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No. of Recommendations: 1
Holy Moly. I got my SS Benefits statement today. My benefit amount will be reduced by $122.40 per month, which is Ouch. Medicare Part B-$348.30 for income related adjustment. $55.20 for part D. I think with my supplement increase my medical will be about $500 per month. Does that seem high?

I guess that little .03% increase didn't do much for me. Between an increase in dividend investing and RMD, my income increased by leaps.

Every year it seems my monthly benefit is reduced (not usually this much). I figure by the time I am ready to leave the 'green' the benefit will be negligible.

Birgit
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Yes, the income related adjustments in Medicare rates can be expensive. And you are only at the first step. When RMDs kick in, it gets even dicier.

Meanwhile they are talking about income tests for benefits. But when you double or triple fees fees for services you have been taxed for for years, I think that is a lot to pay.
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Paul, I have been paying RMD for 10 years!!! You pay a bigger percentage every year, so income goes up.

I don't know what income tests are being studied?

Birgit
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Yes, the subject of income tests comes up from time to time in discussions. We already have several. But who knows what will become law.

For now, it looks like Obama Care will get most attention. Medicare and Social Security reform seem not to be on the 100 day list. But we know the subject will come up one of these days.
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oaul: Medicare and Social Security reform seem not to be on the 100 day list.

When Ryan says "reform" he means enviscerate.

CNC
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When Ryan says "reform" he means enviscerate.

There are those who believe the Republicans would like to eliminate both Medicare and Social Security if they could. But I doubt they have the political will to do that.

I think there is consensus to revise Social Security to extend its finances. That would usually mean raising the retirement age (usually some years in the future) and raising the income cap on annual contributions.

Medicare also has financial challenges. Perhaps solutions developed for Obama Care (for those under age 65) will be adapted to Medicare too. We shall see. Negotiated drug prices is most often suggested as a way to reduce costs. It will be strongly resisted by the drug industry through its lobbyists. Limiting resources applied to dying patients could be another fertile ground for savings, but implementation may be difficult.

I think we hope the new Congress takes up these issues and comes to reasonable solutions. The last thing we need is gridlock, essentially kicking the can down the road and allowing problems to fester.
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No politician,Democrat or republican seems to have the balls to tackle entitlement reform.

That has as much chance of happening as Congressional Term Limits
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No. of Recommendations: 8
When Ryan says "reform" he means eviscerate.

Yes, he wants to completely disembowel it.

In present-day politics, the term "entitlement programs" is used as a snarl word by conservative politicians and pundits to describe any benefits program that uses tax dollars. Generally speaking, they use the term to encompass the collective social programs established by prior generations; Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are all included in this grouping. Conservative arguments against entitlement programs range from privatization to dissolution, claiming that the entities are mismanaged, too expensive, and/or rife with corruption.

Calling Medicare and Social Security "entitlement programs" is a misnomer, as these programs are funded by the wages of laborers with the intent that they will be used later by the same individuals--that is, the people who are to eventually benefit from the program are the ones who are funding it. Which is equivalent to the bank saying that the money in your savings account is welfare, instead of being entitled to it because it's your money they are holding onto till you withdraw it.

I don't understand why Republicans want to do away with Social Security and Medicare. For many retired people in this country Social Security is their only income and many can't wait for Medicare eligibility in order to obtain reasonably priced health insurance. What do they want older people to do die in the streets and reduce the surplus population?
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"Calling Medicare and Social Security "entitlement programs" is a misnomer, as these programs are funded by the wages of laborers with the intent that they will be used later by the same individuals--... Which is equivalent to the bank saying that the money in your savings account is welfare, instead of being entitled to it because it's your money they are holding onto till you withdraw it."

Problem is that for years there is NO money in the social security fund,just the equivalent of IOUs.Congress spent it all by dumping it into the general fund.

"I don't understand why Republicans want to do away with Social Security and Medicare."

