Category Archives: News

Young workers are paying Social Security taxes but will they ever collect benefits?

What if we had no money for anything except entitlement spending?
What if we had no money for anything except interest and entitlements?

The way Social Security taxes work is that you pay 12.4% of your salary, and another 2.9% for Medicare. That’s 15.3%, before any federal, state and local taxes. So, what are you getting for this 12.4% contribution to the Social Security welfare program? You’re supposed to be able to withdraw that money when you retire, but that money isn’t being stored in an account with your name on it. It’s being spent right now on people who are already retired. Will there be money available for you to withdraw when you retire?

If you’re a young person who retires in 2035 or later, the answer is absolutely not.

The Daily Signal has the numbers:

The American people need to know the state of finances of the Social Security program so they can better understand why reform is not only necessary, but absolutely essential. Here are five takeaways from the most recent financial report:

  • $66 Billion Cash-Flow Deficit in 2016

Social Security is still considered solvent and able to pay full benefits because it has accumulated a $2.8 trillion trust fund, but since the entirety of its trust fund consists of IOUs, cash-flow deficits must be financed by general revenue taxes or new public borrowing.

Since 2010, the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program has taken in less money from payroll tax revenues and the taxation of benefits than it pays out in benefits, generating cash-flow deficits.

  • $14.3 Trillion in Unfunded Obligations

However, this figure assumes that the $2.8 trillion in trust fund reserves are available to be spent. The problem is that these reserves represent liabilities for the U.S. taxpayer. The payroll revenues have been spent and the trust fund was credited with U.S. bonds, which represent claims on the American taxpayer. This is why the actual unfunded obligation is $14.3 trillion.

The trustees report that Social Security’s unfunded obligation has reached $11.5 trillion. That is the difference between what the program is expected to receive in income and what is expected to spend over the 75-year horizon the program’s actuaries consider for projections.

  • Insolvent by 2035

Based on current projections, the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund will be depleted by 2035, reducing Social Security’s expenditures automatically to what the program will receive in revenues, regardless of benefits due at that time.

Social Security is only legally permitted to spend funds in excess of its revenues until its trust fund is depleted.

  • 25 Percent Automatic Benefit Cut

What this means for beneficiaries is that in the absence of congressional action, benefits could be delayed or indiscriminately reduced across the board by 25 percent.

Once the Social Security trust fund is depleted, the program will only be able to pay 75 percent of scheduled benefits, based on payroll and other Social Security tax revenues projected at that time.

  • High Costs to Delaying Reform

The trustees highlight that if Congress waits until the trust funds become exhausted, the cost of making the program solvent will be as much as 40 percent higher, meaning significantly greater benefit cuts and/or tax increases for workers and beneficiaries.

There are several key reforms Congress could pursue to preserve benefits for the most vulnerable beneficiaries without increasing the tax or debt burden on younger generations. However, the longer Congress waits the act, the larger the changes that will be necessary to address Social Security’s combined financing shortfall.

Young people working today who retire in 2035 or later will never see a dime of their Social Security contributions. What’s more likely is that the taxes on their income will go even higher. Take a good look at your paycheck, and you will see money being deducted for this entitlement program. This is money you will never see again. It is being used now, to buy the votes of elderly people who vote against reform when they vote Democrat.

The only person to try to do something about these Social Security problems was George W. Bush – a Republican. But his effort to set up private savings accounts was stopped by Democrats, who depend on the votes of the people who collect from Social Security.

These problems are even worse when you realize that Social Security is only one of the entitlement programs that is going bankrupt. There are others – as well as interest on the $20 trillion debt. ($10 trillion of which was added by Obama in his 8 years as Welfare President). Young people: you are paying taxes for programs that will not be there for you when you need them. Stop voting Democrat, because money matters!

Legal handgun owner shoots and kills man trying to drown 3-month-old twins

Guns are for self-defense against criminals
Guns are for self-defense against criminals

Here’s the story from ABC local news in Oklahoma.

Excerpt:

An Ada man was shot and killed by a neighbor Friday after he tried drowning twin babies.

“It’s awful because I’ve held the babies and, like, I’ve played with them and I just gave them clothes yesterday,” said neighbor Summer Pierce.

Officials say Leland Foster was allegedly threatening the mother of the children with a knife during the ordeal.

A 12-year-old girl who was in the home ran to a neighbor’s house for help.

The neighbor, Cash Freeman, rushed back over to the home to find Foster trying to drown the 3-month-old twins, a boy and a girl, in the bathtub.

He then shot Foster twice in the back with a gun.

The babies survived. But because so many people in America view the use of force by legal handgun owners (especially men) with suspicion, the hero was afraid of what the lawyers would do to him.

More:

We spoke to Freeman off camera and he told us when he saw what was happening in the bathroom, he did what he had to do to save the babies. However, he told us he was concerned that he could be in trouble.

