A triator to my generation ...

… but doing the right thing. I am more sympathetic to young people like my kids than to oldsters like myself. We had our moment in the sun. Some of us were luckier or used our opportunities better than others, but opportunities were indeed abundant. Now the younger generation needs its turn. But we are going to put a choke hold on their opportunities if we are demand t “all that’s coming to us” even if it means they get much less of what is coming to them.

Look at the article from the Economist. The problem is not only an American problem. It is a worldwide demographic one. We boomers enjoyed lots of "one-offs." Our generation was big and so dependency ratios were smaller. Women entered the labor force in massive numbers, increasing overall productivity. We benefited from great educational advances. These things will be less true in future.

I know that many of my colleagues here will try to hide their own selfishness in glorious terms. They will blame conservatives for keeping taxes too low or say that they paid their shares. But there is a math problem and it is affecting countries all over the developed world, those that taxed a lot and those that taxed a little. It is more people than policy. There are too many of us to be supported at projected levels by young people without screwing the crap out of the poor kids that come after us.

Why don't we be a little more generous? Let's not use our voting strength to keep them on the hook. Let's work a little more than we have to and take a little less than we are entitled to so that the kids can have better lives. This doesn't mean we get nothing. It just means things like older retirement ages, means testing and perhaps slower growth of benefits. We took care of our parents' generation well because it was easy for us. There were four or five of us carrying each of them. Soon it will be two or fewer young people carrying each of us. It's not right.

Our parents also brought up more kids and paid for them. Many in our generation didn't have any kids at all and now they want to impose on others. Also not right.

This is a demographic transition. It WILL be hard, but may provide benefits we really cannot yet see. It is nobody's fault. We started having lots of kids in 1944 and just kind of stopped twenty years later. We enjoyed a demographic dividend that peaked in the 1990s and now must be paid back. Demographics is slow moving but it really makes a difference. It is sort of the plate tectonics of society. We cannot adapt it to us and so we must adapt us to it. Le's choose justice among the generations. We will all be happier.

Those who claim to be compassionate should put their money where their mouths are. Being generous doesn't mean you make others give more or that even you get more but that YOU give more.

Posted by Christine & John at September 29, 2012 4:30 PM
Comment #353836

The numbers cited by the article may be right but it’s too simple and too wrong to sum up the economic situation of the world as ‘stuff happens’ and here we are. The article leads one to believe that there are no forces of good or evil that could have changed anything, delivered a different outcome – we just ended up here.

I would wager that any major corporation, monopoly has a 5 yr plan, a 10 yr, and likely a 50 yr. We know the US plans long range for defense. Any developed nation of any port would postulate and plan for the future. Does anyone think this country didn’t ‘plan’ for the future?

Recall the gold standard, NAFTA, the NAU, IMF, globalization, WTO, UN, TVA, NASA, and so on - - -

Sure we planned and those plans are working their way thru the system as we speak.

Let’s just take globalization fer a sec; the planners have to have been aware of the ‘boomers’ across the world and therefore, the need to work thru the boomers demise. This would mean no major changes that might deliver unexpected results during that period.

But, what did we get? NAFTA, NAU, China and Russia in the WTO and so on - - - Where is one of you that believes that by offshoring major corporations, jerking the best paying jobs out of the country during baby boom times was a move designed to ‘keep America rolling’?

Where is one of you that believes that by dumping tens of millions of foreign workers into the country during this time period would ‘help’ the economy. Now, these foreign workers and US workers are mainly unemployed and dependent on gov’t subsidy.

Not to break into a tautological rant - in brief –

If preserving the economy, ensuring opportunity for all, etc, was is not the plan, and it clearly isn’t, then what?

Winding the US worker back to a wage position where the US can get on a level playing field with the developing world. The US worker was never to be lifted into the stratosphere, wage wise, with the corporations. Quite the contrary, US worker wages have to decrease over time while developing country wages rise until some level of parity is ‘achieved’.

Now, the plan could have been, as discussed, a rational approach to globalization, weighing such factors as population and ‘boomers’. Some hard decades ahead, IMO.

So, accountability is in order. Down with the Corpocracy. One of the better ways to reform our way out of this situation is to vote incumbents from office in large number. At least we shouldn’t continue to reward those that brought us to this point.

