We never thought we’d see the day, but the Atlantic, fresh off a story kind of blaming workers for killing a company already in bankruptcy, has published a piece decrying the unfair distribution of American riches and arguing that Job Creators should maybe cough up some tip money so Olds can see the doctor here and there.
This piece has been published just in time, because you may refer to it when you inevitably get into an argument about politics tomorrow with a loved one who wants Waitress Moms to sling hash until the age of 70 because “Americans are living longer” and “we can’t afford it” and whatnot.
But au contraire, we CAN afford it and also, welcome to the Liberal Elite, Atlantic, and also, some thoughts on why entitlements might be suddenly in need of “reform”…
…It’s a mistake to fixate on the federal government’s budget and ignore the aggregate budget of the American people. The federal government exists to serve the American people, not the other way around. The real question is whether we as a society can afford our current level of entitlement spending.
The answer is obviously yes.
So the real point isn’t that we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare. It’s that some people don’t want to pay the higher taxes necessary to maintain Social Security and Medicare. This is a question of distribution, pure and simple.
“Some people” *cough* job creators *cough* don’t want to pay higher taxes probably because it is their God-given right to pay something around 1% in taxes. If they feel like it. Anyway, we know we can afford entitlements because the Atlantic has provided us with a chart of the real per capita GDP as projected by the CBO:
When people say that we can’t afford our entitlement programs, they’re really saying that rich people won’t pay the taxes necessary to sustain our entitlement programs. To be fair, many rich people probably would be willing to pay higher taxes if they knew the facts. But a small number of extremely rich people have successfully spread the myth that we can’t afford our entitlement programs.
Decades ago, Congress decided that anyone who worked for ten years, and his or her spouse, deserved a basic level of health insurance. If they deserved it then, there’s no reason they won’t deserve it in the future.
Your Wonkette agrees with the Atlantic’s James Kwack that Olds should be able to retire with dignity, and with health care. HOWEVER, we would just like to point out a few things. Kwack says that “decades ago, Congress decided that anyone who worked for ten years, and his or her spouse, deserved a basic level of health insurance.” But that’s not quite true! Kwack forgets that Social Security, when introduced, excluded women and nonwhites from eligibility, so it’s more realistic to say that “decades ago, Congress decided that any white man who worked for ten years deserved a basic level of insurance, along with his spouse.”
Of course, later race and gender barriers to entitlements were far less explicit. Between 1960 and 1980 when the full retirement age was 65, black men could theoretically qualify for benefits, but the average life expectancy of an African American male was roughly 62 years old. So Blacks would pay into the program their entire lives and die before they could take any substantive advantage.
Then in the 1980s, when Black male life expectancy had finally increased to 65, it was decided that entitlements needed an overhaul and the age of full retirement was raised to 67.
Currently, Black male life expectancy is finally at 70, and what a SHOCK that Romney/Ryan would have raised the age of Medicare eligibility to 70.
Of course, this is just one big coincidence, and not the REAL reason why entitlements are in need of reform. No sir, the real reason has something to do with protecting job creators. And loving America.