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Old 08-11-2013, 08:47 PM   #101
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In the case of Lenin, there was also clearly a lust for power over others. And he did not use it very prettily.

Ha
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov aka Lenin, who by the way was a masterful orator, like Adolf of German fame, was adept at implementing Marx's theories. Then papa Joe, Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili aka Joseph Stalin a former seminarian, then master implementer of Marxism/Leninism really spread the wealth, Lenin was most proud of him.

All in the name of giving to the have nots (the poor) the wealth of those who have (the rich), who did not have the proper altruistic motives.

The haves did not live to see the benefits of their distributed wealth. Neither did the poor. Since the wealth went mostly to the pockets of those who espoused the idea of wealth distribution, but were unwilling to earn it in the arena business or other wealth creating endeavor. They mostly spent their time sucking up the benefits of the newly created by Stalin "the Collectives".

These were the confiscated Farms, factories, shipping, land transport, utilities and on and on. The workers as usual were fed the collectivist propoganda, and forced to celebrate the collective. Under pain of "Malenky Robot" in Siberia until they died. Not much different than the current popular adulation of dear leader of North Korea.

Hmm, is there a current parallel? Never mind...... that would shut this thread down really fast.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:07 PM   #102
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It would seem that the time the largest share of people would be sure they don't "need" any more of their own money is when they are dead. I wonder what percentage of people use this opportunity to turn all their assets over to the government. I'd bet it is a very tiny number (couldn't find it with a quick Google). Seems odd that so many believe strongly that the government should be forcibly taking money from (living) people for redistribution, but so few want to give their own money to the government even when they are dead and absolutely cannot spend it themselves.

Why? I think most of us believe we know best how to use our resources to benefit ourselves and others. But we have much less faith in our fellow citizens to do the same. So the taking continues.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:18 PM   #103
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Almost everyone places their own wants over the needs of others.

For example, $10 will buy a movie ticket in the United States or it will buy a week's worth of food for a hungry child in an impoverished nation. ...
But, but, but Shawn.... the people who put forth these thoughts of 'moral dilemma' don't normally mean for it to apply to them! They mean, "those people who have more than I do!".

Everything gets real blurry, real fast, when it is pointed out that they are the "ones with more" to so many others in the world.

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Old 08-12-2013, 05:36 AM   #104
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But, but, but Shawn.... the people who put forth these thoughts of 'moral dilemma' don't normally mean for it to apply to them! They mean, "those people who have more than I do!".

Everything gets real blurry, real fast, when it is pointed out that they are the "ones with more" to so many others in the world.

-ERD50
I mean for it to apply to me and I have much less than many that post on this forum.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:36 AM   #105
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It just seems an odd coincidence that the amount we "don't need" and which should be left with the government should be limited to this amount--the amount owed to us in SS benefits. Not taking money we are owed by the government is functionally the same as sending in an "extra check" from our own resources, but very very few people are doing that. Because, evidently, almost no one considers this to be the highest, best use of their own money. But, it costs nothing to encourage others to do this with their money.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:52 AM   #106
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It just seems an odd coincidence that the amount we "don't need" and which should be left with the government should be limited to this amount--the amount owed to us in SS benefits. Not taking money we are owed by the government is functionally the same as sending in an "extra check" from our own resources, but very very few people are doing that. Because, evidently, almost no one considers this to be the highest, best use of their own money. But, it costs nothing to encourage others to do this with their money.
Sam, I have followed your posts through the years and have come to a conclusion.... You and I would not make good debating opponents. We would agree on too many topics.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:32 AM   #107
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Leaving out Stalin/Lenin/etc., if you don't need your SS check, spend it or donate it in such a way as to accomplish whatever altruism you feel necessary...

For the record, I need mine.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:48 AM   #108
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What seems to be lost here is I proposed that the "altruistic" actions are solely the decision of the individual, and that donating their entire SS entitlement to charity essentially accomplished the same thing. A lot of posters are taking quite a leap from that premise, which may speak to the fears that drive their thoughts and assumptions.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:50 AM   #109
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If I did not need SS, I would take the money anyway. And then liberally sprinkle it about my community by buying products from local small businesses in my town. And I would give some to local people whom I knew had a genuine need, and never-mind about it being tax deductible.
My mother didn't need her spousal benefit, so she would give it to her five children, in a haphazard but fair manner. that definitely counted as a stimulus program
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:05 AM   #110
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“Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.

