HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Twitter:
@digby56
@DavidOAtkins

emails:
Digby:
digbysez at gmail
David:
isnospoon at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic
Common Dreams
AmericanPoliticsJournal
Smirking Chimp
CJR Daily
consortium news

Blog-o-rama

Eschaton
BagNewsNotes
Daily Kos
Political Animal
Driftglass
Firedoglake
Taylor Marsh
Spocko's Brain
Talk Left
Suburban Guerrilla
Scoobie Davis
Echidne
Electrolite
Americablog
Tom Tomorrow
Left Coaster
Angry Bear
oilprice.com
Seeing the Forest
Cathie From Canada
Frontier River Guides
Brad DeLong
The Sideshow
Liberal Oasis
BartCop
Juan Cole
Rising Hegemon
alicublog
Unqualified Offerings
Alas, A Blog
RogerAiles
Lean Left
Oliver Willis
skippy the bush kangaroo
uggabugga
Crooked Timber
discourse.net
Amygdala
the talking dog
David E's Fablog
The Agonist




01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009 12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010 03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010 06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010 07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010 08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010 10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011 03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011 04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011 06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012 03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012 04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012 05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012 06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012 07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012 08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012 09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012 10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013 02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013 04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013 05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013 06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013 07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014 02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014 03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, February 17, 2013

 
Robbing from the poor to give to the rich (And yet they have the nerve to call SS an "entitlement")

by digby

What an excellent time to cut Social Security:

Problems for future retirees seem to be closing in from all sides. Half of American workers have no retirement plans through their jobs, leaving people on their own to save for old age.

Meanwhile, four out of five private-sector workers with retirement plans at work have only 401(k)-type defined contribution accounts, rather than traditional pensions that pay retirees a fixed benefit for life. Numerous studies have found that workers with defined-contribution accounts often put aside too little money, make too many withdrawals or employ the wrong investment strategies to save enough for old age. Overall, people ages 55 to 64 have a median retirement account balance of $120,000, Boston College researchers have found, which is enough to fund an annuity paying about $575 a month, far short of what they will need...

This is happening at the same time that myopic political leaders are insisting that we must cut benefits -- although the "good guys" insist we'll "tweak" it to protect the poorest of the poor -- not caring that their cuts will create many more very poor seniors.

The average monthly SS security check is $1230.00. The median income for SS recipients is $20,000 a year. Social Security provides at least half of total household income for 65% of seniors. To talk about cutting it, as if it's just a little nothing that no one will really feel shows, once again, just how distant our wealthy political class is from the average citizen. After all, they all have fat 401ks that have recovered nicely from that unfortunate little incident in 2007:

The retirement savings shortfall is revealing an economic divide separating those who are well prepared for retirement from those who are not. Recent policy changes aimed at bolstering Americans’ retirement prospects have only contributed to the growing inequality.

The government grants at least $80 billion a year in tax breaks to encourage retirement savings in 401(k)-type accounts. But the biggest benefits go to upper-income people who can afford to put aside the most for retirement, allowing them to reap the biggest tax breaks.

Someone making $200,000 a year and contributing 15 percent of pay to a retirement account would receive about a $7,000 subsidy from the federal government in the form of a tax break, whereas workers earning $20,000 making the same 15 percent contribution would get nothing because they don’t earn enough to qualify for a deduction. Someone making $50,000 and making the 15 percent contribution would receive only about a $2,100 tax deduction.
That's if they are able to save anything at all. If they still have a house. Or a job. The economy of the last four years has been very brutal on a whole lot of people who don't have the time to start over:
The Great Recession and the weak recovery darkened the retirement picture for significant numbers of Americans. And the full extent of the damage is only now being grasped by experts and policymakers.

There was already mounting concern for the long-term security of the country’s rapidly graying population. Then the downturn destroyed 40 percent of Americans’ personal wealth, while creating a long period of high unemployment and an environment in which savings accounts pay almost no interest. Although the surging stock market is approaching record highs, most of these gains are flowing to well-off Americans who already are in relatively good shape for retirement.

