And yet Obama and the Democrats use any GOP attempt at reforming both Medicare and Social Security as opportunities to kick the fear mongering into overdrive.

Via Philip Klein:

Medicare and Social Security, the nation’s two largest programs, have long-term deficits of $63.3 trillion, according to annual reports from the programs’ trustees released today. The reports underscore the dire need to reform the programs if the nation wants to avert a fiscal crisis.

Though most news reports will focus on the trust fund exhaustion date (2024 for Medicare and 2033 for Social Security) the reality is that the trust fund is a farce. The Social Security program is financed primarily by payroll taxes. When the amount of tax revenue collected exceeds benefits, the surplus is theoretically put in the trust fund. But in reality, the federal government uses that surplus to finance ongoing government operations, and puts a stack of bonds — or IOUs — in the funds instead. Ultimately, the money to fund Social Security and Medicare has to come from American taxpayers one way or another, regardless of whether there’s a paper “surplus” in the trust funds. A better way to assess the actual budgetary impact of the programs is to look at the deficits they are projected to run. And according to the trustees’ reports, they’re going to run deficits as far as the eye can see.

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