Erika Johnsen

At this point it seems almost silly, quibbling about exact dates and amounts and whatnot, when it is already perfectly, completely, undeniably clear that we're on the fast track to an entitlement crisis the likes of which the free world has never seen. If the economy of a small country like Greece can go belly-up as a result of their welfare-heavy, socialist policies and cause such a massive headache in the eurozone, it's frightening to think of the chaos that will ensue when the planet's most productive nation financially implodes -- and if we don't steer clear of the path we're currently on right quick, implode we most certainly shall. Bloomberg reports:

The budget outlook for Social Security is getting dimmer, the U.S. government said, with its primary trust fund now projected to run dry three years sooner than anticipated.

The fund that helps finance benefits for 44 million senior citizens and survivors of deceased workers will be exhausted by 2035, the program’s trustees said in an annual report yesterday. Aid would have to be cut at that point if Congress doesn’t intervene.

Social Security checks at the U.S. Treasury Philadelphia Finance Center. Photographer: Dennis Brack/Bloomberg

Social Security’s disability program, which helps support 11 million Americans, will run through its trust fund in 2016, two years earlier than predicted. The report attributed the fiscal stress in part to the weak economy.

The main trust fund that supports the Medicare health-care program for the elderly will run out of money in 2024, the report said.

The giant retirement programs are straining the U.S. government’s finances, and what to do about them is a central issue in the election-year debate between Democrats and Republicans as President Barack Obama seeks a second term.

Addendum: Here's Rep. Paul Ryan with an as-ever apt response to today's report and President Obama's utter lack of leadership on America's pending entitlement crisis:

“In their latest report, the trustees of Medicare and Social Security warn that the health and retirement security of millions of seniors remains in jeopardy if these programs are left on their present course. Decades of empty promises from politicians refusing to be honest about the need for reform are threatening to become broken promises, with disastrous consequences for seniors. In the heart of their retirement, current seniors are scheduled to be hit with a 25 percent across-the-board benefit cut when Social Security’s trust funds are exhausted. Meanwhile, Medicare’s looming insolvency puts at risk the critical access to care that seniors have come to expect from this important program.


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.