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Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
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Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."
10-24-2018 03:33 PM
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RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
The politicians are bipartisan cowards. The Democrats actively support this as a means to gain votes and claim a false moral high ground as the defender of the poor. The Republicans are too concerned with retaining office over doing what is right for the country or proposing alternatives. The public is too coddled.

So instead we're just going to let these programs coast until they implode. Then the poor who depend upon them will be hung out to dry. The Republicans will blame the Democrats' profligacy (valid) and corruption (valid) and lack of fiscal restraint (valid). The Democrats will blame the Republicans' inertia (valid) and corruption (valid) and lack of fiscal restraint (valid).

We all lose. Those who actually need the program are the biggest losers. But thankfully the politicians in DC can escape individual scrutiny for having avoided the catastrophic responsibility of having taken a meaningful vote.
10-24-2018 05:46 PM
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Post: #3
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.
10-24-2018 07:08 PM
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Post: #4
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-24-2018 07:08 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.

First. Political propaganda works. The idea that "entitlement" is a bad thing is proof of that.
An entitlement is something you have a right to. Receiving Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage in exchange for having enough quarters of coverage by paying at least a set threshold of tax for enough quarters is the very definition of an entitlement.

Second. Social Security probably does need to be rethought. It serves a valuable purpose. It prevents workers and their dependents going to into abject poverty in the event they failed to save for when they were no longer able to work or because of bad luck had some event that wiped out most or all of their savings. Retirees are in general good for the economy until they are no longer able to travel and move about independently because they smooth out the tourism industry taking advantage of discounted rates during months kids are in school. They tend to invest their cash in a conservative manner which means more capital for banks to loan. They expand the market for luxury goods for their own enjoyment or purchasing gifts for family.
Sure Bill Gates is never going to NEED a Social Security check but the cornerstone of the program is it is for all workers. If he were 100% invested in Microsoft and everyone followed my lead and switched to Linux and LibreOffice wiping out Microsoft, Gates would still be able to collect about $2400 a month in Social Security.

Now "investing" the Social Security trust fund at essentially 0% interest wasn't one of the finer decisions by Congress. Overall we'd probably be better of doing what one of the Nordic countries (Sweden maybe?) did which was retain a defined benefit old age pension but permit workers to direct the investment of a portion of the tax paid in (I want to say 15% choosing among a small handful of broad funds) and required all employers to also run their own plan primarily paid for by deductions from wages though I think is a bit of an employer contribution. Those plans are generally like our 401k as I understand it with broader investment possibilities. Most low wage workers would benefit more from expanding their retirement savings than from raising minimum wage.

Fraud and abuse is around 0.4% of Social Security outlays. Medicare is somewhat higher. The problem on both programs is the sequester has resulted in fewer people being on staff to investigate. Both programs have been pounded the past few years in their capacity to chase down problems. That 0.4% is not a net value that's just the higher end estimate of what is paid out improperly. There is also money flowing in improperly. In 2015 it was discovered that there are over 6 million Social Security numbers in use by people who would 112 years old or older. Only 13 were being used to claim benefits. The rest? Some are just identity theft to try to take out fraudulent loans and some are being used by illegal workers who are paying in but will never collect and of course some are just typos.
10-25-2018 11:48 AM
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Post: #5
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-25-2018 11:48 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 07:08 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.

First. Political propaganda works. The idea that "entitlement" is a bad thing is proof of that.
An entitlement is something you have a right to. Receiving Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage in exchange for having enough quarters of coverage by paying at least a set threshold of tax for enough quarters is the very definition of an entitlement.

