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(Reuters)   U.S. retirement and health-care programs may go bankrupt, since neither party wants to touch those issues before the next president arrives in 2009   (reuters.com) divider line 70
    More: Asinine  
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3643 clicks; posted to Main » on 20 May 2007 at 4:45 AM (7 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2007-05-20 02:35:44 AM
We shouldn't fund those programs until we have defeated the terrorists and won the Wars on Terror and on Drugs and on Atheists. Then we can worry about people who are 100% likely to need medical care versus 0% likely to have WMDs.
 
2007-05-20 03:00:16 AM
Yea, scary thought. Congress might actualy have to *gasp* solve a problem. Face it congress, either fix it now and have a few people get mad at you. Or wait until it is totaly belly up and have EVERYONE screaming for your head. (or peeing on your grave if you arn't around anymore.)

No matter what you do, someone is gona be mad at you. Deal with it. I have to deal with that at my job, why can't you?
 
2007-05-20 03:04:35 AM
Conrad noted the 2008 presidential campaigns, both Democratic and Republican, were under way early, which could make it difficult to tackle such controversial reforms.

These 'campaigns' started months ago, so it seems the government is useless for about 2 years before every election. Pres. Elections take place every 4 years. Nice.

Really, nothing will be done because there are no lobbyists for retirement and health plans. Lobbyists and politicians don't have the same retirement and health plans as the average person; they really don't give a fark.

My advice to baby-boomers (and everybody else): don't count on the government for anything. It sounds like they will leave you out in the cold. Save your own money for retirement. A comfortable retirement will require about $1-2 million. You'd better be well on your way and/or have a plan, or I feel sorry for you.
 
2007-05-20 03:23:32 AM
Just to clarify, the number in my previous post (1-2 million) is a based on a post-retirement 'income' (ie. expenses) of about 60,000 per year over a span of 20 years.

If one could get by on 30,000, half a million might be enough, but that's still a significant number.
 
2007-05-20 04:54:11 AM
Won't do anything until 2009? More like 2089.
 
2007-05-20 04:57:40 AM
pnjunction: My advice to baby-boomers (and everybody else): don't count on the government for anything. It sounds like they will leave you out in the cold. Save your own money for retirement. A comfortable retirement will require about $1-2 million.

QFT.

I'm in my early 20s and I've already got a retirement account. Start saving as soon as possible. Even $50 a week is better than nothing. If I can afford it on a student stipend (in the Bay Area, no less), you probably can, too.
 
2007-05-20 05:03:00 AM
Arbitrator: So just because you don't piss your money away on useless shiat, I can't either? Get off your high horse and give me a free ride, jerk.
 
2007-05-20 05:03:25 AM
Well damn. Too bad there's no way to divert any of that 51% of the annual budget that goes into the Pentagon(before Iraq Spending) into some sort of fix for social security and to fund a socialized health care system.
 
2007-05-20 05:10:37 AM
The baby boomers are going to have to suck it up an accept some program cuts. Indexing, reduction in CPI increases, etc. They've managed to hoover up most of the wealth in this country, they don't need to drive it into the ground for the sake of these programs. Being the short-sighted, selfish bastards they've been since they emerged from the womb they won't though.
 
2007-05-20 05:12:30 AM
Can I use this thread to reiterate just how much I hate the AARP? I find their recent run of advertisements to be especially offensive: you know, the ones where they have children in front of the camera asking about how we're going to fix education, health care, stuff like that? Complete and total bullshiat. The AARP doesn't give a damn about education, they don't care two shiats about keeping Social Security around long enough for those child actors to reach retirement age, and they don't care about making health care accessible to poor children. Look at all the school districts that can never pass a funding levy because of all the old farts who think that their obligation to our system of education ends when their children graduate. Their sole raison d'être is to persuade, cajole, and/or bully lawmakers into passing laws that benefit the oldies and fark over the younger generations. Woe be upon the head of the congressman who, even if only hypothetical, mentions cutting Social Security benefits to make the program sovent. Better to hike FICA again than to raise the retirement age by 6 months.
 
