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Old Oct 25, 2013, 07:02 PM   #176
Dmunjal
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Originally Posted by P-Worm View Post
I have linked you to sources of why inflation is healthy for an economy. I took the time to read the articles you posted. Are you ignoring mine because they conflict with your world views? Maybe a video will be helpful:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/e...dangerous.html

Deflation is a real problem and not something a recovering economy wants. Why exactly do you want that?

P-Worm
I agree with the article you posted. Deflation like that is bad. But we've never had that. There has never been one year where we've had a negative CPI. A little inflation is good but too much is bad. Very bad.

In trying to fight deflation, the Fed vastly overshoots and causes much higher inflation in the form of bubbles.

After all is said and done, I think the poor are worse off because inflation hurts them more than it hurts the rich. The rich love inflation. The more the better.
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Old Oct 26, 2013, 01:50 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post

Welfare as a whole is a good temporary solution but has changed to become a lifestyle. I think that is the point of this thread.




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Another point that I make is no matter what side of the debate you are on, math wins out in the end. At some point, we cannot afford these programs anymore.
Can't afford which programs?
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Old Oct 26, 2013, 11:40 PM   #178
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Image

Image



Can't afford which programs?
It's interesting that you think TANF/AFDC is the extent of the federal government's welfare program.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The unemployment, the food stamp, and the disability programs are all growing out of control with $100Bs spent every year. Medicaid is also a form of welfare which is another couple of hundred billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicaid
"Federal Medicaid outlays were estimated to be $204 billion in 2008"

Even SS and Medicare which are considered entitlement programs in the sense that you get what you pay in have become welfare programs. They get much more than they put in that the difference has to come out of the general budget.

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/30/135844...nefits-trouble
"An average couple retiring today has paid just a little over $100,000 in Medicare taxes" over the course of their working lives. And what do they receive? About $300,000 in benefits — even after adjusting for inflation."

All of these programs should be self funding but they weren't designed very well from the start and demographic and economic changes have put a strain on them so they need to be updated but haven't.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-1...k-entitlements
"There is no way an economy that grows by 75% every 25 years can fund entitlement programs expanding by 500% or more over the same time period."
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:33 AM   #179
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It's interesting that you think TANF/AFDC is the extent of the federal government's welfare program....
Generally speaking, it's problematic to conflate entitlements with welfare and the original post was in regard to welfare.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:58 AM   #180
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Generally speaking, it's problematic to conflate entitlements with welfare and the original post was in regard to welfare.
You are correct. But these entitlements have become a form of welfare. There are means tests and people are getting much more than they are putting in. Where does that extra money come from?
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 02:23 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
You are correct. But these entitlements have become a form of welfare. There are means tests and people are getting much more than they are putting in. Where does that extra money come from?
What else do you propose to do for pensions to avoid the elderly being in utter poverty?
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 02:47 AM   #182
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What else do you propose to do for pensions to avoid the elderly being in utter poverty?
What do you tell the youth who will have to pay higher taxes than their parents did and receive fewer benefits?

This is quickly becoming a generation warfare.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/...41790296396688
"Some of the oldsters questioned why many of his dire forecasts assume that federal tax collections will stay at their traditional 18.5% of GDP. They asked why taxes should not rise to fulfill the promises already made. Mr. Druckenmiller's response: "Oh, so you've paid 18.5% for your 40 years and now you want the next generation of workers to pay 30% to finance your largess?" He added that if 18.5% was "so immoral, why don't you give back some of your ill-gotten gains of the last 40 years?"

Of course, Paul Krugman has a response.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/25...ypse.html?_r=0

But I have to ask. If we've been following Krugman's policies for the last 5 years ($10T in deficit spending and $3T in QE) and things have gotten worse, shouldn't we begin to doubt his intentions? Maybe he's really a shill for the 1%? I don't think he's credible anymore.

The fact is that under these policies, the 1% has enjoyed record wealth. When are we going to try something different?

And I don't mean go back to Bush policies. He was the no different as he and Greenspan also believed in QE and deficit spending.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 03:33 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
And I don't mean go back to Bush policies. He was the no different as he and Greenspan also believed in QE and deficit spending.
How do you know these are the problems?
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 09:39 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
But I have to ask. If we've been following Krugman's policies for the last 5 years ($10T in deficit spending and $3T in QE)...
We haven't been following his policies. Krugman has been highly critical of the way the Obama administration has handled the recovery. He still maintains that the best thing to do in this situation is stimulate the economy through spending, by investing in things like infrastructure. As it comes to QE, he isn't even sure how well it can work, but realizes it's really the only thing that the FED can do without trying to pass something through a deadlocked congress.

