Top Of My Head

Thoughts on everything from Politics to Video Games

Tag: Social Security (page 1 of 2)

Politics as Usual

I posted the picture from my blog about corporate taxes on Facebook.  I, then, shared a lot of feel good pictures.  Not so amazingly, the feel good pictures went on to be shared by my friends, while the picture of the widening gap between  Corporate taxes and Individual taxes went pretty much ignored.

I’ve created another picture and I hope that it gets passed around.

Moving on…

Included in the sad state of affairs, I posted on Twitter the following:

Republican: One who doesn’t want the government mandating that citizens buy health insurance, but sees no problem in deciding who can marry.

This posted to my Facebook account, as the two are linked. In response, I received this:

Democrat: one who does not care who or what you marry. As long as you are distracted enough for them to steal all your money and give it to someone who didn’t earn it.

Sad, isn’t it?

The idea that being a Democrat means you want to steal someone else’s money and give it away is the fallacy that the Republican Party promotes.  They’ve called earned programs, such as Social Security, entitlements.  They have distorted the Affordable Health Care Act so much that people don’t recognize the good things within it – such as mandating that health insurance companies spend at least 85% of premiums on health care and eliminating the pre-existing conditions.

 

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Tax Receipts By Source 1934 – 2011

I saw the below image on Facebook.  It was posted by a group called the Other 98%.  I wanted to see, before I shared it, if it was true.  So, I went looking for the data.  I found a spreadsheet on The White House U.S. Office of Management and Budget. I didn’t find any data to support the picture, but I did find something else just as interesting.

$0.22 for every dollar paid by the American Worker.

Sad Tax Data

In 1934, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security)  $784 million dollars – 53.57% was Individual Income Taxes and 46.43% was Corporate Income Tax.  In 2011, the tax receipts totaled (not including Social Security) $1,272,558 million – 85.77% was made up from Individual Income Tax and only 14.23% came from Corporations.

I don’t believe they’re paying their fair share, do you?

 

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U.S. Constitution and the Individual Mandate…

Oh, come on, the Republicans are getting a bit ridiculous!

I’m reading this story on Huffington Post about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the Individual Mandate in the Health care law.  The article supports the notion that there are a lot of things the government mandates that everyone must do.  The example used is Medicare.  If you work, you pay into Medicare – you have no choice.

But, here’s what really got to me:  Mark Hayes – “former chief health counsel for the Republican staff of the Senate Finance Committee” states:

“Congress used more clearly defined constitutional powers when it created Medicare. “The power to tax and the power to spend…” “‘Here, with the individual mandate, it’s a different question – regulating interstate commerce. This is a novel question from a legal standpoint.'”

How is that novel?  Article I Section 8 Clause 3 states:

“To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”

Novel question? Um, I don’t think so. The word Novel, when used as an adjective and not as a noun means:

  1. new and not resembling something formerly known or used
  2. original or striking especially in conception or style

Um, if the Commerce Clause has existed in the Constitution since the beginning, how is Congress being able to use it now a “Novel” question?

I’m just wondering.

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373 – 1

373 – 1 => that’s the difference between your salary and the salary of the guy on top.  For every dollar you earn, a CEO is earning 373 dollars.  And, what do you get for that huge difference?

You get a boss who thinks you’re paid too much.

You get a boss who wants to raise profit margins and he does this by laying off your co-workers or even you.

You get a boss who is more than willing to move a factory overseas to save money, so he can make even more.

You get bad health insurance – if you have any health insurance at all.

You get to save for your own retirement out of the little bit of money that you have – and you get politicians that want to take away your safety net.

You get the feeling that you are expendable.

We could blame the government for our nation’s economic woes.  However; it isn’t entirely the government’s fault.  Greed is good, so the saying goes.  Except, greed is only good for those on top and it harms those of us on the bottom rung (and, even those of us a couple of rungs higher).

Perhaps, the government should take some, but not all, the blame.  It was the government that removed the financial regulations that had prevented a financial collapse for sixty years.  The free market system would work if only greed and the ever desire for higher and higher profit margins wasn’t part of the deal.  When men (and women) only concern themselves with profit and not sound business decisions, economic collapse ensues.

