Wednesday, March 20, 2019

House Democrats' Social Security Bill Is an Assault on Taxpayers

House Democrats' Social Security Bill Is an Assault on Taxpayers

22 minutes ago
House Democrats could soon bring legislation to the floor to expand Social Security, a failing wealth redistribution program. Last week, the House Subcommittee on Social Security held two hearings on the Social Security 2100 Act, H.R. 860, which has 203 cosponsors, all of whom are 
Before we dive into the Social Security 2100 Act, let’s recap some of the history of Social Security and its current financial status.
On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. Initially, Social Security covered only old-age assistance and survivors, with the retirement age set at 65. At the time, the average life expectancy in the United States was 61 years of age. Disability insurance was added in August 1956. The Supplemental Security Income program was created in 1972. These social insurance programs are administered by the Social Security Administration.
There are other programs -- including Medicare, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) -- that were created by amendments to the Social Security Act. These programs, however, are administered by other agencies. Medicare and Medicare, for example, are administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS), which is housed under the Department of Health and Human Services.
Social Security benefits are paid out of two separate trust funds, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. These trust funds are largely through the taxation of wage under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), more commonly known as the “payroll tax.” When Social Security was created, the payroll tax was 2 percent of gross income, split between the employer and employee, up to $3,000, or about $51,667 in 2017. Today, the payroll tax is 12.4 percent of gross income up to $132,900.
Annual Payroll Tax Rate on Employers and Employees
As we’re reminded every year when the Social Security and Medicare trustees report comes out, Social Security faces significant funding problems. This is because there aren’t enough people working to sustain the number of beneficiaries. In 1945, there were 41.9 covered workers per beneficiary. In 2018, there were 2.8 workers per beneficiary, and that ratio is expected to continue to decline. We’re also living a lot longer. The average life expectancy in 2016 was 78.69 years. We’re also not producing as many children as we used to.
Social Security Worker-to-Beneficiary Ratio
According to the 2018 report, Social Security faces $13.2 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. Some may say that this isn’t a big deal. After all, 75 years is a long time. But the concern is actually rather immediate. The DI Trust Fund will be depleted in 2032 and will pay out 96 percent of benefits. The OASI Trust Fund will follow suit in 2034, at which point be able to pay out only 77 percent of benefits.
This brings us to the Social Security 2100 Act. The bill was introduced in February by Rep. John Larson (D-Ct.), who chairs the House Subcommittee on Social Security. The Social Security 2100 Act would expand Social Security benefits, change how the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated, incrementally increase the payroll tax on employers and employees to 7.4 from 6.2 percent by 2043, gradually eliminate the wage cap, and combine the existing Social Security trust funds into a single trust fund.
Overall, the Social Security 2100 Act would increase taxes by $18.9 trillion over the 75-year period scored by the Office of the Chief Actuary of Social Security. The bill would increase benefits on net by $3.7 trillion over the time frame. It would eliminate the current unfunded liability of $13.2 trillion and create a surplus of $2.1 trillion.
All of that may sound good, but the chief actuary doesn’t score dynamic impacts on the economy. The payroll tax increase will hit every American employer, regardless of size, and employee, regardless of income level. This will have a markedly negative impact. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute mentioned this in his written testimony last week to the subcommittee.
“Payroll taxes reduce take-home pay both directly and indirectly. The direct effect is via the employee share of the tax, which would gradually rise from 6.2 to 7.4 percent in the Social Security 2100 Act,” Biggs wrote. “The indirect effect is via the rising employer payroll tax. Most economists, as well as both the SSA actuaries and the CBO Social Security analysts, assume that employers fund payroll tax or other employee benefit increases by holding back on employee wages. Thus, employees would bear the full cost of higher Social Security taxes.”
Whether it’s the Social Security 2100 Act or Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) proposal, the Social Security Expansion Act, phasing out and/or eliminating the wage cap is a priority of Democrats. The wage cap, currently $132,900, gradually rises every year with inflation. Every dollar earned beyond this amount is not subject to the payroll tax. Democrats see the elimination of the wage cap as a way to bring in more money for Social Security.
In the case of the Social Security 2100 Act, the wage cap would be eliminated for wages above $400,000. Wages under this level aren’t indexed to inflation, so, over time, the wage cap would be eliminated. The chief actuary estimates that this will happen around 2048. This would have the effect of increasing the top marginal income tax rate by almost 15 percent. The top marginal rate will be 37 percent until January 1, 2026, at which point it will rise to 39.6 percent. Assuming the top marginal rate the individual tax code changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aren’t made permanent, this means the top marginal tax rate will effectively be 54.4 percent.
Democrats’ focus on this isn’t surprising. After all, they want to soak higher income earners, the top 3 percent of whom already pay 51 percentof all individual income taxes, with even more taxes. The fact is, many countries, if not most, have a cap on taxable wages for their social insurance programs. In Canada, taxable wages were capped at $55,300 in 2017, or $41,126 in U.S. dollars. In Sweden, taxable wages were capped at 504,375 kronor, or $61,373 in U.S. dollars. Even in Germany’s vaunted social insurance system, taxable wages are capped at €78,000, or $93,433 in U.S. dollars.
Annual Social Security Wage Cap
Social Security has to be addressed; there’s no question about that. Benefit cuts are likely to bring public backlash. As Rep. Henry Wadsworth (R-N.Y.) said during the floor debate on the Social Security Act in June 1935, “Pensions and annuities are never abandoned; nor are they ever reduced. The recipients ever clamor for more. To gain their ends they organize politically. They may not constitute a majority of the electorate, but their power will be immense.” (The quote is on page 6061 at the link.)
There are much better ways to address Social Security’s insolvency than the Social Security 2100 Act. Back in December 2016, then-Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced the Social Security Reform Act, which increased benefits and raised the retirement age to 69 for those who turned 62 in 2023. The bill means-tested benefits for higher income earners through a lower COLA increase and lower payouts to higher income survivors. Importantly, the Social Security Reform Act didn’t raise taxes, and it still created a $600 billion surplus for the program. This was a better way to reform Social Security, but since it doesn’t involve a tax hike, Democrats and special interest groups, who constantly rely on scaring seniors to push their policies, blasted it.
In the end, the Social Security 2100 Act may get a vote in the House, but it won’t go anywhere in the Senate. Of course, that’s the point. It’s not a serious proposal; it’s a messaging bill that Democrats want to use ahead of the 2020 presidential election. We need to have a serious conversation about the sustainability of Social Security, but the Social Security 2100 Act just is a barrier to that conversation.

