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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:33 PM
Original message
GAO chief warns economic disaster looms

GAO chief warns economic disaster looms

By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer 49 minutes ago

AUSTIN, Texas - David M. Walker sure talks like he's running for office. "This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids," the comptroller general of the United States warns a packed hall at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."

Snip...

Medicare already costs four times as much as it did in 1970, measured as a percentage of the nation's gross domestic product. It currently comprises 13 percent of federal spending; by 2030, the Congressional Budget Office projects it will consume nearly a quarter of the budget.

Snip...

Medicare so dominates the nation's fiscal future that some economists believe health care reform, rather than budget measures, is the best way to attack the problem.

Snip...

Social Security is a much less serious problem. The program currently pays for itself with a 12.4 percent payroll tax, and even produces a surplus that the government raids every year to pay other bills. But Social Security will begin to run deficits during the next century, and ultimately would need an infusion of $8 trillion if the government planned to keep its promises to every beneficiary.

Snip...

Why is America so fiscally unprepared for the next century? Like many of its citizens, the United States has spent the last few years racking up debt instead of saving for the future. Foreign lenders primarily the central banks of China, Japan and other big U.S. trading partners have been eager to lend the government money at low interest rates, making the current $8.5-trillion deficit about as painful as a big balance on a zero-percent credit card.

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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. It's painful to read this.....because we are seeing indications
that things are not going to get better....
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
2. the solution is so simple as to be laughable.
Just goddam means test for social security and medicare.

1. Is there any reason in the world why taxpayers should be paying the health care costs of people who can easily, easily purchase private insurance???!!!

2. Is there any reason why, if a senior has both Medicare and can afford private insurance, the private insurer shouldn't be required to pay FIRST, and let Medicare pay any deductible??!!

3. Is there any reason why people of ample resources who will never need the paltry amount of monthly Social Security pension couldn't, on retirement age, simply be refunded their investment plus interest and not receive a monthly check??!! Most people receive far more Social Security payout than they ever paid in. Rich people shouldn't get that freebie from the taxpayers.

There's more, but just those three steps would save it all for those who truly need it.

And don't start with that yada yada about means testing. We means test welfare programs. We means test student loans. We means test MANY DIFFERENT programs.
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Armstead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. It makes sense practically, but it would be a political nightmare
The problem is that the appeal of programs like Medicare is that they are universal.

Welfare got eviscerated because it was perceived as a program where productive citizens had to take money out of their pockets to pay undeserving and lazy bums. Because of the resentment in that stereotype, the baby got thrown out with the bathwater with welfare reform, and now there is much less of a safety net for those who truly need it.

Same thing would happen to Medicare if it became just a source of health care for those who are below some arbitrary income level. Resentments against it would rise, and it would most likely be taken away entirely, or limited so much that only the poorest of the poor would be eligable.

It would also likely cause regular health insutrance rates to skyrocket, if private insurers had to become the first insurers of the sick and elderly and pick up that burden.

There may be cuts and trims and compromises necessary, but if the basic nature of these systems were to be fundamentally changed to the detrement of the middle (and yes the upper) class. It would become a new bonanza for the Republicans too.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. it's just a matter of public education
If people really understood that the safety nets that are in place for grandma are being threatened by the programs that deliver unconscionable profits to the drug companies and insurance companies, public opinion would shift dramatically.

The people have the power to change this. Someone has to tell them what it's really all about. Someone has to say that it's greedy for a wealthy person to allow taxpayers to borrow from China so that future generations will pay their medical bills and give them a couple thousand dollars every month.

Republicans, of course, WANT the programs to go bankrupt.
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Mojorabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. That would work
if insurance companies were not cherry picking those they will insure. We could afford insurance on my hubby but he had a heart attack 7 years ago at age 44 and no one will insure him at any price. His previous carrier pulled out of the state and canceled him. A hospitalization would wipe us out.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. well, there oughta be a law against cherry picking, too
Shared risk oughta mean shared risk. We need regulatory reform.
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tpsbmam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
23. That's the problem with many of the suggested healthcare reforms....
they don't mandate that EVERYONE should be eligible for health insurance, not just healthy people. Both Democratic and Republican proposals tend to neglect this issue.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
16. Then we'd just have Medicaid
And there would be no Medicare which is the only health program based on the notion that health care is a right. We've decided that's true for the elderly and if we means test it, we go backwards on health care for all. The solution actually IS real health care for all so that everybody is covered and we get preventive care to bring costs down.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Actually the solution is simpler than that
take the profit motive out of health care, can you say single payer insurance covering every citizen in the US?

