Tea party hypocrisy on Medicare and Social Security

Today, President Obama’s deficit spending commission meets for the first time. So here’s a little exercise for those of you who are serious about reducing government spending: What to do about Social Security and Medicare, which are enormously popular government programs that eat up a large portion of government dollars? (The average beneficiary gets back more than he/she paid in.) If you are a Medicare or Social Security recipient, are you prepared to give up some of your benefits?

Over at FrumForum, the conservative blog by David Frum, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, a young writer has noted the hypocrisy of tea party supporters, who say they want smaller government but want to keep entitlement programs:

As Republicans and conservatives have scrambled to rally the support of the Tea Party movement, many have failed to take notice of some of the important inconsistencies implicit in the Tea Party message.  A recent New York Times/CBS poll reveals some interesting information about the movement and its fundamental “principles.”

According to this poll, 91% of Tea Partiers want a smaller government with fewer services.  Despite this hostility to big government, 62% of Tea Partiers believe that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are worth the cost (apparently no one bothered to tell them that Social Security and Medicare are evil Godless socialist programs).  This would suggest that in order to achieve fiscal sanity the Tea Party believes that spending cuts are to be implemented elsewhere within the vast expenditures of the federal apparatus.  However when one examines their beliefs on paying down the debt, the result is somewhat troubling.  When asked whether they preferred deficit reduction or tax cuts, 49% of Tea Partiers said they would favor tax reduction while 42% would prefer deficit reduction.

So, tax cuts are preferred to debt reduction, and social security and Medicare are well worth the cost.  This sounds less like a movement of mature fiscal hawks and more like one of whiny adolescents (who actually happen to be middle-aged) who want their current taxes lower and their future benefits higher.  They are only concerned with fighting government spending that benefits other people and are desperately seeking to save their own precious benefits.  They think the costs are well worth it and they have no intention of shouldering the burden themselves.  These costs will be incurred by future generations whose taxes will be higher and whose benefits will be lower or nonexistent.

The pie chart below shows federal spending for the fiscal year 2007, but the proportions of government spending haven’t changed much since then.

Pie chart of budget outlays for fiscal year 2007

Pie chart of budget outlays for fiscal year 2007

424 comments Add your comment

Bubba

April 27th, 2010
7:36 am

The average person may get back more than he/she paid in but not more than they would have gotten if they had kept their money and invested it. I’ll take what I paid in and 5 percent per year compounded interest and never make a claim on Social Security or Medicare. Deal?

Vreeland

April 27th, 2010
7:38 am

@Bubba- you must lie awake at night waiting to respond to these posts.

The Carnivore

April 27th, 2010
7:40 am

You have got to axe Social Security entirely, phased in over time. No one under the age of 50 that I know expects to receive a dime of benefits anyway. For those nearing retirement age right now (50-70), we need to use a sliding scale. Those 70 and above would receive full benefits until death. Social Security was never a great idea, and changing demographics have ensured its demise, whether we want to keep it or not.

As for Medicare, most of it should stay, but it needs to be blended into a new bipartisan healthcare plan (not ObamaCare) that ensures costs stay fairly low. And the age limits should go from 65 to 70.

Scout

April 27th, 2010
7:42 am

Hypocrisy = “Democrat”.

For every one example you try to accuse conservatives of there are ten for you liberals. And of course you have the Mainstream media to assist you in your fraud and the “lemmings” to keep you in office. But ………. the backlash is coming. Get ready.

The Carnivore

April 27th, 2010
7:43 am

And in fairness, I consider myself a Tea Party participant, but even I would cut every government program we have, including defense, to restore a little fiscal sanity. The IRS can and should be replaced by the FairTax, or something really close to it.

Mid-South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
7:52 am

Excuse me, Miss Cynthia, Miss Cynthia, excuse me, Miss Cynthia,

In the words of the old woman on the second pew of the First Self-Righteous Apostolic Church one Sunday morning, when the preacher began to criticize the use of a pinch of snuff, “Preacher, you have done stopped preaching and gone to meddling”!

All these programs for everyone else are nothing but “pork”, but, of course, the appropriation for the funding of a “Chester A. Arthur Presidential Library” is a great investment in the preservation of 19th century presidential history and certainly appropriate for addition to the deficit!

