Skip to comments.Poll Confirms America's Entitlement Culture...Even Among Tea Partiers
Posted on 03/13/2011 8:02:16 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
The anti-government throw-the-bums-out crowds have had their chance to speak out on how to curtail the deficit and what to do with those hated entitlements that are the antithesis of the America they pine for. A recent WSJ/NBC News poll provided a glimpse of just how dependent on big government entitlements Americans have becomeeven among the Tea Party. Not that this should be a surprise to anyone watching the slow shift of the American mindset from citizen, to consumer, to ward of the State over the past century.
According to the Wall Street Journal who co-sponsored the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was unacceptable to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit.
No wonder President Obama in his State of the Union speech only paid lip service to Social Security and Medicare reform, mentioning each by name only once in over 7,000 words of text. He knows what Americans are really about as summed up in the old adage: It all depends on whose ox is being gored.
And the poll exposes a potentially discrediting hypocrisy within the Tea Party movement who claim to be for smaller government and a return to a libertarian Nirvana. Consider: by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, self-described Tea Partiers declared significant cuts to Social Security unacceptable.
In fact, as the poll reveals, less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the mounting deficit about which they cry warnings of impending doom.
Before Tea Partiers accuse me of trashing them, although I am not one of them, I have defended the movement many times when I felt it unfairly attacked by the left. You see, I agree whole-heartedly with their deficit concerns. But, unlike them, I am willing to give up my benefits to set things right. They clearly are not, Gadsden flags and tri-corn hats notwithstanding. So I find myself in the minority even among my own kind it seems.
Despite the fact that such entitlements are already in the red, when asked directly if they thought cuts to Medicare were necessary to significantly reduce the deficit, 18% of respondents said yes, while 54% said no; the rest were not sure or had no opinion. On Social Security, 22% said cuts would be needed, while 49% said they werent.
Well then now what guys? Whats your plan then?
Ah, the poll goes on to say that there are two solutions that more than half of those responding would support. And they reveal that many Americans are, in fact, quite selfish.
Solution one: More than half support extending the retirement age to 69 by 2075. Or as I like to call it, the deal with it after Im dead solution. Of course a person in their 40s and above in 2011 would have no problem with this. I am 43, in good health, but I am not Methuselah. The odds of me being anywhere but with my Maker in 64 years are pretty slim. So, even though many Americans rant against saddling the future generations with a deficit, theyll be damned if they dont first cash in all their Social Security chips before they check out. Very noble.
Solution two: Over 60% of those polled support reducing payments to wealthier Americans. In other words, when it comes to their benefits at risk, its time to what? Spread the wealth by reducing my benefits so theirs will remain intact because I made more money. Penalize the rich? Honestly, it matters little to me as I expect reduced benefits anyway. Its just the principle and the Tea Party and similar movements are very much about principle. Until it comes down to sacrificing their precious benefits, that is. Then they suddenly gravitate towards that very wealth redistribution model over which they crucified Mr. Obama during the campaign as personified by Joe The Plummer.
So what this latest poll shows is that when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, most Americans, even Nobamanauts, show their true colors and demonstrate that we are hopelessly mired in an entitlement culture that in the end will only be solved by one guy: Mr. Mathematics. An American retiring today will have put roughly $114,000 in contributions into Medicare but will receive over $355,000 in services throughout their ever lengthening retirement. If left unaddressed, this formula will eventually collapse anyway so one way or the other, austerity is a comin. Tick-tock.
More than seven in 10 tea party backers feared GOP lawmakers would not go far enough in cutting spending. It may be hard to understand why someone would try to jump off a cliff to solve the debt crisis, said pollster Bill McInturff of his fellow Republicans, unless you understand that they are being chased by a tiger, and that tiger is the tea party. Yet, as his own survey shows, this is a false premise as only one in three will be waving pitchforks. The other two-thirds, suffering from an astounding case of cognitive dissonance, will be cashing their checks. Certainly, the Tea Party verve and libertarian ire that demands brave measures from the new Congress to get the deficit under control dissipates dramatically when the firing squad of benefit reductions is trained on them. Then, suddenly, they propose to kick the can down the road to their kids, and to spread the wealth. Sound familiar? Oh and keep government out of our lives! Riiight.
Hypocrisy is not an exclusive property of the far left it seems. So good luck to the GOP in their quest to make significant cuts in the deficit
If theyre serious, I hope they like being one-termers.
There is no money.
I'm amazed at the number of freepers who think government spending should be drastically cut -- just so long as they keep getting their own personal benefits. After all, they paid for 'em.
