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We simply can't afford another entitlement program

By Frank Salvato
web posted March 15, 2010

Congressional Progressives are arm-twisting, threatening, promising and cajoling each and every member of the Legislative Branch in an effort to advance proposed healthcare insurance reform legislation. They are setting the stage to use the reconciliation process to advance the legislation in the Senate, even though the process was created to address budgetary financial issues, exclusively. And one House member, Louise Slaughter (P-NY), is even concocting procedure that would literally bypass any need for the House to vote on the Senate proposal. The effort that is going into circumventing the will of the American people is wickedly stunning.

But in the end, there is only one question that lawmakers of every political persuasion must ask themselves when it comes time to cast their votes: can we, as a nation, really afford to add another behemoth entitlement program onto the backs of the American taxpayers?

We have heard all of the arguments about how it will and wont affect healthcare insurance premiums. Ironically, even the Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL), has come to admit that the Progressives healthcare insurance reform legislation will not lower the cost of healthcare insurance premiums and said as much on the floor of the Senate:

"Anyone who would stand before you and say well, if you pass healthcare reform, next year's healthcare premiums are going down, I don't think is telling the truth. I think it is likely they would go up, but what we're trying to do is slow the rate of increase."

But the real poof that we cannot afford this terrible and corruptly crafted piece of special interest legislation is in how we handle the entitlement programs that are already established: Social Security and Medicare.

Social Security

The Social Security Program, the brainchild of Franklin Roosevelt, was never supposed to become the over-glorified Ponzi scheme that it is today.

Roosevelt's vision of Social Security differed greatly from what Congress enacted in 1935 and what Progressives and liberal Democrats force us to maintain today. Roosevelt's plan called for three provisions:

1) A system of old age pensions,

2) A system of mandatory old age annuities (what we now know as Social Security)

3) A system of voluntary old age annuities (what President George W. Bush proposed as personal savings accounts).

Of the third step Roosevelt said,

It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans." (Emphasis added)

Today, politicians from both sides of the aisle  but especially those of the Progressive and liberal Democrat contingents  realize that the demand for benefits created by the number of people eligible for Social Security will soon overtake the ability of those paying into the program to provide the financial needs of the program. Elected officials, well aware of the approaching crisis, chose to kick the issue down the road for future Congresses to tackle, even as they gratuitously borrowed from what was supposed to be a dedicated and secure pension fund.

The unfunded mandate of the Social Security Entitlement Program far surpass what the system will soon be able to pay. It has been projected that by 2017 Social Security will pay out more money than it takes in and will go bankrupt  for all practical purposes  by 2041. Because this is a federally mandated program, revenue to fund this entitlement will have to acquired, most likely by pilfering from other government spending, raising taxes or cutting benefits.

The Heritage Foundation projects  conservatively  that over the next 75 years, Social Security faces a $27 trillion shortfall. They contend:

The real crisis is that Social Security's high taxes prevent too many families from accumulating savings. Just as bad, the return that most workers get on the money they pay into Social Security is abysmal. Raising taxes to fund Social Security--which some propose as an alternative to real reform--would just make this savings crisis worse.

Yet Progressives and liberal Democrats in Congress, not only refuse to address this impending catastrophe, they want to create an additional entitlement program that would cost over $1 trillion when the Doctor Fix is honestly included in any calculation of cost projections related to federal government healthcare entitlement proposals.

Medicare

In a publication titled, A Summary of the 2009 Annual Reports by the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees, the state of Medicare is painted as even more dire than that of Social Security:

As we reported last year, Medicare's financial difficulties come soonerand are much more severethan those confronting Social Security. While both programs face demographic challenges, rapidly growing healthcare costs also affect Medicare. Underlying healthcare costs per enrollee are projected to rise faster than the earnings per worker on which payroll taxes and Social Security benefits are based. As a result, while Medicare's annual costs were 3.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008, or about three quarters of Social Security's, they are projected to surpass Social Security expenditures in 2028 and reach 11.4 percent of GDP in 2083.

The projected 75-year actuarial deficit in the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund is now 3.88 percent of taxable payroll, up from 3.54 percent projected in last year's report. The fund again fails our test of short-range financial adequacy, as projected annual assets drop below projected annual expenditures within 10 yearsby 2012. The fund also continues to fail our long range test of close actuarial balance by a wide margin. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion is 2017, two years earlier than in last year's report, when dedicated revenues would be sufficient to pay 81 percent of HI costs. Projected HI dedicated revenues fall short of outlays by rapidly increasing margins in all future years...

Yet, again, the political creatures of Congress  especially those of the Progressive and liberal Democrat contingents  chose to kick this even more pressing crisis down the proverbial road for future Congresses to deal with, even as they seek  by any means possible  to saddle the American taxpayer with another entitlement program, in the form of healthcare insurance reform legislation, that we cant possibly afford to fund.

At what point do these pompous ideologues come to grips with the self-evident truth that not only cant we afford the entitlement programs we have now, but we cannot  in any stretch of the imagination  even begin to afford what they are proposing in their atrocious healthcare insurance reform legislation? To implement their proposals is to bankrupt the country and its people, literally.

As Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Kathleen Sebelius and the Big Kahuna, Barack Obama, arm-twist, threaten, promise and cajole in an effort to advance a piece of legislation guaranteed to saddle our nation with more deficit spending, more debt and, most likely, a financial abyss from which we may never recover, we all need to ask ourselves, Why? Why would people who say they are acting in the best interests of the American people purposely ignore two inevitable financial catastrophes  catastrophes that will most certainly affect an overwhelming majority of American people  while doing everything in their power to add yet another drain on the already grossly over-burdened government-funded entitlement Ponzi scheme?

The answer is that they are more enamored with power, the control of power and the ability to control power than they are with championing the best interests of the American people. Bottom line  and I am going to put this in terms that even Eric Massa can understand  anyone who votes for the creation of this entitlement program sucks.

Not very eloquent, but the point is made, loud and clear. ESR

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show airing on AM1220 WSRQ and on the Internet catering to the US Armed Forces around the world and on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times & Human Events and are syndicated nationally. He is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at contact@newmediajournal.us.

 

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