Social Question

Ron_C's avatar

Do you agree with raising the Social Security retirement age to 70?

Asked by Ron_C (14436points) July 1st, 2010

I am 63 and love my job and believe that I will continue working to at least the age of 70. Saying that, I don’t see how can force someone that works a labor job to work past the age of 62. Your retirement age should be tied to you job. I don’t think we have to worry about the safety of office workers as they age. However jobs like millwrights, farm labor, police, etc.. should have voluntary retirement at much earlier ages. One system does not fit all.
If the government wants to reduce the deficit, it should be done with cuts in non-productive programs like new weapons research, extending wars that have no bearing on national security, and reduce perks for elected officials.

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84 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Luck of the draw @Ron_C, we are now having to pay Social Security for all the baby boomers on heart medicine who are living longer because of it!

dpworkin's avatar

The problem is that the cuts you suggest are insufficient. The best solution would be to increase revenues by ending tax breaks for corporations and wealthy individuals, but since Congress is bought and sold I wouldn’t count on seeing that any time soon.

chyna's avatar

No I don’t agree with working that long. Hopefully, I want to retire while healthy enough to enjoy retirement. It is taking away jobs from younger people, it is keeping older, and in some instances, less able or less productive older people in a job they are no longer able to handle, but have to stay because the government mandates they do so! I went off on this subject yesterday with a friend.

Ron_C's avatar

@Cruiser that’s true at the same time that the government uses the fund as a piggy bank and pursues a policy of sending jobs overseas. That’s why I mentioned from where the extra money could derive.

Ron_C's avatar

@dpworkin you are correct. I did see, however that there was some move to lower domestic corporation taxes and starting systems where multinationals would not be able to hide their assets in tax haven countries. We really need that.

Ron_C's avatar

@chyna I just heard a commentator ask, “what industry would accept the majority of its workforce at the age of 60 and over?” The answer is, other than a couple legal firms, or congress, none.

CMaz's avatar

I want my retirement money now.

Coloma's avatar

I’m with @chyna

I think the work ethic in America is insane.

There is SO much MORE to life than ones work.

I am 50 and would love to retire now.

Not from life, not from the things I love doing, but from the mandates that keep one tethered to the system until death do we part.

Bah Humbug!

But..I’ve always done things MY way…so far, so good..I am able to live well on a part time income, keep it simple, in terms of expenses and ‘stuff’...spend my money on the meanigful things in life, like good food, travel. peace and space and my mini-menagerie.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t agree with raising the age, but I am ok with raising the social security tax cap contribution each year by a small amount to gain more revenue. I also undertsand thatthe government borrows from social security funds to pay other things, and that enrages me, it has to stop, and monies need to be paid back that were taken.

ETpro's avatar

Absolutely not. The trend in employment is just the opposite, laying people off when they get older to cull the higher salaried workers. For the last three decades, the trend has been for money to flow from the bottom tiers of US society to the top, with most of it going to the top 1/10th of 1 percent. If we keep going like we’re going, someday we’re going to get where we are heading, and that is a banana republic with a few uber-wealthy families owning everything and using the government and police to make sure it always stays that way.

Despite all the right-wing rhetoric to the opposite, America’s billionaires are not an endangered species. They are doing just fine and they are rapidly compounding thier grasp on what wealth there is to be had in the nation. We can back off on welfare for corporations and the wealthy now.

josie's avatar

@Ron C How is anybody forced to work beyond any age. Nobody in the US is a slave. You can stop anytime you can afford to. If you can’t afford to, you can’t stop.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes. But something has to give. You can retire at 50 but do not expect the government to pay you as much. It is your choice.

I just looked up SS retiremrnt age and life expectancy 9source) for someone born in 1940, 1950 and 1960 since those are retirement ages. Maybe someone else can work out a nice table.
Born 1940: overall life expectancy 63.6; retirement age 65
Born 1950: overall life expectancy 68.1; retirement age 66
Born 1960: overall life expectancy 69.9; retirement age 67
You can readily see the life expectancy is increasing much faster than the retirement age. Something has to give. Maybeincrease the age penalty for someone who want to retire early.
(By the way, Life expectancy for those born in 1980 is 73..9 and for 2000 it is 77.6)

I would not make it dependent upon the job. I would keep it the same for everyone – office worker, police, millwright, or CEO. There are already enough inequities to go around.