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...and things have gotten worse, shouldn't we begin to doubt his intentions?
What are you talking about? The economy has been recovering, just not fast enough. How has it gotten worse?

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Maybe he's really a shill for the 1%? I don't think he's credible anymore.
Again, what are you talking about? Shill for the 1%? He wants to raise taxes on the 1%.

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Old Oct 27, 2013, 09:59 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
It's interesting that you think TANF/AFDC is the extent of the federal government's welfare program.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

The unemployment, the food stamp,
In context, the discussion was "welfare" as in AFDC/TANF. I am perfectly aware of the other programs.

It is simply not true that all of these programs are "out of control". The date has been posted repeatedly (I just posted AFDC/TANF), so, I won't bother to post everything again. But, you do realize that we are just coming out of a near depression? That is exactly when these programs are supposed to dramatically increase. But, since you brought it up, the estimated cost of the government shutdown to the economy is roughly 1/3 of the cost of SNAP.

In any case, please don't change the goalposts all the time. At one point we were talking about "welfare dependency", the historical context of which is exactly ADFC/TANF. Then, suddenly, we are talking about all government transfer payments, including Social Security. I know that you don't think that any government transfer payments should exist. I disagree with you. But, let's keep it clear what we are talking about.

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and the disability programs are all growing out of control with $100Bs spent every year.
It isn't "out of control" but I will concede that Disability is one program that was not transparently funded. I think that should be fixed.


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Medicaid is also a form of welfare which is another couple of hundred billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicaid
"Federal Medicaid outlays were estimated to be $204 billion in 2008"
So, now "welfare" is even broader than transfer payments, and includes the Constitutional "promote the general welfare". The problem with including Medicaid in the discussion is that a lot of folks, like me, consider health care for the poor to be an essential government public health service. In any case, Medicaid is much, much more expensive, and worrisome, than AFDC/TANF, SNAP, and all of the others:



http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-dru...onworking-poor

Which brings us right back to the healthcare issue, not the "welfare" issue.

Quote:
Even SS and Medicare which are considered entitlement programs in the sense that you get what you pay in have become welfare programs. They get much more than they put in that the difference has to come out of the general budget.
SS can be fixed one way or the other. It has a huge surplus right now, which it has conveniently loaned back to the general treasury.

Quote:


http://www.npr.org/2011/04/30/135844...nefits-trouble
"An average couple retiring today has paid just a little over $100,000 in Medicare taxes" over the course of their working lives. And what do they receive? About $300,000 in benefits — even after adjusting for inflation."

All of these programs should be self funding but they weren't designed very well from the start and demographic and economic changes have put a strain on them so they need to be updated but haven't.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-1...k-entitlements
"There is no way an economy that grows by 75% every 25 years can fund entitlement programs expanding by 500% or more over the same time period."
You are just extrapolating from demographic growth to imply exponential growth. It really doesn't work that way. Medicare, and Medicaid, and

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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
You are correct. But these entitlements have become a form of welfare. There are means tests and people are getting much more than they are putting in. Where does that extra money come from?
SS can be fixed. Medicare, which has been tremendously successful by the way, doesn't scale very well because it was structured as an "insurance" program that assumed that people would live to age 72 on average. Brings us back to the whole healthcare problem again. "Sorry" that we baby boomers are living so long.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 10:04 AM   #186
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Some here will be pleased to learn that SNAP costs will be reduced in 5 days when the increase from the 2009 stimulus expires.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:39 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Eraserhead View Post
How do you know these are the problems?
QE and deficit spending?

I've already posted several links that show QE has not helped the average worker and has instead made the rich richer.

As for deficit spending, it doesn't work. All you're left with is debt and you never solve the original problem. Even if you take the leap of faith that deficit spending helps, we never pay it back and the debt just increases.

http://blog.heritage.org/2009/01/14/...t-doesnt-work/

----------

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Originally Posted by P-Worm View Post
We haven't been following his policies. Krugman has been highly critical of the way the Obama administration has handled the recovery. He still maintains that the best thing to do in this situation is stimulate the economy through spending, by investing in things like infrastructure. As it comes to QE, he isn't even sure how well it can work, but realizes it's really the only thing that the FED can do without trying to pass something through a deadlocked congress.
We have been following Krugman's policies. He just wants them bigger than Obama has done. We're getting a nice perspective on Krugman's policies in Japan. There, they are printing money by much a larger percentage of GDP than we are. Let's see the effects. All I've seen so far is higher import prices due to the weakened yen. Which is hurting the average worker while making the rich richer.



