Here are some truly troubling statistics from USA Today:
The cost of government benefits for seniors soared to a record $27,289 per senior in 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis. That's a 24% increase above the inflation rate since 2000. Medical costs are the biggest reason. Last year, for the first time, health care and nursing homes cost the government more than Social Security payments for seniors age 65 and older. The average Social Security benefit per senior in 2007 was $13,184....The federal government spent $952 billion in 2007 on elderly benefits, up from $601 billion in 2000. It's the biggest function of the federal government....Benefits per senior are soaring at a time when the senior population is not. The portion of the U.S. population ages 65 and older has been constant at 12% since 2000. The senior boom, however, starts big time in 2011, when the first baby boomers 79 million people born between 1946 and 1964 turn 65 and qualify for Medicare health insurance....The cost of senior benefits is equal to $10,673 for every non-senior household.
The biggest function of the federal government? Costs non-senior households over 10K a year? This should make anyone pause for a moment. My last post dealt with universal healthcare and the astronomical cost that would be impossible for the best of economists to forecast. This story just supports my claim. We provide care for our elderly population and that, in part, is why it is the biggest function of the federal government. 900+ billion a year for senior benefits. Extend this to the general population and just try to imagine the cost. I estimated 50% income tax, and that's looking like a gross underestimate. 900 billion a year and that doesn't even include the baby boomers. Folks, we may not get a shot at universal healthcare because it looks like Medicare alone threatens our budget. Not that Congress ever cared about a budget.
Meanwhile, our beloved Washington politicians busy themselves with Roger Clemens and his potential steroid use, and the New England Patriots and whether or not they videotaped the Rams walk-through practice before the Super Bowl. These are the pressing issues that Congress has put before Social Security and the looming crisis that it poses.
At some point, if we continue down this path of ever-increasing entitlements, the well will run dry. Eventually we'll reach a saturation point. You can only tax the people so much. What happens then? We spend 27K a year for every senior citizen in this country, and soon there will be 79 million more seniors signing up for their share. Do the math. And remember, we still haven't fixed social security. Do we STILL think we can afford universal health care for all? Who cares, as long as we know for sure if Roger Clemens took steroids?
Every day the idea seems more and more preposterous.