You got conned. We all did. I'm sorry. But there it is.
I call “cuckah”!
I’m ready to gut it all.
It’s not going to happen, we’re screwed I fear.
I’m ready to gut it all.
It’s not going to happen, we’re screwed I fear.
Defund all collectives. Let them live or die on their own. It’s 2011. Wake up.
I have friends whose granddaughter receives over $1,000/month in "benefits" from SS because her father died. She will receive this every month until she's 18 I believe. This will be far more than her father ever paid into the "system."
As for means testing, I'm totally opposed to that no matter how "rich" somebody may be.
I totally agree. Taxpayers are left on the hook with a promise of goodies for all. When we finally get to the head of the line, after the pols, bosses, end execs, we’ll all be in for a rude shock. Better to go ahead and shut down the ponzi-scheme ASAP.
There’s a sucker born every minute.
Well put. I have said similar things to the “I ‘paid in’ all my life” crowd. It all is going to collapse, perhaps sooner than later, depending on the bond market.
I wish I could say I was surprised. It's the same reason Socialist Security hasn't been dealt with for decades. It would be too much to expect a sudden turnaround. I'd be interested in seeing the demographics on the survey, specifically the male/female breakdown.
Virtually every poll reveals the same thing. Americans are extremely wedded to the social welfare state and even with the emergence of the Tea Party there is no fundamental shift in American attitudes to spending at all. In the abstract, Americans will generally say they support spending cuts - but when you ask them about cutting specific programs they will almost always oppose funding reductions.
Because paying into Social Security is mandatory I am not sure why it is considered an “entitlement” unless I misunderstand the usage of the word. To me an “entitlement” is welfare or other programs that one did not pay into. I do not see Social Security, Medicare or Veteran’s benefits to be entitlements, though I know politicians, media and many others do see them that way. I do understand that most people draw far more in benefits than they pay in, but what do the numbers look like if you factor in the interest you could have drawn over the same number of years if you had invested the money on your own? If the number is as a rule far more than what is paid in plus interest then I can understand how it could be at least a partial entitlement. As to Veterans benefits, that is a promise we made to Veterans when they agreed to serve and if we cannot afford the benefits then we need to quit making the promise.
Yep we’ve reached the tipping point where more Americans are on some type of “welfare” (including SS and medicare) than are not. Politically this means that there is no way they’ll be able to stop the printing presses. We are officially F’d, would recommend buying property in a foreign country because when we hit the wall this won’t be a very pretty place to live. If you can’t swing that then guns and food and some way to grow/hunt more would be a good thing. I’m not totally sold on the gold/silver thing, it may be a good hedge against the fed money printing machine but it may not as the paper market is heavily manipulated.
Government made a promise -- if they tax X number of dollars from your paychecks, later on in life, they will give you Y number of dollars every month for as long as you live. That's the promise that was made. People therefore feel "entitled" to receive that which was promised.
But here's the thing -- government lied. Government can't keep the promise.
So, although people think they "had a deal" and are "entitled" to receive monthly checks, it just isn't going to happen.
First of all means test Social Security, then review all of the SSDI recipients, how many want to stay drugged up and on SSDI instead of working. Make private insurance held by Medicare recipients the primary payer and Medicare secondary instead of giving private insurance nearly a free ride.
End all grants and awards for various BS, when we have grant writing classes going on all over the country, that is way out of hand. End non profit status period. Make non profits file tax forms at least as detailed as private forms, especially when they are dealing in tens of millions in income and assets.
While Social Security is a problem, it is not nearly as bad of a problem as Medicaid/Medicare. At least Social Security has been funded by those that receive it (at least part of it). I have no problem with limiting both Social Security payments and Medicare/Medicaid payments if that is needed or raising the age limit.
You should at least understand that many folks just get by on Social Security (very minimal monthly amounts) and the Medicare/Medicaid monies are not only much more but will have to be curtailed. So, the death panels will become a reality whether we want it or not... After all, who can justify some of these expenses for someone over say 80?
This will happen regardless of other changes - it will become much like European Countries regardless, because of elderly health care requirements. It just simply has to happen or we will bankrupt our young...
If we actually become so selfish as to continue on this path (selfish actions by the elderly), the future will be very dim.
Elections, demonstrations, fancy rhetoric and elections are all irrelevant. The US is broke, cannot ever pay its debts and will have to default. The USD will lose its status as the world’s reserve currency, and the bulk of the progressive social programs will simply have to be discontinued, because there will be no other choice. That’s reality, deal with it.
