Entitled to What?

Essay by ROGER LOWENSTEIN

Virtually unnoticed during the primary season, the baby boom generation turned 62 this year and began to draw Social Security benefits. This heralded a milestone in America’s aging, and depending on which of the candidates you ask, it spells a budgetary straitjacket or possibly a looming social crisis. Over the next generation, the population of seniors will practically double, to 72 million. With more people retiring and a smaller share of people working, the strains on Social Security and especially Medicare will become evident. Over the very long term, the two programs combined are projected to consume virtually the entire federal budget. A portion of Medicare (the part that pays hospital bills) faces insolvency much sooner than that — in 2019. “The entitlement problem is here and now,” says Eugene Steuerle, a senior fellow of the Urban Institute. “It is so big and overwhelming, none of the candidates feel they can tackle it.”

Read full essay at the NYT.

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Comments

Should how people spent their money be looked at when deciding what benefits they get?

Do we look at one snapshot in time? When the person actually receives the benefits? Or do we look back some?

Example: Joe retires at 60. Joe is broke. Bank account zero. No investments and no retirement from work. But Joe always bought every toy he could. Instead of saving he had an Escalade and jet skis and big screen TVs and a Ram truck to pull his $60,000 bass boat.

Ralph down the street has $600,000 in the bank at retirement. Ralph did not buy all the toys that Joe did.

Assuming that there income over the years was the same why should Joe get any more benefits than Ralph at retirement?

Poor should be defined as people without savings that didn't have the means to save. People with money that piss it away should not be counted as poor.

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