Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Will the Social Security and Medicare programs be there for young Americans?

Of course not, and the voting in Democrats that they seem to like to do is making it worse.

Here’s an article from the Daily Signal to tell about it.

Chart first:

Social Security insolvent in 2024

Social Security insolvent in 2024

And now the story:

Social Security’s trustees projected in 1983 that the recently enacted Social Security reforms would keep the program active for at least the next 75 years, through 2058. However, according to research by Rachel Greszler, a senior policy analyst, and James M. Roberts, research fellow for economic freedom and growth at The Heritage Foundation, that approach date has accelerated.

“If the trend since 1983 continues, the program will become insolvent in 2024—34 years earlier than originally projected,” Roberts writes.

Now you might think that the way Democrats appeal to younger voters, that they are taking care of this problem for them.

Well, here’s an article from Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

The White House recently conceded that President Obama’s executive order effectively legalizing an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants means that newly legalized workers will contribute to Social Security and Medicare and be eligible for benefits.

Does the president have any idea how much money his action could cost the country — i.e., taxpayers?

[…]The Social Security and Medicare Trust Fund trustees estimate the two program’s combined long-term unfunded liabilities — the estimated amount the government will have to pay in benefits above what it expects to receive — at about $49 trillion. Obama’s amnesty action greatly exacerbates the problem, because retirees get back far more than they pay in.

[…]Because the U.S. pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement benefits, on average, for each new retiree, whether part of Obama’s amnesty program or not, the president has just vastly worsened the long-term financial condition of the country’s two primary retirement safety nets.

But Obama’s newly legalized workers will impose even heavier losses than Steuerle’s examples.

Most workers pay into the programs for their working careers, between 40 and 50 years. But millions of Obama’s newly legalized are working-age adults with children, so many could be in their 40s or older.

Thus they could pay FICA taxes for the next, say, 15 or 20 years — less than half the average American worker — and be eligible for the full array of Social Security and Medicare benefits.

In addition, most will be lower-income workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that foreign-born, full-time workers earn about 80% of native-born Americans ($33,500 vs. $41,900).

Social Security is a social insurance program and is structured to provide disproportionately more benefits for lower-income workers. Medicare pays the same regardless of how much a worker pays in.

To be sure, these new workers’ entry will likely help the trust funds initially, because most will be paying in rather than taking out.

Under current rules, workers must pay FICA taxes for 40 quarters (10 years total) before being fully eligible for the programs. But within a few decades the oldest will start retiring.

Given the demographic unknowns, estimating the amnesty’s financial cost to our retirement programs — and so to U.S. taxpayers — can only be approximate.

But using a basic simulation model, we believe the government will receive about $500 billion in payroll tax revenue (including Part B and drug premiums), and expect it to pay out some $2 trillion in benefits over several decades.

Yeah, so they are actually making it worse. But hey, at least we have redefined marriage, right?

As if that were not enough, there’s this lovely story from CNS News.

Excerpt:

The Daily Treasury Statement that was released Wednesday afternoon as Americans were preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving revealed that the U.S. Treasury has been forced to issue $1,040,965,000,000 in new debt since fiscal 2015 started just eight weeks ago in order to raise the money to pay off Treasury securities that were maturing and to cover new deficit spending by the government.

The only way the Treasury could handle the $942,103,000,000 in old debt that matured during the period plus finance the new deficit spending the government engaged in was to roll over the old debt into new debt and issue enough additional new debt to cover the new deficit spending.

This mode of financing the federal government resembles what the Securities and Exchange Commission calls a Ponzi scheme. “A Ponzi scheme,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission, “is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors,” says the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“With little or no legitimate earnings, the schemes require a consistent flow of money from new investors to continue,” explains the SEC. “Ponzi schemes tend to collapse when it becomes difficult to recruit new investors or when a large number of investors ask to cash out.”

Now you might ask yourself – are young people aware of these things? Of course not. What they learn in university is how to escape their repressive religious backgrounds by experimenting with risky, irresponsible sexual behavior. They are not aware of the situation, and when they vote, they vote like they were picking candidates on American Idol. I guess I can understand why young people act stupidly. They are concerned with what the culture tells them to be concerned about, and that’s legal baby-killing, redefining marriage to separate kids from their mom or dad, police shooting people who commit crimes, a nonexistent gender pay gap and global warming. What is appalling to me is when their parents vote Democrat… which is basically voting to have a higher standard of living for themselves, then passing the bill onto to their kids. It’s especially amazing when married women do this to their own kids. What are they thinking?