2007-05-20 05:19:13 AM
Robo Beat: I find their recent run of advertisements to be especially offensive: you know, the ones where they have children in front of the camera asking about how we're going to fix education, health care, stuff like that? Complete and total bullshiat.

I prefer the Christian Children's Fund commercials, with the old white guy walking down some dirt street in Africa or Latin America, grabbing some kid, and says "The only thing this child ever did wrong was being born poor."

Seriously.

/not to threadjack or anything
//those aarp commercials remind me of those CCF and diabetes commercials
 
2007-05-20 05:19:50 AM
"My advice to baby-boomers (and everybody else): don't count on the government for anything."

Gee, what a novel idea!

Robo Beat, I hate the AARP too, for the same reasons.

Why would anyone want to fix retirement programs? All they'll get for their troubles is "He wants to starve old people!!!" panic nonsense.
 
2007-05-20 05:21:39 AM
sadly for the everyday people in the US, billions and billions are being blown elsewhere than on its on people and with a greying population the economic future of the US looks shakey even to the casual observer.
 
2007-05-20 05:25:22 AM
Robo Beat: Woe be upon the head of the congressman who, even if only hypothetical, mentions cutting Social Security benefits to make the program sovent. Better to hike FICA again than to raise the retirement age by 6 months.

Imagine how great it's going to be when the majority (or close to it) of voters are retired. I predict outrageous income tax hikes along with decreases for taxes on withdrawals from RRSPs (401ks down there?) and the like.

Like you mentioned, education at all levels will go likely go down the crapper. Also, gutting of just about any social program that doesn't benefit seniors and insanely tough crime laws to keep the riff-raff 'off of their lawn'.

It's going to get ugly.
 
2007-05-20 05:37:23 AM
pnjunction
My advice to baby-boomers (and everybody else): don't count on the government for anything. It sounds like they will leave you out in the cold. Save your own money for retirement. A comfortable retirement will require about $1-2 million. You'd better be well on your way and/or have a plan, or I feel sorry for you.

in US Dollars? I wouldn't recommend it.

I do wonder if healthcare will be so broken that hospitals just start saying, "alright you 75-year-old, we can put a pacemaker in you to give you another year, but it'd be a waste."
 
2007-05-20 05:45:02 AM
deevo: in US Dollars? I wouldn't recommend it.

Ummm...what would you recommend? More or less? The number is a bit pessimistic. I, for one, don't want to gamble very much when it comes to running out of money when I'm 80-something.

The numbers stay the same in CAD or USD, they depend on the amount of income you want, inflation, return on investment, how long you plan to live, etc...
 
2007-05-20 05:50:36 AM
deevo: alright you 75-year-old, we can put a pacemaker in you to give you another year, but it'd be a waste.

This is a tricky issue. On the one hand, it seems like the ethical thing to do is to extend life as much as possible. But on the other hand, the same resources might be used to give someone else a much longer and more productive run.

The solution is obvious: auction the resources off to the highest bidder.
 
2007-05-20 05:53:55 AM
Inflation has returned with a long overdue vengeance. Unless you are ready to retire with over $5M+ in assets or you want to continue working into your 70s or you like that smokey flavor of Alpo, your dreams of living on Easy Street have just gone up in smoke. What used to be $1M fortune has been deflated to be something a lot less in value. The suddenly worthless US dollar will not make our standard of living any better. Who's to blame for the 75M+ boomers retiring into penury? Hmmm...
 
2007-05-20 06:17:41 AM
Here is a link (p) to a 2005 article entitled: "The Truth About Social Security". It makes a case for basic fixes and against privatization. I found it succinct and worth reading.

I would like the US Administration to stop embroiling our nation in criminal, needless, imperial and unilateral unending war. While we expend and extinguish lives, and spend billions every week, our infrastructure is crumbling - and the rest of the developed world is passing us by.

The attack on the existing Social Security program is an attempt by neoliberals to dismantle the last vestiges of Roosevelt's "New Deal". Neoliberal globalization includes pushing for the removal of social programs, in the theory that once social programs are gone, "free market" activity will take care of everything and we will all do better. Anything suggesting the rights or needs of people should be upheld by the state and not put on the plate of self-serving capitalists is an anathema to big business. Privatization of Social Security is an attempt by capitalists to get their fingers in so they can make money off of Social Security.

Neoliberals are basically a modern equivalent of the American Liberty League. (p)
 
2007-05-20 06:35:06 AM
I thought they had fixed this, but then I remembered that was The West Wing, which seems more real than your current situation.
 
2007-05-20 07:02:12 AM
Republicans: It's their fault!

Democrats: It's their fault!

American People: Yea! gimme, gimme, gimme.

I remember a poll a few years back on health care reform. ~80% of the people polled wanted some sort of socialized medicine. Of course, only ~20% said they'd be willing to pay anything for it.
I think that sums up America nicely. We're willing to make the hard choices; as long as someone else pays for it. And politicians on both side simply play along, and tell their base that they deserve, no are ENTITLED to X.
 
2007-05-20 07:15:06 AM
BigBooper: American People: Yea! gimme, gimme, gimme.

As the top 1% takes more and more, the bottom 99% will have to turn to the government and ask. If your people can't eat, you get the French Revolution of 1789.
 
2007-05-20 07:32:06 AM
Chunksmediocrites Are you off your meds again?


Seriously, the fix for Social Security is simple. Create private accounts for all and invest the funds into "risky" long-term government bonds. The returns on long term government bonds have historically been 5-6% on average compared to 2-3% for social security. Since the returns impplicitly include inflation, the returns will always at least be as great as the returns for social security (as it is inflation-indexed). This would get our government debt out of the hands of foreign countries and it would allow poorer Americans to pass on wealth to their kids and grandkids in the form of the left over funds.

There would need to be a tapering off period, through which we would need to end the current system, but the greater returns for the government bonds should alleviate the need for massive tax increases. The only problem with this plan is that the liberals could no longer threaten old people that Republicans are trying to starve them and make them eat cat food, blah blah blah and something about neoliberals and corporatists.
 
2007-05-20 07:42:17 AM
But...but...but...we have the best health care in the world!
 
2007-05-20 07:53:17 AM
Svandals

Who administers these private accounts again? And what do they charge? And hey, since they are private accounts, why not let people invest in whatever they want? I hear Enron stock is a sure thing! Or maybe some dot-coms!

From the article I linked in my last post:
"Those advocating privatization almost never deduct the fees paid to those managing the funds from the assumed returns for privatized accounts. How much would the fund managers charge? In other words, what is the cash value today of the fees that will be paid to Wall Street for managing the private accounts over the seventy-five-year forecast period? An economist at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, Austan Goolsbee, has recently estimated the costs for the plan reportedly favored by the president, using a lowest likely fee system (one considerably lower than the current market average). The answer is $940 billion, an amount equal to 25 percent of the entire Social Security deficit. In short, the administration's path to fixing a $3.7-trillion funding gap starts by awarding the financial services industry almost another $1 trillion. Wall Street portfolio managers, at least, will never have to worry about financing their own retirements."

Here's an idea. Stop putting so much of our tax revenue into perpetual war and the military-industrial complex. Buy back our government bonds with the trillions saved right there and stop giving foreign nations power over our debt. The Republicans could even pretend they were fiscal conservatives again. Then both problems are solved and the modest fixes for Social Security would be well within our grasp, and not in Gordon Gecko's.
 
