Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’

There is an interesting new book out by economist Larry Kotlikoff called The Clash of Generations. I read several excerpts from it. It seems to be definitely worth your time. The general point is the biggest problem America is facing is the mess the Baby Boomer generation is going to leave us with. Mom and dad, I love you, but this is your mess, and you are leaving me, my wife, and my son with an insane financial mess to clean up. I hope you enjoyed your prime years. At this rate, my generation is going to be saddled with the ball and chains you left us with because you let politicians run amok promising you everything under the sun in the years when your sun is setting.

“The $30,000 combined Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid payment that is being handed, on average, to each of today’s elderly equals almost two-thirds of per capita GDP. By the time the boomers are fully retired, the figure could exceed 100 percent of per capita GDP. Whoever said America isn’t a welfare state? It is a welfare state, but the welfare is for the elderly, not the poor. While our two parties argue over the haves and have-nots, we are blind to what the nows are doing to the laters.”

“In the dream world of our political parties, their favorite action always “pays for itself.” Republicans buy votes by reducing taxes and claiming they pay for themselves. Democrats buy votes by spending money and calling it an “investment.” Setting just one set of these loonies loose on the economy would be damaging enough, but in recent years we’ve opened the asylum. We’ve watched them combine forces to both raise spending and cut tax rates. The bill goes to the kids who, conveniently, are never in the room.”

“But our main point here is that most of the massive postwar redistribution from the young to the old has not been from rich young people to poor old people. It has mostly been from middle-class young people, who pay high employment taxes, to middle-class old people who receive them. And that redistribution has left the young with a fiscal sword of Damocles suspended over their heads. Furthermore, that redistribution has cut our national saving rate from 15 percent to 0 percent. It has cut our domestic investment rate from 15 percent to 4 percent, and it has contributed to the lack of real wage growth, which marks the death knell of the American dream. Reducing poverty among the elderly (or any other group) is a wonderful goal, one that we should pursue. But we seriously doubt that anyone, of any political or chronological persuasion, would want to do it at the cost of literally wrecking the country.”

“The financial meltdown that’s surely coming and will do more lasting damage to our kids won’t be triggered, like the last one was, by the production and sale of trillions of dollars in fraudulent securities. It will be a run on the Treasury and the Fed triggered by the global realization that Uncle Sam is in far worse fiscal shape than ever imagined.

The moment of reckoning can come at any time, and when the markets finally realize that our fiscal problem is enormous and cannot indefinitely be papered over by the Fed’s money creation, things will change abruptly. We’ll have a tremendous financial collapse that hits the bond and the stock markets, and not on a short-term basis. That will accelerate the fiscal collapse, which will reinforce the financial collapse—in short, a vicious cycle. By design, our financial institutions have built no firewalls separating themselves from one another. Instead, there are only fire paths, waiting to ignite.

The hour is extremely late. We can no longer afford doing too little too late, putting off tough decisions for tomorrow, and enduring political gridlock. To fix America, we need to start from the ground up. Only radical, fundamental reforms of the financial system, the tax system, the health care system, and Social Security will solve our problems and get our country turned around. But it can be turned around.”

“There are about 70 million Americans between eighteen and thirty-five years old. Imagine they all march on Washington. Imagine they let their elders know they aren’t happy with their treatment. Imagine they join together in a party—the Generational Equity Party—and start voting for candidates who represent the interest of today’s and tomorrow’s young generations. Imagine how that would change the conversation.

And imagine those older than sixty seeing their faces and hearing their voices and saying Yes, they’re right. These are our children and grandchildren. We need to protect them. They are on earth, if not in heaven, our only true future.”

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Amidst all this William James Norris circus, there’s another circus going on right in front of your eyes, possibly on your TV as you wake up in the morning or prepare dinner at night. It’s taking place on your television set every evening on ABC, CBS, and NBC. What is that circus? It’s the lies the major networks are fabricating about the debt ceiling debate and who’s really to blame.

The question becomes are you too much of a party hack, or are you too stupid to realize the truth? I fear for some Americans it may be both. There was an interesting study completed by the Media Research Center on coverage of the major news networks.

