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Response to jeff47 (Reply #127)

Sat Nov 17, 2012, 01:19 PM

143. Why do my statements about the sheer volume of the numbers sound egotistical?

For the record, I'm a boomer, born in 1955, and today I turned 57. Even I don't have a lot of faith that Social Security is going to be there for me in my present form, by the time I'm supposedly able to collect "full" benefits in nearly ten years.

As for the other generations totalling more than the boomers, you're right. But the generation older than the boomers aren't throwing anything into Social Security, they're withdrawing money from it. The generations after the boomers are either children not making any income, or the X'ers and millennials who have McJobs that don't collectively pay anywhere near what the boomers and their parents were able to make in either manufacturing or high-level service jobs.

I used to be a tax accountant, and I know that there are a thousand ways to make numbers lie. I find the projections of the Social Security Trustees to be as wild-ass a set of guesses as anyone in the financial industry has ever made. They assume that we're going to pop out of the Great Recession with as much force as we did from previous post-WWII recessions. I disagree. In fact, we're probably on the verge of a double dip recession right now, and only if the US Congress and the President can come to an agreement that nobody on any side is going to like can that possibly be avoided.

Comparing to other first world nations is a fallacy. They don't spend nearly as much on military costs as we do. Also, their legal systems are different, you don't have armies of lawyers advertising every possible place to sue the asses off of the state-run healthcare systems like you do here. We've evolved our own kind of economy here, much different from all the rest, and those differences are finally coming to bite us in the butt. In fact, you can see how the first world economies of Germany and France are starting to be affected by the experiment called the Euro Zone.


I still say that you haven't shown any statement of mine that indicates I want money to go to rich people. Simply acknowledging that Social Security and Medicare simply cannot continue on their present trajectories without changes doesn't mean I favor Republicon "solutions" to those problems. I'd be happy if we removed the employer wage base, so that the next time a megabank wants to pay some idiot $10 million to run the institution into the ground, they can pay 6.15% on all ten million as FICA tax, without increasing the CEO's maximum Social Security benefit. It won't raise a lot of money, but it would be one of many ways to alter the system for both fairness and sustainability.

At some point, inflation will set in, then we will see the kind of problems that millennials have never experienced. I'm old enough to remember the inflationary surges of the 60's and 70's, and what they did to the economy. We really haven't had severe inflation since the government linked tax brackets, personal exemptions and standard deductions to an inflation index, keeping the government from profiting from inflation. With the staggering size of the national debt, something's got to break soon. When bondholders simply won't take the interest rates being offered on Treasury securities, we'll be in a severe problem. Interest on the debt will dwarf military and social program spending, and will make the Federal government powerless to run any basic functions.

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jillan Nov 2012 OP
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