2007-05-20 08:09:06 AM
pnjunction: My advice to baby-boomers (and everybody else): don't count on the government for anything. It sounds like they will leave you out in the cold. Save your own money for retirement. A comfortable retirement will require about $1-2 million. You'd better be well on your way and/or have a plan, or I feel sorry for you.


I know that this doesn't mean anything, but I was thinking about retirement and I came up with the 1-2 millon figure as well. I figure, for my wife and I to retire and live a comfortable, not-extravagant, lifestyle we'll need about 2 million.

My wife and I each max out our 401k and RothIRA contributions so we save about 40k annually. We own our cars so the only debt we carry is our morgage. We're making extra payments on our house so that'll be paid off. We also save money for a generalized house emergency fund to absorb the cost of any replacements for our 13 year old house. The heat-pump *will* go sometime, dispite the maintenance program we pay for.

But we both still are very concern that we aren't saving enough so we audit our spending. Monthly bills for service are being reduced or eliminated. For instance, we went to a pay-as-you go cell phone plan. We don't use the cell phone a lot, so this method by my caclculatioin is saving us about $15 a month. I call into my internet provider every now and then and get a three month reduction in my bill. It's not a lot but those monthly bills and 5 dollars here and 15 dollars there really add up.
 
2007-05-20 08:38:30 AM
www.warresisters.org

Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,387 billion
MILITARY: 51% and $1,228 billion
NON-MILITARY: 49% and $1,159 billion

www.warresisters.org

The standard federal government pie chart is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and the expenses of past military spending are not distinguished from nonmilitary spending.
 
2007-05-20 08:39:13 AM
Too bad the system always seems to elect heartless rich bastards to power.

We've got a lot of evolving to do.
 
2007-05-20 08:41:30 AM
Was that country kitchen buffet? I'm looking for the country kitchen buffet thread.
 
2007-05-20 08:53:58 AM
Cuchulane

he standard federal government pie chart is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and the expenses of past military spending are not distinguished from nonmilitary spending.

can you provide an explanation as to what past military spending, and how trust funds distort income expenditures? also am confused - is this graph supposed to represent actual total spending by the fed?
 
2007-05-20 09:04:47 AM
At least give Congress the credit for forcing that tube down Terry Schiavo's throat, allowing her to return to an active and fulfilling life with her loving family, and demonstrating our commitment to quality health care for each and every individual citizen.

Oh, wait...she DIED?
 
2007-05-20 09:17:06 AM
This is all pretty much blue sky talk, but my $.02 says that SS can be saved - but Medicare, not so much. I think we would be better to scrap Medicare and save SS - if for no other reason that it has become painfully evident that our entire healthcare system needs a major overhaul anyway. We are being incrementally nibbled to death by foreign competition, and we don't have too much longer before we suffer some serious losses. Socialized medicine entails some hard choices, including having to triage, or ration medical care to those who can benefit most from it. But we are trying to compete in a world whose in which most of our major competitors have been relieved of their healthcare costs by their governments.
And anyway, we might actually be better off with less healthcare. Right now, this "sacredness of life" horsecrap has us keeping all kinds of defective, crippled, effed-up , ancient people alive. People who, if I may be so cruel as to point out, ought to be dead. Modern medicine has turned into another one of man's futile attempts to dominate nature and bend it to his own desires - it's no wonder no one but the wealthy can afford it anymore. You know all that fancy stuff you see on "House"? Under socialized medicine, not yours.
We may have to except the fact that we cannot keep alive every piece of meat shaped like a human being indefinitely.
I'm rambling. I should STFU.
 
2007-05-20 09:26:03 AM
infantry: can you provide an explanation as to what past military spending, and how trust funds distort income expenditures? also am confused - is this graph supposed to represent actual total spending by the fed?

Past military spending (military pensions, benefits, health care) is rolled into "Social programs", though it was originally generated by military spending.

Trust funds are paid directly by the people that use them ( you pay SS funds into the SS Trust fund, which is then redistributed), but the Feds loop it into general government spending.

