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  • Video: Fiscal Wake Up Tour

    Sometime next month the Senate will be forced to raise the federal debt limit beyond a record $12.1 trillion. While the current recession has exacerbated the problem, our rising national deficits are actually a structural problem a long time in the making. In the coming decades, the cost of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits will leap from 8.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) to 18.6% of GDP—an increase of 10.2% of GDP. To educate Americans about our nation’s large and growing fiscal imbalance The Heritage Foundation has, since 2005, teamed up with the The Concord Coalition, The Brookings Institution, and former U. S. Comptroller General David Walker to encourage Americans to demand action through a Fiscal Wake Up Tour.

    Today The Concord Coalition released four video briefings from top national experts on the fiscal challenges facing the country, including the one below from Heritage Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy Studies Stuart Butler:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzo-CPolHsw[/youtube]

    You can find many of the charts used in  Butler’s presentation in the  2009 Federal Revenue and Spending Book of Charts.

    Last year 16 federal budget experts from seven think tanks (including: American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, Concord Coalition, Heritage Foundation, New America Foundation, Progressive Policy Institute, and Urban Institute) issued a paper concluding:

    • Congress should enact a real long-term budget for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that would limit their growth, take them off auto-pilot, and curb their current ability in the budget process to pre-empt funds from other types of programs, such as defense.
    • Congress and the President should enact long-term budgets for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and be required to review them every five years. The rules for the five-year review must include a trigger or action-forcing device that automatically make changes when projected spending exceeds budgeted amounts.
    • The long-run costs of these three programs should be made visible in the budget at all times and considered when decisions are made.

    The Heritage Foundation further recommends:

    • Income-adjusting Social Security benefits to target needy seniors more effectively. This could be accomplished through “progressive indexing,” which would index initial benefit levels for middle-income and upper-income families to price inflation rather than wage growth, eliminating much of the increased Social Security costs driven by higher ben­efits. This would also target more benefit growth to lower-income retirees. If accompanied by an increase in the retirement age, progressive indexing could eliminate the entire Social Security shortfall.
    • Reducing the massive Medicare Part B and Part D subsidies for upper-income families. These programs are not social insurance: Enrollees did not earn their benefits with payroll taxes. Rather, they are large subsidies from taxpayers. Part B recently began modest income-relating. Long-term fundamental reform will likely involve bringing more choice and competition into health care, such as moving Medicare from a defined-benefit system to a defined-contribution system.
    • Converting Medicaid into a block grant to states would eliminate state incentives to overspend on Medicaid. Additionally, giving states more flexibility to craft different Medic­aid packages for different individuals based on their unique personal circumstances could save money while improving service delivery. State incentives to help individuals purchase long-term care insur­ance could also substantially reduce Medicaid’s bur­den insofar as these expenses are concerned.
    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Video: Fiscal Wake Up Tour

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      It is exasperating and disappointing to hear the president of this country, lie right through his teeth. Deceiving the people of everything from healthcare to man-made global warming. The gall to tell the American people he got no ideas from the republicans? Cover-up. He knows these ideas will work. He knows people will become more responsible, he knows this is what freedom is and he knows these ideas will build individual strength, mind and body. And he knows this will eliminate government growth in one of many areas government doesn't belong.

      Thank you to all those with these workable, sound, reasonable solutions.

    2. Pingback: Video: Fiscal Wake Up Tour | Old People News

    3. Margaret Horvath, Ri says:

      How can we work together to encourage our government to hold a fiscal wakeup tour? I would be glad to write, call,etc. or work in any way to assist in this. Most people see this as politics only and not affecting our future. We need to educate people on this issue. Thank you for this vital information. Margaret

    4. Rusty Shackleford, S says:

      Here's the problem with your paper, no right-thinking politician would actually enact any of these reforms because they are logical, common-sense solutions that do not involvement robbing the electorate of their rights and/or their pocketbooks.

    5. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I keep hearing things from economists about how the taxpayers need to deal with the underfunded programs of Social Security and Medicare. Everyone,it seems, has an idea on how to treat the symptoms, but no one has come up with an idea on how to cure the disease.

