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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The New York Times Tells President Obama That He Has to Cut Social Security and Medicare

The New York Times Tells President Obama That He Has to Cut Social Security and Medicare

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 04:36

The NYT ran a piece that told readers that it was necessary for President Obama to cut Social Security and Medicare for the good of the economy. This is not obviously true. There is no shortage of economists who would say that the economy's main problem is a lack of demand. This can be met by more stimulus, more aggressive action from the Fed, or a decline in the value of the dollar.

Remarkably, the NYT did not include the views of any economist who made these points. The only views presented in these articles were of those who wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare. The former is especially peculiar since the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office projects that the program will be fully solvent until 2038 even with no changes and it could always pay more than 80 percent of scheduled benefits. Also, under the law the program cannot contribute to the deficit since it can only spend money raised through its designated tax.

One of the two experts cited in the piece suggested the need to means-test Social Security. Analysts familiar with the program generally do not support means-testing since it is likely to raise little money unless it is applied to people with very modest incomes.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Shows How He Thinks
written by Guest, August 10, 2011 9:18
The article an appalling example of stenography for those who take the "officially approved" point of view. It is useful, however, in that it shows what how Obama thinks. Essentially, Obama is willing to take a dive to please the conservatives and has no reservations about taking the Democrats down with him. He is the best president the Republicans have ever had.

Democrats should read the article and realize Obama is not their leader, especially since he wants to stand between the parties. Why would Democrats want to stand there with him? They need to chart their own course independent of him, and not join with him in a suicide pact.
Cutting Social Security
written by H-Bob, August 10, 2011 11:53
Are any of the advocates for cutting Social Security even going to rely on Social Security for their retirement income ? The Catfood Commission consisted entirely of millionaires or people in the top 1% of income.
I didn't think I would need to rely on Social Security as I was maxing out my 401(k) and IRAs, but thanks to the stock market going 0 for Bush and on its way to 0 for Obama, that means 12-16 years of zero investment growth rather than doubling or quadrupling !
written by A, August 10, 2011 2:31
The CBO projections of social security being solvent till 2038 also include the imaginary social security trust fund payments that have been raided for decades now.

Remove these and the date of insolvency moves a lot closer to today.

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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.