Are You Feeling the Freeze?(Mike Larson, editor of the Safe Money Report and the Interest Rate Speculator service, is away today. Mark Najarian, managing editor of Money and Markets, is filling in)
For anyone who has gone shopping, visited a doctor, done home repair, bought a car, etc., the price of just about everything, except one item – gasoline – has clearly risen. It also doesn’t take into account regional variations. (For instance, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports that costs here in the Money and Markets home area of South Florida have increased 1.3% since August 2014. Housing is up 3.3%, food and beverage costs up 2.2% and health care is 6.1% higher.)
|Seniors receiving Social Security benefits will not be getting a raise this year.|
There are calls for reform from both sides of the political spectrum. On the left, many want taxes and benefits increased going forward. On the right, some politicians consider Social Security an entitlement and are looking to revamp how it’s all considered.
The Social Security Administration itself admits that there’s not enough money in the system to last forever. “Without changes, in 2033 the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay only about 77 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits,” the administration estimates on its website. (For those who haven’t already done so, you should go to www.ssa.gov and register online. You will be able to check your earnings history and get an estimate on how much you will get when you decide to take benefits, either at age 62 or later.) Here’s a link from U.S. News & World Report explaining more about Social Security benefits for 2016.
There is some good news in the lack of a raise in benefits. Medicare Part B premiums for many people will rise 52%. But because of the “hold harmless” provision in the law, those receiving Social Security benefits cannot be forced to pay higher for premiums if their benefits do not receive a cost-of-living increase. (Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the matter.)
|“There are calls for reform from both sides of the political spectrum.”|
This also allows for Money and Markets readers to exchange views on Social Security, maybe share hints and experiences related to retirement finances. Some comments are already in (see below). How do you feel? Should taxes be raised to keep Social Security healthy in the future? Is it in need of reform? What else can be done? Do you rely on the benefits, or are they just something to supplement other income? If you’re young, do you have faith in future Social Security benefits? Click here to add your comment.
Reader Eagle495 isn’t happy with the Republicans: “You do know that it is the Republicans in Congress that want to increase the fees for Medicare and increase the Deductibles, don’t you? They also want to gut Social Security… Gee remember when the tax rates for the Ultra Wealthy were really high and we paid our bills and had a small deficit? It was just before Reagan was elected and the Republican Revolution began.”
Reader Jim saw it another way: “Reagan’s ‘revolution’ caused total Federal revenues to soar upward. The Democrat Congress managed to spend it all and then some.”Now’s your chance: You can go to the website and add your comments by using this link.
Emergency crews were busy shoveling mud from a stretch of Interstate 5 north of Los Angeles after floods washed debris onto the major freeway, stranding hundreds of vehicles and forcing some motorists to wait for help atop their cars. So far, there are no reports of deaths or injuries. Officials say they expect the freeway to be reopened by this afternoon California time.
My team’s not in the baseball postseason this year, so it’s not as exciting as it was three of the past five years (can you guess my team?) But the National League Championship Series is set for a dream matchup for the TV networks. The Mets beat the dreaded Dodgers to advance to NLCS to face the Cubs, who earlier beat the Cards. If the Cubs get to the World Series, and win it, it will be their first championship in 107 years.
Remember you can join the conversation by clicking here and adding your comments on Social Security, ObamaCare, the Cubs or anything else.
(Mike Larson will return Monday.)