Monday, January 22, 2007

Bernanke calls current medicare and social security structure a potential "crisis"

Privitizing social security was one of the best parts of Bush's plans when he was campaigning for reelection. Unfortunately, it got slammed by, well, by most of the Senate and House. Slammed by a bunch of elected officials who'd rather placate their constituents or stick their heads in the sand and hope the problem resolved itself.

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the U.S. government may face a ``fiscal crisis'' in the coming decades if it fails to deal with the rising costs of retirement and medical benefits for the aging population.

``If early and meaningful action is not taken, the U.S. economy could be seriously weakened, with future generations bearing much of the cost,'' Bernanke said today at a Senate Budget Committee hearing.

His comments may help frame a debate leading up to President George W. Bush's Feb. 5 budget, in which he will unveil a plan to balance the budget by 2012. Bernanke, unlike his predecessor Alan Greenspan, refused to endorse a strategy on taxes and spending. The projected budget shortfall results from spending on the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs.

While official forecasts may show a stable or narrower budget deficit over the next few years, ``unfortunately, we are experiencing what seems likely to be the calm before the storm,'' Bernanke said in his first hearing on Capitol Hill since Democrats won control of Congress from the Republicans in November's elections.

Now Bernanke was diplomatic and didn't say "do what Bush says" or "don't do what the Democrats want," but he should've. It's the same problem we had last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that....

So let's look at some facts I blogged on back in 2004:

In about 13 years, the system is projected to start paying out more in benefits than it collects in benefits. Then, the government must start repaying the excess Social Security funds it already has spent. With the repaid funds, the system can cover full benefits until 2042, according to the forecast by Social Security’s Board of Trustees. The Congressional Budget Office predicted the system is in better shape and probably can pay full benefits a decade longer.

And that's just social security! Medicare isn't a damn bit better. And now that Hillary's officially announced her intentions to run for President, I think we can expect to hear some more about her state run Hillary-care. And if you think that's a good idea, I'm sure we can find you the phone number for a British guy who has cancer, who's been waiting for his surgery for months. Or how about a Canadian lady who needs heart surgery? Maybe you can talk to them and they can tell you how great it is waiting and waiting and waiting for an important surgery, hoping they don't die in the mean time.

But they didn't have to pay for it! That's the biggest lie of the century... They've been paying for it since they got their first paycheck, since they bought their first piece of candy when they were six. In fact the whole country has been paying for their surgery. I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay for anybody else's medical necessities. Just my own.

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