Thursday, March 25, 2010

The congregation's that way, reverend.

Marko tees off on Social Security.

Frankly, anybody of my generation who ever expected to see a single red cent of Social Security is, not to put too fine a point on it, a little thick. This time bomb was built into it from the start.

They're going to try to buy some time by amnestizing every illegal they can get their hands on next, like they have in Europe, just watch.


Jeff the Baptist said...

The whole thing was implemented as a wealth redistribution program during the great depression. It was built the way it was so they could start paying out benefits faster, not so that the program would be sustainable over the long term. It should have been obvious that the current implementation wouldn't hold up once the boomers hit collection age.

Tam said...

A hundred and sixty years.

That's the length of time it took to go from a loose confederation of states with a token, toothless federal government to a nation where state governments are subservient appendages of the central power and people think it is right and meet for that central government to manage their pension.

Anonymous said...

My comment there:

Just the most visible example of the unsustainability of welfare.

That’s not a popular notion in these parts, however, where Q-Tips outnumber workers three-to-one, and overwhelmingly self-identify as “conservative”.

But it is what it is.


Weer'd Beard said...

My political goals is just so that my generation is the LAST one to get ripped off. I know I will pay most of my natural life into a system that will personally pay me nothing. I'm just hoping my children will get a net zero rather than the negative the rest of us will see.

My hopes aren't high.

Boat Guy said...

It might even take 160 years to recover the country we once were, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start doing it. NOW.
If you haven't seen Dennis Prager's column posted Monday on NRO, you should head over there and read it.

Turk Turon said...

Interesting point about illegals and Social Security. They do have to pay Social Security taxes, but I see no reason that they should receive benefits. Maybe we should compel retirees to present proof of citizenship before receiving any benefits. And their "anchor babies"? Well, they're so young that it will be 30-40 years before they start retiring. Meanwhile they will be paying SS taxes.

Just trying to add a silver lining to that cloud.

The flip side, of course, is that there are illegals who receive SS benefits; they move back to their home countries, where they can live like kings, courtesy of Uncle Sugar.

Anonymous said...

If only the Republican party had tried to privatize Socialist Security. Bush was in office all that time and never, ever, ever tried to attempt to begin to reform it.

Darn those rascally Republicans!

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

Yeah, I noticed how that was his first priority upon taking office and the way he really ramrodded it through Congress... No, wait... my bad, I was thinking of NCLB.

Anonymous said...

"I noticed how that was his first priority upon taking office"

Correct. As you remember, two months after he was sworn in in January 2005 he proposed this and then stumped for it all Spring and Summer and then Katrina hit New Orleans.

"he really ramrodded it through Congress"

Again, correct. It's like there is a difference between Democrats and Republicans or something.

Bush expended much political capital, even detailing Darth Vader, aka Karl Rove, to work on a battle plan which interrupted Rove's main job of killing kitten and oppressing women and minorities. And then the media used Katrina to save Social Security.

"I was thinking of NCLB"

This disaster also known as NCLB had Democrat support, Socialist Security reform had no such support from the Dems/media.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

"As you remember, two months after he was sworn in in January 2005..."

Yes, I remember how he pretended to get fiscal conservative free market religion right as he became a lame duck.

Anonymous said...

"I remember how he pretended to get fiscal conservative free market religion right as he became a lame duck."

Bush's 2000 agenda included Social Security reform. As you remember, Social Security reform was featured in the 2000 Bush v. Gore debates wherein Gore ridiculed Bush's free market solution as government is always the better answer. Some say this highlighted some sort of distinction between the parties.

SS reform went nowhere in 2001 because of Jumpin' Jim and after 9/11, proposals were made but other matters made priority.

Bush was not a lame duck in 2005. SS reform was not proposed with vigor (and thanks to Karl Rove, with eeevil) until Bush's second term, which he did first thing while Bush was not a lame duck, but Karl Rove was still murdering kittens.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Li'l Geo. he did at least have the cajones to broach a subject that about half of his own constituents, when the word "reform" is mentioned in the same sentence with SS, react either with "Hell, yeah, get them Medicaid bloodsuckers outta my nest egg" (many actually believe their contributions are sitting there happily compounding interest), or by sticking fingers in ears and humming Big Band tunes.

Any attempted "ramrodding" would have resulted in, um, let's just say "backfire".

There is an answer though, that even the old-timers would go for: offer the option of a one-time lump-sum payment of every penny anybody from age 50 up has paid in, double it to include employer contributions, and add average passbook interest. They'd go for it in a heartbeat, and it would instantly put the system in the black; those in their twenties, thirties, and forties would then be paying into a system that might then actually, you know, be there when their time comes.

I would take the cash payout too, even though I'd get a hell of a lot less than I'm "scheduled" to over the long run, but for different reasons. Myself, even with this do-over plan, I just don't think politicians have it in them not to eff it up all over again.

Al Terego

Anonymous said...

"by sticking fingers in ears and humming Big Band tunes."

I'm fairly certain many Democrats hum show tunes.

Shootin' Buddy

Anonymous said...

