Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who is more selfish---Senior Citizens who won't take reduced benefits to help young people financially, or young people who won't pay more taxes to help old people financially? Good luck with that question...

My students over the last few years have heard something very similar in my lectures, but I have always prefaced it by suggesting this is not something you can say out loud (outside of an academic setting) because these two programs (Social Security and Medicare) are so sacred and personal.  Up to this point, politically, they are off-limits to any significant change.  However, they are the "elephants in the room" that are moving from the recliner to the couch and will soon need a sectional sofa to fit its ever expanding self... 

WSJ: Notable and Quotable-
Robert Samualson
""There has been much brave talk recently, from Republicans and Democrats alike, about reducing budget deficits and controlling government spending. The trouble is that hardly anyone admits that accomplishing these goals must include making significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits for baby boomers. . . .Doing so, it's argued, would be "unfair" to people who had planned retirements based on existing programs. Well, yes, it would be unfair. . . But not making cuts would also be unfair to younger generations and the nation's future. . . . The old deserve dignity, but the young deserve hope. The passive acceptance of the status quo is the path of least resistance—and a formula for national decline.""
What do you think of the following two premises and questions? Are there any alternatives? If so, Washington needs to hear them.... :)

(1) Ask any grand-parent if they would do anything for their grand-children they would say yes...Then why can't we cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to that group of people?

(2)  Ask any Grand-child if they would do anything for their grand-parents they would say yes...Then why can't we raise the Social Security and Medicare taxes on that group of  people.
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