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Tilting at Windmills

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November 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GOLD PLATED....Andrew Sullivan is worried that Social Security is just too damn generous:

Amity Shlaes does us all a favor by reminding us of the actual purpose of social security: in FDR's words, to provide "some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family." That's it. Not total security. Not a total guarantee that the gold-plated benefits of the late-century will keep growing and growing. And not a peg to wages rather than prices, linking retirees to current wage-earners rather than actual needs.

Gold plated? The average Social Security benefit last year was $12,024. Medicare premiums of $1,454 are automatically deducted, leaving a net benefit of $10,570.

That's $881 per month. There are lots of things you can call that, but "gold plated" isn't one of them.

Oh, and one other thing. The average benefit in 1960 was $981. If benefits had increased since then only at the rate of price inflation, today's benefit would be $6,680. Subtract the Medicare premium and divide by 12 and the monthly benefit works out to $435. I think I'll stick with the current formula.

Kevin Drum 12:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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Comments

Wages aren't even linked to prices anymore.

I'm glad to know that Andrew doesn't consider food or energy as needs for retired people.

2% increase in the face of rising food and energy prices is the slow road to a dogfood diet and three coats on in the house.

Posted by: Neal on November 26, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Sully is right, and not just that, they blow their social security checks on Ensure and Depends and food and stuff.

Posted by: anandine on November 26, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan has proven himself to be an idiot not worth paying attention to. He should go back where he came from and retire.

Posted by: AJ on November 26, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan is not "wrong"; he knows these facts and figures like we all do. He is a nasty bit of work; let him go back with the scummy Republican authoritarians where he fits so well.

Posted by: della Rovere on November 26, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Damn moochin' old people. If they can't make it work on only $435 a month, then they don't deserve to live. Bread and water doesn't cost that much (yet).

Besides, what have the elderly of America ever done for us?

Also, why do old people get to sit at the front of the bus? It frizzles my grizzle every time I gotta give my seat to some ol' blue hair...

Posted by: CKT on November 26, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Given Sully's timeline for retraction of and regret for his support of the Iraq war, I expect that he'll change his tune on Social Security ... as soon as he hits retirement age and sees the damage that's been done to the system.

Posted by: The Confidence Man on November 26, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on.

It's not the "third rail of American politics" because it isn't a generous handout to people who don't want to work anymore.

The FACT of the matter is, elite liberals who live on either coast have no concept of the cost of living in the vast flyover country in the middle of our great land. Milk, bread, land and houses are cheap in places like Iowa, Nevada and Georgia. A man can still stake himself to unsettled land in vast areas of the American West for peanuts and build a home and live comfortably on a meager income.

Try to remember this as well--there are untold obscene numbers of government handouts for people that aren't figured into all of this. There are grants for college, grants for starting small businesses and subsidies for NOT growing crops on your land. Not only at the Federal but at the State and Local levels as well--inconceiveable millions in handouts and freebies that people like myself have to pay for with our tax dollars.

People on Social Security and whatnot get plenty to live on. Don't cry for them--they're the lucky ones. They get to sit on their dead asses and open a spigot at their end which drains Federal largesse into their ample little laps until they shuffle off their mortal coil. In return, we get what? Complaining? The incessant harping of the unhinged freaks who make up the AARP?

We used to have a saying for all of this when I was still working and contributing to the confiscatory pile of money now being used to keep old people from whining and crying on CNN--shut your pie hole or you're fired.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Elect Tom Tancredo as President.

Make sure he kicks Sullivan's elitist dumb ass out of the country.

Then, get rid of Tancredo by any means necessary.

Posted by: John Thullen on November 26, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you. I saw the "goldplated" remark and lost it too.

Posted by: lilybart on November 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Get a job, Norman.

Give me back the pie and then shut your gob.

Posted by: John Thullen on November 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Give me back the pie and then shut your gob.