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What are you talking about? The economy has been recovering, just not fast enough. How has it gotten worse?
If you're in the top 1%, it has recovered nicely. Stocks and real estate at all time highs. If you're an average worker, wages are below what they were in 2008. Food stamps and disability are higher than in 2008. Real employment measured by work force participation is worse than in 2008. In areas of the real economy, it is worse.



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Again, what are you talking about? Shill for the 1%? He wants to raise taxes on the 1%.

P-Worm
That was bit tongue-in-cheek! I know he's not a shill but it's interesting that his policies and the results of them have only helped the 1%.

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Originally Posted by jnpy!$4g3cwk View Post
In context, the discussion was "welfare" as in AFDC/TANF. I am perfectly aware of the other programs.

It is simply not true that all of these programs are "out of control". The date has been posted repeatedly (I just posted AFDC/TANF), so, I won't bother to post everything again. But, you do realize that we are just coming out of a near depression? That is exactly when these programs are supposed to dramatically increase. But, since you brought it up, the estimated cost of the government shutdown to the economy is roughly 1/3 of the cost of SNAP.

In any case, please don't change the goalposts all the time. At one point we were talking about "welfare dependency", the historical context of which is exactly ADFC/TANF. Then, suddenly, we are talking about all government transfer payments, including Social Security. I know that you don't think that any government transfer payments should exist. I disagree with you. But, let's keep it clear what we are talking about.



It isn't "out of control" but I will concede that Disability is one program that was not transparently funded. I think that should be fixed.




So, now "welfare" is even broader than transfer payments, and includes the Constitutional "promote the general welfare". The problem with including Medicaid in the discussion is that a lot of folks, like me, consider health care for the poor to be an essential government public health service. In any case, Medicaid is much, much more expensive, and worrisome, than AFDC/TANF, SNAP, and all of the others:

Image

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-dru...onworking-poor

Which brings us right back to the healthcare issue, not the "welfare" issue.



SS can be fixed one way or the other. It has a huge surplus right now, which it has conveniently loaned back to the general treasury.



You are just extrapolating from demographic growth to imply exponential growth. It really doesn't work that way. Medicare, and Medicaid, and



SS can be fixed. Medicare, which has been tremendously successful by the way, doesn't scale very well because it was structured as an "insurance" program that assumed that people would live to age 72 on average. Brings us back to the whole healthcare problem again. "Sorry" that we baby boomers are living so long.
I know these entitlement programs were never intended to be welfare. That is why they were designed to be "pay-as-you-go". Current benefits were to be paid by specific taxes (FICA, Medicare, unemployment insurance, disability insurance) were all to be used to fund these programs without going into the general fund. Income taxes were to be used to fund the rest of government including "general welfare."

What has happened is that many of these programs and gone beyond their original intent and are using up so much of the general fund that we are borrowing and printing to make up the difference. This is unsustainable.

We always talk about all of these problems can be fixed. I'm supportive of that. Let's fix them by raising these specific taxes and changing the eligibility as well. But tell me is that ever going to happen? Republicans are not going to raise taxes and Democrats are not going to change eligibility. We will just go further into debt.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:39 PM   #188
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Medicare, which has been tremendously successful by the way, doesn't scale very well because it was structured as an "insurance" program that assumed that people would live to age 72 on average. Brings us back to the whole healthcare problem again. "Sorry" that we baby boomers are living so long.
Its puzzling to me that Medicare does as well as it does, considering that private insurance takes the lions share of healthcare contributions during all of the most productive and lowest cost (younger/healthy) years and leaves Medicare to cover the highest cost final years. At 65, we leave out employers and their private support system, just when coverage starts to get most expensive. With that deck of cards, it's hard to believe Medicare is even solvent.
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Old Oct 27, 2013, 12:52 PM   #189
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Some here will be pleased to learn that SNAP costs will be reduced in 5 days when the increase from the 2009 stimulus expires.
I've head about this and here are some of the reporting:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/us...od-stamps.html

http://inplainsight.nbcnews.com/_new...-stamp-program

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...amps-farm-bill

Cut! Slash!

But here's the reality:

http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/2...ncrease-govern
"The food stamp bill passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives earlier this month, widely criticized for supposedly cutting the nutrition assistance program to the poor, would actually raise spending over the next decade by 57 percent, to $725 billion from the $461.7 billion that was spent on the program in the last decade."

"This is a great example of how and why it is so difficult to cut government spending, and how warped the debate over spending has become. The Republicans want to increase food stamp spending 57 percent. The Democrats had previously planned to increase it by 65 percent (to $764 billion over 10 years instead of the $725 billion in the Republican bill), so they depict the Republicans as “mean spirited class warriors” seeking “deep cuts.”

