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Editorial: Social Security boost only delays insolvency

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Social Security checks getting 5.9% boost adding $92 a month

Social Security is the largest single program in the federal budget and it’s about to get bigger. The recently announced 5.9% jump in the annual cost of living adjustment is the largest since 1982. Retirees will see an average of $92 added to their monthly benefits next year, raising the typical amount to $1,657, the Social Security Administration estimates.

Social Security, which sends payments to about 65 million beneficiaries, was created in 1935 to ensure financial stability for older residents and later expanded to include people with disabilities. Nearly 9 out of every 10 people over the age of 65 receive Social Security. Collectively, the payments make up about a third of their income, though it is closer to 80% for low-income seniors.

Few federal programs directly touch such a large swath of the overall population. The program, though, has well-documented financial problems — the Social Security trust fund is expected to be depleted in 2033. But even if it gets to that point, the payroll taxes paid by workers that fund Social Security should cover about 76% of the benefits, at least in the short term. Suggesting ways to “fix” Social Security is nearly a national pastime.

In the meantime, a breakdown of who gets all that Social Security money and how much.

The big picture:

23% – Social Security’s share of the federal budget in 2020. Compare that to 16% for defense and international security assistance, or 2% for transportation.

15% – Social Security’s share of the federal budget in 1970.

5.4% – Social Security as a percent of gross domestic product in 2020.

5.9% – Projected share of GDP in 2030.

As for what you could earn, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Institute creates many hypothetical scenarios, all based on someone who works every year from age 22 to 65 and then adds in marital status, life expectancy and various income levels. In these scenarios, the contributions to the Social Security program include the worker and the employer share of payroll taxes. Women generally live longer than men, so everything else being equal, they will make more in Social Security over their lifetimes.

Here are four scenarios all based on the beneficiary retiring last year:

  • A single man who was a low earner his entire career — the equivalent of making $25,200 every work year in 2020 dollars — would have contributed $141,000 in payroll taxes between him and his employer over his work life and would get back $201,000 in his retirement.
  • A single woman who was a high earner her entire career — $89,600 in 2020 dollars — would have contributed $500,000 over her work life and would receive $486,000 in her retirement. Under the same circumstances, a man would get back $433,000.
  • A couple who married at 24 years old with one high earner — $89,600 in 2020 dollars — would have contributed about $500,000 and would receive $744,000 in their retirement.
  • A couple who married at 24 years old with two average earners — $112,000 total — would have contributed about $625,000 and would get back $698,000 in their retirement.

The Biden administration is throwing around tons of cash in a socialized approach to boost the economy and help everyone, it seems, to forget the pandemic and tenets of capitalism and appease the Democratic base.

A bump in Social Security is needed, but a long-term fix is vital. Congress should take a rest from trillion-dollar deals and focus on what’s good for the country as we climb out of this lockdown.

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Column: Justin Fields is set to return against the Green Bay Packers — and the rookie quarterback is in search of a little respect for the Chicago Bears

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Column: Justin Fields is set to return after missing 2 games with cracked ribs — and the Chicago Bears and their rookie quarterback are in search of a little respect

Justin Fields has the same vibe that most Chicago Bears fans have come to experience.

They’re not getting any respect.

The only thing the rookie quarterback and the Bears (4-8) can do to change the narrative is to win some of their five remaining games, beginning Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers (9-3) at Lambeau Field.

Fields this week was medically cleared to return from three cracked ribs and will start against the Packers after being knocked out of the Nov. 21 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and missing the next two games.

“I just think a lot of the times teams maybe don’t respect us or don’t give us credit,” Fields said. “I mean, you can’t blame them. We messed up sometimes in the games and we’ve pretty much messed up in a lot of games. … We’re going to attack every game like it’s our last game and we’re going to play through it all.”

The Bears are not getting much respect from the oddsmakers in Las Vegas as 12½-point underdogs, but that comes with the territory in this series. The Packers have won the last five meetings and 20 of the previous 23.

Maybe the Bears can sneak up on the Packers or other remaining opponents — the Minnesota Vikings (twice), New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks. The Bears figure to be favored only against the Giants.

“It feels good,” Fields said. “I like being the underdog. It just gives me an extra chip on my shoulder. I like when people doubt me. That just gives me a little extra motivation. So I love it.”

Being an underdog is new for Fields — he was 20-2 as the starter at Ohio State — but it’s all part of his maturation process in the NFL. The most important thing: He was cleared, meaning the Bears do not believe he’s at risk for more serious injury.

Fields said he’s still not certain when the injury occurred against the Ravens and didn’t believe it was on his final play. He said he normally wears protective padding on his midsection and will do so against the Packers.

“I’m going to have to be smart this upcoming game with not taking as many hits as I usually do,” he said.

“There’s pain there, but I mean, the pain’s just not unbearable. I know there’s going to be pain there, but it is what it is. As long as it’s just not crazy pain where I can’t bear it, I’m going to play and practice.”

Fields threw for 174 yards and a touchdown with one interception and four sacks when the Packers defeated the Bears 24-14 on Oct. 17 at Soldier Field. That started a five-game losing streak, and the organization has been in turmoil since.

The best way to calm the storm, if only temporarily, would be to stun the Packers, and the only chance the Bears have of rolling off some victories in the stretch run is getting their offense rolling.

“We really feel like he was improving as the games went by for him individually, our team, our offense,” coach Matt Nagy said. “There are still places where we can certainly improve. As a staff, we felt like we were really getting a good feel for where he was, and then he gets injured. So then for him to come back against a big division opponent and rival, I know that he’s excited for it.”

Meanwhile, Nagy was cryptic when describing a left hand injury that kept Andy Dalton out of practice Wednesday. Nagy declined to say whether Dalton suffered a broken hand, which a source said was the fear. The team plans to evaluate Dalton’s pain tolerance and possible swelling to determine if he or Nick Foles will serve as the No. 2 quarterback in Green Bay.

The Bears hope two weeks on the sideline gave Fields a different perspective that allowed him to get a slightly better feel for what to expect from opposing defenses — and maybe small elements of situational football that he can apply while he searches for the consistency that has been missing for the offense.

“I think he’s just, like most young players, you sometimes have got to go through some ups and downs and navigate your way through that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “But he’s a very confident guy. He’s obviously very, very talented, not only as a thrower, but he’s got the added element that you can’t account for — his ability to make the off-schedule play.

“He’s more comfortable in what they’re doing. He’s a heck of a challenge to defend.”

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Key stretch of Santa Fe closed Thursday morning following police chase

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Key stretch of Santa Fe closed Thursday morning following police chase

Officials closed Santa Fe Drive between Mineral Avenue and County Line Road on Thursday.

The closure began around 4 a.m. when a police chase ended in a crash.

Denver7 reported multiple suspects in custody after Douglas County authorities chased what they say was a stolen vehicle.

The chase ended after the car’s tires were blown out with stop sticks.

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Tractor-trailer and vehicle on fire on WB 270 at Lindbergh

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Tractor-trailer and vehicle on fire on WB 270 at Lindbergh

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Members of the St. Louis County Police Central Precinct will be saying farewell to one of their own Thursday at the visitation for fallen police officer Antonio Valentine.

He was driving an unmarked police vehicle on Wednesday, December 1 when a black sedan traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into it near Crete Drive and Chambers Road in Bellefontaine Neighbors. Moments before the crash, Drug Unit Detectives attempted to stop the sedan for an investigation.

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