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Are entitlements pushing U.S. toward bankruptcy?

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

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 31, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    @m.g. scott
    clearfield, UT
    Let's get real here. It's not the entitlements that are pushing the country toward bandruptcy, it is the debt being run up to pay for those entitlements.

    =========

    Agreed.
    Let's get real here.
    How do you and the other conservatives suggest paying for the still un-funded Bush Wars in the Middle East -- 12 years and $3 Trillion now and counting?...

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    July 30, 2013 11:45 a.m.

    Let's get real here. It's not the entitlements that are pushing the country toward bandruptcy, it is the debt being run up to pay for those entitlements. That is how any person, family, business, city, state, or federal government goes bandrupt. Namely spending more than you bring in. 17 trillion debt. Sooner or later............

    We need a President that understands how the private sector works to create jobs and therefore creates more tax payers. Not a President that falsely believes that the government is the source of all wealth. In other words, we needed Romney. Who has forgotten more about business, wealth, taxes, money, employment, job creation, ect. than the entire Obama administration will ever know.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 30, 2013 9:01 a.m.

    @2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    Democrats are no better than Republicans in this regard.
    4:50 p.m. July 29, 2013

    ======

    I stand for what's right vs. what's wrong.
    I am an unaffiliated voter who votes for the person, and never the Party.

    However, I do spend most of my time and comments bashing Utah Mormon Republicans for sheepishly, blindly and ignorantly voting for the letter "R".

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    July 30, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    I would like to take issue with one thing that the author claims.
    He claims "We are the richest country in the world."
    I do not believe that is true.
    Depending on the survey at times we do not even fall in the top ten countries in the world.
    It is misconeptions like this that cause many of our problems.
    Because of feelings like "We are the richest country in the world" we think we can fund many things like fighting preemptive wars on borrowed money and giving money away in the form of foreign aid by borrowing it.

    If we wish to be the worlds policeman perhaps we need to raise taxes to do so and not depend on other generations to pay off our debt if that is possible.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 29, 2013 7:47 p.m.

    Yes, 2bits, we all know that big money has a huge influence on politics. That's why so many people were so upset about the Citizens United ruling. People mostly from the left, those on the right defended it.

    I would take private money right out of federal politics and have federal races funded by public money, then we might have politicians that stop bowing down to big corporations.

    Also, I would pass stringent laws dealing with lobbyists, and ban ex office holders from becoming lobbyists or sitting on corporate boards.

    You want to get corporate influence out of politics? That's the type of steps it will take. You with me? If not you're just whistling.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    LDS Liberal,
    You use GE as an example (the irony is I assume you were trying to get at Republicans?). But who tapped the CEO of GE (Jeffrey Immelt) to join his cabinet? You guessed it... Barack Obama.

    True that GE makes $BillionS annually pays little to no taxes,
    yet receives Billions in Government hand-outs... GE not only pays no taxes and takes billions in government contracts and subsidies... but I work with them every day and know for a fact they are well known for outsourcing millions of US Jobs to other counrties, but even worse... Importing foriegn workers to do the few jobs left in America). I have direct experence with this. I work with GE people (mostly foreigners) every day.

    But the big irony is the CEO of GE running America's jobs program for Democrat administration today, and you blaming it on Republicans. GE can do anything they want... they control the White House!

    More irony for you.... who picked the top executive at JPMorgan Chase as his chief of staff? You guessed it... Barack Obama.

    Democrats are no better than Republicans in this regard.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    Anybody who can't see that entitlement programs are pushing us towards bankruptcy needs to look at the "US Total Spending Pie Chart".

    In 2013 Defense is 13% of the spending. It's not the big budget-bustin boogy-man the left makes it out to be.

    "General Government" was 3% of the 2013 spending. Shouldn't the "Government budget" be pretty much 100% spent on government? Not entitlements?

    The rest was Health Care (19%), Pensions (18%), Education (15%), Welfare (9%), Other (9%). Interest (5%), Transportation (4%), Protection (4%).

    So explain this to me... the Constitution says the primary responsibility of the Federal Government is to protect me... and they spend less than 4% of what they collect in taxes on protecting me... And a combined 65% on entitlement programs? How does that make sense?

    Democrats keep saying without government we wouldn't have transportation. But only measly 4% of the budget is actually spent on Transportation. While 65% is spent to insure they keep getting re-elected every year by promising everybody $$$ and free stuff!

    No wonder Democrats are afraid to cut the budget. Promising the free stuff and $$ to the right constituent groups is what keeps getting them re-elected!

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    July 29, 2013 4:02 p.m.

    I agree with the first columnist and mainly because the second columnist dodged the issue. When asked if entitlements are causing bankruptcy he talked about helping the poor. It would have been better to discuss entitlements for politically powerful retirees. But he talked on a different issue. Is it because he knew that he had no good arguments to justify taxing the working poor to fund entitlements to wealthy retirees?
    Increase the retirement age. Means test for social security and Medicare (subsidized health insurance for retirees, not health insurance for poor people).

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 29, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    2 bits
    Cottonwood Heights, UT

    =======

    So long as Corporations like GE who make $BillionS annually pays little to no taxes,
    yet receives Billions in Government hand-outs --

    So long as the 1% who own 80% of everything write off vacation homes, personal jets, and put their money in Foreign Banks and are not paying 80% of all taxes --

    WE have a problem,
    so please stop blaming the poor, sick, elderly for it.

  • WHAT NOW? Saint George, UT
    July 29, 2013 3:12 p.m.

    Yes.

    Political irony...

    One of the biggest recipient groups of entitlements are the same people who comprise the base of the Republican Party.

    Republicans will cut the throats of low information voters who mindlessly vote for them?

    Posture... yes.

    Actually do something...

    Never.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    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.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 29, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    ‘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
    July 29, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    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.

  • Beart SAINT LOUIS, MO
    July 29, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 29, 2013 9:59 a.m.

    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.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 29, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    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.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 29, 2013 7:30 a.m.

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

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 28, 2013 8:44 p.m.

    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.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 28, 2013 8:19 p.m.

    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.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 28, 2013 7:29 p.m.

    "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.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    July 28, 2013 7:18 p.m.

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

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    July 28, 2013 6:00 p.m.

    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.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 28, 2013 5:45 p.m.

    "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.

  • Mark l SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 28, 2013 4:43 p.m.

    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.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 28, 2013 3:28 p.m.

    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 B Eureka, CA
    July 28, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    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.

  • RWSmith6 Providence, UT
    July 28, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    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.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 28, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    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?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 28, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    No.

    Defense spending and unfunded wars are.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    July 28, 2013 7:14 a.m.

    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.