Scooby's avatar

Well I guess I could be long gone by then, but given the choice I’ll be finished in about fifteen years,,,, give or take! :-/

josie's avatar

That is my point Not only is it immoral to force by law somebody else to fund your retirement with their labor, as is now the case with social security, it is also stupid. It makes you a hostage to the whims of voters and the actions of corrupt politicians. Not a good position to be in.

AstroChuck's avatar

No! Why not just remove the cap on FICA. All these wealthy conservatives who keep saying we should have a flat tax don’t seem to want it to apply to Social Security.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Clearly the system has to either give out less money by: paying less or paying for a shorter time, or not paying as much for the hardship cases.
Or it could take in more by: removing the cap, changing the rate, others?

I’m with @AstroChuck. The cap should be removed or raised significantly. A question follows.that line of thinking: if the cap is raised to $1Million would that person get significantly more in benefits?

ETpro's avatar

@AstroChuck Hear, hear! We have been doing more and more for billionaires and multinational corporations at the expense of the bottom 60% of our society. If we keep following that course, we will plunge more and more people into poverty, eventually killing the consumers who are the Goose that lays the golden eggs this society runs on. It is not workable. raise the cap. Fund FICA. We can do it. We just can’t do it on the backs of the poor.

dpworkin's avatar

Even Czar Alexander understood that he would need an middle class in order not to be dependent upon outside trade for a good economy.

JLeslie's avatar

@AstroChuck You said the same thing I did, but you worded it better, although I did not say tax (FICA) the whole salary, just more than they do now. Also, I never hear wealthy people talking about a flat tax, I hear them talking about more sales tax, less income tax, or what they renamed it as “fair tax.” Flat tax to me is a flat income tax, which I which I am in favor of if they get rid of loopholes.

john65pennington's avatar

Cruiser, you are correct. raising the age limit to 70 for Soc. Security will actually not benefit anyone, except the government. if a person works 40 to 50 years, its then time for them to retire. i understand the situation with the younger people and Soc. Security. this is a problem that the Feds should have addressed many years ago. i only hope that Soc. Security is still solvent and around when you are ready to retire. i paid my money, as i am sure you will, into the system for 44 years, along with all the other babyboomers. we did our part. if the system fails, its the fault of the government.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie If there was universal single payer health care in the US, I would probably retire earlier than I will. Fear of a major illness destroying me financially wil keep me working. Many people are enslaved to their jobs because they need health care, and if the change jobs the might no tbe covered for a period of time for pre-existing, or if they want to open their own business they have to worry about health insurance I guess some of that will change now with the new bill. Same with retirement age for SS, if we can’t start collecting our social security, we are more likely to stay in the workforce. When jobs are tight, believe me the 25 year old would prefer the 65 year old get out of the workforce and give the 25 year old an opportunity to work. If the 65 year old is simply getting fired to allow the younger workers in, I don’t think we want our elderly to wind up in an impossible financial situation.

Cruiser's avatar

@john65pennington I already know when I retire in now 20 years that the bank will be broke save for a small base of incoming funds from the then workforce which will just cover the have nots. And because I have saved and invested in my 401 I will be deemed solvent and no longer eligible for social security or taxed to the hilt so my money I saved is distributed “fairly” and equally.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie First, it is not enslavement. It certainly represents a difficult choice, but it is not enslavement. Second, you are sort of restating my position. It is immoral to expect somebody else to fund your (and my) retirement, and so when it comes to pass that such a system can not work, why is everybody surprised, or disappointed or angry. Anybody who knows who the SS system works, knows that it is a house of cards and that someday it will be gone. Therefore, anybody who is unprepared to retire without SS has painted themselves into a corner, or believed politicians, which nobody should ever do. Finally, there is no such thing as “retirement” in the natural world. And we are part of nature. So where does this idea of “retirement” come from. When a lion can no longer catch a zebra, the game is close to over. So why is man different?

