Archive for the ‘Seniors’ Category
My grandparents sacrificed and saved for years so they could have a comfortable retirement and still leave an inheritance for their children. They succeeded. They live comfortably independent well into their 80’s, and left a legacy to be proud of. We used to call this responsibility.
According to the Obama administration, however, people who make wise retirement choices need to be reigned in. The government should decide how much you can save, and how “comfortable” your retirement lifestyle is permitted to be (keep in mind that with today’s lifespan, an average person can live up to 20 or 30 years after they retire, which means they need to save MORE than previous generations, not less).
As far as the Left is concerned, there is no such thing as private property. There is only what the ruling class “allows” you to keep.
What President Barack Obama has planned in his upcoming budget, while not exactly a Cypriot-style, government-based raid on private savings accounts, comes too close for comfort. As widely reported Monday, the Obama budget document – which is already a month late – will include a new proposal to limit the total amount an individual can put aside in tax deferred retirement savings like 401Ks and IRAs to an amount sufficient to generate an annual income in the golden years of less than $250,000 per year.
Why do it? According to a senior administration official, The Hill reported, “wealthy taxpayers can currently ‘accumulate many millions of dollars in these accounts, substantially more than is needed to fund reasonable levels of retirement saving.'”
Who says? It is true that some people use retirement savings plans as a form of tax avoidance, but tax avoidance was, the last time anyone checked, still legal. Major corporations that have the imprimatur of approval from the Obama administration like General Electric and General Motors do it all the time.
What the White House may propose is not a matter of fairness, as the president and his allies are sure to cast it, but one that strikes at the heart of the right to keep for ourselves the product of our hard work.
To Obama, that idea that some may have saved more than others for their retirement is unfair, So is the idea, apparently, that some people make more than others. It’s class envy at its most ugly, designed to appeal to the more than 40 percent of Americans who pay no income tax and who voted for the president in 2012.
It is not a legitimate function of government to determine when a person has saved enough for retirement. “Enough” is a nebulous word just like “rich.” If a cap is in the offing in the near term, can confiscation, a la Cyprus, be far behind?
It’s theft. Pure and simple.
The especially painful parts of Obamacare were postponed until after the election, so voters wouldn’t know about them. Now Obama doesn’t have to face the voters again. Welcome to the new reality!
The Obama administration is planning new cuts to Medicare, a federal regulatory filing reveals, cuts that could mean higher premiums or seniors losing their coverage altogether.
The new cuts come in the form of a planned reduction in the reimbursement rates the government pays to insurance companies that operate Medicare Advantage plans, which are services administered by private for-profit or non-profit providers that offer additional services than can be found in traditional Medicare.
In a Feb. 15 regulatory filing, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the surprised rate cuts of 2.3 percent – meaning it would pay health care providers 2.3 percent less for providing services to patients.
Though Democrats denied it during the 2012 campaign, Obamacare cut Medicare by $716 billion in order to partially fund $1.9 trillion in new entitlement spending over the next ten years. A big chunk of those Medicare cuts came from the market-oriented Medicare Advantage program. Cleverly, the Obama administration postponed the Medicare Advantage cuts until after the election, so as to persuade seniors that everything would be just fine. But the election is over. On Friday, the administration announced that it would be significantly reducing funding for the popular program. Obama’s proposal, according to one analyst, “would turn almost every plan in the industry unprofitable.
Democrats have long been hostile to the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to get their Medicare coverage through plans administered by private insurers. Today, more than a quarter of retirees get their coverage through Medicare Advantage, and the program has experienced rapid growth over the past decade. Richard Foster, the recently-retired chief actuary of the Medicare program, has projected that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage would force half of its current enrollees to switch back to the old, 1965-vintage Medicare program. Robert Book and James Capretta estimate that this will cost enrollees an average of $3,714 in 2017 alone.
The “Affordable Care Act” is anything but…and it’s the most vulnerable who are hit hardest.
This is a recipe for bankruptcy, and we’ve known it was coming for decades. Politicians made promises they knew were financially impossible to keep when they made them, and still they lured millions of Americans into dependency on this system.
If a private company had operated like this, they’d all be going to jail! And liberals call this scheme “compassionate”??
