Now, you talked about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are.
I would say too much credit – although in fairness the President was responding to this question:
You’ve been talking a lot about the need for tough choices in your budget, but your plan does not address the long-term crushing costs of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid -- the real drivers of long-term debt. Can you explain that?
Kevin Drum does deserve a lot of credit:
But unless you believe that the United States is literally going to collapse in the near future, Social Security isn't. Period. The weird thing about this is that Social Security isn't even hard to understand. Taxes go in, benefits go out. Unlike healthcare, which involves extremely difficult questions of technological advancement and the specter of rationing, Social Security is just arithmetic. The chart on the right tells you everything you need to know: Right now, Social Security costs about 4.5% of GDP. That's going to increase as the baby boomer generation retires, and then in 2030 it steadies out forever at around 6% of GDP.
A lot of the current Tea Party hysteria has to do with the current Federal deficit and as Kevin’s chart shows, we are currently running Social Security surpluses. In fact, we have been running surpluses for quite some time adding to the Trust Fund’s assets. Some projections have currently promised benefits outstripping tax revenues such that the Trust Fund’s assets may be depleted in just over 30 years. Fine – then we may have to do some minor changes in either the pay-ins or pay-outs in the future but Social Security is not part of the alleged Federal deficit crisis. But that’s never stopped the modern leaders of the Republican Party from raiding the Trust Fund to bankroll the General Fund irresponsibility that they have created over the past 30 years.