Annual TimeGoesBy Donation Week 2018
Crabby Old Lady and Kids' Names for Grandparents

Ivanka Trump, Social Security and Valentine's Day

This is day three of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

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To create a fund for family leave, presidential daughter Ivanka wants to take the money from Social Security recipients, a move that would delay retirees' benefit start date.

Actually, it's Senator Marco Rubio's idea to which Ivanka has hitched her paid family leave proposal, the idea being to fund the program on the backs of old people who have spent a lifetime paying into Social Security.

It would work something like this: the bill would allow

"...people to draw Social Security benefits when they want to take time off for a new baby or other family-related matters, and then delay their checks when they hit retirement age." reports Politico.

"For instance, a person who would begin receiving full benefits when he or she turns 67 years old but wants to take six weeks of paid leave wouldn’t draw Social Security benefits until six weeks after his or her 67th birthday."

Long-time Social Security advocate and president of Social Security Works, Nancy Altman, released this statement after hearing about Rubio's Ivanka-approved proposal.

“It’s well past time for our country to join the rest of the world in providing workers with paid family and medical leave. But we should not undermine our retirement security to achieve it.

“In light of the decline of traditional pensions and the proven inadequacy of 401(k) plans for everyone but the wealthiest, Social Security’s modest benefits will be even more important in the future.

“We are the wealthiest nation in the world at the wealthiest moment in our history. Our country can afford to increase, not cut, Social Security’s modest benefits, while also adding paid family and medical leave.

“Other less-wealthy nations have those benefits. We can too if we simply require the wealthiest among us to pay more to our commonwealth (i.e., “common wealth”) from which they have benefited so enormously.

A admirable and reasonable approach but it won't gain a foothold during a Trump administration. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has exchanged email with Ivanka about a paid family leave program, has a different approach. She argues

”..that paid leave has to be national,” reports the Daily Beast, [it] must be structured as a social insurance program (i.e., have a finance stream that a wide swath of the population contributes to), must be gender neutral, and must cover not just the birth of a child but also time that workers spend caring for sick family members.”

That would get it off the backs of elders but if you believe a Republican Congress is going to buy it, you haven't been paying attention:

”Republican leadership has never wavered in their opposition to Gillibrand’s approach. [House Majority Leader Paul] Ryan has said he opposes any leave policy that requires employers to give their workers paid time off for the birth of a child—favoring, instead, legislation that would allow workers to bank overtime hours to use at a later date for comp time.”

Huffington Post reports that the Ivanka/Rubio plan is a disaster for women who generally make less money throughout their lifetimes than men, they are also the ones who would make most use of a family leave program:

"The plan’s backers suggest that a person applying for Social Security benefits would just have to wait six more weeks to collect, [former SSA analyst, Kathleen] Romig explained. In reality, the recipient would receive a lower benefit, she said.

“'It’s cutting your benefit for the rest of your life,' said Romig, who is now a senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities...

"Perhaps most alarming: The very idea of using Social Security funds as a private piggy bank threatens to destabilize the very notion of a social insurance program.

“'If we start treating Social Security, really the bedrock of financial security for elderly people, as just another asset to tap, we are imperiling people’s financial security,' Romig said."

It is unlikely that there will be much, if any, movement on paid family leave legislation this year, but it behooves us - people who know how important Social Security is to retirement – to keep our eye on Congress.

Small sneak attacks like this one and other big-time privatization schemes such as President George W. Bush's failed attempt at that 10 years ago along Paul Ryan's almost constant barrage of attacks on Social Security are only the most recent assaults on old people's retirement income.

Republicans have been trying to kill Social Security since President Franklin Roosevelt signed it into being in 1935.

The problem for them is that Social Security is the most successful and most beloved program in the federal government. Hardly anyone in the U.S. supports cutting Social Security (or Medicare/Medicaid).

In a May 2017 Pew survey, only three percent of Democrats or those who lean Democratic support “decreasing federal spending on Social Security.”

Among Republicans and those who lean Republican, in the same survey, just ten percent support “decreasing federal spending on Social Security.” So the Trump administration and the current Congress need to be careful about floating ideas to cut any of the programs they too often refer to as “entitlements.”

Don't forget, Americans pay into Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid all their working lives – that's why it is called an earned benefit and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I would be alarmed by this latest attempt to chip away at Social Security but I don't think the plan to fund family leave on the backs of elders has a much chance of flying with the public. Nevertheless, it's important that we keep track of the attacks and who is trying to sneak them past us.

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One more thing: perhaps you have noticed that this is Valentine's Day – a perfect time for me to again thank you all for your continuing support of this blog and especially your many good thoughts during the past eight months of my, ahem - medical interlude.

Happy valentine's day heart banner

Sending much love and hugs and good cheer to each and every one of you from Ronni, Crabby Old Lady and Ollie the cat.


I am speechless! We can spend trillions on weapons of war without even suggesting budget cuts for the war industry but we can't do family leave without hurting another group of people in the process? I'm so sick of our current lawmakers!

