Uh-oh … Burn rate on Social Security and Medicare Programs accelerates.

Ken’s Take: It was widely report yesterday that updated projections show that the Social Security Trust Fund will run out by 2037, and that the Medicare Trust Fund will be insolvent by 2017. 

Note that the emphasis is on the recession’s lost jobs (fewer workers chipping in payroll taxes) and the need for heathcare reform (which I thought was going to increase the budget).

Also note that Bush tried to address these entitlements and was repulsed by Congress — which doesn’t want to tackle this “3rd rail” issue … and Obama’s “Make Work Pay” refundable tax credit is justified as a credit against payroll taxes which fund SS and Medicare.  Let’s see, if you’ve got a shortfall and you pay less in, wouldn’t you expect the shortfall to get bigger ?

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From ABC News:

The forecasts for Social Security and Medicare trust funds have worsened this past year under the weight of the recession … the Social Security trust fund will run out by 2037, four years earlier than last year’s report had predicted, while the Medicare hospital trust fund will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than projected last year.

Both entitlement programs are suffering due to rising unemployment,…  beginning in 2011, a “demographic tsunami”of nearly 80 million retiring baby boomers only exacerbates the problems.

Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue … said now was not time to panic, describing the reports as “some disappointing but not unexpected news.”

“We should be neither casual nor hysterical about the revised insolvency dates,” Astrue said. “The Social Security system is sound and will weather this recession.”

Ken says: Sounds like DIck Fuld right before the Lehman collapse, doesn’t it?.


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