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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Washington shouldn't use economy as excuse to avoid addressing entitlements’

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Published: Thursday, June 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Title "Washington shouldn't use economy as excuse to avoid addressing entitlements"

Completely agree. We absolutely need entitlement reform. But, we also need defense spending reform.

What a perfect opportunity for a completely reasonable compromise.

Unfortunately, the Dems will resist Entitlement Reform, the GOP will resist cutting defense spending and both sides will blame the other as we continue on this unsustainable path.

And both sides will smugly claim victory.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Amen and amen.

Like nearly everything, addressing these tough issues now will result in less pain later. In truth, we should have done so years ago but that is spilled milk.

Delay here does not serve the people. Unfortunately it may serve two classes of politicians. First, those who have no stomach to handle the tough issues they were elected to. Second, those who hope a crisis will serve their narrow political interests. On the liberal side, a crisis serves someone to enter and "save" the program. On the conservative side, it serves to show that the program was doomed to failure so we should scrap it and start all over with something entirely different.

Does any of this sound familiar? Sure. It's political speak for "I am the only one who can help/lead you through this."

What we need is what we are in increasingly short supply of. Pragmatists. Folks who can and will roll up their sleeves, sit down next to their political opponents and do the business of the American People.

Ideologues (on either side) just can't bring themselves to do this. So they opt for letting the train wreck itself (see above).

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

SSi isn't an entitlement It's an insurance. That gets reformed every year that does not keep up with the cost of living. Honor your mom and dad. your going to get old if you don't die first. This is the first time in history that parents are expected to live longer than their kids. I guess you don't have to worry about entitlements that is an insurance that was barrow from on the plan of no return.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Our entitlement problems are almost entirely due to the fact that medical costs in the U.S. are so far out of line with the rest of the developed world. Get our medical costs down to the level of Germany, or France, or Japan, or Australia, and there is no "crisis". Since all of those countries have healthier populations than we do, it should not have any adverse effects on American's health either.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

First of all I disagree that Social Security should even be talked about in crisis mode. It's very sustainable and changes to enhance it's viability are easy if Republicans ever seriously want to solidify the program instead of destroy it.

From the thirty thousand foot level here's the problem with reasonable alterations to Medicare and Medicaid that include improvements to our entire medical system, it's the DN, who has a decidedly right leaning bias describing Social Security and Medicare, as unsustainable behemoths. First of all it's false, but secondly what do you do to behemoths, you cut them down. You don't try and sustain them you destroy them.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Nothing is going to get done. Congress is broken.

Social Security? Do what Reagan did and lift the income cap.

Medicare? Obamacare is helping. Another thing that could be done is to allow the govt to negotiate drug prices under Medicare Part D--like it does for Veterans benefits.

Nosea
Forest Grove, OR

Why not start by reducing corporate welfare first, instead of going after the relative pittance those on the bottom receive merely to subsist (from taxes they paid into already, like Social Security, which, incidentally, the rich also now want to steal via privatized accounts)? The many trillions of dollars spent on bailouts and stimulus for Wall Street only serve to enrich the 1%, while the masses are still scrambling to subsist after the near world-wide financial collapse the 1% caused -- and now we want to yank away what semblance of a safety net is left for the 99%? If things are really so dire, why not raise taxes on the 1% who can afford to pay more than ever before, based on the unprecedented amount of wealth they have amassed (often though corrupt means)? Unbelievable.

The fact is that since 2007 the 1% have been taking 93% of the profits, while many of the 99% have seen their lives get far more difficult -- and now we want to dissemble any program that helps balance things out for the 99%? The priorities of this nation on behalf of the 1% only are baffling, to say the least.

dalefarr
South Jordan, Utah

As others have said, our medical costs are the highest of any industrialized nation. So is our defense spending. Social security costs are not out of line and are manageable.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Government services are what you get. Entitlements are what everyone else gets.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

Social Security is not sustainable and its a dinosaur in the room of helping people. People with disability are easily able to abuse the work rules and you will soon be hearing about the amount of people convicted of fraud within the program because, SSA is doing work reviews on all the claimants in the system and they are finding a lot of people who worked and made upwards of $50000 a year and were receiving disability benefits. Also everyone who had defined benefit plans are getting rid of them even the states. Why can't we parse out accounts to people which they contribute to. If they don't work they can only get ssi and they can only get out what they put in. Also why don't we drug test and refuse benefits to drug addicts who refuse to check themselves into drug programs. Our social security system is a DINOSAUR, and at its current rate it will not be able to pay out promised benefits in 15 years!

