Thursday, March 6, 2014

At Least He Didn't Call For Death Panels

I know Dan Altman is an economist, but he didn't make the case for me that "old people are sucking us dry" (and not in a good way). And I realize he likely didn't entitle the column, but I would think he'd have some input as to what goes above the piece. As someone who hopes to reach "entitlement" age someday and start sucking that sweet teat that gives government money I was glad to see him point out that:

By contrast, much of mandatory outlays are designed to prevent drags on growth. Reducing poverty and improving health among retirees and the elderly frees up time and resources for the working-age population. Undoubtedly, this is important to the economy as well.

So, he's not putting me in the wood-chipper yet. But, old farts are taking lots of government money that could be better spent?

This situation is not the fault of the elderly. They were promised certain benefits during their lives, and they are at least entitled to try to collect them. This is a time of sacrifice, though, and everyone -- including the country's seniors -- must surely give a little. The problem is that no sitting politician seems willing to ask them. 

I like the part about seniors being entitled to try to collect them. But anyway, it's really the fault of gutless politicians. Moving on from greedy seniors he makes the leap where I miss the connection, though.

As a result, the discretionary share of spending dwindles while mandatory outlays go unchecked. Some of the costs of this choice may already be apparent. Consider, for example, how the ratio of patents to GDP has evolved in the United States and other major economies. From almost identical starting points in 1991, China and Germany have managed to raise their productivity in terms of patent applications much higher than the United States has.

Altman notes Germany outspends us on science.
 
The German government now spends more than $240 per person on science, which would work out to more than $75 billion a year in the United States. But the combined budgets of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health come to less than $40 billion. 

Since I'm aware that there were people collecting social security long before le deluge started in 1991, I'd like to suggest an alternative hypothesis for our falling behind the Germans and Chinese. I could blame it in part on Jimmy Carter who got the notion of a Bible blessed president. And Ronald Reagan who carried it further with the full blessings of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and every other Christian con man out there. And the doves are still coming home to roost.

Forty six percent Americans believed in creationism, 32 percent believed in theistic evolution and 15 percent believed in evolution without any divine intervention.

I realize there are questions about evolution, but there are problems with trying to believe in two contradictory tales of creation in Genesis has its problems too. It could just be that Germany and China have a higher percentage of people who believe in science. There's hope, though.

The survey found that 50 percent of Americans "are convinced the climate is changing" and another 34 percent believe it "is probably changing." Duke said this is the highest level of belief in climate change since 2007. 

I don't know whether it is occurring. Since I don't have the time to become a climatologist, I'm casting my lot with the people who were not trying to sell me on Obama not being born in the US and other such rot. Best I can do. 



2 comments:

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

When the tea baggers who hate government stuff and entitlements embrace euthanasia I'll stop calling them deluded fools and shitheads.

Kevin Robbins said...

Some of the gun-loving ones are self-euthanizing. A little more of that and we wouldn't have to worry about running out of SS money. What gets me is that the GOP has alienated most every group except seniors (up til now).

I don't know much about how this system works, but now and then I think they just tweak it and move the age you start collecting up a bit and it saves boatloads of money. Kinda wish Altman had addressed that possibility.