Las Vegas Sun

March 29, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Obama blew it on Social Security

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What was President Barack Obama thinking?

If some people are wondering why Mitt Romney got a few points bump in the polls after the debate, I may have the answer.

For those independents who are sitting on the fence, it may have simply been Obama’s statement that he was not very far from Romney’s position on Social Security.

Who is giving Obama his talking points? For a subject as touchy as Social Security to be thrown on the table so recklessly by a Democrat, it had to have the Republicans jumping with glee.

They could now say: “See? The Democrats are no better than us when it come to throwing seniors under the bus.”

That was a self-destructive comment that I’m sure the Republicans will take advantage of as soon as they get a chance.

I’m sure many Democrats cringed as I did when he said this, and I’m also sure a lot of seniors changed their vote the moment they heard this.

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  1. Thank Ryan for the Social Security fix. He's from the American peoples' House of Representatives. Obama and Biden from the aristocracy's Senate. Also known as the millionaires' club. That's why the former has 435 members and the latter 100. And the 100, I might add, is way too many.


  2. I wonder if Carmine realizes that Ryan was for privatizing Social Security under Bush Jr.? How would that have worked out in 2008 again?

  3. Obama / Reid COULD HAVE fixed Medicare and much of SS 3 years ago--legislation to lift the payroll cap (employee portion) so that all "earned" income is subject to the insurance (it's not even called a tax) charges. They failed to take ANY effective action for the middle class--other than calling for UC extensions that have shut down numerous businesses. The UC payments shift the costs to local governments and employers away from federal cost--half the cost of welfare. The DNC does not plan for even a couple years ahead--it seems they think we'll buy into the delusion that Dems must be in every office "in case" something is needed.

  4. "I wonder if Carmine realizes that Ryan was for privatizing Social Security under Bush Jr.? How would that have worked out in 2008 again?"

    Yes as well as a President Clinton appointed Commission which said the exact same.

    In fact, nothing new here. The FERS, mandatory retirement system for all Congress and Federal employees, has at it's core, in addition to a small social security benefit, a TSP [Thrift Savings Plan] retirement account which is self-directed, individually owned and managed, portabale and transferrable by holder. The plans to privatize SS utilize this proven retirement savings account model.

    And, I'll bet you didn't hear that [TSP as model for privatizing SS] on any news station.


  5. I do not understand why people get all fired up on SS , it is a government program that will be here forever and will have changes made from time to time to keep it solvent as has been the case since its' inception. It is a plan to "help" people with income when they retire, not a retirement plan. The message from the government should be to plan your retirement on your own AS YOUR LACK OF PLANNING will cast you into depending solely on this safety net. Forget the $400 iphone, buy a $35 phone and put the difference in your retirement account. But now we have the whole spending to support the economy issue....

  6. "100 is too many?

    Is there anything your pickled brain doesn't want to screw up?"

    "In the minds of many of the Founding Fathers, the Senate would be an American kind of House of Lords. John Dickinson said the Senate should "consist of the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their rank in life and their weight of property, and bearing as strong a likeness to the British House of Lords as possible."

    I suggest that the "upper" House of Congress as it is was called be eliminated in its entirety. It serves no useful purpose or function. It's origin was based entirely on a system of government that we separated ourselves from.


  7. "But haven't times changed? The British themselves no longer subscribe to the Polybian balance or to the theory of the one, the few, and the many. The British now vest all legislative authority in the British House of Commons (their single chamber "of the many") and even allow the House of Commons to appoint their nation's executive branch in the person of the prime minister and his cabinet. By the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, the House of Lords can no longer veto acts of the House of Commons and can no longer delay legislation for more than a year. Although the British monarchy retains a theoretical veto over acts of the British Parliament, no monarch has dared to exercise that prerogative for nearly three hundred years. Today, the House of Commons reigns supreme on legislative and executive matters. The monarch and the House of Lords have merely advisory roles.

    American views also have changed. Many drafters at the Constitutional Convention saw U.S. senators as agents of the state legislatures that would elect them, and thus as defenders of the residual powers of the states. Since then the Seventeenth Amendment took the power to appoint U.S. senators away from state legislatures. Americans gave their lives in the Civil War to confirm that the nation is not a confederation of independent sovereign states but rather a union "of, by, and for the people." Since the Civil War (and especially after the Fourteenth Amendment), it has been the federal judiciary, not the Senate or the House, that enforces our Bill of Rights freedoms (even against the states) and the U.S. Supreme Court that delimits the Tenth Amendment's mandate that "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Finally, one must note that federalism carries no requirement that we have a senate or that less populous states have an equal vote in a senate. Federalism is concerned with what powers the federal government does or does not have vis-a-vis the states, not with how the federal government exercises those powers it legitimately has."


  8. Roslenda, what are you talking about. Unemployment Compensation is funded by both Federal and State taxes. The federal unemployment tax act collects a tax which funds state employment services and about half of the unemployment compensation paid to the unemployed by the state programs. The state unemployment taxes fund the rest. If the state can't fund its' portion, they can borrow it from the federal government.

