Written by Nicole James (5 days ago)
One of President Trump’s hallmark campaign promises was that he would never cut Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security. So, of course, he’s planning on cutting Social Security.
An unnamed congressman met with several reporters on Capitol Hill to discuss Trump’s long-term plans. Trump “told a Republican member of Congress that he was willing to go after Social Security and other entitlement programs at the beginning of his second term.”
He purposely said this away from the public, knowing that it would be a very unpopular decision.
“When Donald Trump launched his campaign, he pledged to the American people that he would not cut Medicare or Social Security,” Andrew Bates, deputy communications director for American Bridge, said in a statement to Shareblue Media. “Now, less than one year into his administration, we’re learning that as Trump tries to pass tax cuts for the wealthy that sell-out the middle class, he’s also having private conversations with members of Congress about breaking both of those major promises to the country.”
What’s even more frightening is that Trump is aware of how bad this would go over with his base and the country, and he’s waiting for his second term, when he no longer has to worry about re-election. If what we’re seeing right now are the choices he makes when he’s confident that he’ll serve a second term, what horrible plans does he have if he does win in 2020?
Hopefully, we will never know.
9 total views, 3 views today
Posted by Thomas Mills | Sep 20, 2017 | Editor’s Blog | 40 |
Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry said out loud what most Republican only say in private. He wants to end Social Security and Medicare. He told Charlotte Observer political reporter Jim Morrill, “I would rather have complete control of the social safety net given to the states.” That would end Social Security and Medicare. Most Republicans would probably agree. And that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
Shifting the burden of caring for our retirees to the states would likely result in millions of more Americans dying in poverty. And the populations most affected would almost certainly be minorities and people with physical and mental disabilities. Social Security and Medicare work because the pool of people supporting them is so large. Placing the burden on states would result in unnecessary pain.
As we’ve seen in North Carolina and other Southern states, discrimination is alive and well. Democracy is not. Here, Republicans carefully and methodically targeted African-Americans in a successful effort to keep them out of power. You can only imagine what they would do if hundreds of millions of dollars to provide a social safety net were at stake.
Before Republicans took power in North Carolina, Democrats warned that they would cut funding to our public schools, colleges and universities. Republicans vehemently denied it and claimed Democrats were using cheap scare tactics. But once they had control, North Carolina’s per pupil spending dropped to among the lowest in the nation. Even today, the Republican-controlled UNC Board of Governors is demanding cuts to schools across the system. And that comes on the heels of huge cuts from the General Assembly over the past six years.
Similarly, Republicans routinely deny they want to cut Social Security benefits or Medicare. They call Democrats’ warning “Mediscare” but giving control of the safety net to the states would leave millions of people with fewer or no benefits. The GOP wants to reverse the programs of the New Deal and Great Society. They would take us back to a time when life expectancy for people who reached adulthood was about 65 years old and Jim Crow dominated the South. The people who would benefit have reaped the greatest rewards by living in the United States. The people who need support would suffer the most.
6 total views, no views today
Posted 7:34 am, September 17, 2017, by AP Wire Service
Denied Social Security Disability application form
WASHINGTON — More than 1 million Americans are waiting for a hearing to see whether they qualify for disability benefits from Social Security. Their average wait will be nearly two years, longer than some of them will live.
All of them have been denied benefits at least once — in fact, most applications are initially rejected.
But in Social Security’s disability program, the outcome of a case often depends on who decides it.
Most of those who complete the appeals process eventually win benefits.
They won’t get rich: The average benefit is $1,037 a month, too small to lift a family of two out of poverty.
For some, the benefits come too late.
Last year, Social Security’s inspector general found there were 7,400 people on waitlists who were actually dead.
Trademark and Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
6 total views, 3 views today
Dean Baker, Contributor Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
The best way to generate wealth for future retirees is to minimize the money that is wasted in fees for the financial industry.
08/21/2017 11:46 pm ET Updated 2 days ago
Last week marked the 82nd anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s signing the bill that created Social Security. The program has stood the test of time well.
It accounts for more than half of the income for 60 percent of senior households and more than 90 percent for almost one third. It has reduced poverty rates among the elderly from more than one-third to roughly the same as the rest of the adult population. In addition, it provides disability insurance, as well as life insurance for family members, for almost the entire working age population.
This is a pretty good track record. This is the reason the program is hugely popular and efforts at privatization, like President George W. Bush’s 2005 effort, have all gone down in defeat. It’s hard to beat Social Security.
A big part of the benefit of Social Security is that it is very efficient. The administrative costs of the retirement portion of the program are just 0.4 percent of what is paid out in benefits each year. By comparison, the costs of even relatively well-run privatized systems, like those in Chile or the United Kingdom, are 10-15 percent of benefits. That difference would amount to $80 billion a year (close to $1 trillion over a ten-year budget horizon) being paid out to the financial industry instead of to retirees.
This was a huge hurdle for President Bush to overcome with his privatization plan. His main route was to invent stories about the much higher returns that workers would be able to earn with the privatized accounts he promised them.
But this story of better returns turned out to be based on phony numbers. Essentially, his crew was extrapolating stock returns from a period when the economy was growing fast and price-to-earnings ratios in the stock market were much lower. Their claims about future returns could not be reconciled with the Social Security trustees growth projections that provided the basis for the debate.
To make this point, we invented the “No Economist Left Behind” test where we challenged supporters of privatization to write down numbers for capital gains and dividend yields that added to the stock returns assumed by the Bush administration. This amounted to writing down two numbers that added to 7 percent (the annual real return they assumed for stocks), a task which should not be too difficult for someone with a PhD in economics.
It turned out the privatizers were not up to the challenge. If they picked a high number for real stock returns (say 5.0 percent), they would soon have price-to-earnings ratios well over a hundred to one. No economist wanted to be associated with this prediction.
The alternative was to assume a high dividend yield. This quickly had companies paying out more than all of their profits in dividends or share buybacks. This meant they wouldn’t even be able to invest enough to maintain their capital stock, also an unlikely scenario.
The moral of the story is that there is no free lunch in financial markets. That was true back in 2005 and is probably even truer today. Price- to-earnings ratios are even higher than in 2005, and profits are an unusually large share of national income, meaning that they are likely to grow at a slower pace than the economy as a whole in future years. With real estate also at unusually high prices, it is virtually guaranteed that returns to all forms of financial capital will be considerably lower in future years than in the past.
In this story, the best way to generate wealth for future retirees is to minimize the money that is wasted in fees for the financial industry. This is the route being followed by the states of Illinois, California, and Oregon, all of which have passed legislation that allows workers in the private sector to invest with their public employee retirement funds. Several other states are close behind in this process.
While these plans keep a strict separation of the funds, they allow workers throughout the state to invest their money by taking advantage of the structure already in place for public employees. The savings on administrative expenses compared to existing IRAs or 401(k)s can easily be on the order of 1.0-2.0 percentage points annually. This difference could translate into almost $30,000 in additional savings for someone putting aside $2,000 a year for 30 years, a difference of close to 30 percent.
In short, insofar as we want to supplement the income provided by Social Security, we should look to the program as a model. Keep it simple and keep the costs low. If people want to speculate in financial markets they are welcome to do so, but retirement policy means simple and cheap, and if that reduces profits for the financial industry, that’s good too.
3 total views, no views today