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Entitlement Reform

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NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | January 9, 2013
It has become accepted economic wisdom that the only way to get control over America's looming budget deficits is to "reform entitlements. " The accepted wisdom is wrong. Republicans trot out federal budget data showing a 32 percent increase in direct payments to individuals since the start of 2009 -- including food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation and subsidized housing. But these expenditures are temporary. They've resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, which forced many families to turn to the government for help.
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NEWS
July 30, 2014
Between the crises in the Middle East and Ukraine and the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, it's difficult to get domestic news on the front page this week, let alone good news. But the improved finances of Medicare deserve the public's attention, particularly given that the much-maligned Affordable Care Act is involved. Here's the bottom line: Medicare paid out less in hospital benefits last year than it did the year before. This is a fantastic development because, according to projections contained in an annual report released Monday, it means that Medicare will have enough money to continue paying for the hospital care of the elderly and disabled through 2030, which is four years longer than the federal government estimated for the program just last year.
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NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 27, 2013
I was born in 1946, just when the boomer wave began. Bill Clinton was born that year, too. So was George W. Bush, as was Laura Bush. And then the next year, Hillary Rodham. And soon Newt Gingrich (known as "Newty" as a boy). And, also in 1946, Cher. (Every time I begin feeling old, I remind myself she's slightly older.) Why did so many of us begin coming into the world in 1946? Demographers have given this a great deal of attention, but it's not that complicated. My father, for example, was in World War II -- as were the fathers of many other early boomers.
NEWS
January 30, 2014
Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's decision not to run for governor might not have been much of a surprise for Maryland's politicians, but his older constituents, who comprise about 12 percent of his district's voters, may well have been surprised to hear that he wants to remain in Washington to continue working on tax and entitlement reform ( "Ruppersberger decides against a run for governor," Jan. 22). On Capitol Hill, "entitlement reform" is the "kinder, gentler" phrase that members of both political parties now use to describe plans to cut benefits for middle-class Americans.
NEWS
February 22, 2012
Max Richtman's recent article demonstrates why it will be extremely difficult to reform entitlement programs for seniors ("Protect senior programs," Feb. 17). Despite reports from the trustees of Social Security and Medicare that those programs will run out of money within the next 10 to 25 years, Mr. Richtman apparently believes that we should put our heads in the sand and continue to pay out benefits at a level that is unsustainable. He also apparently believes that benefits should continue in their present form because they are popular So is ice cream and chocolate cake.
NEWS
By Nelson Schwartz and Nelson Schwartz,Sun Contributing Writer | December 17, 1994
WASHINGTON -- Six months ago, with high hopes and bold rhetoric, a panel of leading members of Congress and economic experts convened here, promising to take on one of the toughest problems facing the government -- the sharp growth of spending on guaranteed benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.Those programs, called entitlements, account for nearly half of government spending and are devouring an increasing portion of the federal budget. But last week, amid internal squabbling, commission members wrapped up their work with no agreement on exactly what needs to be done to avert a fiscal crisis that many say is inevitable.
NEWS
September 19, 2011
I've had it with the crocodile tears shed by conservatives over Social Security being a Ponzi scheme. Social Security has never missed a payment to any entitled beneficiary since its inception. Their payments to beneficiaries represent no more future indebtedness than veterans' benefits, salaries and pensions for federal workers or congressmen, or funds to fix highways. The only time the government might have defaulted on these was last month when the same conservatives held the government hostage over the debt ceiling in order to maintain Bush era tax cuts for the rich.
NEWS
January 30, 2014
Representative C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger's decision not to run for governor might not have been much of a surprise for Maryland's politicians, but his older constituents, who comprise about 12 percent of his district's voters, may well have been surprised to hear that he wants to remain in Washington to continue working on tax and entitlement reform ( "Ruppersberger decides against a run for governor," Jan. 22). On Capitol Hill, "entitlement reform" is the "kinder, gentler" phrase that members of both political parties now use to describe plans to cut benefits for middle-class Americans.
NEWS
November 10, 2013
In all levels of all programs and institutions, public or private, big or small, government or corporate, there is some degree of fraud or mismanagement ("Food stamp fraud is real and must be stopped," Nov. 6). There is no way to have a program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (better known as food stamps) that will not have some degree of misuse, or even outright fraud. The federal government spent around $80 billion on food stamps in 2013. If it was even granted that 5 percent of that $80 billion was misused, that would mean there was $4 billion worth of federally subsidized misuse or outright fraud.
NEWS
April 4, 2013
As a post-World War II political activist, candidate, office holder and Republican supporter for the past 67 years, I have always believed in the two-party system of Republicans and Democrats. I believe in a political system consisting of "big tent" Republican and Democratic parties that, among other things, consist of liberals, conservatives and independent voters. However, for the past 40 years, the zealots in each party have rejected the emphasis on united parties in favor of fragmented "leftist" and "rightist" principles.
