Repeal the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) - Support the Social Security Fairness Act

The Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision unduly penalizes many in the teaching and public service professions who also worked other jobs and contributed to Social Security.
Please support the efforts to dispose of the WEP:
Support the Social Security Fairness Act.
H.R.82 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2023.
The Act eliminates the financial penalties to Teachers and First Responders.

1 Like

Let’s replace the whole system and replace it with something besides a ponzi scheme.

Good idea but first let’s give the money to those who contributed. Support the Social Security Fairness Act.

Whatever we do, it has to transition steadily but slowly, so people who are in retirement or quite close to retirement don’t get majorly screwed because they don’t have enough time to adjust to the new plan. I think probably everyone can agree on that.

I’ve never liked the regressive nature of the SS tax. It has to at least be made flat for all earners.

There are a number of terrifyingly wonkish but very important question to consider in transitioning to a Sovereign Wealth Fund based on corporate stocks and bonds.

The easy, reflexive answer is just “make it follow the S&P500 index”. Right? Well, because that index is market capitalization weighted, that means the index blindly “buys” whatever just went up in price. The S&P500 index does not follow how valuable companies are by any intrinsic measures. If the market is in a bubble or mania, the S&P500 faithfully follows the herd.

So now, the S&P500’s great performance in 2023 is only due to the Magnificent Seven. 493 of the stocks have been flat or down as a group… the Mag Seven though…

This is the same thing that happened in the late 1960s, with the Nifty Fifty. Those were stocks that you supposedly only had to buy and never sell. They were lifetime decisions. Here’s what our friend Wikipedia has to say about that:

The long bear market of the 1970s which began with the 1973–74 stock market crash and lasted until 1982 caused valuations of the nifty fifty to fall to low levels along with the rest of the market, with most of these stocks under-performing the broader market averages. A notable exception was Wal-Mart, the best performing stock on the list, with a 29.65% compounded annualized return over a 29-year period.[1] However, Wal-Mart’s initial public offering was in 1970 and only started trading on the NYSE on August 25, 1972,[4] at the end of the bull market.[5]

Because of the under-performance of most of the nifty fifty list, it is often cited as an example of unrealistic investor expectations for growth stocks.

Also did you know that inclusion into the S&P500 list is ultimately decided by a COMMITTEE? Can you imagine the amount of additional bribery and influence peddling that would go on for a company that might go from 501 to 500? That happens already… it would be magnified intensely if the S&P500 or any committee-based index were to become the backbone of a Social Security replacement / USA Sovereign Wealth Fund.

But we have to do something. The current system is imploding because of demographics. I’m actually banking on the 23% fall in benefits in 2034, as reported by the Social Security Trustees. It’s in my budget. If it does not happen… it will be a nice surprise.

Good ideas ochotona.
H.R.82 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 addresses one part of the systemic unfairness. That’s the part where those who have dutifully paid into the system are penalized and not given their fair share. Teachers and first responders are effected most frequently by the current unfairness.

My thought has been that part of peoples fund should be in bonds and partly where the person could choose certain approved investments.

No matter what is decided it will never meet everyones idea of what is best. We like to think that our politicians are honest but most seem to be controlled by outside groups in order to get elected or re-elected. This is why there needs to be solutions which the politicians don’t have input for.

1 Like

Thanks Lavarock!
H.R.82 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2023 begins to unravel some of the unfairness that penalizes hard working Americans.

We’re all getting screwed by Social Security. I have a hard time getting too worked up about one group getting screwed just a little more than others.

1 Like

lol ratbert2k … wondering if you might feel differently if you were a member of the group that is getting screwed just a little more than others? :thinking:

1 Like

Maybe. Or I’d find a way to move out of the more-screwed group. Honestly, the more people who think they are getting shafted by Social Security, the better. There’s no fixing it.

1 Like

My Mother was in the first group to receive Social Security. She always complained that they were cheated based upon the formula used for people the first few years. She called herself a ‘Hump Baby’. Seems in 1940 there were a number (very many) recalculations and decisions which changed the payouts. She never recovered the money she should have received (all according to her).

