New Rule: If You Enjoy Social Security and Medicare, Stop Trying to End These Programs for the Rest of Us

socialsecuritySocial Security and Medicare continue to be hot button topics in this country.  They’re absolutely vital for our nation as they provide a safety net for millions of Americans who otherwise might be out on the streets.

Millions of conservatives call them “entitlements,”  implying that millions of Americans are lazy “takers” looking for a free handout.  That they’re “entitled” to these benefits.

I loathe the word “entitlements.”

The word itself is defined as:

Entitlement: the state or condition of being entitled : a right to benefits specified especially by law or contract

That’s is not what Social Security and Medicare are.  These are programs Americans pay into.  They’re programs our employers pay into.  They’re programs we’ve earned.

So it’s insulting to say Americans feel “entitled” to something which we’ve paid into.

What insults me even more are the millions of Americans that are adamant that their “entitlements” not be touched.  All while voting for politicians, such as Paul Ryan, who support legislation that would essentially end these programs for future recipients.

It’s complete bullshit.  Here you have millions of Americans who enjoy receiving their “entitlements,” voting for people who run on a platform of how terrible they are for Americans.

Tell me, if Medicare is so terrible, why does the program receive mostly positive ratings from those who receive it?  In fact, seniors on Medicare give the program higher marks than younger Americans who have employer-based health insurance.

So it’s just pathetically hypocritical when I see these people sit there collecting their Social Security check and enjoying their heavily government subsidized Medicare , all while opposing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and supporting a party which is actively trying to destroy both programs for future generations.

They talk a lot about not wanting to saddle our future generations with debt.  You know the tired line of, “Your grandchilden’s grandchildren will be paying for this debt”—yet they don’t seem to have any issues with destroying Social Security and Medicare for their very own children.

It’s nearly a pure form of complete selfishness.  Millions of conservative Americans screaming, “We need smaller federal government, and entitlements are killing our nation—but I want a bigger Social Security check, better Medicare benefits and you damn sure better not attempt to change my “entitlements”—otherwise I’ll vote your ass out!”

Because like I said, if conservatives think these programs are so terrible, why are those conservatives receiving them so adamant about having no changes to what they get?

Here’s a rule: If you don’t want someone to come in and take away your “entitlements,” don’t support the politicians who are trying to destroy them for everyone else. What’s so hard to understand about that concept?

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Rick

    I am just gonna do one word responses to stories like this from now on.

    “Black President”

    • rick

      ok….so….two words.

      • Rick are you still pissed cause the south lost!!! just asking

    • Okay I’ll play: two words for you: racist moron.

  • Dennis Byron

    I’ve never heard of CurrentTV or – naturally – “The Young Turks on CurrentTV” but I’m going to guess the author is young. That would explain the lack of knowledge illustrated in the above article re the current situation facing him or her when it comes to his or her retirement.

    First, Social Security. No one that I have ever heard has proposed changing the basic way that Social Security works. You pay when you work; you collect when you retire (which you can do as early as 62). It is very progressive in its operation, which I would think the author would like (it says somewhere above that the author is progressive). People who pay in the most during their working lives – people who earned a lot of money in wages and/or worked for 45 years — get the least out of it proportionately. Conversely, people who pay in the least – who only made a small amount yearly or who did not work at all – get more than they paid in proportionately.

    The problem with Social Security is simply that it is actuarially underfunded. It will not be able to pay the full progressive benefit specified beginning in 2035 or so. This is an issue that those of us now between 50 and 67 years old faced back in the 1980s when we were your age. Therefore in 1984 we supported a change to the Social Security tax structure by which we paid a lot more in Social Security taxes than our parents had paid – both in absolute dollars and as a percent of more earned income. We paid it for the rest of our working lives so that Social Security would be available to us when we retired, as we were “entitled” to. The very rich among us (about 5% of us) even get taxed on their Social Security payment.

    As a result, unlike our parents, we will not get back from Social Security what we paid in – in absolute dollars, forgetting the net present value of the taxes paid – unless we live to 82 assuming we don’t start collecting until we are 66. But these changes protect those of us that will live longer (and they claim there will be a lot of us) with some financial protection so we were happy with that approach although it was bad financially for most of us.

