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Stalwart
04-25-2015, 12:21 PM
Military Times: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/mili ... /26127857/

[quote]House lawmakers will back a dramatic overhaul to the military retirement system as part of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, including a 401k-style investment plan and an end to the 20-year, all-or-nothing retirement model.

Plans call for the new retirement system to be in place by October 2017. They come despite concerns of some veterans groups that the commission recommendations won't entice enough troops to stay to or past the 20-year mark.

House Armed Services Committee leaders also will mandate better financial literacy training for troops, improved access to child care on military bases and consolidate the current 30 Reserve component duty statuses to six.

Those moves are all aspects of recommendations made earlier this year by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. But for now, the lawmakers are not backing potential Tricare and commissary system changes, two other controversial measures in the commission report.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he believes the moves as a whole will strengthen the fighting force.
"This is the sort of change that isn't going to save a lot of money, but it's designed to attract and keep up the quality of talent in the military," he said.

He also indicated there is support for similar moves in the Senate, which will have to sign off on all of the proposed House changes.

The retirement changes would affect only future enlisting troops. Those currently serving would have the choice to opt into the system, but would not be required to do so.
The 20-year retirement plan has served as a major military recruiting tool for decades, offering service members a sizable pension while still in the prime of their working years.
But critics have noted that few troops are able to take advantage of the system. Commission members noted that 83 percent of troops don't stay for 20 years, and leave the service with no real retirement plan.

The new proposal would solve that, offering a 401k-style investment account with government contributions and matches that troops could take with them whenever they leave the military.
Plans call for an automatic federal contribution of 1 percent of troops' basic pay to their Thrift Savings Plan accounts, with matching contributions up to 5 percent of basic pay — offerings that mirror private sector employee benefits.

The new retirement system also would offer lump-sum "continuation pay" for members who stay beyond 12 years of service and the traditional pension plan for those who reach 20 years.
However, payouts at the 20-year mark would be reduced from the current 50 percent of basic pay to 40 percent, which raised concerns among critics.

To counter that, Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., chairman of the committee's personnel panel, said lawmakers will allow government matches to TSP accounts to continue past 20 years, a wrinkle not included in the compensation commission's plan.

Lawmakers also will dump complex lump-sum retirement payout options recommended by the commission in favor of a simpler plan. But the remainder of the new retirement outline will stay.

The House lawmakers will mandate that Pentagon officials offer a path within six months to implement the new retirement plan. But they set October 2017 as a firm target to have the new system in place.

Heck and Thornberry both said they think that will give all sides enough time to work through any potential problems, and calm outside fears about unexpected downsides.
The Republican leaders also said that will give military officials enough time to put in place new financial literacy training for troops, so they better understand how the investment savings accounts will work and the risks involved.

The White House is scheduled to offer its own analysis of the commission recommendations April 30, after the full armed services committee marks up its version of the authorization bill.
Thornberry said he is confident that the rest of his congressional colleagues will see the benefits of the plan. Heck said members of his panel already have voiced strong support for a change.

"For too long, if you didn't serve 20 you left with nothing," Heck said. "This plan recognizes the service of everyone."

sandsjames
04-25-2015, 01:03 PM
As long as it's grandfathered then I don't have a problem. New enlistees will know what they are getting themselves into.

Not to the same extent, but changes have happened before and were only partially grandfathered. In, I believe, 1980 and 1987 that affected the "high 3" or "final 3" and they weren't completely grandfathered. First termers did not get grandfathered.

I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-25-2015, 01:08 PM
While not a fan of a 401K that would completely replace our current pension, the House Bill is susprisngly pretty well balanced. Reduce the current pension to 40% AND have a TSP with matching funds!

My only issue, however, is that this new retirement benefit will be easier to incrementally reduce in the future, especially the matching funds. "Well, in these tough economic times, we will 'just' reduce the matching funds from 5% to 3.5% for the next three years, blah, blah, blah." Then, as time goes on the matching goes away completely. I can see it now.

sandsjames
04-25-2015, 01:10 PM
While not a fan of a 401K that would completely replace our current pension, the House Bill is susprisngly pretty well balanced. Reduce the current pension to 40% AND have a TSP with matching funds! My only issue, however, is that this new retirement benefit will be easier to incrementally reduce in the future, especially the matching funds. "Well, in these tough economic times, we will 'just' reduce the matching funds from %5 to 3.5% for the next three years, blah, blah, blah." I can see it now.

Agree. Changes that happen for those already signed up are wrong.

Stalwart
04-25-2015, 01:29 PM
While not a fan of a 401K that would completely replace our current pension, the House Bill is susprisngly pretty well balanced. Reduce the current pension to 40% AND have a TSP with matching funds!

My only issue, however, is that this new retirement benefit will be easier to incrementally reduce in the future, especially the matching funds. "Well, in these tough economic times, we will 'just' reduce the matching funds from 5% to 3.5% for the next three years, blah, blah, blah." Then, as time goes on the matching goes away completely. I can see it now.

Agreed, I would be in favor allowing those already in to opt into the new program. That isn't something I would do personally since at almost 25 years time in service I couldn't put enough into a 401K to match the percentage of lost income from the set pension; but someone at 5 - 10 years ... maybe.

garhkal
04-25-2015, 09:06 PM
Agreed, I would be in favor allowing those already in to opt into the new program. That isn't something I would do personally since at almost 25 years time in service I couldn't put enough into a 401K to match the percentage of lost income from the set pension; but someone at 5 - 10 years ... maybe.

I agree. Had this been me at my first reinlistment time, i would be for it. Now i am already retired though, i can't see it benefiting me one iota.

sandsjames
04-25-2015, 11:51 PM
401k...lol...nice...gamble with your retirement. That's a safe bet.

garhkal
04-26-2015, 10:09 PM
401k...lol...nice...gamble with your retirement. That's a safe bet.

True. Heck issuing US Savings bonds would be safer.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 01:18 AM
True. Heck issuing US Savings bonds would be safer.

I can't fathom how the stock market can possibly be a safe long term investment, especially if it's one's only source of retirement.

BURAWSKI
04-27-2015, 03:20 AM
I can't fathom how the stock market can possibly be a safe long term investment, especially if it's one's only source of retirement.

It's not. Service members have been sold out by our civilian and military leadership. Military leadership didn't fight hard enough to prevent this. I think the damage being done will be so great that in the future there will be no choice but to undo these changes that are about to be implemented.

Rusty Jones
04-27-2015, 12:41 PM
If everybody gets "something" at the age of 60, the Reserve and National Guard are going to have a VERY hard time selling themselves to those who are leaving active duty.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 01:35 PM
I can't fathom how the stock market can possibly be a safe long term investment, especially if it's one's only source of retirement.

It likely depends on how you define "safe", the stock market is the best long term investment; but there are couple of caveats:

1. How do you define long term?
-if you define long term as 1 year or even 5 years you may sell yourself short.
-the avg rate of return for stocks going back 80 years is just under 10%, bonds is just over 5%.

2. Where are you in your life?
-the best thing you can get on your side with investing in compounded interest.
-if you begin to invest early, you can substantially accumulate money in a portfolio as compared to someone who waits until later in life.
-for example: investing $320 per month and getting a 7% rate of return while compounding the gained interest on your investment (which will double your money every 10 years) will result in a portfolio worth $1,000,000 after 40 years. If you start this at age 20 and NEVER increase your input, you are a millionaire at age 60. If you wait until you are 30 you would have wait until you are 70, or make a monthly investment of $775 to get to the same point by age 60.
-basically, you have to be a bit disciplined and pay your future self before you get a new stereo or car.

3. You have to be able to ride out down turns in the market.
-This goes back to how you define long term and where you are in life. If the market dips just when you are planning to begin cashing out your investments, you may lose money ... this can be countered by the long term returns. You may not have as much money as you would have a year in the past, but you are very likely to still have more than you invested.
-I started investing money in 1993 (single, E4, living in the barracks, no wife, no kids, no debt of any kind) and have invested every month for 22 years, increasing my investments as I got promoted, on average about half of the raise in my base pay went into investments. I have a set amount that purchases stocks, bonds, mutual funds and I also have commercial life insurance. Had I pulled my money out in 1998 when the market began a decline that lasted from 1998 - 2008, I would have had less than if I had pulled out in 1997 but still would have accumulated more from 1993 - 1998 than if I had just put the money in the bank in a regular savings account. I left my money in and the portfolio lost about .5% from 1998-2008 but was still up nearly 20% based on the total amount I had put in (in large part due to the good returns from 1993-1998.) When we sold our first house in 2006 we made nearly $200k, which we invested all but $4,000. Now from 2008 - 2015 we have had good returns as high as 26% but no less than 13% and our portfolio is doing quite well.

4. There is a risk factor built in and you have to be willing to assume a level of risk. As I said, if you can go in for the long haul you can overcome downtrends in the market ... but if you can't then you have a higher risk of loss. I have one friend whose job is just day trading; he has made (literally) tens of thousands of dollars in a day & has also lost tens of thousands of dollars in a day. Frankly, I am not willing to assume that kind of risk nor do I understand the market enough to do that (& I think it stresses the hell out of him.)

This proposed retirement plan isn't actually bad, but it wouldn't work for folks who have already been in for more than 5-8 or 10 years since they likely won't have the time to accumulate money to offset the difference percentage of their pension. What this new plan requires is that people be a bit more disciplined than many of us have seen (married at E3 or E4, start having kids at the cyclic rate and not really being able to afford it.) If the new plan comes into effect, people will have to be a bit more responsible for their own futures than any of us had to be for our future.

One thing that I did see from my time on Capitol Hill was how much of the DoD budget pay and benefits takes up but is part of 'discretionary spending'. Military retirement is separate from that, it is part of 'mandatory spending' -- military retirement does not impact funding for weapons systems, maintenance, TAD etc & military retirement is quickly ballooning to being unsustainable in the long term (for 2015 it is at $160 billon and is projected to grow to $215 billion in 2025 under the current retirement system.)

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 02:03 PM
If everybody gets "something" at the age of 60, the Reserve and National Guard are going to have a VERY hard time selling themselves to those who are leaving active duty.

I can see that.

I don't know if the new plan would have much effect on Active Duty recruitment. I didn't know nor care about what the pension plan was when I came in ... it wasn't a factor in my thinking at that age. Now as service members get a bit older I could see this becoming a factor for retention ... likely tied to the health of the overall economy etc.

mikezulu1
04-27-2015, 02:43 PM
interested to see how much this "continuation pay" is and if you have the opportunity to increase that 40% benefit by 2.5 for each year you serve over 20.

UncaRastus
04-27-2015, 02:44 PM
Stalwart,

Cyclic rate? You made me spew coffee on my keyboard!

I thought about the cyclic rate for a Ma Deuce when I read that.

You have made my day!

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 03:21 PM
interested to see how much this "continuation pay" is and if you have the opportunity to increase that 40% benefit by 2.5 for each year you serve over 20.

I have to go back and read the bill for the exact number, but yes, the pension increases for years served beyond 20.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 04:47 PM
Stalwart,

Cyclic rate? You made me spew coffee on my keyboard!

I thought about the cyclic rate for a Ma Deuce when I read that.

You have made my day!

The firing rate for the Mk1 Mod0 Mil-Spouse is not close to that of the M2 .50, but it is still advised to maintain a steady (sustainable) vice cyclic rate of fire to avoid expending all resources & compromising the weapon system and subsequently ... Your fighting position.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 05:13 PM
It likely depends on how you define "safe", the stock market is the best long term investment; but there are couple of caveats:

1. How do you define long term?
-if you define long term as 1 year or even 5 years you may sell yourself short.
-the avg rate of return for stocks going back 80 years is just under 10%, bonds is just over 5%.



I'm not gonna lie...I attempted to read all that but I couldn't get through it.

The key word you used was "average". That means that some make less, some make more, and some lose. I could see taking the chance of being one of those who loses if it was an investment because that's part of gambling. But for THE retirement plan to be a gamble just seems crazy to me. And I know there's always stories out there and they aren't common but my Aunt and Uncle are still working at their Real Estate business in their late 70s because they lost a shit ton in their 401ks about 10 years ago and were unable to retire.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 05:24 PM
I'm not gonna lie...I attempted to read all that but I couldn't get through it.

The key word you used was "average". That means that some make less, some make more, and some lose. I could see taking the chance of being one of those who loses if it was an investment because that's part of gambling. But for THE retirement plan to be a gamble just seems crazy to me. And I know there's always stories out there and they aren't common but my Aunt and Uncle are still working at their Real Estate business in their late 70s because they lost a shit ton in their 401ks about 10 years ago and were unable to retire.

It is too bad you did not read the whole thing, there are some good facts in there; don't let them get in the way of you not understanding a complicated issue that cannot be summarized in a quick bullet or two.

Yes, it is an average. There is no guarantee, but in the long term it is the best thing you can do.

