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If Congress does not act soon the already unraveling social safety net created by the New Deal and Great Society programs will be no more within our lifetime. In fact, according to the government programs’ trustees, Medicare's trust fund will run dry in 2024, and Social Security's will be exhausted by 2036.
These gloomy findings are all the more pessimistic, given that less than a year ago Medicare’s trust fund wasn’t forecasted to run out until 2029 and Social Security was projected to have a surplus until 2014. This past year, Social Security ran a deficit and it is now expected to run deficits every year.
Did you know that baby boomers retiring today will receive more in benefits over the course of their retirement than they ever paid in Medicare taxes? http://bit.ly/mpA5zo In fact, the Urban Institute projects that a married 66-year-old couple that paid $110,000 in Medicare taxes over its lifetime will receive about $340,000 worth of benefits. That one kernel on information indicates just how big a hole our entitlement system is in.
Here’s another: Medicare spending will increase from about 3 percent of GDP now to more than 8 percent by the end of this century. http://bit.ly/l4Tefn
Oh, and one more factoid: Most Americans don’t believe Medicare needs to be cut to balance the federal budget. Or Social Security for that matter. http://apne.ws/jnoKI4
By James D. Agresti and Dustin Siggins
If the U.S. government continues with its current tax and spending policies, children born this year will be saddled with a crippling publicly held debt that is more than twice the size of Japan's by the time they turn 30 years old. This grim picture, projected by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in its newly published annual long-term budget outlook, expects U.S. publicly held debt to grow from 73% of GDP by the end of 2012 to 247% of GDP by 2042.
Worse still, the CBO projects that current policies will continue to drive the U.S. deeper into debt, and by the time today's newborns reach 38 years of age in 2050, the major federal healthcare programs and Social Security will consume all federal revenues, leaving nothing for any other function of federal government or even interest payments on the national debt.
With the momentous Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, we enter a brave, untested and highly controversial new world of health care, while all Americans now face the burden of higher taxes and small businesses confront another major headwind towards recovery.
Many of us thought that even if parts of the law were Constitutional, the individual mandate would not survive. But the Court ruled the mandate is actually a tax, meaning the President and Congress have just enacted one of the largest tax increases on the lower and middle classes in recent memory.
By John Merlin
This piece originally appeared in Investors Business Daily on July 6th 2012
More workers joined the federal government's disability program in June than got new jobs, according to two new government reports, a clear indicator of how bleak the nation's jobs picture is after three full years of economic recovery.
The economy created just 80,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But that same month, 85,000 workers left the workforce entirely to enroll in the Social Security Disability Insurance program, according to the Social Security Administration.
The disability ranks have outpaced job growth throughout President Obama's recovery. While the economy has created 2.6 million jobs since June 2009, fully 3.1 million workers signed up for disability benefits.
The Medicare program, now almost half a century old and in big trouble because it costs too much, will play a central role in this year’s election. A recently released poll suggests, in fact, that it’s a larger concern to voters than the broader issue of semi-socialized medicine for Americans as a whole, Obamacare.
Seventy-three percent say Medicare is either “extremely” or “very” important in making their choice for president. That helps to explain why you’re hearing so much about it.