None stood against Glass-Stegal and fewer yet stood against Phil Gramm re the commodities futures in 2000, etc. Well, if you aren’t against something, then you must be for it - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 29, 2012 8:43 PM
Comment #353850


The only thing that could have been done was for people to have had more kids between 1962 and 1982 and that would only move the problem.

ALL U.S. government spending comes from current taxpayers or borrowing money from current taxpayers or foreigners. The government cannot save money for the future because it is the government that prints the money. “Saving money” simply takes it out of circulation and the government would need to add more. It goes in a circle.

We have created a debt to be payed by the next generation. Had we used that money to mostly build infrastructure, we could feel good about that. But we spend MOST of the money to transfer from one set of Americans to another. Now we want to transfer from the young to the old on a massive scale, this at a time when there are more old and fewer young.

Posted by: C&J at September 30, 2012 1:21 PM
Comment #353863

No one I know expects the gov’t to ‘save’ money. Most, I believe, would expect that in economic downturns the gov’t would cut back on the size of gov’t and invest in infrastructure instead of bailing out the rich and famous.

The country has energy resources, banking and investment superpower, good university systems, plentiful human resources at all levels and so on - - -

Why, then, are we not fully engaged in building an electric grid for the modern age (national security, digital integration/efficiency, impervious to terror, lightning, solar radiation and so on - —), highway and bridge improvements/infrastructure, airport/navigation improvements, and so on?

Only reason I can imagine is that is not the plan. Quite the opposite. The gov’t/Corpocracy has literally worked themselves into a frenzy to whizz away tax payer dollars, akin to throwing it into a hot furnace, in working to relieve the working folks of their wealth.

And, the folks can hardly wait to reward the culprits with their vote come November.

We do have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 30, 2012 5:52 PM
Comment #353870

A tautological exemplar: in today’s WaPo, ‘Where’s The Plan For Virginia’s Roads’, an article by three demreps, ask why Virginia doesn’t have a plan to fund or build highways in need of repair. The region of interest is referred to as ‘the urban crescent, which accounts for 68% of Va’s population, 72% of its jobs and $322B of its $407B gross product. The group says that without adequate funding the area will decline economically as will the productivity of Va. I would council that there is no plan because that is the plan!!??..

Do take the time to review this one :

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 30, 2012 8:21 PM
Comment #353871

Roy…enlighten me. How does building infrastructure help the long range picture? Virtually all the cost is indirectly covered by tax dollars, borrowing from China, or printing more money. It’s a bandaid.

IMHO, taxes have to be raised, entitlements curbed, the fed payroll decreased, and T. Boone Pickens energy plan needs to be implemented.

Posted by: John Johnson at September 30, 2012 9:26 PM
Comment #353877

John, as I see it banks are a dime a dozen. If a few go down there are dozens more eagerly looking to replace them. Banks, or any business should not become to big to fail. We need to carry out anti-trust as needed, busting up a big bank to create three or four smaller banks. Builds needed competition into the system.

If GM was allowed to fail how long do you think it would have taken other auto mfctrs to move in? I would suggest 3 or 4 days.

Many of the banks and corps fought against taking the bail outs, trying to keep gov’t out of their knickers.

IMO, we are better served by tax revenue being expended where it does the most good. By building infrastructure (1) we are getting something that we need, something we can use for the long term and, (2) we are giving people productive jobs whereby they can continue to retain/build skills, self esteem/confidence, and so on - - -

It’s a win - win situation, IMO. Who is more likely to keep a foothold in society - an employed person building bridges and looking to change jobs to further their career or, a person who hasn’t worked in 3 years with ‘antiquated’ skills?

The economic situation today invites class warfare. If one is working they are more likely to see themselves as ‘in the game’. Gov’ts in the Middle-East are being tossed for this very reason.

Agree with what you say, it’s a bandaid, but a better bandaid than just subsidizing a large part of the population to do nothing.

Also, I agree with your statement on taxes, et al…

For a good 5 years people have called for reducing gov’t, moving to natural gas, changing SS/medicare rules as people are living 30-40 years longer. And, raising taxes, or lowering taxes is alright with me. I would prefer a flat tax and no corporate tax. But, for the latter I would want strong anti-trust and stiff regulation beforehand.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at September 30, 2012 11:43 PM
Comment #353881

Are you addressing my comments, Roy? I didn’t support the bailouts. Don’t know where you decided I was.
The capitalistic system was not designed to give large banks or corporations “do over’s”.

