Tuesday, November 13, 2012

GOP Really Does Want Grandma to Die...and Fast!

And not just grandma, but ALL the sons and daughters of the Greatest Generation (the Baby Boomers).

Why is it that, one day after Obama took office in 2009, SUDDENLY, the national debt became a national security issue for the Republicans and Obama was given all the blame?

From a surplus under Clinton to $10 trillion in debt under Bush with tax cuts for the wealthy and two unpaid wars was never a problem for Republicans before.

Since Obama took office more debt was incurred in "stimulus" and bailouts to the banks and auto industry...to save an economy that the Republicans destroyed by the end of 2008.

Add to that, more debt that we incurred since 2008 with unemployment benefits, TANF and food stamps for millions of Americans who lost jobs or were forced into much lower-paying jobs because of previous Republican economic policies.

Add to that, the natural demographics of an aging population going on disability and Social Security, most who would have anyway despite the Republican-caused economic downturn.

Now the Republicans are blaming Obama for food stamps and "entitlements". The conservatives say we should all be more "self-sufficient", but how? -- if their "job creators" are out-sourcing good-paying jobs to China and paying our domestic workforce sub-standard wages?

For the GOP, immigrants (legal or otherwise) were OK so long as they could be induced to take jobs that no one else wanted -- and paid them sub-standard wages. They will hire them to nanny their kids and cut their grass if they were cheaper to hire than "legal" American citizens. But when it comes to paying for their education, healthcare, and other "free stuff", then the GOP wants to toss them all back over the fence.

Add to that, the ever increasing high cost of healthcare insurance and the higher costs of healthcare. The GOP wants to pay American workers LESS than the minimum wage, then expect them to also afford healthcare too! What about rent, food, and heat...all that other "free stuff"?

The reason U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) refused to back down from remarks he made on the House floor in 2009 (in which he said the Republican health care plan calls for sick people to "die quickly") was because it's true.

Meet grandma. 86-year-old Gloria Pascale of Renton, Washington has worked as a Wal-Mart greeter for 15 years. She has to work to pay her mortgage and help support her children and grandchildren. She said she was recently told at work that her new duties would include heavy lifting and other activity beyond what she's physically able to do. She said she is under treatment for congenital heart failure. She had no choice but to comply...it was either that, or quit her job. (More on grandma below).

Libertarian Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman once said that Social Security redistributes wealth from the poor to the wealthy. As we're all well aware, ALL taxes are a form of redistribution for the collective good of a nation....usually.

The Republicans argue "a war of religion" when taxes are used for contraception, while myself and others argue that taxes spent on wars like Iraq could also be an attack on our religion. But the GOP (especially the Tea Party) always uses the "separation of church and state" argument for their own convenience, while imposing their religious beliefs on others in the form of their political policies (e.g. abortion, etc).

And then there's the redistribution of wealth from Social Security taxes. The wealthiest Americans don't NEED Social Security, so therefore don't want to contribute; whereas, I don't need oil subsidies or excess defense spending either. I prefer feeding our poor and one less nuclear submarine.

American workers (people who actually "work", especially in labor intensive jobs) must pay 12.4 percent, including a 6.2 percent employer contribution, on their wages below the Social Security Wage Base ($110,100 in 2012), but no tax on income in excess of this amount. Therefore, high earners pay a lower percentage of their total income because of the income caps; and because of this, payroll taxes are often viewed as being "regressive".

Furthermore, wealthier individuals generally have higher life expectancies and thus may expect to receive larger benefits for a longer period than poorer taxpayers. A single individual who dies before age 62, is more likely to be poor and receive no retirement benefits, despite their years of hard work and paying Social Security taxes all their life.

On the other hand, an individual who lives to age 100, is more likely to be wealthy, and is guaranteed payments that are more than he/she has paid into the system. Even though they have no financial need for them, they still file and collect these benefits in exchange for the "premiums" they pay for these "entitlements".

An NBER volume edited by Martin Feldstein and Jeffrey Liebman called The Distributional Aspects of Social Security points out that members of racial minorities with lower-than-average life expectancies and lower-than-average rates of marriage (and lower-than-average rates of pay) may also suffer from the program on average.

People who derive a high percentage of income from non-wage sources (e.g. Mitt Romney with capital gains/carried interest, etc.) get high Social Security net benefits because they appear to be "poor" for the purpose of Social Security means testing, when they are far from living in poverty -- almost half of ALL American workers earn less than $26,000 a year and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on 100% of their wages.

The progressive benefit formula for Social Security is blind to the income a person receives from non-wage sources, such as spousal support, dividends and interest, stocks and stock-options, the sale of fine art, profits from real estate, rental income, selling off gold and other SWAG :investments", etc, etc, etc.

At present the Social Security limit (cap) is $110,100 in 2012. But if the cap is lifted and it includes ALL taxable income, it will be able to tackle the problem of increasing benefits from an increase of revenues for the Baby Boomers. A benefit of lifting the cap on ALL taxable income, but NOT necessarily increasing the benefits, will allow the revenue from high income earners to lead to the solvency of Social Security. This theory is called "math".

Because the life expectancy has increased (especially for higher income people with superior quality healthcare insurance) and because it will most likely increase further (even in the absence of other demographic factors), the retirement age must be increased to maintain a sustainable system...UNLESS of course, the unfair cap on high-income earners is no longer exempt from being paid into Social Security.

The owners of Wal-Mart have a collective net worth of over $100 billion, but pays their workers slave wages with no healthcare insurance. The REAL reason why Republicans hate ObamaCare™ is because it starts to fairly tax "investment" income in 2013 (the same way everybody else is taxed on their hard-earned wages and salaries.)

If we removed the cap on Social Security contributions for the very wealthy, maybe Grandma won't have to slave at her low-paying job at Wal-Mart until the day she finally drops dead in aisle #12, but instead she can retire with some dignity and comfort while cherishing her life's memories and spending more time with her grand-children.

But the wealthiest among us, corporate America, and the Republicans would prefer that grandma NOT have healthcare insurance or a decent minimum wage, but instead that she "put more skin in the game" (regarding federal income taxes) and remain a "maker" and not a "taker" in our society until the very moment she draws her last breath.

Since Mitt Romney and the GOP lost the past presidential election, the Republicans are saying "we have to reach out more to the Latino community and women". Why? Just for their votes?

And what about the elderly and the poor, another growing segment of America's population? Will the GOP also reach out to them as well, providing them with Social Security and Medicare when they get old, and/or healthcare and good-paying jobs while they can still work? I think not.

Why the Rich Live Longer (Forbes)

Why the Rich Live Longer (2) (Forbes)

Do rich people live longer? (MSN Money) "Wealth and longevity are

Get rich and live longer! (The Daily Mail)

Rich Americans Live Longer (The Huffington Post)

How to live as long as the rich (CBS)

Why Do the Rich Live Longer Than the Poor?

Entitlements Favor the Rich —Because They Live Longer

Why Rich People Live Longer - Pay Dirt - SmartMoney

Wealthy live longer than the poor: Study (News Medical)

Do the Rich Live Longer? (Wall Street Journal - VIDEO)

* And if Grandma was disabled, poor, alone, and couldn't drive, she would be SOL while being brutally put the loops trying to qualify for Social Security disability; and unless she had a fatal illness or was a paraplegic, she would have a 50-50 chance of receiving SSD from a uncaring judge making an annual $100,000 salary that's paid for by grandma and other hard-working taxpayers...because the Republicans are more concerned about tax breaks and Social Security caps for the very rich...like the owners of Wal-Mart.

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