American Elephants

Gasp! Rick Perry Called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme” by The Elephant's Child

                      (click to enlarge)  Venn Diagram by The Examiner’s Tim Carney*

Goodness!  Rick Perry called Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme” and a “monstrous lie” and the Left simply quivered with excitement. He touched the “third rail” of politics. Democrats can tell all the old folks that Perry wants to take away their Social Security.  Democrats can win.

Are there really people out there that don’t know that Social Security has always been a Ponzi Scheme? “A fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors?” (Milton Friedman once called it “the Biggest Ponzi scheme on Earth”)

That is the problem that faces the social welfare states of Europe and the United States.  When programs to provide for the aged and infirm were instituted, it was assumed that populations would always increase.  If a couple had three or four children, as was common, and each of those children had three or four children, all paying in their taxes, there would be plenty of money to ensure retirement and cover whatever inflation there was as well..

Well, it worked for a while, but in the glow of peace and prosperity that followed the end of World War II, people had more babies.  Lots more.  Big families were not uncommon among those who grew up in the deprivation of the Great Depression. They called it the Baby Boom.

In 1930, Americans over 65 numbered less than 7 million, about 5.4% of the population.  The 2010 census found over 35 million Americans age 65 and over, another number is 40.3 million over 65 today. The first cohort of Baby Boomers are reaching age 65 this year, and by 2030 will reach 72 million, more than double the number in 2000.

These increasing numbers are a tribute not just to the parents of the Baby Boom generation, but to the success of American healthcare.  Mortality rates for eight of the 15 leading causes of death have declined significantly: influenza and pneumonia -8.4%; homicide -6.5%; accidents -5%; heart disease -4.7 percent; stroke -4.6%; diabetes -3.9%; hypertension -2.7%; and cancer -1.8%.  More Baby Boomers are exercise conscious and go to the gym regularly, and are far more conscious of what they eat.

I don’t know to what extent the exercise bit is true.  The media has trumpeted the intelligence, health, and general superiority of the Baby Boom generation since they were born. (Don’t forget, this is also the Vietnam Generation, the Flower Children, the Hippies)  It didn’t take long after the Baby Boom was recognized for marketers to realize that they had a huge new market.  Advertising has been directed at Baby Boomers ever since.  Did you think it was an accident that Depends now come in colors and patterns?

But the “trust fund”, the “lockbox?” Isn’t all the money you paid in— there, waiting for you? Congress changed the law in 1983 so that in any given year if current tax payers pay more in taxes than is needed to pay the benefits the excess will be invested in treasury bonds in a trust fund. What has Treasury done with the money? The government has spent it in exchange for IOUs. By 2015 the Trust Funds will run out of cash and the program will begin redeeming the IOUs and use them to pay seniors’ benefits until it runs out of IOUs.

We simply can not continue with Social Security and Medicare as they are currently structured. No one of either party suggests changing Social Security and Medicare for current recipients or for those 55 and over. But demographics forces us to reform the programs. Recognizing the demographics allows us the time to fix the programs in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone., but we cannot put it off for long.

Social Security and Medicare are programs created by Democrats to give people benefits that will make them dependent on Democrats for their continuation. In England, in Europe, these welfare-state programs have been disastrous. They have created a permanent underclass on the dole, dependent on government, and economies that are spiraling down. Any suggestion that benefits might be cut back is met with riots and cities in flames. That is not a future that Americans should accept.

* (h/t: economist Veronique du Rugy)

The Donkey Whisperer by American Elephant
August 24, 2011, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Conservatism, Election 2012, Humor, News, Politics | Tags: , ,

Clever. I love it!

Roger Williams was Secretary of State in Texas under Rick Perry and now running for Congress in one of the new districts created by census reapportionment.

He’s off to a great start.

Dear Barack Obama…. by The Elephant's Child

I received a letter from Barack Obama yesterday. I was interested because it was the first ‘personal’ communication I have had from Barack. He said that “together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. Yes we can…”

Well, O.K. Can what? “A chorus of millions calling for change.” Change what? He says: “I’ll be a President who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable and available for every single American.” His Messiahness surely has great confidence in his own ability to fix everything. Unfortunately his record does not indicate that he can do any such thing.

Obama has made it clear that he is in favor of single-payer health care, not something that any Republicans have proposed. Republicans look at the history of countries like us who have instituted socialized medicine, (for that is what single-payer is) and really don’t think that is the way to go.

