Two National Advocacy Groups challenge the film's position on Social Security and Medicare



For years, Americans have been told revenue-slashing tax cuts are the answer to our financial woes and a borrow-and-spend economy is not a problem.  Now, when faced with the ensuing budget deficits and an economic meltdown we're being told we can't afford Social Security and Medicare.  This is not "speaking the truth" as David Walker has claimed. Instead, we are seeing the same old anti-Social Security and anti-Medicare ideology now masquerading as fiscal responsibility. We must talk about tax reform, spending and responsible healthcare reform if we're serious about controlling our fiscal future. Unfortunately, that balance is still missing in this debate."...Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

"Medicare suffers from the same skyrocketing healthcare costs seen nationwide.  Yet David Walker, Pete Peterson and others would rather talk about Medicare as if it's the cause of our problems rather than a victim.  Billions of dollars in subsidies are being wasted to try to privatize Medicare, even though the private healthcare system has run amok.  Destroying safety net programs like Medicare rather than tackling nationwide healthcare reform threatens the safety and security of millions of seniors, the disabled and their families who care for them and does nothing to solve one of the root causes of our fiscal problems...escalating healthcare costs." ...Judith Stein, Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy

 The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Center for Medicare Advocacy represent millions of seniors nationwide.  We see first hand the critical role these programs play in the lives of retirees and their families.  We've also seen Social Security and Medicare increasingly demonized as a primary source of our current fiscal mess.  No doubt about it, the film I.O.U.S.A. calls attention to the fact that America faces budget deficits which will require the next President and Congress to make very difficult choices about our national priorities; however, the myth that we "can't afford" Social Security and Medicare is just that...a myth.

  • The fuzzy math of "Unfunded Liabilities". David Walker and the Peterson Foundation use worst-case assumptions about Medicare and Social Security, add the national debt, assume no changes in either program or tax revenues and then extend these costs into the indefinite future rather than the customary 75-year horizon. In a letter to the Social Security Trustees, the American Academy of Actuaries, the leading professional organization of actuaries, warned that infinite-horizon projections "provide little if any useful information about the program's long-term finances and indeed are likely to mislead anyone lacking technical expertise". 
  • National Healthcare Reform must be part of the solution. Cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits at the same time our nation's aging population is growing is short-sighted and ignores a primary source of our fiscal problem-the unchecked rise in healthcare costs. Congressional Budget Office Director Peter Orszag has testified: "The rate at which health care costs grow relative to income is the most important determinant of the long-term fiscal balance; it exerts a significantly larger influence on the budget over the long term than other commonly cited factors, such as the aging of the population".
  • Fomenting Generational Warfare through the "greedy geezer" myth is destructive and divisive. Contrary to this too-often expressed view, America is not facing our current fiscal challenges because baby-boomers will drain federal resources. In fact, our financial picture would look much bleaker if not for the Social Security surplus built up over the past 25 years. There have been adjustments made to Social Security in the past and they will be made again. Social Security is not bankrupt, it's not in crisis and with modest and manageable changes, it will be there for generations to come.
  •  The National Committee and the Center for Medicare Advocacy believe slowing the growth in healthcare spending nationwide, raising more revenue, passing reasonable Medicare reforms, and closing the long-term Social Security shortfall are critical steps to addressing our federal debt and deficit challenges.  However, those who consider social insurance programs an "entitlement monster" which is "bankrupting" our nation should not be allowed to use our current debt and deficits as political cover for supporting massive cuts that will hurt millions of America seniors, the disabled, and their families.