Second. Social Security probably does need to be rethought. It serves a valuable purpose. It prevents workers and their dependents going to into abject poverty in the event they failed to save for when they were no longer able to work or because of bad luck had some event that wiped out most or all of their savings. Retirees are in general good for the economy until they are no longer able to travel and move about independently because they smooth out the tourism industry taking advantage of discounted rates during months kids are in school. They tend to invest their cash in a conservative manner which means more capital for banks to loan. They expand the market for luxury goods for their own enjoyment or purchasing gifts for family.
Sure Bill Gates is never going to NEED a Social Security check but the cornerstone of the program is it is for all workers. If he were 100% invested in Microsoft and everyone followed my lead and switched to Linux and LibreOffice wiping out Microsoft, Gates would still be able to collect about $2400 a month in Social Security.

Now "investing" the Social Security trust fund at essentially 0% interest wasn't one of the finer decisions by Congress. Overall we'd probably be better of doing what one of the Nordic countries (Sweden maybe?) did which was retain a defined benefit old age pension but permit workers to direct the investment of a portion of the tax paid in (I want to say 15% choosing among a small handful of broad funds) and required all employers to also run their own plan primarily paid for by deductions from wages though I think is a bit of an employer contribution. Those plans are generally like our 401k as I understand it with broader investment possibilities. Most low wage workers would benefit more from expanding their retirement savings than from raising minimum wage.

Fraud and abuse is around 0.4% of Social Security outlays. Medicare is somewhat higher. The problem on both programs is the sequester has resulted in fewer people being on staff to investigate. Both programs have been pounded the past few years in their capacity to chase down problems. That 0.4% is not a net value that's just the higher end estimate of what is paid out improperly. There is also money flowing in improperly. In 2015 it was discovered that there are over 6 million Social Security numbers in use by people who would 112 years old or older. Only 13 were being used to claim benefits. The rest? Some are just identity theft to try to take out fraudulent loans and some are being used by illegal workers who are paying in but will never collect and of course some are just typos.

W. wanted workers to be able to invest some of their money other than in US Treasuries. But it got demagogued to death.
10-25-2018 11:53 AM
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BadgerMJ Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-25-2018 11:48 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 07:08 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.

First. Political propaganda works. The idea that "entitlement" is a bad thing is proof of that.
An entitlement is something you have a right to. Receiving Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage in exchange for having enough quarters of coverage by paying at least a set threshold of tax for enough quarters is the very definition of an entitlement.

Second. Social Security probably does need to be rethought. It serves a valuable purpose. It prevents workers and their dependents going to into abject poverty in the event they failed to save for when they were no longer able to work or because of bad luck had some event that wiped out most or all of their savings. Retirees are in general good for the economy until they are no longer able to travel and move about independently because they smooth out the tourism industry taking advantage of discounted rates during months kids are in school. They tend to invest their cash in a conservative manner which means more capital for banks to loan. They expand the market for luxury goods for their own enjoyment or purchasing gifts for family.
Sure Bill Gates is never going to NEED a Social Security check but the cornerstone of the program is it is for all workers. If he were 100% invested in Microsoft and everyone followed my lead and switched to Linux and LibreOffice wiping out Microsoft, Gates would still be able to collect about $2400 a month in Social Security.

Now "investing" the Social Security trust fund at essentially 0% interest wasn't one of the finer decisions by Congress. Overall we'd probably be better of doing what one of the Nordic countries (Sweden maybe?) did which was retain a defined benefit old age pension but permit workers to direct the investment of a portion of the tax paid in (I want to say 15% choosing among a small handful of broad funds) and required all employers to also run their own plan primarily paid for by deductions from wages though I think is a bit of an employer contribution. Those plans are generally like our 401k as I understand it with broader investment possibilities. Most low wage workers would benefit more from expanding their retirement savings than from raising minimum wage.

Fraud and abuse is around 0.4% of Social Security outlays. Medicare is somewhat higher. The problem on both programs is the sequester has resulted in fewer people being on staff to investigate. Both programs have been pounded the past few years in their capacity to chase down problems. That 0.4% is not a net value that's just the higher end estimate of what is paid out improperly. There is also money flowing in improperly. In 2015 it was discovered that there are over 6 million Social Security numbers in use by people who would 112 years old or older. Only 13 were being used to claim benefits. The rest? Some are just identity theft to try to take out fraudulent loans and some are being used by illegal workers who are paying in but will never collect and of course some are just typos.