Tea Party folks are just like most other Americans. Many of them have no real idea about how our republic is supposed to work. Many of them have no realization that we have been moving toward a European-style, social, democracy since the days of Frankie Roosevelt, and that much of what we “conservatives” hold as fundamental benefits (social security, Medicare, etc.) are manifestations of socialism.

We aren’t going to change back. Even if, as I suspect, the Republicans gain control of the Congress in the November election, the socialist institutions are too ingrained in our society now.

What does concern me is the rapidly increasing “mass customization” of thought among our populace. When I and a few more old “Sam Adams Federalists” are gone, very little is going to be left but the party lines of the social Democrats and the corporatist Republicans, both of which are innate intellectual mediocrity, sealed with “party loyalty oaths.”

Independent

April 27th, 2010
7:52 am

Cynthia, you should drop the hypocrisy line. Since you like to cite the fact that tea party members are older folks (and white in keeping with your ever present racial slant) many of them have had their wages confiscated for decades to fund it. In my case, age 52, my wages have been confiscated for 36 years now. Have you ever purchased a home or something else that required a deposit? Would you be OK if the seller/bank/etc kept your earnest money/deposit? So it goes with SSI/Medicare.

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
7:58 am

James

April 27th, 2010
8:10 am

Granny- I think that was right after Maher gave Penn an audience to speak of his love fest with modern day human rights abuser Hugo Chavez. CT- I don’t know much about the tea partiers as I don’t have the time but I didn’t know they had a documented manifesto.

Peadawg

April 27th, 2010
8:11 am

“For every one example you try to accuse conservatives of there are ten for you liberals”

Come on Scout, you know as well as I do that only Republicans can be hypocrites in Cynthia and Granny’s eyes. Democrats can do no wrong. Obama is their savoir. Everything is Bush’s fault. Did I get everything, Cynthia?

Reality

April 27th, 2010
8:12 am

@Scott

Please keep your meaningless threats to yourself. No one wants them… anywhere.

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:14 am

James

Wrong episode.

Mid-South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
8:15 am

Ah, Granny Godzilla,

I listened to Bill Maher, and he made a lot of sense. The “military-industrial complex” that we were warned about by that flaming liberal, Dwight D. Eisenhower, is still exerting its evil influence.

But, then, right at the end, Maher surrenders all creditability when he sinks into the socialist Democratic cesspool of calling the tea party folks “racists.”

His entire argument leading up to that point was strong, but it had nothing to do with “racism”!

Maher is classic example of a man who is “educated far beyond his intelligence.”

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:18 am

Reality

April 27th, 2010
8:19 am

It is too funny how the Tea Partiers “claim” that they are not republican but rather have indenpendent thoughts and platform. But, when this blog is made, the posts are immediately anti-Democrat, assumming the Tea Partiers are pro-repub.

Talk about hypocrasy….

James

April 27th, 2010
8:20 am

Is it hyprocisy to reference in a positive way those who advocate human rights abuse? Is it really just “wrong episode”? Chavez “displaces” homes as he sees fits- I assume that’s ok? Hyprocrisy……. I think it is the right episode we are just surrounding by those are the pot and looking for a kettle…

nelson howard

April 27th, 2010
8:23 am

What Does the Tea party Stand For? 10 Commandments
1-
Thou Shalt have low tax rates
2
Thou Thou Shalt have a strong dollar
3
Thou Shalt have Free Trade
4
Thou Shalt not “over regulate people”
5
Thou Shalt have only limited government.
6
Thou Shalt limit government spending
7
Thou shalt have market pricing
8
Thou Shalt have Privitization.
9
Thou Shalt have strong government
10
Thou Shalt REFORM WELFARE.

I must say as I read the 10 commandments of the tea party, they would indeed make for a strong PROUD COUNTRY

Mid-South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
8:25 am

Granny,

Absolutely not!

Not anymore than I deny that the socialist Democratic or the corporatist Republican movements have racist elements. Examples of racism can be found to a greater or lesser degree from the White Citizens Councils of old to Code Pink of the present.

My observation is that Maher’s discourse, which was very good at exposing some of the tea party weaknesses, had nothing to do with “racism”, and his interjection of the term at the end diminished the value of his argument.