Our Soc Sec problems actually started with the Germans (dang those Krauts!) when Otto von Bismarck needed a way to fund the industrialization of the newly united German Empire after the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. The monies extorted from France after the victory helped to get der Reich started, but not enough to do the job. Loans were out of the question--no European nation would lend Germany a penny, and the U.S. was tied up with our westward expansion. The only place Bismarck could turn was to the German people, who would rebel if he imposed any more taxes, so he had to come up with another solution. The result? Sell benefits!!

First came disability and sickness insurance, mandatory to the people. Then the Grand Scheme: Government Retirement Insurance, funded half by the worker and half by the employer (sound familiar?) the proceeds were so great that Germany was able to industrialize enough to present a real challenge to France and Britain (1914, anyone?) Retirement for the worker was at age 70--how many Germans lived to age 70? Later, in 1916, lowered to 65.

Other nations were learning--Britain, left so bankrupt by WWI that they at one time tried to sell Canada to the U.S.--the bankers blocked that, preferring to earn interest on British war bonds--instituted their version of Soc Sec in the 1920s, and were soon so flush they could put the pound sterling back on the gold standard.

Along came that Great Snake, Franklin Roosevelt, may his soul burn for eternity. Seeing the positive (?) effect a retirement scheme had for Germany and Britain, he pushed through Soc Sec, seeking to use the excess funds to develop his dream of an American socialist Utopia.

And we have the result today.

cap'n chumbucket

Stephen said...

Regarding that amnesty thing, it seemed to work in Britain

hat tip to

Tam said...

"Bush was not a lame duck in 2005."

"A president elected to a second term is sometimes seen as being a lame duck from early in the second term, because presidents are barred from contesting a term four years later, and is thus freer to take politically unpopular action."

Turk Turon said...

Al said, "There is an answer though, that even the old-timers would go for: offer the option of a one-time lump-sum payment of every penny anybody from age 50 up has paid in, double it to include employer contributions, and add average passbook interest. They'd go for it in a heartbeat..."

I know I would! My lifetime contributions to SS and Medicare (including employer's contributions) are over $250,000. And adding interest would nearly double it to half a million.

Anonymous said...

"An elected officeholder or group continuing in office during the period between failure to win an election and the inauguration of a successor"

Bush was not a lame duck as during the summer/autumn of 2000 when he was debating Algore he was not President and March of 2005 when conspired with Karl Rove to destroy the Universe, er, reform SS, he had not lost any election.

"A president elected to a second term is sometimes seen as being a lame duck"

Sometimes I call a horse an orange and sometimes I hear magazines called clips at gun stores. Sometimes does not make it so.

It's almost as if Republicans put forths reforms and then it falls in a Wookie Hole and people forget to credit Republicans and sit around and whine about how Republicans are no different than Democrats.

Shootin' Buddy

SiGraybeard said...

I know it's awful to go back on topic, but as a WAG, I'm probably over 30 years older than you, Tam, and I never expected to see a penny of SS. It's not just your generation.

From the first time I started reading about this Ponzi scheme, I figured it would be gone by the time I got to retirement. If not by outright collapse of the system, it'll be by means testing, so if you managed to save anything, you're the Evil Rich who don't deserve to get back what you paid. I started saving as soon as 401k accounts came along. Now they want to steal those and nationalize them, just like Argentina has.

Anonymous said...

Turk: I know you would take the lump sum...just as I would, and just as many, many more would. And that's exactly the point.

Never mind that one heart procedure or some such could burn through that half-mil of yours in about a week; much better to put your own dough into your own medical insurance where .gov has no control...oh...right.

Anyway, the point is, so many oldsters like us would take the payout that the biggest black hole in the system would dry up overnight, and without a whimper of protest from them; hell, they'd be ecstatic. And the young 'uns would have a clean ledger to screw up (with eager help from their "representatives") on their own without blaming boomers for their plight. Win-win.

Of course even better would be elimination of the whole pyramid scheme that is SS, but with so many collecting so much more than they ever could have paid in, and so many other vested interests, whaddaya think the chances of that are? Which brings me to a little math problem I tossed out over at Marko's...any takers here?

"...compute the maximum total contributions a worker would have made beginning in 1945 and retiring in 1985 at age 65. Double that figure for employer payments and add accrued average passbook interest based on “his” fund as if it were actually accumulating.

Then figure what his draw would be beginning in ‘85 and ending this year when he finally croaks at age 90. Subtract that total from the total arrived at in the scenario above."

That will be one bigass negative sum. And that's welfare right there, ya'll, I don't care who ya are. But you'd never get that ninety year old to admit it even if he is the conservativest of conservatives.

Plenty of blame to go around in this boondoggle, and it doesn't matter one chit whether you identify with elephants, donkeys, or little birdies.


Ken said...

I'd forgo the lump sum in return for being let the hell out of it, at this point.

JohnW said...

I just wish to hell - and I'm looking at you, editors of The Economist - that people would look up the meaning of the term "lame duck" and start using it correctly.

Mike Gallo said...

Well, I'd STILL rather have our immigration problem than Europe's. And no, I never expected to see a dime of SS or Medicare/Medicaid.