US Chamber of Commerce Wants to Fix Entitlement Programs

Friday, 21 Jun 2013 09:02 AM

By Michelle Smith

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America has a problem — increasingly expensive entitlement programs.

And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced a campaign to solve it, according to The Washington Times.

The Chamber warns that spending on entitlement programs is going reach such levels that it will crowd out spending on defense, infrastructure and even education.

Editor's Note:
 
'It’s Curtains for the US' — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist.

Steve Rattner, formerly the Obama administration's car czar, was quoted early last year issuing the exact same warning.

Politico guest columnist Joe Scarborough said Rattner, armed with supportive charts, joined a roundtable discussion claiming entitlement spending would account for 40 percent of federal spending in 2012. Within a decade, the proportion is projected to increase to 54 percent, and the further out you look, the further entitlement spending climbs.

At this pace, Rattner forecasted that entitlement spending, driven by aging Americans and rising health care costs, would crowd out spending for discretionary programs.

That entitlement spending poses a looming problem is not a new message. Many lawmakers have attempted to fix the problem by pushing solutions such as spending cuts, but they have faced difficulty making any real progress.

R. Bruce Josten, the Chamber's chief lobbyist, suggested that the struggle stems from their starting point, The Times noted.

"These are safety net programs that we have enacted as a compassionate society to care for the elderly in retirement, for people with disabilities, and for those who cannot afford health insurance on their own," Josten, speaking at the Chamber's board of directors meeting, said.

"We need to fix these programs so that no seniors, now or in the future, will ever have to question whether they can get the health care they need or the Social Security benefits they have earned."

Initially, the Chamber isn't even bothering to offer solutions. First, the focus must be on getting Americans to admit there is a problem. Otherwise, solutions will get smacked aside and the problems will linger.

The Chamber's first course of action will be sounding the alarm and dispelling myths. It plans to tackle issues such as the future costs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are considered the three drivers of long-term deficits.

Josten also pointed to false claims that these programs are "self-funding" and that people are just getting back what they pay in.

"Without federal spending reform — driven primarily by entitlement costs — interest payments on our national debt will reach almost $1 trillion per year by 2023 and explode well beyond that — not if, but when, interest rates get back to normal levels," Josten said.

"Most Americans are not prepared to accept reality," he stated.

But "denial is deadly," he added.

Editor's Note: 'It’s Curtains for the US' — Hear Unapologetic Warning from Prophetic Economist.

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