I have a simple solution to the problems of Medicare and Social Security.Require Senators and Congressmen to be covered only by Medicare and
Social Security!Some how I think they might find a way to fund
both of these programs.Rather than give money away over seas or
being the world's policeman and fighting preemptive wars (Iraq or Iran) they
might be more included to fully fund their own health care and retirement
payments.As it stands now they are insulated from any of the cuts
they propose.They easily yield to most of the pressure groups who want
special treatment or federal money. Most pride them selves with their ability to
earmark funds for special interests.Each new candidate should be
asked to sign a pledge stating that he or she supports this idea that along with
term limitations should handle this problem.It is doubtful that this
will originate with them it needs to be forced on them.
The same logic should apply to our State Legislature.Have our local
representatives voted themselfs benefits more luxurious than that of the people
they represent?Can any one tell me how many years do our State
Senators and State Representatives need to be in the legislature to get State
Health insurance for themselves and their families for life when they are no
longer in the legislature? It seems to me other state employees do
not have this benefit nor does private industry.You do not have that
benefit Oh that's to bad. But you voted them in office didn't you?
Senator Bennett,Another way to decrease spending is to eliminate all
benefits that we pay to former congressmen. I believe that we are paying too
many federal employees pensions that "statesmen" like Ben Franklin
felt they shouldn't be paid. Why is it fair for people who pay into the system
to not have a return on their investment? Regardless of their wealth, this is
another way our government is penalizing success. I don't like Oprah, but I
believe she deserves the option of receiving her SS money when she is eligible.
The government can't continue to give so many entitlements. This is what is
ruining our country. Term limits.Flat tax.Simplify and reduce
the IRS.Reward success.Penalize laziness.Simple.
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Bennett's assessment. The problem now becomes
where do you draw that line as to who receives and who does not receive. What
politician is going to say to that person who has contributed mightily to their
reelection campaign "Hey Bob, don't forget me when you draw that line.
Draw it so that I am just under it."
Lets start by restructuring the Health and Retirement entitlements of our
Congressmen/women and Senators.
Robert Bennett thinks "U.S. needs entitlement restructuring?." But
that's not telling us this. In todays real world, it's about these cafeteria
style Constitutionalist that uses their political theories if and when it fits
them and when it effects them alone, with a no waiting staff table service,
their private Patroit restaurant or within an institution of the Tea Party.
That's what they think is their "Constitutionalist Platform" is to
spout off about. But here's what's really wrong. They never discuss ways to
work together to restore our Constitutional Republic. Then a Revolution
consisting of mainly middle-class urbanites, liberals, and intellectuals stand
up and say "HEY", the rich get richer, we get poorer. Congress wants
their votes, and they can't think beyond their nose. If a Bank loans you money,
you have to pay it back, NOW, if the same bank loans K Street, Wall Street
money, GOP deregulations says it's ok, keep it, get filthy rich off of it, stuff
it in off shore tax safe havens, don't use it to create jobs, we want Obama to
fail, and they go along with the Koch Brother's wishes, that feeds them, and
don't pay it back. Congress restructuring?.
Here is the truth of the matter: Explanations of why one shouldn't be crossing
a raging river do little good for the person in the middle of the river.
Congress, of which Senator Bennett and a whole host of other representatives,
did little about our current problem except wave a hand, collect a check, and
moved on to another "partisan" issue, without returning to fundamental
principles to set our nation on a different course. Those fundamental
principles, Constitutional principles, would have made a difference. Government
should never have been into socialistic ideas from the start. I am no leader,
but I expect those who want to lead to do so. No, I'm not buying this cavalier
patronistic explanation from the former Senator. Are you?
No, I'm not buying this cavalier patronistic explanation from the former
Senator. Are you?Yes I am. It is alarming that this type of sane
reasoning has been replaced in Washington.
The majority of our long term deficits are produced by ever rising health care
costs. A much better way to reduce entitlement spending would be to get our
health care costs down to the level of the rest of the developed world.Just getting our per-capita costs down to the level of Switzerland, which
spends the second highest amount after us, would be the equivalent of getting
all our defense spending for free.