1) I'm OK with that, but we need to stop calling welfare entitlements. You, I, and anyone who's worked paid into SS and Medicare. Just having a pulse gets you Medicaid. It's the free stuff we give away to any slob above ground that MUST be reformed before I'd even entertain changes to "entitlements". Those who haven't earned aren't entitled.

2) What I meant by reforming the who's and whom's was this. SS was NEVER meant to include a person and and numerous "spouses" that managed to stay married over 10 years. It was also never meant to cover the number of so-called "disabled" we currently do. By that I don't mean those legitimately unable to work, but those who are just too lazy to do so and decided scamming the system is the path of least resistance.

3) I have no problem at all allowing people to invest part of their social security. The side bar to that is if you CHOOSE to invest and those investments go belly up, don't come running back with your hand out.

4) True, it is much lower for SS and Medicare, but some studies have fraud of Medicaid at 8-11%. 10% of 350 Billion is enough to make sure older people have a little extra on their check or cover quite a few senior's medical expenses. We think of it as not much in the grand scheme, but 35 Billion covers more than a few procedures.

I'm open to raising the taxable amount. I'm also open to eventually raising the age to 68 or 69. I'm NOT in favor of means testing. I've worked hard and tried to live sensibly and frugally. This has allowed me to save thru 401ks and IRAs. I refuse to take less than promised just because I saved wisely. I refuse to take less because my neighbor who partied like a rock-star his entire life and saved ZERO now finds himself lacking in retirement. Sorry, but fair is fair.
10-25-2018 01:42 PM
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arkstfan Away
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Post: #7
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-25-2018 01:42 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 11:48 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 07:08 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.

First. Political propaganda works. The idea that "entitlement" is a bad thing is proof of that.
An entitlement is something you have a right to. Receiving Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage in exchange for having enough quarters of coverage by paying at least a set threshold of tax for enough quarters is the very definition of an entitlement.

Second. Social Security probably does need to be rethought. It serves a valuable purpose. It prevents workers and their dependents going to into abject poverty in the event they failed to save for when they were no longer able to work or because of bad luck had some event that wiped out most or all of their savings. Retirees are in general good for the economy until they are no longer able to travel and move about independently because they smooth out the tourism industry taking advantage of discounted rates during months kids are in school. They tend to invest their cash in a conservative manner which means more capital for banks to loan. They expand the market for luxury goods for their own enjoyment or purchasing gifts for family.
Sure Bill Gates is never going to NEED a Social Security check but the cornerstone of the program is it is for all workers. If he were 100% invested in Microsoft and everyone followed my lead and switched to Linux and LibreOffice wiping out Microsoft, Gates would still be able to collect about $2400 a month in Social Security.

Now "investing" the Social Security trust fund at essentially 0% interest wasn't one of the finer decisions by Congress. Overall we'd probably be better of doing what one of the Nordic countries (Sweden maybe?) did which was retain a defined benefit old age pension but permit workers to direct the investment of a portion of the tax paid in (I want to say 15% choosing among a small handful of broad funds) and required all employers to also run their own plan primarily paid for by deductions from wages though I think is a bit of an employer contribution. Those plans are generally like our 401k as I understand it with broader investment possibilities. Most low wage workers would benefit more from expanding their retirement savings than from raising minimum wage.

Fraud and abuse is around 0.4% of Social Security outlays. Medicare is somewhat higher. The problem on both programs is the sequester has resulted in fewer people being on staff to investigate. Both programs have been pounded the past few years in their capacity to chase down problems. That 0.4% is not a net value that's just the higher end estimate of what is paid out improperly. There is also money flowing in improperly. In 2015 it was discovered that there are over 6 million Social Security numbers in use by people who would 112 years old or older. Only 13 were being used to claim benefits. The rest? Some are just identity theft to try to take out fraudulent loans and some are being used by illegal workers who are paying in but will never collect and of course some are just typos.

