Fiscal Fact-Check: Deficit, Social Security, and Medicare

Updated March 16, 2015-

America’s economic system is in grave danger. Like your personal finances, fiscal discernment in U.S. public policy is important for our economic recovery.

A Harvard study reveals that massive U.S. borrowing and spending have wasted trillions of dollars in flawed efforts to stimulate the economy.

In addition, the study also reveals government spending causes companies to cut back.

ID-10034937 AmbroAmerican voters should demand what’s best for the citizenry now and for the generations to come.

Consider these salient facts:

The U.S. debt

This month, the U.S. has a $18+ trillion deficit and it’s still climbing.

The debt is tracked by different organizations, which you can watch in real time at two Web sites.

They are and

Countless countries actually own America

In June 2014, according to U.S. Treasury Department data, here were the 10 biggest owners of U.S. Treasurys:

1. China, Mainland – $1268.4 billion

2. Japan – $1219.5 billion

3. Belgium – $364.1 billion

4. Carib Bkg Ctrs 4/ – $308.3 billion

5. Oil Exporters 3/ $262.1 billion

6. Brazil – $253.7 billion

7. Taiwan – $179.4 billion

8. Switzerland – $175.9 billion

9. United Kingdom 2/ – $173.7 billion

10. Hong Kong – $158.2 billion

On the other hand, countless foreign governments own billions of dollars of U.S Treasury Securities.

Social Security now pays more in benefits than it collects in taxes

According to Social Security, there are too few Americans paying into the system, as workers retire. Millions of baby boomers have opted for early Social Security checks because they can’t get a job.

Five decades ago, in 1960, there were 4.9 Americans paying into Social Security for each person getting benefits. Now, there are only 2.8 workers. The Congressional Budget Office says the figures continue to worsen – only 1.9 workers will be paying for each beneficiary in 2035.

In 2012, the average retiree got $1,235. Disabled workers’ average was $1,111.

Some 56 million Americans get Social Security checks now, and the number will skyrocket to 91 million in 2035.

The Social Security situation worsens the federal budget deficit

Because the federal government and its agencies have spent far more than they get in tax revenue – Congress has been raiding Social Security, which used to have a surplus.

Congress justified the raids by ordering the Treasury Dept. to issue two special bonds, which are worth $2.7 trillion, for trust funds. One fund is for retirees and the other is for disability recipients.

Social Security is surviving by tapping into the interest from the trust funds. It’s forecast to be bankrupt in less than 20 years.

“In 2012, outlays exceeded noninterest income by about 7 percent, and CBO projects that the gap will average about 12 percent of tax revenues over the next decade. ” according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Web site.

It gets worse.

“CBO projects that under current law, the DI trust fund will be exhausted in fiscal year 2017, and the OASI trust fund will be exhausted in 2033,” write the budgeters. “If a trust fund’s balance fell to zero and current revenues were insufficient to cover the benefits specified in law, the Social Security Administration would no longer have legal authority to pay full benefits when they were due.”

In 2012, Social Security was forecast to have a $166 billion shortfall, including the $112 billion from the temporary payroll tax reduction. The temporary reduction actually hurts American workers – as a result, they’ll earn less money for their retirement.

Social Security was scheduled to pay out $789 billion in 2012, but only receive $623 in payroll taxes.

Medicare’s fiscal issues are worsening

President Obama and his fellow Democrats claim they’re working to save Medicare. So far, the facts from the CBO show otherwise.

To partially fund ObamaCare, Democrats began taking $716 billion dollars from Medicare for nine years starting in 2013. What’s worse, the ObamaCare legislation implements more than 160 changes adversely affecting Medicare.

It also hurts health services. (See: Healthcare Crisis – What the Plight of Doctors Means to You)

Efforts to save Medicare are stymied by politics.

As a member of Congress, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), introduced a plan that would upgrade Medicare and change the government’s role by providing senior citizens with grants, net amounts or vouchers – whatever term you choose to use.

Over a nine-year period, the CBO estimated it would have saved $30 billion and recipients would pay an out-of-pocket $6,400.

But 100 percent of the Democrats voted against the plan.

So, Rep. Ryan teamed up with a liberal counterpart – Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to come up with a compromise. After Rep. Ryan was named as a running mate for Mitt Romney, Sen. Wyden sought to distance himself for political reasons. But he says he’s still committed to fixing Medicare’s fiscal problems.

Rep. Ryan’s new reform’s key elements:

— Senior citizens will be allowed to stay with the current system.

— No one over 55 would be affected. After 2023, 65-year-olds can choose either the status quo or a government-provided net amount.

— The average out-of-pocket expense to senior citizens will only be $800.

— Medicare would not go bankrupt.

Other issues affect the nation

They include consistently high unemployment or under-employment for workers seeking family wage jobs, sluggish economic growth, uncompetitive school systems, crumbling infrastructure, and increasing poverty (one out of six Americans).

There are pocketbook issues for everyone. Food costs have been climbing even before the drought, and motorists in many areas are suffering from high prices at gas stations.

So it doesn’t help with the administration imposing unnecessary regulations on the petroleum industry, assailed important exploration tax breaks, and hasn’t approved new areas for exploration.

As a matter of fact, both political parties have played a negative role:

— Pres. Bush didn’t veto one pork bill from the Republican-dominated Congress until six years into his presidency. The deficit started under his watch.

— The Obama Administration hasn’t kept one promise made to small business –the nation’s jobs engine – prior t0 the 2008 election. None of his policies has worked to solve the nation’s issues. The deficit continues to explode.

Such fiscal dysfunctions prompt this question: Why do we want to risk burdening our children and grandchildren?

Let’s insist on three Ps – productive public policies – to benefit this great nation. That means understanding the facts and taking steps for fiscal sanity.

From the Coach’s Corner, related issues:

— Nonpartisan Study: Obama’s Tax Plan Hits 53% of Business Earnings

— Is it Too Much to Ask For Civility and Honesty from Mr. Reid and the Press?

— Economic Analysis by noted economist Peter Morici, Ph.d.

“If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.”

-Will Rogers


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.