More waste­ful pan­der­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

In yet an­other cyn­i­cal ploy for el­derly votes that de­fies good eco­nomic think­ing, Pres­i­dent Obama and law­mak­ers from both par­ties want to pro­vide ad­di­tional $250 pay­ments to 57 mil­lion So­cial Se­cu­rity re­cip­i­ents next year. This $14.3 bil­lion at­tempt to buy votes with tax­payer dol­lars is not only un­nec­es­sary and fis­cally un­sound, it shows why Democrats’ health care plans will cost much more than claimed.

For the first time since 1975, So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fi­cia­ries will not re­ceive an an­nual cost-of-liv­ing in­crease in 2010 be­cause of low inflation. An in­crease is not needed. Even without this pro­posed ex­tra pay­ment, Amer­ica’s re­tirees will have more buy­ing power with their So­cial Se­cu­rity checks that they did in 2009 be­cause the cost of liv­ing has de­clined.

To throw around $14 bil­lion like con­fetti is ut­terly ir­re­spon­si­ble. The 2009 fed­eral deficit is a record $1.4 tril­lion, or 9.9 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct. The Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice es­ti­mates the deficit will to­tal $9.1 tril­lion over the next decade with pub­lic debt pro­jected to sur­pass the 1946 record of 109 per­cent of GDP. Out-of-con­trol So­cial Se­cu­rity, Medi­care and Med­i­caid spend- ing will drive the in­crease.

Democrats ar­gue that this is why their health care plans are needed. But this pro­posed So­cial Se­cu­rity pay­ment demon­strates the myth­i­cal na­ture of their pro­posed sav­ings — much of which re­lies on fu­ture Con­gresses to show more re­straint than this one. For in­stance, one cost-sav­ing pro­posal would im­ple­ment au­to­matic cuts in health care spending if sav­ings don’t ma­te­ri­al­ize. An­other would re­duce pay­ments to doc­tors and hos­pi­tals in the fu­ture. This is like a re­verse act from the ham­burg­erlov­ing Pop­eye char­ac­ter, Wimpy: We’ll gladly save you two decades from now for let­ting us spend to­day.

Democrats are not the only cul­prits. Louisiana Repub­li­can Rep. Rod­ney Alexan­der has in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion pro­vid­ing a 2.9 per­cent cost-of-liv­ing in­crease for So­cial Se­cu­rity re­cip­i­ents next year. Both House Mi­nor­ity Leader John Boehner and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell have called for us­ing un­spent stim­u­lus money for any ex­tra So­cial Se­cu­rity pay­ment.

Here’s a bet­ter idea: Don’t spend the money and stop bur­den­ing our chil­dren with our fis­cal in­con­ti­nence.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.