Advocacy

Protecting Senior Citizens, Stop Runaway Entitlements

DanPictureTLC20062-768x1024Let’s get America back to work – while taking care of our senior citizens!

from – Townhall – by Dan Weber

President Obama regularly touts a reduced unemployment rate. In his 2015 State of the Union, he boasted of a 5.6 percent unemployment rate, noting this was “lower than it was before the financial crisis” in 2008. If you accept his assumptions, he is right. Never mind the 92.9 million Americans no longer in the labor force, no longer looking for work. Never mind the 62.7 percent labor participation rate, lowest in four decades. Never mind the move to part-time and marginal work, which brings actual unemployment to 11.2 percent (the so-called U-6) rate. And never mind Americans kept in jobs propped up by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented bond buy-back program, or “quantitative easing.” Let us just take this president at his word.

Now look at America’s grinding, seven-year near-recession in another light. The president and Congress, under then-Senate Majority Leader Reid, stretched the generous 26-week federal unemployment benefits (six and a half months) to 99-weeks (five weeks short of two years). They did this back to back, not just once. Eventually, they split the burden with states, arguing that they would have to pick up 50 percent of the benefits provided over 26 weeks.

The adverse effect of this disincentive to work has been breathtaking. In the context of 92 million Americans no longer looking for work, two-year federal unemployment benefits suddenly became a norm, and many states still drag federal money from the budget to finance the disincentive for more than 26 weeks. This looks less like a solution and more like the problem. After all, who wants to work when you can be paid to have leisure?

Enter: A program worthy of immediately ending – after all, Mr. Obama says unemployment is down. Let’s end this unjustified largesse. Let’s drop back to something like North Carolina has adopted, a 12- week benefits effort – that is, three full months – to reward income producing activity. Talk about a success story: Governor Pat McCrory cut state unemployment benefits, rather than raising taxes. Rather than bend toward the Democrats’ clamor for 14 more weeks of benefits, above the 26-week level, he curtailed them all. He pulled them down from 26 weeks to 12 weeks. Moreover, he dropped top benefits from $535 dollars to $350. Wonders never cease: His budget not only improved, but unemployment dropped five months running, to a record low. It has continued to fall since, reaching 5.5 percent real unemployment in December 2014. South Carolina and Georgia quickly followed suit, with similar effects.

So, when the incentive not to work is replaced by an incentive to work, people found jobs within a matter of three months, not needing two full years of paid leave. The answer: Try what works and stop bankrolling endless months of leisure, with concomitant drops in productivity, Gross Domestic Product, job creation and taxpayer revenue. And as we all know, more revenue means more taxes paid to Uncle Sam. Create a virtuous circle, not a vicious one.

But there is more: Maybe the program needs to help those who really need help – older Americans on fixed incomes. Within weeks, President Obama will announce that national inflation is so low this year that, like 2009 and 2010, those on fixed federal incomes – including Social Security recipients – will get a zero “Cost-of-Living Adjustment” (COLA), under the current formula. While he could change this, the COLA for seniors is headed for zero.

Ironically, while Americans at large have experienced minimal growth and thus minimal inflation in a flat economy, older Americans – especially those living on military and Social Security pensions – have been losing ground. They generally pay more for medical care, housing and other goods and services, both in absolute terms and proportionate to their incomes.

What is the answer? As President Obama leaves seniors in the cold (literally), we should do better. How about this solution: End extended federal unemployment benefits (pulling them back to 12 weeks, and resolutely ending 50 percent payments to states over 26 weeks). These go to people not working, not paying into Social Security and not serving in the military.

Instead, let’s use the billions of dollars saved to offset a simple, one-time, one-percent COLA for all older Americans – many of whom served in the military, paid a lifetime into the Social Security system and deserve enough benefits from those services to pay their groceries, rents and medicine. Save the rest of the unemployment entitlement checks for a tax cut for average Americans. It is about time, isn’t it?

In short, let’s stop penalizing America’s seniors with a zero COLA when they pay more and are the ones who paid longest into Social Security, often also serving in our military. Let’s stop paying those who refuse to work, stop creating a 26-week-plus disincentive and get back to common sense. Let’s follow the lead of low unemployment states like North Carolina and get America back to work – while taking care of our senior citizens and enabling a tax cut with what remains. It is about time we started protecting our seniors, living up to promises and thinking straight again – they protected us, lived up to their promises and taught us how to think straight. Can Congress get this done? If not now, when? Let’s go.


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Shaukat. Mahmood
5 years ago

No program to employ seniors?

