McConnell: “Single biggest disappointment” of time in Congress is “failure to address the entitlement issue”
“The single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue.”
In an interview with Bloomberg News Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell called the skyrocketing federal deficit “disturbing.”
McConnell went so far as to say, “The single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue.”
Mitch McConnell: "The single biggest disappointment of my time in Congress has been our failure to address the entitlement issue. And it's a shame because now the Democrats are promising Medicare for all. I mean, my gosh, we can't sustain the Medicare we have."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 16, 2018
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed rising federal deficits and debt on a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and said he sees little chance of a major deficit reduction deal while Republicans control Congress and the White House.
“It’s disappointing, but it’s not a Republican problem,” McConnell said Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg News when asked about the rising deficits and debt. “It’s a bipartisan problem: unwillingness to address the real drivers of the debt by doing anything to adjust those programs to the demographics of America in the future.”
McConnell’s remarks came a day after the Treasury Department said the U.S. budget deficit grew to $779 billion in Donald Trump’s first full fiscal year as president, the result of the GOP’s tax cuts, bipartisan spending increases and rising interest payments on the national debt. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $439 billion deficit in fiscal 2015, when McConnell became majority leader.
McConnell said it would be “very difficult to do entitlement reform, and we’re talking about Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid,” with one party in charge of Congress and the White House.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say that entitlement changes, which is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard, may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government,” McConnell said.
Cutting spending and government bloat is always a favorite campaign talking point for Republicans, but one that never amounts to substantive action after the ballots have been cast.
McConnell said the last major deal to overhaul entitlements occurred in the Reagan administration, when a Social Security package including an increase in the retirement age passed under divided government.
McConnell said he was the GOP Senate whip in 2005 when Republican President George W. Bush attempted a Social Security overhaul and couldn’t find any Democratic supporters.
“Their view was, you want to fix Social Security, you’ve got the presidency, you’ve got the White House, you’ve got the Senate, you go right ahead,” McConnell said. The effort collapsed.
Watch the interview here:
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I wonder if Schumer would say that McConnell is “entitled” to that opinion?
All Summer Long I read there lots of people were coming off Welfare Roles…..
Yeah, undoubtedly true, but that doesn’t affect any of the three huge “entitlement” programs, except Medicaid – and Obamacare expanded eligibility for that program so much that I doubt increased employment is having that much effect there either.
Not the best timing to bring up this subject from a tactical point of view, IMO. Now, just 3 weeks out from the mid-terms, I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a blizzard of “granny in her wheelchair” being shoved off a cliff ads.
Wasn’t McConnell part of the cabal that ran ads making false accusations against Republican Moore????
McConnell was the architect of the Moore hit.
McConnell, the worst enemy the GOP ever had?
It’s not shoving granny off a cliff- we were actually helping her go hang gliding… 🙂
I’ll say. Great point. What is wrong with him?
What a put-on. SS and Medicare are insurance programs, not “entitlements”. The beneficiaries paid for them; they’re not freebies offered by a benevolent state. The fact that they are compulsory insurance programs is irrelevant.
Nobody will vote for this, any more than they would vote for home or car insurance which refuses to pay for a loss after the customer has paid his premiums faithfully for years.
Welfare and Medicaid are entitlements. The beneficiaries don’t pay for them.
Conflating these is like the old trick of pretending that anti-criminal sentiments are somehow “anti-immigration”. In other words, deceptive BS.
I would gladly sacrifice every dime of FICA tax I have paid if we can burn down the rest of the entitlements along with those programgs.
No, they aren’t insurance programs. They are socialist programs set up by FDR as such from the very beginning. Those who paid in first did not pay for themselves, they paid for those of age that didn’t pay a dime. And on and on it’s gone since the beginning of the program.
There was a great idea at one time to privatize the accounts and it was shot down by the propaganda machine.
Ponzi Schemes is what they are
Socialist programs are state run Ponzi schemes with which you are forced to comply. Margaret Thatcher indicated as much said a different way in her quote about socialism and running out of other people’s money.
