taxpayers -- it's the only federal tax they pay (other than gasoline and Medicare taxes). And, I'm not personally willing to take the cavalier attitude of "go ahead and raise taxes on my children".

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 10:57:29 AM PST · 137 of 185
    justlurking to flaglady47
    Read # 132.

    I told Bob he was wrong, yesterday. I explained why.

    Just like you, he didn't listen. And now he is deliberately lying to you.

    You have to decide if you want to continue to believe a lie, or educate yourself and learn the truth.

    But, you'll have to start by not listening to people like Bob.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 10:51:24 AM PST · 135 of 185
    justlurking to notdownwidems
    The idea of ‘collective responsibility’ goes against every conservative principle; are we going to have to sacrifice to fix it?

    Yes, if you don't want to pass that increasing burden onto your children.

    But, and listen closely: I WAS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FINANCIAL MESS THESE PROGRAMS ARE IN! That was the fault of the left.

    At this point, it doesn't matter who was at fault for creating this financial mess. What does matter: who is going to be the responsible ones to fix the mess.

    You can't cash those checks and wash your hands of it.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 10:48:00 AM PST · 131 of 185
    justlurking to Pelham
    I believe it was LBJ who came up with the policy of lending excess SS funds to the general fund in exchange for bonds.

    Actually, the investing of excess into US Treasury Bonds (or the equivalent special-obligation bonds) was written into the original law.

    It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to invest such portion of the amounts credited to the Account as is not, in his judgment, required to meet current withdrawals. Such investment may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States.

    There's more information here: The Social Security Trust Funds and the Federal Budget

    The biggest problem with SS is the ratio of people paying in to people getting taking out.

    In a nutshell, this is it. However, I will point out that ratio can even be 1:1 -- it all depends on how much you are willing to tax the taxpayer, and how much you pay the beneficiary.

    But, as I noted: the benefits have been exceeding what the taxes will support in the long run, for decades. Yes, there was a surplus for the past 30 years or so, but that was intended to compensate for the baby-boomer "bubble".

    The problem: the demographic and economic assumptions were too optimistic back in the 80's, and we have been losing ground ever since.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 10:40:37 AM PST · 128 of 185
    justlurking to flaglady47
    Go back to just lurking.

    Look, I'm trying to help you learn. I even pointed you to where you can learn about it. If you aren't willing to put aside your pre-conceived notions and listen, then you can just go on believing in fiction.

    Bull, there is no money in the lockbox.

    The "lock box" was nothing but a meme that Gore tried to use as a "wedge" issue in his campaign.

    But unlike you, he wasn't just misinformed. He was lying to you, and you fell for it. Hopefully, you didn't vote for him as a result.

    The accounting of the Social Security Trust funds (there are actually at least two) is well-documented. If you don't want to take the time to learn about it, that's your loss -- not mine.

    Have a nice day.

  • Ted Cruz and ‘Shotgun Gate’ (with pictures of other politicians)

    11/06/2015 10:06:02 AM PST · 11 of 12
    justlurking to cripplecreek
    Ted Cruz signing "semi-autographs"

    LOL, that's a pretty cool idea.

    Wonder where I can get one?

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 10:00:44 AM PST · 116 of 185
    justlurking to flaglady47
    I agree, however, if the SS Trust Fund would have actually existed, in other words, money really in the lockbox, rather than having been squandered in the General Funds, then it would have been accruing interest from having been properly invested. But instead it was squandered. Therefore, if it had been properly saved and invested, there would have been plenty to fund our retirement savings.

    Please go back and read my posting. I already pointed out that anyone claiming that the "surplus was stolen" is either misinformed, or deliberately lying. Which are you?

    The Trust Fund exists, it contains interest bearing bonds. If you don't believe me, read the 2015 Social Security Trustee's report.

    It wasn't "squandered". It was invested in the safest investment at the time, as required by law.

    That money we paid into SS, just as if we invested into an interest bearing savings account at the bank, would legitimately have been ours, all of it, including the interest, just like in a bank account with interest.

    Yes, that's true. But, that's not what happened. Almost all of it was paid immediately to your parents and grandparents. THAT is where the money went.

    Old-age benefits are in trouble because Social Security has been paying more than it can afford for almost 40 years. If Congress "squandered" anything, it's because they gave too much to your parents, grandparents, and in the future.. you.

    It’s all ours, we retired people.

    Once again, I hate to burst this bubble. But, you don't "own" anything in Social Security. You don't have a contractual right to Social Security benefits. All you have is the promise that future generations will be taxed, and the money given to you.

    But, Congress can completely eliminate your Social Security benefit at any time, and the only recourse you have is to vote against them. Period.

    Don't believe it? The Supreme Court has considered exactly this in Flemming v. Nestor (1960). Congress eliminated benefits for someone already collecting, and he sued. He lost. Congress reserved the power to themselves to change Social Security in any way, at any time.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 9:48:04 AM PST · 109 of 185
    justlurking to notdownwidems
    Uhhh, we voted, we called our representatives and screamed bloody murder, we raised hell...and guess what? We were ignored and called extremists. BTW, no one ever asked me if I wanted social security or medicare or Medicaid or any of the thousand other federal programs...they were foisted on me. So take you 'boomers are responsible for all the leftist policies' and SHOVE IT!

    Yes, I did the same thing. And no, it didn't help. But, collectively, we are still responsible for the outcome. And collectively, we have to act to address the problem.

    So take you 'boomers are responsible for all the leftist policies' and SHOVE IT!

    This really doesn't help. I know you didn't want Social Security or Medicare. But, if you haven't already retired, you will probably be doing so soon -- and will be collecting benefits then.

    The question is: are you willing to participate in the solution? In the case of Social Security, the only choices are raise taxes by 21%, or reduce benefits by 16%. And that has to be done THIS YEAR. Next year, the impact will be worse.

    Yes, Social Security is a raw deal for a lot of people. Since I was at the top end of the wage scale, I'd have to live until about 130 to collect enough benefits to exceed the current value of my contributions.

