Trimming the Entitlement Beasts

Well, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles of the President’s recently appointed Debt Commission, along with their entire committee have really rocked Washington with their recommendations, and of greatest concerns to seniors are the issues dealing with Social Security.

What is most aggravating about the whole thing is that AARP, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and a whole host of others who make their living by scaring the hell out of seniors, is that they are lying through their teeth. They announced that today’s seniors are going to see severe cuts to their Social Security because of some of the suggestions that have been made regarding the raising of the age limits for full benefit social security.  Well, here’s the truth.

When Social Security was first introduced, long before anyone who is reading this was born, the idea of retiring at the very old age of 65 made sense.  People rarely lived that long, and over time, as more improvements were made in medicine, technology and science, our longevity began to increase.  Today age 65 is often referred to as the new 55, and 75 is the new 65.  So what does that have to do with Social Security?

The answer to that is, the majority of us are going to live about 78 to 82 years, and many of us are probably planning to work well into our 60’s and for some into their 70’s and beyond – not necessarily because we have to, although that’s certainly true for a growing number of Americans, but also for many because they can and choose to do so.

So the Debt Commission has rationally suggested that we tie or Index retirement age to the increases in longevity.  So far, there have been no suggestions that doing so would impact today’s seniors, and for that matter, no one over the age of 60.  But that’s not what it sounds like with the noise coming out of Capitol Hill.

The fear-mongering about pushing the age limit for retirement to ages 68 and eventually 69 isn’t based on something happening today or to people already over the age of 60 or those currently collecting Social Security.  As a matter of fact, the full benefit retirement age for Baby Boomers is already 66 to 67 depending on the year in which the boomer was born.  The youngest boomers, those born in 1964 will, under today’s existing retirement rules, already have to wait until they turn 67 to receive full retirement benefits. And by the way, that won’t happen for them until the year 2030. And this fact is relevant.

Under the newly proposed plan, full benefit retirement age would be further extended one month every two years beginning in 2031, and would subsequently push full retirement to age 68 in the year 2050 and full retirement to age 69 in the year 2075.  In either case, that’s between 40 and 65 years from now.  So what’s the big whoop?  By then, people may be living well into their hundreds, and doing so as working, productive healthy Americans.

Now before someone goes off on me, saying that bricklayers, ditch-diggers and others who work at jobs requiring hard manual labor can’t continue to do that kind of work for those proposed additional years, the Debt Commission has also suggested that there be a hardship exemption for those who for very justifiable reasons are proven unable to work beyond age 62.

I’m all for that, and I’m also certain that there will be a lot of entitlement-minded liberals who will spend more time trying to game the system in an attempt to retire at 62, rather than tend to their health, well-being and the concept of personal responsibility. Those people are life’s losers, because many of them chose not to become educated, chose not to improve their lot in life, chose not to push themselves, but instead feel that standing in line awaiting a government handout is an okay approach to living life.  I feel sorry for those who quit on themselves.

Here’s my point.  Pelosi and Reid, without even having anything more than a Draft of ideas to look at regarding changes to save our system, have already stated that they won’t support virtually any of the ideas coming out of the Debt Commission. In fact, they want to continue and increase spending on unsustainable entitlement programs.

Well, I’ve got news for them and everyone else, America is broke.  Today $.43 of every, almost half of every dollar we print is borrowed.  If we continue on this path, without some changes to Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, our country will simply run out of money and out of our ability to borrow more.  At that point, all of these entitlements will simply collapse our system, and there will be no entitlements – for anyone.

The time to do something is now, regardless of party politics. Politicians like Pelosi and Reid cannot go unchallenged as they continue to lie to us about these proposals or where we will end us as a nation should we fail to make the hard choices.  We could easily become the nation of Greece if today, the hard and painful truth isn’t told to us, and the solutions required to save us from going bankrupt as a nation are not implemented to correct our broken system.

Here’s the best analogy I can come up with to drive my points home.  Assume you’ve been told that you are morbidly obese, and if you don’t lose 250-lbs within 3-years you will most likely die.  You now have options.  You can start your diet now, and lose a few pounds every week and every month for a period of years to achieve your goal with the least amount of sacrifice and pain.  Or you can face the impossibility of trying to all 250-lbs. in the final days of your projected life which will most likely end with disastrous or deadly results.

Which would you choose? Because that’s where our Country is today with the entitlement programs.

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About Ron

Ron Kauffman is a 40-year veteran of business. He attended Long Island University, C.W. Post College, and St. John’s University Graduate School of Business. He spent 5-years as host of radio talk shows and produced more than 600 live programs, all dealing with boomers and seniors concerning issues of health, wealth and lifestyle. His informative weekly podcasts continue on the Internet, and may be heard on his website at As an expert on caregiving and issues of aging, his written articles have appeared in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, Omaha Senior LifeStyles Magazine and Families of Loved Ones magazine. Ron is an expert contributor to, a website for caregivers in the US with over 1-million hits per month. In addition to his writing and speaking, Ron, a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is a Geriatric Care Manager. He is considered an expert on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as it relates to dealing with both the patient and the family of a senior with Alzheimer’s. He works with seniors and the adult children of aging parents providing care planning, expert assistance and guidance and referrals as needed on issues and aspects of aging from in-home patient care, facility placement, advance directives, to managing the stresses of caring and dealing with loss. Some other facts about me: • I am in contact with Doug McGuinn of the NC Militia and plan to become active with that group once I’m settled in our new home. • I have met with Bill O’Connor from the NC Tea Party to discuss some political issues and the possibility of running for local office in the future. • I was a featured speaker at the Asheville Tea Party Rally on July 4, 2009 at the court house, organized by Erika Franzi • I have been a featured speaker at two local Florida Tea Party Rallies, the most recent on April 15, 2010 • I’m a Founding Member of Oath Keepers • I’m a member of the NRA and a certified instructor for their Refuse to Be A Victim program • I’m a member of the Armed Citizen Legal Defense Network • I’m a strong believer in the 2nd Amendment, the right to own and carry, and have a CWP for Florida concealed carry • I’m a former EMT and volunteer firefighter • I’m a Vietnam Era veteran honorably discharged from the US Army.
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