MRC analysts watched all 202 stories on the debt ceiling from July 1 through July 22, looking for statements which assigned blame or responsibility for the failure to reach a settlement. Of the 85 stories that included such statements, the skew was lopsidedly anti-Republican, with 56 stories (66%) mainly assigning them the blame for the impasse. Even though Democrats control both the Senate and the White House, only 17 network stories (20%) suggested they bore more responsibility, a greater than three-to-one disparity (see chart). Twelve stories offered a balanced discussion of which party ought to be blamed.

Ok, I hear a liberal screaming already, “WHAT ABOUT FOX NEWS! FOX NEWS IS FAUX NEWS! RUPERT MURDOCH IS AN EVIL, RICH, BILLIONAIRE THAT LIES TO PEOPLE! WE NEED TO INVESTIGATE FOX NEWS!”

Umm… Ok, hypothetical screaming liberal, we get it! That’s enough.

This study looked at national news coverage evening and morning programs that appeared on local news stations, if you were smart enough to examine the local Fox 4 lineup you would discover that Fox does not have a national news program on its lineup in the morning and evening. They stay local and leave the national news coverage up to the cable network Fox News. I would also contend that Fox News, while providing a center-right, or conservative perspective with its prime time OPINION shows, does stay pretty fair and balanced when it comes to the actual news it provides.

The American people are being led like lambs to a slaughter on this debt ceiling debate by the alphabet soup news coverage. (No, that wasn’t some violent tea party rhetoric, it was just a simile.) You’re being fed this line of crap by the news networks, and they’re hoping you’ll lap it up. Shall we examine some actual facts?

1) Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency last year. They could have worked to reduce spending and passed an operating budget and debt ceiling increase that would have been ample to get us through all of this. They didn’t, they refused to pass a budget for this year, they continued to spend like drunken sailors, they kept running the government on stopgap measures and continuing resolutions. Does that strike you as odd? Almost as if they were kicking the can down the road to put the blame on someone else.

2) Democrats still control the Senate and the Presidency, the Republicans only control 1/3 of the government, the peoples’ house. The Democrats could pass a budget, they haven’t, and President Obama’s budget was voted down in the Senate 97-0 earlier in the year. There is no Democrat plan, the only Democrat plan that exists is to do nothing and blame it on the Republican party.

3) Shared sacrifice is a bunch of crap. This attack on the rich is intellectually dishonest and akin to robbing a person on the street. There are 47% of Americans who are owed more in federal help than they pay into the system. The upper 10% pay more than half the tax burden while the bottom 20% contribute effectively nothing. Stop with the class warfare, it’s redundant and old. This is not equity, if you want true shared sacrifice then you must either cut benefits on your handouts or pay more in taxes. It’s that simple.

4) The Republicans have passed 2 plans that would work to solve problems. The first was Paul Ryan’s plan earlier in the year, which was dishonestly accused of killing seniors. Most notoriously the pushing grandma off the cliff ad by the Agenda Project spread this lie. Ryan’s plan didn’t touch Medicare for anyone over the age of 55. Whether you like it or not, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security have to change. Most recently the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan, which passed with bipartisan support in the House, was tabled by Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate. Reid called it the most irresponsible idea ever proposed. Reid has even said that the Boehner compromise plan, which really does very little will in terms of solving the problems we are faced with, will be defeated. Here we have the Democrats saying that they will kill anything the Republicans send the Senate after never actually putting their plan to a vote? Once again I ask, seems odd doesn’t it? Almost as if they are trying to blame the Republicans.

As I said, you’re being led like lambs to a slaughter. You need to be able to see more than 2 months in either direction in your life. The Democrats when in control of the House and Senate from 2006-20010 (and the Presidency from 08-10) increased spending at a rate beyond anything in seen in history. If you believe the argument that we have to spend money to get out of this, you don’t understand economics, and are disqualified from the debate. Yes, Bush and the Republicans were complicit in this spending binge and deserve plenty of blame, I never voted for Bush and have amply criticized the Republican party, don’t call me a party hack. My point here is the Democrats and the media are trying to spin this so you get mad and vote them back into office. If you fall for that, you truly are clueless. Hope you enjoy your slaughter as it comes in the form of economic collapse. We cannot continue to kick the can down the road, the time for action is now, not the next election.

Oh, one last point to make on the MRC study. Which network was most likely to blame the Republicans on the debt impasse? You may have already guessed it, our buddies over at NBC. Now I realize there is some difference between the local news outfit and the national news outfit, but Russ Ptacek has managed to get me to turn on NBC for the first time in I can remember how long. Who says miracles don’t happen? Thanks Russ for demonstrating there’s always one good person in the bunch.

