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Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

© Tom Tomorrow

The largest increases in “average life expectancy” are actually due to a lowering of childhood death. Old people really aren’t living that much longer than they did when Social Security was originally established. And those who do live longer are primarily in the top half of income earners. Interestingly, the tax that funds Social Security is capped, which means that the lower income earners, who aren’t living as long, are effectively paying for the longer retirement years of the upper income earners. Only in America.



  1. starluna wrote:

    The numbers are even worse for African Americans. Indeed, the cruel joke is that African Americans, as a group, put more into Social Security than they use because a larger proportion die before the age of 65.

    I just finished a report looking at this issue here in MA. In 2007, 45% of African Americans who died were under 65 years old. Twice as many African Americans die between the ages of 40-55 years as White Americans.

    This proposal would not only have serious impacts on lower income groups. It would have a very distinct racial impact as well.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 8:42 am | Permalink
  2. Slavery was never abolished, they just changed the name to “employment” and made it legal for people to quit.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  3. No u wrote:

    When Obama’s gov does something stupid=”only in america”

    When Republicans say/do something stupid=and yet we vote them back in

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Social Security is supposed to be like insurance — there if you need it. It is only reasonable that if we cap how much rich people can pay into it, then we should cap benefits to people who don’t actually need it. That would save a ton of money.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  5. ebdoug wrote:

    And most that don’t need it probably wouldn’t cry “foul”. I remember my mother collecting on my father’s social security. “Do you mind paying tax on it?” “Not one bit,” she replied. “I didn’t earn a penny of it.”

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    STARLUNA: Most of the proposals to balance the budget so far (to pay for Bush’s mess) are take from the poor and give to the rich. I don’t see “Take from the rich and give to the poor” mentioned. Of course, if the budget is balanced, the states are going to have to pick up the deficit. Taxes are going to soar on the state level.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  7. starluna wrote:

    EBDoug – that is already happening. The Feds have already cut some very important programs, like funding for police and fire departments and education. The new restrictions on Medicaid eligibility, particularly those targeting immigrants, have also impacted state and local budgets. Here in MA, the gap in Medicaid reimbursements for resident aliens is being made up by state funding, although with our current state deficit, that may go away too. In addition, community policing programs have been cut because of lack of funding. Property tax rates have increased in several communities here just to keep libraries open.

    The good thing here is that people do seem to see the relationship between taxes and services. There was a ballot proposition in November that would have cut the state income tax almost in half. It was overwhelmingly defeated. On the other hand, a proposition to remove the tax on alcohol that funded alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs did pass. The supporters of this proposition actually said that they believe the tax on alcohol is “wrong” and that they hope that the state “finds the money somewhere” to continue to run the rehab programs.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    And the Republican Party has already announced that they will block tax cuts for the middle class, unless they get their tax cuts for the rich. They won’t even compromise by having the tax cuts for the rich be temporary.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  9. patriotsgt wrote:

    And to pass the new HCR the Dems are willing to cut 1/2 trill from medicare, several hundred Billion from education, food for the poor and housing for the poor. They did add a cadillac penalty for the rich, but nothing else aimed upward. So who are the only ones supporting the rich or against the poor? I think it’s the pot calling the kettle black if you ask me.
    IK on the wealthy tax cuts, I think its too early (2 days into)in the lame duck to determine the outcome. Right now is just political posturing and chest pounding. They’ll compromise after a public display of impassioned rhetoric.

    I think if you earn over 100k in retirement income you shouldn’t get any SS. How about all those local gov and police, and fire pension guys who double dip and get enormous gov pensions. They probably get SS as well.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  10. ebdoug wrote:

    One thing not mentioned here is that no one is required to apply for social security. The truely altruistic rich would not. Why should they?

    Starluna: Since I had a tax client in Mass, I was able to watch the evolution of the health program. He married, didn’t put his wife on, was fined, etc. I could only think how stupid he was to not immediately want his wife to have health insurance. I applauded the requirement that all need to kick in. He has a comfortable salary so there was no reason. State fined him, he got health insurance for her. Wonderful example for the rest of the US. Although the Red States are cutting everything, hoping those in need will move to New York and Mass.

    Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink