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Social Security and Medicare are bad

storytimewithjesus
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6/29/2014 12:19:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Medicare and Social Security are among the biggest problems facing the US.

The average worker is twice as productive today as the average worker was when Medicare began in 1965, but only has about 10% higher purchasing power. Effective worker pay increased with productivity from 1945 until 1965. From 1965 until 1971, effective pay grew slower than productivity, and during the 1970s workers actually began losing pay. In 1965, there were about 6 workers per retiree. Today there are less than 3 workers per retiree. Each additional retiree means each worker has to be that much more productive in order to provide for that retiree, leaving less of that worker's productivity available for use by workers. Our young people are taking on massive debts to get the educations they need to be productive enough to meet today's economic demands, but instead of investing in their future, the US federal government spends 1/3 of its budget taking care of retirees and permanently disabled people who will never work again.

They're also destroying our health care system. The US spends twice as much per capita as the average country in Europe on health care, which takes up about 18% of our GDP, compared to 8-11% for most industrialized democracies. Almost half the US' spending on health care comes from government - in other words, our government spends about as much or more per person as most other industrialized democracies. However, we spend that money very differently. We spend only about 10-20% more per person age 18-65 as the average European country, but we spend twice as much on people age 65-75 and three times as much on people age 75+ as the average European country. The fact that Medicare redirects so much of our health care resources towards elderly retirees who will never work again no matter how much we spend on their care means our young people pay higher prices for lower quality service (supply and demand, Medicare increases the effective demand of our elderly for health care). It also means we spend more of our overall resources on health care and have less to put towards other things.

In an era when man made global climate change caused by significant overuse of our natural resources is one of the biggest threats facing our continued survival as both a nation and a species, and when population growth is being caused more by increasing lifespans than by reproduction, it is simply unaffordable from an economic and environmental standpoint to continue investing such a large portion of our scarce natural resources into the least likely group of people to contribute solutions to the wide variety of problems caused by their need for resources. Therefore, Social Security and Medicare should be at least cut significantly and at most eliminated or replaced with a system that provides health care coverage for working people with disabilities and for people who are temporarily or partially disabled, since taking care of people who can still work or who are expected to be able to go back to work in the future is a lot more likely to actually pay off than taking care of people who have no intention of ever working again.
ChosenWolff
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6/29/2014 3:40:11 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The programs aren't bad within themselves. Just the overall ineffectiveness of the system. SSI might implode, but medicare and social security can still be saved. If you want a real horror, look at the VA system. Our 4th largest budget expenditure is going towards a population of about 2 million. THAT is bad.
How about NO elections?

#onlyonedeb8
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.
ConservativeLibertarian
Posts: 54
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7/1/2014 9:55:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.

At 7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.

There are a few things wrong with this. Looking beyond abolishing SS and Medicare, which I frankly think is absurd, there are a number of things you have said which just aren't true.

First, many senior citizens DO work. In 2012, 18.5% of Americans over age 65 according to the BLS http://www.cnbc.com...#.

Not to mention, they're also taxed http://online.wsj.com...

Next, the implication that, even if they weren't working, that they're not contributing to the economy is ludicrous. Not only are many of them working and pay taxes, but the remainder consume. Not to mention, it's a VERY large percentage of their income.

This report from AARP elucidates the point: http://www.aarp.org...:

"Among beneficiaries aged 65 and older, 23 percent of married couples and 46 percent of
unmarried people rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. And
53 percent of married couples and 74 percent of unmarried people in this age group
receive 50 percent or more of their income from Social Security"

Try consuming or contributing to the economy at all if 90% of your income is wiped out. The report notes, rightfully so, that recipients spend the vast majority of their income due to their higher MPC's.

Every dollar spent on SS, as well, has a significant multiplier:

"The output multiplier for that program would be 2 because each dollar of benefits paid resulted in $2 of output."

So, even if we were to look beyond how utterly misinformed and immoral your proposal is, we also must acknowledge how economically misguided it happens to be.

I may come back to debunk a lot of other misinformed things you've said.
ConservativeLibertarian
Posts: 54
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7/1/2014 11:27:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I had some extra time, so I wanted to respond/fact check what you've written thus far since you didn't provide any citations, as expected for such a ludicrous position.

At 6/29/2014 12:19:06 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
Medicare and Social Security are among the biggest problems facing the US.


Really? Why? Let's see.

The average worker is twice as productive today as the average worker was when Medicare began in 1965, but only has about 10% higher purchasing power.:

I couldn't find anything directly addressing productivity over that time, but give or take, these remarks of yours are correct.

Here's a link that elucidates it more clearly from a Robert Reich piece in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com...

The interesting graphic shows that, from 1979 to 2009, productivity increased about 108%, while hourly compensation has only increased 8% and hourly wages have only increased 7%. The gains were largely lopsided, with 55% of the gains going to the top fifth, 25% to the second fifth, while -4% (i.e. a loss) went to the bottom fifth.

