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AARP, pandering and Medicare
Old 05-05-2011, 07:58 AM   #21
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AARP, pandering and Medicare

AARP was once an organization of seniors designed to advocate for interests specific to seniors. Now it is as much a marketing organization focused on the seniors segment.

In this campaign they are saying 1) Medicare and SS should be preserved in their current states and implying 2) the remaining liabilities and spending in Washington are not related to seniors.

We know the first is not possible in it's current form and the second is not true.

AARP membership begins at age 50. An average member between ages 50-60 might live for another 25-35 years. Medicare is not financially sustainable over that period of time, so the position being advocated by AARP in this ad is not even in the best interests of its current younger members.

This is not a clarion call to arms to reform Medicare, and it does not provide a framework or any real guidance regarding what should be done. This sounds too much like a typical politician, exploiting someone’s fears to gain support and further their own agenda. That’s pandering.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:13 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by DoraM View Post
The problems can be solved. Slash the military budget by 50% and bring all troops home. Let China and Russia handle North Korea and the Middle East for awhile. Keep 5000 or so nukes primed and active just in case anyone gets an idea we are weak (mouse that roared and all that). Drill baby drill...if we don't do it some other country is just going to park rigs off of our incredibly short ranged territorial waters (what is up with that?). Implement coal to oil plants as was done in WWII by germany to produce all of their oil. We have enough coal to produce 100% of our oil for the next 100+ years. Finally, implement a tax on those stupid ear cell phones with a special 400% tax for people who actually wear one in each ear. Problem solved!
I agree, especially close all overseas military bases bring troops home and use them to secure our borders then drill for our own oil.
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:45 AM   #23
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We can eliminate the cuts (all of them) and start working from there.
Since you offer that up as a solution, can you back it up with numbers?

I seem to recall stats that there just isn't enough money, even taxing the 'rich' at some very high rate, to cover the deficit w/o still requiring major cuts. There just are not enough Warrens, Bills and Steves out there.

-ERD50
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:13 AM   #24
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Keep 5000 or so nukes primed and active just in case anyone gets an idea we are weak (mouse that roared and all that).
We tried it. It doesn't work. If a nation is highly dependent on nuclear weapons alone then they really are weak. To save money in this way, a nation has to be prepared to use nuclear weapons for every little thing, everyone has to believe the nation will really do it, and the first time an embassy gets sacked or an unruly pariah puts US interests at risk with a troop incursion, etc (calling your bluff), then you have to actual actually use a nuclear device. The idea might have had some appeal when the US was the only significant nuclear power, but not anymore.

For background, see our efforts to save money in this way after WW-II.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:03 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post

I seem to recall stats that there just isn't enough money, even taxing the 'rich' at some very high rate, to cover the deficit w/o still requiring major cuts. There just are not enough Warrens, Bills and Steves out there.

-ERD50
The political posturing by one of the current major parties in Washington where the concept that the middle class needs to give up nothing nor pay higher taxes because higher taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" can pay for it all has been surprisingly successful. IMHO, the "millionaires and billionaires" will need to pay more but the middle class will need to accept less for us to straighten our federal, state and local budgets out.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:33 AM   #26
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Several posts have been removed for political content. Please do not repost them.
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:29 AM   #27
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In this campaign they are saying 1) Medicare and SS should be preserved in their current states and implying 2) the remaining liabilities and spending in Washington are not related to seniors.
Would you please give a reference for where they say these things?
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Old 05-05-2011, 11:58 AM   #28
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Would you please give a reference for where they say these things?
1) Medicare and SS should be preserved in their current states
Quote:
We can cut wasteful spending without cutting the benefits you’ve earned
2) the remaining liabilities and spending in Washington are not related to seniors.
Quote:
so Washington can pay its bills
Your benefits, its bills convey the meanings that I used above.

The Medicare benefit is not just for seniors that are current beneficiaries. Everyone that pays has an interest. There are more people with vested interests that are not current recipients.

BTW, Washington's biggest bill's are ... Medicare and SS.

When politicians use this language, they are accused of creating or exploiting partisan differences. If it's not appropriate for politicians, AARP should not use it either.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:09 PM   #29
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While I don't disagree with AARP taking this stance for its constituency, I have a hard time separating some of their past positions which sometimes seemed pretty self serving (considering the insurance products they hawk).

That said, one thing I would like to see is finding a solution to stop the massive $s expended due to fraud in all these gov't programs, not just healthcare related ones.
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Old 05-05-2011, 12:56 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
1) Medicare and SS should be preserved in their current states
Quote:
We can cut wasteful spending without cutting the benefits you've earned
This quote does not imply that Medicare and SS should be preserved in their current states. An increase of eligibility age, for instance, deferred so it does not affect the "you" of the quote, or an increase in the SS/Medicare taxes, or even making Medicare cheaper to administer would all change the systems without cutting already earned benefits. But even if someone were to agree with you about the implications of what the AARP did say, they didn't say what you attribute to them.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:15 PM   #31
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I noticed some typos in the AARP copy. A corrected version below:

Quote:
You’ve worked hard your entire life, paid your dues, raised a family voted repeatedly for higher government spending, and lower taxes. You’ve earned some enjoyed the peace of mind knowing that the money borrowed to fund the government programs you've long enjoyed will be repaid by someone else. Now, some in Congress want to make harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security live within their means. Cutting your the benefits we promised ourselves without ever saving a dime to fund them so Washington can pay the other its bills we ran up. AARP believes the country can do better bend over. We can cut wasteful spending other people's benefits without cutting our own the benefits you’ve earned. Join us. Tell Congress to stop the harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security messing with an entitled class. We vote. Our kids don't.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:17 PM   #32
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I disagree with AARP . . . I wouldn't like it, but I'd accept a cut in my social security and medicare benefits if it was part of a fair and balanced plan to bring back some finanical sanity to the U.S. budget.