136 on the scale

April 27th, 2010
8:25 am

I got behind 2 Mexican young women the other day in line at the grocery store. They had a CART FULL and I had 4 items that I carried. Their bill was 7 dollars and some change, my bill was 16 dollar for 4 items. Whose getting the better deal? Maybe just maybe Aid to illegals could be cut or is that unconstiturional.

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:26 am

James

Yes, it was just the wrong episode. Don’t get all testy because you shot your post off with incorrect info.

Having not seen the Penn-Chavez love fest – as you descibe it – I can’t comment so your charge of hypocrisy is out of line.

“Lighten up Francis”

Reality

April 27th, 2010
8:26 am

@James,

Did you read the news today about how Hennessee Honda got the city council to “displace” three homes so that they can expand their parking lot?

So then, how different is Chavez from the US?

BMDPD

April 27th, 2010
8:26 am

Granny, don’t you mean the racial stamp that the left has put on the tea party?

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
8:27 am

Peabrain…are you up to silly posts again? Now you are joining Scout in the anals of stupidity? Rubber v glue times 10? Is this all you have?

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:27 am

Mid South

Thanks for your opinion.

Granny's drinking Kool-Aid...

April 27th, 2010
8:27 am

Mid South

Do you deny the racist tinge to the tea party?

Yes…just because liberals keep repeating the same lie does not make it true. Racism is expressley condemned in the Tea Party charter and all video evidence of the “n-word” incident at the Capitol absolutely proves they were false accusations. The only ones interested in race anymore are the liberals that believe it will help them win elections and public opinion.

Nonetheless, keep on hanging on to it. November will be here soon enough…

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:28 am

BMDPD

Show me where a Democrat stamped out that sign Dale Robertson was carrying and I’ll stop laughing.

Union

April 27th, 2010
8:29 am

So whats the deal over here?? You can only post wrapped links?

Granny Godzilla

April 27th, 2010
8:29 am

Methinks Tea Partiers protest too much.

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
8:29 am

Oh yes…privitization has done so well for the military….Blackwater, Xe…..overcharges, fraud, criminal activity, etc. Yes… a brilliant tea party response.

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:30 am

Granny’s drinking Kool-Aid, the videos prove absolutely nothing. And the fact that “racism is expressly condemned in the Tea Party charter” proves nothing, either.

hotlanta

April 27th, 2010
8:30 am

The real name is not Tea Party it is Weed Party. They have be smoking something to block their senses to not see how Sarah Palin is pimping them all the way to the bank. But they can see how Obama is leading the couintry down the drain. Where were they doing the 8 years of Bush. My bad they were enjoying their various entitlements sitting in the sun. I wonder do they press yes or no when they report their unemployment claim in once a week that they are looking for a job. If they want a smaller government go to places like Haiti and certain parts of Africa. You will be back here in a hot second red/white and blued to death. How can they want a smaller government but supporting canidates to get into the government to make it bigger. DUH!!!!!!!!!!

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:31 am

136, that worn-out tale used to star black women. Now it’s Mexican women?

Mid-South Philosopher

April 27th, 2010
8:31 am

Would love to stay and play a while longer, but the Bush/Obama economy still needs some of my “gross product”…or, maybe, it just needs some of my “grossness.” At any extent, carry on until I return.

lmno

April 27th, 2010
8:31 am

Social Security is not a retirement fund for yourselves. You are not paying the tax for the future, but rather to help support the elderly and disabled of today.

When it was first enacted, the average life of a male in this country was around 63 years. In other words, most people were not expected to receive any benefits. However, due to medical advancements, many people receive benefits for over 20 years.

Therefore, we should raise the retirment age to 70 and instantaneously “fix” social security.

Also, we could raise the cap on what we are taxed from 100K. I would propose that we tax the first 100K at 7%, then gap to 200K without a tax. Then froom 200-500K, tax again at 7%.

Medicare is another animal altogether.

Medicare Part D that was passed in 2006 was a give-away to seniors. The Congress passed a bill that will cost us around 750B and they gave no way to fund it. The current HC bill at least has provisions that try (whether you think they will is up to you) to make the cost have funding through tax increases.

So, my question to Tea Partiers is, why weren’t you outraged in 2006? That bill was WAY more fiscally irresponsible than the current bill. Yet, no rallys were held. No one made posters. No one took off work to protest on the capital steps. The radio hosts didn’t talk all day about it. It was silence.

Why?