CMaz's avatar

Is retirement the norm? Is it not just a modern day “treat” we try to provide for ourselves?
Turning it into something we are suppose to get or deserve?

Was there not a time that people always worked?

It seems it is a “perk” for the poor. The masters of industry seem to work till they die.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie We are not lions living in the jungle, we are human beings living in modern society it is not analagous. We do not leave or handicapped, elderly, or our runts out in the forest to be savaged.

I agree that relying on the generations after us to support out social security is not a perfect system. Relying on populations to always be increasing is a mistake, because the more successful, educated, and prosperous we become the more likely we will have flat or negative popultaion growth. But, and I do not have facts about this, from what I understand they are stealing money from social security to use in other parts of goverment and I really think that is awful if that is so. I really think maintaining social security is important, but the system needs to be revamped and done with integrity.

I agree people should be saving, and not relying on the governemnt to take care of them. But, I have no problem with the government forcing people to pay into a system, a forced savings of sorts, because Americans prove over and over again that a large percentage of our population doesn’t save or think about the future or act responsibly.

dpworkin's avatar

@ChazMaz Has it never occurred to you to contrast the satisfaction that comes from doing management work, let alone the perquisites, with that of stoop labor?

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

This would have a couple of unintended consequences. First, employers don’t want to keep their older workers. They are generally at the top of their pay grades, and employers want to get rid of them in order to replace them with workers that are younger and cheaper.

Second – if older workers stay at their jobs longer, those same younger workers have fewer jobs available to them. Unemployment is already ridiculously high among young people looking to enter the job market, and moving the retirement age out farther will only impede job creation even more.

Finally, everyone talks about phasing this in over time. Well, messing with SS has never been popular with voters, and I think that any Congress that decided to phase in something like this would find themselves phased out at the ballot box.

No free lunch.

Coloma's avatar

Yeah well…the powers that be have done a fine job of enslaving us all..and it IS enslavement.

I don’t see the comparisons of lions and zebras, for one, lions gorge and then fast sometimes for weeks….zebras have to keep their nose in the grass 20 hours a day.

I am the lion..(ness) feast or famine…but I am stockpiling my zebras for those lean times ahead. lol

BoBo1946's avatar

People should retire at 21 and required to go back to work at age 55!

Coloma's avatar

@BoBo1946

Lol…yes…life should be like Benjiman Button! lol

josie's avatar

@JLeslie We are indeed human beings and modern society allows us to conceal the occasionally unpleasant truths of our existence, but nature is still there, whether it looks like it or not. And what I am seeing in your thread is that you think that it is occasionally OK to steal from one person and give to another. What are some other occasions when it is OK to steal? When is it not OK to steal?

BoBo1946's avatar

@Coloma yeah, 62 is bad enough…you’re too “beat up” to enjoy the so called, “Golden Years!”

thekoukoureport's avatar

We as Americans live MUCH longer than when the original Social Security program was started. We are now entering a period where the largest generation EVER is being paid from Social security. Of course we should raise the reirement age for all who are 50 and below, increase to 70. After all Social Security is not supposed to be a retirement account. It was intended to be a security net. If you save your money wisely you can retire without Social Security.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie not steal. I am saying I am ok in GIVING to others for the betterment of society. Willing to pay for public schools even though I don’t have children, willing to contribute money to build roads to facilitate better transportation, willing to pay to maintain national parks. It is not only altruistic reasons, but selfish also. I want to live in a society that cares for it’s citizens and works as a community. And, the other thing I said that I am ok with, that I think you aren’t, is people being required to save money for the future.

john65pennington's avatar

ChazMaz. i did my part for Soc. Security. i contibuted for many, many years. this is not a treat or a perk. my contributions were many. its now my time to enjoy the benefits of my Soc. Security contributions. everyone else’s time will come, if they just wait and make that contribution. thats what its all about. Soc. Security has never been or never will be a “gimme”.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie I am with you there. I would never stop you from giving. I am not talking about voluntarily giving, which I find gratifying as well. I am talking about taking, under threat of imprisonment or confiscation for non compliance, from one person and giving to another. Giving is good. Stealing is not.

