AEIdeas

The public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute

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Discussion: (20 comments)

  1. Max Planck

    “It is official: America is not a nation of takers.

    How do we know? Because the President of the United States just said so”

    And when you run for office and have to secure your own constituency, you can say whatever YOU want too.

    He’s got the job. You’ve got a keyboard.

    1. Absolutely right. He won. Anyone criticizing what he says or what he does is obviously motivated by racism or ignorance or sour grapes or petulance. Far, far better for people with differing beliefs and worldviews to simply shut up, turn off their computers, and meekly surrender to the unquestionable wisdom and expertise of our anointed exalted.

      As Hillary once quietly, sheepishly apologized when Bush threatened her with waterboarding for daring to speak out about foreign affairs: “He is sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re patriotic. We should bend our knees and say we are Americans and we have an obligation to kowtow and agree with any administration.”

      (That *is* what she said, right..?)

  2. more blather from the right wing echo chamber.

    the idea that because Social Security or Medicare need to be adjusted, reformed – the idea that because this needs to be done – is “proof” they are “failed” programs makes about as much since as saying that because we have to cut fat out of the DOD budget that it means that the concept of National Defense is a “failed” concept or the fact that drones are not 100% reliable or that NOAA’s hurricane track forecasting “need some work” – that this “proves” they are failed programs illustrates what idiocy there is on the right these days.

    From the beginning the right was opposed to Social Security and Medicare – from the beginning. They opposed it on philosophical and ideological terms – despite the fact that every single industrialized country – on the planet – including countries like Singapore have such programs – the right would send this country back to 3rd world status.

    Guess what nimrods? You lost the election. 80% of the voting electorate rejects your viewpoint on SS and Medicare.

    And if you ran a candidate who promised to wipe out SS and Medicare – he would not only lose – he/she would not make it on the Presidential ticket even.

    1. Martin Gale

      “From the beginning the right was opposed to Social Security and Medicare . . .”

      Republicans in the house voted in favor of the Social Security Act of 1935 by 81-15.

    2. The average Medicare recipient receives about $3 in benefits for every $1 s/he paid in Medicare payroll taxes over their working career. That’s not sustainable. A responsible leader would acknowledge this reality and work to achieve a bipartisan solution to this problem as expeditiously as possible. Instead of addressing this problem, this president instead used Medicare as a piggybank to bankroll a new health entitlement, thereby aggravating our fiscal problem.

      1. re: not sustainable

        that’s true.

        but it’s also true that we cannot spend on National Defense at the rate we are now.

        re: “failed” or not

        this is mention of the word “fail” in this particular post but in many other similar posts in AEI – there is a drumbeat that entitlements in general – as a concept – are not sustainable.

        notice on this post – there is no advocacy for fixing it or reforming it – right?

        they call entitlement spending ‘out of control’ and say nothing about other spending also “out of control”.

        the premise is that we’d not have a budget issue if it were not for entitlement spending.

        The American people have spoken on this and the answer is that by a large majority they want Social Security and they want Medicare and they DO UNDERSTAND that both may cost more but their solution is to keep the programs and bring them to a more cost effective state rather than destroy them – which is the basic theme here in AEI even if they are less than overt about it in some posts.

        AEI basically is opposed to the CONCEPT of entitlements no matter whether they are beneficial or even cost effective.

        they have no such qualms about defense spending if you have noticed.

        we spend as much on National Defense as we take – in – in taxes… yet all AEI ever talks about with ND is as a percent of GDP as if spending your entire revenue base on it – was not a problem – and would be far less of a problem if entitlements were wiped out.

        this is not a rational nor a realistic philosophy.

        it adds nothing to approaches that go forward.

        it basically advocates cutting entitlements or gridlocking govt if it is not done.

        this is not the way forward.

      2. “A responsible leader would acknowledge this reality and work to achieve a bipartisan solution to this problem as expeditiously as possible.”

        Obama and the Democrats want to keep those programs, because they think they are good and because that’s why people (especially young) voted for them.
        Republicans on the other hand are making clientele politics. Keep it for the old who are voting for us, but not for the young because that would mean more taxes.

        Also I don’t see why Obama would have to compromise, if those programs would become insolvent it would mainly hurt the republicans, because it would affect their voters. And at that point their will either have to compromise or they will get into huge trouble with their base.

    3. RonRonDoRon

      I just did a word search on the original posting and all comments. The only place the word “failed” appears is in your comment.

      Eberstadt’s point is that, with current projected commitments and current projected revenue, SS and Medicare are unsustainable. Outside of some fringe elements, reform is exactly what the right is arguing for. The consensus view on the left appears to be that the only reform necessary, or acceptable, is more revenue and then more revenue after that.

    4. Hey you’re as good as repeating nonsense as my parrot-congrats.

      As for “adjusting” SS, do you think when it began with 40+ payers to each recipient to now with a ratio of almost 2-1, any “adjustment” other than privatization will work. Oh wait, let me answer for you-take the ceiling off so SS turns into a direct intergeneration wealth transfer.

      The fact is you REgrssives concoct these hare brained policies, they ALWAYS crash & burn and REgressives come forward with even more disastrous “fix it” policies. And again ALWAYS, any opposition is labeled as a conservative plan to get granny eating cat food.

