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Time for the yearly message about Medicare and Social Security
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, March 27, 2008

As you might imagine, nothing has changed. In fact, as expected, it continues to get worse. And, as usual, it is mostly being ignored:
“The trustees report yet again triggers a funding warning in Medicare – signaling the program is in serious straits as it faces a $36 trillion unfunded obligation,’’ saidJim Nussle, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget – pointing to proposals the president has made to curtail spending.
And when you add Social Security, the unfunded obligation hits about 53 trillion. And, as I heard on a new report, Medicare is now upside down - taking in less money in taxes than it is paying out in benefits.

Of course Democrats want to add everyone to a similar sort of a program and, given the careful management of the costs of this one [/sarcasm], we'll be looking at a 100 trillion unfunded obligations within a decade if they succeed.

Isabell Sawhill of the Brookings Institute says:
“The latest report from the trustees shows once again that the aging of the population along with rising health care costs per capita threaten to bankrupt the country if nothing is done,’’ Sawhill said today. “Yet, none of the presidential candidates has been honest with the American public about the magnitude of the challenge and the importance of dealing with it sooner rather than later.”
And she's precisely right. Check out Obama's reaction:
“Today’s report should give Americans confidence that we can keep Social Security strong for future generations if we come together and address its real but manageable long-term cash flow issue.

“But the report also shows the cost of Washington’s failure to overcome the special interests and pass health care reform that expands coverage and lower costs, which would keep Medicare strong and affordable for America’s seniors. As president, I will reduce costs in the Medicare program by enacting reforms to lower the price of prescription drugs, ending the subsidies for private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program and focusing resources on prevention and effective chronic disease management.

“I’ll also bring Democrats and Republicans together to provide every single American with affordable, available health care that reduces health care costs by $2,500 per family. By investing in proven measures to improve the health of all Americans and reduce health care cost across the economy, we can ensure that the Medicare program remains strong for future generations."
If BS were money, we could pay for the Medicare and Social Security deficits with those three paragraphs.

Someone, somewhere is going to have to actually take the green stuff out of their pockets to pay for the Obama promises. So you'd better understand that the $2,500 savings he claims are vapor. The amount of money necessary to save both of these programs will require drastic - and I mean drastic - measures in terms of balancing income and benefits. Either benefits will be cut dramatically, taxes will go up precipitously or both. And they want to add more people to the medical system now going under?

With the unfunded trillions necessary for future obligations already at 53T for both of these programs, and nary a single solution even being discussed (Clinton would give us a panel to begin discussions about Social Security - big whoop), all this happy talk by the likes of Obama and Clinton is just that - happy talk. It is utter populist BS nonsense that totally ignores the elephant of those two programs in the room while trying to get a new elephant in the room to boot.

For two people who claim to have such wonderful knowledge of economics, statements like Obama's above, demonstrate that's so much nonsense. Someone somewhere at sometime is actually going to have to face the reality that is fast closing in on these two programs, and it is obviously not something any of the present candidates for the position of President of the United States really want to tackle. That would actually take political courage, and if you've been an observer of politics in America for any length of time, you know that's in very short supply.
 
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Yes, THIS is the kind of issue to be critical of Obama on, not the meaningless Wright issue. We cannot afford the programs we have without massive tax increases, but our economy could not survive a massive tax increase. Borrowing is a short term solution, but over time it has economic consequences. Moreover, with consumer debt what it is, there isn’t going to be a consumer-driven solution. The politicianss are not addressing the economic problems we face because if they did they’d be force to admit things and confront facts that would yield very unpopular conclusions. In short, admitting economic reality means losing the election.

It’s sad that people are more into what Obama’s preacher has said than really analyzing the economic situation and his ideas there. Because right now all the talk about government programs and the economy is meaningless; reality won’t allow us to continue to spend as have been — government, or consumer.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And, as I heard on a new report, Medicare is now upside down - taking in less money in taxes than it is paying out in benefits.
The Hospital Benefits Fund (Part A) is now in deficit, yes. But not Medicare Part B:
Part B of the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund, which pays doctors’ bills and other outpatient expenses, and Part D, which pays for access to prescription drug coverage, are both projected to remain adequately financed into the indefinite future because current law automatically provides financing each year to meet next year’s expected costs.
Not that this changes the long-term outlook, of course.
 
