Good news and bad news: GOP destroyed Democrats among seniors last week

posted at 9:01 pm on November 8, 2010 by Allahpundit

The good news: If there’s any single demographic you want to clean up in, it’s the one famous for high turnout election after election after election. Jackpot.

The bad news: Looks like we’re now the party of Medicare and Social Security. But then, we’ve been that party for awhile now, haven’t we?

Seniors voted last week by an almost 60-40 split for Republican House candidates, after splitting evenly between Democrats and Republicans in the 2006 midterms. And voters 65 and older made up 24 percent of those casting votes last week…

Republicans, who will control the House in the next Congress, have vowed to cut spending in the federal budget, and entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare make up more than half of the budget. Significant cuts can’t happen without addressing these programs.

Changing those programs will be nearly impossible, with advocacy powers like AARP and other seniors’ groups resisting change…

[GOP strategist Ron] Bonjean hinted that entitlement change won’t come until the problems get really bad. Americans don’t like to deal with problems, he said, until they are “front and center and almost in a crisis level — like the economic situation we’re in right now.”

Translation: “No worries. All it’ll take is a Greece-like meltdown.” This is why, as much as I enjoyed Ace’s appeal this afternoon for true, clear-eyed, time-to-choose fiscal sanity, I think he’s kidding himself:

We can balance the budget (or at least come close to that, over several years). But the parties cannot keep agreeing to honor each other’s top priority at the expense of ballooning the budget. It doesn’t work. Cut taxes, increase spending, balance the budget: Select any two.

The public will not make this choice until and unless political leaders insist that they make it. One of three popular public goods will have to be abandoned. They will have to finally choose if they wish to continue putting off such decisions and shellacking their children with huge debt due to their failure to make serious decisions (an option, by the way, that is no longer economically viable); or if they wish to pay another 10-15% of their wages to the government; or if they are willing to see government spending, including spending on popular subsidies for the middle class, cut dramatically.

This is what I was getting at in last week’s post about what the tea party can and should do with its megaphone going forward. You’re never going to get seniors to support Social Security and Medicare reform (which is why even Paul Ryan’s plan calls for leaving the programs as-is for taxpayers aged 55 or older), but you might build momentum among younger and middle-aged voters for reform with a campaign to educate people on how much of the federal budget is sunk into nondiscretionary spending. In a nutshell, if you’re not talking specifically and emphatically about fixing those two programs, you’re not seriously talking about cutting federal spending and you’re certainly not talking seriously about balancing the budget. There’s no higher purpose the tea party could devote itself to than bringing those leviathans under control; it’s nice that some tea party groups include a question or two about Social Security and Medicare in their candidate questionnaires, but that’s a mistake in itself insofar as it treats those two programs as just two among many where we might make a serious dent in the annual deficit. Not so. Again, see Philip Klein’s pie chart to grasp the magnitude of the problem. Cut defense spending, by all means, but understand that you’re talking about less than 20 percent of the problem in so doing. The only game in town, really, is “mandatory spending,” and fiscal conservatives will have to move heaven and earth to change that. So let’s start moving them. See Karl’s post here for more.

Update: If we can’t even get one of the Paul boys to draw the line at earmarks, I fear all hope is lost.


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Nothing will be fixed until after the collapse.

We will act as a parasite upon ourselves, until we’ve shelled ourselves out and need to start anew

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Yeah, so don’t do anything about SS for the elderly. Fix it for the younger generation.

MeatHeadinCA on November 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:03 PM

That was good, I’m touching myself.

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

If the changes are reasonable, equitable, then they will be accepted…you just can’t take away what people have spent a lifetime buying into, forced into buying into.

right2bright on November 8, 2010 at 9:06 PM

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Set up a webcam and make money while youre at it

might as well

always some weird eastern european named milosh who wants to watch

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM

If the changes are reasonable, equitable, then they will be accepted…you just can’t take away what people have spent a lifetime buying into, forced into buying into.

right2bright on November 8, 2010 at 9:06 PM

you could have every reasonable change in the book ready to go and AARP and their scare goons, including that idiot andy griffith, will come out and scare everyone

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM

You’re never going to get seniors to support Social Security and Medicare reform

Lay the seeds of reform into the future. If I’m 40 now, and they say in 2050 that X changes will be made then, if I’m not dead already, chances are that I, nor most older than I, will care much about it. If Medicare and SS reform is such a hot rail, then we’ve figured out just how hot (too hot to touch) it is and for how long (how long will they care). In the short run, seniors won’t support reform, but younger people do. Phase in the changes to allow for some time to plan, then implement it.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:08 PM

You’re never going to get seniors to support Social Security and Medicare reform

I disagree. I think seniors would go for keeping their benes and letting people not in the program opt out. As long as they get theirs, why would they care? It’s just that the democrats and the media lie about what the real issue is.

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:11 PM

GEEZERS RULE
How many kids saw the Beatles, Doors, Joplin and Hendrix and still hung around to see the Paul Weller and the Mumford Brothers. Just sayin

400lb Gorilla on November 8, 2010 at 9:11 PM

We have no idea how far reform can go because the Feds have never tried one radical approach that just might work: telling the truth.

Bugler on November 8, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Ya gotta start somewhere; draw the line a xx years old, and institute a private option for SS AND Medicare for those under that line.