CO SPRGS PAUL
6 years ago

I disagree with the thrust of the article. The two issues are conflated when there is no need to do that. Dan is trying to address two issues when he should focus on only one at a time. Both issues are serious, but one can endlessly opine that we should spend less on this so that we can spend more on that. We’re broke, so we need to slow spending, not find excuses to spend more.

Social Security is broken and in desperate need of a fix. Insisting on a COLA increase because other government beneficiaries are getting one works against fixing it. It’s hard to justify a raise when the system is broke. If we had a moratorium on COLA increases on Social Security and all other federal benefits, we would make great strides toward addressing our $20T debt.

Politically, a COLA is hard to justify given that people in the 65+ demographic make up the wealthiest age cohort in America. And maybe we should also acknowledge the truth that millions of Social Security recipients receive benefits that were not paid for, i.e., spousal benefits and survivor benefits.

As to payment of unemployment insurance, it should be reduced to no more than 26 weeks of benefit. The extensions done during the Obama recession prove that they incentivize people to not work, thereby extending the length and depth of recession. Extended UI benefits harm both the individual recipients and the economy by enabling lack of productivity.

HAM
6 years ago
Reply to  CO SPRGS PAUL

I agree with you on most of your comments but not about the wealth of senior citizens. Where do you get your statistics for the comment ” people in the 65+ demographic make up the wealthiest age cohort in America”? Are you a senior citizen living on a fixed income or one of the lucky few senior citizens who is wealthy or maybe someone younger who has formed your opinion of senior citizens wealth based on fanciful TV ads?

CO SPRGS PAUL
6 years ago
Reply to  HAM

HAM, stats are available from US Census Bureau.

Common sense tells us this should be true. By the time one is in the mid-60’s, the kids are gone and the house should be paid off, home equity being a large part of most people’s assets. By the time one has worked for 40 years or so, at least a million dollars has traveled through the household, even if earnings averaged only $25k per year. (40X$25k=$1M) Average household income today exceeds $50k (Census). If one has been paying attention, he should have saved some of that during those 40 years. Sadly, only about 10% or so of American households are self-sustaining financially by the time they reach the mid-60’s. This was true 35 years ago when I first heard it, and it remains true today. Fortunately, this statistic caught my attention when I was in my late 20’s and I started investing for my family’s future. So yes, today at age 63 I am one of the “lucky few” you referred to. I retired at age 60 and am waiting till my FRA (66) to receive Social Security.

See stats via several US Census Bureau links. Here’s one: http://www.census.gov/people/wealth/files/Wealth%20distribution%202000%20to%202011.pdf
Appendix 1 on page 6 of this document shows age cohorts and net worth for 2001 and 2011. Age ranges are detailed by under 35, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+. 65+ is also further broken down by 5 year increments. The 65+ net worth is higher than all other age ranges, both in the aggregate and in every net worth quintile.

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  CO SPRGS PAUL

Provide the stats, yours are incorrect. Up coming retirees have far less savings. Your article is typical from a conservative POV. Get realistic, have congress stop raiding SS & raise the tax by 1% & we’re all.set.

Virginia Cox
6 years ago
Reply to  CO SPRGS PAUL

“Politically, a COLA is hard to justify given that people in the 65+ demographic make up the wealthiest age cohort in America.” In what world do you live in? In my world as the Over 60 Case Manager for a human services agency, I see the struggle that our older citizens are going through. So many of my consumers depend on SNAP, LIHEAP, and our food pantry and still can’t make ends meet. Most of the older people I see cannot even afford their insurance co-pays for health services and prescriptions. I have been doing this job for over 30 years and for the last few years I have seen a downward trend. This is the worst I have seen things and I shudder when I think how these seniors are going to make it through another year.

Shirlann Halstead
6 years ago
Reply to  CO SPRGS PAUL

I never hear any of you mention the entitlements received by millions of single mothers. They receive large amounts in rent paid by HUD, food debit cards, free formal and diapers, etc. While the baby daddies move in with them and live rent free, groceries paid and utilities. So these men work part time or work a job and take their money for nice trucks and vacations. This needs to stop. I take elderly to doctor appointments and sometime can’t afford simple items as eye drops.

Doug Nicholson
6 years ago

I have always had a problem with the government’s definition of the word, “entitlement”. The dictionary defines it as: 1. The fact of having a right to something, or 2. The amount to which a person has a right.

Government seems to define it as: Anything we see fit to give to a citizen.

My definition is: Anything that has been earned through one’s own effort.

An entitlement, according to my definition includes Social Security, Medicare and one’s retirement pension (government or otherwise).