As an aside, I've deferred collecting SS for a couple of years, but I feel I've already reaped a substantial benefit in that my folks have lived on little more than SS for MANY years and, but for SS and medicare, I would have had to pony up a LOT of money for their support. Thus, if I never collect a dime, I've still received a significant benefit from both programs.
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Old 05-05-2011, 01:26 PM   #33
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I feel I've already reaped a substantial benefit in that my folks have lived on little more than SS for MANY years and, but for SS and medicare, I would have had to pony up a LOT of money for their support. Thus, if I never collect a dime, I've still received a significant benefit from both programs.
A very good point. One that should be more widely appreciated, I think.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:09 PM   #34
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Geoffrey, good point.
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Old 05-19-2011, 08:27 AM   #35
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The claim that AARP's postion is unpatriotic is ridiculous. Money follows priorities and apparently the priorities of this country and it's politicians has been war, the war machine, proping up dictators, and proping up Wall Street crooks.
AARP is doing what it was designed to do, politicians are selling this nations citizens down the river.
I dont care much for the term "entitlement" what is corporate welfare but entitlements of the monied class?
The amount of money required to mount a political campaign requires that our politicians be in the back pocket of corporations, and until that changes us citizens will always come second.
Stand your ground AARP!
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Old 05-21-2011, 08:56 PM   #36
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...
I dont care much for the term "entitlement" what is corporate welfare but entitlements of the monied class?
...
a total aside:

SS and medicare are "entitlements" because the american people were told/promised that because they paid (separate taxes) into these "systems" they were entitled to collect from them, which to me is totally reasonable and should be fulfilled! welfare, corporate bailouts, subsidies, etc are not "entitlements" since the recipiants are not entitled to them. instead they get them as a gift. it is a shame that the word "entitlement" has gotten a bad name.
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Old 05-22-2011, 10:19 AM   #37
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a total aside:

SS and medicare are "entitlements" because the american people were told/promised that because they paid (separate taxes) into these "systems" they were entitled to collect from them, which to me is totally reasonable and should be fulfilled! welfare, corporate bailouts, subsidies, etc are not "entitlements" since the recipiants are not entitled to them. instead they get them as a gift. it is a shame that the word "entitlement" has gotten a bad name.
Very good point that should not be forgotten!!!
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:53 AM   #38
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The courts have ruled that we have no contractual right to SS. The annual statements from SS have made it pretty clear that, unless something changes, the money won't be there to pay the full amount of benefits that recipients receive today.
If an individual fights to amend the SS program or Medicare program so that future generations of workers pay far higher taxes than he ever had to pay, is he really fighting for fairness?
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:32 PM   #39
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I disagree with AARP . . . I wouldn't like it, but I'd accept a cut in my social security and medicare benefits if it was part of a fair and balanced plan to bring back some finanical sanity to the U.S. budget.
I guess where I part with AARP is that many times their position is that sacrifices shouldn't be shared, but rather they should all be made by younger generations. And to that end, I think those who simply bash AARP as selfish and greedy are taking the wrong tack, just encouraging defensiveness and retrenching into their positions that they "earned the right" to everything they get and that others need to do all the sacrificing.

I think more to the point, show them what impact their position is having on their kids and grandkids. We're living in a society where today's AARP generations probably have it better (on average) than their kids, and their kids on average will have it better than their grandkids. Show clearly the holes that AARP's opposition to shared sacrifice will have on the financial future of their kids and grandkids. They pay lip service to it in terms of PR, and with things like "keep SS and Medicare solvent for our grandchildren" and what not, but the problem is that their policy recommendations will keep these programs alive but make them an increasingly bad deal for future generations. Do they really want to see their grandkids have their SS and Medicare taxes jacked up substantially for the right to receive worse (and possibly heavily means-tested) benefits decades down the road? Do they really "love" their grandkids like that?

At the very least, if AARP expects younger generations to take a big hit to preserve their current deal, they should ask the more affluent among their membership to share in the sacrifice. It seems like every age-based entitlement has the same proposed solution: stiff younger folks so the older ones can keep their deal. IMO, these younger folks have good reason to oppose this when they are expected to bear all the burden of fixing these things. Share the sacrifice across ALL generations and we'll talk.
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:55 AM   #40
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Suppose Mr Ryan's $14k voucher plan became law, what would happen when folks reached 65 or whatever age deemed eligible? SS spent $14000 per recipient in 2004, and costs have risen dramatically since then, so seniors would have to make up the difference. However, that isn't the main problem. I predict that no for-profit insurance company would willingly write health insurance for those over the age of eligibility. That is one of the main reasons Medicare was created in 1967. Old people couldn't buy coverage at any price.

There is a reason for Govt. flood insurance, Govt. Windstorm pools in Florida and other states, Govt. run assigned risk plans for auto insurance, etc. etc. etc. The private sector doesn't want to write coverage for sectors of the market they know to be losers.

So, any solution that involves doing away with Medicare will mean that you have to force the private sector to provide the coverage. This will then create cross subsidies as other participants have to subsidize us old folks just as they do today for Medicare, which currently doesn't pay the full cost of treating seniors. And, the private sector costs 8% more than SS just for admin costs.

So, I suspect that if there is a solution, it will mean more means testing so that those of us that can afford it pay a greater share of the cost. And, it may mean that some things provided by the current program are cut back.

I would encourage people to read the following for another element of the solution:

McAllen, Texas and the high cost of health care : The New Yorker

If I were to criticize AARP it would be for not offering some practical suggestions rather than just saying no.
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