Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Those wonderful pre-ACA days

Wasn't it wonderful in the pre-ACA days when you were healthy? You could get plans with big deductibles, co-pays, coverage limits, yearly and lifetime caps, along with routine coverage denials for people with those plans, and applications denied for not-so-healthy people. Pre-existing condition? Sorry. Don't work for a company with more than 20 employees? Sorry. Oh, that treatment is "experimental" so we don't cover it. Sorry. Oh, you didn't tell us you had acne as a teenager long before the history period we asked for on your application. That is a preexisting condition you didn't tell us about and we are canceling your policy. Sorry.

The number one cause of bankruptcy was medical bills. Too many people got sick and found out their coverage was basically only a coupon. Remember how many raffles and fish-fries and other fund-raisers and collection jars there were for someone who got sick? What you had was insurance for healthy people and companies that routinely denied insurance claims when things got pricey. Sure, the ACA sucks, but at least a lot of people finally got coverage.

So until we can finally get universal single-payer coverage that Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom have had since at least 1995, we are stuck with a Republican plan (RomneyCare) that is for-profit. We're sorry your premiums went up when insurers had to cover sick people. Complain to other healthy people, because the rest of us don't buy it.

America - Land of Peons

Welcome to America. Land of the Wild West, unaffordable healthcare, unequal justice, bigotry, discrimination, high-cost secondary education, for-profit primary education. Land of laws written by corporations and the wealthy, a country where the main job of politicians is chasing mega-rich donors and corporate dollars. Welcome to unabashed greed, hypocrisy, corruption, religious intolerance and crumbling separation of church and state, attacks on retirements and constant lies about its cost, and asinine juvenile dangerous foreign diplomacy. Add in a narcissistic, delusional idiot president with cynical enablers.

Chanting that America is Number One does not make it so.

America - Land of Peons (pronounced PEE-ons).

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Social Security Misinformation

Social Security is running out of money? Seriously? Would you be broke if you had $2.8 trillion in the bank? Or are you somehow under the delusion that the United States is going to default on its debts? Tell that to the Chinese and all the others who hold trillions in U.S. Treasury Bonds. You know, those interest-bearing bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States? The U.S. is not going to default even if the National Debt were $100 trillion; that would make the costs of borrowing skyrocket.

Calling Social Security a liability is a damned bald-faced lie. It has its own revenue stream and is off-budget. In case you are ignorant of what that means, Social Security is not part of the federal budget. Changes in benefits do not affect by even one thin dime the federal budget or the National Debt. The only change is the date that the $2.8 trillion Social Security Trust Fund zeroes out, at which point only 80% of benefits could be paid out. Simple adjustments to the payroll tax or the salary cap would fully fund Social Security after 2034. Or don't you want to raise the salary cap so that the wealthy pay more payroll taxes than a minuscule percentage of their incomes of millions of dollars?

If you cut Social Security benefits today, there would be zero effects through 2034 except to the folks who rely on those benefits. Nada. Zilch, zip, zero, null point-void. Saving Social Security by cutting benefits? That is a fucking con job by radical conservatives who are ideologically opposed to government-run programs. The financial sector would love to get their hands on all of the retirement account profits and the $2.8 trillion Trust Fund. Privatization. Profits. The almighty dollar. The free market which is supposedly inherently moral (Ayn Rand is their God and Paul Ryan is their disciple). They have theirs, and they want ours, too.

Or are you of the opinion that Congress somehow stole our retirements because the Trust Fund consists of U.S. Treasury Bonds? Paranoid, much? And do you think that Social Security is a savings program and that we are somehow being screwed? Do you also believe that Social Security is currently running deficits? Look up interest-bearing. Where are the future planned deficits going to come from? Are baby boomers screwed? Look up Trust Fund. Look up the meaning of trillions in assets. Look up why the Trust Fund was built up (hint: baby boomers).

Social Security is not a savings account. It is retirement insurance. Part of it is also disability insurance. If you want to risk your own money in the stock market, go ahead. The Great Recession wiped out many people's savings. Bernie Madoff stole (made off with) billions of dollars of people's savings. Brokers would "invest" with Madoff and present their clients with Madoff's fabricated list of stocks and earnings that clients were supposedly holding, then took no responsibility when the Ponzi scheme collapsed. Retirement accounts are stolen in other ways, too. Brokers can decimate accounts just by churning to earn fees for themselves. Bookkeepers, accountants, financial advisors can and have stolen or lost client's money. Look up why Leonard Cohen had to go back to work in his 70's (hint: stolen retirement).

You think Social Security is the problem? You've been conned.

Treasury Department reports $1.2 TRILLION loss in 2017