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TGIF – March 8, 2019.

March 8, 2019

The Social Security answer no one wants to hear.

Forget about guaranteed income, Medicare for all and free college. One of the things no one wants to talk about is that Social Security tax withholding needs to go up and it needs to go up now.

There is ample precedent for this, as noted in the Social Security Administration’s history of the benefit.

We’ve all heard about how SS is running out of money. Opinions differ but sometime in the next dozen or so years the whole thing is expected to tank.

The Motley Fool ran an article today pointing out that if you are now receiving the average benefit of $1344 you can’t even pay rent in eight U.S. cities today.

Of course the article is touting the well-worn advice that younger workers need to forget about Social Security altogether, but it also notes that of the people already on the program and relying on it for most of their income are living just barely above the poverty level.

That isn’t just due to lack of foresight by seniors.

For one thing, when it was created, SSI wasn’t intended to be a supplement to pension plans, because most people didn’t have them.  What legislators didn’t count on was that the cost of living would take 2 to 6% of that benefit away every year, that we would have prolonged recurrent periods of unemployment and stagnant wage growth when no taxes were collected, as happened in eight of the last ten years, or that medical bills, divorce settlements that often halve the value of existing retirement savings accounts, taxes assessed on SSI income  and costs like sky-high rents would further diminish the value of the benefit.

In short, it’s likely that even if Congress enacts a means test on recipients, or raises the retirement age to 70, OASDI taxes are going to have to go up substantially.

Wonder which candidates are going to run on that platform?

If noncitizens can vote, shouldn’t we be able to count them?

We are still awaiting the decision by SCOTUS on whether the 2020 census can ask about citizenship, but the Democrat controlled House just rolled out HR 1, which included a push to allow noncitizens, even if here illegally, to vote.

That’s going nowhere as long as the Senate remains in GOP hands, but it does bring up the question of how you would know if elections were being rigged if you have no idea how many noncitizens there are available to vote?

Just asking.

From → op-ed

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