Third Way: Evaluating Group’s Document “Saving Social Security”; Proposal for Work Rewards for Seniors Provides for an Unacceptable FICA Exemption

Continuing with the evaluation of the Third Way proposal for Social Security (with the awareness that the Joint Commission on Deficit Reduction is set to begin work soon), this post evaluates the Work Rewards for Seniors plan. Third Way proposes that senior citizens who work beyond a certain age should stop paying Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes. Third Way acknowledges a reduction of FICA revenue but assert that the proposal would produce savings sufficient to make up for the revenue loss.

  • I think that there should not be a cutoff for FICA. As long as you earn income, you pay into the Social Security system. That expectation began at the person’s first wage-earning job and continues that way until a person stops working for wages.
  • In addition, Third Way’s proposal causes problems when Social Security beneficiaries are not contributing to the Social Security system (from which the beneficiary is receiving funds).
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Deficit Committee: Co-Chairs Patty Murray and Jeb Hensarling Select Chief of Staff, Senate Tax Counsel Mark Prater

The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction (JCDF) have selected Mark Prater, Republican Senate Finance Committee Counsel, as the JCDF’s chief of staff.

Miscellaneous information on Mr. Prater is available at Legistorm.com (www.legistorm.com/person/Mark_A_Prater/8071.html).

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Chief of Staff:  Mark Prater

Selections of Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) $13,013 to $204,000
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $182,755,534 to $294,869,059
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) $449,017 to $1,185,000

Source: www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) $519,090 to $746,082
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) $5,544,075 to $17,468,999
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) $1,770,062 to $4,900,999

Source:  http://www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of House Speaker John Boehner

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) $2,966,100 to $10,515,000
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) $928,025 to $2,270,000
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) $7,010,173 to $25,651,000

Source:  http://www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) $100,054 to $1,424,999
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) $212,010 to $582,000
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) $148,007 to $445,000

Source:  http://www.opensecrets.org.

Deficit Committee: House Minority Leader Selects Members for the Panel; Possible the Leadership Will Work Secretly to Drop Plan for Final Consideration

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi selected Reps. Xavier Becerra, James Clyburn, and Chris Van Hollen for the congressional Deficit Committee.

I think given the composition of the committee (the leadership selected their representatives to the panel), if it is to work the leadership will have to continue their talks with the President in secret. This way they could work on a “fait accompli” plan for consideration of the so-called super-committee. The last thing any leader would want is for their subordinates to come up with a passable plan when the leadership could not.

I further think the leadership will develop the plan and drop it to the committees as stipulated in the Budget Control Act.

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Selections of Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) $13,013 to $204,000
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $182,755,534 to $294,869,059
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) $449,017 to $1,185,000

Source: www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) $519,090 to $746,082
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) $5,544,075 to $17,468,999
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) $1,770,062 to $4,900,999

Source:  www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of House Speaker John Boehner

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) $2,966,100 to $10,515,000
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) $928,025 to $2,270,000
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) $7,010,173 to $25,651,000

Source:  www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) $100,054 to $1,424,999
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) $212,010 to $582,000
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) $148,007 to $445,000

Source:  www.opensecrets.org.

Deficit Committee: Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner Select Additional Members for the Committee

The principals (Sen. Harry Reid, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Speaker John Boehner, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi) could not reach an agreement with their discussions with the President. I do not expect their selectees will find one (unless proposed, approved, and submitted to the so-called super-committee (maybe on 10/14/11? (see BCA section 401(a)(3)(A)(ii)).

The number of millionaires who are on the congressional committee and would be subject to tax increases make me skeptical about the results of this super-committee.

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

Selections of Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) $13,013 to $204,000
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $182,755,534 to $294,869,059
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) $449,017 to $1,185,000

Source: www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) $519,090 to $746,082
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) $5,544,075 to $17,468,999
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) $1,770,062 to $4,900,999

Source:  www.opensecrets.org.

Selections of House Speaker John Boehner

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) $2,966,100 to $10,515,000
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) $928,025 to $2,270,000
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) $7,010,173 to $25,651,000

Source:  www.opensecrets.org.

Deficit Commission: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Selects Three Senators for Panel

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Bill)

Selections of Senator Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader

Nominee

Net Worth (2009)

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) $13,013 to $204,000
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) $182,755,534 to $294,869,059
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) $449,017 to $1,185,000

Source: www.opensecrets.org.

Given the recent credit-rating downgrade, I am not sure how that fact will affect this deficit panel. I am unsure whether wealthy politically powerful and connected people make these decisions without any citizen’s input is a good idea, especially when it comes to program cuts.

Debt Ceiling: Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011; This Bill Could Have Been Done without the Drama

The text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 is located at the link (debt-bill).

This bill will pass lest rational people be blamed for causing governmental default. I believe that every move in this theatre has been manufactured and orchestrated for dramatic effect, from the President on down. Why else would a Eureka moment occur on Sunday night, allowing for two days for Congress to act? It is all too convenient and neat.

This budget bill is Congress’s job; they deserve absolutely no praise for doing as they ought. (This budget bill would have been produced as a matter of course. It was passed so that the Congressional committee can institute the Biden cuts without any challenge.)

Just wait until the Joe Biden spending cuts are resurrected and rushed through Congress lest “devastating” across the board cuts are instituted; the rich will not have to pay one cent extra. President Obama will never repeal his tax cuts; they will continue while the nonwealthy people pay.

Debt Limit Debate: Cut, Cap, and Balance Bill Did Not Have 2/3 Vote in the House to Begin Const. Amdt Process

I viewed House Speaker John Boehner’s response to President Barack Obama’s speech tonight (7/25/11). Again, Speaker Boehner mentioned the balanced budget amendment. Unfortunately, the House did not satisfy the Constitutional requirement of a 2/3 vote in approval in the House. A “bipartisan” vote (or bare majority) is not enough.

Overall, this stalemate over this debt-limit issue is quite unbecoming and reckless, considering the unknown risks of playing with default fire.

Constitutional Amendment, Article V

Constitutional requirement: 2/3 of 435 (House) (2/3) x 435 = 290
House roll call #606 (on the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, H.R. 2560) Yeas-234; Nays-190; Abstain-8