Who’s most to blame for the coming fiscal collapse of America?

posted at 6:01 pm on July 13, 2012 by Dustin Siggins

Note: This op-ed was done in tandem with David Weinberger, who previously worked in communications at The Heritage Foundation and currently blogs near the Twin Cities in Minnesota. All data for the calculations cited below were based off of OMB and CBO public data gathered by the Center for Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) and can be seen at a spreadsheet here. Special thanks go to Patrick Tyrrell and William Beach of Heritage and Richard Kogen and Kathy Ruffing of CBPP for assistance with inflation adjustments and other critical components of the calculations.

With Senate Majority Leader Reid’s (D-NV) decision on Tuesday to not pass a budget for the third straight fiscal year, the Washington game of fiscal chicken–this time over $19 billion–is in full swing once again. To provide perspective, this is less than one-half of one-percent of the 2012 budget and less than 1.5% of this year’s expected deficit. It’s also about one-eighth of one percent of our national debt.

While politicians bicker, Rome burns and the budget grows. While some pundits blame Obama, and others blame Bush, and still others blame everyone in the Beltway, the fact is neither president or party has instituted the wisest fiscal policy. Still, the increase in spending under both has not been driven principally by new spending initiatives. It has instead been driven by the increasing number of retirees and resulting growth of social spending and especially Social Security and Medicare.

Using publicly available data, we found figures on federal spending from 2000 through 2013 (2012 and 2013 spending is estimated, of course). Our inflation-adjusted calculations — using constant 2010 dollars — related to the growth of Social Security and Medicare, based upon that data, can be seen in this chart:

Here are some highlights:

In 2001, the first year of the Bush presidency, Social Security spending amounted to $528 billion. By his final year in office, it had risen to an amazing $692 billion. The increase with Medicare was even more dramatic — from $263 billion to $434 billion during that same period. While most of this was automatic growth from programs created and modified decades earlier, the president does deserve responsibility for passage of Medicare Part D in 2003, which fattened the program and is expected to have added approximately $375 billion to the national debt by 2013.

Under President Obama, the unrestrained automatic spending binge has only continued. While conservatives rightly believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will make health care costs worse, the vast majority of the programs, costs, tax increases and other aspects of the law haven’t yet been implemented. We have therefore not included this in our calculations. However, even ignoring the PPACA, costs of the retirement programs have continued to skyrocket.

Social Security spending leaped from $692 billion when Obama took office to a projected $770 billion by 2013. A mere thirteen billion of this increase came from costs attributed to changes in the 2009 stimulus. Meanwhile Medicare spending will have gone up from a ripe $434 billion to an estimated $491 billion during that same time. And this is excluding Medicaid, which has also grown on automatic pilot, on track itself to consume $283 billion of the federal budget by 2013.

All told, Social Security and Medicare have gone from swallowing $791 billion in 2001 to — along with Medicaid — seizing a projected $1.559 trillion by 2013. With Obamacare on top of that, and total federal spending having more than doubled since 2001, we’re looking at a very grave situation. Strong economic growth could perhaps offset the gravity of these costs in the short term, but the bottom line is that structural reform of entitlement programs is paramount to any real fiscal fix.

This makes for a disastrous structural budgetary situation. Yet, to repeat, most of the blame for this growth does not lie with President Obama or President Bush. It in fact belongs to those who created and changed the programs years and decades before either of them took office. President Obama, for example, could have a balanced budget this year – or very close to it – if it wasn’t for the burden of Social Security and Medicare.

Of course, this does not excuse these presidents and their respective Congresses from their responsibilities to make changes to the programs that make them affordable and/or return aspects of them to the states, where they belong. To his credit, President Bush did attempt to do this to Social Security in 2005, and while we believe the PPACA will worsen America’s health care costs, President Obama took on Medicare in 2009 and 2010.

But when it comes to blaming presidents for spending, pundits and politicians alike should be intellectually honest and remember it was Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson who put the federal budget on the path to fiscal unsustainability. Most presidents and Congresses since have merely failed to correct this, and this failure is why the Social Security trust fund is expected to start going bankrupt in 2013.

As most Americans know, we don’t have much time before a fiscal collapse hits the country, nailing the Debt-Paying Generation hardest of all. Yet Reid and many Republicans would rather argue over a rounding error than the 33% of the budget (and growing) taken up by Social Security and Medicare.


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Who’s most to blame for the coming fiscal collapse of America?

This guy.

sharrukin on July 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

It was a team effort. Government established perverse incentives for banks, and the banks followed the government’s lead.

RBMN on July 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Geithner for LABOR shenanigans…scandal coming up…

Greenspan for so much that is not discussed, for shame.

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM

“… the fact is neither president or party has instituted the wisest fiscal policy.”

Bush tried…

Seven Percent Solution on July 13, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Obama and Holder could be felons for ordering the murder of 300 Mexican Citizen and 2 American Law Enforcement Officer for Political gain.

SWalker on July 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Who’s most to blame for the coming fiscal collapse of America?

FDR, hands down.

Rebar on July 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Who’s most to blame for the coming fiscal collapse of America?

Let’s go back a few years…

“When these missing data were factored in, it became clear that the rejection rates were based on legitimate business decisions, not racism.”

