Better Social Security & Better FICA for a Better Life
More to our elderly in need, less to those who use social security to gas up their Bugatti, and no FICA taxation of low wages.
(Note: underlined words/phrases correspond to links.)
Under Our Origins, we’ve defined a “living wage” as an income that’s just enough to not struggle, to make basic ends meet, and (maybe) have a bit left over to save for a rainy day. So here’s a question: Why is someone earning less than a living wage, who is in a state of acute struggle in every way imaginable, being forced to pay FICA at all?
To “reduce the national debt, is why everyone must pay FICA” our Presidents and our Members of Congress might answer. But do these Presidents and Members of Congress not realize that their legislative actions were the mother-lode source of that national debt?
Why not pick an income that’s even a very rich 200 times median household income — north of $10 million — and have every dollar earned above that level subjected to FICA full-boat … to “reduce the national debt”? Oh, but that would hit-up your wealthy donors, wouldn’t it, and you don’t want that.
The average retiree receives $1,230 a month, or $14,760 a year, from Social Security. Zero Interest Rate Policy is practically law of the land now, courtesy of a Federal Reserve that’s desperate to save bank balance sheets tethered to real estate (and the Eurozone) by a noose. Thus, the average retiree has made little or no interest income for years, and won’t for years to come. For a lot of our elderly, Social Security is the sole source of income. 75% of our elderly aged 65 and over, now depend on Social Security for most of their income. Making ends meet on $1,230 a month is a battle already.
Which brings us to the following: with Republicans, Democrats, and the usual suspects on board, President Obama is out to chain Social Security to a Chained CPI, or something that’ll carve & slice into monthly Social Security benefits as the months and years go by, to the tune of $230 Billion over 10 years. Why do this at a time when poverty rates for seniors are on the rise, and their adult children might be struggling, limited in their means to help their aging parents? Why do this at a time when ex government officials are flush with cash and getting flusher?
We think it’s all part of an insidious age-old agenda, that involves a war of attrition on Social Security, or death by a thousand cuts. As in: make Social Security benefits so insufficient relative to rising prices on consumer staples, that popular support builds to privatize Social Security, with Wall Street receiving the rights to manage and invest all that money that gets privatized — imagine Wall Street’s fees and commissions on that!
The other reason they’re looking to cut Social Security (to, again, “reduce the debt” as they say) is to preempt/prevent taxes having to go up on the hedge fund/private equity superrich in the future.
As we wrote under An End To Tax Injustice, Tax Inequality, and Tax Discrimination:
The hedge fund and private equity guys receive preferential treatment when it comes to the taxes they pay. They benefit from what is called the carried-interest loophole. Their income is treated as capital gains, rather than ordinary income. In 2007 and again in 2009, the top 25 hedge fund managers were paid over $25 billion dollars of such income, i.e. over $1 billion per person, and were subjected to only a 15% tax rate. A small business owner earning one-ten-thousandth the income (that the hedge funders each made) pays 15.3% in FICA alone.
Also note: As of this writing, the billion dollar earner pays Social Security on only the first $118,500 of income; the remaining $999 million 881 thousand 500 dollars is exempt from Social Security taxation.
In 2007 and in 2009, the average top hedge fund manager earned in an hour about 17 times what the average American worker made in a year. Yet the hedgie got to pay a lower rate than the average American worker.
We’re cutting Social Security to save Social Security, to keep it solvent for future generations — you must have heard that refrain, cackling out the mouths of our politicians, many times by now.
If so, then here’s an idea: Clean out the rot in our capital, first. Pass an Anti-Corruption bill along the lines of THIS BILL HERE, and also pass an Anti-Crisis bill along the lines of THIS OTHER BILL HERE, then stand back and watch how the tangents on the debt and deficit begin to correct themselves on their own, like magic.
It is NOT public assistance to the truly needy that is sucking this nation dry, but the plutocratic, crony-capitalist, “privatize the profits but socialize the losses” oligarchy that’s hiding snug under its political covers.
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