No! You can't have the pie! The pie is needed to pay for the defense and security of this country and for you to ask for the pie to be returned to you at this late date tells me you're not serious about doing what is right.

You're not getting the pie, sir. The pie doesn't belong to you anymore.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Today, Social Security retirement costs 4% of GDP. By around 2050 that should rise to 6-7% of GDP and stay there -- at a point when average income should have doubled.

If you make $50,000 a year today, your grandchild should make $100,000 tomorrow at an equivalent employment level. You pay 12.6% FICA (together with your employer); your grandchild may pay 20%: (w/employer) leaving you $44,000 to buy everything else with; leaving your grandchild $80,000 to pay for everything else with (all adjusted for inflation of course -- which inflation does not even count 3D color TV for the same $600 price tag). Sound like a "massive crisis."

Today, we pay more then currently needed into FICA to lay away money in a so-called "trust fund" for a future when FICA (at the current tax level) can no longer cover Social Security -- on or around 2017.

On or around 2017, we will begin to pay for some of Social Security via income tax used to cash so-called "government owned" bonds. The exact same amount of money will still come out of your pocketbook under the two-tier tax setup.

FICA could have be raised about 1/10th of a percent a year from 2017 on -- as average income grows 1 1/2 percent a year. From 2017 we could conceivably run a deficit to cash the gov owned bonds (by selling government owned bonds) -- leaving our great-great-great-great grandchildren to support their long dead, retired grandparents.

By or around 2047 the government owned bonds in the trust fund are now projected to run out. Thence we resume paying paying out Social Security retirement benefits through (a proportionately raised) FICA only, again. What a unique retirement system -- must have been hacked out by politicians.

Posted by: Denis Drew on November 26, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Norman: How do you square resentment against immigrants with your picture of a heartland America where anyone can live well for ten thousand dollars a year? That isn't coming from coastal elites. I don't know if your conservatism includes anti-immigrant sentiment, but if so, it's terribly inconsistent with the rest of that argument. And even if you favor open borders, your analysis makes no sense when you consider the Tancredos of the world. Coastal liberals did not invent fly-over disgruntlement -- quite the opposite!

Posted by: Martin on November 26, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Sully wants to stir resentment among younger cohorts with his "linking retirees to current wage-earners". But of course, as he well knows, Social Security does no such thing.

The current system pegs initial benefits to the prevailing wages at the time of retirement. Thereafter, the recipient gets only COLA increases. (As I understand it, those do include (annualized) food and enrgy.) So retirees are not linked to current wage-earners, but to those of their own generation.

This in itself could well generate some resentment on the part of the young, when Sully's libertarian buddies and schmibertarian half-buddies get their way, and the median wage begins to spiral down. But I don't expect he's thought that far ahead, or imagined that the free market paradise ushered in by a governent of, by, and for the top tenth of one percent could evah result in stagnant wages, much less lower ones.

Posted by: nicteis on November 26, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans hate to see the lower classes having a decent living. The Market will take care of them, providing they have a boat that can rise on the tide, or a big funnel to gather what trickles down.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on November 26, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm so mad at my mother, she's a hundred and two years old, and she called me the other day. She wanted to borrow ten dollars for some food! I said, 'Hey, I work for a living!' " Steve Martin
[Silly Sully and ab-Normie would think that a serious rejoinder. ]

Posted by: Mike on November 26, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

If Andrew Sullivan were blogging the Irish Potato Famine he would be on the side of Charles Trevelyan and for the interests of big British landowners. He would be against the interests of the starving and disenfranchised Irishmen, whose indolence and over-breeding were responsible for all the suffering and poverty. The moral emphasis of free-marketers today is indistinguishable from that of their Victorian predecessors. They would champion debtor's prisons, indentured servitude, and the poorhouse if they could. They are as a class boorish men with hearts of coal. They will employ any artless justification, they like to say the market is an expression of Nature, to defend the haves against the have-nots.

