New Figures on the Looming Entitlement Crisis

Posted: Apr 24, 2007 2:56 PM

Yesterday, the Social Security and Medicare Trustees issued their annual report on the health of entitlement programs. The figures are now projecting that Social Security will begin paying out more money than it takes in by 2017, and in 2041, the Social Security Trust Fund will be entirely exhausted. The situation facing Medicare is even more dire. It's Hospital Insurance Program is already paying out more than it collects in payroll taxes, and Medicare's entire trust fund reserves will be exhausted in just 12 years -- 2019.
But what does this mean to you? Well, if Congress doesn't reform the financing of these programs soon, we will then have to either cut benefits originally promised or raise your taxes. But simply raising taxes will not solve the underlying problem, it will only fuel it. By 2041, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone will cost Americans as much as the entire federal government does today. Our children will be forced to pay at least twice today’s level of taxes to only maintain these programs as they are currently structured.
These stark figures follow in the wake of the Dem's recently passed budget, which does absolutely nothing to address this looming entitlement crisis. What’s worse, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, is even trying to do away with reporting procedures that alert members of Congress and the American people when entitlement spending has reached untenable levels.
Since my election to Congress in 2005, I have continually been amazed at how much the Democrat's talk on Capitol Hill about protecting the children, but then stand eerily quiet when it concerns to the large debt, massive tax increases, and reduced prosperity we are going to saddle them with if the unsustainable financing arrangement of entitlements are not reformed.
I'll leave you with the sensible words from the Social Security and Medicare Trustees, who aptly appraise what must be done:
"The financial difficulties facing Social Security and Medicare pose enormous, but not insurmountable, challenges. The sooner these challenges are addressed, the more varied and less disruptive their solutions can be. We urge the public to engage in informed discussion and policymakers to think creatively about the changing needs and preferences of working and retired Americans. Such a national conversation and timely political action are essential to ensure that Social Security and Medicare continue to play a critical role in the lives of all Americans."