The Most Dangerous Addiction of Them All: Entitlements by Dennis Prager
Social Security is not exactly an entitlement, since the vast majority of people on it have paid into it all their lives. Medicare is not exactly a total giveway program either. But these two programs are the real biggies in the budget, and with the changes in how long people live and how expensive medical costs are once past age 65, both need to be reworked seriously. The ratio of people collecting to those paying in is now way out of adjustment, and ignoring that is part fiscal mismanagement. But it will take real courage and leadership for Congress to address the situation, and lately, those two characteristics are in very short supply there. --Del
Telling It Like It Is About Social Security. By Charles Blahous
Excerpt: Many voters have said during this election season that they want a president who "tells it like it is." At the March 10 Republican presidential debate, the candidates were given an opportunity for such candor when the politically treacherous subject of Social Security was raised. With Social Security, "telling it like it is" requires recognition of several difficult realities including the following ones. #1: Social Security faces a large and growing financing shortfall. According to the latest trustees' report, Social Security faces a financing gap roughly equal to 21 percent of its scheduled tax collections or 16 percent of scheduled benefits over its 75-year actuarial valuation window. Even corrections of this large magnitude would produce only a temporary solvency finding, leaving program finances on an unstable course such that the shortfall would begin to re-emerge the very next year after the fix. Correcting the program's total structural shortfall would require larger adjustments, equal to roughly 33 percent of scheduled taxes or 23 percent of scheduled benefits.