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Topic: Entitlement Reform

Obamacare Website Crashes In Front Of Sebelius In Miami

Posted on Nov. 20, 13 | 01:30 PM by Barney Keller | Topic: Entitlement Reform
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Former MSNBC Host’s Health Plan Cancelled, New Plan Costs 3.5 Times More

Posted on Nov. 08, 13 | 10:17 AM by Barney Keller | Topic: Entitlement Reform
The below tweet is from former liberal MSNBC TV Host Dylan Ratigan:
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"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan." - Barack Obama

Posted on Oct. 29, 13 | 10:57 AM by Barney Keller | Topic: Entitlement Reform
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WH: 'It's True' Some Americans Won't Keep Their Health Plan Under Obamacare

Posted on Oct. 28, 13 | 03:04 PM by Barney Keller | Topic: Entitlement Reform
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Chris Christie at the Reagan Library

Posted on Sep. 28, 11 | 05:34 PM by David Keating | Topic: Entitlement Reform
There has been some buzz about another Reagan Library speech, this time about Chris Christie, especially about the Q&A portion.

If you want to watch the Q&A, it's here, at about the 34 minute mark.

My favorite portion of it was when he spoke about entitlements, which was also a huge theme at the speech by Sen. Marco Rubio a few weeks before.

Best line: "Real leaders, they don't read polls, they change polls."

How true.

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In Massachusetts, a surprising conundrum for the AFL-CIO.

Posted on Apr. 27, 11 | 04:15 PM by Barney Keller | Topic: Entitlement Reform
Some of you may have heard about the vote yesterday in Massachusetts to limit collective bargaining rights of municipal employees on Health Care. That's right, in Massachusetts. (Full Disclosure: I used to both live and work there)

Without debating the merits of this particular bill, it's passage poses an interesting problem for organized labor in Massachusetts. It can whine all it wants about how bad it is, but what are they going to do about it? They can either:

1) Do nothing, and hope it gets killed/watered down in the Democratic Senate, or by Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.
2) Promise primary challengers now.

If the bill is signed into law - option one becomes irrelevant. And if they don't do option two, then they leave this year not only with policies that they oppose, but also with the Democratic Party's realization that Labor is unwiling to take any political risk to fight for the policy they claim to believe in.

If the Mass AFL-CIO doesn't promise primary challengers to state legislators, it would just prove something I've certainly thought for a long time: Big Labor is nothing more than a shill for the Democratic Party, and protests in Wisconsin weren't about "working man" at all.

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'The Right Way to Talk About Entitlements'

Posted on Apr. 01, 11 | 05:44 PM by David Keating | Topic: Entitlement Reform
Interesting poll result from Resurgent Republic on how to frame the issue of reform of entitlements.


The second question puts the conservative discussion of entitlements in the context of preserving the programs for the future:

Congressman A says Social Security will not face budget problems until 2037, so we need to focus our attention on our immediate budget problems and leave Social Security alone.  Take Social Security off the table.   

Congressman B says Social Security is in real trouble because of so many retiring baby boomers. We can save Social Security with minor benefit adjustments for people age 55 and under, and we should do that now rather than wait until the program faces a crisis.

In this context, voters overall agree with reform-minded conservatives by a 54 to 39 percent margin, with the same 54 to 39 percent margin seen among Independents.  Republicans agree by a 70 to 23 percent margin while Democrats agree with Congressman A by a 51 to 40 percent margin.  Where there is a split by gender on the first framing of reform, both men (by a 59 to 34 percent margin) and women (by a 50 to 42 percent margin) agree with Congressman B in this context.

Full post.

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Former Labor Boss: Invest Social Security Trust Fund in Stock Market

Posted on Oct. 27, 10 | 09:37 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Entitlement Reform
According to this article via Club member Andrew Sullivan, former labor boss Andy Stern wants the government to invest a portion of the Social Security Trust Fund in the stock market.  Excerpt:

There were several ways to bring the fund into balance, he said, but one that he favors consists of "investing some percentage of government money in the stock market, as they do in Canada. Not individual taxpayer money, but government money."

Supporters of personal accounts might this is an okay idea, but it's actually a disastrous one.  It's gratifying to know that liberal leaders recognize the marvelous nature of our country's financial markets to create wealth and improve living standards, but this doesn't achieve that.

The heart of the problem lies with Stern's quote mentioned above.  He wants to invest the "government's money" not the "taxpayer's money."

In other words, he wants direct government ownership of private companies.  This is the very definition of socialism.  This means federal bureaucrats in the boardroom.  This means the politicizing of business decisions.  It also means that Stern (like most liberals) does not trust individuals to manage their own money.  The government needs to do it, they say, because they know what's best for America.

No, no, no.