Funny thing is that they are strident nationalists when it comes to making war and getting nice contracts and lucrative markets. We should all shoulder the burden and pay the price. But when it comes to taking care of the less fortunate at home they become anti-nationalists, every man for himself, and they require charity campaigns for the needy.

Their value system tends to track the filthy lucre.

Posted by: bellumregio on November 26, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

That high-end Sheba cat food comes in gold colored cans.

So it's not actually gold plated, but it looks that way.

Posted by: snoey on November 26, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Sullivan:

"Are there no greeting jobs at Wal-Mart?"

To which the answer is, of course there are. Plenty of elderly people who don't get enough of a Social Security benefit to make ends meet work them too. That Sullivan would make Social Security even more inadequate goes to show what a heart of brass he has when it comes to the working class.

Posted by: David W. on November 26, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, I went right to the Steve Martin bit too. Great minds....

Posted by: Tim on November 26, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Martin, you deranged idiot:

How do you square resentment against immigrants with your picture of a heartland America where anyone can live well for ten thousand dollars a year?

There is no "resentment" against immigrants because that is largely an invention of the liberal media, who want to demonize this President for doing something about Hispanic workers who come here to help us live a better life. I have no problems with them whatsoever--the more the merrier. This is a land of immigrants--hello, the luck of the Irish? I'm Irish and I would not be here if this really was an anti-immigrant country.

Quit watching Lou Dobbs. The man has come unglued in recent years. Start watching Kudlow if you want to learn something.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"The current system pegs initial benefits to the prevailing wages at the time of retirement."

Actually the wage adjustment -- if we are talking about the same thing -- only adjusts wages of each year (one by one) used to compute your benefits. Thus, you might expect that if you made $25,000 in 1967 you would get credit for $50,000 today in computing your benefits -- average income having DOUBLED since 1967.

However, the index must be geared to median wages or some pay gauge that reflects what economists call inequality -- that began to hit labor in this country in the early 1970s (I call it the race to the bottom* ).

Interestingly, should American labor ever get its act together and get back its proper share of the growing economic pie, that would surge FICA receipts -- currently collected with a tax cap -- by leaps and bounds beyond current projections.

* http://ontodayspage.blogspot.com/2007/11/had-adam-smith-lived-to-see-1800s.html

Posted by: Denis Drew on November 26, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Steve Martin"

Ah, yes. Another idiot who hasn't made a decent movie in twenty years.

Funny how liberals would bring him up at a time like this. When the truth starts to sting a little, try to make a funny and laugh because it has to be debilitatingly shocking to you to find out how wrong you are on a consistent basis.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

andrew sullivan is a typical republican pig. he's got his (and major props to his big pharma pals for so kindly providing him the meds to stay alive); fuck all the rest of us....

Posted by: linda on November 26, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Not to pick nits, Norman, but I just found an article that says a gallon of milk in flyover Kansas runs about what I pay for milk in communist Seattle, where candies made from Social Security benefits fall from the sky.

http://www.ksnt.com/news/local/11670526.html

Three dollars and sixty nine cents is what you'll pay for a gallon of milk at the Auburn Apple Market. Manager Fred Biesemeyer says the price is conservative, “I was $4.35 just two weeks ago, but when the market it getting down real low. Like I said, one competitor is at $2.99, I pay more to get that in my store itself.”

But maybe Iowa is vastly different from Kansas. Please show me otherwise...

Posted by: CKT on November 26, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what kind of retirement Sullivan, a non-citizen working in the U.S., can expect? I'm just curious whether he'll be living on the system he condemns.

Posted by: RSA on November 26, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Median Prices for Single Family Homes:
---------------------------------------
http://www.realtor.org/Research.nsf/files/MSAPRICESF.xls/$FILE/MSAPRICESF.xls

Metropolitan Area 2007.III p
Des Moines, IA 153.9 (thousands of dollars)

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 394.7
---------------------------------------


Suck eggs and wince, liberals.

I win.


Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, spot price for gold is ~$820/oz. So SS buys you a little over 1 oz of gold a month - plenty enough to gold-plate whatever you want!

Posted by: orion on November 26, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Suck eggs and wince, liberals."

Yes, I too believe that most 65 year olds are first-time purchasers of single family homes. nd while some of them might own such single family homes in high price areas like Seattle, they would be powerless to take advantage of those assets without actually selling them and moving to the middle of nowhere.

Oh, if there was only some financial instrument that would give you a lump sum now, which only needs to be paid back upon your death--maybe even by the deed of your house in lieu of a cash payment! It would work like a mortgage, but in reverse! But what could we call it?

Posted by: Joe on November 26, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe, given Saletan's recent stupidity at Slate, Sully thinks non-white folk get too much Social Security.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 26, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

It would work like a mortgage, but in reverse! But what could we call it?

A scam? Encouraging reverse mortgages has the effect of negating the inheritance of middle class heirs...all the while screaming bloody murder about the "Death Tax."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

since sullivan wants us to go back in history, he should note that social security was regarded as one leg of a three-legged stool, the other two being personal savings and...your pension from your job!

of course, fewer and fewer jobs offers pensions, so if anything, social security needs to be higher, because it needs to cover two legs.

as for sullivan himself, he's excellent on torture, excellent on gay rights, and has become excellent on iraq. otherwise, he is a complete idiot: i just don't understand how people whose reasoning abilities are so limited learn to type.

Posted by: howard on November 26, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS: "Encouraging reverse mortgages has the effect of negating the inheritance of middle class heirs."

What right do we have to expect an inheritance?
I think my mother has the right to spend all of her money and live a decent standard of living, as opposed to scrimping and scrounging so that her kids and grandkids can get a windfall.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 26, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

A scam? Encouraging reverse mortgages has the effect of negating the inheritance of middle class heirs...all the while screaming bloody murder about the "Death Tax."

Calm down, Hysterical Hormonal Citizen.

Reverse mortgages allow people to enjoy a comfortable retirement and protect their assets from ungrateful children. Many of you will be surprised to know this, but my four children get nothing when I'm dead. One of my properties is in a reverse mortgage for precisely that reason.

Who is Andrew Sullivan? Is he that hairy fellow with the harelip?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 26, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: "Quit watching Lou Dobbs. The man has come unglued in recent years. Start watching Kudlow if you want to learn something."

Norman, STFU and take your meds.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 26, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Of course an inheritance is not a right - but tell that to those screaming about the "Death Tax."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 26, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Many of you will be surprised to know this, but my four children get nothing when I'm dead. One of my properties is in a reverse mortgage for precisely that reason.

Which one of your personalities has four children, let alone property?

Posted by: DJ on November 26, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK
Reverse mortgages allow people to enjoy a comfortable retirement and protect their assets from ungrateful children. Many of you will be surprised to know this, but my four children get nothing when I'm dead. One of my properties is in a reverse mortgage for precisely that reason.

Believe me, Norman, I doubt that anyone here is surprised in the slightest.

Posted by: idlemind on November 26, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS - I do agree that folks shouldn't be screaming about a death tax too.

Lord I am so embarrassed, Norman argues that reverse mortgages are okay too! Guess I should check myself into the looney bin right away.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 26, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what would happen if I interacted with the abusive troll. I guess we'll never find out.

Posted by: Martin on November 26, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

There is no "resentment" against immigrants because that is largely an invention of the liberal media, who want to demonize this President for doing something about Hispanic workers who come here to help us live a better life...Quit watching Lou Dobbs.

I know it's sort of pointless to respond to a troll and all, but really, Lou Dobbs represents the liberal media?

Posted by: brad on November 26, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Drop dead, Pop.

Posted by: Norman's Spawn on November 26, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Who is Andrew Sullivan? Is he that hairy fellow with the harelip?

No, that's Andrea Mitchell.