I've never heard of any Republican who wants to 'do away' with Social Security and Medicare especially for those already on it.
None.
They want to reform the way it's being siphoned off to people that never paid into it.They may want to change the way the calculation for future workers.
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Never heard of any Republican who wanted to do away with SS? Just go back to the early days of Geo W Bush. They had the White House and the House. There were far right Republicans talking about rolling back the entire 50+ year old New Deal, including eliminating SS.

Maybe they can't do it but that doesn't mean they won't try. Life is good for the rich in 2017 America. The rest of us can just get sick and die.
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No politician,Democrat or republican seems to have the balls to tackle entitlement reform.

We seem to be entering the new age of cynicism. Nothing can be done, so why try. Close the patent office. Everything has been invented.

Practical politics is the reason Social Security reforms like increased retirement age and raised contribution cap take effect years later. That is after the current Congress is retired and the problems can be blamed on "those guys" from years ago.

It can be done and has been done repeatedly. It merely requires Congress to get its act together.
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". It merely requires Congress to get its act together. "

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Helps if there is not some group shouting that another group is
trying to starve poor little old ladies.

God forbid that people actually believed that both political parties
were actually looking out for the best interests of the American
public - rather than this or that "special interest".

Howie52
Who remembers a time when the "pursuit of happiness" was not viewed as
the 'delivery of happiness".

Course, if you campaign against "a chicken in every pot", winning
becomes more difficult, doesn't it?
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No. of Recommendations: 17
They want to reform the way it's being siphoned off to people that never paid into it.

If that were true, they'd be cutting off widows, orphans, and wives who didn't work (or didn't work enough to earn as much as half their huband's benefit).

No, they just want to be sure that the lower 3-4 income quintiles have a more painful retirement--and they have an easier one. I guess it makes them feel better. Buncha Ryans <ptui>.
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I think Henry Ford said something to the effect, "If you think the U.S. government is going to take care of you, see how it has treated Indians." That is, in today's lingo, "Native Americans".

TB
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TurkeyBreath writes,

I think Henry Ford said something to the effect...

Henry Ford was a Nazi.

http://rarehistoricalphotos.com/henry-ford-grand-cross-1938/...

intercst
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No. of Recommendations: 9
I think there is consensus to revise Social Security to extend its finances. That would usually mean raising the retirement age (usually some years in the future) and raising the income cap on annual contributions.

The former is despicable. People who do manual labor/work in factories/mines/construction/butcher shops/etc. not only don't live as long, but are very seldom able work to age 66 as it is. Not to mention others wh succumb to health issues before age 66. These are the very people who do not deserve to have their benefit cut! Not everybody has a white collar job with generous benefits and healthy, happy senior years. Let's not add to their misery.

The latter should've been accomplished by now. At a minimum, we should double the income subject to the SS tax and thereafter annual COLA equivalents.

If that's insufficient, we should explore subjecting other kinds of income to FICA taxes--IMO up to, say, age 55. After some minimum that isn;t subject to it--say after the first $12,000/year.
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Is there a rational reason not to subject all income to SS tax?
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Is there a rational reason not to subject all income to SS tax?

This raises a question about what income you are insuring. Social Security taxes insure a portion of your income from earnings. If you subject all income to Social Security taxes, wouldn't you be insuring income from investments, savings accounts, and Social Security in addition to earnings?

Taxing all income would change the status of retirees to self-employed and require then to pay both the employee and employer portions of the Social Security and Medicare taxes. To ensure that the retirees pay these taxes would we have the US Treasury withhold 12% of their Social Security benefit?

If you are over 70 and withdrawing RMD should 12% of the RMD be paid into Social Security in addition to the taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits that currently fund Social Security and Medicare?

If you subject all income to Social Security taxes, shouldn't your Social Security benefit be based on all your income?
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MCCrockett asks

If you subject all income to Social Security taxes, shouldn't your Social Security benefit be based on all your income?