The depth of insanity on the left is unmeasurable


Georgia bill would require men to report every release of sperm to officers

The public schools are to blame not racism. Note how the bureaucrats willingly embrace and encourage incompetence

Few black, Hispanic students admitted to NYC’s specialized high schools

Racial disparities found in acceptance rates at elite NYC schools
NEW YORK — Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s attempts to diversify the New York City’s specialized high schools, only a small number of black and Hispanic eighth graders received admission offers to those schools this year.
About 27,500 eighth graders across the city took the Specialized High School admissions test, or SHSAT, this year.
Among the 4,798 students who received an offer to one of the city’s specialized high schools based on their exam score, only 506 black and Hispanic students received offers to schools, including Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School.
At Stuyvesant High School, for instance, of the 895 students admitted, only seven students were black, according to data released.
Despite the city’s enhanced test preparation and outreach efforts made to increase diversity, numbers remained consistent.
This year, only 190 black students and 316 Hispanic students were admitted into the elite public schools, which slightly decreased from last year’s 527 students admitted.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said students will receive offers to the Discovery Program later in the spring after students choose to either accept or decline Round one officers to specialized high schools.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza acknowledged the low diversity, calling for the elimination of the single test. “I share the excitement of students and families receiving high school offers today. I cannot wait to see our students take the next step in their education and continue on the path to success. We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools. We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high school admissions now.”
Few black, Hispanic students admitted into NYC specialized high schools

Germany chooses to side with Russia. Why do we spend a dime protecting Germany?