What times we live in. This budget includes a lot of things to dread. HUD is proposing increases in rent and work requirements to the poorest Americans who rely on public housing assistance. Proposed changes to the food assistance program (SNAP) would convert half of each household's monthly benefit to the receipt of a box of items, including "shelf-stable" milk, pasta, cereal, beans, peanut butter, and canned meat, and canned fruits and vegetables. The other half of the benefits would continue to be delivered via a card, to be used as it has for years. This sounds like a reversion back to the surplus commodities version of food assistance of old, only today it's being presented as a "Blue Apron" type of program. Right. There would be significantly less autonomy in food choice for those receiving these boxes. Regardless of people's dietary needs or food preferences, they would apparently receive a "one size fits all" meal package meant to provide food for half of each month. And we should not forget that many of these assistance recipients are also elderly Americans who have worked for most of their adults lives.

A proposed family leave program drawing early on Social Security benefits sounds as bad as all the other schemes this administration is coming up with. Would the amount drawn be what they would be earning at the time it was used, or would it be based on the projected future amount? What I was earning in six weeks twenty years ago was significantly more than what I receive for six weeks worth of SS income today. This is such a harsh administration. And yet we recently learned that hundreds of millions of dollars a year cannot be accounted for by defense contractors. Go figure -- literally!

Maybe all that money to be used for the parade DT wants could be channeled into their dream pot.

The food box idea is one of the most ridiculous ideas I've heard in a long time. In addition to the nutritional value and the need of each recipient, who's going to put these boxes together, and how much will that cost, and how will you get it to the recipient. Many of these people do not have transportation or are unable to leave their homes.

Every day I realize how happy I am being old, and not having to live with this situation much longer.

I wonder if Ivanka would let me draw $40,000 for a new car if I promise to die a couple of years early.

Perhaps the White House can set an example by eating from those "healthy" food boxes.. and nothing else. Yes... state dinners also!

OMG, I could barely stand to read this pernicious, vile travesty. Just makes me want to stick my head in the sand, which is exactly what we must not do! Keep signing those petitions and making those phone calls, y'all, 'cause Charlie down the road just might not.
However, I am seriously thinking of giving myself two days, or three, the weekend plus one other, to read and hear nothing of Trump, his family, sycophants, or their depressing plans for us. For myself, I will call, sign petitions, do what I can to resist this madness, and otherwise, paint and garden and be with friends.

The Republican's will never give up. They know they can't repeal the S. S. act outright, but they keep finding ways to chip away at it, one cut at a time, until it no longer works and then they can repeal it.

The only thing the Republican Party really want is to fund the military and pay for their wages and benefits. The battle never ends.

If we had a "normal" Republican in the White House, I would not be as concerned about Social Security/Medicare being touched. However, someone "abnormal" managed to get into the White House, and I think we all need to be extra vigilant, active, and vocal.

I am so tired of hearing Republicans and insulted by them referring to Social Security/Medicare as entitlements. Bologna!!!!! I have been paying into Social Security for over 50 years, and I think I deserve to get MY money back. Not squandered or stolen by some worthless, know-nothing, greedy politicians.

Terrific to know your 'medical interlude' in now in your past, and grand to get this news around Valentine's Day when we can all send some 'hearts and flowers' along to you.

In the form of PayPal donations of course.

Where would we be without this Column of yours!

How much do we REALLY spend on the military? Why do we have military outposts all over the world? Why are we the policemen of the world? That's what I'd like to see investigative journalists working on.

Remember what Eisenhower said - Beware of the military-industrial complex.

Another thought. Nobody has any idea how much the military really costs, but some put the figure at more than HALF our income.

I receive a statement of Federal Revenues and Expenses from my Congressional Rep each year. The latest statement, for fiscal year 2017, shows the top FIVE:
Social Security: $942 billion, 27% of the total expenses
Medicare: $674 billion, 20%
Military Spending: $569 billion, 16%
Medicaid: $375 billion, 11%
Interest on the National Debt: $310 billion, 9%

This is available to anyone online, at their rep's website.

If we can keep expenses from growing faster than GDP, all should work out fine.

Happily made my donation. Time Goes By adds so much to my life; I always appreciate the factual and fun information but also the wisdom and support from this elder community. Thank you, Ronni and everyone who comments.

As for using Social Security as a private piggy bank, I have a distinct memory from the early 1970s when I was reading a weekly newsmagazine and came across something that alarmed me. The government had decided that it was really silly to leave the enormous pot of money in Social Security untouched while we were paying interest to borrow money for military expenses. Lots of language about making sure to repay, etc. I decided then (though I was very young at the time) to make saving a priority, just in case!

Everything I would say has already been said. Today's Rethuglicans: a plague upon the people, the land and the entire planet!

My donation to TGB will be sent this week.

In my book, you are the most deserving of all the organizations that flood my mailbox every day for donations. So happy to contribute!

Social Security is a great worker funded program. Hands off. Do family leave another way.
The ultra wealthy definitely should pay a whole lot more tax. I would like to got back to the tax brackets of the 1950's or somewhere between then and now.

I'm concerned about war and overall defense spending and our ability to sustain it in light of our huge spending deficits. The world is arming to the teeth and the U.S. cannot continue to be the world's policeman and it's time we plowed more money into social programs (like family leave) and obligations, but how do we disengage from these military and treaty obligations without the world breaking out into regional conflicts which ultimately could drag us in anyway. What a dilemma. Pax Americana might end when we go broke. JG

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