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Comments for: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012: Bangor leadership, trickle-down economics and social insecurity

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  • Anonymous

    Dr. Babson, B. Noyes, S. Newlin:  good letters.

  • Anonymous

      Ms. Newlin, Mr. Noyes, and Dr. Babson, these are all great letters.  Let us hope that this is the election in which the Republicans finally discover that you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.   
      The person lying in his driveway with a fractured ankle is not going to shop around for the best orthopaedic surgeon at the lowest possible price.  Social Security is working fine and will continue working fine as long as we keep the Wall Street money changers as far away from it as possible. 
      America thrives when we recognize that there are some things the government can handle far better than the private market; pensions through Social Security and health care through Medicare are the two clearest examples.   One could never obtain similar benefits for the same or lower price in the private market.

    • Anonymous

      Did you just see the debate? Romney says the private sector can do it better with health care, social security and education! Not!!!

      • Anonymous

        “if you don’t like your provider, just go to another one!”

        Just like how when you don’t like your cell phone provider, you go to another one and  then realize they’re all exactly the same.

        • Anonymous

          It’s right up there with “if you want to college, ask your parents for a loan.”

        • Anonymous

          I love my provider, but what’s that got to do with Romney saying the private sector can do it beeter. I’ve personally  seen what happens when contracting out happens. They bid low, but the costs rise very fast once they get in. Look at insurance rates for one. Have to pay those execs enormous salaries!

          • Anonymous

            Romney said that the private sector can do it better. He also said that if you don’t like your provider, the government doesn’t need to step in, all you have to do is go find a different provider. The reality is that most of the providers are essentially the same. It’s like with cellphones or cable companies, even when you switch, you’re still getting essentially the same thing. 

    • Anonymous

      My 401k has seen, over the past 30 years, a much better growth rate than Social Security. If I had been allowed to manage my own contributions, more wealth would have been created (some versus none).

      • Anonymous

         A couple years ago I ran my SS contributions against normal stock returns for the same period. I doubled my projected Social Security.  My irregular, through the years, IRA contributions out return Social Security by quite  abit.

        • Anonymous

          Glad to hear you are doing so well. There are plenty who are not as astute as you are in your investment choices who have lost their shirt.

          I agree that if one is young that they need to be getting into IRAs or 401Ks. With the inflation of costs of living not keeping up with wages for most Americans, there is going to be less money available for people to invest this way.

          • Anonymous

            So Social Security is protection for the not-so-astute? How about this: the not-so-astute can pay into Social Security and reap the rewards, while I can have by 12.4% and invest how I see fit.

          • Anonymous

             Perfect. If folks aren’t capable why should that hold back people that are?

          • Anonymous

             You can get the market return by investing in a simple Index fund that tracks the S & P 500. That will return more than Social Security. Even in a down market.

            Folks in the market lost their shirt only if they sold.

          • Anonymous

            What if they have no money to invest?  Zero = zero return.

          • Anonymous

            You get the SS tax you put in. Forced savings, but you get to invest it productively.

          • Anonymous

            And if the market tanks before  retirement?

        • Anonymous

          SS is and has been meant only as a fallback, especially for those who don’t get within a country mile of being able to fund a 401k.  Besides, it’s a payback for the investments we’ve made in it during our employment years.  That money would have squandered by most workers (and not in the stock market).  R&R must have ties to the financial markets and would rake off handsomely.

          • Anonymous

            I agree for many forced savings is critical. But just like a 401k, that money would be better placed into a discrete set of investment vehicles. Right now, it’s squandered by the government.

      • Anonymous

          This is a comparison between oranges and orangutans.  Social Security is not just a retirement plan.  It has provided you with disability insurance for most of your work life and survivor insurance for your wife and children should you die.  The cost of such private disability and survivor insurance would be much higher in the private market.  You would have to deduct the premiums you would have had to pay over the last 30 or 40 years from your annual contributions and then make a comparison.  The program is called OASDI for a reason: “Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance.”
          As Dylan would tell you: “Know your song well before you start singing.” 

      • Anonymous

        OF course there are a few like me that worked in Maine public education for 34 years and also owned a small business and paid into SS. Well that worked out well…… I can either have my pension (thanks GOP for saving the retirement fund NOT) or SS. Or have both only at a greatly reduced rate (thanks to the IRS’s windfall provision).  Might seem fair to most of you but not really to me as I played by the rules and paid into BOTH systems during my working lifetime. I learned to realize that after working in the public sector for 34 years it doesn’t make a difference who is in office…. they are going to screw you.

    • Anonymous

       “The person lying in his driveway with a fractured ankle is not going to
      shop around for the best orthopedic surgeon at the lowest possible
      price”.  ~~~Chenard.