The duplicitous Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel apparently went behind NATO's back to make a deal with Russia for the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream II, paying for which will drive Germany's contribution to NATO defense spending below the 2% of GDP that was agreed on in 2014.  Germany, with one of the world's wealthiest economies, is far in arrears on her NATO obligations, has been for years, and has no acceptable excuse for it.
America has been open for years now to selling liquid natural gas (LNG) to Europe at rates below those the Russians can provide with a pipeline.  It actually looks as if Merkel just prefers to do business with the thuggish Eastern oligarchs than with the putatively like-minded free markets of the West.  Germany evidently isn't as like-minded as we might have imagined.
Merkel casts it as a choice between foreign aid and an obligation of lesser importance.  After all, why would Germany worry about Eastern military adventurism when she's buying Russian LNG?  It isn't a clash of priorities, but stubborn refusal to meet a commitment.  As if Germany didn't owe America some consideration for the years we rebuilt her shattered WWII economy and then stood by her through decades of Russian bullying and threats.  Now Merkel makes nice with those same Russians while thumbing her nose at America.
It remains to be seen how President Trump will respond, but one hopes tariffs on German goods go through the ceiling and that the American market for anything Deutsch screeches to a halt.  Ingratitude is among the more infuriating human failings, and Angela Merkel has many of us on this side of the pond good and riled.
Germans may want to think about shunting this old girl aside.  We who have shouldered their defense load for seventy years rightly consider her duplicitous.  That thought should be sobering in view of whom they've chosen to partner with instead.
Angela Merkel apparently went behind NATO's back to make a deal with Russia for the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream II, paying for which will drive Germany's contribution to NATO defense spending below the 2% of GDP that was agreed on in 2014.  Germany, with one of the world's wealthiest economies, is far in arrears on her NATO obligations, has been for years, and has no acceptable excuse for it.
America has been open for years now to selling liquid natural gas (LNG) to Europe at rates below those the Russians can provide with a pipeline.  It actually looks as if Merkel just prefers to do business with the thuggish Eastern oligarchs than with the putatively like-minded free markets of the West.  Germany evidently isn't as like-minded as we might have imagined.
Merkel casts it as a choice between foreign aid and an obligation of lesser importance.  After all, why would Germany worry about Eastern military adventurism when she's buying Russian LNG?  It isn't a clash of priorities, but stubborn refusal to meet a commitment.  As if Germany didn't owe America some consideration for the years we rebuilt her shattered WWII economy and then stood by her through decades of Russian bullying and threats.  Now Merkel makes nice with those same Russians while thumbing her nose at America.


Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/03/the_duplicitous_angela_merkel.html#ixzz5ij9wQE7B
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Baltimore mayor corruption charge

