Midnight Rantings

Tired rantings in a tired world.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

30 Somethings are Outta Luck

I remember that show "30 Something." It was about a group of ex-hippie friends and all of their trials and tribulations with growing older. I remember thinking "so what?"
Well, now I am a "30 something." As the Baby Boomer generation gets older, what does this mean to us? We are always painted as a bunch of selfish, self-centered, lazy bums, who want to play video games and sleep. It would seem the Baby Boomer generation is "projecting." Projecting, as I understand it, is where one accuses someone of being basically the jerk the he is. Why do I say this? Let's look at Social Security and Medicare.
Social Security was FDR's dream child. It was designed to open up more jobs by letting older folks retire. The idea was someone paid in until retirement and then received benefits at 65. Unfortunately, Social Security funds were placed in the general fund. Very little investment was done. The government "borrowed" against it. This worked because there were more workers paying in than retirees taking out. Enter the Baby Boomers. After paying in their entire working lives, they want what is coming to them. The problem is the Baby Boomers also bought into the notion of overpopulation and stopped having kids. The birthrate declined. So, by adding in the existing retirees (who are living longer) to the soon to be retiring Baby Boomers, we may have a problem. This problem is compounded by things like this:The Unlocked Box
How Bush is plundering Social Security to close the deficit
. Al Gore wanted to place Social Security into a "lockbox," yeah right. When a President sees how much money is sitting there, why he can't help but find a way to use it. Al Gore may have wanted to put Social Security into a nice, gilded box and hide it away, but he is still a classic "tax and spend liberal." Of course, Bush is a classic "tax-cut and spend conservative." Time will tell how that plays out. My guess is not very well, but it won't be this Administrations' problem.
Now, on to Medicare. The death sentence to Medicare was signed and called a prescription drug benefit. Medicare is running in the red now. How is this going to get better by adding another benefit (aka entitlement)? Senior's monthly tab goes up, but the amount paid to doctors goes down. Just wait until prescription drugs are added. How is this fair and just? The wealthiest segment of the population are retirees. True, they may not have a steady paycheck, but they have alot of assets and usually have some retirement. How can you square that with someone just starting out with no assets and very little income? Also, some seniors may actually lose benefits. Many employers will simply say they have a drug benefit and will discontinue benefits:Proposed Drug Benefit Means Consumers Could Pay More
Out-of-Pocket; Threatens Medicare’s Viablity
In-depth Analysis Shows Only Enough Set Aside to Cover 22% of Anticipated Costs
. This is an election year. Saying someone did something for grandma to keep her from chosing to eat or get medicine sounds better than careful analysis. During the whole debate, where were the voices saying this is wrong? The voices I heard had an "R" saying this was great and those with a "D" saying this was not enough.
Finally, what to do? Anyone knows you cannot spend more than you bring in. Since everyone now "deserves" medicine, the only alternative left is increasing taxes. The Baby Boomers may get their wish. Things will be just like when they were young: double digit inflation, high taxes, high interest rates, etc. Or maybe the whole system will implode. Where's John Galt?


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