Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Social Security's and Medicare's days numbered

US Treasury chief says Social Security 'unsustainable' (emphasis added):
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Tuesday that America's Social Security program for the retired is "financially unsustainable" and needs an urgent overhaul.

Paulson, speaking after a government panel had completed its annual assessment of the Social Security and Medicare benefits programs, said waves of retiring Americans threaten to soon deplete available funds stockpiled in the two programs.

"As the baby boom generation moves into retirement, these programs face progressively larger financial challenges," Paulson said.

The Treasury secretary said a growing number of retirees and the programs' rising costs could harm America's future prosperity if Social Security and Medicare are not overhauled and bolstered.

The needs of the Social Security program, which provides retirement benefits to all Americans as long as they have contributed to the program, are less acute, however, than Medicare.

Paulson said the Social Security program's cash flows are projected to turn negative in under 10 years and that a Social Security trust fund would likely be exhausted in 2041 without urgent reform...


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