Myself, I’m planning on working until I die anyway — there’s no way SS or Medicare will be able to meet anyone’s needs in the economy of the future.

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:15 PM

What we need is some Chris Christie action on entitlements.

Ain’t coming from the current GOP.

Valiant on November 8, 2010 at 9:15 PM

No economist here, not by a long shot, but I do agree that no Party ever will get the senior vote on the backs of SS and Medicare ‘reform’. This election, life long, died in wool elderly Dems switched Parties on these issues alone. At some point,some Party is going to have to fall on their sword to bring about much needed change in these programs. Perhaps AP has something with his suggestion that younger, new to the work force folks will be more accepting of incremental change. When the most of the baby boomers have died out of the SS system there should be some automatic relief–can we last until then though? But, do not lose sight of the other big and growing program that needs basic reform too—Medicaid. In no time it will be as big or bigger than the other two…it’s well on it’s way.

jeanie on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:11 PM

Agreed.

d1carter on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

you could have every reasonable change in the book ready to go and AARP and their scare goons, including that idiot andy griffith, will come out and scare everyone

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM

If Chris Christie can beat down the Teachers union, someone can beat down the AARP.

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Get off my lawn!

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Ya gotta start somewhere; draw the line a xx years old, and institute a private option for SS AND Medicare for those under that line.

Myself, I’m planning on working until I die anyway — there’s no way SS or Medicare will be able to meet anyone’s needs in the economy of the future.

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:15 PM

yep. They’re just worried that people are going to tip over cars or worse (vote against them).

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

That’s what you get for all your overheated “ZOMGGG SOCIALISTS !!!1!!” rhetoric. Now, you have to own entitlements or face the consequences. Square your “socialists in the midst” rhetoric with giant socialist healthcare policies for the elderly…go ahead. I’ll wait…

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

go ahead. I’ll wait…

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Cuz figuring ways to get us out of the socialist trap is roughly equivalent to making the web worse.

Really, ernesto?

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Adjusting the starting age for SS seems to be a reasonable starting point. Yet Medicare is in worse long term shape than SS, but is tied to OCare. It is going to be a more intractable problem.

Means testing is another possible change. Here is a clue — walk into any casin0 nationwide at 2 pm on a weekday; there doesn’t appear to be any shortage of non starving seniors present. In fact, they are the main demographic group.

GnuBreed on November 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM

If the Fed doesn’t quit with the devaluation of the dollar, it’s not going to make a tinker’s damn whether you save, spend, invest, count on Uncle Sugar, or dance naked in the rain. We’re all screwed anyway.

Print some more money, Crazy Uncle! La la la…

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Another line of BS about “what the Tea Party should be doing”. As if they are monolithic entity awaiting instructions from the dozens of pundits that are commenting from the sidelines. Allah, you are more useless by the day.

echosyst on November 8, 2010 at 9:22 PM

GnuBreed on November 8, 2010 at 9:21 PM

The only solution is being honest with people under XX age that they won’t be getting it and start planning for that. There is no other option.

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:23 PM

If Chris Christie can beat down the Teachers union, someone can beat down the AARP.

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Also true! Very good point. Hoorah!

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:23 PM

As if they are monolithic entity awaiting instructions from the dozens of pundits that are commenting from the sidelines.

I didn’t say they were monolithic and I’m not issuing instructions. They can do whatever they like. But since they’re unified in the cause of fiscal conservatism, my point is that this is the very best thing they can do to advance that agenda. If they’d rather jerk around with earmarks instead, that’s on them.

Allahpundit on November 8, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Now, you have to own entitlements or face the consequences.

Really? We OWN entitlements that the dems foisted upon us and our ancestors?

Why?

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:25 PM

I recall several years ago, some unrecalled pundit stated that we would need a Democratic president, and a Republican congress to effect any real change in Soc Sec or Medicare. Well, here we are. I ain’t seein’ it. Of course, perhaps they were envisioning some other Dem president.

humdinger on November 8, 2010 at 9:26 PM

go ahead. I’ll wait…

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

let’s try this one.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight.”
“can’t just wave a magic wand and get stuff done.”
“George Bush did it first.”

there..succesfully defended to perfection.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:26 PM

you could have every reasonable change in the book ready to go and AARP and their scare goons, including that idiot andy griffith, will come out and scare everyone

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:07 PM

You are correct. The Sestak campaign, along with a big ad buy by the NEA, tried to smear Toomey as a threat to the elderly and their Social Security, as well as Medicare. The NEA-sponsored ads were filled with outright lies and half-truths because of the omissions re why Toomey had voted as he did while in the House. The Dems had attached support for our troops’ funding to pure pork bills, for example.

onlineanalyst on November 8, 2010 at 9:27 PM

If they’d rather jerk around with earmarks instead, that’s on them.

Allahpundit on November 8, 2010 at 9:24 PM

true. maybe a rookie mistake to punt this issue into the future? The guy hasn’t issued any votes yet.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:27 PM

Update: If we can’t even get one of the Paul boys to draw the line at earmarks, I fear all hope is lost.

