Recent Decisions

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  #1  
Old 07-01-13, 10:33 AM
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Recent Decisions

One of our state's congress women just sent out her monthly email exuberant about the recent decisions regarding same sex marriages. She explained that many couples, including military veterans, would now be able to receive the benefits they deserve. My reply to her asked who they were going to take the money away from to pay those benefits.

My second question, the bigger issue, how would they differentiate between an honest couple and two same sex people who just wanted to gain the same benefits. To my knowledge, any two people can now claim this relationship and be entitled to health, pension, and other benefits, all of which are already stretched due to a lack of funds. Will the answer be to remove all married benefits to avoid further strain on our already busted budgets?

Bud
 
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Old 07-01-13, 11:02 AM
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Not going to actually try to answer the questions....but what's to stop a male and female from doing the same thing? I know that occurred on a pretty regular basis at the shore commands in the Navy since people didn't want to live in the barracks and weren't eligible for off base housing allowances unless married.

When it happens, it's fraud. When they catch people...and they do...they punish them and make them pay back all the money.

How many elderly couples do the same thing? Probably more than we think.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 11:49 AM
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I agree and was going to make the point that elderly often elect to get re-married for the benefits. That is why I suggest that all married benefits may need to be revisited and many eliminated. It is one thing to protect a group from discrimination, but quite another to add them to a financial burden we can't afford.

Bud
 
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Old 07-01-13, 12:14 PM
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Well, I imagine the additional "burden" will be much less than the amount of fraud that occurs in numerous other social programs.

Looking at my own medical insurance (both wife and I are retired military) very little benefit. If she had been a civilian it would be a slightly different story..but not much I don't think.

Staying with the military as an example...I couldn't designate survivor benefits (which take a large chunk of my check) to a same sex spouse until just recently. I would pay for that though, it's not just free government money.

I guess I have to ask a question back. What sort of benefits are we talking about?
In the civilian business world many companies have offered similar benefits for years, but you have to pay for them.

Seems like much of these recent rulings would just affect inheritance, child custody, taxes (to some extent...there has always been head of household I believe?) and similar issues?

Of course all of this only applies at the Federal level.
 
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Old 07-01-13, 01:06 PM
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I'm not well versed on SS, but I would think any married couple would qualify. If one is working and the other is not, and the working one passes away, then the nonworking one will collect when they meet the age requirements.

Even if it is not a lot, it just bugs me that it is always one way, constantly adding more people or benefits without consideration as to how the money is going to be raised.

My assumption in regards to married benefits was to credit the wife while she spent time at home raising the kids. Well, the world has long since changed, so should we be changing the married benefits anyway? Maybe it is good that these latest decisions will force an issue that needed to be updated, painful though it may be.

My dad was retired air force (20 years) and the only way he made ends meet was to come and live with us. That's not always available to everyone. And at some point our government is going to have to pay the piper and stop printing money. When that happens, the term benefits will go out the window.

Bud
 
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Old 07-01-13, 04:48 PM
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I believe myself that no matter how that ruling would have been handed down that there will have to be an increase in taxes. Now maybe more so and everything comes with a price tag attached even more than it did in the past. If not increases in income tax then certainly increases in other taxes and perhaps a national value added tax like they do in the U.K. to help pay for all of the social programs some of which are greatly needed like social security. Anyway that is my two cents on the issue.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 03:14 AM
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I think that whatever the increased cost will be for those benefits, it will be a drop in the bucket when you look at the entire deficit.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 04:19 AM
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I agree drooplug but with this new ruling and then possibly other things being added on that bucket becomes even larger. So probably a combination of things will have to be done so that the really important things are kept and other things not so important are trimmed like money for public television for instance. I like PBS but that doesn't mean I think it should be funded at least in part by the federal government. With the trimming though comes the extra taxes too otherwise the national debt just gets bigger every day.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 04:27 AM
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The thing is the bucket got filled one drop at a time. I don't discount the need for the government and a lot of what it does for us as a society but I can't comprehend any need for it to be as big and intrusive as it is. IMO the biggest issue with gov't is waste! Hard to trim the fat though when there is someone around every corner hollering you can't cut anything that will affect me.

