Occupy Nursing Homes

posted at 11:25 am on November 30, 2011 by Karl

Remember that CBO study that helped fuel the issue of income inequality? Michael Barone reports that House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has highlighted some of its more inconvenient findings:

Many may find the results of the CBO study surprising. It turns out, Ryan reports, that federal income taxes (including the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit) actually decreased income inequality slightly between 1979 and 2007, while the federal payroll taxes that supposedly fund Social Security and Medicare slightly increased income inequality. That’s despite the fact that income tax rates are lower than in 1979 and payroll taxes higher.

Perhaps even more surprising, federal transfer payments have done much more to increase income inequality than federal taxes. That’s because, in Ryan’s words, “The distribution of government transfers has moved away from households in the lower part of the income scale. For instance, in 1979, households in the lowest income quintile received 54 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, those households received just 36 percent of transfers.”

The income tax side is probably more surprising; conservatives have noted that “the rich” paid more under the Reagan-Bush tax cuts, but few have connected to the point that the tax cuts decreased income inequality. We probably did not need a CBO study to remind us — or maybe we did — that the entitlement state is largely in the business of transferring wealth from unwealthy youngsters to seniors comprising the most wealthy generation in the nation’s history.

The left has tended to rationalize their own engine of income inequality based on the continuing nature of programs like Social Security and Medicare; today’s youngsters supposedly benefit when they become tomorrow’s seniors. However, the days of seniors reaping a windfall is likely drawing to a close as the unsustainability of the national debt becomes ever clearer. Future generations will suffer over the course of a lifetime without that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But don’t expect the unwashed hipsters of the Occupy movement to stake out their local nursing homes or direct their venom at the 13 Percenters, because their protests really are not about income inequality. The Occupiers really just want their bailout (without the expectation of repayment, unlike the Big Banks) from the higher education bubble and their Blue Model jobs.

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This is why we should substitute a sales tax paid by all to support the elderly entitlements rather than use a payroll tax paid only by the younger working people who often have fewer assets. Older people with few assets don’t spend as much and will contribute less. Older people with more assets will spend more and thus contribute more to the support of the elderly. Right now, the affluent elderly are not supporting the pay-as-you-go system we have. Saying they paid into the system that paid for their far less numerous parents and grandparents may be true but does not keep the system from collapsing as the baby boomers retire.

KW64 on November 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM

The dirty little secret is, government transfers wealth to the politically active. Beneficiaries could be in true need, or could just be elderly, work for government, or be wealthy farmers who like crop price supports. Government really only cares about political power.

RBMN on November 30, 2011 at 11:51 AM

I still want someone to explain to me the social security/working penalty the elderly get hammered with.

We have a part time SS receiptient in the shop. She makes a whopping $8.25 an hour and her SS can’t be more than $1k (if that). She works more than 20 hours she has to pay back the SS. What kinda crap is that? Her SS and 20 hours amounts to scraps.

Go ahead, call me a commie.

Limerick on November 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

You mean that the young thugs who poop on cop cars won’t throw Grandma over the cliff to inherit her money? What did their Dear Leader do to his Grandma? She paid for his private schools, and made him cringe.

Steve Z on November 30, 2011 at 12:07 PM

We have a word for national income equality – “slavery”

tommyboy on November 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM

This title would also work for all the health care union members currently casting votes in elections for the dementia ridden and otherwise incapacitated seniors in nursing homes, if said senior, can still sign their name (and probably for more than a few who cannot provide a signature.) Another topic the MSM will not cover.

Fallon on November 30, 2011 at 12:35 PM

However, the days of seniors reaping a windfall

Hmmm…well considering the average Social Security benefit is $1,117 a month minus the $110 for Medicare and whatever amount for a MediGap policy and also a Prescription drug plan, “windfall” doesn’t come to mind. I know the system is a bad one but generalizations like these don’t help.

There are many seniors living just above the guidelines for assistance who do have to pay for much of this. Right now anyone receiving over $1225 a month cannot receive any assistance with the Medicare deductions and monthly payment. And money in the bank over limits of $2000-$6000 are also disqualifiers. There are also lots of restrictions on the transfer of assets such as property and the timing now has to be rather odd. But at an average of $76,000 a year for nursing home care any assets will be gone quickly.

Personally I would like to see a revamp of the TANF and Medicaid system abused by so many younger people. And let’s not get started on SSI and SSD where fraud is well-known.

Deanna on November 30, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Jeez. The pic on the main page accompanying this post makes me feel sad and depressed.

FlatFoot on November 30, 2011 at 1:20 PM

This “nursing home” business is what is shameful. We should be taking care of our elderly family members if they are not completely helpless. In many cases I see perfectly capable people in these places who could be having a much more rewarding life at home with their children and grandchildren. We need more of these people in our homes with us being an influence on our kids and sharing their life experience to enrich ours. We shouldn’t be warehousing so many of our elderly in “homes”. Sure, it might be an “inconvenience” but we were pretty inconvenient for them when we were infants and toddlers. Sure, in many cases where there is dementia or other problems it isn’t feasible to keep them at home, but in many cases it is not only feasible, it is a major addition to the enrichment of our family life.

crosspatch on November 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM