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Old 08-07-2007, 07:40 PM   #81
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But again... if you wish to give up your money to the governemnt, and have the government "provide" for you, you're perfectly free to do that. But, like I said, you have to force me to join you. How is that not slavery, to tell me that I must work and pass the fruits of my labors on to some other party without my consent? When the governemnt does it, it's "taxation". If I were to do the exact same thing, we have a different word we'd use... "robbery".
Isn't that an old definition of government? The entity that has a monopoly on the legal use of force?

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Old 08-13-2007, 12:33 PM   #82
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You say you see nothing wrong with British or Canadian healthcare. ".
can ya point out exactly where I said that? hmm? no? could it be because...I didn't? I believe that their health care is BETTER than our healthcare. Not that it's problem-free. or perfect. but better. a better place to start from than ours.

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That would be because you've never experienced them, and what you know about them is what's written by misty-eyed, pie-in-the-sky Utopian liberals who ignore the massive problems because of the promise of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
OMG, I knew it! I knew my brain was bugged so that somebody could see exactly where I get all my information & now I know that it was YOU who did it! /sarcasm

no, I've gotten my information from 2 sources:

1 - canadian & english friends. either people that I met when I was in college (in the US, these were canadians or englishpeople going to college in the US), or while my SO was in gradschool in montreal & I met a lot of his friends. and we discussed healthcare. and most of them were pretty happy with it. one thing that kept coming up was how happy they were to know that, no matter what, they did have access to health care. oh, and my SO used the healthcare system while HE was there, to take care of some awful impacted wisdom teeth (something that a lot of health care here won't even touch) & he had an excellent experience.

2) english coworkers. I have several of them & I've asked them about english healthcare & they all like it much better than US healthcare. One of them takes care of all of her healthcare needs when she goes on holiday back home, because it's so much easier than here, not needing to worry about referrals & copays & the like.

I wonder what would happen if they only steps the gov took towards health insurance was to make a mandate that we need to develop software that ALL healthcare companies use, to make gathering/keeping information easier. giving the billions of dollars spent on managing information, I bet that right there would make quite a difference. Of course, we'd have to demand that a large amount of those saving would be used to improve service, & not profits.

As for what we get from our gov, for all the money we give them, I agree with you. we need serious reform on a lot of levels. we need to curb spending & use our money wisely. but other than bitching & ranting, & trying to be insulting (see above liberal comment), so you have any meaningful suggestions to make? 'cause so far as I can see, all you do is bitch about the problem without offering a solution, which, IMO, is pretty useless.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:34 AM   #83
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So I think I should at least be able to use the 400/month the way I see fit. At least give me the option....
If you truly feel that way this may be your answer. The only reason I haven't filled it out is because it makes you sign off on the following:
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I am conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; or makes payments for the cost of medical care; or provides services for medical care.
Personally I just don't believe in getting bad insurance which is what I believe SS and Medicare are.

IRS Form 4029 - Application for Exemption From Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Waiver of Benefits

The history of the 4029 is an interesting read.
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Old 08-20-2007, 03:53 AM   #84
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SS makes sense to me. Or something very close to it.

It is just that the government has not been a good steward of the money. If they had not spent the excess payments in the past and invested it like a pension fund... It would have been there.

One thing to keep in mind. We will always.... ALWAYS, have a certain population (not insignificant) that will not prepare for retirement. In those cases, the government will supply some minimal pension in old age. Might as well have a program that covers that and forces people to pay into the program... Tax payers will pay for it anyway. Think about it! Those are the very people that often are marginal and living paycheck to paycheck. And there are a lot of them.
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:52 PM   #85
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I've accepted that I'm giving the gov't money that I'll never get back. I'm not planning on receiving anything when I retire. I would be nice to have a self directed ss "account" so I decide where my money gets invested, but I won't hold my breath.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:14 PM   #86
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[quote=chinaco;548354]SS makes sense to me. Or something very close to it.[quote]

How about something like, "Saving and investing for retirement"? That seems to work pretty well.

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It is just that the government has not been a good steward of the money. If they had not spent the excess payments in the past and invested it like a pension fund... It would have been there.
That isn't the case at all. The Socialist inSecurity "trust fund" is, technically, fine... it does not consist of "IOUs", but Treasury instruments that are 100% safe and redeemable at any time. The Treasury cannot refuse to redeem them... the resulting loss of confidence in the US dollar would destroy our economy overnight.

The problem is, Socialist inSecurity is a Ponzi scheme... it depends on current workers to pay money to current retirees, rather than their money being earmerked for themselves. And we have a hugely growing number of retirees while we have a shrinking workforce.

There's also the slight problem that the government does not produce wealth... they take it and spend it, but never create a dime of profit. So, all of the SS trust fund dollars that were used to buy the Treasury instruments have been spent. So, where do the replacement dollars come from? Taxes, or the printing press. There is no other answer. Both sources are detrimental to our economy.

Quote:
One thing to keep in mind. We will always.... ALWAYS, have a certain population (not insignificant) that will not prepare for retirement. In those cases, the government will supply some minimal pension in old age. Might as well have a program that covers that and forces people to pay into the program... Tax payers will pay for it anyway. Think about it! Those are the very people that often are marginal and living paycheck to paycheck. And there are a lot of them.
A) Government bailouts for people who do not prepare for their own retirements only create new generations who are utterly dependant upon government handouts, which require an ever-increasing chunk of our GDP to care for. Look at New Orleans and Katrina... years later, these people are still standing in lines holding their hands out. Society is much better off to cut them all off, let the current generation face the pain, and prevent future legions of professional aid recipients from getting started. But that would decimate the rolls of Democratic voters, and so isn't acceptable.

B) The same solution could be arrived at by requiring that every worker must contribute, say, 10% of his or her gross earnings to a retirement program. But that doesn't entail any wealth redistribution and doesn't allow politicians to buy votes. It doesn't allow the government to take control of the wealth of its' citizens and use for whatever purpose it deems proper. That would still leave people responsible for, and in control of, their own future.

This country used to be the greatest on Earth, period. As the amount of Socialism has increased, the US has declined. We're an enormous debtor nation now, running astronomical current account defecits. We have, literally, millions of people who, if cut off from Big Brother, would perish within a couple of months. We're eagerly importing poverty from the Third World, and subsidizing that poverty upon the backs of the few productive workers left. Our middle class is rapidly disappearing as the mounting cost of taxes, regulations, etc. crushes us. If we don't act quickly, the US is going to become a footnote in history. And our enormous government has seen to it that we will never act "quickly".
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:51 PM   #87
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It is just that the government has not been a good steward of the money. If they had not spent the excess payments in the past and invested it like a pension fund...
The real problem is that the Trust fund has been invested in Gov't securities earning a real rate of something like 2% per year. If even a small portion of the Trust fund were invested in equities, say 20-25%, the ROR could be raised enough to make the long-term deficit go away. The problem is that the Gov't can borrow from the Trust fund without having to report it as deficit spending. Even when Clinton "balanced" the budget in the late 90's, it wasn't really balanced if you took into account the borrowings from the SS Trust fund. IMO, what should be done is (1) Congress should pass a law allowing a portion of the Trust fund to be invested in something other than Gov't securities and (2) the Gov't should borrow from the public (which would raise the reported deficit) and repay the Trust fund enough $, so that the Trust fund could invest those $ in an S&P 500 index fund - we don't need private accounts to do this. This will raise the long-term ROR to the Trust fund so that more $ will be there to offset the shrinking work force. The reported deficit will be bigger, but the real deficit will actually be the same. Since the reported deficit will be bigger, there will be more public pressure on Congress to reduce the deficit.
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:22 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by jnojr View Post

How about something like, "Saving and investing for retirement"? That seems to work pretty well...
Whew. I hope you feel better after all of that. Then again, maybe you had better check yourself for a hernia.

Oh, and thanks for explaining it all to me. I feel like I really understand the issues now.

Nevertheless... I do not see SS as a bailout. People (and their employer) pay into it and the people receive a minimal pension.

