Social Security, Medicare Going Broke? Terrific!

By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2009 6:23 PM CDT
A summary of the 2009 annual reports sits on a table at the Treasury Department in Washington, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, following the annual spring meeting of the Social Security and Medicare Trustees.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Social Security and Medicare are headed toward disaster, and that’s a good thing, Robert J. Samuelson writes in Newsweek. The programs are expected to run out of money by 2017 and 2037, respectively, and when they do, politicians will have to make painful, necessary reforms. “The counterintuitive lesson: a ‘crisis’ is just what we need,” writes Samuelson.

Facing a nearly $46 trillion Social Security and Medicare shortfall over the next 75 years, Washington will likely have to raise the age of retirement, cut health care spending, and slash benefits to the wealthy. But President Obama, despite acknowledging the problem, continues a policy of procrastination. "Like General Motors and Chrysler, we continue self-defeating habits because we can—temporarily."