All the other government programs, such as, but not limited to, Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), Welfare or TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families), WIC (Women, Infants and Children), and Unemployment Compensation are simply freebies that are not earned through one’s own efforts. They are all paid for by those who contribute to, rather than drain from, society. In the UK these programs are referred to informally as “the dole”.

I prefer the term, “Handout” as in, “I got my Handout check for the month the other day.”

I believe that while one is receiving a government Handout, their “ability” (it’s NOT a right!) to vote should be suspended, but can be regained after one has been off of Handouts for, say, 6 months. Obviously, it’s a conflict of interest for someone receiving a Handout to be able to vote for a politician who promises to continue giving it to them.

PaulO
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug Nicholson

Hi Doug,

You forgot, Corporations are people too my friend.

Here are a few government “handouts” you didn’t whine about.

Lucrative government contracts, government grants to conduct research that improves profit margins, “business expense” write offs, tax abatements, price supports, foreign transactions that are insured by the government, tax breaks on FOREIGN INVESTMENT income ….. and the list goes on.

Some people call it corporate welfare.

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulO

Hey BozO, of course you’re referring to President Obama’s corporate welfare program for the solar power industry, right?

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

No need to name call. Conservative’s have voted in numerous tax incentives. As an example ExxonMobil has not paid taxes.

Get your facts straight

Ruel D
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulO

“Lucrative government contracts”. For which the government gets a service. What service to we the people get out of welfare, food stamps, medicaid, etc.? Would you please provide proof that the government is providing grants to improve profit margins? “Business expenses” are for all businesses, not just corporate giants. I worked 20 years on the streets of New Orleans doing emergency response. I saw how the welfare system was (and is) horribly abused. I also did 20 years in the Army. My next door neighbor (after 4 or 5 blistering years as a charter fisherman) injured his back. He still goes fishing, but does it on my dime now because he can’t work and needs my Social Security for his “disability”. And the list goes on, and on, and on ad infinitum.

RogerW
6 years ago

I feel sorry for anyone who depends on the federal government for his or her retirement. The federal government doesn’t do anything well, so why would you rely on it to provide sustenance during your golden years? The idea that a person should sit on his butt and draw a government check for the rest of his life after getting to a certain age is an idea that only a liberal could dream up. Mr. Weber writes, “Try what works and stop bankrolling endless months of leisure, with concomitant drops in productivity, Gross Domestic Product, job creation and taxpayer revenue.” He is describing Social Security, which is usually nothing more than the government bankrolling endless months of leisure. The only people who should retire are those who are independently wealthy (and don’t need Social Security) or those forced to retire because of health problems. Everyone else should still be working and contributing to the economy. Get off your lazy butts and get to work – your parents would be ashamed of you.

Barbara
6 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

If you were a federal employee, you would not make this statement

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

ROGERW: It might be a bit difficult to find a job for someone who is 80 or 85 years old. I hope you have to take your own advice and try it sometime. You feel sorry for no one, so you should quit using that expression.

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  Earl

Right Earl. I’d like to stop working at some point and collect my SS. It’s not a ton but every bit will help.

Thanks you for your comment.

Doug Nicholson
6 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

ROGERW: Not sure how old you are and whether you’re at or near retirement age, but I (and millions like me) was forced, against my will, to contribute a sizable portion of every paycheck to the S.S. “trust” fund my entire working life. The expectation was that I could, if needed or even wanted, recoup some or all of it in my “golden years”, as you put it. I am OWED that money back, unlike those on Welfare, etc., who never contributed a penny to fund those programs, other than by paying their income taxes, if they earned any income.
You are entitled to your opinion and I’m sure the inefficient Federal government will be glad to waste the portion of the S.S. dollars you choose not to claim. You should pray that you never need it, as many of us do.

Frank
6 years ago
Reply to  Doug Nicholson

Rogerw is addressing the massive fraudulent abuse of the Social Security system, for example: a friend’s parents both died when he was a teenager so he was entitled to Social Security benefits as long as he was a student. Guess what – he remained a student until he as 45 years old. How do you like that?

liz
6 years ago
Reply to  Frank

Regan cut off social security death benefits to children at 17. If they were still in school, cut off was 18. I know because my son was getting benefits. He is now 45 and benefits stopped at 18. How do I like it, I would have if it were true.

Bob Bamberg
6 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

The 800 pound gorilla in ROGERW’s argument is his reference to Social Security as being nothing more than the government bankrolling endless months of leisure.” He apparently doesn’t understand that Social Security is not a government hand out. I and my employers have paid into Social Security since 1963, and I’m still working and paying into it, even as I collect it. The government is bankrolling none of it. In fact, the government raided the Social Security Trust Fund to the point where we’re counting down the days til Social Security runs out of money…our money, not the government’s. Remember, ROGERW, the government can give nothing to anybody that it hasn’t first taken away from someone else. How about we cut foreign aid drastically and put that money, our money, back into the Social Security Trust Fund to replace the money Congress “borrowed” from it.

