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How Paul Ryan Helped Save Medicare And Social Security By Trying To Gut Them

Memo Pad Politics

How Paul Ryan Helped Save Medicare And Social Security By Trying To Gut Them


President Obama’s new budget will not include a proposal to implement “chained CPI” to slow the growth of Social Security benefits, according to White House officials.

And there’s one man who deserves most of the credit for making sure there will be no cuts to benefits to seniors until at least 2017 — ironically the politician who has worked the hardest to reduce the promises made to America’s retirees — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

The president had included the reform measure in his 2013 budget as an attempt to provoke a so-called Grand Bargain with House Republican leaders. Such a deal would have required them to end some tax breaks for the rich. That was never going to happen and the White House’s acceptance of this fact helps focus the 2014 elections on votes most Republicans in Congress have taken in the past to cut both Social Security and Medicare, thanks to Paul Ryan.

The chairman of the House Budget Committee’s first budget plan in 2011 not only privatized Social Security — a proposal that President George W. Bush could not even get a vote on when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress — it remade Medicare into a voucher program that radically shifted the financial burden to seniors without doing much to reduce the overall cost of health care. The plan was so popular — at least with Republican donors — that it instantly made Ryan a national hero and possible presidential candidate.

The chances of enacting the plan with President Obama in office were zero, but Ryan, buoyed by his new stardom, helped guide House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) into a debt-limit crisis that shook global markets still dizzy from the financial crisis. House Republicans demanded a dollar in cuts for every dollar the debt ceiling was raised and President Obama obliged with a plan that not only included chained CPI, but also raised the Medicare eligibility age. To sell this plan to Democrats, the president demanded a small percentage of new revenues by ending tax breaks on upper-income Americans.

Boehner was about to make the deal, when Ryan “dropped a bomb” on it, fearing it would guarantee Obama’s re-election. Instead both sides settled on the sequester.

Ryan released another budget in 2012 that dropped Social Security privatization and added a public option to his Medicare plan.  Desperate for Tea Party credibility, Mitt Romney selected Ryan to be his running mate after being forced to embrace the congressman’s budget during the primary. Together, the two men re-elected the president.

After Obama’s re-election, Speaker Boehner reportedly tried to take the offer Ryan had rejected in 2011. The president told him was off the table, and likely will be for the rest of his term unless Republicans consider higher taxes on the rich, which they won’t.

In the past two years, the deficit has been cut in half and is projected to be even lower within 10 years as a share of GDP than if the Simpson-Bowles debt plan or Paul Ryan’s first budget had become law. If the reforms to Medicare implemented in the Affordable Care Act continue to slow the growth of costs as they have since 2010, our long-term debt crisis may be solved, despite Paul Ryan’s best efforts.


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  1. gmccpa February 20, 2014

    ” the reforms to Medicare implemented in the Affordable Care Act continue to slow the growth of costs as they have since 2010, our long-term debt crisis may be solved, despite Paul Ryan’s best efforts.”

    Where are the Democrats on this? They should be announcing this every chance they get. Over and over. Geez, the Republicans have no problem doing this with lies and falsehoods…ie Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS, etc. Can’t the Democrats muster up some enthusiasm about actual facts. Every man, woman, and child in this country should be aware of the changing deficit. And the slowing growth of health care costs. But they are not. Frustrating.

    1. Independent1 February 20, 2014

      A lot of that is due to the fact that the media is not as enthusiastic about publishing good news as bad news (that’s an understatement).
      Give the media an Obamacare horror story, or something like the lies and distortions Faux News fabricated about Benghazi and the IRS, and they’ll run with it till the cows come home. Hand them a story where 10,000 Americans have saved tons of money and gotten far better insurance coverage via ACA, and they say Ho Hum! So what’s new (that’s actually happened by the way – media outlets have actually turned down requests to publish favorable news about ACA).

