Thursday, July 27, 2017

Social Security's small-portion (one off) Trust Fund

Just had a funny thought.

The general idea anyway of Social Security retirement is for employed workers to support retirees -- who in turn will be supported by current workers when they retire.  That's the general idea anyway.

But for some reason my generation(s) was detailed to save up a small portion of our future retirement needs: paying higher FICA rate than was required to cover current SS outgo -- and when our time to retire came along, cashing in the TF bonds we'd been saving (lending the gov money for normally income tax paid items with our excess FICA tax).

Again, this trust fund was intended to cover only a small portion of our retirement: up to 25% just before the TF bonds finally all run out.

(Actually, not a good idea to let fund all run out -- a truly practical use of the SS TF is to bridge automatically any shortfall in FICA incoming, giving Congress time to patch FICA tax to match SS outgoing.  Happened a couple of times.  TF is legally solvent with one year of full replacement.  Currently has four years.)

Now, if current generations want to do the same "service" for themselves -- wish to save to cover a small portion of their future retirement, rather than rely wholly and completely on current earners -- they will hike their FICA rate enough to (presumably) cover my generation(s)' retirement needs ...

 ... which would leave us back where we came into this movie: each new generation of workers paying for the whole and entire retirement of the older generations -- and expecting follow on generations to do the same for them.  :-O

I don't know what we would be supposed to do with the (ever expanding?) SS Trust Fund. 

I just thought of "what we should do" with the (ever expanding?) SS Trust Fund dreamed up above.  If cash outs of fund bonds to  my gen stop with one year of full replacement remaining (wise), we can roughly calculate that my gen's "savings" would cover about 12% of our retirement for 12 years.  If the next generation saves up the same way -- thereby paying my gen's retirement w/o cashing bonds -- the fund may be able to accumulate more like 24% for 12 years.  Keep rolling this over for five generations (including mine) and in 100 years the SS Trust Fund would be able to cover 60% of one generation's retirement payout for 12 years.

Mmm; or maybe not.  It took longer than 20 years to accumulate my gen's bond pile.  It might take a lot higher FICA tax bleed then my gen took to finance that pile.   

A-L-M-O-S-T  F-O-R-G=E-T
In 100 years people may not be dying except by accident -- leaving the TF totally inconsequential.  :-O

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

GOT THIS SPAM FROM NANCY PELOSI THIS MORNING -- putting monoply worries cart before rebuilding labor density horse


As we first introduce A Better Deal to the American people – with more to come – we are setting out three ambitious new economic initiatives:
 *  Good-paying, full-time jobs for 10 million more Americans in the next five years.
 *  Aggressive action to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
 *  Cracking down on the monopolies and mergers driving up Americans’ cost of living.

-- 70 million of our 150 million workforce are earning less than $15/hr -- teenager's wages.  the same 45% has lost 33% of its income share over two generations.  Wanna try again, Nancy -- to start a stampede towards Democratic Party doors?
-- The laws on the books could already stop Gilead from demanding $300 billion to wipe out Hepatitis C in America (Sovaldi) -- which no one raises a finger to enforce (Obama doesn't care).
-- The latter is the real deal if you believe an excellent article by David Dayen ...

What Do Democrats Stand For? The Party Finally Has the Right Answer By David Dayen, July 24, 2017

... which article predictably puts the exploited cart before the de-unionized horse -- predictably from our academic liberals who never seem to get whether the chicken of the egg came first.

I never understand why not.

6% union density in private economy is as pathological as 20/10 blood pressure: starves every other healthy process: the core pathology under girding the financialization of America.

It is also the easiest disease in the world to remedy: make union busting a felony (the penicillin of inequality?) .  Can be passed almost w/o oppo in progressive legislatures nationwide -- can be done by ballot initiative without waiting for pols to wake up (usual requirement to get on ballot: 5% of voters in last governor's race (appox. 3% of all registered voters).


BIGGEST HOLD BACK I'M GUESSING: people think because there is a federal union certification and labor regulation structure that preemption bars states from criminally protecting collective bargaining.

LET'S LOOK AT THE FEDERAL ROLE.  Union certification under the NLRA(a) does not empower the right to bargain as most people think  -- like issuing a license (thought I saw this on Kevin MD's website recently).  Federal union certification ONLY blocks anyone else but the certified from bargaining on that work site.

All other (not very efficacious) protections applying to all labor/owner relationships -- certified or unionized OR NOT -- are enforced by the NLRB(b).

Now imagine there were no federal certification process or regulations enforced by the NLRB(b).  The states would be free to set up their own certification and rules structure.  California actually has a mirror CALRA for farm workers only -- who were left out of the NLRA(a).

If a future Democratic Congress included farm workers under the NLRA(a), California's CALRA/CALRB would presumably step aside.

People expect competing bureaucracies to draw federal preemption -- and I think they mistakenly mix that up with criminal civil rights enforcement.  But, there is no competing bureaucracy if violating this most important of all civil rights (ask Martin Luther King) is made a state felony.  And no state/federal complications even if they both punish union busting under separate criminal laws.

States requiring centralized (sector wide) bargaining (?); forbidding hiring replacement workers (?) -- depending on whether enforced on the regulatory or the criminal level (?) -- adding but not subtracting okay like with safety rules and the minimum wage (?) -- those are discussions for another day.

Monday, July 3, 2017

California shills - around the block

I believe that so many registered voters in California would sign a ballot initiative to make union busting a felony -- that they might have to line up around the block.  Basic requirement: need as many registered voters to sign up as 5% of last governor’s race voters (365,000).  Basic source: 40% nationally earn $15/hr or less –- and –- bottom 40% incomes nationally down to 10% of overall income share from 15% two generations earlier (California wages higher, but prices too).

The latter means 33% less of twice as much, true -- but -- people judge their well being as compared to others -- besides -- the very bottom 10-15% are down in absolute terms (today’s $7.25/hr federal minimum wage compared to 1968’s $11.45/hr).

Shill effect: As a Manhattan and Bronx street peddler in the early 1970s I could wait for ten minutes for somebody to make a buy – but as soon as someone did, four other people might suddenly shell out too. 

I’m not suggesting fooling voters (potential signers) with fake lines around the block.  I am suggesting doing lines around the block as our primary demonstration –- the kind of image loved by TV cameras on the six-o’clock news.  We could even start "demonstration"-demonstration lines before the precise legal language of the initiative is prepared (not trying to fool anybody there) just to get the initiative idea rolling (around the block :-]).
 * * * * * *

Suppose that a few states happened to impose (they didn't) criminal law penalties for union busting, back in 1935, when Congress passed the NLRA(a) and set up the NLRB(b).  Why would anyone suppose that federal regulatory machinery would preempt state criminal court prosecutions?

Farm workers were deliberately left out the NLRA(a) in 1935 (traded for passage votes).  California (only) has a virtual mirror image of the NLRA/NLRB for farm workers -- the CALRA.  If ever a (future Democratic) Congress moved to include farm workers under the NLRA(a) -- the CALRA would presumably bow out to federal preemption.

OTH, if Congress should wake up and make union busting a federal felony -- triable and punishable in criminal court -- there is no such presumption that state union busting prosecutions would bowl over -- no more than state bank robbery prohibitions or state minimum wage regulations give way to federal preemption. 

Lest there be any doubt: With First Amendment protected freedom of association at stake (except for government workers say the courts), federal regulations or even (if) deliberately restrictive laws cannot force organizing rights down an impassable road.