Also, did you read how the new retirement plan would be structured? The 401k-styled portion of it is IN ADDITION to a 40% of base pay pension at 20 years of service. To invest in an investment plan (401k or other) that after 20 years failed to make enought to at least equal (much more likely to surpass) that 10% difference would be highly unlikely.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-27-2015, 05:28 PM
3. You have to be able to ride out down turns in the market.
-This goes back to how you define long term and where you are in life. If the market dips just when you are planning to begin cashing out your investments, you may lose money ... this can be countered by the long term returns. You may not have as much money as you would have a year in the past, but you are very likely to still have more than you invested.

Looking at risk, unfortunately few people predicted the stock market crashes/corrections over the last 30 years. For millions of people in 2008/9, not only did they lose up to 50% of their investment value, but they also lost their jobs...which of course forced them to spend much of what was left in their investments long before they could wait for that upturn in the market. Bottom line, they lost everything. That's the risk everyone needs to accept before they invest in the stock market. My advice is, ensure you have zero debt (if possible) before jumping into the stock market. That way you can reduce the risk of losing EVERYTHING if the market crashes.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 05:37 PM
Looking at risk, unfortunately few people predicted the stock market crashes/corrections over the last 30 years. For millions of people in 2008/9, not only did they lose up to 50% of their investment value, but they also lost their jobs...which of course forced them to spend much of what was left in their investments long before they could wait for that upturn in the market. Bottom line, they lost everything. That's the risk everyone needs to accept before they invest in the stock market. My advice is, ensure you have zero debt (if possible) before jumping into the stock market. That way you can reduce the risk of losing EVERYTHING if the market crashes.

I lost money too, but still came out ahead based i gains I made before then. Again, it is not zero risk, but a calculated risk.
I would not argue to have zero debt, but manageable debt.

Also, a retirement fund should be diversified between investments (stock, money markets and bonds), cash reserves and life insurance (I guarantee we will all die one day.)

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 06:19 PM
It is too bad you did not read the whole thing, there are some good facts in there; don't let them get in the way of you not understanding a complicated issue that cannot be summarized in a quick bullet or two.

Yes, it is an average. There is no guarantee, but in the long term it is the best thing you can do.

Also, did you read how the new retirement plan would be structured? The 401k-styled portion of it is IN ADDITION to a 40% of base pay pension at 20 years of service. To invest in an investment plan (401k or other) that after 20 years failed to make enought to at least equal (much more likely to surpass) that 10% difference would be highly unlikely.

I'm not talking about the 401k as it relates to the military. As a matter of fact, I posted earlier that a 401k was crazy IF it was one's only plan.

My statement stands whether you think I understand or not. Having a 401k as your retirement plan is crazy because it's a gamble. Don't let simplicity get in the way of your biased support for the "safety" of the stock market.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 06:22 PM
Again, it is not zero risk, but a calculated risk.
I would not argue to have zero debt, but manageable debt.

Hahahahahahaha....keep drinking the kool-aid. Please explain to me, in all your wisdom, how some debt, no matter how manageable, is better than no debt.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 06:30 PM
Hahahahahahaha....keep drinking the kool-aid. Please explain to me, in all your wisdom, how some debt, no matter how manageable, is better than no debt.

That isn't what I meant. I would not wait until having zero debt to invest money.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 06:34 PM
That isn't what I meant. I would not wait until having zero debt to invest money.

That makes more sense, assuming one believes that "investing" is a smart thing to do.

I'll continue to spend it while the dollar is worth a dollar and while I'm young enough to really enjoy it. Who knows...10 years from now I could be dead and lost out on all the fun I could have had by saving for retirement.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-27-2015, 06:37 PM
That isn't what I meant. I would not wait until having zero debt to invest money.

I would say it depends on expected return on investment. How much interest are you saving by paying off debt vs expected return on investment? Also, many people 'assume' they'll get a greater return, but fail to calculate market risk and capital gains. Any way you cut it, zero debt (and maintaining it) is always the safest bet.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 06:38 PM
I'm not talking about the 401k as it relates to the military. As a matter of fact, I posted earlier that a 401k was crazy IF it was one's only plan.

And it would be crazy, if the 401k was the only part of this plan. Which is why I don't understand your aversion to the plan since the 401k is a small part of it.


My statement stands whether you think I understand or not. Having a 401k as your retirement plan is crazy because it's a gamble. Don't let simplicity get in the way of your biased support for the "safety" of the stock market.

Where I think you are either not understanding or not getting it is that under this plan, there is a really, REALLY remote chance of a service member (who contributes into the 401k-like retirement plan) from having less money coming in after a 20-year career than now. The chances are actually quite high that a service member (for example, an E6 who gets 40% of their base pay + supplemented funds systematically withdrawn from the 401K) will bring in more than you do after 20 years of service. Based on that, the VFW & Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America have endorsed the plan. The MOAA is a bit standoffish, but mostly because under the proposal the government will only provide matching funds up to your 20th year of service and not after you are 'retirement eligible.'

And again, I don't think the stock market is 100% safe or a guarantee. I will argue it is the best long term investment you can make (I am defining long term as 20+ years.) In large part (for simplicity's sake) I am basing that on 22 years of investing and even with the loses from 1998 - 2008, our current portfolio is worth about 3.5 times the amount of money I have put into it.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 06:40 PM
I would say it depends on expected return on investment. How much interest are you saving by paying off debt vs expected return on investment? Also, many people 'assume' they'll get a greater return, but fail to calculate market risk and capital gains. Any way you cut it, zero debt (and maintaining it) is always the safest bet.

No argument, zero debt is preferred. But for example ... if someone owns a house, even if they double up on payments and would delay systematic investment while paying off the house (say for 10 years) I would suggest to start a small systematic investment that compounds annually and then putting the interest back into the investment.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 06:47 PM
An interesting sidebar conversation on this came up with a friend based on the fact that many service members may actually get more than 50% retirement at 20 years based on this plan. While "utopistic" thinking, imagine if at about the 15 or so year mark, we had a fair portion of the (at the time) generation of senior NCO's & mid-grade officers who were looking at actual financial independence -- not saying retiring to the Caribbean as small time rulers but being able to live comfortably by combining their 40% pension and their retirement portfolio ... would they be 'better' leaders? Would they be more likely to care a little less about being a careerist since their future is secure?

I ask since I remember an odd day a few years ago when I (at about 20.5 years of service) was going over our portfolio with our investment guy and I had sticker shock at how well the portfolio was performing. I won't say the sky parted and the sun shone down and I had an epiphany ... but the security of knowing that (barring getting court martialed) we had the ability to live comfortably for the rest f our lives was very liberating. I still work hard, am hoping to get promoted once more and all that ... but if I don't it isn't going to be the end of my financial world or create hardship.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 06:48 PM
And it would be crazy, if the 401k was the only part of this plan. Which is why I don't understand your aversion to the plan since the 401k is a small part of it. Holy shit...I'm not averted to the plan. I even stated, in my first post, that I have no problem with it as long as it's grandfathered so those who end up with it are aware when they sign up.

I'm talking in general about someone having a 401k as their only option. Not a military person. Just your average Joe.




Where I think you are either not understanding or not getting it is that under this plan, there is a really, REALLY remote chance of a service member (who contributes into the 401k-like retirement plan) from having less money coming in after a 20-year career than now. The chances are actually quite high that a service member (for example, an E6 who gets 40% of their base pay + supplemented funds systematically withdrawn from the 401K) will bring in more than you do after 20 years of service. Based on that, the VFW & Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America have endorsed the plan. The MOAA is a bit standoffish, but mostly because under the proposal the government will only provide matching funds up to your 20th year of service and not after you are 'retirement eligible.' I may have to post in caps.


And again, I don't think the stock market is 100% safe or a guarantee. I will argue it is the best long term investment you can make (I am defining long term as 20+ years.) In large part (for simplicity's sake) I am basing that on 22 years of investing and even with the loses from 1998 - 2008, our current portfolio is worth about 3.5 times the amount of money I have put into it.Congratulations. I'm happy for you. And just as your story is a success, there are plenty who ended up on the other end of the spectrum. There are many poker players who make a very good living from playing poker. I wouldn't recommend that as a means of making money for the average person.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 06:55 PM
Holy shit...I'm not averted to the plan. I even stated, in my first post, that I have no problem with it as long as it's grandfathered so those who end up with it are aware when they sign up.

The way it is written, that is the plan.


I'm talking in general about someone having a 401k as their only option. Not a military person. Just your average Joe.

And I didn't say a 401k only was the best idea either.


I may have to post in caps.

Nah, I got it.


Congratulations. I'm happy for you. And just as your story is a success, there are plenty who ended up on the other end of the spectrum. There are many poker players who make a very good living from playing poker. I wouldn't recommend that as a means of making money for the average person.

Yeah, many people have lost money; that is exactly why a portfolio should be diversified to absorb fluctuations in the market (again, a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, reserve cash and insurance.) I wouldn't recommend anyone try to make a living playing poker, the odds are in the house's favor; the stock market is overwhelmingly in favor of a long term investor ... but yeah ... shit can happen. I would argue that if done systematically and over time (long term) the stock market is good piece of a retirement portfolio. If your aunt and uncle had everything in a 401k and didn't diversify, they should really find their investment manager and punch him in the face, he gave them shitty advice.

Bos Mutus
04-27-2015, 07:07 PM
While not a fan of a 401K that would completely replace our current pension, the House Bill is susprisngly pretty well balanced. Reduce the current pension to 40% AND have a TSP with matching funds!

I agree that this plan does not seem like it is that horrible an idea.

Seem like it would especially benefit those folks who don't go 20 years and decide to get out at 10 years...at least they won't be leaving empty-handed.

For those who stay 20+...it would be interesting to see some models run on how a person would've done had this plan been in place for the last 20, 30, 40 years, etc. Would be a nice calculator for someone to develop.

Seeing as how the real reason for a military retirement overhaul is to save the govt. money...I wonder if this would actually do that....now with all the people who don't make it to 20 still getting a match, and those who do getting a 401K plus a pension...I wonder how that really works out to the govt. saving money.


My only issue, however, is that this new retirement benefit will be easier to incrementally reduce in the future, especially the matching funds. "Well, in these tough economic times, we will 'just' reduce the matching funds from 5% to 3.5% for the next three years, blah, blah, blah." Then, as time goes on the matching goes away completely. I can see it now.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-27-2015, 08:11 PM
I agree that this plan does not seem like it is that horrible an idea.

Seem like it would especially benefit those folks who don't go 20 years and decide to get out at 10 years...at least they won't be leaving empty-handed.

For those who stay 20+...it would be interesting to see some models run on how a person would've done had this plan been in place for the last 20, 30, 40 years, etc. Would be a nice calculator for someone to develop.

Seeing as how the real reason for a military retirement overhaul is to save the govt. money...I wonder if this would actually do that....now with all the people who don't make it to 20 still getting a match, and those who do getting a 401K plus a pension...I wonder how that really works out to the govt. saving money.

Right now, I don't think the gov expects to save any money with this new plan. That said, I also don't expect the promise of 'matching' will be upheld. In fact, I expect sometime in the future they will incrementally reduce matching on those currently serving. What's that leave them, 40% retirement pension...protected (for now) under mandatory spending.

Bos Mutus
04-27-2015, 08:24 PM
Right now, I don't think the gov expects to save any money with this new plan. That said, I also don't expect the promise of 'matching' will be upheld. In fact, I expect sometime in the future they will incrementally reduce matching on those currently serving. What's that leave them, 40% retirement pension...protected (for now) under mandatory spending.

I think the pension is the big liability for the govt...and the thing they most want to get rid of.

Perhaps, when they find in 20 years that MSgts are retiring with $1M in their 401K and a pension...it will provide the "justification" to get rid of the pension.

I don't know for sure...but, I can see that maybe this is just a more palatable first step toward further reductions in the future...my spidey sense tells me the goal is to get rid of the pension though and convert to the 401K matching system like everybody else in the country.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 08:25 PM
Right now, I don't think the gov expects to save any money with this new plan. That said, I also don't expect the promise of 'matching' will be upheld. In fact, I expect sometime in the future they will incrementally reduce matching on those currently serving. What's that leave them, 40% retirement pension...protected (for now) under mandatory spending.

I don't use the higher math that went into it. In talking to a friend who still works on the Hill, the savings are from the lower pension. Even with the matching funds, reducing the total payout (percentage) of the pension saves money, which incrementally increases as people live out retirement (and as medical science keeps us alive longer and longer.) Based on the CBO scoring (non-partisan so better numbers), it is not expected that all enlisted service members will contribute to the 401k, with a surge who do so after their first commitment. It is expected that most officers will contribute beginning at commissioning.

The matching funds (as of now) only are made until the 20th year of service. So ... let's say that a service members stays more than 20 YIS, they can still contribute into the 401k, but the government will no longer match funds. If I were getting this retirement system, and was staying beyond 20 years, right about the time I became an empty nester I would pump as much money into the 401k as I could if the funds were being matched. As it is written a service member couldn't do that.

garhkal
04-27-2015, 10:07 PM
No argument, zero debt is preferred. But for example ... if someone owns a house, even if they double up on payments and would delay systematic investment while paying off the house (say for 10 years) I would suggest to start a small systematic investment that compounds annually and then putting the interest back into the investment.