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob Bamberg

Great point! Thanks for reminding everyone. Apparently they need to re-educate themselves on how the program is funded.

liz
6 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

Your idea is fine – if the Government had privatized Social Security. Then the person would have control over their money that was being deduced every month for all the years they worked. However, then who would support all the fraud in Social Security Disability. Know people who collect because of “depression” or “bipolar” and kids with “ADD.” The people I know get extra for each child and work off the books. Kids with ADD learn in high school they don’t have to work, the Government will be sending them a check every month. Know two cases where the parents refused help for the child (putting the child in a school when they felt they could no longer handle the child) because they would lose the disability check every month – it was paying the rent. But don’t fret, I don’t know the percentage, but most people 65+, such as myself, are still working and contributing. We are still paying into Social Security to a Government who can’t spend it fast enough because federal employees don’t pay into it. If they want to be so generous, take it out of their pension fund.

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  RogerW

Uhm the government is not “bank rolling” SS. The citizens are paying forward so our elderly can retire with dignity. I expect the same.

Privitizing is not a good idea because 90% of the people are not financial planners and as small investors are subseptible to market volitility, if they even have enough money to invest. Which let’s be realistic, unless you have +60k in a brokerage account and FA isn’t even interested in talking to you to provide guidance.

Our money should continued to be pooled thru governmental institutional investing. Like a defined benefit plan (traditional retirement). While not 100% safe it’s safer and the returns are better.

Congress just needs to keep their mitts off of it.

CLynn
6 years ago

My two cents:
Let’s also stop giving social security to seniors that don’t need it.
If they’ve made it well in life and have their own retirement and pension funds that adequately support them then they have no reason, or right, to collect social security.
Social security was designed as a program where the working young would take care of the elderly(and disabled) that have no support. The government should not be taking money out of the pockets of the youth to take care of the elderly that have already well taken care of themselves. Get rid of this entitlement and all youth will benefit instead of just the ones with well-to-do parents that are already positioned to pass along their bounties.

John and Leroy
6 years ago
Reply to  CLynn

So if a worker puts 6.2% of their pay into Social Security (Up to the limit), then works a second full time job and puts that into an IRA or retirement plan so they can have an enjoyable retirement- you say “they don’t need Social Security” and you want to give their savings to someone who stayed home and watched TV 5 nights a week?

That’s not fair! If they earned it they should keep what they earned- and if they want to give it to their children and grandchildren who are you to say- “They don’t need it?”

Bob Bamberg
6 years ago
Reply to  CLynn

Social Security isn’t taking money from the young to support the elderly. Social security takes money from the young (and an equal amount from their employers), supposedly invests it so it grows and the young can then withdraw THEIR money when they retire. The money I collect from social security is not anyone’s but my own; it, and an equal amount paid by my employers over the years, having been deducted from my pay since 1963. If someone was fortunate enough to amass some wealth over the years, more power to them. The government is not entitled to take the Social Security money collected from them and give it to someone else.

Wendi
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob Bamberg

Right on Bob!

Andi
6 years ago

Good article. I would just add a few thoughts. Unemployment is insurance paid for by the employer into a state run fund. So it really isn’t an “entitlement”. It is supposed to be a TEMPORARY help to make it through until you find your next job. As such, there should be no shame in collecting unemployment if you legitimately qualify to receive it and are actively seeking to start up or replace income (a J.O.B. is only one way to earn a living). The problem is, there is a tendency to abuse it, foster laziness in those receiving it. As for the government administration of it, this abuse is ok. Remember big government likes the parent/dependent relationship. Funding such abuse is also no problem since they can endlessly create money out of thin air.

As for the recipient, the money coming in from unemployment benefit is less than they were earning on the previous job and likely less than their next job. They are sliding into poverty and further government dependence. Other than the temporary help it is supposed to be, this is harmful beyond that.

grania
6 years ago

Every essential bill….utilities, technology, taxes, home repairs, goes up every month. The price of those reliable bargain foods keeps increasing. One other factor that can be added to that is that interest rates on savings are being held at close to 0%. For responsible seniors (and those near retirement) who saved a reasonable amount for retirement, assuming at least 4% interest on savings, that’s vile. Yet again, those who’ve done everything we were supposed to prepare for retirement are being marginalized.

