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  • Entitlement Reform? A 'Must Do' for Obama

    After making news earlier this week for promising to make Social Security and Medicare reform a “central part” of his plan to curtail federal spending, President-elect Obama has pledged to hold a “fiscal responsibility” summit focusing on entitlement reform. Although the devil is in the details, facing up to the long-term mess early is a good start. Obama certainly outlined the current situation well:

    What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further… We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.

    As important as it is to admit a crisis exists, that’s the easy part. Actually crafting a workable solution will be more difficult. Let’s remember both President Clinton and President Bush began their presidencies with similar optimism about Social Security and health care reform. Both met with failure.

    To start with, President-elect should heed the advice from economists on the left and the right to implement strong budget process reforms. Specifically, he should:

    1. Enact explicit long-term budgets for entitlement programs to stop them from growing on auto-pilot and reduce the favorable treatment these “mandatory” spending programs receive compared to other expenditures.
    2. Use triggers and other automatic adjustment mechanisms to help constrain spending growth.
    3. Show the long-term obligations of entitlements (which currently amount to $42 trillion) in the federal budget and require Congress to have an up or down vote on any legislation that would increase those obligations.

    This overdue change would bring make Members of Congress accountable if they continue to kick the can down the road or if they make the situation worse by passing expensive new programs. If implemented correctly, entitlement reform would certainly be change everyone can believe in. Of course, this is just a first step in solving the problem, but with deficits expected to surpass $1.2 trillion in 2009, taking these programs off auto pilot should be a no brainer. And, with exploding spending driving trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, entitlement reform is more vital than ever. The fact that President-elect Obama is taking this issue seriously is certainly a good sign. All eyes will be on the President, hoping he follows through with his promise.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    27 Responses to Entitlement Reform? A 'Must Do' for Obama

    1. Don Evons says:

      It is my understanding that Obama wants to add 20% of the 2-3-4 million new jobs to the government payrole.

      growing the government is no way to cut down on entitlements!

    2. Chris Berg, Albuquer says:

      The Feds are taxing $3.4 trillion out of the economy to buy the vote of the 100 million people on the dole. The State, County, and City governments tax away another $2.6 trillion dollars. Now, that's not enough, they are all borrowing another $1.5 trillion this year. This will cause hyper-inflation, and snowball into more job losses, more foreclosures, then more crime. Join mensunion.org, force reforms while we can strike, or experience a Great Depression. Best regards, Chris Berg

    3. Ozzy6900 says:

      The thing that they keep failing to see is that the money they need for the projects they want comes from a finite source – we the taxpayers!

    4. Barb -mn says:

      For TRANSPARENCY purposes the government should UNVEIL what in concise DEFINITION is "ENTITLEMENT." Who earns it or who is deserving of it. Qualifications and specification, requirements…

      Entitlement is a broad term and the government should not be allowed access to the term and privilege their constituents.

    5. Burt Noyes, St. Augu says:

      Don is correct. Government jobs have become entitlement programs with socialism as the driving force. Where else could such under-qualified people get tremendous job security, excellent pay and benefits, without having any accountability or performance standards except in the mammoth Federal government?

      Taking no prisoners at the [link

      • K.Van says:

        How true, On three different occasions I applied for a Gov. job with all they required PLUS and was told I was over qualified, I couldn't believe what they EVEN considered for the position, One that couldn't hardly read the application

    6. Barb -mn says:

      Actually, in PRECISE definition.

    7. malcontent, Los Ange says:

      As difficult as this reform will be, it HAS to be tackled. We are fighting against the clock as our debt continues to spiral out of control. Can you imagine the world's primary reserve currency caught up in a default? That is exactly what will happen if we don't start reforming in the next few years. http://malcontentist.com/2009/01/to-do-list-for-b

    8. Angry Dumbo says:

      More talk of ideologically free decision making and it is poppycock. Reforming SSA and health care are something every leader has wanted to tackle, but now Obama has workable majorities. The solution to SSA and health care requires decision making based on assumptions which must have an ideological basis.