    But, the ONLY way I can even collect what I'm being promised is to raise taxes even further on my children. They are already struggling to set aside anything for emergencies, much less retirement -- because they have to pay Social Security taxes to fund MY check.

    I'm willing to take a reduction in my benefits, so that my kids aren't subjected to a tax increase. I didn't ask for the benefit increase -- I couldn't even vote back in the 70's when it happened. But, I still consider myself responsible, as soon as I cash that check.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 9:27:50 AM PST · 102 of 185
    justlurking to ResponseAbility
    Yea, Yea the old people are to blame.

    In the case of Social Security, that's actually true. And I say this as one of the "old people".

    Social Security has been paying more old-age benefits than it can afford since the 70's. Note what I high-lighted: I'm referring to the OASI (old age and survivor insurance) benefits. These are separately accounted by Social Security, if you take the time to look.

    Please stop right there before you reply: it isn't because of SSI, disability fraud, or "stealing the surplus". All of those are separately accounted. Anyone who tells you differently is either misinformed or deliberately lying to inflame you.

    The truth is that Congress increased benefits greatly back in the 70's and added the COLA without properly funding it. The Reagan administration tried to correct it in the 80's, but their demographic and economic assumptions were too optimistic.

    Since then, anyone that even suggests trying to fix the problem is demagogued out of office. So, the problem just gets worse every year.

    How bad is it? At the moment, benefits would have to be reduced 16.4% across the board, or taxes raised 21%, to put Social Security back into balance for the next 75 years.

    Lets take everything they got...(government solution)

    Anyone that suggests that is an idiot. But, the reality is that any solution will have to be a shared sacrifice. Current and near-future Social Security beneficiaries must accept reduced benefits, and current and near-future taxpayers must pay additional taxes.

    We lost the opportunity for an "easy fix" long ago. But, the kind of sniping I see on this thread is a perfect example of why there hasn't been a timely resolution. Rather than throwing blame at each other, it's time for all generations and work together to fix Social Security.

    However, perpetuating it isn't the answer -- demographic trends will just make it more and more expensive until it's unsustainable. Other countries have transitioned to an asset-based systems while preserving the retirement security of current generations. But, everyone has to accept responsibility and participate -- and be willing to give up something.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 9:08:14 AM PST · 87 of 185
    justlurking to Parmy
    Who spent the SS surpluses?

    Short answer: your parents and grandparents. If you are collecting Social Security, you did.

    The surplus wasn't as large as a lot of people think. It is about to peak, but it's still only enough to pay less than 3 years of benefits.

    The reason it's that small? It's because most of the payroll taxes collected over the past 40 years were immediately paid as benefits.

    In the 70's, Congress increased old age benefits to an unsustainable level, and/or didn't raise taxes high enough to compensate. They tried to correct it in the 80's, but it wasn't enough: the economic and demographic assumptions were too optimistic.

    And I'll save you the effort of retorting with the usual canards: It wasn't SSI -- that's separately funded from the general fund. And it wasn't disability fraud -- while the DI fund has a more severe problem, it's separately accounted with it's own trust fund and a dedicated portion of the payroll tax.

    I'm referring only to the OASI (old age and survivor insurance) benefits.

    Who spent all that tax money?

    If you are referring to the surplus in the Trust Fund: it wasn't spent, it was loaned. It's currently in the equivalent of US Treasury Bonds, as required by law when Social Security was created.

    In 2010, the payroll taxes became insufficient to pay benefits, so Social Security started withdrawing from the Trust Fund. It's a relatively small amount, and the dividends collected are sufficient to cover the withdrawals. But, that will change in the next few years, and the Trust Fund balance will start to decline -- until about 2034 when it hits zero.

    If nothing is done and the Trust Fund hits zero, benefits will be reduced about 21%, by law. Social Security can't borrow money.

    To give you an idea of the severity of the problem right now, you can read the summary of the 2015 Trustees Report, starting at the bottom of page 7:

    https://www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/tr/2015/tr2015.pdf

    For the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period: (1) revenues would have to increase by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent payroll tax rate increase of 2.62 percentage points (from its current level of 12.40 percent to 15.02 percent, a relative increase of 21.1 percent); (2) scheduled benefits during the period would have to be reduced by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduction of 16.4 percent applied to all current and future beneficiaries, or 19.6 percent if the reductions were applied only to those who become initially eligible for benefits in 2015 or later; or (3) some combination of these approaches would have to be adopted.

  • Baby boomers are what’s wrong with America’s economy

    11/06/2015 8:51:18 AM PST · 63 of 185
    justlurking to mjp
    I'm on social security, and uh, no they don't, and uh, no they won't. He just lost his credibility right there.

    No, he's right. You just didn't understand what he meant.

    Your initial Social Security benefits are calculated from something called AIME, or "average indexed monthly earnings":

    Indexing Factors for Earnings

    Here's a table of the factors, dating back to 1951:

    Average Wage Indexing (AWI) Series

    Once your benefit is calculated two years prior to age 62, THEN a COLA is applied thereafter. And that is similar, but not exactly the same as inflation.

    The author's point is: the average wage index has been increasing faster than inflation. So, the initial benefit (calculated from your wages) has been increasing faster than inflation.

  • Marco Rubio campaign says state GOP credit card use rules unclear

    11/06/2015 8:33:41 AM PST · 39 of 44
    justlurking to sheana
    I had a corporate credit card for many years. Never, not once, did I ever put a personal expense on it.

    Me too, but I have ended up with personal expenses on it.

    It's always been the same reason: my corporate card is the "first choice" on my rental car profile. It has to be there, in order for our travel reservation system to work. I've had a couple of instances where I made a reservation for personal travel, and the charge instead went to my corporate card.

    I don't know if I made an error, or the rental car system made an error. I thought I chose my personal card at the time of reservation, but it doesn't seem to "stick". And I don't always catch the error when I return the car.

    I immediately file an expense report and mark the charge as personal, so it's cleared from the system and I don't get reimbursed. Then, I pay the credit card myself. My manager hasn't hassled me about it, because she knows I didn't do it on purpose.

    In Rubio's case, he appears to have been using the card explicitly for personal expenses. That's usually a big no-no for a business, period.