Effective worker pay increased with productivity from 1945 until 1965. :

The graphic shows that this is also true.

From 1965 until 1971, effective pay grew slower than productivity, and during the 1970s workers actually began losing pay. :

Going to have to call BS on this first sentence -- pay did grow commensurate with productivity from 65-71, again, as the graphic shows. The second statement is, for the most part, fine. From the late 70s on, pay essentially flat-lined while compensation rose, though there was a notable decline after the 80s. A lot of that, mind you, could be attributed to a lapse in productivity -- mind you, that was the time of the oil shock and the Fed took decisive action under Volcker to fight double-digit inflation.

But still, you're right generally speaking that pay has lagged productivity.

In 1965, there were about 6 workers per retiree. Today there are less than 3 workers per retiree.:

In 1960 it was 5.1, so the 6 worker figure is off. In 2010 it was 2.9. So, sure, those aren't completely off http://mercatus.org...

The SSA has attributed a number of factors to that, but it's basically a combination of baby boomers, living longer, and people having fewer children.

Each additional retiree means each worker has to be that much more productive in order to provide for that retiree, leaving less of that worker's productivity available for use by workers. :

Parsing productivity? Doesn't that presuppose that we'll be raising payroll taxes, effectively snatching the fruits of someone's labor in order to provide it to a retiree? The point makes absolutely no sense, especially when we could just lift the cap on income subject to the payroll withholding tax which is already regressive as it only taxes income up to about 114,000 and capital income is exempt.

Our young people are taking on massive debts to get the educations they need to be productive enough to meet today's economic demands:

True; $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is indeed a problem.

but instead of investing in their future, the US federal government spends 1/3 of its budget taking care of retirees and permanently disabled people who will never work again. :

I've already debunked the "will never work again" and the ridiculous, counter-factual notion that these elderly people don't contribute to the economy.

You're right that the federal government hasn't invested enough in the futures of young people and it should be; but by no means if paying out duly owed retirement benefits and investing in the future mutually exclusive, and I've already laid out a way to do that.

They're also destroying our health care system. The US spends twice as much per capita as the average country in Europe on health care, which takes up about 18% of our GDP, compared to 8-11% for most industrialized democracies. :

The figures are at least in the ballpark. We actually spend 2 and a half times more than other industrialized countries and about 17.6% of GDP on healthcare: http://www.pbs.org...

There are also a few reasons for that: mainly, it's administrative costs. Other countries spend less on administrative costs because they have universal healthcare. It's already been proven that Medicare is more efficient with respect to overhead than private insurance because it doesn't need to pay for marketing, etc.

http://healthaffairs.org...

We also have an absurd system where, if you're sick and uncovered, you can go to the emergency room on everyone else's dime.

Almost half the US' spending on health care comes from government - in other words, our government spends about as much or more per person as most other industrialized democracies.:

It was around 60% in 2009, so you're pretty much correct: http://www.forbes.com...

The second figure however is flat out bogus. Other countries spend LESS per person and about two and a half less as a percent of GDP as we do. I'd love to see your citation.

I'll address the rest later, but you really need to provide some citations so what you're saying seems at least remotely credible.
ConservativeLibertarian
Posts: 54
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7/2/2014 2:49:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I wanted to preemptively, predicting possible rebuttals, extend my last point.

There have been challenges to the "Medicare is more efficient than private insurance" hypothesis.

Greg Mankiw cited the disputed Heritage Foundation in an attempt to prove this view: http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com...

However, Jacob Hacker debunked virtually all of it (note, link unavailable, so I'll link to the Krugman post where he cited Hacker): http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com...

Oh, and something else Hacker pointed out: I disputed another of storytimebyjesus's claims about spending per capita as bogus. Hacker addressed this thoroughly. It turns out the disparity is much larger than I had thought, but for the same reasons:

"In international perspective, the United States spends nearly six times as much per capita on health care administration as the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations. Nearly all of this discrepancy is due to the sales, marketing, and underwriting activities of our highly fragmented framework of private insurance, with its diverse billing and review practices."

Now that we have the cost issue over and down with, the thesis falls apart royally. Nothing he said from that point on really, truly matters: it's such a bunch of Social Darwinism and BS. He seems to forget that a county that issues its own currency cannot go bankrupt -- that, or he just never happened to know that because, based on his arguments here, none of which (even the partially accurate points) lead us to the conclusion "Abolish Medicare and SS," he doesn't know much about economics.

I rest my case. This thread topic is absurd and the thesis has been utterly debunked.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/2/2014 6:00:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 9:55:24 PM, ConservativeLibertarian wrote:
First, many senior citizens DO work. In 2012, 18.5% of Americans over age 65 according to the BLS http://www.cnbc.com...#.

