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February 24th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid to attack the deficit?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives approved more than $60 billion in cuts in federal spending. It was the first sign Republicans are trying to make good on campaign promises to close deficits and slash government spending.

But before they break their arms patting themselves on the back, it's worth pointing out that $60 billion is less than 3 percent of this year's deficit, projected at more than $1.6 trillion.

The bill cuts federal funds to Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency, and education programs like Pell Grants and Head Start. What it doesn't touch is Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid which account for 57 percent of the federal budget this year. So far, not a single dime has been cut from any of those programs.

According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Poll, more than half of Americans think the deficit is "extremely important" for the President and Congress to tackle. However, when asked what was more important: reducing the deficit or preventing cuts in Medicare, 81 percent said preventing cuts to Medicare while just 18 percent said reducing the deficit. When asked about Social Security, 78 percent said preventing cuts to that program was more important than lowering the deficit. And when asked about Medicaid, 70 percent said avoiding cuts to the public health insurance program for low-income families was more important, compared to 29 percent who said closing the deficit was more important.

So at the end of the day it's not just the federal government that's at fault here. As the line in Pogo went, "We have met the enemy and it is us." Politicians know senior citizens are among the most consistent, reliable voters in this country, and it's a real risk to propose cuts to programs many of them depend on... especially as we approach the 2012 presidential election.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to attack the deficit?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

David in Herndon, Virginia:
Sure, as long as you also cut defense, cut oil subsidies, cut farm subsidies, and raise taxes on the rich. Everybody has to bail out the boat or we're all sunk. You can't have 2% of the passengers drinking margaritas and watching everybody else doing the work - otherwise the other 98% is going to toss them overboard.

Jim:
Yes, those programs should be on the operating table, and it can be done without hurting anyone with simple means testing. The wealthy should have these entitlements cut. It won't hurt them. It is right and good for the government to provide safety nets for those who need them, but ridiculous to provide them for those who don't.

Tom in Atlanta, Georgia:
It depends on how you ask the question. "Cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid" is an ugly way of saying it, and polls clearly say people are not in favor of it. But if you substitute "reform" for "cutting" you will get broad agreement. I believe people are beginning to understand, that the level of our nation's entitlements are not sustainable.

Joe in Houston, Texas:
Your question presumes there's an option. There isn't.

Timothy:
No. There is only one solution to fix the deficit: raise taxes on all of us. That is the only way to get rich people to pay their fair share. My family makes well below Obama's magic $250K, but we are willing to tighten our belts and pay an additional 3-5% in taxes if it will get us out of this crushing deficit and stifling debt.

Arlene in Illinois:
Isn't it ironic that the people who are shaping our future are not covered by Social Security, but know what’s best for us? I receive $ 500 a month and my husband gets $ 1150. and boy do we live high on the hog. Come on over tonight Jack for supper as we're having beans and wienies.


Filed under: Health care • Social Security
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Jack,

    Yes, those programs should be on the operating table, and it can be done without hurting anyone with simple means testing. The wealthy should have these entitlements cut. It won't hurt them. It is right and good for the government to provide safety nets for those who need them, but ridiculous to provide them for those who don't. Nor should the wealthy use such cuts as an excuse to justify opting out of such programs. They should be required to continue to support programs that help the less well off as part of the price for the privilege of being an American.

    Jim
    Reno, Nevada

    February 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  2. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Better we drive the country off a cliff than touch entitlement programs. Actually SSI could be fixed but everyone seems to frame the debate as all or nothing. It's no different than the bloated out-of-control pensions that are ruining our states. If we took steps years ago to privatize our retirments into 401K-type accounts the crisis can be averted. We are such a weak nation no one will fix the problem until it is too late. Look at Wisconsin, they are only talking about small changes and the government is effectively shutdown. Teachers hypocritcally claim the students will be hurt and then turn their back on them, call in sick and protest. Democrats don't like the way a vote will turn out, and they all run to Illinois and hideout. Cowards.

    February 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  3. Gary H. Boyd

    As a 75 year old retiree I'd agree to cuts in social security, medicare and medicaid with one proviso Jack: That the government eliminate Obamacare, cut spending on defense and foreign aid and ban all earmarks on future legislation. It's time to look the goat in the butt and acknowledge America's broke. I'll tighten my belt only if the feds tighten theirs.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    February 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  4. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    Unfortunately, the answer must be a resounding YES.
    But please don't overlook the necessity for huge cuts in America's military spending and foreign aid.
    EVERYTHING must be cut. Think of it as a huge fire sale.
    And by the way, the planned cuts for the 2012 fiscal year should be AT LEAST one trillion dollars, and perhaps even try for cuts of AT LEAST six hundred billion dollars for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.

    February 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  5. mark

    I think across the board cuts would be better, however taxes paid across theboard is the answer. Taxes by the rich cut for the reason of contributions are not the answer. Taxes raised across the board or equaled out to a flat no loop hole % is the answer. giving only deductions for children and by the job created to businesses!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Pete

    When a budget is operating in the red, no stone should be left unturned. It becomes a question of where is the public getting the most for their money. Areas where the benefit is minimal would be the first areas to be reduced. In any case there will be citizens who will be left short of where they were. As some point, and this hopefully will be the point, we need to get back to neighbors taking care of our neighbors!! This is when needed care is at its best. Those being taken care of are a name rather than a number, and it is the most cost efficient.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Nancy, Tennessee