Meh, i’m caring less about earmarks after hearing Charles K tonight.

i mean the money is going to be spent anyway, that air force base is going to be built SOMEWHERE… why not let a majority-repub house decide instead of some obvious liberal bureaucrat in the department of interoir with an axe to grind?

picklesgap on November 8, 2010 at 9:29 PM

It may surprise you to know that a lot of seniors are NOT enamored of the AARP. They see it for what it is, an insurance advocate and a PAC. The only reason so many belong is because, often, they negotiate a deal for lower insurance rates for members. Few to none vote as AARP suggests simply because they suggest it. As for poor Andy, most of us think he’s about the worst image choice they could make. We are in general agreement that he probably needed the money and the Government felt sorry for him. lol

jeanie on November 8, 2010 at 9:29 PM

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Hey, we’re talking politics here, not policy. How do you keep your electoral hold – one built on elderly votes – while simultaneously furthering the rhetoric that insists any govt. social program is some marxist plot? You either a) stick it to seniors by providing the necessary cuts or b) get painted as hypocrites for calling some entitlements communist plots while others are for some reason completely American and acceptable. Good luck with that.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

Snark aside, since I don’t, and have never supported giant socialist healthcare policies for the elderly… I’ll have a go;

1. Eliminate any contribution caps: larger wage = greater contribution.
2. Raise the age, gradually, to better reflect actuarial reality.
3. Allow, first, a partial “opt-out” for the youngest contributors, scaling it over time to the point where all entitlement programs are fully eliminated.

massrighty on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Moreover, if the current system says that there is X amount of dollars and Kentucky usually gets 1/50th of that +/-, then, until some earmark reform happens or is sponsored, then Paul is going to maintain the status quo?

Despite what he said, we are 200 steps closer to reforming pork than we were 1 yr ago.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

First off, it’s hard to be for Democrats when they keep coming up with things like death panels, while the president talks about giving seniors pills instead of hip replacements.

And when they have just got done gutting medicare to give more money to new health care freeloaders, including, probably, illegals.

Plus a lot of people DO want medicare and social security cut/changed. But people don’t mean that it should be all of a sudden cut off.

If you have been forced to pay into insurance plans (i.e., Medicare and SS) all your life, then you should be able to get money back out of it.

The idea is they would hopefully cut it down/off over time – gradually rachet it down – so that young people, who have not put nearly as much into the system, would have time to make other plans; and older people, for whom it is too late to make other plans, would still get something back of what they put in.

There is a difference between an “entitlement” you have essentially been forced to buy over your lifetime and an entitlement which just doles out free money to people.

There’s a difference between a young person who has put very little into it, and an old person, who has been forced to contribute. They shouldn’t be treated the same, and I think old people don’t expect that they will be treated the same (at least not if Republicans are running things).

Put all this stuff together and it is no wonder that seniors (and I’m going to be one soon) would prefer Republican ideas over Democrat ones.

Alana on November 8, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Good luck with that.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Yep, and thanks for contributing as always.

It -is- difficult, isn’t it? It’s a lot easier to bullsh1t people and tell them that SS is sound and will never go away. That’s the difference between reality and being a democrat, isn’t it?

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:32 PM

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

seems you’d rather have no one fix the problem at all.

blatantblue on November 8, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Translation: “No worries. All it’ll take is a Greece-like meltdown.” This is why, as much as I enjoyed Ace’s appeal this afternoon for true, clear-eyed, time-to-choose fiscal sanity, I think he’s kidding himself:

I share your pessimism but we still have to have have the debate. At some point our educational efforts will cross paths with events and the balance of opinion will change.

FloatingRock on November 8, 2010 at 9:34 PM

massrighty on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

All completely reasonable and necessary reforms. All will bring the scorn of bluehairs upon thee.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:34 PM

That’s what you get for all your overheated “ZOMGGG SOCIALISTS !!!1!!” rhetoric. Now, you have to own entitlements or face the consequences. Square your “socialists in the midst” rhetoric with giant socialist healthcare policies for the elderly…go ahead. I’ll wait…

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

it’s actually a pretty simple fix: just make long-term draconian cuts to people that aren’t born yet.

step 1: tell all seniors: THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU
step 2: tell all people over 18: THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU
step 3: tell all 18 year olds: you can never pay FICA taxes again and get a 8% raise every paycheck, but your retirement is up to you
step 4: tell the 18 year olds “BUT if you want the permanent no-fica-taxes paycheck, you MUST pay into the system for 10 working years!”
step 5: use the fica taxes from the 18-28 year olds to pay off the SS of the current old people
step 6: keep doing this for all future generations (the ‘twentysomething burden’)
step 7: promise the poorest of the poor there will be a base safety net for the ulitmate poor, to get it passed

STEP 8 : YOUR BUDGET IS BALANCED!

it comes down to cutting benefits ($ or age) or raising taxes. the politically easy thing to do is “raise” taxes so to speak on the least politically engaged — make paying into fica as a twnetysomething fulfill obamamao’s service requirement. it will be expected that you pay the FICA tax for 10 years with no rewards “TO SAVE YOUR COUNTRY”

in the meantime, make insruance open over state lines, put price tags on all medical test/equipment so there’s less waste and fraud, open up nationwide walmart-like cheap insurance plans, which brings down the cost for everyone. oh and deny coverage to illegals.

