Tag Archives: Social Security

Another Royal Scam

12 Oct
Big Pharma is Restructuring: 3 Key Causes

After unilaterally terminating Social Security’s dedicated funding for government workers for the rest of the year, President Trump is now raiding Medicare’s trust fund to pay to send letters to senior citizens before the election, promising them a $200 pharmacy gift card.

The President campaigned in 2016 on the promise that he would take on Big Pharma and protect Social Security and Medicare, but he has done neither of those two things. Rather he has done exactly the opposite while still claiming to keep his promises.

The President’s plan to send out $200 senior drug discount cards to 33 million senior citizens in the United States will cost tax payers (Not the President or his campaign) 6.6 billion dollars. And all of that money will come from the Medicare Trust Fund…which of course is money that you and your employers have already put there… on your behalf…for you.

That’s strike two for those of us who are already retired or who are about to retire. Billions of dollars are now being removed from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds by our President and without the proper Congressional authorization needed to do so.

Medicare’s main trust fund, the Hospital Insurance fund, also known as Part A of Medicare – was already in financial trouble before the pandemic hit and the ongoing recession created by the Covid-19 crisis is squeezing the program from both ends.

And a recent projection from James Capretta, a senior advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, found that the program could run low on funds by 2023. “So the next president, says Mr. Capretta, will have about two years to figure out what to do.”

And our President has promised to continue these economic programs (or is it economic pogroms?) should he be reelected this November, but of course, even if he loses, you can count on the remaining Republicans in Congress claiming that our now diminished trust funds are two more reasons for privatizing and ending Social Security and Medicare.

So instead of taking on the big pharmaceutical companies and skyrocketing medical costs in an effort to lower the costs of medications and hospitalizations in the U.S., President Trump is raiding Medicare and Social Security and taking our money to use for his own political purposes, in the hopes that neither you nor I nor anyone else will know the difference.

And he is also about to break a famous Republican promise by nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice during an election year (In 2016 The Republicans promised never to let this happen)…(ever!) And that Supreme Court Justice will join 5 others who will most likely strike down The Affordable Care Act (after the election…of course) leaving no Healthcare program to take its place.

Using public promises and public trust funds to fund private campaigns and private desires while undermining decades old and revered social health, medical and anti-poverty programs to the point of destruction? That is definitely not Socialism. That’s for sure.

I would call it Anti-Socialism…wouldn’t you?

And outright lying, cheating and stealing comes to mind too.

The Beginning of the End?

3 Sep

Social Security Services | WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Beginning this month, September 2020, The Trump administration will begin deferring payroll taxes for all eligible federal employees over the objections of unions and other employee groups, who have labeled the plan as “chaotic and confusing.”

The Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center, which processes paychecks for about 600,000 employees across 160 agencies, issued a notice indicating that it would implement provisions of an August presidential memorandum to defer the taxes, which fund Social Security, until the end of 2020.

The deferrals will be temporary and last until the end of the year and apply to all federal employees making less than $104,000 per year. In the short term, those federal workers will see an increase in take-home pay, but they will also be required to pay that money back next year when they fill out their annual tax returns.

Unless: The President, as promised should he be re-elected this fall, continues to issue executive orders extending the payroll tax deferral.

But The Trump administration has not provided information to federal employees about the implications this deferral will have on future tax obligations or on their future Social Security benefits or if they will have to pay penalties and interest on the money as required by the IRS should they be required to return the money to the SS fund.

You know, should someone else be elected President this fall.

Meanwhile, The Social Security Administration’s Chief Actuary, Stephen C. Goss, released a letter warning that should President Trump’s plan to terminate Social Security’s dedicated funding be extended and applied to all workers who pay into the fund, it will destroy Social Security long before the President’s second term is up.

 

Goss’s letter states that if Social Security’s funding were terminated, as Trump has repeatedly proposed and promised if he were re-elected,  that Social Security’s Disability Insurance trust fund would be depleted by 2021, and the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund would be left “with no ability to pay benefits” after 2023.

Thus by instructing the IRS to continue deferring the collecting of Social Security contributions for up to a year, and then continuing to do so each year with executive orders, he can fully defund and destroy Social Security’s disability insurance all by himself, provoking an immediate crisis that could force Congressional legislation cutting benefits or privatizing the program.

At the very least he is beginning this month to deplete the Social Security Trust Fund by syphoning away the payroll taxes of 600,000 federal employees from the fund whether those federal employees want to or not!

