Social Security

Friedman: The fallacy of the welfare state

Friedman: The fallacy of the welfare state

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's an insightful passage from the book he wrote with his wife Rose: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement. It explains why government spending is wasteful, how it leads to corruption, how it often does not benefit the people it was intended, and how the pressure for more spending is always present. A simple classification of spending shows why that process leads to undesirable results. When you spend, you may spend your own money or someone else's; and you may spend for the benefit of yourself or someone else. Combining these two…
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The Reagan legacy on spending

As time passes, it may be possible for widespread critical evaluation of Ronald Reagan, both the good things he did, and the bad. Nick Gillespie of Reason reports some facts about the Reagan record and on Senator Rand Paul's speaking accurately about it, concluding: "Take on Reagan's legacy and you're playing with fire. Especially if you're right about Reagan's terrible record on spending, which Rand Paul absolutely is." After trimming some programs early in his presidency, Reagan came around to pushing massive increases on just about everything, including education (a newly formed federal department he promised to kill upon taking…
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Medicaid expansion: The impact on the federal budget and deficit

From Kansas Policy Institute. Medicaid Expansion: The Impact on the Federal Budget and Deficit By Steve Anderson The problem with the uninsured is not going to be solved by expanding Medicaid. Even amongst Medicaid’s staunchest proponents you’ll be hard pressed to find any who will claim it to be the equivalent of high quality private health insurance coverage. The number of federal senators and representatives that choose to exclude their staffers from Obamacare shows that many Washington politicians understand the quality of government insurance plans Medicaid and Obamacare represent. The simple fact is, that health insurance is not to be…
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Friedman: The fallacy of the welfare state

As we approach another birthday of Milton Friedman, here's an insightful passage from the book he wrote with his wife Rose: Free to Choose: A Personal Statement. It explains why government spending is wasteful, how it leads to corruption, how it often does not benefit the people it was intended, and how the pressure for more spending is always present. A simple classification of spending shows why that process leads to undesirable results. When you spend, you may spend your own money or someone else's; and you may spend for the benefit of yourself or someone else. Combining these two…
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Things have changed at Social Security Administration

Remember when your Social Security card stated that it was not to be used for identification purposes? You'd have to be of at least a certain age to remember this, according to SSA: "The first Social Security cards were issued starting in 1936, they did not have this legend. Beginning with the sixth design version of the card, issued starting in 1946, SSA added a legend to the bottom of the card reading "FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PURPOSES -- NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION." This legend was removed as part of the design changes for the 18th version of the card, issued beginning…
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Government interventionism ensnares us all

Are those who call for an end to government subsidy programs hypocrites for accepting those same subsidies? This is a common criticism, said to undermine the argument for ending government subsidy programs. Rather, the existence of this debate is evidence of the growing pervasiveness of government involvement not only in business, but in our personal lives as well. Recently the Wichita Eagle printed an op-ed critical of Charles G. Koch, chairman of the board and CEO of Wichita-based Koch Industries. The target of the criticism was Koch's recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Corporate Cronyism Harms America" with…
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Pompeo: No debt ceiling hike without structural changes

In a press conference held yesterday, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Wichita Republican, said the country can't risk continuing to spend at the present rate. There should be no agreement to raise the debt ceiling absent structural changes, he added. He called for "real short term savings" in 2012 and spending limitations. He also said he supported an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. On federal spending, Pompeo said "I've been here six months now. If there's one thing that's become very clear, this town is a place that is addicted to spending." He described the direction of…
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President Obama: Just cash in the Social Security Trust Fund

Speaking about Social Security, President Barack Obama told CBS news today that "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it." The issue he refers to is raising the federal debt ceiling. That's a very curious statement for the president to make. Because liberals, he included, refer to the $2.6 trillion Social Security Trust Fund as money socked away, available to pay benefits for a long time. So couldn't the president simply cash in a few of the…
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Social Security Trust Fund: Why no truth?

Regardless of one's attitude towards the Social Security system, the refusal by liberals to admit the fraud of the system's trust fund remains an obstacle to honest discussion of the system's future. Here's an example from a prominent defender of the myth of the Social Security Trust Fund, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In an editorial from earlier this year, Sanders said those who tell the truth about the Social Security Trust Fund are a "barrage of misinformation." He went on to describe the trust fund: "Social Security invests its surpluses, as it should, in U.S Treasury bonds, the safest…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday June 27, 2011

