March 25, 2008

Ryan: Stop hitting 'snooze' button on Social Security and Medicare reform

A new report out today says the Social Security and Medicare trust funds will run out in 2040, slightly earlier than expected.

Rep. Paul Ryan put out a statement today on the report, saying for the third year in a row something needs to be done to extend the life of these programs. Ryan backed President Bush's plans for health savings accounts as a replacement for Social Security, but that idea never gained traction with the public.

(And, not everyone is saying the new report contained bad news for Social Security.)

Here's Ryan's statement:
WASHINGTON – Wisconsin’s First District Congressman Paul Ryan issued a statement in response to today’s release of the Social Security Trustees’ Annual Report. According to the report, Social Security and Medicare continue to face a mounting, and increasingly urgent, financial crisis that threatens U.S. fiscal and economic stability. The report also issues a third consecutive warning about the amount of funding Medicare is drawing from resources other than its dedicated revenue. In response to the report’s troubling yet unsurprising findings, Congressman Ryan issued the following statement:

“The Social Security and Medicare Trustees today handed Congress a fresh reminder of its historic opportunity to transform these programs before it’s too late.

“Congress has known for years that our largest entitlement programs – particularly Social Security and Medicare – simply cannot survive as currently structured. Without reform, these programs will grow themselves right into extinction, thereby eliminating the retirement security and health safety net for the very people they were designed to serve.

“Congress knows it must act. If we act now, we have the opportunity to reform these programs in a rational, well-thought-out way. We can make them better, stronger, more responsive, more resilient, more sustainable, and more in line with the way our economy really works. There is no reason to wait; each year of delay increases the likelihood that Congress will be forced to make deep cuts in benefits or raise taxes or debt to unsustainable levels.

“The alarm has been sounded – this is the third consecutive Medicare warning. Hitting the snooze button, yet again, is not the right choice. Congress is lucky enough to have yet another major opportunity – in the FY09 Budget Conference Report – to do the right thing. Americans should demand we take it. Because our actions on this issue, or lack thereof, will have an impact on these critical programs – and our nation’s economy – for generations to come.”

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