Bloomberg.com reports today that Washington-based Third Way, a Democratic-led policy group, proposed a plan that would raise the retirement age, trim or eliminate Social Security benefits for high-income retirees, limit cost-of-living increases and provide money to help young workers create private retirement accounts.
The only part of that I agree with is providing money to help young workers create private retirement accounts. Let’s talk about trimming or eliminating Social Security benefits for high-income retirees. Tax policy does influence behavior. We have watched for years as senior citizens divested themselves of personal assets in order to have Medicare pay for their nursing homes. We have seen people wait to accept jobs as unemployment benefits have been extended. We have seen people put off marriage as the marriage tax was put into effect. To deny people who have paid into Social Security all their lives the benefits they were promised because they were successful and planned ahead is not a good idea. First of all, it breaks the promise made to all of us who have been paying into Social Security since we began working, second, it sends a message that if we plan for our retirement, we will be penalized, and third, it allows Congress to tell us exactly how much we are allowed to earn. Why in the world are we even considering allowing the government to limit the amount of Social Security someone can receive because that person actually planned for their retirement? This will ultimately be one of the government’s ‘redistribution of wealth’ plans. Keep in mind that I posted an article in October (RightWingGranny) about Senate hearings which discussed taking over 401K plans of private citizens. How about means testing Congressional pensions? Or taking over the 401K plans of Congressmen? Anyone want to comment on the likelihood of either of these things happening?