That 'paying down my house faster' is something i hope to do if the job interview i just got done with at Lowes pans out. Even if its only an additional say 200$ a month against it, that still adds up to paying it off sooner.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 10:15 PM
That 'paying down my house faster' is something i hope to do if the job interview i just got done with at Lowes pans out. Even if its only an additional say 200$ a month against it, that still adds up to paying it off sooner.

It does. Be sure you specify it is against the principle; my brother got slightly burned on that, about $1,500 thT was applied to the interest ... Granted ... It migrates the interest payoff quicker ... But does not reduce the total interest paid.

CYBERFX1024
04-27-2015, 10:22 PM
If a matching TSP/401K system is offered since day one of enlistment that also includes a 40% retirement at year 20 then I don't find fault with this at all. I would much rather have a matching TSP than a retirement IF I make it to 20 years of enlistment. That would have been really good for me when I was doing 10% for a number of my years while I was in the Marines and the weren't contributing anything. I am now a GS-11 and I am doing 10% now with another 6% coming from the Feds, all the while doing being more aggressive in my funds because I am still only 31. I currently had a 9% return off of my investments last year and 13% the year before that.

I would much rather have that than imaginary retirement or Social Security.

garhkal
04-28-2015, 07:50 AM
It does. Be sure you specify it is against the principle; my brother got slightly burned on that, about $1,500 thT was applied to the interest ... Granted ... It migrates the interest payoff quicker ... But does not reduce the total interest paid.

Thanks for the tip!

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 10:44 AM
If a matching TSP/401K system is offered since day one of enlistment that also includes a 40% retirement at year 20 then I don't find fault with this at all. I would much rather have a matching TSP than a retirement IF I make it to 20 years of enlistment. That would have been really good for me when I was doing 10% for a number of my years while I was in the Marines and the weren't contributing anything. I am now a GS-11 and I am doing 10% now with another 6% coming from the Feds, all the while doing being more aggressive in my funds because I am still only 31. I currently had a 9% return off of my investments last year and 13% the year before that.

I would much rather have that than imaginary retirement or Social Security.

If this were my retirement plan, and coupling that with the amount of deploying I have done (which is an opportunity to siphon a lot of money into investments without paying tax on your salary at the time) ... Whoa

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 11:54 AM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.

The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-28-2015, 12:54 PM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.

The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

If you choose to resign early, you fill out a form to get all of your FERS contributions returned to you.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 01:34 PM
If you choose to resign early, you fill out a form to get all of your FERS contributions returned to you.Yes, it does. But if I stay in, I'm losing a couple hundred bucks a month. I don't need the money when I'm in my 60s. I'd be much better off having it now. But, apparently, the government knows what's best for me and my finances.

CYBERFX1024
04-28-2015, 02:42 PM
If this were my retirement plan, and coupling that with the amount of deploying I have done (which is an opportunity to siphon a lot of money into investments without paying tax on your salary at the time) ... Whoa

I agree as well. I am not a fan of the Social Security system as a whole because I believe by the time I retire it won't be there in the way it is right now at all. So why not allow me to invest that money in anyway I see fit right now and make a good return on my money? I am not a dummy keeping my stuff in high risk when I am close to retirement, I know I have the option now to do that because I am young.

I was like Whoa as well because I left the Marine Corps in 2009 and never thought about my tsp again at all. Then 3 years later I become a GS and I look at my tsp again and it has almost tripled from what it was back in 2009.

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 02:46 PM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.

The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

I think you can thank the American Federation of Government Employees for that.

garhkal
04-28-2015, 10:47 PM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.

The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

YEOUCH. Forced to participate? Is that even legal?

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 11:12 PM
YEOUCH. Forced to participate? Is that even legal?

Apparently so. I would imagine it's part of the "contract". "Federal Employees Retirement System." Just a way for the government to pocket some money while hoping I die so they never have to pay it back.

INGUARD
04-28-2015, 11:36 PM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.

The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

Did you hear about the WWII retiree that paid into the SBP and then his spouse died before him. He wanted to transfer it to his new spouse but DFAS denied it and he lost his money.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 11:46 PM
Did you hear about the WWII retiree that paid into the SBP and then his spouse died before him. He wanted to transfer it to his new spouse but DFAS denied it and he lost his money.

Yeah, I didn't pay into that either. If I'd done the SBP, the life insurance, the TSP, etc, Tricare, and all the other "recommended" programs, I wouldn't have a retirement check.

It's crap that he couldn't transfer. Doesn't surprise me, though.

INGUARD
04-29-2015, 04:48 AM
Yeah, I didn't pay into that either. If I'd done the SBP, the life insurance, the TSP, etc, Tricare, and all the other "recommended" programs, I wouldn't have a retirement check.

It's crap that he couldn't transfer. Doesn't surprise me, though.


Good to know. I do not know how much of these programs will costs but sounds like I wont take it as well. You didn't take tricare for life? Then what medical insurance are you using?

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 06:23 AM
Good to know. I do not know how much of these programs will costs but sounds like I wont take it as well. You didn't take tricare for life? Then what medical insurance are you using?

Tricare for Life is for Medicare eligible retirees (Age 65+)

When you retire, you have the option of Tricare Standard for Free. Or Tricare Prime, which is around $38 per month for the family plan, IIRC.

I took Tricare Prime and it has been well worth it.

TJMAC77SP
04-29-2015, 11:02 AM
Tricare for Life is for Medicare eligible retirees (Age 65+)

When you retire, you have the option of Tricare Standard for Free. Or Tricare Prime, which is around $38 per month for the family plan, IIRC.

I took Tricare Prime and it has been well worth it.

One caution though. Where I live (hours away from the nearest military base) there aren't a lot of doctors who take Prime but many that take Standard. Verify availability of doctors who accept Prime before choosing. I use Standard with a Tricare supplement. Works fine with very little out of pocket costs.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 11:19 AM
Good to know. I do not know how much of these programs will costs but sounds like I wont take it as well. You didn't take tricare for life? Then what medical insurance are you using?

Tricare is the one thing I do have. I live close enough to a base so it's Tricare Prime. It's about $45 a month for the family and our co-pays are between $12 and $30 which is the most affordable thing you're gonna find. The downfall with Prime is that I still have to see an on-base doctor in order to get referred downtown. You can avoid this by going with other Tricare programs but they are more expensive.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 01:30 PM
I'm forced (by choosing to work a GS job) to pay out over 4% of my pay each month for the Federal Retirement plan. I find it to be an absolute joke that there is a MANDATORY retirement plan that I have to pay that much into.
The government is waging their bets that I will die before retirement age and they will get to keep the money.

That's what one of my co-workers says as well. He does not like that he has to contribute his money to tsp at all, so he only contributes the 4% required to get the 4% matching back from the agency and the other 1% they are required.

If you have to contribute then I would make sure to make that money work for you instead of leaving it in the G fund. Put it in the C,S, or I fund and make it pay you. The C fund last year did 12% returns, the S fund died 10%, and the I Fund was negative 1%. But I do believe the I fund will be the big one this year performance wise.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 01:49 PM
That's what one of my co-workers says as well. He does not like that he has to contribute his money to tsp at all, so he only contributes the 4% required to get the 4% matching back from the agency and the other 1% they are required.

If you have to contribute then I would make sure to make that money work for you instead of leaving it in the G fund. Put it in the C,S, or I fund and make it pay you. The C fund last year did 12% returns, the S fund died 10%, and the I Fund was negative 1%. But I do believe the I fund will be the big one this year performance wise.

I have no idea where my money goes. It's not in TSP. I opted out within the first however many days I had to opt out, and received the check back for whatever had been put into that. I stopped that immediately. FERS (Federal employee retirement system) is completely separate from TSP. FERS just goes wherever it goes, I guess. Don't pay much attention.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 01:58 PM
I have no idea where my money goes. It's not in TSP. I opted out within the first however many days I had to opt out, and received the check back for whatever had been put into that. I stopped that immediately. FERS (Federal employee retirement system) is completely separate from TSP. FERS just goes wherever it goes, I guess. Don't pay much attention.

I understand that FERS is different. But if they are paying that 4% then it is going to TSP. I say this because FERS is completely separate and they don't 4% at all.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 02:02 PM
I understand that FERS is different. But if they are paying that 4% then it is going to TSP. I say this because FERS is completely separate and they don't 4% at all.

I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time understanding what you're saying. So, just to clarify, are you saying that the 4% FERS deduction I have from my paycheck is going to the TSP?

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 02:52 PM
I'm sorry. I'm having a hard time understanding what you're saying. So, just to clarify, are you saying that the 4% FERS deduction I have from my paycheck is going to the TSP?

I am looking at my Employee Express LES now and yes FERS is different. Right now I am paying .8 or $21.34 a paycheck to FERS, while the Gov't pays $352.07 a paycheck to FERS. But the TSP matching is set at 4% or $106.69 every paycheck that the Gov't is paying, on top of the 1%/$26.67 TSP Basic that they are paying.

So you might want to take a look at your LES again to get a better grasp over everything and where your money is going. I am not saying anything bad but I had to school myself on everything to make sure I know where the money is going. But yes I think that you are paying that 4% to the TSP.So if you look at your LES and yes ANYTHING saying TSP Basic or TSP Matching then yes you are paying into it.

Rusty Jones
04-29-2015, 03:04 PM
No, SJ, that's probably not to TSP. You're probably not FERS. If you were hired in 2013, you're FERS-RAE. If you were hired in 2014 or later, you're FERS-FRAE. You have to pay more into it than someone under FERS.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 03:05 PM
No, SJ, that's probably not to TSP. You're probably not FERS. If you were hired in 2013, you're FERS-RAE. If you were hired in 2014 or later, you're FERS-FRAE. You have to pay more into it than someone under FERS.

I was hired in 2012 and yes I think it is to TSP.

Rusty Jones
04-29-2015, 03:11 PM
I was hired in 2012 and yes I think it is to TSP.

If he never touched his TSP, he should only be paying 3% to it. You and I are FERS, so we pay .8% into the pension plan. However, FERS-RAE has to pay 3.1% and FERS-FRAE has to pay 4.4%.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 03:12 PM
If he never touched his TSP, he should only be paying 3% to it. You and I are FERS, so we pay .8% into the pension plan. However, FERS-RAE has to pay 3.1% and FERS-FRAE has to pay 4.4%.

Thanks for that. I learned something new today.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 03:24 PM
No, SJ, that's probably not to TSP. You're probably not FERS. If you were hired in 2013, you're FERS-RAE. If you were hired in 2014 or later, you're FERS-FRAE. You have to pay more into it than someone under FERS.

Right...it's still FERS, though...Just the "newer" version with the higher rate.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 03:30 PM
If he never touched his TSP, he should only be paying 3% to it. You and I are FERS, so we pay .8% into the pension plan. However, FERS-RAE has to pay 3.1% and FERS-FRAE has to pay 4.4%.

I am FERS-FRAE...4.4%, plus whatever little bit of TSP that is also mandatory after opting out (not sure how you can opt out and still have to pay something in).

So I'm giving just over 5% of my paycheck that I don't want to give up, with no option to do anything else. It's almost $250 a month that I could do much better things with right now.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 03:32 PM
I am looking at my Employee Express LES now and yes FERS is different. Right now I am paying .8 or $21.34 a paycheck to FERS, while the Gov't pays $352.07 a paycheck to FERS. But the TSP matching is set at 4% or $106.69 every paycheck that the Gov't is paying, on top of the 1%/$26.67 TSP Basic that they are paying.

So you might want to take a look at your LES again to get a better grasp over everything and where your money is going. I am not saying anything bad but I had to school myself on everything to make sure I know where the money is going. But yes I think that you are paying that 4% to the TSP.So if you look at your LES and yes ANYTHING saying TSP Basic or TSP Matching then yes you are paying into it.

Personally I don't care where it's going and what they are doing with it. I would just prefer to have it in my pocket.

Rusty Jones
04-29-2015, 03:52 PM
So I'm giving just over 5% of my paycheck that I don't want to give up, with no option to do anything else. It's almost $250 a month that I could do much better things with right now.

You're gonna need that retirement at 60 with 20, unless you feel that you and your wife can live on 20 year E6 retired pay. I doubt that to be the case, otherwise you'd probably be living off of it right now instead of working.

I see that you live in Texas... I know that in San Antonio, I could probably live off of 20 year E6 retired pay IF I was single. And didn't mind only having sex with my 250+ lb Mexican female neighbors for the rest of my life.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 03:57 PM
You're gonna need that retirement at 60 with 20, unless you feel that you and your wife can live on 20 year E6 retired pay. I doubt that to be the case, otherwise you'd probably be living off of it right now instead of working.

