The NYT Lumps Together Social Security and Medicare Again

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011 05:10

The NYT did the old "entitlements" bashing in a budget piece today. In the Congressional Budget Office's Alternative Fiscal Scenario, which most analysts are using as the basis for budget debates, Social Security outlays are projected to increase by 25 percent as a share of GDP over the next two decades, from 4.8 percent to 6.0 percent. And all of this increase in spending will be covered by the bonds held in the Social Security trust fund.

By contrast, Medicare outlays are projected to increase by almost 70 percent, measured as a share of GDP, from 3.6 to 6.0 percent, in the Alternative Fiscal Scenario. The Medicare trust fund could only cover a small fraction of this projected rise.

These are qualitatively different situations and it is misleading to lump the two programs together as this article does.