      Of course in 2005, when President Bush wanted to reform social security, Democrats said the program was solvent until 2041 and that there was no pressing need for reform. Ha. I'm 42 and I would like the opportunity to opt out of this ponzi scheme, but I don't think I will be given the opportunity.

      If Obama really wants to channel President Lincoln, I'd like Obama to ponder a few Lincoln quotes for a few moments this morning.

      "You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

      You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

      You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

      You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

      You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

      You cannot build character and courage by taking away mens' initiative and independence.

      You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves."

      Abraham Lincoln

      Obama's New New Deal cannot be reconciled with our enumerated liberties as understood by Lincoln and our founding fathers. At long last, the federal government has become the Church of England, a coercive charity taking from the people to support its own largess.

    9. Matt Cohrs, Jacksonv says:

      I just find it laughable that Obama is going to lecture the rest of about "responsibility". Perhaps he needs to look at his own base, is it "responsible" to get a monthly check from the government just to spend it on drugs and fancy clothes?

      Is it "responsible" to have babies you cannot support without a welfare check?

      I can define Democrats as "lazy people who collect welfare and have lots of babies", someone please prove me wrong.

    10. siloraced Northeast says:

      All reform is difficult. Look at a drug addict or a person who milks the workers comp system. Once hooked it's hard to get off. We saw the uproar with welfare reform. People will avoid pain as long as they can until forced to act. We are coming ever closer to the day when we will be forced and it will hurt. People now get "entitlements" they never paid for. They never wanted to sacrifice or save or invest, they want others to do the work so they get the benefit. What we are headed for is a conflagration of inflation. And that will devour the value of treasuries and other fixed income instruments, and we are going to issue massive amounts of treasuries to finance all the programs Obama wants. Good luck trying to sell devalued treasuries then.

    11. len, Alexandria,KY says:

      Apparently Pelosi and Leftards are already out to see if Obama is willing to Veto the recently passed pork laden recovery plan.

      Pelosi apparently is unwilling to control libtards policies of spend spend spend including Chirp for Illegals… Now let's see of Obama who tals the tald can walk the walk…Pelosi is afreaid of opposition in the Congress so she is forcing the New Presidenet to show his mettle on his first day.. let's see if he has the mettle….

    12. John, Mechanicsville says:

      When are we going to learn that we must limit the power of the government to tax. By that I mean establsh a limit on how taxation is computed and state a limit. (taxation by percentage of income – say 10% limit to start with). That would be one constitutional ammendment. We also need a balanced budget ammendment although politically that would be suicide for most members of Congress as it takes away Pork. Next ammendment is no benefits paid for by taxpayers for non-citizens. That will significantly reduce the entitlement spending.

    13. B. Sheehy, Wilmingto says:

      Is social security considered a welfare program in that it is to be means tested? I was fully vested in Social Security before 1970 with 59 quarters. When I retired I lost most of my social security benefits due to the 'WINDFALL PROVISION" enacted after I was fully vested. How does that not make SS a means tested program, ie welfare?

    14. Robert Rosenthall - says:

      RNCDC need all support in New Orleans for the basic need of housing and the creation of 310,000 jobs now befors moving to long range plan.

      Regional Neighborhood Community Development Cooperation (RNCDC), a Faith Based, non-profit, 501-C-3 organization founded in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana is leading the initiatives to rebuild the Gulf Coast Region and New Orleans with concentration on churches, housing and community development. RNCDC is structurally organized to provide comprehensive growth solutions through partnerships with government programs by leveraging public and private funds. It has established partners with local, state and federal government, community groups, 1000 Faith-based organizations, HUD, USDA, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, developers and investors to ensure the success of each project. RNCDC has a professional team with outstanding backgrounds in banking, finance, housing and community development that is playing a major role in the recovery of Gulf Coastal areas in Mississippi and Louisiana. RNCDC has over $3 billion of projects in its pipeline that will create 310,000. RNCDC is seeking $3 billion in specialized structured financing to develop 10,000 homes that will create 280,000 jobs and the Entertainment District that will create 30,000 new jobs