You can refuse to take your bailout SS. Make a statement, you can be a conscientious objector.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:14 PM   #89
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The real problem is that the Trust fund has been invested in Gov't securities earning a real rate of something like 2% per year. If even a small portion of the Trust fund were invested in equities, say 20-25%, the ROR could be raised enough to make the long-term deficit go away.
FIRE'd, while I don't disagree with this thinking, I am wondering if the government investing in public markets raises conflicts of interests with policy makers? Are there regulations in place that have restricted the government from being more aggressive with the SS fund or was it simply the conservative decision? I guess investing only in indexes reduces many of the potential conflicts, but it just seems questionable on some level... I don't know - I guess I am kind of just thinking out loud here - I'd be interested to hear others thoughts...
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Old 08-20-2007, 08:35 PM   #90
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Are there regulations in place that have restricted the government from being more aggressive with the SS fund or was it simply the conservative decision?
Current law only allows the Trust fund assets to be invested in US Government securities, so it would take Congressional action to allow investment in equities.

You raise some good issues. I think an index fund (perhaps run internally) could avoid/minimize potential conflicts.

Probably the biggest issue, IMO, is having the Trust fund (and therefore the federal government) hold voting stock in private companies, but I think this issue can be gotten around (maybe by simply not allowing the Trust fund to vote the stock). This is probably why the Bush Administration chose to go the route of private accounts. I don't like private accounts because of the inability to have a defined-benefit payout, due to the fact that a particular individual may want/need to start drawing benefits at the time of a bear market. Since so many of our companies are converting from defined-benefit pension plans to defined-contribution plans (e.g. 401K's), I think it would beneficial to keep SS as a defined-benefit plan, a kind of "safety net". A pension fund can diversify away this problem over time, because of it's very long-term horizon.

To me, the appeal of having an equity component in the Trust fund assets is to raise the long-term rate of return on those assets, which IMO, is the least painful way to deal with the SS problem.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:21 AM   #91
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When I see people writing that the SS trust fund is invested in Treasuries, I wonder if they really understand what that means? :confused:

The money is gone... The money we and our employers paid in over years spent on other government programs for years. Those treasuries will have to be paid through additional taxes that we will have to pay (and probably are paying now). Or the government will just print money which has a worse effect.


Here is a summary on Wikipedia

Social Security Trust Fund - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:38 AM   #92
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When I see people writing that the SS trust fund is invested in Treasuries, I wonder if they really understand what that means? :confused:

The money is gone... The money we and our employers paid in over years spent on other government programs for years. Those treasuries will have to be paid through additional taxes that we will have to pay (and probably are paying now). Or the government will just print money which has a worse effect.
I think most people understand what it means.

The money isn't gone. Do you want the Trust fund assets to be held in cash at a 0% rate of return? That would make the problem even worse. While the securities are not tradeable in the secondary market they still represent the same claims as Treasury securities that do. If the government were to default on these, what do you think it would do to other government securities? Would it be better if the Trust fund purchased Treasury securities at auction? Probably. But the actual deficit would still be the same - only the reported deficit would go up. It would be more out in the open. The government would still have to raise taxes (or print money) to redeem those securities, if they didn't roll over the debt. As I look at it, it's kind of a "smoke and mirrors" game over what constitutes a "balanced" budget.
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Old 08-21-2007, 05:03 PM   #93
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It is absurd to allow folks to "opt out"....what happens if you fail financially?.


And the above statement really cuts to the very heart of the matter. Like it or not.... "Life is not safe". Every decision that you make in life can have negative consequences. You can indeed "fail" in america. Sometimes through no fault of your own. Life is not always fair, or just, or right. No matter how much we might want to, it just is not possible to legislate a "safe" life. Why should we stop there about opting out of SS? Why allow people to be come miners in this country, or policeman? Why are places like Las Vegas tolerated, you could loose money there. Over 50% of all businesses fail in the first year of operation, should we not allow those either? I know and fully understand that there are many things in my life that I may "risk" a bit, and I may loose.... sometimes greatly. But the very idea that the govt should take away my right to choose, because I may fail, makes no sense to me. There is one, and only one form of government where it is impossible for anyone to financially fail... and that system is communism. I doubt anyone here would like that particular form of government. Just something to think about....
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:09 PM   #94
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I think most people understand what it means.

The money isn't gone. Do you want the Trust fund assets to be held in cash at a 0% rate of return? That would make the problem even worse. While the securities are not tradeable in the secondary market they still represent the same claims as Treasury securities that do. If the government were to default on these, what do you think it would do to other government securities? Would it be better if the Trust fund purchased Treasury securities at auction? Probably. But the actual deficit would still be the same - only the reported deficit would go up. It would be more out in the open. The government would still have to raise taxes (or print money) to redeem those securities, if they didn't roll over the debt. As I look at it, it's kind of a "smoke and mirrors" game over what constitutes a "balanced" budget.