Written By: KipEsquire
URL: http://www.kipesquire.com
Maybe they can fund it all with the profit the GPO is making in (over)charging the State Department for printing passports?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I’ve said I’d vote for any candidate that could make a credible pass at being a fiscal conservative in some personal conversations.

I’ve also pointed out that "criticizing Bush about spending" does not constitute fiscal conservatism, and that I won’t accept a candidate that both promises massive health care expenditures and claims to not like spending. You can have one or the other, but not both.

At the moment, neither Democratic candidate has any bona fides to be criticizing anybody for fiscal irresponsibility right now.

What a stupid time to be pushing national health care, as it becomes more and more clear from those that have it that it is unsustainable, if those stories could just get past our news media that filters them out.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri/
Yes, THIS is the kind of issue to be critical of Obama on, not the meaningless Wright issue. For goodness sake, please stick to criticizing Obama on things that can also be applied to the other candidates, lest the criticism actually make a difference.

We cannot afford the programs we have without massive tax increases, but our economy could not survive a massive tax increase. I admit that’s a real problem. But of course, these programs are socially constructed, so they’re necessary, and that means you conservatives just have to find a way to make them work.

Borrowing is a short term solution, but over time it has economic consequences. Moreover, with consumer debt what it is, there isn’t going to be a consumer-driven solution. Yes, we leftists have really boxed you guys in with our social programs, haven’t we? Now we can sit back and watch things fall apart, and the people will be screaming for we wise leftists to take control.

The politicianss are not addressing the economic problems we face because if they did they’d be force to admit things and confront facts that would yield very unpopular conclusions. In short, admitting economic reality means losing the election. That’s the result of years of leftist indoctrination. We’ve convinced everyone that they can have their cake and eat it too. That’s how we put you righties in a box, and you ought to acknowledge our superior ability to use social constructions to counter your ridiculous individualist approaches.

It’s sad that people are more into what Obama’s preacher has said than really analyzing the economic situation and his ideas there. It’s sad because it might actually demonstrate to people that Obama is a racist hack politician with no special skills beyond a decent speaking voice. Because right now all the talk about government programs and the economy is meaningless; reality won’t allow us to continue to spend as have been — government, or consumer. And I can’t wait for the resulting chaos. It will cement our leftist dominance for a generation, just as it has in Europe.

Of course, Europe is further down this social welfare whirlpool then we are, which just goes to show how much smarter they are. Of course, the fact that I think the Europeans have it all figured out gives away how fake my own concern is over financing social programs, but it’s too late anyway, and it allows me to continue to post smug and condescending comments that make me appear to be the ultimately fair arbiter of both sides of the argument instead of a crazed rightie that can’t see anything except a ridiculous emphasis on "freedom" and other obsolete concepts instead of the socially constructed reality we now have.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
$36 trillion unfunded obligation
Go get an idea of how big that is, the Iraq war (less the human count) has cost $0.8 trillion dollars, or 2.2% of Social Security’s unfunded obligation.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
You know sometimes you read something and you do really digest it.

I just read this again and it makes me twice as mad as before ..
"If Barack gets past the primary," said the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the New York Times in April of last year, "he might have to publicly distance himself from me. I said it to Barack personally, and he said yeah, that might have to happen."

Pause just for a moment, if only to admire the sheer calculating self-confidence of this. Sen. Obama has long known perfectly well, in other words, that he’d one day have to put some daylight between himself and a bigmouth Farrakhan fan. But he felt he needed his South Side Chicago "base" in the meantime. So he coldly decided to double-cross that bridge when he came to it. And now we are all supposed to marvel at the silky success of the maneuver.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
We all would like to think there’s just a disjoint between liberals and conservatives on SS. That most liberals haven’t the ability to see reality in front of them and the few that can believe we can solve it with some taz increases and some belt-tightening.

But I don’t believe this anymore. I don’t believe Paul Krugman or Kevin Drum really thinks there’s actual money in the Trust Fund. Or that the obligations there pass through to SS beneficiaries on parity with holders of government bonds. Sorry, not buying.

