Regulation of smoking has always been an interesting area of consideration when it comes to freedom, with both those who are in favour of regulation and those who are against it making arguments based in the theory of individual liberty. Those who favour regulation assert that non-smokers’ right to health is being violated and those against assert that smokers’ freedom of choice is being violated.
Whatever the case, any regulation should adhere to the precepts of the rule of law absolutely, and adhere as far as it can to the demands of economic reality…
Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Young Voices Executive Director Casey Given and YV Advocate Charlie Katebi on the future of Obamacare. Charlie weighs in on the potential negative consequences of letting the insurance market fall into disarray.
Today’s Young Voices Podcast features Young Voices Executive Director Casey Given and YV Advocate Michael Shindler on why Congress should reform the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program before it runs out of money.
Roughly nine million Americans currently rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). According to the latest annual report by the fund’s trustees, the program is set to be depleted by 2023, at which point it will only be able to pay 89 percent of current benefits.
In October 2015, Congress passed a temporary measure to ballast the SSDI program, allowing it access to about $150 billion in revenues over the next three years from Social Security’s Old-Age & Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund. Despite the transfer, the trustees reported that the SSDI program fails the test of short-term financial adequacy since its reserves will remain below its yearly costs over the next decade. And Since Social Security’s OASI program is even more beggared, continued revenue transfers are unviable.
Twenty-two years ago, when Congress similarly siphoned funds from the OASI program to supplement the SSDI program, Social Security’s Trustees cautioned Congress that it needed to reform the SSDI program or it would find itself similarly troubled in 2016. Instead of structural reform, the 114th Congress has employed the same unsustainable measures that were applied before. Yet now, the situation is fundamentally worse. The SSDI program still fails the Trustees’ test of short-term financial adequacy, and the program is expected to require another cash infusion in seven years’ time instead of twenty-two.
Worse yet, the number of SSDI beneficiaries has surged over the past 60 years since the program’s inception. In 1960, 0.5 percent of the working-age population received SSDI benefits. Yet, despite significant improvements in healthcare and technological advancements, the percentage of the working-age population that receive SSDI benefits has climbed to 5.1 percent as of 2014—an increase of over ten times.
“Even a small change in consumption can have a big impact over time; a small change in body mass index and weight can have a big impact on someone’s health outcomes,” Jane Martin, from the Obesity Policy Coalition said.“This would have a bigger impact on people who are high consumers, so particularly young people, and they’re more price sensitive.“The potential to change behaviour in adolescents … who are high consumers, drink a lot of soft drink, that can be very impactful because that can take them through the rest of their life and change habits early.”
After years of discussing the dangers of sugary drinks it is no secret that they are unhealthy. And yet individuals are, for their own reasons, still choosing to consume them. The idea of taxing this choice is abhorrent.