Last week brought us several news stories of great sadness. In Red Lake a teenager committed a horrendous killing in his school. The week began with President Bush signing into law a piece of legislation allowing Federal Courts to intervene in the case of Terry Schiavo. And the Social Security Trustees' 2005 Report was released.
This may seem an odd pairing of events to contemplate. However, the report by the Social Security Trustees clearly shows America is coming to a crisis point. The need for action is immediate and the consequences of inaction are severe. The problem lies not with Social Security, but with Medicare. While several hundred hours were spent by politicians last week attempting to weaken the sanctity of marriage by inserting the government between a couple's wedding vows, little time was spent on the coming medicare calamity.
"The financial outlook for Social Security has improved marginally since 2000," wrote trustees Thomas Saving(R) and John Palmer(D). "In sharp contrast, Medicare's financial outlook has deteriorated dramatically over the past five years and is now much worse that Social Security's." What is missing from the current conversations about saving Social Security is this comparison. Social Security will reach the point where benefits exceed tax revenue by 2017. Medicare reached that point last year. The Social Security trust fund is projected to be exhausted by 2041 while projections place the date at 2019 for Medicare's trust fund.
Medicare is headed for a catastrophic situation with potentially devastating consequences for Americans and our government is more concerned with undoing marriage vows between a husband and wife.