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Thread: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

  1. Default Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    From Tulsa's Community Action Project. . . If you go to their website, www.okpolicy.org , there is a link to a PDF version of this article with some graphs illustrating the statistics discussed below. RMW

    August 29, 2006

    Census Bureau Shows State Poverty Rate at Ten-Year High
    High Rates of Poverty, Uninsured Show Many Being Left Behind

    New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals an alarming increase in the number of Oklahomans living in poverty, according to a press release issued by Community Action Project (CAP).

    The annual "Poverty Day" data released by the Census Bureau reveals that:

    + Over the period of 2005-06, an average of 15.4% of Oklahomans lived below the federal poverty level. This is up sharply from 13.2% in 2004-05 and 11.8% in 2003-04;

    + Oklahoma's rising poverty trend differs from the nation's as a whole; nationally, poverty rates have declined modestly the past two years;

    + At 15.4%, Oklahoma's most recent poverty rate is at a ten-year peak;

    + An average of 537,000 Oklahomans have been living in poverty the past two years;

    + County-level data reveals that Oklahoma County is suffering the worst concentration of poverty of the state's metropolitan counties, with 22.1% of the county's residents falling below the poverty line in 2006;

    + Median household income in Oklahoma in 2006 was $38,276, which is $10,175, or 21% below the national median household income;

    + The Census Bureau today also released data on health insurance coverage revealing that an average of 650,000 Oklahomans, or 18.7%, were without health insurance for the period from 2004-06.

    These numbers should sound the alarm that our economy, while continuing to show signs of overall strength, is leaving far too many Oklahomans behind. We hope that state policymakers will ask the tough questions about why families are failing to earn a decent living and will undertake an aggressive effort to bolster assistance and expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income families.

    CAP Press Release: Census Data Shows Poverty Soaringin Oklahoma

    National Trends and Data

    Nationally, the Census Bureau found a modest 0.7% rise in median household income and a 0.3% decline in the poverty rate. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that in 2006, the poverty rate remained higher, and median income for non-elderly households remained $1,300 lower, than in 2001, when the last recession hit bottom. It is virtually unprecedented for poverty to be higher and the income of working-age households lower in the fifth year of a recovery than in the last year of the previous recession.

    Perhaps of greatest concern, the number of Americans without health insurance increased by 2.2 million in 2006, and the number of uninsured children jumped by more than 600,000. The steady progress of recent years in reducing the number of uninsured children stalled in 2005 and began to reverse in 2006, in part because funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) grew scarcer.
    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Analysis of Census Report
    U.S. Census Bureau - Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Information


    email: dblatt@captc.org
    phone: (918) 382-3228
    web: www.okpolicy.org Community Action Project is a Tulsa-based comprehensive anti-poverty agency whose mission is to help individuals and families in need achieve self- sufficiency. CAPís public policy department aims to promote policies that will benefit low- and moderate- income Oklahomans through research, education and advocacy.

    Community Action Project | 4606 S. Garnett | Suite 100 | Tulsa | OK | 74146

  2. #2

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by jpeaceokc View Post
    New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals an alarming increase in the number of Oklahomans living in poverty, according to a press release issued by Community Action Project (CAP).
    In the history of CAP, have they ever had anything positive to say about the state's direction in taking on poverty? Even during the boom years of the 90's? Nope? OK.

    + Over the period of 2005-06, an average of 15.4% of Oklahomans lived below the federal poverty level. This is up sharply from 13.2% in 2004-05 and 11.8% in 2003-04;
    Pardon my ignorance, but how does the census bureau know what the statistics here are? Are these projections, or are they based on real data? As far as I know, there's a census done every 10 years. Other than that, if this is based upon a statistical sampling, I'd have to say that the difference between 13.2% and 15.4% would generally be within the margin of error.

    + Oklahoma's rising poverty trend differs from the nation's as a whole; nationally, poverty rates have declined modestly the past two years;

    + At 15.4%, Oklahoma's most recent poverty rate is at a ten-year peak;
    Well, poverty and wealth generally go in cycles. Hopefully this means there are good times ahead. Now is a good time to invest.

    + An average of 537,000 Oklahomans have been living in poverty the past two years;
    Again, this is basically a constant floor level. I just pulled a year out of my butt.. in 1989, 509,854 people were below the poverty level. Considering the fact that Oklahoma now has 500,000 more people than we did in '89, we're doing fine.

    + County-level data reveals that Oklahoma County is suffering the worst concentration of poverty of the state's metropolitan counties, with 22.1% of the county's residents falling below the poverty line in 2006;
    Is that below the federal poverty line or the state poverty line? The cost of living in our metro counties is vastly lower than other places. Also, many people would consider Logan and Pottawatomie counties to be "metro" counties.

