This guy was tailgating me when I was on the onramp and as I was merging onto the freeway, he guns it and cuts me off. 5 seconds later a smile creeps over my face and contentment bubbles up inside me as I see blue and red lights flashing in the distance.
We first spotted Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde’s hand-drawn floor plans of fictional living spaces onBuzzFeed and haven’t been able to stop looking at them. The famous TV apartments are rendered with delicate care, depicting all the memorable details of the small screen spaces. TheFriends apartment makes an appearance, along with Carrie Bradshaw’s Upper East Side brownstone from Sex and the City. The Big Bang Theory and Frasier (complete with Martin’s awesomely ratty chair) also get nods. Click through to see Lizarralde’s beautiful bird’s-eye view of TV apartments.
While both programs unmodified can’t go on forever, moderate projections give medicare another ~20 years and social security another ~60. This is not an imminent threat, that sense of emergency is manufactured for political reasons, it makes decisions (and elections) seem more important.
That said, there does need to be reforms, either benefits need to be cut or taxes need to be raised. But right now the US pays 21% of GDP in taxes (including local and state taxes) which is the lowest percentage of GDP in the industrialized world. Making simple adjustments to the tax code can insure solvency for the foreseeable future, we are not in the same boat as Europe in that respect, taxes can be considerably raise without becoming “uncompetitive”.
Social Security in particular is an easy fix, there is a cap to social security tax. Currently that cap is at $110,000, all money earned beyond that is not counted towards social security. It means that no person, no matter how wealthy, pays more than $4,624.20 per year to Social Security, weather they make $110,000 or $110,000,000. Remove that, or at minimum raise it considerably, and social security has no end date. The only thing missing is the political will to do this.
Medicare is more complex admittedly, but the problem lies with the costs associated with medicine in the United States. This will not change simply by privatizing medicare, care will cost the same or more if no other reforms are done. Reducing the number of uninsured should help bring down the cost of medicine and therefore help medicare survive.
But the one of the biggest overriding problems is that there is far too little preventative medicine in the US. With doctor visits not considered a “right” at a younger age, people delay going until a small medical problem becomes a big, expensive emergency. This makes healthcare more expensive by increasing the number of emergencies per person and the number of people with chronic illness.
Medicare is not expensive because the government is managing it wrong (it actually has overhead costs less than half what most other insurance groups have) it is expensive because medical care in the US is expensive. That needs to be addressed no matter what happens to medicare, without attacking the root causes of medical costs it will not make much of a difference if it is a government program or a private program, it will be too expensive.