Other Voices

Some of the responses I’ve had to the blog have directed me to read related articles and opinion pieces. I wanted to share some of them.  First is a story about billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller who is going around the country talking about how Medicare and Social Security represent a type of Robin Hood in reverse.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303680404579141790296396688?mod=wsj_valettop_email

One of the points I’ve been making about Medicare spending is its contribution to the exploding deficit. Columnist Eugene Robinson’s opinion is that we should be thinking about job creation and not just deficit reduction. The deficit is expanding, but not at the rate it was when the recession was most felt. He also notes that there has been a significant drop recently in the rate health care expenses have increased.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-our-best-bet-is-to-grow-the-economy-not-cut-it/2013/10/21/2588d872-3a8d-11e3-a94f-b58017bfee6c_story.html

The third article is not directly related to entitlement spending, but was a very interesting read about how accelerated advances in artificial intelligence will impact work, and workers, in the future. Of course the indirect implications are huge if the result is fewer workers/earners/tax payers in the economy.

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/05/robots-artificial-intelligence-jobs-automation?page=2

Enjoy!

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About dmayeranderson

Husband, father, citizen, homeowner, Realtor and real estate investor.
This entry was posted in entitlements, medicare, health care. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Other Voices

  1. Russ says:

    With respect to the WSJ article, I dislike and mistrust the ‘grandchildren’ argument whether in the service of debt arguments on the right, or climate change arguments on the left. Independent of legitimate arguments that can be made for either position, this particular argument is nothing more than projection. My grandparents were part of the generation that instituted both Social Security and Medicare. Based on this argument I should be more angry with them than my future grandchildren should be at me. It has never occurred to me to think that my grandparents stole anything from me. Once the ‘fix the debt’ crowd starts calling out their own selfish grandparents and demanding reparations, I’ll entertain the idea that they believe their own rhetoric.

    My current share of the national debt runs into the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. No one will ever come knocking on my door with a stack of treasury bonds demanding that I pay up. Except maybe the ‘fix the debt’ crowd itself. The same is going to be true of my grandchildren. They will have their own immediate problems, about which our speculations are next to useless. The concrete and daily need of those currently alive, who would be directly impacted by raising eligibility and reducing benefits takes precedence over the imagined needs of our future progeny.

    • One of the author’s point is that there are seniors not in need, like himself, that the generation of current workers is “supporting” because he still receives his $3,500/month social security check and Medicare benefits. Would it be a good idea to have some means testing for these programs? My thought is that if the wealthy are willing to say yes to that, who are we to say no?

  2. Russ says:

    Means testing looks completely different depending on whether your perspective is budgetary or political. From a budgetary standpoint, means testing could extend solvency for decades. From a political standpoint, it would greatly increase the risk that Social Security will no longer be a viable program in ten years. There’s a reason it didn’t include means testing from the start. It never would have passed if some had recieved benefits at the expense of others. Social Security is not a wealth redistribution based entitlement program. You pay in, and you get something back. Period.

    Means testing would introduce an ‘Us vs. Them’ dynamic, wherein negotiations on where the qualification line is drawn would never end until the program is gutted. It would turn Social Security into something more like food stamps. One need look no further than the current farm bill negotiations to find out what would happen next. And it’s no coincidence that those arguing most stridently for cuts to SNAP, CHIP, Head Start, and other programs where funding flows from the haves to the have-nots are the ones most favorably disposed to means testing on Social Security. Their tactic is the same as that of Br’er Rabbit pleading not to be thrown in the briar patch. Which brings me back to the point I made on an earlier post about the need not to concede anything to those you are convinced are not negotiating in good faith.

    • Great point Russ about changing the essence of Social Security if means testing were introduced. It would definitely introduce the “Makers and Takers” dynamic and give the “makers” a sense of high ground if they wanted to introduce other changes. Gives me more to think about regarding my post about Social Security reform ideas.

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