Expand Social Security

The Cost of Living (Jason Webley album)

The Cost of Living (Jason Webley album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rather than cut benefits to the elderly under a chained CPI, it is time to consider expanding Social Security by calculating annual benefit increases using CPI-E, an expanded CPI, CPI for the elderly that calculates the true cost of living for actual, living and breathing human beings. The cost of living increase for 2014 is only 1.5% when food, medical expenses and insurance are up at double-digit rates. I would finance expanded Social Security by means of a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions. Wall Street is setting new highs. Let those who can afford to pay a bit more in taxes help those who cannot.

Chained CPI

Social Security Poster: old man

Social Security Poster: old man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My wife and I went grocery shopping today. Usually she shops alone since I am an impulse shopper. If I see it and want it, I put it in the shopping cart. Although retired, I can still afford an occasional steak, I just buy smaller ones and less often. While I was employed, I liked to buy from Pfaelzer Brothers or Omaha Steaks occasionally. No more. I enjoyed HoneyBaked Hams, but the local store has closed, and HoneyBaked by mail is too expensive because of the high cost of shipping. Although the Federal government has not yet imposed a chained CPI factor on our Social Security checks, I am already learning to live as if they had. Our local grocery has reduced the size of their hamburger patties from eight to seven ounces and kept the same price. When I can no longer afford meat I guess I’ll become a vegetarian, not by choice but by necessity. We started a small garden this year and plan to enlarge it next year. I suggested to my wife that we add chickens next year. We live on a third acre and our neighbors may not appreciate the rooster or the odors. Such is life in America in 2013.

3 strikes

GOP Leaders

GOP Leaders (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

If you are a woman, you have one strike against you because of the GOP war on women.

If you are a union member, the GOP war on unions gives you strike 2.

If you work for the Postal Service, the GOP war on the USPS gives you strike 3.

If you are gay or lesbian, the GOP war on gays and lesbians gives you strike 4.

If you are here illegally,  the GOP war on the undocumented is strike 5.

If you vote Democratic or are likely to, the GOP war on voting rights is strike 6.

If you are poor and retired, the GOP war on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is strike 7.

If you are a student, the GOP war on low-cost student loans is strike 8.

If you are out of work, the GOP war on stimulating the economy to produce more jobs is strike 9.

If you are pregnant and need an abortion, the GOP war on Planned Parenthood and others is strike 10.

If you find yourself in one or two categories, life may be difficult; three or more and you are out of the game as far as the GOP are concerned about your welfare.

US national debt


English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we pay payroll taxes for 30 or 40 or 50 years as I did, then an individual is entitled to expect that the government lives up it its promises and provides adequate Social Security and Medicare benefits. If lenders lend money to the US government to fund the US national debt as wealthy citizens here in the US and around the world together with some governments have done, then they are entitled to expect repayment with interest in the future. Thus it is possible to look at all government expenditures as an entitlement of some sort. One principal difference among the various forms of entitlement is whether the funding is voluntary or forced through taxation. Another principal difference and one that is often overlooked is who are the beneficiaries of government entitlements? In the case of Social Security and Medicare, the beneficiaries are the 99%. The 1% pay payroll taxes too, but they are wealthy enough to pay for their own retirement and health care, most of us are not. The beneficiaries of the national debt being repaid are the 1%, wealthy individuals here in the US and around the world and some governments.

As I see it, some in government are willing to reduce some entitlements if the beneficiaries are the poor and middle class, while entitlements for the 1% must not be touched. Looked at that way, the GOP willingness to reduce Social Security and Medicare while preserving those entitlements of the wealthy 1% make perfect sense.

Social Security Plus

Seal of the United States Social Security Admi...

Seal of the United States Social Security Administration. It appears on Social Security cards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I support the idea of Social Security Plus where Social Security benefits are quickly or gradually doubled. I do not expect to live long enough to see it happen, but I do expect to see the effort to reduce Social Security benefits by means of the chained CPI gimmick succeed at least temporarily. Our present economy requires stimulus and one of the best ways to stimulate it, in my humble opinion, would be to increase Social Security benefits because those dollars will be spent, rather than saved as would tax cuts for the 1%.

Please see Secure Retirement | Chained CPI