      And Obama in a number of speeches before and since the election last fall has pointed out that insurance costs have risen at a slower pace over the past 5 years than at any time in the past 50 years. And that the deficit has been cut in half; and that government spending is as low today as when Eisenhower was in office (and Ike was the smallest spending president of the 20th century). Of course in reporting on his speeches, the media never picks up on any of those good statistics; and one main additional drawback is that Democrats don’t seem to be as interested in getting themselves on nationally broadcast shows as GOP extremists seem to be. We definitely need more Democrats to start acting like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

      1. FedSec February 21, 2014

        Would local channels turn down coverage from their politicians? The Democrats should go around the national media and start shouting the news out all over their local broadcast markets.

        1. Independent1 February 21, 2014

          Yup! I agree completely!! Democratic candidates need to be a lot more motivated in getting the truth out.

          1. voice_reason February 21, 2014

            democrats are their own worst enemy, not quite as bad as some of these republican jack asses, but they sure don’t help themselves

          2. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            yeah—let us hope that those in poverty and other bases rise up and do what they did to get Obama a 2nd term…

          3. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            They will need a lot of Harry Reid SuperRAC money to do it, but is keeping it in reserve for some bizarre reason!

            Where is George Soros?

          4. alannah mcgrowdie February 23, 2014

            My Uncle Gabriel got a stunning blue Dodge
            Charger SRT8 from only workin part time on a home pc… hop over to here F­i­s­c­a­l­M­a­z­e­.­ℂ­o­m

      2. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

        Great post independant1 !

    2. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      There is an important article about why Ryan’s plan is dangerous to the USA.

      TItled: Why Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan is so flawed
      By Ezra Klein2 quotes from the article:

      2 quotes from article:

      “Rivlin’s worry is that Ryan’s plan won’t control costs so much as shift them to seniors. And the CBO agrees with her. It concluded that Ryan’s privatization plan would actually add to Medicare’s costs. In 2030, traditional Medicare insurance, CBO estimates, would only cost 60 percent as much as the private options Ryan is offering. But under Ryan’s plan, seniors would pay two-thirds of the cost, while under traditional Medicare, they’d pay only 25 percent…………That’s not cost control. That’s cost-shifting………And even assuming Congress would turn a deaf ear to the cries of seniors, it wouldn’t solve our nation’s fiscal problems. It would just shunt them off the federal budget and onto family budgets, and make them worse.”

      2nd quote:


”Ryan’s savings all come from cuts, and at least two-thirds of them 
come from programs serving the poor….. The wealthy, meanwhile, would see 
their taxes lowered, and the Defense Department would escape unscathed. 
It is not courageous to attack the weak while supporting your party’s 
most inane and damaging fiscal orthodoxies. But the problem isn’t just 
that Ryan’s budget is morally questionable. It also wouldn’t work. 

 take it from me……… Take it from Robert Reischauer, who directed the 
Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to 1995 and now leads the Urban 
Institute. “If this is a competition between Ryan and the Affordable 
Care Act on realistic approaches to curbing the growth of spending,” 
Reischauer says, “the Affordable Care Act gets five points and Ryan gets
zero.” But Ryan would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it 
with his own wishful plan. In doing so, he makes it harder, not easier, 
for us to balance the budget.


      The Ryan plan is simply not and option.



    3. plc97477 February 23, 2014

      The Dems are a little busy trying to get something done. But I know I am talking up the Dems as much as possible. I am pretty proud of the fact that I talked a friend into voting for Obama solely by pointing out what was in the ryan budget. ps. I don’t capitalize names of folks who have not earned my respect.

  2. dana becker February 20, 2014

    Hopefully the Democrats will be pointing out what could happen should the Republicans gain total control of anything.

    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      Harry Reids superPAC is gearing up now 🙂

  3. Lynda Groom February 20, 2014

    Even a stopped clock is correct once in while. Ryan is suppose to be the poster child of GOP economic understanding. Sad, but true.

    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014


    2. Independent1 February 22, 2014

      Well!! You know what Ryan’s antics represent: The blind leading the blind!!