CMaz's avatar

@john65pennington – I totally agree. It was suppose to be an investment for our future. Our money.
I think the system failed in not adjusting for longevity and baby boomers. More taking out less putting in.
I like the idea of allowing us (control) to invest that “savings” into something secure. Preventing it from being skimmed off by Uncle Sam.

If our system only functioned like how the people in the movie Logan’s Run did.
This would not even be an issue. :-)

Just off everyone that hits the age of 21, ok let’s change that to 40. Maybe 50. Ok 65.

JLeslie's avatar

@josie voluntary giving will never be organized well enough to support the systems we need for such a large country with such a huge population. I would GIVE tons more money to charitable organizations if I knew for sure my health care was taken care of. Right now I squirrel away lots and lots of money just in case I am hit with a big illness. Feeling secure enables people to be more generous. What can I give to that will ensure I will have a “pension” for the rest of my life in case I estimated my savings incorrectly and only saved to live until the age of 80, but I wind up living to be 95?

Are you annoyed with it because you think the SS system will be bankrupt before you get to collect? If it is run ficscally sound would you be ok with it? I mean if you save in your savings account or save through taxes, why is it so different?

I say we should let people opt out of the system. No taxes and let them live out on their own in some designated parts of the country. But, they don’t get to benefit from federal government spending then. NOTHING. Not any health research, no federal subsidies, etc. There will still be people who want to pay in. I will, I know Warren Buffet will, and I know Bill Gates will. I am being sarcastic sort of.

There is nothing wrong with questioning how the federal government is handling our money, I do that too, but you seem to be against the fundamental idea of taxes in general to support services for the community.

Kraigmo's avatar

Instead of raising the age of social security benefits, we should instead just eliminate benefits from those who clearly do not need them, while at the same time raising the cap that limits who pays into social security.

Democrats and Republicans alike are against this. Democrats, because “we all need to benefit from it universally” and Republicans, because of the “No new taxes” mantra.

There’s no reason to allow for suffering, while letting someone sit on a useless billion dollars, just because someone has a fundamentalist idea about fairness or the American Dream.

JLeslie's avatar

@Kraigmo I am against it, because I think if you pay in you should get the money back out.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie I object on the moral principle that I said earlier. When is it OK to take from one person and give to another for the purpose of gaining political favor? But that aside, why is it that people are always saying of the government that everything would be alright if they just ran the programs properly. Since when did they run ANYTHING properly, and why would any of us imagine that someday the right group of corrupt, self serving silver tongued devils in Washington are going to get it right. That is not what they do, nor how they do it. Why do people keep kidding themselves. Let the federal government exert civilian control over the armed forces, oversee interstate commerce and one or two other things that they are uniquely suited to do, and then just get out of the way.

dpworkin's avatar

@josie Your extreme views began to go out of fashion during the Age of Enlightenment, and it has been some time that has passed since then. Maybe you need to read less Ayn Rand and more John Maynard Keynes.

josie's avatar

@dpworkin Besides General Theory and Atlas Shrugged, neither of which were that great, what should I read?

JLeslie's avatar

@josie I was waaaayyyyy happier with my military health care than the care I get out here in civilian life. That is why I want the government to control health care. Not, Obama’s plan by the way, that is not what I am talking about. Many of the problems in government seem to have to do with the adversarily stance of the two parties in my opinion. Each party wants a vote, rather then doing what is best. But, private corporations also can be corrupt and dysfunctional. It’s not like no government, or very small government magically fixes everything. Look at what credit card companies were doing…fees right and left, loanshark interest rates. I put some blame on the people who used the credit cards, but it is an nexample of how corporations will take and take. Let alone that many times they serve the bottom line and stockholders, and not their employees who are earning the profits.

Can you name a country that would illustrate to me how your policies would work? A place in the world you would want to live in that has the government limited to the armed forces that is a fabulous, prosperous country, with a good standard of living, that is safe and has relatively equal opportunities for all of its’ citizens?