Seven Percent Solution on July 13, 2012 at 6:11 PM

NO SURPRISE HERE: “Financials were the big winner today (doubly ironic since in addition to the big whale news, LIBOR-gate continued to spiral with a bunch of documents released by the New York Federal Reserve).”

A Guide to American Gangsters: The American Financial Mafia…

Banks: All American banks are part of the criminal financial organization that controls most wealth in America. The CEOs of the biggest banks are the “dons” (Capo Crimini) in the American Financial Mafia. Many of these “dons” serve on Federal Reserve boards (like JP Morgan’s Dimon does), thus guaranteeing massive conflicts of interests and allowing the dons and their banks to financially benefit themselves above all others with the Fed’s FREE money.

Federal Reserve: aka, “The Commission” – The national ruling body of America’s Financial Mafia. The Fed is run by the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. These and the members of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents located in major cities throughout the nation are the “bosses” of the American Financial Mafia, with the Fed Chairman, currently bailout bernanke, serving as the “Boss of the Bosses” (Cappo di tutti cappi).

The Fed tries to gain respectability by claiming that its role includes “Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing money and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices.” The past 3+ years of 8%+ unemployment and the corresponding massive decrease in the labor force participation rate proves that that claim is total bs. In reality, The Commission does only one thing: Ensure multi-BILLION dollar profits for BIG BANKS and Wall Street investors. In this respect, The Commission is almost identical to the the initial focus of the American branch of the criminal mafia named “La Costra Nostra” which was concentrated on protection rackets. The Fed serves as a “protector” of BIG BANK and Wall Street profits, while doing nothing for “Main Street” America.

After nearly a hundred years the American criminal mafia still flourishes. Yet, all the criminal actions of the criminal mafia amount to small potatoes compared to the reduced standard of living for the average middle class and poor Americans that has resulted from the many asset and equity bubbles created by the irresponsible actions of the far more powerful, far more insidious and far more dangerous American Financial Mafia.

ABOLISH THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL MAFIA – this is the ONLY thing that people agree on across the entire political spectrum, from the union/d-cRAT party-funded leftist extremist #occupy astroturf to the right-wing kook moRon PaulBOTS.

TeaPartyNation on July 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Wholesale theft, due to inability to live a useful life, used as cannon fodder by the Left, and exacerbated by a false compassion.

OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 6:15 PM

The solution is for Barry to create a new entitlement.

Oh, wait. He just did.

GarandFan on July 13, 2012 at 6:16 PM

FDR, hands down.

Rebar on July 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Johnson is far worse. Medicare’s $83 trillion in the whole vs $16 trillion for Social Security

US Debt Clock

Chuck Schick on July 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

as far as medicare (and medicaid by extension since the rates work off medicare) the DOC FIX is directly responsible for those costs rising, as current representatives must vote for it almost every year. dont leave that out. yes, these auto-pilot entitlements grow, but the reimb rate reduction was instituted in an attempt to reign growth in, and they vote to circumvent those cost controls WITH the “doc fix” almost every year. blame old dead guys all you want. and i agree. but my house had bad wiring when i bought it. if i decided not to fix it and my house burned down and killed my kids i think blaming the guy that built the house would be cold comfort.it my responsibility to fix it. and its been theirs for a long time.

t8stlikchkn on July 13, 2012 at 6:19 PM

Fiscal collapse

?
What fiscal collapse ?
Here we have a rich white man with a rich white wife who once transported a dog on the roof of his car , and has an elevator in his house and is a Mormon and who has a frikin clean record …..and y’all are worried about America’s fiscal collapse ?
Have y’all no shame ?
/sarc

burrata on July 13, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Chuck Schick on July 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

With respect, I think Rebar is correct. FDR hammered the wedge in – from that point on, the vessel leaked.

OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM

Have y’all no shame ?
/sarc

burrata on July 13, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Shame is only for the little white people…

SWalker on July 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Shame is only for the little white people…

SWalker on July 13, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Shame is only for the little white people…
who love America ,pay taxes and want a prosperous America
:-(

burrata on July 13, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Number 1 reason to vote for Romney, because a Ham Sandwich isn’t running against Obama…

SWalker on July 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM

LBJ gave the blacks community the soft plantation of the Great Society and a 73% out of wedlock birth rate for black women.

bayview on July 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM

My grandfather would certainly agree. Grandpa still upset with FDR in 1972 when he passed away. He didn’t have much nice to say about LBJ either. Wish I had listened to what he had to say. I thought he was just behind the times and foolish. Guess he wasn’t the foolish one.

Martha on July 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM

We know you’ve got a case over Social Security and Medicare, Dustin. We get it. Every single article from you expounds on your belief that the elderly are the root of all that’s wrong with the nation.Its always the same tired song.

This is why I’m not going to bother to read another article that has your byline.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 6:31 PM

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 6:31 PM

They weren’t old when they rushed to the end of the rainbow, like bears to honey, instead of saying “stuff that, I’ll look after myself, thank you”.

OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 6:36 PM

The chain of “custody” goes like this:

Lincoln > TR > Wilson > FDR > LBJ > Clinton > Dubya Bush > Obama

For lack of romm, I have to leave out the millions who cast votes for all of those. Neither party is without blame, but the one characteristic of all those in the list is they were/are progressives. You should note that the Progressive movement began with the GOP, not the Dems. While he did not call himself a prog, Lincoln was well within the mainstream of their beliefs and thought. He was the POTUS that paved the road with his conquest of the south so as to force them back into the raw deal we are all living with now.

Quartermaster on July 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM

The Federal Government. Not even arguable.

Bmore on July 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM

I blame Krugman.

Emperor Norton on July 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Isn’t it interesting that no one disputes the idea of a “coming financial collapse”?

Cleombrotus on July 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Voters are to blame. Mainly Christians and Communists causing most problems, with both trying to gain control. 2008 we had a Communist (Obama) running against a Liberal/Socialist (McCain). The Communist won. With 4 years of a Communist Administration running things, the voters can only come up with Romney(a Massachusetts liberal) to run against Obama.

No wonder Condi doesn’t want the VP job…

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Debts that can’t be paid won’t be paid.

It’s as simple as that.

Dack Thrombosis on July 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

LBJ gave the blacks community the soft plantation of the Great Society and a 73% out of wedlock birth rate for black women.

bayview on July 13, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Are you suggesting that Federal funding for Public education, Medicare and Medicaid benefits only the “Black community”??!!

Salahuddin on July 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

the voters the Party can only come up with Romney(a Massachusetts liberal) to run against Obama.

No wonder Condi doesn’t want the VP job…

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Wake up, dude.

Cleombrotus on July 13, 2012 at 6:47 PM

Wholesale theft, due to inability to live a useful life, used as cannon fodder by the Left, and exacerbated by a false compassion.
OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Kinda like this one

whatabunchoflosers on July 13, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Are you suggesting that Federal funding for Public education, Medicare and Medicaid benefits only the “Black community”??!!

Salahuddin on July 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty squandered trillions of dollars and destroyed the black family. It isn’t gnosticism.

tom daschle concerned on July 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Wake up, dude.
Cleombrotus on July 13, 2012 at 6:47 PM

A majority of voters have selected 2 Parties. Like I said, the voters are too blame…

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 6:54 PM

This financial crisis is generational. Since the end of WWII we’ve been enjoying an era of inflation and growth, now we are in the cycle of deflation and contraction. This deflationary cycle will last for years, regardless of the policies by Congress and Executive Branches. The deflation is unavoidable and inevitable, just like the deflationary periods during the 1930′s, 1860′s, and 1770′s (There was a banking crash in 1775 and a panic in 1857). How quickly we will deal with the deflation is entirely up to us, and from the looks of the way things are continuing to go, we’re in for a long period of pain and suffering.

It may not be specifically anyone’s fault, especially any recent or current president, but it is up to them to do something about the problem. It matters not what they really think or believe to what the fiscal policy of the country should be, they know the impending financial doom is upon us just around the bend. I am beginning to wonder if they refuse to do anything constructive towards our fiscal problems because they have no solution. And I’m talking about everyone –Bernanke, Senator Reid, Rep. Pelosi, Speaker Boehner, Rep. Cantor, Rep. Ryan, president Obama, et al.– collectively have no real solution to the fiscal problem, so they continue on in their own respective way, some voice there is a problem to be solved, while others remain rather glib and disinterested in the whole thing.

The small amount of concern our government has over the impending financial doom only tells me that the only way to get some drastic, emergency action is only after the calamity has ensued, and our so-called representatives will have no choice but to act. Only then it will be far too late to be academic, that is, argue over the various paths, i.e. freedom of choice, we could take to take us out of the fiscal and financial devastation. Since all of this is inevitable, dear reader, I implore you to handle what you have control of in anticipation of the depression history has never before seen. Stay as much out of debt as possible. Seriously consider long term storage of food and water, as they may become scarce. It will get worse than you think. A lot worse. Prepare for the worst in case I am wrong.

Weebork on July 13, 2012 at 6:55 PM

This financial crisis is generational.

This deflationary cycle will last for years, regardless of the policies by Congress and Executive Branches. The deflation is unavoidable and inevitable

It may not be specifically anyone’s fault, especially any recent or current president,

Weebork on July 13, 2012 at 6:55 PM

Its not the weather we are talking about. Out of control spending actually does have a teensie bit to do with the currency.

sharrukin on July 13, 2012 at 7:01 PM

OLD ENGLISH:
The BOOMER generation has created more wealth, and not just in this nation, but globally, than any other generation in the history of this planet.They’ve also given more aid to the rest of the world than any generation before them.

The technological innovations, medical advancements alone have changed the way the people of the world live and economies function.

The GDP of the United States is about $15 Trillion and the total GDP of the entire planet is about $65 Trillion. Not too shabby for a nation with only about 310 million people.

The Boomer generation, and the generation before them, have contributed to Social Security and Medicare all of their working lives. Its hardly their fault that politicians have been dipping into those funds to pay for ‘other programs’ AKA PORK for decades.The Boomers have paid in more, as an outsized generation, than any other generation. Much of what you have where ever you live is because of the contributions of the Boomers over their working lives and the freedom you enjoy is a result of their parents contributions to freedom worldwide.