I see that you live in Texas... I know that in San Antonio, I could probably live off of 20 year E6 retired pay IF I was single. And didn't mind only having sex with my 250+ lb Mexican female neighbors for the rest of my life.

We can live on the 20 year retirement right now, along with my wife's pension and my VA. I choose not to because a job I really love doing opened up and I got hired.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 04:47 PM
We can live on the 20 year retirement right now, along with my wife's pension and my VA. I choose not to because a job I really love doing opened up and I got hired.

My family is lucky because I am the only one working and we are living VERY COMFORTABLY right now and saving money as well, all the while that I have 3 kids and my wife. This is due to my job, the VA, and the Gi Bil. I know the Gi Bill will be used up in two years so I use that money as discretionary spending for whatever. I also filed for an increase on my disability due to several issues that the VA did not take into affect when they rated me before.

But at no point in time do I believe that Social Security will be there for me when I retire in 25-30 years.

Rusty Jones
04-29-2015, 05:21 PM
My family is lucky because I am the only one working and we are living VERY COMFORTABLY right now and saving money as well, all the while that I have 3 kids and my wife. This is due to my job, the VA, and the Gi Bil. I know the Gi Bill will be used up in two years so I use that money as discretionary spending for whatever. I also filed for an increase on my disability due to several issues that the VA did not take into affect when they rated me before.

But at no point in time do I believe that Social Security will be there for me when I retire in 25-30 years.

There are plenty of sources out there that debunk social security running out as a myth. I'm not going to place all of my hopes on that, but I do believe that the fear of social security running out is likely nothing more than conventional wisdom that's been regurgitated too many times by too many people, so we just accept that.

The fear of social security running out was due to the aging baby boomer population, causing a situation where for the first time in history, the retirement age population would outnumber the working age population. However... the older end of the baby boomer population has already reached life expentancy, and they're starting to die off. 20 to 30 years from now, the working age population will likely outnumber the retirement age population again.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-29-2015, 05:41 PM
However... the older end of the baby boomer population has already reached life expentancy, and they're starting to die off. 20 to 30 years from now, the working age population will likely outnumber the retirement age population again.

I was thinking the same thing with regard to military pensions. So much concern over costs, yet with the smallest military in decades, aren't military retirees dying off faster than they are being created? Surely, even with SBP recipients the costs should be going down.

Stalwart
04-29-2015, 06:59 PM
I was thinking the same thing with regard to military pensions. So much concern over costs, yet with the smallest military in decades, aren't military retirees dying off faster than they are being created? Surely, even with SBP recipients the costs should be going down.

Not exactly, right now we are covering people in the pension fund that retired back into 1975 (the estimates are generated for 40 years out from retirement.) The size of the pension fund will need to grow very rapidly until about 2025 which is projected to cover folks who retired through approx. 1985 (life expectancy into their 80's.)

CBO scoring reports: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43886

Rusty Jones
04-29-2015, 07:10 PM
Not exactly, right now we are covering people in the pension fund that retired back into 1975 (the estimates are generated for 40 years out from retirement.) The size of the pension fund will need to grow very rapidly until about 2025 which is projected to cover folks who retired through approx. 1985 (life expectancy into their 80's.)

Do you know what those numbers are? It's my understanding that the size of the military dropped significantly after Vietnam, since the end strength was no longer needed and they couldn't retain many people during that time anyway... since Army and Marine Corps draftees didn't want to be there anyway, and hefty percentage of those who volunteered for the Navy and Air Force only did it to avoid being drafted into the Army or Marine Corps. The military then cut down even further than that 15 years later when the Cold War ended.

Stalwart
04-29-2015, 07:16 PM
Do you know what those numbers are? It's my understanding that the size of the military dropped significantly after Vietnam, since the end strength was no longer needed and they couldn't retain many people during that time anyway... since Army and Marine Corps draftees didn't want to be there anyway, and probably the majority of those who volunteered for the Navy and Air Force only did it to avoid being drafted into the Army or Marine Corps. The military then cut down even further than that 15 years later when the Cold War ended.[/

The specific # of retirees? No, I don't.

Here are the CBO reports on the pension fund: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43886

The number of retirees is really large, since we still have them on the rolls from when the manpower levels were much higher than they are now, sure less than Vietnam era, but still pretty personnel heavy as compared to what the # of people drawing funds will be 20 or 30 years from now.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 07:20 PM
There are plenty of sources out there that debunk social security running out as a myth. I'm not going to place all of my hopes on that, but I do believe that the fear of social security running out is likely nothing more than conventional wisdom that's been regurgitated too many times by too many people, so we just accept that.

The fear of social security running out was due to the aging baby boomer population, causing a situation where for the first time in history, the retirement age population would outnumber the working age population. However... the older end of the baby boomer population has already reached life expentancy, and they're starting to die off. 20 to 30 years from now, the working age population will likely outnumber the retirement age population again.

Agree...the social security scare is much ado about very little.

Social security has a huge surplus "trust fund"...to the tune of close to $3 Trillion. The fear-mongers will say "but the fund does not have that money because the federal govt. general fund has borrowed it.

That's true, social security does not have $3T in cash laying around, it would be silly to do so...but to say the fund is broke because of that is about the equivalent of saying you are broke because you don't have cash in your wallet, even though you have thousands in your checking account...whatever money you have in the bank you don't have because you loaned it to the bank.

It's a politician's game.

Running some models out toward the future, there is a point where the SS taxes coming in are not enough to pay the SS benefits going out...this is where the SS fund comes in and makes up the difference.

Running those models further out in the future...there could come a time when that fund is all used up...and there is still not enough taxes coming in to pay the benefits going out...at which point an adjustment in the taxes (up) or benefits (down) would be needed...again those, these are models projected out for quite a few years with some assumed variables that can and do change regularly....it is not an immediate crisis by any means.

It is also not so catastrophic as there being no social security in 25-30 years. Maybe a 10% cut in benefits and a 10% increase in SS taxes...something along those lines...maybe adjust the ages up by a few years as we live longer...something like that is possible.

That doesn't mean we should all sit back and plan our futures to rely solely on social security...but,

Don't panic, either...I think it's pretty safe for most of us to expect some social security benefits.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-29-2015, 07:30 PM
Agree...the social security scare is much ado about very little.

Social security has a huge surplus "trust fund"...to the tune of close to $3 Trillion. The fear-mongers will say "but the fund does not have that money because the federal govt. general fund has borrowed it.

That's true, social security does not have $3T in cash laying around, it would be silly to do so...but to say the fund is broke because of that is about the equivalent of saying you are broke because you don't have cash in your wallet, even though you have thousands in your checking account...whatever money you have in the bank you don't have because you loaned it to the bank.

It's a politician's game.

Running some models out toward the future, there is a point where the SS taxes coming in are not enough to pay the SS benefits going out...this is where the SS fund comes in and makes up the difference.

Running those models further out in the future...there could come a time when that fund is all used up...and there is still not enough taxes coming in to pay the benefits going out...at which point an adjustment in the taxes (up) or benefits (down) would be needed...again those, these are models projected out for quite a few years with some assumed variables that can and do change regularly....it is not an immediate crisis by any means.

It is also not so catastrophic as there being no social security in 25-30 years. Maybe a 10% cut in benefits and a 10% increase in SS taxes...something along those lines...maybe adjust the ages up by a few years as we live longer...something like that is possible.

That doesn't mean we should all sit back and plan our futures to rely solely on social security...but,

Don't panic, either...I think it's pretty safe for most of us to expect some social security benefits.

Just curious as to your sources of information used to form this view.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-29-2015, 07:32 PM
Not exactly, right now we are covering people in the pension fund that retired back into 1975 (the estimates are generated for 40 years out from retirement.) The size of the pension fund will need to grow very rapidly until about 2025 which is projected to cover folks who retired through approx. 1985 (life expectancy into their 80's.)

CBO scoring reports: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43886

Thanks for sharing. More 'feel good' news about rising costs for a completely broke government.

Stalwart
04-29-2015, 07:33 PM
Thanks for sharing. More 'feel good' news about rising costs for a completely broke government.

Anytime ;)

I do like the CBO reports, they are non-partisan and very fact oriented ... they also do reports on a wide variety of subjects.

sandsjames
04-29-2015, 07:50 PM
I think anyone who buys in to what any of these reports or any of the politicos tell us are really quite naïve. I'm amazed everyday when I have discussions with my class (whether it be pipeliners or prior students) at the number of fear mongering, conspiracy theory, end of days discussions take place. People (me included) spend too much time on forums and internet sites eating up the "facts" that are given.

It always makes me chuckle when people make statements as absolute when it's obvious that many people who devote their lives to educating themselves on these topics disagree with each other.

The extent to which the current population has allowed their political ideals to impact their day to day transactions just blows my mind. It's definitely a first for our society and, from what I can tell, isn't helpful.

It's true when they say that "ignorance is bliss" because I couldn't imagine going through my life with all of these concerns (particularly the financial ones).

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 08:30 PM
Agree...the social security scare is much ado about very little.

Social security has a huge surplus "trust fund"...to the tune of close to $3 Trillion. The fear-mongers will say "but the fund does not have that money because the federal govt. general fund has borrowed it.

That's true, social security does not have $3T in cash laying around, it would be silly to do so...but to say the fund is broke because of that is about the equivalent of saying you are broke because you don't have cash in your wallet, even though you have thousands in your checking account...whatever money you have in the bank you don't have because you loaned it to the bank.

It's a politician's game.

Running some models out toward the future, there is a point where the SS taxes coming in are not enough to pay the SS benefits going out...this is where the SS fund comes in and makes up the difference.

Running those models further out in the future...there could come a time when that fund is all used up...and there is still not enough taxes coming in to pay the benefits going out...at which point an adjustment in the taxes (up) or benefits (down) would be needed...again those, these are models projected out for quite a few years with some assumed variables that can and do change regularly....it is not an immediate crisis by any means.

It is also not so catastrophic as there being no social security in 25-30 years. Maybe a 10% cut in benefits and a 10% increase in SS taxes...something along those lines...maybe adjust the ages up by a few years as we live longer...something like that is possible.

That doesn't mean we should all sit back and plan our futures to rely solely on social security...but,

Don't panic, either...I think it's pretty safe for most of us to expect some social security benefits.

The latest official projection estimates that Social Security's Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2033, when it's forecast that about 77 percent of promised benefits can still be paid.

2033 is not really that far way.

Medicare funding is also in trouble. The Medicare program's trust fund for hospital care will run out of money in 2030. At the current rate of payroll tax collections, Medicare would be able to pay about 85 percent of costs in 2030, declining to 75 percent by 2050.

efmbman
04-29-2015, 08:58 PM
Do you know what those numbers are? It's my understanding that the size of the military dropped significantly after Vietnam, since the end strength was no longer needed and they couldn't retain many people during that time anyway... since Army and Marine Corps draftees didn't want to be there anyway, and hefty percentage of those who volunteered for the Navy and Air Force only did it to avoid being drafted into the Army or Marine Corps. The military then cut down even further than that 15 years later when the Cold War ended.

The size of the military did drop, and it dropped again after Desert Storm. But over that time, pay increased. I don't have the numbers either, but I would bet that any savings from force reduction was offset by the increase in base pay (upon which retirement pay is based).

I would be curious to see data on retirement participation over the different eras (Vietnam / Desert Storm / OEF-OIF with slicers for the pay grades.

CYBERFX1024
04-29-2015, 09:06 PM
I think anyone who buys in to what any of these reports or any of the politicos tell us are really quite naïve. I'm amazed everyday when I have discussions with my class (whether it be pipeliners or prior students) at the number of fear mongering, conspiracy theory, end of days discussions take place. People (me included) spend too much time on forums and internet sites eating up the "facts" that are given.
It always makes me chuckle when people make statements as absolute when it's obvious that many people who devote their lives to educating themselves on these topics disagree with each other.

The extent to which the current population has allowed their political ideals to impact their day to day transactions just blows my mind. It's definitely a first for our society and, from what I can tell, isn't helpful.
It's true when they say that "ignorance is bliss" because I couldn't imagine going through my life with all of these concerns (particularly the financial ones).

I am not really big in to the whole fear mongering aspect of the social security fund at all, but I do want to believe that my money will be there when I retire. Just to let everyone know it is already being reported that you will pay into SS more than you will get out of right now. That will only get worse the more people retire.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/14/news/economy/social-security-benefits/

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 09:12 PM
Just curious as to your sources of information used to form this view.

The annual report of the board of trustees...

www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/2014/tr2014.pdf

There are many analyses of them around, but here are a couple.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/could-social-security-go-bankrupt/

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7080681/ns/business-answer_desk/t/social-security-really-going-broke/

http://www.ncpssm.org/PublicPolicy/SocialSecurity/Documents/ArticleID/1267/Analysis-of-the-2014-Social-Security-Trustees-Report

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 09:25 PM
The latest official projection estimates that Social Security's Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2033, when it's forecast that about 77 percent of promised benefits can still be paid.

2033 is not really that far way.