I’m not entirely sure what can completely fix our economy, but I can tell you what won’t and what hasn’t.  Lowering taxes even farther and ending financial (and other business) regulations are not going to put this great nation back on solid financial footing.  We need to put the Glass-Seagull act back into place to protect our financial markets.  And, we need to raise taxes on the upper classes.  The top limit needs to be moved back to 39%.

Ronald Reagan was correct to lower taxes in the eighties.  It was a good thing and it started economy recovery.  However; too much of a good thing can do us harm.  Our current economic status is proving just that.

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My plan for saving Social Security

There is a serious problem with Social Security.  More is being paid out than is coming in.  The cause of this discrepancy can be broken down into five general areas:

1)      The 2% relief on Social Security President Obama ordered.  I love Obama, but this was a really dumb idea.

2)      There aren’t enough people working – when unemployment is between 4 and 5%, more money is going into the Social Security coffers.

3)      A lot of people who are working are working at low paying jobs.  12.4% (6.2% paid by the employee and 6.2% paid by the employer) of a $10.00 an hour job works out to just $2579.2 per year into Social Security.

4)      Social Security isn’t taken on all salary income.  Once you earn above $104,000, you stop paying Social Security on the rest.

5)      Mismanagement of the funds.  I know what you’re saying, but here is an example of mismanagement of funds. You’re not going to believe this one, but it is true.  Say Marge marries Homer and they stay married for eleven years.  Then, they divorce.  Marge is entitled to half of Homer’s Social Security – for life – while Homer can collect all of his Social Security.  Say Homer marries Angie and they stay married for eleven years, before divorcing.  Now, Angie is entitled to half of Homer’s Social Security and Homer is still entitled to all of his Social Security.  Well, let’s say Homer is a hound dog or he’s really just out to be punished, because he marries again and, yet again, he divorces wife #3, whom we’ll call Betsy, after eleven years of marriage.  Now, Betsy is entitled to half of his Social Security, while he still collects his full amount.  Are you keeping track here?  Homer collects his full amount, while his three ex-wives collect a half each, making Social Security pay out 2.5 times the amount to which Homer is entitled.  Does that seem right to you?  No?  It doesn’t to me.  The worst part is once Homer dies, boom!  All three wives can collect his FULL amount.  Have we lost our minds?

 

Here’s my three step plan for saving Social Security:

1)      Tax the employees at the full 6.2% rate.  The 2% isn’t really helping the economy and it is hurting Social Security.  Example, I am only receiving an extra $25.00 in my pocket each week.  So, I pay more on my credit card or I go out to dinner one extra time.  Okay, maybe, that is helping the economy a little, but it is hurting Social Security a lot.

2)      No more just stay married for eleven years and collect half of your ex-spouse’s Social Security.  First, let’s raise it to at least twenty years.  Twenty seems more reasonable.  We don’t want some jerk divorcing his wife right before retirement and leaving her high and dry, but we don’t want to take a system that was once solvent and drive it into the ground.

3)      Start taxing the whole amount of people’s salary – Period, end of story.

That’s it – no vouchers, no yelling and screaming.  Just three simple ideas that will put Social Security back on the right path.  The only problem with my plan is that there is absolutely no way you’ll ever get it passed because the Republicans control the House and they don’t want to save Social Security. They want to run it into the ground and let it die a slow and painful death.  They think Social Security is some sort of burden.  They make it sound like Social Security is a handout.  No, no it’s not.  The people who paid into it, deserve to get something out of it.

Now, if you have a long memory, you’ll remember that I’m pretty much for the government giving me back my money and closing it down.  I am.  I don’t plan on needing Social Security for my retirement, however; I do realize that not everyone is as prepared as I am and they will need Social Security.  Mainly because the big corporations are no longer paying salaries to the average working person that allows them to save for their retirement, while they save for their children’s college education.  But, let’s not get me started on that!

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Bumper Sticker Politics

On my drive home from work yesterday, I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Cut taxes, secure our borders” and went on to mention other right-wing propaganda.  I had to laugh.  We cannot cut our taxes anymore.  We are at the lowest point since the 1950’s.  Taxes are lower now than they were during Ronald Reagan and still, the right carries on with their bumper sticker politics.  Part of our debt comes because we cut taxes in 2001 and 2003 and never made spending cuts to offset it.  The only thing the Republicans, Tea Partiers and the right-wing are good at is spending misleading and sometimes outright lies about our economy.  Apparently, not enough of us took enough economics classes to understand the problem in order to find a solution.