The pie chart represents income tax. Trust funds sit outside of normal government spending, but adding them in makes it look like a much larger percentage of the money the feds directly control is spent on social programs.

Now, if they could keep their mitts off of the Trust Funds...
 
2007-05-20 09:31:30 AM
But teh queers are getting married!
 
2007-05-20 09:35:52 AM
The Long and Short answer:

It doesn't matter what happens. The Baby Boomers, through retirement, will devastate existing economic structures. Too much depends on so many people pumping more into RRSPs and their like. Plus, overall tax income will change, as has been covered here.
 
2007-05-20 09:45:50 AM
But military spending and corporate welfare won't skip a beat? God bless America!

/fascism rocks!
 
2007-05-20 10:04:41 AM
Cuchulane
Trust funds are paid directly by the people that use them ( you pay SS funds into the SS Trust fund, which is then redistributed), but the Feds loop it into general government spending.

That's not correct. FICA (medicare) and Social Security are not paid for by the people who use them. Some people have paid those taxes and receive the benefit, but many have not, or have not paid nearly the amount of the benefit they receive.

The worst misconception in the general population right now is of this "Trust Fund". There is not a trust fund. FICA and Social Security are taxes just like Federal and State and Sales Taxes. For public relations purposes, Social Security taxes have a different name. However, all taxes go into a general fund, and can be spent for whatever purpose.

The US Government is under no obligations to pay for future benefits. Today the Congress could decide to stop all payment to Medicare and Social Security (of course, they'd be kicked to the street in the next election, but that's a different matter).

The pie chart that was shown earlier is only distorting expenses to make a political point. From a true accounting standard, all current income (taxes) and expenditures must be in the same chart -- it is disingenous to leave out some expenses (social programs) to focus on others (military).
 
2007-05-20 10:10:14 AM
Robo Beat,
Can I use this thread to reiterate just how much I hate the AARP?
Formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, and now going only by their acronym, the AARP exists solely to sell life insurance and annuities and collect the dues of its members. In order to maximize their profits, they lowered the membership eligibility age to 50. How many retired 50-year-olds do you know, and of those, who would possibly need AARP's "services"?

The AARP, along with the rest of the money-sucking self-interest organizations, can DIAF.

/Just sayin'
 
2007-05-20 10:18:17 AM
Damba: That's not correct. FICA (medicare) and Social Security are not paid for by the people who use them. Some people have paid those taxes and receive the benefit, but many have not, or have not paid nearly the amount of the benefit they receive.

The worst misconception in the general population right now is of this "Trust Fund". There is not a trust fund. FICA and Social Security are taxes just like Federal and State and Sales Taxes. For public relations purposes, Social Security taxes have a different name. However, all taxes go into a general fund, and can be spent for whatever purpose.


The intent of Social Security funds ans Medicare funds are that they are to be spent within the confines of those programs - they are not part of the general income tax fund.

The US Government is under no obligations to pay for future benefits. Today the Congress could decide to stop all payment to Medicare and Social Security (of course, they'd be kicked to the street in the next election, but that's a different matter).

The Congress is under obligation to pay under the Act itself.

The pie chart that was shown earlier is only distorting expenses to make a political point. From a true accounting standard, all current income (taxes) and expenditures must be in the same chart -- it is disingenous to leave out some expenses (social programs) to focus on others (military).

No, that would be disingenous. If I get a check every week for $1000.00 and give it to my accountant pay my bills, and my living expenses, and to put $200.00 away into a retirement fund, it would be ridiculous for me to then state that he "spent" it all. The money put away is still an asset. Even if it is used to fund a social program, with a portion kept for me, it's not the same as spending it out.

The fact is, from straight income tax, over 50% of what we pay in funds the military. If every tax filing form had a box at the bottom that said "by checking this box, you agree that 50% of your taxes will be spent on the military." I don't think most people would check that box. SO the true cost of military spending stays hidden.