How can the idiots in DC care so little? No COLA plus no interest on savings is going to financially decimate millions of seniors. How does the economy benefit if we’re reduced to near-poverty? For what? To subsidize invaders who take jobs, collect handouts, and stretch services needed by US citizens ?

I’m beyond disgusted.

Chuck
6 years ago
Reply to  grania

Vote for someone who can get the job done, not one who parses words and weasels out of promises. Now to find someone like that to run the country!

grania
6 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Who do you have in mind? I’m mad as *ell and will only support that candidate who tells it like it is!

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  grania

Ted Cruz. You can start by checking him out at conservativereview.com. He is the most reliably conservative candidate running, and he is never afraid to tell it like it is. It only takes a few minutes to learn the facts; plus there are lots of U tube videos of his interviews and debates.

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  Earl

The problem with Ted Cruz is HE IS STILL AN ATTORNEY!!! … ALL attorneys are liars by trade. Sure, Cruz is saying all the right things Conservatives want to hear, BUT, is he just saying them because it’s what we Conservatives want to hear. … Truth is, he’s accomplished absolutely nothing in the Senate. In other words, all talk and no action! … I will vote for him if he is the party’s choice and I do favor him over Bush, Rubio, Christie, et all.

Though I do think he would be a good choice for Attorney General or even the Supreme Court, but in either Dr. Carson’s or Fiorina’s cabinet.

I DON’T WANT ANOTHER CAREER POLITICIAN AS PRESIDENT and ESPECIALLY NO MORE “LYING” ATTORNEYS!!!

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Rik: If you listened to the 2nd republican debate, then you heard Carly Fiorina say that she intends to do absolutely nothing about birthright citizenship for babies who are born in this country to mothers who are citizens of another country. This is an unconstitutional, illegal practice which Donald Trump and Ted Cruz understand and would probably put an end to, because they both understand the 14th Amendment, unlike Carly Fiorina, who clearly does not; or doesn’t want to understand it. You might want to notice that on conservativereview.com that Carly Fiorina has seven red lights and four yellow lights, with no green lights, while Ted Cruz has ten green lights and one yellow light. That ought to tell you something if you were a conservative; seven red lights for Fiorina and ten green lights for Ted Cruz. Notice the difference? Ted Cruz never served in an elective office until January 2013, so that does not qualify as a career politician. Two years does not a career make, does it? Ted Cruz assisted Mark Meadows in forcing John Boehner out of the House of Representatives, so unless you are a big John Boehner fan, that should count as an accomplishment. I’ve asked you this question before, and you never respond; what has Ted Cruz lied about? You won’t respond this time ether, because you have no answer. You said that he should have impeached Obama by now, and I had to explain to you that charges of impeachment have to originate in the House of Representatives. Why would you want a liar for Attorney General, anyway? That doesn’t make any sense at all to me. I’ve been lied to many, many times by doctors, but so far I have not said anything particularly negative about Ben Carson. I wouldn’t rule it out though.

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  Earl

EARL, Ted Cruz, by education, is a lawyer. ALL lawyers are “liars” only they call it painting the truth a little gray. When is the truth not the truth? Whenever a lawyer starts to establish “reasonable doubt” which they ALL have to do to win in court! Ted Cruz has accomplished nothing in the Senate. If he’s such a Constitutional law expert, why hasn’t he brought up charges of impeachment against Obama? Why, I say he’s a good candidate for Attorney General or a Supreme Court Justice, because if he’s such a good Constitutional Conservative lawyer, he can accomplish more good in either of those two jobs.

Obama, Hillary, husband Bill, Rubio, McConnell, Harry Reid, Christie, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Elizabeth Warren, and on and on, ALL went to law school. As a country, we’d all be better off if they were all “retired” permanently!!!

Sorry, but I have no use of lawyers holding ANY political office!

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Also, EARL, 55 of our current Senators went to law school. And you wonder why the Senate is so screwed up?

By the way, who do you think all the lobbyists are? … All lawyers! … Who else would know how to circumvent the law better than another lawyer. When lawyers legislate laws, we get laws with lots of loopholes in the laws. … Why is that? … So, the brotherhood of lawyers can make a living, that’s why!