</snip>


Absolutely!

I wouldn't have a problem with Bill Gates getting a $1 million/month Social Security check, as long as he paid $1 billion in FICA.

intersct
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"Is there a rational reason not to subject all income to SS tax?"


That could be a killer.

You sell your house for $500,000 and plan to buy a new one....but meanwhile, you think the government should get 8% of it? Plus 2% for Medicare?

Then again, you aren't 'employed' and it isn't salary and the 'company' isn't kicking in another 8%...as happens when you work and 'earn' an income.

So maybe it would be like income from 'self employed' and you'd owe 15% SS tax on the sale of your house.....or stocks.....or anything else......including your savings account.

Why not tax the 'gain' in your IRA each year too? Uncle Sam can simply withdraw 15% of your gain each year!.......for SS taxes to pay others.

- -

No no no....

If you want to kill the economy, tax 'all income'.....other than earned income....at 15% rate.....for SS.....and 2% for Medicare......everything.....


t.
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No. of Recommendations: 18
Not everybody has a white collar job with generous benefits and healthy, happy senior years. Let's not add to their misery.


My husband had a white collar job and he was "downsized" several times from the age of 52 till he quit at the age of 65 1/2.
We had to sell our home in order to keep going (after the first layoff).
We had to move out of state for a job that was 50% lower than what he had been making in New York.
Thank goodness for social security as most white collar workers, especially those who work in financial services, don't get a pension.
They don't get to work long enough to get pensions as they consider you old when you hit the age of 50.
When hubby was 65 he was told that there was another layoff looming a few months down the road. He was told that he was not on the list of those people who would get to keep their jobs BECAUSE he was 65 and going to collect social security.
What a laugh as he was making 6 figures at the time.
Anyway, we have survived. We left NY for small town living in MA.
The people are much friendlier here and it feels much more like home than living in a big city. We downsized our house, our mortgage and we now drive a sensible car.
Without social security we'd have been homeless. I kid you not.
I cannot understand why people think that they should live the exact same lifestyle as they had before retiring. We live well but in a much smaller house. We still have a mortgage but it's a much smaller one.
Instead of going to Broadway shows we take in the local theatre where we might even see a neighbor or two as one of the actors in a play.
And as long as we can still find decent pizza, well, need a former New Yorker say more???
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Bkln: "My husband had a white collar job and he was "downsized" several times from the age of 52 till he quit at the age of 65 1/2."

That happened a lot in the telecom industry around the country too......and I was downsized at my first job after 3 years....had to move - didn't own a house ..worked at the second job for 13 years until Neutron Jack decided GE didn't need a special engineering/application engineering department and 75 of us went out the door. Had to sell house.....did OK..new company guaranteed house sale.

I moved from the country to the Washington DC area. Salary went up 35% but living expenses did too...or more.

Survived a few layoffs at the new company over 17 years, then saw they handwriting on the wall and took a 'voluntary separation package' at age 52.5.

Retired. Stayed in house.

Only had a small pension from GE......and it was small - $4800 a year from 13 years service.....but every bit helps.

After the first layoff at age 25, I decided to save on my own. And did.....all throughout my career. It was a priority.

- - ----


Bkln:"We had to sell our home in order to keep going (after the first layoff). We had to move out of state for a job that was 50% lower than what he had been making in New York."

Well,NYC has sky high salaries and sky high real estate costs, too.....

and you likely paid 50% lower cost of living.....

- - -------

Bkln:"Thank goodness for social security as most white collar workers, especially those who work in financial services, don't get a pension.
They don't get to work long enough to get pensions as they consider you old when you hit the age of 50."

Not much difference for engineers. remember, the average person changes jobs every 5 years....and works for more than 5 companies in a career...unlike days of old where you worked 40 years for the same company. My family was a 'telco' family. Dad worked 44 years for NY Tel....went out on disability at age 60 with nice pension. Uncle Bill put in 48 years at Southwest Bell. Uncle George did 46 at NY Tel. Aunt Anne put in 40 plus at AT&T. Uncle Arthur did 33 years but had heart attack in his 50s and never collected a dime. His widow did....

