Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Budget of Misplaced Priorities

Reviewing the Administration’s FY 2009 budget was deja vu all over again...but for seniors this budget is even worse than in previous years...and that's hard to believe. Here's our analysis from National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s President and CEO Barbara B. Kennelly.

“While health care costs soar, millions of Americans remain uninsured and baby boomers approach retirement, the last thing this nation needs is more of the same from the Bush administration. Proposing $178 billion in Medicare cuts which will directly impact healthcare access for millions of seniors, while at the same time preserving $150 billion in insurance industry giveaways, is outrageous and indefensible.”... Barbara B. Kennelly, President/CEO

Once again, the President’s priorities are clear. This FY 2009 budget proposes draconian cuts in healthcare programs, which would touch the lives of millions of seniors, the disabled, and poor while allowing billions of dollars in insurance industry subsidies to continue. This budget proposes:

Massive Cuts to Mandatory Spending Programs of $16 billion in 2009, $208 billion over the next five years, and $619 billion over 10 years.

Medicare Cuts Beyond Reason. In response to the arbitrary 45% cap created in the flawed Medicare Modernization Act, the President’s budget proposes legislation to reduce Medicare spending by $556 billion over the next 10 years and more than $10 trillion over the next 75 years.

More Budget Deficits and Record Federal Debt. This budget proposes making tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans permanent. Both debt held by the public and gross federal debt are estimated to reach all-time highs in FY 2009, totaling $5.856 trillion and $10.413 trillion, respectively.

Protecting Insurance Industry Profits. Once again, private insurers in Medicare will collect $150 billion over ten years in taxpayer-supported subsidies while also reporting record profits due to the privatization of Medicare.

Privatizing Social Security. The President’s budget proposes spending $30 billion in FY 2009 and $647 billion over the next 10 years to create Social Security private accounts.

America faces a Budget crisis not a Social Security crisis. Without the Social Security surpluses, the federal government would be running larger deficits. Based on OMB estimates, $204 billion dollars of Social Security surpluses will be used to mask the true size of the federal deficit in FY 2009. OMB expects the FY 2009 deficit will reach $407 billion. However, without the Social Security surpluses the FY 2009 would be approximately $611 billion.

“The President’s Budget does not reflect Americans’ current needs or their future priorities. The nation’s most vulnerable populations cannot continue to pay the price for this administration’s ruinouseconomic policies. Continuing to slash vital programs that serve millions in need to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and billions in insurance industry subsidies is clearly not working”...Barbara B.Kennelly

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