If tempted by something that feels ‘altruistic,’ examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!"

- R. A. Heinlein--Notebooks of Lazarus Long
haha
"+1000. "Altruism" is 99% of the time a sneaky way to assert one's superiority to those ordinary, supposedly less altruistic slobs. Heroic acts in emergencies or extreme environments I believe are a different, more instinctual thing."

I'll take it over cynicism - definition from Wikipedia

Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others' apparent motives or ambitions, or a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity, and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:13 AM   #111
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What seems to be lost here is I proposed that the "altruistic" actions are solely the decision of the individual, and that donating their entire SS entitlement to charity essentially accomplished the same thing. A lot of posters are taking quite a leap from that premise, which may speak to the fears that drive their thoughts and assumptions.
What was your point or goal in starting this thread? Was there a reason for tying it to SS? Were there responses you were expecting that you didn't get, or a direction you expected this thread to go?

You seem surprised about some of the responses here, but I'm not surprised at all. I can expand on this, but I think I'd like to hear your answers to the above first.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:31 AM   #112
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Given the next generation will have to pay more to benefit less
My generation is also paying more than the previous generation, and may or may not be benefitting less. Sometime in the 1980s, when I was in my 20s and didn't pay any attention to this sort of thing, some actuaries figured out that my generation would be living longer than the previous generation, and therefore collecting more in SS benefits. So they raised my retirement age from 65 to 67 and jacked up the amount that I and my employer would contribute.

So people my age will be paying in a lot more than people from an earlier generation, and we will have to wait longer to collect the full benefit. But we will also be living longer, and if the actuaries did their job right and the politicians implemented something along those lines, what my generation is getting relative to what they contributed should be about the same as those who were born before us.

Absent any change in the law, the next generation will be contributing exactly what my generation contributed, and retiring at the same age, but collecting more, since they will be living longer.

So even if the retirement age is increased for younger people and/or the amount they are required to contribute is increased, it does not necessarily mean that they will benefit less than my generation, since some increase is needed to get them to the point where they are not benefiting more.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:24 AM   #113
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The younger generation does pay more and get less than the early recipients of SS. The increase in longevity, hence the payout duration, is not enough to offset the increase in contributions over the years.

From the Web:
"On January 31st, 1940, the first monthly retirement check was issued to Ida May Fuller in Vermont. The first monthly check she got was $22.54. She was a legal secretary. She retired in November of 1939, so basically she got her benefits within 60 days of her retirement. She started collecting benefits in January 1940 at age 65. She lived to be 100 years old, dying in 1975. Ida May Fuller worked for three years under the Social Security program.

"The accumulated taxes on her salary during those three years was a total of $24.75. Her initial monthly check was $22.54. During her lifetime, she collected a total of $22,888 in Social Security benefits, paying in $24.75."
The above extreme case asides, because of demographic changes the early generation did make out well. The initial SS tax rate was 2% (employer+employee) in 1940, rising to 6% in 1960, and is now at 12.4%. So, that's a 6X increase, but the young generation will not spend 6 times as long in retirement compared to a retiree in the 1940s and 1950s.

The earlier generations did get a windfall profit. The younger generations will not. The following is taken from the government SS Web site.
The worker-to-beneficiary ratio has fallen from 5.1 in 1960 to 3.3 in 2005. Some of the historical decline is related to the natural maturing of a pay-as-you-go social insurance program, but the projected future decline is due to the aging of the U.S. population. This ratio is of fundamental importance to the long-run fiscal health of the U.S. Social Security program. With currently scheduled tax rates and benefits, the system needs a worker-to-beneficiary ratio of about 2.8 to function at a pay-as-you-go level (meaning that tax revenue approximately equals benefit payments). The Social Security Trustees project that the ratio will slip below this level by 2020 and will fall to only 2.1 workers per beneficiary by 2040 (Chart 3). The current Social Security program is not a strict pay-as-you-go program because a sizable trust fund exists. Projections indicate, however, that the trust fund will be exhausted in 2040, and the low worker-to-beneficiary ratio will present a significant challenge to policymakers.