    My accountant doesn't even want me using my small-business credit card for personal expenses. I've done it a few times just to generate enough transactions to avoid cancellation for non-activity.

  • Clinton Signed NDA Laying OutCriminal Penalties for Mishandling of Classified Info

    11/06/2015 8:21:05 AM PST · 23 of 24
    justlurking to bgill
    I thought we knew this back in the middle summer.

    As soon as the classified info showed up in her email, it was obvious. The NDA is mandatory for access.

    However, this confirms that Clinton signed it. As a lawyer, she would have never signed it without reading it, and any claim that she didn't remember it would be laughable.

    Hillary just keeps handing issue after issue to the Republicans. The only question is whether they are willing to use them.

    I want to see these commercials saturating the airwaves:

    1. "I didn't say it was a video"
    2. "I didn't give favors to Clinton Foundation donors".
    3. "I didn't receive classified information on my server".
    4. "I didn't receive Benghazi security requests".

    There are others. But, each of these can fit into a 30-second commercial.

    Clinton isn't going to "play fair". The Republicans had better be ready to hit her with everything.

    Polls already report that Clinton isn't considered trustworthy, even by Democrats. There are many of them that will vote for her anyway, but she has so many negatives that some of them will stay home in disgust and not vote at all.

    They just have to be reminded of her history, over and over, until Election Day.

  • Clinton Signed NDA Laying OutCriminal Penalties for Mishandling of Classified Info

    11/06/2015 8:10:05 AM PST · 21 of 24
    justlurking to Old Retired Army Guy
    Sometime in January, it comes out that Hillary faces a Grand Jury hearing presented by the Justice dept. and FBI of the evidence against her.

    I would really like to see that, but it's not going to happen.

    The Department of Just Us is not going to touch a Clinton, especially while she is running for President.

    Of course, if it were a Republican, they'd be all over him/her like flies on dung.

  • Clinton Signed NDA Laying OutCriminal Penalties for Mishandling of Classified Info

    11/06/2015 7:31:02 AM PST · 6 of 24
    justlurking to Dacula
    There was never any question in my mind that Clinton had to sign the NDA. It's required procedure, and even Her Thighness wouldn't have been allowed to avoid it.

    The language of her NDA suggests it was Clinton’s responsibility to ascertain whether information shared through her private email server was, in fact, classified.

    This was not a "suggestion". It's an absolute requirement, codified in law. As a holder of that level of clearance, one of her responsibilities is to recognize unmarked or mis-marked material, and report it.

    This is all Kabuki theater. Clinton should be in jail, not running for President. In fact, I think one reason she is running for President is she knows she is "untouchable", because any prosecution would be considered "political".

  • Anonymous’s KKK ‘leak’ targets the elusive online world of white nationalism

    11/06/2015 6:55:43 AM PST · 27 of 30
    justlurking to Fai Mao
    No BHO but I bet the DNC and NAACP were

    I should have read a little further before posting. See my post #26

  • Anonymous’s KKK ‘leak’ targets the elusive online world of white nationalism

    11/06/2015 6:53:18 AM PST · 26 of 30
    justlurking to Brad from Tennessee
    I read the article, and I thought it was interesting that the Post didn't identify one of the phone numbers in this data:

    http://pastebin.com/47EYpYyW

    The number: 877-336-7200

    If you didn't know, you can usually determine the owner of a listed number by simply entering the phone number in a Google search.

    This phone number leads here: For questions about contributions, please call 877-336-7200.

    Don't want to click the link? The URL is: http://my.democrats.org/page/s/contact-the-democrats

    This is a useful filter for any story about this particular set of data. If they insist on talking about how certain people were embarrassed, but neglect to mention the DNC, it's pretty clear where the writer's sympathies lie.

    I don't know how anyone can take this data seriously, without knowing the exact source. I'll surmise that it's from a "please send me more information" form on some white supremist's website, where you can enter any email address or phone number.

    If that's the case, this is nothing but a compilation of "revenge" submissions. It's the equivalent of the old prank where you subscribe someone to a porn magazine, or subscribe an anti-gun zealot to "Guns and Ammo".

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/06/2015 6:38:04 AM PST · 43 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    There’s no ‘conspiracyu’ about it- it’s plain fact- you can look these numbers up yourself- Illegals are costing this country upwards of $600 billion dollars ever year

    And, that's the end of our discussion.

    I've told you over and over: Social Security financing is completely independent of the federal budget. I provided plenty of citations for you.

    But, you are so caught up in your pre-conceived notions of what's wrong, you refuse to listen. And that's why I'm done with you.

    I realize that it's really difficult to accept who is really responsible for the problems with Social Security: your parents and grandparents. But, if you aren't willing to make the necessary sacrifices to fix it for your own children, you're going to be surprised when you have no choice.

    Good bye, and good riddance.

  • The Airplanes of James Bond

    11/05/2015 4:09:06 PM PST · 12 of 16
    justlurking to yarddog
    I am not even sure the book says what the plane is. In the back of my mind it seems it was a DC-3 but I don’t know that for sure.

    Now that you point it out, that makes sense. I don't remember the reason they were flying to Cuba, but landing a corporate jet in Cuba probably isn't a great idea.

    Castro might decide it's his, in the name of socialism.

  • Culture Wars: The Left Never Surrenders

    11/05/2015 4:06:57 PM PST · 5 of 12
    justlurking to Kaslin
    I know it's not popular to point out the truth, but here it is:

    The reason one guy "adopted" the other is it was the only way to establish a family relationship at the time.

    It means that one becomes a dependent of the other, and for tax purposes one becomes "head of household".

    It also clarifies whether one has the authority to make medical decisions for the other, and have visitation rights.

    It also established a right of inheritance that can't be challenged.

    Some of these things can be established via a will. But, not all of them.

  • The Airplanes of James Bond

    11/05/2015 3:57:35 PM PST · 9 of 16
    justlurking to yarddog
    In the book “Quantum of Solace” a group of varied individuals are flying to Cuba. Anyone know what kind of plane?