The combined number of people enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare–the government health-care programs for the poor, disabled and elderly–now exceeds the number of full-time private sector workers in the United States.
In 2011, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), there were 70.4 million people who enrolled in Medicaid for at least one month. There were also 48.849 million people enrolled in Medicare. That gave Medicaid and Medicare a gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in 2011.
At the same time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 112,556,000 people worked full-time in the United States in 2011. Of these 112,556,000 full-time workers, 17,806,000 worked for government (at the federal, state or local level) and 94,750,000 worked for the private sector.
The gross combined enrollment of 119.249 million in Medicaid and Medicare in 2011 outnumbered the 112.556 million full-time workers employed in both the private sector and in government in 2011.
They just can’t help themselves, can they?
[O]ne large part of the opening ceremonies includes a celebration of something that many Americans – especially conservatives – would probably find nauseating:
[Organizer Danny] Boyle recruited real nurses working for the National Health Service to take part, a tribute to a treasured national institution that started in 1948 amid the ruins of war-devastated Britain. The state-funded NHS provides free health treatment to all Britons, and is embraced by all political parties. While grumbling about its perceived slow service is widespread – and planned government reforms are controversial – its egalitarian ethos is a matter of national pride. When U.S. Republicans criticized the NHS in 2009, a Twitter campaign in its defense became so popular it crashed the NHS website.
Yes, that’s right, all healthcare in the UK is socialized, and in case you’ve forgotten, they want you to know how proud they are of it. Below is the portion of the ceremony involving the dancing nurses. Be warned: It’s far weirder than you think.
View at The Blaze
So should the National Health Service be celebrated? Not so, says the Heritage Foundation:
To understand the dangers of a government takeover of health care, America should study Britain’s system, which exemplifies the shortcomings of heavily regulated, nationalized health care. A recent report by Robin Harris of the Heritage Foundation outlines the deterioration of Britain’s health care system due to years of liberal health policy marked by heavy concentration of power, higher taxes and the proliferation of rules and restrictions by the National Health Service (NHS).
Did each of those beds represent one of the 130,000 seniors they killed this year to make room for more patients? Or maybe they represented the patients doctors had to prescribe water for to make sure hospital staff didn’t let them die of simple dehydration.
Is it any wonder that the next part of the ceremony involved the children falling asleep in their hospital beds and villains haunting their dreams?
Limbaugh: The IRS Has Just Become Obama’s Domestic Army
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This makes the 2012 the only opportunity we have left to reverse this leviathan before it becomes permanently entrenched and our liberties are lost.
Take back the White House, take back the Senate, take a larger majority in Congress, and REPEAL IT NOW!
Obama’s health care reform law has been upheld, as a tax, in a 5-4 decision by the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the four-vote bloc of progressive judges to uphold the sweeping law, after reinterpreting it as a tax-related law.
The majority opinion, authored by Roberts, said the federal government does not have the constitutional power to compel “individuals to become active in commerce… [so] the individual mandate cannot be sustained.”
But in a stunning move, Roberts reinterpreted the law, allowing it to stand, because he said the federal government has the constitutional authority to tax people — even though the law’s advocates originally denied it was a tax while pushing for its approval in 2010.
After months and months of focusing on Anthony Kennedy as the weak link in the conservative chain at the Supreme Court, it turns out that Chief Justice John Roberts was the one the Right needed to fear. With the more centrist Kennedy dissenting, Roberts signed off on the individual mandate in ObamaCare, not as part of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, or even the ludicrous reference to the “Good and Welfare Clause” from some Democrats, but from the more mundane and substantial power to tax. The opinion actually ruled that the mandate violatesthe Commerce Clause, but as a tax that no longer matters.
It’s an interesting argument, but one that should have Americans worried. Basically, this is a tax that you have to pay to private companies. For all of the screaming the Right did over single-payer — and for good, outcome-based reasons — at least the money paid by taxpayers would go directly to government [see update II]. The Supreme Court has signed off on what is, in very practical terms, a tax levied by the insurance industry on Americans simply for existing. It’s an amazing, and fearsome, decision that really should have both Right and Left horrified.
