Sunday, January 2, 2011

Losing Patients



The first big news story of 2011 is that Baby Boomers are turning 65 and will be added to the rolls of Medicare...at the rate of 10,000 per day, every day, for the next 19 years.

Which is suddenly causing the mainstream media to notice that there's no way that Medicare can actually pay the bills (currently being short by a staggering $23 TRILLION dollars)...and causing the pundits to blame the baby boomers, rather than the politicians, for getting us into this mess.

These would be the same baby boomers who have paid into the system for their entire working lives under the expectation that their money was either being carefully invested by the government or at least put into a safe place. In other words, the baby boomers were played for suckers in a scheme that would make Bernie Madoff blush.

Meanwhile, the same media which touted dependable, rock-solid Medicare-style coverage for everyone when pushing Obamacare is now saying things like the baby boomers will "swamp the struggling Medicare program," and referring to older Americans as "burdens" on younger taxpayers.

In other words, the boomers were fine when paying in to the system...but are a problem for the politicians now that they're expecting promises to be kept. And that's a lesson voters of all ages would do well to pay attention to.
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21 comments:

drjim said...

Yep, the largest Ponzi scheme ever perpetrated is about to come crashing down, and those of us who've poured money into it since we started working 40 years ago are pretty damn pi$$ed about it!
The increasing drain caused by illegal immigrants, including that poser in the White House, over the last 20 or 30 years has sucked the life out of the system.

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

My Medicare bucket's got a hole in it, Obama, Obama. My Medicare bucket's got a hole in it, Obama, a-hole.

Suzy said...

Shameful.

I don't know what's so hard about "You didn't pay into it, you don't get anything out of it" (illegal aliens).....

We have a bunch of folks in the White House that never learned "Money doesn't grow on trees"....

Anonymous said...

If we can't use the benefits that we paid into their system, then give us what we paid into this system back and we'll take care of ourselves.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Anonymous (directly above)- wouldn't it be nice if it was even an option to get back what we paid into the system? But no - the politicians (from both parties) spent our dough on their various pet projects as soon as they got their hot little hands on it.

And so those of us who've paid into the system for a long time are going to get screwed, pure and simple. But it's interesting that "baby boomers" are receiving a kind of scrutiny and fiscal criticism that we haven't seen applied to the welfare cases, the uninsured, and the unmarried mothers of multiple children.

The media (and the Dems) always seem eager to say that high-earning taxpayers don't give enough... but there never seems to be criticism of those who take too much.

Jim said...

I think it's time for those who have been taking too much all these years to start giving back. Cut off ALL aid and benefits of every kind to criminal immigrant invaders and kick them all out. Every man woman and child. Cut off everything to the single moms who keep cranking out kid after kid after kid expecting the rest of us to pay for them. Lastly, while we may not be able to get back everything we have paid into the system all these years, here's something we should look into. We the people are the one's in charge or should be. We need to step up to the plate and tell Congress and the President you will not receive another dime in pay. That money will be returned to the taxpayers from whom it was stolen for however long it takes to make up the deficit. Furthermore, all the buildings on crapital hill, The White House, and every other federal property (all of which technically belong to us) will be offered up for sale if need be to make up the difference. We could foreclose on the government. I know it probably won't ever happen largely because we have more crybabies out there who would rather complain than people with the balls to stand up to the government. Enough is enough and in this case it is way way too much!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Jim- I agree that it "probably won't ever happen," but I wish it would. Our country (and specifically our government) needs to learn how to say "sorry, we can't afford it" and stop spending money that we don't have.

Would that mean some very sad individual cases would have hard times? Yes. And it wouldn't be our "fault." By taking the consequences out of bad choices, our government has de-incentivized responsibility. I don't relish the idea of seeing single mothers unable to feed multiple kids...but if it happened more often, a lot of other young women would get the message to use birth control.

When thinking about our economic woes these days, an analogy I frequently return to is this: a great ocean liner has sunk, and there are 100 survivors floundering in the water. There is one life boat, and it will hold 50 people... put in 51 and the boat will sink, and all 100 will die.

So do you only save 50 people, "cruelly" consigning the other 50 to death? Or do you do the "fair" thing and continue loading the life boat until it sinks?

Currently, our country is making that second choice...and characterizing those of us who would keep the country afloat as heartless rather than realistic.

Bobo said...

And, we can't expect it to get any better, what with the generation X, Y and Z'ers who don't seem to think working for less than $30 an hour is worth their time. They believe they deserve what mom and dad have right out of high school or college without having to pay their dues working in lesser paying jobs to get to that point. So, they don't work and don't pay into SS and Medicare, but still expect the benefits supported by taxpayers and freely given by our government.

Suzy said...