  4. FedSec February 21, 2014

    11-dimensional chess?

  5. Bill February 21, 2014

    Just another idiot offered to you by the GOP, follow them and find out just how poor you can become.

    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      want a good laugh?

      1. Guest February 22, 2014

        Want an even bigger laugh?

      2. Guest February 22, 2014

        Want an even bigger laugh? But this is NOT funny!

  6. ExRadioGuy15 February 21, 2014

    Hmmmm…the author of this article is doing something that a lot of the media are doing: they still think that the GOP talking point of “Social Security and Medicare costs add to the deficit” is true….ssmdh…this goes to prove me correct when I say that most so-called “Liberal media” organizations are owned and operated by GOP sympathizers who order their charges to employ the ridiculous “False Equivalency” or “both parties [GOP and Demo] are the same” meme/argument….
    Two days ago, I wrote a long Facebook post detailing how that GOP talking point above is complete BS…I’ll try to “Reader’s Digest” that note here:
    “In the 1980’s, Republican President Ronald Reagan famously made a correct statement about Social Security and Medicare; ‘they have nothing to do with the deficit’. Reagan was our third-worst President (behind Grant and Bush 43) but, in this case, he was completely correct…SS and Medicare have NOTHING to do with the deficit. If Seniors knew what the GOP’s REAL plan for those two programs were, they’d be really unhappy: abolition.
    You see, SS and Medicare are not funded by general federal tax revenues. That’s correct…when the debt limit was raised to allow the bills to be paid, SS and Medicare weren’t ‘saved’ by that move. SS and Medicare benefits are paid out of the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF). How is the SSTF funded? Glad you asked…you may have noticed on your paycheck stub a deduction known as ‘FICA’. FICA stands for ‘Federal Insurance Contributions Act’, the federal law and mechanism that sends money to the SSTF. FICA is more popularly known as the ‘payroll tax’. If the debt limit hadn’t been raised, SS and Medicare benefits still would have been paid out of the SSTF.”
    I went on to mention how the four Presidential administrations before Obama “raided” the SSTF, with Clinton being the only one who took steps to “pay back” the SSTF and the fact that the worst offender was Bush 43, who “borrowed” $2.75 TRILLION from it in early 2003 to pay for their deficit-spending, like their soon-to-be two wars and tax policies.
    To give Freddie Munster (Rep. Ryan) “credit” for “saving” SS and Medicare is a perversion. If the so-called “Liberal media” had been doing their jobs from the get-go of the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis, most of us (instead of me and just a few others) would have known the pathetic GOP talking point that was debunked by a President from their own party 25 years earlier.
    I have to write this on a fairly regular basis: I’m a Non-Affiliated voter who hasn’t belonged to a political party since 1990. I don’t give a flying f*ck about party dogma. What I care about is the TRUTH. Because I care about the truth, I automatically have enemies in the Fascist, truth-averse and fact-challenged Republican Party and the Fascism-suborning and reality-challenged Libertarian Party (whom I call “Firebaggers”). It’s well past time for the so-called “Liberal media” organizations of the Fourth Estate to remember what their responsibility truly is: get at and expose the TRUTH, not “tell both sides” or engage in False Equivalency….ssmdh

    1. dpaano February 21, 2014

      Thanks, Radio Guy, I couldn’t have said it better, but most of the population doesn’t realize ANY of this because some of our leaders don’t bother to fight back when the GOP tells their ridiculous lies!!! Unfortunately, as mentioned, most of the media is owned by GOP pundits, so it’s difficult to get the truth out there!!! We have to find a way to get it out there, however, or we’re going to sink! But, thank you for your brilliant explanation…..greatly appreciated. I hope you don’t mind that I copied it so send out to some friends of mine.

      1. ExRadioGuy15 February 21, 2014

        You hope I don’t mind? LMAO….are you kidding? Of course I don’t mind…I’d rather have people know the truth than to continually be fed Fascist GOP propaganda and talking points. There’s an old saying about a lie being able to travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on (Winston Churchill?)…we need the truth to be even faster than lies…

        1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

          big agreement from me on this!