      HOUSING $2 billion

      The first priority and greatest need in the Gulf Coast Region is housing. According to the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency’s February 15, 2008 report, an estimated 330,000 low income households were in need of affordable housing prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Post Katrina Housing damage and housing needs have increased dramatically. Thus, Gap Financing of $2 billion is needed for Humanitarian Housing Development. Our initiatives target affordable housing for all income groups and community development of mixed income neighborhoods. Several agencies have “claimed” specific financial programs that target very low and low income families, but are not meeting the housing needs of thousands of families. The housing will have solar products. Your assistance is needed to bring aggressive housing programs that provide affordable housing now. This project will help correct the most catastrophic natural disaster in the nation's history. The hurricanes destroyed and severely damaged over 250,000 housing units. RNCDC is also requesting 5,000 project based vouchers from HUD for rental units. All partners are positive that this humanitarian action by your office will be a success story for all parties, especially the citizens in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Mayor of New Orleans, thousands of community groups, HQ – HUD and the local HUD officers are working with RNCDC and will expedite this process. Each analysis takes into consideration current changes in the economic, demographic, and housing inventory characteristics of a specific housing market area during three periods:

      COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

      The Entertainment District with a Music Hall of Fame – is a $1 billion economic development project that will employ 30,000 persons and generate over $300 million in annual revenue. This action is needed to help jump start the economy in New Orleans. The economic infrastructure of New Orleans is entertainment and tourism. Our current goal is to create an entertainment, music and cultural district that will generate a profit and support the city’s financial structure. The site is located on Rampart Street across from City Hall. RNCDC partners will acquire City Hall and convert the site into a City Jazz Park. A five star hotel will be constructed to complement the Jazz Park. This project will be in close proximity to the Billion Dollar development of the Trump Plaza. This action in the heart of Downtown will provide a 24-hour high dollar walking traffic flow through the Entertainment District. The site is a prime downtown location that will be the center of New Orleans’ business and entertainment. This district runs along South Rampart Street corridor, Louis Armstrong’s childhood neighborhood and the historic hub of the early days of jazz and blues in New Orleans. On the 300 and 400 blocks of South Rampart St., there are several historic landmark buildings significant to New Orleans’ Culture, Heritage and the origins of jazz. The Smithsonian Institute has designated these buildings as historical sites.

      http://www.rncdc.org

    15. Robert Rosenthall - says:

      Housing is a basic need in New Orleans before moving to long range actions. We need to create 310,000 jobs.

      Regional Neighborhood Community Development Cooperation (RNCDC), a Faith Based, non-profit, 501-C-3 organization founded in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana is leading the initiatives to rebuild the Gulf Coast Region and New Orleans with concentration on churches, housing and community development. RNCDC is structurally organized to provide comprehensive growth solutions through partnerships with government programs by leveraging public and private funds. It has established partners with local, state and federal government, community groups, 1000 Faith-based organizations, HUD, USDA, investment bankers, hedge fund managers, developers and investors to ensure the success of each project. RNCDC has a professional team with outstanding backgrounds in banking, finance, housing and community development that is playing a major role in the recovery of Gulf Coastal areas in Mississippi and Louisiana. RNCDC has over $3 billion of projects in its pipeline that will create 310,000. RNCDC is seeking $3 billion in specialized structured financing to develop 10,000 homes that will create 280,000 jobs and the Entertainment District that will create 30,000 new jobs

