Friday, June 17, 2011
AARP losing sympathy on web and in tweets
by Larry Geller
Try it, do some searches. Or watch AARP on Twitter.
For example, the National Organization for Women has just come out with a statement. A snip:
…So we have to ask: 'What is AARP thinking?' Obviously, they are NOT thinking about the well-being of a majority of their membership if they back ANY benefit cuts to Social Security. AARP members need to re-assess their membership in an organization that is not adequately representing their best interests.
Here are some tweets that came in over the last minute or so. They are still piling up, many of them somewhat impolite:
i'm in favor of finding some annual income level as a benchmark about whether someone qualifies to receive their social security benefits (obviously not for the 75% of seniors who depend on social security for the annual income). i say let's cut the benefits from the wealthy and if they stop being wealthy, then they can qualify again to receive benefits (like annual income and assets type test). for the 20% of seniors that don't need social security, why are they getting benefits?
Take off the cap on the Social Security tax and make the millionaires and billionaires pay the same percentage of their income into social security as the middle class. Social security will then be solvent forever.
It would be a bad idea to disallow social security payments to some, based on an income benchmark for at least two reasons:
1. Everyone pays into social security and they deserve the benefit of their investment; that's only fair.
2. Social Security enjoys broad support because everyone has a stake in it. If some people are cut out of the benefits, they will turn from supporters to opponents. And if the more affluent group is cut out, you would be turning those with the most influence into opponents. Social Security won't work if some can opt out and if their not getting any benefits they will demand that legislation is passed to let them opt out.
Social Security is not an investment. It's a pension plan equivalent. I also disagree that we need to give money to rich people to bribe them to remain supporters. That is an absurd basis to make public policy especially because there is no data to demonstrate that the super wealthy who would not get Social Security payments under my suggestion are presently supporters. Not every senior (including those who collect social security) is a supporter. Old Diver's suggestion is excellent, followed by having an income/asset cap.
The simplest fix - make it needs based. If you make over $90,000 per year, you don't need social security. Period.