Originally, Social Security was supposed to partially offset the loss of retirement income due to the Depression. It was never meant to provide a living income. It was also supposed to be provide growth through investment of the Social Security Trust Fund. However, almost immediately, the federal government began raiding the Trust Fund, and replacing the assets with Treasury Bonds and other government securities which never provided enough growth to allow the Trust fund to remain solvent. It all seemed to be working out, until three things happened. The first was the raising of the SS payments to a level which met, or almost met, the poverty level. the second was life expectancy increased to the point where retirees were drawing their benefits for too long a period. And third, the economy was allowed to deteriorate to the point where contributions n o longer covered disbursements. It is not a Ponzi scheme, as such. It is simply a program which has been grossly mismanaged by the government to benefit politicians for largely political reasons. The biggest political problem with SS is that people have paid into it for decades and expect to be able to receive benefits which will benefit them after retirement. Because of that, it would be political suicide to signifcantly restrict disbursements or liquidate the program.
And don’t forget Mac45, that for years now, our corrupt Congress has been putting third world mooches on SS and you know they have not paid a dime into the fund. This is nothing short of criminal.
The average beneficiary gets FAR more back than they ever put in, because life expectancy has increased and the eligibility age has not. In their current form they are utterly unsustainable because the population is no longer expanding at the rate it requires to sustain them.
They are nothing but legalized Ponzi schemes, requiring ever-increasing amounts of contributions to make up for the payouts.
The original retirement age was set at 65 years old in the 1930s because that was the “average life expectancy” or a bit more than it.
So the plan was that half or a bit more of the population that paid all those SS taxes all those work years, would be dead by 65 and never get to draw on any benefits.
“The average beneficiary gets FAR more back than they ever put in”
This was true at one time but I remember reading that those born after around 1953 will, on average, break even or come out in the hole. That might include calculating average interest rates over the years if the same amount of money had been invested, it has been a while since I read the article and I don’t remember the details.
When I started putting in my dollars, a gallon of gas cost less than 30¢, the same gallon now costs me about $3.00+.
Please tell me how SS is such a wonderful, beneficial program.
If a fund paid you back a penny on the dollar, you’d ride the fund managers out of town on a rail.
No, they are not. They are welfare programs exactly like every other one, which happen to be funded by a separate tax rather than by the income tax.
1. The excess revenue (if any) from the tax is not invested, it goes to the treasury just like the revenue from all other taxes.
2. What you get does not depend on how much you paid in taxes.
3. Most important — paying the tax does NOT create a contractual obligation on the USA ever to pay you one penny. Nothing of the tax you pay ever belongs to you. You have no “account”, nothing is in your name. Congress can change the terms of the program, or abolish it altogether, and you will have no recourse.
What’s more, you were on notice of this since before you ever paid one penny in taxes. The government never told you that the tax you pay is put away for you, or pretended in any way that this was like a private pension fund. You simply told yourself this fable and convinced yourself it was true, vigorously ignoring all the government’s explicit declarations otherwise.
So, what is more ethical – Cutting programs into which people paid their own hard earned money in the form of taxes (with employer matching funds) or cutting programs into which the recipients are able bodied and refusing to work? Even worse are the generational welfare recipients. Doesn’t it seem unethical to cut the money to those who paid into a program while not altering welfare programs where the recipient paid nothing and have no skin in the game?
You still don’t get it; you did not “pay into” these programs. Nobody ever did. FICA is simply a second income tax, just like the first one. Paying it no more entitles you to anything than paying the first one does. Or to see it from your point of view, everyone who has ever paid any tax has “paid into” every welfare program on the books, and it would now be wrong to cut it.
No, the real reason why it would be wrong to simply abolish these programs on the spot is that whether we like it or not people depend on them, have organized their lives around them, and it’s too late for them to make other plans now. You can’t tell a 70-year-old to go back to work. You can’t even tell a 64-year-old, who’s been planning his retirement for years based on the expectation of these programs, that they’re suddenly no longer available. I mean, legally you certainly can do that. They have no contract with the US, explicit or implicit, that would prevent it. But morally and politically it would be a bad thing to do.
Fortunately we don’t have to. We have to get rid of those programs eventually, but not right now. We can let those who depend on them now, and are too old to change their plans, keep them, while giving notice to younger people that they will not be there when they retire.