The problem with your example is it is too extreme. People on the liberal side who are extreme, are too extreme also. There needs to be a reasonable balance, and we are constantly tweeking it as things change and populations grow. Just because something is not working as expected, does not necessarily mean you throw the whole idea out, it might mean we just need to reevaluate now that we have seen it put into action.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@josie I live in the USA. The water and waste removal services have never been interrupted. The garbage is consistently picked up every week, and the postal service seems to work like a charm. The police and fire departments across the nation have risked their lives in order to save others. My mother uses Medicare, and I have several friends that were in the military and have veterans’ benefits; they have never complained about the health care needs not being met. Whether I pay for these services via bill or taxes, they are services I rely on and are often not given a second thought.

There have been some good suggestions posted on this thread. Please, please take them, or your opinion, to your congressperson. They have an obligation to support the voice of their state, and if we don’t speak up, we have no room to criticize.

Coloma's avatar

@thekoukoureport

Wisdom has nothing to do with saving these days..I have saved f-o-r-e-v-e-r..and have watched my investments dwindle to about ⅓ of what they were about 5 years ago.

Hey…it’s all dust in the wind…plenty of wise people are taking some big hits in this crazy economic climate.

josie's avatar

@JLeslie What is extreme about recognizing what is, sadly, some undesirable facts about government? Does anybody really think that the government has your interest in mind? In a totalitarian government they certainly do not. In a democratically elected republic, they simply have perfected the art of appealing to to the hopeful gullibility of a voting majority. In modern democratic republics, they have backed their promises by stealing from the voting minority and giving the spoils to the voting majority. It is always an insiders game. And this is what we want? There are no protecting angels in government. They want nothing but perks prestige and power. And in most cases, by the time people realize what damage the government has done, the actual politicians who were responsible are long gone. The fact that there are few examples, if any, on earth of moral governments is more evidence that there is a problem, not they my position is extreme. Extremely what, anyway? Certainly, extremely frustrated by one more generation of Americans waiting for government to do a better job of looking out for them. Under what other circumstances would you pay tribute to an organization that used your money to satisfy their ambitions, and dream up programs to beguile you into believing that they can help you, when in fact they simply eat up your money. Then, when that money is gone, the next generation of government states that it needs more money. I can not think of one circumstance where a business,and agency or anybody could get away with promising outcomes that never occur, but still demand more money. But it happens every day. In my opinion, people who are not upset by this are also extreme-extremely hoodwinked. But they have the votes and I do not. So there ya go.

Ron_C's avatar

@josie you said that nobody is forced to work in the U.S. I guess that’s true if you are also worried about living in a house, eating regular meals, or getting medical care. You also seem to imply that taxing citizens is stealing from the rich to pay the poor. I think that part of the reason to have government is to help and protect its citizens.

Why shouldn’t those that benefit the most, pay a little more? You know the Republicans got rid of the death tax so the rich can keep their money even after they’re dead. You should be comforted by that.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro I always thought the tax cap on social security was sort of a goal to work toward. Unfortunately, they always raised the cap just before I got there. Now it seems that the cap is to insure that the very rich don’t pay too many taxes. Conservatives seem pretty good at protecting the rich and the liberals seem ineffective on all fronts.

Ron_C's avatar

@josie “can not think of one circumstance where a business,and agency or anybody could get away with promising outcomes that never occur, but still demand more money” I can, Credit card companies, Investment banking, wall street, oil companies, and the really big one is Health Insurance companies because as soon as you need benefits, they find ways to cancel your policy. In fact, that’s their business model.

We are paying more and more for less and less.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. If anything, lower the age to 56. Anyone who believes this can’t be done has bought into the corporate lie.

Ron_C's avatar

@josie ” Let the federal government exert civilian control over the armed forces, oversee interstate commerce and one or two other things that they are uniquely suited to do, and then just get out of the way.” You mean like they do in Mexico?

YARNLADY's avatar

Because Social Security, along with the other social health benefits is by far the biggest slice of the Federal Budget yes, even bigger than the defense slice congress had to come up with some way of reducing it. Raising the benefit age seems like the best choice to me.

