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View Diary: Rep. Paul Ryan: 80% of entitlement beneficiaries are wealthy (74 comments)

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  •  That's the hall-of-mirrors reality (1+ / 0-)
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    Orinoco

    Ryan is right that we spend too much on benefits to people who don't need them, including a lot of elderly people.  But that's because Democrats had to design benefit programs that way....largely because of the existence of Republicans.  If Republicanism disappeared as an ideology, we'd have a big margin to stop throwing public money at people who don't need it, just to keep them out of the arms of Republicanism.

    But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:07:36 AM PST

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    •  We do spend too much on benefits to people (5+ / 0-)

      who don't need them. Too bad a lot of them are artificially constructed persons, aka corporations. We spend vastly more on tax expenditures and breaks, all of them supported by the right wing, including Ryan, than we do on regular people, after social security and medicare taxes are subtracted from the spending on those programs.

      Furthermore, a really big benefit, the extra special 15% capital gains and dividends tax rate, is one mainly enjoyed by the top 1%. Ryan wants to cut that even further, to zero.  He would rather tax work than wealth.

      Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

      by NoMoreLies on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:45:44 AM PST

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    •  I don't think this is the case, Rich (0+ / 0-)

      People who pay into a retirement program deserve to get something out of that program. Social Security is not welfare, and shouldn't be turned into a welfare like program.

      If you had a nice healthy pension from a private firm, and a tiny pension from some money you put away on the side, would you be Ok with losing that tiny pension because you didn't 'need' it?

      We don't means test highways, why should we means test any other government benefit?  Should we withhold unemployment compensation until the unemployed are dirt poor and living in the street? They don't 'need' the money if they still have savings, do they?

      Entitlements are things people have earned. Benefits are part of the common welfare, offered to people who qualify. If we decide everyone should get a flower on Friday, then everyone should get one, not just people without yards to grow their own.  

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:02:04 PM PST

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      •  Depends how you conceive of benefits (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Orinoco

        I prefer to see them as insurance, something to draw on if you have to.

        And sure, I'd means-test unemployment insurance if I could.  It's just too cumbersome to do.

        But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

        by Rich in PA on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:21:38 PM PST

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        •  Some benefits have an insurance like nature (0+ / 0-)

          Police Departments come to mind. No one wants to have to call the police, but everyone is glad they are there just in case. Fire Departments, same story.

          But what is the insurance like nature of public schools, roads, or libraries? They are just there for citizens to use. Likewise benefits like Social Security, miltiary retirement benefits, Medicare. You qualify, you get the bennies, you've earned them. You have a contract with the Federal Government: you pay FICA taxes, when you retire you collect Social Security.

          I don't understand your objection to giving unemployment payments to people who are unemployed. If it's insurance, it should pay when the thing insured against happens, no?

          Means testing popular programs is the camel's nose under the edge of the tent. It's a conservative's way to turn the program into welfare and eventually destroy it. Look what happened to actual welfare.

          "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

          by Orinoco on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 03:50:47 PM PST

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