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Rik: Dianne Feinstein never went to law school as you claim, but rather has a BA in history. At least 16 of the most liberal democrats in the Senate never went to law school, including Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Debbie Stabenow, Al Franken, Bernie Sanders, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen, and Joe Manchin. What about Bernie Sanders? Do you like him better than Ted Cruz? Also, some of the most liberal Republicans never went to law school either, including Bob Corker, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, John McCain, Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Shelly Moore Capito, who has no college degree, and is the 2nd most liberal Republican in the Senate. Bob Corker, who has a BS in Industrial Engineering engineered the deal with Iran, which is going to insure that they get ICBMs armed with nuclear warheads very, very soon; probably a lot sooner than you think. Do you like Bob Corker better than Ted Cruz? Whether you like them or not, and whether you know it or not, about five out of the eight most conservative members of the Senate have law degrees, including Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeff Sessions, and Tim Scott, who has a BS in Political Science. All the people you mentioned, except Rubio, are either liberal Democrats or establishment progressive Republicans, and none of them are conservatives; Rubio, because of his lack of clarity on immigration. It has nothing to do with going to law school. By the way, you failed to answer any of my questions. What has Ted Cruz lied about? Why are you referring to him as a career politician, and why would you vote for Carly Fiorina, who has said that she intends to do nothing about illegal birthright citizenship, and has seven red lights and four yellow lights on conservativereview.com, as opposed to Ted Cruz who has ten green lights? Also, for the fourth time if you can understand this: A Senator cannot file impeachment charges against the President. They have to be filed by a member of the House of Representatives. And once again, why would you want a liar as an Attorney General or as a Supreme Court Justice?

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  Earl

EARL, enough already, 55 senators went to law school!

I don’t trust attorney politicians period!

Why do you like lawyers making laws with all those loopholes and filled with so much legal talk that only another lawyer could translate?

It’s like having a gay judge rule in favor of gay marriage when 51% of Californians voted against it!

I’ve had enough with these legal crooks!

Are you a lawyer by any chance?

I already told you I would vote for Cruz if he is the party’s candidate, but I still wouldn’t trust him until he proves me differently!

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Earl

Rik: May I remind you that according to Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution, the President does not make laws, and no one understands that better than Ted Cruz.

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Earl

Rik: May I also remind you that the only reason that Carly Fiorina is not a lawyer is because she dropped out of the UCLA Law School after one semester? So would you rather elect someone who graduated at the top of his law class, or someone who dropped out after one semester?

Doug Nicholson
6 years ago
Reply to  grania

Dr. Ben Carson!!!

steven jacobs
6 years ago

get rid of the “disability” scam!

Don
6 years ago
Reply to  steven jacobs

Steve J., so you suggest anyone with a real disability should not receive any of their SS until they are 62? I paid in just like you…in fact. I owned my on business the last 5 years in which I paid in for me and my company paid in every month for me a little over $3200 a month for all Federal deductions. I didn’t start taking benefits until two years after getting word I would never be able to work again because of health related issues. In addition, I paid into the system for 31 years of my working life.

I suggest you start monitoring the handicap parking places. Just maybe you can catch some cheaters out there and feel a lot better about yourself…

I do agree if your scamming SS/Disability you should go to jail just like breaking any federal law. Of course, we’d have to jail all of our elected official’s for depleting the funds with IOU’s first.

Philip Duckworth
6 years ago
Reply to  steven jacobs

Hey I worked mostly Self employed for more than 20 years Now disabled What Do You expect me to do
be a little Jesus and starve in the street? If You think that You are quite insane If push came to shove
I would do a capital crime to get room and board or be put to death as that is better than living in the street

Katherine Teissere
6 years ago

Another savings could happen if the illegals coming here weren’t accumulating benefits such as welfare. Those savings could benefit Seniors and the truly needy in this country.

Van Hamlin
6 years ago

Good article Dan!

The CPI should include the costs of energy and food – no doubt! Senior citizens must all look at what they have lost in terms of medicare benefits as well as social security under payment of COLA’s. The last 7 years haven’t been pretty.

I think that unemployment “insurance” as it is many times called should actually become an insurance program. The current system should be the core of a new system but capped at 26 weeks, like you say. However, the worker should be allowed to pay additional amounts into an enhanced unemployment insurance plan that provides the worker with longer periods of unemployment compensation. This added policy would generate more reserves than one might think because it would be participated in by workers paid sufficient salaries that they could afford the premium costs.This group of workers are usually laid off or fired at a much lower rate than new lower paid workers. Unions would love this program too! In fact, I would like to see the entire unemployment insurance become quasi-privatized by allowing the government to purchase reinsurance from private investors to cover the losses from the our unemployment insurance program.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  Van Hamlin

Why quasi, Van?