The way to do this is simple: Pass a law, effective on the second Jan-1 after it is enacted, providing that every Jan-1 the retirement age will rise by 4 months. Not until it reaches some cap, but forever. So if it were to pass next year, then on Jan-1-2021 the age would become 65y 4m; on Jan-1-2022 it would become 65y 8m; on Jan-1-2035 it would become 70y 0m; on Jan-1-2065 it would become 80y 0m; etc. That way everyone has time to plan; the younger you are the more time you have to make new plans. Eventually the programs would effectively be closed to all new recipients, and the existing ones will have died off, and they can then be shut down without hurting anyone.
“2. What you get does not depend on how much you paid in taxes.”
Are you saying, Milhouse, that a SSA’ retirement beneficiary’s monthly check amount is independent of the recipient’s lifetime “contributions”? Please elaborate.
Pretty much. There is some small relationship, because Congress decided there should be, but there’s not much, and it can change at Congress’s whim.
Look, this is not obscure. The government has been openly declaring, since before any of us started paying taxes, that it has no contract with us, and no obligation ever to pay us anything. That it chose to maintain these programs, and even expand them, but reserved the right to modify or abolish them whenever it likes, and we would have no legal recourse. It never told us that what we pay is invested for us and remains our property, the way payments to private retirement funds do.
Please, Milhouse, explain to us how a minimum of $1019/mo. vs. a
maximum of $2788/mo check from the SSA is “some small relationship”.
There seems to be only one thing obscure in this…..
Yes, that is a small relationship. And it’s just what Congress feels like giving now; next year it can be completely different. If it were an actual pension fund then Congress could not change it on you, because the US is bound by its contracts. But there is no contract, no promise, nothing.
Please examine carefully how SS was “sold” to the American people and by whom.
What was said in the 1930s is irrelevant, since nobody alive today was paying taxes then. The government has not repeated those claims since the late ’40s. When Congress changed the SS rules in the 1950s some people who lost their benefits completely sued, so the courts looked into it and found that there had never been any contractual obligation. That was a well-publicized Supreme Court decision in 1960, so nobody since then has had any excuse for believing otherwise.
McConnell must own lots and lots of stock in Walmart!
He wants to keep those retired, “Greeters” they employ dirt cheap!
What happens to government Ponzi schemes when couples have only one kid & population growth slows?
They go bankrupt.
What happens to that government.
It goes out of business.
Nope. Governments can’t go bankrupt. They just raise taxes, coin more money, or (eventually) cancel programs.
Social security is not a Ponzi scheme. Seniors were literally eating cat and dog food before SS. It’s one of the best programs ever. The problem is it has been abused, money stolen for pet gov projects and never repaid, its used for things it was never intended for which has made it insolvent.
Medicare also is a wonderful program for the elderly that also has been abused . If we went back to its original meaning and use it would not be an issue.
We must take care of our elderly, any sane and moral country would
We will agree to disagree here but could you leave the propaganda out?
Some seniors may have been. Others were still working if they could and others were well enough off to eat and live better.
Was it a lean time? Yes. Did the ends of the program justify the means? I think everyone’s various opinions agree that the answer is no. Not only were the means misapplied in the first place, but they were also mismanaged so that the ends are now unsustainable as well.
You are wrong. Nothing was ever “stolen” from the programs, any more than any tax money is “stolen” when it’s used for the government’s expenses.
That some old people were eating pet food is irrelevant. Every welfare program exists because someone was eating pet food, or freezing, or sleeping under a bridge. Need does not create rights. “From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs” is outright robbery, and if you believe that you belong on Kos or somewhere. If someone is in need, reach into your own pocket; you have no right to reach into anyone else’s.
Very well said….you’d never make it a as a politician.
Your time will come, but I believe in a better America, one that takes care if it’s elderly that gave so much to building her, and protecting her. They have given part of their paycheck every week since the passage of this great legislation, and you call it welfare, Ponzi scheme.
Shame on you
So you’re an open socialist. What are you doing here? Let it be known that gonzotx is an open socialist.