Nevertheless, this is the law of the land. We can now look forward to taxes levied by the auto industry for not having bought a new car in the last seven years, the liquor industry for buying too few bottles of wine to maintain your health, and by the agricultural industry for not buying that damned broccoli after all. We might even have Obama attempt to impose a tax for not buying enough contraception; we can call that the Trojan tax.
Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so. The whole thing remains unconstitutional. While the court may have erroneously come to the conclusion that the law is allowable, it certainly does nothing to make this mandate or government takeover of our health care right.
Obamacare is wrong for Americans. It will destroy our health care system. This now means we fight every hour, every day until November to elect a new President and a new Senate to repeal Obamacare.
And that’s exactly what we intend to do!
Pay close attention, America. This is the kind of insanity you get when global warming hysteria meets socialized medicine.
Relationships, freedom to choose, the health of the patient, individual liberty…all are considered of secondary importance and are subverted for the “collective good,” determined by an impersonal, tyrannical bureaucracy that shuffles people through the system like cattle.
Avril Mulcahy, 83, was told to address the “green travelling issues” over her journeys from her home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, to the West Road Surgery. The surgery wrote to Mrs Mulcahy, telling her to register with a new GP within 28 days.
The letter said: “Our greatest concern is for your health and convenience but also taking into consideration green travelling issues. Re: Carbon footprints and winter weather conditions, we feel it would be advisable for patients to register at surgeries nearer to where they live.
“We would be very grateful if you could make the necessary arrangements to re-register at another practice.”
Mrs Mulcahy, a grandmother, believes the decision was made because she complained about a doctor.
“When I read through the letter, I found it absolutely ridiculous they were saying the reason was to decrease their carbon footprint,” she said. “I have been a patient at the practice for 30 years now, and there has never been any problem.
So Secretary Sebelius is essentially admitting that the Obamacare mandate is a form of forced participation in government-sanctioned population control?
The way these people’s minds work is downright sick. They view individuals in light of their value to the state, not as human beings. In this case, people are a drain on the welfare state because of the cost to cover their health care, so fewer is better.
Clearly ignored is how much value every individual adds to society through the ways that they labor and create and come up with new ideas, the taxes that they pay and charitable activities they engage in…and in plenty of other ways that can never be measured by cold-hearted, calculating central planners.
We The People do not exist to serve the interests of the state!
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel Thursday that a reduction in the number of human beings born in the United States will compensate employers and insurers for the cost of complying with the new HHS mandate that will require all health-care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
“The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception,” Sebelius said. She went on to say the estimated cost is “down not up.”
On a side note, who exactly does Sebelius think is going to pay for all those unsustainable Medicare and Social Security payments the Left is so enamored with, if there are fewer workers and taxpayers to pay into a system overburdened by an aging population? Will rationing boards and “death panels” pay for themselves through a reduction in the number of seniors, too?
When it comes to central planning by government bureaucrats, individual and property rights are often sacrificed for the “greater good” of the “collective.” This is especially true of “sustainability” programs like Agenda 21. Because the central planners think they know best how to organize society, they have no qualms using bribery, coercion, or other methods to get you to surrender your rights and comply with their utopian schemes.
The elderly in the United Kingdom are about to discover this the hard way. Busybody bureaucrats have decided that empty nesters have too much space in their homes that they aren’t using in ways that they approve. No matter that most seniors have worked all their lives to pay for their homes, have precious memories in every square foot, and look forward to making more memories full of big family gatherings and grandchildren. No matter that some would rather use these “wasted” bedrooms as a guest room, craft room, sewing room, or otherwise none-of-your-business room.
The central planners think they know better than you how your own property should be utilized, and your individual rights are a secondary priority.
London, England-In yet another outrageous piece of social engineering from our coalition government, pensioners will be encouraged to downsize to smaller properties allowing local councils to rent their homes out as council houses and manage the tenancy.
Local authorities will ‘help’ older people move from their homes into ‘more suitable accommodation’. Grant Schapps, the Housing Minister, who is a conservative member of parliament claims the scheme will solve a so-called ‘housing crisis’ as well as creating a system that will ‘permit access to various sources of wealth’ that are currently not being used to pay for care.
Read that as the elderly will have to raid their pension pots and hand over the equity in their homes – which they have spent a lifetime paying for – in order to put themselves into a care system which is notoriously unfit for purpose.