    Seniors have paid into Social Security and Medicare for years and the government has borrowed from it for years. Now that the fund is low they want to cut benefits instead of paying back what it has borrowed.
    These younger people in Congress who propose cuts and increasing the age for SS seem to know nothing about what has transpired or have selective memory loss. If the government were a private company taking funds from a retirement program they would have a lawsuit on their hands. Private retirements are protected. Many seniors worked for years without private retirement plans where they worked. They depend on SS coming through for them now. Leave Social Security and Medicare alone!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  8. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    Jack, since you appear to work just a couple of hours a day, your homework for next week will be to draft a budget for fiscal year 2012 totally eliminating the deficit.
    Americans need to visualize just how different their society will be with approximately 1.6 trillion dollars of reduced annual government spending.
    And Jack, I think you're just the guy to show us.
    One tiny hint for you, Jack. CUT MILITARY SPENDING.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  9. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Let me ask you this. If your pension was only about $1100 a month, would you want to see it go down to about $900? Especially with the rising costs of gas, food, utilities, etc? Let me ask you another question. If all you had for health insurance was either Medicare or Medicaid, would you want to see the cost of your out-of-pocket expenses go up? How about the government, instead, find ways to get the millions unemployed working again. Imagine the money that would be collected for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. What a novel idea!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  10. Dennis north Carolina

    social security and medicare can be reformed with corruption and fraud at the top of the list. medicaid and welfare should be total reformed because corruption and fraud are a big factor in those systems. eliminate fraud and corruption is a a must before we cut those systems.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  11. Carl

    Jack,

    Not a chance. What needs to be cut is our corrupt and greedy politicians pay and perks. Make these idiots pay for their own health insurance. It's time these bottom feeders feel the pain, don't you think?

    February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    Here's a better idea, that will probably finally make Republicans happy. Let's just go "Soilent Green" on the poor and the elderly. There's two birds with one stone, money and food. Then they can start more wars and get richer.

    But on a serious note, why are Social Security and Medicare even added into a deficit equation? These programs are taxpayer funded, and have been for decades. If that money is gone, somebody has some explaining to do.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  13. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Jack

    Yes, cut all three and then layoff the workers who feed from the bureacracy. When this generation dies off abolish all three. We can have retirement and healthcare without government intervention. I'm sixty years old and would gladly give up my tiny benefits earned from years of painful seizures

    February 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  14. Paul

    If one is serious about tackling the deficit then, yes, everything must be put on the table, including defense. But we must rethink the need to have troops stationed all over the world, and those fighting winless wars. If you can cut from all departments straight across the board, the effects may be less severe than singling out only one or two things. This is a case where you cannot leave any stone unturned.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  15. Carl

    Jack,

    Not a chance. Iy's time we cut our greedy and corrupt politicians pay and perks. Make these bottom feeders pay for their own healthcare. Now their's some change that I like, don't you agree?

    February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  16. Arie

    As a social worker, I can tell you first hand that there are many on social security, getting benefits... who do not deserve to be. People far less broken and much more taking advantage with a sense of entitlement! The screening system needs to be done with skill and appropriately trained people. This is a tough subject for me and it is obviously taking us to our knees – as a nation.
    Arie
    New York!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  17. Stella-Northern New York

    No cuts in Social Security period. Why? Because our Representatives have taken over 3 trillion dollars out of the SS Fund for many years now and left behind a bunch of worthless bonds they knew would never be paid back. They were warned several decades ago when they voted to take the excess from SS that they would not be able to keep their grubby little hands off it. So year after year after year they have taken out millions,then billions and now the SS fund is owed in the trillions. I've been paying into SS since 1961 and I'm still working and paying into SS. Those bums in Washington year after year came up with a plan to legalize stealing from the SS fund. Let todays jokers in Washington come up with a new plan to legally steal it from the oil companies/non tax paying businesses and put that money back in SS without taking it out of my pocket. If they won't they should spend the next fifty years in jail.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Social Security has NOTHING to do with the deficit because it has its own funding source, Jack! Medicare and Medicaid, on the other hand, needs to be reigned in. While health insurance companies deny care for the flimsiest of excuses the government programs approve every claim. Hence all of the fraud and cost over-runs. Frankly, not everybody with a cane needs a new powerchair or scooter!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  19. Suzanne Peters

    No. instead of cuts to Social Security, Medicare, et al, they should end tax cuts to the rich at the end of one year. Members of Congress should take a 10% hit on their salaries, and fine corporations that don't pay their taxes.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  20. Michael - Dallas

    There are people on Social Security who live in abject poverty while for others, their Social Security check doesn’t cover their tip expense for dining out. Medicare pay a fortune every year on ultra-expensive procedures to prolong life for the very old. And we also allow Armed Service personnel to retire after 20 years and receive 75% of their wages. We have many sacred cows that need common sense reform.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  21. Valerie in Raleigh

    Social Security, Medicare will have to be adjusted. On Social Security – Raise the retirement age. Increase the amount paid into SS by upping the amount taxed. Adjust down the amount received by the very wealthy.

    Medicare – Go after fraud BIG TIME.. Even with Medicare coverage, each person should still have to pay a part of their medical bill.
    Refuse to pay $20 for a hospital asprin. Put names and faces on television of providers who try to cheat the system.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  22. Suzanne Peters

    Instead of cuts to Social Security, Medicare, etc. tax cuts to the rich should end after one year. Members of Congress should face cuts in their salaries and corporations who don't pay their taxes should be fined.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  23. Chris

    To the House of Representatives all I can say is "Shame On You!" I'm so tired of the political games you play. Basically I think if you steal from social security you'll be increasing the homelessness in our country and increasing the dog food industry because that is all people will be able to afford for food. Take a look at yourselves and maybe if you cut out some of your benefits it would help the deficit. I'm just sick of it all!!!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  24. Jane in CA

    Why not raise taxes to attack the deficit? You could also reduce costs, but most of the cost cutting (as opposed to benefit cutting) gets voted down. Is it really so terrible to let Medicare negotiate volume discounts? Pentagon waste is legendary, but we don't even let the defense department cut out programs they don't want or need. Why not start with eliminating programs we don't want, before cutting back on those we do?

