The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Monday, April 23, 2012

On administration responses to entitlement reform and to the forecast released yesterday by Social Security and Medicare trustees, of shortfalls to come:

It is absolutely striking that the secretary of the treasury is speaking as if a member of the minority opposition — he says “we will not support any proposals [for entitlement reform of the kind Republicans have proposed].” He is in office. His president is in office. He is the one who should be proposing it [entitlement reform]. He has proposed nothing….

Everybody understands, as [Paul] Ryan said, it’s [the debt crisis] the most predictable fiscal catastrophe in American history, and they haven’t lifted a finger.

The numbers today talk about the difficulty of the entitlement program in terms of years. But the more accurate way, I think, that you look at it is: How much is spent every year and how much is coming in?

Medicare shells out $560 billion every year. It covers less than half of that with taxation. So more than half of that [what it spends] comes from the Treasury, which has no money of its own. That money comes from China every year. Almost $300 billion [of Medicare spending], every year, adds to the deficit. That is a quarter of the entire deficit on Medicare.

With Social Security we had a cushion for decades because there was more money by the FICA tax on workers than seniors were drawing out in benefits. But now with 10,000 seniors retiring every day, we are now for the first time in deficit — where Social security is paying out more than it takes in. Which means — who steps in? The Treasury. With whose money? China’s….

 

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