    How have extensions in unemployment compensation "shut down numerous businesses"??????

  9. leric: Not so. The feds "supervise" the states and LOAN the states funding. Employers, via Form 940, pay the FUTA Federal Unemployment Tac Act and can pay very little IF their "contributions" to their state system are timely.

  10. Word: No the Repubs would not have liked this but might have voted, some, a few, in favor since the EMPLOYERS would not have had increases--just employees. Further, 3 years ago, the Dems had enough votes in BOTH houses to get it done. They just sat around....

  11. State Unemployment tax rates (the businesses with employees within each state) are based upon the amounts of unemployment compensation paid to formerly employed people. If you move back home (out of state) with Mom and Dad, the state you were working in gets hit up for your unemployment checks. When a State has higher numbers unemployed, they take loans from the feds as needed to fund benefits. EMPLOYERS HAVE TO PAY IT BACK. The feds DO NOT PAY UC. And so, employers that cannot afford the higher paybacks have had to cut back business activity sometimes shutting down when they can no longer afford all the taxes and "contributions."

  12. Roslenda, (1) the increase in state the state payroll tax (to pay back Nevada's loan from the Feds for unemployment compensation) is scheduled to BEGIN in 2013. (2) the increase is about .25 -- one quarter of 1% -- on average (3) What Obama did was CUT payroll taxes by 2%, which is 8 times as big a cut as the 1/4% increase which hasn't gone into effect yet.

    It is more than a little difficult to imagine that if 2% cut in payroll taxes did not materially promote hiring (as some of us argued that it would not), a .25% increase in payroll taxes is going to materially depress hiring -- at least not in the real world.

    And (4) while it is true that the states actually pay unemployment compensation to individuals, this is simply hair splitting. The Feds pay half -- and if a state can't pay, the feds advance the necessary money to the state to pay the state's half, which is what they have been doing for some time now.

  13. leric: the feds do NOT pay half of Unemployment Compensation. Employers pay "contributions" to the State. And employers pay a small "overhead" to the feds to administer the program. Additionally, employers pay back / have higher rates after a state has had high unemployment and the feds have loaned money to the state--something Nevada has been concerned about in budget preparations last time and this time--cause we have to pay the interest on the loans directly. I have prepared Forms 940 for various employers with payrolls in many states. the amount due with a Form 940 can be less than $100 a year but the amount due for quarterly returns to the State of Nevada can be 5.7% or more of payroll--calculated on the first $7K of wages per employee. (Try searching Form 940 2011 and READ.)
    There may be some minor validity in your point that the payments / pay backs are now and in the future, not so much prior to high unemployment, prior to 2007. However I stand by the statement that paying increased UC "contributions" has a draining effect on employers and investors hindering employment.

  14. Remove contribution income caps.

    Means test if decreased benefits are needed.

    Stop any SS funds going into the General Fund. SS is not a piggy bank for Congress to raid for their pet projects.

    Start a SS payback bank that mandates Congress to repay what has already been drained from SS in IOU's.

  15. Add to that...

    Never invest SS funds in the Wall St. casino!

  16. "Add to that...

    Never invest SS funds in the Wall St. casino!"

    That is a choice I would rather make than let the government and others make for me.

    In the USA we still have freedom of choice.


  17. CarmineD,

    I wasn't demanding no investment in the Wall St casino, it was more advice based on the ups and downs. Anyone with lots of dough to gamble away is free to do as they please.

    However, I cannot support investing workers FICA taxes via privatization into the Wall St casino. I was thinking of the saying...

    'A fool and his money are soon parted'

    In other words, let those who can afford to lose it play in the Wall St casino. That excludes a majority of people.

  18. "However, I cannot support investing workers FICA taxes via privatization into the Wall St casino. I was thinking of the saying..."

    All Americans should have a choice to send their FICA contributions to the government and be eligible for SS OR not. And, if they instead choose, invest them privately as they want. That's freedom of choice. I can and have done a much better job investing my money than the government. And all Americans should have the freedom to do so if they wish.


  19. "'A fool and his money are soon parted'"

    Really? The only fool in my lifetime that has squandered Americans' money is the government, Federal State and local, or those in cohoots with it. Think Jon S. Corzine and Bernie Madoff.


  20. Carmine,

    I paid my FICA tax, invested in a 401K, and do private investments. I'm not limited, and wouldn't think of sending my FICA into the Wall St casino. Twice I lost significant amounts of money due to recessions. It wasn't the investments, it was the economic recessions, and market changes, an inherent weakness of capitalism. That's our system so we have to live with it and accept that losses will come.

    Social Security is a safety net, in case other private investment is lost or reduced substantially.

    What do you do with the people who never earned enough to have many investment opportunities and have next to nothing when they can't work any longer?

    Do you walk around them when they are all over the sidewalks? Do you give them a dime? Are you approving of a future like the poor in India?

  21. Carmine,

    I think I remember you saying that you worked for the federal government at one time.

    Is that correct?