    The article lists several candidates from the movie. I've bolded the likely possibilities:

    Douglas DC-3-G102A
    Canadair Challenger 604
    SIAI-Marchetti SF.260TP
    Bell 205
    Gulfstream V
    Piper PA-28
    British Aerospace BAE 125 Series 800A

    Those are corporate jets. Aside from the DC-3, the others are single-engine planes or a helicopter.

  • The Airplanes of James Bond

    11/05/2015 3:54:03 PM PST · 7 of 16
    justlurking to EveningStar
    They only briefly mentioned the autogyro in You Only Live Twice.

    Unlike the two-stage rocket, "Little Nellie" was real.

  • Black hole awakens after 26 years

    11/05/2015 2:16:46 PM PST · 3 of 17
    justlurking to Red Badger
    Message sent by the black hole:

    Send More Chuck Berry

  • Jeb Bush guarantees victory in N.H. as poll numbers fall

    11/05/2015 1:51:03 PM PST · 61 of 118
    justlurking to Tijeras_Slim
    Most people like toast.

    Not when it is that badly burned.

  • Jeb Bush guarantees victory in N.H. as poll numbers fall

    11/05/2015 1:50:11 PM PST · 60 of 118
    justlurking to Red Badger

    De Nile isn’t just a river in Egypt.

  • Exxon Mobil Under Investigation in New York Over Climate Statements

    11/05/2015 12:32:01 PM PST · 16 of 59
    justlurking to SteveinSATX
    Maybe I’m asking the wrong question but doesn’t GW have to be at least codified into law just to give prosecutorial legal standing?

    Under Sarbanes-Oxley, or "SOx", a public company can be prosecuted by not anticipating future risks and reporting them to investors.

    However, that's federal law. New York may have a different or even more stringent interpretation. If so, I don't know why any company actually does business there, unless the return outweighs the risk.

  • It's official: Secret Service now guarding Trump, Carson around the clock - at taxpayer expense

    11/05/2015 12:17:57 PM PST · 26 of 110
    justlurking to jessduntno
    Surprised Trump wouldn’t stick with his own security.

    I suspect he would, but the Secret Service has access to information and even tactics his private security wouldn't have.

    Frankly, Trump would generate a lot of goodwill if he offered to write a check to the Secret Service, or perhaps to their benevolent fund.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/05/2015 10:20:19 AM PST · 40 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    I’ve been arguing what many argue- and also trying to figure out, not knowing much about it myself, how we could go from a worker to non worker ratio of 16 to 1, and not have surplus still (even though we are now apparently down to a ratio of aprox 6-1)- It seems the money has been mismanaged (When thinking this through without knowing actual figures- and again, perhaps I’m wrong)- As it is evident that survivors (those who make it to retirement age, and don’t die before reaching it) are not paid in excess of 16 times what they put in- there should have been plenty of surplus.

    It's called demographics. When people don't have a bunch of kids, and live longer, the ratio of contributors to beneficiaries goes down. There's no conspiracy.

    From what I understand, (and again, I may be wrong, but many make this argument- and it seems a reasonable argument to make) while the surplus did go into a trust fund with government bonds- bonds are nothing more than iou’s, the actual money being spent on other things, and when it comes time to make good on the iou’s the government has to borrow money to pay the SS

    That's essentially correct, as long as there is an annual deficit. What is happening is the government sells new US Treasury bonds to individual investors and banks. There's no surprise there.

    Further, from what I understand, and again, I may be wrong, but, Had the money been invested, like it was supposed to be invested, in pre-existing marketable U.S. Treasury bonds, the money would actually still be there, and we would not have to be borrowing, paying interest on the borrowed money, and repeating the cycle over and over and over again driving us further into deficit in SS (not actual deficit, but to where we have to pay out less to each SS recipient)

    No, that's not true. Per the link that knarf posted: the SSA has the option of buying marketable and non-marketable special obligation bonds. They've done both, but since 1980, they have been buying non-marketable bonds. But, the non-marketable bonds dividend rate is tied to the US Treasury Bond Rate. You can look at the annual report and do the calculation: the Trust fund earned 3.55% last year, consistent with US Treasury Bonds.

    I won’t drop that because we are paying out between $400 billion and $600 billion every single year to illegals, they are destroying the economy, and the government ‘borrows’ the money from the trust fund in some cases to ‘fix the budget’

    Look, this is the last time. What the government does with the money it borrows from Social Security is irrelevant. As long as it pays it back when Social Security needs it, and pays a market dividend rate, Social Security financing is secure.

    Again, this is your last chance. You want to discuss this civilly, drop the conspiracy crap. You are wrong, it's a lie, and whoever told it to you did it to get you agitated. And it's working.

    [rest of conspiracy crap ignored]

    What exactly is the ratio of worker to non worker for which we fall under’ sustainable levels?

    It all depends on how much you are willing to tax the workers, and how much you want to pay in benefits. Read on.

    nobody is whining about anything- We’re simply asking questions which seem reasonable questions to ask since SS had surpluses all those years and still couldn’t manage- It only seems reasonable to question where the mismanagement happened- Sorry if you don’t like that

    If you want to ask questions about why, that's fine. But, spare me the complaining about stuff that didn't happen, or stuff that is irrelevant. I'll answer your question, but I'm not going to start with your false premise.

    So, if you want to know what happened -- this is it:

    Here's where we stand: There is about $2.7T in the trust fund. But, Social Security pays about $859B in benefits, every year. That's only enough for less than 3 years in benefits. The surplus over the past few decades wasn't that large, because most of the payroll taxes collected went to the beneficiaries. And ultimately, that's your answer.

    I read this repeated meme that "Congress stole SS". So, let's go with that for a moment -- pretend that Congress "stole" SS: who did they "steal" it for?

    The answer: Social Security recipients. In other words, the exact people for whom the benefits were intended.

    In the 70's, Congress decided that Social Security recipients needed more money. They increased the benefits significantly, AND added a COLA every year. Why did they do it? Simple: to buy votes. If you think they had altruistic motives, you don't know many Congressmen.