That was his feeling after he saved the babies. He did the right thing, but in America, land of the Second Amendment, he was afraid of the lawyers who might try to punish him for being a man, and doing what men do: protect children from danger.

What a world.

I’m thankful that this happened in Oklahoma, though, and so there was a happy conclusion.

ABC local news reports:

Police questioned and released Freeman, but the district attorney was tasked with determining if the shooting was a criminal act.

[…]A little more than a month after the shooting, officials say the case is closed.

On Thursday, the Pontotoc County District Attorney announced that the shooting was a ‘justifiable use of deadly force under Oklahoma Law.’

The decision to not prosecute this man apparently came out a month later than his interrogation by police. Imagine what that month must have been like for him. Is this the way that want men to feel when they do the right thing? And is it wise to attack and punish men who use force for self-defense and for defense of others? If I were in a position to use deadly force to protect someone else, the first thing on my mind would be what the police and the lawyers and the government would do to me. And that is just sad. But that’s the world we live in, where so many people who are afraid of guns (while knowing nothing at all about them). I think many people would blame this man for being “violent” without caring about the context for his actions.

Why do progressives oppose guns? I think because they hate conservatives in a way that is not reciprocated. Progressives think that conservatives are evil, whereas conservatives  think that progressives are merely wrong. Progressives don’t like guns, because if they had them, they feel that they could not stop themselves from killing. There are many examples of this: the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot at Republican legislators, or the gay activist who opened fire in the Family Research Council building. Progressives project their own lack of self-control onto conservatives, and that’s why they want to ban guns and criminalize self-defense. But conservatives use guns for good, not evil.

Trump administration has fired hundreds of Veteran’s Affairs officials

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

I expected Trump to get into trouble on Twitter even after he was elected, and he is certainly doing that. But he’s also doing a lot of conservative things, too. And those are more important, because they are policies.

Here’s the latest “Good Trump” news reported by the far-left CBS News.

Excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that more than 500 officials have been fired for misconduct since President Trump took office earlier this year, according to data posted online.

In an effort for more transparency and accountability within the VA, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David J. Shulkin announced that a public list of employee “accountability actions” will be posted online and updated weekly.

The list outlines a total of 747 disciplinary actions including 526 employees who were fired since January 20. The actions affected a myriad of positions ranging from a tractor operator to VA attorneys.The list does not include employee names due to privacy reasons but does note the employee’s position and VA region.

“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” Secretary Shulkin said in a statement.

This announcement comes less than a month after President Trump signed the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which strengthened the ability of Secretary Shulkin to discipline VA officials. President Trump said that previous laws “…kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”

Why is this important? Well, the VA health care delivery system is the only true single-payer health care system in the United States. It’s run by Big Government bureaucrats who get paid a lot of money, regardless of how they serve their customers. When the administrators want a raise, they just falsify records to hide their failure to perform. It’s so bad that veterans are dying while waiting for treatment. And since it’s not a for-profit system, there’s nothing they can do about it. They can’t threaten to withhold payment, and they can’t take their business somewhere else. It’s a government-run monopoly, and customers are treated like garbage.

Here’s an example reported by the Washington Free Beacon:

More than 100 veterans died while waiting for care at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., over a nine-month span ending in August 2015, according to a new government report.

The VA Office of Inspector General found in a recent healthcare inspection that 225 veterans at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System facility died with open or pending consults between Oct. 1, 2015 and Aug. 9, 2015. Nearly half—117—of those patients died while experiencing delays in receiving care.

The inspector general reported that 43 percent of the 371 consults scheduled for patients who ended up dying were not timely because of a failure by VA employees to follow proper procedure. The report was unable to substantiate claims that patients died as a result of the delayed consults.

Fox News has a different example from a different VA hospital:

More than 200 veterans have died while waiting for medical care at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, two years after the facility was at the center of a scandal in which patient records were altered to hide the length of their waiting period.

In a report released Tuesday, the VA Inspector General’s office (OIG) found that 215 deceased patients had open specialist consultation appointments at the Phoenix facility on the day they died. The report also found that one veteran never received an appointment for a cardiology exam “that could have prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”

[…]The report also found that nearly a quarter of all specialist consultations in 2015 were canceled, in part due to employee confusion stemming from outdated scheduling procedures that were not updated until this past August.

The Free Beacon and Fox News are centrist news sources, so let’s look at something from the radical kooky fringe of fake news.

Here’s the far-left Clown News Network (CNN) reporting on another VA failure from 2014, when Obama was still President:

At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.

The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.

For six months, CNN has been reporting on extended delays in health care appointments suffered by veterans across the country and who died while waiting for appointments and care.
But the new revelations about the Phoenix VA are perhaps the most disturbing and striking to come to light thus far.

Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.

Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:

There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

I hope that’s not fake news, but with CNN, you never know. Let’s just assume it’s real for now.

Right now, we have a Republican President, Republican House, and Republican Senate, so something is finally being done to fix a problem that existed throughout the eight years of the Obama administration.

