How seniors see it: Talking about entitlement reform in Florida

In American presidential politics, the focus now is on Tuesday’s “winner-take-all” Florida Republican primary.

But it’s the coming decades where one consequential question looms: How are we going to pay the bills for the promises we made to older Americans? This is an issue where public policy and voter power meet head on. And that clash is very much in play here in the state with the highest percentage of senior citizens anywhere in the country.

How does a Republican Party where “entitlement reform” has become a central concern appeal to an age group that is big, getting bigger, that votes, and whose feeling about such reform can be summed up as “hands off”? As Jeff Greenfield found in this report from Florida, the answer is: very carefully.

 

Comments

  • Tfmccoy

    It’s not an entitlement…We paid for it and extend the payroll cap.

  • http://twitter.com/Fonzy87 Mark Borsenik

    Please watch this video!

  • http://twitter.com/FrederickRLynch Frederick R. Lynch

    This was a very, very good report on the potential unity of the senior vote on Medicare and Social Security. Alas, it was not on the main newscast–though it was recommended for online viewing. Great cross section of interviews and an interview with an AARP rep.  Greenfield is a veteran and a pro and should be on News Hour ore often.

  • Fox7799

    Means testing Medicare and Social Security would be a huge mistake because nobody wants to get less if they save and invest.

  • Fox7799

    The answer is to raise the retirement age as needed because people are living longer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_K6QGUBP6RWEELRJ6FCG3FRH6C4 carla

    While I agree on the basic concept while I was watching this I wondered who is pushing this message. I get it and I am 60+ and I have sons who are doing OK but should the economy do a downturn they will be back home. 
    The politics and the economic distribution is not only due to seniors (entitlements). The lopsided distribution of the earnings, taxation, and opportunity is due to policies since Reagan. I do not believe we can talk about entitlement reform without addressing the inequality of taxation. There is no correlation between low taxes and investment income and job creation. This is the myth in  American political discussion that the main stream media has been shy to address for fear of being labeled “left wing media”.

  • Harmelink

    Disappointed that once again no mention was made of the fact that someone whose income is $20 million per year pays no more social security tax than someone who earns $100,000 a year.  Charging everyone the same percentage would go a long way in extending the financial stability of Social Security.

  • Dori

    S.S. & Medicare are essential to my living, without it I would be dead or on the street, neither of which I want.  I choose to live a healthy active life, I paid into it during my life time, it is money I have earned.  It isn’t a gift from the Government.  If you don’t know this, you need to read your history and grow up, form your own beliefs, don’t accept what the Republican want to mislead you into believing.  Ask someone who depends on their S.S..for their health care and the result of their working years.

  • Daniel

    The report failed to mention that current retirees will collect about 130% of the Social Security that they contributed – including accumulated interest. Under current law, Boomers will be lucky to get 75% back. Later generations should not count on getting anything.

    The report truthfully mentioned that the Greatest Generation votes in force. And, like all generations, they vote selfishly. All the while, Boomers have avoided the polls and let their parents plunder the system. The Boomers now have nothing to stand on when they complain that they and successive generations will face a bleak retirement.

  • jan

    Speak for yourself, McGurk.  I always vote.   Always.

  • Mark7025

    The question really becomes; “Which changes to Social Security would make the system viable over the long run, and are they equitable and morally defensible?”. In order to answer that question, we need to ask:
    1. What are the economic impacts of each of the proposals?
    2. What are the social consequences?
    3. Is there a politically expedient path to a solution?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X3G7WF2LOUGLQOAVOXHTU4U7SY HHH

    How about they manage the system like it was set up to be, it is not a general slush fund and if ran right wouldn’t be out of money, Jeffery your a liar and propagandist.