      2. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

        I think that today’s way of sharing is through a broad spectrum of “social media.” The days of tv networks is changing. Everything will be on line….need to find those social media avenues to exploit…

        1. Independent1 February 22, 2014

          Daniel, social media is exactly what grass roots progressives need to use to get the truth out to more of the American electorate in the run up to the 2014 and 2016 elections. We need tons of progressives out there on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, etc. doing exactly what ExRadioGuy did – calling out the GOP lies on a whole gammit of critical political issues. I think that would be the cheapest and probably most effective way of countering the Koch Bros and other GOP loving extremists massive media spending.

          1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

            I cant agree more!

    2. 4sanity4all February 22, 2014

      Thank you for putting this information out there. I know that most legislators are probably ignorant of how this, and all other matters relating to the federal budget, works. And in their ignorance, they inflict great damage. If they understood basic economics, they would not insist on policies that kill the economy. There is a giant gap between sound bytes that “sound right” and the actual truth. It would also help if the news media had management who understood this, also.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

        agree a lot..

    3. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      Thanks for info….

      I have posted a response to a poster trying to bring in the conecpt of “debt crisis” which I don’t see how Jason’s article has anything to do with that…

      1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

        ps—your post provides important details for how Democrats should get riled up about this…

    4. plc97477 February 23, 2014

      I wonder if part of the desire to get rid of SS and the medis is because some are afraid someone will find out the theft in the funds. So if we start a rumor that before doing away with it they will have to go through a full audit, maybe they would back off.

      1. ExRadioGuy15 February 23, 2014

        The fact that the Bush 43 administration took $2.75 TRILLION from the SSTF in 2003 should be considered as “theft”, but, they covered themselves by leaving “Treasury bonds” as “I.O.U.’s”.
        My plan for paying back this money is fairly simple. Since the wealthy and big corporations were/are the beneficiaries of the GOP’s “borrowing” largesse, they should be the two groups of “people” whom pay it back.
        There are two parts to my plan:
        First, the SS income tax “cap”, which is around $114,000 right now, would either be raised to at least $250,000 per year, if not abolished altogether. Remember that FICA deductions from your paycheck are matched by your employer. So, if the cap is raised or eliminated, those making more than $114,000 will pay more and their employers will have to match that.
        Second, to make the tax less regressive, because everyone pays 6.4% on their income, I would “tier” the percentage, taxing the first $100,000 per year of income at 4.2% and everything above that at the current 6.4%—again, by doing that, it’s more Progressive and those making more money pay more into the SSTF, like they SHOULD.

        1. plc97477 February 23, 2014

          I like it. If you need my vote you got it.

  7. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell February 21, 2014

    The term “debt crisis” is 100% BS. The federal so-called “debt,” is nothing more than the total dollars deposited in T-security accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank. Period.

    The Treasury could take the misnamed “debt” down to $0 in one day, simply by debiting those accounts and crediting the checking accounts of T-security holders.

    This elimination of federal “debt” would require no spending by the federal government.

    The term “debt crisis” is used by flacks for the upper .1% income group, to convince Americans to vote for reductions in Social Security, Medicare, poverty aids and other spending that benefits the lower 99.9%.

    It is part of the Big Lie, that claims federal finances are like personal finances. But the federal government is Monetarily Sovereign, while you and I are monetarily NON-sovereign — completely opposite.

    The “debt crisis” not only is a lie, it is a damned lie, designed to widen the gap between the rich and the rest.

    The author, Jason Sattler, should be ashamed.

    1. daniel bostdorf February 22, 2014

      First of all….Jason needs not to be ashamed about anything, anytime as an Editor of National Memo. He oversees a complex myriad of articles to consider. His article here is meant to provoke dialogue and not confrontation.