      For decades, ever since taxpayers began to fund Social Security, and later Medicare, the government has seen fit to dip into those funds to finance other things. If the government (it doesn't matter which party) wants to finance a special project and don't want to ask Americans to pay more in taxes to support that project, they simply dip into the Social Security or Medicare fund. Each time they do, they leave an "IOU".

      It would be interesting to learn, if possible, the number of times such IOUs were issued, and by whom, going all the way back to the very first time this happened, up to the present. I'm not sure where to find this information, if in fact it exists.

      But until Congressmen, Senators and Presidents are held accountable for dipping into these funds to finance projects, other than paying out the specified benefits of these programs, there will be no accountability and things will never change. Whether the reasons for raiding Social Security is to pay for wars, or to rebuild the countries we destroyed, to finance allies, or for any other reason at all, those reasons should be made public so that those voting for such expenditures may be held accountable.

      The American people need to know who is spending their tax money and on what it's being spent.

      We will never have true reform unless and until government employees, especially Congressmen, Senators and the President are brought under Social Security and Medicare, just like the rest of us. I can guarantee you that if all of our politicians were made subject to the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as the rest of us, there would be meaningful reform, and in a hurry.

    6. Bill P says:

      Hey Jerry in Chicago… Bravo!!

      How about legislation that eliminates that possibility…eliminating spending amendments to legislation!!!

    7. joan, connecticut says:

      If the Government had followed the rules laid out in the 1935 Social security act, and had put the funds collected into the trust fund as they were required to do, the fund would have earned the money to keep it from going broke. The Government, can't stand to see money sitting idle, so they dipped into the funds at every opportunity,leaving behind a string of unpaid debts. No problem for them , they will just raise our taxes to pay for their shortcomings. The corruption in Government is sickening, and so are we if we continue to elect these miscreants!

    8. Tom McKinney, Dunwoo says:

      The Trust Fund for Social Security holds $2.2 TRILLION of Government I.O.U's. (No money is there because the U.S. Government has spent it and issued U.S. Treasury I.O.U's). When The Social Security Administration needs the money–around 2016–it will need to cash in the I.O.U's. That means the U.S. Treasury will need to borrow the money to pay the people (around 40 million) that are receiving Social Security payments. Why can't the excess money generated now (2009) be placed in higher earning investments?

      Kindest regards,

      Tom McKinney

      Atlanta (Dunwoody), Georgia

    9. SAMUEL says:

      MOST OF THE AMERICAN TAX PAYERS WOULD HAVE OUR DEBT UNDER CONTROL WITHIN A YEAR. STOP ALL OUTER SPACE ADVENTURES, CLOSE MORE POST OFFICES, AND PUT THE REST ON THREE DAYS A WEEK WORK. FIRE HALF OF THE GOVERNMENT WORKERS IN AMERICA, CUT THE REST OF GOVERNMENT WORKERS WAGES IN HALF. LET'S CUT ALL CEO'S SALARY THREE QUARTERS, THAT WOULD BE THE POST OFFICE, TVA CEO'S DOWN THE LADDER. ALL UTILITIES HEADS SALARY THREE QUARTERS. ANY GOVERNMENT WORKER AND COLLEGE PROFESSORS, TEACHERS.

      STOP ALL OF THE VACATION TRIPS OF OUR GREAT LEADERS AND THEIR FAMILIES. MAKE CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS PAY TAXES. GO AFTER ALL THE FREE TAX HAVENS IN THE CARIBBEANS. STOP PELOISE FROM HER TRIPS HOME ON OUR TAX DOLLARS.

      MAKE ALL BANKERS AND MORTGAGE HEADS SPEND TIME IN JAIL FOR DESTROYING AMERICANS SAVINGS. PLUS PAY US ALL BACK FOR OUR LOST SAVINGS.

      I WANT HEADS TO ROLL AND TIME SPENT IN JAIL.

    10. Joyce Singleton, Pek says:

      I believe the suggestions by the Heritage Foundation,etc. are very workable and wish we could somehow impress upon the elected to adopt them. Too much corruption and greed among them. I think term limits are overdue as well.

    11. Joyce Singleton, Pek says:

      See the above comments.

    12. Pingback: Video: Fiscal Wake Up Tour « HOME – Other Right Links and Posts

    13. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      How about eliminating all the insane profits, not the sane ones, just the insane ones?

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