Response to The Democrats’ Coming Civil War:
So much talk about caring for those in need and protecting their benefits. It’s as if you’re trying to show that you’re so compassionate you’re willing to overlook math and fiscal realities. The truth is that either payroll taxes will need to go up or future benefits will have to be cut. There’s no way around that and no, taxing the rich more won’t come close to filling that $70 trillion or so gap. Before deciding which direction to go, perhaps it would be useful to figure out if the people receiving the benefits from these programs really need them. It seems obvious the author has never thought that through. Wealth increases drastically with age. The older people who receive SS/Medicare benefits are, as a group, far wealthier than the young people like me who pay for the programs. That means these programs shift wealth up the wealth ladder. It doesn’t make sense to shift even more wealth in the wrong direction. Besides, unlike the generation receiving a chunk of my paycheck right now, my generation is expecting at best a negative rate of return when we reach retirement age. We’d be better off keeping that cash under my mattress. Why should we go along with paying even more into such a system? Of course, as in any demographic, there will be poor people who really do need it. However, part of the entitlement reform proposals involve means testing, which is the opposite of “cutting social insurance and benefits for those in need” as you so uncharitably and inaccurately characterized it. Means testing is, by definition, cutting social insurance and benefits for those that least need it so the programs can survive for those who need it most.