Monday, May 01, 2006

It's Hard Out Here for a Senior

Maybe my earlier statements of resuming regular blogging were a bit premature. It's just been a real busy time. In any event, while there's a break in the action here on the floor, I happened to notice the following article which may have a lot of people rethinking their retirement plans:
WASHINGTON -- The trustees for the government's two biggest benefit programs said Monday that the trust fund for Social Security will be depleted in 2040, a year earlier than expected, while Medicare will exhaust its trust fund just 12 years from now.

The annual report showed deterioration in the financial condition of both programs although the problems in Medicare were depicted as far more serious because of the skyrocketing costs for health care...

They stated that the projected long-term growth rates for both Social Security and Medicare are not "sustainable under current financing arrangements."...

While the depletion of the reserves built up over past years is projected to occur in just 12 years for Medicare and 34 years for Social Security, both programs will face financing issues much sooner at the point that the amount paid out each year exceeds the amount the government collects to fund them.

For Medicare, that occurred for the year of 2004. However, the program is projected to be in the black again this year before crossing over to paying out more than it takes in permanently in 2006 and the years following that.

For Social Security, the point at which the program will pay out more in benefits than it takes in will occur in 2017, the trustees projected, the same as in last year's report."
In light of the foregoing, I have to admit that I'm not too sure what to make of this statement in the article:
But Democrats charged that the administration was using the trustees reports to try to create an air of crisis to make radical changes to the two benefit programs.

"There is no crisis," said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif. "There remains plenty of time to mend rather than end Medicare."
Whether it's pensions or Social Security, when the time comes to pay the piper, it's not going to be pretty.

1 Comments:

At May 1, 2006 at 8:40 PM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

John,

The "Trust Funds" will be depleted the moment outflows are greater than inflows.

That comes in 2015-18 or so.

There is no "Trust Fund." There is a drawer full of IOUs, which are worthless until taxes from the General Revenue are drawn on to redeem them.

You guys always get mad when we call Social Security a "Ponzi Scheme," but it has been one since 1932, and it only got worse in 1983.

There is no rational argument against transitioning to a system of personal accounts.

Your party can continue with the cheap class-war rhetoric, but that can't paper over decades of obscene spending (by both parties).

The US has many options, but really only two directions. The first is a decline a la Euro-style sclerotic socialism, and the second is a dynamic market economy that meets social needs through individual empowerment.

We can become as broke and decrepit as France (where a childish population riots while their future burns away), or we can make the painful transitions away from cradle-to-grave collectivized boon-doggles (Social Secuirty, National Health Care, Public Education), and get about the business of individualizing the welfare state.

Here is a hint. Collectivization isn't sustainable. I know you don't believe me, but pass HB750, and people like me can just move.

Pass something as vile nationally, and we can move again. (The mountains of Mexico are nice.)

Pass it everywhere, and we'll just stop working and join the ranks of leeches and quit working.

 

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