The Boomers paid for their grandparents and parents and a lot of what everyone else is enjoying today ( welfare programs, schools, cities, etc.). They’ve kept their end of the deal that was forced upon them when they entered adulthood. Its time for the federal government to keep their end of that same deal.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Time for another reminder:

“Lies” About Social Security and Medicare Pandering Politicians Never Told You

M2RB: Bob Dylan, live

Resist We Much on July 13, 2012 at 7:07 PM

Here’s a handy rogues’ gallery re the financial meltdown of 2008: The Real Culprits

slickwillie2001 on July 13, 2012 at 7:08 PM

LBJ’s Great Society and War on Poverty squandered trillions of dollars and destroyed the black family. It isn’t gnosticism.

tom daschle concerned on July 13, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Yeah, but look at what a reliable base of voters they created!

slickwillie2001 on July 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

They are all to blame, but it has been liberal Democrats who have been the most ferocious about pursuing socialism in this country.

rickv404 on July 13, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Al Gore: I will create a “lock box” for social security. That one never get’s old GRIN.

This isn’t news to anyone, the decision has been made to enslave the youth into government servitude – that’s entitlement fix. SEE ACA or as I like to call it, Pay Up Sucka. The youth really are our future/

Dr Evil on July 13, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Americans

DarkCurrent on July 13, 2012 at 7:19 PM

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

I argue with none of your points – at all. However, they let the beast out of the cage, instead of taking a moment to tell the politicians to lock it back up and throw the key away. They neglected to look at the consequences precisely because they were doing so well at the time, thinking that it would never end.

I, too, fell into that trap for awhile, but Carter set me straight.

OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 7:20 PM

We know you’ve got a case over Social Security and Medicare, Dustin. We get it. Every single article from you expounds on your belief that the elderly are the root of all that’s wrong with the nation.Its always the same tired song.

If you just used Social Security, Medicare and defense as a spending baseline, we would still be running deficits. See the problem here?

lowandslow on July 13, 2012 at 7:25 PM

L B J

KOOLAID2 on July 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Old English:
NO ONE could have known that GLOBALIZATION, which was a direct result of the TECH BOOM, was going to send American jobs overseas by the MILLIONS and that CHINA would become the manufacturing floor of the global economy.

If you are saying that you somehow foresaw the tech age and resultant economic shift in 1980 why didn’t you run for office. warm everyone, and make the changes you suggest yourself? Where were you? At the very least, with information like that, why aren’t you sitting in Buffet, Soros, or Gates’ chair today?

Its easy to sit in your armchair and point a finger at others.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

IOWANDSLOW:
YEAH… I got it long before Dustin ever started posting here. I’m just tired of being harangued with the SAME INFORMATION ad infinitum.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Thank you for this. I’ve often thought about doing an analysis of “responsibility” for our current fiscal problems, dividing responsibility between past presidents and congresses for the policies that led us to where we are. Off of the top of my head I’ve long expected LBJ would come out as the most culpable, given Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

FDR obviously was critical to creating Soc Sec, and obviously anyone who creates a program bears some responsibility for the inevitable subsequent expansions of it. But to be totally fair to FDR, most of what has led to Soc Sec’s ballooning costs was enacted in the 1972 amendments. If we still had Soc Sec’s original design (no COLAs, no disability benefits, no early retirement, no wage-indexing of the benefit formula) it would be much less expensive than it now is. And it was Richard Nixon and the Democratic Congress of 1972 that gave us those amendments.

So LBJ is #1, I think, on this list.

Chuckles3 on July 13, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Greenspan for so much that is not discussed, for shame.

Schadenfreude on July 13, 2012 at 6:05 PM

He admitted to that. At least he is willing to own up for his mistakes, his successors? No way in hell.

riddick on July 13, 2012 at 7:53 PM

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

I first knew in ’72, and did what everyone should have done for themselves – I made arrangements to limit the effects of the coming changes.

OldEnglish on July 13, 2012 at 8:02 PM

If you want to see the economic difficulties of the nation resolved, its not going to happen overnight. There is no ‘quick fix’. Couching the argument to cast the seniors and disabled as being greedy and insensitive is counterproductive and a mistake.

It is my sincere hope that our government manages to enact the Paul Ryan plan ” A Road map for America”. Its a reasonable plan to put the nation BACK ON THE PATH to solvency and prosperity.

As for all the whining from the 20 somethings and 30 somethings, I don’t have much patience. I was teaching a grad class a few years ago and actually heard a young man say “I wish the Boomers would just die and get out of the way so that we could have their jobs.” This too is counterproductive and a mistake.

The generations who came before, and up until now, played the hand that they were dealt and fulfilled their obligations. The generations coming after will have to do the same.

As for the Boomers… people should decide… do they want the Boomers to retire…so that they can ‘have their jobs’… or do they want them to keep working and paying into those programs and paying those taxes?

Personally, I’ve managed to find gainful employment that permits me to keep working until I’m carried from my office feet first. That’s been my choice. I don’t like the notion of ‘retirement’. However, there are many who, as they age, become disabled. Their investment portfolios are gone in the crash. Their real estate is underwater, mortgaged to provide educations for their children, etc. WE NEED THE SAFETY NET FOR THESE PEOPLE.

