(Close Window)
Topic: The decade's biggest scam?
Message: Posted by: panlives (Aug 30, 2011 06:05AM)
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/08/29/terrorism
Message: Posted by: landmark (Aug 30, 2011 06:45AM)
But how else can we justify cutting services and programs that people actually need?
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Aug 30, 2011 08:00AM)
It wasn't formed this decade, but continues to be the biggest scam of the decade: "Social Security."

I will most likely never see any of the benefits, and even if I do, I will probably have to work until I'm 70-something to get full benefits.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 30, 2011 08:27AM)
You guys are nowhere near the decade (or THE Biggest Human) Scam EVER!!!!!!!!

The "Elephant" in the room that always seems invisible (and invincible...).

Incredible.

But I don't want this thread to get deleted, if you know what I'm sayin'... :ohyes:
Message: Posted by: landmark (Aug 30, 2011 03:14PM)
I'm guessing you are talking about the big guy.
Message: Posted by: Salguod Nairb (Aug 30, 2011 03:16PM)
/\/\ark |_ewis?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 30, 2011 03:28PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-30 16:16, Salguod Nairb wrote:
/\/\ark |_ewis?
[/quote]

Not that big.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 30, 2011 11:10PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-30 16:14, landmark wrote:
I'm guessing you are talking about the big guy.
[/quote]

More like if the big guy's actually there or not. :ohyes:

Could be a Big Mama fer all we know! :goof:
Message: Posted by: irossall (Aug 31, 2011 05:52AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-30 09:00, Dr. JK wrote:
It wasn't formed this decade, but continues to be the biggest scam of the decade: "Social Security."

I will most likely never see any of the benefits, and even if I do, I will probably have to work until I'm 70-something to get full benefits.
[/quote]

The reason Social Security isn't working is the fact that too many undeserving people getting to use it and the fact that too many Government hands are dipping into it for their own benefit.
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: landmark (Aug 31, 2011 06:19AM)
1) Social Security [i]is[/i] working for millions and millions of retired and disabled.
2) Any financial problems that SS [i]may[/i] encounter in the future can easily be solved by a more fair sharing of the cost by the rich, who only pay the payroll tax up to a certain part of their income.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Aug 31, 2011 08:02AM)
Simple.......insurance. any and all forms of insurance. biggest racket there is.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 08:52AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 07:19, landmark wrote:
2) Any financial problems that SS [i]may[/i] encounter in the future can easily be solved by a more fair sharing of the cost by the rich, who only pay the payroll tax up to a certain part of their income.
[/quote]

Isn't it the case that they only receive benefits on the amount they contribute, too?

What's happened to social security is that the age-dependency ratio is radically different than it was when it started.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 31, 2011 10:18AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 09:52, LobowolfXXX wrote:

What's happened to social security is that the age-dependency ratio is radically different than it was when it started.
[/quote]
A changing age dependency ratio is easily enough managed (e.g., as it was in Canada), if the politicians and the public are onside. The changing age dependency ratio was / is a more or less global phenomenon. Some other countries with national pension programs have dealt with a radically different age dependency ratio in a responsible and successful fashion. What's happened to Social Security is that many politicians and many (uninformed or misinformed?) members of the public have delayed or prevented responsible and required changes to the program.

(The age dependency ratio in the U.S. was actually much worse in the 1960s than it was now [something like 94 dependents per 100 persons of working age (POWA) in the mid-1960s versus less than 70 dependents per 100 POWA today]).

This oral history interview with (life long Republican) Robert J. Myers (one of the architects of Social Security and a former Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration) is way outdated, but still may be of interest to some here:

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/myersorl.html

I met Myers years ago, and am still in touch from time to time with people who worked with him over the years.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 10:26AM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 11:18, balducci wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 09:52, LobowolfXXX wrote:

What's happened to social security is that the age-dependency ratio is radically different than it was when it started.
[/quote]
A changing age dependency ratio is easily enough managed (e.g., as it was in Canada), if the politicians and the public are onside. The changing age dependency ratio was / is a more or less global phenomenon. Some other countries with national pension programs have dealt with a radically different age dependency ratio in a responsible and successful fashion. What's happened to Social Security is that many politicians and many (uninformed or misinformed?) members of the public have delayed or prevented responsible and required changes to the program.
[/quote]

What's happened to it is the drastic change in the age-dependency ratio. The reason(s) it hasn't been fixed is(are) what you've alluded to.

Probably mostly that politicians fear that they'll be punished for any change that delays or reduces benefits.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Aug 31, 2011 11:02AM)
The real question is what's new?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 11:08AM)
There's a scene in the movie 'Clerks' where Dante and Randal are standing around in the liquor store, and Randal (I think) says something like, "This would be such a cool job if it wasn't for all the customers." I've often felt similarly about Democracy, as a system, and voters.
Message: Posted by: critter (Aug 31, 2011 11:12AM)
I don't think it's the voters who are the problem. I think it's the disinformation machine that spoon feeds those voters.
Message: Posted by: critter (Aug 31, 2011 12:27PM)
PS, there have been too many big scams this decade to count.
Message: Posted by: Dr. JK (Aug 31, 2011 01:02PM)
Actually, the reason Social Security is a scam has nothing to do with the information the government provides (or does not provide) about it. The reason it's a scam is because I'm smart enough to handle my own retirement, disability, etc. I don't need the government mandating that I pay into a system to help those who are not as smart with their money as I am.