And those who do work are less dependent on the benefits they're receiving from SS and Medicare.

Next, the implication that, even if they weren't working, that they're not contributing to the economy is ludicrous. Not only are many of them working and pay taxes, but the remainder consume. Not to mention, it's a VERY large percentage of their income.

I believe we are operating under different definitions of contributing to the economy. Economics is not the study of the flow of money, because money's availability does not directly affect human survival. Economics is the study of resource scarcity, because resource availability does directly affect human survival. If you are consuming more resources than you are producing and you have less future potential to produce resources than that and you have used up whatever resources you stockpiled to prepare for your retirement, it is not in society's best interest to invest resources produced by other people in you, because there are other people who could put those resources to better use.

Some retirees, especially the younger ones between 65-75, work (usually part time) or help family by watching their grandkids or whatever. They have other sources of income and other people they can rely on for assistance because they are still useful. If you're 85 and have cancer and our choices are letting you die now or spending $100,000 dollars and the time and effort of a lot of medical staff who could be taking care of working people to keep you alive for 6 more months, nearly the entire industrialized world would choose letting them die. The US chooses to keep them alive, at great cost to the rest of society, with no chance of it paying off.

You seem to think that taking up the valuable time of our medical professionals while our 18-65 population who are much more likely to be working and raising kids who are also underserved compared to the rest of the world is contributing to the economy. We disagree on this point.

At 7/1/2014 11:27:44 PM, ConservativeLibertarian wrote:
I couldn't find anything directly addressing productivity over that time, but give or take, these remarks of yours are correct.

Here's a link that elucidates it more clearly from a Robert Reich piece in the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com...

The interesting graphic shows that, from 1979 to 2009, productivity increased about 108%, while hourly compensation has only increased 8% and hourly wages have only increased 7%. The gains were largely lopsided, with 55% of the gains going to the top fifth, 25% to the second fifth, while -4% (i.e. a loss) went to the bottom fifth.

You can see on the first graph that overall compensation and wages did not increase as much as productivity from 1960 to 1970 and that there was a major slump in effective hourly pay and compensation starting in 1971. That is what I was referencing.

A lot of that, mind you, could be attributed to a lapse in productivity -- mind you, that was the time of the oil shock and the Fed took decisive action under Volcker to fight double-digit inflation.

Oh, an oil shock due to consumption being higher than what we can sustainably produce. I wonder who could be responsible for the higher rates of consumption relative to our ability to provide resources? Perhaps a part of the population that is consuming resources but not producing them?

Parsing productivity? Doesn't that presuppose that we'll be raising payroll taxes, effectively snatching the fruits of someone's labor in order to provide it to a retiree? The point makes absolutely no sense, especially when we could just lift the cap on income subject to the payroll withholding tax which is already regressive as it only taxes income up to about 114,000 and capital income is exempt.

Whether we pay for it through higher taxes or through debt or through inflation doesn't matter. What matters is that they are consuming resources that other people have to produce.

By the way, what exactly did Medicare and Social Security do to prepare society for the baby boomers' eventual retirement? Did they cause us to stockpile any non-perishable medical supplies that they might need when they could no longer work? Did they invest it into increasing our medical infrastructure so we could support more patients? Medical schools so we would have more doctors? Or did they just put a number down on a piece of paper saying they'd paid into something while using the resources they were producing at that time in exactly the same way they otherwise would have? And if they didn't change the way they were using their resources, who cares how big the number they wrote down saying they paid in is?

You're right that the federal government hasn't invested enough in the futures of young people and it should be; but by no means if paying out duly owed retirement benefits and investing in the future mutually exclusive, and I've already laid out a way to do that.

But when the percent of the federal budget that goes to Medicare and Social Security has increased from about 1% of the federal budget at the end of WWII to about 33% of the federal budget today, can we afford to invest more in young people's future when that higher expenditure also means we're using more labor and resources to take care of our elderly population?

There are also a few reasons for that: mainly, it's administrative costs. Other countries spend less on administrative costs because they have universal healthcare. It's already been proven that Medicare is more efficient with respect to overhead than private insurance because it doesn't need to pay for marketing, etc.

HA. The entire cost of our health insurance industry is roughly 10% of the total cost of health care in the US. Even assuming all of that is waste (it isn't, but there's some additional waste in hospital administration so close enough), our system spends twice as much overall as other countries. There's still a lot of additional spending coming from somewhere. Most of it is from additional care given to retirees, who are the most expensive demographic to treat by far, especially the 75+ crowd who we spend three times as much on per person as other industrialized democracies.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/2/2014 6:01:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
http://healthaffairs.org...

We also have an absurd system where, if you're sick and uncovered, you can go to the emergency room on everyone else's dime.

We also have an absurd system where, if you're 85 and sick and wouldn't be able to afford any kind of health care coverage because you haven't worked in 20 years, you can get whatever medical care you want on everyone else's dime. But you're okay with taking care of the 85 year old. It's the 35 year old who could be put back to work if we took care of him that you have a problem taking care of.