This is correct. 2033 is not that far away, but plenty of time to monitor and adjust, as needed...remembering again, that a lot of the assumptions in those projections are far from sure things.

...and 77% is not exactly "SS not being there for me" either

Again...these projections are based on IF NOTHING CHANGED....some small changes such as slight increase in taxes, slight decrease in benefits...add a couple years to the retirement age, etc. can and will close the gap.

...so, I say again...adjustments, probably...catastrophic collapse, no.


Medicare funding is also in trouble. The Medicare program's trust fund for hospital care will run out of money in 2030. At the current rate of payroll tax collections, Medicare would be able to pay about 85 percent of costs in 2030, declining to 75 percent by 2050.

...again, there is time to make adjustments and they don't have to be huge.

It'll be okay, guys...social security system has been adjusted like a dozen times before and probably will a dozen times again.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 09:39 PM
It'll be okay, guys...

If I am getting anything less than 100% of what I should be getting, then it is not okay.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 09:41 PM
...remembering again, that a lot of the assumptions in those projections are far from sure things.

Many of those assumptions may be overly optimistic.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 09:53 PM
If I am getting anything less than 100% of what I should be getting, then it is not okay.

Well, the question remains is "what should you be getting"...what COLA?

You know...it's "not okay" that we were told we'd have free healthcare for life, but don't.

It's "not okay" that govt. civilians were furloughed last year, but they were

It's "not okay" that there's been hiring freezes, pay freezes, etc....but, that's just the way it is...no one wants higher taxes either.

You'll be fine, I'm sure.


Many of those assumptions may be overly optimistic.

If you want to stay up at night wringing your hands over this, be my guest...I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. Do any projections for a business, your personal finances, etc. out to 75 years and there are always shortfalls somewhere...

...I'm not going to look it up, but I bet if you looked up the fear-mongers from 40 years ago we should've already collapsed..or lost beneifts, etc.

Just a way for the politicians not in office to get you to think they are going save you from some horrible fate if you elect them...bunch of bullshit. Social Security is just fine.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 10:12 PM
....some small changes such as slight increase in taxes, slight decrease in benefits...add a couple years to the retirement age, etc. can and will close the gap.

None of this really sounds okay to me. And none of it sounds believable. I'm not yet convinced that the changes will be "small" and "slight". I suspect that the increases in FICA taxes will be "large" and the decrease in social security benefits will be "significant".

Don't forget, Medicare funding will also soon be a problem, and the federal debt is continuing to grow. We will have to increase the federal income tax to pay interest on the federal debt while we also increase FICA taxes. And how will we fund Medicare? That doesn't sound okay to me.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 10:24 PM
None of this really sounds okay to me. And none of it sounds believable. I'm not yet convinced that the changes will be "small" and "slight". I suspect that the increases in FICA taxes will be "large" and the decrease in social security benefits will be "significant".

Carry on then, Chicken Little, carry on...meanwhile, Social Security increased it's surplus this year...and next.

...as for me, I believe all of these problems are things to deal with, but not insurmountable and greatly exaggerated by people who want to get elected, nothing more.


Don't forget, Medicare funding will also soon be a problem, and the federal debt is continuing to grow. We will have to increase the federal income tax to pay interest on the federal debt while we also increase FICA taxes.

Ohh..but all the Republicans signed Grover Norquists "No Tax Increase" pledge...


And how will we fund Medicare? That doesn't sound okay to me.

Believe what you wanna believe...cheers.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 10:29 PM
...as for me, I believe all of these problems are things to deal with, but not insurmountable and greatly exaggerated by people who want to get elected, nothing more.


So where's the plan to "fix" social security, medicare, and the federal debt?

TJMAC77SP
04-29-2015, 10:33 PM
This is correct. 2033 is not that far away, but plenty of time to monitor and adjust, as needed...remembering again, that a lot of the assumptions in those projections are far from sure things.

...and 77% is not exactly "SS not being there for me" either

Again...these projections are based on IF NOTHING CHANGED....some small changes such as slight increase in taxes, slight decrease in benefits...add a couple years to the retirement age, etc. can and will close the gap.

...so, I say again...adjustments, probably...catastrophic collapse, no.



...again, there is time to make adjustments and they don't have to be huge.

It'll be okay, guys...social security system has been adjusted like a dozen times before and probably will a dozen times again.


Small changes have and continue to be made (retirement age has been raised). I can't collect full benefits until age 66 and 6 months (not 65). It hasn't seemed to solve the problem.

I may not believe the doom and gloom bankruptcy of the far right but I also don't believe the rose colored glasses outlook of the Dems (actually more of an ostrich kinda outlook.)

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 10:46 PM
So where's the plan to "fix" social security, medicare,

Far too complicated to go into on the forum...you'll have to look it up for yourself...of course nothing has been fully enacted recently, but in a nutshell:

Democrats: Protect the 100% of the benefit, raise taxes if necessary

Republicans: Reduce the benefit, reduce the tax, if possible...let people invest some of it themselves

Tea Party: Shut down Social Security entirely

Personally, I think the answer will end up being somewhere in between the Dem and Rep solution...like I said, maybe a litlte of the Dem increase in tax and a little of the Republican decrease in benefit to bring the projection line up...


and the federal debt?

Social security does not contribute to the federal debt.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 10:49 PM
Small changes have and continue to be made (retirement age has been raised). I can't collect full benefits until age 66 and 6 months (not 65). It hasn't seemed to solve the problem.

I may not believe the doom and gloom bankruptcy of the far right but I also don't believe the rose colored glasses outlook of the Dems (actually more of an ostrich kinda outlook.)

I'm not seeing anyone with rose-colored glasses...unless that's how you characterize my point of view here...

I think there are some things that need to be addressed...but there always is. There is no solution to anything that will fix problems forever...doesn't mean the weren't effective at mitigating problems, lessening them, etc.

garhkal
04-29-2015, 11:07 PM
Tricare for Life is for Medicare eligible retirees (Age 65+)

When you retire, you have the option of Tricare Standard for Free. Or Tricare Prime, which is around $38 per month for the family plan, IIRC.

I took Tricare Prime and it has been well worth it.

Does Tricare prime cover Dental work?


Personally I don't care where it's going and what they are doing with it. I would just prefer to have it in my pocket.

Same here. Which is why i support doing away with Social security!


We can live on the 20 year retirement right now, along with my wife's pension and my VA. I choose not to because a job I really love doing opened up and I got hired.

I am keeping in the black with my 20 yr retirement, my mother's UK Pension and the rental income from my house i own in Gulfport. BUT as soon as i get the chance (the market will tell) to sell that house i will. Back when i moved from Gulfport up here, if i sold the house, i would have barely gotten around 110k for it, when i bought it for 159k. Now i am willing to take somewhat of a loss to get it off my hands (so i no longer have the Mortgage payments) but 50K? No way.
I keep checking the market, and once it hits around 140k for comparable, i will sell it. Well try to at least.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 11:15 PM
Does Tricare prime cover Dental work?

No. The tricare dental plan is separate...and it costs a lot more than the medical. It's about $135/month for the family plan.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 11:24 PM
Social security does not contribute to the federal debt.

I never said that it did, but it might in the future. Under current law, when the social security program goes into an annual cash deficit, the government has to seek alternate funding beyond the payroll taxes dedicated to the program to cover the shortfall. How will the federal government get that alternate funding?

Of note, as of 2011, the government has "borrowed" nearly $2.7 trillion from the social security trust fund and used the money for other purposes. In other words, the money ($2.7 trillion) is gone. It is a $2.7 trillion IOU. How will the federal government repay that $2.7 trillion loan to the social security trust fund. Increase the federal tax rate or borrow more money and increase the federal debt?

There will be some major tax increases in the future.

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 11:33 PM
Far too complicated to go into on the forum...you'll have to look it up for yourself...of course nothing has been fully enacted recently, but in a nutshell:

Democrats: Protect the 100% of the benefit, raise taxes if necessary

Republicans: Reduce the benefit, reduce the tax, if possible...let people invest some of it themselves

Tea Party: Shut down Social Security entirely

Personally, I think the answer will end up being somewhere in between the Dem and Rep solution...like I said, maybe a litlte of the Dem increase in tax and a little of the Republican decrease in benefit to bring the projection line up...

The government really doesn't have a plan to "fix" social security and medicare. The government is just "kicking the can down the road".

Brace yourself folks. In about 15 to 20 years, there will be some significant increases in taxes and significant decreases in social security benefits.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 11:37 PM
I never said that it did, but it might in the future. Under current law, when the social security program goes into an annual cash deficit, the government has to seek alternate funding beyond the payroll taxes dedicated to the program to cover the shortfall. How will the federal government get that alternate funding?

It is my understanding that the social security program is prohibited from borrowing money.

When the SS program goes into an annual cash deficit...it reaches into it's own trust fund to make up the difference. That trust fund is currently somewhere near $3 Trillion...and we are currently still running a surplus (adding money to it)

IF...nothing changed and all projections were accurate, we would balance inputs and outputs by the year 2020 and begin drawing from the surplus beginning in 2021....which would last until 2033....at which point, the money coming in would still be paying 77% of the money going out...and that is what needs to be worked on.


Of note, as of 2011, the government has "borrowed" nearly $2.7 trillion from the social security trust fund and used the money for other purposes. In other words, the money ($2.7 trillion) is gone. It is a $2.7 trillion IOU.

It's "gone" in the same way that money you put in the bank is "gone"...in the same way that if you purchased a savings bond it's "gone"...in the same way that if you purchased stock in a company it's "gone"

Yes...they don't have it in Cash...but an IOU from the federal govt. is one of the safest investments out there, if not the safest.


How will the federal government repay that $2.7 trillion loan to the social security trust fund. Increase the federal tax rate or borrow more money and increase the federal debt?

Perhaps. The federal debt...another overblown panic-inducing phenomenon that sounds horrible to the person balancing their checkbook at home and makes for good fear-mongering TV news commentary.

Here's a hint, if the govt is not operating in a deficit, it has collected too much taxes from you. Debt is the only way to control govt. spending...when the govt operates on a surplus, they should be sending money back to you until they are in debt again.


There will be some major tax increases in the future.

No way! The Republicans promised!!

USN - Retired
04-29-2015, 11:41 PM
I'm not seeing anyone with rose-colored glasses...unless that's how you characterize my point of view here...

"Rose colored glasses" is an outstanding characterization of your points of view about social security.

Bos Mutus
04-29-2015, 11:56 PM
"Rose colored glasses" is an outstanding characterization of your points of view about social security.

Nothing new under the sun...



"We will...endeavor to administer the disability [program] efficiently and effectively, [and]. . . to help rehabilitate the disabled so that they may return to useful employment.. . . I am hopeful that this new law. . . will advance the economic security of the American people."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, August 1, 1956


"The Social Security program plays an important part in providing for families, children, and older persons in times of stress. But it cannot remain static. Changes in our population, in our working habits, and in our standard of living require constant revision."
-- John F. Kennedy, June 30, 1961

"One of the most urgent orders of business at this time is the enactment of hospital insurance for the aged through Social Security to help older people meet the high costs of illness without jeopardizing their economic independence."
-- Lyndon B. Johnson, February 9, 1964

"[This law] assures the elderly that America will always keep the promises made in troubled times a half century ago.. . . [The Social Security Amendments of 1983 are] a monument to the spirit of compassion and commitment that unites us as a people."
-- Ronald W. Reagan, April 20, 1983

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2015, 12:11 AM
Debt is the only way to control govt. spending...when the govt operates on a surplus, they should be sending money back to you until they are in debt again.

Wow...really? We borrow around $.40 for each dollar we spend and this is a good thing? We are going to reach a point where 100% of GDP will need to be used to service the debt/pay the interest. Interest rates are close to zero right now. What happens to the debt when interest rates go back up? It explodes! True, some debt is necessary, but only when it is manageable and keeps debt/GDP ratio constant. However, it's not. It's rapidly eating up GDP and is absolutely unsustainable.

USN - Retired
04-30-2015, 12:20 AM
It is my understanding that the social security program is prohibited from borrowing money.

I didn't say the social security program is going to borrow money. I said: Under current law, when the social security program goes into an annual cash deficit, the government has to seek alternate funding beyond the payroll taxes dedicated to the program to cover the shortfall.


When the SS program goes into an annual cash deficit...it reaches into it's own trust fund to make up the difference. That trust fund is currently somewhere near $3 Trillion...and we are currently still running a surplus (adding money to it)

The trust fund is currently an IOU. These trust fund balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures, but only in a bookkeeping sense. They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. The existence of large Trust Fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the Government’s ability to pay benefits. George Bush said, "Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund – in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money – payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust"

It's "gone" in the same way that money you put in the bank is "gone"...in the same way that if you purchased a savings bond it's "gone"...in the same way that if you purchased stock in a company it's "gone"

You are really far down the rabbit hole today. Money that has been spent is not the same as money in a bank account or money invested in stock.