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times admits that GM repaid its bailout loans with TARP loan money

Story here in the radically-leftist New York Times. (H/T Hot Air)

Excerpt:

AS we inch closer to a clearer understanding of the products and practices that unleashed the credit crisis of 2008, it’s becoming apparent that those seeking the whole truth are still outnumbered by those aiming to obscure it. This is the case not only on Wall Street but also in Washington.

Truth seekers the nation over, therefore, are indebted to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who in recent days uncovered what he called a government-enabled “TARP money shuffle.” It relates to General Motors, which on April 21 paid the balance of its $6.7 billion loan under the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

G.M. trumpeted its escape from the program as evidence that it had turned the corner in its operations. “G.M. is able to repay the taxpayers in full, with interest, ahead of schedule, because more customers are buying vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse,” boasted Edward E. Whitacre Jr., its chief executive.

G.M. also crowed about its loan repayment in a national television ad and the United States Treasury also marked the moment with a press release: “We are encouraged that G.M. has repaid its debt well ahead of schedule and confident that the company is on a strong path to viability,” said Timothy F. Geithner, the Treasury secretary.

Taxpayers are naturally eager for news about bailout repayments. But what neither G.M. nor the Treasury disclosed was that the company simply used other funds held by the Treasury to pay off its original loan.

This is what you get when you appoint a tax-cheat to be the Treasury Secretary.

Here’s what we need to understand about government bailouts. There should never be any such thing as a government bailout. GM and these other bailed-out companies made bad decisions that put them at a competitive disadvantage with respect to their competitors. The Obama administration bailed out these failing companies with money from other hard-working individuals and successful companies, including small businesses. The Obama administration did this for political gain with its favored special interest groups, e.g. – unionized labor,  wall street bankers and GSE executives. Those are the groups that got Obama elected, and he paid them back with “bailouts”. Government has no right to get involved with bailing out their buddies with my money and your money.

I remember when people use to complain about profit margins of 8% in some big corporations when Bush was President. But at least they earned that money by selling things that people needed and freely chose to buy. They did operate on a government-backed expense account. Sometimes I wonder whether all of these problems are caused because we elect spoiled-brat, silver-spoon liberals who spent their entire lives getting into trouble and then begging their parents, (and grandparents, in Obama’s case), for bailout money. Maybe they are just making policy based on their experiences in making irresponsible choices and then being bailed out by their parents?

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Understanding the effects of government-run health care

Previous health care posts

Before we see today’s post, here are some of my previous posts on health care.

Socialized medicine by the numbers

I was having a nice chat today with a friend about whether we should expect government-run health care to work as well as private health care. I asked to him to reflect on how incompetent government offices are for services like driver’s licenses, vehicle titles, immigration, postal services, etc. Then I asked him how satisfied he was shopping online from Amazo.com or in person at Wal-mart. A private seller in the free market needs to meet your needs better than other competitors, so you will get good service – because you have a free choice. But what happens when you have only one option?

Hot Air has a post by DirectorBlue that analyzes government-run health care.

Here are just a few of his numbers related to waiting times:

14: The percentage of all patients in Britain who wait more than one (1) year to receive treatment after a referral by a general practitioner. Half of all National Health Care patients in Britain wait between 18 and 52 weeks for treatment.

90: Number of days, on average, each Canadian patient must wait for an MRI under the Canadian government-run health care system.

750: The estimated number of people waiting in line (in the pouring rain) at Britain’s Bury Office attempting to register for dental care.

10,000: Number of Canadian breast cancer patients to file a class action lawsuit against Quebec’s hospitals because, on average, they were forced to wait 60 days to begin post-operative radiation treatments.

443,849: The number of British patients of the National Healthcare Service (NHS) who waited four or more weeks for inpatient admittance into a hospital (Excel file) in May of 2009 (more than 75% of all patients).

1,500,000: The number of Canadians who do not have — and cannot find — a general practitioner/primary care physician due to shortages in medical staff: “In Norwood, Ontario, 20/20 videotaped a town clerk pulling the names of the lucky winners out of a lottery box. The losers must wait to see a doctor… Shirley Healy, like many sick Canadians, came to America for surgery. Her doctor in British Columbia told her she had only a few weeks to live because a blocked artery kept her from digesting food. Yet Canadian officials called her surgery ‘elective.’ …’The only thing elective about this surgery was I elected to live,’ she said.”