I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes, but this is different. The government collects this money to "help me" down the road. Ergo it's a scam. I don't need their help and they are simply taking my money!
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 31, 2011 01:04PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 11:26, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 11:18, balducci wrote:
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 09:52, LobowolfXXX wrote:

What's happened to social security is that the age-dependency ratio is radically different than it was when it started.
[/quote]
A changing age dependency ratio is easily enough managed (e.g., as it was in Canada), if the politicians and the public are onside. The changing age dependency ratio was / is a more or less global phenomenon. Some other countries with national pension programs have dealt with a radically different age dependency ratio in a responsible and successful fashion. What's happened to Social Security is that many politicians and many (uninformed or misinformed?) members of the public have delayed or prevented responsible and required changes to the program.
[/quote]

What's happened to it is the drastic change in the age-dependency ratio. The reason(s) it hasn't been fixed is(are) what you've alluded to.

Probably mostly that politicians fear that they'll be punished for any change that delays or reduces benefits.
[/quote]
Maybe this isn't the right thread for this discussion. And I don't know precisely what you mean by "drastic". I'm just saying that the age-dependency ratio change certainly wasn't sudden, nor was it unique to the U.S., nor was it unforeseen, nor was it even as extreme (in some ways) as what was observed in the 1960s. It's impact on Social Security could (even still can) be responsibly addressed.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 01:46PM)
Your statement that "What's happened to Social Security is that many politicians and many (uninformed or misinformed?) members of the public have delayed or prevented responsible and required changes to the program" is beside the main point on its face. A failure to implement necessary changes isn't "what happened" to Social Security; the question is, what is it that has made certain changes "required"? Perhaps it's not a change in the ADR, but if not that, then what? (I realize that it's almost certainly not reducible to a single factor, but what is/are the main factor(s)?)
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 01:48PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 14:02, Dr. JK wrote:
Actually, the reason Social Security is a scam has nothing to do with the information the government provides (or does not provide) about it. The reason it's a scam is because I'm smart enough to handle my own retirement, disability, etc. I don't need the government mandating that I pay into a system to help those who are not as smart with their money as I am.

I don't mind paying my fair share of taxes, but this is different. The government collects this money to "help me" down the road. Ergo it's a scam. I don't need their help and they are simply taking my money!
[/quote]

Yes, the fact that because some people would invest irresponsibly, all are forced to invest poorly (i.e. receiving a horrendous return on money paid into the system, with a heavy resistance to even voluntary partial privatization) is another real issue. When it's all said & done, you'd have been far better off had the money getting sucked out of each paycheck been placed in an index fund.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 31, 2011 02:08PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 14:46, LobowolfXXX wrote:

Your statement that "What's happened to Social Security is that many politicians and many (uninformed or misinformed?) members of the public have delayed or prevented responsible and required changes to the program" is beside the main point on its face. A failure to implement necessary changes isn't "what happened" to Social Security;
[/quote]
Not at all. Insurance systems are not set in stone. They must be monitored and maintained, and updated as necessary. A failure to do so (some of this anyway) IS at least IN PART "what happened" to Social Security.

Yes, there were other factors. But the demographic factors in particular (like the changing age dependency ratio) were quite manageable, as inevitable and somewhat predictable changing demographic factors generally are.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 02:46PM)
Again, updated "as necessary." The question is, [i]what[/i] made it "necessary"?

My porch might get ruined by water damage, or by termite damage, or by a number of any things, and maybe all of them could have been prevented by diligent maintenance; however, my failure to maintain my home isn't what ruined the porch - either water absorbance warped the wood, or termites ate it, or something else happened. It might also have been the case that despite my failure to maintain it, it could remain just fine. Maybe it's comprised of really good wood. Maybe I live somewhere with minimal rain.

The Social Security system MIGHT have functioned just fine without updating it. If it hadn't been monitored, but continued to run smoothly, we wouldn't say that a lack of monitoring had "happened to it." Because, exactly as you say, those updates are only made if they were needed. Those things that made updating needed are what happened to it, whether or not the effects were avoidable by monitoring and updating.
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 31, 2011 03:09PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 15:46, LobowolfXXX wrote:

The Social Security system MIGHT have functioned just fine without updating it. If it hadn't been monitored, but continued to run smoothly, we wouldn't say that a lack of monitoring had "happened to it."
[/quote]
You might not, but experts in the field reviewing the situation would.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Aug 31, 2011 03:15PM)
Ok. So meanwhile, in your opinion, what are the biggest factors that necessitated updating?
Message: Posted by: balducci (Aug 31, 2011 03:34PM)
[quote]
On 2011-08-31 16:15, LobowolfXXX wrote:
Ok. So meanwhile, in your opinion, what are the biggest factors that necessitated updating?
[/quote]
I'm not an expert an all aspects of Social Security or its history. I've read a lot about it, met with experts (e.g., Myers and others), attended their talks, etc., but there is a lot I do not know.

I think the factors that plague Social Security and that need to be considered include demographic ones (e.g., the age dependency ratio, and people living longer into retirement), people's changed attitudes towards retirement and working post-retirement, the changed employment environment (i.e. fewer employed workers to support the retirees, something not captured in the usual age dependency ratio (which normally considers only age and not actual employment status)), the mishandling of surplus Social Security revenue in decades past ... there are a lot of issues, no doubt.