      The article is titled:

      How Paul Ryan Helped Save Medicare And Social Security By Trying To Gut Them.
      Nothing he wrote in the body of the article has anything to do with a general discussion of any “debt crisis.” The closest thing Jason wrote was:
      “…..but Ryan, buoyed by his new stardom, helped guide House Speaker John
      Boehner (R-OH) into a debt-limit crisis that shook global markets still
      dizzy from the financial crisis.”

      So, frankly, I have no idea how your post realates to Jason’s article…other than a rant about your opinion about “debt crisis.”

      For the sake of a rebuttal to your post, I will refer to a highly regarded professor of economics at Boston University that I have heard speak….

      Open up your mind a bit…consider other viewpoints. But when you post at National Memeo, could you please have something to post that relates to the articles CORE premise?

      There is an alternative view to consider by Laurence Kotlikoff, Economics Professor at Boston University….

      Debt crisis looming as Washington ‘hides the real fiscal cliff numbers’

      Published time: February 06, 2013

      Read here:

      Quotes from text:

      The US national debt is twenty times higher than is officially reported, approaching $222 trillion, and today’s children could soon be paying their parent’s debts, reputed American economist Laurence Kotlikoff told RT.

      ­According to Kotlikoff, the true extent of the growing fiscal gap has been concealed by Washington for years, a process that could ultimately result in debt disaster: China and Japan, top American money-lenders, could simply stop the cash flow.
      Moreover, in the last few years the Federal Reserve has raised the base money cap from $800 billion to $3 trillion, creating the foundation for possible hyperinflation, Kotlikoff said. The whole situation remains unnoticed by the public while politicians try to avoid the problem, leaving it to future generations to reach a solution.

      The interview:

