Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Social Security/Medicare: Entitlements? NOT!!

I am getting sick and tired of hearing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid lumped together as a percentage of the Gross National Product or the Budget. Medicaid stands all alone at the top of that heap and Medicare probably has a little help, although I've never seen an actual breakdown of the shortfall of "premiums" paid.

What premiums? Well, folks, look at your paychecks and retirees, look at your Medicare statement demonstrating how much per month you pay for Medicare. This is not a freebie. I'll try to get those figures.

As for Social Security, back in the day when I was 5th Vice Chair, I used to travel around with a presentation which undoubtedly has changed a bit (it was 1996 to 2002) but the percentages are probably still fairly close. The statistics showed that if you were a lower income worker, you would recoup all you had contributed to the Social Security program within a very few years. If you were a middle income person it would take about 25 years to get back all your money meaning you would have to live until 90 years of age and if you were in the upper income brackets you would never get it back.

Now, don't forget, your employer matched every dollar you put in so you're looking at a whole bunch of money which was so tempting to Congresses through the years that they found ways to "loan" it to the general fund that now that there are fewer workers per retiree they are not breaking even.

As I recall, there were 17 workers for every retiree in 1950, by 1996 there were only 3 and by 2029 there will be only 2. With the change in birth rates plus abortion, I can't be sure of the demographic, but it's still fairly close. Oh, and by the way, they do say that depending on how long we live, there is the possibility that there will be a one to two percent return on investment. Whoopee!!

In the time frame when I was more precise with the numbers I do remember that health-care was 1/7 of the budget and now I believe it is approximately 1/5 so all of the predictions are coming in as expected.

So, listen folks, your parents or grandparents who are collecting Social Security are not on the public dole or welfare as Democrats would have you believe. It was a forced savings plan with very little return on investment. Most of us would have done better on our own--even with the market down as it is now. Over time the market has served free enterprise very well. If only we could keep the government out of it. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a lot to answer for.

Just don't let them kid you. And don't forget, you are already paying into Medicare so you can be under government controlled healthcare when you're older. Look at the decisions they are making now and project where it will be when you are old enough to collect some of what you are "investing."

Now and then I leave you with "sleep well." It's a good thing I put this up late at night with you reading it the following day. If you read it before bedtime, you might toss and turn a bit.

God bless...........

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