Despite having paid taxes all their lives, pensioners will be forced to run down their wealth while those that have squandered their money or lived off the state will get free care. The idea is to create more stocks of ‘affordable housing’ for younger families. This is a euphemism for subsidized houses for families that have deadbeat dads, single mothers with a battery of children from different fathers and other assorted welfare dependent cases that need ‘help’.
The thinking behind this initiative was provided from a report, ‘Hoarding of Housing’ undertaken by a newly created charity, The Intergenerational Foundation (IF), a left leaning, research-based think-tank which ‘promotes fairness between generations’ as they state on their website. The report makes for depressing reading as its clearly aggressive stance toward older people who they consider to be ‘rattling around in big houses’ while younger families are being squeezed into smaller flats and under-sized houses. IF claims it is not urging the government to ‘round on older generations and turf them out of their homes’ but they have busily calculated that 25 million bedrooms are standing empty and that 51.5% of those aged over 65 have two or more bedrooms that they don’t need. Says who? Are we getting to a stage where we need to justify how you use the rooms in your own house that you have bought and paid for?
Pensioners’ watchdog groups are outraged, and rightly so. This is a pernicious attack on law abiding, hard working people who are making personal choices as to where and how they want to live and have become the target of progressive idealists. In a bid to completely destroy the middle class, IF propose exempting the over 60’s on stamp duty (the tax we pay on purchases of assets) when they acquire a smaller property, or raise property taxes to ‘reflect the social cost of occupying housing’, in other words make it so expensive to run a house larger than one bedroom, that only the very rich would be able to remain in their own homes.
Radical socialist Donald Berwick may be gone, but his successor is no less ideologically driven towards the goal of nationalizing health care.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) chief Donald Berwick will step down on December 2, three weeks before his recess appointment expires on December 31. Fortunately, Dr. Berwick left a voluminous paper trail, leaving little doubt about his affinity for socialized medicine. His controversial views on “redistributional” healthcare and rationing prompted 42 senators to vehemently oppose his nomination last spring.
Not wishing to have another fight on his hands, President Obama has nominated Berwick’s second-in-command, Marilyn Tavenner, to head the agency. Tavenner will act as CMS director until her own confirmation hearings sometime next year.
As principal deputy administrator and chief operating officer of CMS since 2010, Tavenner has stayed under the radar. Unlike Berwick, the former nurse graduated from a state school, worked her way up in the private sector, and ended up as Governor Tim Kaine (D-VA)’s secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2006-2010.
Tavenner’s quiet, bipartisan rise to the top makes her a strategically smart choice, but at a time when most Americans’ tolerance for self-serving politicians has reached an all-time low, the Virginia native might not fare any better than Berwick.
Last March, Tavenner told the Nashville Health Care Council that if she were nominated to lead CMS, the agency would follow the five-year plan outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “Whether I’m nominated or not, we would not have a different approach.” She assured the council that in the future, “the agency’s priorities would not change.”
In August 2010, Tavenner toed the party line, chastising critics of ObamaCare for “stoking fears” and targeting seniors with “misinformation” regarding their Medicare benefits.
The NASCAR fan from Martinsville may appeal to Republican sensibilities, but by her own admission, there is little doubt that she will be more of the same — red flags and all.
While she was Virginia’s HHS secretary in 2009, Tavenner and the governor conspired to delete certain details from a report on two state children’s hospitals which Kaine wanted to close.
Psychiatric Solutions, Inc. (PSI), a private hospital group based in Tennessee with a “well-above-average numbers of founded complaints of abuse — in one case, roughly 20 times the average of other licensed residential facilities,” was interested in purchasing the facilities. PSI was a major donor to Kaine’s political action committee at the time.
E-mails obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2010 revealed communication among the governor’s office, Tavenner, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services even before the panel’s report was complete. One e-mail indicates that Tavenner personally escorted PSI officials on a tour of one of the state hospitals, where the latter displayed an interest in “treating the young people there.” In another e-mail regarding the tour, Tavenner wrote that she was “trying not to make a big deal of it for obvious reasons.”
Then-Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s office was involved in discussions that led to the suppression of findings that a state children’s hospital he wanted to close provided an essential service.