    Despite attempts to raise taxes to pay for it, and accelerate that increase in the 80's, the demographic and economic assumptions were too optimistic. They raised benefits too high, and/or didn't raise taxes enough.

    So, Social Security has been paying more benefits than it could afford for at least the past 40 years. And who got the extra money? Again:

    Past, Present, and Future Social Security recipients.

    You aren't going to like this, but I'll make this as simple as possible: if you are collecting Social Security, go look at your last check or direct deposit. If you haven't started collecting benefits, look at your last Social Security statement or online at SSA.gov, and determine what you are being promised.

    Take that amount, and multiply it by 16.4%. If the amount is $1000, 16.4% is $164.

    That amount is why Social Security is in trouble.

    It's being paid to you now or in the future and Social Security can't afford it, in the long run. It's not your fault you are receiving it, other than if you voted for someone that gave it to you. Congress didn't give it to "someone else": they gave it to your parents and grandparents, and are promising to give it to you.

    If you aren't willing to give up all or some of that extra benefit right now, you are contributing to the financial problems with Social Security. Because, the only way you can continue receiving that extra amount is to raise taxes on your children and grandchildren by 21.1% to 15.02%, combined.

    If the changes aren't made this year, then the reduction to benefits or the increase in taxes will have to be bigger next year. And it will get worse every year until about 2034, when the SSA will have no choice but to reduce benefits by about 21%.

    If you don't like the truth, please spare me the outrage. You don't have anyone else to blame, other than previous generations that didn't have enough children to keep this inter-generational income transfer going.

  • UK Turns to Diesel to Meet Power Supply Crunch

    11/05/2015 9:32:04 AM PST · 23 of 24
    justlurking to VanShuyten
    Diesel generators are what keep most third world cities intermittently lit at night.

    Not just the third world.

    The island of Kauai in Hawaii is powered by diesel generators. They have some alternative energy, but not enough to even make a small dent.

    They bring the diesel by barge to Port Allen.

  • UK Turns to Diesel to Meet Power Supply Crunch

    11/05/2015 9:30:01 AM PST · 22 of 24
    justlurking to Popman
    I have an old style electric water heater...

    We just installed an on-demand water heater.

    It's more expensive up front, but much more efficient. The exhaust is cool enough to use PVC pipe.

    And, it lasts at least twice as long as a tank-style water heater (20+ years).

  • UK Turns to Diesel to Meet Power Supply Crunch

    11/05/2015 9:27:36 AM PST · 21 of 24
    justlurking to DUMBGRUNT
    GOOGLE WILL TAKE YOU OVER THE PAY WALL!

    Thanks -- can you post a link?

  • UK Turns to Diesel to Meet Power Supply Crunch

    11/05/2015 9:26:48 AM PST · 20 of 24
    justlurking to sparklite2
    It’s the first time I’ve done it.

    Yes, but it's a common problem.

    Moderators have been known to pull threads behind a paywall, or even a "registration required" link.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/05/2015 8:20:25 AM PST · 38 of 44
    justlurking to yefragetuwrabrumuy
    However, it was passed by its advocates with the idea of nationalizing all retirements under the government umbrella.

    I don't think it was intended to "nationalize" retirement: there were still privately funded pensions in many industries. But, there were a subset of people that didn't, and just like Obamacare: they upended the entire nation for that subset of people.

    The ugly truth: Social Security included the middle class, because it was the only way to pay for it. But, by selling it to the middle class, they created a large constituency to protect it.

    And here's how they hood-winked the middle class: they set up the benefit formula so that the middle class actually paid for most of the benefits of the lower income workers. From a posting I wrote earlier:

    The payroll tax is flat, up to 118K per year (in 2015).

    Over your lifetime, the highest 35 years of wages are used to calculate your benefit. If you don't have 35 years of earning, 0 is used for the remaining years.

    Wages are indexed by average wage growth (which is similar to inflation, but not exactly). So, at retirement, you have what is called AIME, or average indexed monthly earnings.

    The AIME is then plugged into a formula to determine your benefit. You might be thinking: they take my AIME, multiply it by 50% (or whatever), and that's my benefit. So, everyone gets a benefit proportional to the wages that were taxed. Right?

    Nope, that's not how it works. In 2016, the calculation is:

    1. 90% of the first $856 of your AIME, plus
    2. 32% of your AIME from $856 to $5,157, plus
    3. 15% of your AIME from $5,157 to $9,833.
    If you do the math, the person that contributes the maximum amount to Social Security every year for 35 years will receive a benefit of $2,848 at their full retirement age (FRA). That's 29% of their AIME.

    Repeat the calculation for a median AIME, like $5,157/month. Their Social Security Benefit at FRA would be $2,148/month, or 42% of their AIME.

    Finally, at a low income level: $856/month. Their benefit would be $770/month, or 90% of their AIME.

    As you can see, Social Security is means-tested. Low-income wage earners receive replacement of almost all of their income in retirement, vs. between 1/4 and 1/3 for higher income workers.

    Depending on what assumptions you use for rate of return and life expectancy, it turns out that if your average wage is BELOW the median income, you get an above-average return from your Social Security contributions. Conversely, if you were ABOVE the median income, you get a below-average, or even negative return.

    Frankly, if this had been obvious at the time, I don't think Social Security would have ever passed. But, ObamaCare wouldn't have passed either, if we knew what we knew now.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/05/2015 8:12:22 AM PST · 37 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    We’ve had congressman after congressman state that the funds were misappropriated- Are they too ‘willfully lying in order to agitate”?

    Yes. That's what many Congressmen do.

    People like Nancy Pelosi, Elijah Cummings, Harry Reid, and Chuck Schumer shamelessly lie to the cameras, knowing that the lamestream media will lap it up and not bother to fact-check them.

    Alcee Hastings was a US District Court judge before he was IMPEACHED by Congress for bribery and perjury. He was subsequently elected to represent the 23rd District in Florida. Do you really think being a Congressman makes someone trustworthy?

