REFLECTIONS

Posted on July 31, 2011

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ENTITLEMENT CHANGES ARE COMING

SOME MAY NOT GET SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

Older Americans and baby boomers do not intend to ruin America, but that is about to happen if we do not change the retirement system.

On average, the federal government supports each American 65 and over by about $26,000  a year (about $14,000 through Social Security, $12,000 through medicare). At 65 the average American will live almost 20 years.

And, the idea is correct that a social safety net should be provided, whether it’s retirement benefits, insurance or health care assistance, for those who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to provide for themselves. To think that family or the church should care for these people who are unable to care for themselves is unreasonable.

Raising the age to receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits will not fix the system. Yet, for many who will retire soon, their Social Security will have to kick-in later, and it will pay less.

The question is being asked today, should these sizable annual subsidies begin later and be less for some? It has to be discussed in regard to the national budget. To not discuss changes in the entitlement programs, you ignore most of what the budget does.

And, by the way, most seniors receive many more Social Security and Medicare dollars then they ever paid into the system.

This has been our course through the years, and now there is a smaller number of workers paying into the retirement for the baby boomers. Our government has spent the Social Security money cushion that had been built up over the years. Former U.S. Senator Jack Danforth addressed this problem years ago, but no one listened.

President Barack Obama poses as one brave guy for even broaching “entitlement reform” with fellow Democrats. What he hasn’t done and gone public is to ask in language that is clear and comprehensible to ordinary people: whether many healthy, reasonable well-off seniors deserve all the subsidies in Social Security and Medicare they receive?

Tea Party advocates broadly deplore government spending without acknowledging that most of it goes for popular Social Security and Medicare. Many Tea Party members are older people on Social Security and Medicare, and believe they are entitled to that money.

Since elections are around the corner, I doubt many politicians will come out and call for cuts in benefits for America’s seniors.

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