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On the Chopping Block: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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On the Chopping Block: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - by Stephen Lendman

Planned is death by a thousand cuts - aka "creeping normalcy," defined as a way to make major changes seem normal if happen slowly, incrementally like boiling a frog unaware it's dinner until cooked.

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Social Security and Medicare are dinner. Yet both are insurance, not welfare, programs funded by (worker-employer) payroll tax deductions. They're contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify. You'd never know it the way both programs are publicly discussed, explaining everything but the truth. More on that below.

On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act became law, known as the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program (OASDI). It provides retirement, disability, survivorship, and death benefits. It's still America's most effective poverty reduction program that's worked remarkably well since inception. It exists to provide secure inflation-adjusted retirement or disability income, unlike risking personal savings to create private wealth that may end up losing it.

Despite bogus claims, it's not going bankrupt. When properly administered, it's sound and secure, needing only modest adjustments at times to assure it.

On July 30, 1965, Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security (Medicare) Act into law, enrolling Harry and Bess Truman as its first recipients. 

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Medicare.gov calls it "the nation's largest health insurance program," covering 40 million Americans. It's a "Health Insurance program for people age 65 or older, some disabled people under age 65, and people of all ages with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure treated with dialysis or a transplant)."

America's aristocracy wants Medicare and Social Security ended, citing the nation's burgeoning debt and enormous unfunded liabilities for both programs. The web site usdebtclock.org lists them as follows:

(1) the US National Debt: nearly $14 trillion;

(2) Social Security Liability: nearly $15 trillion;

(3) Prescription Drug Liability: nearly $20 trillion; and

(4) Medicare Liability: nearly $78 trillion.

Total: nearly $113 trillion plus the National Debt.

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Most important is that future liabilities mask today's soundness that can stay that way if current programs are properly administered. That's omitted from hyped scare tactics to convince future recipients to make unjustifiable sacrifices. Like them or not, they're coming, major media reports promoting the idea as well as politicians from both parties.

On August 9, 2010, for example, a New York Times editorial headlined, "The Latest on Medicare and Social Security," saying:

"Of course, neither program is sound for the long run. (Yet there's) time for lawmakers to reform and strengthen both (for) the long haul. (Required is) a combination of benefits cuts and tax increases, which could be distributed fairly and phased in over decades."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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