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April 1, 2008

Government reports a future of red ink

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Quote of the Day:

“The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.”
— Walt Whitman (“Notes Left Over” 1881)

Subject: Government reports a future flood of red ink

The Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs released their annual report over the spring break. They continue to project a future flood of red ink.

  • The 75-year unfunded liabilities are projected to be $42.9 trillion
  • The “infinite horizon” liabilities are projected at $101.7 trillion

Please note that these figures do not include projections for continuing to service the ever-growing national debt, which are included in the report from the Government Accountability Office we use for our “Unfunded Liabilities” campaign.


These new numbers are disturbing enough, but John Goodman at the National Center for Policy Analysis has looked behind the numbers to find something even more disturbing. The Trustees have actually rigged the numbers a bit. They assume that medical costs, which impact on Medicare expenses, will only increase at the same rate as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), even though they have been increasing 2 to 3 percent faster than GDP.

There is also the problem that GDP growth is actually slowing right now, and no one can say how long that will last.

Mr. Goodman also points to another report from the Congressional Budget Office that provides a more realistic projection. The prognosis is very bad, both for federal Medicare, and state Medicaid programs.

To quote Mr. Goodman . . .

  • Within the next 50 years, by the time today’s teenagers reach the retirement age, health care spending will crowd out every other program of the federal government.
  • Well before that occurs, Medicaid spending at the state level will crowd out every other function of state government.

Please note that the above points only reflect the future problems for government health care programs, and do not include the Social Security program.

Meanwhile, the politicians continue to do nothing to prepare for this coming flood of red ink. Instead, they continue to spend more, and to promise even more spending. Worst of all, they are promising even more government involvement in health care, even though they cannot honor the health care promises they have already made.

Please send Congress a message demanding that they cut spending now, balance the budget now, and begin paying down the national debt now. Doing so would save on both current and future interest payments to service the national debt. This is one big step the politicians could take right now to prepare for the coming red flood. Use your personal comments to inform Congress that you are aware of the Trustees and CBO reports on this issue. You can send your message here.

Please also consider starting a monthly pledge to increase our ability to recruit new Downsizers to pressure the politicians. You can do so here.

Thank you for being a part of the ever-growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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