2 thoughts on “collegeguy/23 Mar 12”

  1. If you look at what people who live in countries that offer a substantial safety net pay in taxes to support social services, you wouldn’t be surprised by the need to raise taxes. I believe that people who live in Germany pay about 19% of their salaries into a fund that pays for medical care, disability, and pensions. This is matched by the employers on a one-for-one basis, so you have 38% of salaries going into funding these items. You continue to be covered by health insurance when unemployed.

    We have 15.3% of salary (up to $110K, then 2.9% after that) going into paying for Social Security, Medicare, and SSDI. If you look at the employer and employee shares of health insurance, you’re probably well into 25% of salary. There is some good news for NWP, because once the expansion of Medicaid goes into effect, any single person making less than 133% of the poverty line (about $15K in her case) qualifies for Medicaid.

    We handle social spending stupidly. We should be able to negotiate with drug companies for prices under any government-sponsored health insurance plan. The legislation for Medicare part D (drug benefit) specifically forbade the government from negotiating on drug prices. I used to work for the part of the Defense Logistics Agency that bought all of the medical supplies for the military and VA. We negotiated for price. The drugs that we bought with the largest number of doses were for Valium and high blood pressure medication.

  2. Congrats, collegeguy, on your first post to Harder World!

    I think we can address our problems, but it will be difficult and painful, and nobody wants to hear that. The last President who tried to tell us we had problems was Jimmy Carter, who is now derided as a chump.

    I agree with collegeguy that we’ll have to raise taxes and cut spending. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the debts of the United States are sacrosanct and must be paid. Anything else–Social Security, defense, air traffic control–is fair game.

    Basically, we made promises in a different, more productive time, that now we can’t keep. The prudent thing to do is to find a way to back away from these promises while doing the least amount of damage. But what we actually do is stall for time and hope the winds will start blowing again. And in the meantime, everyone likes tax cuts!

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