    Today, your generation is facing the same Social Security underfunding problem that we so-called baby boomers faced in the early 1980s. But instead of paying more now as we did, so that you will be covered when you retire, you and your progressive leadership proposes changing the cost of living formula that we voted in 30 years ago. With your progressive plan to fix your generation’s retirement problem using our money, we current retirees will get even less back than we put in.

    Which is the “completely selfish” generation? (See other comment on Medicare.)

    • Joshua Sajec

      Seriously? Our Progressive Leadership? You seem well articulated and well read, so clearly you must know who demanded the cost of living formula change to be added to any budget the President presented.

      I’m sure many of us progressive would bite the bullet and pay more into social security and medicare to make them more solvent. But I wonder who would fight against any new taxes.

      • Dennis Byron

        Seriously, you’re best shot is to claim that an idea begun (politically) by a Democratic Senator from New York 25 years ago and — I think — strongly supported by a former Democratic Senator from Illinois back when he was running against another Democratic Senator from New York, has just now out of the blue been foisted on the former Illinois Senator by his political opponents?

        My point is not political but generational. If you want to save Medicare funding for those under 50 (and make sure the benefits promised by SS to those under 50 are made whole) — and you don’t like the defined contribution concept (that you probably already live by if you are working and getting healthcare insurance from that job) proposed by conservatives to take effect in 2023, then propose a tax increase that will only affect your generation. See how it flies. My generation bought into our fix 30 years ago.

        But don’t screw up our retirement. We’ve already paid in more than our fair share. And it’s too late for us to make up for the cuts your leaders are proposing (or have already made in the case of Medicare).

  • Dennis Byron

    Somewhere below or above I explained in a comment the ignorance of this article’s author concerning Social Security. He or she is equally ignorant about Medicare. But unlike with Social Security, those of us now between 65 and 67 were also ignorant about Original “progressive” LBJ Medicare until we started getting it. Those of us between 50 and 64 are probably still ignorant about how bad Original progressive LBJ Medicare is. Therefore we did not realize that there was a Medicare problem back 30 years ago when we fixed the Social Security problem for our generation.

    Still — unlike with Social Security — we will get our Medicare taxes back so that makes the problem less of an issue for us. But because Original LBJ Medicare is really bad insurance, we will have to pay about 55% of our healthcare costs in retirement out of our own pockets (OOP). That’s not counting long-term care, which shouldn’t be counted because it is not health care (but PPACA tried to count it and failed). Our parents only paid about 30% of their healthcare costs OOP. That’s the way LBJ and yesterday’s progressives designed the Original Medicare program (give a big break to then — 1965 — current voters). No objection; it was a good deal for our parents. They were the greatest generation after all.

    Furthermore we will get our Medicare taxes back and get the little bit of poor Original LBJ Medicare coverage we are “entitled” to even though your progressive leaders – none of whom depends on Original Medicare but gets separate effectively free insurance as a retired politician – diverted a trillion dollars from the Medicare funds and instituted a Medicare death panel to ration the providers available to Medicare patients. (You’ve probably heard that the PPACA death panel can’t ration care; that’s correct. What it does is ration supply.)

    What we so-called baby boomers (as well as our older brothers and sisters) do to make up for the poor insurance that is Original LBJ Medicare is one of three things:

    — Some of us (but a decreasing number as a percent of the total—about 40%) are able to buy retiree insurance from a former employer rather than having to depend on Original LBJ Medicare. We don’t get it effectively for free like the politicians that robbed Medicare do but it’s a pretty good deal. The best chance of being one of these people is to have worked for the government ourselves.

    — An increasing number of us (up 500% in the last six years and now 30% of the total) buy a Medicare health plan that makes up for most of the deficiencies in the terrible Original LBJ Medicare. Unlike Original LBJ Medicare — which still works the lifetime-limits, fee-for-service way Blue Cross worked in 1965 when LBJ signed it — our Medicare health plans include catastrophic coverage, annual OOP limits, drug coverage, annual physicals and other health care benefits not included in Original LBJ Medicare. (One thing the progressive politicians did right when they were taking a trillion dollars out of the Medicare trust fund a few years ago is to give Original LBJ Medicare many of the same preventive services that most of us on a Medicare health plan had always had. For some reason, they did not include the most important one however, an annual physical.) In addition, unlike Original LBJ Medicare, Medicare health plans do not have multi-thousand-dollar deductibles and co-insurance charges

    — Another 20% of us buy private Medigap insurance instead. These typically do not include all the benefits of a public Medicare health plan (see paragraph above) but they cover most of the multi-thousand-dollar deductibles and co-insurance charges. This group also typically buys a separate Medicare drug plan. Many of us choose this approach because our doctor does not accept a Medicare health plan or because we travel a lot or just because… (Our generation likes choice and does not like having the government dictate what we will do the way your generation apparently does.)

