Putting Our Entitlements in Order

Former Secretary of State George Shultz on Social Security and Health Care Reform

(Page 4 of 4)

Shultz: I don't think of them as "recreational.'' They do enormous harm, and we should do everything we can to prevent people from taking them. But the current system isn't working.

reason: You write in Putting Our House in Order about the successes of our economic system. As you point out: "Over the last 150 years, the U.S. economy has become increasingly stable. The economy was in recession nearly 45 percent of the time during the last half of the nineteenth century, 33 percent in the first half of the twentieth century and 16 percent in the last half of the twentieth century. In the post-World War II period, the occurrence of down quarters has diminished sixteen in the years between 1946 to 1965 to fifteen from 1966 to 1985 to just five since then. Meanwhile, even as the economy has grown to Herculean size, its rate of growth has continued to be robust.''

Despite the threats of terrorism, entitlement costs and the current downturn in the economy, are we better off today than we were 20 years ago?

Shultz: The economy has been very successful, but there are other problems, so we have to work on them.

reason: Are entitlements a bigger problem than terrorism?

Shultz: I don't see how you get very far by comparing them. Terrorism is a gigantic problem.

reason: Which is a greater threat to our way of life, though?

Shultz: Well....Entitlement spending is something we have to face up to.

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  • Naga Sadow||

    Interesting interview. I noticed that he backed away from an answer to any question that he seemed to deem hypothetical.

  • ||

    Reform isn't going to happen as long as those who stand to benefit from Social Security continue to outnumber those who stand to get screwed by it.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Specific reforms Shultz and Shoven propose include changes in the indexing system of Social Security benefits, so that "the rate of increase over and above inflation is either eliminated or moderated,"

    As I recall, that was also one of Fred Thompson's proposals when he was still in the running for President.

  • ||

    Al Haig, George Schultz, James Baker.

    Looking better with each passing year.

  • Paul||

    Reform isn't going to happen as long as those who stand to benefit from Social Security continue to outnumber those who stand to get screwed by it.

    Kind of. I think it's worse than that. Reform won't happen as long as politicians can buy votes by offering increased benefits- regardless of the funding to back it.

  • Travis||

    America's national debt is much more of a threat to national security than Al-Qeada could ever hope to be.

  • Guy Montag||

    health care crises

    Are ration books being printed? I need to see the MIPR on that one.

  • Guy Montag||

    America's national debt is much more of a threat to national security than Al-Qeada could ever hope to be.

    Not to mention the vampires.

  • ian||

    Was it just me, or did Shultz seem rather 'grumpy' with most of his answers?

  • Guy Montag||

    Ian,

    Was it just me, or did Shultz seem rather 'grumpy' with most of his answers?

    Sorry for being, perhaps, feeble, but didn't he always sound a bit grumpy, I mean like every tme he was ever on camera?

    Perhaps I am confusing him with someone else.

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