AK Bill
6 years ago

I’ve made a rather dubious decision about the upcoming presidential election—as a conservative republican, I will not vote in the presidential election unless we have a “real” conservative candidate running. If one of the RINOs win the primary election, I will stay home and let the chips fall where they may! Even if this “inaction” results in another “demoncrat” in the White House for another eight years; so be it! After all, having a republican majority in Congress really hasn’t done any good to this point—but, maybe we’ll get a change in attitude now that Mr. Boehner is leaving. Unfortunately, I’m pretty cynical about what additional damage he will cause in the time he has left.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  AK Bill

If the Speaker’s suggestion for McCarthy is the newby, not much would change. Oh, except ob one’s change to totally redo what is America.

Ginger
6 years ago
Reply to  AK Bill

AK Bill,

I’m a fiscal conservative and socially I’m sure you would consider me a liberal. However I believe that adults are capable of making their own decisions on social issues. There is no need for them to agree with me. I find it troubling that people who say they are social conservatives, didn’t vote in the last election or ignored the presidential part of the ballot or voted for the Libertarian candidate. You are the folks, that by your behavior, gave the country another four long years of Mr Obama. You care very little, it seems to me, about the future of our country. And now you are threatening to do the same thing again.

People who are old enough to be a part of AMAC, went through the public schools when Math and Civics were still taught and you should realize that until the Republicans have 60 (sixty) senators they are unable to override a presidential veto by Mr Obama.

I realize that many social conservatives are cheering that Speaker Boehner will be resigning and are now hoping that Senator McConnell will also leave. But stop and think , who will be the adults who will lead the children in our Congress?

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Ginger

Ginger, what is the point in having a Congress if they are going to do absolutely nothing and let the President and the Supreme Court have complete control of all legislation? Did you learn the answer to that question in any of your math or civics classes? Maybe you need to take a course on the Constitution so you will understand which branch of the federal government is in charge of making legislation, and which branch is in charge of spending.

Chuck
6 years ago

I am continually amazed by all the traffic on the roads all day long – it must be the unemployed out searching for jobs. No I’m not out there every day, but on those blessedly few occasions to visit docs or weekly grocery shopping on various different days of the week I am always taken aback. When I traveled every week as part of my job, mid-day was a pleasurable experience with “rush hour” to be endured, but now it seems it is “rush hour” all day long. Is the country that badly off when gas prices make no difference and people can’t get enough Apple watches to satisfy demand?

Patrick
6 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Chuck you are absolutely right! I work second shift and I see this exact same thing. Rush hour all day! Where are all these people going? They can’t all work the same shift as me or are retired. Speaking of retired, my father is almost eighty and is still very active in a church he volunteers at, designing, building and repairing stained-glass windows.I think he has more energy than I do!

Evelyn Holden
6 years ago

I had forgotten about this entitlement, and didn’t know it was still going on. It was wrong to begin with, and now instead of cutting unemployment benefits what we hear is Medicare & Social Security benefits need to be cut from the people who paid into it all their working lives.

Frank Greene
6 years ago

Inflation is so low? I seriously doubt that Obama visits a supermarket, thus he and his liberal band of brothers have no clue how much inflation actually effects every citizen. Our government always has sufficient funds for welfare, food stamps, housing and health benefits for lazy Americans, illegals and an estimated 100,00 Syrian refugees ready to enter our country. I would suggest grounding Air Force 1 & 2 for a month. At least with Social Security, each and every senior citizen and their employer(s) paid into all of their working career.

George
6 years ago

Dan, I agree with most of your article but want to point out that a 1% increase in COLA will, for the majority of seniors, only be taken away by the subsequent increase in Medicare Part B premiums.

HAM
6 years ago

Paulo you are so busy lapping up Obama’s koolade you refuse to understand reality. i live in the real world and have talked to people who are receiving unemployment benefits. They admit they aren’t even looking for work except for token searches required so they can continue their benefits and laugh about it. As long as there is no incentive for them to be serious about finding a job they choose to stay on unemployment because, hey, it’s free money and why should they work if they are being paid not to. Take away the free money and then all of a sudden they get serious about finding a job. You need to get out into the world and get a reality check.

Everyone agrees the tax codes need to be changed (or just enforced the way they were intended) but only if it’s also beneficial to the middle class, not just politicians. I can think of many Democrats (in private business and government) who have used your mentioned tax loopholes for their own benefit. Can anyone say Bill & Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation? You need to broaden your scope of people you complain about.

PaulO
6 years ago

Why punish the unemployed who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

In 2014 the top 25 hedge fund managers received a $2.2 billion break on their tax bill because of the “carried interest tax loophole”.

Most CEO compensation by IRS rules isn’t treated as income that’s why they pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries.

We should be thinking about closing tax loopholes for hedge fund managers and CEO’s, not stealing from the middleclass unemployed.