Most companies now have 401Ks......some also have stock purchase plans at a discount,too.

- - ------

Bkln:"When hubby was 65 he was told that there was another layoff looming a few months down the road. He was told that he was not on the list of those people who would get to keep their jobs BECAUSE he was 65 and going to collect social security."

Possible age discrimination lawsuit but hard to prove.

- - ----

BKLN: "What a laugh as he was making 6 figures at the time."

Well, dang....you should have been saving 35% of it a year...

- - -----

Bkln:"Anyway, we have survived. We left NY for small town living in MA.
The people are much friendlier here and it feels much more like home than living in a big city. We downsized our house, our mortgage and we now drive a sensible car."

I stayed in TX.....no state income taxes.......$4100 a year in real estate taxes on my 4 bedroom house with pool......

- - -------

Bkln:"Without social security we'd have been homeless. I kid you not."

No one is planning on taking away your SS.....but unless someone fixes it soon, the benefits won't keep pace with inflation......and will gradually drop. With more retirees, and less workers.....just how many people (retirees) should each working person pay? In 10 years, there will be 1 retiree for every two folks working. That means if the average benefit is $1360 a month now, each working person will have to contribute over $680 a month between himself and employer to SS each month to keep those payments going.

- -- ----

Bkln:"I cannot understand why people think that they should live the exact same lifestyle as they had before retiring. We live well but in a much smaller house. We still have a mortgage but it's a much smaller one.
Instead of going to Broadway shows we take in the local theatre where we might even see a neighbor or two as one of the actors in a play.
And as long as we can still find decent pizza, well, need a former New Yorker say more???"

A lot of folks will have 401K saving....and some (mainly unionized folks) will still get pensions...if cities,states, counties aren't bankrupted by then......... fed pensions are pretty safe.....

There's no way I could stay in my house and live on SS....maybe a small house out in the country somewhere...or a mobile/manufactured home.....that would work.....

But half of Floridians live mostly on SS......

t.
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In my previous post, I was referring to earned income, perhaps a shortsighted view. I recall how early in the year the draw for social security from my paycheck ended. Listening to alarms about social security going broke, I wondered why the draw didn't continue throughout the year for all of us.
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dbphd wrote Listening to alarms about social security going broke,

In my view nobody who is over age 60 needs worry about it in any way. The solution is something Congress needs to deal with. While they hate the idea, there one thing all members of Congress understand - nothing is more useless than a politician out of office.

Last time I check we old farts still can vote.
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Last time I check we old farts still can vote.


Exactly! And we vote in large numbers.

Seriously though, SS needs to be fixed.
It will be when politicians do their jobs instead of worrying about losing their jobs by doing what needs to be done.

Politicians get elected and then spend ALL of their time looking towards the future to get re-elected.
Nobody is working for the people.
Surprise, surprise.
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"Seriously though, SS needs to be fixed.
It will be when politicians do their jobs instead of worrying about losing their jobs by doing what needs to be done.

Politicians get elected and then spend ALL of their time looking towards the future to get re-elected.
Nobody is working for the people.
Surprise, surprise. "


The problem is there are fewer and fewer workers paying in to SS. Soon there will be only 2 people paying in for every 'one' collecting.

That means, in the future, that employees and employers will have to pay more - a lot more - to keep benefits where they are..

or

benefits will have to decline over time.......probably through less than inflation raises year after year...... and increasing the retirement age......

There is no other magic bullet.

Someone has to pay.

Even worse is Medicare, which is already running in the red this year!......and will get worse quickly from here on out.


Seniors only pay 25% of their healthcare costs....through 'premiums'....the working folks pay the rest......