Hey Bob, how about we phase out the entitlements, and let people be responsible
for their own lives?If people don't want to save for their
retirement, that is ok, they are adults and are capable of dealing with the
consequences.It will take a generation to get this country back on
course, but we can't do it with people looking to the government to solve their
personal problems or to bail them out.Freedom is not just measured
in what we are allowed to do, but it is also measured on what consequences we
are allowed to suffer when we fail to plan.
FDR fan: So, what is it about the European financial crisis, not to mention the
morals, and socialistic ideas do you like? America has succeeded beyond any
historical marker anywhere and yet there are those who refuse to acknowledge how
that came about!
@bandersenYes those filthy European morals, European countries have
the highest:Divorce rateTeenage pregnancy2nd highest
number of abortionsLargest producers and consumers of pornDUI'sRate of STD'sLargest prison population in the worldOh wait a
minute.......America has all those prodigious titles!!! What was that about
I would suggest anyone commenting about Congress' benefits to first inform
themselves. Suggested reading at senate gov: "CRS Report for
Congress Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress."
RedShirt. If you phase out all the entitlements of our government,
our government would no longer exist. And even adults have been
known to resort to killing and eating each other to avoid the consequence of
starving. So do you take away their freedom when young to spend or take away
their freedom to kill people when they are starving. Force.The only things we are forced to do is those things that alleviate pain
or uncontrollable desire in our own physical body, and also the natural
processes of birth. Eating is one of those things. Everything else
that we do, we do voluntarily as the result of choosing between consequences.
Consequences are mostly peculiar to ourselves. In our own mind, we
decide the weight and importance of different consequences. Even though the
value of different consequences may be different for different people, that
particular person makes their own choice. It just might be
promoting the general welfare if we prevent people from making decisions that
will harm themselves.
To "Ultra Bob | 10:08 a.m." so what you are saying is that I have no
need to actually plan for retirement, and that you (or your children) will take
care of me through the force of law.So you think that retirees will
resort to cannibalism if we phased out Social Security and Medicare? Isn't that
a scare tactic?FYI, the general welfare clause only referrs to those
specific duties of congress as outlined in the constitution. Otherwise, it
could be used to establish a socialist state all under the name "general
welfare".But to summarize your statements, you would use force
to ensure that everybody is taken care of. You do not believe that people are
inherantly good and would take care of their neighbors.
Ut. Brit: Oh, wait a minute. You about had us fooled. We just about took the
bait! Yes, America has many of the problems that you outlined, and a lot more.
All that is the result of choice. Yes, America has all been about choice. You
make bad choices, you get a bad result. You make good choices, you get a good
result. Europe has all the problems we have and many more, except the
opportunity to correct them as we do. They have given up the ship of morals and
wealth creation, something that America hasn't completely done,except for those
who no longer believe in choice and want government to make those choices for
them. No thanks. Liberty is still the best hope for a bright future.
Again, I encourage Red Shirt to read Dickens and find out what the world used to
look like when "inherantly (sic) good people took care of their
neighbors." Or not. Interesting how my loudly right-wing uncle
stopped complaining about entitlements for lazy people when he had a heart
attack and Medicare paid his $100,000 hospital bill...
On one side of the fence are those who work; on the other, those who are
retired. Workers both produce and consume goods and services, and when the level
of production is greater than the level of consumption, wealth is created.
Retirees only consume, so on their side of the fence, wealth is used up.QUOTEThe whole premise is a lie.Actually if there is a
fence it is between the non-productive and the productive but this does not
translate to those working and those retired.The line, the fence, is
actually and really between those who work unproductively or
counter-productively and those who live off their current earnings or their
investments (including the massive 12.8% per paycheck forced investment of
social security).This produces an entirely different and an accurate
dichotomy:On one side of the fence are those employed in parasitic
occupations, bureaucrats, politicians etc, including Bennett, and on the other
side those employed in productive occupations and those retired on their
savings, investments, and insurance including the mandated Social Security
payments adjusted for inflation.