Personal accounts are the way to go.  A voluntary choice at personal ownership.  Individual responsibility.  Choice.  These are the adjectives that should define Social Security reform.  Not government ownership of the private sector.
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Personal Accounts Are STILL A Good Idea

Posted on Oct. 27, 10 | 09:22 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Entitlement Reform
The math doesn't lie.  From William Shipman and Peter Ferrara in today's Wall Street Journal [emphasis added]:

Suppose a senior citizen—let's call him "Joe the Plumber"—who retired at the end of 2009, at age 66, had been able to set up a personal account when he entered the work force in 1965, at the age of 21. Suppose that, paying into his personal account what he and his employer would have paid into Social Security, Joe was foolish enough to invest his entire portfolio in the stock market for all 45 years of his working career. How would he have fared in the recent financial crisis?

While working, Joe had earned the average income for full-time male workers. His wife Mary, also age 66, had earned the average income for full-time female workers. They invested together in an indexed portfolio of 90% large-cap stocks and 10% small-cap stocks, which earned the returns reported each year since 1965.

By the time of their retirement in 2009, Joe and Mary would have accumulated account funds, after administrative costs, of $855,175. Indeed, they would have been millionaires a few years earlier, but the financial crisis lost them 37% in 2008. They were unfortunate to retire just one year after the worst 10-year stock market performance since 1926. Yet their account, having earned a 6.75% return annually from 1965 to 2009, would still pay them about 75% more than Social Security would have.
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Privatize Social Security? Hell Yeah!

Posted on Sep. 21, 10 | 12:05 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Entitlement Reform
 Ahead of November, Democrats are pulling out the old Social Security demagoguery card.  From the POLITICO:
With many Democrats running scared from their party’s handling of the economy and health care reform, they’ve returned to an old reliable campaign theme in the home stretch: attacking their opponents for threatening Social Security and Medicare.

“I will not allow these programs to be jeopardized or destroyed,” said Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) when he was endorsed by the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.
Most Republicans are running away from the Social Security issue.  They've probably been told by establishment handlers to never defend "privatization" or personal accounts.  
Fiscal conservative candidates should embrace it.  While Americans in retirement or approaching retirement would stay in the current system, younger workers should have the option to invest a portion of their money in financial assets other than U.S. Treasuries.  These accounts would be the ultimate "lock box" - they would prevent politicians in Washington from raiding the Trust Fund.  The truth is that taxpayers bailout politicians every year thanks to Social Security.  Congress and the White House spend more money than they have so they steal money from Social Security to help pay for it.  That needs to stop and there is no responsible way of doing that except with personal accounts. These accounts would also be personal assets, much like a house or a 401k account.  If you die, you can pass it along to your heirs.  With the current system, you can't do that.  You have no claim on that money even though you may have spent a lifetime paying payroll taxes.
Democrats will say supporters of personal accounts will allow people's fragile retirement plans to be subjected to the whims of the stock market, but that's just more demagoguery.  First, personal accounts would be voluntary.  If you like the current system (the one that is raidable by politicians), you can stay put and be subjected to decreasingly low returns as Social Security goes bankrupt.  But if you want your money protected from politicians and have the opportunity to invest in the same financial assets that politicians invest in their own retirement plans (most are well-diversified long term funds), then you should have that option.
Not surprisingly, this is an attractive idea.  A recent poll showed overwhelming support for personal accounts.  Republican voters support it 65-21, but even Democrat voters like it, 50-36.
Voters are tired of big government.  They are tired of bailouts and government taking over various private sector industries.  With personal accounts, voters now have a chance to reduce the power in Washington, and reclaim some of the economic liberty that was taken away from them.  Candidates for Congress should adopt that message and support it loudly.
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Democrat Voters Support Social Security "Privatization"

Posted on Sep. 14, 10 | 09:00 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Entitlement Reform
Across the country, Democrats are attacking Republican candidates for Congress who support Social Security "privatization."

I assume Democrats are doing this because they believe voters oppose "privatization."  I'm not sure I know what that word means exactly, but perhaps it means giving people the voluntary choice to control a portion of their own Social Security benefits in a personal account where they can invest in something other than Treasury bonds.  This gives people partial ownership of their retirement rather than being dependent on a federal government that annually raids the Social Security Trust Fund to finance their  wasteful spending schemes.

If these personal accounts are what Democrats view as privatization, then they better stop their attacks on congressional candidates who support it.  The public is wildly in favor of it.  From the Pew Research Center:

...58% favor a proposal that would allow workers under age 55 to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts that would rise and fall with the markets; 28% oppose this proposal.  Majorities across all age groups – except for those 65 and older – favor this proposal. 

Among senior citizens, as many favor (42%) as oppose (42%) allowing private investments in Social Security. By contrast, fully 70% of those younger than 30 favor this idea.

The breakdown among the political parties is even more impressive.  Republicans favor personal accounts 65-21, Democrats are 50-36, and Independents are 61-27.

In the end, opponents of personal accounts want to deny people the economic freedom they rightfully deserve.  Instead, opponents want people to be dependent on a federal government that has only shown complete ineptitude when it comes to being fiscal stewards of Americans' hard earned tax dollars.

No thanks.
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