The article also discusses the costs of socialized medicine, patient outcomes, illegal immigrants, fraud, waste, etc.

Needless to say, this is a MUST-READ. Send it to all your friends!

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obamacare exposed: rationing for thee but not for me

Previous health care posts

We need to learn from what goes on in other countries.

The latest news

All communists are the same. They only want YOUR wealth to be redistributed, not theirs. In Obama’s socialist America, all the people are equal, but Obama is more equal than the others.

Check out this story from Hot Air. (H/T ECM)

President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face.

The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News’ special on health care reform, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.[“]

The video is here at RealClearPolitics.

Read the whole thing, and remember what single-payer health care means, more demand, less supply, waiting lists, rationing and denials of service. But only for you plebians – NOT for Obama and his family.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CRISIS! Evaluating the leaked Democrat health care bill

Keith Hennessey is the go-to guy for analyzing economic policies. He takes a look at the leaked draft of the health care bill that I blogged about before. He lists 15 things you need to know about the draft bill.

Below I’ve listed a few of the scariest parts.

Mandatory coverage

The Kennedy-Dodd bill would create an individual mandate requiring you to buy a “qualified” health insurance plan, as defined by the government.  If you don’t have “qualified” health insurance for a given month, you will pay a new Federal tax.  Incredibly, the amount and structure of this new tax is left to the discretion of the Secretaries of Treasury and Health and Human Services (HHS), whose only guidance is “to establish the minimum practicable amount that can accomplish the goal of enhancing participation in qualifying coverage (as so defined).”  The new Medical Advisory Council (see #3D) could exempt classes of people from this new tax.  To avoid this tax, you would have to report your health insurance information for each month of the prior year to the Secretary of HHS, along with “any such other information as the Secretary may prescribe.”

Employer mandate

The bill would also create an employer mandate.  Employers would have to offer insurance to their employees.  Employers would have to pay at least a certain percentage (TBD) of the premium, and at least a certain dollar amount (TBD).  Any employer that did not would pay a new tax.  Again, the amount and structure of the tax is left to the discretion of the Secretaries of Treasury and HHS.

Mandatory services that I don’t use

A qualified plan would have to cover “essential health benefits,” as defined by a new Medical Advisory Council (MAC), appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services… The MAC would have to include items and services in at least the following categories:  ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and new born care, medical and surgical, mental health, prescription drugs, rehab and lab services, preventive/wellness services, pediatric services, and anything else the MAC thought appropriate.

That’s just redistribution of wealth for elective services, right there. I wonder whether support for contraceptives and abortion would also be required.

Premiums not related to lifestyle risks

Health insurance plans could not charge higher premiums for risky behaviors:  “Such rate shall not vary by health status-related factors, … or any other factor not described in paragraph (1).”  Smokers, drinkers, drug users, and those in terrible physical shape would all have their premiums subsidized by the healthy.

Guaranteed issue and renewal

All health insurance would be required to have guaranteed issue and renewal, modified community rating, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, no lifetime or annual limits on benefits, and family policies would have to cover “children” up to age 26.

…Guaranteed issue and renewal combined with modified community rating would dramatically increase premiums for the overwhelming majority of those Americans who now have private health insurance.  New Jersey is the best example of health insurance mandates gone wild.  In the name of protecting their citizens, premiums are extremely high to cover the cross-subsidization of those who are uninsurable.

Massive wealth redistribution, especially to Democrats

People from 150% of poverty up to 500% (!!) would get their health insurance subsidized (on a sliding scale).  If this were in effect in 2009, a family of four with income of $110,000 would get a small subsidy.  The bill does not indicate the source of funds to finance these subsidies.

…People in high cost areas (e.g., New York City, Boston, South Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles) would get much bigger subsidies than those in low cost areas (e.g., much of the rest of the country, especially in rural areas).  The subsidies are calculated as a percentage of the “reference premium,” which is determined based on the cost of plans sold in that particular geographic area.

Hennessey then goes on to explain all of the implications of his 15 points. READ IT ALL.

BONUS

Verum Serum has 2 posts up where they examine:

Comparing patient outcomes for cancer treatment in the USA vs Europe

Related chart:

Cancer mortality rates

Cancer mortality rates

AND:

Obama’s plan to pass the health care bill unilaterally, under a bi-partisan smokescreen

They have a plan to bypass the likely Republican filibuster. It’s a done deal.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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