Posted by: Alan Greenscam on November 26, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

....my four children get nothing when I'm dead.... Norman Rogers

There is a certain pathetic quality to that, Norman.

Is it possible that they will get something--a bittersweet mixture of relief and sadness that it wasn't different?

Don't die a bitter and angry person.

Posted by: Neal on November 26, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Encouraging reverse mortgages has the effect of negating the inheritance of middle class heirs"

Sorry, but if I had a less-than-affluent recently retired parent with little retirement savings but a valuable home in an expensive urban area, I would absolutely consider a reverse mortgage. Either that or selling the place and moving somewhere less expensive, but (1) not all retirees want to move from their lifelong homes, and (2) the most obvious retirement locations are in just-as-expensive markets. Your parents should forced to live an impoverished existence in retirement so that your inheritance can be protected.

Posted by: Joe on November 26, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

The Federal Reserve,Atlanta branch,today bailed out Countrywide Finance to the tune of $25 billion.Why are we worried about future debt?

Posted by: hanging tree on November 26, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Now that I've finally dropped Andrew from daily blog reading I often wonder why I ever read him the first place.

Posted by: Steve Balboni on November 26, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

What really has a certain pathetic quality to it is the idea that four demon spawn of Normal Rogers are running around loose in this world.

Norman, maybe you'll burn through the inheirtance and they'll die childless on welfare.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 26, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

CKT/Norman: Milk runs $3.50-$4 a gallon here in "heartland" Dallas, too.

Norman, go back to reading Saletan articles on IQ.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on November 26, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what would happen if I interacted with the abusive troll. I guess we'll never find out.
Posted by: Martin on November 26, 2007 at 3:58 PM
-------
It's OK. Dickens would approve.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 26, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Norm you are an idiot. Deep down you probably know that but let me elaborate. If the cost of a house in Iowa is 154k and assuming that a retired person of less than comfortable means has the money for a down payment and closing costs, how much do you think is left over after the monthly mortgage bill is paid? Or do you think that they will all purchase these dream homes outright? I find it amazing that Rethugs seem to think a great solution to the "problem" of Social Security is to kill it and let these old people starve. You would think that the growing population of elderly living in the streets and in shelters or simply passing away out there would in someway inhibit capitalism and slightly degrade the rich mans income. Jesus, what kind of society abandons it's needy?

Posted by: tk on November 26, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, maybe you'll burn through the inheirtance and they'll die childless on welfare.

Actually, I'm fine--thanks for asking!

Chip is going to turn out fine. He runs his own Bennigan's restaurant somewhere in Maryland. I have not spoken to him for several years, but after he went through rehab, he managed to get married and settle down.

Winthrop is the bane of my existence. He is in the Supermax prison, I think, and he won't be let out until 2079. Winthrop was dismissed from the Air Force academy and had a history of torturing animals. After he robbed all those banks to create a pool of money with which he could build a small Southern California empire based on manufacturing crystal methamphetamine and trafficking in Honduran girls, the police decided he needed to spend some time away from polite society.

Miranda is my dearest child, but her goth years have not quite played out. She lives with her mother, an insane woman who I bought a house for, and she listens to something called Dead Can Dance. A lot.

My youngest, Brooks or "Buster" as we call him, lives with me. He's a fine young fellow. Refuses to talk to other human beings and raises mink in a trailer we keep well out of sight to the rear of the property. He has a mini fortune, based on smartly playing the market for mink furs.

But none of my children are getting a dime. They have to make their own way in the world.

Jesus, what kind of society abandons it's needy?

Jesus didn't invent Social Security. Think about that long and hard when you're sucking down two corn dogs and a Dr. Pepper at the Iowa State Fair, chumley.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 27, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

And note that the figures Kevin cites are average; low-income retirees get less, as they paid less into the system. They also have less pension and other income--some of them have nothing but SS.