END RESULT: AMERICA SAVED!

picklesgap on November 8, 2010 at 9:35 PM

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Hey, I’m with you on SS reform. I’m just going to enjoy watching the republicans square this political circle. You guys love doing the same things when democrats use rhetoric they wind up regretting. Seeing as I’ve been saying the whole time that the socialism rhetoric was overblown, can I not get even slight enjoyment out of seeing the GOP in a precarious political position vis a vis elderly support?

Face it: SS reform would be easier if you hadn’t painted our latest entitlement as a communist plot to destroy America.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

All completely reasonable and necessary reforms. All will bring the scorn of bluehairs upon thee.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:34 PM

well, which is more important? What matters? Keeping people happy or keeping the country solvent. You’d think that, at some point, this Ponzi scheme has gone far enough.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Most of the bluehairs I know can do the math, and recognize the current ponzi-based system for the untenable mess that it is.

My homies are a lot older than yours; I’m confident that logic will rule the day, when sensible policy prescriptions are put forth.

massrighty on November 8, 2010 at 9:37 PM

Face it: SS reform would be easier if you hadn’t painted our latest entitlement as a communist plot to destroy America.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Please expound upon this one.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Yep. Ernesto lives in a fantasy land where he thinks seniors would be happy to see the country go bankrupt as long as “they got theirs”

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:38 PM

It -is- difficult, isn’t it? It’s a lot easier to bullsh1t people and tell them that SS is sound and will never go away. That’s the difference between reality and being a democrat, isn’t it?

lorien1973 on November 8, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Now, lorien. You should be respectful toward ernesto because… um…er… uh…

well, as I have always said, …um … ah…

screw it — run him over with a rhetorical dump truck. I’ll sit and watch.

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

I suppose this COULD be regarded as unkind–but many seniors I know have taken to parodying Andy Griffith when they want to make humorous point. They tip their head side ways, give it the old ‘recovering from stroke’ mouth and drawl out their point. Always gets a laugh except from the self-righteous among us.

jeanie on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Linked at Hillbuzzzzzzzz what other meds is Obama on?

Some staffers have personally born the brunt of Obama’s temper and witnessed his extreme narcissistic behavior. WMR has also learned from White House sources that Obama is taking prescription anxiety medication.

SouthernGent on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

can I not get even slight enjoyment out of seeing the GOP in a precarious political position vis a vis elderly support?

Face it: SS reform would be easier if you hadn’t painted our latest entitlement as a communist plot to destroy America.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

Seniors voted last week by an almost 60-40 split for Republican House candidates, after splitting evenly between Democrats and Republicans in the 2006 midterms

dude, you and the circle D gang got kicked in the teeth by seniors last week and your saying who’s in a precarious position????

sure…this’ll be good…

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

I have an idea. Lets kill off the Tea Party by having it concentrate on scaling down Social Security and Medicare

The public will not make this choice until and unless political leaders insist that they make it

The public will not consider scaling down Social Security and Medicare until the crooks in DC, and in all centers of political power first scale down every other crooked program, including earmarks.

- After municipalities, counties and states dump their outrageous unfunded pension programs

– After Congress gives up outrageous perks like Airforce jets loaded with booze, tax paid flowers and snack deliveries, private gyms, saunas, and junkets

- After we stop making grants to study how people feel when they suffer loss, or how ant colonies cluster in Africa

- After the last federally funded dog run, frisbee park, and light rail project to nowhere is cancelled

etc

Old people are old, but they are not total fools. They are not going to give up a chunk of their old age pensions so pols can keep using the saunas jets and booze bars. They should not have to give up a penny of SSA or Medicare until States, Counties and Munis cut out their unfundable secondary pension systems. They should not have to listen to a Congressman call for sacrifice, until the Congressman gives up his cushy pension plan and goes under the identical SSA pension and Medicare as the average joe

Social Security precedes frisbee parks and dog runs. It would be cheaper to bring back the Railroad barons, and give them a ten mile swath of eminent domain to build privately funded lines, than to build the project on government dime

Government spending is a disease. Too much and the spender goes blind

entagor on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Face it: SS reform would be easier if you hadn’t painted our latest entitlement as a communist plot to destroy America.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:36 PM

last time i checked, neither medicare nor social security expressly DECREASED my doctor/hosptial access.

obamacare 100% did. you can’t add 60 million new customers with the same # of doctors with those 60 million not paying and expect your medical care to stay the same. rationing = people dying.

sarah palin was right on this one.

….or did grandma getting a social security check make the local doctor shut down? LOL ernesto. you can’t even attack correctly!

picklesgap on November 8, 2010 at 9:41 PM

I don’t know any people with blue hair.

Alana on November 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Death Panels.

petefrt on November 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Good luck with that.

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:30 PM

Wow big thinker you reiterated the whole point of the thread. I am impressed. /sarc troll

CWforFreedom on November 8, 2010 at 9:43 PM

SouthernGent on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

dude. is that info reputable?? do you trust that? if yes….whoa…AP may want to raise an eyebrow at that.

ted c on November 8, 2010 at 9:43 PM

The public will not consider scaling down Social Security and Medicare until the crooks in DC, and in all centers of political power first scale down every other crooked program, including earmarks.