In the meantime…The 2018 Supplemental Poverty Measure found that Social Security benefits keep more than 27 million people out of poverty every year and that refundable tax credits do the same for almost 8 million people. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, known as food stamps, also keep an estimated three million people from becoming poor.

And yet all of those programs and now Social Security are being rolled back, cut back or depleted by this President’s efforts and proposals. So if we add 38 million people to the poverty rolls by cutting or eliminating these anti-poverty measures to the already 40 million Americans living in poverty now… we’ll have a whopping 78 million citizens living below the poverty line.

That’s would be about 24% of the United States population or the highest poverty rate ever recorded! Historically, the official poverty rate in the United States had ranged from a high of 22.4 percent when it was first estimated for 1959 to a low of 11.1 percent in 1973.

So our 45th President of the United States in his effort to “make America great again” is at this very moment downsizing the Post Office (the oldest institution in the USA) towards an eventual closing. Fighting the Affordable Care Act at the Supreme Court level in the hopes of having it eliminated from the law of the land. Defunding American cities that he does not like. Mocking our national voting system, the cornerstone of our democracy. And now Beginning the process of depleting our Social Security Trust Fund until it is empty and/or useless…

and one other thing…

It’s not even a secret!

It’s a promise!

 

 

Beware the Payroll Tax Break!

14 Aug
Trump's Payroll-Tax Deferment Plan and Social Security - WSJ

In a recent interview, President Donald Trump said he won’t approve another COVID-19 stimulus package if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut for workers…but what does this mean? Simply put, a suspension of payroll taxes would halt money being taken out of worker’s paychecks to pay for government programs like Social Security and Medicare.

However, the payroll “tax cut” would also put more money in the pockets of wealthier people, do absolutely nothing for the 37 million people who have lost their jobs in the last few weeks, and cut Social Security’s dedicated revenue.

Generally speaking, payroll taxes are split by the employer and the employee, with each paying 7.65 percent of the worker’s compensation for a total of 15.3 percent. In theory, this means that employers and employees would benefit from a payroll tax cut since both would enjoy similar savings.

But Self-employed people would benefit the most because they pay 12.4 percent of their pay toward Social Security and 2.9% for Medicare…and while many small businesses and self-employed workers are struggling right now, a payroll tax cut for all self-employed workers could largely benefit people who may not even need any financial help because Payroll taxes phase out for people after only $137,700 in personal income in 2020, so the potential savings for self-employed workers who may not even need it could be enormous.

And Businesses would also save money on payroll taxes whether they need the savings or not and a payroll tax cut for businesses across a company’s total workforce could lead to huge savings that would grow the bigger they are…for example Amazon pays over 2.4 billion dollars in payroll taxes. A payroll tax cut would result in tremendous savings for employers like Amazon.

It’s also likely that successful businesses would just pocket the savings and use the money to boost profits versus using the funds to hire more workers or grow their operations – especially if there is no demand for their products or they simply don’t need more workers. Why would a company hire someone if they don’t need the work due to no demand?

Unemployed workers (23% of the workforce since Covid-19 hit) don’t stand to gain anything from a payroll tax cut. Without employment, they aren’t currently paying payroll taxes anyway. Plus, those who’ve retired, stay at home, or are disabled, won’t get any benefits from this proposal either.

And while those “essential workers” who are still working do stand to benefit from a payroll tax cut, it won’t amount to very much money. If you are a worker earning $15 per hour and working 40 hours per week right now, a payroll tax cut would give you back 7.65 percent of your income. This only works out to around $46 per week or a little over $180 per month.

But most importantly Social Security and Medicare are the biggest losers in this scheme and stopping payments into each program only stands to exacerbate their ability to survive. Social Security is already expected to have to decrease payments to beneficiaries by 2035…when,  According to a  the most recent report on the status of Social Security and Medicare, only around 76 percent of promised benefits will be able to be paid out.

And If payroll taxes come to a halt this year and most likely beyond should the President get re-elected, (which he has promised BTW) it’s not hard to imagine how quickly the Social Security system and Medicare will… collapse completely

And just so you know: Today (August 13th) the unemployment rate in the U.S. is about 10.2% with over 16 million Americans filing for benefits…meanwhile the Dow Jones Industrial Average is again approaching 28,000 and has almost fully recovered from the Corona-virus downturn that began in March. Have you?

Our economic health basically has nothing to do with workers or people who are not wealthy. A new study released in late November by The Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program found that 44% of U.S. workers between the ages of 18 and 64 are in jobs that pay only median annual wages of $18,000… and The study noted that 53 million of these low-wage jobs were people in prime working-age of 25 to 54, not just recent high school or college graduates.