1 Like

I’ll bet she got way more than she paid.

The everyone screwing has only started. The way I think this will end is the way it always ends… the problem will be covered with more debt, but as we see now, the debt service will become a huger and huger part of the budget. The government will have to pay the debt, so they will make sure they pay it nominally, but in real terms they won’t. They will let inflation run hotter than interest rates - a financial repression regime, like after WW2.

This will cause real assets like gold to increase in value relative to the US Dollar. Gold has been terrible since Aug 2020, and gold miners even worse, but it’s maybe moving now. I started buying 8 years ago, and it has about doubled… 9% annualized return. That’s OK. I didn’t buy it in 2000 or whenever it was really low, but since that low is has gone up about 10% per year annualized. That’s actually decent, it’s not correlated to stocks so it makes a good diversifier, but gold’s problem is it tends to fall asleep for long periods of time which outlast most people’s patience.

I have 13% of my portfolio is gold because I honestly don’t see how the US escapes its debt w/o negative real interest rates and a loss of confidence in the Dollar.

Women tend to be among the “more-screwed.” Not invariably, but more frequently/numerously in the groups that are. And it isn’t just their benefit that is affected, it is also suurvivor benefits to which they may be entitled.

1 Like

For reference:

Thanks for the reference!

If you work for an employer who doesn’t withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, any retirement or disability pension you get from that work can reduce your Social Security benefits.

Sounds reasonable. Social Security pays lower-wage-earners more on a percentage basis than higher wage earners, but earnings are averaged over 35 years. Someone who works for 10 years at $70,000/yr gets the same benefit as someone who works for 35 years (or longer) at $20,000/yr.

If the person who earns $70,000/yr works for 35 years, he’ll get more, but not anywhere near 3.5 times as much (it’s closer to double).

But if that person works somewhere else that pays Social Security’s 12.4% tax into a pension for 25 years, he’d get the (lower) Social Security payment plus his pension. That will total more than someone who works a SS-covered job for the entire 35 years. A pension with 25 years of work alone would probably be more than 35 years of Social Security at the same salary because the pension only funds workers. This is what the WEP is meant to prevent.

On that basis, I’m in favor of the WEP. If it makes some people feel like they’re getting the shaft more than others (they aren’t), which will lead to more widespread dissatisfaction with Social Security, then that’s another good reason to keep it.

I agree - teachers get cheated.

It will take calls to Senators and Reps of both parties. I’ve contacted my Senator and intend to continue to pursue.

It does not seem to be a partisan issue either way, which is good.

“the squeaky wheel gets oiled”

1 Like

Contact information for members of the House:
https://www.house.gov/representatives

Contact information for members of the Senate:
https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm

My wife worked as a teacher for 20 years or so in multiple states. As it turned out, she lost money in the different retirement schemes and gets more with 50% of my SS benefits that she would have with hers.

150% of mine crested $55K a year in 2022.

Here’s our strategy for solving the SS crisis… encourage participants to “pass” early. Didn’t Charles Dickens have a phrase for that in "A Christmas Carol? “decrease the surplus population”?

(Washington Post, 12/28/23)

The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration had an urgent message last winter for his colleagues, brandishing data that life expectancy in the United States had fallen again — the biggest two-year decline in a century.

Robert Califf’s warning, summarized by three people with knowledge of the conversations, boiled down to this:

Americans’ life expectancy is going the wrong way. We’re the top health officials in the country. If we don’t fix this, who will?

A year after Califf’s dire warnings, Americans’ life expectancy decline remains a pressing public health problem — but not a political priority.

President Biden has not mentioned it in his remarks, according to a review of public statements; his Republican challengers have scarcely invoked it, either. In a survey of all 100 sitting senators, fewer than half acknowledged it was a public health problem. While recent federal data suggests that in 2022, a partial rebound from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, no national strategy exists to reverse a years-long slide that has left the United States trailing peers, such as Canada and Germany, and rivals, such as China.