    February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  25. Kathie

    Better idea–stop the 2 endless wars and the billions spent oln them, stop given away moeny to other countries like confetti, close military bases around the world (no country has military bases in ours), all elected official hae the same insurance as the rest of us, ony clean bills with no pork atached and congress takes a huge pay cut like the rest of us, etc. That would help the deficit.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  26. Ali

    Cut? No, because lots of elderly people are dependent on it, opt-out? yes let the young people opt out of the program, let them keep their money and take care of themselves. I believe we should do what Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has offered, increase the retirement age, & also pay to those who are middle class and poor, I believe those in the rich class have money stashed away knowing this would happen. It would certainly reduce liability and gov. would meet its end of the deal, of the government forced program that is social security, medicare & medicaid. Btw who is Ron Paul? Google him🙂

    From Arizona

    February 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  27. Terry- Greensburg, IN "Hoosier Hillbilly"

    senior citizens are among the most consistent, reliable voters in this country, and it's a real risk to propose cuts to programs many of them depend on... especially as we approach the 2012 presidential election.
    That pretty much says it all.

    Let then work on the other 43%, they've screwed "US" enough lately!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  28. michelle

    Absolutely not! (Dare I say) go back to what worked The tax system worked until repuplicans and tea party activists told people that they were paying too much Blame Ronald Regan and George Bush for the current budget battles at every political level,Federal,State and City and now "Repuplican Governors" want to take unions and collective bargaining rights from all their workers!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  29. Dan

    Dear Jack,

    There is no question that the government needs to cut back on spending; but, remember, what got us into this mess in the first place were the Bush tax cuts and what will get us out is repeal. Across the board repeal. But doing that would take a lot of guts on the part of our elected officials, so much so that even talking about such a move is, apparently, off the table. The question is: Are we Americans and do we love our country? If the answer is yes, then some sacrifice is required and for most of us that sacrifice would not be huge. For the rest of us (the rich) - They are doing just fine by America. How about giving back a little?

    Dan NY

    February 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  30. Kim Smith

    If it comes down to cutting back on those programs, then there should also be an equal percentage cut in foreign aid programs, the military budget, the State Department budget, Federal employees benefits and all congressional health insurance plans and pensions. My money says politicians don't have the guts to do the hard work needed.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  31. John Tafoya

    Jack, I know if we are serious about reducing the deficit everybody has to suffer a little. I am on disablity & just making it. Every year I hit the donut hole & cannot afford some of my Rx. So I choose which ones not to take. I know some people that are in the same shoes or worse & they make 1/2 what I do. I am willing to bite the bullet but everybody has too! When you don't have nothing it is hard to give up more!

    John, Las Vegas, NV

    February 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  32. Gail, Plano TX

    NO, NO, NO, Jack. The government should cut their salaries before they even think about touching SS, Medicare, or Medicaid. Why do the poorest of our nation have to have their entitlements cut? Is it because they are our most vulnerable citizens? It is their money after all, Jack, since it was taken out of their paychecks every week.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  33. the truth

    greed is the problem. too many people are willing to walk on the middle class. kids are raised on goverment subsidies, andlive on them the rest of their lives. we are raising a generation of bottom feeders with no ambition.

    February 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  34. Jim

    Jack, how about if we first get out of the two wars that we can never win, close down and bring our troops home from all over the world, stop giving away our tax money as bribes to countries around the world who usually just stab us in the back sooner or later anyway, stop all ear marks and pork projects, stop paying an exorbitant amount of tax money on the basically useless UN, stop supporting people who are in this country illegally, etc. etc. and then look at what we need to do or not do for our own people.

    Jim
    Illinois

    February 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  35. michelle

    Absolutely not! We will have to tax somewhere in order to survive this financial mess we're in We have to stop being paranoid about taxes!

    February 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  36. Steve

    Yes and no. We should take this in threes, each program is a different expense, with different soultions. SS/medicare/aid needs to be "ajusted" to reflect our demographics in the 21st century. If your 21 and entering the workforce, yes, you won't get benefits until later in life and you'll pay more now. Know that, and you can plan for it. Then we look at the rest of the budget, cut defense, etc. even if it's in your district and provides jobs today, until all the curves point to a balanced budget by 2050. But like Denny Crain used to say, "...I'll be dead by then so what to I care?"

    Vernon Hills, IL

    February 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  37. Steve

    I'm just a dumb Canadian, and correct me if I am wrong on this point, but isn't growth of the economy a big help on deficits...so far, the rich have their tax cuts, abortion has been attacked via planned parenthood cuts, unions are under attack and bills are being passed, probably unread, in the middle of the night. Now it is offered up that Medicare and Medicaid should wear the deficit reduction horsecollar...Ahhhh, the poor and middle class are going to wear it again....But Sarah, Newt, and the like get richer.....

    February 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  38. brian

    Yes, and all the parties (pres, dems, repubs) now acknowledge that SSI, Medicare/Medicaid and defense are the real issues. They all now say that they 'plan to have a plan' to deal with them. So now we wait for that wisdom... after they decide who goes first with a plan.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  39. Greg of Mechanicsburg PA

    Between his military retirement, investment income, and social security, my 84 year old father brings home half again as much bacon as my wife and I combined, and we are supposedly at our top income earning years. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid were designed to help those in need so they would not live in abject poverty, not as icing on the cake in an income/investment portfolio for the well off. Just making Social Security prorated according to need would save a bundle, raising the retirement age would do even more.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  40. Alex

    No, the government needs to think outside the cost-savings box. For example, take Donald Trump's idea of charging allies for formerly free services, like stationing military troops in South Korea and rushing warships in every time Kim Jong Il lobs a bomb from the north. South Korea has a thriving economy, thanks in large part to U.S. protection. Why shouldn't they pay the costs of doing business?

    February 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  41. Michael Armstrong Sr. Tx.

    No they should stop Medicaid food stamps and T.A.N.I.F. to illegals and cut the pay checks in congress in half .

    February 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  42. thom richer

    Apparently it is much less risky for politicians/government to attack the incomes of the middle and lower classes than seeking revenue from the wealthy, so it only makes sense to attack the needy. Social Security however belongs to those who contribute is being and has been "stolen" from by the government for financing everything but what it is meant for. The retired population. Before taking from those in most need, the government should tax churches, hospitals, universities and any other tax free entity. This would eliminate the need to attack the poor.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    February 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  43. Marcy from Margate, Florida

    No Jack, the Government should not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

    The Government should first cut the Congressional Retirement and Congressional Health Care. Cuts should start at the top not at the bottom.

