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Old 12-15-2010, 04:18 PM
 
9,181 posts, read 9,263,338 times
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Has anyone else seen this opinion piece in USA Today? It really makes one think.

Seniors, it's not about you - USATODAY.com
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,879 posts, read 25,302,878 times
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OK, I'll say what no one else wants to say.

I started working when I was 12 and I'm still working. I paid for all the wars and politics I never believed in. I paid huge amounts in taxes and got nothing in return. I paid for the deficit before the current deficit. I was always on the paying end. I paid for everyone else's SS benefits for years. Yup, you took it from me. Right off the top.

So now I'm getting old and it's time for me to finally collect something. Yes, I have a sense of entitlement. I paid for it. I am just as concerned for those poor workers who will shoulder the bill as their grandparents were for me. Sorry, but you folks can suck it up and pay just like I did.

Want to change something? Fine. Change the rules for the people who are 20 or 21 and still have a lifetime of work ahead of them. I already paid and put in my time. Of course it's not fair. It wasn't fair when I was paying either.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,723,738 times
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Interesting article. But just about every article in USA Today is very short, so by necessity this one is somewhat long on generalities and short on specifics. It would be interesting to expand it into a real essay such as one might find in "Atlantic Monthly" for example. Now this might not be a popular thing to say on the Retirement Forum, but I believe the article is essentially correct. We seniors have a damn good thing going, especially with Medicare. I would be happy to pay a higher rate for the Part B premium, for example. And yes, I am aware that some seniors have no resources to fall back on, which brings us to the never-ending argument about whose fault that would be, and of course the truth is that it is some seniors' own fault while others have suffered cruel turns of fate outside of their own control. So there is no satisfactory answer, really.
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:53 AM
 
34,356 posts, read 41,427,648 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post

Want to change something? Fine. Change the rules for the people who are 20 or 21 and still have a lifetime of work ahead of them. I already paid and put in my time. Of course it's not fair. It wasn't fair when I was paying either.
+1
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:58 AM
 
Location: Florida
19,774 posts, read 19,875,860 times
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One thing that makes a big difference in whether changes are made to the young or the retired age group is that the young have time to make adjustments to make up for whatever it is they may 'lose'.
Many or most of us no longer have that option....we can't get better jobs, work longer hours or start saving larger percentages.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:41 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
956 posts, read 3,590,053 times
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It was not my choice to pay into social security, it was the governments. Now I want what I paid for, no more, no less.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:49 AM
 
6,212 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Yellowsnow - exactly!

I have lived in a very expensive part of the country - also with very high taxes. I have paid and paid and paid. I seem to be always just short of qualifying for tax breaks or for college tuition assistance. With my income coming from a salary I have no tax loopholes or breaks. Now that I am approaching retirement, I find that even with a frugal lifestyle, I am falling short and need to move to a cheaper part of the country in order to get by. If my wife and I had the money we have paid into social security and the interest on that money we would be wealthy. If feel like I have been robbed and I certainly feel entitled to what has been promised.

Woe be to the politician who thinks he/she can muck with medicare and social security benefits.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:16 AM
 
Location: High Cotton
6,131 posts, read 6,439,478 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowsnow View Post
OK, I'll say what no one else wants to say.

I started working when I was 12 and I'm still working. I paid for all the wars and politics I never believed in. I paid huge amounts in taxes and got nothing in return. I paid for the deficit before the current deficit. I was always on the paying end. I paid for everyone else's SS benefits for years. Yup, you took it from me. Right off the top.

So now I'm getting old and it's time for me to finally collect something. Yes, I have a sense of entitlement. I paid for it. I am just as concerned for those poor workers who will shoulder the bill as their grandparents were for me. Sorry, but you folks can suck it up and pay just like I did.

Want to change something? Fine. Change the rules for the people who are 20 or 21 and still have a lifetime of work ahead of them. I already paid and put in my time. Of course it's not fair. It wasn't fair when I was paying either.
Excellent retort!
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,723,738 times
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I agree that it would be a travesty to fail to pay Social Security benefits as promised and as scheduled. The word "entitlement" has two very different connotations, which I am going to call the "legitimate" and the "illegitimate" for the purpose of this discussion, and for lack of a better term (at least in my own mind right now). What Yellowsnow and Jrkliny are describing is their legitimate sense of entitlement; they (and all of us) have paid into Social Security over the many years and so they are properly and justifiably entitled to receive the benefits, calculated as per long-standing formulas.

On the other hand, there is the negative, or illegitimate sense of entitlement, such as the sense that Social Security beneficiaries are "entitled" to a raise (COLA, or cost of living adjustment) every year, just because they are seniors and they are used to getting one. Nothing could be further from the truth; the COLA's follow formulas set by law and no one is "entitled" to one every year. Nor is anyone entitled to a Social Security benefit adequate to sustain them in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. People who think so are illustrating the illegitimate sense of entitlement. Welfare entitlements belong in this category too, of course.

Medicare is another sad case. Part B is not part of the FICA tax system at all; it is paid for by our Part B premiums (25%) and by general tax revenue (75%). Why should we, as seniors, figure we are "entitled" to a 75% tax subsidy for our doctor visits and lab work? Because we have been used to it for a long time, that's why. Well, someone has to pay the piper so we as a society are now between a rock and a hard place.

As far as Social Security taxes in versus benefits out, we have to remember that Soc. Sec. is much more than a retirement system. It is also disability insurance for those who become disabled before retirement age, and it is a support system for widows and children of deceased workers. That's why we don't get everything back. It is no mystery, no surprise, and no proof of mis-management. Look on it as insurance - insurance, for example, that we won't be completely destitute in old age. Just like with all insurance, we may not have a loss (a claim). Those who die young won't collect; those who live a very long time will get out much more than they put in. That's the system and has been for a long time.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:42 AM
 
9,181 posts, read 9,263,338 times
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This article obviously has struck a chord with some.

I will state that if someone has truly paid for something than they are entitled too it. No argument there.

However, it would be interesting to look at the amount most seniors have paid into the Social Security and Medicare system and compare this with what they have received. With people having retirements that now last twenty to thirty years the reality is that many take more out of the system than they put in and all the interest the money could have reasonably been earning as well.

That's the problem. Is it really an entitlement if you haven't paid for it?

I also have difficulty with the idea of the senior who is very defensive of his her right to collect Medicare, yet opposes some sort of similar option for younger people. Health insurance was much cheaper in the past and the prospect of getting a job with good health insurance was better than as well. No one will want to hear this argument either: But if we have limited resources what is a better use for money? Healthcare for someone who is 80 years old and requires extensive hospitalization or preventative health care for someone younger who will contribute many years in the labor force? You don't have to be an economist to answer that one.

I recently represented a woman who before her death consumed over $500,000 in medical expenses paid for both by Medicare and Medicaid. I doubt she earned that much in her entire lifetime. That money had to come from somewhere and it didn't come from her meager contributions to Medicare.

My age, 51, gives me a unique perspective. I am what is called a member of the "sandwich generation". I care for an aged mother. My wife and I also are raising an 11 year old girl and sending an 18 year old son to college. At work, I work around many of what is called "Generation X". I see the problems that all the generations are facing in this country right now. I think what is needed--that is sorely missing--is some sort of compassion, or empathy. We may have "entitlements", but so do others. We may have needs, but so do others.

I liked the article. The author is not imprisoned by being of a certain generation. He can think out of the box. He wants what is good for the country--not just a segment of it.

More dialogue is needed between the generations. Fewer lines need to be drawn in the sand. And, at the risk of being labeled a "socialist", I will say that all of us Americans are in this together. Ultimately, we will all either swim or sink together.
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