I realized as a young worker in the Eighties that Social Security was
unsustainable and destined to end badly. I started then to plan for a secure
retirement even if I was not able to recover a single cent of the countless
thousands I would pay into the system over my career. Now when I retire in five
or ten more years, I will be entitled to a check I really don't need and would
really rather see the money spent on those workers who were never paid enough to
be able to retire without Social Security.
There should be some sort of reasonable means testing. Like say if you make over
a million dollars in any sort of income during the current year, you don't need
social security, >250k but
"...They have given up the ship of morals creation...".What exactly is the ship of morals creation?
I'll agree to entitlement restructuring only when repubs agree to eliminating
tax loopholes, getting rid of tax cuts for corporations, eliminating subsidies
to big oil and big agriculture, bringing tax rates back up to the 90s, NO MORE
BAILOUTS, getting rid of ALL foreign aid, and when we cut defense spending to
half of what it is today. Until then, sorry!
@RedshirtMy grandfather is not wealthy, they got by and weren't living an
extravagant lifestyle or anything close to it, and didn't have a large
retirement fund as a result. He suffers from Parkinson's which over the past...
goodness, 15 years, has required ever-increasing amounts of care and of course
is advanced enough that it has been at least a dozen years since it would even
be reasonable to think of him being able to have a job. His children are all
lower middle class so it's not like they have the ability to pay for his care
without gov't help. So do you think it's okay for my grandfather to die due to a
lack of ability to afford access to care?I don't understand
conservatives sometimes. You trumpet the "right to life" when talking
about the unborn but not after. "You do not believe that
people are inherantly good and would take care of their neighbors. "They have their own problems they'd have to deal with under your system,
saving money in case they get expensive diseases. Also, your plan only gets
money to those with personal connections to funding which leaves people behind.
Somehow most of my first comment got lost. Anyway I have a 3 point plan to keep
social security balanced-means testing so that those that made over 1
million the current year don't get social security that year, >250k gets half
the normal amount-increasing the payroll tax cap so that 90% of income
each year is subject to it (this is how it was done before but since then it's
slipped to lower percentages subject to it)-reducing benefits 2% and then
using normal annual increases from those reduced benefit levels, an amount that
isn't too harmful, but also saves about 10-15 billion a year each year
@banderson"except the opportunity to correct them as we
do"Please do explain further, how much time have you spent in
Europe exactly and in which countries?"morals and wealth
creation"Again after outlining some pretty damning points about
the state of US morals you bring it up again, those in glass houses shouldn't
throw rocks. I am also curious about the wealth creation bit considering there
are countries in Western Europe that trounce the US when it comes to GDP and
debt levels.You lost me after the choice bit, I will agree with you
there. There are some in the States who love to portray the countries in Europe
as some sort of den of iniquity. When factual, hard evidence shows the exact
opposite they like to sweep it under the rug.
I agree that senators and congressman should not have the perk retirement that
they have; however the reason that they have what they have, is because they
have not messed with social security and Medicare.Those currently retired
will keep them in, as long as they continue to pretend that the emperor is
wearing clothesWe have known since the 80s the social security and
Medicare was doomed.There are too many people retiring, and not enough
putting money in.It has been known that anyone born after the 1960s were
not going to receive benefits, unless some things were changed.Nothing has
been done to fix the problem; everyone has passed the problem on.Everytime
a politician has brought up changing, or reducing benefits, they are quickly
silenced.It is immoral to require young workers to continue to pay into a
system that is collapsing.When social security was created the elderly
were the poorest in our society, they are now the richest.Why do we take
the richest group in our society, and give them money from poor workers?
Redshirt. 1. Actually, I said: It just might be promoting the
general welfare if we prevent people from making decisions that will harm
themselves. Meaning that the government would force people to
provide for their retirement. Meaning that the decision for a person to not
provide for retirement could harm that person himself. 2.
Cannibalism has occurred in such cases. 3. I do not agree, in the
context where it is used, it is not limited. 3. It is the failure
of private enterprise to serve the needs and wants of society that might bring a
socialist state, or even possibly a dictatorial government. 4. I
believe that the purpose of government is to protect the people, mostly from
each other. I dont think it needs to use force for the most part, but the
merely the influence of unpleasant consequences. 4 Yes, I DO NOT
believe that people are inherently good and would take care of their neighbors.