1) I'm OK with that, but we need to stop calling welfare entitlements. You, I, and anyone who's worked paid into SS and Medicare. Just having a pulse gets you Medicaid. It's the free stuff we give away to any slob above ground that MUST be reformed before I'd even entertain changes to "entitlements". Those who haven't earned aren't entitled.

2) What I meant by reforming the who's and whom's was this. SS was NEVER meant to include a person and and numerous "spouses" that managed to stay married over 10 years. It was also never meant to cover the number of so-called "disabled" we currently do. By that I don't mean those legitimately unable to work, but those who are just too lazy to do so and decided scamming the system is the path of least resistance.

3) I have no problem at all allowing people to invest part of their social security. The side bar to that is if you CHOOSE to invest and those investments go belly up, don't come running back with your hand out.

4) True, it is much lower for SS and Medicare, but some studies have fraud of Medicaid at 8-11%. 10% of 350 Billion is enough to make sure older people have a little extra on their check or cover quite a few senior's medical expenses. We think of it as not much in the grand scheme, but 35 Billion covers more than a few procedures.

I'm open to raising the taxable amount. I'm also open to eventually raising the age to 68 or 69. I'm NOT in favor of means testing. I've worked hard and tried to live sensibly and frugally. This has allowed me to save thru 401ks and IRAs. I refuse to take less than promised just because I saved wisely. I refuse to take less because my neighbor who partied like a rock-star his entire life and saved ZERO now finds himself lacking in retirement. Sorry, but fair is fair.

One thing about Social Security disability that is different from private plans is most private plans pay if you can't do your job. So a neurosurgeon who develops hand tremors is disabled under most private plans. Under Social Security he could still teach or be a GP and would not be disabled.

There are however two points that can be exploited.
The first is finding a cooperative doctor. If you doctor says you can't do crap, good luck to Social Security for turning you down because the Federal District Court is going to keep sending it back until they give up and pay the guy.
The second is what is called the grid rules. Created decades ago they have two assumptions. The first was that there are certain types of jobs that an employer won't hire a person for if they are 15, 10, or 5 years from retirement. The retirement age changed so now that is 17, 12, and 7. The second assumption is that certain types of jobs require much more skill to perform than they actually require now. Anything to do with operating a computer or even a multi-line phone system did require a good bit of training and skill in the late 80's and early 90's but the Department of Labor has not updated the job requirements in 20 years for most jobs. So a job that in 1989 required knowing a good bit about DOS and maybe even BASIC but today requires touching the correct icon on the screen is still deemed a skilled job. In 1990 the local employer probably wouldn't have bothered training someone 50 years old. In 2018 most 60 year olds have enough familiarity with a cell phone to pick it up in a day of training.

Created the perfect loophole and when Congress had hearings on disability looking to reform the process, the Republican leadership didn't call any of the witnesses who wanted to testify on the matter of the grid rules. I expect that of Democrats but not Republicans.

Raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 hasn't changed the median retirement age but did help increase the applications for disability. If you are 64 with a bad ticker and a bad back, you might tough it out to 65 but probably not 67, so you go ahead and quit and file for disability and if you are successful you get the same amount as if you waited until 67 to retire.

Medicare fraud is simply put, a *****. Because who does the defrauding? It's not Joe Smith getting a flu shot he wasn't entitled to, it is drug makers, device makers, hospitals, physical therapists, pharmacists and doctors. All well represented by lobbyists. Pretty much well represented in court. If the doctor takes the stand and does a good job testifying that he was only doing what he thought was best for the patient, it's hard to nail them. if you are prescribing drug X over drug Y unless you've got a good paper trail how do you prove some sort of fraud was involved. How do you convince a jury that the CAT scan and blood work ordered from the businesses the doctor has a financial stake in were not reasonable tests? You can skin a lot out of Medicare and even private insurance without getting caught unless you get greedy and start faking paperwork.
(This post was last modified: 10-25-2018 02:52 PM by arkstfan.)
10-25-2018 02:51 PM
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Native Georgian Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
There was a quote back in the 1990s, I believe it was attributed to Dick Armey, the congressman from TX-26, but unsure after all these years: “Republicans are afraid the voters won’t understand. Democrats are afraid the voters will understand.”