We lost one of our local PBS stations awhile back due to sequestration. I miss not being able to watch 'this old house' .... but life goes on
 
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Old 07-03-13, 04:39 AM
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Marksr sorry you lost your PBS station. Many of those same shows can be seen on PBS.com and This Old House and Ask This Old House on the this old house website at Home Improvement and Remodeling: This Old House.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 05:48 AM
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Being an outsider and not following this too closely (really has no impact on me), did this ruling open the doors to common-law couples as well?
Here, common-law for the most part is as good as married.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 05:54 AM
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Mike...down here it's on a State by State basis. Nine states recognize it, but there normally has to be some paperwork to make it official. If you do it somewhere where it's legal and then move, it is recognized by all other States. Fed also recognizes it.

Common-law marriage in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 07-03-13, 06:40 AM
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As far as losing This Old House and Ask TOH you are not missing much. TOH for the last several years has concentrated on remodels costing over $100k on houses that would sell in my area for well over $1 million. Almost nothing they do has any relevance to 90% of the population. Nor do they show much "sweat equity" anymore, just the homeowner setting back and enjoying the show or at the most doing some raking and/or sweeping.

ATOH isn't much better in that for the most part they are doing simple DIY jobs such as changing a garbage disposal, installing a dimmer switch or maybe changing a lockset. Anything more complicated and they bring in a contractor or have the "expert" do all the work.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 10:09 AM
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I agree drooplug but with this new ruling and then possibly other things being added on that bucket becomes even larger. So probably a combination of things will have to be done so that the really important things are kept and other things not so important are trimmed like money for public television for instance. I like PBS but that doesn't mean I think it should be funded at least in part by the federal government. With the trimming though comes the extra taxes too otherwise the national debt just gets bigger every day.
Let's keep in mind that all these programs were paid for until the Bush tax cuts. That's when the deficit spending started again.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 11:52 AM
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I won't get into who is responsible for our deficit as I'm more concerned about who is going to solve it. Above was mentioned sequestration. Remember, that 85 billion dollars and all of its related pain is just 1/10 of this years deficit alone. If they cut 850 billion dollars that would balance the budget for just one year, meaning none of those programs could be funded in the future.

Here is the absurdity of the problem we face, besides continuing to add more people to the obligation. After you cut the $850 billion you need to raise taxes to start repaying the national debt, lets call it $12 trillion. More taxes to repay the SS and Medicare funds the government has borrowed, in the trillions. Student loans, CC debt, and home mortgages are over $10 trillion, so those people will be pressed to contribute to the above. By the time you add up everything that America owes and divide by the declining number who could possibly contribute to repaying, and remove that much money from our economy which runs on spending, the domino effect will have closed more businesses and laid off more people.

So maybe it's ok to add more people to a budget that is already so broke we can never repay what is owes, who is going to notice. The part that bothers me is that nobody wants to admit we are totally broke. Heck, while they are at it, print up a few trillion more dollars and hand it out to everyone. Then maybe we will think we have enough to pay the new taxes.

Bud
 
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Old 07-03-13, 04:05 PM
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I agree with you Bud9051 both parties are responsible for today's problems. Bush was an idiot for not even paying any attention to the budget like he should have and the Democrats took advantage of the situation with some Republican helpers. What we really need is good leadership and leadership that isn't afraid to cut some programs and add on taxes while also making sure that people are not hurt in the process. Something that is very difficult to do.
 
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Old 07-03-13, 04:09 PM
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I'd like to request that everyone stay on subject (more or less) and keep political views/opinions out of it. Thank you.
 
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Old 07-04-13, 04:23 AM
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For the off topic political stuff.... Too bad what I saw floating around fb and email was fake (Link), I would have voted to bring this person into our country in a second to run our government.

On topic....
Although I haven't followed this ruling too closely (not my country), I suspect it was a quick voter win over for a few specialty groups (and maybe a few lost). A small percentage will gain from it and everyone will move on.
 
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Old 07-06-13, 06:07 AM
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Why is the problem that we have made more people eligible for benefits and not the preferential treatment of married couples by the government?
 
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Old 07-06-13, 06:47 AM
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the preferential treatment of married couples by the government?
Well, you could also make that argument for those that are buying their home. Or someone who has a business. Or people that have a bunch of kids. They all get tax breaks.