Many school systems have done a similar thing, by raising the public school entry age from 5 to 6 to reduce the number of students in their budget.

Ron_C's avatar

@YARNLADY seeing that Social security is roughly the same size as the defense budget, I suggest we cut back on bombs and missiles. Also remember that until this year, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were off budget supplementary bills so people never saw them as part of the budget.

Sure it makes Obama look bad but it is the first time we have seen attempts at honest budget numbers since Clinton was in office. (that’s funny, pointing to Clinton as a bastion of honesty).

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ron_C Oh, from your quip to the military’s ears. Yes, they are close, and I suspect the defense slice is falsely reduced by transferring money to other slices. The best way to reduce the defense budget is to eliminate fraud and waste, unless you’re a Republican.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m fine with paying into social security. I consider it the price I pay so my mom doesn’t have to move in with me.

I’m also cool with paying for people to get food stamps. Hungry people are going to eat if there is food around. I would rather they get food with a card instead of a gun.

AstroChuck's avatar

That’s the problem with the US. Whenever there is a problem with funding social programs instead of increasing revenues we cut services. And as inflation continues and funding dwindles we just cut them some more. So instead of looking at increasing contributions from those making more than the FICA cap we talk about raising the retirement age.
Yeah, nothing unreasonable about expecting me to still carry mail at 70.~

ETpro's avatar

@AstroChuck How else can we fund more tax cuts for our endangered Billionaires. They need to be Trillionaires, and there is no other way.

JLeslie's avatar

@AstroChuck @ETpro The weird thing is the people around me fight for the billionaires to keep their money, and they themselves are middle class and getting screwed as it is. I just don’t get it? I don’t know if they have some fantasy that one day they will be rich, so they want the laws to work in their favor if they ever get rich; or, if they just buy the line that all business owners will close up shop if they have to pay 3% more in taxes? Forget about that I hear all of the time that they want a higher sales tax rather than an income tax, because that would be more fair supposedly. So flippin’ regressive. Here in Memphis we tax groceries, staple foods. Our sales tax is 9.25%. Many of these people don’t make enough to cap out of FICA, but they fight for me not to have to pay more in. OK. I just don’t get it.

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie They have been cleverly decieved by a group of cynical authoritarian leaders who are either part of the oligarchy or well-paid water carriers for them. Make no mistake about their fantasies of someday joining the billionaire club. Most slots are carefully reserved for family members only.

ItsAHabit's avatar

When SS was established in the mid-1930s, the life expectancy (the age before which half the population died and after which half died) was 65. Today it is much higher. Therefore, the normal SS retirement age should be the current life expectancy, which is much higher.

ETpro's avatar

@ItsAHabit You are looking only at one of the many metrics that have changed since 1935 when Social Security was enacted. Why pick the only one metric that favors the argument for limiting it and exclude all others?

In 1935, the Gross Domestic Product was around $750 billion in today’s dollars. The population was about 127 million. So per capita GDP was hovering at $6,000. Today the GDP per capita is $46,381. We simply haven’t moved the cap with the changes.

It’s another example of using our laws and tax structure to protect billionaires as if they are an endangered species. They really aren’t. In the last 30 years, the bottom 80% of the country has seen its share of the nation’s wealth shrink from 18.7% to 15% while the top 20% have enjoyed the gains and the top 1% have particularly benefited. If we keep restructuring benefits and revenue collection for the good only of the highest brackets, we will end up an oligarchy.

JLeslie's avatar

Do any of you think it should matter how many years you paid in? I know you have to pay in 40 quarters (basically 10 years) to collect. Some people start paying when they are 16 and work almost every day of their long life. Some people start at 40, and just work for 20 years. My father-in-law will probably just pay in 10–12 years in the end, since he came to the US late in life.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I don’t see how the standard retirement age protects billionnaires. However, I agree with JLeslie that the 40 quarters discriminates against people who have paid into the system longer.

Congress has clearly seen the importance of raising the standard retirement age, which is slowly creeping up. However, it probably isn’t going up fast enough.

