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CUTS TO SOCIAL SECURITY

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Post by Paul2CV Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:04 pm

Hi trout,

I'm all for saving and personal responsibility. But I don't have a "here today, gone tomorrow" attitude about money I put in the savings bank, so I'll not have it about Social Security either.

I really dislike the use of the word "entitlement" to describe something I've been paying into by law in the thousands of dollars year after year. As far as I'm concerned, it's a government annuity. It should be as good as any bond. If the government wants to change the terms of the contract, they can do it with those who haven't paid in yet.

Paul2CV

Posts : 1065
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Post by trout Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:39 pm

Paul I have always taken the attitude that SS was one day created and that it could also one day be eliminated. The government in their geat wisdom did create the "401k" project hoping people would think about investing their money for retirement just in case SS had to go away or get reduced. I started thinking about retirement when I was 21 in the Navy and have slowly saved for that day. The government is not here to be our social keeper. We would probably not have the problems we do if we had less government involvment in our lives.

trout

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Post by Paul2CV Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:42 pm

Hi Forum,

I would like to get folks opinion on this article which maintains Social Security is being cut NOW in hidden ways and how you feel about the status of Social Security in the range of budget cutting issues now under discussion.

3 Ways Your Social Security Payments Are Already Being Cut

by Alicia Munnell
Friday, June 3, 2011

Policy experts have focused on alternative ways of eliminating Social Security's 75-year financing gap, but lost in the debate is the fact that even under current law Social Security will provide less retirement income relative to previous earnings than it does today. Combine the already legislated reductions with potential cuts to close the financing gap, and Social Security may no longer be the mainstay of the retirement system for many people.

In 2002, the frequently quoted replacement rate for the "medium earner" who earned about $42,000 in today's dollars and retired at age 65 was 41%; that is, Social Security benefits were equal to 41% of the individual's previous earnings. Under current law, three factors will reduce this replacement rate: 1) the extension of the full retirement age; 2) the increase in Medicare premiums; and 3) the taxation of Social Security benefits.

1. The Extension of the Full Retirement Age

Under current law, the full retirement age is scheduled to increase from 65 for those reaching 62 in 2000 to 67 for people reaching age 62 in 2022. This increase is equivalent to an across-the-board benefit cut. For those who continue to retire at age 65, this cut takes the form of lower monthly benefits; for those who extend their work lives, it takes the form of fewer years of benefits. Thus, as reported in the Social Security Trustees Report, the replacement rate for the medium earner will drop from 41% to 36% for people who retire at age 65 in 2030.

2. The Increase in Medicare Premiums

The rising cost of Medicare will also affect future replacement rates. For the medium earner, Medicare premiums, which are automatically deducted from Social Security benefits, are scheduled to increase from 5% of benefits for someone retiring in 2002 to 12% for someone retiring in 2030.

3. The Taxation of Social Security Benefits

The third factor that will reduce Social Security benefits is the extent to which they are taxed under the personal income tax. Under current law, individuals with less than $25,000 and married couples with less than $32,000 of "combined income" do not have to pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. (Combined income is adjusted gross income as reported on tax forms in addition to nontaxable interest income and half of your Social Security benefits.) Above those thresholds, recipients must pay taxes on either 50% or 85% of their benefits. In 2002, only 20% of people receiving Social Security had to pay taxes on their benefits, so median earners typically did not pay any taxes. But the thresholds are not indexed for growth in average wages or even for inflation so, by 2030, as real benefits and other income increases, many medium earners will pay tax on half of their benefits.

The bottom line is that the net Social Security replacement rate for the medium earner will decline from 39% in 2002 to 29% in 2030 under current law. Policymakers need to be aware of this fact when they consider how much of the 75-year financing gap should be closed by benefit cuts and how much by tax increases.

Alicia Munnell is the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College
SmartMoney.com

http://finance.yahoo.com/focus-retirement/article/112844/3-ways-social-secur

Paul2CV

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