    The people did not tell the Congress to raid the Social Security Trust Fund and just leave IOU'S.

    The Senior Citizens, the Poor and the Disabled need the Social Security and Disability money now and in the future.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  44. michelle San Antonio,Tx

    Taxes would quickly clear this debt! San Antonio,Tx

    February 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  45. Jeff In Minnesota

    They may be sacrosanct, but everything must go on the table. These programs were never meant for people to totally rely upon, but over the years that is exactly how they have been portrayed by the government and that is our own fault. Everyone has known that such programs were not sustainable, but no one listened. Now that our financial crisis has forced us to take off the "rose colored glasses", everyone is surprised at the truth. I'm sorry, but the facts are the facts and all of those years of borrowing money to give people a false sense of security have come to an end and it's time to pay the piper. People will get hurt due to our shortsightedness and poor leadership and stewardship. We only have ourselves to blame. It's time to allow our leaders to tell us the truth. Yes, they will pay the price, but is that any worse than the price we now have to pay?

    February 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  46. Scott Stodden

    I Would Hope They Could Avoid Making Cuts To Medicare, Medicaid And Social Security But We Must All Make Sacrifices In Order To Get Spending And Our Federal Deficit Under Control!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  47. Ralph Spyer

    That a great idea ,Cut social security their to old to notice, Cut medicare their to sick to notice and cut medicaid their to old to do anything any way. Keep giving tax breaks so the rich get richer that the America I love.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  48. david

    Yes Jack, I receive medicare and S.S. but I know that by cutting a small percentage of my benefits will still leave me enough to live on and would take a huge bite out our deficit. We can do this if people would start to realize they can get by with a little less, if it means saving the country for the future of our children. If we stop paying social security too the wealthy, you know the people that couldn't spend all their money even if they lived to a thousand, we might not have to touch any of the entitlements.
    Dave from NH.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  49. keith in ky.

    Yes, it's not like we have a choice, they all have to be reformed.And by the way there were hundreds of billions in cuts proposed by several of the new republicans they just weren't passed, just goes to show we need to add more of these new republicans in the next election.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  50. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    No. Eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The elderly,the middle guy and the little guy have been squeezed enough. start hitting the people who can afford to pay.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  51. michelle San Antonio,Tx

    We've got to stop being paranoid about taxes let these taxes(repeal the tax cuts) you just made and apply them accordingly San Antonio,Tx

    February 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  52. Anthony J. Frascino from Swedesboro, NJ

    It's a great idea if you want to starve grandma. Many republicans have obtained the wherewithal to cover medical and retirement funds that amount to lifetime solvency. Many elders, who through no fault of their own, have limited funds for subsistence and rely on Medicare and Medicaid to keep them alive. They paid for their Social Security and consider it a inviolable pact with the government.
    The fat cats can't see past their own bank accounts and have no sympathy for those of us living on already meager funds.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  53. Tim in Texas

    Social Security has not added a single dime to the deficit. Not one dime. It is a completely separate program – paid for by funds that we pay into it. It is solvent for the next 17 years and then still has funds to cover 78% of promised benefits. So it does need to be dealt with, but not immediately and not as part of the deficit issue. Medicare and Medicaid need to be dealt with as well, and the best way to do so is to bring down health costs overall. That will not happen if people start yelling, "death panels". The planned parenthood cuts and all the rest of that is complete baloney. Raise taxes back to reasonable rates.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  54. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Oh sure, Wall Street, with the government's help, plunges our economy into an abyss. So naturally, the people should pay for it. Sound familiar? I've got a better question. When is Wall Street going to pay for it's own mistakes? We know they're back on their feet. Why aren't they contributing more toward fixing the deficit?

    February 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  55. Connie Louisville, KY

    What we really need to do is pay taxes. If funding is cut to all these programs, most of what is saved will come out somewhere else. More people will qualify for handouts from tax-exempt organisations. Healthcare providers treating people without a payor source will be paying less in taxes because they will have an increase in write-offs.

    If people aren't well they definitely won't work–if they are well they might. Don't we need to opt for the greatest chances at the greatest productivity.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  56. John Blythe

    Unfortunately Jack, the cuts are necessary to help close the deficit, however it would be nice to see this Congress actually tackle real problems like reducing pension funds for federal workers and state unions, the cost of illegal immigration and cutting outrageous pay increases. Today is actually my birthday, and I turn 25. I can tell you when I turn 65, I will have no entitlements to social security or medicare. Maybe my generation should start putting money into CD's, but then again, who knows, the federal government might want to dip into people's personal saving accounts just to find those funds to pay off our skyrocketing national debt.

    – John
    Lake Isabella, California

    February 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  57. Karl from Flint, MI

    Why don't we start by closing the loopholes in our tax code that make it look like high grade Swiss cheese and allows corporations to make 10s if not 100s of billions in obscene profits at the expense of our seniors and middle class. Then follow up with eliminating farm subsidies and put farmers back in the open market

    February 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  58. Nina Fox

    The thought of taking the automatically deducted amount from American’s Paychecks over years, that was set aside for their retirement in social security and the government deciding to use it to pay off our debt leaving Americans with a meager means for their old age is outrageous!!!

    Entering the winter years of your life after working and contributing your entire life seems to be a crime

    February 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  59. Gigi Oregon

    NO!...It's not just Seniors that will vote but their children. They don't want mom and dad moving in with them. Or when the time comes sooner than later they will be claiming their Social Security and it had better be their. Cuts to the rich and a "War" tax need to be put into place. Bush was the first president to go to war without money and decided to tax our unborn grandchildren rather than paying for that war, in the wrong country. or if he could get away with it, lay it on the next President to worry about..

    February 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  60. Bob Fleming

    Thses are much needed programs that many of us have paid for.