Some military spending = good. Half of all the income tax? Absurd.
 
2007-05-20 10:24:34 AM
"Neither party," subby? There are more than two US political parties.
 
2007-05-20 10:26:25 AM
I like the way everyone is blaming the anticipated problems on the "Baby Boomers". We've been pumping money into the government's pockets via income tax (often ridiculously high rates of income tax) our entire lives, and now that it's looking like we might live to retire and want some of it back? "Sorry, you greedy bastards - we already spent it on Bush's little 'war' and kickbacks to the petroleum industry. Too bad you'll die homeless and broke!" Get us the F*CK OUT of the Middle East money pit, toss Bushy out on his lilly-white ass, cut military spending by about 75%, take the solid-gold lollipops away from CEOs and their slimy cohorts, and plow the resulting huge amount of money into schools, teachers salaries, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and rehab programs. As soon as you remove military WASTE and corporate GREED from the equation, the rest is easy.
 
2007-05-20 10:46:21 AM
bitbear

blaming the anticipated problems on the "Baby Boomers"...Sorry, you greedy bastards - we already spent it on Bush's little 'war'

Get us the F*CK OUT of the Middle East money pit...plow the resulting huge amount of money into schools, teachers salaries, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and rehab programs


I agree with most of what you said, except the first part where you pretend that no baby boomers voted for Bush.
 
F42
2007-05-20 11:24:47 AM
Remond me: How much money is being funneled to Haliburton through Iraq, daily?

That much huh. Interresting priorities.
 
2007-05-20 11:37:10 AM
They'll just print more money and lie about the inflation like always.
 
2007-05-20 12:20:28 PM
Flippity Floppity Floo

Was that country kitchen buffet? I'm looking for the country kitchen buffet thread.

A lot of people come to Country Chicken.
 
2007-05-20 12:27:16 PM
bitbear wins the thread and at life.

But you know the choice is hard between some of our parents eating catfood so we can build more F/A-22 fighters go get them thar turrists!
 
2007-05-20 12:53:14 PM
What most don't know is that it's not just Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid but the bailing on the pensions of millions of workers by corporations...the untold story.
And corporations have underfunded their pension programs by
$500 BILLION.
So it will be a double whammy...the government will attempt to cut programs for the most vulnurable then the corporations will further bail out of pensions to their workers.
Congress will shrug and vote themselves a pay raise.
Then there's military retirement and benefits, but no one dare talk about that.
 
2007-05-20 01:09:32 PM
F42: Remond me: How much money is being funneled to Haliburton through Iraq, daily?

I'm not sure. How does one "remond" someone?
 
2007-05-20 01:11:21 PM
Cuchulane
If I get a check every week for $1000.00 and give it to my accountant pay my bills, and my living expenses, and to put $200.00 away into a retirement fund, it would be ridiculous for me to then state that he "spent" it all. The money put away is still an asset.

The analogy is flawed: If Social Security were put away into a fund, this analogy would be correct. However, "Social Security" taxes are spent right now, not saved. The US Treasury bonds backing up Social Security are debt issued from an entity to itself.

To change the analogy, let's say you spend all $1000 of the check, and then instructed your accountant to credit your retirement fund with $200 worth of Cuchulane IOUs. You are responsible for making good on those obligations to yourself, but there are no assets backing up the obligation.

Simply put, there is no Trust Fund, and all expenditures, both military and social, must be treated as expenses today, for there are no assets being "put away" for tomorrow.
 
2007-05-20 01:13:01 PM
Cuchulane: The standard federal government pie chart is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and the expenses of past military spending are not distinguished from nonmilitary spending.

That graph omits Social Security and attempts to somehow define Veterans Benefits as part of this supposed military industrial complex. How is providing for our veterans separate from any other forms of government aid and assistance?

images.encarta.msn.com
 
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