The state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services said a series of e-mails from Nov. 5 to Dec. 16, 2009, between the governor’s office, then- Secretary of Health Marilyn Tavenner and the department discussed revisions to an expert panel’s report on the care for children with severe mental illness.
The revision removed from the report a finding that no other hospitals in Virginia could care for the 800 children with serious mental illnesses treated every year at the state’s Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents in Staunton and a smaller facility in Marion.
When contacted about the e-mails in March 2010, Tavenner, the newly appointed CMS deputy director told the Times-Dispatch that she no longer worked as Virginia’s HHS secretary and would not comment. Kaine, who went on to become chairman of the DNC, has also refused to talk about his part in the quashed findings.
Prior to her tenure as Virginia’s HHS Secretary, Ms. Tavenner worked for the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), founded by former Senator Bill Frist’s father. Her career spanned 25 years, from nurse manager to president of Outpatient Services Group.
Tavenner’s private-sector experience has already proved controversial for some in the health care field. In April 2011, Suzanne Gordon, editor of the “Culture and Politics of Health Care Work” series at Cornell University Press, sized up the potential CMS director for the Boston Globe, citing her affiliation with HCA.
While Tavenner worked for HCA, the company was busily enhancing its profit margin by defrauding the Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE systems. In 2000, for example, HCA paid fines of $840 million for improperly billing the government and in 2003 HCA had to fork over another $631 million.
Although Tavenner may not have been personally involved in these scandals, it hardly seems wise to put her in charge of the government system her company helped defraud. The job of CMS administrator is to protect patient safety and quality, something that federal officials with close ties to the industries they are supposedly regulating and monitoring seem to have a hard time doing.
Tavenner has been called “tough,” “a pragmatic moderate,” a “skilled operator,” and “a person who makes things work and has patients at heart.”
Mira Signer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Virginia, might disagree with that last description. She stated that her organization “was caught off guard” by Kaine’s and Tavenner’s attempt to shut down a state facility that would leave 800 children without adequate care in favor of a scandal-ridden PSI.
So far Tavenner has managed to avoid a serious vetting. Her down-home, non-elitist background contrasts nicely with most of Obama’s nominees. With the First Lady’s recent visit to the Homestead-Miami Speedway, the president may be trying to win over the “bitter Bible-clinging gun owners” with his choice of Tavenner.
This is a “must watch” if you haven’t seen it yet.
This is an hilarious example of how the internet has changed all the rules. One day you’re an unknown private citizen going about your daily life, and the next you’re an international news item. When people consider something worth sharing with their friends, it can spread like wildfire before the drive-by media can even start their engines. This is why I believe the 2012 election will be won or lost on the social media sites.
Webcam 101 for Seniors
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The video went viral so quickly that the couple soon found themselves on our local news:
They’ve since been interviewed by media outlets from all over the country.
The HuffPo gives an amusing account of these one-hit wonders:
A couple from northwestern Oregon who are Internet newbies have found themselves the unwitting subjects of an instant viral video, thanks to a little help from a grandkid.
Bruce Huffman, 86, and his wife, Esther, 79, of the Hillside Retirement Community in McMinnville, recently purchased their first laptop computer –- an aqua colored beauty with a built-in webcam.
Late last month, the couple sat down together and tried to figure out how to make a video with the webcam, something a granddaughter had painstakingly attempted to teach Esther a few days beforehand.
“I was trying to figure out how to do the videos and didn’t know the thing was actually running,” Esther told The Huffington Post. “All the while, Bruce was kind of amusing himself because he was bored. He was being quite an actor.”
The nearly three minute video captures Bruce making funny faces, singing, burping and at one point, during a moment of levity, he got a little flirtatious with his wife. “See how pretty your hair is?” he said. “Just drop your dress a little bit and see your boobies.”
Esther, focused on the task at hand, shot down the request. “Come on stop it. No, no, no,” she laughed.
When the couple’s granddaughter later saw the video, she titled it “Web Cam 101 for Seniors” and uploaded it on YouTube.
“I did not know anything about YouTube, but apparently, it is spreading like wildfire,” Esther said.
While the accidental celebrities are surprised by the amount of attention the video is garnering, they said they are happy that people are enjoying it.
