Trump’s Daily Policy Side Decision Machine Bruce Webb | May 31, 2016 7:22 pm Source:http://www.gmdice.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/g/i/giant-chrome-d20.jpg Comments (5) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Some wag on twitter observed yesterday that every Trump press conference should be introduced with a recap preceded by the voice over: “On last week’s episode of candidate Trump…”
(accidentally posted in open thread but really belonged here apologies to the hosts)
That does seem to sum up his “policy”. Of course Trump is not running on policy, but rather as a guy selling snake oil to every disaffected voter in the country–mostly racist, sexist, xenophobes and white males, but I repeat myself. I note that Obama seems to have come full circle on social security at the end of his presidency. Perhaps the Sanders liberals can be roused to vote and vote for Hillary, by the opportunity to deal the GOP an historic defeat and actually get some liberal legislation passed–like the “northwest plan” or something similar to shore up social security over the longer term that may not affect the boomers but will affect their children. There are opportunities as well as risks posed by Trump and the best way for Hillary to get the liberal left off their butts in November is to actually promise to do some modest things to reduce poverty. Strengthening and perhaps modestly increasing social security benefits is one way of doing that at very little cost in increased taxes
I have been thinking it might be time to revisit the Social Security “debate.” Your letter gives me the excuse.
Obama… and the usual suspects… may be right that Social Security needs to be “strengthened.” They may also be right that taxes on the rich need to be increases to reduce the pain of poverty.
But it is a serious mistake to conflate the two. Social Security has succeeded because it is NOT welfare. It is a way for the workers to save enough of their own money… protected from inflation and market losses and personal bad luck or bad choices.
Because projections are that people will be living longer, that there will be fewer younger workers in proportion to retired workers, and that workers will experience a lower rate of wage growth than in the past…. the current FICA “tax” (really a savings rate or insurance contribution) will not pay for future expected benefits at the current replacement rates.
The good news is that the “tax” would only need to be increased about one tenth of one percent per year (about a dollar a week per year in today’s terms), the necessary fix would not be a “burden.” Indeed it wouldn’t be enough for anyone to notice, especially if real wages rise as expected, even though less than the historical average,
There is no need to risk Social Security… retirement insurance for workers paid for by workers… by turning it into welfare as we knew it.
For those workers who, even with Social Security, reach retirement age (or any age) without enough to support a minimally decent life style, the country should provide welfare… such as SSI or any new program that makes sense. But it would be dangerous, and not entirely honest, to try to turn Social Security into a welfare program.
If other sources of savings are not meeting the need, it might indeed be a good idea to increase Social Security … as long as we are willing to pay for it. An extra few dollars a week could indeed make a significant difference to your eventual Social Security retirement benefit, and you really would not notice the extra “tax.”
But the way to sell that “tax” to the people is to be clear about what it is for, and who is paying for it. Calling it a tax on the rich is the sure way to see that the rich work much harder at destroying Social Security entirely.
Coberly, I get all that although I do think there are a number of ways to strengthen social security which does not involve (taxing the rich to pay for it) One of course is to raise the minimum wage which primarily affects services rather than manufacturing which means it is tougher to outsource although obviously capital investment has ravaged the ranks of many service businesses. I really doubt that raising the minimum wage will do much to accelerate this trend meaning that payrolls subject to the social security contributions should increase. Obama finally getting around to the executive order on overtime–at least 5 years late– should help increase contributions as well .I would still like to see another funding source and that would be a tax on imported manufactured goods–a tariff if you will. I do not think starting trade wars is a good idea, but I think that companies who outsource manufacturing to other countries because of lower labor costs should be required to pay into the social welfare programs they are trying to avoid by shipping the jobs overseas. To the extent costs get passed onto the consumer, I have no problem with it because when I buy a new automobile, I should pay something not only for the wages that go into the car but also for the retirement and health care of that labor. When the car is built mostly in the U.S. I am doing that but when it is built mostly overseas I am not–instead I am paying more than I should to capital.
i agree with all that pretty much. i am not against taxing the rich. i just think that Social Security works only if it is NOT a tax on the rich. definitely we need to look at a higher minimum wage and other measures that may be necessary to correct the dangerous levels of inequity that we have been seeing since the advocates of unregulated pfree markets took over the country. and we need some way to convince the corporations…. and the voters… that business and “the rich” need to pay for what the country needs… including welfare if it comes to that. my guess is that if we can reduce “fraud and abuse” in the “market” we can go a long way to not needing “welfare.” but of course we will keep hearing from the Fraud and Abuse Inc. folks that any taxes or regulation only damages “the economy.”
wages should be high enough to pay for health care and retirement. those are an important part of “the cost of living.” for too long we have allowed people to think of pensions as well as health “benefits” as some kind of “gift.”
the funny thing about “capital” is that we have passed the point where capital is scarce and it could be argued that it was necessary to pay more to capital than to labor so the standard of living could grow and ultimately benefit labor. it’s just not working out that way anymore, and there doesn’t even seem to be enough real enterprise to absorb the capital available, so we end up with capital markets inventing what are essentially pure gambling if not outright frauds on the investors.