Paul Ryan’s plan offers a solution while we raise retirement ages, institute private retirement savings programs THAT ARE BULLET PROOF, and, yes, whether you like it or not, raise tax rates for the safety nets.

Think of it this way, if the nation can afford 11-20 million illegal aliens, can support 70 different federal welfare programs, have half of the nation pay NO federal taxes at all, it can afford to care for its elderly and disabled, most of whom worked and contributed all of their adult lives.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Think of it this way, if the nation can afford 11-20 million illegal aliens, can support 70 different federal welfare programs, have half of the nation pay NO federal taxes at all, it can afford to care for its elderly and disabled, most of whom worked and contributed all of their adult lives.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 8:03 PM

The nation can’t afford these things which is why it is constantly borrowing money to pay for them.

sharrukin on July 13, 2012 at 8:07 PM

WE NEED THE SAFETY NET FOR THESE PEOPLE.

typing in caps doesn’t make a statement more true. Need has nothing to do with it. The fact is, jack, that social security was created to give retired people about two years of living before they died. Today, people don’t die at 67. It’s not 1933 anymore. So the scheme, as it was implemented, is unsustainable. It used to have 1 retiree per 9 workers. Now it is 1 retire for 3 workers, and by the time the baby boomers have all retired in 15 years, it will be a 1 : 1 ratio. Impossible to sustain for one minute.

keep the change on July 13, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Who’s most to blame for the coming fiscal collapse of America?

FDR, hands down.

Rebar on July 13, 2012 at 6:08 PM

+1000

riddick on July 13, 2012 at 8:31 PM

So, again… we’re all gung-ho about sending GOP into power again, right? Cause they’ll fix it, right?

Midas on July 13, 2012 at 8:31 PM

KEEP THE CHANGE:
We’ve all heard the stats… what’s your solution?

The FACT ( caps are for emphasis, to draw your attention, not to ‘make a statement more true’, by the way) is that there are people who are over 55 and don’t have time to work long enough to provide for the time that will inevitably come when they cannot work any longer.

What are you proposing? Should we simply step over them on our way into work? EVEN your own parents or grandparents? Its easy to complain. Its easy to point fingers and to place blame. NONE of that is going to fix the problem.

If you’d read the entire post, you’d have noticed that I was proposing that we pass Paul Ryan’s plan. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do. It makes the case for incremental changes over time o raise the retirement age,to raise the eligibility age of for Social Security, to have those under 55 begin to dedicate a portion of their income to their own personal retirement and health care plans, thus greatly reducing the need for and demands upon entitlements, and to begin to pay off the deficit ( I’m assuming here that you know the difference between the debt and the deficit and why that’s salient).

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

No mention of Nixon and his removing us from the gold standard.
No mention of Wilson and the Federal Reserve Act.

Lincoln > TR > Wilson > FDR > LBJ > Clinton > Dubya Bush > Obama

For lack of romm, I have to leave out the millions who cast votes for all of those. Neither party is without blame, but the one characteristic of all those in the list is they were/are progressives. You should note that the Progressive movement began with the GOP, not the Dems. While he did not call himself a prog, Lincoln was well within the mainstream of their beliefs and thought. He was the POTUS that paved the road with his conquest of the south so as to force them back into the raw deal we are all living with now.

Quartermaster on July 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Someone else who gets it.

Dante on July 13, 2012 at 8:52 PM

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 8:33 PM

Of course there are ways to squeeze out a few more years from the bankrupt philosophy of the welfare state. That is, if one accepts that there is no moral hazard to the social welfare state to begin with.

The age should be raised to 2 years minus the average American lifespan. If the average lifespan is, say 75, then it must be 73. Retirement is not supposed to be a lifestyle. It is supposed to be a couple years before you die. People need to work a lot longer.

Means test social security. Only give it to people who would be destitute without it. Remember, social security was not intended to be savings program. It was an insurance policy to buy food for those old folks who didn’t die by the time they were too old to work anymore. Most people didn’t live that long. But for those who did, you had social security to cover the gap. Today, retirement has become a lifestyle. Unfortunately, that was never the idea behind social security. Like with any insurance policy, just because you pay premiums, that doesn’t entitle you to get all your premiums backs once you are done with the policy. Social security should only go to those who need it. And that is why you must means test.

But some will say, why should I pay to support a lout who didn’t save his whole life? Well, that’s what happens in a socialized collective which is why a welfare state is fundamentally unfair. That is the problem with a welfare state, it creates a moral hazard. So too with medicare and medicaid. The only fair solution is not not have a welfare state. America prospered quite nicely for a long time before FDR came around.

keep the change on July 13, 2012 at 8:59 PM

We need a real war…probably a Civil War for starters. Prune our population and then go after the rest of the world…probably start with South America first, though I like the idea of wiping most of EU out for some good training in mass killing. They have all been a pain for decades, even the brits.

Yes, war/s are needed, wars w/o any rules or roe, etc.

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

We need a real war…probably a Civil War for starters. Prune our population and then go after the rest of the world…probably start with South America first, though I like the idea of wiping most of EU out for some good training in mass killing. They have all been a pain for decades, even the brits.

