Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alliance for Retired Americans Declares War on Mathematics

I recently stumbled across one of the most unproductive, brain-dead organizations you've never heard of until now.  The Alliance for Retired Americans is a lobbying group focused on delivering as much of America's productive wealth to greedy senior citizens as possible.  Yes, folks, that's really what they're doing and I'm not pulling any punches.

Check out their FAQ to see a great example of economic illiteracy:

We are opposed to any form of privatizing Social Security and Medicare. The Alliance is also fighting any new tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of programs that help seniors.  We are also opposed to raising the retirement age.

In other words, they want the federal government's unfunded entitlement programs to be paid in full forever.  Their crucial "Issues" include preventing any cuts to benefits (with no mention of how future benefits will be funded), support for the Affordable Care Act's mandatory care and free checkups (again, with no clue how to pay for them), joy that legislators cannot find a compromise to reduce the federal budget deficit (with no understanding that deficit spending imperils the nation's credit rating and currency), and other points that ignore the math of the real world.

The morons who promote this Alliance need to read the Bowles-Simpson Commission's final report, which lays out the math.  The Alliance rejects outright some common sense reforms like using chained CPI for inflation-indexed programs and increasing the retirement age for Social Security recipients.  This group feeds the image of greedy geezers ripping off young savers and Alan Simpson himself blasted them for their ignorance.

My own recent encounter with two local activists from the California group Sen. Bowles excoriated (a.k.a. CARA) was the trigger for this blog article.  One activist spoke at a breakfast meeting I attended and made the following points (recapitulated from memory, as her talk was not recorded).  My comments are in italics.

"A big portion of the cost of health care is profit for the service providers.  I wish we didn't have to have that, because then we could afford more services."  Idiot, the profit motive is what incentivizes those providers to offer those services.  Take away the profit and you'll have no services at all.

"The rich need to pay their fair share in taxes."  Dummy, read this excellent explanation of how impossibly high taxes would have to rise to meet the funding shortfalls reported by the trustees of the Social Security system.

The speaker's breakfast companion, an able-bodied but overweight older woman, was too lazy to get her own breakfast plate.  I spoke up in the Q&A after the talk to personally insult the speaker and I was shouted down for being rude.  You're gall-dang right I was rude and I'll do it again if I get the chance.  These CARA takers abhor makers.  Her speech was the most intellectually dishonest and financially illiterate talk I've ever had the displeasure of hearing at a breakfast meeting.

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a union-sponsored monstrosity.  Its advocacy of fiscal irresponsibility ought to bring shame to its advocates but that is too much to expect given the gross stupidity in every statement on its website.  They ignore the data available from the government's own financial statements on the inevitable insolvency of entitlement programs because their union supporters are a greedy, lazy, and stupid pack of liars.  Unfortunately, they speak for a large number of citizens.  That is why no entitlement reform will ever come from deliberate action in national policy.  The global bond market's revolt will be very painful for these idiots when it destroys the real value of their monthly benefit checks.