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/05/2015 8:03:28 AM PST · 36 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    I asked y7ou t5o keep it civil- apparently you’ re not capable of doing so- It was never my intention to ‘willfully lie and agitate’ people- don’t know why you even have to bring crap like that up? I was trying to have a discussion with you hoping you would clear some things up as I mentioned I probably was wrong- but I don’t really care to discuss the issue further if you’re going to act like that

    Good, I got your attention.

    Here's the problem: You have been arguing from a false premise, like "gun control saves lives", or "man causes global warming".

    I'm not going to waste my time arguing with you about that. If you refuse to acknowledge that you're wrong, we have nothing further to discuss.

    However, if you do want to discuss the real issues, I'll be happy to do so. But, you'll have to start by dropping all the "illegal aliens are stealing Social Security" crap. You've posted absolute falsehoods over and over in this thread, despite earlier postings with references that point out the flaws in your argument.

    We have to move beyond arguing about non-existent or irrelevant problems, because all it does is poison the discussion about what really needs to be done.

    Here's the basic truth: Social Security is in trouble because it pays more "old age" benefits than it can afford. It's been doing it for decades, despite an attempt to fix it back in the 80's. The problem is demographic and economic:

    1. Life expectancy is increasing.
    2. Fertility rate is lower than expected (it's currently less than replacement rate).
    3. The economy isn't growing as fast as expected.

    It isn't SSI. That's administrated by Social Security, but separately funded from general revenues.

    It isn't disability fraud. Yes, the disability fund has its own problems, and it's actually in worse shape than the old age/survivor fund. But, it's separately accounted -- and even if you were to completely remove disability benefits (and taxes) into another program, the Social Security OASI (old age and survivor insurance) program is still in trouble.

    It isn't "illegal aliens". If anything, they are actually HELPING Social Security, by paying taxes and never collecting benefits.

    What I am trying to get you (and many others) to understand: Social Security old age benefits will be in jeopardy in the next two decades. So, stop whining about other stuff that is either untrue or irrelevant. They can't solve the problem.

    It comes down to what I posted earlier: in order to keep Social Security going in its current form, taxes must be increased, or benefits must be reduced, or a combination thereof. And because we (collectively) have put our head in the sand for the past two decades, the changes are going to be painful. The only question is how the pain will be distributed. And, the longer we wait, the more painful it will be.

    The Social Security Administration has a web page showing their evaluation of dozens of proposed changes:

    Individual Changes Modifying Social Security

    I highly recommend taking time to look at them, as they have some variation of almost every proposal I've seen for "fixing" Social Security. There are two simple, easy-to-understand graphs for each proposal. If you have any questions about how to interpret them, let me know and I'll explain.

    But, I'll also point out that I'm actually not advocating that Social Security should be "fixed" so it can continue in its current form. I just want everyone to understand what it will take, and decide if they really want to put that burden on their children and grandchildren.

    Any "fix" is doomed to fail, for the same reason that every other "fix" since Social Security was first created: the demographic trend is not favorable. We have to find a way to transition to an asset-based system like Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Chile. But, it's going to be painful, because during the transition both taxpayers and beneficiaries must bear an extra burden because previous generations were so short-sighted.

  • UK Turns to Diesel to Meet Power Supply Crunch

    11/04/2015 4:11:43 PM PST · 2 of 24
    justlurking to sparklite2; Admin Moderator
    I really wish you wouldn't post articles behind a paywall.
  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 4:06:58 PM PST · 32 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    first off I didn’t’ say it was easy- I said there were reasons why we’re In the mess and said there were things we could do to fix the problem-

    Except your reasons are wrong. And all you are doing is preventing people from facing the real reasons, and participating in the resolution. An object example:

    The government is stealing the money because they are using it for things that were never meant for it to be used for- and while the money is tied up paying for those other things, it’s not drawing interest and isn’t being invested- and it’s beign used to pay for things like illegal imigrants-

    All of this is demonstrably false.

    Nearly all of the payroll taxes collected in the past few decades were used to pay benefits to current beneficiaries. A small portion were not needed, and BY LAW, were invested in the equivalent of US Treasury Bonds.

    The Trust Fund collects dividends every year. You can read the Social Security Trustee's annual report, and it will tell you exactly how much.

    https://www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/tr/2015/tr2015.pdf

    See the table on page 7.

    If you don't go read the Trustee's report and confirm it for yourself, you are consigning yourself to being willfully ignorant on the subject.

    And if you repeat this incorrect claim after I've pointed you to authoritative information that clearly contradicts it, you are willfully lying in order to agitate people that don't know any better.

    I don't think I can make it any clearer than that.

    I'm not going to bother to respond to the rest of your claims, because they arise from information that is just as wrong.

    I hope we can keep this conversation civil- like I said, this certainly is not my area of expertise, and perhaps I am wrong- perhaps the government has paid back everything with interest and SS didn’t ‘lose’ a dime after all, but I have my suspicions

    Yes, I'd like to keep this conversation civil. But, that requires you to start reading and learning, rather than spouting this kind of crap.

    Go read the Trustee's annual report and learn, and I'll be happy to discuss the finer points of it. Or, just shut up because you don't know what you are talking about, and aren't helping.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 3:11:01 PM PST · 29 of 44
    justlurking to knarf
    IF we suddenly stopped paying out SS ... CAN we recover to SS solvency, and if so ... when

    The unfunded liability for Social Security is estimated to be about 27 trillion, or about 10 times the current Trust fund.

    In 2014, about $786 billion was collected in payroll taxes and income taxes on benefits.

    Starting with the current Trust Fund balance of $2.764B and presuming an annual dividend rate of 4%, it would require 19 years to build that balance to over $27 Trillion.

    But once again, Social Security won't simply go bankrupt. They will just lower benefit payments to whatever can be sustained with the incoming taxes. But, how they would do it is anyone's guess.

    My suggestion: plan for a reduction of at least 20% in 2030. That's what I'm doing.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 2:56:13 PM PST · 27 of 44
    justlurking to Bob434
    but we can’t find the hundreds of billions that our government STOLE from SS?

    Sigh, here we go again. Why won't this meme die? It's wrong, and you are just making the problem worse by giving people the false hope there is an easy fix.

