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EA CO AS
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Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 6:26 am

According to a recent article, nearly half of the U.S. federal budget went to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10609044/

WASHINGTON - Three growing entitlement programs consumed nearly half of all federal spending in 2004, and budget analysts expect them to make up an even bigger share in the future.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid accounted for more than $1 trillion in the 2004 budget year, according to the Consolidated Federal Funds Report released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Overall federal spending was $2.2 trillion, an increase of 5 percent from 2003.



So - other than the "But that's not fair!" argument, why shouldn't these programs be substantially pared back or eliminated entirely?
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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PA110
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:26 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Thread starter):
why shouldn't these programs be substantially pared back or eliminated entirely?

Because every modern western society since WW2 has developed a safety net to protect those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. You can't expect retirees who've just lost pensions to be able to afford health care without the likes of Medicare. You can't expect minimum wage workers without any medical coverage to be able to afford even the most basic healthcare without Medicaid. And given the decline and collapse of the employer defined benefit pension system, you cannot expect retiring workers to be able to survive without Social Security.

In general, the cost of healthcare has risen far faster than the ordinary worker's ability to pay for it. Likewise, the volatility of funds within 401k plans and the drop in defined benefit pension plans have made Social Security all the more necessary. Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be the most tangible of all benefits for paying taxes.

I usually respect your opinions, but this question is really foolish.

[Edited 2005-12-27 23:31:28]
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EA CO AS
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:33 am

Quoting PA110 (Reply 1):
I usually respect your opinions, but this question is really foolish.

Thanks, but you'll notice I never advocated they be eliminated. I was just asking what arguments there were against doing so, that's all.

Personally, I'm torn - on one hand, I agree that to continue with the programs is noble and benevolent. On the other hand, there's little point in doing so if it will completely bankrupt the nation.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

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Superfly
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:35 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
On the other hand, there's little point in doing so if it will completely bankrupt the nation.

Perhaps our leaders should consider this before starting wars.
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PA110
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:43 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 2):
On the other hand, there's little point in doing so if it will completely bankrupt the nation.

There are a couple of issues here. In no particular order:

  • If the federal goverment weren't such a feeding trough for politician's egos, we would see more money going into entitlements, and less into political pork (like the infamous Ted Stevens bridge to nowhere), and they wouldn't completley bankrupt the nation.
  • Close tax loopholes that corporations and the extremely wealthy have used to avoid paying their fair share. I'm not talking about raising taxes, but simply forcing everyone to pay their existing tax in full. It is really troubling that the gap between have's and have-not's keeps widening.
  • We know from decades of data, that preventative care programs cost far less than treatment programs, yet the federal goverment is still far too reactive than proactive. Nobody ever wants to spend money to prevent something from happening. But, they then face a far greater cost responding to the outcome (example - New Orleans: could have fixed the levys at a fraction of the cost to deal with the aftermath).
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EA CO AS
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 7:51 am

Quoting PA110 (Reply 5):
Close tax loopholes that corporations and the extremely wealthy have used to avoid paying their fair share. I'm not talking about raising taxes, but simply forcing everyone to pay their existing tax in full. It is really troubling that the gap between have's and have-not's keeps widening.

Would you support the "Fair Tax" flat tax idea as a solution to this problem? I've read both pros and cons to it, but it seems like the idea has merit...
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
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PA110
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 8:02 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 6):
Would you support the "Fair Tax" flat tax idea as a solution to this problem? I've read both pros and cons to it, but it seems like the idea has merit...

I think even congress has problems with the flat tax, which is probably why they came out with the Alternative Minimum Tax. But Congress being Congress managed to screw that up as well. Now the AMT is a nightmare of shortsighted ness and unintended consequences. If they can't iron out the problems with AMT, then the flat tax should be the way to go.
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AirCop
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RE: Eliminate Entitlements Like Social Security?

Wed Dec 28, 2005 9:41 am

Most people would end up paying more with a flat tax. On the side I have a small income tax prep business. I seen people with incomes of $150,000 with deductions only paying a 7% effective tax rate. Increase the flat tax to 12-15% its double what they are paying. How about individuals that receive earned income credit. All of sudden instead of getting $3,000 back due to low income they are paying $3,000. For the working class, the answer is not simple. What would help would be a roll back of some of the absurd tax cuts that the Bush year have brought. It was big news last week that Congress approved to cut the spending by nearly $50billion dollars, yet they are posed to pass an additional $90billion in tax cuts that you and me won't qualify for. Anyone with a basic knowledge of math knows that this doesn't add up.

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