Hi Readers,

So cousin Beth wrote: “Social Security will never be fair. I’ve worked/paid into it all of my life and know that it will not be there for me when I’m retirement age. I think we should take care of those already on SS, and wean the younger people off – let them take that $$ and invest it in their own futures. (There are welfare programs and churches that will help out, too.)”

So I wondered how to respond to her.  I thought maybe these posts would help educate her:

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010072814/us-chambers-right-wing-corporate-talking-points-summit

http://crooksandliars.com/taxonomy/term/7277,68,366,18

http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2114

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,591002,00.html

and then I got this:

william –

Republicans hate Social Security because it has been an extraordinary success and has done exactly what it was designed to do. It is the most successful government program in our nation’s history and is enormously popular.

When Social Security was developed, 50 percent of seniors lived in poverty. Today, that number is 10 percent — still too high, but a testament to the success of Social Security.

Republicans have spent years demonizing Social Security and spreading lies about its sustainability. They want to scare Americans and build support for making drastic cuts to the program or privatizing it entirely. Their long-term goal is to end Social Security as we know it, and convert it into a private account system which will enable Wall Street to make hundreds of billions in profits.

The truth is that, today, according to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 25 years.

Further, because it is funded by the payroll tax and not the U.S. Treasury, Social Security has not contributed one nickel to our deficit.

Now — in a prolonged recession that has decimated the poor and middle class and pushed more Americans into poverty than at any point in modern history — we need to strengthen Social Security. That’s why I, along with nine co-sponsors, have introduced the “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.” This legislation would lift the Social Security Payroll tax cap on all income over $250,000 a year, would require millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share into the Social Security Trust Fund, and would extend the program for the next 75 years.

Join me now as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

For 76 years, through good times and bad, Social Security has paid out every benefit owed to every eligible American. The most effective way to strengthen Social Security for the next 76 years is to scrap the payroll tax cap for those earning $250,000 a year or more.

Right now, someone who earns $106,800 pays the same amount of money into Social Security as billionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. That is because today, all income above $106,800 is exempt from the Social Security tax. As a result, 94% of Americans pay Social Security tax on all of their income, but the wealthiest 6% do not.

That makes no sense.

The “Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act” will ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security without cutting benefits, raising the retirement age or raising taxes on the middle class.

Join me and Democracy for America in fighting to strengthen Social Security — Sign on as a citizen co-sponsor of the Keeping Our Social Security Promises Act.

Social Security is keeping tens of millions of seniors out of poverty today. I can think of no more important issue facing our country today than making sure that Social Security remains strong for generations to come.

Thank you.

-Bernie

Senator Bernie Sanders

U.S. Senator from Vermont

———————-

Beth,

I thought that this comment you made was an official talking point of the right wing, so I Googled it.  But no, this is just a false opinion that many have.  I just cannot in good conscious let this comment stand without a reasoned response.

Social Security is not a retirement fund for yourselves. You are not paying the tax for the future, but rather to help support the elderly and disabled of today.  It also supports widows and orphaned children.  More so than any church bake sale can.

When it was first enacted, 1935, the average life of an adult male in this country was around 63 years. Women stayed in the home and didn’t work enough to have their own benefits.  In other words, most people were not expected to receive any benefits. However, due to medical advancements, many people receive benefits for over 20 years.

The dirty little secret the Republicans don’t want you to know is that the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.9 Trillion Surplus this year.  Even if we do nothing to change Social Security it can last another 27 years.  Why the rush to privatize?  Well, there is Wall Street who drools at the chance to gamble with your money, take a commission when they lose it and say that they are sorry.  The actual inside joke (strategy?) is that they will lose it all to fake companies within themselves, and pay themselves twice, and you will retire with 25-50% of what you put in.  This is legal under the Wall Street reforms that Obama was unable to completely put in.

There are 35,000 corporations that have exempted themselves from paying into Social Security.  I have no idea of how many thousand or millions of employees they have.  Most pre-1970’s federal government or contractor agencies like the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) also exempted themselves from paying, but under loopholes could receive benefits.   At one time Congress was in this league.  Many LANL workers up to over 1,000 in 2007, send their checks to a bank account in the Caiman Islands and pay no Social Security or Income Taxes.  They live on a Caiman credit card.

Closing these loopholes would add to fiscal solvency (maybe even solving it permanently depending on how much guts Congress can display).

Also, we could raise or remove the cap on what we are taxed from $106,800.  So that Bill Gates would pay on his whole income and not just the first $106,800 that he makes on the morning of January 1st and the rest of the year he pays nothing.  Doing this adds another 75 years of fiscal solvency.