“We certainly didn’t plan it, but there is so much bad news out there. We are glad we could put something fun out there. We like to have a good time and if it makes people laugh, that’s ok,” Esther said.
There is, however, one thing she would change going back.
“I wouldn’t have looked that way,” she said. “I guess I have to quit chewing gum. I look like a cow chewing gum so quickly.”
While their candid video is endearing the modest couple to the World Wide Web, they have no immediate plans of making another video.
“We’re still trying to figure out how to work it,” Bruce said. “But we’re having fun trying.”
Rick Perry Calls Social Security A Ponzi Scheme
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I have a great plan for “saving” Social Security.
Today’s average U.S. life expectancy is 78 years. Let’s make the retirement age to collect Social Security 79.
Presto. The “system” is saved (or until life expectancy increases, at which point we can raise the retirement age again).
Pretty dumb? Sure. But if the goal is “saving” the system, nothing would work better.
Wait a minute you say. It’s not about the “system” but about saving me, my children, my grandchildren, my neighbors. It’s about making individuals better off.
But if the point is making individuals better off, why do we only hear assurances from most politicians that they will “save the system?”
The “solution” that I have proposed here is one extreme example how Social Security, if we insist on keeping it as it is today, can be “saved.”
How about raising your taxes to get the same amount of payout at retirement?
How about leaving your taxes the same but requiring that you pay them for a longer period of time, raising the retirement age to collect?
Can you imagine getting a call from your bank that they have run out of money so in order to save your CD they have to cut the interest rate on it in half? Or that you can’t cash in your one year CD for another two years?
If you wouldn’t tolerate this from your bank, why would you tolerate it from your government? Is it any sad wonder that the credit rating of our government bonds have been cut? You can’t trust the people in charge.
So what about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s claim that Social Security is a “lie” and a “Ponzi scheme”?
He’s right on both counts. Americans should be singing hallelujah that we have at least one politician not afraid to tell the truth.
This isn’t about ideology. It’s about arithmetic.
You can’t hear too many times that, despite what many still think, Social Security isn’t any kind of investment plan, and there is no account that you’re paying into that is yours.
Social Security is simply about current workers paying a tax that is used to make payouts to current retirees.
Regardless of what you think about the idea, it was viable long ago when the size of the program was much smaller, the tax much lower, there were many more working Americans per retiree than today, and when life spans were much shorter.
When Social Security was enacted in 1935, the tax was 2 percent compared to 12.4 percent today, there were over 45 people working for every retiree compared to a 3-1 ratio today, and life expectancy then was 60 compared to 78 today.
Because of these changing realities, projections show that the system as it currently stands will be short some $20 trillion in meeting future obligations.
Any claim that Social Security will continue to work is simply a lie, as Rick Perry says. Some 76 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 apparently agree, because they say they don’t expect anything from the system when they retire.
Businesses survive in free markets because the world changes every day and they constantly change and adjust. But government programs are frozen in time. It’s why capitalism works and socialism doesn’t.
Businesses in free markets also survive because they compete to deliver good products to consumers. Shouldn’t Americans have a choice about where to put the 12.4 percent of their wages they pay in payroll taxes?
If Americans prefer getting negative returns on what they pay in order to save an unworkable government system, we deserve the mediocre, second rate nation we are becoming.
But I don’t think most want this. It’s why we need politicians with the courage to tell the truth and citizens with the courage to be free.
Time to get a clue, Washington!
The United States is no longer considered among the safest financial risks in the world after Standard & Poors downgraded the U.S. credit rating, but the head of the team that made the change says entitlement reform would go a long way to restoring the country’s status.
David Beers, global head of sovereign and international public finance ratings at S&P, told “Fox News Sunday” that governments and Congresses come and go, but spending on entitlements persistently drags U.S. debt further into the red.
“The key thing is, yes, entitlement reform is important because entitlements are the biggest component of spending, and the part of spending where the cost pressures are greatest,” Beers said.
Obama: Government Spending, Entitlements Are What Makes America Great
Republicans Introduce Bill to Force Obama to Pay Military, Social Security Regardless of Debt Ceiling
Dare them to vote it down!
Tea Party conservatives hope to make a push on the House floor to force President Obama to avoid a national default if Congress fails to raise the debt limit.