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh has resigned from the board of the University of Maryland Medical System following a controversy involving a deal with the hospital system to buy her children’s books.
Last week, Pugh (D) and others on the health system’s board were criticized by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and top state lawmakers for the financial deals with the hospital system and possible conflicts of interest.
On a financial disclosure form, Pugh listed a $100,000 profit for one year from selling 20,000 copies of her self-published children’s book series “Healthy Holly” to the University of Maryland health system, which runs 13 hospitals including the state’s trauma unit in Baltimore and has connections with the state’s dental and medical schools.
Hogan described the financial contracts, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, as “appalling” and “unseemly.” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) called them “self-dealing” and “a huge disaster.”
The deals were first disclosed last week by the Baltimore Sun, which reported that Pugh’s deals with the hospital board totaled $500,000 over several years, and were not fully listed on disclosure forms when Pugh represented Baltimore in the state Senate.
Other board members who had lucrative deals included former state senator Francis X. Kelly, who owns an insurance company and reported $1.6 million in revenue from deals with the hospital system.
Legislation pending in the General Assembly would ban similar business arrangements.
In a statement put out Monday explaining her resignation, Pugh said she had “other pressing concerns that require my full attention, energy and efforts.” The Sun reported Friday that she had amended her state disclosure forms from her time in the Senate.
The system’s board members are appointed by the governor and the General Assembly’s presiding officers.
Hogan said he, Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) are scheduled to meet with the leadership of the health system on Wednesday in Annapolis. He said Pugh’s resignation was “a step in the right direction . . . I think it was a smart thing for the mayor to do. ”
Last week the governor called on board members with contracts with the health system to step down.
“We’re going to push for major reforms to make sure people either terminate their financial relationship or terminate them from the board,” Hogan said Monday about the legislative session. “One way or another, [we’ll] make sure that things like this don’t happen in the future.”
Officials at the hospital system have said their contracts are legal.
In a statement, Stephen A. Burch, chairman of the UMMS, said he had accepted Pugh’s resignation and was “grateful to Mayor Pugh for her years of dedicated service and staunch advocacy on behalf of the Medical System.”
He went on, “Mayor Pugh’s volunteerism has helped enable long-term, system-wide growth while improving health care delivery for many millions of Marylanders.”
Pugh’s spokesman James E. Bentley II said the mayor is leaving the hospital system’s board to deal with the city’s issues.
“We have a new police commissioner,” he said. “We’re trying to fund city schools. The mayor is focused on neighborhood revitalization and running the city.”

Read more:

When government forces you to think the way they want you to think then you are living in a tyrannical society.


The country appears to have a serious problem on its hands


A United Kingdom woman revealed that authorities investigated her after she called the child of a transgender activist by the wrong gender.
This is the second woman in as many months to come forward and reveal that they have been the subject of a criminal investigation for "misgendering" a person.

What are the details? 

Caroline Farrow, a British journalist, revealed the incident on her Twitter page.
Farrow, who appeared on a September episode of "Good Morning Britain," spoke with transgender activist Susie Green, who reports to have a "trans child."
Directly after the discussion, Farrow said she inadvertently referred to the child with the wrong gender pronoun while posting a few remarks about the discussion on Twitter. Green took issue with this and apparently reported it to police.
Farrow revealed what happened next in a series of tweets.
"Had a message from Guildford police tonight about my tweets following an appearance on @GMB with Susie Green and Piers Morgan," she wrote. "Susie Green has reported me for misgendering her daughter."

Police reportedly told Farrow that they would be interviewing her "under caution for misgendering" the child.
"I have pointed out to the police that I am a Catholic journalist/commentator and it is my religious belief that a person cannot change sex," she wrote in a subsequent tweet. "That we are in the middle of a national conversation about what it means to be male and what it means to be female."
Farrow also revealed that she has been subjected to harassment online because of the misgendering.
"There are real questions to be asked about how much power and influence Susie Green is able to exercise over the police force," Farrow noted. "A man doxed my children & ex. Made violent & sexually humiliating threats. Nothing done."
Farrow maintained her position that she did absolutely nothing wrong.
"I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal, and will happily do jail time for my right to say that people cannot change sex," she insisted.
"'You misgendered Susie Green's daughter.' In the U.K., using the wrong nouns/pronouns constitutes police intervention. Very clear who the bigots are in this situation. I am raging and will not take this quietly," Farrow added.
The investigation is apparently ongoing.

What else? 

In February, a U.K. mom was arrested and jailed for several hours after referring to a transgender activist as a man.
Thirty-eight year-old Kate Scottow of Hertfordshire said that officers visited her home and took her to a police station for questioning over a Twitter exchange with Stephanie Hayden, the trans activist.
"I was arrested in my home by three officers, with my autistic 10-year-old daughter and breastfed 20-month-old son present," Scottow said. "I was then detained for seven hours in a cell with no sanitary products (which I said I needed) before being interviewed then later released under investigation."
Scottow said that she was arrested for "harassment and malicious communications."
Scottow insisted that she did not harass or defame Hayden because she holds a "genuine and reasonable belief" that men and women "cannot practically speaking change sex."