To "Irony Guy | 10:33 a.m." yes lets look at Dickens. Lets use A
Christmas Carol to see the difference between letting the government take care
of people vs. doing it our selves.When scrooge is confronted to
personally help the poor, he asks if the poor houses can take care of them (this
is the government). He was like many liberals, not willing to commit himself
personally to helping the poor because the government did that for him.Then, once he realized that he needed to personally become involved, he took
it upon himself to help Tiny Tim, and ensure that his medical problems were
resolved. He also personally paid for the Christmas meal he took to the
Cratchets. Once he became personally involved, he was happy and helped to lift
the people around him out of poverty.To "atl134 | 11:14
a.m." and howmany children did your grandfather have, and where is he
living currently. Why is it that your aunts and uncles are unwilling to dip
into their own savings to help? Why are you not willing to help where you can?
entitlement restructuring??? Wait - I thought we had plenty of money for
entitlements after all we just passed Obamacare - the biggest entitlement since
social security. According to Obama all we need to do is increase taxes and
problem solved. Pretty simple. Those pesky Republicans are always trying to pay
as we go and that just doesn't work in the socialist model. As former British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said "socialism is great until you
run out of other peoples money". Well the money hole has dried up and
reality is finally starting to set it..even for some of the Obama Zombie crowd.
Ending benefits for legislators may satisfy the needed to punish, but it won't
solve the budget crisis. Actuarial calculations can't be ignored regarding level
of benefits, life expectancy and retirement age. It's time for rational action.
Good points Bob but you missed the real issue- it is all Pres. Obama's fault-
see when he was born he tipped the scales and now all this imbalance has
occured- clearly the next Pres. will be able to solve all of this because he
will convince each gneration to give up what it has paid into and all of this
without taxing anyone one cent more (ohh I forgot Pres. Obama has reduced taxes
since elected as well- looks like cuts alone will solve our problems) see I knew
you were wrong Bob- how silly of you to be rational in all of this
All we need to do to extend Social Security's life is raise/eliminate the income
cap as Reagan did. This is preferable to means testing, which hurts people at
the margin and those who live in states with high cost-of-living. The real monster we need to focus on is medical costs and the future of
"howmany children did your grandfather have"Three.", and where is he living currently. "With his ex-wife.
"Why is it that your aunts and uncles are unwilling to dip into
their own savings to help?"They aren't wealthy at all and
hardly have any savings of their own. My mom is teetering close to having her
home foreclosed on. My uncle has spent thousands and thousands of hours
providing care to his father. "Why are you not willing to help
where you can? "I'm a college student in Utah getting an
education. Penn State tuition made me poor and I'm 2000 miles away from him.
There's not really much of anything I can do.Though it's nice to see
your first reaction is to blame others than to accept the notion that your plan
does not work in some cases.
Start with reducing the pension and benefits to Senators that were supposedly on
duty durning the financial meltdown.
I think Bennett is very sensible in this article, not to mention his clear
description, in clear language about the predicament. I do, however, object to
the term "entitlement" when referring to Social Security. I think
it's better to call this program "earned benefits." I paid into that
fund. "Entitlement" has a derogatory ring to it, and more to the
point, it isn't accurate.
**'Bush signs $700 billion bailout bill' - AP - Published by Denver Post - By
Tom Raum - 10/03/08 WASHINGTON President Bush quickly signed into
law a far-reaching $700 billion bill to bail out the nation's tottering
financial industry, calling it "essential to helping America's
economy" weather the storm. Auto bailout: **'Bush
signs $17.4 billion auto industry bailout package' - By Nelson Ireson - Motor
Authority - 12/19/08
We are 15,000,000,000,000 dollars in debt and shooting for 20. This
mathematical insanity must stop. We need our politicians to map out an actual
path to sanity. Then we need to follow that course. Or we will be subject to
the results of not managing this mess.
I think a means test is a pretty good start. Eliminate the oprahs. But that
won't save much. How about eliminating medicare and health insurance and
creating health care?
