Two Irrational Beliefs About Old People

Senator Elizabeth Warren's Social Security Legislation

As you know, there is no cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients in 2016.

It is only the third time in 40 years that this has happened and when you recall that 47% of unmarried recipients and 22% of married recipients rely on the program for 90% or more of their income, you quickly see how devastating this is.

And that doesn't make it less terrible by including the 53% of men and 74% of women who rely on Social Security for half or more of their income.

In response last Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced the Support the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE) that would create a one-time bump in the benefit that is equivalent to a 3.9% of the average payment.

Why 3.9 percent? you rightly may ask. I have an answer for you. Or, rather, Senator Warren does. Here she is explaining that last Friday to MSNBC host Chris Hayes:

The one-time payment 3.9% would amount to about $581.

If you're anything like me, you can make better sense of information if you can see it. Here is a simple explanation of that loophole from The Herald in Everett, Washington:

”Buried in the federal tax code is a provision that enables corporations to fully deduct components of executive compensation that are 'performance-based.'

“So corporations can pay their executives tens of millions of dollars, and at the same time write off those costs from their taxable income — with billions in lost tax revenue in the process.

“Closing this loophole would generate would generate about $51 billion a year. That's $10 billion more than needed to pay for the one-time $580 emergency benefit for all Social Security recipients.”

As the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) notes:

”A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year's worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty.”

So far, 17 of her fellow senators are co-sponsors of Warren's SAFE bill: Ed Markey, Barbara Mikulski, Patty Murray, Chuck Schumer, Bill Nelson, Debbie Stabenow, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken, Dick Blumenthal, Chris Murphy, Mazie Hirono, and Tammy Baldwin.

As Senator Warren explained in the video above, this legislation has a reasonable chance of passing because Republicans dislike the loophole for corporate salaries as much as Democrats do.

There is a fact sheet on the SAFE bill here [pdf]

The full text of the SAFE bill is here. [pdf]

And HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART: At the end of the video, Senator Warren asked us support her bill by signing the petition. You can DO THAT HERE. And pass on the link to others.

Unless you want to, you are not required to make a donation on the page that loads after you sign the petition.


Of course this bill makes sense and should be passed, but I hope that this will not be just a trade-off for the real change that has to be made and that is to re-think the way the COLA is calculated. The trouble with politicians is that many of them have not lived in the "real world" for a long time and have no idea what things cost today.
Also, I would love to hear any opposing comments to Sen. Warren's proposal.

Good for her. I gladly put my signature to the plan.

President Obama has chosen not to be lame. Perhaps he'll bravely go after the taxation policies that lopsidedly support big business and cost all of us by the loss of federal income, which provides worthwhile and necessary programs, infrastructure repairs, etc.

This is something though, a step toward awareness. Baby steps. I think we need to become childlike and try walking in bigger shoes.

Thanks, Ronni. Elizabeth Warren never fails to get me inspired and hopeful that there is somebody out there rooting out the reality of what's happening. I am happy to sign on.

I signed before reading this blog, but there will probably be other posts asking for signatures and I will sign all of them. I only hope this influences the legislators.

There is one drawback I might point out. If low income elders are getting discounts on utilities, etc. this lump sum might put them over the poverty limit and, therefore, disqualify them for the rebates they are receiving.

I hope I'm not raining on anybody's parade.

I sent the link to many of my friends & non-friends, too, LOL. Anyway she makes so much sense & her enthusiasm keeps me hopeful that maybe this will be heard. Dee

Warren is so valuable because she (or informed staff she is smart enough to retain) has a nose for where indefensible goodies for the uber-prosperous are deforming the system. She then uses that information to shape creative clawbacks!

I don't mind much that she didn't run for President. We need this kind of brains in the Senate. The list of who has signed on is a pretty strong catalog of which ones make themselves useful there.

Thank you for the information; I was happy to sign on.

It occurred to me after the donation page loaded, that before I retired (and was hit with unexpected medical bills - double whammy) I used to donate on a regular basis, albeit small amounts, to several of the senators who are co-sponsoring this bill. As a Nebraskan, none of them directly represent me - but then again none of the Nebraskan politicians seem to either, so I donate to those who may do the country some good.

I greatly admire Elizabeth Warren and am so glad that we have some politicians like her who support causes that help citizens throughout the nation. Of course I joyfully signed this petition.

I adore Liz Warren and if anyone can get this done, she can. But I confess I have zero confidence in Congress's ability or willingness to do anything worthwhile.

Warren is my hero. I signed this too. I donate to out-of-state senators and write to them too. Why not let know what we want? You never know.

Good idea, Celia! I've noticed that when a cause I support asks for a signing, up pops the CA politicos. I understand this might be necessary.

But now I'm thinking of writing others, as you do - like Alabama, maybe? Their politicans but also the newspapers, etc.,(in the case of AL, about the closure of DMV sites). Imagine the increased influence of elders if this became an organized movement, that we might not be tossed off so readily.

A current dream-team? Sanders/Warren, of course. Not likely, and Clinton/Warren isn't going to happen.

I've signed on. It's an excellent proposal and Elizabeth Warren articulated it well, as she always does. I agree with Bruce C. that many politicos haven't lived in the real world for a very long time and have no clue how their actions (or lack thereof) affect ordinary Americans. I'm allowing myself to be somewhat optimistic but I'll believe it when I see the money!

As far as writing to out-of-state legislators, I'm not sure they even glance at mail that comes from non-constituents--i.e., people who can't vote to re-elect them. If I thought it would do any good, I might try. However, I disagree so completely with the right wing Repubs that I see no point in wasting my time or a virtual postage stamp.

I know people (very discouraged with the system) who are now refusing to donate money to anyone except Senator Warren.

53% of men and 74% of women rely on Social Security. My wife and I are living off of our Social Security but, you know, we don't have to. Frugal new Englanders, we saved well beyond what we needed for our old age. The excuses are endless for why I should sign on to Elizabeth Warren's petition. It's money! No one turns down money. I think back to the last Bush presidency and his sending us two big checks 'to get the economy going.' I seriously toyed with sending those checks back, but, that was short lived and into the bank it went.

Obama took over with one of the worst debts the country has been in. Bush had a good idea: give all the money away, spend it on war and you'll have a government barefoot and in the kitchen. Small government they say is the answer and what better way than deep debt to keep it small.

I mean, Social Security is meant to be a safety net and from all the figures there's much more going out to people than what they put in. There's probably no way to figure who the 53 and 74 percenters are but maybe, just maybe, those of us in the remaining 47 and 26 percent might consider it as safety net and, well you know, "Ask not what your country can do for you...."

Please fight hard for all of us. Why should we be the ones to suffer when everyone else is benefiting. We live very frugal on social security and barely make it from month to month. The cost of living is always going up how else are those CEO's able to get such high base pay and bonuses with great pay increases every year? It is because of us the one's one social security. All I am asking is for a little help not much just a little.
Thank You

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