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Old 03-21-2013, 11:02 AM   #21
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When they send me a survey; I fill it in the opposite of how they want. When they send an email; I reply with the reverse of what they want.
I'm fairly sure they couldn't care less how people answer their surveys. That's not what they're about...

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AARP isn't as much a lobbyist for seniors as they are probably the largest insurance broker in the world.
... as you already know.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:19 PM   #22
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As for a social security solution, I expect that a blended solution will eventually be enacted - raising the cap on earnings, chain CPI, a very modest 25bpts split between employer/employee, and a raise in the retirement age ranging from 1 month up to 2 years depending on your year of birth. Nobody will be happy yet both political parties will claim victory.
It may not even be that difficult. I heard an interview with Simpson of Simpson-Bowles. If I remember correctly, he said that gradually raising the full benefit age by two years over the next 40 years, and then another one year over another 20 years, would keep SS properly funded. So 60 years from now we end up with a normal SS retirement age of 69. Beware all you nine year olds!!
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:44 PM   #23
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:50 PM   #24
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It may not even be that difficult. I heard an interview with Simpson of Simpson-Bowles. If I remember correctly, he said that gradually raising the full benefit age by two years over the next 40 years, and then another one year over another 20 years, would keep SS properly funded. So 60 years from now we end up with a normal SS retirement age of 69. Beware all you nine year olds!!
... and he said that they would keep the option to take SS early at age 62.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:33 PM   #25
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Meanwhile, back in the corporate boardrooms of America, corporations are devising more and more elaborate ways to avoid paying corporate income tax leading to the "theoretical" SS crisis. And every other government spending crisis.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:41 PM   #26
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Meanwhile, back in the corporate boardrooms of America, corporations are devising more and more elaborate ways to avoid paying corporate income tax...
Yeah, I can't understand why they don't pay more than they are legally required to. I'll bet their investors wonder too. Go figure...
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:12 PM   #27
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legally required to
Don't get me started!
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:37 PM   #28
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Tangled web is right...
It seems like the damage is caused by the spread between the cost of living and the artificially low interest rates? Have I got that right? I mean, if you can buy the same goods a year from now as you can today with your bank account earning 0.25%, then nobody's pocket got picked. But if there is a spread between the two, that's the thievery. I personally think inflation picks the pocket of savers more directly than a zero fed funds rate does. They can't go lower than zero, hehe.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:00 PM   #29
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They can't go lower than zero, hehe.
Hmmm, then why is my TIPS fund paying -1+%?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:19 PM   #30
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Meanwhile, back in the corporate boardrooms of America, corporations are devising more and more elaborate ways to avoid paying corporate income tax leading to the "theoretical" SS crisis. And every other government spending crisis.
These corporations can only avoid paying corporate income tax if Congress provides the loophole and the President signs it into law so IMO you're blaming the wrong people. Also, the same people can close the loophole if they wish to. I'm not aware of any corporation that knowingly violates tax law, but many will take advantage of any benefit the law provides whether Congress intended to provide a benefit or not.

BTW, any conniving is probably done in the Tax Department based on pitches brought to them by consultants - most board members don't have a clue even though a particularly strategy might be presented to the Board.

Makes me wonder if you have any idea what you are talking about.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:43 PM   #31
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Social Security really isn't difficult to fix, means testing, retirement age, contribution rates and income limits and type of income subject to the tax are all options.


Heathcare and the total national debt are much bigger issues, the left and right can't accept certain changes to Medicare (rationing, privatization, state control, et). There are likely to be too many takers and not enough payers. The system doesn't work when the healthy people aren't in the Medicare pool, but people over 65 are.

The government also can't keep flooding the country with as much as the ENTIRE NFL payroll ($5bil) in money every two days. If printing money created wealth, than Zimbabwe would be the the richest county in the world.

Hopefully this year we will finally see an adult conversation out of Washington about what level of services people want and what level of taxes people are willing to pay and get that gap closed.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:49 PM   #32
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Most of what people think they "know" about Social Security is wrong and/or the product of deliberate misinformation spread through the media. The problem with SS is not a large increase in life expectancy (life expectancy for retirees has not increased that much, in fact it has decreased for some groups such as those without college degress), nor is it the result of high-wealth retirees drawing benefits (so that means-testing will not do much to solve the problem) since the vast bulk of benefits rececipients depend entirely or almost entirely on SS to live.

You can read more about the "Life Expentancy Zombie" from Krugman:
The Life Expectancy Zombie - NYTimes.com

Instead about half of the loss of contributions now and in the future is due to the growing inequality in America coupled with the regressive nature of the payroll tax. Over the last 30 years most of the gains of productivity in the US economy have gone to the upper few percentiles. This is not an accident, nor is it some inevitable law of economics. But it has happened. Since income subject to FICA excludes the sources of income that are available to the rich (capital gains, dividends) and excludes all of their labor income above the cap, this means that much of the increase in income that has taken place has escaped the payroll tax. This, not a change in life expectancy, is the feature that the founders of SS in the thirties did not forsee, the polarization of wealth and income in the US. Indeed today the US has the most inequality among the highly developed nations, comparable to Thailand, as it happens.

The sequestering of income gains by the rich due to increases in productivity of the economy as a whole is indeed a threat to SS and to much else in American life. The US now has less upward mobility, supposed its big advantage, than the European Community. The 1% and the other top percentiles do not want to pay for benefits from the govt such as health care, retirement benefits, medical insurance, or education since they can buy these services easily on the market. And they have been remarkably successful in reducing their taxes over since Reagan got into office. If productivity does not increase in the future then the living standards of all Americans, including workers and retirees, will not improve.

