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View Poll Results: What Is The Right Size Of The Federal Government
Same size or bigger, we are on the right track and just need the people with money to poney up additional taxes? 19 20.88%
Smaller or much smaller, we've gotten out of control and need to get back to limited government ideas of the constitution and founders? 72 79.12%
Voters: 91. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-07-2011, 02:04 PM   #41
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Whatever you feel you are entitled to.... is just you feeling entitled.

The courts have ruled that you have no contractural right to any payment. The rules can be changed with the whim of congress.

And they will make changes after great amounts of pontification, because the money just isn't there..... There is no "trust fund". It was spent. All we have is giant debts that need be paid.
Amusingly enough, that effectively make the Social Security Entitlement... not an entitlement.

Entitlement is a guarantee of access to benefits because of rights, or by agreement through law.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:32 PM   #42
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We are paying in to 'support' the system. Whether those payments flow directly to our personal SS check is largely irrelevant, it seems to me. We need to feed the system, and we did our part.
-ERD50
We all understand the emotional aspect of Soc Sec, we pay something in now so we're "entitled" to a benefit later. If the money was set aside and invested on your behalf or an annuity purchased in your name, you would be entitled. But again, your contributions are spent as they come in, it's an intergenerational transfer payment.


Though "we (all) did our part, unfortunately we can't just ignore the math and the cash flow is relevant indeed.
  • Should our children, grandchildren, etc. pay ever higher SS taxes instead of some concessions in Soc Sec age and/or benefits?
  • Should they pay higher SS taxes to preserve boomers SS age/benefits even if they pass the threshold where they are paying more in than they could ever hope to get out (IOW, they would have been better off just investing or buying an annuity for themselves)?
It's all going to be reconciled like it or not, it's not good enough to say I paid in and I expect to get the benefit I'm "entitled" to even though we've known SS (and Medicare) have been in trouble for decades?
I'll agree with you when you show me the math that supports it...
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:37 PM   #43
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I still think Carol911 has a valid viewpoint. Regardless what the SSA did with the money, she (we) have had deductions from our paychecks, and our employers matched that - our eventual payments are based on a formula that is based on what we paid into the system.

We are paying in to 'support' the system. Whether those payments flow directly to our personal SS check is largely irrelevant, it seems to me. We need to feed the system, and we did our part.

As a parallel, let's say you buy a TV that had sat on the shelf for a year. The company already paid its bills for the materials and labor, and the store already paid for the TV. I guess I could say that my money did not 'pay' for that TV, right? Customers before me must have 'paid' for it? And now I'm paying for some future customers TV? I guess that is true also, but not really relevant.

-ERD50

The people who 'invested' with Bernie Madoff are also saying that they should get their money back... this is a closer example than your TV analogy... because there is nothing on the shelf as far as SS goes (even if you count the trust fund, there is not enough to pay everybody what was 'promised')
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:50 PM   #44
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Everyone wants smaller government and lower taxes, but no one is willing to give up anything that benefits them. But we're all willing to slash something that benefits someone else.

Can't remember the exact quote, but something like 'we all get on the merry go round, and get dizzy and sick, but no one ever gets off.'
I agree. Things are the way they are because that is how we collectively want them, and our representatives can't make the tough decisions required of leaders.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:10 PM   #45
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Let Them Eat Cake

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
  • Should our children, grandchildren, etc. pay ever higher SS taxes instead of some concessions in Soc Sec age and/or benefits?
  • Should they pay higher SS taxes to preserve boomers SS age/benefits even if they pass the threshold where they are paying more in than they could ever hope to get out (IOW, they would have been better off just investing or buying an annuity for themselves)?
Yes

and

Yes
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:30 PM   #46
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[/LIST]Yes

and

Yes
Respectfully disagree, but then they were rhetorical questions.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:29 PM   #47
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I would imagine downsizing the Federal Government would take 10-20 years and thousands of extra employees to accomplish the job.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:42 PM   #48
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One of these may well be in the forthcoming compromise.

1) Dump the mortgage interest deduction.
2) Eliminate the employer health care deduction.

#1 is worth about $150B? #2 is even more, about $250B as I recall.

3) Increase the SS retirement age. That really fixes the future, though, as the SS deficit was "only" $49B last year.

4) Reduce defense spending to 2001 levels.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:04 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
  • Should our children, grandchildren, etc. pay ever higher SS taxes instead of some concessions in Soc Sec age and/or benefits?
  • Should they pay higher SS taxes to preserve boomers SS age/benefits even if they pass the threshold where they are paying more in than they could ever hope to get out (IOW, they would have been better off just investing or buying an annuity for themselves)?
Yes

and

Yes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
It's all going to be reconciled like it or not, it's not good enough to say I paid in and I expect to get the benefit I'm "entitled" to even though we've known SS (and Medicare) have been in trouble for decades?
I'll agree with you when you show me the math that supports it...
Well, I think it really goes back to the idea that I think the whole system is terribly flawed. I've said it before - it's very odd to me that a a system that is supposed to help those less well off will pay more to those who earned more (and were capable of saving more). It's tough to 'fix' something when it is so ill-defined as to what it is supposed to do.

But to make an attempt to answer your question - given the situation as it is, I don't have a problem with some adjustment to benefits along with some adjustments to payments. It looks like they will be needed, and the sooner we face that the better. But I'd prefer to see the whole system replaced (going forward).