The federal government has already spent (squandered?) the money in the social security trust fund. It is gone. The money is gone. The federal government will have to get that $2.7 trillion back by raising taxes or by borrowing from the public (or the Chinese).

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 12:39 AM
I didn't say the social security program is going to borrow money. I said: Under current law, when the social security program goes into an annual cash deficit, the government has to seek alternate funding beyond the payroll taxes dedicated to the program to cover the shortfall.

The trust fund is currently an IOU. These trust fund balances are available to finance future benefit payments and other Trust Fund expenditures, but only in a bookkeeping sense. They do not consist of real economic assets that can be drawn down in the future to fund benefits. Instead, they are claims on the Treasury that, when redeemed, will have to be financed by raising taxes, borrowing from the public, or reducing benefits or other expenditures. The existence of large Trust Fund balances, therefore, does not, by itself, have any impact on the Government’s ability to pay benefits. George Bush said, "Some in our country think that Social Security is a trust fund – in other words, there's a pile of money being accumulated. That's just simply not true. The money – payroll taxes going into the Social Security are spent. They're spent on benefits and they're spent on government programs. There is no trust"


You are really far down the rabbit hole today. Money that has been spent is not the same as money in a bank account or money invested in stock.

The federal government has already spent (squandered?) the money in the social security trust fund. It is gone. The money is gone. The federal government will have to get that $2.7 trillion back by raising taxes or by borrowing from the public (or the Chinese).

You are really dense.

Separate for a minute and focus on the Social Security fund. As I mentioned, SS does not have cash in a vault. yes, it has IOUs...which are exactly the same as the IOU that you have when you purchase a savings bond from the federal government....also, those IOUs earn interest! In fact, the SS interest is a big reason why the SS surplus is still growing.

What do you think the govt. does with the money it collects from selling bonds? Here's a hint...they spend it.

You are arguing..."but, I don't have that money because in order to get it back from the federal govt., the federal govt has to raise that money..." blah blah blah.

You are mixing apples and oranges...although SS is administered by the federal govt, it does not get money from them...and does not "give" money to them...it loans it to them...the same as you do if you purchase a bond.

If you "put money in the bank"...you are loaning your money to the bank...you don't think the bank has everyone's money in cash in the vault, do you? Did you know what the bank does with the money when you give it to them?

Here's a hint...they spend it!

When you buy a stock...what do you think the company does with that money?? They spend it, ya goof.

LOL...give it up, man...

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 12:59 AM
Wow...really? We borrow around $.40 for each dollar we spend and this is a good thing? We are going to reach a point where 100% of GDP will need to be used to service the debt/pay the interest. Interest rates are close to zero right now. What happens to the debt when interest rates go back up? It explodes!

Of course there is such a thing as too much debt...I couldn't right now tell you what that amount is...but, we're not there. Don't believe the hype.

It's mostly a politician-created, media-driven crisis.


True, some debt is necessary, but only when it is manageable and keeps debt/GDP ratio constant. However, it's not. It's rapidly eating up GDP and is absolutely unsustainable.

Debt is necessary...but yes, it should be manageable. I tell you what...doesn't matter if it's .40 to the dollar or .004 cents to the dollar, some politician will whip you into a frenzy over it.

.

USN - Retired
04-30-2015, 01:06 AM
yes, it has IOUs...which are exactly the same as the IOU that you have when you purchase a savings bond from the federal government.

You and I (and all the other tax payers) have to pay the federal government's $2.7 Trillion IOU to the social security trust fund. You seem to be having trouble grasping that point. Perhaps you think that the $2.7 Trillion will be created by magic. Of course, the federal government could just borrow the $2.7 Trillion from China. That would be nice (NOT).

Perhaps you don't understand that $2.7 Trillion is a lot of money.

USN - Retired
04-30-2015, 01:16 AM
Of course there is such a thing as too much debt...I couldn't right now tell you what that amount is...but, we're not there. Don't believe the hype.

It's mostly a politician-created, media-driven crisis.



Debt is necessary...but yes, it should be manageable. I tell you what...doesn't matter if it's .40 to the dollar or .004 cents to the dollar, some politician will whip you into a frenzy over it.

.

Click this link for the US debt clock...

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

On March 6, 2015, debt held by the public had reached $13.08 trillion or about 74% of Q4 2014 GDP. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.07 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $18.15 trillion or about 103% of Q4 2014 GDP. $6.1 trillion or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were the People's Republic of China and Japan at about $1.3 trillion and $1.2 trillion respectively.
That doesn't look good to me.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 01:19 AM
Brace yourself folks. In about 15 to 20 years, there will be some significant increases in taxes and significant decreases in social security benefits. Been hearing that for the last 40 years.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 01:20 AM
Click this link for the US debt clock...

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

On March 6, 2015, debt held by the public had reached $13.08 trillion or about 74% of Q4 2014 GDP. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.07 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $18.15 trillion or about 103% of Q4 2014 GDP. $6.1 trillion or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were the People's Republic of China and Japan at about $1.3 trillion and $1.2 trillion respectively.
That doesn't look good to me.

It means nothing.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 01:27 AM
You and I (and all the other tax payers) have to pay the federal government's $2.7 Trillion IOU to the social security trust fund. You seem to be having trouble grasping that point. Perhaps you think that the $2.7 Trillion will be created by magic. Of course, the federal government could just borrow the $2.7 Trillion from China. That would be nice (NOT).

No, I have no trouble grasping that point...you seem to have trouble grasping the idea that gosh, SS is not going to come knocking for all the money tomorrow...money shifts and changes...look at it more like someone who keeps refinancing their house over and over and pulling cash out...yeah, you owe the money, but you don't have to pay it back until you sell the house...only the federal govt. won't ever sell the house.

...SS is still operating at a surplus and when and if it does need to start calling in it's debtor, it's not going to be all at once.


Perhaps you don't understand that $2.7 Trillion is a lot of money.

The federal debt is something to deal with...but has little to nothing to do with the solvency of social security.

This is why we have so much division today...people who know just enough to balance a checkbook at their kitchen table are so easily led astray by BIG NUMBERS and DEBT and DEFICIT, etc....when most of it is just a normal part of business.

Yes...there's a point when the debt will get too high...but you're old enough to remember we been through that argument before...Reagan critics over the debt in the 80s? we should've been bankrupt long ago if you listened to that...but instead it gave way to surpluses in the 90s as the tax base expanded.

My final conclusion:

Social security is fine...it's going to need some updates just as it has a dozen times since its inception.

Federal debt is okay...the deficit is actually shrinking, which is still a deficit, so don't stop construction on the bunker just yet...but no need to go off-grid either.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 01:39 AM
Click this link for the US debt clock...

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

On March 6, 2015, debt held by the public had reached $13.08 trillion or about 74% of Q4 2014 GDP. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $5.07 trillion, giving a combined total public debt of $18.15 trillion or about 103% of Q4 2014 GDP. $6.1 trillion or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreign investors, the largest of which were the People's Republic of China and Japan at about $1.3 trillion and $1.2 trillion respectively.
That doesn't look good to me.

It could be millions or coochillions and you would say the same thing...framed to create panic...because you think federal govt "debt" is the same as you being in credit card debt...it isn't.

Do you know how many countries owe how much to the U.S?

I'm out...got homework to do. You all can head down tot he bunker and play doomsday grab ass all night if you want....I've been hearing the same shit for my whole life...yet, here we are...still fine. Heck you're old enough to remember all the panic over Reagan deficits, right?

What's really important is time....there's no savings bond or credit card for that.

TJMAC77SP
04-30-2015, 03:30 AM
I'm not seeing anyone with rose-colored glasses...unless that's how you characterize my point of view here...

I think there are some things that need to be addressed...but there always is. There is no solution to anything that will fix problems forever...doesn't mean the weren't effective at mitigating problems, lessening them, etc.

I was saying the Dems seem to have that attitude ("but I also don't believe the rose colored glasses outlook of the Dems (actually more of an ostrich kinda outlook.)). Not one major speech during the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte mentioned anything substantial about fixing social security. That is a travesty. What is worse, hyperbole about the eminent demise or silence? I don't consider the following to be substantial..."And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it, not by turning it over to Wall Street."

For the record, privatizing SS scares the bejesus out of me but a two sided discussion and then action needs to occur now, not later. I do agree that in the end it will probably be a compromise of both parties approach but without some action soon, like years ago, we do run the serious risk of the program failing.

TJMAC77SP
04-30-2015, 03:33 AM
Been hearing that for the last 40 years.

Are you sure about that period of time. Perhaps I just didn't care 40 years ago. Of course I was only 18. How old were you?

garhkal
04-30-2015, 05:14 AM
No. The tricare dental plan is separate...and it costs a lot more than the medical. It's about $135/month for the family plan.

Thanks Bos. Guess i will have to check with my local VA center to see how much it would be to get the Dental plan for a single person..

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 06:43 AM
Are you sure about that period of time. Perhaps I just didn't care 40 years ago. Of course I was only 18. How old were you?

I definitely remember much of the criticism of Reagan was over the unprecedented deficits during that time.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 06:44 AM
Thanks Bos. Guess i will have to check with my local VA center to see how much it would be to get the Dental plan for a single person..

Oh...I don't even know if the VA does dental. To find out what your Tricare Dental plan would cost you have to check with Tricare not the VA.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 12:05 PM
Oh...I don't even know if the VA does dental. To find out what your Tricare Dental plan would cost you have to check with Tricare not the VA.

The VA will only do dental if there were dental issues while serving that resulted in medical problems.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2015, 01:40 PM
Thanks Bos. Guess i will have to check with my local VA center to see how much it would be to get the Dental plan for a single person..

I pay $58 per month for Tricare Dental for my wife and I, and it comes directly out of my retirement pay. Includes two cleanings and one exam per year (no addn'l cost). Not too bad, I guess.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 01:53 PM
I pay $58 per month for Tricare Dental for my wife and I, and it comes directly out of my retirement pay. Includes two cleanings and one exam per year (no addn'l cost). Not too bad, I guess.

Nope...not too bad. As cheap as anything else, for the most part, especially if you stay in network.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 02:08 PM
I think anyone who buys in to what any of these reports or any of the politicos tell us are really quite naïve.

I don’t know if you are talking about the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) reports I linked. I would offer that if you are, you should check them out. The reason I like them is they are raw data -- no political spin from right or left, R or D. What various Members' offices do with the data after the report is something else, but these are the bottom line numbers that Congress looks at.

I had to get familiar with both the Congressional Budget Office and the Congressional Research Service during my time on Capitol Hill, both offices are very non-partisan and employ experts. I equate using/reading those reports vice paying attention to a viral Facebook post, listening to a news outlet or what a friend has told me about a topic to me actually seeing raw data ... kind of like telling a military subordinate to go to a regulation or instruction and look up what is actually written vice relying on tribal knowledge.

I would agree, I don't spend too much time fretting over things that I can't control, but knowing how the government works keeps me from getting as flustered as a lot of people I see who are unfortunately woefully misinformed about how their government is supposed to and actually works.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 02:14 PM
Double Post

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 03:07 PM
I don’t know if you are talking about the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) reports I linked. I would offer that if you are, you should check them out. The reason I like them is they are raw data -- no political spin from right or left, R or D. What various Members' offices do with the data after the report is something else, but these are the bottom line numbers that Congress looks at.

I had to get familiar with both the Congressional Budget Office and the Congressional Research Service during my time on Capitol Hill, both offices are very non-partisan and employ experts. I equate using/reading those reports vice paying attention to a viral Facebook post, listening to a news outlet or what a friend has told me about a topic to me actually seeing raw data ... kind of like telling a military subordinate to go to a regulation or instruction and look up what is actually written vice relying on tribal knowledge.

I would agree, I don't spend too much time fretting over things that I can't control, but knowing how the government works keeps me from getting as flustered as a lot of people I see who are unfortunately woefully misinformed about how their government is supposed to and actually works.

What keeps me from getting flustered is not worrying about it and not paying too much attention to it. My co-workers and I were having this exact discussion this morning. It may sound selfish but what I know is that my lifestyle has not changed since I started working in 1993. It's actually improved. I can still go out and do the same things I was allowed to do back then.

Have things changed? Sure they have, a little bit, but there's nothing tangible in my life (or my family's life) that has been affected in our day to day actions. The emphasis put on the financials of the country by ordinary (even slightly educated) people is overboard. No matter how many stats we look at we still don't know how things are going to turn out. Stats without context just don't work for me. The amount of debt this country has just doesn't matter.

Maybe I'm the naïve one, but I will continue to live my happy life in ignorance and let others sort out the rest.

For those who think they have the knowledge, the answers, and the foresight, I suggest you run for office so you can guide the country back to what you think it should be because, obviously, taking a look at stats, listening to the media, and 4 years of college is all it takes to know the best way to fix things.

It's a shame some people devote their entire lives to figuring this stuff out when all it takes to actually know what works in an internet connection, a cable subscription, and 6-9 credits on the subject in college.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 03:23 PM
What keeps me from getting flustered is not worrying about it and not paying too much attention to it. My co-workers and I were having this exact discussion this morning. It may sound selfish but what I know is that my lifestyle has not changed since I started working in 1993. It's actually improved. I can still go out and do the same things I was allowed to do back then.

