September 1, 2014

CONCORD COALITION WARNS AGAINST ENACTING NEW ENTITLEMENTS BASED ON PROJECTED BUDGET SURPLUSES

WASHINGTON -- The Concord Coalition today warned against creating new entitlements based on future budget surpluses that President Clinton projected will be $1 trillion more than previously expected.

"If you do the math, you'll see that 51 percent of the $6 trillion budget surplus President Clinton is promising us comes in the last five years, from 2010 to 2014. Only 17 percent of the projected 15-year surplus comes in the first five years," said Concord Coalition Policy Director Robert Bixby.

"None of us can look into a magic crystal ball to see what the economy will look like 15 years from now, so we should be very cautious about creating new entitlements, particularly when we have so many unfunded liabilities already. If we lock in tax cuts or new spending, such as the President's USA accounts or a new Medicare prescription drug benefit, based on projections that may never materialize, then we'll just start running deficits again.

"It's all too easy to become intoxicated with surpluses that are projected for as far as the eye can see. But if we're not careful, we will end up with a fiscal hangover.

"With all this talk of surpluses, The Concord Coalition worries that Congress and the President will avoid the tough choices that need to be made to ensure the long-term fiscal sustainability of Social Security and Medicare. What politician wants to make tough choices based on the demographic realities of Social Security and Medicare if the public thinks that budget surpluses will cure all of our problems?" Bixby said.