Almost half the US' spending on health care comes from government - in other words, our government spends about as much or more per person as most other industrialized democracies.:

It was around 60% in 2009, so you're pretty much correct: http://www.forbes.com...

The second figure however is flat out bogus. Other countries spend LESS per person and about two and a half less as a percent of GDP as we do. I'd love to see your citation.

Wait, what part of that statement was bogus? I said half our health care spending comes from government, while we spend twice as much overall (private + government) as other countries, meaning our government, which is responsible for half of twice as much spending, spends about as much on our health care per person as countries with nationalized health care. You agreed that government spending is over half and that we actually spend more than twice as much as other industrialized democracies with nationalized health care as a percent of GDP. So our government does spend more per capita on health care than most industrialized democracies with primarily government funded health care. And the vast majority of that goes towards retirees and the permanently disabled, who we spend far more on than any other country.

I'll address the rest later, but you really need to provide some citations so what you're saying seems at least remotely credible.

But you fact checked it and everything checked out! But okay. Most of my sources are listed here, the ones about our health care system and retirees specifically, while the ones dealing with the overall economy, purchasing power, etc. are under my second video. https://www.youtube.com...

At 7/2/2014 2:49:45 PM, ConservativeLibertarian wrote:
Now that we have the cost issue over and down with, the thesis falls apart royally. Nothing he said from that point on really, truly matters: it's such a bunch of Social Darwinism and BS. He seems to forget that a county that issues its own currency cannot go bankrupt -- that, or he just never happened to know that because, based on his arguments here, none of which (even the partially accurate points) lead us to the conclusion "Abolish Medicare and SS," he doesn't know much about economics.

Double digit inflation is the way to go! We can have everything if we just print enough money to pay for it!
buddha49er
Posts: 30
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7/6/2014 10:31:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Yeah, screw the elderly! How dare they continue to live!

A couple of points: SS is fully funded by payments put into it by the current workforce. The problem is that there is actually excess, which the Federal Govt takes to pay for other stuff, then bitches and moans about how big of an expenditure SS is. http://www.strengthensocialsecurity.org...

As far as Medicare, I found something interesting: We keep spending more on it each year (not by a ton, though), but even as costs are going up, they're staying about the same percent of the GDP. Just an interesting thought: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/7/2014 12:01:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/6/2014 10:31:08 PM, buddha49er wrote:
Yeah, screw the elderly! How dare they continue to live!

Yeah, screw the young! How dare they try to start their careers and establish their lives without a significantly heavier burden than any previous generation has ever been asked to carry? It's not like our current generation of new workers is the first generation since WWII to have less economic opportunity than the previous generation or anything.

A couple of points: SS is fully funded by payments put into it by the current workforce. The problem is that there is actually excess, which the Federal Govt takes to pay for other stuff, then bitches and moans about how big of an expenditure SS is. http://www.strengthensocialsecurity.org...

The problem is that it is primarily paid for by current workers, rather than past retirees. Medicare and social security did nothing whatsoever to prepare society for the growth of our retired population. People act as if our retirees "paid into" the system, but in reality, none of the resources our current retirees produced while they were working were used to prepare for their retirement as a result of SS or Medicare. Our current retirees did nothing special to prepare for their retirement, but they're expecting our current workers to take care of them anyway.

As far as Medicare, I found something interesting: We keep spending more on it each year (not by a ton, though), but even as costs are going up, they're staying about the same percent of the GDP. Just an interesting thought: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...

Medicare's % of GDP went up from 2% to 3% over the past 15 years. A 50% increase in its share of the economy over 15 years isn't big growth to you?
buddha49er
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7/7/2014 12:21:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/7/2014 12:01:20 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
At 7/6/2014 10:31:08 PM, buddha49er wrote:
Yeah, screw the elderly! How dare they continue to live!

Yeah, screw the young! How dare they try to start their careers and establish their lives without a significantly heavier burden than any previous generation has ever been asked to carry? It's not like our current generation of new workers is the first generation since WWII to have less economic opportunity than the previous generation or anything.

So the elderly should be screwed? I don't buy it. I've found no obstacle to starting my own business/career based on SS burdens. Also, do you have a source for the economic opportunity claim? With the existence of the internet, I would be curious as to how exactly our economic opportunities have become lessened.

A couple of points: SS is fully funded by payments put into it by the current workforce. The problem is that there is actually excess, which the Federal Govt takes to pay for other stuff, then bitches and moans about how big of an expenditure SS is. http://www.strengthensocialsecurity.org...