I somewhat see the logic in that a homeowner is likely paying far more in to the economy in payments, insurance, repairs, upgrades than they would in taxes, and anyone starting a business is also good for the overall economy normally.

The married couple and children benefits are much more convoluted.

Personally, I've always been a fan of the national sales tax. Would mostly eliminate the IRS, reduce filing paperwork to one or 2 pages max, there would be few ways to avoid taxes so the court cases for tax dodgers would be eliminated, etc, etc.

I doubt that will ever happen, but I can't figure out why they haven't eliminated the cap on SS. That would do nothing but strengthen the SS fund.
 
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Old 07-06-13, 07:33 AM
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droo <Why is the problem that we have made more people eligible for benefits and not the preferential treatment of married couples by the government?>

IMO, it is simply the issue of making more people eligible for benefits when there is no money to pay for what we have in place now. I'm old and married and all for reducing benefits across the board. Yes, it would hurt, but I can downsize to manage. Everyone is going to have to hurt a little or a lot (depending upon when we admit we are broke) so the sooner the better.

GG, I have long been a fan of a flat tax or sales tax that virtually eliminates the IRS. If they implemented a transition from what we have to a new simplified system and allowed both to function during the overlap, then the government would essentially be collecting double for awhile. Give it a 10 year transition and that could provide much of the needed cash to at least get us ahead of the curve. However, my biggest fear with any increase in revenues is the need for people in government that would use it properly. I don't know where we would find them.

Bud
 
  #22  
Old 07-06-13, 05:16 PM
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I doubt that will ever happen, but I can't figure out why they haven't eliminated the cap on SS. That would do nothing but strengthen the SS fund.
Extremely unlikely to happen because the people that either directly (congress) or indirectly (lobbyists and their employers) make the laws are the ones that benefit greatly from the cap. When I was working I would surpass the cap in November. The CEO of my company would surpass the cap in January. Funny thing is, it didn't cost him any more for a loaf of bread than it did me.
 
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Old 07-06-13, 05:36 PM
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Thanks Furd...wasn't sure if I stated that clearly...since you got it I guess I was ok.

For the truly rich it makes no difference at all, for the higher earners (such as yourself?) no big change. It sure would shore up the fund though. No more of this..."running out in 10/20/30 years" talk.
 
  #24  
Old 07-06-13, 05:47 PM
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Yeah, if dumb ole me can understand it must be pretty easy.

...for the higher earners (such as yourself?)
Higher earner? Not any more. I retired in 2005 and I lost my high paying job back in 2003. I subsist on a modest pension and Social Security these days. My SS is about 135% of what my pension is. But I can't complain as I never thought I would be able to draw from SS anyway. And I haven't missed any meals since retiring.

You are correct, removing the cap would definitely remove the imminent danger of Social Security going bankrupt and with little hardship all around. Would it fund it indefinitely? Probably not.
 
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Old 07-07-13, 04:17 AM
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I've always said if we could make the politicians use the same programs [namely medicare and ss] the programs wouldn't have the financial issues we are facing. As long as they have all their special perks they don't have much incentive to fix the programs they pass for the rest of us.
 
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Old 07-07-13, 05:37 AM
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Actually Mark....they do pay in to SS and have since 1983/1984. They also have to pay in to a pension fund for their retirement. There may be a few rare cases where some old members are still under the old plan...in which case they would not get SS if they had never payed in for any job.

Since many politicians were/are successful business men worth millions...they wouldn't need Medicare any more than any other wealthy person. I'm still not sure how Medicare works...but don't you have to be below a certain income to use it? Or is that Medicaid?
 
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Old 07-07-13, 05:46 AM
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I think medicaid is income based, medicare is for everyone [that paid into the system] once they turn 65 or become disabled.

I'm not saying the politicians don't pay taxes or have FICA withholding but rather their retirement and medical plans are far superior to what they put in place for the rest of us. If you took away their golden parachute and made them rely more on medicare they would have more incentive to fix the problems.
 
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Old 07-07-13, 06:15 AM
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Well...when (if?) the AHA goes in to full effect...you get one of your wishes. All members of Congress will be required to buy their own insurance then...just like us normals. They can still use military facilities while in office.
 
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