Most americans young and old would answer no to both

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Most Americans, young and old, would answer “no” to both questions. Yet we currently treat our elderly much better than our children. The reasons for this are complicated. Let’s return to the nature of social welfare policy in the United States. The two largest social welfare programs for the elderly, Social Security and Medicare, are social insurance programs. These programs are financed by payroll taxes and are paid for by those currently employed and their employers; and the benefits are provided to the retired, dependents of deceased workers, and insured unemployed (Burtless, 1994, p. 54). Social insurance programs differ from other types of social welfare programs in that they are not means tested or restricted to only the poor. Means-tested pro- grams distribute money and other types of resources to the poor and near poor (Burtless, 1994, p. 53). In theory, social insurance programs pay for themselves: People who work pay taxes, and these payroll taxes cover their Social Security and Medicare costs in their retirement years. Right away there is a problem with such thinking, however. Many people have entered into retirement (and therefore have been entitled to Medicare at age 65) after pay- ing very little into the system. Furthermore, due to advances in medical tech- nology and the success of the programs themselves, the elderly are living longer and longer. Thus, these programs become more and more expensive as the number of people covered increases. This economic problem is acceler- ated by the growing costs of medical care; new technologies such as heart transplants keep people alive longer but are very expensive. Spending on programs for the elderly (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—conservatively around 20% of Medicaid spending is for nursing home care for the elderly) makes up a large percentage of the federal budget. Copyright ©2018 by SAGE Publications, Inc. This work may not be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without express written permission of the publisher. Draft Proof - Do not copy, post, or distribute
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CHAPTER 11: Children, Social Problems, and Society 319 In President Obama’s proposed budget for 2016, spending on Social Security, Medicare and 20% of Medicaid were estimated to be more than $1.34 tril- lion. This amount is a fair estimate of the budget to be devoted to people older than 65. It makes up around 40% of the total budget (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 2016). Furthermore, the budgets for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have increased at a much higher rate than programs for poor children such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Head Start, and medical insurance and related programs. Therefore, we would expect the percentage of the budget devoted to those older than 65 to increase.
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