    Read the rest of the thread. The government didn't steal anything from Social Security. They borrowed it, and are paying it back. This is nothing new, as the original legislation said: this is what the Secretary of Treasury shall do.

    There4 are still more people paying in to SS that are actually around to collect it in the end- (or at least all of what they payed in) so that would still mean a surplus (which apparently also gets stolen)-

    There are not enough payroll taxes being collected to pay benefits NOW, and withdrawals from the Trust Fund have begun. It started in 2010, thanks to the recession. At the moment, the Trust Fund is earning enough interest to keep growing despite the withdrawals, but that will end soon. And around 2034, the Trust Fund will be exhausted. By law, SSA must reduce benefits if they aren't given additional money.

    As stated before though, things can be done to ‘fix’ the problem before 2030 (some now think it will be solvent out till 2040 or so)

    I don't think you realize the magnitude of the problem. There are no easy fixes -- it's too late for that.

    I'll again quote what the 2015 Trustee report says:

    For the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period: (1) revenues would have to increase by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent payroll tax rate increase of 2.62 percentage points (from its current level of 12.40 percent to 15.02 percent, a relative increase of 21.1 percent); (2) scheduled benefits during the period would have to be reduced by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduction of 16.4 percent applied to all current and future beneficiaries, or 19.6 percent if the reductions were applied only to those who become initially eligible for benefits in 2015 or later; or (3) some combination of these approaches would have to be adopted.

    That's what has to be done NOW. If we wait until 2034, the tax increase (or the benefit cut) will have to be larger.

    And even then, that only "solves" the problem until 2090. Presuming we reach that point, the problem will just occur again without a structural change -- it's a demographic problem we can't repeal.

    Historically, the economic and demographic assumptions used by SSA have been too optimistic. An example: Back in the 80's, the SSA's assumptions forecast that the increase in payroll taxes (about 50%) would put Social Security back on solid footing until 2060.

    Guess what: we aren't going to make it.

    But, I'll reiterate: Social Security won't go "bankrupt". They must simply reduce benefits to whatever level can be sustained with the incoming payroll taxes. Currently, that's about a 21% reduction in 2034. But, the date generally gets closer and the reduction gets bigger every year.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 2:34:55 PM PST · 26 of 44
    justlurking to knarf
    Did you actually read the URL? It explains exactly what I've been saying:

    The investment rules governing payroll tax income were also established in the 1935, and are essentially the same ones in use today. Specifically, the 1935 Act stated: "It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to invest such portion of the amounts credited to the Account as is not, in his judgment, required to meet current withdrawals. Such investment may be made only in interest-bearing obligations of the United States or in obligations guaranteed as to both principal and interest by the United States." (See Title II, Section 201of the 1935 law)

    It goes on to explain that the Trust fund has been in both marketable and special-obligation bonds. And it explains:

    Since the assets in the Social Security trust funds consists of Treasury securities, this means that the taxes collected under the Social Security payroll tax are in effect being lent to the federal government to be expended for whatever present purposes the government requires. In this indirect sense, one could say that the Social Security trust funds are being spent for non-Social Security purposes. However, all this really means is that the trust funds hold their assets in the form of Treasury securities.

    What changed in the LBJ administration:

    This 1968 change grew out of the recommendations of a presidential commission appointed by President Johnson in 1967, and known as the President's Commission on Budget Concepts. The concern of this Commission was not specifically with the Social Security Trust Funds, but rather it was an effort to rationalize what the Commission viewed as a confusing budget presentation. At that time, the federal budget consisted of three separate and inconsistent sets of measures, and often budget debates became bogged-down in arguments over which of the three to use. As an illustration of the problem, the projected fiscal 1968 budget was either in deficit by $2.1 billion, $4.3 billion, or $8.1 billion, depending upon which measure one chose to use. Consequently, the Commission's central recommendation was for a single, unified, measure of the federal budget--a measure in which every function and activity of government was added together to assess the government's fiscal position.

    This was all about budgets. The excess Social Security payroll taxes still went into the trust fund. As the article also notes, there were already two other major trust funds (civil service retirement and life insurance for WWI soldiers) when Social Security began. So, this wasn't a new concept.

    But, you can skip all that and read the last paragraph:

    Finally, just note once again that the financing procedures involving the Social Security program have not changed in any fundamental way since they were established in the original Social Security Act of 1935 and amended in 1939. These changes in federal budgeting rules govern how the Social Security program is accounted for in the federal budget, not how it is financed.

    Why ISN'T an actual account generated ?

    For you individually?

    If that's what you meant, it's simple:

    1. Your payroll taxes are not deposited into an account. They were almost entirely used to pay the benefits of your parents and grandparents (or someone else's parents and grandparents). The money was certainly spent, but exactly as intended.

    2. The SSA only reports your covered wages, which are used to calculate a benefit according to the benefit formula. You can find it here: Primary Insurance Amount. They don't tell you how much in taxes you (and your employer) paid, because it might give you the wrong idea that you actually have any kind of claim on it.

    3. Your benefits will be paid with taxes collected from your children and grandchildren, or someone else's.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 9:12:41 AM PST · 15 of 44
    justlurking to jdege
    For the government to borrow from itself has about as much meaning as me borrowing from myself.

    Have you ever borrowed from one credit card to pay off another? It's a dumb thing to do, but many people do it all the time.

    If you don't cut spending, you eventually will run out of options when you hit your credit limit. But, the federal government can raise it's own credit limit.

    However, the question here isn't whether the government is acting wisely. The usual claim is that the government "stole from Social Security". They didn't. Every dollar that was borrowed is accounted for, and is earning interest.

    And the real issue is: it doesn't matter. Using the relatively safe assumption that every dollar borrowed from Social Security is paid back: It won't be enough!!!

    This is what I'm trying to get you, knarf, and all of the other mis-informed people on FR to understand: Stop whining about non-existent and trivial problems with Social Security.

    Social Security has a real problem, but it's not the piddling crap that you complain about. Even if you were somehow able to magically wave them away, Social Security is still in trouble. By focusing on the non-existing and trivial problems, you are ignoring the elephant in the room:

    Social Security cannot indefinitely pay the current level of OLD AGE benefits with the existing payroll tax rate.