NEWS
November 10, 2013
In all levels of all programs and institutions, public or private, big or small, government or corporate, there is some degree of fraud or mismanagement ("Food stamp fraud is real and must be stopped," Nov. 6). There is no way to have a program like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (better known as food stamps) that will not have some degree of misuse, or even outright fraud. The federal government spent around $80 billion on food stamps in 2013. If it was even granted that 5 percent of that $80 billion was misused, that would mean there was $4 billion worth of federally subsidized misuse or outright fraud.
NEWS
April 4, 2013
As a post-World War II political activist, candidate, office holder and Republican supporter for the past 67 years, I have always believed in the two-party system of Republicans and Democrats. I believe in a political system consisting of "big tent" Republican and Democratic parties that, among other things, consist of liberals, conservatives and independent voters. However, for the past 40 years, the zealots in each party have rejected the emphasis on united parties in favor of fragmented "leftist" and "rightist" principles.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | February 27, 2013
I was born in 1946, just when the boomer wave began. Bill Clinton was born that year, too. So was George W. Bush, as was Laura Bush. And then the next year, Hillary Rodham. And soon Newt Gingrich (known as "Newty" as a boy). And, also in 1946, Cher. (Every time I begin feeling old, I remind myself she's slightly older.) Why did so many of us begin coming into the world in 1946? Demographers have given this a great deal of attention, but it's not that complicated. My father, for example, was in World War II -- as were the fathers of many other early boomers.
NEWS
By Robert B. Reich | January 9, 2013
It has become accepted economic wisdom that the only way to get control over America's looming budget deficits is to "reform entitlements. " The accepted wisdom is wrong. Republicans trot out federal budget data showing a 32 percent increase in direct payments to individuals since the start of 2009 -- including food stamps, unemployment insurance, worker's compensation and subsidized housing. But these expenditures are temporary. They've resulted from the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, which forced many families to turn to the government for help.
NEWS
February 22, 2012
Max Richtman's recent article demonstrates why it will be extremely difficult to reform entitlement programs for seniors ("Protect senior programs," Feb. 17). Despite reports from the trustees of Social Security and Medicare that those programs will run out of money within the next 10 to 25 years, Mr. Richtman apparently believes that we should put our heads in the sand and continue to pay out benefits at a level that is unsustainable. He also apparently believes that benefits should continue in their present form because they are popular So is ice cream and chocolate cake.
NEWS
September 19, 2011
I've had it with the crocodile tears shed by conservatives over Social Security being a Ponzi scheme. Social Security has never missed a payment to any entitled beneficiary since its inception. Their payments to beneficiaries represent no more future indebtedness than veterans' benefits, salaries and pensions for federal workers or congressmen, or funds to fix highways. The only time the government might have defaulted on these was last month when the same conservatives held the government hostage over the debt ceiling in order to maintain Bush era tax cuts for the rich.
NEWS
October 26, 1994
Democrats and Republicans are accusing one another of cynicism and hypocrisy on the hot-button issue of financing Social Security, Medicare and other skyrocketing entitlement programs. Of course, both are right. What set off a pre-election barrage of blather on the subject was a memo by Budget Director Alice M. Rivlin in which she committed the unpardonable. She told the truth.Everyone in imperial Washington who is in the least knowledgeable about fiscal problems knows that the Social Security and Medicare programs are heading right over the cliff.
BUSINESS
By MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE | August 2, 2006
NEW YORK -- Delivering his first address as treasury secretary, former investment banker Henry M. Paulson Jr. pledged yesterday to seek a bipartisan compromise with Congress to shore up federal benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare, whose rising costs threaten the nation's long-term financial health. The odds of success in that quest are quite low. President Bush devoted much of the first year of his second term seeking to partially privatize Social Security and got nowhere.
BUSINESS
By MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE | August 2, 2006
NEW YORK -- Delivering his first address as treasury secretary, former investment banker Henry M. Paulson Jr. pledged yesterday to seek a bipartisan compromise with Congress to shore up federal benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare, whose rising costs threaten the nation's long-term financial health. The odds of success in that quest are quite low. President Bush devoted much of the first year of his second term seeking to partially privatize Social Security and got nowhere.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | January 30, 2005
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. - Republican members of the House and Senate turned their attention to the politics of changing the tax code and the lessons of President Bush's campaign yesterday, the second day of a party retreat here. Party leaders and White House officials gathered at the Greenbrier resort also discussed a new rhetorical twist in their campaign to remake Social Security. In meetings on Friday, Treasury Secretary John W. Snow and Rep. Bill Thomas of California, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, discussed redirecting public attention on 2008 as an imminent danger point for the Social Security trust fund because baby boomers will begin retiring, even though even the most dire analyses say the fund will remain solvent for a decade or longer after that.
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