      HOUSING $2 billion

      The first priority and greatest need in the Gulf Coast Region is housing. According to the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency’s February 15, 2008 report, an estimated 330,000 low income households were in need of affordable housing prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Post Katrina Housing damage and housing needs have increased dramatically. Thus, Gap Financing of $2 billion is needed for Humanitarian Housing Development. Our initiatives target affordable housing for all income groups and community development of mixed income neighborhoods. Several agencies have “claimed” specific financial programs that target very low and low income families, but are not meeting the housing needs of thousands of families. The housing will have solar products. Your assistance is needed to bring aggressive housing programs that provide affordable housing now. This project will help correct the most catastrophic natural disaster in the nation's history. The hurricanes destroyed and severely damaged over 250,000 housing units. RNCDC is also requesting 5,000 project based vouchers from HUD for rental units. All partners are positive that this humanitarian action by your office will be a success story for all parties, especially the citizens in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Mayor of New Orleans, thousands of community groups, HQ – HUD and the local HUD officers are working with RNCDC and will expedite this process. Each analysis takes into consideration current changes in the economic, demographic, and housing inventory characteristics of a specific housing market area during three periods:

      COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

      The Entertainment District with a Music Hall of Fame – is a $1 billion economic development project that will employ 30,000 persons and generate over $300 million in annual revenue. This action is needed to help jump start the economy in New Orleans. The economic infrastructure of New Orleans is entertainment and tourism. Our current goal is to create an entertainment, music and cultural district that will generate a profit and support the city’s financial structure. The site is located on Rampart Street across from City Hall. RNCDC partners will acquire City Hall and convert the site into a City Jazz Park. A five star hotel will be constructed to complement the Jazz Park. This project will be in close proximity to the Billion Dollar development of the Trump Plaza. This action in the heart of Downtown will provide a 24-hour high dollar walking traffic flow through the Entertainment District. The site is a prime downtown location that will be the center of New Orleans’ business and entertainment. This district runs along South Rampart Street corridor, Louis Armstrong’s childhood neighborhood and the historic hub of the early days of jazz and blues in New Orleans. On the 300 and 400 blocks of South Rampart St., there are several historic landmark buildings significant to New Orleans’ Culture, Heritage and the origins of jazz. The Smithsonian Institute has designated these buildings as historical sites.

      http://www.rncdc.org

    16. Hozro1, Oregon says:

      For the past forty years Americans have spent forty-trillion dollars on "Black Entitlement" programs, with Black Reverend responses,"God Damn America", to the Mass Media tell all Of Americal t,"hat All Minorities need more Entitlements, and that what they have so far isn't working!

      Unlike most of the rest of the "Civilized World where Age is revered," the first 'Entitlement Program'' in America that Congress seems to always attack os Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid!

      Dr. Martin Luther King wanted an America where his children and all children and all people would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the contents of their hearts and souls. The first thing Congress did after the Great man's assassination was to pass laws where we all had to check little boxes telling whether we were black, white, red, yellow, brown, whatever! Just the opposite of what Dr. King asked and stood for!

      No specific group of peoples in this Free Nation should ever be given any entitlements or special considerations for Race, Religion, or Sexual Orientation, with the exceptions of the four; Children, Veterans, Senior Citizens, and the Physically/emotionally/mentally Handicapped!

      Concentrate on those chosen four groups, and the others will learn to stand for themselves, and be recognized as the same as each other, just people! Just as Dr. King foresaw!

    17. Mike, Hickory, NC says:

      Like it or not, agree with it or not, the fact is Obama is a Leftist Marxist/Communist/Socialist government elitist, and so "hoping he follows through on his promise" is tantamount to inviting more of the "Liberal" Leftist Socialism/government elitism of Obama and his comrades, and their RIPO (Republican In Party Only) accomplices, and, consequently, more of the incomparably dire consequences of such government elitism.

      Seeing and hearing the demagoguing and pandering horrors and outrage with which government elitists (whether Democrat or Republican) react to even the idea of offering we the people the choice of "opting out of Social(ist) Security" for the documentedly superior benefits and potential of private, individual responsibility and choices, is enough to begin with to expose and illustrate their money and power-mad Leftist/government elitist agenda.