So getting out of Social Security weakens it for everyone and risks the entire system and national economy.  It rewards the thieves on Wall Street.  Taking out the youth’s contributions will effectively kill the program, which is exactly what Republicans (like Paul Ryan) want to do because it is so successful.  Every day it makes their Party look bad.  What kind of a motive is this?

Medicare is another animal altogether.  Medicare Part D that was passed in 2006 was a give-away to insurance companies and left seniors in the donut hole.  The Congress passed a bill that will cost us around $750 billion and they gave no way to fund it.  Obama put that bill’s cost and the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars into the budget (so a deficit).  Bush funded them off line.  He also let the Federal Reserve print $14 Trillion Dollars extra to bailout the big banks (of which they are holding $3 trillion in cash after sending most of it overseas), and the people protest the publicly known Obama bailout that stopped a depression.  It makes no sense to say one is okay and the other isn’t and people who protest it are in reality stooges to the rich and against your own best interests.

This is more about destroying the FDR legacy than it is about real world issues.

So, my question to Tea Partiers is, why weren’t you outraged in 2006?  That bill was WAY more fiscally irresponsible than the current bill. Yet, no rallies were held. No one made posters. No one took off work to protest on the capital steps. The radio hosts didn’t talk all day about it. It was silence.  Millionaire, former Republican Representative, Dick Armey will use the Billionaire Koch Brothers money to fund t-shirts, posters and buses of Tea Party protesters to support protests against Health Care (which people actually need—you know—life or death—and insurance companies were making big bucks by denying coverage and contributed to Republican campaigns to keep it that way).

People are making money off of our fighting amongst ourselves.  Really BIG money in the billions of dollars and no one is talking about it: Boener, Cantor, Ryan, McConnell.  Ethics anyone?

Taking money out of social security to literally gamble it away on Wall Street makes no sense.  Why pay brokerage fees on your own money?  We have to remember how many pensions Wall Street gobbled up in the 2008 Republican Great Recession.

There are basically two sides to this, two personalities: one that thinks this is a dog-eat-dog world, where it is survival of the economically fittest; and the other that thinks sometimes we have to help the least amongst us because it is more likely we will become the least amongst us than the elite super rich.   One that thinks it is a burden of the individual to provide health care; the other that thinks it is a civil right of a civilized society.  Beth I think you need to switch sides and change your spots and come to the good side from the evil side.

WHM

http://www.onepennysheet.com./2011/04/the-true-story-of-the-tea-party/

The Tea Party will find itself on the wrong side of history.  A bunch of people riding a wave of positive populism that has been exploited by the billionaire Koch Brothers, Glenn Beck and the “American” Chamber of Commerce who has been soliciting campaign contributions from China and India under the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling to maintain the status quo.

Keeping people like Beth, Melodie, Brady, Phil, Michael and myself “in their places” and stealing our money through a number of loopholes on Wall Street.

Beth-what Phil was trying to say is look at the Project for a New American Century (http://www.newamericancentury.org/).  For their strategy that led us to a war before 9-11-2011 look at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century

It is not unpatriotic to look back at a former president like Nixon and say what he was doing was illegal because it was.  Same is true about Bush and the Iraq War.

What Phil said is correct:

“We have tried trickle down economics where the wealthy are protected at the expense of the poor, and it has not worked (early 1900’s & again in the early 2000’s, the similarities in the crash and its victims are scary). We were at our best when policies to grow and strengthen the middle class….”

In the United States 57,000 factories closed and the associated 10-14 million jobs were sent to China and India in the years 2002-2007.  These jobs are not coming back.  The banking regulations were changed from banks holding $1 for every $24 of loans to $1 for every $42—thus causing a housing bubble.  Rules for commodities trading on oil and holding stock certificates in hand before electronically speculating on them also changed—causing a market crash and the end of the Greek system.  Note that this happened under George W. Bush with Reaganomics thinking.

The “facts”/truth are against the “goals”/rhetoric of the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is “People working against their own best interests” (and not understanding this).

This is not socialism or communism as the Internet posters have claimed.

Obama is not the enemy but merely a co-opted part of the Washington disease.  He doesn’t do everything that I agree with.  His shortcomings are put in place by his enemies.  People in another place or time would have lynched him for being uppity (Beth, you really need to understand the Civil Rights era).  In the largest recession, since the Republican Great Depression of 1929, Obama’s choices are not socialism but the only proven economic way to get out of a mess.   Why they haven’t been more successful is because he accepted too many Republican compromises (thrown in there not to make the country heal or be better, but to make a “Black man fail in the WHITE House”).  Ask these southern senators like Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, South Carolina’s Jim Demint, Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell.  They have publicly called for him to fail.  If he fails we all fail!!!!!!!!!!

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