Canada spends half per person per year than we do, with far better outcomes
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #17
40. I think you're right
Whether you like single pay or not, it's really the only thng practical anymore.
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
28. I agree with you....but to get upper middle class
and the rich to forego their Social Security income would require SACRIFICE ON THEIR PART. And sacrificing for the common good is unheard of these days.

As far as I am concerned, I would consider myself LUCKY, if I didn't have to collect Social Security! But it's difficult to get people to think of it in those terms. It's like Disability insurance....I'm very glad that I don't collect on it!

The Greed in this country is disgusting.
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grasswire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #28
36. yeah, the whole concept of the "common good" is gone, largely (eom)
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #2
39. Social security is already means tested
in a couple of different ways.

1. The earned income tax credit gives poor families some or all of thwir FICA payments back each year.

2. The wealthier retirees already get 85 % of their FICA benefits taxed while most retirees don't.

3. The biggest means test though is the bendpoint formula that decides what your FICA benefit will be. It is incredibly progressive. A poor person who put very, very little into the system is benefitted tremendously by the payout formula in comparison to the person who maxes out his/her payments each year. One person could put 10 X more into the system over his lifetime and only get 2 X the benefit.

Not saying you couldn't means test it more. Of course you can always do anything more, but it's already very means tested.
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:45 PM
Response to Original message
3. What the fuck? No one understands that the people who are considered
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 01:46 PM by acmavm
worthy are going to be prepared all right. The top 5% of this country are feathering their nest at everybody else's expense.

Corporate America is raking in the bucks, employing people in foreign countries, and skating on paying their taxes. Here in Nebraska alone it's estimated, in order to attract business, that we lose out on 70 to 90 million a year in tax revenue. We give everything away to big business. We had a crazy place here called AK-SAR-BEN. It was where the horse races were held every year. One of only two money making events this frigging place had (the other is the College World Series). First we did away with the horse races (which were here only two or three months a year). The we gave the whole place, the buildings, the race track, the stands, the land (right in the middle of the city) to First Data Resources with the agreement that they would create 2,000 jobs. They got the land as a campus. Well, not only did they not create the jobs, they cut jobs. The kept the land. And strangely enough, the western end is now a shopping center. Who got the damn money for the sale of the land. It sure as fuck wasn't the people of city of Omaha. Whatever.

Anyway, this is why the majority of us are looking toward a very bleak future. It isn't because we take care of our elderly and our sick. It isn't because we try to have safety nets for the poor and the mentally ill. IT'S BECAUSE WE ARE BEING ROBBED BLIND BY THE RICH AND BIG BUSINESS.

That's the damn truth about the economy folks. And when we're all too poor to by, to pay for our utilities, to go to their resorts and hotels, they'll maybe start to feel the pinch to. But only on their income. The money they already stole from us all will get them by.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Yeppers.
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Triple YIKEs
Get the VISINE and the Improved COFFEE...peeps need to wake up and vote BLUE
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Visine and Improved COFFEE?
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. We need something to wake the Peeps UP.....anything that will work
We are very close to Martial Law and a Dictatorship.....Only an informed Population will stem the Fascist Tide....
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #11
26. Yes we are. Yes we are. I say anything is fair game at this point. Eye
drops, coffee, toothpicks, totem poles, sticks, pitchforks... whateva it takes.
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #26
34. The Ignoramisus among us have DEADLY RESULTS. Canardly pic a Prez right
Yikes
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #34
37. Papally with blue smoke.
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. Blue Smoke from yon chimmeny....A sign of Sanity and Clarity coming home
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-30-06 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #38
42. So long as it's blue.
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glitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
18. You got that right!
"Anyway, this is why the majority of us are looking toward a very bleak future. It isn't because we take care of our elderly and our sick. It isn't because we try to have safety nets for the poor and the mentally ill. IT'S BECAUSE WE ARE BEING ROBBED BLIND BY THE RICH AND BIG BUSINESS."