I know that for some of the posters here understanding the role of productivity in the economy andstandard of living is apparently above their paygrade. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to understand living standards without understanding the role of increasing productivity, and that includes SS recipients along with everyone else.

“For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

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Old 03-21-2013, 09:12 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Khufu View Post
Most of what people think they "know" about Social Security is wrong and/or the product of deliberate misinformation spread through the media. The problem with SS is not a large increase in life expectancy (life expectancy for retirees has not increased that much, in fact it has decreased for some groups such as those without college degress), nor is it the result of high-wealth retirees drawing benefits (so that means-testing will not do much to solve the problem) since the vast bulk of benefits rececipients depend entirely or almost entirely on SS to live.

You can read more about the "Life Expentancy Zombie" from Krugman:
The Life Expectancy Zombie - NYTimes.com

Instead about half of the loss of contributions now and in the future is due to the growing inequality in America coupled with the regressive nature of the payroll tax. Over the last 30 years most of the gains of productivity in the US economy have gone to the upper few percentiles. This is not an accident, nor is it some inevitable law of economics. But it has happened. Since income subject to FICA excludes the sources of income that are available to the rich (capital gains, dividends) and excludes all of their labor income above the cap, this means that much of the increase in income that has taken place has escaped the payroll tax. This, not a change in life expectancy, is the feature that the founders of SS in the thirties did not forsee, the polarization of wealth and income in the US. Indeed today the US has the most inequality among the highly developed nations, comparable to Thailand, as it happens.

The sequestering of income gains by the rich due to increases in productivity of the economy as a whole is indeed a threat to SS and to much else in American life. The US now has less upward mobility, supposed its big advantage, than the European Community. The 1% and the other top percentiles do not want to pay for benefits from the govt such as health care, retirement benefits, medical insurance, or education since they can buy these services easily on the market. And they have been remarkably successful in reducing their taxes over since Reagan got into office. If productivity does not increase in the future then the living standards of all Americans, including workers and retirees, will not improve.

I know that for some of the posters here understanding the role of productivity in the economy andstandard of living is apparently above their paygrade. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to understand living standards without understanding the role of increasing productivity, and that includes SS recipients along with everyone else.

“For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.”

― H.L. Mencken
I'm curious how this post isn't considered "political discussion" at this point, it's now the fault of Regan, the rich, and if I don't understand, the it's above my pay grade?
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:16 PM   #34
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.....I know that for some of the posters here understanding the role of productivity in the economy andstandard of living is apparently above their paygrade. Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to understand living standards without understanding the role of increasing productivity, and that includes SS recipients along with everyone else.....
I seem to recall your making the same arguments on another SS related thread a couple months ago. No one was buying IIRC.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:36 PM   #35
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Isn't that the answer for every interest group? Vote and protect your benefits while asking someone else to pay for it.
+1

I would happily support the politician who says something like "we are going to actually spend (fill in some percent) less this year from what was actually spent last year, across the board, no exceptions. Each organization responsible for a budget item can decide what to reduce. No sacred cows. And any tax raises will apply across the board, both individuals and companies, no sacred cows here either." But someone like that would never get elected on a national level, perhaps because the concept is too simple. Either politicians are getting smarter or I'm getting dumber.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:19 PM   #36
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+1

I would happily support the politician who says something like "we are going to actually spend (fill in some percent) less this year from what was actually spent last year, across the board, no exceptions. Each organization responsible for a budget item can decide what to reduce. No sacred cows. And any tax raises will apply across the board, both individuals and companies, no sacred cows here either." But someone like that would never get elected on a national level, perhaps because the concept is too simple. Either politicians are getting smarter or I'm getting dumber.
Like the sequester?
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:53 PM   #37
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Like the sequester?
The problems I have with the sequester is (a) it is not a cut but a "you spent $100 last year, instead of spending $110 this year you can only spend $107", (b) it was not across the board, but targeted things folks thought would be "too painful" to let it go through, and (c) flexibility was not given as to what could be cut within the budget categories. So areas very visible (in order to show the pain) have been impacted, while other areas that the majority on both sides of the political spectrum agree are "boondoggles" are not changed. But I'm just too dumb for it to make sense to me.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:09 PM   #38
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I seem to recall your making the same arguments on another SS related thread a couple months ago. No one was buying IIRC.
Yah. Alas, while his information is factually correct, it lacks truthiness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truthiness
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:07 AM   #39
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I joined AARP for the benefits; not their politics. The two periodicals are a nice addition too. When they send me a survey; I fill it in the opposite of how they want. When they send an email; I reply with the reverse of what they want.

AARP isn't as much a lobbyist for seniors as they are probably the largest insurance broker in the world.
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I finally called them up and told them to stop sending me anything having to do with insurance. They did and although I don't get as much mail these days, I have less recycling.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:11 AM   #40
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These corporations can only avoid paying corporate income tax if Congress provides the loophole and the President signs it into law so IMO you're blaming the wrong people. Also, the same people can close the loophole if they wish to. I'm not aware of any corporation that knowingly violates tax law, but many will take advantage of any benefit the law provides whether Congress intended to provide a benefit or not.

BTW, any conniving is probably done in the Tax Department based on pitches brought to them by consultants - most board members don't have a clue even though a particularly strategy might be presented to the Board.

Makes me wonder if you have any idea what you are talking about.
What you are overlooking is that congress is virtually always in a campaign mode and that takes lots of cash. Much of that cash comes from corporations who trade campaign money for tax favorable carve outs. So, technically corporations pay all they "legally" have to, but congress gets to decide what is "legal". As corporations become more global, it is easier to shield the money off shore in a shell game to game the tax laws.
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