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Yes: Federal leaders in denial as they head toward fiscal cliff; No: The people we help today will be productive taxpayers tomorrow

Published: Sunday, July 28 2013 1:14 p.m. MDT

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JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

One of the biggest issues concerning entitlements is health care. (ss is fairly easy to fix)

I don't think Obamacare is a good answer, but 1/2 of our politicians seem to have no desire to address health care at all.

It also didn't help that we passed the largest entitlement expansion in decades - Medicare part D. That happened just 7 years ago.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

No.

Defense spending and unfunded wars are.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Look at the latest census. Are those who have paid into Social Security and Medicare increasing or decreasing? Are those who are in the work-force increasing or decreasing? How many workers are there for every SS recipient?

FDR started a Ponzi scheme to increase revenues to the treasury. He didn't care about "old folks". He didn't care about "promises". All he cared about was funding those who supported him.

Jump ahead a few decades, when Congress voted to mixed SS funds with the general fund. What did Congress care about the "promises" made to the citizens? What did Congress care about taking the lion's share of all potential savings?

Now Obama is doing it all over again. He's not satisfied with 15% of our income for SS. He wants to add another 18% to 25% of our income to ObamaCare. How much does he care about your health or my health? Ask you doctor. Ask the person who Obama expects to treat you. Ask him if he will practice medicine when Obama dictates salaries and required services.

Government owes the citizens of this nation trillions of dollars in promised benefits. Where is that money?

RWSmith6
Providence, UT

I am never quite sure how anyone can address the cost of the country's safety net without first addressing the cost of being SuperPower on Call to the world. Back following WWII (and, more specifically, Breton Woods), flush times made it easy to become the world's leader and, by choice not mandate, SuperPower on Call. We've been in one war and intervention after another ever since, have expanded our international presence to more than 700 military installations on land and at sea, have watched a backlog of infrastructure needs explode, and, since 9/11 especially, have grown a $17 trillion national debt. "Entitlements" need attention in any budget-cutting exercise, true, but they have not driven us to the brink of the fiscal cliff. Being SuperPower on Call has. Provably.

Mark B
Eureka, CA

How likely is it that a guy from the Chamber of Commerce will say that it's OK for businesses and their bosses to pay more on behalf of someone else? It just won't happen, at least not on THIS planet.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

RWSmith6:

Good thoughts. I think we need to rethink our military strategies and spending. The answer is somewhere between these two editorials. We probably need to do some shifting in entitlement spending, especially social security, but cutting other places and restructuring our military will reap better benefits.

Mark l
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Social Security, medicare, and medicaid along with other "mandatory" spending are the biggest part of the budget. Military spending is not growing out of control and is already shrinking. The problem is that we are spending beyond our tax capacity. Government could confiscate all the wealth in the country and not have enough. It is time to take our medicine and reign in spending, or default. It is impossible for any country to tax itself rich.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

"There will be two great parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war...The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands..."

Statement attributed to Joseph Smith, 1844, from "Life Story of Mosiah Lyman Hancock" page 29.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

Whether the unfunded expenditures and promises are in the form of bloated defense budgets (as declared by one side) or absurdly structured "entitlements" (as declared by the other), the bottom line remains the same. We are, and have been for decades, spending more than we can afford. The only reason we've been able to do it for so long is that we have been leveraging "the good faith and credit" of our country to borrow money that we are getting farther and farther from being able to pay back. Which, naturally, makes it tougher to continue to borrow and, eventually, do everything we'd actually like to do.

In other words, we are getting closer and closer to being just like Detroit.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

Our defense budget must be mentioned if we are to talk about what we are spending our money on.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money to spend."

We have run out of our own money. We are very nearly out of borrowed money from China. We are now buying our own bonds by printing more money to pay for them. We are essentially bankrupt, even worse than Detroit or Greece.

This WILL end. Badly, very badly. Probably violently, when the "takers" find their endless supply of "free stuff" is reduced or eliminated, and/or when the "makers" refuse to surrender the last small percentage of their earnings they were once allowed to keep.

But, Congress will not address spending, or entitlements, or even foolish military adventures in lands not critical to our national security.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Are entitlements driving us to bankruptcy? No not at the federal level at least.