Maybe Carley Fiorina will give seniors a ride on one of her yachts as a consolation prize in 2016.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulO

PAULO, the XVI th Amendment says “lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source.” Capital gains deposited in an account should be treated the same as incomes derived from paid labor or any other source. The “carried interest loophole,” nor any other should have been created to provide favoritism to anyone, not trusts, foundations, colleges, churches nor thnk tanks of whatever persuasion–none at all.
And maybe we could get Trump to give us a plane ride.

Earl
6 years ago
Reply to  Ivan Berry

It says Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes. This means that they can do it. It does not mean that they must do it.Big difference.

Rik
6 years ago
Reply to  PaulO

Hey BozO, typical Progressive(ly) Communist bloviating! … ALL the problems of the poor and middle class are because of the wealthy 1%! … Who passed the laws to protect them? … ALL the greedy politicians on both sides of the aisle, that’s who! … ALL taking money from ALL the lobbyists who represent corporate, ideological (like Soros) and just plain greed to push their “favorite” projects to insure favor with their voters to ensure their next election. Then, of course, there are the ideological crazies pushing their Communist agenda to control the people and give ALL the power to the government (Communist Party).

As to the unemployed “that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own”, every uneducated and brainwashed person who voted for YOUR Progressive(ly) Communist Democrats have contributed to their own demise! In most cases, they’re so stupid they don’t even realize they are sacrificing their rights and freedoms.

Conservative people SHOULD break away from the so-called Republican Party and form a third party! … Why not? Getting elected as a Republican and then ignored by the party leadership isn’t working! … Why get elected and then made to look like they’ve done nothing to stop Obama’s Communist agenda? Why should Conservatives take the blame when the Party leadership is at fault? I believe it’s time to take the Conservative message to the general populace with the promise to really stop the Communist takeover of our country! Otherwise, it’ll be samo, samo!

AK Johnny1
6 years ago
Reply to  Rik

DITTO!!!
I’ve been screaming conservative 3rd party for years. I’m DONE casting votes for RINOS and for establishment politicos who do NOT represent my values.
Many will argue that dividing the party will ensure a presidential loss in 2016. SO WHAT??? If A RINO wins, you’ll get progressive/socialist, collusionalist politics anyway….. If a democrat wins, at least the face of the enemy will be clear and recognizable. Better the devil you KNOW???
I get annoyed with republicans that continually complain and belly-ache about how BAD our representation is, how nothing is getting done, how they continually LIE to their constituents, and how the GOP has all but surrendered to Barack Obama and WILL NOT FIGHT on our behalf.
But in the next breath, they tout their support for ESTABLISHMENT candidates like Rubio, Bush, Rand Paul, etc…. And for the LIFE of them, they cannot see where the problem is….
If you are dissatisfied with our current political lot, but are willing to both support AND VOTE for ANY establishment RINO candidate just to remain in your political comfort zone, then YOU ARE the impediment to real change, and you are responsible for your own demise, economically, socially, politically, and otherwise. That’s the harsh truth.
America has taken a hard, nasty turn to the political left in the last 7 years. It’s gonna require a pushy, cantankerous, no-nonsense, [email protected] candidate that KNOWS both business, cannot be bought off with money and priviledge, and knows HOW to get things done, into the white house. Another milquetoast, non-offending, eager-to-please-all, compromising, PC-speaking, middle of the roader WILL NOT get us back to where we need to be in order for America as we KNEW it to survive.
Centrist, compromising, RINO candidates do not have the ability to right THIS listing ship…… Vote for another one, AGAIN, and you’ll find that out for yourselves firsthand.

Andi
6 years ago
Reply to  AK Johnny1

AK Johnny1, don’t be too hard on the misled masses of TV screen lickers. What they do in the voting booth has little, if any, effect on the pre-programmed computer generated voting results. The candidates are campaigning to gain the support of the ruling elite, not the American voter. They try to convince the rulers that they are the best one to push forth the agenda, the continual leftward shift toward the New World Order. Votes are counted in secret by a monopoly of a few companies that provide the vote tabulating computers to each county election board. RIGGED!

Interestingly, I have two neighbors, both senior citizens that are long time Democrats. They are both very conservative. They feel just as abandoned by their party as I do about the Republican party. The Republicrat party is united in moving this country on a continual leftward shift. They are leaving the vast majority behind in both parties. We have not been able to take back control of either party thus far. A third party that really does represent us is necessary.

Ivan Berry
6 years ago

Good article, Mr. Dan. Don’t forget though that the cost of living index is a doctored and inaccurate indicator of the actual cost of living via inflation. All government calculations are suspect, like GDP and most others. If you distrust your government in anything, you are not alone. There are many of us who trust the government in nothing.

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