I would not say that is selfish at all.


Have things changed? Sure they have, a little bit, but there's nothing tangible in my life (or my family's life) that has been affected in our day to day actions. The emphasis put on the financials of the country by ordinary (even slightly educated) people is overboard. No matter how many stats we look at we still don't know how things are going to turn out. Stats without context just don't work for me. The amount of debt this country has just doesn't matter.

The amount of debt matters in how we plan to (if ever) pay it off. Eventually we (the country) will have to put money towards paying the debt, money that is not currently budgeted or appropriated, so that means one of two things have to happen:

-decrease spending
-raise taxes

Like you, I am kind of indifferent because I know I am not making that decision. I don't mind people being frustrated about the situation, I find it frustrating that people don't understand that if we are unwilling to do anything, the problem doesn't go away. I am nearly as equally frustrated with people who want to solve the problem ... as long as the impact is not on them. I have said more than once I would have no issue with a cut in my pay (active or retired) if it was actually going to go towards fixing the problem and that the sacrifice is shared. Too many people take the 'anyone but me' mentality. Then there are the misinformed, the people who read a headline vice the story, who hear about something on social media and do no research before forming their opinion or who are too stubborn to admit that they have an opinion based less on fact than on emotion.


Maybe I'm the naïve one, but I will continue to live my happy life in ignorance and let others sort out the rest.

For those who think they have the knowledge, the answers, and the foresight, I suggest you run for office so you can guide the country back to what you think it should be because, obviously, taking a look at stats, listening to the media, and 4 years of college is all it takes to know the best way to fix things.

It's a shame some people devote their entire lives to figuring this stuff out when all it takes to actually know what works in an internet connection, a cable subscription, and 6-9 credits on the subject in college.

Often that is my same argument to people that gripe about the situation of the government -- what are you doing to solve the problem?

Sarcasm aside, just having access to things like legislative drafts of bills, CBO, CRS, OMB reports etc (whether via the internet or a local library) would eliminate a lot of misunderstanding on situations. Society today has the capability to be the most informed public we have ever had ... 'We the People' squander that chance because we have other shit to do with our lives, but then will complain to no end when the system does not function as we would like it to.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2015, 03:46 PM
...as a lot of people I see who are unfortunately woefully misinformed about how their government is supposed to and actually works.

What bothers me is that it seems our children are not being taught about how our government actually works, what the constitution is, what the intent of our founding fathers were, etc. Combined with our newly welcomed immigrants, I can't imagine a future where most adults will vote in the best interests of our country, vs the same policies that have impoverished many of the countries people are trying to run away from.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 03:53 PM
What bothers me is that it seems our children are not being taught about how our government actually works, what the constitution is, what the intent of our founding fathers were, etc. Combined with our newly welcomed immigrants, I can't imagine a future where most adults will vote in the best interests of our country, vs the same policies that have impoverished many of the countries people are trying to run away from.

I would agree with you. I will also caveat that there is a difference between how the government is supposed to work, and how it does work ... but I will say that after a couple of years of studying the Constitution, the Parliamentary rules of the House and Senate, and reading a lot of source documents ... the government works closer to how it is supposed to than many pundits give it credit for. The problem (as always) is the people & politics, either in who we elect or who we don't elect. A smart individual or group of individuals can use the system to their benefit fairly easily.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 04:13 PM
Society today has the capability to be the most informed public we have every had ...

The Information Age is over. We are in the Misinformation Age.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 04:16 PM
The Information Age is over. We are in the Misinformation Age.

haha ... +1

I used to use MM to abbreviate for Measure Man, I won't use BM for you since there is another (medical) connotation ;)

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 04:34 PM
I won't use BM for you since there is another (medical) connotation ;)

Yeah, I didn't think that one through all the way :o

TJMAC77SP
04-30-2015, 06:00 PM
I definitely remember much of the criticism of Reagan was over the unprecedented deficits during that time.

I thought SJs comment was in regard to the crisis with SS.

TJMAC77SP
04-30-2015, 06:01 PM
I pay $58 per month for Tricare Dental for my wife and I, and it comes directly out of my retirement pay. Includes two cleanings and one exam per year (no addn'l cost). Not too bad, I guess.

There is a 12 month moratorium on some procedures when you first sign up.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2015, 06:05 PM
There is a 12 month moratorium on some procedures when you first sign up.

If you sign up within 30 days of retirement, that waiting period is waived.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 06:06 PM
I thought SJs comment was in regard to the crisis with SS.

My comment was in regard to the "downfall" of our economy crisis that is never ending...SS included.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 06:10 PM
What bothers me is that it seems our children are not being taught about how our government actually works, what the constitution is, what the intent of our founding fathers were, etc. Combined with our newly welcomed immigrants, I can't imagine a future where most adults will vote in the best interests of our country, vs the same policies that have impoverished many of the countries people are trying to run away from.

I don't know what school you went to, but I wouldn't say my school went very indepth with any of that. The most I learned about our government probably came from PBS with the "How a bill becomes a law" song. I can't remember school ever talking about the economic side of things. Hell, I doubt if anybody in my high school would have even identified themselves or others as being liberal or conservative. That doesn't happen, now. Now everyone picks a side at an early age and most are stuck there for the rest of their lives.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 06:15 PM
The amount of debt matters in how we plan to (if ever) pay it off. We don't have a plan and we will never pay it off. It just doesn't matter.


Eventually we (the country) will have to put money towards paying the debt, money that is not currently budgeted or appropriated, so that means one of two things have to happen:

-decrease spending
-raise taxesWhat does that mean, though? That's what I don't get. I keep hearing about taxes being raised or taxes being cut yet I still pay the same amount, no matter what. I really don't understand why people get so worked up every time a politician mentions raising or cutting taxes.




Sarcasm aside, just having access to things like legislative drafts of bills, CBO, CRS, OMB reports etc (whether via the internet or a local library) would eliminate a lot of misunderstanding on situations. Society today has the capability to be the most informed public we have ever had ... 'We the People' squander that chance because we have other shit to do with our lives, but then will complain to no end when the system does not function as we would like it to.I don't think it would eliminate any of the misunderstanding. It would create more because most people will immediately attach political views to the facts they are given.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2015, 06:17 PM
I don't know what school you went to, but I wouldn't say my school went very indepth with any of that. The most I learned about our government probably came from PBS with the "How a bill becomes a law" song. I can't remember school ever talking about the economic side of things. Hell, I doubt if anybody in my high school would have even identified themselves or others as being liberal or conservative. That doesn't happen, now. Now everyone picks a side at an early age and most are stuck there for the rest of their lives.

When I was growing up, my government education came from a Saturday public service announcement with a congressional "bill" cartoon dancing around the Capitol steps, singing about how a bill makes it into law. I also learned from my 30-40 year old mom that Dems only want to tax and spend, so they were evil. Now she is 73 she insists that Republicans want to screw her out of SS. Amazing how views change based on how you think certain positions personally impact you.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 06:25 PM
I pay $58 per month for Tricare Dental for my wife and I, and it comes directly out of my retirement pay. Includes two cleanings and one exam per year (no addn'l cost). Not too bad, I guess.

I wonder why mine is so much higher?

Looking at my statment it shows the payee as "Delta Dental of CA"...maybe it's different depending on where you live????

...maybe it's because I still have 2 kids on there

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 06:49 PM
We don't have a plan and we will never pay it off. It just doesn't matter.

Maybe not, I have heard some economists say that a debt of approx 6% of GDP is 'healthy' -- not saying I agree, I didn't really follow the conversation. I would say minimizing the debt from its current levels would be a good idea. If we reduced the debt, we would reduce the amount of the federal budget paying the debt ... that money could then be appropriated for other things ... maybe we lower taxes, maybe we do something productive with the money ... I don't know ...


What does that mean, though? That's what I don't get. I keep hearing about taxes being raised or taxes being cut yet I still pay the same amount, no matter what. I really don't understand why people get so worked up every time a politician mentions raising or cutting taxes.

Raising taxes is not just personal income taxes. Estate taxes, corporate taxes, goods and services, property taxes etc. are all part of it. Some of this could depend on your tax bracket, 3 years ago was the first time my wife and I owed money come tax time. Now, I agree with you ... if my taxes go up $100 dollars in a year I am not likely to lose my mind; but some people (right or wrong) get really fired up about income taxes.


I don't think it would eliminate any of the misunderstanding. It would create more because most people will immediately attach political views to the facts they are given.

I agree, I am 'usually' pretty good about detaching my personal view from data ... but sometimes not. Some people are incapable of it. I kind of look at it like giving someone all the training, equipment and manpower to do something ... if they fail it is on them. If someone has all the info available to them but can't remove emotion / politics from the decision process then that is really on them.

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 06:49 PM
"Delta Dental of CA"

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 06:58 PM
I don't know what school you went to, but I wouldn't say my school went very indepth with any of that. The most I learned about our government probably came from PBS with the "How a bill becomes a law" song. I can't remember school ever talking about the economic side of things. Hell, I doubt if anybody in my high school would have even identified themselves or others as being liberal or conservative. That doesn't happen, now. Now everyone picks a side at an early age and most are stuck there for the rest of their lives.

For me, when I got into the Congressional Fellowship Program it was a fire-hose in the face of exposure to the government; and it was my job for 2 years to learn as much as I could. I was literally getting paid by DoD to learn about Congress and government. Sitting down with current and former Members provided quite an experience and the Q & A's from it were eye opening; only one really preached politics; the rest talked more about the relationships between the chambers, the relationships with the Executive and Judicial Branches. One Senator was very clear that very likely the most important thing a President does (and that a Senator does) is the selection of Supreme Court Justices (for many of the reasons we have discussed here -- decisions are final, they serve for life etc.) While I applied for the program mostly in jest, I walked away from it with a much more in depth knowledge of the institution, and a grad degree ... but absolutely no desire to run for any office outside the PTA.

Bos Mutus
04-30-2015, 06:59 PM
Raising taxes is not just personal income taxes. Estate taxes, corporate taxes, goods and services, property taxes etc. are all part of it. Some of this could depend on your tax bracket, 3 years ago was the first time my wife and I owed money come tax time.

It could also come without raising tax RATES on anything at all...by the expansion of the economy and therefore the tax base=more tax money coming in.


Now, I agree with you ... if my taxes go up $100 dollars in a year I am not likely to lose my mind; but some people (right or wrong) get really fired up about income taxes.

I never understood all the tax hullaboo until I retired. Active duty people have no idea...such a large portion of AD income is tax free. (BAH/BAS)...the first year I retired I thought I was going okay, but come tax day I owed $10K extra...what a kick in the shorts that was


]

Stalwart
04-30-2015, 07:00 PM
Amazing how views change based on how you think certain positions personally impact you.

That is key isn't it, being able to separate what is best for the nation over what you perceive is best for you personally.

TJMAC77SP
04-30-2015, 08:29 PM
My comment was in regard to the "downfall" of our economy crisis that is never ending...SS included.

Ok, got it.

I guess I also thought I was a bit older than you.

garhkal
04-30-2015, 09:01 PM
Oh...I don't even know if the VA does dental. To find out what your Tricare Dental plan would cost you have to check with Tricare not the VA.

Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare status?


The amount of debt matters in how we plan to (if ever) pay it off. Eventually we (the country) will have to put money towards paying the debt, money that is not currently budgeted or appropriated, so that means one of two things have to happen:

-decrease spending
-raise taxes

I personally would be ok with a 2% across the board increase in EVERYONE's taxes (no loop holes to get out of it, no credits etc to get around it) as long as that increase was ONLY used to pay down the principle of our debt. BUT as we have seen for a long time, ANY cash flow increase the govt gets seems to never go to what it was said for, but to all sorts of pet projects.



Like you, I am kind of indifferent because I know I am not making that decision. I don't mind people being frustrated about the situation, I find it frustrating that people don't understand that if we are unwilling to do anything, the problem doesn't go away. I am nearly as equally frustrated with people who want to solve the problem ... as long as the impact is not on them.

Exactly.. Its like all those who gripe about there being not enough prisons to house all the criminals, so many have to get let out of prison cause of over crowding, but then bitch and moan when someone wants to build one "In their back yard" even when it maybe 25+ miles away.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 09:20 PM
Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare status? No, not at all. VA has nothing to do with it.

sandsjames
04-30-2015, 09:22 PM
I wonder why mine is so much higher?

Looking at my statment it shows the payee as "Delta Dental of CA"...maybe it's different depending on where you live????

...maybe it's because I still have 2 kids on there

Mine is Delta Dental of CA as well. I think that's just the company name because I'm in Texas. I pay around $58, but it's just me and my wife. Not sure if the kids factor into it. Probably.

