Anti-entitlement groups are spending millions of dollars waging a public relations and lobbying campaign to convince Congress that cutting Social Security and Medicare will somehow undo the damage of eight years of failed economic policies.  Today, leading economic and policy experts briefed a standing room only crowd of Congressional staff on the myth behind the so-called “entitlement crisis”. The National Committee was proud to host today’s briefing on Capitol Hill:


“The opponents of these programs have changed their tactics and rhetoric over the years, but never their convictions – that Social Security and Medicare represent an unwarranted expansion of government and therefore cannot be allowed to survive in their current forms.  The long-term deficit is real but it is not caused by Social Security or Medicare. The bottom line is we can afford Social Security and Medicare in the future, and indeed, we should be focusing on strengthening these critical programs rather than cutting them.”  Barbara B. Kennelly; President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare; and Former Member of Congress.


Based on projections by the Congressional Budget Officeif every entitlement in the federal budget were repealed outright – eliminating Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other critical programs – but nothing were done to slow the growth in health care costs overall, we would still find ourselves spending almost 70 percent of GDP on health care by 2082. 

“It’s wrong to say we face an entitlement crisis.  We face a very long and difficult challenge to reform our healthcare system.  Bipartisan consensus must be found to deal with healthcare reform.” Henry Aaron,  Economic Studies Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

As Mr. Aaron has said before, “Misdiagnosis is just as likely to lead to ineffective or even harmful treatment in economics as in medicine”.

 “We can afford Social Security in the future.  In fact, the increases in Social Security's obligation over 25 years is less than national security spending increases over just the past seven years. That obligation is also smaller than the spending increases in education we faced decades ago as we educated the baby boom generation.” Virginia Reno, Vice-President for Income Security, National Academy of Social Insurance   

We’ve also released a new Viewpoint, “Commissions, Cuts, and Crisis Calls: Why Balancing the Budget on the Backs of Social Security and Medicare Just Won’t Work”.  You can find that viewpoint on our website plus video excerpts of today’s Congressional briefing will also be posted there on Friday.   

Today’s briefing is especially important given President Obama’s upcoming Fiscal Responsibility Summit and word that the Obama administration was considering creating a “Social Security Task Force”.  The optimum word may be “was”.  

Meanwhile the Institute for America's Future is holding a press conference tomorrow to highlight budget strategies that reject the “entitlement reform” crisis calls in favor of strengthening these vital programs.