(10-24-2018 05:46 PM)georgia_tech_swagger Wrote:  The Republicans are too concerned with retaining office over doing what is right for the country or proposing alternatives.
I’m not sure that all Republicans really have the capacity to understand the underlying fiscal/budgetary/economic issues. Some do.

But more than that, I’m not sure why they have a moral obligation to willingly volunteer to (politically speaking) die trying to climb the steepest partisan hill in existence.

Quote:So instead we're just going to let these programs coast until they implode.
Barring real, sustained cooperation from Democrats to implement a reality-based agenda... Yes.
10-30-2018 02:29 AM
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Native Georgian Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
There was a quote back in the 1990s, I believe it was attributed to Dick Armey, the congressman from TX-26, but unsure after all these years: “Republicans are afraid the voters won’t understand. Democrats are afraid the voters will understand.”

(10-24-2018 05:46 PM)georgia_tech_swagger Wrote:  The Republicans are too concerned with retaining office over doing what is right for the country or proposing alternatives.
I’m not sure that all Republicans really have the capacity to understand the underlying fiscal/budgetary/economic issues. Some do.

But more than that, I’m not sure why they have a moral obligation to willingly volunteer to (politically speaking) die trying to climb the steepest partisan hill in existence.

Quote:So instead we're just going to let these programs coast until they implode.
Barring real, sustained cooperation from Democrats to implement a reality-based agenda... Yes.
10-30-2018 03:04 AM
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RE: Entitlement reform necessary-and impossible
(10-25-2018 01:42 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-25-2018 11:48 AM)arkstfan Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 07:08 PM)BadgerMJ Wrote:  
(10-24-2018 03:33 PM)bullet Wrote:  https://www.realclearpolicy.com/articles...10876.html

This is when you need a Ronald Reagan.

"Democrats in Congress have seized on recent comments by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to accuse Republicans of planning to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if the GOP holds onto power after the midterm election. If only it were so!

Alas, what McConnell actually said is the opposite of what Democrats are claiming. He didn’t say Republicans will move forward with plans to reform entitlements if they win the election. Rather, he said they won’t pursue such an agenda on their own because they fear the political consequences of doing so.


In an interview with Bloomberg News, McConnell was clearly trying to explain to disappointed fiscal conservatives why Republicans — with control of both Congress and the White House — have done nothing to get government spending, deficits, and debt under better control. McConnell argued, correctly but incompletely, that the primary problem in the federal budget is the steady and rapid growth in spending on entitlement programs over many years. He then conceded that the GOP won’t do anything about this problem without the cooperation of some Democrats because an effort led by Republicans alone would be too politically perilous...."

I'm in favor or looking at ways to reform entitlements. There are a few issues to clear up first:

1) What the definition of entitlement is. As far as I'm concerned, something that I've paid in to for decades with the guarantee of something in return for having money taken from my check IS NOT an entitlement. An entitlement is something that people think they have a right to even though they've done nothing to deserve it.

2) Before we start taking that which was guaranteed and earned, we need to first cut back on that which there is no right to.

3) Before we start talking about reforms, specifically adjusting benefits downward, we should make sure that fraud and abuse is eliminated to the best of our ability.

4) We need to reexamine just WHO is eligible to collect and from whom.

After we come to agreement on those, let's talk.

First. Political propaganda works. The idea that "entitlement" is a bad thing is proof of that.
An entitlement is something you have a right to. Receiving Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage in exchange for having enough quarters of coverage by paying at least a set threshold of tax for enough quarters is the very definition of an entitlement.