Means testing is just a euphemism for taking money from the ants to give it to the grasshoppers.
“vilified for expecting to receive the “benefits” they’ve already paid for”
I understand it is frustrating. Unfortunately most of the politicians around today continue to propagate the idea that SS taxes are paid for future benefits. Unfortunately they are not. They are either given directly to people on SS now or spent on other government programs in exchanged for government bonds to be paid by other people before they retire.
I think most people are reasonable in that most don’t want to see older people suffer. On the other hand there just aren’t enough people left working today to keep a SS and especially a Medicare system like we have now.
This "interest" is all theory, it doesn't exist. You can't compare apples to oranges and you definitely can't compare apples to Mars.
Since we are at the break-even crossroads, simply float the retirement age each year to maintain annual break-even solvency.
The AARP will take care of the disabled dopers.
And the greedy geezers won’t be able to whine: “I paid in for 40 years, and I want to have you pay for my retirement at 65 instead of 72, when I know you’ll never see a penny because my greed will bankrupt the system and the nation.”
Unfortunately, the math is inescapable but there will be plenty of dollars. Unfortunately, the dollars will not buy us much after the great decline. I am confident even after the great decline, there will still be denial. This crisis has been predictable for decades. Democrats have refused to acknowledge the problem in any way except that the rich should be taxed more. Some Republicans have tried to address the problems somewhat but election realities always prevent action. No one will vote to reduce their own benefits. Unfortunately, the lack of action will lead to an economic collapse that will engulf almost everyone.
One of the puzzling attitudes about entitlement benefits is the widespread belief by boomers that they do not expect to receive benefits. Yet they continue to support politicians who promise them that they will receive benefits. When the boomer generation is now beginning retirement, it is clear that will demand benefits.
We’ve paid for NOTHING. We’ve been TAXED, and the funds have all been spent, most totally consumed in ways that left nothing of value behind. Might as well demand repayment of the other taxes we’ve paid: the argument in favor is the same, as are the reasons it can’t be done (other than by creating fiat money out of nothing.)
How about we MEANS Test those who receive Welfare, Medicaid, Medicare...by doing a THOROUGH analysis of how they REALLY live...(caveat....I’ve told my husband he should not expect ANY social security benefits...and he’s 60!)
However, we need to cut probably $2T a year from the budget. That's a lot of cash, and I think the pain will be spread pretty wide.
With a nation of 300 million people, every single little piece of the federal budget will have lots of people shouting, "Oh, you can't cut that!!!"
I say cut it all. Maybe some things deserve to be first in line, and SS probably isn't one of those things, but we will never make the cuts we need to make if we all stand up and say, "Oh, you can't cut that!!!"
PS..to my post 26....I meant means test it for those under the age of 60....
“I have said similar things to the I paid in all my life crowd.”
SS and medicare are a tax, you’re not really paying into anything, the tax has been used to pay for current recipients and whatever else congress decides to spend it on. It’s a Ponzi scheme that when Reagan “fixed” it in the 1980’s he really did nothing but increase your taxes (so much for the great tax cutter, sure he cut the income tax rate but then took some of that back with the SS increase). So if you start drawing SS sometime in the future it really is a welfare payment because what you paid in is long gone and they’re paying you from someone else’s taxes or from money printed up by the Fed.
We would suck horrendously if we yanked Veterans’ benefits, but then again, these benefits can be seen as an outgrowth of a CORE CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTION (Defense), use to incent people to serve our country.
Many of my (senior) friends have lost their homes in the housing collapse.
They have no pensions because the company they worked for did not provide the means to save for one and they didn't make enough money to save for their own future. Or, the company gives them a very miserly one. . . under $600/mo.
Not everything is rosey in the senior citizen world.
A number of my senior friends are now into subsidized housing because all their savings have been wiped out financing a spouses illness.
Those in subsidized housing are also receiving food stamps because even with all their "benefits" they have no money for food. Sometimes they end the month with about $1.50. These individuals are also in very poor health.
So, how are you going to pull the plug. . . death panels?
Here’s the actual problem.
When you receive money from Social Security (or Medicare, or any of the entitlement programs), you’re not receiving “money you paid in.”
You checks are being made good by money other people are now contributing to the system.
The idea that Social Security had a “trust fund” was one of the biggest lies in financial history. Sure, OK, they have a “trust fund” in accounting. The truth is that all of these entitlement schemes are “pay-go” systems, meaning that they’re paid as they go.
The money that “you already paid in” has been spent. It’s gone, gone, gone, see ya, goodbye. The Congress spent it when they went on deficit spending binges from the 70’s onwards.