Pete1215 | 4:22 p.m. Jan. 9, 2012 Thanks, Pete. There are many off
topic, irrelevant diatribes posted that will not address the budget crisis. No
wonder things don't move forward.
Entitlement? If I invested 7% of my pre tax income and my employer contributed
a like amount to a fund (a Roth IRA or similar), why would the available funds
be considered an entitlement. Looks like my money was taken and spent by
someone---Congress--and now it's gone. I'm sorry; I paid into Social Security
for the last 40 years so I'm not entitled I'M OWED!!!! I'm owed the principal
and the accumulated interest; so where is it? THERE IS NO MONEY!!!!! Why???
Congress spent it and kicked the can down the road. Now it's Congress's problem
to fix; FIX IT!!!!! Madoff tried the same thing on a smaller scale and he went
to prison.Want to fix SS? Tax ALL income at 7.62%, tax all
employers 7.62%; everyone, no exceptions and no income limits. Set an upper
limit on the amount to be withdrawn; sorry about being rich but someone has to
feed the system in order for underfunder to draw a check. Besides, what does a
multi millionaire need with SS anyway?
Means testing has nothing to do with the Social Security program. We were
PROMISED a good retirement if we allowed the Government to take our money all
during our working life. They took our money whether we made a few thousand a
year or whether we made much more. They didn't tell us: "You make enough
to provide for yourself, so you're exempt from SS taxes". They taxed
everyone who had income.Now they want to cut their losses, caused by
mismanagement of that fund. They mixed the SS fund with the general fund and
spent all of the money!
Mr Bennett, would you like your lucrative retirement program and healthcare
benefits restructured. Would you settle for the measly social security checks in
stead of your government retirement that you think your entitled to. Social
security taxes cease after income of 100,000 dollars, therefore payments should
cease if you make more than 100,000 in your retirement years. What do you say
Bob, Do you just want to take from the little people, or are you willing to put
your money where your mouth is??
I agreed with Sen Bennett's column for a change. We all know why the Country is
bankrupt. Go ahead- cut Medicare and Social Security for those who don't need
it- but let's call it what it is: a tax. Six percent for you and six percent for
your employer. If you make fifty thousand dollars every year that's six thousand
dollars that you may or may not get back. I think all political
persuasions should agree on some things. At one time there was a significant
problem in America with the number indigent elderly. Also at one time not so
long ago the word "retirement" was not part of the national lexicon.
People worked until they died or were incapable of working and I have no problem
assisting people who are incapable of either working or supporting themselves
(even though I would prefer that their families support them) Just as a
heads up though: go check out which zip code has the highest number of per
capita SSDI recipients. Hint: it's not part of the fifty stars and bars.
Why do conservative columnists continually harp on Social Security rather than
Medicare, when it is Medicare that is the real problem? Simply remove the
contribution cap (currently at $108,500 I believe) and the Social Securty
shortfall is solved. Oprah will be paying in more and the program will be
solvent. At a minimum Mr.'s Bennett, Krauthammer and Williams should
explain why a total "restruturing" of entitilements is better than
simply lifting the Social Security contribution cap if they want us to seriously
consider their arguments as more than poorly-reasoned conservative chatter.
My only question Mr. Bennett is why when the Republican party was in the
majority and held the Presidency did you not lead the way for this change?
Is Bob Bennett really claiming that retired persons contribute nothing to
Steelhead | 5:41 p.m. Jan. 9, 2012 Mike Richards | 5:54 p.m. Jan. 9, 2012
The problem is that in order to pay your benefits; they take the
money from other Americans.The government does not know how to save, they
only spend, spend, spend.Yes, it is unfair that you paid into something
that is now bankrupt.Just like all those who invested with Madoff and
other ponzi scheme/cons.However, the government is not stepping in, and
forcing other working people to pay those who lost money in the schemes, like
they are with social security.How fair is it to take money from poor
families with children, and give the money to millionaires?I am sure that
many people who lost money in other schemes would like to be paid back. Many of
them would not even care where the money came from, just like those who are
receiving social security and Medicare; they do not care that they money is
being forcible taken from other Americans; all they care about is that they get