We should also make the benefits fully taxable except for very low income recipients.

josie's avatar

I want whatever has to happen to make it go away before it buries my kids.

Ron_C's avatar

@ItsAHabit this isn’t so much about social security as the neo-cons covering their tracks. Ronald Reagan raided social security to cover losses caused by his tax reduction for millionaires. He started the ball rolling. He believed that the money would trickle down to us peons.

That is just part of their long standing agenda. A democracy depends on a large independent middle class that is smart enough to rule themselves. The neo-cons believe that this country would be “more efficient” if all government was privatizes and run by the corporate elite. First get rid of the unions that spawned the middle class, next get rid of safety nets because they detract from the accumulation of wealth. Next dumb them down, so get rid of a quality public education and let the middle class pay for private elite schools. Toughen laws to keep population up in the privately run prisons. Let small loyal companies control voting by forcing the use of voting machines and hard copy ballots, privatize medicine because health care is not a right it is a privilege. Keep wages low and provide workers with only subsistence wages.

The have already enlisted their serfs and called them the tea party.

In the end you end up with a country very similar to feudal states or what the Nazis created.

ETpro's avatar

@ItsAHabit Increasing the retirement age benefits the top bracket because they are the people who would otherwise get hit by the increase in the cap. What good is increasing the retirement age to 70 going to do the working class people when corporations are already purging their workforce when workers hit their mid 50s?

Beyond that, @Ron_C has said it all for me. The growing wealth and income disparity over the past 30 years shows clearly this is where the Republican Party wants to take the USA.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro thanks.

I just read “Screwed” by Thom Hartmann. The guy’s a genius. Much of what I said was paraphrased from his book.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Raising the standard retirement age would not help billionnaires but limiting the income subject to Social Security taxes does help them greatly. We should raise the standard retirement age, make benefits taxable to all but the very poor, and include ALL income as Social Security taxable income (that is, eliminate the current ceilings on SS taxable income).

ETpro's avatar

@ItsAHabit I agree with all that except raising the retirement age. I do not see it as necessary to save social security or as wise in a time when businesses are more and more often forcing workers off the job even before they reach the current retirement age.

ItsAHabit's avatar

ETPro. You’re probably right that raising the standard retirement age isn’t absolutely essential to saving the system. However, I think that it makes an important contribution toward that end. I think that saving the system requires a large number of actions all of which can contribute.

I’ve noticed that Germany and other European countries have decided that they need to raise the standard retirement age in order to help save their retirement systems.

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit What age have those countries raised the retirent age to?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@JLeslie They can be found on the internet, as well as the average lifespan, which varies from country to country. England is one of them.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I just think if @ItsAHabit is going to state that Germany and other countries are raising their age, that if they are raising from 60 to 62 it is still lower than America. I know Greece is proposing raising the age, but it is still very young from what I understand.

ETpro's avatar

You can find the retirement ages for a bunch of countries here. Most European countries have early retirement and mandatory retirement ages, and the early runs about 57 to 60 with mandatory at 65. The chart also shows that currently only 2% of the US workforce is 70 or above. So things in the work climate would have to change drastically for pushing the retirement age up to have any substantial effect on the drain on Social Security, as those terminated early by corporations would file for early benefits.

@ItsAHabit The Social Security system isn’t that hard to fix. You don’t need drastic surgery. If Reagan hadn’t ushered in the idea of raiding the trust fund to help offset tax cuts for the rich, it would be in fine shape right now. As it is, the Trust Fund can pay full benefits through 2042; and will be able to pay benefits for many decades after that but only based on direct revenue in from FICA withholding. Bumping or eliminating the cap alone would put Social Security on firm footing for the next 100 years. The generation around then can figure out what to do with it at that time.

Ron_C's avatar

@ETpro it would be ironic that the neo-cons caused the social security problems then blamed the progressives for it, of course it’s not irony, its a plan.

There has been a steady decline in middle class income since Reagen broke the unions and started the farce of trickle down economics. Low and middle class wages have gone done, in real terms, and the wealth of the riches has increased tremendously yet the Republicans still call for the elimination or privatization of safety nets and tax decreases for multinational corporations and the rich.