      Indeed, same as Socialism itself, "Social Security" has the seeds of it's own self-destruction built into it, which leads, and is leading here, to "the end of the road" where there is no choice in reality other than either going Socialist, (which will of course bring more dire consequences of Socialism [which has already been tried everywhere, has failed, is failing, and always will fail everywhere, including here]), or finally learning the lesson of history to this day against Socialism/government elitism and therefore finally at least really and truly "phasing out" such Leftist/government elitist "Social Security" Socialism in favor of the incomparable benefits and potential of the individual personal responsibility and freedom upon which this country (the United States) was founded.

      Unfortunately now we'll have to somehow survive a real onslaught of more Socialism, at least for the next 2 "election cycles", at which points we can "throw the (Leftist/government elitist) bums out", regain our Congress, and then our White House, and thus have any real hope for "Entitlement" (Welfare) reform" conducive to the incomparable individual personal responsibility, freedoms, rights, and both prosperity and potential for prosperity, upon which and for which this country was founded, and for which people actually risk anything and everything (including death) to come here.

    18. Marshall Hill-Michig says:

      Government Jobs are not the answer of the thirties,and they certainly are not the answer

      now!Big Government just allows the people at the top to prosper!

      Only the left would think of this,oh and maybee

      Bill Ayres!

      You need to realize that America is not going

      to roll over and play Dead while you try to give it away!

    19. Barb -mn says:

      I agree with all but one, Hozro1. It is those whose actions result in birth of an infant that those accountable for their actions and responsibility to provide for the human life/lives they bring into the world by their personal decision to act… huh? did I say that right?

    20. Woody, Brighton, TN says:

      Worked 45 years paying into Social Security. Suffered a career ending injury at the hands

      of a illegal minor on our streets. Illegals

      receive $2,000.00 to $2,400.00 a month Social Security benefits plus Medicare, Medicaid,food stamps and other benefits if there are children.

      Reform Social Security what a joke. You can reform Social Security by making all politicians

      subject to it and taking all illegals off the rolls. After working 45 years and paying my taxes I get $1,500.00 a month being totally permanently

      disabled and still won't qualify for Medicare until September 2009, 2 year waitng period.

      But if your illegal, or lazy, or worthless or

      too stupid because you're uneducated and some can't even read, you can get $2,400.00 a month Social Security, section eight housing, food stamps, free medical care. Also affimative action

      favortism for goverment jobs where you can be stupid, ignorant, illiterate and just plain worthless and get far more than you deserve in pay, benefits and retirement – just because you can hold up the low end of the value scale.

      Now the Messiah has come and change is coming to America. The money machine will print $100 bills just as if they were $1 bills everyday all day long until they run out of ink or paper. They're spreading the money around like beer at a sailor's beer bust party coming into port after nine months at sea.

    21. Woody, Brighton, TN says:

      To Ozzie 6900..

      I have to correct you the money doesn't come from the tax payers now – it comes from the Federal Reserve which at this moment is printing money 24/7 like nobody's business. The devaluation of the dollar is coming with inflation that neither my children or my grandchildren will not be able to pay. What do the Bozos care that are doing this they'll all be dead. Barney Frank what a truly wonderful person you are.

    22. Barb -mn says:

      Mr. President,

      Stop all entitlements based on race, creed and culture. We are created equal! Everyone born with the breath of life and those born with arms, legs, torso and a brain is created equal. Our different appearances of skin color, eye shape, size is based on our country of origin. Not lack of abilities. Quit implying the latter, Mr. President and your cabinet.

    23. I only have my exper says:

      There are some extremely intelligent posts here and I have learned something from each one.

      All I have in my little life's experience with 'Entitlements'.

      My first job after moving way up to Northern Cali from growing up in Los Angeles was US Census 2000.

      I did the census starting with my tiny town of 256.

      Out of 256 only 16 people worked, including me, or had ever worked a single day in their lives.

      I was floored with this discovery but kept on filling out my books.