    Signiicant cuts should come from the military. It is time to quit throwing money down the drain in Iraq and Afghanistan. It doesn't take a brilliant economist to come to this conclusion

    These disasterous invasions have been going on for ten years and have cost trillions in dollars and thousands in lives.

    February 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  61. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Yes. Everybody that is receving a government check needs to take a small cut to help reduce the 14 trillion dollar debt. That includes me as I get Social Security and a small military retirement check. My wife and I started many years ago preparing for the future. We aren't rich but we are doing OK.

    It is either take a small cut now and still have something or nothing when the string runs out.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  62. John NY

    Congress gave themselves a $5000.00 pay raise about 1 1/2 years ago. Before they cut anything I want to see them give this money back to show them mean business.

    The Seniors haven't received a COLA for SSI for the last two years.
    Was that the right thing to do , give yourself a $5000.00 pay raise & at the same time tell Seniors no COLA?

    Congress shouldn't be allowed to give themselves a pay raise when they want . This is one reason why Democracy is a failure.

    The seniors allready gave two years Cola,it's time congress pay's.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  63. Ann from Charleston SC

    In order to reduce the deficit, those of us on Social Security will just have to bite the bullet. At the same time, we must also do some serious tax reform. We wouldn't have to raise taxes if everyone actually paid the amount they owe instead of using all the tricks they can find to cut their tax bill.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  64. Karl in Mich

    Instead of cutting services, why don't we first increase revenues by closing the loopholes in our tax code that allows corporations and Wall Street to make 10s if not 100s of billions in obscene tax-free profits at the expense of our seniors and middle class. Then follow up by eliminating farm and other subsidies that pay people for doing nothing. Corporate tax breaks and subsidies are just welfare for the wealthy. Let's kill their "entitlements" first.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  65. John NY

    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

    ... Abraham Lincoln

    February 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  66. Curt, Avon, Indiana

    No, Jack, if you are receiving social security and medicare, as I am,
    you had to work to get it. I paid into social security for 44 years and paid into medicare from 1966 until 2003. There was no choice about whether I paid into those two funds that are now "entitlements" and hated by everyone. Leave old people alone!

    February 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  67. Curt, Avon, Indiana

    It's simple Jack, end the wars.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  68. steve - virginia beach

    No Jack. When so-called Obamacare was being debated, supporters claimed that it would cover the poor, provide better coverage for seniors, be the salvation of Medicare, and save us money in the process. Now we're finding out that it does no such thing and is costing us 800,000 jobs. If we need to cut something, cut Obamacare and use the taxes from the 800,000 jobs to refund the trust funds that were thieved. And there are other fixes as well. If they're not smart enough to fix these problems without throwing seniors and the poor under the bus, we need to know before the next election.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  69. Patricia

    Cutting the triple crown of entitlements–Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid–would be akin to telling that fabled emporer of kids fairy tales that he has no clothes. Clearly there's a problem, clearly it has to be done and clearly somebody's got to do it, but you don't want to be the one to lose your head over it

    February 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  70. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Social security is a trust fund and the trustee is the Federal Government which doesn't allow them to use it's funding at their own discretion other than to pay it's recipients. If the Government chooses to do this, then they will need to stop people from paying into these benefits and give them back the equal amount of funds with interest they have contributed or be sued.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  71. David in Tampa

    Jack, I just got on Social Security at age 62, but will need to work part time to make ends meet. I have worked hard, tried to play the game by being an asset in the workplace and ate my bellyfull of crap issued from on high in corporate offices. Low wages, stress and the like have taken their toll on my attitude. Funny how those that benefit the most in corporate America want the rest of us to be able to provide for our healthcare, retirement and other things from half or less pay than they make; yet they want all this stuff provided for them through the company. I, for one, will work tirelessly to unseat anyone that seeks to take from working people what we got denied during our working years. Tax cuts have never worked to stimulate economies. Our country is in trouble due to greed not Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. When are we going to cut corporate welfare to help balance the budget?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  72. seiscat

    Wow, there are a lot of folks that don't have a clue about the budget and the funding of entitlements. A little more knowledge among the general public might result in a better solution.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  73. Gigi Oregon

    If Social security and Medicare are cut, you will see in the streets at home and in DC people in their 50's and above protesting against the government and particularly the Republican party. That money was put in during our working years with the employer for our retirement benefit. We will consider that stealing if it is messed with. And it should be investigated NOW to see what the government has done in the past concerning the abuse or use of the monies. It's time "we the people" get a back bone

    And one of the best ways to cut the budget would be to pay our government representatives $1.00 a year and no socialized benefits since they don't want to share the tax money with the people. And also limit the amount that could be spent on running their elections. We might then get some real Statesmen in office. It amuses me, that they tell us we don't want government health benefits but they have no problem accepting their government salaries,health benefits and retirements. We the people need a back bone. They buy their friends/countries with billions of dollars around the world.to be #1 and let the poor and middle class...Of "The United States of America" foot the bill. If it wasn't so pitiful...I 'd laugh.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  74. Joseph Kavanaugh

    We can not fix a shattered glass window with a few amendments. Our ecomonic situation is just that, shattered glass.. We must replace the shattered glass with new glass, which means, a new way of doing business. It just may take a revolution to do so... Lead the way Jack!!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  75. Larry - Houston

    Yes -we should stop the social security for Everyone – period. That was enacted years ago, by Roosevelt, but when at that time, there were food lines, no internet / no t.v. / or any other type of communication other than telephone – Everyone that is working, should be putting money away for their retirements, not wait on S.S. They should start putting money away when they are in their teens, or 20's, and by the time they are 62 or 65 – they will have enough to live on til they die.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  76. seiscat

    What has to be controlled is the cost of healthcare in general, including Medicare and Medicaid. Taxing the rich and cutting defense cannot generate anywhere close to enough funds to cover runaway healthcare costs.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  77. A vanishing American

