Social Security Crisis?

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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:25 pm

SB,
Sorry to hear about your father-in-law.
EMTs go through a rigid training program and are state certified. EMTs are all volunteer.
The county does not charge for ambulance services.
That's why I believe the system is abused.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Fri Feb 04, 2005 1:29 pm

I see that I need to increase the medical coverage on my auto insurance policy. My HMO policy has a catastrophic coverage element <whew!>.

Most of the medical system, emergency care, and welfare issues are handled at the state level. CA had a major welfare reform forced through several years ago, and the local benefits are no longer as good as they were. There are also time limits. (Federally funded and mandated programs are not affected by state policies, even if the state manages the client load.) Whether the changes are good or not seems to depend on who's talking.
>^..^<
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby deathstalker82 » Fri Feb 04, 2005 2:47 pm

Piq and TM,

Thanks for the input. No I am not lazy, luckily I am still on my mom's insurance from when my dad died. WM insurance is very inadequate, having no vision insurance, it Rx is not too bad except that I pay $15 for any Rx's through GE, not that I am sick that often. Granted some people can't afford insurance on their own, but if they work for company, I don't know what their problem is. It doesn't cost that much to get on the plan. Retirenment is what they put in it every year. I don't how much as I can't afford to put anything into it even though I would if I could. Maybe they could model SS after a 401K somewhat. Investing it in other things besides just letting it sit there. Ours is invested acroos the boards in different types of mutual funds and stock.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby OperaTenor » Fri Feb 04, 2005 3:41 pm

Here's an article on the study Mary refers to. [sarcasm] I'm sure a free market health care system would fix that. [/sarcasm]

Health care costs not covered by insurance when I had my case of OM caused me to file for Chapter 13 Debt Reorganization. It was nearly a Ch. 7.

Yes SB, I empathize greatly with your FIL's plight. Our health care costs are obscene, thanks largely to the health insurance industry, but you've all heard me yark about that before.

[rant] And, unless we've walked in the shoes of those in our society who need what shredded safety net we have left, we ought to not to be judgemental about those folks. Just because they don't have the resources to take care of themselves, they are not necessarily inferior to those of us who are more fortunate. A single, high school dropout mother working two waitressing jobs, putting in seventy hours a week between the two, is working harder than most of us will ever know, and she won't have money left over to invest in her future, much less even have enough grey matter left to think about it after everything she has to do to survive and take care of her kid(s). Just an anecdotal example. [/rant]

<small>[ 02-04-2005, 03:55 PM: Message edited by: OperaTenor ]</small>
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby haggis » Fri Feb 04, 2005 4:17 pm

Harry Reid used to support Social Security reform before he was against it.

"Most of us have no problem with taking a small amount of the Social Security proceeds and putting it into the private sector."

[snark] I wonder why he’s against it now, couldn’t be anything as tawdry as partisan politics could it? [/snark]

FDR also supported separate annuities:

"In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, 'Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,' adding that government funding, 'ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.”

Is it "ultimately" yet?
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby dai bread » Sun Feb 06, 2005 9:19 pm

Originally posted by Saxy Buff:
Yeah, serious illnesses and car wrecks are expensive. When my father in law was in a serious accident, they used up supplies from three ambulances to try and stabilize him for the ride in the life flight copter. Each ambulance charged about $100,000 worth of expenses, and the life flight copter was really expensive. Not to mention the charges for being in neurological ICU for three weeks and then a rehab center for two months. The costs were amazing! I had no idea how much they charged for those kinds of extensive stays or surgeries. I am certain that OT can relate.
In fact, my FIL just had another piece of glass removed from his wrist, 3 1/2 years after the accident. Amazing no?
4 cheers for socialised medicine! I wouldn't have had to pay any of the above if it happened to me here.
We have no money; we must use our brains. -Ernest Rutherford.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Marye » Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:36 am

me neither Dai.....
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby shostakovich » Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:07 pm

Another cheer for socialized medicine.
Wish we had it.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Tue Feb 08, 2005 9:51 am

Shos,
I think there are some very good points for socialized medicine. What I feel is bad is the waiting time if you need any type of medical procedure that is not an emergency. I think there has to be some sort of combination to ensure all medical procedures are done in a timely manner.
Just speaking from experience. An Aunt of ours in England is waiting a number of months for a medical procedure.
TM
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:06 pm

Hi TM,

It can be done, it would be cheaper for all of us peons, and it can be implemented without incurring the types of problems other socialized health care systems encounter.

The "Kindness Deficit" thread is great reading to get your blood pumping on this subject.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:27 pm

OT,
I agree. It can be done.
No system is perfect and there will be flaws with Socialized Health Care. Any system will have its flaws. I think it needs to be carefully mapped out to ensure minimal flaws that will provide the best care for all. I don't have the answers but believe this is the direction we should go.
TM
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:34 pm

OT,
I'm in a DMO and wanted to change my dentist.
I found one that looked like they provide good care but they are not in my DMO.
I had the option for the other dental plan where I could go to any dentist I wanted, but the deductables were too high and it was much more expensive.
Time to hit Lotto.....
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby OperaTenor » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:42 pm

Welcome to the U.S. health care system, aka the best health care money can buy.

You're just tryin' to get me riled up, arncha?

;)
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby Trumpetmaster » Tue Feb 08, 2005 2:51 pm

Yup!
I'm manipulating data in files to bring into Access and bored off my you know what. Have to do something to entertain myself. That clown that goes up and down just doesn't do it!
TM :roll:
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby haggis » Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:27 pm

So far, the Democratic leadership in Congress has taken the position that they need not come up with a proposal for Social Security reform.