- After municipalities, counties and states dump their outrageous unfunded pension programs

– After Congress gives up outrageous perks like Airforce jets loaded with booze, tax paid flowers and snack deliveries, private gyms, saunas, and junkets

- After we stop making grants to study how people feel when they suffer loss, or how ant colonies cluster in Africa

- After the last federally funded dog run, frisbee park, and light rail project to nowhere is cancelled

etc

Old people are old, but they are not total fools

Good piece, the whole thing.

I would add:

– after they stop forcing us to provide services to people who are NOT LEGAL CITIZENS.

It’s probably terribly parochial of me, but I think that Americans should get something out of the money they have been forced to contribute BEFORE citizens of other countries get to loot it.

Something about old people being expected to part with what they have been forced to contribute, so that people who don’t follow the laws and aren’t even here legally get taken care of, just strikes me as altogether not right.

Alana on November 8, 2010 at 9:46 PM

I don’t know any people with blue hair.

Alana on November 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Does Papa Smurf not count for something?

Smurfist!!!

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:46 PM

That’s what you get for all your overheated “ZOMGGG SOCIALISTS !!!1!!” rhetoric. Now, you have to own entitlements or face the consequences. Square your “socialists in the midst” rhetoric with giant socialist healthcare policies for the elderly…go ahead. I’ll wait…

ernesto on November 8, 2010 at 9:18 PM

You can wait till your dust. The new deal, the great society, who owns that legislation? We can all wring our hands and worry, but the truth is nothing is going to be done until it collapses. The special interests and Democrats will ensure that. The nation might be saved, at least parts of it, but it will be after a collapse of the federal government. You’re going to have a ball in NYC. It’s a weak state government and a large population center. You might want to read up on cannibalism.

DFCtomm on November 8, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Old people are old, but they are not total fools. They are not going to give up a chunk of their old age pensions so pols can keep using the saunas jets and booze bars. They should not have to give up a penny of SSA or Medicare until States, Counties and Munis cut out their unfundable secondary pension systems. They should not have to listen to a Congressman call for sacrifice, until the Congressman gives up his cushy pension plan and goes under the identical SSA pension and Medicare as the average joe

Social Security precedes frisbee parks and dog runs. It would be cheaper to bring back the Railroad barons, and give them a ten mile swath of eminent domain to build privately funded lines, than to build the project on government dime

Government spending is a disease. Too much and the spender goes blind

entagor on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Exactly. If there’s going to be sacrifice, let’s see it shared. Let’s see an across the board cut in federal salaries, and benefits, and no bonuses until we are in surplus, and a hiring freeze for four years.

Let’s put any non-essential federally-owned land on the market. Let’s open up the nation to timber, coal, oil and gas exploitation, land and sea.

No more bailouts for state government union employees or poorly-run states.

slickwillie2001 on November 8, 2010 at 9:48 PM

It’s probably terribly parochial of me, but I think that Americans should get something out of the money they have been forced to contribute BEFORE citizens of other countries get to loot it.

Something about old people being expected to part with what they have been forced to contribute, so that people who don’t follow the laws and aren’t even here legally get taken care of, just strikes me as altogether not right.

Alana on November 8, 2010 at 9:46 PM

You get it. Well said.

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:49 PM

entagor on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Lovely list!! Yes, it’s kind of hard to compare 9K a year SS to 80K a year public pension and win the argument about cutting SS. Thanks for the talking points.

jeanie on November 8, 2010 at 9:49 PM

entagor on November 8, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Strong as always. Good to see you in here more often!

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:53 PM

watch out for strawmen. SS was a net contributor to revenue until recently, so it helped the deficit. I believe Medicare was the same.

Rs have to be pretty adroit here. There is two parts of the deficit. Part is due to decrease revenues because we are still in a recession (yeah, yeah, I know). The second is the massive increase in spending by O and the Dim congress. We need to look at that…but a lot goes to unemployment.

We could be in a world of hurt no matter what. Increase taxes equal low growth…Increase spending equal increase deficit equal low growth.

Rs now need to focus on the experience that says that it take 7 years to get out of a banking crisis.

We need to make sure that all the obstacles that O has put on the country are removed…then we might have a chance.

r keller on November 8, 2010 at 9:53 PM

More on up there folks than ever before, and they vote in much higher percentages than young people.

To keep them and even increase their voting for the GOP they have to know they won’t in their most vulnerable time of life be dropped like old garbage.

Speakup on November 8, 2010 at 9:55 PM

watch out for strawmen. SS was a net contributor to revenue until recently, so it helped the deficit. I believe Medicare was the same.

That’s the problem. It should have been untouchable to the hungry swine in Congress, yet it has been treated as a slush fund.

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM

hillbillyjim on November 8, 2010 at 9:56 PM

true…and they to be held to account. this is a great example of Thatcher’s line about OPM running out.

it is very hard to have an adult conversation with the voting public…partly due to E! Tonight and part due to the left wing media.

but all Rs should always say that 1. Pols never have the best interest of the people as a priority 2. will lie, cheat and steal to remain in power

r keller on November 8, 2010 at 10:03 PM

If the changes are reasonable, equitable, then they will be accepted…you just can’t take away what people have spent a lifetime buying into, forced into buying into.

right2bright on November 8, 2010 at 9:06 PM

That’s true. But didn’t Peru privatize their social security? As I recall, it was a success. But don’t forget, SS was an FDR Ponzi scheme that was part of his Marxist Utopian fantasy.