Americans need to wake up, turn off the mainstream news and start doing their own homework, before we lose this great nation to debt and spending.

A recent Rasmussen Poll demonstrated a scary statistic. Only 51% of Americans know that most federal spending goes to defense, Social Security, and Medicare. Ponder that a second, on a random day walking down the street, half of the people that you pass actually understand what the three primary drivers of government spending in WADC is. It gets worse though, 30% believe incorrectly that this is not true, and 19% aren’t sure. Kind of helps understand how Obama got elected, doesn’t it?

Now the good news is that only 35% knew this last February, we are making some ground here.

So, I consider this post a public service announcement, please pass this along to your ignorant friends and family members.

The first recipient of Social Security “benefits,” Ida May Fuller, paid a total of $24.75 in Social Security taxes. She inevitably lived to be 100 years old. She collected $22,888.92 total in her retirement, a return of 92,000 percent on her initial “investment.”

In 1935 less than 6% of the population was age 65 or older. By 2008, that percentage doubled to 12.8. The number of Americans ages 65+ will more than double over the next 40 years, reaching 80 million in 2040. The number of adults 85+ will nearly quadruple in that same time. (Unless Obamacare kills them first, but that’s another topic for another post!)

In 1960, 5 workers funded the “benefits” of each retiree. Today that ratio is 3:1, by 2030 it will be 2:1. Imagine a boy and girl born today. In 2030, they marry and start a family. This young couple will have to support themselves, their children, and the Social Security & Medicare benefits of their very own retiree.

When the Social Security Act was signed in 1935, it was done with the support of 81 Republicans in the House. When Medicare was passed in 1965, 70 Republicans voted in favor. More recently, the Republican controlled Congress passed Medicare Part D. For a party that supposedly hates entitlements, they sure don’t walk their talk.

The thing that’s so scary about Medicare is how underfunded it is. The payroll tax funds only Part A, and that is even in deficit. Parts B and D are not “social insurance” and are only funded 25% by premiums, taxpayers finance the other 75% through general tax revenues. Medicare is essentially a welfare program for seniors.

Of the $31,406 that Washington spent per household in 2010, $9,949 was spent on Social Security and Medicare alone.

The costs of Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid is expected to grow from 9% of GDP in 2009 to 26% of GDP by 2082. To finance this the CBO estimates that the income tax brackets would have to rise to 25% for low income families, 63% for the middle class, and 88% for upper income individuals, small business, and corporations.

Without change, by 2052, EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR of federal tax revenue will be used to pay for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits-we won’t even be able to pay the interest on our debt. http://www.heritage.org/budgetchartbook/entitlements-historical-tax-levels

We spend a lot of time in America blaming politicians in Washington, DC. Typical American response of not assuming personal responsibility. Who sent these idiots there in the first place, and furthermore, who were the people that continued to beg for more entitlements at the public trough? At the end of the day, it’s really our fault, the American people. The people I blame most are those that run around on a daily basis believing that America is fine and nothing will ever happen to us. They look at you with contempt, or go silent and try to change the subject when you try to have a conversation about something other than American Idol, their kid’s soccer game, or the latest moral degenerate to be in the news (i.e. Anthony Weiner, Charlie Sheen, or Kaylee Anthony).

It’s up to us, if we want this nation to continue to be great you have to do your best to continue to educate those that don’t want to be educated. You have to have the courageous conversations with friends and family that frankly don’t want to hear it. Candidly, I think this is worth losing friends and family over if you have to. If you don’t, it’s going to get ugly! Taxing the rich is not going to get you out of this, it’s going to take cuts and the precious little entitlements might have to be modified a little bit. What’s disgusting is no change needs to befall those currently on the system, or about to go on the system in the next decade. This has been perverted by the left and the mainstream media in this country. It’s the younger people that will have to look at modifications. I’m 28, I fully accept this, AND I’M OK WITH IT! You see I’m not so selfish as to want to see my nation destroyed because I don’t want to be responsible enough to plan for old age. News flash folks, you get old, and you have to prepare for it, if you don’t do it, it sucks! And you deserve to have it suck!

Oh, and for those of you that have this naive view that defense should never be touched, get a clue, there’s no sacred cows this time.