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  1. #1
    Senior Member ZPowers's Avatar
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    Default Entitlement Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    And because the Democrats will never right the entitlement ship, which is the single greatest threat to our nation.
    What makes you think Republicans will cut medicare or social security? Democrats are probably more likely to cut defense, which is the third over-indulgence, and obviously use taxes to also help fix the problem. The Ryan plan doesn't touch Social Security or Medicare to my knowledge (and is widely considered a joke by economists), and whenever Republicans talk cuts, its from non-programs like NPR and endowments for the arts. I have seen zero serious pledges from either group to cut either program, and elderly voters won't let them do with it. You think Republicans will gamble and cut something the elderly, ostensibly their base, is the beneficiary of?

    I'm not saying your wrong, I just have seen zero evidence that this is the case.
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    What makes you think Republicans will cut medicare or social security?
    Well, tbh, I don't think Social Security needs to be cut. I do think it should be means-tested, though.

    As for Medicare: the Ryan Plan. Frankly, though, I don't like how it's essentially generational warfare.

    Democrats are probably more likely to cut defense, which is the third over-indulgence, and obviously use taxes to also help fix the problem.
    I think defense spending should be capped, either at a set amount, or as a % of GDP. Probably the latter.

    I don't think taxes should be lowered, but it's hard to get rid of the large part of the Bush tax cuts that cut taxes for the middle class (most Democrats don't like to remember that part, but it was significant). I think that the very upper echelons of the tax system could be very highly progressive, all the way up to a 50% rate, but that should only be for the top 0.1% or 0.01% or 0.001% or so -- something in the $10MM+ range. Furthermore (or alternately), I think the tax on dividends and capital gains should be progressive, just like it is for income. Why give a taxation preference to capital over labor? Makes no sense, aside from a "we want them to invest here" perspective, which, imo, does actually hold some water. Regardless, there are always trade-offs, and I think increasing the rate on dividend/capital gains income to 25% when that income exceeds $1MM in a given year, or somewhere thereabouts, makes sense. I don't think rich heirs should be able to live off their grandfather's portfolio and pay just a 10-15% rate. If, by cutting all loopholes/subsidies, we can lower the top rates to 25% (like it says in the Ryan Plan), and make dividend, capital gains, and labor-based income all taxed, progressively, at the exact same rates, I think that is the way to go. Get the government out of the business of deciding winners and losers. Capital and labor are treated as equals. Oh, and the corporate tax rate should be slammed to the ground, and all loopholes/subsidies gotten rid of; one of the arguments for a lower dividends/capital gains tax is that those profits are being double-taxed, as the corporation already paid taxes on its income, and this argument is legitimate. As such, since we're raising the dividend/capital gains rate, the corporate income tax should be either eliminated or lowered to somewhere ~10%. If it were eliminated completely, this would have the pleasant side effect of boosting the stock market by ~50% (by increasing after-tax profit by ~50% [based on an avg. effective corporate tax rate of ~33%]), which would increase the wealth, spending, growth, and tax revenue of the country/economy.

    The Ryan plan doesn't touch Social Security or Medicare to my knowledge...
    Well, then, your knowledge is incorrect. It most certainly touches Medicare. It just doesn't touch it for those over 55, which, as I said before, I am not in favor of. We need to adopt a system more like Germany whereby care is rationed to the elderly. Why the fuck should we be spending 90% of our healthcare spending on the last 2-3 years of an individual's life. We need to use reason over emotion here, and accept that it is not sustainable, equitable, or fair for the young to not only dish out absurd amounts of their paychecks to pay for an excessive amount of care for those at the very end of their lives, especially when those same young people aren't going to be getting the same benefits when they get old. That is called generational warfare. And, unfortunately, it seems to be par for the course in America these days.

    (and is widely considered a joke by economists)
    I'm shakin in my boots.

    Which economists?

    Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz?

    Guess what, I'm an economist.

    The Plan isn't perfect, but it's the best thing out there.

    The Democrats have no viable proposed solution.

    The Ryan Plan, while imperfect, would work.

    ...and whenever Republicans talk cuts, its from non-programs like NPR and endowments for the arts.
    I think that stuff is stupid too (although, frankly, should the Federal government be paying for a lot of the stuff it pays for?), because it's not gunna solve the problem, but you're wrong in saying that that's all the Republicans talk about. The Ryan Plan is all about Medicare reform, and Cut, Cap, & Balance (which was imperfect as well, but was also a viable solution) would have forced Medicare reform as well.

    I have seen zero serious pledges from either group to cut either program...
    Well, apparently you should diversify your news sources.

    I listen to NPR in the car because, as a center-libertarian, I appreciate hearing a perspective that, while relatively fair-and-balanced, is still undeniably left-leaning, precisely because it offers something for me to (respectfully) run my own inherent bias against.

    and elderly voters won't let them do with it.
    Yes, which is why "Soylent Green is made of people" should be our Generation's motto (/warning shot to the elderly).

    You think Republicans will gamble and cut something the elderly, ostensibly their base, is the beneficiary of?
    I don't know how much the elderly are really the base of the Republican party, but no, as of yet, I have seen nothing from any politician that says they have the balls to do what is right. The Ryan Plan does at least, tho, get our long-term budget in order. Until the Democrats can offer the same, I will side with the Republicans. I don't find the Ryan Plan to be perfect, but it's at least a starting point for negotiation. But as of yet, I have not seen the Democrats make a serious attempt to step across the aisle and engage in serious negotiation over how to fix our long-term budget situation. They know that they are the party of bigger government, more spending, and more people dependent on a government handout, and, as such, they are deathly afraid of going back to the constituency they've built up and telling them that their handouts are being reduced.
    Last edited by Zarathustra; 05-15-2012 at 06:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ZPowers's Avatar
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    Ah, I had utterly forgot about Ryan's whole voucher with Medicare thing over the months. You're right about that. I see a lot of means-testing/raising retirement age stuff going around in terms of SS, and that seems pretty logical to me.

    I don't particularly want to derail the conversation here. It suffices to say I'm not crazy about a lot of the stuff in the Ryan plan (I did a review of it, realizing it really has been a long time since I took a good look at it), but I get the idea you don't like everything in there either.

    That might be a conversation for another thread.
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZPowers View Post
    That might be a conversation for another thread.
    Yeah, I originally tried to write my response on your wall, but it would've taken about 3-4 posts, so I just decided to put it in-thread. I figured we might ask the mods to split it, starting with your post (LINK), as well as the last two (LINK and LINK).

    "Entitlement Reform" would seem a fair enough thread title.

    @Patches @highlander @Vasilisa @Red Herring @uumlau

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    Thank you to whichever mod made the split.

    I think it was @Red Herring


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    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Let's be honest though neither the republicans or democrats are doing anything but padering to their respective bases. Serious policy reform can't happen because most voters don't understand it. Both parties are stuck in their black/white positions in order to appeal to the LCD.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

  7. #7

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    Are you serious enough? That given the history of the US, the present budget breakdown and the growing distance between the military and citizenry that you pick the availability of benefits to the population as the greatest threat to the US?

    That's ridiculous!!

    Although it probably does say a lot about your own ideologial blinkers, just dont confuse that with, you know, reality.

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    Lark, no offense, but you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Your opinion is meaningless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    Lark, no offense, but you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Your opinion is meaningless.
    Pretty much.

    I pretty much agree with you all the way down the line on the Ryan Plan.

    Sure it's not perfect but at least it's something that attempts to deal with the problem at hand.

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