Monday, March 11, 2013

Paul Ryan's Roadmap Leaves Seniors Even Further Behind


Paul Ryan announced Sunday that his new budget-- which is destined to again go nowhere-- will be premised on repealing Obamacare. Apparently he wasn't paying attention to the votes in November. Though Romney picked Ryan to communicate the GOP position on Obamacare to voters-- and to bring in upper Midwest states-- voters were clear that they preferred Obamacare over GOP Austerity. And Romney-Ryan lost every single upper Midwest state, including Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. Even in Ryan's own carefully gerrymandered congressional district, Romney only managed a tiny 51.6% victory.

The last demographic bastion of Republican support in America-- unless you count raving Confederate racists as a demographic-- are old white people. Old white people supported Romney-Ryan. And now Ryan wants to repeal Obamacare, turn Medicare into a voucher program, and wreck Medicaid entirely. Meanwhile, the GOP is working like busy little beavers to reduce the pittance seniors have earned from Social Security. Dumb idea-- and an even dumber idea would be for Democrats to go along with any of it. These kinds of Austerity cuts in Europe have failed miserably in every country that's tried them and the results are severe economic and social dislocation.

Last week CNN reported that retired American seniors are already worse off than retirees in countries where society is dedicated to caring for people who have left the work force.
The U.S. ranks 19th in overall retirement security worldwide, according to an index compiled by Natixis Global Asset Management, a Paris-based asset management firm.

Norway ranked first in the index, which assessed how well current retirees live in 150 countries, based on measures of health care, finances, material well-being and quality of life.

Known for its strong healthcare and social programs, Western Europe dominated the index, with countries from the region filling all of the top 10 spots.

"Most developed nations are wrestling with an aging population, longer life expectancies and falling birth rates," said Tracey Flaherty, senior vice president for government relations and retirement strategies at Natixis. But European nations are doing a better job dealing with this tough combination thanks to strong government safety nets, such as Sweden's guaranteed pension program for all residents.

As people live longer, healthcare spending has also become a major issue for many retirees, said Flaherty.

The survey assessed health care conditions by looking at four factors: life expectancy, per capita health care spending, doctor and hospital availability and out-of-pocket spending.

Americans spent the most on health care per person, but lagged in access to care, sinking the U.S. to 23rd place for health care, the study found. Austria ranked highest in the category.

Quality of life, which measures factors like happiness and climate, was also a low point among American retirees-- namely due to environmental factors like pollution. Switzerland, a world leader in pollution control, came in first.

Per person, American retirees had one of the world's highest income levels. Yet, the vast income disparity among the population-- where the top 10% control roughly 75% of the wealth-- pushed the U.S. to 38th place in terms of material well-being, the survey found.

And, when it came to finances, uncertainty about the ongoing viability of the Social Security program and Americans' ability to save enough for retirement pushed the country to 28th place.

So which are the 18 countries that rank ahead of the U.S. in overall retirement security? Here's the list:

1-  Norway
2-  Switzerland
3-  Luxembourg
4-  Sweden
5-  Austria
6-  Finland
7-  Netherlands
8-  Denmark
9-  Germany
10- France
11- Australia
12- Israel
13- Canada
14- Belgium
15- Japan
16- Slovenia
17- Czech Republic
18- Slovak Republic
19- United States

Britain's Conservative government, following an Austerity Agenda similar to the one Ryan is proposing, has now pushed the U.K. into 20th place. Other victims of Austerity-- Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus-- have fallen even further down the scale.

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At 3:51 PM, Anonymous robert dagg murphy said...

Anyone can write down a budget and by playing with numbers get it to balance. However, these are not based on reality but only imagination. We have unlimited energy coming from our Star Sun. We need an accounting system based on energy which is real. Since it is abundant we are all rich and our economic system should reflect that. Instead we have an economic system born in the dark ages and before our design science revolution made it possible for everyone to be a success. Time to stop the politics of scarcity and base our economic system on abundance which is the true nature of things. We must also eliminate debt and convert to a debt free system. This is based on the fact that we don't owe the Sun.


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