One million patients per week cannot get a doctor’s appointment in socialist UK

The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care
The National Health Service is government-run socialist health care

What would happen if government took over health care, and created one of the largest bureaucracies in the world?

Absolute failure.

The UK Telegraph explains:

One million patients a week cannot get appointments with GPs, amid the longest waiting times on record, new figures show.

[…]The NHS figures show the number waiting at least a week to see their GP has risen by 56 per cent in five years, with one in five now waiting this long.

The pressures left 11.3 per cent of patients unable to get an appointment at all – a 27 per cent rise since 2012.  This amounts to around 47 million occasions on which patients attempted but failed to secure help from their GP, forcing them to give up, try again later or turn to Accident & Emergency departments.

Rising numbers of patients struggled to even get through on the phone, with 27.8 per cent of those polled citing difficulties, compared with 18.5 per cent in 2012.

[…]The survey of more than 800,000 patients – which is held annually – found worsening access to family doctors across a range of measures.

GPs said the NHS was “at breaking point” with patients increasingly giving up their search for help, even though their health was deteriorating.

But, I am often told by socialists that American health care is just terrible compared to government-run health care systems in other countries. After all, who gives you better service? Private companies in a free market, like Amazon.com? Or government-run monopolies, like the Bureau of Motor Vehicles?

Let’s take a look at this analysis by a medical doctor who is also a Stanford University professor:

Fact No. 1:  Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.[1]  Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.  Prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher in the U.K. and 457 percent higher in Norway.  The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

Fact No. 6:  Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.  Canadian and British patients wait about twice as long – sometimes more than a year – to see a specialist, to have elective surgery like hip replacements or to get radiation treatment for cancer.[6]  All told, 827,429 people are waiting for some type of procedure in Canada.[7]  In England, nearly 1.8 million people are waiting for a hospital admission or outpatient treatment.[8]

Fact No. 9:  Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.  Maligned as a waste by economists and policymakers naïve to actual medical practice, an overwhelming majority of leading American physicians identified computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the most important medical innovations for improving patient care during the previous decade.[11]  [See the table.]  The United States has 34 CT scanners per million Americans, compared to 12 in Canada and eight in Britain.  The United States has nearly 27 MRI machines per million compared to about 6 per million in Canada and Britain.[12]

UK taxpayers pay a lot more in taxes than Americans do. Is it worth it?

Honestly, who would you rather have running your health care? Doctors or unionized government workers who never passed high school arithmetic? The free market is best.

Welfare program usage drops 85% after work requirement reinstated

This story is from National Review, and it really made me think about where all the money that I’ve paid in taxes over the years has gone.

Excerpt:

After Alabama reinstated food-stamp work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents, the rolls dropped by 85 percent.

[…]According to the Alabama Department of Human Resources, between January 1 and May 1, 13 counties in the Yellowhammer State saw their food-stamp rolls drop by a combined 85 percent. The reason? At the beginning of the year, those 13 counties joined the rest of the state in ending a years-long exemption from work requirements for ABAWDs — able-bodied adults without dependents — participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

On New Year’s Day, there were 5,538 ABAWD enrollees across the 13 formerly exempted counties; by the beginning of May, there were 831. That mirrors a sharp statewide decline, which began on January 1, 2016, when the same exemption ended in Alabama’s 54 other counties. At the beginning of last year, the state had 49,940 able-bodied adults without dependents on its SNAP rolls; by May 1 of this year, that number was 7,483 — a drop of 85 percent.

The article notes that work requirements on welfare programs were dismantled at the federal level by the Obama administration in 2009.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama that February, Congress “temporarily” suspended the conditions on ABAWD SNAP enrollees nationwide. The suspension was supposed to extend only through 2010, but no government initiative is temporary. Eight years later, ABAWD time-limit waivers are still in effect in at least part of 36 states; ten states remain entirely exempt.

The article also notes that Kansas (in 2013) rejected Obama’s federal waiver. The result? Welfare program usage fell 72%.

The article concludes:

The overall food-stamp population remains large: Forty-four million Americans — about one in seven — at a cost of $71 billion to the federal government last year. Compared to other categories of recipient, that of able-bodied adults without dependents is small. But more than savings is at stake in removing clingers-on from the dole. A free people does not depend on the government for its daily bread. Those who can work, should.

People who have jobs don’t need welfare, but these people were literally choosing not to work so that they could collect welfare. They could have worked if they wanted to, but they chose not to.

How do you think that people who are dependent on government vote? Do they vote for smaller government and lower taxes? All that Obama achieved by attacking welfare reform was to buy hundreds of thousands of votes from dependent people. But he didn’t use his own money to do this – he used mine. I could have used my money for my own life priorities, but Democrat politicians know better than me, apparently. My job is just to work to earn the money, but I’m too stupid to know how to spend it. Other smarter people who are better than me know best about how to spend it. And they spend it on buying the votes of lazy people so they can get re-elected.