So cutting the Payroll tax means cutting Social Security and Medicare for all of these workers…forever! Make no mistake about it. You can’t save money for your retirement if you don’t save money for your retirement… and especially so if your employers are no longer matching  the amount that you are/were saving.

But that is not all of it!…Basically, the Social Security Administration is loaning money to the federal government, (currently 2.9 trillion dollars) which, in turn, pays interest to the Social Security program each year. (2.2%interest) For the federal government, this arrangement is incredibly beneficial because it means not having to rely on foreign countries to buy even more debt….and did I mention at ONLY 2.2% INTEREST!!!

Wait stop! We (working for wages people) get 2.2% interest on a 2.9 trillion dollar loan to the U.S. government?!!!! What if this were a college loan? We’d get 8%!!!! and the government could never legally renege on the loan. What if we were your average billionaire (Let’s say president Trump?) We’d get over 8% interest on an investment like that!!! Why? Because we’d be in control of our own investments and not being taken advantage of by a government of millionaires and billionaires who…wait for it…WORK FOR US!!!!

So Social Security is headed for insolvency because it is mis-managed… not because it doesn’t work. What about the Social Security Board of Trustees who oversee our program? Why don’t they put a stop to this government borrowing at ridiculous interest rates?

Well…There are six Trustees, four of whom serve by virtue of their positions in the Federal Government: the Secretary of the Treasury, (Steve Mnuchin: net worth 400 million) the Secretary of Labor, (Patrick Pizzella: net worth 5 million) the Secretary of Health and Human Services, (Alex Azar: net worth 15 million) and the Commissioner of Social Security (Andrew Saul: net worth 2 million)

The other two Trustees are public representatives (that’s good isn’t it?) appointed by the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate. And…wait for it… The two Public Trustee positions have been vacant since July 2015. (net worth?: 0)

Our country’s debt currently stands at 26.6 trillion dollars! (with a bullet upwards) It was 19.9 trillion dollars when President Obama left office less than 4 years ago. What will happen to our debt when the SS piggy bank is gone? And the Federal Government continues to borrow at a rate of at least 1.7+ trillion dollars more than it has per year?

Without the 2.9 trillion dollars that it practically steals from SS now and the 1.7 trillion that it doesn’t have to pay its bills to begin with, that would make for a 4.6 trillion dollar short fall every year!… Glorioski! Mr Money Bags!… I mean Daddy Public Bucks!

So let’s cut the payroll tax! Great idea huh? Sounds like the kind of idea a financial wizard would come up with to pay one’s debts, doesn’t it? Or rather maybe someone who has declared 6 business bankruptcies during the course of his life time?

So Beware the Payroll Tax Cut! It’s a con job! A payday loan! A scam!

And If you work for a living…rest assured…in the end, You’re really gonna get it!

How to Save Social Security

24 Apr

There is really nothing wrong with the Social Security system in our country. Social Security is funded via a payroll tax on all income up to $110,000. You pay 6.2 percent and your employer pays 6.2 percent. And since those numbers were set in 1983, and for the next 30 years or so those payroll taxes provided more money than was needed to pay out benefits to retirees and left a pretty whopping surplus…something like 3 trillion dollars worth of surplus!

But did the surplus get invested in high yield bonds or stocks or anything else that would guarantee that 4 trillion dollar surplus to grow like it should have, astronomically, like say, if it had belonged to the Koch brothers or Walton family or any other billionaire worth his or her billions?

No. Instead Congress borrowed it to spend on its pork filled spending programs, gigantic wars and tax cuts for the wealthy, rather than raise additional taxes or balance their budgets, and then they put treasury bonds up as collateral for the borrowed surplus with a promise to repay at 4% interest, which of course is chump change, to any real investor, let alone a trillionaire, like we Social Security Trust funding taxpayers are supposed to be.

But today the SS fund no longer brings in as much in pay roll taxes as it pays out in benefits so it’s time for the Federal Government to pay its debts… And now, Just like any degenerate gambler, who knew all along that he was never going to pay up when the time came to cover his losses because his losses were simply going to be too big to repay. So what are we hearing from Congress now? “Oh no! The SS program is broken. It was never meant to work. There are too many people taking and not enough people paying into the system. It was all a Socialist scam!” Which of course are all lies because our Congressmen simply don’t want to pay back today, what they have been borrowing and spending over the last 30 years of yesterdays.

Nice, huh? Especially since “borrowing” the surplus SS funds is a polite term that Congress has been using, rather than the correct term of “stealing”, because in order to repay the “borrowed” money Congress will have to borrow money. Which would be like that degenerate gambler saying to his creditors, “May I please borrow some money from you so I can pay you back?”

