The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Atrios Is Right! Social Security Benefits Should Be Higher!

    I whole-heartedly agree with Atrios.  The left needs to change the Social Security discussion by pointing out the obvious, loudly and often: Social Security, as currently constituted, is not adequate for the needs of most of America's citizens and that benefits should be increased.  Atrios suggests an across the board 20% hike.  If done for present recipients who get an average $1,100 a month, that's only a $220 a month increase.  But that would certainly help a lot of people who lost retirement savings, particularly through home values but also in the stock market or to zero interest rate policies.

    Atrios has also suggested that lowering the age at which a retiree can receive full benefits makes sense right now, as it might allow people laid off late career to simply retire rather than seek work in a crowded market.

    All of this amounts to bottom up stimulus that could well drive economic growth, create jobs and broaden the Social Security tax base.  Whether or not it would cover the costs would depend a lot on our priorities as tax receipts rise.

    The immediate reaction to this will be that it is not a serious proposal.  Social Security, say the reasonable people, needs to be reformed so that future benefits are lower than currently projected, but that only became conventional wisdom after much effective repetition.

    We need to change the conversation somehow.  The best bet, I think, is to always answer the question, "what should we do about Social Security?" with a simple answer: "Lower the retirement age and raise benefits."

    We should also move the conversation away from actuarial talk and into the moral realm.  We either do or don't believe that American workers deserve a retirement.  Right now, the system is broken and retirement is not guaranteed to anybody.  That be the focus of policy.



    It's disappointing (and curious) that Sen. Mark Begich's bill has received little to no attention, either from media or bloggers........

    Any insight, suppositions and/or facts as to why?


    Heck, I didn't know about it.  Thanks for flagging.

    I think you have the answer in your piece:

    "President Obama’s response will be interesting to watch because this does appear to breach his pledge to not raise taxes on people making under $250,000."

    We need the President to be a valiant Social Security combatant to move these ideas into the mainstream.

    Hmm.  Still wondering why this bill has not been published and 'marketed' more.  MSM certainly hasn't delivered coverage nor have vast majority of blogs.

    (NOTE: Most do not comprehend that the $250,000 is after all deductions, et al.  I know many small businesses/owners who have mid and upper annual revenue between half a million and over a million dollars - sales, et al. - but by the time they have taken all deductions, actual incomes are in the five figures and $100,000 range. Federal taxes are based on declared net income so even when w-2's show income of $275,000.00 their net earnings are usually quite a bit less.)

    I agree with your recommendation, but I’m afraid it will never be implemented.

    The powerful don’t want people to retire; they want the peasants to die.

    They want to allow 11 million more workers into the country, to compete and cut each other’s throats for the available jobs

    The Captains of Industry, love seeing 100’s of people, applying for 1 job. Asking how cheap will you work for?   

    They want to destroy the middle classes, equity in their homes, to force more workers onto the job market for a longer period of time. You don’t have enough money saved up to retire any longer.

    They want to control labor as a commodity. More workers per available jobs, keeps demand from labor to a minimum. More profits for the elites

    In other words they don’t care about anybody but themselves, pitting the elderly against the young for whatever available jobs, drives down wages

    When they cut the majority of workers to 30 hours per week, so the companies can avoid paying into benefit packages, when will the people resist?  

    If it is ever discovered, the government and the banker class; who were assured they would not suffer under the scheme to screw the middle class and the banker would be rewarded instead of suffering as the middle class was sure to under the plan.

    Don’t disarm yet; there’s not enough cake.  

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