There’s a perfect class warfare issue brewing and they like the way the numbers work out. The liberals plan to means-test anybody who has saved money right off the list, so that if you did forego consumption for savings you’re screwed. And even though screwing savers out of their benefits won’t balance the books, it’s such an easy thing to propose and demagogue. And it goes like this: Do you want your SS benefits or don’t you?

When they put it like that any principles voters might have will go right out the window.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
It’s sad that people are more into what Obama’s preacher has said than really analyzing the economic situation and his ideas there.


Well, his ideas really don’t require much analysis. They are obvious cr*p.

But it is also true that he’d have to enact those ideas by passing legislation, and when all is said and done he ain’t going to push that cr*p through Congress. Big ideas—good or bad—don’t matter when you can’t act on them.

Obama’s damage to the US, if elected, will be in the arena of forign policy, with some nasty EOs thrown in the mix. He’ll be a one term wonder without any legislative success.

The anti-American rants of his preacher are a clue in to the forign policy of Obama, so that’s really much more useful in judging him than his economic ideas.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Dont forget to throw in the 20+ million illegal immigrants that all 3 candidates want to add to those eligible for benefits.
 
Written By: retired military
URL: http://

Dont forget to throw in the 20+ million illegal immigrants that all 3 candidates want to add to those eligible for benefits.
They are probably a net plus for our economy, which is why so many in the business world want to make sure they aren’t thrown out (well, the idea that they ever would be isn’t credible). You see, somebody has to be paying in to the system, and without immigrants, that pool is a lot smaller.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You see, somebody has to be paying in to the system, and without immigrants, that pool is a lot smaller.
Erb, are you saying that employers who hire illegal immigrants are paying the payroll taxes for them? I find that extremely hard to believe.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Dr. Erb,

Sorry man, but I can’t agree with that one. You show me a source that says that illegal immigrants contribute more than they take, and I’ll show you a source that says they don’t. Businesses like illegal immigrants because they like the cheap labor. I don’t think they give a rats rear about contributions to the Social Security/Medicare system. In my opinion, they care about the now, not what might happen 10-20 years down the road. They’ll worry about that then.

"You see, somebody has to be paying in to the system, and without immigrants, that pool is a lot smaller."

I do agree with this if you are talking about legal immigrants.

But illegals? Sorry my friend. Too much cognitive dissonance involved there.

PS. I know this thread is not about Illegals. Pardon my indulgence.
 
Written By: autot
URL: http://
Sorry man, but I can’t agree with that one. You show me a source that says that illegal immigrants contribute more than they take, and I’ll show you a source that says they don’t.
Well, then we’d have to look at the data, the methodology, assumptions, etc. At this point I haven’t, so I can’t say anything definitive. It does make sense, though, that with low unemployment in the past decade an increase of workers who pay taxes adds to the economy rather than subtracts. But that isn’t itself proof, I know. Illegals usually pay taxes. From what I understand, they use false papers and names, and thus get a check they can cash with taxes already withheld. The thread isn’t about illegals, you’re right. When one comes around, maybe it’ll be time to look at the actual data out there.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"They are probably a net plus for our economy, which is why so many in the business world want to make sure they aren’t thrown out"

"What’s good for General Motors is good for the country", eh?

"You see, somebody has to be paying in to the system,"

Illegal immigrants take "the jobs Americans won’t do", i.e. the poorly paid ones. It has been pretty well established, outside academic and Marxist circles anyway, that the poor do not support the system. Particularly when these poor are sending billions of dollars outside the system to their own countries.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It’s sad that people are more into what Obama’s preacher has said than really analyzing the economic situation and his ideas there.
Well, it’s only sad if you want to overlook the situation and what it says about Obama’s Marxist influences which actually seem to shape his public policy philosophy. Other than that, yeah it’s sad. Very, very sad. So sad, in fact.

You know, I’ve made a choice in my life not to pay any attention to what my racist grandfather has had to say about pretty much anything. Obama kept dumping his butt in the pew for 20 years at this clown’s church, indeed funding his ministry. Choices. They make a difference and they speak to character. Hold your breath and continue to deny it, but you’ll pass out soon and the fact remains.
 
Written By: rob
URL: http://

 
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