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Old 08-22-2007, 01:54 PM   #95
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I think most people understand what it means.

The money isn't gone. Do you want the Trust fund assets to be held in cash at a 0% rate of return? That would make the problem even worse. While the securities are not tradeable in the secondary market they still represent the same claims as Treasury securities that do. If the government were to default on these, what do you think it would do to other government securities? Would it be better if the Trust fund purchased Treasury securities at auction? Probably. But the actual deficit would still be the same - only the reported deficit would go up. It would be more out in the open. The government would still have to raise taxes (or print money) to redeem those securities, if they didn't roll over the debt. As I look at it, it's kind of a "smoke and mirrors" game over what constitutes a "balanced" budget.
The money is "gone" in the sense that it's been spent. Sure, it's been replaced with these Treasury instruments that are (and must be) payable on demand.

But where does the money to redeem them come from? The government does not generate wealth. It does not turn a profit. There are two methods by which to raise cash to redeem those instruments... raise taxes, or fire up the printing presses.

SS could be very workable if we actually had a balanced budget. But we don't... we have billions upon billions of dollars of short-term debt, and trillions of long-term debt. The $2 trillion in SS obligations, as astronomical a sum as that is, is just a teaspoon-full compared to a bucket. Medicare is a much huger future obligation.

Where is all of that money supposed to come from?
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:28 PM   #96
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Where is all of that money supposed to come from?
Same place that all the money to fight wars, pay crop support payments, AFDC, federal highway programs, the FDA, CDC, etc, etc comes from. From taxes levied on anybody they can levy them on.

To me, Social Security and Medicare are a better use of these funds than some of the above, and better than some uses of funds that I didn't think of.

You likely do not enjoy stepping over homeless people on the street. You can tell yourself that they were feckless, or crazy, or whatever, but how about stepping over Grandpa and Grandma? Do we have parents or grandparents? Are we prepared to take care of them, pay their medical bills? These programs are not wasteful even though they are large.

Itís easy to throw around slogans, not so clear if you think about what is being obscured by the slogans.

Ha
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Old 08-22-2007, 04:16 PM   #97
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You likely do not enjoy stepping over homeless people on the street. You can tell yourself that they were feckless, or crazy, or whatever, but how about stepping over Grandpa and Grandma? Do we have parents or grandparents? Are we prepared to take care of them, pay their medical bills? These programs are not wasteful even though they are large.

Itís easy to throw around slogans, not so clear if you think about what is being obscured by the slogans.

Ha
I think I would have to disagree with you a bit HaHa. Charity to those less fortunate than yourself is just fine. Lots of folks do it because they beleive it to be morally or personally rewarding. Those who wish to do that are within their right to do so. However, forced charity, via the govt or anyone else is called extortion. If you are prepared to take care of people that need it, then I wish you well, and I applaude your efforts. However I would also ask you to consider the following. While the goal of taking care of "everyone" may sound like a good idea, you need to weigh it against the cost of doing so. If you finally eliminate poverty in the US, by bankrupting the govt and all of it's citizens, then I would say it was not a fair trade. I would even go so far as to say that for a prosperous free society to exist, there must always be a certain percentage who will be poor, some even homeless. The best the laws can really do is be the most fair, to the most people, most of the time. We must acknowledge that there will always be a small percentage that will not be as fortunate. But because of the laws we currently have, there are lots of things that we can do in our lives to help shift that uncertainty in out favor a bit. I intend to shift everthing in my favor that I possible can because I do NOT want to wind up on the street later in life... just my thoughts...
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Old 08-22-2007, 05:18 PM   #98
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It is interesting that I got my SS stmt on Monday....

Reading through it, they said that without any change in law they would only be able to fund (IIRC) 75% starting in about 2040...

So, a few small changes now and the problem would appear to go away..
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Old 08-22-2007, 05:56 PM   #99
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Reading through it, they said that without any change in law they would only be able to fund (IIRC) 75% starting in about 2040...

So, a few small changes now and the problem would appear to go away..
That's only true if you believe in the trust fund fairy tale.
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Old 08-22-2007, 06:45 PM   #100
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Man, with some of the strong opinions on the forum, I hope you all are never on the outside looking in.
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