As one who recently (2008) retired, I would, however, be open to considering a one-time, tax-free, buy-out plan. If the money were “right”, I would consider accepting a buy-out in lieu of any further SS or Medicare payments. But that’s just me…

oldleprechaun on November 8, 2010 at 10:23 PM

If the GOP’s potential solution for Social Security Reform involves phasing in both partial privatization and increasing the age of eligibility by a coupe of years, why would seniors 65+ care?

BKeyser on November 8, 2010 at 10:30 PM

SSI and Medicare are only entitlements once the amount, plus interest, exceeds the amount the person contributed. Repubs would do well to remember that. Welfare, Medicaid, Cash4Clunkers, corporate welfare (aka corporate subsidies), &c are entitlement programs.

Sailfish on November 8, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Seniors aren’t idiots. They can understand the “right answer” of SS reform that doesn’t involve cutting their current benefits. Shrieking Democrat politicians would have us believe otherwise, but for every geriatric nitwit they can find to throw a tantrum about them mean Republicans wanting to make our good retirees eat dog food, there are 10 sensible seniors who recognize that SS needs reform, and that doesn’t mean it has to be reformed at their expense.

J.E. Dyer on November 8, 2010 at 10:55 PM

How about we start by addressing medicare fraud. There is also much abuse through so many teens and young able bodied adults who went from welfare straight to SSI for life. Many of these recipients have been diagnosed with trivial problems that would in the absence of social security be considered more of a challange than a hardship warranting a lifetime of monthly checks. Also TORT reform to give relief to doctors and prevent them from over testing and needlessly churning patients to make extra cash.

sonnyspats1 on November 8, 2010 at 10:58 PM

How about we start by addressing medicare fraud. There is also much abuse through so many teens and young able bodied adults who went from welfare straight to SSI for life. Many of these recipients have been diagnosed with trivial problems that would in the absence of social security be considered more of a challange than a hardship warranting a lifetime of monthly checks. Also TORT reform to give relief to doctors and prevent them from over testing and needlessly churning patients to make extra cash.

sonnyspats1 on November 8, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Didn’t Obamacare bill funding assume many billions recovered from ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ of Medicare? I assume of course that that money has been recovered and ‘waste, fraud and abuse’ is no longer a problem.

slickwillie2001 on November 8, 2010 at 11:23 PM

The GOP needs to start small. Try taking away medicaid or welfare. If they can’t do that, how they hell will they take away medicare or social security?

The Left has always had it easy. It is so much easier to give away candy, than to not give it, and it is much, much easier than trying to take it back. This is why the GOP has not tried. They too have discovered that it’s good politics to give away candy. But worse, unlike the dems, they have also cut taxes, which has ballooned the debt. Cutting taxes is similar to giving away candy. It’s a treat. The real test of whether a politician is a lefty or a righty, is do they want to give something away?

keep the change on November 8, 2010 at 11:46 PM

You need to realize that many seniors today surviving on social security lived in a time when there were no IRAs nor 401(k)’s and that for many social security is all they have. In addition, interest rates or so low today that having saved money does not provide much extra money.

This however does not preclude reforms being made now in social security, such as moving the age forward for retirement and means testing, for those who are younger now and who will face a badly depleted social security “trust” fund.

Dhuka on November 8, 2010 at 11:50 PM

Update: If we can’t even get one of the Paul boys to draw the line at earmarks, I fear all hope is lost.

Rand Paul is just like his father, Ron Paul.

Ron Paul pretends to be 100% against earmarks yet he consistently gets earmarks for Texas.

Conservative Samizdat on November 9, 2010 at 12:02 AM

The bad news: Looks like we’re now the party of Medicare and Social Security. But then, we’ve been that party for awhile now, haven’t we?

Not all of us.

Ron Paul Calls For An End To America’s Welfare State, Choice To Opt Out Of Social Security

Update: If we can’t even get one of the Paul boys to draw the line at earmarks, I fear all hope is lost.

Don’t go cry into your pillow, AP! Maybe you just have a fundamental misunderstanding of earmarks!

Basically, you’re clutching your pearls over how not enough (of 1% of your already spent) taxpayer dollars are going to Obama and Co. so they can secretly distribute it however they want.

What’s more, it seems kind of silly to decry measly earmarks, while the GOP goes about on its costly, decades-long, Islamic state-building misadventures, and feeds and nurtures the monster security state they created here at home, then of course there’s their usual corporate welfare to pay for, and now this.

So the GOP is officially the Welfare-Warfare Party now. Awesome.

Rae on November 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM

What happens to the people who opt out and never save. We’ll all be supporting them.

rjl1999 on November 9, 2010 at 12:49 AM

There are all kinds of ways to save Social Security. Stopping payments of any kind until 65 for everyone. No early retirement at a lesser amount of money; means testing; no payments to children or widows, or to wives and children of men over 65. No switching to a spouse’s account if it pays out more. If you choose to continue working, no payments will be paid out until you are completely unemployed. No one should receive more than $1,800 per month no matter how long you worked or how much you made during your working life. No yearly cost of living raises. Social Security set aside for retirement only. Nothing else. Billions saved on those ideas alone.