Chicago police union boss makes a big accusation in Jussie Smollett case — and it involves a former Obama aide...the corruption of the FBI

Chicago police union boss makes a big accusation in Jussie Smollett case — and it involves a former Obama aide

We now know a gov't official asked for the case to be taken over by the FBI


Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) president Kevin Graham made alarming accusations in a letter demanding that Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx be investigated for inappropriate interference in the Jussie Smollett case. 
Foxx recused herself from the case under suspicious circumstances, and Graham believes that questions need to be answered about whether she acted appropriately.
"That recusal is wholly insufficient," Graham said in a statement. "In order for Ms. Foxx to properly charge and try this case, her entire office should have recused itself and a special prosecutor been appointed."
Graham reacted to reports that Foxx asked for the Smollett case to be taken over by the FBI, and did it at the request of Tina Tchen, who was formerly an aide to former President Barack Obama and also the chief of staff to Michelle Obama.
Tchen said she was in contact with the Smollett family about their concerns over the investigation.


The correspondence was discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request by Fox 5 in Chicago. 
In one email obtained by Fox 5, Foxx says that she convinced Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to turn over the investigation to the FBI.
Instead, Chicago police charged Smollett with making false police reports and he was indicted by a grand jury on 16 felony counts. Smollett has denied any and all allegations that the attack he reported was a race hoax.
John Garcia of ABC 7 said the police told them that they never turned over the investigation to the FBI because they did not determine that Smollett was the victim of a hate crime.

Here's the latest on the FOP accusations:


Dox the two former employees so they get a taste of their own medicine


'Treated us like crap'



The sign at the hotel bar sent the message loud and clear: "NO LONGER SERVING MILITARY PERSONNEL & THEIR GUEST(S)."
Naturally 600 or so military members and their guests attending a ball Thursday at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Colorado Springs weren't very happy.
Aimee Osbourne, a disabled veteran whose husband is currently serving, posted a photo of the sign on Facebook on Friday but has since removed it due to negative comments, KOAA-TV reported. Hundreds of others, however, posted the same photo and accompanying text on their pages, the station said.

What happened?

Osbourne told KOAA her group was honoring those who have served, POWs/MIAs, and those lost, as well as partaking in a "grog," a traditional ceremony in which items — some not terribly palatable — are placed in a container and participants drink from it.
She told the station her group wasn't behaving badly but that hotel staff started blocking access to the grog and then the bars were closed and the signs posted at 9 p.m. 


Democrats think you're an adult at 16 for voting purposes but in reality 18 is too young to vote.

People don't become 'adults' until their 30s, say scientists


Have you ever been told to "grow up" in your 20s or need an excuse as to why you still find cat videos on the internet really funny?
Well now you might have an official reason as to why you're not acting like a mature adult.
People don't become fully "adult" until they're in their 30s, according to brain scientists.
Currently the UK law says you become a mature adult when you reach the age of 18.
Scientists who study the brain and nervous system say the age at which you become an adult is different for everyone.
Research suggests people aged 18 are still going through changes in the brain which can affect behaviour and make them more likely to develop mental health disorders.
3d illustration of human brain on technology background.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionScientists say the brain develops at different times in each person
Professor Peter Jones, from Cambridge University, said: "What we're really saying is that to have a definition of when you move from childhood to adulthood looks increasingly absurd.
"It's a much more nuanced transition that takes place over three decades."
He added: "I guess systems like the education system, the health system and the legal system make it convenient for themselves by having definitions."
When you reach 18, you can vote, buy alcohol, get a mortgage and are also treated as an adult if you get in trouble with the police.
Despite this, Professor Jones says he believes experienced criminal judges recognise the difference between a 19-year-old defendant and a "hardened criminal" in their late 30s.
"I think the system is adapting to what's hiding in plain sight, that people don't like (the idea of) a caterpillar turning into a butterfly," he said.
"There isn't a childhood and then an adulthood. People are on a pathway, they're on a trajectory."
Prof Jones is one of a number of experts who are taking part in a neuroscience meeting hosted by the Academy of Medical Sciences in Oxford.