Tag Archives: Baby Boomer

Real greed is when adults force children to give them a bailout from debt

This is a must-read by Mark Steyn.

Excerpt:

While President Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care “summit,” thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split screen – because they’re part of the same story. It’s just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They’re at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18.

What’s happening in the developed world today isn’t so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1, or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids – i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 “lowest-low” fertility – the point from which no society has ever recovered. And compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can’t borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don’t have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don’t have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian “public service” of California has been metaphorically face-down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book “America Alone,” I put the Social Security debate in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent. In other words, head for the hills, Armageddon, outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And really the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn’t going to have a 2040 – not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.

Is that likely to happen? At such moments, I like to modify Gerald Ford. When seeking to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, President Ford liked to say: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” Which is true enough. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the point Greece is at. Its socialist government has been forced into supporting a package of austerity measures. The Greek people’s response is: Nuts to that. Public sector workers have succeeded in redefining time itself: Every year, they receive 14 monthly payments. You do the math. And for about seven months’ work – for many of them the workday ends at 2:30 p.m. When they retire, they get 14 monthly pension payments. In other words: Economic reality is not my problem. I want my benefits. And, if it bankrupts the entire state a generation from now, who cares as long as they keep the checks coming until I croak?

We hard-hearted, small-government guys are often damned as selfish types who care nothing for the general welfare. But, as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government. Once a chap’s enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest. He’s got his, and to hell with everyone else. People’s sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.

The perfect spokesman for the entitlement mentality is the deputy prime minister of Greece. The European Union has concluded that the Greek government’s austerity measures are insufficient and, as a condition of bailout, has demanded something more robust. Greece is no longer a sovereign state: It’s General Motors, and the EU is Washington, and the Greek electorate is happy to play the part of the United Auto Workers – everything’s on the table except anything that would actually make a difference. In practice, because Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are also on the brink of the abyss, a “European” bailout will be paid for by Germany. So the aforementioned Greek deputy prime minister, Theodoros Pangalos, has denounced the conditions of the EU deal on the grounds that the Germans stole all the bullion from the Bank of Greece during the Second World War. Welfare always breeds contempt, in nations as much as inner-city housing projects. How dare you tell us how to live! Just give us your money and push off.

This is the real character of people who avoid having to care about producing goods and services to please customers – people who join public sector unions and work for the government. They elect candidates who will provide them with a standard of living much higher than what they can produce by their own efforts, and pass the bill down to real workers in the private sector, or worse, workers who are not even born. It’s a shame. It’s a shame that parasites should enslave children who are not yet born so that they can have a standard of living they haven’t paid for. And it’s laughable that they impugn the character of productive private sector workers and business owners by talking about “Greed”. The parasites in the public sector unions are the greedy ones. What could be more greedy than intergenerational theft?

Social Security running deficits now, will be bankrupt by 2037

Last Republican budget was in 2006
Last Republican budget was in 2006

This is from CBS News. (H/T Robert Stacy McCain)

Excerpt:

Social Security’s finances are getting worse as the economy struggles to recover and millions of baby boomers stand at the brink of retirement.

New congressional projections show Social Security running deficits every year until its trust funds are eventually drained in about 2037.

This year alone, Social Security is projected to collect $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it pays out in retirement, disability and survivor benefits, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. That figure swells to $130 billion when a new one-year cut in payroll taxes is included, though Congress has promised to repay any lost revenue from the tax cut.

The massive retirement program has been feeling the effects of a struggling economy for several years. The program first went into deficit last year, but the CBO said at the time that Social Security would post surpluses for a few more years before permanently slipping into deficits in 2016.

The outlook, however, has grown bleaker as the nation struggles to recover from the worst economic crisis since Social Security was enacted during the Great Depression. In the short term, Social Security is suffering from a weak economy that has payroll taxes lagging and applications for benefits rising. In the long term, Social Security will be strained by the growing number of baby boomers retiring and applying for benefits.