Bobo...and the government is reinforcing that idea by teaching them that their "evil" hard working "rich" parents and grandparents do not deserve to keep their money, and should dole it out to those "less fortunate"....and if they don't do it while they are alive, the government will take it after they die.

pryorguy said...

Are you as sick of the filthy-rich elitist 'public servants' running your future? Hate to piss everyone off, but THEY won't have any worries in their golden years......just a few examples...

Overall, members of Congress saw their personal wealth grow by more than 16 percent during the worst economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression, according to financial disclosures submitted by lawmakers.

U.S. Sen.Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, reported a net worth of between $46 million and $108.1 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, reported a net worth of between $61.4 million and $136.2 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, reported a net worth of between $73.7 million and $201.5 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures.

.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican from Florida, reported a net worth of as much as $366.2 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures.

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat from Wisconsin, reported a net worth of between $89.4 million and $231.2 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts, reported a net worth of between $182.8 million and $294.9 million in 2010, according to financial disclosures.

Rick said...

Don't forget that 1000's of Catholic and Christian hospitals are set to shut down because under Obama-care they will be forced to become NAZI styled death camps for the Pre-born so that 10,000 a day patients list will now have to be carried by the less then 50% of hospital that are not shut down by the Baby Killer Clause and who have no Moral Backbone. Ask yourself this - If a hospital has no problem in butchering the Pre-born what makes you think that will have a problem with butchering the Post-born??????

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Rick- Even apart from the hospitals which will go under for taking a moral stand, remember that the president's own advisors said that 1-in-5 hospitals and medical centers serving seniors will go bankrupt under Obamacare because the reimbursement rate will be too low to keep the doors open.

But the perverse math eventually works out: when you stop treating older people, they die - and never collect the benefits they spent their lives paying for.

Suzy said...

I didn't realize they'd be putting Catholic hospitals under...yikes....I had all four of my children in Catholic hospitals. :-(

I did see on Fox News that there is a chance they can repeal the health care bill under the new Congress...here's to hoping for change.

John the Econ said...

I'm sorry, but it is the "boomers" fault. For decades, they voted for liberal politicians who either pretended that the scheme would run forever, or just kicked the can down the road. Now, near the end of their lives, they will get to reap what they've sewn. Too bad for them.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

John the Econ- Your summary sounds harsh, but it's fair and accurate. Mind you, not ALL boomers necessarily voted that way - but there certainly wasn't a "tea party" type movement to demand government accountability on either side of the aisle.

And unfortunately, the argument that Medicare or Social Security entitlements should still be paid out because people paid in is just bad math: the money is gone. Stolen. Wasted.

Personally, I accept the fact that I probably won't see any Medicare or Social Security benefits; I don't like it, but I can accept it as necessity. BUT...I sure as hell don't want to see freeloaders continuing to suckle from the government teat while I do without benefits. In other words, we HAVE to cut benefits to the people who have paid in and done nothing wrong...but we should slash all of the OTHER payments first.

John the Econ said...

Stilton, the reality is harsh. The wealth required to pay out the benefits the boomers now expect does not exist, nor is it likely to be produced by the younger generations who will soon be asking themselves why should they toil excessively when the real tax burden (income & hidden taxes) will have to be well over 50% in order to make good on all the promises the boomers believe are coming. They won't.

For over 25 years now, I've argued that by the time I get to retirement age, Social Security will be just another means-tested welfare program, unique only in that it's extracted as a separate income tax. In other words, you'll only get to collect Social Security if you're already broke. I'm making my retirement plans accordingly.

The popular media narrative of the "boomer" of the '60s is of the barefoot hippie living out of a VW microbus. Won't it be ironic if the mindless consumption and voting habits of the boomers makes suck a lifestyle an unavoidable choice for most of them.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

John the Econ - Very well put. I've made the same assumptions, and so have tried to maintain savings to the best of my ability...but as you point out, inevitable "means testing" will result in benefits being denied first to the people who were most responsible.

I'm also pessimistically predicting an eventual "asset tax" which will skim from people's savings accounts. The spenders in Washington will have no choice but to "go where the money is."

Richard the Boomer said...

"There is nothing more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose".
Robert Heinlein?

At some time on the near future, that may be at the rate of 10,000 per day.

Anonymous said...

The baby boomers aren't the first ones to fall for politicians' promises of something for nothing. Who voted for FDR and his Ponzi scheme in the first place?

JustaJeepGuy

John the Econ said...

The "asset" tax is already on its way. It's called "Inflation"; the inevitable result of QE2 and like-minded Keynesian monetary policy that will strip your saved monies of most of their value without Congress having to actually vote to go in an steal it.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

John the Econ- Another excellent point. The inflation that's heading our way will magically erode the value of our savings, whether they're in a bank, our wallet, or a mayonnaise jar buried in the backyard. And as you say, the government can make it happen without having to do something as obvious (and honest) as voting on it.