If Obama signs off on a plan that makes huge cuts to Social Security and Medicare and does not include a tax raise, it will be a huge mistake.  Pay attention.  The “Taxed Enough Already” Partiers do not know what trouble they’re causing.  Paying taxes is how we maintain our schools, our secure borders.  We pay taxes to pay our military.  If the tax revenue does not go up – our military cannot get a raise, did you think of that?

Tax breaks handed over to the rich, who benefit most from our capitalistic society, does NOT create jobs.  Jobs are created by consumption – no consumption = no jobs.

Corporations are making their highest profits in years and they aren’t hiring because they are not compelled to do so.

Let’s start finding some real solutions to our nation’s problems and leave the half-baked signs and bumper stickers at home.

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Republicans

Republicans should be totally ashamed of themselves.  In the states where Republicans rule, the order of the day is attack public workers and cut funding for birth control or let’s all carry guns and hate gays.

In Congress, the order is let’s not deal with the President on the debt ceiling (or anything else for that matter).  They’ve learned that a failing Congress usually gets Republicans elected.  If they “do nothing”, they can blame President Obama.  Except this time, they’re wrong.  Failing to act can mean that the US will default on its loans.  This not only ruins our economy, but it can take down the rest of the world.  Think about it, Europe is panicking because Greece might default and Greece is only worth 2% of the European economy.  Can you imagine what would happen in the world if the US defaults?

Worse than that, President Obama has handed the Republicans nearly everything they want – including major cuts to Social Security and Medicare – and they want to take their football and go home.  They are playing politics with our futures and the futures of our children and they’re turning their backs on $3 trillion dollars in spending cuts.  $3 trillion.  And, all because they want to protect the richest people in the nation.  You know, the ones that have summer homes and take expensive vacations, while the rest of us are struggling to pay our mortgages.  The ones who can afford to take Paul Ryan out for dinner and order two bottles of $350.00 wine, while complaining that liberals don’t like rich people.

Even Warren Buffet thinks the rich don’t pay enough in taxes.  I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that the rich and wealthy are paying the lowest amount in Federal income taxes since the 1950’s and, yet, they aren’t hiring.  Imagine that.  The real problem in this country are companies that make huge profits and do not hire anyone, along with the ones that close American plants and open ones overseas.

Meanwhile, Republicans are attacking Planned Parenthood – God forbid a woman is able to buy birth control at a low price – and Presidential Candidates are signing pledges against individual rights.  Lincoln freed the slaves, but he would never get elected now if he supported marriage equality.  Roosevelt supported the protection of our national parks and resources, but Republicans would kick him out of the party.  Nixon supported clean air and water and created the EPA, but these Republicans of today consider it a hindrance to make sure we have clean air to breathe and good water to drink.  Even Reagan raised taxes – twice – but the Republicans of today have rich donors to their campaigns to support.

Republicans have a long and proud history of doing good in this nation, but this modern breed of them are a huge disgrace to the Republican past.

What happened to the Republican Party that supported individual rights?  Where did the reasonable Republicans go?  They certainly aren’t here.

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Obama’s Big Mistake

By offering cuts to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for a rise in tax revenues, President Obama is making a huge mistake.  There are a lot of people out there who will be relying on both Social Security and Medicare for their retirement needs.  We will have to deal with them later and that is a mistake.

As far as I’m concern, any spending cuts – which Obama has given in to plenty – that do not come with a raise in taxes for the wealthy are unacceptable.  We’re going to leave those who can ill afford it vulnerable and we’re already rewarding those who caused this mess in the first place.  It’s time to hit the fancy bankers and CEOs who have laid off their fellow Americans in the pocketbook.  If we tax the hell out of them, maybe they’ll start hiring to avoid paying taxes.

We, also, need to cut every subsidy for nearly every corporation – especially oil.  But, that’s a discussion for another time.

