Wednesday, December 5, 2012

'Living' on Social Security

I live on Social Security.  Well, live isn't exactly the word.
I am attempting to survive on Social Security.  Not very successfully.
So, when I see Republicans, and especially John Boehner, talk about the necessity to cut entitlements like Social Security and Medicare I get angry.  I would laugh if it wasn't so tragic.
I know we have problems economically.  The Republicans ignore the fact these problems developed on their watch.  George Bush came into office with a surplus in the Federal Government.  When he left we were deep in debt, fighting two wars on a credit card and the financial community (under his regulations and oversight) was on the edge of collapse.
Boehner’s latest proposal to cut back on the cost of living increases for Social Security recipients is just plain offensive.  In the business world Boehner is so fond of championing the average yearly salary increase is 3%.  The increase in Social Security benefits for 2013 is just 1.7%.  Somehow I don’t see that as excessive, though Boehner seems to think it is.
In real numbers, in 2012 I received $906.80 per month after deductions for Part B of Medicare and a Part D drug plan.  Next year I will receive approximately $925.34 a month with my ‘generous’ cost of living increase.  And I say approximately because I don’t know the exact amount of the Part B deduction the government will take in 2013.

(NOTE: Just an update.  I got my notice of Social Security benefits for 2013.  I was wrong.  Medicare part B is taking more of a deduction.  In 2013 I will get $919.10 per month.)
The national poverty level for a single person in the United States in 2012 was $11,170 (that works out to $930.84 a month).  Which means I was about $24.04 a month above the poverty level this year.
I know there are people who have it way worse off than I do living on Social Security; and I'm not doing that well.  Sp, how can the Republicans justify calling for these people to take a cut in income and abandon them like they were so much refuse?
When I see Boehner crying great crocodile tears over the state of the economy and the growing Federal debt just doesn't move me.
I might even be able to stomach all this irritating rhetoric if it wasn't for the fact that all of Congress opted out of the Social Security system years ago in favor of a much more lucrative retirement plan.
OK, John, you want me to struggle along on even less than I'm getting now?  Fine.  Just as soon as you and all the other members of Congress make yourselves subject to the Social Security system, then we can talk about cuts in the program.
You want me to live on less money because I’m a drain on the economy and increasing the national debt?  I will make you a deal.  I will try to tighten my belt a little more.  I will do this just as soon as you try living on less than $1,000 a month for a while.  You spend no more than that on things like food, gas, electricity, water, gasoline, telephone service and garbage pickup for say three months.  After that, if you still believe the people living on Social Security have it so easy, we can talk about cuts in things like Medicare and Social Security.
I suspect if Congressmen had to survive under a retirement system like Social Security all the talk of cuts would be a whole lot quieter than it is now.  It all depends on whose Ox is being gored, and this Congress doesn't have an Ox in the system.
I also am not buying all this crap about "we can't harm the job creators."  History shows during the Bush Administration years, which gave all kinds of benefits to these 'job creators', there were actually fewer jobs created than in the previous ten years.  Businesses shipped jobs overseas to maximize profits, held wages stagnate and eliminated positions to make the workers they kept work harder.
The 'job creators' also have flourished in the compensation area far beyond what the common worker has gained.  In 1980 the average CEO of a company (assuming the CEO is the job creator) was compensated 42 times more than the average worker.  By 2011 the average CEO was making 380 times more than the average worker.
Forgive me if I don't cry any tears for these poor, oppressed 'job creators.'
Recent news stories have pointed out American businesses are sitting on trillions of dollars in cash instead of creating new jobs or investing in their businesses.  I can only assume they are sitting on this money in the hopes Republicans can push through some plan to let them keep more of those dollars.
So, as we rush toward the "fiscal cliff" I just can't work up any sympathy for plans to screw old people in favor of benefiting 'job creators' or people who are doing just fine in these tough economic times.

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