The problem is that it is primarily paid for by current workers, rather than past retirees. Medicare and social security did nothing whatsoever to prepare society for the growth of our retired population. People act as if our retirees "paid into" the system, but in reality, none of the resources our current retirees produced while they were working were used to prepare for their retirement as a result of SS or Medicare. Our current retirees did nothing special to prepare for their retirement, but they're expecting our current workers to take care of them anyway.

They expect the system to do for them what it did for the old folks they paid for before them. They did pay into the system, with the expectation that it would help them out once they hit retirement age. Yes, the boom of the elderly wasn't exactly accounted for, but we aren't going to euthanize them because we made a mistake.

As far as Medicare, I found something interesting: We keep spending more on it each year (not by a ton, though), but even as costs are going up, they're staying about the same percent of the GDP. Just an interesting thought: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com...

Medicare's % of GDP went up from 2% to 3% over the past 15 years. A 50% increase in its share of the economy over 15 years isn't big growth to you?

My point is that it's basically leveled out since then. If you want to check out 15 year periods, it's basically gone up by 1% every 15 years. The past 4 years is the first time it's really leveled out.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/7/2014 12:42:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/7/2014 12:21:29 AM, buddha49er wrote:
So the elderly should be screwed? I don't buy it. I've found no obstacle to starting my own business/career based on SS burdens. Also, do you have a source for the economic opportunity claim? With the existence of the internet, I would be curious as to how exactly our economic opportunities have become lessened.

http://www.washingtonpost.com...

The fact that you personally have found success does not mean that the system overall is not failing. Incomes for non-management workers have been stagnant since 1971.

They expect the system to do for them what it did for the old folks they paid for before them. They did pay into the system, with the expectation that it would help them out once they hit retirement age. Yes, the boom of the elderly wasn't exactly accounted for, but we aren't going to euthanize them because we made a mistake.

But the number of retirees per worker has about doubled over the past 50 years, while the percentage of our 18-65 year old population who work for pay grew, so the individual burden on each 18-65 year old has increased significantly. When you have a portion of your population that's completely dependent on charity from others because they're no longer able to produce anything themselves, and their population is growing relative to the number of productive people even as the number of productive people is growing, you have something unsustainable. We can't afford to contribute as much per retiree as we used to without hurting workers more, and yet we're spending more per retiree due to expansions in Medicare such as the completely unfunded Part D expansion under Bush.

My point is that it's basically leveled out since then. If you want to check out 15 year periods, it's basically gone up by 1% every 15 years. The past 4 years is the first time it's really leveled out.

It's leveled out in the past few years because Obama has limited the growth in spending on SS and Medicare (one of the few good things he's done). The Republicans are actually a bigger problem for the most part. See Mitt Romney, whose plan to balance the budget as stated during the Presidential debates was to cut a few million from programs like Head Start and PBS that actually invest in young people while calling for a trillion dollar increase to Medicare (which would have increased the deficit even more, but nobody ever said Mitt was good at math).
buddha49er
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7/7/2014 2:59:15 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/7/2014 12:42:44 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
http://www.washingtonpost.com...

The fact that you personally have found success does not mean that the system overall is not failing. Incomes for non-management workers have been stagnant since 1971.

But that's not SS's fault, that's greedy a**holes like the Waltons (and Reaganauts saying that trickle down totally works, just give the rich people all of the money first).

But the number of retirees per worker has about doubled over the past 50 years, while the percentage of our 18-65 year old population who work for pay grew, so the individual burden on each 18-65 year old has increased significantly. When you have a portion of your population that's completely dependent on charity from others because they're no longer able to produce anything themselves, and their population is growing relative to the number of productive people even as the number of productive people is growing, you have something unsustainable. We can't afford to contribute as much per retiree as we used to without hurting workers more, and yet we're spending more per retiree due to expansions in Medicare such as the completely unfunded Part D expansion under Bush.

We are spending more than we have before, I won't deny that. But that doesn't mean the system is unsustainable. It would seem that the problem is that minimum wage should be about $20 per hour, had it actually kept up with inflation, which would make the system perfectly sustainable.

It's leveled out in the past few years because Obama has limited the growth in spending on SS and Medicare (one of the few good things he's done). The Republicans are actually a bigger problem for the most part. See Mitt Romney, whose plan to balance the budget as stated during the Presidential debates was to cut a few million from programs like Head Start and PBS that actually invest in young people while calling for a trillion dollar increase to Medicare (which would have increased the deficit even more, but nobody ever said Mitt was good at math).

Mitt Romney is pretty much "Rich White Evil Incarnate", as far as politics go. I'm not a fan.

So, raise minimum wage, then? Is that a good solution to your issue?
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/7/2014 10:10:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/7/2014 2:59:15 AM, buddha49er wrote:
But that's not SS's fault, that's greedy a**holes like the Waltons (and Reaganauts saying that trickle down totally works, just give the rich people all of the money first).