      Maybe you are willing to accept whatever comes along but I am not going to.  Just as when I went to a cancer surgeon of my choice after rejecting Bangor Surgeons for Mass General ones.  When you take those choices from people you get assembly line medical care. No thank you.

      • Anonymous

        So if you have any medical needs that require the use of a hospital, are you automatically heading to Boston?

        • Anonymous

           No, But I do make my own medical decisions about who my provider is as well as courses of treatment. Don’t you?

          • Anonymous

            Some people don’t have that choice. In fact most people who have group plans today are given a list of providers that they are stuck with or they can pay extra to go to Boston if they have the money.

          • Anonymous

            Yes People are given lists of providers in their geographic area. But that doesn’t mean that the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins isn’t in network.

            People may have that choice. Just never bothered to look.

        • Anonymous

          Some, but not all. There are some things that Maine hospitals are fine for. However, there are many things Boston hospitals are BETTER at. That’s the key element in healthcare choice. 

      • Anonymous

        Many insurance policies won’t cover people to do such things. You can’t go out of network for visits or you are paying out of pocket.

        • Anonymous

           Not always true. I personally cost my insurance company $35K deciding I didn’t like the Bangor providers. Mass General was within network. I do live and pay insurance in Maine.

        • Anonymous

          Hardly anyone gets to choose their own private insurer. This is just Cheesy living in la-la land again. Note his statement that he chose to make his insurer pay out an extra $35,ooo, heedless of how this type of behavior causes everyone’s premiums to go up.

          Private insurers typically woo employers by giving the CEOs cadillac coverage and employees the shaft. It’s a sickening scratch-each-other’s back scam by stealing from the workers, as always. It’s one of the reasons why you can never find out what the actual cost of your policy is going to be, too many back-room deals and all perfectly legal.

          • Anonymous

            You need to reread what I said. There was nothing “extra” about the fee. I mentioned the charges only to let folks know that my surgery was paid for in network out of state. The figure was not additional. It was all above board and all of my employees are covered the same way.

            The plans are all open for public viewing. Anyone, at any time, can read them at the Insurance Bureau in Augusta where they are on file.
            You also do not know the difference between provider and insurer.

            You live in a vile, dark, twisted world. Where all things you don’t understand are some kind of conspiracy.

          • Anonymous

            You can’t even keep your lies straight. You wrote, “I personally cost my insurance company $35,000 by deciding I didn’t like the Bangor providers.”

          • Anonymous

             I don’t see anywhere where I said….. “extra”.   That is you and  just another example of your twisted world view.

      • Anonymous

          Medicare, unlike many private insurance companies, places no restrictions on whom one might treat with.   Nothing in the Affordable Care Act imposes such restrictions.  LePage’s “reforms”, by contrast, allow private insurers to insist that rural policy holders travel a longer distance to treat at a hospital of the insurer’s choice.
          Thus, if choice is your first priority, then you must support ObamaCare and oppose LePageDoesn’tCare. 

        • Anonymous

          That’s a good point, and I don’t know the details. If indeed ObamaCare allows full freedom of choice (in fact, if it were greater than private plans), that’s great.

          • Anonymous

              ObamaCare imposes no restrictions on physician choice and expands the benefits that come with no co-pay.

  • Anonymous

    Ruth Wiens, IMO you can thank the budget cutters who are all too glad to cut funding to the States and the States are all too glad to cut funding to towns and counties. Unfortunately they fail to cut the unfunded mandates that your town and others are stuck footing the bill for.

    In Eastport you might want to thank in particular, your local NIMBY club. They seem to come forward with what ever blockade they can find whenever anyone proposes a business venture in Eastport or anywhere in Washington County for that matter. It doesn’t take too long to build a reputation as a part of the country that is totally against bringing any changes to the status quo.

  • Anonymous

    Sue Newlin, great letter.

    • Anonymous

      How on Earth is that a good letter? How does one branch of government loaning another branch money constitute savings?

      Ponzi schemes seem to work well too…until they don’t.

      • Anonymous

        Well Rush, would you rather have Wall Streets finest getting their hands on all that SS money that you contribute? Especially after the Republican/Tea party deregulates them again?

        • Anonymous

          Rush?

          Well, since my entire 401k is tied up in securities (mix of stocks and bonds) and has seen, overall, a growth rate the is greater than inflation and greater than what other investment vehicles would have yielded, then yes, I suppose having the freedom to invest my money as I see fit would be preferable. Certainly a greater growth rate than Social Security “investments” have seen.

