Putting the "Fun" Back in "Unfunded Liability"


Texas A&M's Thomas Saving, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis and a former Public Trustee of the Medicare trust fund, has put together a useful set of slides comparing the headline numbers from year's Medicare and Social Security Trustees Report with last year's: According to the official estimates (which almost certainly undersell the bad news) total unfunded liabilities for America's two big entitlements are a hair above $59 trillion. In the 75 year window, the total liability is just a shade over $33 trillion, up 10 percent from last year. And these projections assume that big cuts to provider payments to occur. How likely is it those cuts actually occur? Given that the Trustees say those cuts would almost certainly cause "Congress to intervene" on account of "severe problems with beneficiary access," I'd say the answer is "not very."