Yet another GOP warning the Democrats ignored

Turns out, the GOP’s warnings about the possible collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – and our overall economy as a result – weren’t the only ones Democrats ignored during the Bush years. Take a look at this quote from Harry Reid back in 2005 (via MM):

However, Democratic critics drew different findings from the [Social Security] report, arguing that it showed that Social Security was not in a crisis situation and did not require the private accounts that the administration wants to establish for younger workers.

“Today’s report confirms that the so-called Social Security crisis exists in only one place — the minds of Republicans,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “In reality, the program is on solid ground for decades to come.”

Fast forward to now:

WASHINGTON – Social Security and Medicare are fading even faster under the weight of the recession, heading for insolvency years sooner than previously expected, the government warned Tuesday. Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, a year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner, trustees reported.

Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year, just as it did for the first time in 2008. The trustees project that the Medicare fund will be depleted by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year’s report.

The trust funds — which exist in paper form in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W.Va. — are bonds that are backed by the government’s “full faith and credit” but not by any actual assets. That money has been spent over the years to fund other parts of government. To redeem the trust fund bonds, the government would have to borrow in public debt markets or raise taxes.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the head of the trustees group, said the new reports were a reminder that “the longer we wait to address the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the sooner those challenges will be upon us and the harder the options will be.”

Democrats like Reid fiercely resisted the characterization of Social Security as a “crisis” during the Bush years because they opposed his idea to privatize it – yet they offered few ideas of their own in turn. Will they still treat it as a minor “problem” and continue kicking it down the road for other Congresses to have to deal with? The WH website is sparse on details related to the admnistration’s plans on Social Security, and the Dems in Congress have so far been resistant to make tackling the issue a priority. Surprise surprise.

Stay tuned …


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