CYBERFX1024
04-30-2015, 10:05 PM
Carry on then, Chicken Little, carry on...meanwhile, Social Security increased it's surplus this year...and next.
...as for me, I believe all of these problems are things to deal with, but not insurmountable and greatly exaggerated by people who want to get elected, nothing more.
Ohh..but all the Republicans signed Grover Norquists "No Tax Increase" pledge...
Believe what you wanna believe...cheers.

Dude, have you seen how many people are claiming Social Security now? I am not just talking about the retired either, I am talking about all the people that are getting SSDI or some form of "Disability" payment through Social Security. The only thing that is growing is the amount of the shortfall going in to whats coming out.

Bos Mutus
05-01-2015, 02:28 PM
Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare staus?.

No...VA has nothing to do with Tricare. if you are near a base, they have a Tricare office in or near the clinic....that's where you sign up

SomeRandomGuy
05-01-2015, 04:59 PM
It could also come without raising tax RATES on anything at all...by the expansion of the economy and therefore the tax base=more tax money coming in.



I never understood all the tax hullaboo until I retired. Active duty people have no idea...such a large portion of AD income is tax free. (BAH/BAS)...the first year I retired I thought I was going okay, but come tax day I owed $10K extra...what a kick in the shorts that was


]

This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.


The Make-Believe In American Taxation: With President Barack Obama expected to announce a proposal to increase federal taxes on the wealthy, another round of commentary about tax-and-spend Washington is likely. The 114th Congress is sworn in, so anti-Washington rhetoric is sure to ramp up. Governors Scott Walker and Chris Christie are possible 2016 presidential contenders, while former governors Jeb Bush and Rick Perry MIGHT declare. All are likely to denounce the nation's capital and praise states as models of responsible government. Here's the catch -- Washington is financing the states, while local government is more overstaffed than federal. The structure of American fiscal politics is based on a fairy tale of lean states and cities, and bloated Washington. In many respects, it's the other way around.

Consider taxes. Many Americans complain bitterly about federal taxes. Yet with three federal income tax cuts since 2000 -- two under George W. Bush and one under Barack Obama -- about half the American population pays no federal income taxes, while everyone pays state and local taxes.

This breakdown of effective tax rates shows the bottom 20 percent of the ladder pays to Washington negative-9.2 percent on income taxes (mainly by receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit, checks that constitute a "negative tax"), 8.4 percent as social insurance taxes (mainly Social Security) and 1.6 percent in federal excises taxes. That adds up to the bottom quintile paying Washington a net of about 1 percent of its income in exchange for all federal government (national defense, air traffic control, highways, space exploration, medical research) while receiving Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other benefits.

The same group pays state and local government about 10.9 of its income. For low earners, federal income taxes are essentially waived while benefits are generous. Yet no one can escape state and local sales taxes, energy taxes, excise taxes and property taxes, and most state and local governments don't provide anything like the cash benefits that flow through Social Security and related federal programs.

The tax numbers become more progressive as household income rises, but the same basic story remains until the upper middle class is reached: Tens of millions of Americans get more from the federal government than they pay for, while most Americans pay more to state and local government than they get.

Next, consider federal revenue distribution to states. Governors shake one fist at Washington while using the other hand to accept lavish checks. Most states receive about 30 percent of their revenue as distribution of federal taxes. In 2012, Texas and New Jersey, home to Washington-denouncers Perry and Christie, were handed nearly $51 billion combined by Washington, or about 30 percent of the states' total revenue that year. Since 2000, Washington has passed around $5.3 trillion to the states. That's more than a quarter of the national debt. If Washington did not subsidize state and local governments, the national debt would be far smaller and no longer viewed as an emergency.

Governors of both parties boast about balancing their states' budgets, then denounce Washington as spendthrift. Actually, Washington borrows money so the states can pretend to operate in the black. The whole structure of taxation and revenue distribution is a switcheroo. The states appear to be efficient compared to their tax rates; Washington appears to be wasteful. If state and local government really were self-sufficient, state and local taxes would shoot up while federal taxes dropped.

But people want to believe the states are honorable while Washington is out of control. In the new "Washington Monthly," social scientist John Dilulio Jr., a former George W. Bush administration official, asks why Congress can get a rock-bottom approval rating yet nearly all congressional incumbents are re-elected. His answer is voters like the fact that Congress sustains the make-believe of low taxes and high spending: "For all the mass public's anti-Washington sentiments, most American voters are getting precisely what they want from the federal government, namely, ever more benefits without ever higher taxes." The make-believe is possible only via ruinous borrowing that burdens Americans not yet born. Because voters don't want to think about that, they prefer the switcheroo structure in which their hometown governments appear blameless while far-off Washington is sinister.

Dilulio adds that voters also want Congress to hold down the size of the federal bureaucracy: "The federal workforce was smaller in 2013 than it was in twenty-six of the fifty-three years since 1960, and much smaller than it was in 1960 relative to annual federal expenditures... [While the] federal civilian workforce has hovered around two million full-time bureaucrats, the state and local government workforce roughly tripled, to more than 18 million."

But the narrative America prefers is that Washington bureaucracy is the problem, while state and local bureaucracy is modest -- some kindly guy named Sparky who repairs lights in the park. Last week on the NBC hit show "Chicago PD," an oily federal official said to a virtuous Chicago street cop, "Everything you hear about Washington is true. The federal bureaucracy is big, slow and inefficient, not like the way you run things here in Chicago."

Really? Cook County has about 5.2 million people, or 1.7 percent of the nation's population. Per capita, Cook County accounts for about 33,000 of the two million federal employees. Cook County has about 41 percent of the population of Illinois, which in 2013 (most recent year for which Census Bureau data is available) had 561,864 state and local employees. Per capita, Cook County accounts for about 230,000 state and local government workers. That equates to Chicago having about seven times as many state and local employees as its share of federal employees.

And don't get me started on state and local government-worker pension problems! The big number is at least $1.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for which mayors and governors, not anyone in Washington, should be blamed. Mayors and governors wanted the make-believe of low taxes plus high pensions for government employees, with the bill sent to Americans unborn. Trillions are hard to grasp, so consider a small number. The Chicago Transit Authority, which runs the L, by the most recent data has 8,317 active employees and 7,794 pensioned employees -- nearly as many drawing subsidies as working. The CTA's retirement fund has $1.7 billion in assets and $2.9 billion in liabilities. That's about 40 percent unfunded. Compared to local chicanery like this, the Social Security Administration is a model of probity.

Yet Americans want to believe states are well-run and Washington is a mess. As the next presidential election season heats up, we'll hear more of this popular nonsense.

sandsjames
05-01-2015, 05:14 PM
This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.

We should pay more state and local taxes. Those are the agencies that SHOULD play a larger role in our lives, when compared to federal.

SomeRandomGuy
05-01-2015, 07:08 PM
We should pay more state and local taxes. Those are the agencies that SHOULD play a larger role in our lives, when compared to federal.

I agree with that. The same author also has a nice piece about what different tax brackets actually get for what they are paying. All things considered it's pretty odd that taxes are a constant complaint but in reality all of us are getting one hell of deal. Roads to drive on, National defense, infrastructure, Social programs, Police and fire, prisons, Medicaid, medicare, social security, etc, etc, etc.

I think I paid roughly $5-6K in federal taxes last year. That sounds like a lot on the surface but really its a huge bargain when I think about everything I get back in return.

Bos Mutus
05-01-2015, 07:44 PM
This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.

Thanks, I enjoyed that.

garhkal
05-01-2015, 09:42 PM
No...VA has nothing to do with Tricare. if you are near a base, they have a Tricare office in or near the clinic....that's where you sign up

Muchas gracias. So i guess i need to take a trip out to Wright Patterson to do any changes.

Bos Mutus
05-01-2015, 09:54 PM
Muchas gracias. So i guess i need to take a trip out to Wright Patterson to do any changes.

If it's convenient. If it's not, I'd call Tricare and see if there's another way...they'll walk you through this when you retire anyway.

Rainmaker
05-04-2015, 09:28 PM
I am not really big in to the whole fear mongering aspect of the social security fund at all, but I do want to believe that my money will be there when I retire. Just to let everyone know it is already being reported that you will pay into SS more than you will get out of right now. That will only get worse the more people retire.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/14/news/economy/social-security-benefits/

Don't worry. It'll probably be there....But, it may not be worth shit. Even Russia still pays the old USSR Pensioners. it equates to something like $9 a month.

Rainmaker
05-04-2015, 09:33 PM
I agree with that. The same author also has a nice piece about what different tax brackets actually get for what they are paying. All things considered it's pretty odd that taxes are a constant complaint but in reality all of us are getting one hell of deal. Roads to drive on, National defense, infrastructure, Social programs, Police and fire, prisons, Medicaid, medicare, social security, etc, etc, etc.

I think I paid roughly $5-6K in federal taxes last year. That sounds like a lot on the surface but really its a huge bargain when I think about everything I get back in return.

Easterbrook, needs to stick to spinning stupid stories from his laptop about Batman and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And you're probably paying a lot more than you think you are. where they're really sticking it to us is on all the hidden taxes. Which have gone up around 500% in the last 30 years.

..................... Air Transportation Taxes, Biodiesel Fuel Taxes, Building Permit Taxes, Business Registration Fees, Capital Gains Taxes, Cigarette Taxes, Court Fines (indirect taxes), Disposal Fees, Dog License Taxes, Driver's License Fees, Employer Health Insurance Mandate Tax, Employer Medicare Taxes, Employer Social Security Taxes, Environmental Fees, Estate Taxes, Excise Taxes On CHIP Plan, Federal Corporate Taxes, Federal Income Taxes, Federal Unemployment Taxes, Fishing License Taxes, Hunting License Taxes, Flush Taxes, Food And Beverage License Fees ,Franchise Business Taxes ,Garbage Taxes, Gasoline Taxes ,Gift Taxes, Gun Ownership Permits, Hazardous Material Disposal Fees, Highway Access Fees ,Hotel Taxes (these are becoming quite large in some areas), Import Taxes, Individual Health Insurance Mandate (OBAMACARE) Taxes, Inheritance Taxes, Insect Control Hazardous Materials Licenses, Inspection Fees, Insurance Premium Taxes, Interstate User Diesel Fuel Taxes, Inventory Taxes, IRA Early Withdrawal Taxes, IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax), IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax),Library Taxes, License Plate Fees, Liquor Taxes, Local Corporate Taxes, Local Income Taxes, Local School Taxes ,Local Unemployment Taxes, Luxury Taxes ,Marriage License Taxes, Medicare Taxes, Medicare Tax Surcharge On High Earning Americans Under Obamacare, Obamacare Surtax On Investment Income (a new 3.8% surtax on investment income), Parking Meters, Passport Fees, Professional Licenses And Fees (another form of taxation), Property Taxes, Real Estate Taxes, Recreational Vehicle Taxes, Registration Fees For New Businesses, Toll Booth Taxes, Sales Taxes, Self-Employment Taxes, Sewer & Water Taxes, School Taxes, Septic Permit Taxes, Service Charge Taxes, Social Security Taxes, Special Assessments For Road Repairs Or Construction, Sports Stadium Taxes, State Corporate Taxes, State Income Taxes, State Park Entrance Fees, State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA),Tanning Taxes (a new Obamacare tax on tanning services, Telephone 911 Service Taxes, Telephone Federal Excise Taxes,, Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Taxes, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes, Telephone State And Local Taxes, Telephone Universal Access Taxes, The Alternative Minimum Tax, Tire Recycling Fees, Tire Taxes, Traffic Fines (indirect taxation), Use Taxes (Out of state purchases, etc.) ,Utility Taxes Vehicle, Registration Taxes, Waste Management Taxes ,Water Rights Fees, Watercraft Registration & Licensing Fees, Well Permit Fees, Zoning Permit Fees.....................................

90% of the revenue collected from these "fees" does nothing except for go to the self-licking ice cream cone bureaucracy that's collecting it.

Rainmaker
05-04-2015, 09:45 PM
The Information Age is over. We are in the Misinformation Age.

Wrong Bos. We ARE in the information age.... We've been privy to a unique (20 year) window open, in which we've been able to catch a glimpse of the man behind the curtain of Oz....that's why the Political Con Men and their financiers are getting nervous and stirring up all this boogeyman (Terrorist/Race Riot) crap.... and it is why they will eventually kill the internet (as presently constituted).... You've allowed yourself to become willfully blinded....

Now, Consider this..... In the '04 Presidential election. Two C average frat brother's at Yale were our two choices for president... Yet, This particular frat only had 15 people in it. Mathematically, What are the chances of this happening, In a nation with 300+ Million people in it? Yet hardly anyone questions this FACT and if you do you're labeled a "conspiracy theorist" and discounted....so, soak up the knowledge the truth tellers of the Inter-webs is spitting while you can Bitchez...

USN - Retired
05-06-2015, 02:37 AM
It means nothing.

How did you arrive at that conclusion?

sandsjames
05-06-2015, 11:29 AM
How did you arrive at that conclusion?

I would offer an answer, but I don't remember what post you quoted me in because it's more than a couple days ago.