Sunday, May 4, 2008

Entitlement reform event with Sens. Conrad and Gregg

On May 12 from 3-5 p.m. the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC will hold an event entitled "The Seniors’ Entitlement Crunch: The Politics of Social Security and Medicare Reform," featuring Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Chairman, Senate Budget Committee; Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Ranking Republican, Senate Budget Committee; Asst. Prof. Kimberly J. Morgan Dept. of Political Science, George Washington University; Julie Rovner, Health Correspondent, NPR & Congress Daily.

Here's the event description:

When the next President and new Congress take office next January, they will face a critical issue that has not been addressed in either the current presidential campaign or the congressional budget resolutions, and that is how to deal with the impending insolvencies of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds in the next decade. The top two senators on the Senate Budget Committee have cosponsored legislation to deal with the problem early in the next Congress by acting on the recommendations of a bipartisan commission of House Members, senators, and administration officials that would be created and mandated to report findings next January. Similar bipartisan process approaches have been introduced in both houses of Congress and proposed by prominent economists of various political stripes. Will the political will exist to address this long festering fiscal fissure? This forum will explore these vital economic security and political issues.
You can RSVP here; a webcast will be available here.


Bruce Webb said...

"and that is how to deal with the impending insolvencies of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds in the next decade."

The HI Trust Fund is solvent until 2019. The combined OASDI Trust Funds are solvent until 2041. Only by defining 'insolvency' as the point that 'Income excluding Interest lags Cost' does the above sentence actually make sense. And then in addition would require taking the implicit logical position that trust assets were not in fact real.

I know there are people out there who endorse the 'phony IOU' argument. I would hope that didn't include two US Senators or a professor of Political Science.

'Long festering fiscal fissure'? Well long on alliteration, long on demagoguery, short on relation to the actual numbers in question.

Brooks said...


I'm very glad to see this idea and related legislation moving forward.

I've long advocated a bi-partisan (or non-partisan) commission in general and supported the legislation for this one in particular .

If the links above don't become live automatically, I'll try html in a comment below.

We need a commission to provide political cover for fiscal responsibility or it won't happen until we are in a full-blown crisis, if ever.

As a note, in the post at my first link above I suggest Alan Greenspan as chairman of a such a commission. I posted that view over a year ago, before his reputation/prestige was somewhat diminished by the mortgage/housing situation.

Brooks said...

Here are the links to posts of mine referred to in my comment above:

Providing Cover for Fiscal Responsibility

Fiscal Responsibility on the Horizon? Let's Make it Happen!