There are two basic reasons why the Dems' preferred strategy of stonewalling and scare-mongering might not work.

The first is that they, like Republicans, have been issuing warnings about Social Security for years. Americans under 40, especially, have grown up with predictions of Social Security insolvency, and are not hard to persuade that something must be done.

In this regard, the MSM effort to help the Democrats by emphasizing the distinction between "crisis"--President Bush's word--and "serious problems"--the Democrats' words--has backfired.

The belief that Social Security has "serious problems" is hardly grounds for not doing something, so the Democrats might find that there is less patience with a "do nothing" approach than they expect.

The second problem for the Democrats is that the only proposal for real change in the system is the President's.

Allowing employees to save their own money, own their own accounts, and pass their accumulated wealth on to their heirs has appeal.

Everything else--tinkering with the retirement age, extending the income level on which the Social Security tax applies, etc.--is merely accounting. And distasteful accounting at that, since at bottom, all such proposals translate into higher taxes or lower benefits.

The Democrats will try to argue that there is a disconnect between the program's fiscal problems and the President's proposed solution, individual accounts, which will worsen, not improve, the fiscal picture.

In the short term, they're probably right. But we are moving rapidly toward a demographic environment where there will be only two workers for each retiree.

At that point, a "pay as you go" system that relies on current income to support retirees won’t work, it’s as simple as that.

The two workers will pay exorbitant taxes, or the one retiree will get a reduced pension. I don’t believe there is a way out of this dilemma, except replacing the current income transfer payments with a savings program.

If each worker saves for his or her own retirement, the ratio between workers and retirees becomes immaterial.

I think everyone recognizes a savings program is inherently superior to an income transfer program. Virtually anyone would rather live off his own savings than a dole from the government.

I know I would rather be lss dependent on the government.

President Bush may have put the Democrats in a position where the only proposal on the table with any power to fire the voters' imaginations is his, while the Democrats are reduced to carping from the sidelines.

My money’s on the voters realizing that as well.
Haggis

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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby barfle » Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:23 pm

I'm not making any predictions on the outcome of this particular tweak of SSS, but my heart's with Haggis this time. <Someone please revive the good sergeant.>

The fastest growing segment of the population Ed <Yeah, I'm sure you can split it up other ways> is the over-the-hill gang, who have been promised quite a bit. Ed<Yeah, and how many OTHER promises were broken?>

There are four possibilities I can see: reduction in benefits, increase in "contributions," increased debt, or generate income from the fund. Right now, the fund is not invested, it's just spent, with the hope (that has worked so far) that fresh meat will provide adequate contribution to support the outflow. I don't have the figures (and really don't know how to dig them up) to determine what level of return would be necessary for the SSS to be self-supporting, but, like most of us who are surprised at what compound interest can do in 40 years compared to 4 years, I wouldn't guess it would need to be all that much.

Any of you accounting/actuarialist types who want to tackle that problem, I would be interested in the figures and the outcome.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby piqaboo » Wed Feb 09, 2005 3:53 pm

Dems did the same thing in the pres election.
They didnt offer a reasonable alternative to Bush.
Shame they dont learn. Dems are really awful campaigners, istm.

I still do not see how the gov't is going to pay for its cost to set up and administer an investment plan. Want to see it spelled out.
Want to know how Bush plans to protect the capital (as he promised). Want to know how Bush will protect people from sudden market downturns just before they retire, as he promised.
Want to know if he will just give me my money and let me play with it, or if bigbrother will still be holding my hand.
If the latter, why doesnt the govt just put 50% of SS in a SP500-mimicking mutual fund, guarantee the capital, and ride the averages? The expenses would be less. and I'd have one less 1099 to f*ss with during tax time 2026.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby haggis » Wed Feb 09, 2005 5:53 pm

Piq,
I just don't think there are any other alternatives that don't end with tax increases or benefit reductions.

I agree that the plan has to be well thought out and, more importantly, publicized in such a manner that we can clearly understand it.

Barf, we agree on many of the basics (states' rights, more faithful interpretation of the Constitution, etc) although I think you are overly suspicious and you probably think I'm overly optimistic.

The current (to me, inexplicable) antipathy many people have towards the president probably also contributes to your caution.
Haggis

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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby piqaboo » Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:35 pm

I met a man, in his very late 70's, working at a clothing boutique as a sales clerk. He'd saved like a demon all his life, and invested all his savings as wisely as he knew how. He chose a bank stock. The bank happened to be his employer, so he got a 10-15% bump in his value thru the employee stock purchase plan which let him buy the stock at a discount. The bank went belly-up a ~ 10 years after the guy retired. The guy went back to work, at minimum wage.

I am not saying private investment wont work. Im saying - tell me the details. Bush promised in the SotU address to save peoples SS investments from being lost in a stockmarket downturn.
How does he plan to do that? That sounds like fairydust to me.
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Re: Social Security Crisis?

Postby OperaTenor » Wed Feb 09, 2005 7:37 pm

Originally posted by piqaboo:
Bush promised in the SotU address to save peoples SS investments from being lost in a stockmarket downturn.
How does he plan to do that? That sounds like fairydust to me.
In investment, return potential is directly proportional to risk, and the stock market is traditionally considered a volatile investment. In my experience, private individuals are counselled to not invest in the stock market without sufficient liquidity to ride out a loss(if I recall correctly, that is something like 200% of the amount invested - I may be wrong). That means money in a savings account, not tied up in anything else.

I don't know of a stock broker or investment firm anywhere that provides any guarantee of principle against loss.

I don't see how it can be done. Where will the money come from?

This isn't rocket surgery, either. It's just plain old math.

:confused:
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