Mae on November 9, 2010 at 1:37 AM

I don’t agree with cutting defense, It’s one of the few government services mandated in the Constitution. The State of the DOD right now is sad as far as innovations and available assets. Most of the money is being spent in propping up Afghanistan and Iraqi Governments as well as paying for Third country national service contracting. Recruiting efforts should increase to bring in better inside talent and less contractor waste. It seems like cash is being used more as a weapon in the GWOT than actual fighting.

Egfrow on November 9, 2010 at 1:38 AM

There is also much abuse through so many teens and young able bodied adults who went from welfare straight to SSI for life. Many of these recipients have been diagnosed with trivial problems that would in the absence of social security be considered more of a challange than a hardship warranting a lifetime of monthly checks.

What, you don’t think drug addicts should be getting $800 a month (or whatever it’s up to now) from SSI, because of their “disease”?

Or how about when welfare kids’ parents get another couple hundred dollars a month in welfare payments after the kids are diagnosed with conditions like ADHD? Think Julio’s mommy isn’t actively seeking a “doctor” who’s willing to diagnose little Julio’s rambunctiousness as an officially compensable medical condition, when it means more cash every month for mom?

The entire system is rife with fraud, waste, stupidity, and counter-productive policies — which is why government should never have been permitted to get involved in it in the first place.

AZCoyote on November 9, 2010 at 5:10 AM

Thing is, the highest portion of our budget goes to defense spending, followed by the two big social programs. So while spending on the social programs combined outweighs the spending on defense, we can’t take defense off the table of the discussion completely. Hawks may not like it, but you can’t get serious about budget cuts unless you take this into consideration.

NorthernCross on November 9, 2010 at 5:37 AM

The GOP did no such thing. It used the same bribery under Bush (Medicare parrt “D”) to get them and put up a nice guy like McCain (don’t criticize Obama -it’s not nice) to avoid irritating them. It was the darkend (no racism intended) soul of Obama, spurned on by his leftist arrogance and the socialist agenda he, Soros, and the democratic Part to the last man wanted to shove down America’s faces that finally turned the old folks.
Maybe it was the sensitivity of the jail threats, the death panels, the “take a pill” comments, or the finger biting purple-shirted SEIU goons released by the Whitehouse like the Winged monkees in OZ to do their dastardly deeds on the old flks that did the trick. In either case -it wasn’t the GOP -they are far too comfortable being number too in the land of plenty (DC) to risk saving America. Thanks to the tea parties – they have, in the words of Admiral Yamamoto, “wakened a sleeping giant)

Don L on November 9, 2010 at 6:51 AM

The first order of business needs to be extending the Bush tax cuts–for everyone.

OmahaConservative on November 9, 2010 at 7:09 AM

Social Security is bankrupt. Noone under 50 will see what they put into it. Think outside the box on what to do with the obligations, for example selling federal land to pay it off, or just giving land to people if they will sign a waiver that they will not seek to collect it. Just a thought.

txmomof6 on November 9, 2010 at 7:59 AM

The hardest part of all this will be how to figure out what to do with those who’ve paid in but will never see a dime of what the “social security contract” promises.

I personally have no problem with all of the monies I’ve contributed over the years going up in smoke in how they relate to my future benefits. I’ve never been under any illusion that my SS deposits were actually coming back to me. It’s simply a form or welfare for the retired all wrapped up in a Ponzi scheme and it needs to go.

How bout we eliminate Social Security in one whack, and to compensate we simply abolish all federal taxes for individuals over the age of 67?

Give it a 15 year opt in/out period to compensate for those who planned to rely on SS income to line up some income producing investments. Those who opt in during the window would get what the SS contract promises but would still pay taxes.

Jason Coleman on November 9, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I don’t think Seniors worry over reform. They worry about actions that reduce their monthly income, and the Dems are just as likely to do that as anyone.

But, I think the GOP is letting the Dems set the agenda here. SSI isn’t nearly as important as other issues on the table.

First things first.

AnninCA on November 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM

In other news not reported in the right of center blogosphere, the GOP won among women for the first time since they’ve been keeping stats.

but, shhhh, don’t tell anyone. We wouldn’t want the Good Ol Party leadership to have to a) figure out how that happened or b)repeat that performance in 12.

james23 on November 9, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Dear Seniors,
When Social Security began in the 1930′s, it was designed to keep old people who were older than the AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY at the time from being homeless and starving. This was at a time when their children, because of the Depression, were not able to help because of their own unemployment.
The idea was that the population would join together to provide this safety net. What the designers did not plan for was two things: people stopped having so many children (resulting in fewer workers per retiree) and that life expectancy would skyrocket because of medical advances.
Although the evidence was plain to see that you were promised more than America could deliver, no one wanted to lose you as a voting block, so they put off the day of reckoning.
We will not lie to you. If you insist on demanding all of your Social Security benefits for 30 years, your children and grandchildren will suffer. They might also have an incentive to help you into the next world if you have managed to accumulate a nest egg.
You certainly should not be willing to voluntarily give up that monthly check so that your government can waste it on useless research, fat government salaries, or more entitlements that do not encourage people to be self-sufficient. So, how about a deal: we demonstrate that we can bring fiscal sanity to our government by drastically reducing spending in areas that are easily accomplished, and only then will we return the Social Security formula to one that adjusts based on sustainable formulas that takes into account longer lives, fewer workers, and the goal of helping poor seniors.
PS: All those illegal aliens who are using fake SSNs are actually contributing to your benefits. We don’t think they should be given benefits; they can consider it an additional cost for working illegally here. Let us know if you think it’s more important to kick them out, or to keep adding to Social Security.
Signed,

The Tea Party

spudmom on November 9, 2010 at 9:44 AM

Conservatives were rightly opposed to Social Security when it was first passed because it was dishonest. It took money from one group of people and paid another group who had never put anything into the system.