    There are no little "tweaks" that can fix it at this point. We passed that decades ago. We are now looking at a lot of pain for beneficiaries, taxpayers, or both. And the longer we wait to address it, the worse it will get.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 9:00:03 AM PST · 13 of 44
    justlurking to knarf
    What then, did Johnson do in ‘65 ?

    You tell me. I'm tired of people repeating this meme with no evidence.

    I showed you evidence that it's not true. You can go back and look at the prior annual reports, and see the same line items.

  • From coast to coast, conservatives score huge victories in off-year elections

    11/04/2015 8:57:21 AM PST · 45 of 95
    justlurking to fifedom
    From the article:

    Bill Simon, one of Jeb Bush’s most prominent boosters, is okay after parachuting out of his crashing private airplane.

    Uh, no. He didn't jump out of the plane. He deployed a parachute that retarded the decent of the entire plane.

    It didn't really "crash" -- it just plopped to the ground in a controlled descent. The airplane was probably damaged, as the chute isn't intended to protect the plane -- it's intended to make the impact survivable for the occupants.

    And, the lamestream media wonders why no one trusts them. They can't even get important details right.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 8:49:59 AM PST · 10 of 44
    justlurking to RFEngineer
    The government need not be involved in creating asset-based retirement plans, in fact, they ought NOT be involved.

    I won't disagree with that, but it's not likely to happen.

    You’re right that it is politically impossible - right up until it’s fiscally impossible to pay another dime. Then and only then will folks understand.

    That won't happen. The worst that will happen is benefits will be cut to what can be sustained with the current payroll taxes. That's about 79% of currently legislated benefits with the current payroll taxes, around 2034. Of course, the date and percentage will likely be different by then -- it's been getting worse year by year.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 8:05:28 AM PST · 8 of 44
    justlurking to knarf
    If he contributed to FICA (the SS part) more than what I needed, the fed got to use it ... "general fund"

    The federal government BORROWED it. It's actually part of the deficit, although they don't always make it obvious.

    The problem with your original assertion: Just take it out of the general fund and put it back into an untouchable fund

    It is in an "untouchable" fund. That's why Al Gore's "lock box" meme was laughable... it's always been that way.

    The Social Security Trust fund is invested in the equivalent of US Treasury Bonds. They pay dividends that are equivalent to long-term US Treasury Bonds. You can look at the balance sheet in the report I cited above and see that: $98.2B on a balance of $2.76T in 2014.

    That same annual report also shows that benefits paid exceeded taxes collected. That why the Trust Fund only increased $25B last year: because $73B was withdrawn to pay benefits. In the next few years, the Trust Fund balance will start to decrease as withdrawals increase.

    Finally, I'll answer the question many people ask: why US Treasury Bonds? The truth is: until Obama screwed the pooch by threatening to suspend dividend payments, US Treasury Bonds were considered the safest investment in the world. But, consider what would have happened if the SSA had invested in equities or corporate bonds: it would have been crony capitalism at its worst. Congress would have never let the SSA choose investments based on value or safety -- there would have been all kinds of prohibitions and "earmarks" to pay off political favors.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 7:54:39 AM PST · 7 of 44
    justlurking to RFEngineer
    The only actual conservative solution to Social Security is to end it completely. Stop taking it out of paychecks, stop paying out any money.

    While this might be the only way to end it completely, it's politically impossible. Everyone alive today has had payroll taxes collected from them for their entire working career, and made it difficult or even impossible for some to invest for retirement on their own.

    The truth is that the inter-generational transfer of income was always doomed to fail. Progressives thought the party would never end -- population and wage growth would continue indefinitely and keep the Ponzi scheme alive. But, then reality set in.

    It never occurred to them that population growth was largely because parents had lots of kids in the hope that at least one would survive accidents and disease and be sufficiently successful in life to take care of them. Take away the need for lots of kids (by providing old-age support), and the birth rate dropped like a rock. Right now, it's BELOW replacement rate in the US. Immigration is the only thing that keeps our population growing, and that's depressing wage growth.

    A transition to an asset-based system like Australia and New Zealand (and Chile and Singapore) is the only long-term solution that won't be perpetually in crisis. But, the transition will be tricky: current and near-future retirees will have to accept a cut in benefits, while several generations will have to contribute payroll taxes to fund those reduced benefits without any return on investment -- all while saving for their own retirement.

  • Social Security Reform: A Conservative Plan; Strengthen safety net, build private savings on top.

    11/04/2015 7:41:50 AM PST · 4 of 44
    justlurking to knarf
    Just take it out of the general fund and put it back into an untouchable fund

    Please, not this meme again.

    Social Security is not "in the general fund". Excess Social Security taxes have been LOANED to the federal government, in the same way you loan money to them if you buy US Treasury Bonds.

    That loan (which constitutes about $2.7T) is now being paid back, with interest. If it wasn't being paid back, Social Security benefits would have been reduced in 2010 and later -- because the payroll tax wasn't sufficient to fund benefits.

    I think it would be 3 - 5 years and we'd be solvent again ... even WITH the lack of employment

    Social Security is in serious trouble. The SSA has been telling you this for at least the past decade, if you had been paying attention. But, since you haven't -- I'll quote this year's report:

    https://www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/tr/2015/tr2015.pdf

    For the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period: (1) revenues would have to increase by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent payroll tax rate increase of 2.62 percentage points (from its current level of 12.40 percent to 15.02 percent, a relative increase of 21.1 percent); (2) scheduled benefits during the period would have to be reduced by an amount equivalent to an immediate and permanent reduction of 16.4 percent applied to all current and future beneficiaries, or 19.6 percent if the reductions were applied only to those who become initially eligible for benefits in 2015 or later; or (3) some combination of these approaches would have to be adopted.

    These changes would have to be made NOW. If nothing is done, here's what you can expect: around 2034, the Trust Fund will be exhausted. Social Security benefits will be reduced about 21%, BY LAW -- because Social Security can't borrow money.