Bad Investment

August 16, 2012

Turns out Social Security may not only be an unwise investment for new and future retirees, it may not be an investment at all. A recent Associated Press report noted that today’s new retirees are part of the first generation that has paid more into the Social Security system than they will actually receive after retirement.

One such example from a 2011 Urban Institute study was given in the AP article:

“A married couple retiring last year after both spouses earned average lifetime wages paid about $598,000 in Social Security taxes during their careers. They can expect to collect about $556,000 in benefits, if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85 …”

Though Medicare has come back into the spotlight with the media attention toward Mitt Romney’s new VP pick and his now infamous proposal of remaking the single-payer healthcare system into a “premium support” system (something Romney also supports), reform of the other big entitlement elephant in the room, Social Security, has rarely been discussed since the failed attempts by the last presidential administration to partially “privatize” it.

Perhaps Social Security reform deserves new attention. After all, the program’s own trustees state in their latest annual report that after 2033, “tax income would be sufficient to pay only about three-quarters of scheduled benefits…”  At that point, one could just as well literally hide their money under their mattress and guarantee a more secure retirement. Assuming they remember where they hid it, they at least would not lose any of their money. Not to even mention the problem of inflation.

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Obama: Supreme Court Shouldn’t Overturn Passed Legislation

April 3, 2012

At what point do you just stop taking anything any Washington politician says seriously? In a place where incoherent and meaningless rhetoric abounds, it becomes hard to avoid.

One of the latest examples being this recent blurb from President Obama on why the Supreme Court overturning the Affordable Care Act would be hard to imagine:

Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme  Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a  democratically elected Congress.

And I just remind conservative commentators  that for years what we have heard is that the biggest problem on the bench was  judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint; that an unelected group of  people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well,  this is a good example. And I’m pretty confident that this court will  recognize that and not take that step.

And with that he quite possibly places a lot doubt on his supposed expertise as a former constitutional law professor. What could he possibly even mean by these statements? It may be helpful to pick them apart.

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Planned Parenthood and Grown-up Budgeting

April 9, 2011

Much debate took place around government funding to Planned Parenthood leading up to the prevented government “shutdown.” Many pro-lifers argued funding was going directly to fund abortions. Pro-choicers argued the federal money was separated from the money going to abortions. And budget hawks and libertarians argued government shouldn’t be subsidizing any of their services, regardless of the abortion issue.

Here are a few facts on the issue straight from Planned Parenthood itself:

  • Percent of Planned Parenthood revenue from government funding (FY 2008/2009) = 33% [source]
  • Abortion as percentage of all Planned Parenthood services (FY 2008/2009) = 3% [source]
  • Number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood every hour (2009) = 38 [source]

In short, some of the figures thrown around have been exaggerated while others not raised should be a little disturbing. However, two points should be raised.

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The Waivers List

January 29, 2011

As an objection lesson, below is a list of health plans that have been granted waivers from the requirement in the new healthcare ‘reform’ law ending yearly benefit limits. There are two main problems with this scenario. One is that it flies in the face of the promise that Americans would be able to keep their existent health insurance plans if they want to. The other is that it grants the authority to an appointed, unelected government official – the Health and Human Services Secretary – to simply exempt certain companies from a law.

While you think about those issues, gaze upon this list of over 700 plans that have been granted waivers (Warning: It’s long!):

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Top Posts from 2010

December 30, 2010

In celebration of the New Year, here are the top 10 posts from this blog for 2010:

  1. Another TARP Spending Idea and Keynesian Economics (2/19)
  2. Census Fine (3/19)
  3. French Equality Veils Liberty (4/30)
  4. Virginia Nullifies Individual Mandate (3/6)
  5. GM Back in Business … the Campaign Funding Business (9/30)
  6. Liberal/Progressive Ignorance of Economics (6/12)
  7. Sinkholes and Optimism (1/16)
  8. Paying for Spending Now Insignificant? (2/28)
  9. Supreme Court Justice: Right to Burn Koran Not Settled (9/19)
  10. Drinking Down Paternalism (3/10)

Have a Happy New Year!


Words for the Weekend – 11-12-10

November 12, 2010

“It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights – the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to health care, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom, that’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.”

                                                                                 — P.J. O’Rourke


Outcry from the ‘Entitled’

October 27, 2010

Part of a report on the French parliament’s decision to up their retirement age in order to address budgetary problems:

In an attempt to revive a protest movement that has lost momentum, unions plan a new nationwide day of street demonstrations and strikes Thursday that are expected to cause travel problems. France’s civil aviation authority says Thursday’s strikes mean airlines must cancel a third of their flights at Charles de Gaulle, Paris’ main airport, and half their flights at the smaller Orly airport south of the capital. Airlines generally try to spare long-haul flights in such cancellations. A two-week train strike has been tapering off, and only a small number of trains were to be canceled Thursday … Striking dock workers have exacerbated the fuel shortages. Oil tankers are lined up in the Mediterranean as far as the eye can see off the port of Marseille, waiting to unload. The Normandy port of Le Havre faces a similar situation.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=france+retirement+age&iid=9988247″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9988247/gallery/national-union-led.jpg?size=500&imageId=9988247″ width=”234″ height=”155″ /]All of this is over a decision to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Perhaps a disturbing effect of an engrained entitlement culture?

If (and that’s a big “if”) American politicians attempt to meaningfully address our country’s looming debt problem by tackling our entitlement programs, Social Security and Medicare, will the opposition behave just as childish? There’s something ironic about acting immature about retirement benefits.