Yes, war/s are needed, wars w/o any rules or roe, etc.

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Wow

Dante on July 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I pin it on Robert Rubin. A Goldman Sachs Chairman who became Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton. As SecT he presided over one of the most radical deregulatory eras in the history of finance. Rubin’s influence within the Democratic Party marked the final stage in the Democrats’ transformation from the concerned citizens who fought Wall Street and won during the 1930s to a coalition of financial elites, screw the little people.

Rubin’s most stunning deregulatory achievement was also his greatest act of corruption – repealing Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era law that banned economically essential banks from gambling with taxpayer money in the securities markets. In 1998, Citibank inked a merger with the Travelers Insurance group. The deal was illegal under Glass-Steagall, but with Rubin’s help, the law was repealed in 1999, and the Citi-Travelers merger approved, creating too-big-to-fail behemoth Citigroup.

That same year, Rubin left the government to work for Citi, where he made $120 million as the company piled up risk after crazy risk. In 2008, the company collapsed spectacularly, necessitating a $45 billion direct government bailout, and hundreds of billions more in other government guarantee.

The limousine liberals, what hypocrites. But the revolving door between Wall Street and the the Federal Government is scary – like Larry Summers (Goldman Sachs), Rahm Emmanuel (Goldman Sachs), Turbo-Tax Timmmy Geithner (NY Fed), Stephen Friedman (chairman of NY Fed during the meltdown at the same time he was a director at Goldman Sachs), Robert Steel (Under Secretary of the Treasury from Goldman Sachs), Henry Paulson (Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs), Joshua Bolton (Bush 43 Chief of Staff from Goldman Sachs), Gene Sperling (top aide to Geithner from Goldman Sachs), Mark Patterson (Current Treasury Chief from Goldman Sachs), Robert Hormats (Current Treasury Undersecretary from Goldman Sachs)just to name a few. We’re being screwed royally.

jb34461 on July 13, 2012 at 9:27 PM

jb34461 on July 13, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Deregulation is good. The more deregulation, the better.

Dante on July 13, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Dante on July 13, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Not when it allows a private investment bank to now gamble with taxpayers’ money instead of the shareholder’s money. When was the last time you saw a Goldman Sachs ATM? Yet, they are now a bank and thanks to Frank-Dodd they are too big to fail. Just like General Electric and General Motor’s financial arms are now designated. And when they were designated banks they qualified and accepted stimulus money as banks. Gimme a freaking break, it’s crony capitalism at its worst.

jb34461 on July 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I won’t even ask if you’re serious, because it’s obvious that you are. Seriously insane, seriously deluded, seriously a chickenhawk retard…

MelonCollie on July 14, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Not when it allows a private investment bank to now gamble with taxpayers’ money instead of the shareholder’s money. When was the last time you saw a Goldman Sachs ATM? Yet, they are now a bank and thanks to Frank-Dodd they are too big to fail. Just like General Electric and General Motor’s financial arms are now designated. And when they were designated banks they qualified and accepted stimulus money as banks. Gimme a freaking break, it’s crony capitalism at its worst.

jb34461 on July 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

Deregulation is the opposite of “crony capitalism”. You realize that it is the largest corporations who write the regulations that are supposed to keep them in check, right?

cavalier973 on July 14, 2012 at 2:42 AM

Johnson is far worse. Medicare’s $83 trillion in the whole vs $16 trillion for Social Security

US Debt Clock

Chuck Schick on July 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

I would have to agree with that.

98ZJUSMC on July 14, 2012 at 5:05 AM

who once transported a dog on the roof of his car ,

As opposed to lunch at the next rest stop.

98ZJUSMC on July 14, 2012 at 5:07 AM

Are you suggesting that Federal funding for Public education, Medicare and Medicaid benefits only the “Black community”??!!

Salahuddin on July 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Reading is kinda hard, huh?

98ZJUSMC on July 14, 2012 at 5:09 AM

So, again… we’re all gung-ho about sending GOP into power again, right? Cause they’ll fix it, right?

Midas on July 13, 2012 at 8:31 PM

A more conservative GOP, yes. Which is what we will have.

I suppose the point you are driving at is leaving the Marxists Dhimmicrats in there?

Yeah. mmmm-K.

Or, are you looking to elect 535 Ron Pauls?

98ZJUSMC on July 14, 2012 at 5:12 AM

We need a real war…probably a Civil War for starters. Prune our population and then go after the rest of the world…probably start with South America first, though I like the idea of wiping most of EU out for some good training in mass killing. They have all been a pain for decades, even the brits.

Yes, war/s are needed, wars w/o any rules or roe, etc.

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Sez the individual who has no conception of war.

Maybe a little on Tee-Vee.

98ZJUSMC on July 14, 2012 at 5:14 AM

NO SURPRISE HERE: “Financials were the big winner today (doubly ironic since in addition to the big whale news, LIBOR-gate continued to spiral with a bunch of documents released by the New York Federal Reserve).”