    Take felony flats out of the equation (north Logan County) and that number drops by 10%.

    + Median household income in Oklahoma in 2006 was $38,276, which is $10,175, or 21% below the national median household income;
    This isn't news... but our cost of living is lower as well.

    + The Census Bureau today also released data on health insurance coverage revealing that an average of 650,000 Oklahomans, or 18.7%, were without health insurance for the period from 2004-06.
    That's their choice.

    These numbers should sound the alarm that our economy, while continuing to show signs of overall strength, is leaving far too many Oklahomans behind. We hope that state policymakers will ask the tough questions about why families are failing to earn a decent living and will undertake an aggressive effort to bolster assistance and expand opportunities for low- and moderate-income families.
    Oklahoma's economy is doing great actually. Why do Oklahomans earn less? Probably because we don't have a lot of white collar industry here. These numbers are on par with other blue collar southern states.

    Nationally, the Census Bureau found a modest 0.7% rise in median household income and a 0.3% decline in the poverty rate. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that in 2006, the poverty rate remained higher, and median income for non-elderly households remained $1,300 lower, than in 2001, when the last recession hit bottom. It is virtually unprecedented for poverty to be higher and the income of working-age households lower in the fifth year of a recovery than in the last year of the previous recession.
    Based on the numbers from the "Center on Budget and Policy Priorities," a liberal think tank. I love how they slip that into a press release about census bureau data.

    Perhaps of greatest concern, the number of Americans without health insurance increased by 2.2 million in 2006, and the number of uninsured children jumped by more than 600,000. The steady progress of recent years in reducing the number of uninsured children stalled in 2005 and began to reverse in 2006, in part because funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) grew scarcer.
    All of this is liberal think tank numbers. That "jump" you're talking about is .4%. Four tenths of a percentage point over a year isn't much of a jump. In fact, again, it's almost certainly within the margin of error (which is nowhere to be found).

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Here we go again... those darn liberals slamming Oklahoma. Give me a break.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    No kidding... like this is any new news. It's the most populated county in the state

  5. #5

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Not to mention that the accuracy of these numbers is questionable as well as the way the article characterizes the numbers. A "jump" is not four tenths of a percent. A jump is not within the margin of error.

  6. Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    I'm not sure of the significance of the fact that CAP is a Tulsa-based agency

  7. #7

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    One thing I'll say. I dont think ANY kids should be without insurance. They can't help if they came iinto this world with lazy parents who can't get a job. That's out of their control.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Health care is not a right. If those lousy parents end up letting their kids be injured or killed due to not obtaining health care, those parents are criminally liable. It's just a matter of what it costs. They can go acquire the medical care they need and pay the bills off over time.

    Many kids qualify for SoonerCare as well. Unfortunately, we don't really know how those stats were obtained, so their value is questionable.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    So you are saying you can live with kids suffering because its not a "right"? Not me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by blabare View Post
    So you are saying you can live with kids suffering because its not a "right"? Not me.
    Whaa?

    I did not say that at all. You're assuming an awful lot there -- that kids would suffer due to lack of insurance. I know lots of uninsured kids who do just fine sans insurance. In most cases, they qualify for Soonercare, or other such programs. If not, their parents can still use the hospitals -- they'll just be on the hook for the medical bills. In such cases, it is the parents, not the kids who "suffer." But again, they suffer for their own dumb choice.

    Insurance is just the pooling of risk among a group of people. What you're suggesting is that the American people become an insurance group. That's not a legitimate function of government.

    I know it's nice to be nice to the nice.. if that's your theory of government, when do we say "Okay, we've been nice to the nice enough, it stops here."

  11. #11

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    Health care is not a right. If those lousy parents end up letting their kids be injured or killed due to not obtaining health care, those parents are criminally liable. It's just a matter of what it costs. They can go acquire the medical care they need and pay the bills off over time.

    Many kids qualify for SoonerCare as well. Unfortunately, we don't really know how those stats were obtained, so their value is questionable.
    A lot of kids get injured even when they're parents were not negligent. For example, they may fall off their bike while riding it, or they may get injured on the playground. The fact of the matter is that kids deserve health insurance, and if the parents cannot provide it since they either cannot afford it or cannot obtain it through their employer, then the goverment (yes, the government!) should provide it for the kids.

  12. Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    since we all think it is a "right" to have health care shouldnt we have food provided by the government? isnt that a more basic right? think of all those starving kids.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    ehhh... food stamps?

