What Americans really earn

Social Security is headed for big changes in 2020. If you don't already know, here’s what my research has returned:

All beneficiaries are getting a slight-to-modest raise in their cost of living adjustment, which they'll receive in the upcoming year, which is really designed to keep pace with inflation. This year, that COLA is going to be 1.6%, which is what most get year to year. This comes out to about $24 per month for the average worker and $20 for the average disabled worker.

This year, the full retirement age increases to 66 years, 8 months for persons born in 1958, ultimately peaking at age 67 for any American born in 1960 or later. On the other hand, the wealthy can net a higher maximum monthly payout because the max will increase by $150 per month.

On the flip side, you have the wealthier who will have to open their wallets a bit more in 2020, as they will be responsible for the entire 12.4% payroll tax up to $137,000. For the upper middle class, that will be an extra $17,000 they will have to pay Uncle Sam, if they are at the top.

Early filers will face a permanent reduction to their monthly payout from this program, and you will have to work harder to qualify for a Social Security benefit. To qualify, you'll want to earn 40 lifetime work credits, of which a max of four can be earned per year. For example, in 2019 $1,360 dollars in income equaled one lifetime work credit, with a full year's worth of credits equaling $5,440.

Bottom line is: we all have to work hard, keep track of our work credits and just enjoy our lives.

Dan Daniels, High Desert

AP article “Virus Briefings…” (April 1, 2020)

Grrrr. AP Writer Calvin Woodward either is ignorant of, or ignores the difference between, opinion writing and factual news reporting. Shame on this reporter!

Libby Farmer, Victorville

Re: ‘Las Vegas Homeless Camp’ (April 1, 2020)

Alyssa Milano is complaining that the parking lot camp in Las Vegas provided by a local hotel to assist the homeless in sheltering in place just isn't enough. Milano tweets that, perhaps, the empty hotels should be providing deluxe rooms for the homeless instead. This statement reflects the mantra of the Democratic Party, which is: Give everyone more free luxuries, but be sure to charge other taxpayers for the bill.

I wonder if Milano would open up a few of her bedrooms to shelter the homeless? And would she convince other celebrity mansion owners in Hollywood to do the same? Moreover, would she contribute toward the huge costs the hotels would have to remove the homeless tenants one day, cleaning the rooms (as well as disinfecting every inch of space) and other costs such as heat, electricity, water, etc.? If Milano were asked to share her personal property for such uses, I suspect she would quickly adopt the old adage of “Not in my backyard.”

Richard E. Behmer, Nampa, Idaho

Economic stimulus

Sometime this year, taxpayers will likely receive another economic stimulus. It’s indeed a very exciting program. I’ll explain it with a Q&A:

Q: What is an economic stimulus?

A: Money the federal government sends to taxpayers.

Q: Where will the government get this money?

A: From taxpayers.

Q: Is the government simply giving me back my own money, then?

A: No, only a smidgen of it.

Q: What’s the purpose of this payment?

A: The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high definition TV, new iPad, or new SUV, thus stimulating the economy.

Q: Isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?

A: Shut up.

Below, some advice on how to best help the U. S. economy with your stimulus check. Use it wisely:

If you spend the stimulus money at Walmart, the money will go to China or Sri Lanka.

If you spend it on gas, the money will go to the Arabs.

If you purchase a computer, it goes to India, Taiwan or China.

If you purchase fruits and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

If you buy an efficient car, it will go to Japan or Korea.

If you purchase useless stuff, it goes to Taiwan.

If you pay your credit card off or buy stock, it will go to management bonuses and they will hide it offshore.

Keep the money in America by spending it on:

1. Yard sale items*

2. A ballgame*

3. Prostitutes*

4. Beer*

5. Tattoos*

(*These are the only U.S. businesses still operating in the U.S.)

Conclusion: Go to a ballgame with a tattooed prostitute that you met at a yard sale and drink beer all day. No need to thank me, I’m just glad I could be of help.

James Kell, Victorville

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