Remember, there is no money in the lock box...just IOUs that the government now has to borrow to redeem......running up the deficit and the debt year after year after year after year. No wait...Medicare has no 'fund' where you put money it...it was spent immediately..all of it!


for SS......the 'lockbox' is full of IOUs....which are now being redeemed in record numbers....and of course, running up the debt and deficit each year...




t.
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[raising the retirement age] "is despicable."

So far no one is suggested changing 62 as the age when you can begin collecting benefits. Raising the retirement age has the effect of reducing early payments. But those who can, continue to pay into the program longer and usually get higher benefits.

I don't think anyone opposes treating retirees better, but the issue is always how do you pay for that. And if not, will we borrow more to provide those added benefits?
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@bphd: "In my previous post, I was referring to earned income...."

Ahh! That's much better. I am retired and have no earned income. I pay income taxes on 85% of the Social Security benefits my wife and I receive, two small pensions from former employers, and my RMD withdrawals from my IRA accounts. The effective Federal income tax on this income is 15.03% that I pay in quarterly installments.

Were all income subject to FICA taxes, my tax liability would increase to 30.33% of my gross taxable income to include the 15.3% FICA tax owed by the self-employed.
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Paying income taxes on 85% of Social Security payments to me is outrageous. All participants have paid into Social Security for our entire working life. They should consider benefits as initially refunding our contributions. Or at least treat SS benefits like IRAs, where a portion of your distribution is considered a refund of after tax contributions. 15% seems low. I'd like to see real calculations. Tax the excess above what you paid in.
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All participants have paid into Social Security for our entire working life. They should consider benefits as initially refunding our contributions. Or at least treat SS benefits like IRAs, where a portion of your distribution is considered a refund of after tax contributions.

Your contributions were paid out to other people. Other people's contributions are being paid to you. Works fine until there are too many people on the receiving end, and lower paid workers on the paying end.

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4a3.html
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Your contributions were paid out to other people.

Yes, but that does not justify taxing my benefits that are made up of after tax money I paid into Social Security. My contributions should be refunded tax free.
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pauleckler complains,

<<<Your contributions were paid out to other people.>>>

Yes, but that does not justify taxing my benefits that are made up of after tax money I paid into Social Security. My contributions should be refunded tax free.

</snip>


If Trump isn't paying any taxes, we're going to have to find a lot of people to tax twice to make up the difference.

intersct
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...that does not justify taxing my benefits that are made up of after tax money I paid into Social Security. My contributions should be refunded tax free.

After which taxes did you pay money into Social Security?
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After which taxes did you pay money into Social Security?

Your FICA deductions from your paycheck are not tax deductible. So yes, you pay full income taxes on your Social Security contributions. It is after-tax money.
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"

He lost a billion dollars & was able to legally write off the loss against his gains till the credit was used up."

Hillary did the same for $450 thousand dollars till theirs was used up.

Pretty much all taxpayers do this,especially if they've run a business.
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So yes, you pay full income taxes on your Social Security contributions.

Your employer pays half on your behalf. If you were self-employed, you would get to deduct half.

It should be no surprise to anyone that SS is a wealth redistribution program and not a retirement plan for each individual. You will probably see more and more focus on SS payments/taxes based on level of income. For example, I don't pay any taxes on my SS income.

My mom complained her Medicare premium amount went up so much this year that it wiped out the small increase in SS. I told her she was basically complaining about having a too much income outside of SS. :(
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"My mom complained her Medicare premium amount went up so much this year that it wiped out the small increase in SS. I told her she was basically complaining about having a too much income outside of SS. :(" - Rharmelink


I took my MIL grocery shopping at Kroger's this morning. On the way back home she told me she laughed when she read a letter that told her about the small increase in social security this year - and how it was exactly what her increase cost in Medicare was going to be. So essentially it balanced out to zero as far as any increase in social security.

