Dec 102016

© Galina Barskaya | Dreamstime Stock Photos


Will Johnson’s Proposal save Social Security?

Honorable Sam Johnson proposes to “permanently fix” Social Security primarily by reducing benefits and cost of living adjustments.  I like a few things about the proposal.  First, it links benefits for spouses and children to the average wage instead of the actual wage of the worker.  This seems fair.   It will help the poorest while not cutting benefits below average for others.  That works.  Second, I like requiring full-time school enrollment for dependents ages 15-18 as a condition of eligibility.  But I feel this should be modified to consider that some minors may complete their schooling and be well qualified to enter the labor market in the trades at a slightly earlier age.  Third, the Social Security Administration projects that the plan would keep the program solvent.

What’s not to like about Johnson’s Proposal?

What I hate, hate, hate, is that it is all cuts and  NO tax increase.  In fact, the proposal eliminates income taxes on benefits by eliminating a tax on benefits for those who earn more than $32,000 (in addition to receiving benefits.) In contrast, I prefer a solution that adjusts benefits and retirement age while also increasing the maximum income on which social security taxes are assessed.   I believe the current tax rate is high enough.  Simply increasing the maximum income on which the tax is collected will make a huge difference.

Furthermore, the change in the COLA is unacceptable.   Honorable Sam Johnson posits moving to the chained CPI, which assumes an ability to move to cheaper alternatives as prices increase.   For some income levels, that DOES make sense.  Say if you have to go from eating sirloin to ground beef, to chicken, to afford your food.  It’s not ideal, but if it keeps the system solvent that would be a good thing.  However, when it means going from chicken to canned tuna, to dog food, that is beyond human decency.

Call to Action

We need to stop the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich in this country.   It’s time for us to speak up about our priorities.   I don’t believe that should include leaving seniors who have paid into the system all their lives stranded with insufficient funds in retirement.

TWEET  our President Elect TRUMP NOW.  Even if you don’t agree with me, let him know where you stand and DEMAND that he take a position on the Johnson proposal.  One of Trump’s campaign promises was “not to touch” Social Security …. of course, as Scottie Nell Hughes so eloquently put it “There’s no such thing, anymore, as facts.”   Which will come in handy when Trump expands those liable laws, since it will eliminate the use of the “but those are the true facts” defense….

 Welcome to post-Trump America in an Orewellian universe.

MSN opinion piece



SSA actuarial estimates:



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