Thursday, October 15, 2009

Emergency Aid to Seniors? No Way

Social Security benefits are indexed for inflation, but because inflation has been roughly zero for the past year, the adjustment formula implies no increase in benefits this year. Nevertheless,


President Obama on Wednesday attempted to preempt the announcement that Social Security recipients will not get an increase in their benefit checks for the first time in three decades, encouraging Congress to provide a one-time payment of $250 to help seniors and disabled Americans weather the recession.

Obama endorsed the idea, which is expected to cost at least $13 billion, as the administration gropes for ways to sustain an apparent economic rebound without the kind of massive spending package that critics could label a second stimulus act.


This is outrageous on four levels:


1. If the President thinks the economy needs more stimulus, he should say that explicitly and have an honest debate.


2. This is the wrong kind of stimulus. Any further stimulus should consist of reductions in marginal tax rates, such as a cut in the corporate income tax (or better yet, repeal).


3. All social security recipients already have a moderate guaranteed income, and many have significant income beyond their social security benefits. This kind of transfer has no plausible justification as redistribution for the needy.


4. Sending checks to seniors is a blatant attempt to buy their support for Obamacare, which promises to cut Medicare spending substantially.

16 comments:

Libertarian Advocate said...

On 1, aint gonna happen. Honest debate is not in his repetoire.

On 2, Agreed

On 3 Agreed

On 4 Agreed squared

Fady said...

This is wrong on so many levels: I do not know of any working person that has gotten a raise this year. (BTW - definition of "working person" excludes politicians, government employees and any member of a union).

SPK145 said...

$250?? That tells you all you need to know about this travesty. This isn't about stimulus (on which The Great One is so misguided anyways) but more about cheap vote-buying.

Talie said...

Re: Point #3. Less that $1100/month is considered moderate? You try living on that little.

Jess Austin said...

These are old people. They've had their whole lives to get ready for retirement. The vast majority have far more resources than $1100/month. If Obama really cared about needy seniors, he would have proposed a targeted program to help only needy seniors, probably by more than a one-time $250. If properly targeted it would cost far less, and might have a chance of passing. He doesn't actually care about needy seniors, so we get this across-the-board boondoggle.

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