    The last figures I saw we had paid 2.5 trillion dollars more into social security than what was paid out. And that is the problem. These notes to SS have to be paid by either borrowing more money or by printing more, the result of we the people not holding bureaucrats accountable. We turned our heads while they stole the money and now they're making it look like SS and Medicare are the problem. These programs paid for themslves but we left them in the control of the parasites and now we, who always have to pay the bills, are punished once again. Incidently I'm not the first to call bureaucrats parasites as Thomas Jefferson did as well.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  78. jim in Alabama

    Not only no Jack, but Hell NO! If Republicans had been serious and sincere about cutting the deficit, they would not have pushed for continued breaks for this nation's most wealthy, nor would they have pushed for repeal of the health care bill, both of which serve to add to the deficit. Repealing health care alone would cost the nation more than 2.1 billion dollars according to the cbo. Corporate tax rates should be cut for those business choosing to locate inside this country and raised for those taking american jobs outside the nation. Adjustment can be made to social security which would solve that problem such as increasing the retirement age and other measures. This round of hatchet cutting has been on the Republican agenda for years now and the only things they're targeting are social programs that benefit the poor and middle class painting these as the culprits. TYPICAL REPUBLICAN ELITISTS.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  79. Robby Bowling

    We can do it right after we cut all, & I mean all of the pay in Washington. What are the congressmen and senators gone to up. ANSWER NOTHING

    February 24, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  80. Mark in Oklahoma City

    Why don't we just cut off grandma's social security check and then see how long these budget cutting bozos in Washington keep their jobs? CUT MILITARY SPENDING AND FOREIGN AID. Budget fixed!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  81. julia

    Absolutely not! Have the wealthy pay into Social Security on all their income, not just part of it, get rid of the tax breaks for the wealthy that were passed last fall, get OUT of Iraq - start there!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  82. Jason Lennerth

    No Jack, they should not cut programs people rely upon like Medicare,Medicaid, and Social Security. What they should have done was let the Bush tax cuts expire and get the money from the people who can spare it.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  83. Rob in Saratoga Springs, NY

    They shouldn't be cut because most Americans want these programs. Americans need to realize, however, that they have to pay for these programs with taxes. There's a false sense, that we as Americans have and that politicians feed off of, that we can cut taxes but still have our entitlement programs. I think it's time politicians speak honestly with us and we admit to ourselves that we have to pay our taxes and stop cutting them. I'm sick of campaigns succeeding based purely on the fact that the politician will cut taxes. It's time we accept our responsibilities and pay our bills.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  84. Steve K from los angeles

    We've dug our own hole with a shovel, we're not going to be able to fill it up with a spoon.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  85. Roxye Jelden

    I am seventy nine years old and I say cut all three of them.

    Thank You

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  86. Sarah

    No need to put those at risk for poverty, closer to the slicer! We need these programs to keep those who can't work, are disabled to just too old for it, protected; as a nurse I know that we couldn't survive without that funding. But what about fraud? Can we tackle Social security, Medicaid/care fraud simultaneously? I bet that would create a job or two... when is that going to happen?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  87. Kurtis Sutley

    Of course we need to cut some programs. Why does everyone lump all the entitlement together in these surveys? Increase the retirement age and make smaller reductions in medicare and medicaid. We're already paying higher taxes in the form of reduced value of the dollar. When are we going to stop that too?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  88. Matthew McKinley

    It's not a valid question because to answer 1 way means you don't understand what is going on or what is at stake. At all costs, the deficit has to be cut or we are Rome 2.0. It's like asking an unemployed person who owes $400,000 on the mortgage, do we drop the car payment or not... THIS PERSON HAS NO CHOICE.. WE HAVE NO CHOICE.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  89. E,C. Davis

    Yes, cut medicaire and social security. I am permanantly disabled with multiple sclerosis and dutepend on them both both but they have to be cut to save the United States of America. God Bless and forgive us all. Ernie Davis

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  90. colin Grant

    Eventually richer Americans will have to accept that the only way to reduce the deficit is to increase taxes. Politicians who pretend that it can be done by cutting expenditure are either stupid or lying. In a civilized society,social programs cannot be cut.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  91. Matt

    Jack, we need the cuts to all entitlement programs. I'm 23 and work full-time and pay social security and medicare taxes for programs my generation will see. If you want to get these programs cut put an age limit on members of congress. If you have younger members of congress they will have no problem cutting grandma's social security check. These current members worry about granny's vote, but hell granny isn't going to make it to the 2012 election, but my generation will!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  92. SIlvia Goldsmith

    Why is everyone so afraid to tax the fat cats, those making above 250 thousand...even those making above 500 thousand to cut the deficit?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  93. Wanda Spinoza

    NO........................

    I have worked for over 40 years and watched while the government took piles of money from my take home pay. Now that it is time to reap the benefits, no one better try and reduce my payout.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  94. Adam - Philadelphia

    Entitlement programs are the cancer of our country. In order to restore the health of the United States, it will require reducing benefits for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Anyone who feels they are "entitled" to a free ride for 1/3 of his/her life, after retiring at age 65, should have rethought their savings plans and living within their means. Obama needs to scale back now, to save many future generations to come.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  95. Dennis

    Social Security is not an unfunded entitlement. It's good through 2037 at current benefit levels and 75-80% thereafter. And it doesn't add to the deficit. Medicare is held hostage by the failure to reform medical care in this country. Until we do that we'll never get a hand on the budget. How about some cuts to defense and corporate subsidies? And does anyone understand we can't afford $3 trillion in tax cuts for the wealth?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  96. Jack Beslanwitch

    Social Security is not really the issue and it should not be touched inasmuch as there are relatively easy ways to cover and extend its life. The real issue is health coverage. We need a way to cover everyone and pay for it in a way that is cost effective. Maybe one payer system and eliminate medicaire and medicaid while covering everyone. Just a thought.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  97. Scott

    All three programs should be ended. Tear down the nanny state and let individuals take care of themselves. I want my liberty (and money) back.
    Norfolk, VA

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  98. Boris

    Social Security is NOT the problem! Get off of this worn out argument that the program is causing our budget crisis.

    Medicare and medicaid need to be reformed.

