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Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Twenty-Nine -- Entitlement Growth.


Thursdays are good days for reform, because they fall between Wednesdays and Fridays.

That's why WILLisms.com offers a chart or graph, every Thursday, pertinent to Social Security reform.

This week's topic:

Entitlement Spending Growth, Eating Away Ever More GDP.

The Congressional Budget Office released its budget projections earlier this week, and on the front page of the 75-page document (.pdf) is the following graphic:


The graph is found again in the body of the report.

Why would the CBO's Budget and Economic Outlook feature such a graph on the front page, in lieu of a classic "cover page"?

Well, because the entitlement crisis is real, and it is now (not "2041"). Social Security reform is not something that can be infinitely delayed. For all the whining and gnashing over the recent Highway Bill, let's put it into perspective, please. Entitlement spending is going to swamp the Federal Budget and put a damper on America's economic growth engine.

And it's not rocket science. When Social Security was created, the demographic situation was drastically different. You had many workers supporting few retirees, collecting small benefits, for a short period of time. Today, you have proportionally fewer workers supporting many more retirees, who receive more benefits, for longer periods of time.

Without serious reform to handle the changing demographics we face, we'll almost certainly have to raise taxes, to the detriment of the economy. Raising taxes, however, is not a permanent and self-sustaining solution. And it's something we've done far too much over the past seven decades.


The history of raising the cap is no better.

Raising the cap, rather than scaling back the growth in benefits, would also be a serious cop-out, particularly with no personal accounts to offset the tax hikes.

Some otherwise intelligent conservatives, libertarians, and Republicans failed to get whole-heartedly behind Social Security reform, because they believed Medicare reform to be more imperative.

How lame. And utterly foolish.

Medicare and Medicaid reform will fail, guaranteed, if Social Security reform fails. Shame on those who played the "but that other problem is worse, so we shouldn't do anything about this problem" game. Does anyone really believe that railroading Social Security reform is the ticket to Medicare reform?

I mean, it's just mind-boggling stupid.

Because the conservative movement, including many Republican members of Congress, and including many of the conservative mega-bloggers, failed to coalesce behind the President on this tough, up-hill battle, we now face the likelihood of watered-down and/or delayed reforms.

At this point, the most likely near-term outcome is the passage of "GROW Accounts." GROW Accounts, as noted previously, are a great step in the right direction. Politically, they will be nearly impossible for even the most cancerously obstructionist Congressional Democrats, to oppose. And policy-wise, they begin the legitimization of private accounts, while protecting the Social Security trust fund surplus that will exist over the next 10-12 years.

The clock is ticking.


Previous Reform Thursday graphics can be seen here:

-Week One (Costs Exceed Revenues).
-Week Two (Social Security Can't Pay Promised Benefits).
-Week Three (Americans Getting Older).
-Week Three, bonus (The Templeton Curve).
-Week Four (Fewer Workers, More Retirees).
-Week Five (History of Payroll Tax Base Increases).
-Week Six (Seniors Living Longer).
-Week Six, bonus (Less Workers, More Beneficiaries).
-Week Seven (History of Payroll Tax Increases).
-Week Seven, bonus (Personal Accounts Do Achieve Solvency).
-Week Eight (Forty Year Trend Of Increasing Mandatory Spending).
-Week Nine (Diminishing Benefits Sans Reform).
-Week Ten (Elderly Dependence On Social Security).
-Week Eleven (Entitlement Spending Eating The Budget).
-Week Twelve (Benefit Comparison, Bush's Plan versus No Plan).
-Week Thirteen (Younger Americans and Lifecycle Funds).
-Week Fourteen (The Thrift Savings Plan).
-Week Fifteen (Understanding Progressive Indexing).
-Week Sixteen (The Graying of America).
-Week Seventeen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Eighteen (Debunking Myths).
-Week Nineteen (Reform Needed Sooner Rather Than Later).
-Week Twenty (Global Success With Personal Accounts).
-Week Twenty-One (GROW Accounts: Stopping The Raid).
-Week Twenty-Two (Millions of Lockboxes).
-Week Twenty-Three (Support for Ryan-DeMint).
-Week Twenty-Four (KidSave Accounts).
-Week Twenty-Five (Latinos and Social Security).
-Week Twenty-Six (AmeriSave).
-Week Twenty-Seven (Cost Of Doing Nothing).
-Week Twenty-Eight (Chile).

Tune into WILLisms.com each Thursday for more important graphical data supporting Social Security reform.

Posted by Will Franklin · 18 August 2005 01:50 PM


For the full effect you can add a recording to this post with Pelosi and company saying something like, "Move along, nothing to see here, just move along".

Posted by: Porkopolis at August 18, 2005 02:10 PM

May God help us ...

Posted by: la bona at August 19, 2005 09:29 AM

Yes, Pelosi and company's only alternate given the absent of any meaningful reform is to raise taxes. To reform all entitlement programs will require such things as behaviorial changes, means testing, individual accounts, and restraint on the part of Congress' spending, just to name a few. Pelosi and her band of socialists will fight those things to the end. They know they must continue to rob those "greedy,selfish, American working taxpayers" to to keep thier "socially enlightened" constituency happy. Social spending is on the verge of making us just like most European socialistic nations.

Posted by: Eneils Bailey at August 19, 2005 09:47 AM