    But mecarr, it IS those kids' right to medical care. It's just not the government's responsibility to provide that care -- it's the parents'. Parents need to take responsibility for their own kids, not rely on "society" to do so for them. Those kids won't be denied health care under your hypothesis, the parents will just be billed for any medical services received.

    If the kid falls of the bike and the parent decides they'd rather incur those medical bills, the criminal statutes are pretty clear on what that is -- child abuse. In such cases, the kids are better off in foster care (where medical care is provided) as compared to parents who are irresponsible.

    It is a fact that kids are entitled to health insurance -- from their parents. Those parents can either self-insure or find commercial insurance. You are suggesting that the government step in and start taking over the responsibilities of mom and dad at enormous cost to the taxpayer. That's just not the role of government.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    ehhh... food stamps?

    But mecarr, it IS those kids' right to medical care. It's just not the government's responsibility to provide that care -- it's the parents'. Parents need to take responsibility for their own kids, not rely on "society" to do so for them.

    It is a fact that kids are entitled to health insurance -- from their parents..
    Midtowner, the point that you are missing is that some parents do not have health care, want healthcare but cannot get healthcare. For example, what about those people who cannot obtain healthcare through their employer. The only other way to get healthcare is by buying an individual plan. Often times, that person will have pre-existing conditions and the insurance company will choose not to insure that person, or they'll charge astronomical rates that nobody can afford. So what is the parent to do? According to you, it's easy, just give the child over to foster care. See, you have no trouble having the government raise the child, but you do have a problem having the government insure a child. Doesn't make much sense to me....

  15. #15

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Uh no.. the parent then self-insures the child... goes into debt, pays the medical bills out of pocket. If folks cannot afford to make babies, then they ought not make babies. It is not the place of the American people to subsidize bonehead "parents" who make more babies than they can afford to take care of.

    Those parents have a duty to provide adequate medical care for their children. The hospitals will provide that care every single time -- and the parents will get the bill.

    It then becomes that parent's responsibility to pay for the kids' medical care. So you see, in a sense, our kids are insured. It's just that they're insured by the people who brought them into the world

    -- you know, the folks who for so far in the course of human history have been responsible for their childrens' well-being?

    And no, I have no problem with the state taking kids out of situations when the parents choose to not take care of their kids. It's basic damage control. Without a foster system, many would have absolutely no shot at ever becoming productive, taxpaying citizens. With foster care? There's a decent chance they'll make it.

    It's shocking that you don't think parents should be responsible for their own kids. Really.. when should we be responsible for ANY of our own actions? Is everything just society's burden?

    If the parents want to pool their risk by purchasing insurance for their kids, fine. These parents aren't really reducing any risk to their kids by purchasing insurance, these parents are limiting their own financial exposure in the event of a medical emergency. For children, health always has been a right. Deprive your kids of that right and you're a child abuser. I can't think of a better way of doing things.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    Uh no.. the parent then self-insures the child... goes into debt, pays the medical bills out of pocket. .

    The hospitals will provide that care every single time -- and the parents will get the bill.

    For children, health always has been a right. Deprive your kids of that right and you're a child abuser. I can't think of a better way of doing things.

    First of all, a hospital does not have to and will often choose not to see a person if they lack health insurance. Sure, the person can always go to the emergency room and wait a few hours, but emergency rooms just stabalize a patient, they do not give vaccinations, checkups, etc. In other words, an uninsured parent cannot take their child to see a hospital for a routine checkup unless that parent has health insurance.

    As far as "depriving" that child of healthcare, it's not that parents choose not to give their child healthcare just for the hell of it. It is becuase they cannot afford to see a doctor, and even if they were willing to go into debt, they couldn't get in to see one in the first place.

    Honestly, do you really think we should rip families apart just becuase a parent cannot afford health insurance for their child? Or should the government provide healthcare for that child until the parent can provide it for the child him or herself. You seem to favor the former.

  17. Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by mecarr View Post
    First of all, a hospital does not have to and will often choose not to see a person if they lack health insurance. Sure, the person can always go to the emergency room and wait a few hours, but emergency rooms just stabalize a patient, they do not give vaccinations, checkups, etc. In other words, an uninsured parent cannot take their child to see a hospital for a routine checkup unless that parent has health insurance.
    I beg to differ.

    You don't have to have health insurance for anything...its called self-pay.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by mecarr View Post
    First of all, a hospital does not have to and will often choose not to see a person if they lack health insurance. Sure, the person can always go to the emergency room and wait a few hours, but emergency rooms just stabalize a patient, they do not give vaccinations, checkups, etc. In other words, an uninsured parent cannot take their child to see a hospital for a routine checkup unless that parent has health insurance.