Wichita city council. This week the Wichita City Council considers consent agenda items only, and then has a workshop. Among the consent agenda items are a resolution declaring the city's intent to use debt financing in the amount of $40 million for the new parking facility at the airport. A companion resolution declares intent to use $160 million in debt financing for the new terminal. Interestingly, these resolutions contain this language: "That a public necessity exists for, and that the public safety, service and welfare will be advanced by ..." followed by a description of each project. Really, the city…
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Greenwald and Sanders try to defend Social Security, slam Charles and David Koch

Are the free market critics of Social Security a shadowy "echo chamber" seeking to end the system for the benefit of the rich, or sounding a fact-based alarm that government and its supporters dispute and don't want you to hear? According to a short video by Robert Greenwald, it's the first choice. But examination of the claims made will lead us to the opposite conclusion, and you'll wonder why Greenwald has any credibility. The video features U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist. He describes Social Security as a federal program that has been…
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Pompeo updates constituents on spending, debt, government interventionism

This week provided an opportunity to catch up with U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo as he conducted a public forum in Andover Monday evening, and on Wednesday at a meeting in his east Wichita office. Pompeo, a Wichita Republican, is in his first term representing the Kansas fourth congressional district, which includes the Wichita metropolitan area and surrounding counties. As has been the case with his other forums or town hall meetings I've observed, it's standing room only, and popular topics are federal spending and debt. At the forum in Andover, Pompeo presented charts showing the course of federal spending and…
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Federal debt limit seen as test of resolve

Cato Institute video: "Will raising the debt limit signal to markets what we want? Or will it signal an unwillingness to deal with tough decisions on spending and debt in the near term? Cato Institute Senior Fellow Jagadeesh Gokhale suggests that refusing to raise the debt limit (until programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are reformed) could signal to markets a greater willingness to deal with long-term fiscal issues sooner rather than later."
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday May 16, 2011

Wichita City Council this week. This week the Wichita City Council handles several important issues. One is approval of the policies regarding incentives for downtown development. Then, the council will consider approval of the city's portion of the Hawker Beechcraft deal. In order to persuade Hawker to stay in Kansas rather than move to Louisiana, the State of Kansas offered $40,000 in various form of incentive and subsidy, and it was proposed at the time that the City of Wichita and Sedgwick County each add $2.5 million. Of note is the fact that Hawker's campus in east Wichita ... oops,…
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Reisman: Social Security, Medicare must end

Last week George Reisman published an article that should be required reading for all who care about the future of our country. Titled How to Eliminate Social Security and Medicare, it will take more than a few minutes to read, but it holds the type of information we need to know as we consider reform of government entitlements. Reisman is the author of the monumental work Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics. Reisman lays out a plan that would gradually, over time, end the Social Security and Medicare systems. It's a detailed plan, and I don't pretend to know enough to…
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Kansas and Wichita quick takes: Monday April 11, 2011

Social security entitlement. In today's Wichita Eagle Opinion Line, this comment was left: "Please stop calling my Social Security an 'entitlement.' I paid into it all my working life, and I just want my money back." Two points: The writer seems to believe that just because people pay into Social Security, they're entitled to benefits as through there was a contract in place. But there is no contract. Social Security benefits are what Congress says they are, and Congress can make changes at any time. ... Second, the writer wants his money back, as though the money was paid onto…
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Social Security trust fund: a problem in disguise

A situation that must be resolved soon first requires some understanding and an honest assessment of the facts: Social Security and its trust fund. Over the years, the Social Security Administration has collected more in payroll taxes than it has needed to spend on benefits. (Last year that wasn't the case.) The surplus represents the trust fund. But there is disagreement as to the economic meaning of the trust fund. From a naive and uncritical accounting perspective, there seems to be no problem. SSA purchases a special series of bonds from the U.S. Treasury, and these bonds make up the…
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Federal spending on autopilot

Many people know that a large portion of the federal budget is effectively out of lawmakers' hands. Together Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt presently consume about 48 percent of federal spending. But if nothing changes, these programs will grow to consume 90 percent of federal spending by 2084. This is the conclusion of Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow Veronique de Rugy. Her analysis is based on data from the Congressional Budget Office, which makes forecasts in its Long-Term Budget and Economic Outlook. Her report is Defense and Non-Defense Spending Programs Squeezed as Autopilot Programs and Debt…
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Charles G. Koch: Why Koch Industries is speaking out

In today's Wall Street Journal, Charles G. Koch, who is chairman of the board and CEO of Koch Industries, writes that economic freedom -- not government spending and intervention -- leads to prosperity and economic well-being for all, even for our poorest citizens. Koch describes an "economic crisis" of increased spending and debt, at both the federal and state levels. The spending cuts currently being considered by Congress, he says, are "relatively minor," with few proposals for necessary cuts to military and entitlement programs. He describes Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as someone who takes seriously the challenge of controlling government…
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