Liberal and conservative economists worry that the decline in retirement prospects marks a historic shift in a country that previously has fostered generations of improvement in the lives of the elderly. It is likely to have far-reaching implications, as an increasing number of retirees may be forced to double up with younger relatives or turn to social-service programs for support.

“This is the first time that Americans are going to be relatively worse off than their parents or grandparents in old age,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, director of the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School for Social Research.

They'll work longer. After all, the retirement age is now 67 for most of us already. And I assume many will work longer than that because they have no choice. (I'm not sure why everyone thinks that's such a great idea --- young people need the jobs that seniors will be clinging to longer than they logically should.) And the result will still be that there will be more poor old people than there were when we were kids.

I don't want to hear anyone saying that taking care of the elderly in relative comfort and dignity is unaffordable. This is an extremely wealthy country that can apparently afford luxuries like an ossified military empire and many thousands of multi-millionaires who use our clever "private sector" retirement plans as a loophole to shield hundreds of millions of dollars in assets from taxation (and then run for president!). We are talking about priorities here. And the ruling elites have decided that keeping the elderly from penury is not at the top of the list.

Sadly, there's not much we can do but fight to hold on to what little we have:
Even many of the diminishing share of workers who are enrolled in traditional pension programs face uncertainty as an increasing number of plans are under­funded, causing employers to freeze benefits.

The hits to retirement income come as many Americans are living longer and health-care costs continue to grow, meaning they need to salt away more money for retirement.

Workers have limited options for closing the gap. More are going to have to work longer. After many decades of decline, average retirement ages have already been creeping up in the past 20 years.

A recent survey by the Conference Board found that nearly two-thirds of Americans ages 45 to 60 say they plan to delay retirement. Two years earlier, 42 percent said they would work longer.

Some lawmakers and other advocates say the best way to cope with the growing gap would be to further expand Social Security and Medicare benefits, or to add another layer of taxpayer-subsidized savings that workers could use only for retirement.

“We need to do more to help American families cope with this looming retirement crisis,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said at a hearing late last month. “Hard­working Americans deserve to be able to rest, take a vacation and spend more time with their grandkids when they get older.”

But many policymakers are pushing to rein in the nation’s debt by trimming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits. Those programs are the primary drivers of the long-term deficit but are also financial mainstays for the vast majority of the nation’s retirees.

Both Medicare and Social Security already are on course to provide reduced benefits for future retirees — reductions that will grow deeper if lawmakers follow through on new proposals to further trim the programs.

With the Social Security retirement age moving to 67 under a federal law passed in 1983, people who leave the workforce earlier — and the vast majority do — will see smaller payouts.

Health-care costs continue to outpace inflation, meaning more out-of-pocket expenses for future seniors. Retirees are also slated to pay more for their health care with Medicare premiums, which are deducted from the Social Security checks of senior citizens, set to rise from 12.2 percent to 14.9 percent by 2030.
Could there be a worse time to cut the already meager benefits that Social Security provides? Only a disaster capitalist would think otherwise.

When I see articles saying that while it's true that cutting Social Security won't affect the deficit or fix the global problem of health care costs, it still must be done in order to instill "confidence" or because it's politically clever to appease the deficit hawks by offering up cuts that don't kick in right away (and are therefore safe for those who are in office today) I want to scream. That cynical opportunism seems to be at the heart of the whole conversation, from Pete Peterson's crusade to Barack Obama's ludicrous belief that it's possible to take these political disagreements off the table for good if he can just make the right "deal."

Everybody's got a good reason for doing it but at the end of the day the only thing that really makes sense is that elites have created a bunch of rationales for their belief that it's just too expensive to have a large number of elderly in the population. After all, there are heirs to provide for.

The money is there. This argument is all about how we decide to allocate it and where it's going to be allocated. Right now, this is how we do it:



That's a choice, not an act of God.






.

Search Digby!