  • Smurfgutter21

    No we need ssi myhusband is on ssi and i work full time and we dont even make thru the month the senoir has paid the debt to that part of goverment and im 30yrs old and now im paying in ssi to hope oneday to have ssi cause honestly have nothing else to fall back on and i do have disability too but i cant get on ssi and u hit a certain part in the education system that u cant further ur education they will not allow a person who has a below 8th grade level in a trading school to further my education it doesnt make stupid or unable to work but im stuck at poor provity level and need that extra help from the state like medical and food pantry and foodstamps if it wasnt for those help i would be screw the people who dont need or understand these things come down to our level and just maybe u will understand for people like us y not cut the moneyfrom those who have children for taxes people have children go to work and get thousands of dollars isnt having children a blessing not a tax reduction

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X3G7WF2LOUGLQOAVOXHTU4U7SY HHH

    If I remember right Jeff is the same interviewer who interviewed the CEO of General Electric when he was busy saying America needs to be like Europe and have a 3.5 percent tax rate just like Ireland where he moved the company to. Jeff also agreed with him at the end of the program. Of course the CEO ( who is right now the head of obama’s jobs council) kind of forgot to talk about the billions of those dirty tax dallors his company gets in military contracts every year, the millions in fines they have paid over the years for fraud of government contracts and the 60 billion of those filthy tax dallors they received in bail out money during the crash, Oh how they hate paying those American taxes (not that G.E. does)but they have their nose in the trough up to their ears sucking them up. And Jeffery thought this guy was good stuff too. So oh yes Jeff put on the puppy dog face, look them in the eye and say, Old people , I love you, I’ve always loved you, but you need to give up your social security,,,it’s whats best for you. How can you stand to look at yourself in the mirror Jeff,,,I guess the paycheck must have something to do with it huh.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/X3G7WF2LOUGLQOAVOXHTU4U7SY HHH

    If I remember right Jeff is the same interviewer who interviewed the CEO of General Electric when he was busy saying America needs to be like Europe and have a 3.5 percent tax rate just like Ireland where he moved the company to. Jeff also agreed with him at the end of the program. Of course the CEO ( who is right now the head of obama’s jobs council) kind of forgot to talk about the billions of those dirty tax dallors his company gets in military contracts every year, the millions in fines they have paid over the years for fraud of government contracts and the 60 billion of those filthy tax dallors they received in bail out money during the crash, Oh how they hate paying those American taxes (not that G.E. does)but they have their nose in the trough up to their ears sucking them up. And Jeffery thought this guy was good stuff too. So oh yes Jeff put on the puppy dog face, look them in the eye and say, Old people , I love you, I’ve always loved you, but you need to give up your social security,,,it’s whats best for you. How can you stand to look at yourself in the mirror Jeff,,,I guess the paycheck must have something to do with it huh.

  • Smurfgutter24

    Theres also those who con the goverment too when i was living in on the streets of utah ( now im not a doctor nor a therapist) but i have came across alot of varies of people who choosed to live there then people who do have disabilitys and people who get ssi that are perfectlly mentally fine getting the help from these places and just wont get off there asses and work people like had my up and downs struggling everyday just like next paying my due to goverment point is to get ur butts up wipe off the dust and contribute back put higher taxs on liqure legal maryjane and tax that ,put higherfines for those multi repeat affenders then tax the state and it suppose to be more money u make the more taxes they take out its pretty sad when i get more when im not working then i am working of course whatside u go for shoot i even know those who do have mental or physicailly disabilities and they still hold better jobs then u or me

  • John Kessler

    Re: means testing for Social Security.

    Means testing sounds reasonable, but it’s really just a panacea, not a solution. The fact is, means testing is really just a stepping stone towards turning Social Security into a welfare program, at which point it will be easy to justify cutting. You start with high income earners, than reduce the upper limit until only poor people are getting a government benefit. Further, if we did implement means testing, it wouldn’t really make much difference in the long term solvency of the program. Keep Social Security as a universal benefit.

