Saturday, August 22, 2009

Scary reality: $107 trillion in liabilities

An editorial in the Charleston Daily Mail spells it out in stark - but factual terms: we're in trouble because (t)he nation can't pay for Social Security and the health entitlement programs it has now.

$107 trillion in liabilities
Congress needs to fix existing programs if it creates new ones

AS Americans listened to people yammer on about "death panels" and other distortions of some of the health "reform" proposals circulating in Congress, larger and more important questions have gone unasked and unanswered.

First on the list should be: Are members of Congress out of touch with reality?

The nation can't pay for Social Security and the health entitlement programs it has now.

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports for 2009, released in early May, laid out the situation plainly:

Social Security and Medicare have a combined unfunded liability of almost $107 trillion.

According to Pamela Villarreal, a senior policy analyst with the National Center for Policy Analysis, that's about seven times the size of the American economy, and 10 times as much as today's national debt.

Members of Congress have, over the decades, promised Americans $107 trillion more in benefits under these two existing programs over the next 75 years than they have provided for in taxes.

Medicare alone has an unfunded liability of almost $38 trillion.

By some people's reckoning, when today's college students reach retirement in about 2054, the burden of paying Social Security and Medicare benefits would consume one in three dollars of taxable payroll.

Yet some in Congress would create a costly new medical entitlement program to deflect attention from the fact that they don't want to deal with the problems they already face.

All responsible Americans should insist on better than that.

If corporations had such unfunded obligations, we'd have members of Congress demanding appearances and accountability in front of committees and lots of cameras. But they ignore their own house while complaining about others.

And these same people want to create a new government program based on the same pyramid scheme that puts non-elected people into jail?

Can you say stuck on stupid?


Lennie said...

Congress makes sure those unfunded liabilities aren't counted in the national debt figures. More accounting tricks to keep the people from knowing the truth.

Tim Higgins said...


As our politicians are already fund raising and aggressively marching forward in seeking another term in office and another couple of years of "special rules for special people", why should we be surprised that they hide our true liabilities from us?

Government plays the same accounting games that they decry while seeking to demonize those in the private sector. They beat their breasts over their "sacrifice" of public service while taking luxury fact-finding trips to exotic locales and dodging those they are responsible to at Townhall meetings.

Continuing levels of spending that must surely lead to disaster, they run the government printing presses non-stop, in the forlorn hope of printing enough money to reduce this crushing debt through inflation. All the while, they point to insignificant recoveries in the economy in the con game played of retaining their status as a ruling elite.

I don't want to sound alarmist here, but it often seems that we have little to look forward to but a form of government feudalism as taxation is increased to fund an American ruling elite with little regard for the serfdom that they have created.

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