The day after the President’s State of the Union address, many pundits are concerned with his reference to Social Security, a subject he continues to toss out as a bargaining chip with the GOP.
Social Security is a worker program that has been used as a welfare program. Our 13.4% contributions (you plus your boss) should pay for a decent pension when we get to 65 (why not 60?), just as the law was intended. If there is to be a minimum pension (there is) for folks who did not pay into the system, those funds should not come from workers, but from general funds, which would allow the rich to contribute to welfare, not just the middle class. If there are to be disability payments, they should come from general funds. Ditto, death benefits, etc.
Other countries divide Social Security into a guaranteed amount, plus an amount determined by how much you contribute. The guaranteed amount has nothing to do with the retirement amount you earned.
The rich don’t want their taxes raised one penny to pay for a guaranteed pension or to pay for disability or to pay for death benefits. The rich don’t want to pay for anything that the average person receives. It’s not just that they disdain everyone but their class, it’s also because being greedy helps them stay rich.
Sadly, Americans also receive much lower benefits from Social Security than folks in other countries, in the 35% range for the middle class, although 90% in the poor class (where often there is virtually no contribution). Germany, for example, returns about 70% of previous wage levels in benefits, or about twice what we get here.
The President is obviously listening to his friends at CAP , people like Roger Altman, William Daley, John Podesta, Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers – in my opinion all from the corporate stooge club that wants lower income taxes for the rich and higher taxes for the middle class, while pretending to be liberals.