Have you ever heard of Claude Castonguay? In the 1960s Castonguay chaired a Canadian government committee studying health care reform and recommended that his own province of Quebec adopt government-administered health care covering all citizens through tax levies. The government followed his advice, and soon his ideas were implemented coast to coast.

Forty years later, Castonguay was again in charge of a committee reviewing Quebec health care. The committee concluded that the system is in crisis. “We thought we could resolve the system’s problems by rationing services or injecting massive amounts of new money into it,” he said.

Now he recommends a drastic overhaul. They propose to give a greater role to the private sector so that the people can exercise freedom of choice. Oh.

Investors Business Daily tells about “Sylvia de Vires, an Ontario woman afflicted with a 13-inch, fluid-filled tumor weighing 40 pounds who was unable to get timely care in Canada. She crossed the American border to Pontiac, Michigan, where a surgeon removed the tumor, estimating that she could not have lived longer than a few weeks more.”

“The Canadian government pays for U.S. medical care in some circumstances, but it declined to do so in de Vires’ case for a bureaucratically perfect, but inhumane, reason; she hadn’t properly filled out a form.” This is not unusual. In Norwalk, Ontario, people participate in lotteries to win appointments with the local family doctor. Oh.

In Britain, the Labour government vilifies anyone who suggests a different system of health care. A woman who was dying of cancer was denied NHS treatment in her final months — because she had paid privately for a drug which offered her the chance of living longer, but which NHS refused to provide. When she used her own money, NHS refused all treatment including chemotherapy.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson has ordered the NHS trusts to refuse to allow patients to pay for additional medicines. This was to stop a ‘two-tier’ service where people who were receiving top quality drugs were being treated in the same wards with those getting only standard NHS medicines.

The Ministry of Health declared that British patients should be treated in the ER within four hours. As a result, in some hospitals seriously ill patients were kept in parked ambulances for hours to avoid disobeying the regulation.

In Texas, Republican Governor Rick Perry has pushed through tort reform that lowers liability insurance for doctors. The result? Doctors are flocking to Texas. In Florida, Republican Governor Crist has opened the state to insurance companies from all over the country. The result? The cost of health insurance is dropping significantly.

Obama said that he “doesn’t want to wake up four years from now and find out that millions of Americans still lack health care because we couldn’t take on the insurance industry.” The Insurance industry? Health care is expensive because of the insurance industry? How about MRIs or CAT scans? How about all the miraculous new drugs and new treatments that are saving lives? Today you decide what treatment you want. You would rather leave that decision to a bunch of bureaucrats? Health care is expensive now because of government interference in the market, not because the insurance industry is evil.

Obama revisited his usual canard about George W. Bush’s “failed policies on the war in Iraq”, apparently still unaware that Iraq is turning into a real success, since he has neither visited Iraq nor talked to the Generals in charge.

He says “if those Republicans come at me with the same fear-mongering and swift-boating that they usually do, then I will take them on head on.” Obama apparently does not recall that dreadful day of 9/11, or else he just believes, in spite of vast evidence to to the contrary, that the attack on the twin towers was a one-off event. George W. Bush has done a pretty remarkable job of protecting us over the past seven years, in spite of a number of unsuccessful attempts. The danger is real, and attempting to smear the President for recognizing that fact is, at best, crass. Obama seems to be more interested in whether or not other nations like us. And the swift-boat veterans, by the way, decisively proved that John Kerry was a liar.

Obama has proved his naÏve view of events by claiming that his opposition to the War in Iraq when he was a back-bencher in the Illinois state legislature was either wise or something to brag about.

He tries to blame the Bush tax cuts which have fostered an 8 year economic boom with the usual “tax-cuts for the wealthy” misrepresentation. And of course, brags that he will end them. Oh dear. Robert Mundell, Nobel Prize winning economist has some advice for Obama.

Obama’s letter goes on for 6 pages, but hasn’t really much to say except for flowery statements of hope and change. He offers hope, undefined, except that we are supposed to hope for change, which is defined as reaching back into the past for Democrat ideas that didn’t work.

After the six pages, we get to the meat of the missive: the asking for money part. “Dear Barack, I agree! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…we are the change we seek. You can count on me to support…”

Well, no, sorry, you can’t.

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