The deficits add a sense of urgency to efforts to improve Social Security’s finances. For much of the past 30 years, Social Security has run big surpluses, which the government has borrowed to spend on other programs. Now that Social Security is running deficits, the federal government will have to find money elsewhere to help pay for retirement, disability and survivor benefits.

You may remember that George W. Bush tried to reform Social Security during his Presidency, but left-wing media and the Democrats cowed him into submission. Shut up, they explained. Just like they shut him up on his plan to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2003.

Here’s why nothing is going to be done to fix the problem. (H/T Hyscience)

It’s not going to be fixed until we vote out every last Democrat and replace them with grown-ups from the grown-up party.

MUST-READ: Miss Marprelate published on MercatorNet!

Wow, Rebekah just got one of her previous blog posts published at the prestigious Australian family policy site MercatorNet. The post is entitled “So long, and thanks for all the mess“.

Excerpt:

“This Boomer Isn’t Going to Apologize”, proclaimed a Wall Street Journal article written by economist Stephen Moore a few weeks ago. Responding to a series of apologies offered by baby boomers for the mess they had made of the world, Moore contends that maybe his generation wasn’t really so bad. After all they did give the world Apple, won the Cold War, boosted life expectancy and cut pollution.

“I can say first-hand that if boomer parents have anything for which to be sorry it’s for rearing a generation of pampered kids who’ve been chauffeured around to soccer leagues since they were 6,” he says defiantly. Moore continues by expanding on the selfish attitudes of the current young generations, while pointing out the advances of his own.

Well, I agree that this young generation is selfish. We had very good teachers. Somehow Stephen Moore seems to think that bad parenting is an insignificant little fault, something to be easily dismissed with a wave of a hand.

MercatorNet publishes work by talented authors such as Denyse O’Leary, Margaret Somerville and Barbara Kay. (I’ve featured all of those writers before!) They are focused on social and family policy. I linked to one of their recent posts about the plight of young men in today’s feminized society.

I have added her blog to my blogroll in the “Christian Living” category.

In case you missed it, Rebekah responded to my original post on the importance of scientific evidence in apologetics on her blog. My response to her response is here.

Evaluating Democrat policies on the budget, health care and cap and trade

A Harvard economist says that tax hikes will kill the recovery: (H/T John Boehner, Mike Pence)

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Even if the proposed tax increases are not scheduled to take effect until 2011, households will recognize the permanent reduction in their future incomes and will reduce current spending accordingly.  Higher future tax rates on capital gains and dividends will depress share prices immediately and the resulting fall in wealth will cut consumer spending further.  Lower share prices will also raise the cost of equity capital, depressing business investment in plant and equipment.

Tax hikes for the poor:

Mr. Obama’s biggest proposed tax increase is the cap-and-trade system of requiring businesses to buy carbon dioxide emission permits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the proposed permit auctions would raise about $80 billion a year and that these extra taxes would be passed along in higher prices to consumers. Anyone who drives a car, uses public transportation, consumes electricity or buys any product that involves creating CO2 in its production would face higher prices…

But while the cap-and-trade tax rises with income, the relative burden is greatest for low-income households. According to the CBO, households in the lowest-income quintile spend more than 20% of their income on energy intensive items (primarily fuels and electricity), while those in the highest-income quintile spend less than 5% on those products.

Bye-bye, American manufacturing sector. Or maybe Obama will nationalize the entire industry, who can say? He’s already practically doing it now.

Remember the no tax increases pledge that Obama made? Kevin Boland writes:

If you drive a car or flip on a light switch – Democrats have a new national energy tax for you.  If you’re a small business owner or if you’re employed by one – Democrats have a new tax for you.  If you’re a charity – Democrats have a new tax for your donors.  If you’re looking to produce more American energy – Democrats have a new tax for you.  If you own stock – Democrats have a new tax for you.  And when you’re finally able to relax – after paying all your taxes to Uncle Sam – and you want to kick back, relax, and have a cold beer, you guessed it, Democrats may have a new tax for you too.

