“For properties valued between $5 million and $6 million, a 0.5 percent surcharge would be added on the value over $5 million. Fees and a higher surcharge would apply to homes that sold for more than $6 million, topping out at a $370,000 fee and a 4 percent surcharge for homes valued at more than $25 million.”
This would be huge in NYC where so many high end living spaces remain empty for they are just investments.
Would be great for a subway system revamp, and any leftover for remedying the housing crisis there.
A great op-Ed by Nick Kristoff at the NYT explaining how, though lacking in first rate medical technology, the infant mortality rates are actually lower in Cuba. We could take away many good practices from the Socialist, island nation so close to our shores.
The people protesting in Brazil won a small victory through their actions but it appears the government nixing the rate hike will not be enough to stop calls for change. It seems the people and the government have different priorities at the moment relating to the money Brazil is spending in preparation of hosting next year’s World Cup. From the article:
The target of the protests quickly widened to include corruption and excessive government spending on hosting football tournaments instead of on health, education and other public services.
How strange that people would want the government spending money on areas that would help the country in the long term instead of primping it for a few soccer matches next year? I suppose they prefer silly things like knowing how to read and being alive longer over the all important World Cup. Don’t they know how shiny it is?
I’m kidding, of course, as it is great to see these protests carry on and hopefully we will see even more people getting out and showing their priorities to the government. It would be a powerful sign to the world if Brazilians can push to their government to spend more on social spending instead of using money on soccer stadiums.
Probably one of the most shocked reactions I get from people when chatting about political matters is when I state the following fact: despite being more than three decades away from collecting Social Security, I am 100% confident it will be there for me and for everyone else my age and even younger. I do say and would also emphasize ‘fact’ because, when you take a evenhanded look at the projections and numbers, it’s really in much better shape than most of the misinformation surrounding it would lead you to believe.
The two trust funds (Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance) are legally separate. But the trustees said that if the two parts were merged, Social Security benefits could be paid in full through 2033. Then benefits would have to be cut by 25 percent.
Put another way, the projected imbalance in Social Security is equal to about 1 percent of the nation’s projected economic output over the next 75 years. So, as Ms. Munnell stated, the problem is manageable but not insignificant.
Since 2010, Social Security benefit payments have been exceeding the program’s income from the payroll tax. For old-age benefits, interest earned within the trust fund is covering the difference. On the disability side, the program is using both interest income and principal from its trust fund.
The first realization to be made from this is, even if nothing is done, the benefits would be cut in 2033, not disappear entirely. That isn’t the most rosy picture to imagine, but the point is worth noting: money will still be coming in through the Social Security tax even if it’s not enough to cover what is being promised now. It also must be kept in mind when considering the other elements of this debate.
The third part of the quote shows Social Security is technically still making money at the end of the year for now. Not that it will continue making money in this way forever without some adjustments, but still not as bad as it may seem. And consider this is coming as we are continuing to feel the effects of one of the worst economic recessions in history and with unemployment (7+%) still well above the full employment percentage (4%).
The most important part to put things into perspective is the imbalance being 1% of output over the next 75 years. Now, that is a very large amount of money but obviously not the percentage that I’m sure most people would have assumed. These points taken together should be somewhat comforting but there are still some other things to keep in mind.
When projections like these are made, the results are limited since we cannot accurately predict key variables that could easily change in the future, such as the unemployment rate or drastic changes in life expectancy. An effort to reduce the severe levels of income inequality in the U.S. would also be good for Social Security since increasing pay to the average worker would be a huge bonus to the fund, but that’s another story. That being said, the projections would probably look a little better if the economy were to perk up and stay that way for an extended period of time where unemployment maintained a healthy and more stable rate. More workers means more tax money means more longevity for Social Security. Very simple but still not the long-term solution and something we cannot count on.
As the article states, some small adjustments now would give us this program for as long as we want it. When times have arisen in the past where we have been concerned about Social Security’s lifespan, adjustments have been made to solve the projected problem at the time. For example, when Ronald Reagan pushed for and signed into law a new tax on some Social Security income (yeah, that Reagan, not the mythical one people tend to believe existed). Or when that same tax on 50% of SS income was increase to 85% of SS income under the Clinton administration. (These facts can be read here on the SS Administration’s website since these were popular myths that needed debunking. A second page is here. Both are well worth the read to clear up some confusion that was permeated through mass emails virtually devoid of any factual information. I’m sure you’ve seen many of them.)
So, once again we are faced with a not-so-great outlook of Social Security but it really isn’t as bad as most have been led to believe. In all likelihood, the currently divided government will come up with a feasible solution to once again shore up Social Security for the future and put the program on solid ground. The only people we should truly fear in this debate are the ones who want to unnecessarily kill the program for good and replace it with something even more unstable and dangerous. Social Security works, has worked for a long time now, and, with some small modifications, will continue to work for many generations to come.
In 1916 the US ranked third in naval power in the world. That sounds impressive, but it still placed the US behind Germany, which had roughly 19 percent of international naval strength, and Britain, which then had 34 percent.
The picture is much different today. The US controls about 50 percent of world naval power, according to Professors Crisher and Souva. No other nation even comes close. Russia is in second place, with a comparable figure of 11 percent.
The key point to remember about Romney’s position is the alleged need for the increase in Naval spending: the lack of ships. In other words, it is an argument about sheer numbers and clearly not about capability or possession of military force. And as every military historian knows, all battles and wars are won by the side with the highest number of weapons and soldiers…except they’re not.
But we still apparently need this increase in naval spending at a time when many are calling for cuts in most other areas. Which is the part that makes the least sense. Romney has made it clear he wants to cut plenty of social spending in order to make these defense spending increases and keep the deficit down. What good will increasing our control of world naval power from 50 percent to, say, 55 percent really do? What is to truly be gained from doing that? Are we on our way to a prolonged and bloody showdown at sea with the fearsome Al-Qaeda Navy? Oh wait…
The truth is Romney is proposing a spending increase in something that is inherently destructive to mankind and obviously unnecessary at the cost of cutting funding to items that are inherently constructive to society and critical for those not lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family (like someone I’ve mentioned). The moral absurdity here should be abundantly clear. Yet Romney continues to make the case he is running for president not just for 47% of America but 100% and is a man that cares for all U.S. citizens equally. Simply not true considering his policy choices. When you make proposals like his, your moral code is very transparent to everyone.
He wants to make sure we can make more war at the cost of taking away from those in need. Just as Jesus taught us, right?
I have tried to follow the socialist revolution in Venezuela, lead by El Presidente Hugo Chavez, for the past 14 years. And I have supported most of his reforms including nationalization of key industries and his general care for the poor. But, I must admit, there are flaws in the upcoming decades if things remain as they are right now in Venezuela. So here’s a good article from The Guardian outlining some of the many problems in Chavez’s policies and how they are covered up by oil money, not the necessary reforms.
A great article in the NYT on True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud, and their actions in many minority voting districts in swing states. It also covers how True the Vote and similar groups have no proof of the massive voter fraud they claim is rampant across the nation. They are just their to prevent and intimidate the minority vote.
Great to see these kinds of movements going on and the greatest part of this is the fact people are not settling for the cuts in social spending and are asking for increases there, despite Putin’s hold on Russia. The people can’t be held down forever.