      Almost every single resident is on SSI & SSP. That's Supplemental Security Income & State Supplemental Payment here in California and in several other states that means another check along with the Federal one.

      In California now an Individual get's $907 and a couple gets $1,569 tax free always. And all the preks that goes along with those cash checks of MediCAL/MediCAID, Food Bank, Farmer's Market Vouchers, HUD/Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers & Section 8 Mobility Program, etc., and endless perks.

      The majority live in paid for free & clear inherited homes. Most are fair market valued between $250,000 to well over a million bucks. Most have at least 15 acres and many have 25 plus acres.

      Their property taxes are reimbursed to them in October each year at 95% return, leaving them a 5% payment.

      They pay taxes based on when the home was built like 1900's because the homes are just passed to another relative upon the other's passing away.

      Pretty neat little outfit huh!

      Well, when the 1st person up here found out about the SSI & SSP programs I think my neighbor said in the 60's, it caught on like wildfire and all the other neighbors jumped on the bandwagon.

      Actually, these folks have what I call an Entitlement PhD! They know the Social Security 'Blue Book' of Impairments and almost every single Qualifying Disability or Impariment there is. They know every time a new one is added.

      Many qualified on cronic Alcoholism until that was changed in the 70's to not be a qualifying factor/impairment to collect SSI & SSP so they found out that by acting 'Crazy' they could stay on the check-in-the-box.

      Alot of the males up here are on 'Crazy checks'.

      MENTAL 'Other' is the largest growing impairment disability in the SSI program now.

      There is an entire plethora of 'other' problems a person can have. ADD, ADHD, agoraphobia, bi-polar depression, panic attacks, it just goes on.

      I don't see anything wrong with these people on the MENTAL 'Other' checks except Meth abuse and Alcoholism.

      Many have spent so many years sitting now and just watching tv and eating they have become qualifying Diabetics and Morbidly Obese.

      Everytime a young person qualifies for SSI/SSP they hold a big party at the local county park called a 'Kegger'. That's where they get Kegs of Beer and have a pot luck bar-b-que and celebrate LifeTime SSI/SSP checks.

      There's a commradery among them, that I do not belong to nor' ever will.

      They don't seem to trust anyone that's not a Lifer on Checks.

      Many of the younger Mother's do not get married to the Father's of their babies so they can collect Welfare, Cal WORKS. But, when their 5 year lifetime limit gets close they begin to figure out which disability/impairment they are going to choose to apply for permenant SSI/SSP.

      They then just Transfer from the one Welfare Entitlement to another Disability/Impairment Entitlement.

      And with PRUCOL and the many other Illegal Alien Welfare Programs that allow them to collect cash checks and perks.

      The Parents/Grandparents/Great-Grandparents can come straight here form say, China and age 65 they have their child take them to SSA offices to fill out the SSI/SSP Program paperwork and if they need a Pro-Bono Lawyer, they get one and keep on using their 'Appeal' process until they qualify and they are set for the rest of their lives on checks with no work and no taxes.

      The problem with Obama and his Demogrants is they believe, they truely believe that these illegals will 'Save the Day' with taxes.

      They think that the illegals once legalized with take the Jobs, Government and Private and begin paying taxes to save the world!

      I know what illegals do, I grew up with all illegals in LA, they take Gratis/Free first and foremost!

      They WILL go to SSA offices to apply & qualify for free SSI/SSP and the perks benefits.

      And if 'Head of Household' is on SSI/SSP the ENTIRE family in that household will also get the 2 checks each month and the perks.

      Now if they are already printing money and taxing us, then how will they start paying an additional 40 million?

      It looks real good to all my neighbors having Obama and his Pals in office to keep raising taxes to keep them well fed and housed, but the money that rolls into those Mail Boxes each month, will either lay empty at some point or be Worthless and un-cashable!

    24. Quinn76 says:

      Wow!! That comment was a big eye-opener.

    25. ???????? says:

      Nice blog here! Additionally your website so much up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your associate link for your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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