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Old 03-20-2012, 09:59 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
As I recall, the proposal was floated as a type of free lunch without acknowledging the "flood of red ink" you correctly identify.

Certainly different opinions over the merits of the end goal persist, but what stops people from seriously proposing something like this again is how to pay for the transition. Nobody likes paying for things.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:22 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by EvrClrx311 View Post
I guess what I meant was that the social insurance inherent in SSA is important. I get that we need to support people who REALLY need it... the main benefit (that check you receive when you retire) is unnecessary for some people. In fact, it only works to dilute (however small) our ability to accumulate wealth.

....

Again, I understand that not everyone has the means, desire or knowledge to protect themselves financially... but it would be nice if those of us who did could opt out - so that our country could slowly reduce SSA overall percentage of the governments yearly obligation. I understand that is impossible the way the current system is written. I don't mind paying taxes to help out... I just don't agree with the system as a whole.

The underlying message I was trying to convey is that Social Security is forced on us... early in our careers we hate it (if we understand it at all), but by the time we retire it's too late to change because then it would be "unfair" for us, our generation. It has grown into something so big that it can't be removed... and if it is mishandled it can really get our country into trouble.
I'm guessing that your complaint about "the system as a whole" is that it's paygo. If that's the case, I'd say that it's no harder for this generation to change that than it was for prior generations. Humans have been caring for their elders through paygo methods for millenia. Americans in the 1950's were caring for there parents directly, and would have spent more on direct gifts if there hadn't been a SS system.

OTOH, I think we could make a significant change to the benefit amounts. I'm okay with paying taxes so that old people who couldn't/didn't save for retirement have survival income of, say, $10k annually. I'm even okay with paying additional taxes so that all old people get $10k, because I understand that means testing an old age benefit is an invitation to massive gaming and cheating. But, I don't want to pay the additional taxes so that higher income people can get higher amounts. If $10k is enough to live on, I'd rather not pay higher taxes so that some people can get $29k.

Maybe that's what you meant by the system as a whole.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:29 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Independent View Post
I'm guessing that your complaint about "the system as a whole" is that it's paygo. If that's the case, I'd say that it's no harder for this generation to change that than it was for prior generations. Humans have been caring for their elders through paygo methods for millenia. Americans in the 1950's were caring for there parents directly, and would have spent more on direct gifts if there hadn't been a SS system.
I think this true, but there are other nuances in today's society:

1 -- Before the SS/Medicare era, "retirement" tended to be the point at which the person was no longer physically or mentally to produce, or to "add value" with their abilities. And in the most cases, that was either the day dropped dead (if sudden) or within a couple of years (if not sudden). There may be a few situations (incapacitating injury, dementia, et cetera) where caring for a non-working family member was a long-term thing, but not to the extent of providing for the long, healthy retirements of today.

2 -- Before the SS/Medicare era, caring for the incapacitated, the disabled and the elderly were almost entirely provided by family (and sometimes by charity). The expectation today is that government does more. Thus there was a shift of responsibility to the overwhelmingly willing to the often unwilling.

3 -- The current situation is exacerbated by demographics that makes "paygo" a "birth lottery" system where the deal you get (good or bad) is largely dependent on when you were born.
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Old 03-20-2012, 02:48 PM   #124
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I think this true, but there are other nuances in today's society:

1 -- Before the SS/Medicare era, "retirement" tended to be the point at which the person was no longer physically or mentally to produce, or to "add value" with their abilities. And in the most cases, that was either the day dropped dead (if sudden) or within a couple of years (if not sudden). There may be a few situations (incapacitating injury, dementia, et cetera) where caring for a non-working family member was a long-term thing, but not to the extent of providing for the long, healthy retirements of today.

2 -- Before the SS/Medicare era, caring for the incapacitated, the disabled and the elderly were almost entirely provided by family (and sometimes by charity). The expectation today is that government does more. Thus there was a shift of responsibility to the overwhelmingly willing to the often unwilling.

3 -- The current situation is exacerbated by demographics that makes "paygo" a "birth lottery" system where the deal you get (good or bad) is largely dependent on when you were born.
1. I doubt that it was a dramatic thing. Most people just slowed down. Gramma did more sewing, grampa repaired the harness. But, they didn't fully support themselves, their children covered the gap. I'd say that if people today were willing to work as long as people in earlier generations, then they wouldn't find it hard to pay SS taxes for current retirees and save for their own (short) retirements.

2. True. I'm simply saying that both the family and the public system were paygo. SS didn't invent that concept.

3. The old system was exacerbated by the "death/income lottery". Nobody knew how many of their children would live to adulthood, would have good incomes, or would be willing to support their parents. The new system actually provides a more predictable result than the old.
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:33 PM   #125
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1. I doubt that it was a dramatic thing. Most people just slowed down. Gramma did more sewing, grampa repaired the harness. But, they didn't fully support themselves, their children covered the gap. I'd say that if people today were willing to work as long as people in earlier generations, then they wouldn't find it hard to pay SS taxes for current retirees and save for their own (short) retirements.

2. True. I'm simply saying that both the family and the public system were paygo. SS didn't invent that concept.

3. The old system was exacerbated by the "death/income lottery". Nobody knew how many of their children would live to adulthood, would have good incomes, or would be willing to support their parents. The new system actually provides a more predictable result than the old.
Also for those who today would qualify for medicaid there used to be the poor houses run by the county. (According to web sites they were largely for the elderly) It is interesting in one sense that we essentially privatized the care of the indigent elderly.
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