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  • Towering Debt and Deficits Highlight Urgent Need for Entitlement Reform

    Yesterday’s USA Today brought the not so surprising news that federal tax revenue has fallen drastically due to the struggling economy. The 34% decrease represents the largest plunge since the last major recession in 1981. Although revenue is down, the main driver of deficits is spending. Over the long term these deficits will become increasingly difficult to control because of escalating entitlement spending on Social Security and Medicare. As the article notes,

    The other deficit driver is government spending, which, the [American Institute for Economic Research] report says, is the main culprit for the federal budget deficit…

    The government may have a hard time trimming spending to reduce the deficit when the recession ends. The 77 million Baby Boomers— those born in 1946 through 1964 — will start tapping their federal retirement benefits soon, which means increased government outlays for Social Security and Medicare.”

    As progressively more Baby Boomers qualify for entitlement benefits, significant debt and deficit reduction will become increasingly challenging because these programs will consume all federal revenue by 2052. As Heritage Foundation analysis points out, we can’t reduce spending and control deficits without reforming entitlements. For instance President Obama’s budget, which doesn’t address entitlements, will send publicly held debt to 82.4 percent of GDP by 2019 according to projections by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

    The facts are in and they paint a grim picture. The dates that both the Medicare and Social Security trust funds will run dry has moved forward. The Social Security surplus has fallen from $87 billion in 2008 to $19 billion in 2009; meanwhile federal debt is set to reach levels not seen since the end of World War II. The data has never been clearer. The time for serious entitlement reform is now.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Towering Debt and Deficits Highlight Urgent Need for Entitlement Reform

    1. Barb -mn says:

      Is it too much to ask the government what their definition of "entitlement" is? Share with the people EVERY TITLE and penny going to "entitlements" outside of medicare and social security? How many people who are not within the age range are receiving "entitlement benefits" and for what reason?

    2. Pingback: Morning Conservative Reading List - May 29, 2009 - AIP Blog - American Issues Project

    3. Merrill B, Las Vegas says:

      Well, to answer Barb-mm, Social Security Insurance (SSI) draws from SS funds to give to a number of citizens (and non-citizens) who are under age 65. Examples, to name a few, are handicapped children determined to be developmentally delayed (mentally retarded children and adults), physically handcapped children and adults who can't take care of themselves (spinabifida, severe Tourettes Syndrome, debilitating schizophrenia, MS contracted as a child, muscular dystrophy, and a host of other disabilities) children under 18 who have very short attention span and poor impulse issues (ADHD, ADD). The list goes on and on to the tune of many billions of dollars each year. SSI is separate from standard SS for the retired folks but it has been going on so long it is now considered an entitlement program that can't fail. You should be glad our government is not selfish and is willing to share your wealth with these individuals. The goal started out humanitarian but now is an albatross that would be hard to ferret out. The problem is that many of these individuals who are being helped by the government are being served by fraud or can be serviced by their wealthy families. The system has become so top heavy and complicated that fraud is rampant in both systems. It has been my experience that when the government tries to be fair with everybody, it usually is unfair to many. Why don't we put our Senators and Congressmen on the same SS and health care system we are on? How long do you think it would take for them to come up with a fair and equitable fix to SS, Medicare, and a good privately run health care system for everybody similar to the ones they are using?

    4. Merrill B, Las Vegas says:

      I know, I know!! My comments are too long! The story of my life! I am going to bed. Bye.

    5. Barb -mn says:

      Thank you Merrill.

      I personally don't want any medical going into the hands of government. There is a chronic illness in the family that costs much out of pocket. Why would we want someone unrelated pay for that? That is our personal issue. We have no wealth but we learn to deal with misfortunes and make the best of it. I speak of misfortunes that are beyond control. I always believed entitlements should go strictly to the elderly, military and those unable to help themselves. But there are too many cheats. Doctor, patient, insiders cheating the system. And too much government picking and choosing and making it more difficult for the genuine in need to get it.

      We fight for freedom. We understand what personal responsibilities are to live free and have become accustomed to them. We don't like government infringement of our personal responsibilities. It is in violation. Stealing freedom.

      Government already rations. Think how worse it will get when we're all beyond our ability to do for ourselves due to government.

      Sorry, I tend to go a bit long myself…

      good night. And God Bless!

    6. Merrill B, Las Vegas says:

      You're welcome Barb. My little blurb yesterday didn't touch on the other projects the government funds (somewhat)that are abused regularly. I only touched on Medicare, SSI, and SS. These government programs should deal only with the elderly, military, and those incapable of helping themselves. If the taxpayers who provide the funds could be sure the money collected by the government would go to those who truly qualify for help, most would be OK with helping out. But unfortunately, the government is a poor manager of businesses and money. We should quit electing poor managers. I hate to be too verbose but consider this, in addition to a mismanagement of SS, SSI, and Medicare funds, what about special education funding in the educational systems in the US? I just retired from the Clark County School District recently after 30 years as a school psychologist with the district. Nearly all my work was with special education. A great many of the students who qualified for special education services benefitted or would benefit from the services. According to a departmental study done a few years ago, special education expenses for these students ran about 3 times higher than non-special education students. Clark County and Nevada Education programs spend far less money per student than the majority of states across the US. The counties in Nevada were doing a pretty good job with limited funding, but with increased demands from special education legal requirements, with no increase in funding, the positive outcomes of special education are getting harder and harder to meet. Now, to go back a bit in history…as a young man in graduate school I attended a couple of White House Conferences that was instrumental in hammering out the rules and recommendations that Congress used to fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), affluent parents were by far the most vocal group attending the conference. These were parents who could afford private special education services for their children who were handicapped in one way or another, but felt that they were entitled to have us, the taxpayer, fund the treatment for their children. I was flabbergasted with many proposals they presented. Thank god most were left out of the recommendations at the time. However, over the past 30 years, I have seen a great many recommendations that were originally shelved become part of the special education laws. Those of us who work out our own problems and take responsibility for our mistakes don't like government intrusion into our personal lives. Unfortunately, too many Americans are incorporating the moral values of the likes of Madoff and his ilk. They want privilages they have come to expect are rights they are entitled to have. So each time the governmental lawmakers gave in to parent activists, the quality of the educational system seemed to drop a notch. When I noticed that I was become more vocal and more negative in my remarks to colleagues, I decided it was time to retire and calm down. The ball is in the younger generation of professionals now. God help us all!!

    7. Merrill B, Las Vegas says:

      Oops! Sorry, didn't mean to take up so much room. I'm glad I didn't include everything I wanted to get off my chest.

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