That's shortsighted and not really accurate. Yes, incomes at the top also increased over that period, but not by enough to account for all or even most of the income workers should be receiving based on their productivity but aren't. Someone who makes 100 times as much as you doesn't consume 100 times as many resources as you, they aren't eating 100 times as much food, taking up 100 times as much space, burning 100 times as much fuel, etc., so they don't place as much of an extra burden on society as their income would imply. Also, many of the mega-rich like Bill Gates got there by contributing significantly to societal wellbeing. I'm not saying income inequality isn't a big issue, but in terms of what's draining society's resources and forcing workers to work more for less pay, it's only one of many factors.

We are spending more than we have before, I won't deny that. But that doesn't mean the system is unsustainable. It would seem that the problem is that minimum wage should be about $20 per hour, had it actually kept up with inflation, which would make the system perfectly sustainable.

It would be $11/hour if it had kept up with inflation and $22 an hour if it had kept up with increases in worker productivity. The thing is, if you have a large and growing population who are expecting to consume the things workers produce without producing anything themselves, it doesn't really matter how many dollars you pay people, there still won't be as many resources available to them as they deserve based on their contributions.

Mitt Romney is pretty much "Rich White Evil Incarnate", as far as politics go. I'm not a fan.

So, raise minimum wage, then? Is that a good solution to your issue?

Raising the minimum wage would be a slight bandaid on our problems, eliminating inflation would do a lot more to prevent workers from losing so much income so quickly, but economics is about resources, not money. More people consuming but not working = workers have to work harder for the same amount of stuff, regardless of how many dollars you pay them.
buddha49er
Posts: 30
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7/8/2014 12:52:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/7/2014 10:10:46 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
At 7/7/2014 2:59:15 AM, buddha49er wrote:
But that's not SS's fault, that's greedy a**holes like the Waltons (and Reaganauts saying that trickle down totally works, just give the rich people all of the money first).

That's short sighted and not really accurate. Yes, incomes at the top also increased over that period, but not by enough to account for all or even most of the income workers should be receiving based on their productivity but aren't. Someone who makes 100 times as much as you doesn't consume 100 times as many resources as you, they aren't eating 100 times as much food, taking up 100 times as much space, burning 100 times as much fuel, etc., so they don't place as much of an extra burden on society as their income would imply. Also, many of the mega-rich like Bill Gates got there by contributing significantly to societal well being. I'm not saying income inequality isn't a big issue, but in terms of what's draining society's resources and forcing workers to work more for less pay, it's only one of many factors.

Bill Gates isn't exactly the norm for the rich folk. Point out the genuine attempts at curing some worldly ill that the Kochs have contributed to. (I'll agree with the rest of the paragraph though).

We are spending more than we have before, I won't deny that. But that doesn't mean the system is unsustainable. It would seem that the problem is that minimum wage should be about $20 per hour, had it actually kept up with inflation, which would make the system perfectly sustainable.

It would be $11/hour if it had kept up with inflation and $22 an hour if it had kept up with increases in worker productivity. The thing is, if you have a large and growing population who are expecting to consume the things workers produce without producing anything themselves, it doesn't really matter how many dollars you pay people, there still won't be as many resources available to them as they deserve based on their contributions.

You're right. I misremembered the numbers there. I understand your argument here, but I'm not sure I can really agree with it. It's sound economically, but I can't support it from a "get rid of the old folks for the economy" perspective.

Mitt Romney is pretty much "Rich White Evil Incarnate", as far as politics go. I'm not a fan.

So, raise minimum wage, then? Is that a good solution to your issue?

Raising the minimum wage would be a slight bandaid on our problems, eliminating inflation would do a lot more to prevent workers from losing so much income so quickly, but economics is about resources, not money. More people consuming but not working = workers have to work harder for the same amount of stuff, regardless of how many dollars you pay them.

Like I said, economically this seems sound. But I can't condone euthanizing the elderly.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/8/2014 1:25:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
You don't have to euthanize them. Old people die on their own perfectly fine when we get out of the way and let them. The question is whether we should continue spending tens of thousands of dollars per person, on average more than they actually paid in even after adjusting for inflation, to keep them alive. I'm not saying we need to kill them, just let god/nature/etc. run its course without intervening so much.
JohnMaynardKeynes
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7/8/2014 1:28:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/8/2014 1:25:51 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
You don't have to euthanize them. Old people die on their own perfectly fine when we get out of the way and let them. The question is whether we should continue spending tens of thousands of dollars per person, on average more than they actually paid in even after adjusting for inflation, to keep them alive. I'm not saying we need to kill them, just let god/nature/etc. run its course without intervening so much.