The problem at the federal level was lack of proper regulation for Wall Street, along with the fact that we keep getting our self in wars that we don't shouldn't be involved In and then staying too long. This seems to be the habit of our nation the last several decades.

The fact that all our productivity gains as a nation for the last many years has been going towards the top one percent is not helping either.

Don't fix this problem by attacking entitlements that people have paid into all their lives instead Attack the root causes.

bandersen
Saint George, UT

Anybody who espouses any view contrary to the above view just expressed (Just the tip of the iceberg) either doesn't understand Constitutional government, or Economics, or, more than likely, both! The Socialist dream is a nightmare in disguise.

pragmatistferlife
salt lake city, utah

Are entitlements pushing U.S. toward bankruptcy?’ NO.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "'Entitlements'" need attention in any budget-cutting exercise, true, but they have not driven us to the brink of the fiscal cliff."

Let's see -- Defense spending [including unbudgeted terrorism defense]? Less than $650B [2010].

Entitlement spending? About five times that, at something near $4T [also 2010].

So, is it entitlements, or defense spending -- which has declined steadily, as a percentage of GDP, since 1986 -- that is driving us to the brink?

Yep, it's clearly entitlement spending.

And it's only getting worse.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

We would be way better off if we put all health care under the blanket of a single payer system, which we can fortunately still do, and moreso if we hadn't bought Iraq, which we're stuck with.

Beart
SAINT LOUIS, MO

I wouldn't believe Bruce Josten or his figures if his tongue cam notarized. Social Security and Medicare are not, nor were they ever "entitlements." They are earned benefits, the bulk of which funds have been plundered under the name of borrowing by congresses over the years, and now they don't want to repay and would have us believe they are like other non-earned benefits. I paid my SS and Med taxes separate from income taxes, for all my working life, and now I would feel defrauded by a government that used those SS taxes for anything else. As for Medicare, I live abroad now and so those funds are wasted since I cannot use them outside the USA and jurisdiction. All Americans need to get wise to the vicious propaganda coming from those who would rob us of what we deserve in the name of greed.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problem here is as much with you and me as it is with our politicians in Washington.

Politicians want to get reelected (more than anything). How do Democrats get reelected when they get elected on the promise to give the people "more free stuff"? Republicans get elected on the promise to cut spending, taxes and debt. But when they get in office... they realise just like the Democrats... that they can't STAY in office if they cut anybody's free stuff!

Politicians are smart. They know we will throw them out of office IF they cut our free stuff. So they litterally can't do it? Even if they get brave and try it... we throw them out the next chance we get and elect people that promise us more free stuff!

The problem isn't the politicians. We have TRAINED the politicians to not decrease speding. Every time they do... we throw them out and elect people who will promise more free stuff (without a way to pay for it).

We need to train our leaders the other way. But that would be too Tea Party.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

‘Are entitlements pushing U.S. toward bankruptcy?’

========

NO.

Military Contracts,
WallStreet and Banking bailouts,
and Corporate Welfare is.

But go ahead Republicans....
Keep trampling and blaming the sick, the needy and the elderly and the immigrants.

That's exactly what destroyed the Nephites, the Romans, the Greeks, and the Nazis.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

LDS Liberal,
You can keep up your constant bleeting that "it's all the Republican's fault"... but Barack Obama voted FOR the WallStreet and Banking bailouts, and he has continued to grant military contracts throughout his 6 years in office and probably will for the rest of his second term. And has corporate welfare gone away under the Obama Administration? I don't think so!

So you can play the usual talking-point game... or you can get down to reality. In reality Democrats and the Obama administration are no different on the 3 points you listed than the Bush Administration.

Both granted military contracts.
Both bailed out WallStreet.
Both gave welfare to buinesses (ie auto industry) or hundreds of examples of corporate welfare

Nobody's blaiming the sick, needy or elderly for our fiscal situation. They are blaming the unsustainable programs. A safety-net is needed. But they should be a safety-net (for unexpected situations) Not something we plan on all our life (but may not be there) like Social Security.

The elderly should rely on their family first and the government last. Not the other way around. Same goes for the sick and the poor.

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