When Social Security had surpluses (ie, income streams in excess of the draw-downs of retirees), the Social Security “trust fund” bought up US Treasury debt.
Now that the income stream coming into Social Security is declining and the leading edge of the Boomers are retiring (starting this year), the “trust fund” is going to a) stop buying new Treasury paper and b) start redeeming the Treasury paper they already have to get cash to pay benefits.
The central problem here is that a) the Democrats bamboozled the public, what with their “trust fund” BS and the little letters you receive every year showing up how much you’ve paid in and how much “benefit” you can expect to receive when you retire at different ages..... and b) the Republicans have been too stupid to explain the truth to the US public for years, instead they tried to prop up Social Security by allowing a flood of illegals into the country, getting employers to pay FICA on these illegals, who then might not collect on it decades from now.
I have been pointing this out since day one of the tea party movement.
I went to the rallies.... I talked with the people there...
and about 80% of them where there because they thought that Obamacare would endanger their social security and or medicare.
Here we go with the same ol' bullshit: Social Security claims by LEGITIMATE RETIREMENT-AGE CLAIMANTS is the attempt to get back the money that was forcibly taken from their earnings through the years via the witholding....it's not an "entitlement", IF you paid into it, but it IS and ENTITLEMENT when you DID NOT PAY or YOU ARE DRAWING SSDI and have NOT PAID INTO SOCIAL SECURITY.
I would much rather have KEPT my OWN MONEY, to save and invest as I saw fit, rather than have it confiscated and spent on handouts (leaving IOU's in its place). For the record: entitlements are handouts you NEVER PAID FOR, and are given to buy your votes and favor, using OTHER PEOPLES' MONEY.
My husband and I combined contributed to SS for 60 years.
The key thing is to make it very clear to anyone 50 or younger that they will get nothing. Not a thing.
People between 50 and 65? I dunno. I wouldn't expect much.
People over 65? I'm guessing community living that would be unpleasant. But, 3 hots and a cot. Or move in with relatives.
Bottomline: drastic decrease in standard of living, coupled with (hopefully) a profound understanding that government does not keep its promises, and has no business "giving" anyone anything. Any politician who talks that kind of language is just going to screw you -- so don't vote for the guy with all the promises.
Let us out of Medicare and SS, its the only way.
Pray for America
The government is going to try this approach, devalue your dollars, so you end up with far less real value. Right now it appears that people are on to their scheme, the price of commodities, oil and PMs are screaming no way.
One problem that is going to be VERY difficult to overcome relates to the financial system “bailouts”. The lack of accountability (how many bankers have gone to jail?) and large bonuses paid to the folks in the financial sector (paid $140B in 2010) does not resonate that well with Joe Six Pack.
There will be significant resistance to austerity being thrust on the middle class after what has transpired on Wall Street for the last 3 years. This all but assures a financial collapse when the bills come due and the dollar loses most of its value.
The die is cast, IMHO, it is simply a matter of when and the details of what form the collapse takes.
Fine. But the economic problem still remains, even if I use words to describe it that you like better than "con".
Other than living under the umbrella of protection provided by the DoD, using an interstate Highway every now and then, and perhaps using the USPS maybe twice a year, you could gore every federal ox out there and the total impact on my life would be fewer taxes and more freedom.
> Those in subsidized housing are also receiving food stamps
> because even with all their “benefits” they have no money
> for food. Sometimes they end the month with about $1.50.
> These individuals are also in very poor health.
> So, how are you going to pull the plug. . . death panels?
Death Panels would be a more humane thing to do, rather than letting them die of disease and starvation on the streets. We euthanize sick and old pets, don’t we?
/extreme sarcasm off
“I’m amazed at the number of freepers who think government spending should be drastically cut — just so long as they keep getting their own personal benefits. After all, they paid for ‘em.”
Excellent words. I haven’t read past this post yet, but I can only imagine what you will hear.
I’ve reached the point that we are going to be driven to an Argentina-type meltdown...if by no one else, than by the FReepers who will not let anyone touch their government transfer payments.
Great whole cloth argument, but in paying into what was touted as a "forced savings, to be returned upon reaching Retirement Age", just pointing out that the money was mis-used, pilfered, and spent elsewhere doesn't change the factual basis for the claims.
If you donate to United Way, and DESIGNATE a Specific entity to recieve your donation, they just re-apportion OTHER DONATIONS to fill the quota to the groups you don't support, so, using YOUR logic, you are supporting the goofy "charities" anyway?