View Poll Results: Means Test the Entitlements?

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  • Means Test the Entitlements

    6 85.71%
  • Means Test Medicare, but not SS

    1 14.29%
  • Means Test SS, but not Medicare

    0 0%
  • Do not Means Test either

    0 0%
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Thread: Means Test the Entitlements

  1. #1
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    cpwill's Avatar
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    Means Test the Entitlements

    Everyone generally agrees that the cost of Medicare and Social Security is set to explode as the Baby Boomers retire. The Parties have different plans for how to keep expenditures in Medicare down (thus far neither is really talking specifics about SS), and now everyone is coming out with their own Proposal To Do X and so forth.

    Debates over privatized SS accounts, Rationing boards, and retirement ages aside; why shouldn't we look at means-testing the entitlements? It strikes me that both programs were put into place in order to protect seniors from the ravages of loss of income and increased living costs - both are meant to save them from poverty. Why not allow them to function so? the counterargument that otherwise the programs won't receive support strikes me as a cynical degradation of the American people who are thus assumed to be evil trolls - willing to screw over their grandparents if there isn't something in it for them. Certainly I don't see such an argument gaining much popular appeal. As we approach an era of seeming tightened budgets, low growth, and high unemployment; why shouldn't we seek to reduce expenditures in ways that nonetheless allow us to provide for the poor amongst us? We can provide for those who need it, while saving expenditures by cutting only for those who don't.
    Last edited by cpwill; 05-07-11 at 01:04 PM.

  2. #2
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    Harry Guerrilla's Avatar
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    Re: Means Test the Entitlements

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Everyone generally agrees that the cost of Medicare and Social Security is set to explode as the Baby Boomers retire. The Parties have different plans for how to keep expenditures in Medicare down (thus far neither is really talking specifics about SS), and now everyone is coming out with their own Proposal To Do X and so forth.

    Debates over privatized SS accounts, Rationing boards, and retirement ages aside; why shouldn't we look at means-testing the entitlements? It strikes me that both programs were put into place in order to protect seniors from the ravages of loss of income and increased living costs - both are meant to save them from poverty. Why not allow them to function so? the counterargument that otherwise the programs won't receive support strikes me as a cynical degradation of the American people who are thus assumed to be evil trolls - willing to screw over their grandparents if there isn't something in it for them. Certainly I don't see such an argument gaining much popular appeal. As we approach an era of seeming tightened budgets, low growth, and high unemployment; why shouldn't we seek to reduce expenditures in ways that nonetheless allow us to provide for the poor amongst us? We can provide for those who need it, while saving expenditures by cutting only for those who don't.
    Part of the problem with means testing is that people have ways of getting around that too.
    Transferring assets is a big thing in my state, for those who want to get their elderly family members on Medicaid.
    I was discovering that life just simply isn't fair and bask in the unsung glory of knowing that each obstacle overcome along the way only adds to the satisfaction in the end. Nothing great, after all, was ever accomplished by anyone sulking in his or her misery.
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  3. #3
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    MaggieD's Avatar
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    Re: Means Test the Entitlements

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Everyone generally agrees that the cost of Medicare and Social Security is set to explode as the Baby Boomers retire. The Parties have different plans for how to keep expenditures in Medicare down (thus far neither is really talking specifics about SS), and now everyone is coming out with their own Proposal To Do X and so forth.

    Debates over privatized SS accounts, Rationing boards, and retirement ages aside; why shouldn't we look at means-testing the entitlements? It strikes me that both programs were put into place in order to protect seniors from the ravages of loss of income and increased living costs - both are meant to save them from poverty. Why not allow them to function so? the counterargument that otherwise the programs won't receive support strikes me as a cynical degradation of the American people who are thus assumed to be evil trolls - willing to screw over their grandparents if there isn't something in it for them. Certainly I don't see such an argument gaining much popular appeal. As we approach an era of seeming tightened budgets, low growth, and high unemployment; why shouldn't we seek to reduce expenditures in ways that nonetheless allow us to provide for the poor amongst us? We can provide for those who need it, while saving expenditures by cutting only for those who don't.
    I sorta' agree with you. But people who pay into Social Security are surely entitled (ha!) to collect from it...so, other than taxing very first dollar SS payments as ordinary income for anyone making over $50,000 a year - or anyone with $500K in assets (you pick the #'s), I don't think there should be a means test.

    As to Medicare, there I'd favor a "progressive premium." Right now, $95 buys you a fabulous hospital insurance program with a measly $225 annual deductible. Make over $50K or have assets over $500K? Your premium is $175/month and your deductible is $1,000. Make over $100K or assets over $1 million? Your premium is $300/month and your deductible is $2,500. Again, you pick the numbers, but I think you get the idea I'm getting at.

    @ Harry -- I'll have to say that Illinois does a pretty good job at stopping that crap. They do a 5-year look-back (I think it's five years) to make sure assets haven't been transferred....as well they should.

    It appears that Ryan's voucher program is dead. I'm glad. I believe that would have dismantled the entire program -- to everyone's detriment. We'd be starting over with some new boondoggle in no time.
    The devil whispered in my ear, "You cannot withstand the storm." I whispered back, "I am ​the storm."

  4. #4
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    Re: Means Test the Entitlements

    Quote Originally Posted by cpwill View Post
    Everyone generally agrees that the cost of Medicare and Social Security is set to explode as the Baby Boomers retire. The Parties have different plans for how to keep expenditures in Medicare down (thus far neither is really talking specifics about SS), and now everyone is coming out with their own Proposal To Do X and so forth.

    Debates over privatized SS accounts, Rationing boards, and retirement ages aside; why shouldn't we look at means-testing the entitlements? It strikes me that both programs were put into place in order to protect seniors from the ravages of loss of income and increased living costs - both are meant to save them from poverty. Why not allow them to function so? the counterargument that otherwise the programs won't receive support strikes me as a cynical degradation of the American people who are thus assumed to be evil trolls - willing to screw over their grandparents if there isn't something in it for them. Certainly I don't see such an argument gaining much popular appeal. As we approach an era of seeming tightened budgets, low growth, and high unemployment; why shouldn't we seek to reduce expenditures in ways that nonetheless allow us to provide for the poor amongst us? We can provide for those who need it, while saving expenditures by cutting only for those who don't.
    I bring this thread back to life. Why isn't there a bi-partisan consensus that we do not need to tax low-income younger workers in order to subsidize the retirements of millionaires and billionaires?

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