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Old 03-09-2011, 05:18 PM   #41
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FWIW, I'm looking at waiting until 70, taking advantage of whatever spousal "gaming" I can pull off and (in the interim until 70) lowering my "qualified" stash so that RMDs will be lessened when SS kicks in. This is a tax strategy as well as a "gaming" strategy. Whether it works out in the end is questionable since the rules are "more like guidelines" to our Congress. I won't know if it was a good idea until it is too late. The good news is that I don't need the SS right now to survive. Hope that's not held against me at 70. After all, many of us on this forum are "the rich" that everyone wants to go after to "fix" the deficit. As pointed out by others, the "rich" are now paying tax on 85% of their SS. Naturally, YMMV.

By the way, I appreciated Zero's honesty about what means testing should be. To paraphrase: Anyone making 10% more than I should be means tested.
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:31 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
Actually, the holding of Fleming v. Nestor is that you don't even have a right to be paid a benefit. It can be removed at the whim of Congress, but, as you note, they likely would prefer to use subterfuge to accomplish their goals.
I am a little confused. Could you elaborate a little more.

Are you are saying the house of representatives can take it away without going through the normal legislative process.... just kill the program? I assume you do not mean they could arbitrarily red line a particular person... (i.e., No SS for Gumby)!
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Old 03-09-2011, 05:53 PM   #43
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I apologize if I was unclear. Yes, Congress would need to pass a bill ending SS for everyone, and the President would have to sign it into law. Incredibly unlikely to ever actually occur, but it is possible. And the Fifth Amendment would be of no help in that situation.

To further elaborate, Nestor was a Bulgarian immigrant who was deported. Under the Social Security Act of 1935, if you were deported, your SS benefits terminated. Nestor contended he had a vested property right in SS payments, since he had paid into the system and that, under the Fifth Amendment, the government could not take his property. The Supreme Court disagreed.

Here is the decision:
http://supreme.justia.com/us/363/603/case.html
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:50 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I apologize if I was unclear. Yes, Congress would need to pass a bill ending SS for everyone, and the President would have to sign it into law. Incredibly unlikely to ever actually occur, but it is possible. And the Fifth Amendment would be of no help in that situation.

To further elaborate, Nestor was a Bulgarian immigrant who was deported. Under the Social Security Act of 1935, if you were deported, your SS benefits terminated. Nestor contended he had a vested property right in SS payments, since he had paid into the system and that, under the Fifth Amendment, the government could not take his property. The Supreme Court disagreed.

Here is the decision:
FLEMMING V. NESTOR, 363 U. S. 603 :: Volume 363 :: 1960 :: Full Text :: US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez

Interesting. Here is the ssa overview of it.

Social Security Online History Pages


That change to the law happened during the McCarthy era (at the height of fears about communism)...

They apparently wanted to send a message (political statement and instill fear in others who might be inclined toward to being a political threat or anarchist in this country.... i.e., communist).

It looks like it applies to nationalized citizens and residents that qualify for SS and ran afoul of the government or committed felonies and consequently are deported.

It does not seem to apply to US citizens by birthright.

However, it appears that people that are incarcerated (in jail) for the commission of a crime are not paid while in jail.

What Prisoners Need To Know


Learn something new everyday... Who 'da thunk it?
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:49 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I apologize if I was unclear. Yes, Congress would need to pass a bill ending SS for everyone, and the President would have to sign it into law. Incredibly unlikely to ever actually occur, but it is possible. And the Fifth Amendment would be of no help in that situation.
Yeah, try telling someone who is, say, 50 years old and paying into it for 30 years that she gets *nothing* for all those years of contribution.

We're already starting to see a growing unrest among the struggling middle class, and if you wanted to see it explode into something the "political aristocracy" (for lack of a better term) doesn't want to see, try pulling something like this. They need to throw just enough bones to the masses to keep them mollified.

It's entirely possible that at *some* point they could phase out the program and provide some adjusted benefits on a sliding scale for those who have paid in for decades, but "nothing for you" regardless of how long you paid in is sure to be a non-starter.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:22 AM   #46
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I must have been foolishly naive in my 30s to 50s because I thought that my SS contribution was buying me a retirement pension. And you see lots of folks still very confident in SS and willing to wait till 70. For me that is 8 years of watching the SS system take more and more of the benefit away.

Here is my prediction after reading some articles on the subject.

1. FRA will go to 67 in one step likely earlier than now planned, say 2020.
2. FRA will then increase at 1 month/year until it reaches 68.
3. COLA will be changed to Superlative"chained" COLA which is usually about .3% lower.
4. Tag a person's benefit calculation to price increases and not wage increases.
5. Require workers to fund a retirement account independent of SS.
6. Allow SS benefits to be taxed on 100% of SS when AGI exceed 3 times the poverty level.

All of that would fly under the radar of the general public and they'd follow along like sheep, bleating contentedly.
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