Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Social Security & Medicare : "An unjustified transfer of wealth from the young to the elderly"? NO!

Once more an undereducated know-nothing is provided a privileged stage on which to spout his insufferable, uninformed bollocks. Woe is me! Woe is us! And it’s all the fault of them damned greedy geezers with all their blinkin’ excessive benefits! 

In this case, indignant Sunday New York Times letter writer, Daniel Bronheim, reaches full throated pitch and bile as he writes:

 The rising cost of Social Security and Medicare has for a generation crowded out adequate government investment in infrastructure, education and research. It has meant a huge and unjustified transfer of wealth from the young to the elderly, especially when it’s being funded by borrowing from the future”.

After reading just this portion one is left to wonder how much more false grievance can be expressed in one letter of 150 words – but there’s a lot. I merely note his next sentence is that “insult is added to injury to realize the poor die so much younger and this transfer benefits is to those who need it the least.”

Where did this dolt get this misinformation? One must ponder seriously that question, given 44% of seniors have only Social security to live on and certainly aren’t among those “who need it the least”.  As for the “poor dying much younger” – yes, so how about the poor seniors I noted in McDowell, WVA in my post skewering the idiot Abby Huntsman?

How many times and in how many venues must we educate these twerps to grasp what is going on here?  Bronheim gets his perceptual panties in a twist over the elderly, but in fact, if he had more brains or common sense he’d recognize it’s the expanded military industrial complex which now consumes 58 percent of current expenditures. THAT is what’s responsible for leaving his young generation with debt, poor job outlook, and transferred wealth.

Does he not know, for example, that the Bushies pilfered Social Security monies from 2001 on to pay for their illegal, neocon-inspired wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? It is estimated that over a trillion bucks went for that purpose, with the Bushie architects trying to conceal the size of the actual deficits by raiding S.S.   But let’s add the total gov’t yearly grabs up from 2001-08, as extracted from GAO and Trust Fund data – as I reported in my blog post responding to Huntsman:

2001    -  $163 billion

2002   - $159 billion

2003   -$155.6 billion

2004   - $151.1 billion

2005   -$173.5 billion

2006   -$185.5 billion

2007   - $186 billion

2008   $180.2 billion


TOTAL:  $1.353 trillion

Oh, and does the illustrious Master Bronheim have sufficient education to also know how the Bushies ramped up unnecessary spending from Medicare? Does he know, or is he even faintly aware, that the Medicare Modernization Act passed in 2003 was really designed as a corporate welfare bonanza for Big PHrmA and other Bushie campaign donors?  This bill interjected the “Part D” or  Prescription Drug Plan – when there was already one in place (as part of Medicare Part B). It also introduced Medicare Advantage which introduced private plans much more expensive than standard Medicare and which have been creating deficits of around $12b each year, leading the program toward insolvency – even as it caused premium for regular Medicare beneficiaries to rise.

From assorted Denver Post 2003 editorials (e.g.  Medicare Drug Plan Confusing Sign Up’, p. 6E, Nov. 13) and articles we learned the following:

- Drug companies would see $139 billion in benefits (read ‘corporate welfare’) via this bill over a decade


-        There would be no bargaining or leverage allowed by the government to control prices, as in the case with the VA. (Saving an estimated $200b over ten years)


-        All "re-importation” of drugs from Canada would be outlawed- hence eliminating a REAL source of drug savings. (an estimated  $11b a year)


-        Private HMOs would be able to compete directly with Medicare and those in the latter program will eventually have to make up the difference out of their pockets as private costs soar. (And taxpayers, YES – would have to shell out more to help out – paying attention there, Daniel?)

In the end, as articles in the Post and other assorted press sources (NY Times, Baltimore Sun etc) observed, the misbegotten Bushie  Medicare law was a “crazy quilt”  - engineered and written by the likes of HMO lobbyist Billy Tauzin, by  “trying to please too many potential voters”.  But as I noted in a letter to the Post editor, it also tried to bamboozle as many potential voters as possible with smoke and mirrors ploys. Dangling a benefits’ “carrot” but delivering mostly hot air and glazed eyes.

Indeed, as the  years rolled by, the Post and other papers lost track of how many seniors had fallen into the infamous “donut hole” – where they ended up having to shell out full price for all their meds, many actually forced to choose between food and meds.

Bronheim advises  “making all Social security income taxable and the market value of Medicare taxable to its recipients”? What kind of half wit moron is this guy?  (Does he even know the average income for Social Security beneficiaries is $12,000 a year?) More accurately I am trying to understand how this Jasper even managed to put two coherent sentences together – if he understood so little of what he was yapping about.  Taxation? You fucking idiot! People receiving these benefits paid in 30 years or more via FICA taxes! (And let's bear in mind the richest 1 percent don't have to shoulder the burden on most of their income.)

And even now those benefits are taxed in subtle ways. Social Security taxes rise to over 30%  (i.e. 1/3 of S.S. is taken back) for many elderly recipients still trying to keep roofs over heads by working.  Medicare taxes are more indirectly applied, generally through steady increases in premiums.   And on account of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) $500 billion stands to be cut from Medicare over the next ten years, much of it in terms of hidden costs (such as allowing hospitals to accept patients under 'observation' instead of full admission) as well as cuts to Medicare providers. Already, as assorted letters in The Denver Post have noted, many seniors have been dumped by their doctors who want no more of the paperwork if their remuneration is to be cut even 2%.  That means those seniors go without care or have to go to charity clinics.

Medicare premiums -expenses have increased 133% over the past 6 years compared to only a 31% increase in paid benefits (COLAs suspended for over 3 years) hence amounting to a pure benefits cut- or de facto TAX.

 Sadly, it appears little can be done – short of brain transplants-  to get the likes of these simpletons to understand the current economic dynamic which is also based on past history. The latter includes how the previous administration misused Social Security monies for their “wars” (to hide deficits)  and implemented an expensive new Medicare law that wasn’t needed.

If those like Daniel Bronheim really want greater investment “in infrastructure, education and research” they first need to know WHO is benefiting from the status quo.  (“Oh wait, yuh mean there is a status quo?”)

Hint, hint: It isn’t seniors, and letters like Bronheim’s only serve to foment more inter-generational conflict – which is exactly what the asshole neocons and Neolibs want!  Way to go playing into their feral hands, Danny Boy!

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