Yeah, gold-plated. Solid gold, in fact.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on November 27, 2007 at 5:23 AM | PERMALINK

Norman,

You really should find a better outlet where your writing talents are better appreciated. I mean that sincerely.

Posted by: Tripp on November 27, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

You really should find a better outlet where your writing talents are better appreciated. I mean that sincerely.

Yeah, well--your Mom doesn't think so.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 27, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

If only those darn fogeys would go back to eating dog food. They've come to expect real food, damn it!

According to Norman, "The pie is needed to pay for the defense and security of this country and for you to ask for the pie to be returned to you at this late date tells me you're not serious about doing what is right." Well, Norman, the US is now paying more for "defense" than the rest of the world combined. When is enough enough? I'm personally a little weary of lining the pockets of Bush's friends in the defense industry.

Posted by: Susan on November 27, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Reverse mortgages can be a great thing, for people who get good advice, understand what they're doing, and want to do that. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there now, pushing people towards reverse mortgages when it's not necessarily appropriate for them, and without taking the time and care to make sure that the customer understands what they're doing.

Many people want to leave something to their kids, even though they're not named Hilton and don't have hotels to name their daughters after. Even though their kids won't be able to live in luxury on the inheritance alone. They still want to be able to leave their children or grandchildren something after their deaths.

Aside from the desire to give gifts of pure love to their offspring, what about the not uncommon case of the adult child who moves back in with Mom and Dad, or Mom or Dad, to take care of them during their declining years, limiting or putting on hold their own careers to ensure that the aging parent or parents can stay in their own home until death? They do it for love, but there's also usually an expectation (on both sides) that upon the parent(s) death, that child will get the house, to either live in, or to sell and use the proceeds to buy something more suitable to their own needs. If the parent has been suckered into a reverse mortgage without fully understanding its effects, the adult child who sacrificed those years of advancing their own economic condition can wind up with nothing.

Current "conservative" political philosophy says that it's an outrage if the Paris Hiltons of the world have to give over even a tiny share of an inheritance larger than the GDPs of small countries, but working people--anyone other than the very wealthy, in fact--out to be using up their resources down to the last penny, just getting from retirement to the grave, and have nothing left to give their children even a token inheritance. Oddly enough, a lot of working people, and even a surprising number of the very wealthy, don't find that to be an acceptable position.

Posted by: Lis on November 27, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Susan and Lis, you don't really make any points. You just tug at my heartstrings and make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

It's not that I don't care about people. Well, perhaps it is. If you're eating dog food, then it must be because you didn't plan correctly or failed to anticipate the cost of living in the crappy little town where you decided to live. Too bad for you! Why is that my problem? And if any of my children were to try to care for me in my old age, their utter incompetence and inability to use basic common sense would see me burned alive in the bed that I am confined to because of their carelessness and lack of attention to detail.

You know, the greatest mystery in life isn't whether or not you're going to have enough money. It isn't about whether the government can take care of you. It isn't about whether your idiot kids can take care of you.

The greatest mystery in life is...yourself.

Discover what it is about yourself that is so mysterious and then come and talk to me about things, okay? And quit getting all weepy-weepy. You're bugging the living crap out of me.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 27, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

Norman, if your kids read these comments, you may end up getting burned alive in your bed for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with incompetence on their part. Personally, you remind me of that crank in the wheelchair in the opening segment of "The Wrong Box".

Now, back to the main subject, and specifically to a quote from James Madison University econ professor J. Barkley Rosser ("Student Ignorance About Social Security", http://cob.jmu.edu/rosserjb/ ): "Future benefits are to rise with the growth of real wages, reaching a level in 2042 a bit over 160% of what the current retirees receive. If the system then goes 'bankrupt,' those benefits would suddenly decline by about 28%, leaving the benefits paid to retirees (todays students soon thereafter) at around 120% of the level current retirees receive. If this is a 'crisis' requiring drastic action now, then I am the Brooklyn Bridge."

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on November 28, 2007 at 4:41 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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