    As far as "depriving" that child of healthcare, it's not that parents choose not to give their child healthcare just for the hell of it. It is becuase they cannot afford to see a doctor, and even if they were willing to go into debt, they couldn't get in to see one in the first place.

    Honestly, do you really think we should rip families apart just becuase a parent cannot afford health insurance for their child? Or should the government provide healthcare for that child until the parent can provide it for the child him or herself. You seem to favor the former.
    Please... your hyperbole is pathetic.

    I only argue for the status quo. The status quo does not "rip families apart" over health care.

    If the parents do deprive their children of adequate health care, DHS will undoubtedly get involved. If it turns out that the parent really can't afford to pay for the health care, doubtless, there are numerous government programs which step in. E.g., Medicaid.

    If it turns out that the parent is just allocating resources irresponsibly, then that parent needs to reallocate resources or else, wait and see what happens to them with DHS.

    I don't personally know anyone with kids who have had to forgo medical care due to its expense. I have seen no statistics which show that children are being under treated for serious ailments because the parents just can't afford it (note the distinction between "can't afford" and "won't pay").

    If a parent cannot afford the $100 or so/month it costs for BCBS coverage for the kiddos, then they need to reexamine that monthly budget. The money is there. If it's not, they do qualify for help from Medicaid or a cousin thereof.

    In short, there is no problem, quit trying to blow things out of proportion.... What a load of typical liberal bovine excrement this is.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Any child, no matter the parent's income, can get all required childhood immunzations for free at the Health Department. At Children's Hospital, no child is turned away for health care, regardless of their ability to pay. The business office will make adjustments based on income. Many lower income families also qualify for Medicaid, which pays for 100% of all childhood prescribed medications, and places no limits on the number of visits a child may make to the clinic or emergency room. Yes, you may have to wait for these services, but there's a local doctor who made a statement I think is fair.

    "Everyone has to pay for health care. For those who do not have the money, they have to pay with time."

    A lot of the unimmunized children have either parents who don't want to pay with their time or those who are afraid of immunizations. There are a surprising number of the latter, thanks to sensationalistic journalism and personal injury attorneys, or religious beliefs.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    Please... your hyperbole is pathetic.

    In short, there is no problem, quit trying to blow things out of proportion.... What a load of typical liberal bovine excrement this is.
    See, now you have made the debate personal and partisan. The whole issue of providing healthcare to American citizens should not be a wedge issue which you are now making it out to be. We both want the same thing here, which is to have children covered by health insurance. If you want an open, honest and civil discussion then I'd be happy to participate, but if you start defending your argument by calling mine pathetic and "liberal", then I'd assume not waste my time.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    No, we want completely different things. I want parents to be responsible for paying for their own kids. You, on the other hand, want to take my money and give it to anyone who has kids to cover their medical costs.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by Midtowner View Post
    No, we want completely different things. I want parents to be responsible for paying for their own kids. You, on the other hand, want to take my money and give it to anyone who has kids to cover their medical costs.
    Your analysis is oversimplistic. You believe that any kid who is uninsured is uninsured as a result of a negligent parent. While I am sure there are parents out there that are negligent in not getting their children health insurance, there are many parents out there that simply cannot afford it. Unlike you apparently, some people are really struggling out there financially.

    And no, I do not want to take "your" money and give it to "anyone" who has kids to cover their medical cost. I only want to use that money to cover kids who cannot obtain health insurance through their parents. This every-man-for-himself attitude of yours is the reason why we have this problem in the first place. If this country had a more collective attitude in lifting people up then we wouldn't have this problem.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Quote Originally Posted by mecarr View Post
    Your analysis is oversimplistic. You believe that any kid who is uninsured is uninsured as a result of a negligent parent.
    No, wrong. You haven't been reading. Insurance is liability pooling -- allowing others to pay for your own injury in your time of need and paying for theirs when they need it. Kids are de facto insured. This'll be the third time I've said this in this thread, so let me help you to catch this apparently subtle message:

    All children are insured because the parents are legally responsible for their care, thus the parent is the insurer of the child.
    ...thus, if the parent wants to pool their liability by buying insurance to cover the liability of that parent in caring for their child, fine 'n dandy... more power to 'em. Otherwise, they're on the hook personally for any costs. Either way, junior is going to the doctor.

