Thomas Friedman Gets Entitlements Wrong

English: In the United States, Social Security...
English: In the United States, Social Security benefits for married workers with stay-at-home spouses. According to author Joseph Fried, this graphic uses information from: C. Eugene Steuerle and Adam Carasso, “The USA Today Lifetime Social Security and Medicare Benefits Calculator,” (Urban Institute, October 1, 2004), from: http://www.urban.org/publications/900746.html. Note: The calculator does not include the value or cost of the Social Security disability program. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Thomas Friedman Gets Entitlements Wrong

 

Sorry Kids, Thomas Friedman Is Not Very Good at Economics

 

http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/beat-the-press/sorry-kids-thomas-friedman-is-not-very-good-at-economics

 

Many young people may have been mislead by Thomas Friedman’s column, titled “Sorry Kids: We Ate It All,” which implied that our children might somehow suffer because we are paying so much to seniors for Social Security and Medicare. The reality of course is that if our children and grandchildren do not enjoy much higher standards of living than do current workers and retirees then it will be because the rich have rigged the deck so that they can accrue most of the gains from economic growth.

 

This is easy to show. For example, if we look at the Social Security trustees report we see that average annual wages are projected to grow at more than a 1.3 percent annual rate between now and 2050. As a result, the average before tax wage will be more than 60 percent higher in 2060 than it is today. If our children and grandchildren get to share equally in these gains then they will be far richer than we are today.

 

It’s true that we will have a higher ratio of retirees to workers in 2050, just as we have a higher ratio of retirees to workers than we did in 1970. Just as the increase in the ratio of retirees to workers over the last 4 decades did not prevent an increase in average living standards over this period, there is no reason to think it will prevent an increase in average living standards over the next four decades.

 

I heartily agree with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. The generational theft storyline has been running around for a while and it is both wrong and unconvincing. Let’s take me for instance, I have my form in the mail from the Social Security Administration telling me what to expect. If I wait all the way until I’m 70, I will receive, $1,440 a month. I’m a little curious? When did that become a princely sum? Is this the kind of money that will enable me to go the sand and surf of Hawaii or does it more look like I’m going to have trouble paying for a place to live and basic groceries. I’m leaning toward the latter conclusion. Even in Arkansas, 1,440 dollars a month is not going to pay for a mansion. I might add that I have been paying in on that all of my working life, so it’s not free as far as I am concerned.

 

Well, what about Medicare? Well, it’s obvious to me although not to Friedman, that medical patents are being abused, that not allowing prescription drugs to either be bargained for by the federal government or purchased overseas is creating dramatically high medical costs and there are a bundles of other good choices we have to reduce out medical costs instead of telling seniors, “It’s just too bad, you got old while Thomas Friedman was considered an expert.”

 

Where do these people get the gall to tell the great middle class to go without pensions and health care when they have expressed no willingness to fix the nation’s problems? Why do we have a system where capital gains is taxed at less than wages? Why do we have no financial transaction tax to discourage the speculation which has wrought havoc all over this nation and the world?

 

 

 

James Pilant

 

From around the web.

 

From the web site, Okieprogressive.

 

http://okieblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/social-security-and-medicare/

 

Social Security and Medicare are programs that are needed relevant and necessary!

 

The economy is slowing repairing itself but we still have those on the right who want to deep-six any social safety net that would protect our seniors, the poor and disadvantaged, the sick, the halt and the lame. These are very people whom even Jesus Christ said should always be protected and aided. People like Tom Coburn don’t agree with Jesus on that, even though Coburn professes to be a follower of that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth he had publicly stated that Social Security and Medicare are programs that we really don’t need to continue. Tom must have read a different Bible from all the ones I have read.

 

But, that is the current mantra for a lot of neo-cons and they are influencing a lot of neo-newbies who are coming and have come into the workforce over the past decade. These are people most of whom have never known any toil or strife in their lives because of safety nets like Social Security and Medicare were there for their parents and grandparents. They are the very ones buying to the neo-cons who claim most of the people who are poor don’t try hard enough or don’t or are lazy and shiftless and don’t really want to work. It’s a completely asinine idea, but they are buying hook line and sinker. When you have never known what is to be hungry or out of work I guess it is difficult to understand that, that is something that doesn’t necessarily mean you caused it.

 

 

Erskine Bowles, Freeloader?

Since Romney Raised the Issue of Freeloaders, What Is Erskine Bowles? | Beat the Press

Since we seem destined to have a national debate on the topic of government freeloaders in the wake of the Romney fundraising video, it might be worth asking how we think about someone getting hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for sitting on a corporate board for which they did little obvious work. Erskine Bowles, a possible future Treasury Secretary, is of course the poster child for such people.

Mr. Bowles has earned millions of dollars sitting on corporate boards over the last decade. The stock prices of the companies on whose boards he sat have mostly plummeted. Since 2003 the Erskine Bowles stock index has lost more than one third of its value. By comparison, the S&P 500 has risen by more than 50 percent. If Mr. Bowles was trying to serve shareholders, he has not done a very good job.

Since Romney Raised the Issue of Freeloaders, What Is Erskine Bowles? | Beat the Press

 

Dean Baker (from Wikipedia)

Dean Baker writing in his blog, Beat the Press, wonders who the definition of freeloader fits most. It is not flattering to Mr. Bowles.

Beat the Press” is the first web site I read when I get up in the morning. If you are bored with the nonsensical claims of economists who have affiliated themselves with the malefactors of great wealth, Mr. Baker is the man for you. He is independent, intellectual and speaks the language of economics in a way a layman can appreciate.

James Pilant

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Liar and Slanderer, Joe Kernen

CNBC Host Joe Kernen: Paul Krugman Is A Communist

“They quoted Paul Krugman and this other idiot, Dean Baker, who’s some guy, I don’t even know who he is, he always writes for The Huffington Post. Basically co-communists in a lot of different economic circles,” Kernen said on Monday. “You know, fact-checkers need fact-checking now. They’re so full of crap. These fact-checkers lie more than the people that they’re fact-checking.”

CNBC Host Joe Kernen: Paul Krugman Is A Communist

Kernan takes CNBC to a new low with his Joe McCarthy antics. I read both Krugman and Baker every day. Their fact checking is solid and even more solid is their status as American Capitalists and patriots. This vicious windbag needs firing. Where would a network find a person like Joe Kernen and believe these kinds of thoughts provide “significant” commentary? They more resemble the rantings of beer soaked bar patron muttering at the television.

It’s the same old thing. When the facts are with you, you cite the facts, when the facts are against you, you pound the table.

This is table pounding, and pathetic table pounding at that.

James Pilant

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Are The States Facing A Pension Benefits Disaster?

Not according to a report called: The Origins and Severity of the Public Pension Crisis.

The report is issued by CEPR, the Center For Economic and Policy Research.

Dean Baker

It is authored by Dean Baker.

This is from the last page – The Conclusion –

The shortfalls facing most state and local pension funds have been seriously misrepresented in public debates. The major cause of these shortfalls has not been inadequate contributions by state governments, but rather the plunge in the stock market following the collapse of the housing bubble. Given the low PE ratios in the stock market, pension fund assumptions on the future rate of return on their assets are consistent with most projections of economic growth and past experience. Furthermore, when expressed relative to the size of their economies, most states are facing shortfalls that appear easily manageable.

That’s not what you’re being told? I’m so surprised. No, you’re being told that this is a first-rate economic catastrophe and we have to do some horrible things to these state employees who foolishly believed the government of the state when it said they would have pensions when they retired.

James Pilant