    The military budget is outrageous. Let's start closing bases and unwinding our relationships in Afghanistan and Iraq. If there is anything that the recent revolts across arabia should have taught us is that change comes from within, not because of US influence.

    Cut military spending now.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  99. Kathy, Glendale, AZ

    I don't think they need to cut these programs either. I don't see why they don't just up the Social Security tax, Medicaid/Medicare tax a dollar or two. I don't know why raising this tax is such a big problem. I'd be willing to pay it, & I have several friends who feel the same way. Am I missing something in all this, or what??

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  100. Mike Perry

    I think a 20% cut across the board would sufice.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  101. Loius

    Yes, entitlements should not be exempt from cuts or program changes that will reduce their costs. Everything needs to be on the table. Why not an across-the-board 2-3% cut in ALL budgets to share the sacrifice? Don't tell me that everyone can't chip in at least in a small way to strengthen the economy longterm.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  102. Howard, Novato, CA

    Yes, we should cut entitlements right after we cut the cushy perks that Congress member receive, after we slash Congressional staffs, budgets, & salaries, after we stop our military adventurism and after we slash the military budgets. Why do we maintain a military budget that exceeds the total of all the industrialized countries' budgets?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  103. olemikey

    Where there are long term problems with these programs, they are not currently contributors to the deficit, so they don't need to be cut. Instead, the source of their income should be increased by having those making over $125,000 a year contribute on earning above that level. Real reform should come from cutting ineffective programs, such as the ethanol, which costs $25 billion, tax breaks to the oil companys, amounting to $40 billion, and programs that are not only not effective, but causing problems, such as the war on drugs.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  104. vicki cork

    Congress must think we're idiots – they moan about our ( us citizens) being unwilling to cut social programs such as Social Security – when they themselves dropped the top limit of social security from 108,000 to 106,000. That is so like peanuts at the top level, a couple of lattes a week – shame on them !!! If anything congress should have increased the top limit to 200,000.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  105. Ned

    You'll cut my social security when you take the card from my cold dead hands. I've been paying into this program for over 40 years for the old foggies before me....Y'all talk like it's the gov money, it is our. Promises made must be kept.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  106. jjreding

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Those of us on Social Security have already seen two years go by without an increase for cost of living and prices of EVERYTHING has risen significantly. Food prices in particular are a serious issue. Now there's talk of increasing inflation, which is what the Social Security COLA's are based on, but it's too late because the decision was already made in October last year not to raise it. Now, if they DO cut Social Security and Medicare it will be even worse yet. It's time for the Republican Party to stop waging war on the poor. The majority of them profess their faith as Christians, yet the concept of 'I am my brother's keeper' seems to continue to elude them.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  107. Dick Vaughan, Albuquerque

    Jack,

    Congress should cut Social Security, Medicare and the so-called entitlement funds and modify the programs. They have raided these fundeds for years but are afraid to touch them. Who in their right mind invests in non-saleable securities that are nothing more than IOU's in a filing cabinet. Our politicians that think money grows on trees.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  108. Barb Conley

    NO........Social Security retirees have gone 2 years without a raise!! We're living on next to nothing.........Better cuts would be for President, Vice President and all Senators and House Of Representative members to take a 20% pay cut NOW and apply the savings to the deficit.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  109. Brittney B.

    Austin

    Jack,
    No. It all sound good until it is your check being cut. I don't think people really understand what they are asking for. If this happens it going to be the poor man that suffers. Why don't the Republicans raise taxes on the rich and let the elderly have their money for their medicine. It seems backward to me. Didn't Reagan do this already? if you cut taxes on everyone and cut social programs as well, you end up with a mess. I hope Obama doesn't let them do this.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  110. Barbara

    Jack:

    No. It would be like spitting on a fire to put it out.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  111. Jay

    Yes absolutely necessary. But the Dems will be the last to address these "sacred cows". They are the Party of Entitlements. When the Repubs go to cut them, the Dems will use that as a Political ad to villify them instead of applauding them for having a spine.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  112. Catherine Berryhill Easley S.C.

    No! Get rid of all the crooks. Your problems would be solved in all areas.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  113. Kevin

    It has to be done, that's just where the money is.The really sad thing is that programs for the poor will probably be cut before programs to the middle and upper classes, like Medicare and Social Security are even touched.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  114. Jenna

    Should the government cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to attack the deficit?

    I have a better idea Jack. One that we should address first..

    Let's cut out all those NO BID CONTRACTS to Haliburton, KBR, XE (Formally Blackwater) etc.. BILLIONS if not a TRILLION would be saved there alone.

    You can't cut programs that people depend on for basic SURVIVAL.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  115. Bella Morin

    There is soooooo much Pork Spending – literally in the Billions each years, wouldn't that be a wiser idea to start getting rid of the 'fat' and in my opinion, the 'fat cats' behind the majority of these private interests. How much can you actually cut on SS, Medicare and Medicaid at this point – they already provide such a small amount to the people who really need them anyway. Time for the Senators and Congressmen who keep nailing us with their own personal spending agendas to GO in my opinion. Thank you, Bella

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  116. Nathan

    We need to continuously raise the retirement age as life expectancy increases. Let's then take a portion of those savings and invest it in medical research focused on aging. I'd be happy to put off retirement into my 70s and 80s so long as we are able to extend life and more importantly extend youthful and healthful living such that working at an older age isn't so painful. Researchers have finally uncovered some of the most significant causes of aging, so research in this area is going to be vastly less risky and more productive than it once was.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  117. Arthur

    Politicians are never going to reduce the pocket they pick. So let's shift the spend. How about chopping the miitary spend budget and putting our efforts into understanding other cultures and people. Aren't we all embarrased having the largest killing capability on the planet. And we are not timid about killing. How about saying no to killing. Yes to being human.

