View Poll Results: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

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    16 34.04%
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    27 57.45%
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Thread: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

  1. #21
    Count Smackula
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    It's not just "nice and idealistic" it's the only thing that makes sense. Otherwise, the only way to get anything out of SS would be to make financial decisions during your life that would ensure you didn't actually have anything by the time you retire. I just can't believe that's what we'd want to encourage.

    If it's going to run out of money on the future, it's because it's over-extended and you cannot fault/penalize the people who are actually paying into it. Well, I mean, I guess you can, but it doesn't make sense to do so.
    The point of social security is to prevent seniors from falling into poverty. Fairness is a pipe dream. A means based test brings in the revenue will needed in the future to make that happen. If you don't want a means based test, how do you propose to get the extra revenue? Tax future taxpayers extra? That isn't fair either.

  2. #22
    Dungeon Master
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    The point of social security is to prevent seniors from falling into poverty. Fairness is a pipe dream. A means based test brings in the revenue will needed in the future to make that happen. If you don't want a means based test, how do you propose to get the extra revenue? Tax future taxpayers extra? That isn't fair either.
    So, is this really the best argument in favor of means testing? Sure it's unfair and sends the wrong message, but this is all we could think of? I'm not criticizing you at all, btw, I ask in all seriousness. Maybe that really is the best argument, but it doesn't seem like a good one to me.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    Means testing for Social Security benefits came up in a discussion Stillballin' and I were having. Personally, I don't support it. Thinking it would make a good poll question, I Googled the term to find a good article that would describe what in entails. Lo and behold, I found this article where three Republican senators are proposing this very thing.



    *First Read - GOP senators: Raise retirement age, 'means test' Social Security

    So, what do you think? Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?
    I support completely refacing the entire supposed retirement program.

    Private accounts, with simple and complex options, full market selection for those that take the complex route.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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  4. #24
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    So, just so I understand your position, somebody pays into SS their whole working life. The more they earn, the more they pay in, thereby depriving them of that income that they earned, then, if they are financially responsible enough to not be entirely dependent on SS, when they retire they should actual get less or nothing? That about sum it up?
    Yep, that's pretty accurate. SS is supposed to be a safety net, not a retirement plan. It's just like unemployment benefits: If you pay your unemployment tax for your whole life but never lose your job, should you get a refund? Of course not. These programs are public insurance programs to prevent poverty, and it's incorrect to view it as "your" SS money. Like any other government program, you pay taxes based on your income and you're eligible for the program if and only if you qualify.

    Means-testing is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. Some cuts are going to have to be made in SS somewhere (or taxes are going to have to be raised), so it makes sense to cut them in the places where they're the least harmful. And providing people with income just because they're old, even if they don't need it, is well outside the scope of social security's reason for existence.
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  5. #25
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    It's not just "nice and idealistic" it's the only thing that makes sense. Otherwise, the only way to get anything out of SS would be to make financial decisions during your life that would ensure you didn't actually have anything by the time you retire. I just can't believe that's what we'd want to encourage.
    All social safety net programs encourage that to some extent. But society has decided that the cost of moral hazard is worth the benefit of not having extreme poverty. And while SS might have some effect like that on the margins, it's unlikely to be very significant, since getting a subsistence wage from SS/Medicare is still not nearly as financially rewarding as saving for one's retirement. Additionally, people don't know how long they are going to live or what the government's SS policies will look like in the future, so it's difficult to plan for SS in the distant future.

    Besides, I'm not talking about means-testing SS for the middle class. But I'm thinking if your income is above $100K it should probably be reduced, and by $200K it should probably be phased out entirely. So we aren't talking about creating a moral hazard for the people teetering on the brink of poverty, we're talking about the moral hazard of only saving enough for retirement to collect $95K per year instead of $105K. As such, I don't think it really matters a great deal if a few people who have already saved that much choose to spend some of their money so that they would still get their full SS benefits.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-15-11 at 04:34 AM.
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Forget the fantasy that Social Security exists to provide a defined benefit for everyone, it's nothing but a welfare program just like any other.

    People are whining that they put all that money into the system and now they're not going to get any back...where are they when the crack ho' cashes her welfare check? It's their money being disbursed, it's not the crack ho's until it's in her hands. Social Security is just one more expense among all the burdens imposed by strangers on the wage earner.

    The Ponzi Scheme is failing, people need to give up the fantasy that they're going to get their share. If those people had had any sense they'd have been demanding the government get out of their wages so they could invest that 15.4% in the equity markets. Almost everyone would have become a millionaire, and they would be giving their children an estate, not a 100 trillion dollar tax bill.

  7. #27
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    So, is this really the best argument in favor of means testing? Sure it's unfair and sends the wrong message, but this is all we could think of? I'm not criticizing you at all, btw, I ask in all seriousness. Maybe that really is the best argument, but it doesn't seem like a good one to me.
    Any way you slice it it's going to be unfair to someone or other. It's just a question of what has the most benefits and the fewest costs from a macroeconomic perspective. Means-testing is certainly toward the top of the list.
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  8. #28
    Dungeon Master
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Yep, that's pretty accurate. SS is supposed to be a safety net, not a retirement plan. It's just like unemployment benefits: If you pay your unemployment tax for your whole life but never lose your job, should you get a refund? Of course not. These programs are public insurance programs to prevent poverty, and it's incorrect to view it as "your" SS money. Like any other government program, you pay taxes based on your income and you're eligible for the program if and only if you qualify.
    Who pays into SS that doesn't qualify for it? Aren't payments supposed to be based on initial withholdings? That right there is different than other taxes. Most other taxes, you'll never see again, but with SS you're supposed to.
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  9. #29
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Any way you slice it it's going to be unfair to someone or other. It's just a question of what has the most benefits and the fewest costs from a macroeconomic perspective. Means-testing is certainly toward the top of the list.
    You talk about fairness as if there are two competing interests and one or the other has to be treated unfairly. That's not the case. The only fair thing is to get what you've put into it. How is getting paid less because you put in less unfair?
    Last edited by X Factor; 04-15-11 at 05:02 AM.
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  10. #30
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    Re: Would you support means testing for Social Security Benefits?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Factor View Post
    So, just so I understand your position, somebody pays into SS their whole working life. The more they earn, the more they pay in, thereby depriving them of that income that they earned, then, if they are financially responsible enough to not be entirely dependent on SS, when they retire they should actual get less or nothing? That about sum it up?

    Even if they're the ones who paid into it their entire working lives?
    what i pay in taxes goes to welfare - should i be getting something from TANF?

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