I don't think it's that simple, though. I think your proposal is largely ceteris paribus. I'll look past the moral arguments and just consider the economics. People tend to feel a moral obligation to one another, particularly their families. So if the government didn't spend money on Medicare/SS, it's implied that payroll taxes wouldn't exist (even if they did, someone else would still spend that money or it would go elsewhere). People would still pay to take care of their loved ones, thus diverting resources to them anyway. So, for your plan to work, doesn't it require that society accepts your proposal en masse? I just don't see it happening.
~JohnMaynardKeynes

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storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/8/2014 2:06:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/8/2014 1:28:36 AM, JohnMaynardKeynes wrote:
I don't think it's that simple, though. I think your proposal is largely ceteris paribus. I'll look past the moral arguments and just consider the economics. People tend to feel a moral obligation to one another, particularly their families. So if the government didn't spend money on Medicare/SS, it's implied that payroll taxes wouldn't exist (even if they did, someone else would still spend that money or it would go elsewhere). People would still pay to take care of their loved ones, thus diverting resources to them anyway. So, for your plan to work, doesn't it require that society accepts your proposal en masse? I just don't see it happening.

Ii don't think the majority of families will make the same spending decisions with their own money that we make today with a system that forcibly redirects their spending, and I think most families will make cost-benefit decisions that are closer to the actual costs and benefits of keeping elderly people alive. If you have an elderly relative who's living with you and helping you with cooking and raising the kids, it's probably in your best interest to spend some money helping them with their health care. If you have an elderly relative who's sick and often bedridden and requires more help than they can provide to the family even under the best circumstances, you're more likely to accept that their time has come if you have a choice in whether or not to take care of them.

Whatever changes we make don't need to leave retirees completely helpless the day they stop working (and if people put even half of what they pay in payroll taxes into a retirement fund, they'd still retire with enough to live on for at least the first few years of retirement). We just need to stop massively wasting resources on people 75+. Per person health care costs for the 75+ crowd are roughly 5 times as high per year as 18-65 year olds. Even if we just cut one year of health care spending off the end of every retiree's costs, the savings would bring health care prices down significantly because we would be cutting the most expensive spending.
Ms.Nomer
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7/23/2014 1:10:31 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/8/2014 2:06:54 AM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
At 7/8/2014 1:28:36 AM, JohnMaynardKeynes wrote:
...People tend to feel a moral obligation to one another, particularly their families. So if the government didn't spend money on Medicare/SS... People would still pay to take care of their loved ones, thus diverting resources to them anyway. So, for your plan to work, doesn't it require that society accepts your proposal en masse? I just don't see it happening.

Ii don't think the majority of families will make the same spending decisions with their own money that we make today with a system that forcibly redirects their spending, and I think most families will make cost-benefit decisions that are closer to the actual costs and benefits of keeping elderly people alive. If you have an elderly relative who's living with you and helping you with cooking and raising the kids, it's probably in your best interest to spend some money helping them with their health care. If you have an elderly relative who's sick and often bedridden and requires more help than they can provide to the family even under the best circumstances, you're more likely to accept that their time has come if you have a choice in whether or not to take care of them.

Whatever changes we make don't need to leave retirees completely helpless the day they stop working (and if people put even half of what they pay in payroll taxes into a retirement fund, they'd still retire with enough to live on for at least the first few years of retirement). We just need to stop massively wasting resources on people 75+. Per person health care costs for the 75+ crowd are roughly 5 times as high per year as 18-65 year olds. Even if we just cut one year of health care spending off the end of every retiree's costs, the savings would bring health care prices down significantly because we would be cutting the most expensive spending.

Deciding what to do based on resource allocation, it's hard to argue with storytimewithjesus. It is not rational that we pay anywhere near 50% of lifetime health care costs on seniors. Therefore it is rational to ration health care on people who are past the average life expectancy. Anything younger and we start hitting some undeniably universal moral issues no matter how healthy or productive they could be. Practically speaking though, any politician who proposed any kind of rationing after 75 would be voted out of office faster than a pro-gun-control republican in Texas. So while the idea has merit, I see no possibility of realizing it while we still spend more on defense than education. As this is evidence that we are more gun happy/fearful than wise.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://www.cbo.gov...
http://newscastmedia.com...
http://www.estateofdenial.com...
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/24/2014 7:36:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/23/2014 1:10:31 AM, Ms.Nomer wrote:
Deciding what to do based on resource allocation, it's hard to argue with storytimewithjesus. It is not rational that we pay anywhere near 50% of lifetime health care costs on seniors. Therefore it is rational to ration health care on people who are past the average life expectancy. Anything younger and we start hitting some undeniably universal moral issues no matter how healthy or productive they could be. Practically speaking though, any politician who proposed any kind of rationing after 75 would be voted out of office faster than a pro-gun-control republican in Texas. So while the idea has merit, I see no possibility of realizing it while we still spend more on defense than education. As this is evidence that we are more gun happy/fearful than wise.

References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
http://www.cbo.gov...
http://newscastmedia.com...
http://www.estateofdenial.com...

