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Morning Bell: Throwing Our Fiscal Health Overboard
Posted By Conn Carroll On February 13, 2008 @ 9:01 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled
The United States passed a generational milestone yesterday when 62-year-old Kathleen Casey-Kirschling became the first baby boomer to receive  a Social Security payment. A life-long Democrat , Casey-Kirschling (pictured to the right on her yacht) proudly told reporters from her winter home in Vero Beach, Fla., “I trust Social Security.” A summer resident of Earleville, Md., Casey-Kirschling is the first of an estimated 7,900 baby boomers turning 62 each day this year  — making them eligible for the federal retirement benefits averaging $1,079 a month.
If only those who studied our government’s budget shared Casey-Kirschling’s trust in our nation’s entitlement program. If current inaction on Social Security continues, the system will begin paying out more in benefits that it collects in payroll taxes in 2017 . Combined with Medicare’s unfunded liabilities, our country’s entitlement programs saddle every newborn with a $270,000 unsecured mortgage at birth . Each year the projections only get worse. This past year the Social Security and Medicare Trustees  increased the estimated long-term unfunded obligations  of Social Security by $200 billion and Medicare by $3.8 trillion. To put it another way, the $4 trillion increase represents about a third of our total economy.
These programs can still be saved from being thrown overboard but we must act fast. In the short term we must put the “insurance” back into “social insurance”  by restricting the availability of benefits in Social Security and Medicare to those who really need assistance. In the long term, we must stop the fantasy budget process that sets entitlement obligations in stone. Instead, Congress should ensure that the long-term costs for entitlement programs are built into the budget process and considered along with other priorities like defense, education and tax policy. Only through these common-sense measures can Casey-Kirschling’s faith in Social Security be affirmed.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/02/13/morning-bell-throwing-our-fiscal-health-overboard/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/boomerx-large.jpg
 first baby boomer to receive: http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/retirement/2008-02-12-boomer-social-security_N.htm
 life-long Democrat: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-12-29-first-boomer_x.htm
 first of an estimated 7,900 baby boomers turning 62 each day this year: http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2008/feb/12/no-headline---13vboomer/
 $270,000 unsecured mortgage at birth: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Family/hl1039.cfm
 the Social Security and Medicare Trustees: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm1430.cfm
 unfunded obligations: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/06/cbo-long-term-budget-outlook-on-the-nations-fiscal-future
 rejected a motion to apologize to the Marines: http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_8247988
 electronic employee verification program E-Verify: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/13/us/13immig.html?ref=todayspaper
 including nuclear ones: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=28167
 a large, bipartisan coalition passed much-needed FISA reform: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/12/politics/politico/thecrypt/main3823868.shtml
 pledged: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/waxman-wont-request-earmarks-this-year-2008-02-12.html
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