Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) apparently is calling for means testing of social security

The media is again reporting on another drive to gut social security (as announced in an AlterNet email yesterday). Michelle Bachmann, R-MN, has apparently called for cutting everyone under 60 or 55 (it’s not clear which) out completely, and possibly to means test those getting it now. Reports differ on the latter, as to whether those currently receiving benefits would be “safe”.  Could someone my age (67) suddenly be means tested?

Alternet wrote in the email (“They are coming to take your social security”) that everyone between 55-65 would be “means tested” according to a speech she gave in Las Vegas this summer. Only the needy would get it. Of course, she’s ignoring what we’ve written here before, that the FICA tax really is like an annuity policy premium, more or less. People, by and large, are collecting on what they (or their spouses) contributed.

It’s curious that I couldn’t find the story on the Alternet website (at least not quickly), only in the email. And it did come from Las Vegas. (Hint: look at the “BillBoushka” blog, Sept. 8.)

Here’s the Examiner’s story, by Maryann Tobin, from February, link.

The Reid Report says “the right has not given up on getting rid of social security (and Medicare) here  although that storyalso dates back to Februrary.

Rep. Boehner from Ohio has also suggested means testing.

One point is that the proposals for means testing or stopping social security are coming from the Right now despite the failure or conservative efforts to privatize, during the Bush years. In theory, Medicare could fall back on adult children, as could support for parents that came from social security (“family values”), but again, (most) seniors have earned some of their own retirement income and Medicare coverage with forced “payroll tax” contributions. Why doesn’t Bachmann (or Boehner) get this?

I still believe in the idea that you pay a contribution to your own retirement, that it’s yours, but that it is regulated in such a way that it must go (at least in part) into investments that don’t lose principal. I’m still with Cato on privatization.

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