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Quick Thoughts

Here’s some quick thoughts:

  1. The border between Israel and Pakistan should go back to the 1967 measurement.
  2. We should cut the $3 billion in aid to Pakistan TODAY.  Enough is enough.  They aren’t our friends and we should not be supporting their army.  $3 billion could do a lot of good in our OWN country.
  3. Speaking of domestic spending, our infrastructure is in need of a trillion dollars in repair.  If we concentrate on home projects, maybe we can get the economy back on track.
  4. Obama didn’t cause the economic crisis.  The stimulus has been helping the economy, but companies are making record high profits and not hiring people.  That’s (part) of the reason the recovery is so slow.
  5. Social Security can be saved and it isn’t broke.  Republicans want you to think the system is broke.  Fact is the surplus is in Treasury Bonds which are all coming due.  If people paid in on the whole salary, it would go a long way to pushing up Social Security’s solvency.  There’s more to it, but don’t be fooled by the doomsayers.
  6. We need to stop covering non-news in this country, but it won’t happen because crap sells.  I don’t care if the man sent an indecent picture of himself, as long as it wasn’t to a child.  I don’t care if the woman doesn’t really understand the ride of Paul Revere.  Neither of these things will bring jobs to our country. Covering this crap is just taking away from the real issues.
  7. And, finally, attacking gays and lesbians is NOT going to improve the economy.  It won’t fix Social Security.  GOP stop bringing it up.  We pay taxes, we serve in the military and we love our country.  We SHOULD NOT be treated unequally.  And, YOU should be more worried about what needs to be fixed that with whom I am sleeping.
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Let’s talk about spending

I’m going to make this quick. The comments I’ve seen on facebook and here regarding my tax cuts blog basically say the samething. We need to cut spending. I agree. We do need to cut spending. I haven’t looked at all of the spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s plan. Although, changing medicare for those under 55 to a subsidized insurance plan will most likely make the insurance companies rich. If we cut spending to the Health care plan and we don’t make sure these companies offer some federally mandated minimums, I think Ryan’s plan will save the government money by shifting costs to the parts of society that can ill afford them.

I found figures that in 2008 we spent $12 billion per month in Iraq and, in 2006, we spent $6 billion per month in Afghanistan. If those figures hold for 2011, that’s a grand total of $216 billion we’re spending somewhere else. Perhaps we could put all of this “tax cutting” talk aside and bring our troops home.

Granted, the national debt grows by 4.07 billion per day, so at the end of the year, we’re at – roughly – $1.4 trillion dollars. $216 billion isn’t going to make that large of a dent, but it would be a start. There’s an old joke I’ve heard: a million here, a million there and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

Anyway…

Does it really make sense to borrow money to fight two wars? I’d, also, like the government to spend a million or two and investigate just where all that money is going. But, that’s taking us in the wrong direction.

Back to the tax cuts: we can’t afford them. We can’t make a law that will add to the burden. You can’t cut your income and expect to pay off debt. It just won’t happen. Quite frankly, at our current tax levels, we’re really hurting. We should make the Bush tax cuts, which were extended by Obama, go away. The little raise won’t hurt any of us.

That said, going back to pre-Bush levels shouldn’t mean new spending, that money should go to paying off the debt and balancing the budget. Republicans love to toot their own horn and erroneously claim that they’re for the working people, the middle class. They aren’t. All of these tax cuts throughout the years have done more harm than good for this country. Reagan’s tax cuts went too far and the tax cut Republicans that have followed him don’t understand that. There are government programs that people actually don’t want touched. Truth is, if you want to keep your Social Security and your medicare, you’re going to have to pay a little more in taxes. It’s just that simple. If you don’t want to keep these programs, then we can cut taxes.

If you want a smaller government, then the only thing we should have the government pay for is defense. No federal money for roads, health care, education, farm subsidies, bailouts, green energy research, bank bailouts, unemployment, NPR, etc. The list goes on and on. If you like these things, then we have to be willing to pay for them. If we, as a nation, decide that we’re not going to pay for them, then we can cut them all, put thousands of Americans out of work and everyone of us will scramble to pay for college without government loans and grants. We will have to find a way to put enough money aside to pay for our own retirement. When we lose a job, well, you better have 8 months of savings set aside because there will be no help coming. And, you can kiss public schools goodbye because the feds give 70% of the support to our local school systems.

But, you can have a hefty tax cut for the rich people who don’t have to worry about any one of those things. They have the cash to do it all. They earned that cash on our backs. It’s our labor that makes them that money.

It’s just something to thing about this morning.

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