Second. Social Security probably does need to be rethought. It serves a valuable purpose. It prevents workers and their dependents going to into abject poverty in the event they failed to save for when they were no longer able to work or because of bad luck had some event that wiped out most or all of their savings. Retirees are in general good for the economy until they are no longer able to travel and move about independently because they smooth out the tourism industry taking advantage of discounted rates during months kids are in school. They tend to invest their cash in a conservative manner which means more capital for banks to loan. They expand the market for luxury goods for their own enjoyment or purchasing gifts for family.
Sure Bill Gates is never going to NEED a Social Security check but the cornerstone of the program is it is for all workers. If he were 100% invested in Microsoft and everyone followed my lead and switched to Linux and LibreOffice wiping out Microsoft, Gates would still be able to collect about $2400 a month in Social Security.

Now "investing" the Social Security trust fund at essentially 0% interest wasn't one of the finer decisions by Congress. Overall we'd probably be better of doing what one of the Nordic countries (Sweden maybe?) did which was retain a defined benefit old age pension but permit workers to direct the investment of a portion of the tax paid in (I want to say 15% choosing among a small handful of broad funds) and required all employers to also run their own plan primarily paid for by deductions from wages though I think is a bit of an employer contribution. Those plans are generally like our 401k as I understand it with broader investment possibilities. Most low wage workers would benefit more from expanding their retirement savings than from raising minimum wage.

Fraud and abuse is around 0.4% of Social Security outlays. Medicare is somewhat higher. The problem on both programs is the sequester has resulted in fewer people being on staff to investigate. Both programs have been pounded the past few years in their capacity to chase down problems. That 0.4% is not a net value that's just the higher end estimate of what is paid out improperly. There is also money flowing in improperly. In 2015 it was discovered that there are over 6 million Social Security numbers in use by people who would 112 years old or older. Only 13 were being used to claim benefits. The rest? Some are just identity theft to try to take out fraudulent loans and some are being used by illegal workers who are paying in but will never collect and of course some are just typos.

1) I'm OK with that, but we need to stop calling welfare entitlements. You, I, and anyone who's worked paid into SS and Medicare. Just having a pulse gets you Medicaid. It's the free stuff we give away to any slob above ground that MUST be reformed before I'd even entertain changes to "entitlements". Those who haven't earned aren't entitled.

2) What I meant by reforming the who's and whom's was this. SS was NEVER meant to include a person and and numerous "spouses" that managed to stay married over 10 years. It was also never meant to cover the number of so-called "disabled" we currently do. By that I don't mean those legitimately unable to work, but those who are just too lazy to do so and decided scamming the system is the path of least resistance.

3) I have no problem at all allowing people to invest part of their social security. The side bar to that is if you CHOOSE to invest and those investments go belly up, don't come running back with your hand out.

4) True, it is much lower for SS and Medicare, but some studies have fraud of Medicaid at 8-11%. 10% of 350 Billion is enough to make sure older people have a little extra on their check or cover quite a few senior's medical expenses. We think of it as not much in the grand scheme, but 35 Billion covers more than a few procedures.

I'm open to raising the taxable amount. I'm also open to eventually raising the age to 68 or 69. I'm NOT in favor of means testing. I've worked hard and tried to live sensibly and frugally. This has allowed me to save thru 401ks and IRAs. I refuse to take less than promised just because I saved wisely. I refuse to take less because my neighbor who partied like a rock-star his entire life and saved ZERO now finds himself lacking in retirement. Sorry, but fair is fair.

Means testing is an absolute non-starter for me. It starts out with "millionaires," but gradually creeps down to the middle class. And its not a "gift." People have paid into it. Means testing is a break of the contract.
(This post was last modified: 10-30-2018 07:46 PM by bullet.)
10-30-2018 07:46 PM
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