How is this a reduction? Only in DC, does this kind of rhetoric make sense.

I keep hearing how these programs are fixable but any attempt to fix them is met by vitriol like this.

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Old Oct 28, 2013, 12:52 AM   #190
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You are correct. But these entitlements have become a form of welfare. There are means tests and people are getting much more than they are putting in. Where does that extra money come from?
It's important to separate the programs out because they have very different financial structures and aren't subject to the same demographic forces. For instance, we could burn the SNAP program to the ground and still have a problem that Social Security beneficiaries will get more than they put in.

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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
What do you tell the youth who will have to pay higher taxes than their parents did and receive fewer benefits?
This links to my above point, you can't fix Social Security by slashing school lunches and to do so would be the very kind of generational war you're referring to.

Lumping these programs together makes for an easy argument, but they serve different needs at different times and each program is affected differently by demographic changes.

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Originally Posted by Dmunjal View Post
...I keep hearing how these programs are fixable but any attempt to fix them is met by vitriol like this.
That's an important discussion. The complete inability for Congress to govern the country has serious consequences for long-term policy-making. We have technocratic problems being solved by demagogues, or as Charlie Pierce called them "arsonists in charge of fixing the smoke detectors."

The article notes that the Republicans have a "poor" communications, but that's because they've written a narrative that these programs are wasteful and the people on them are awful parasites and they're going to fix the problem. That this narrative sudden turns on them and bites their leg is hardly surprising.

However, I think Reason is misleading on this subject.

According to the CBO review of the bill, "Relative to that baseline, we estimate that enacting H.R. 3102 would reduce direct spending by $39 billion over the 2014-2023 period." Additionally, the review notes that Section 107 would "reduce benefits for about 850,000 households each year, on average, by approximately $90 per household per month."

We expect that spending will go up because of demographic factors (and money) and the Republican bill includes short-term immediate cuts, so the bill is a cut over the next nine years compared to a baseline.
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Old Oct 28, 2013, 09:18 AM   #191
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That's an important discussion. The complete inability for Congress to govern the country has serious consequences for long-term policy-making. We have technocratic problems being solved by demagogues, or as Charlie Pierce called them "arsonists in charge of fixing the smoke detectors."

The article notes that the Republicans have a "poor" communications, but that's because they've written a narrative that these programs are wasteful and the people on them are awful parasites and they're going to fix the problem. That this narrative sudden turns on them and bites their leg is hardly surprising.
I think both sides are part of the problem. Democrats are not helping by thinking that this problem can be solved by just raising taxes on the top 1-2%. That is mathematically impossible and rates will have to go up on everyone or there has to be a combination of cuts, too.

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However, I think Reason is misleading on this subject.

According to the CBO review of the bill, "Relative to that baseline, we estimate that enacting H.R. 3102 would reduce direct spending by $39 billion over the 2014-2023 period." Additionally, the review notes that Section 107 would "reduce benefits for about 850,000 households each year, on average, by approximately $90 per household per month."

We expect that spending will go up because of demographic factors (and money) and the Republican bill includes short-term immediate cuts, so the bill is a cut over the next nine years compared to a baseline.
Isn't this part of the problem? We are growing benefits faster than GDP or population growth? Even with cuts to the baseline?

I know it's heartless to say how the cuts are affecting the most unfortunate among us. But you can't grow benefits faster that GDP or population or the taxes required to cover them. Over time, you go into so much debt that larger cuts will be necessary in the future.

Again, this quote should scare everyone:

"There is no way an economy that grows by 75% every 25 years can fund entitlement programs expanding by 500% or more over the same time period."
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Old Oct 28, 2013, 02:27 PM   #192
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I think both sides are part of the problem. Democrats are not helping by thinking that this problem can be solved by just raising taxes on the top 1-2%. That is mathematically impossible and rates will have to go up on everyone or there has to be a combination of cuts, too.
We've cut taxes on the top quartile for more than two decades, while spending vast sums of money on a large-scale military industrial complex, two long-term wars—total expenditure for Afghanistan is $669 billion and Iraq is $815 billion—and we've expanded corporate giveaways like Medicare Part D. And, we faced a deep recession.

Those factors alone should make all government expenditures appear terrifying especially against a major recession driven by the vampire squid of Wall Street. But, we're also facing a demographic challenge.

By themselves each problem would be solvable, but we're also dealing with a Congress run by arsonists. The solution, however, is not to crush the people at the bottom rung and hope they don't bleed on the rugs. The solution isn't to screw over pensioners or give the rich another reason to choose between patriotism and their wealth (we won't like the answer). The solution is hard, technical solutions.