You're right, it's unlikely to change, if for no other reason than because old people are much more likely to vote than young people. I wish more pro-gun-control types recognized that the military industrial complex and increasing militarization of our police are much bigger threats to public safety than private ownership of guns, but I'm not sure exactly how we ended up on the subject. I liked that last link of yours, definitely good words of advice. I've mostly supported third party candidates, but I have campaigned on behalf of a few local libertarian Republicans.
slo1
Posts: 4,316
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7/24/2014 9:24:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.

Indeed, those greedy old folks should just be shot and put in in the fertilizer to do some good for humanity.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/24/2014 6:48:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 9:24:02 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.

Indeed, those greedy old folks should just be shot and put in in the fertilizer to do some good for humanity.

I love how any suggestion that we let people die naturally rather than expect our brightest minds to spend a significant amount of their time trying to keep those people alive even when they won't be able to do anything to help keep anyone else alive as a result automatically ends up being equated with killing them yourself, even when many of those people would already be dead if we weren't going out of our way to take care of them, and even when helping them comes at the expense of helping our working population. But I guess those lazy young people should just suck it up and keep going to work sick every day to take care of their grandparents so we can keep our elderly Tea Partiers alive so they can keep reminding our working age population how lazy they are for not wanting to support twice as many retirees per worker as our current retirees had to support when they were working.
StevenJD
Posts: 2
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7/24/2014 8:13:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
All I'm going to say is that social security and Medicare help those who can't help themselves and/or can't afford it.
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/25/2014 12:40:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 8:13:08 PM, StevenJD wrote:
All I'm going to say is that social security and Medicare help those who can't help themselves and/or can't afford it.

Let me try something more on your level.

People have been dying of old age for as long as there have been people. The idea that we should spend more of our health care resources on elderly people who are going to die without doing much else in the meantime while there are younger people who could be kept productive for longer going without health care hurts more people overall than medicare helps.
slo1
Posts: 4,316
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7/25/2014 9:27:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/24/2014 6:48:33 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
At 7/24/2014 9:24:02 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 7/1/2014 5:39:52 PM, storytimewithjesus wrote:
It's not just a matter of whether or not they can "be saved". The underlying purpose of the programs, to put more of society's resources into the hands of people who will never work again no matter how much we invest in them, is wrong.

Indeed, those greedy old folks should just be shot and put in in the fertilizer to do some good for humanity.

I love how any suggestion that we let people die naturally rather than expect our brightest minds to spend a significant amount of their time trying to keep those people alive even when they won't be able to do anything to help keep anyone else alive as a result automatically ends up being equated with killing them yourself, even when many of those people would already be dead if we weren't going out of our way to take care of them, and even when helping them comes at the expense of helping our working population. But I guess those lazy young people should just suck it up and keep going to work sick every day to take care of their grandparents so we can keep our elderly Tea Partiers alive so they can keep reminding our working age population how lazy they are for not wanting to support twice as many retirees per worker as our current retirees had to support when they were working.

What is it that makes you so disconnected to other humans solely because of age? It is obvious that you are young and have some sort of extreme disconnection. To be honest with you I think it is the American concept of leading children by authoritarianism rather than teaching them to behave properly because of the negative impact to their self or others. I digress.

The problem is not solved by letting staving people flap in the wind to die naturally, the problem can be solved by moving SS to a pension system rather than insurance system. After all does not the greatest libertarian beacon in the world, Singapore, not do exactly that?
storytimewithjesus
Posts: 64
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7/27/2014 11:20:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/25/2014 9:27:17 AM, slo1 wrote:
What is it that makes you so disconnected to other humans solely because of age? It is obvious that you are young and have some sort of extreme disconnection. To be honest with you I think it is the American concept of leading children by authoritarianism rather than teaching them to behave properly because of the negative impact to their self or others. I digress.

The problem is not solved by letting staving people flap in the wind to die naturally, the problem can be solved by moving SS to a pension system rather than insurance system. After all does not the greatest libertarian beacon in the world, Singapore, not do exactly that?

We literally live in a world that is being killed off due to the massive overuse of our natural resources. If we can't change that course, within the next couple centuries we will see massive ecological devastation, the extinction of thousands of species, and quite possibly the near extinction of humanity if we mess things up too badly. It's not just fossil fuels that we're overusing, either. We currently use over 40% of the world's most fertile land for agriculture, and our current agricultural practices are destroying biodeiversity and reducing topsoil and groundwater levels pretty rapidly. We dump huge amounts of trash which contaminate local environments, poison plants, and strangle animals. If all 7 billion people on Earth consumed resources at the same rate as the average American, it would take an entire second Earth to produce the resources necessary to take care of them all. We have too many people consuming too many things, and the elderly are the group least likely to be contributing any solutions to the wide variety of problems their continued existence creates, and the most likely group to deny that there are problems with our overconsumption and environmental practices. If there were a way for the elderly to stop killing our world, I wouldn't mind them so much.