A Guide to American Gangsters: The American Financial Mafia…

Banks: All American banks are part of the criminal financial organization that controls most wealth in America. The CEOs of the biggest banks are the “dons” (Capo Crimini) in the American Financial Mafia. Many of these “dons” serve on Federal Reserve boards (like JP Morgan’s Dimon does), thus guaranteeing massive conflicts of interests and allowing the dons and their banks to financially benefit themselves above all others with the Fed’s FREE money.

Federal Reserve: aka, “The Commission” – The national ruling body of America’s Financial Mafia. The Fed is run by the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. These and the members of Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the twelve regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents located in major cities throughout the nation are the “bosses” of the American Financial Mafia, with the Fed Chairman, currently bailout bernanke, serving as the “Boss of the Bosses” (Cappo di tutti cappi).

The Fed tries to gain respectability by claiming that its role includes “Conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing money and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of full employment and stable prices.” The past 3+ years of 8%+ unemployment and the corresponding massive decrease in the labor force participation rate proves that that claim is total bs. In reality, The Commission does only one thing: Ensure multi-BILLION dollar profits for BIG BANKS and Wall Street investors. In this respect, The Commission is almost identical to the the initial focus of the American branch of the criminal mafia named “La Costra Nostra” which was concentrated on protection rackets. The Fed serves as a “protector” of BIG BANK and Wall Street profits, while doing nothing for “Main Street” America.

After nearly a hundred years the American criminal mafia still flourishes. Yet, all the criminal actions of the criminal mafia amount to small potatoes compared to the reduced standard of living for the average middle class and poor Americans that has resulted from the many asset and equity bubbles created by the irresponsible actions of the far more powerful, far more insidious and far more dangerous American Financial Mafia.

ABOLISH THE AMERICAN FINANCIAL MAFIA – this is the ONLY thing that people agree on across the entire political spectrum, from the union/d-cRAT party-funded leftist extremist #occupy astroturf to the right-wing kook moRon PaulBOTS.

TeaPartyNation on July 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

The Republicans should be calling for the heads of these banks and that crooksters and gansgter investment jokers who have raped and pillaged during the last 3 decades.

These guys thumb their onses at the system, rape it and walk away with 10s to 100s of millions.

There is no threat or punishment, so why sold they care.

The elimination Glass Stegall was an absolute disaster.

rickyricardo on July 14, 2012 at 6:35 AM

What happened to all the money taken out of our paychecks
for all these years for social security and medicare?

Whomever took that is responsible.

BTW, Medicaid has nothing to do with older people.

Amjean on July 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM

David Weinberger is full of crap.

ANY fool knows that Obama has increased spending by margins far more massive than ANY other President.

Missing from this fellows vageries is the SCHIP expansion that Pelosi and Obama signed into law AFTER Bush left office. I wonder why he never mentioned this multi-billion dollar increase at any point in his story? Also missing from this bizarre report is the MASSIVE elimination of ‘qualifications’ to receive cash from many government programs. Again, this was done by Pelosi and Obama AFTER Bush left office.

I guess David got his crack set of ‘expert opinions’ from that moron that wrote the BS story that Obama has not increased ANY spending.

UNMENTIONED by David is the FACT that Obama is spending 44% MORE MONEY than is collected by the treasury EVERY year!

Freddy on July 14, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Who’s to blame?

WE THE PEOPLE.

That’s who.

avgjo on July 14, 2012 at 1:00 PM

This is too simplistic. Predicting the future is just as hard today as it was when FDR and LBJ created those programs, you get all kinds of scenarios. The fact is borrowing has created much of this mess. Insted of borrowing the government should have cut back on programs as the need came up. Unfortunately no President or Congress had the guts to do that. But they could have at least curtailed spending and not increased it by adding more programs and pork. Again, not enough guts to stop. There is no single person to blame, and the mirror in the first post is correct. As long as voters kept putting these people in power and demanding pork and entitlements from them, it wasn’t/isn’t going to stop.

Deanna on July 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

The Boomers paid for their grandparents and parents and a lot of what everyone else is enjoying today ( welfare programs, schools, cities, etc.). They’ve kept their end of the deal that was forced upon them when they entered adulthood. Its time for the federal government to keep their end of that same deal.

thatsafactjack on July 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

and if the demand “pay back” at the expense of the their own children and grandchildren, whats that make them? and that wonderful postwar period from 1945-the 70s give or take was a black swan. a once in a hundred years (or maye several hundred) when the entire world was devastated by WW2. we had the only production, major industrial production, in the world, and were able to benefit from that one-shot deal. when someone with a HS education could work for 30 years, live a middle class life and retire and have their full retirement paid for. its not happeneing again. and those that benefitied from that one-shot black swan stetch of luck, think that was whats supposed to be. and always will be. when its never WAS like that ever, before in history, for the prior 2000 years. think about it.

t8stlikchkn on July 14, 2012 at 1:50 PM

What happened to all the money taken out of our paychecks
for all these years for social security and medicare?

Whomever took that is responsible.

BTW, Medicaid has nothing to do with older people.

Amjean on July 14, 2012 at 8:02 AM

long gone. long ago spent. and its not coming back. if you want it back, it comes off our own kids hides. thats our choice. we’ve got to be honest about this, and start educating people, esp those 50+ the hand they’ve been dealt. the ones responsible are mostly dead.

t8stlikchkn on July 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

We need a real war…probably a Civil War for starters. Prune our population and then go after the rest of the world…probably start with South America first, though I like the idea of wiping most of EU out for some good training in mass killing. They have all been a pain for decades, even the brits.