:applause:
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
24. Exactly! & every day they'll keep hammering away at all of us until
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 04:50 PM by TheGoldenRule
they get us right where they want us-destitute peons who will serve their masters for pennies on the dollar. :grr:
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
30. SO why does NE remain right-wing heaven?
Do they blame it all on Hillary?

Can we now agree that red state working class people are brainwashed?
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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. They're not brainwashed. They are just old farmers who don't believe
that others, such as women and minorities, should share the same rights and freedoms that they have. The Equal Rights Amendment was the final straw, the first shot across the bow of the democratic party here was the Civil Rights movement. Those two issues sent what was a democratic state right into the open arms of the republican party.

Liberals are out to ruin the country, don't ya know?
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:42 PM
Response to Reply #3
31. You're right!
As the bumper sticker says, EAT THE RICH!
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. What about the Pentagon's budget?
What about the Interest on the National Debt?

Those both dwarf spending on "social programs."
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. And I hope people have noticed.
LOL
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. the Pie
one only needs to look at the pie chart and know where to cut...

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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #7
41. Nothing tops social security and medicare
spending. Put them together and they are half the budget or soon will be.
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WestSeattle2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. Oh this is nonsense! Our president is telling us the
economy is doing just ducky! Now who are you going to believe?
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upi402 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-29-06 02:16 AM
Response to Reply #10
35. I'm going with my lying eyes
GO HAWKS! good avatar

National Champions.
Won the superbowl 100% certain, no question.
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
12. Why do you think that Cheney is investing AGAINST the U.S?
July 6, 2006

Is Cheney betting on Economic Collapse?


By Mike Whitney

Wouldn't you like to know where Dick Cheney puts his money? Then you'd know whether his "deficits don't matter" claim is just baloney or not.

Well, as it turns out, Kiplinger Magazine ran an article based on Cheney's financial disclosure statement and, sure enough, found out that the VP is lying to the American people for the umpteenth time. Deficits do matter and Cheney has invested his money accordingly.

The article is called "Cheney's betting on bad news" and provides an account of where Cheney has socked away more than $25 million. While the figures may be estimates, the investments are not. According to Tom Blackburn of the Palm Beach Post, Cheney has invested heavily in "a fund that specializes in short-term municipal bonds, a tax-exempt money market fund and an inflation protected securities fund. The first two hold up if interest rates rise with inflation. The third is protected against inflation."

Cheney has dumped another (estimated) $10 to $25 million in a European bond fund which tells us that he is counting on a steadily weakening dollar. So, while working class Americans are loosing ground to inflation and rising energy costs, Darth Cheney will be enhancing his wealth in "Old Europe". As Blackburn sagely notes, "Not all 'bad news' is bad for everybody."



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niallmac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
20. Medicare reform needs to include a single party payer, government
regulation of enough of our resources that costs can be controlled and resources conserved.
The VA can show us how much money can be saved when you can negotiate with drug companies.
I am not asking for the incentive for R and D to be killed. Plenty of money in private hands to pay for
special services, designer drugs and inspire capitalist medicine. But the poor don't care about that.
Those without health-care need a socialized dependable system that they can access.
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Hubert Flottz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
21. "Taxcuts Gooooood...Economy Gooooood...War Goooood!"
Stay The Course!
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
22. But gross wanker bush says
"Bush says tax cuts fueled strong economy"

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Fridays Child Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
25. ...
:kick:
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
27. Universal Health is the Only way out
Healthcare can't increase and charge these HUGE Increases

it can't continue
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:29 PM
Response to Original message
29. I will accellerate the civil war, which we're headed for anyway.
Torture is OK with Joe Red State, but when he can't afford his cable bill, watch out.
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PaDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
33. Ugh, that darn Bill Clinton.........
look at the mess he's created.
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