entitlement programs

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The Government Is Growing, Dying at the Same Time

Robert Samuelson argues that the Democrats are paradoxically the ones shrinking it

(Newser) - As the American people age, a pernicious paradox has taken hold of the federal budget: "We are slowly dismantling the federal government, even as its spending is growing larger," observes Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post . With every budget, lawmakers are slashing into discretionary spending, but with Social... More »

Finally, Washington Sees a Way Out

Obama, House GOP leaders to meet today

(Newser) - Signs of hope in DC: Both parties are increasingly pushing for an end to the government shutdown and a debt-ceiling increase, with President Obama set to meet with 18 top House Republicans today, the Hill reports. Those Republicans include Paul Ryan, who's at the forefront of a short-term plan... More »

We've Got a Choice: Schools or Nursing Homes?

Robert Samuelson doesn't think our economy is strong enough to pay pensions

(Newser) - If anyone tries to tell you that Detroit's bankruptcy is an isolated incident, "don't be fooled," writes Robert Samuelson at the Washington Post . The truth is that for governments across the country, "the scramble for scarce resources is intensifying. Schools compete with nursing homes."... More »

Medicare Fund Gets Less Dire Diagnosis

Trustees say it can keep paying benefits until 2026

(Newser) - Not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story: Medicare is doing better financially than anyone thought. The main trust fund that funds the healthcare program has announced that it expects to be able to pay full benefits through 2026, two years longer than previously believed, the Wall Street ... More »

GOP Leaders Like Obama's Social Security Cuts

Hearings to begin in House subcommittees this week

(Newser) - Democrats aren't happy with the part of President Obama's budget proposal that involves cutting Social Security benefits , but Republican leaders just love it, the Washington Post reports. John Boehner is trying to muffle any GOP criticism of the budget proposal, which is mainly coming from Republican lawmakers... More »

At Fiscal Cliff, a Debt Ceiling Showdown Now Looms

Fiscal cliff debate roaring through Washington

(Newser) - Wrangling at the edge of the fiscal cliff is the main event in Washington right now, and the stakes might be even higher than most people realize. At President Obama's first meeting with John Boehner, he asked him to raise the debt ceiling before the end of the year,... More »

Raising Social Security Age Is 'Cruel' Idea

Paul Krugman says advocates miss key point on rising life expectancy

(Newser) - One idea that gets floated by both parties in the conversation about reforming Social Security and Medicare is to raise the eligibility age for both. After all, life expectancy is rising, so it's only logical, right? Wrong, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times . In fact, "it'... More »

Entitlements Favor the Rich —Because They Live Longer

Peter Orszag: Social Security, Medicare formulas should be tweaked

(Newser) - Most people don't think of Social Security and Medicare as regressive programs that favor the well-off, but they are, former Obama budget director Peter Orszag argues in his Bloomberg column. Chalk it up to one simple reason: "Better-educated, higher-income Americans are living longer than everyone else." And... More »

Romney Unloads on 'Victim' Voters Who Like Obama

Mitt calls 47% of voters 'dependent upon government'

(Newser) - Now we know what Mitt Romney really thinks. In a "secret" video released by Mother Jones , Romney tells a small, wealthy donor group earlier this year that nearly half of Americans are freeloaders addicted to government programs. "There are 47% who are with [President Obama], who are dependent... More »

Dear Politicians, You Forgot About Social Security

It's dumb to focus just on Medicare: Ramesh Ponnuru

(Newser) - Politicians from both sides keep harping about Medicare and how or how not to fix it, while Social Security has become an "afterthought," writes Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg View . Big mistake, he argues. The program's long-range troubles may be smaller than Medicare's, but they're still... More »

Don't Raise Taxes on Rich; Redirect Money to Poor

Raising taxes would only create stagnation: Barone

(Newser) - "What should be done about income inequality?" This question "underlies the arguments hashed out in the supercommittee and promises to be a central issue in the presidential campaign," writes Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner . Barone's answer, based on a recent paper by Republican lawmaker Paul... More »

Taxing Rich Won't Help Middle Class

Government has hurt Americans, not the rich, says Ross Douthat

(Newser) - You can raise taxes on the rich to fight inequality, but that will only "trim the tallest poppies" and won't do anything to help the middle class, says Ross Douthat in the New York Times . "True social mobility and broadly shared prosperity are not so easily achieved,... More »

Yes, It's a Ponzi Scheme —but We Can Fix It

Social Security can be easily saved, with political courage: Krauthammer

(Newser) - Rick Perry keeps riling people by calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme . But guess what, writes Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post : It is a Ponzi scheme. In fact, it's almost the very definition of one. The big difference is that a Ponzi scheme is illegal while Social Security... More »

Obama, Boehner Near 'Grand Bargain'—Maybe

Reports cite $3T deal with tax reform, entitlement changes

(Newser) - President Obama and John Boehner are reportedly back at the bargaining table, and they could be near a deal to cut the deficit and raise the debt ceiling. The rumored $3 trillion agreement between the administration and top Republicans could include entitlement changes and set plans for tax reform, reports... More »

Obama Ready to Cut Social Security

President pushing $4T deficit reduction plan

(Newser) - With Medicare already on the table , President Obama has signaled that the other big budgetary time bomb isn't safe from cuts: Social Security. The president is pressing congressional leaders to accept an ambitious plan to slash $4 trillion over the next decade, insiders say. He hopes to use the... More »

AARP Open to Modest Cuts in Social Security Benefits

It denies major shift in policy, but move shakes up debate

(Newser) - The debate on entitlements reform got a jolt today when the Wall Street Journal reported what it sees a major shift in policy at AARP: The group will no longer oppose cuts in Social Security benefits. Given the group's massive clout, the story raised a ruckus on Capitol Hill... More »

Paul Ryan to Obama: You're Distorting My Plan

Republicans meet with president on debt

(Newser) - Republicans met with President Obama today to talk about the debt, resulting in what the Los Angeles Times describes as a "pointed exchange" between Paul Ryan and Obama. Ryan accused the president and Democrats of distorting his proposal to overhaul Medicare. "It's been misdescribed by the president... More »

Raising Debt Limit Again Invites US Ruin

Marco Rubio: We need a reform plan now, or the next generation is in trouble

(Newser) - Marco Rubio vows to vote against raising the debt limit in a few weeks—unless it's the last time and accompanied by comprehensive reform—and he casts the decision not as a wonky economic debate but as a "defining moment in American history." In his op-ed in the... More »

Dems to Offer GOP Another $20B in Spending Cuts

...bringing total to $30B, which may not satisfy Republicans

(Newser) - With the threat of a government shutdown less than two weeks away, all eyes are on the budget. The White House and congressional Democrats are working on a proposal to cut another $20 billion in spending, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal . It’s the biggest cut the administration and... More »

Obama's Lying About Social Security

Charles Krauthammer thinks Obama's being dishonest about the so-called trust fund

(Newser) - Entitlement programs are choking our budget, but one of them, Social Security, ought to be “back-of-an-envelope solvable,” argues Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post : “Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula, and means-test so that Warren Buffett’s check gets redirected to a senior in need.... More »

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