Paying for our own mistakes would be terribly difficult, but, if we don’t, one day, when our grandchildren are old enough to understand, they are going to hate us.

Posted by: John Johnson at October 1, 2012 1:12 AM
Comment #353884

Reforms were agreed upon while Reagan was president that provided for gradual increases in the SS retirement age along with increased payroll taxes to provide boomers with enough of a trust fund to garentee benefits well into the future. It has worked and is working. As expected the the amount of surplus being set aside is diminishing as boomers start to retire. The Republican recession has speeded this up but will turn around after Obama is re-elected and at least a few Republicans in congress hopefully come to their senses. The only fly in the ointment is repaying the trust fund. The US has never defaulted on its debts before and is not likely to start. Some simple changes like raising the payroll tax cutoff are in order to extend the life of the SS fund that is already projected to reach about 20-30 years into the future as it stands. Many of us boomers will drop dead by then,thank you.

Posted by: bills at October 1, 2012 5:04 AM
Comment #353885


We used to have almost five workers supporting each recipient. We may soon have fewer than two.

The reforms of the 1980s saved SS for the recipients of those times. Today the math just doesn’t add up unless we want to tax very highly the young people.

I understand that that the Democratic response is always to raise taxes on somebody else, but this inter-generational conflict is something a little different.

We need not “default” merely change the rates of growth, eligibility or retirement age. You easily advocate raising the caps. This is the same sort of adjustment. Perhaps we should do a combination of all the above.

The bottom line is that we can maintain the current system only by the older generation taking money from the younger generation at a significantly higher ratio than ever before. You are comfortable with that. I am not.

Posted by: C&J at October 1, 2012 6:54 AM
Comment #353889

What will be done (after the system gets worse):

1. Raise retirement age to 70
2. Eliminate the salary cap at which the payroll tax is levied, while keeping the cap on the benfits paid out (essentially a ways of mean testing)
3. Increase immigration to reduce the ratio of retired workers to contributors. The Democrats will want those immigrants to be unskilled, and natural voters for their party. The Republicans will want educated immigrants who are more likley to vote for them. That will be where the fight is. The demogogary will be that skilled immigrants take American jobs vs. unskilled immigrants are a drain on the system.

IMO, this will likley be overshadwoed in the short term by medicare, which has much larger and more imminent financial issues. Obamacare won’t solve that problem, which will be evident in a few years. The proposed solution that will fought over is whether single payer will be needed to solve the problem once Obamacare is proven ineffective.

Posted by: Mike in Tampa at October 1, 2012 9:21 AM
Comment #353890

John, I didn’t assume you were for bailouts, just expressing my opinion on how things were handled. And here I was thinking of myself as the ‘great communicator’ - - -

I agree with John’s, Bill’s and Mike’s response. Mike, your #3 is right on.

C&J, mostly agree but, I don’t believe that seniors are taking anything away from the younger generation. 10k boomers are retiring daily and by 2030 many, if not most will be history. With a few tweaks, such as suggested by Mike, SS will be solvent for future generations.

If congress that conduct that minor bit of legislation then they should be voted from office in large numbers, In fact, they have continued to kick the can down the road so, this November let’s give them the boot, accountability, Thomas Jefferson and all that - - -

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 1, 2012 10:13 AM
Comment #353895

doesn’t get much better than this. Bet MSM doesn’t give this any coverage.


What better reason to vote for Obama.

Posted by: dbs at October 1, 2012 4:57 PM
Comment #353900

“The reforms of the 1980s saved SS for the recipients of those times. Today the math just doesn’t add up unless we want to tax very highly the young people.”


That is not true. The contention that young people today are being required to fund the SS of the baby boomer generation is simply false. The contention that the reforms of the Reagan era were designed to simply fund recipients of that time is false.

The Greenspan Commission specifically addressed the future SS funding needs for the baby boomer generation and beyond. The FICA tax was raised to provide a surplus to fund their retirements. It was by law invested in US Treasury bonds. Not much different than private pension funds that have traditionally invested conservatively in US treasuries. The Trust funds are solvent through the baby boomer retirement period thanks to their foresight in providing a surplus for their anticipated needs.