    By the way, the remaining 10% of us do not depend on Original LBJ Medicare either. (Do the math and you’ll find no one does; it’s really bad insurance. If someone had told us how bad it was, we would have fixed it for you.) A few percent of us get retiree insurance through our spouse. Around a percent of us are in the VA system. Some of us unfortunately depend on Medicaid.

    So – sorry – but the Medicare problem is all yours. It also runs out of money but sooner than Social Security. We have our three back up approaches but your progressive leaders are taking them all away from you, forcing you back to terrible Original LBJ Medicare. I won’t go into detail but read the 2010 CBO analysis of PPACA and the 2014 Obama-administration budget if you want to know more.

  • tay

    im creating a account to respond to this atrociously stupid article title.
    why in the world would someone who “enjoys” the programs be trying to end them?
    epic fail writer.
    dumbest thing i’ve read all day:
    ummm, i have a question please: why would anyone who “enjoys” the programs be trying to end them?
    how about this, stop forcing people by threat of the gun or imprisonment to pay into corrupt failing systems and let them keep their money and fund social systems and charities of their choosing?
    people take care of other people. government pretend to and take all the money.

    • But in fact, that’s what is happening. More older people vote GOP and the GOP is trying very hard to end those programs, or “privatize” them which amounts to the same thing.

  • The Truth

    Your average American pays around 150,000 into medicare throughout their life and that same average american will receive around 325,000 in medicare benefits before they die. Getting back more then double then what you paid in is not a benefit it’s a handout or if you prefer welfare!!

  • From what I understand, most of the people in the generation that gets SS and Medicare who vote for the GOP are under the impression that the GOP is protecting their entitlements and Obama is threatening them. They think they will keep SS and medicare and the welfare queens will lose food stamps. In short, they are ignorant, brain washed by right wing TV, engaging in wishful thinking, etc. Those who REALLY want to get rid of SS and medicare are either very rich, really young or have strong ideological beliefs on the topic. I think the latter are by far the minority.

  • Ah fascism and censorship.

    The politics of Hell: Hades kidnaps Persephone and rapes her and then tells her she must be his slave because she ate a pomegranate seed. Your true nature shows forth. Of stole their retirement money for a ponzi scheme going broke and then tell them they can’t complain or leave or reform it. Satanic.

  • The money paid by the current recipients was used to pay for;

    1) the previous recipients

    2) to build a fictitious “trust fund”.

    The money you paid up until now is gone!!!!

    Every year, the government takes the left over money out of the funds earmarked for that years social security payment and purchases special SS trust fund “bonds” with it, and the cash is returned to the general fund to be spent on $100 toilet seats, foreign military aid, and corporate subsides, and boat load of social programs and ABC federal agencies. We have been spending more than we could afford for decades, “borrowing” from the “trust fund” to fund our progressiveness.

    The government you supported has taken your “trust fund” money, and mine, and spent it on non-social security related things and you derived benefit from their progressive spending.

    Now, there are fewer current young people to support the current old people. So we need to decide.

    1) Do we allow the current old people to pay the consequences of their support of the previous 70 years of congressional corruption and stupidity and just cancel social security and leave them high and dry?

    2) Do we come up with some way of easing into a non-government run form of retirement while paying the elderly less and less for the next generation?

    3) Do we become a socialist society and reduce everyone’s standard of living, hurting the poor the most?

    4) Do we tax the rich as much as we need to, forcing them to leave the country with their wealth?

    We are at a turning point in history.
    We have to realize that the government cannot be our mommy and daddy anymore. We have to start taking responsibility for ourselves and stop trusting that others will take care of our best interests. The previous generations have not been vigilant enough in limiting their governments out of control spending.

    The only reason we still have Social Security is because the government is still promising my generation that if we keeping into it, we’ll get $3000/month in benefits when we retire at age 72. That is seductive. Can they deliver? Absolutely NOT!!!! Should I call them out on their claim? Yes I should, we all should. Where the hell are they getting these numbers? How can they promise this money when everything points to the system failing?