USA Today asks where the promised fiscal restraint of Mr. ACORN lawyer has gone off to. (H/T Mike Pence)

When it comes to federal spending, there’s a pattern emerging with President Obama, and it’s not a flattering one. The president says all the right things about the importance of getting the deficit under control, but his actions don’t come close to matching his rhetoric.

An early sign of the disconnect was his heavily publicized demand last month that his Cabinet secretaries shave $100 million from their administrative budgets. Obama said the cuts would “send a signal that we are serious about how government operates” and would help close the “confidence gap” with skeptical Americans. Those cuts amounted to a less-than-confidence-inspiring 0.003% of the 2009 budget, or about 3 cents out of every $1,000.

Then, when he unveiled his 2010 budget last week, Obama made a big deal of his demand for $17 billion in cuts, insisting that the cuts “even by Washington standards … are significant” and that $17 billion is “real money.”

The president got it backward. Out in the rest of the world, $17 billion is a ton of money. But in Washington, where the president is proposing to spend $3.6 trillion next year, $17 billion looks puny – a little less than half a percent of the budget, or the equivalent of cutting a $100 grocery bill by handing back a 50-cent pack of gum.

Anybody who read David Freddoso’s book or looked up Obama’s voting record could have known that his rhetoric was just lies for the gullible.

Over to the health care issue, where John Shadegg explains how capitalism is the right way to reduce health care costs.

President Obama’s pledge to work with health care providers and insurers to scale back costs misses the entire point: health care costs are so high because we are not giving patients choice and forcing insurers to compete.  We need robust market reforms – not symbolic gestures.  The way to lower prices is to put control in the hands of patients.  We need to empower Americans by giving them the freedom to either keep their employer plan or purchase the plan of their choice through a tax credit.  Choice and competition will drive prices down and quality up.

Shadegg goes on to explain why the Obama plan does none of this. And why should it? We already know that the Democrats want private health care to fail, so they can usher in single-payer health care. (Just they want private industry to fail so they can nationalize more of the free market)

Putting 120 million Americans on government coverage will create a monopoly that sends costs skyrocketing. Choice will be lost because the enormous government-run plan will put the private plans out of business.  In other words, if you like what you have, you will lose it.  And while health insurance will be provided, health care will not – like every nationalized health plan across the world, as costs escalate, care will be slashed, patients waitlisted, drugs denied.

Meanwhile, Michele Bachmann notes the looming entitlement crisis is now closer than ever, with the Medicare insolvency date moving earlier.

Yesterday, the Medicare and Social Security Trustees issued a new report that laid out unequivocally that our current Medicare and Social Security programs are on a path for financial implosion and are in need of serious reform.

In fact, the Medicare insolvency date has moved up to 2017.  And, that doesn’t include the impact of the so-called “stimulus” bill, which could accelerate insolvency by about 6 months.

And, we’re facing a strain on Social Security like never before, with nearly 80 million retiring Baby Boomers tapping into the funds soon we’ll be spending more to pay benefits than what the system receives in payroll taxes. Yet, we continue to carry on with the status quo, every now and then saying that we need to reform it, but not actually doing anything about it.

Michele is trying to do something about it, but the House is filled with Democrats who never ran a business in their entire lives.

I’ve introduced the Truth In Accounting Act to make government finances truly transparent and open.  Not only would financial commitments be crystal clear to Congress, but also to the taxpayers.

Currently, when Congress and the President prepare budget proposals and pass spending bills, they have the luxury of ignoring shortfalls year after year.  They prepare, present, and approve budgets which project these estimates over the short-term – usually five or ten years.  And, there are a lot of things that can be done on paper to paper over the long-term shortfalls.

My Truth in Accounting Act would require the President to consider these long-term shortfalls when he proposes his budget.  And, it would require both the GAO (Government Accountability Office) and the U.S. Treasury to report this information to the Congress so that the numbers can be used when we’re finalizing the annual budget.

Furthermore, my legislation would require that the report be translated into easily comprehensible terms so that nothing could be hidden by complex jargon.  The government’s fiscal imbalance would be presented in the whole, and as distributed per person, per worker, and per household.

I hope she is somehow able to pass this bill.