Posted by: Rich at October 1, 2012 5:49 PM
Comment #353903


It is simple arithmetic. Government in the U.S. gets its money from current ratepayers or from borrowing. Nobody can pay back money in the past. We currently have massive debts and declining numbers of workers compared to recipients.

This means that no matter what anybody wants to say, the young will be paying more in taxes, among other things to support the growing number of old people.

The government bought its own Treasury bills. It owes itself that money. When it pays itself back, it will need to tax the people paying taxes at the time it makes the payment.

I know it is comforting fiction to you to believe that you are somehow not taking away from the young people, but you are. It is not taken from “the rich”, it is taken from the young, some of whom will become rich if that makes you happier.

Posted by: C&J at October 1, 2012 6:13 PM
Comment #353906

The Trust funds are solvent through the baby boomer retirement period thanks to their foresight in providing a surplus for their anticipated needs.

Posted by: Rich at October 1, 2012 5

If the money to pay SS beneficiaries is really there Rich, why did obama threaten Seniors that their checks might not come when we faced the last debt limit fiasco?

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 1, 2012 7:58 PM
Comment #353907

We are all at least moderately literate souls, IMO. Yet, we can’t seem to answer definitely this ever present question on SS = is it solvent? One would think gov’t would not lie to it’s citizens yet the public remains confused on this issue.

Well, we know gov’t will/does lie to the people; Susan Rice may have been lying for the Executive re the Libyan consulate, Iran contra, fast and furious and so on. Why can’t the fed be audited? We should not go past this election without an audit. Another gov’t tactic is to just remain silent on some dark thing, ‘everybody on the hill knows’ but the public doesn’t, etc.

Here is what d.a.n. says about SS: “looming shortfalls in Social Security ($12.8 trillion in the hole); the government, for decades, has been taking the surpluses from Social Security and replacing it with worthless government bonds (that is a dishonest ponzi-scheme);”

I want to be clear too, in that I’ve responded here that I agree with most of the suggestions given in the thread. Implementing them would help. But, for the big screen view, we are on an untenable path unless some changes are made relatively soon. C&J is right in that the national debt will diminish or make irrelevant any fringe changes to SS or entitlements.

Again, these folks need to be held accountable. For my part I will vote for Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party, on the ballot in 47 states. And, I’ll vote against any incumbent on my ballot at the state level.

Appears the demreps have shut Gary out of the debates.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 1, 2012 9:11 PM
Comment #353909


It is solvent in the sense that the Federal government can make it good.

The problem is that it needs to tax young people to do this.

There is a difference here between what people like me can legally demand and the moral and fair thing we should do.

Posted by: C&J at October 1, 2012 9:20 PM
Comment #353916

All I know is that I am getting my SS and some of these younger libs will never get theirs. So boys, just keep paying into SS and keep those checks coming; I really appreciate them. I hate to say this, but I really don’t give a rat’s behind if anyone younger than me ever draws an SS check. And when you’re working until you’re 80 years old, just remember, you voted for those communist SOB’s. Not I.

Posted by: TomT at October 1, 2012 11:19 PM
Comment #353917

C&J, but can the gov’t really ‘make it good’? The FED and foreign govt’s have bought T notes to the tune of some $16T. When the gov’t begins to pay off this debt this will supposedly cause high inflation, making it way painful and impossible to pay off without destroying the economy.

Also, if a couple of creditor countries demand their $$ up front the house of cards will fall in a new york minit.


this url will give you the willies:

It appears President Andrew Jackson was right re central banks. And, those famous T. Jefferson quotes - - -

I see where David Walker and some friends, like Ross Perot, are engaged in a non-profit initiative to dust off the Constitution and work to restore the country. Maybe a 3rd party is in the wings.

Certainly seems SS is not our biggest problem.

Otherwise, we have the Corpocracy we deserve.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at October 1, 2012 11:20 PM
Comment #353933


They can tax enough to pay for it. Not good.

Posted by: C&J at October 2, 2012 7:06 PM
Comment #353967

C&J, it leaves on scratching where the sun don’t shine. We need a clairvoyant on WB to give us the straight scoop and the bum skinny, and so on - - -


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