Members of the Senate Tea Party Caucus have met with House freshmen to discuss a plan to pressure Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to bring the Full Faith and Credit Act to the floor.
The legislation would direct the president to prioritize federal payments to the nation’s creditors, Social Security recipients and soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The bill has been revised since it was introduced earlier this year. The previous version simply required the Treasury Department to pay the principal and interest on the debt held by the public over other obligations incurred by the federal government.
The challenge for conservatives is to persuade Boehner to bring it up for a vote in the 10 days remaining before the Aug. 2 deadline.
“We have a bill that directs by law the president to pay the interest on the debt, pay Social Security checks and pay soldiers’ salaries. We’ve been talking with the House freshmen to see if they will force a vote on that next week,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus.
“There are at least 100 members of the caucus that are in favor of it — they have to just convince their leadership it’s a good idea,” he said of the House Republican conference.
There is something surreal and unnerving about the so-called “debt ceiling” negotiations staggering on in Washington. In the real world, negotiations on an increase in one’s debt limit are conducted between the borrower and the lender. Only in Washington is a debt increase negotiated between two groups of borrowers.
Actually, it’s more accurate to call them two groups of spenders. On the one side are Obama and the Democrats, who in a negotiation supposedly intended to reduce American indebtedness are (surprise!) proposing massive increasing in spending (an extra $33 billion for Pell Grants, for example). The Democrat position is: You guys always complain that we spend spend spend like there’s (what’s the phrase again?) no tomorrow, so be grateful that we’re now proposing to spend spend spend spend like there’s no this evening.
On the other side are the Republicans, who are the closest anybody gets to representing, albeit somewhat tentatively and less than fullthroatedly, the actual borrowers – that’s to say, you and your children and grandchildren. But in essence the spenders are negotiating among themselves how much debt they’re going to burden you with. It’s like you and your missus announcing you’ve set your new credit limit at $1.3 million, and then telling the bank to send demands for repayment to Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s kindergartner next door.
Nothing good is going to come from these ludicrously protracted negotiations over laughably meaningless accounting sleights-of-hand scheduled to kick in circa 2020. All the charade does is confirm to prudent analysts around the world that the depraved ruling class of the United States cannot self-correct, and, indeed, has no desire to.
When the 44th president took office, he made a decision that it was time for the already unsustainable levels of government spending finally to break the bounds of reality and frolic and gambol in the magical fairy kingdom of Spendaholica: This year, the federal government borrows 43 cents of every dollar it spends, a ratio that is unprecedented. Barack Obama would like this to be, as they say, “the new normal” – at least until that 43 cents creeps up a nickel or so, and the United States Government is spending twice as much it takes in, year in, year out, now and forever. If the Republicans refuse to go along with that, well, then the negotiations will collapse and, as he told Scott Pelley on CBS the other night, Gran’ma gets it. That monthly Social Security check? Fuhgeddabouddit. “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue,” declared the president. “Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”
But hang on. I thought the Social Security checks came out of the famous “Social Security trust fund,” whose “trustees” assure us there’s currently $2.6 trillion in there. Which should be enough for the Aug. 3 check run, shouldn’t it? Golly, to listen to the president, you’d almost get the impression that, by the time you saw the padlock off the old Social Security lockbox, there’s nothing in there but a yellowing IOU and a couple of moths. Indeed, to listen to Obama, one might easily conclude that the whole rotten stinking edifice of federal government is an accounting trick. And that can’t possibly be so, can it?
For the Most Gifted Orator in Human History, the president these days speaks largely in clichés, most of which he doesn’t seem to be quite on top of. “Eric, don’t call my bluff,” he sternly reprimanded the GOP’s Eric Cantor. Usually, if you’re bluffing, the trick is not to announce it upfront. But, in fact, in his threat to have Granny eating dog food by Labor Day, Obama was calling his own bluff. The giant bluff against the future that is government spending.
How many of “the wealthy” do you require to cover a one-and-a-half trillion-dollar shortfall every single year? When you need this big a fix, there aren’t enough people to stick it to. “We are not broke,” insists Van Jones, Obama’s former “green jobs” czar and bespoke communist. “We were robbed, we were robbed. And somebody has our money!”