MIL did tell me she pays something like $108/month for Medicare part A & B, and then her supplemental healthcare insurance is through Farm Bureau and that brings the whole total to a little bit over $400/month. That was useful information because it won't be too much longer and I'll be on Medicare myself.

Art
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My mom complained her Medicare premium amount went up so much this year that it wiped out the small increase in SS. I told her she was basically complaining about having a too much income outside of SS. :(

I am not complaining....so far I have done well financially thanks to the stock market. It seems every year my SS check is smaller because my Medicare B/D charge is more. Medicare Part B-$348.30 for income related adjustment. $55.20 for part D. IRA RMD are considered income, and every year the distribution percent goes up...increasing my income. Somehow, I went into the 28% tax bracket.

I have been using TurboTax...last year's return was a mess (on their part) which had to be corrected. I think I will go back to using a tax accountant CPA for 2016 taxes.

Birgit
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Somehow, I went into the 28% tax bracket.

Too bad more people don't have that problem. :)
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Reading the report at the link below is an eye opener and makes it obvious why something has to be done.

Currently Medicare, SSA and Medicaid make up 48% of the federal budget.(Figure 1 at the link below.)

Yes the Medicare program is an entitlement program when beneficiary premiums make up only 13% of the total for Medicare A and only 1% for Medicare B. (Figure 7)

The Medicare A program is in trouble and at the current rate will be bankrupt by 2028. (Figure 8)

http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/the-facts-on-medicare-sp...
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Correction....

"Medicare is funded primarily from three sources: general revenues (42%), payroll taxes (37%), and beneficiary premiums (13%) (Figure 7)."

The 13% beneficiary premium funding breaks down to 25% for Medicare B, 14% for Medicare D and 1% for Medicare A.
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Still no sign that anyone will make the kind of bipartisan effort Reagan did with Social Security. Both SS and Medicare need adjustments if they are to deliver the benefits promised, and needed, for seniors. G W Bush had the best chance to do it. He had congressional bipartisan support for a fair adjustment to both programs. He had a surplus from the Clinton years. Instead he got stuck on privatizing SS, where he didn't even have full support in his own party. And he gave the surplus to his wealthiest supporters.

While the politicians hem and hah these programs, essential so many, sink slowly towards disaster. We've lost 16 years when minor adjustments could have been compounding. When reality is finally faced it will take drastic, painful cuts to salvage these programs. And it will be those least able to bear those cuts who will suffer the most.
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That's one reason immigration reform is important. If we reform the immigration system so that presently undocumented people can participate in and contribute to the system, we would widen the base of people paying into Social Security.
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That's one reason immigration reform is important. If we reform the immigration system so that presently undocumented people can participate in and contribute to the system, we would widen the base of people paying into Social Security.

==================================

Illegal immigrants does not mean undocumented. Usually they have false documents. That means taxes are withheld.

From Page 2

https://www.ssa.gov/oact/NOTES/pdf_notes/note151.pdf


Our projections assume that unauthorized residents work at about the same rate as the rest of the population by age and sex, but earnings are less likely to be reported as taxable and even less likely to be credited for future benefit entitlement. Thus,our projections suggest that the presence of unauthorized workers in the United States has, on average, a positive effect on the financial status of the Social Security program. For the year 2010, we estimate that the excess of tax revenue paid to the Trust Funds over benefits paid from these funds based on earnings of unauthorized workers is about $12 billion
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" If we reform the immigration system so that presently undocumented people can participate in and contribute to the system, we would widen the base of people paying into Social Security. "

And likely, most of these 'undocumented' people will wind up with documents, get on SS and Medicare...and collect far more than they ever paid in........


t.
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And likely, most of these 'undocumented' people will wind up with documents, get on SS and Medicare...and collect far more than they ever paid in........

My husband's parents retired in the mid-80s. They collected far more than they ever contributed, and my MIL continues to collect. I expect you have, as well, or will have within a few years.

Chili
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