Skip to comments.Why ‘entitlement’ programs aren’t really entitlements
Posted on 01/21/2013 6:57:44 PM PST by TurboZamboni
Almost everyone seems to agree that some combination of Social Security reform, Medicare reform and Medicaid reform is essential to any long-term fix of the federal governments fiscal woes. But few in Washington are prepared to face the political challenges of such reform. Perhaps it would help if we stopped calling these federally financed benefits entitlements.
In any legal sense of the term, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not entitlements. Unlike public employee pensions, which are contractual obligations now threatening to bankrupt state and local governments, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits can be modified, or even eliminated, by a majority vote of both houses of Congress along with the presidents signature. They are benefits, not entitlements.
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I, for one, do know how they "work", and I don't care. I dumped money down the government toilet my whole working life and now what matters is that you youngsters keep working overtime and paying your taxes so old Lancey can keep getting those SS checks to help with his boat payments and greens fees.
I have told this story several time here on FR, I will tell it yet again.
Back in the day, early 1950’s my father was off to war in Korea and my mother was left at home with two children. We had no money beyond rent and the little money my father could send home (e3) didn’t help much.
My mother applied for and received community help via a thing call “commodities” a precursor to welfare, a weekly package of items consisting of a large can of peanut butter, several loaves of bread, oat meal and powdered milk (might have been more, don’t remember).
When the weekly “commodities” arrived, the person delivering them would yell out from the curb “Mrs xxxx” your commodities are here! She did this for one purpose and one purpose only ... to embarrass the recipient. Hopefully the embarrassment would cause the recipient to get a job and get off welfare.
Can you imagine this happening today?
Wouldn’t want to embarrass our latest crop of entitlement recipients, not that they would care. Free stuff is their entitlement after all.
The worst and the best thing that can happen is for the Financial Markets to burst our US Federal Debt Bubble/bankruptcy of the US Treasury, or about a 30 % loss to everybody.
Thus, the two burst bubbles, (2008 Housing and Communist Hussein), will set each of us back about 60 %.
Privatizing FHA, Fannie, will prove to be complex to do, and thus will result in further Nationalization of Industries to keep politicians in power.
This happened to the once Great Brittan, in post WW 2, but they were saved by discovery of the Great North Sea Oil and Gas Fields.
The bankruptcy of FHA, Freddie and Fannie in 2008 will be comparable to the levels reached in March, 2009.
The recovery from this Government-caused financial disaster will be inversely related to Federal Government interference with normal Bankruptcy Court procedures.
BTW, the “Giant Flushing Sound” that you will hear will be the sound of Keynesian Economics being flushed down the toilet bowl of Liberal Economic “Deals.”
We've all been duped. By both sides. Let it all go to hell, I say, then let's see how even the rubble field really is.
When I want a retirement plan that costs me 12% of my compensation for almost 0 return, I choose Social Security. :)
You cant spend money you dont have without consequences"
Laissez-faire economists and politicians have been calling Social Security a sham since it was a glimmer in FDRs eye. In 1936 GOP presidential candidate Alf Landon called the Social Security Trust Fund a cruel hoax.
And hows this for wingnutty? In a 1999 New York Times article calling for the privatization of Social Security, the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman wrote that the guaranteed benefits of the entitlement program exist solely on the expectation that future Congresses will honor promises made by earlier Congresses what supporters call a compact between the generations and opponents call a Ponzi scheme.
“you pay in ...its a contract whether our govt elite cheats want to admit it or not......”
Yes, that is exactly my point but the communists lump ‘welfare’ into the same word.
“It comes from the way the laws are worded. “Any person who, having reached age 62 blah blah blah, shall be entitled..”
That is exactly my point. The communists have lumped ‘welfare’ into the same word but I think that we both agree that no one is ‘entitled’ to freebies in the way that the communists have defined the word.
I paid into it. Its my money and is therefore an entitlement (social security). paying me less when I retire is stealing from me.
Stir the pot Lancey, stir the pot..... I enjoy it immensely.
I forgot to mention “casino fun money”.
That has to be the most incorrect and idiotic statement ever to appear on FR. Nobody "willingly" pays FICA, they pay at gunpoint. I did try to get out, and was told "NO". It is a US government enforced ponzi scheme. I don't know your situation, but try not paying FICA/medicare taxes, if you have a taxable income.
And stealing from other people to pay for it all is wrong.
Make it voluntary.
What happens when there are more of you than us?
What then, Lancey?
I guess the genius politicians will have to figure something out.
The solution, of course, is to completely reform the system; remove it from government control and turn it over to several competing private investment brokers who would bid for a piece of the action. Their continued participation would depend entirely on the results they achieve, calculated over a reasonable period of time.
The new system would begin with, say, 10% of the current monthly SS pile going directly into diversified investment portfolios. A schedule of adding 5% every 5 years would force the continued divestment of the government from the program. I believe it wouldn't be long before surpluses more than covered the depleted SS tax intake, and government could return to being fat and happy. (Note: The above numbers are pulled out of thin air and are for illustrative purposes only. Hopefully they help convey the general idea.)
Meanwhile, old folks (heck, make it everybody 40 and older) would be assured and guaranteed that nothing would change for them due to the switch to the new system no matter what happened, etc., etc. Young people, most of whom believe SS will never be there for them anyway, could now be told of a new system that will greatly improve their chances of getting that old age pension they thought they'd never see.
By the way, I am as disgusted as every other conservative that government is in any way involved in old age pensions ("social security") in the first place, but realville is that it's here to stay.
Whatever do you mean by “pay into”? There’s nothing into which to pay. You don’t own a policy, like with insurance, even though they lied and called it insurance at first. The money ends up in the same place as revenue from all the other taxes. Might as well say you “pay into” SS by paying the income tax.
No, the cheat was getting you to think it was insurance, not welching on the policy you supposedly bought. How do I know? Well, for starters, when’s the last time someone confiscated your money and bought insurance for you, other than government? Never, that’s when. It doesn’t work that way.
Oh, it “was billed as,” was it? Governments never lie, and their word is their bond. Also, love conquers all and gumdrops talk out of the sky. Critics of the program knew the score from the get-go, and if you weren’t incurably naive it became utterly apparent after a generation at least. But that doesn’t matter. Buzzphrases thrown around by politicians don’t constitute criminal fraud, and lofty promises used to buy votes aren’t legally enforceable contracts.
It’s because of pellet like you that we have this giant “entitlement” problem. Because even though you’ve perked behind the curtain, know it’s a ponzi scheme, and presumably are morally opposed to pure wealth redistribution, you STILL claim your goodies as if by right. Gimme, gimme, gimme.
Of course it’s welfare. The taxes you paid were welfare for other people. The benefits which may or may not come to you are taxes frlm someone else. Why do so many FReepers mutate into welfare shores when it comes to their goodies? Conservatism in general have this fatal flaw: welfare for me but not for thee.
This is partly why we’ll never beat thr Welfare State. We talk a good game about corporate subsidies, welfare queens, unemployment “insurance,” and such. But anyone even threatens defense spending, farm subsidies, steel tariffs, football stadiums, the SS “system” you’ve supposedly “paid into” but haven’t, and we turn into Leon freakin’ Trotskys.