The somebody who has our money is the government. They waste it on self-aggrandizing ideologue nitwits like Van Jones and his “green jobs” racket. How’s the “green jobs” scene in your town? Going gangbusters, is it? Every day these guys burn through so much that they can never bridge the gap. By that, I don’t mean that an American government that raises two trillion but spends four trillion has outspent America, but that it’s outspent the planet. In my soon-to-be-imminently-forthcoming book, I discuss a study published last year by John Kitchen of the U.S. Treasury and Menzie Chinn of the University of Wisconsin. Its very title is testament to where we’re headed:
“Financing U.S. Debt: Is There Enough Money In The World – And At What Cost?”
The authors’ answer is yes, technically, there is enough money in the world – in the sense that, on current projections, by 2020 all it will take to finance the Government of the United States is for the rest of the planet to be willing to sink 19 percent of its GDP into U.S. Treasury debt. Which Kitchen and Chinn say is technically doable. Yeah. In the same sense that me dating Scarlett Johannson is technically doable.
Unfortunately, neither Scarlett nor the rest of the planet is willing to do it. It’s not 2020, and we’re not yet asking the rest of the planet for a fifth of its GDP. But already the world is imposing its own debt ceiling. Most of the debt issued by the Treasury so far this year has been borrowed from the Federal Reserve. That adds another absurd wrinkle to the D.C. charade: Washington is negotiating with itself over how much money to lend itself.
The White House warned today that millions of Americans might not receive federal benefits checks if both sides can’t reach a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit by Aug. 2.
“We cannot guarantee – if there were a default – that any specific bill would be paid,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, seeking to leverage public pressure on negotiators from both sides who are headed back to the White House this afternoon.
President Obama also raised the specter of short-changing recipients of federal benefits, telling CBS’s Scott Pelly in an interview that “there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.”
More than 80 million Americans who receive benefits payments from the government each month could be at risk, the Treasury Department said. Most of those checks cover Social Security recipients, veterans and civil service retirees.
Obama may not have money to pay for bloated entitlement programs that HIS PARTY created and made millions of Americans dependent upon, but somehow he’s got $100 Billion to throw at the UN. Priorities, right?
This man is absolutely SHAMELESS.
Besides threatening entitlements that are actually separate from (and therefore have nothing to do with) the budget that is currently being debated, Obama is actually admitting that without digging ourselves into an endless abyss of debt, we DON’T HAVE THE MONEY TO CONTINUE UNSUSTAINABLE ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS.
In the name of “compassion”, government has put millions of American citizens in a position of dependency on a fiscal rug that could be pulled out from under them at any moment by an elite ruling class of tyrants. With the promise of “free” benefits at others’ expense, innocent Americans have been lured into a precarious position where they can be used as political pawns in a game designed to give their masters ever more money and power.
As Thomas Jefferson observed, “A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”
Obama and the Democrats have waited for two years for this moment…letting the clock run to the eleventh hour so they could incite panic and force taxpayers to give them another fix to continue their spending addiction. Like true addicts, they are willing hurt anyone or anything that gets in the way of that next “fix”.
While Speaker Boehner promises not to budge on tax hikes, Obama’s fear-mongering has apparently worked on some, unfortunately. Red State reports that:
Mitch McConnell is right now talking about making a historic capitulation. So fearful of being blamed for a default, McConnell is proposing a compromise that lets Barack Obama raise the debt ceiling without making any spending cuts at all.
McConnell’s idea is to make the debt ceiling automatic unless Congress, by a 2/3 vote blocks the increase. Oh yes, he put a salve on it by dressing it up in tough talk that, to quote the Wall Street Journal, “[a] ‘real solution’ to U.S. fiscal problems isn’t possible as long as President Barack Obama remains in office.” So since no “real solution” is possible, McConnell proposes to go Pontius Pilate and wash his hands of spending, blaming Obama while doing nothing himself.
Time to light up this coward’s phone line – (502) 582-6304 – and anyone else who is thinking of going along with him.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup Poll shows that the majority of Americans oppose raising the debt ceiling…because they ARE paying attention, despite Obama’s condescending remarks to the contrary.
NO COMPROMISE ON THE DEBT CEILING!