Do we have only ourselves to blame?

We face a possible second downgrade of America’s debt because of the last 10 years of spending, which was excessive under President Bush, and which has accelerated at a breathtaking pace under the able stewardship of B. Hussein Obama. We look at the weasels in D.C., and express disgust over the way they enthusiastically spend other people’s money, but is that fair? Aren’t they just doing what the voters tell them to do? Consider this excerpt from David Brooks’ column, published yesterday:

Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for tax credits, disability payments, defense contracts and the rest. They have found that the original Keynesian rationale for these deficits provides a perfect cover for permanent deficit-living. They have made it clear that they will destroy any politician who tries to stop them from cost-shifting in this way.

I am very curious about what you think about this assertion. The Urban Institute tends to be left-wing think tank, so if anything their computations probably give recipients the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of the precise numbers, it’s very clear that current beneficiaries of these programs are getting a lot more out than they put in. If you are currently receiving these benefits, are you happy about spending future generations into oblivion so that you don’t have to give up any government payments? What say you? Please comment below.


  1. I absolutely agree that this ponzie scheme has to stop somewhere. However, in defense of my generation, we did not have the advantage of 401(k) plans or the type of pension plans they have today. 401(k) plans were still in their infancy in the mid 70’s and if you were lucky enough to work for a company that offered a pension plan you had to stay there 20 years before you were eligible for that pension. Also, the pension plan could be taken away at any time and believe me, when the proceeds were distributed the vast majority went to the owners of those companies. The distributions, by the way, were regulated by the government. To answer your question, no I am not happy about spending future generations in oblivion. On the other hand, I believe our asshat legislators in Washington would gleefully find something else to spend the money on.

    • That’s why we have to avoid sending the $$ to Washington in the first place. Only the fools who support Obama believe his lies about deficit and/or debt reduction. But then you knew that.

  2. Medicare is outside of my depth, but the system as I recall
    is heavily subsidized by the general taxpayer. So the direct
    payment from the HI portion of payroll taxes does not reflect a
    taxpayers full contribution. The Urban Institute produces similar
    reports for Social Security. Those reports tend to overstate the
    economic returns of SS. The discount rate is absurdly low. The
    benefits do not reflect the existing means test or the projected
    benefit cuts coming in 2033.

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