  3. re: ” Eberstadt’s point is that, with current projected commitments and current projected revenue, SS and Medicare are unsustainable. Outside of some fringe elements, reform is exactly what the right is arguing for. The consensus view on the left appears to be that the only reform necessary, or acceptable, is more revenue and then more revenue after that.”

    If someone says something is “unsustainable” and ends their narrative there – that’s different than if they say it is “unsustainable” unless changes are made – and actually weighs in on some.

    you be the judge. what “reforms” have the right advocating other than turning Medicare into a voucher program and “cutting” SS benefits?

    are those realistic “reforms” ?

    1. RonRonDoRon

      What reforms have Democrats suggested, other than to take more money from somebody, anybody, so that no change in the projected outlays will be necessary?

  4. ” Republicans in the house voted in favor of the Social Security Act of 1935 by 81-15.”

    and since then?

    Here’s the deal.

    SS is running almost revenue neutral right now. Some reforms will have to be made in response to the boomer demographics but the program is largely sustainable and worst case, without changes, in 20 years, benefits will slowly reduce – to about 75% of original.

    So why is there advocacy right now as priority – in the context of a trillion dollar deficit and 16 trillion to “cut” Social Security?

    Why is that?

    One would think, you’d want to prioritize the current, near term threats to the budget and deal with them as a focus – so why is there insistence that SS be included – right now?

  5. re: ” What reforms have Democrats suggested, other than to take more money from somebody, anybody, so that no change in the projected outlays will be necessary?”

    well you may have noticed (or not) that first they cut 700+ billion from Medicare that was a subsidy to the companies that provided part C gap coverage.

    this will have the effect of re-instituting the 20% co-pay of original Medicare

    then you may have noticed that the means testing within Medicare is changing.

    then you may have notice this for SS:

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21547

    but you miss the bigger point here which is whether the Dems do anything or not – does not excuse the GOP from saying we have an entitlement problem, ignoring the spending problem with DOD and basically insisting that the Dems specify the cuts or else the GOP will shut down Govt.

    that’s not a strategy.

  6. and to the bigger issue:

    Does the GOP truly want to reform Medicare to make it stronger and more sustainable or does the GOP want to undermine and diminish it?

    what are their motives?

  7. SeattleSam

    The President could not even pass an introductory economics course with this reasoning.

    When the return for option A decreases relative to option B, demand will shift from A to B.

    A in this case is working to earn a good living and paying taxes. Option B in this case, is working sporadically (if at all) and receiving EITC, food stamps, rent subsidies, disability payments, Medicaid, etc., etc.

  8. re: ” The President could not even pass an introductory economics course with this reasoning.”

    really? Does it matter if the POTUS has economic advisers and listens to them?

    why do we continue attacks on the man as if the POTUS has no one else with economics expertise working the issues?

    ” When the return for option A decreases relative to option B, demand will shift from A to B”

    why is this only true for this POTUS and not true for previous POTUS?

    why is this brought up now for this POTUS and not prior POTUS?

    I had asked before: ” are we truly interested in doing what is necessary to reform entitlements, making them stronger, more cost-effective and sustainable…

    or are we just lining up arguments to undermine and destroy them?

  9. “well you may have noticed (or not) that first they cut 700+ billion from Medicare that was a subsidy to the companies that provided part C gap coverage.”

    Are they cutting outlays by 700+ billion? In what year? Larry that’s a joke and you know it.

    1. in that case, the money was reallocated but the point is that he HAS CUT an entitlement – and there ARE other cuts
      here;

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/ccs.pdf

      specific permanent cuts come from Congress – must of what the president can do is move money around within the constraints put on that money when appropriated by Congress.

      but my other point was ignored here ” are we truly interested in doing what is necessary to reform entitlements, making them stronger, more cost-effective and sustainable…

      or are we just lining up arguments to undermine and destroy them?”

      I the GOP TRULY wants to REFORM Medicare – they CAN.

      And if their proposal preserves and protects it while at the same time making the painful cuts that have to be made – they will gain support and likely concurrence even from Dems.

      but if their motive is to undermine it in hopes that it will eventually wither – then that’s not going to work.

      And keeping quiet about what kinds of cuts you want while insisting specificity from the POTUS or threatening to shut down govt if they don’t get their way is not a real strategy. It’s basically lame symbolism that is not serious.

      it’s kabuki theater.

      1. re: what the POTUS REALLY said about entitlements:

        ” The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. [emphasis added]”

        He would welcome reforms to strengthen and sustain these programs.

        But what is coming from the right – and he clearly opposes it and says so in his speech – is efforts to kill these programs.

        Only the right-wing-echo-chamber can take something the POTUS says and twist it into something they want to make it say – no matter what the truth is.

        I do not see a word or phrase here that implies that we don’t have problems to solve with entitlements.

        What the POTUS is saying is that these programs are fundamental to our country and need to be retained as they actually free people to pursue opportunities.

  10. re: what the POTUS REALLY said about entitlements:

    ” The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. [emphasis added]”

    He would welcome reforms to strengthen and sustain these programs.

    But what is coming from the right – and he clearly opposes it and says so in his speech – is efforts to kill these programs.

    Only the right-wing-echo-chamber can take something the POTUS says and twist it into something they want to make it say – no matter what the truth is.

    I do not see a word or phrase here that implies that we don’t have problems to solve with entitlements.

    What the POTUS is saying is that these programs are fundamental to our country and need to be retained as they actually free people to pursue opportunities.

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