Jul 13, 2010

Amazing Naivete

From Fred Barnes, writing in the Wall Street Journal:

One [Social Security] reform that could win bipartisan support would, over time, raise the Social Security retirement age to 70. An extension of retirement age to 67 from 65 was pushed in 1983 by the Greenspan Commission, along with a boost in the income base for payroll taxes. President Reagan backed the changes and Congress enacted them.

A second reform, bolder and more controversial, would means-test Social Security, gradually slowing the growth of benefits for the more affluent but sparing those with lower incomes. The model for this is the Pozen plan, the brainchild of Robert Pozen, a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments and influential Social Security reformer.

I am sure that I have my illusions about Republicans but nothing tops Republican naivete about Democrats. People who should know better are misled by the fact that President Obama appointed Erskine Bowles, nominally a Democrat, to the deficit reduction commission. Bowles is not representative of Democrats in his home state of North Carolina (which is one of the reasons he could not get elected to public office in North Carolina), much less Democrats nationally. Means testing of Social Security has zero chance of adoption and raising the retirement age to 70 has very, very little chance of adoption. I do not think you could get even a majority of Congressional Republicans to vote, publicly, for either one. If you can imagine Barack Obama campaigning for either one, you just might be a Republican.


Anonymous said...

"I am sure that I have my illusions about Republicans"

Not likely but the possibility exist. And social programs can be worst under republican leadership.

John Herling said...

It's true. How could you convince the voters that it's in their best interest to keep them from getting the benefits for which they've been contributing all of their working lives?

Anonymous said...

This continues to drive me nuts--both sides have this wrong. First of all, raising the retirement age doesn't prevent ANYONE from retiring earlier. It just changes the actuarial reduction so that you receive an appropriately smaller benefit for retiring earlier. This is a must, as folks live longer. I take SSI claims from folks in their 90's all the time.
Secondly, Social Security is already "means tested"--it is called the INCOME TAX.
Add to that the new Medicare taxes on investment income plus IRMAA, and the subject is pretty well covered.

Anonymous said...

Once again. The solution to Social Security solvency is to eliminate the wage cap for FICA. This has been proven for 20 years in both government and private studies. But since "tax" is still a dirty word (even under a "Yes We Can" President"), it's still taboo.

Nancy Ortiz said...

Those of you who would like a complete discussion of everything you ever wanted to know about Social Security programs should read the Angry Bear Blog on blogspot.com. Terrific stuff including a complete account of the financing mechanism which pays for benefits and program operations.

The discussion going on now, if you can call them that since the majority of "experts" talking about it don't know anything, really comes from the fact that Congress doesn't want to cash in the bonds in the OASI Trust Fund. That's it. Why? Just because.

If you want to get all the benefits you have paid for, inform yourself and holler at the top of your lungs,"Get your filthy Deficit Commission paws off my SS!"
Makes a nifty sign, too. ;) Nancy Ortiz

Anonymous said...

I guess our children and grandchildren can all just go to Hell, then, if no one wants make the tough choices.