Today it would be dishonest to cut off those who receive it after putting money into it for a life time.

Best Solution: Link the retirement age to life expectancy (like three years less than life expectancy) and adjust the retirement age my a maximum of 6 months each year.

This would result in people being supported by SSI for three years on average, give people an additional 10 years to work and greatly reduced dependency on the government.

The Rock on November 9, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Rs have to be pretty adroit here. There is two parts of the deficit. Part is due to decrease revenues because we are still in a recession (yeah, yeah, I know). The second is the massive increase in spending by O and the Dim congress. We need to look at that…but a lot goes to unemployment.

Why did Republicans get 60% of the Senior vote? Because Obama wants to cut Medicare funding by $500 billion (over 10 years) to “pay for” ObamaCare, most of which goes to young, healthy people who don’t even WANT health insurance! So, a Republican promise to repeal ObamaCare and freeze Medicare funding at current levels is a LOT better than what Obama said, such as telling a 100-year-old lady to take a pain pill rather than get a pacemaker.

As for Social Security reform, we don’t have to penalize TODAY’s Seniors who depend on Social Security, and paid their hard-earned money into it all their working lives. But most middle-aged people in the 30-50 bracket know that SS will be BROKE by the time THEY retire, and need to make other plans.

Social Security taxes are the only REGRESSIVE tax in America, where the middle-class pays 6.75% on every dollar they make, but higher incomes pay a lower percentage. If the “cap” on Social Security taxes was raised, the Government could collect more money AT A LOWER RATE for the middle class. For example, if there was no “cap” on income subject to SS taxes, the rate could be lowered to 4% and only incomes above $170,000 would be hurt, and tens of millions of people get a tax cut, and Social Security would have more money!

Another possibility is a gradual raising of the retirement age, by (for example) 3 months per year. A person a year from retirement might have to wait an extra three months, and will say “so what”. A person four years from retirement would wait an extra year, and a 45-year-old would have to wait until age 70. But since 45-year-olds now see their parents active well into their 70′s and 80′s, they would probably PREFER to work until age 70, rather than depend on the Government and risk outliving their money!

Another possibility is to raise the limit on tax deductibility for contributions to IRA and 401K plans. If middle-aged people have more incentive to save for their own retirements, those who can afford to save will not want to depend on the Government. The possibility of allowing young people to divert Social Security taxes into private investments (while maintaining funding for current retirees) should also be tried, since young people generally have lower incomes, and some cannot afford to contribute to IRA’s and 401K’s.

None of these ideas would affect current retirees, and would not cost the GOP any of their votes…

Steve Z on November 9, 2010 at 10:40 AM

I think we need to be careful about jumping to conclusions here. Are seniors voting to protect Medicare and Social Security? Or are they voting for people willing to make the tough decisions on entitlements that will give their kids and grandkids a better future?

We may be selling the seniors short.

hawksruleva on November 9, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The bad news: Looks like we’re now the party of Medicare and Social Security. But then, we’ve been that party for awhile now, haven’t we?

This is the bad news. It’s not new news though. As you say, we’ve been that party for a while.

dczombie on November 9, 2010 at 11:04 AM

How bout we eliminate Social Security in one whack, and to compensate we simply abolish all federal taxes for individuals over the age of 67?

Jason Coleman on November 9, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I’m no accountant, but I think seniors on fixed income don’t pay much in taxes.

I’d be all for us actually buying out Social Security accounts as part of a phase-out of the entitlement. We should sell 50-year leases on some of the vast amounts of land Uncle Sam owns, and use the money from those leases to help reduce our entitlement burden.

hawksruleva on November 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Update: If we can’t even get one of the Paul boys to draw the line at earmarks, I fear all hope is lost.

More on conservatives’ fundamental misunderstanding of earmarks.

HTH!

Rae on November 9, 2010 at 11:07 AM

How bout we eliminate Social Security in one whack, and to compensate we simply abolish all federal taxes for individuals over the age of 67?

Jason Coleman on November 9, 2010 at 8:53 AM

I’m no accountant, but I think seniors on fixed income don’t pay much in taxes.

I’d be all for us actually buying out Social Security accounts as part of a phase-out of the entitlement. We should sell 50-year leases on some of the vast amounts of land Uncle Sam owns, and use the money from those leases to help reduce our entitlement burden.

hawksruleva on November 9, 2010 at 11:05 AM

No! Sell the land outright, no funny terms or conditions. States then get new property taxes which would help them out.

I don’t understand why states aren’t screaming bloody murder over federal ownership of land. Every acre of federal land in a state reduces the property tax base and makes us less productive.

Same goes for state-owned property. The trend over the last hundred years has been for the government to increase their land holdings, the opposite of what should be happening.

slickwillie2001 on November 9, 2010 at 11:15 AM