So what to do? Well first the SS Trust Fund needs a champion…a billionaire manager or board of managers who represent the fund and the taxpayers, as opposed to the degenerate gamblers who have been fraudulently managing it. Then that SSTF manager can let the federal government refinance their treasury bond loans as Government “Student Loans”. You know, the ones that the government provides for our students at 8% interest and beyond. The ones that the government has made 41.3 billion dollars worth of profit on in 2013 alone…and that’s a higher profit level than all but two companies in the world. And they would be Exxon Mobil and Apple!

And if we refinanced the Social Security debt as student loans then, as per federal law, those loans would have to be repaid and could never be forgiven…not even if the federal government declared bankruptcy!

Right now our students owe over 1.2 trillion dollars to the federal government that they must repay at outrageous interest rates while the federal government owes Social Security about 3 trillion dollars at a modest interest rate that most Congressmen are now saying they can’t repay! Ain’t that America? Well, it shouldn’t be.

And don’t listen to any politician who says that he knows how to solve the Social Security problem by dissolving it, especially those who are bought and paid for by the Koch brothers who have said in the past, “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.” …And they are currently spending over 1 billion dollars on a Presidential candidate who will do just that, if he is elected.

It’s just too bad that the American Congress has borrowed America’s money. Just like everyone else they have to make good on a loan and pay it back, with interest. Otherwise they all need to step aside, resign their positions as elected leaders and let honest American men and women fill their posts and honor America’s debts. If we can promise to repay the Japanese and Chinese governments the trillions of dollars that we owe them and yet refuse to forgive the trillion dollars that our children owe us…then we can certainly honor debts to ourselves without boo-hooing about how expensive it’s going to be…can’t we?

And Anyone who says otherwise is a degenerate opportunist who needs to go straight to jail!

And We’re Off…

10 Jan
On the very first day of the new Congress, the new Republican majority took steps that could very well damage the foundations of Social Security. In addition to providing benefits to retired senior citizens, Social Security  also includes a disability-insurance program for those who want to work but can’t due to health reasons. And sometimes when the disability-insurance program runs short on funds, Congress transfers money from elsewhere in the Social Security system to prevent benefit cuts. The transfers are needed every now and then to keep the money flowing to the proper recipients depending upon those who come and go within the system. These transfers have never been considered out of the ordinary and in fact it has been done by Congress 11 times over the last seven decades. That’s an average of once every 6 years or so…
Apparently the system’s trustees are expecting the Social Security disability-insurance program to face a shortfall next year, and are expecting Congress to do what previous Congresses have always done… but…What the new (and improved?) Republican policy says is that transfers must from now on “improve the overall financial health of the combined Social Security Trust Funds.”  Experts say that because of the new and rather vague language used, it would likely mean any reallocation would have to be balanced by new revenues or benefit cuts.” Because a “transfer” of funds doesn’t necessarily mean an “improvement” of funds…does it?
Republicans are saying that this new language is meant to “improve the overall financial health” of the Social Security system but it may just also provide a loop hole (and who in Congress doesn’t love a loop hole?) to clear the way for proposed Social Security cuts, which would be consistent with congressional Republicans’ goals based on their recent past attempts to make cuts, changes and reductions within the Social Security System.
So, If the disability-insurance program is starved of funds then people will inevitably have to face Social Security reductions of one kind or another. Already multi-employer pensions funds, which cover about 10 million U.S. workers, have seen reductions in pension benefits proposed and approved by Congress in last December’s budget spending bill. And if you are a member of a public pension program than you know that a recent and popular government tactic has been to starve your pension of funds by simply withholding promised and negotiated contributions to your fund.
This government policy of trying to break our retirement programs and then declaring them broken and in need of fixing is not only very disturbing, but most definitely immoral, and most probably illegal. But the bigger and more disturbing question that I have is…why? Why this attack on the working poor and middle classes and their promised retirement incomes? First job displacement in the recent past, then wage stagnation in the present, and now proposed reductions in our future pensions?
We already know that our Congressmen and women are bought and sold by big monied interests and as a result are doing their bidding but what are they up to now? Have they been heavily investing in Nursing Home Futures? Or are the banks pushing for a future of more “Reverse Mortgages” because selling the underwater kind just didn’t bring in enough ill gotten gains?
So what’s the deal? Does anyone out there know? I’d like to hear your thoughts because this new Congress is off and running and I sincerely hope we are not all trampled in the process…and then cast off because we are not “financially healthy”…or rather broken…as in broke.
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