Trickle down economics have been completely repudiated. yet the “Tea Party” refuses to see reality. There is a good chance that democracy in America is on its last legs. We are becoming serfs.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Ron_C , we may well be in danger of becoming serfs. However, we will be most at risk over the next 20 to 30 years. That’s all the time they have to establish an oligarchy before the shifting demographics in the U.S. will erode their support among voters to an inconsequential minority.

Teabaggers are all gaga-eyed over the current polls, which (according to them) point to a wave of voter anger sweeping the Progressives out of power. What they don’t talk about is the fact that most of the support the Republicans have is among older white Americans. The Millennial generation is solidly Progressive, GenX’ers are on the fence, and minorities reject the Republican party almost altogether. In addition, better-educated people lean left, and we’re becoming better educated. This is a fascinating read:

http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2010/06/pdf/voter_demographics.pdf

Time is running out for them. Once the Baby Boomers (of which I am one) are gone, hard line conservatism will die with them. The bosses know that, which is why they’re whipping up such a frenzy among the unenlightened.

Ron_C's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I don’t agree with you time table. The tea baggers, as they now stand, are aligned with our corporate executive class fighting the government instead of fixing it. They seem to forget that the citizens are the government (or should be) and they are fighting to get rid of it, have fewer regulations, protect international corporations, and increase privatization.

I think that we are only one or two election cycles away from serfdom. Remember corporations now have full citizenship rights including free speech and the right to spend as much on elections as they wish. The supreme court sold out the country. They are the corporate shills that will preside over the full corporatization of the country. We have the patriot act to watch us and the courts upholding laws to control us, we are almost in a complete fashist state. All we need to do is elect another figurehead president like Bush to complete the process. All of us that dissent will be dealt with.

By the way I wouldn’t depend on the next generation. The neo-cons stole social security funds and are using that to fight us. We are just the lazy old people that spent their social security. There will be another change to convince the mostly ignorant younger generation that they should privatize the fund and get rid of the public schools that shorted them on their education.

Soon the elite will be the only ones that can afford a quality education and you cannot have a democracy without an educated population. Welcome to surfdom.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Ron_C , I simply cannot agree. Minority populations are growing. As to the Millennials, some other studies I’ve read recently suggest that they’re not going to change their political alignment as they age.

I’m going to be cautiously optimistic here and predict that the power grab will fail. Teabaggers are hurting the Republicans more than they’re helping, like a Frankenstein monster out of control. The best they can hope for is to achieve a slim majority in the House in November, and that’s not enough power for them do do anything more than bring on more gridlock. And frankly, I don’t think Mitt Romney can beat Obama in 2012. He’s outlclassed, but he’s all they’ve got.

The real danger lies within the Democratic party. Look at ideological traitors like Ben Nelson or the Blue Dogs in the House. Those are the ones we have to beware of. Hopefully, the party’s Progressive base can curb their influence, if not purge the party of them in time.

Ron_C's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex I really hope that you are right and I am wrong. I agree about the blue dogs, they have betrayed their own party on crucial issues and need replaced. I just hope that the progressives aren’t demoralized by the poor showing with a majority.

Then, again, Obama discouraged the attorney Gen. from indicting Bush and Cheney, that would have done great things for the country and for the party. The damn democrats just think more about their country than their party. The Republicans know what’s important, POWER, and damn the citizens.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The Social Security fund has been raided by politicians for at least 50 years and it’s been done by both Republicans and Democrats. It’s not a partisan issue but an economic one.

Ron_C's avatar

@ItsAHabit that’s more or less true. From the time of it’s inception and until Greenspan told Reagan it was o.k to ues it to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

It is the republicans that use Thia issue to separate the young from the old in an endeavor to steal retirement money from the young and provide a windfall for wall street.

ItsAHabit's avatar

I’m not inclined to see things in partisan black and white and have not found that doing so leads to good analyses. It leads people to focus on some facts at the expense of others and makes objective analyses essentially impossible.

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