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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Post Runs Another Front Page Editorial on Social Security and Medicare

Post Runs Another Front Page Editorial on Social Security and Medicare

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Saturday, 08 June 2013 07:56

The "grand bargain" to cut Social Security and Medicare is looking increasingly dead these days. Projections for future deficits have fallen sharply because of the sequester, higher than expected tax revenues (although with slower than expected growth), and much slower projected health care cost growth.

This situation has made the Post very unhappy. It ran a front page piece with the headline, "urgency on the debt fades with big issues unsolved." Of course this is not true.

The big issues have been solved, we will maintain Social Security and Medicare pretty much in their current form. The Post doesn't like this fact, but this is a position that is supported by the vast majority of people across the political spectrum.

We haven't decided how we will make up projected shortfalls in these programs in the decades ahead, but so what? There is no obvious reason why we have to schedule tax increases decades ahead, we have often in the past raised taxes with little or no notice. (In 1993 Congress actually raised taxes retroactively, since the income tax increase applied to calendar year 1993, but wasn't passed into law until the summer.)

To express its unhappiness with Congress' unwillingness to adopt its agenda, the Post turned to both the Concord Coalition, which was founded by Peter Peterson and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which is funded by Peter Peterson. There was no one cited in the article who has been a vocal proponent of addressing the jobs crisis, who could have pointed out that the deficit hawks have been shown 180 degrees wrong in their predictions about interest rates and inflation.

Remarkably, while the piece complained about Congress' inaction on cutting Medicare costs, it neglected to mention that the projected shortfall in the program has been reduced by almost 70 percent since 2008. One of the factors behind this drop is the cost control measures in the Affordable Care Act. 

Comments (3)Add Comment
no, the big issues haven't been solved
written by mel in oregon, June 08, 2013 8:39
Because the big issues aren't the future of ss & medicare as important as these are. The future of the planet is the big issue, it's unlikely any mammals will exist 100 years from now. The most probable future is nuclear annihilation, with cooking the planet with climate change another very likely probablity. But of course the corporate press & all the people who think of themselves as well educated concern themselves with other issues such as making sure their wine cellars are well stocked & that corporate giveaways continue at an accelerating pace. The most comical response of conservative thought when confronted with a more progressive tax system is that the wealthy will simply move out of the United States. Haha, they have moved their money already out. Only the very stupid take this argument seriously. No other country in the world gives the wealthy the subsidies, special priviledges & unlimited tax avoidance that we do. Ss & medicare have gotten a temporary reprieve, but don't celebrate just yet. Life for the average person in America including seniors is going to get much worse very soon. You don't have to be Nostradamus to figure this one out.
The Usual "Bipartisan" Suspects
written by Bart, June 08, 2013 11:20

Lori also checked with her old friend Maya Mac and other wealthy deficit hawks of both parties. They are not waiting patiently in the woodwork.
Why are the press and both parties so susceptible to Peterson's nonsense?
written by pelham, June 09, 2013 8:40
That's the really interesting question here. By one count, there have been 15 polls over the past few years asking the American people in various forms whether they favor any kind of cuts in Social Security.

In every one of these polls, the majority has said no. So, given the fact that cutting SS is objectively a bad idea, especially during a depression, and the fact that consistent majorities, including registered Republicans, don't want cuts, why do our elites persist for years on end insisting this is the best course?

Obama has said -- like FDR -- that the people need to provide the support he needs to pursue progressive policies. And here it is: Every poll shows that the people don't want his plan to impose chained CPI on Social Security.

He has the support he says he needs to drop this lousy idea. Still, he persists.

At some level, we are being lied to.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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