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You'd better crunch the numbers, pal

As for Social Security, you (and your employer) pay in less than half of what you'll collect in benefits.

When it comes to Medicare, you pay in less than one-eighth what you'll collect.

So everyone, left and right, agrees that they are entitlements.

I fully agree that Social Security shouldn't count as part of the budget, and that's how it is set up. Unfortunately, when Congress decided they could loot the Social Security Trust Fund and replace the cash with government bonds, it became a defacto part of the budget. As the bonds drift toward worthlessness, we are facing serious problems, not the least of which will be hyperinflation to rival the Weimar Republic.

Here's what we need to do, and we had better start on it now:

* Medicaid gets phased out over five years.

* Medicare changes from an "extend life regardless of expense" program to "after eighty, we make you comfortable until the end" program. They wanted to pay for a second coronary bypass for my mother when she was seventy-nine. She told them that it was ludicrous. I agree.

* Social Security needs to be BROADLY modified. It has always been a Ponzi scheme and it cannot cannot survive indefinitely. I'm all in favor of creating a new "National Retirement Savings" program that will allow people to invest and pay for their OWN retirement, rather than mine. Anyone who is under forty should be allowed to shift all their current OASDI money into such an account.

Until this government stops playing Santa Claus, we have no hope of escaping financial collapse.


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