    While I am sure there are parents out there that are negligent in not getting their children health insurance, there are many parents out there that simply cannot afford it. Unlike you apparently, some people are really struggling out there financially.
    Then they should either make or spend less money. "Struggling financially" is a very solvable problem. If they don't meet the requirements for Medicaid, TANF, etc., then they can presumably survive so long as they live within their means, not within my means, not within the means they want to live within, but their own.

    And no, I do not want to take "your" money and give it to "anyone" who has kids to cover their medical cost. I only want to use that money to cover kids who cannot obtain health insurance through their parents.
    "CAN"not... we're already doing this. See Medicaid. Any time you have an entitlement program, you're taking "your" money and giving it to "anyone."

    This every-man-for-himself attitude of yours is the reason why we have this problem in the first place. If this country had a more collective attitude in lifting people up then we wouldn't have this problem.
    This every-man-for-themself attitude is why our country is here in the first place. If this country had a more collective attitude, we could be just like France... unemployment spiraling out of control, civil unrest, no real incentive to work or improve oneself. A veritable utopia!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    All children are insured because the parents are legally responsible for their care, thus the parent is the insurer of the child.

    This every-man-for-themself attitude is why our country is here in the first place. If this country had a more collective attitude, we could be just like France... unemployment spiraling out of control, civil unrest, no real incentive to work or improve oneself. A veritable utopia![/QUOTE]

    Is this really your definition of insurance? Children are insured because the parents are legally repsonsible for them? Look, parents may not be the "insurer" of the child if they do not have and cannot obtain insurance. Those with many kids may not be able to afford to purchase insurance for all the kids. However, they may still make barely enough to not qualify for medicaid. You say that they must insure them, and if they cannot insure them they must simply be taken away from their parents. This is the most ridiculous solution I've ever heard of. Having Big Government raid homes looking for uninsured children to throw into foster homes will only serve to add problems to an already bad problem.

    Those with the every-man-for-himself attitude would surely have no problem arguing against Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. The every-man-for-himself attitude has stood in the way of all major progressive legislation.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Oklahoma County poverty rate highest of Oklahoma's metropolitan counties

    Is this really your definition of insurance? Children are insured because the parents are legally repsonsible for them? Look, parents may not be the "insurer" of the child if they do not have and cannot obtain insurance.
    Wrong again. Insuring means that you're going to be responsible for the loss of another. A parent is responsible for any loss incurred due to health problems for the kids. Any risk is not assumed by children, it is on the parents, 100%. You don't need to have insurance to bean insurer. Parents have the option of having insurance or paying out of pocket for any medical expenses.

    Those with many kids may not be able to afford to purchase insurance for all the kids. However, they may still make barely enough to not qualify for medicaid.
    Then by definition, society presumes they have the assets to pay for health care. If that sends them to the poor house, so be it. They shouldn't make kids they cannot afford.

    You say that they must insure them, and if they cannot insure them they must simply be taken away from their parents. This is the most ridiculous solution I've ever heard of. Having Big Government raid homes looking for uninsured children to throw into foster homes will only serve to add problems to an already bad problem.
    Go back and read. I didn't say that at all.

    You don't have to have insurance to be an insurer.


    I did say that if a parent failed in their duty to seek health care for their children, then that kid needs to be placed in a home where they are safe.

    Those with the every-man-for-himself attitude would surely have no problem arguing against Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. The every-man-for-himself attitude has stood in the way of all major progressive legislation.
    All major progressive legislation has stood in the way of the libertarian and conservative agendas. You say "progressive" like it's inherently a good thing. I realize that due to our crappy schools have produced a populace, 50% of which believe that the U.S. Constitution contains the words "From each according to their ability to each according to their need" (Hearst Report, 1987), but it ain't in there.

    This country was founded on the principles of freedom and rugged individualism. Our society was built so that the cream could rise to the top and the government would stay out of the way. I consider myself blessed that I live in such a place. No, I don't want to have to pay for the mistakes of others. Yes, I want my ability to produce the means to meet MY needs, not society's.

    I understand that there are certain minimum things we should expect a government to provide, e.g., a common defense, but seriously, I can't believe anyone would be singing the praises of programs such as social security (at least, not in its present form). Social Security is one of those pristine examples of a clearly defunct (and in complete denial about it) liberal social program. It only got to this point because paternalistic manipulative libs such as yourself decided they could save better for the peoples' retirement than the people could... so they embarked on this utterly ridiculous experiment which within the next couple of decades, without the infusion of TRILLIONS of dollars is going to utterly collapse.

    Medicare, medicaid.. I see both as social necessities considering the ridiculous cost of health care. What is not a necessity, however, is something we have survived without since the inception of this country. Fix the existing social programs before adding new and massive ones.

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