EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 27, 2013

Letter: Don't deny seniors a decent retirement

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

With the recent settlement of the tea party shutdown skirmish conducted against our entire country, we should be very cautious before diving into the turbulent waters of the Senate and House budget negotiations.

Some may say that in the spirit of bipartisanship, we should be quick to agree on every and any deal that is placed on the table. This may cause as much, if not more chaos, than the previous health care war. The desire to rush to an expedient solution could place many of our American citizens in a perilous position.

One of the talking points being bandied about is a shotgun wedding of the Social Security system to the chained CPI (consumer price index). The seemingly benign-sounding phrase deserves an extremely thorough and scrupulous examination. Today as more and more private companies rush to eliminate their defined pension plans, we could find large numbers of retiring seniors living in a steep decline of a decent standard of living.

The latest prevarication making the rounds, through the conservative circles of both houses but especially the House of Representatives, is that Social Security cannot be sustained without major cuts. That is not by any stretch of the imagination even close to the truth. The fact of the matter is that with small incremental changes, it can be fortified and made to last indefinitely. Today’s income cutoff for Social Security deductions is pegged at $113,000 per year but with very little fanfare, we could create a doughnut hole where the deductions could return at say $250,000. Rates as low as one-half of a percent per each additional thousand-dollar increment could be deducted, after $500,000 of income had been met and taxable income hit the $1 million mark, the rate would be a full 1 percent.

The fabled trickle-down theory has not now nor ever existed, as portrayed by the wealthiest of the moneyed ruling class. Income disparity is a problem that is growing everyday and to deny the retired elderly at the time of their greatest need is unconscionable.

When hard-working Americans reach the end of their careers, should we not allow them a little dignity, versus a future wrought in hardship and extreme poverty. This is a problem that can and must be solved, pretending it does not exist is not a solution.

Robert Burdin