Yes, war/s are needed, wars w/o any rules or roe, etc.

Karmi on July 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM

hey karmi, if we keep up the obama decline, you’ll get your wish. the worlds tetering on world war with america leading from behind. i saw your stones the other day
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones

t8stlikchkn on July 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Let’s posit another theory while we’re at it. Underlying presidents for a long time have been a host of people recognized as the staff that make things work. Many of these folks are graduates of the “finest” schools in the country. Many of the leaders of foreign countries are also class mates of these staff members. They derive from the same schools, schools that are responsible for things we take for granted today such as the recognition of “case law” and many other processes too numerous to mention. Yes we are talking about the products of the Law, Business and Government Schools of Harvard University. To a lesser extent we can lump in Yale, Columbia and a smattering from other places. These academic institutions have been teaching people how to “lead” for some time and the key word here is HOW. If you think I am whistling in the wind please check it out. How many Cabinet members, prominent lawyers and many, many underlings are from these institutions and if you dig a little you will find that their thinking and ultimately their imprimatur to act in a certain manner derive from their Alma maters. Let’s look at Obama, Romney, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Kennedy —- shall I go on? Yes therein lies the root of where we are and if you look at who advised FDR and Johnson and all the rest, you will see a preponderance of folks with the same credentials and M.O.D.

Pardonme on July 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM

About 10% of the population works for the government which would be approximately a little over three million people, population being about 313 million. Social Security was split when Nixon was in the WH to give us Medicare. There are 126 welfare programs now active within the Federal Government, Goggle it I did, now consider the following list of Federal entitlement programs that our tax dollars fund that produce nothing that is taxable except the payroll checks. Here tis: http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/index.shtml

Imagine the money it takes to justify this list that’s conveniently ignored by the keeper and writer of our Nations check book.

mixplix on July 14, 2012 at 7:54 PM

…Social Security trust fund…

Anyone who calls SS a trust fund is a liar and a fraud, so why should I pay attention to anything you write Dustin Siggins?

woodNfish on July 14, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Even though I’ve been a lurker for many years, this is my very first post on Hot Air, so please be gentle.

I believe that the baby boomer generation is most responsible for the coming fiscal collapse, but not in the way you might think. Any chain letter, Ponzi scheme, or pyramid scheme; whatever you want to call such programs requires a larger and larger group of people entering the bottom of the pyramid in order to sustain those at the top. Enter the baby boomer generation, who are by far the largest demographic group in the country according to the most recent census. While working, they represented the economic engine of prosperity which allowed our politicians to promise greater and greater benefits to larger and larger groups of constituents, who in turn would vote for those who promised such benefits. Both parties in fact competed to see who could promise more government cheese to the greatest number of voters. Now however, this largest demographic group is approaching retirement age. Approximately 10,000 people in the USA turn 65 years old every day, and this pattern will continue for the next 19 years or so. All of them hope and expect to collect not only Social Security, but Medicare coverage in their senior years. Unfortunately, there are simply not enough younger citizens to pay for even the most meager of benefits. So in my opinion, it is the baby boomer generation who by their collective economic strength as taxpayers allowed for the growth of the welfare state, but by their sheer numbers, they are to blame for the collapse of the same welfare state with trillions of unfunded liabilities in the future.

As an aside, these issues are much less worrisome for the Social Security side of the equation. Specifically, actuarial data can easily predict the average lifespan for the seniors who may collect social security, and the necessary taxation to keep this program intact is “relatively” painless, whereas the costs for Medicare with a growing and aging population is relatively boundless.

The reasons for the latter supposition are numerous, and I would be happy to expound further, if any are interested.

tickrdr

tickrdr on July 14, 2012 at 11:17 PM

It depends on what you mean by “fiscal collapse.” If you mean “Not being able to sustain Social Security after 2042,” then it’s the people who voted for FDR, his Congresses, and all the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who have made reform of the system impossible over the last 50 years.

If you mean “US credit being downgraded and the US increasingly unable to influence world events because we’re in hock up to our eyeballs and everyone owns a piece of us,” then it’s also all the people who voted for our spendthrift Congresses and worst presidents in the last half-century.

If you mean, “Debt so ridiculous it blows my mind, although no one can really pinpoint what that’s going to do to us or when,” it’s the people who voted for every Congress since 1956, and those who voted, most especially, for Barack Obama, who has added more to the national debt in less than four years than all the previous presidents, regardless of their length of service in the Oval Office — and that includes the wild-spending FDR.

About our colossal national obligations, we’re not always talking about the same thing. There’s the total debt, the annual deficit, and the future obligations — SS and Medicare — major percentages of which are predicted to be unfunded when their due dates roll around. Each of these phenomena affects our credit and stability in different ways. None of them has us on the brink of collapse right now, and each would portend a different kind of “collapse.”

Nevertheless, voting for people who just want to keep spending and taxing is and has always been the problem. You want to look for fault, that’s where to start.

J.E. Dyer on July 15, 2012 at 9:49 PM