      RT: Laurence Kotlikoff, Economics Professor at Boston University, pleasure to have you with us today.
      Laurence Kotlikoff: It’s great to be with you and great to be in Russia.
      RT: You’re the one who stated that America is rogue and in even worse state than Greece and Ireland. How so? What exactly do you mean by that?
      Laurence Kotlikoff: Well, we economists look at all the bills the government has to pay, and in the US case we have enormous bills that have been kept off the books. They’re not the official debts, but they are very real. For example, paying me my social security benefits, my old-age pension – that’s a real obligation. It’s not part of the official government debt, but it’s very important because there are 78 million baby boomers who’re going to get their social security payments, and, in addition, medical payments from the government. If you look at all those payments, they are about $3 trillion a year. So we have these huge bills, nobody has thought about paying for them, and Congress and the presidents over the years have just focused on official debt, and basically have not told the public about these big bills.
      RT: You said the amount of the fiscal gap in the United States is, in your estimation, $222 trillion. This is an astonishing number, which is like three times the world GDP. This is more than what the world makes.
      LK: Twenty times higher than the official debt in the hands of the public, which is $11 trillion. So if you add all the spending obligations into the distant future, and you compare them with all the taxes, and you include in the spending all the interest payments, and principal payments on the debt, and the official debt, you have $222 trillion of present value. Now, this is 12 per cent of GDP on an ongoing basis, and we need to get 12 per cent more in GDP either in tax increases or spending cuts in order to have the fiscal gap in zero.
      We’re doing far too little, too late. It’s like operating on a person with cancer, and you say, “Well, there’s a big tumor here, we’re just going to take a little bit out today, and we’ll come back in five years, and we’ll take out some more.” But maybe in five years the patient is dead because the tumor got bigger. So this is why we are in worse shape than Greece – in Greece, it’s about 10 per cent of GDP they need on an ongoing basis, in Italy it’s about 5 per cent, in Germany it’s about 5 per cent. So when you look at it from this perspective, it’s a whole different story than if you look just at the official debt because these governments are making choices what to call official obligations, and what to call unofficial.
      RT: So are they intentionally hiding the enormity of it?
      LK: They’re intentionally hiding this. They’ve been spending in our country six decades, running a massive Ponzi scheme, taking from young people, giving to old people, and then telling the young people, “Don’t worry, you’ll get yours when you’re old,” promising pensions, promising healthcare benefits. And you know this is happening in all countries. Russia has a pension system, but it doesn’t seem to be in better shape than ours in terms of paying for its benefits in the future.
      RT: I mean, this number – $222 trillion – where exactly is this money going, who is spending it? I mean, certainly not the average American. What is it, 1 per cent of the superrich? The military?
      LK: Well, you’ve got a lot of old people now, they are getting very high benefits, about $30,000 per person. It’s scheduled to go up to $40,000 when I retire, which is about 15 years. So you see we’re just very generous to the old people in our country.
      RT: What do you suggest: cut spending, raise taxes? They would be suicidal to any American president.
      LK: If we’re running the country, we have to act like adults because our main responsibility as adults is to make sure our kids have a good future. So we have to reduce the growth rate of the benefits to the elderly, and that requires being much more careful about how much we spend on healthcare because the healthcare benefits have been growing at twice the growth rate of per capita GDP for 40 years. So it can’t continue because it’s going to kill the country. We have a huge problem, it’s being hidden, it’s not being described and discussed and disclosed.
      RT: You just mentioned that you need to take care of the future generations, ‘clash of generations’ was the term you used to describe what future awaits the American children paying up the debts of their fathers, but the United States when you look at it, really has lived on debt ever since WWII, and increasingly so in the past 30 years, and they have somehow managed not to collapse. Why do think that the new generation will manage it?
      LK: Well, over time, the official debt will become a bigger and bigger share of GDP, and at some point the Chinese and other people will stop lending us money, and our interest rates will go up dramatically. We’ll have a bond market collapse and, at that point, the deficit will get even bigger. The official debt will cumulate even more rapidly. And our government is also printing a lot of money to pay for these bills. So I see big problems, and they might not be in 30 years, they might be in five years or two years. The Chinese and other people start to understand how bad the situation is. And then we will be in situation of Greece where people won’t lend us money and then we will have to make big cuts and everybody will be injured.
      RT: You mentioned China and Japan – they top the list of American lenders. It’s more than $1 trillion of US debts. Should they get used to the idea they are not getting their money back? They can’t just come out and say: “Hey, I want part of American GDP.”
      LK: If I were anybody – whether Chinese, Japanese or Russian – I would not be buying 30-year US government treasury bonds. They are yielding 3.5 per cent or something right now because we have printed so much money since 2007 – it’s really unbelievable. The Federal Reserve has tripled what is called ‘the base money’ – the basic money supply, the monetary base. It’s actually gone from $800 billion to about $3 trillion now. This is more than tripled. So we have the basis in place for more than tripling the price level right now. We have created the foundation for hyperinflation. And the baby-boomers have yet to retire. So right now 12 per cent of all the federal spending is based, being financed and paid for by just printing new dollars – that is what is going on.
      So we are acting very much like a developing country in terms of actual finances. I have been concerned about this and writing about it and speaking about it since the late ’80s. The other economists said about it as well as some politicians, but it’s getting worse. It’s not like anybody’s actually looking carefully at these numbers. The politicians are looking at the official debt numbers and are not really discussing the magnitude of what is coming.
      RT: A lot of people like you who are critical of the current American financial system have come out in the street. The Occupy Wall Street movement voiced their concerns and protests. Do you think a movement like this is actually capable or able to solve real issues or is it just a red herring?
      LK: Well, Occupy Wall Street was concerned about inequality, and they were concerned about what Wall Street was actually doing. And I think we need to radically change our financial system because we have too big problems. And this is true in every country including Russia. The traditional banking system, the model, is on a very high leverage. Banks borrow a lot of money, promise to repay and then there is opacity – they take the money and they do something with it but they are not telling you what they are doing with it. So people get very concerned at some points about whether the banks actually can repay. And then you can have runs on the bank, just overnight.
      So it’s a very unstable situation when you promise people things and then you don’t show what you are doing with their money. And that’s what happening with Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns and Merrill Lynch – these companies went under one after the other. Everybody started worrying because they couldn’t see the assets. So what we need to do is get rid of this “faith-based banking”. We need to have no leverage and we have to have transparency. The government has to disclose what the assets are. The government has to do verification and disclosure.
      We should have the government agency verify that somebody’s mortgage is actually a reasonable mortgage: that person has a job, that person has an income, that person’s house which is collateral to the mortgage has actually this value. So we should not have any liar loans. And we should also have all the banks become what are called ‘mutual funds’ which just sell shares to these funds. They take all the money on an equity basis. They don’t borrow money – they just sell shares of stock: the money comes in and then they buy these disclosed assets – the mortgages, for example. If you have equity-based finance and then if the mortgages don’t work out, somebody doesn’t repay, the shareholder takes a loss, but the financial intermediary, which is a mutual fund, never fails and never goes bankrupt. So you have a banking system that can never fail. If it’s made of equity finance and mutual funds who are buying transparent fully-disclosed assets – that’s what we need.
      The protesters of Wall Street didn’t know what they wanted, but this is what they need. Now what we need is also protesters among the young about their fiscal treatment – that’s a different thing.
      RT: That’s the thing. The fiscal cliff and the possibility of America defaulting that we hear a lot around us – is this symptomatic agony or is it maybe artificial political crisis?
      LK: I think the young people don’t fully understand how they are being treated. In the debates, in the entire campaign, not one of these two candidates talked about the magnitude of the problem. President Obama said that our social security system, our basic government pension system has a small problem that needs to be tweaked, is what he said. If you actually look at the system and at the trustees report, the thing is 31 per cent underfinanced. So it’s not a small problem. According even to social security actuaries. It’s a huge problem. So he is on a different planet from the reality.
      Romney felt we could just lower taxes and get more revenue. So he was equally, you know, crazy on this stuff. And unfortunately we have children whose future is at stake here. And they are also under a lot of pressure in other ways because they are competing with other people all over the world and they are also competing with these new smart machines that are taking people’s jobs away. So in our country when you go to a grocery store or a drug store the checkout person is a machine: there is nobody working there, it’s just a machine these days. There is actually maybe one person to help you use the machine. And that replaced a lot of jobs, so we have young people who are having troubles finding jobs. Even college graduates are having trouble.
      RT: Laurence Kotlikoff, thank you very much for a very interesting insight you gave us on the ongoing financial crisis and it’s great to have you with us again.
      LK: My pleasure. Thank you.