So, if anyone says, there's a simple way to solve this, they're selling snake oil. There's no simple way. But, SNAP works as a program and so does Social Security, but I would argue that Pentagon appropriations (where we buy cargo planes from Italian aerospace companies and store them in the desert) is deeply screwed up. And, I would also argue that we need to rethink Medicare Part D and even the ACA.

But, we can't fix the ACA because we don't have a Congress that could fix a flat tire.

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...Isn't this part of the problem? We are growing benefits faster than GDP or population growth? Even with cuts to the baseline?
Well, it's a projection. So, the solution isn't to necessarily to make wide cuts, but to ensure the system works and then move on to federal programs that do not.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 01:41 AM   #193
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Isn't this part of the problem? We are growing benefits faster than GDP or population growth? Even with cuts to the baseline?

I know it's heartless to say how the cuts are affecting the most unfortunate among us. But you can't grow benefits faster that GDP or population or the taxes required to cover them. Over time, you go into so much debt that larger cuts will be necessary in the future.
Curious that you can cut the number of people eligible, cut the benefits of some of the eligible people, save about $4B/year, and still you are worried that the costs will spiral out of control!?!?

Quote:
Again, this quote should scare everyone:

"There is no way an economy that grows by 75% every 25 years can fund entitlement programs expanding by 500% or more over the same time period."
Which document (and where in the document) is this quote from?


In any case, let's get real here. I just posted the numbers above. All the costs of the ordinary (payments, food, etc) welfare programs are under control, and sometimes even dropping.

What actually is threatening to get out of hand? Health care costs. And, here is one reason why. Back in 1950, this is what the U.S. population age distribution was:



Now, what with decent nutrition and medical technology, this is what it is projected to look like:




http://www.nae.edu/Publications/Brid...opulation.aspx



70 doesn't look so old any more. In fact, there are lots of 80+ year olds. With all these people today in their 70's walking 5 miles a day and eating yogurt and vegetables and going light on the sugar, and with medical care paid for via Medicare, people are living longer. Medicare is a victim of its own success.

Well, not everyone is living more healthily. Others are apparently drinking their liter of Mountain Dew every day:




And, some trends showing people dying younger in the future after all.

I keep returning to this point because, contrary to what the Koch-inspired media are telling you, welfare costs are clearly not "out of control". All of the daunting cost problems are associated with healthcare. That is what the numbers show. So, quit worrying about welfare, and start worrying about healthcare.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 10:19 AM   #194
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Which document (and where in the document) is this quote from?
A blog post by somebody named Charles Hugh Smith, far as I can tell.

For what it's worth, the "75% increase in GDP" mentioned is in terms of chained 2009 Dollars - ie, inflation adjusted - while the "500% increase in entitlements" mentioned is in terms of just Dollars - ie, not inflation adjusted.

If instead of using "real GDP" which is inflation adjusted, we use just "GDP" we have an increase from $5890 billion in 1990 to $16661 billion in 2Q13, a 183% increase. Revisiting the quoted PCTR numbers, we have an increase from $574.9 billion to $2458.4 billion - a 328% increase.

So we have a blog post claiming 75/500, but the actual comparable values are 183/328. Still not sustainable forever, but off by quite a bit. Either my math is wrong (and if so please let me know and I'll happily correct this post,) the blogger's math is wrong, or the blogger is deliberately modifying the numbers - ie, lying.

Sources:
PCTR - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=PCTR
Real GDP - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPC1
GDP - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDP
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 04:22 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by elistan View Post
A blog post by somebody named Charles Hugh Smith, far as I can tell.

For what it's worth, the "75% increase in GDP" mentioned is in terms of chained 2009 Dollars - ie, inflation adjusted - while the "500% increase in entitlements" mentioned is in terms of just Dollars - ie, not inflation adjusted.

If instead of using "real GDP" which is inflation adjusted, we use just "GDP" we have an increase from $5890 billion in 1990 to $16661 billion in 2Q13, a 183% increase. Revisiting the quoted PCTR numbers, we have an increase from $574.9 billion to $2458.4 billion - a 328% increase.

So we have a blog post claiming 75/500, but the actual comparable values are 183/328. Still not sustainable forever, but off by quite a bit. Either my math is wrong (and if so please let me know and I'll happily correct this post,) the blogger's math is wrong, or the blogger is deliberately modifying the numbers - ie, lying.

Sources:
PCTR - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=PCTR
Real GDP - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPC1
GDP - http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDP
Good catch, I hadn't noticed the difference between the two figures.
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