Mostly what’s happened here is that the responsibility for “taking care” of the elderly has been transferred from the children to the government – which is one huge reason why so many people today are so sanguine about murdering their own children.
Shame on you for trying to shame anyone that hates government confiscation and redistribution of wealth.
With individualized accounts, you MIGHT have a point about paying in and getting back what you pay in. We do not have that as it was shot down and destroyed by the socialist welfare wing of our government. Instead, we have entitlement. Don’t forget that it is social security AND disability that is paid in, and all benefits are paid out by the state upon authorization of disbursement whether you worked and paid in or not. Hence, the word “social” at the beginning. It’s a socialist redistribution scheme and clearly you’ve fallen for it.
McConnell is a day late and a dollar short.
Imagine if we had a real Republican as Republican head of the Senate instead of this corrupt opportunist.
McConnell has been a big part of the problem since day one. Now, we are on the cusp of a collapse of the entire government, due to the deficit. And, this includes the SS system, which is funded solely with federal bonds and current contributions.
And, no one in Washington is willing to cut the useless programs and earmarks which drain the capital this nation needs to survive.
Not only is no one willing, no one possibly can at this point.
The closest time came during Bush’s term when there was a shot at real SS reform. It failed because the swamp dwellers have carved out too many special interest groups to bribe with their piece of the pie for votes.
No Obamacare repeal, CRs and omnibus spending bills, no wall built yet, Hillary never charged, no members of Obama’s staff ever charged, tax cuts not permanent, debt ceiling raise after debt ceiling raise, no charges for IRS targeting, no charges for fast and furious…should we keep going, Mitch?
If McConnell really wants to deal with entitlements, he has to cut corporate welfare first. There is no way he is going to cut welfare for the majority of the people without cutting welfare for business corporations first. (And no, entitlements aren’t all welfare, but to the extent that they increase the deficit they are welfare.)
And if McConnell wants to round up support on these topics, he needs to support the Freedom Caucus instead of thwarting it.
What would you consider to be Corporate Welfare?
From what I’ve seen, when most people use that term, they are referring to some type of tax reduction. Is this what you refer to, or something else?
If it’s something else, I’d like to learn about it.
If it’s a tax reduction, then calling it Welfare reveals (IMHO) the kind of twisted thinking you often see from the far left. You can’t call allowing any person or corporation to keep more of their own money ‘Welfare’. To call it that requires a belief – even if it’s an unconscious one – that all money belongs to the State, and it is only through their generosity you are allowed to use any of it.
It depends. When everyone is being robbed at one rate, and a favored few are robbed at a lower rate, that is effectively welfare because it puts them at an advantage.
Farm subsidies, for one, legislation to force public use of a product (ethanol, for instance) for another.
The mother of all corporate welfare is the system of agricultural subsidies, which favors big corporate agriculture and the type of Republican donor who tries to foist the likes of Jeb Bush on us. There are also windmill subsidies and ethanol subsidies, although some of that takes the form of mandates rather than direct payments. And there is the Ex-Im bank that has long been a prominent piece of corporate welfare. Trump tried to rein in, but his conservative base didn’t have his back on that one.
As to whether tax reductions should be counted as corporate welfare, it depends. The “narrowly targeted” tax breaks favored by Democrats should probably count as corporate welfare. Broad-based tax reductions should not.
Would it not be fascinating to the citizens of our nation if all family members of Congress were forced to disclose their financial interests in entities that Congress “regulates”??
What a hoot.
And then Jefferson’s learned prophecies fulfilled.
McConnell sounds like he wants the GOP to lose the Midterm elections. If the Congress was forced eve in the Social Security and Medicare programs like the rest of us, he wouldn’t be calling them entitlements which there not. No Senator or Congressman would be talking about cutting them.
So the question that comes to mind:
If the 2018 midterm elections allow the GOP to keep majorities in both chambers, will they set up a process to address AND reduce the entitlement growth?
I can see this if DJT wins a second term. President Trump is willing to speak directly to Americans about issues so I’d think he can begin to lay the groundwork for a return to fiscal sanity. The next question then becomes: Will McConnell actually move forward with such a process and stop the fiscal boulder rolling down on the country?