      1. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell February 22, 2014

        You can read more about Kotlikoff at http://mythfighter.com/2013/10/04/where-have-all-the-economists-gone/, where last year he said, ““We’re already bankrupt. Better to acknowledge that fact than to pretend we’re not.””

        The good professor believes our Monetarily Sovereign government can run short of its own sovereign currency, and must borrow the currency it has the unlimited ability to create.

        Truly sad.

  8. paulyz February 22, 2014

    This discussion really amazes me in that the National Memo would post such obvious “wrong” information, twist it around, to their un-informed viewers. Anybody that even makes a half-assed attempt to know the truth would know that the Republicans have tried for decades to make S.S. solvent with minor adjustments, and future generations offered choices on how they wanted THEIR funds handled. Then, Obama was the one that STOLE $716 BILLION from Medicare, & raised taxes another $500 BILLION for a failing Obamacare, that he lied about.
    Just for control & power this mis-representation of facts to keep this National Memo solvent, is disgusting to say the least. If you can’t get listeners by the truth, than you should be out of business. Come on people, use some sense!

  9. paulyz February 24, 2014

    WHAT??? Paul Ryan gutting Medicare? Seems to me it was Obama that took $716 BILLION from Medicare & raised taxes another $500 BILLION to run a failing ACA. As for S.S., everyone understands that it is also going bust in a matter of years, and needs to be kept solvent. By continuing to just ignore this serious problem many people will suffer greatly when the money dries up.


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