    Is Social Security really in trouble and is there no way to fix it? The fact is, the program will continue to have a surplus for decades to come, after which, if we make no other changes, it will still be able to pay out 80% of the promised benefit. Making it sustainable indefinitely is easy to do. Just adjust or remove the salary cap so everyone pays the same rate. Currently the payroll tax cuts off at about $106,000 per year. Just raise that cap or remove it completely and the problem is solved.

  • Dori

    I get $862.00 per month, Not 130%.  And  Boomers deserve just what they get, for not being good citizens and never voting, like their parents have since we were 18.  Citizenship it seems, has not been taught to the Boomers, & that is directly because the Republican party always wants to stop spending money for the very essential education of all of our children in order for them to be responsible citizens.  Don’t tell me I am selfish.  You try  living on that amount, with cost of living ever increasing,  til a loaf of bread sells for over $7.00 at Sprouts.

  • Dori

    I get $862.00 per month, Not 130%.  And  Boomers deserve just what they get, for not being good citizens and never voting, like their parents have since we were 18.  Citizenship it seems, has not been taught to the Boomers, & that is directly because the Republican party always wants to stop spending money for the very essential education of all of our children in order for them to be responsible citizens.  Don’t tell me I am selfish.  You try  living on that amount, with cost of living ever increasing,  til a loaf of bread sells for over $7.00 at Sprouts.

  • Dori

    Invest what?  When people can barely make it to pay day.Duh

  • Dori

    Invest what?  When people can barely make it to pay day.Duh

  • Dori

    Reply to Fox7799, raise the retirement age???   How old are you???  Do you  know how many people can’t physically work at 65.  Lets wait until you are 70 and see how you feel about it.

  • Daniel

    Dori, I don’t believe you paid $862.00 a month into Social Security when you were young.

  • Daniel

     Dori, the age to collect full Social Security was raised years ago. Boomers need to be 67 1/2 years old to collect it. The later you were born — the longer you need to work. Congress is debating about raising it a second time.

  • Tommy Banks

    What entitlement programs are republicans against?

  • Az_prof

    The real “ponzi” scheme is not Social Security or Medicare; it was the TARP (700 billion bailout of Banks and big businesses) and the Federal Reserves printing of fun money to give away to the banks (more than 7 Trillian!).  Now that we have mortgaged our future for the banks and their CEO bonuses, the rest of us are supposed to pay for it by giving up Social Security and Medicare, which we have paid for all our lives?  Mr. Ryan’s suggestion that he is only changing these programs for those 55 and younger ignores the fact that when the younger folks do hit retirement age they will never be able to afford health care on the private market.  As the one senior in your story said: no one wants to insure a 70 year old because the risk is too great.  We have these programs because of the lessons learned from the Great Depression.  Without a safety net, millions of Americans would die for lack of medical care and millions more would live their golden years in poverty.  Raise the income ceiling for FICA contributions–currently the wealthy do not payroll taxes on all their income.

  • Dori

    When I started working I earned $.83 per hour,  in my  40s I earned $2.10.  When I sold life insurance I made between 10,000 and the most $30,000 in one year.  Of that  I had to pay over $2,000 every year. This year after 3 years of no cost of living increase, I received an increase of $30.00.  Of that I had to pay $15.00 for my increase of rent for my studio apartment. I still pay taxes every year on the small amount of money from commissions. I’m not complaining, these are my facts.  I’m thankful for everything. I  hope many of you will be able to live comfortably when you are entering 80.  I hope you are alive, healthy, and still thinking sharply.  I hope you have no accidents, or get any kind of disease,.  I  hope you will take the time to learn what it was like to live through the Great Depression and World War 11.  I hope you will learn compassion for those born disabled, were hurt in accidents, got diseases, and those of us who survived life to 80 and above.

  • Dori

    They have been against Social Security ever since it began, They are against Medicare, and the new Health care which covers more of the sick or injured that weren’t covered before this bill.    they are against the poor, the sick, the injured, and the old. They are for the wealthy, and  the healthy.  Too bad for you if your not, we are the dispensable.