          Still doesn’t counter the argument that a loan from one government branch to another does NOT constitute savings. The problem is, rather than using the proceeds to offset other borrowing, the government simply increased spending (starting with Reagan: the “trust fund” helped finance the huge increase in defense spending). Thus, the “trust fund” is simply an ominous reminder of the unfunded liability facing us, but people like the letter writer would rather stick their head in the sand and say it’s the greatest program ever because it works…so far.

          Social Security has been successful because demographics and life expectancy made the math work. Not true in the future.

          The good news is we’ve reverted to a simple pay-as-you-go system now that there is no surplus. Honest accounting returns. I do agree that once as the deficit grows, we should finance it by removing the $110K cap, as this is the least progressive tax in our system.  Or better yet, simply remove the specific tax, because it serves no purpose except to remind you where it is going. Should we have a separate “defense tax” and “food stamp tax”? Maybe, but it isn’t particularly useful.

          • Anonymous

             Removing the SS tax would have the effect of putting SS in the discretionary budget. Line item every year.

          • Anonymous

            How is SS a loan from one branch of government to another any different than collecting SS taxes and handing the funds over to Wall Street?

            I am glad that your investments have paid off well for you. There are plenty of people around the country that had everything they counted on for an early retirement wiped out when the stock market did the big nose dive. With inflation figured in, have they regained the losses?

          • Anonymous

            Seriously? “Wall Street” invests in businesses that actually do something productive with the money, then the owners (you, via the investment) see payoff in increased value and dividends (share of profit). You also have the option of loaning these companies money through bonds and see a lower, though safer in theory, return.

            The problem is people do not understand that the market goes up and down, and when it is at all time highs, this is not “money in the bank”. Expecting an early retirement when the internet bubble was at its peak was simply silly. I’m not excusing investment banker misbehavior: I favor a return to Glass-Steagall and tighter regulation, but there is nothing inherently wrong with investing.

          • Anonymous

            The difference between SS and Wall Street seems to be that when people retire they have been getting a guaranteed return from SS. Whereas there is no gurarentee from Wall St.

          • Anonymous

            You are NOT guaranteed a specific rate of return from Social Security. The government could change pay out rates, change age of eligibility and change the tax rate at any time, affecting your return. In fact, the projected rate of return decreases inversely with current age and is actually inversely related to contribution level.

          • Anonymous

            Or you could be one of the lucky ones who believed that Bernie Madhoff was the best thing since sliced bread.

            You are right. I’m not guaranteed a specific rate of return from SS. Some people get no return if they die early. Which is made up for with all these people who are diagnosed with ADD, ADHT, etc. in school and claim  that they are unemployable and get SS from day one.

          • Anonymous

            Or worse yet, many people have never had the cash to invest in anything.

          • Anonymous

            That’s a separate issue. If your social security contributions are zero, you’re getting a handout. If you are making SS contributions, then THAT would be the money to invest.

  • Anonymous

    Sue do you realize what the government does with the ssi money they collect. They invest it in hopes for payback for all of the squandering of the funds they have done.

  • Anonymous

    Top down isn’t working. No sense in handouts for the rich in order to try and bribe them into creating jobs. The middle and working classes create the demand and the need for jobs. The Romney/Ryan plan would raise their taxes in order to cut rates for the rich who already pay historically low tax rates. It doesn’t make sense and it’s not good for our country. 

    • Anonymous

       I agree with the top down not working. The government running our lives from Washington will never work.

    • Anonymous

       I agree with the top down not working. The government running our lives from Washington will never work.

      • Anonymous

        So you’re gonna go with the Romney strategy? Take something out of context and then pretend it represents my position? It doesn’t and you don’t agree with me. 

        • Anonymous

          Government certainly is top down… at least the Democrats want it to be.

  • Anonymous

    There is no Social Security surplus.  All SS taxes collected by the govt are placed into the general fund and spent and overspent, along with all other revenues.  The “surplus” exists only on paper, and not in reality.  SS is broke, Medicare is broke, the country is broke.  And liberal politicians are going to have to break their pie in the sky promises of entitlements for all, in order to right the sinking ship of the USA.

    • Anonymous

       Ponzi scheme made to look like money is stacked up all around.

  • Anonymous

    Well Rush, would you rather have Wall Streets finest getting their hands on all that SS money that you contribute? Especially after the Republican/Tea party deregulates them again?

  • Anonymous

    Barr, Pick another stock if a safe 200% return over 10 years. 

  • Anonymous

    Barry and Sue – Please take the time to research the issues and educate yourself before writing letters full of misinformation. Of course, the BDN does like to print misinformation. 

    • Anonymous

      Don’t accuse others of what you do in ever single one of your comments. 

  • Anonymous

    My taxes went down by 120.00 dollars Ruth…..

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