Also - rereading what you wrote, let add some clarity. I wasn't saying personally that I feel all that strongly that I 'paid into it', so I'm 'entitled'. But I was expressing that it isn't an unreasonable thing for people to think. Marking that line item on every paycheck as "FICA" instead of general taxes adds to the feeling, IMO.

-ERD50
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:38 AM   #50
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What you paid in was spent on earlier recipients long ago, all you have is an IOU. It's most certainly an entitlement, even the SSA acknowledges that...

Understanding Supplemental Security Income
Social Security Entitlement2011 Edition
Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI)-- Social Security Entitlement
Supplemental Security Income is a program for the needy. One does not ever have to pay 1 cent into it, in order to receive it. If you read the faq, it is talking about you may be entitled to social security also and that filing for SSI is also an app for SSA. To be entitled to retirement benefits, you have to have the required work credits, be at least age 62 and have filed an application for it. There is a difference between being eligible and being entitled. Just saying...
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Old 07-08-2011, 06:27 AM   #51
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Supplemental Security Income is a program for the needy. One does not ever have to pay 1 cent into it, in order to receive it.
Folks keep on mixing terms/programs (good catch!).

There are three programs - SS (normal), SSD (Social Security Disability, which you get if you were paying SS but become unable to work), and SSI (which unlike SS/SSD is administered by the individual state, along with different eligibility rules; however it is partially funded by the federal government). As stated, you need no income nor ever have to pay into SS to receive SSI benefits (based upon indivudial state qualification/rules).

My son receives SSD, based upon his SS payments before he was declared totally disabled. However, working in a sheltered workshop, he still pays SS on his (very little) earnings. Sort of like he's "paying himself", but that's the way it is...
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:24 AM   #52
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To me one good way to reduce the defense budget would be to close all bases outside the US, bring the troops home, use them to guard our own borders, and stop being the world's policeman. Let other nations see what it costs to completely defend themselves.
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:11 AM   #53
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The issue is that people didn't really do their part. They chose politicians that funded lower taxes and other government programs with the SS trust fund.

Everyone ate the cake, but people now think that we should still have it.


Quote:
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Though "we (all) did our part, unfortunately we can't just ignore the math and the cash flow is relevant indeed.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:10 PM   #54
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The issue is that people didn't really do their part. They chose politicians that funded lower taxes and other government programs with the SS trust fund.
yeah, Where's LockBox AL Gore when we needed him !
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:23 PM   #55
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I was never real clear on how that lockbox was supposed to work

Ultimately, people have been expecting a level of government service much higher than they have been willing to pay for for 30+ years.

We can keep the current services government provides, but we will need to start paying the actual cost of them in taxes.

We can choose a much lower level of service and keep our taxes as low as they are now.

Both are relatively rational options. People can argue about which of those paths is better, but ultimately they both can be viable. I'm willing to accept either path, or a compromise inbetween. I'll complain about one of them, but ultimately I will accept it because it is still better than the current path.

What we can't do is continue to pretend that we can get everything our government is currently doing for us at the current tax rates.

We've set our taxes at post-WWII lows (GDP-wise) and are still expecting to be able to fund SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and the defense of the entire world. We are quickly reaching the end of that path.

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yeah, Where's LockBox AL Gore when we needed him !
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:55 PM   #56
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We've set our taxes at post-WWII lows (GDP-wise) and are still expecting to be able to fund SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and the defense of the entire world. We are quickly reaching the end of that path.
if you are referring to federal Income taxes in isolation you may have a point.

But if you look at the all-in taxes (of all kinds) levied at every level of government then you are very much incorrect.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:22 PM   #57
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I've had difficulty finding good data for historical taxes at the state and local levels.

What sources did you use to come to your conclusion?


Quote:
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if you are referring to federal Income taxes in isolation you may have a point.

But if you look at the all-in taxes (of all kinds) levied at every level of government then you are very much incorrect.
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Old 07-08-2011, 04:50 PM   #58
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I've had difficulty finding good data for historical taxes at the state and local levels.

What sources did you use to come to your conclusion?
See table 15.1 (on page 340 and 341) of this US OMB publication .

I couldn't find a cool graphic, so here's a synopsis of the table:

Total Government revenues (Federal, State, Local government) as percent of GDP (rounded to nearest percent):

1950 21
1955 25
1960 25
1965 25
1970 28
1975 28
1980 28
1985 27
1990 28
1995 29
2000 30
2005 28
2010 25
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:08 PM   #59
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Thanks!

So when you include the state and local taxes, we are merely at the lowest tax level since 1959.


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See table 15.1 (on page 340 and 341) of this US OMB publication .

I couldn't find a cool graphic, so here's a synopsis of the table:

Total Government revenues (Federal, State, Local government) as percent of GDP (rounded to nearest percent):

1950 21
1955 25
1960 25
1965 25
1970 28
1975 28
1980 28
1985 27
1990 28
1995 29
2000 30
2005 28
2010 25
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:46 PM   #60
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if you are referring to federal Income taxes in isolation you may have a point.

But if you look at the all-in taxes (of all kinds) levied at every level of government then you are very much incorrect.

but but but, we are talking about the FEDERAL deficit/debt sooooooo it seems that talking about FIT is appropriate.

o and btw if you "fix" SS by lowering benefits and writing off the SS trust fund what we and the federal government will be doing is conceding that FICA was used to pay for other federal programs and not SS (i.e. totally misrepresenting that "tax"). i think that should (and may even) be illegal.
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