October 19, 2014

OUR VIEW: Social Security, Medicare about to run dry

In a shocking turn of events that will come as a surprise to no one, government trustees this week reported that Social Security and Medicare are running out of money.
Social Security is expected to bankrupt in 2033 and Medicare funds run dry in just 12 years.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Congress and all U.S. politicians to start having a serious and honest discussion about the massive retirement and disability programs. The key word here is “honest.”
From time to time, politicians offer timid cuts or changes to the programs. And they’re met with insane brush back that suggests the proposals are the equivalent of pushing grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair. That hyperbole needs to stop. Changes now can’t be equated to that, but waiting until the money runs out most certainly will be the equivalent of pushing the entire American economy off a cliff and into a volcano.
Voters need to hold accountable any politician who says their opponents who advocate for changes to the entitlement programs are trying to throw grandpa under the bus. We are at a critical point in which we can no longer kick the proverbial entitlement can further down the road. It’s an ugly, ugly place at the end of that road.
As we start to discuss dramatic changes to Social Security and Medicare, there will be anger as people start to recognize the perilous position our politicians have put us in. Seniors, or those who will be in about the 2020s, have every right to be mad. They are likely to pay into Social Security for their entire lives and never see a dime. Seniors today should be enraged, because back when they first started putting money into Social Security, they were told it was a trust fund, in which the money would be saved for their retirement.
Those were all lies. The primary thing in the Social Security trust fund isn’t investments, gold or cold, hard cash. Instead, it’s a virtually empty bank vault filled with I.O.Us.
We shouldn’t make the mistake in believing the answer to solving this problem is sending more money to politicians to divvy out to seniors.
They can’t be trusted with our money, and at this point, they can’t be trusted with our future either.

Comments

  1. ThePatriot says:

    How easy it is to criticize Government programs while providing no real, detailed solution that could be actually be implemented. These programs need fixing and here are a few suggestion.

    Throw out the Paul Ryan plan because its ultimate goal is the elimination of these two programs. Plus his Medicare voucher program is laughable when compared to the real cost of health insurance.

    Put Social Security back into the lock box. You have President Richard Nixon fo thank for taking it out. Members of both parties have taken funds from Social Security to pay for pet projects over the last decades.

    Means test both benefits.

    Find out why the inflation in healthcare costs rise 3-4 times faster than any other sector of the economy and fix that problem first. Every solution presented for Medicare (so far) treats the symptoms, not the cause. The exception is the Affordable Health Care Act, which is putting the emphasis on preventive care and successful outcomes, not how many tests and procedures are performed.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    As I have said many, many times – know what is the proximate cause of your problems. To me it always goes back to the lack of moral values such as honesty, integrity, ethics, character, etc. We continue to see at the local level and beyond the manipulation, conniving, dishonesty, fraud, etc. which so adversely affects the average citizen. But the average citizen is to blame too in my opinion because they are not doing their jobs and many of them are also involved in the loss of moral values. It all depends on what you stand for and what you demand from your government entities and the lousy politicians and bureaucrats we have allowed to do as they please and not do as they should. You get what you enable and support.

  3. Social security is NOT going bankrupt in 12 years, it is on an even keel for the foreseeable future. In fact, 20 years from now it’s projected to be in a position to pay 75% of benefits — but that’s easily fixed by lifting the payroll tax cap. Currently, only wages below $106,800 have FICA tax levied for social security.

    Medicare taxes are imposed at a flat tax rate of 2.9% on wages, salaries, and business or farming income earned by self-employed individuals. There’s no limit on the amount of wages subject to Medicare taxes, unlike the annual wage limit for social security taxes. Starting in the year 2013, Medicare taxes will be increased to 3.8% and expanded to cover both wage income and investment income for higher-income individuals.

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