Bubba Mike
Seattle, WA

Social Security isn't an "Entitlement" it is something I paid for. Medicare isn't an "Entitlement" it is something I paid for. If you want to look at "Entitlements" then perhaps you should look at tax policies and giveaways that have the middle class working people of this nation giving Welfare to the rich, entitled gentry. It is time for us to stop paying for the rich to build 4 mansions, to support their private jets and yachts; it is time for us to revoke tax exempt status for political organizations that masquerade as "social welfare" organizations. No, it isn't time to reduce "Entitlements"; it is time to address our tax system that encourages tax avoidance by those most able to afford to pay taxes. Mitt Romney, Charles Koch, and those like them don't need anymore welfare, they need to stop cheating the citizens of our country and pay their fair share.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

It seems like the old ruse “the sky is falling” never wears out.

The only way these wild prophecies will come about is if the Tea Party succeeds in taking over our government. But given that the American people will wake up in time to prevent that, America will adjust and resolve the problems of the American people.

Henderson
Orem, UT

Entitlements?

Great!

Lets cut the handouts to the rich, cut the oil subsidies, raise taxes on those making $250k+, cut defense spending in half, cut all foreign aid, and shut down half our military bases.

It's funny how entitlements to the rich and military are "vital necessities" but "entitlements" to the poor and sick are... Well... Entitlements!

cjb
Bountiful, UT

The only reason entitlements are a possible problem is the demographic bubble that is the baby boom generation. And that will not last forever.

Also this impact can be mitigated by bringing sufficient numbers of young people into the country which is why immigration reform is a positive.

Lets not rip up the social contract because of a temporary problem that is easy enough to fix.

SG in SLC
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree wholeheartedly with the basic premise of this editorial – that an improving economy tends to mask the urgency to reasonably and proactively address Social Security and Medicare sustainability, and that that is no excuse not to do so anyway. Sadly, political posturing, brinksmanship, and election cycle (short-term) thinking are the “currency of the realm” inside the Beltway, which means that the odds of Congress and the Administration actually addressing this reasonably and proactively are virtually nil. It would certainly be preferable to make moderate, strategic adjustments to the fiscal trajectory of Social Security and Medicare, and then repeat the process periodically, than it would be to make draconian changes at the 11th hour (or later) out of necessity, but that's where we are headed.

By the way, this same approach should be applied to defense spending, though the likelihood of that actually happening are about the same as for entitlements, or less.

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Hammer said: "Also why don't we drug test and refuse benefits to drug addicts"

Easy to check on, see how that worked out for Florida when the conservatives there thought the same it cost them millions to catch just a handful. Guess being poor and needing assistance doesn't mean you have a lot of money for drugs.

Thanks for the Rush Limbaugh Motto to "let them eat cake"

JerseyGirl
Sandy, UT

This comment section is filled with a colossal amount of economic ignorance.

1. It is mathematically impossible to balance the budget without cutting entitlement programs. The amount of money we spend on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid is greater than the amount of money we take in in tax revenue. Cut the defense budget and incorporate welfare and every other function of government to zero, and you will still have a deficit if you don't address these programs.

2. Saying "Social Security/Medicare isn't an entitlement, because I paid for it" is a very nice sentiment. It's also completely irrelevant. The money isn't sitting in a big trust fund; it's all been spent already. In the case of Medicare, it's being subsidized by general tax revenue, because it isn't gathering enough money to pay its bills.

And then we get the requisite Republican bashing, which contributes to the overall paralysis of government and the inability of anyone of either party to actually fix this problem. Stop demonizing, start fixing.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

JerseyGirl,

Please check your facts. Per the Heritage Foundation's data (hardly a group of liberals) tax revenues exceed entitlement spending.

Yes, the trend is that entitlements will eventually take over all of our tax revenues, but that will not be until 2045.

Does this mean we don't have a problem? No. And I reiterate that we need to act now rather than later. But we need to start with the facts as they are.

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