reply to post by Indigo5
Well that article is enough for me to never take The Motley Fool seriously again. Particularly the part about how the "social security surplus" is
"invested". I'd not take issue with it if it didn't imply that the bonds that the Soc Sec Admin holds were the same as bonds that trade in
worldwide bond markets, they are most certainly not. They are "special" non-marketable bonds. The .gov took the surplus, spent it, and gave the SSA
I owe U's. When the SSA needs that money, they have to go to the Treasury to redeem it. The Treasury will either have to pay that IOU with cash on
hand or issue real bonds at the current at the time rates. It's a sloppy article, and that's just the easiest to figure hole I see in it.
That being said, of all the entitlements, Social Security old age benefit is the easiest to fix. The first thing to do is to axe the two year old tax
cut which happened last week. Next would be to tax all wages instead of just the first $105K-ish in income as is done currently. Then, if needed, you
could raise the retirement age a few years and then if absolutely necessary some type of means test might be appropriate.
Other entitlements are much more tricky.
Social Security Disability is a whole other beast. I personally think it is filled with fraud, and at most should equal 40hrs a week at national
We should really be calling the recently renewed extended unemployment benefit what it really is--WELFARE. I'm perfectly fine with unemployment
insurance and the standard 26 weeks eligibility. I'm against but understand temporary extensions of maybe up to another 3 months to half a year in
tough economic times but not for the damn near four years you've had people drawing "funemployment" for up to two years.
Food stamps are as much of a handout to Grocery stores and food producers as they are to the people who use them. Food stamps inoculate groceries and
producers from market forces that should cause prices to fall in recessions, and hurts those gainfully employed who are seeing inflation eat away at
their purchasing power while their income falls or at best remains stable.
I find welfare morally repugnant as it destroys ones motivation to better themselves.
Finally we get to the biggest spending items of all and what will truly kill us financially if things aren't changed soon. Medicare and Medicaid are
the two items in the budget that are going to sink us financially. I'm not saying that those programs should go away, but they are not sustainable at
all. US medical spending has been growing at a roughly 8-9% rate since 1980. At that growth rate the amount of money spent is doubling around every 8
or so years. All US tax receipts including Social Security taxes in 2011 were 2.3 Trillion roughly. Medicare and Medicaid expenses in 2011 were 835
Billion at the current pace of growth in 2019 Medicare and Medicaid will cost 1.67 Trillion by themselves. The economy is only growing around a 2%
pace, and that's if you believe the numbers fed us by the .gov and their shills in the MSM. So at some time in the next 16 years, unless drastic
changes are made, Medicare and Medicaid will take every penny of revenue that the .gov takes in.
One of the reasons politicians ALWAYS mention Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid in the same breath is that they want the public to think that they
are linked together. Social Security is pretty much fixable, Medicare/Medicaid aren't without major systemic changes that are sure to piss off big
interest groups that give politicians on both sides of the aisle major money.
First you have to remove all anti-trust exemptions that the medical industry enjoys. Next, first sale doctrine must be honored on drugs and medical
devices like every other consumer good. Re-importation bans must end so that the US consumer isn't paying the R&D cost for the rest of the world like
they are now. Then, pricing disparity must end, patients should be billed the same no matter the method of payment be it insurance, medicare, or cash.
EMTALA should be repealed and the right to drop into an ER run up a couple hundred thousand of expenses and never pay a dime should end. The only
thing that a medical provider should have to do for someone who cannot pay is transport to either a charity hospital or charity ward for treatment. If
you look at what an uncomplicated birth cost in the late sixties to include a 3 or so day stay in the hospital and applied only normal inflation and
price increases, the same birth today would cost somewhere between $1200 and $2000.
I know the above is sacrilege to both the left and right, I'm fine with that. But if the right can't get behind some real market reforms in the
healthcare industry, I'm perfectly fine with nationalizing the healthcare system under the "provide for the common good clause" of the