Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Social Security shell game

The Examiner
William Heuisler

Because of our climate, Tucson Arizona has a higher percentage of elderly voters than most metro areas in the United States. Apparently the Feds think Tucson (and other) elderly cannot read or they have short attention spans.

In a press release the Feds announce they will give out money with one hand and take it back with the other, before they even send out all the checks. Why do they bother? The government wants our votes, of course. The Feds hope social security beneficiaries will not read the fine print... or are really stupid.

This week the Federal Government is making a big deal about increasing Social Security payments for the huge voting block of Americans over 62 who vote in higher percentages than any other group. But there is a big catch.

The Federal Social Security Agency announced yesterday that there will be a 3.6 % increase in benefit checks for 2012. This increase - for a higher cost of living - will be the first since 2009. This new 3.6 % cost-of-living adjustment supposedly will begin for 55 million Social Security beneficiaries with checks in January 2012. (Social Security, 2011)

Then they announce that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will also increase 3.6% in 2012. Also they say higher Social Security checks for another 8 million supplemental income beneficiaries will be arriving on December 30, 2011.

But the Feds might as well have saved their breath and paper and figuring. They will be taking back as much or more of our money at the same time.

According to the same Social Security press release, the Feds are charging higher taxes based on the highly speculative “increase in average wages”.  Based on that supposed increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax increases to $110,100 from $106,800. Over 10 million workers will pay higher Social Security taxes as a result of the increase in what the Feds call “the taxable maximum”.

But the Feds save the real kick in the butt for quick mention in the last paragraph of the press release – hoping most of us will not notice. The last paragraph reads in part, the, “Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums”.

Who do they think they are fooling? There is a very easy answer: The Federal Government thinks they are fooling all of us.

Social Security (2011). Press release. Social Security announces 3.6 percent benefit increases in 2012.

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