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:31 am

nelson howard, I see that you didn’t answer the question about how you keep entitlements and reduce spending.

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
8:32 am

Amazing how claims of no evidence of use of the N-word now becomes proof it was not used. This is something I need to know……how to prove the alleged absence of something from a recording that is not comprehensive.

Alecia

April 27th, 2010
8:33 am

I am sure that if we refunded all of the FICA tax these Teabaggers paid into the system and calculated the interest. I am sure that they would take it with a smile and not ask for more. These folks were told for 30-40 years that their 7.5% FICA tax was funding their future Social Security benefits. They feel more screwed and less entitled. If Social Security had not been robbed by the real entitlement crowd over the years, the topic would not be up for discussion and these folks would be recieving a check at the age of 65. However, the FICA is now funding TANF, Medicaid, and a host of other welfare programs, for those that can do for themselves, but choose not to.

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:33 am

Independent, Did you read the post? Most beneficiaries get back much more than they put in.

Union

April 27th, 2010
8:34 am

You cannot reduce entitlements.. when the people with their hands out just voted in the chief entitlement giver.

Thats like asking a union to cut their benefits to save jobs.. they don’t know how

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:34 am

Mid-South, “Quit preaching and gone to meddling” is one of my favorite lines.

ctucker

April 27th, 2010
8:35 am

Scout, If you read the post, you’ll see that the accusation of “hypocrisy” came from a conservative blog

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

April 27th, 2010
8:35 am

You missed the point, again. MOST of the tea-party members have been paying in to those tax payer funded programs. Should they just give thier money up? GIVE IT BACK and see their view.

And how about tha VAT Tax NObama wants for people making under $250,000.
mmm, mmm, mmm….

gmaye

April 27th, 2010
8:36 am

Tea party people are a joke, they hate government but run and cash medicare and SS checks. They are fuel by their pimp daddy’s Rush, Beck, Hannity, who in turn make millions off these idiots with their books, appearance fee.

Strait Road

April 27th, 2010
8:37 am

Ms. Tucker,

When are you moving to Cuba? It is a place that has incorporated all of your ideas. You would love it there.

James

April 27th, 2010
8:37 am

Reality- I guess by a factor of 1000? By the way- against that seizure as well. Poor attempt at an analogy.

Union

April 27th, 2010
8:37 am

gmaye
April 27th, 2010
8:36 am

Jealous?

Dan J

April 27th, 2010
8:42 am

to Ron Howard the tea party ten commandments how dare you even use gods example in your stament 2 you can not have limted and strong government at the same time a strong government is not limited and limited gover is not strong so the tea partys ten commandments = archacy and disastrous and your no regualtion equals the same thing abuses and greed so i guess you support all of these

Rob

April 27th, 2010
8:43 am

If you looked up PONZI SCHEME in the dictionary, it would be a picture of Social Security.

Keep up the good fight!

April 27th, 2010
8:44 am

Isn’t there some irony in that the response to “you want cuts, where?” is give us our money back from SS and we’ll be glad to cut it. Yep…that is an answer but not very helpful. We’d all like to have our taxes back from something we each consider a waste. That money is gone. Very simple.

So now the hard part…and see if you can follow this tea partiers… you aren’t going to get your money back…none of us are. It is gone. Spent by Republican, Democrats and others. But you are whining for less government, less taxes and paying down the deficit….so now, what are the details about how you are going to accomplish this. No more silly stupidity about give me my money back….show me this glorious path to Nirvana you want us all to take with you with some substance

Granny's drinking Kool-Aid...

April 27th, 2010
8:48 am

Nice, CT…that’s any easy and convenient answer since there’s obviously no proof that it did occur. I’m just wondering when it became acceptable to make any accusation (especially of racism) and then say it must be true because there’s no evidence to prove they aren’t. Why doesn’t someone produce proof that it did happen? Mr. Carson, et. al. now just want to change the subject.

Here’s how it works, CT. Let’s say I saw you downtown the other day and I am wanting everyone here to know that you told me to get out of your way and then called me a racist name. Then I say you can’t prove that it didn’t happen. See how that works? If I had the backing of the mainstream media and liberal hacks – I could get that accusation to last a few news cycles!

Unfortunately for you and your ilk, you haven’t figured out that you all have become the boy(s) that cried wolf. No one believes you anymore…