For more details, see: Coping with the Demographic Challenge: Fewer Children and Living Longer - SSA.gov.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:00 PM   #114
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The younger generation does pay more and get less than the early recipients of SS. The increase in longevity, hence the payout duration, is not enough to offset the increase in contributions over the years.
Agreed. In fact I think we're both right; I should have been more clear about the time frame to which I was referring. Until the law changes, someone born in 1960 (the "older" generation, since I'm roughly that age and I was being asked by the OP whether I'd forego benefits) will have the same full retirement age (67) as someone who was born in 1990 or 2013 (the "younger" generations), and both will contribute the same percentage of their income. However, people born in 1990 or 2013 will live longer on average than those born in 1960, and therefore collect more in benefits.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:14 PM   #115
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Young generations like my children still will not do that well. The projection quoted from SSA says that the ratio of workers to retirees will fall to 2.1 in 2040. At that time, my young son will be only 51, and still has 16 years to go till FRA (assuming it will not be raised further).

While doing a bit of Web searching on the problem China is facing with its own "one-child" policy of the past, I read a paper that points out a very simple rule-of-thumb that makes sense. This economist says that if the ratio of workers/retirees is stabilized at 3:1 (which it is not!), then if we pay a retiree 60% of his working income, we need to tax the workers at a rate of 20%.

Apply that to the US, at the ratio of 2.1, how much will the SS tax be? Bleak...

I'd better stick with 3.5%WR, then claim my SS and try to save some for my children. I hope I will not have to hide the stash so that it will not get confiscated.
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:54 PM   #116
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I'll take it over cynicism - definition from Wikipedia

Cynicism is an attitude or state of mind characterized by a general distrust of others' apparent motives or ambitions, or a general lack of faith or hope in the human race or in individuals with desires, hopes, opinions, or personal tastes that a cynic perceives as unrealistic or inappropriate, therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment. It is a form of jaded negativity, and other times, realistic criticism or skepticism.
Wow, that sure is a cynical view of cynicism!


I consider my self cynical, but I would stop at the first comma: "characterized by a general distrust of others' apparent motives or ambitions"

As in "a healthy cynicism". I'm reading a book now "Thinking, Fast and Slow" that touches on this. Distrust is a survival instinct. We hear a noise, and our first thought is to prepare in case that is a wolf looking for a dinner. But once we have ruled out the danger, there is no reason we can't go on and enjoy the rest of the evening. What does 'ridicule' have to do with cynicism?

Cynicism is what kept me from losing all my money on 'get rich quick' schemes. And so on....

-ERD50
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Old 08-12-2013, 03:58 PM   #117
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Wow, that sure is a cynical view of cynicism!


What does 'ridicule' have to do with cynicism?

-ERD50
Only what some overwrought social improver imagines in his overheated and sorely overtaxed brain.

Ha
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:34 PM   #118
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No moral dilemma here. To me, all that money that was withheld (aka, confiscated) from my paychecks is MY money, being held in trust (so to speak) by the feds. It wasn't a tax that I'm not due back. It's MY money, and I have full intent on getting some part of it back later, not letting the government have it to do whatever they want to.

In fact, if I had only two choices:

1. Claim Social Security, and as the checks come in, cash them and burn the money, providing no benefit for anybody.

...or...

2. Don't claim it, and let the government spend it however they wanted.

I'd still pick option #1. It's my money, I'm due it back, and I'd rather put a match to it and burn it all than let the government have it.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #119
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If you burn the money, you will reduce the inflation, no matter how infinitesimally. That helps everybody else.

Please send it to me, and I will burn it for you. As proof, I will send photo of the pile of ash.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:47 AM   #120
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By the way, it may be a rude awakening to most people, but I have brought this up before.

That is, SS is not a contract requiring the government to give a citizen any money back for his contributions. Congress has the right to change the benefits any way as it sees fit.

This was ruled in 1960 by the US Supreme Court. Search the Web for Fleming v. Nestor.
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