    – Arthur

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  118. James Ray

    Yes. I think we should cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare in order to help decrease the deficit.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  119. Ronn Berry

    Jack, where is the fourth choice! We never hear any discussion about the Afghanistan and Iraq war costs. lets cut the Defense spending.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  120. Evan

    I believe everything that is funded by the federal government should be cut and senior citizens should understand that it is there country's future at stake. We cannot always please everyone but what we don't do now will for sure haunt us in the future. CUT EVERYTHING!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  121. Trog LaDyte

    Don't say "cut benefits"; but say, "reduce entitlements"and you will get a different answer from seniors. It seems to me the solution to our deficit woes is to reduce overall spending – in EVERY program and to increase taxes across the board. We all got into this together and everyone should contribute to getting us out of this mess. That means anybody earning an income should pay at least something in income taxes.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  122. Mike

    Considering medicaid recipients get better healthcare than I do while paying for my healthcare, maybe it's time for some cuts. Do you really want to pay for their free speech therapy?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  123. Chuck

    Nothing should be cut until the Defense budget is whacked....significantly.

    IF Defense were included, I would be agreeable to make equal percentage cuts ACROSS THE BOARD for every program in the budget................

    ..............provided pork is eliminated.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  124. Steve K from los angeles

    We've dug our own hole with a shovel. We're not going to be able to fil it up with a spoon.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  125. Lee

    Not cut. Add to. Increase SS income tax. Increase payroll limit.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  126. Doris

    No!!!
    If they're serious about the deficit and the debt, they shouldn't have continued the "Bush" tax cuts or cut the Social Security payroll tax.
    Cut the military, especially the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US debt is about the same as the cost of these wars. Cut war and foreign aid, not programs to help our own people. The CIA and Homeland Security can protect us well enough. Start bringing our soldiers home.
    Many retired people have already had their pensions greatly reduced and their healthcare benefits cut. If they haven’t been cut already, they probably will be. Don’t cut their Social Security and Medicare too.
    People who are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid need all the help they can get. Please don’t cut Medicaid.
    Thank you!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  127. Brian (Maryland)

    No, the government should deal with the deficit in the only fair way: With the income gap between rich and poor having gone from the top 2 percent in income owning 33 percent of the wealth in 1980 to the top 2 percent in income owning 51 percent of the wealth in 2010, the government should reduce the deficit by lessening this gap by taxing the rich a bit more. Certainly, the rich can afford it, and it's only fair to lessen the burden on (what's left of) the middle class. If the gap continues to widen, one of two possibilities will ensue: Either the middle class will disappear eventually and the United States will resemble a Third World country more and more, or the middle class (perhaps together with the poor) will start a revolution and again, the United States will resemble a Third World country more and more. So in both cases, the United States will resemble a Third World country more and more, but in the latter case it will at least do so with honor.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  128. Sam Marcus

    Cut pork, cut graft & corruption in medicare and medicaid BUTas the Tea Party wackos say "Keep the government out of my medicare" as though it's a gift from the gods!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  129. Darryl

    No, cut defence, foreign aid to borrow money and give it to other countries is crazy.End tax cuts to millionares & billionares.Cutting house and senate pay & perks,lets face it they are all rich and can afford to pay for heathcare themselfs.Don't cut the deficit on the backs of the shrinking middle class.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  130. Paul Monsen

    No, Social Security is funded by workers and has not contributed to the deficit. Medicare will be cut by the Health Care Reform Act. Medicaid is for low income and resource people and provides nursing home care. We cannot eject Americans from nursing homes. Instead we should cut the Pentagon's budget as they are literally blowing up money every day fighting two wars and keeping soldiers in Germany and Japan. Also, closing loopholes in taxes for corporations and millionaires would help reduce the budget.

    .

    February 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  131. Bob

    Absolutely not!! We have the largest military budget that is 6 times the military budget of China, who has the second highest military budget. I think that would be good place to start! We need to pull our troops back home and let countries that are having regional conflicts settle it themselves. We need to start reducing the excess on military spending. Why should the average American have to pay for the incompetency of government politicians that over spent their budgets for decades! Maybe we should start cutting their pay, benefits and all the other perks they get. They were the ones minding the store.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  132. Waseem Hammoud

    To cut social security, medicare, and medicaid to attack the deficit would be like reducing highway traffic for Americans by only allowing semi trucks to use them. The deficit has grown so large because of military spending. Taking it from government aid makes a statement of how the U.S. prioritizes its spending.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  133. Greg in Cincinnati

    Come on Jack. These people have worked their whole life for these programs to be there when the time comes. Here's one thought that alot of people don't understand. A person gives a good chunk of their life to a company. This is time that can't be taken back. It is time that has gone by and is non-recoverable. This is time that cannot be replaced by any ditch effort. So the only thing that a great majority of people have are these entitlement programs. It takes alot of guts for the government to cut these programs but at the same time give these benefits to illegal immigrants who have never contributed a dime into these programs

    Greg in Cincinnati

    February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  134. Mel Barney

    Jack, do not cut any of these programs. Use the Eisenhower (Republican) solution. Tax the wealhy at the 92% level, (doubters check it out), and give them the option of paying taxes or investing their money in U. S. Industries.

    Mel Barney
    Farmers Branch, Texas

    February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  135. Bob

    Lets cut congress and senators pay in half, set a 2 year limit in office, no retirement when they leave, no healthcare when they leave. That's what the real world does. If they take a dime from special interest groups, let them spend the rest of their living life in prison.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  136. Lona

    As billions of dollars are being sent to foriegn countries to assist their elderly, sick, and poor; and additional billions of dollars are spent here at home for political campaigns that seem to change little or nothing for the American elderly, sick, and poor, why should we ask our own to sacrifice even more.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  137. Rikomi

    Yeah they should, but after they tax the rich. Why target the most vulnerable first? Is it because they have nothing to offer politicians besides their vote? Politics & Auctions - there is no difference. Who usually gets the final bid Jack? The person with the most money.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  138. Jerry Bishop

    Certainly, right after we end all neverending wars, stop all foreign aid, end all pork barrel earmarks, set congress' salary at a rate equal to their work, enroll congress in the nation's retirement and health systems and stop the pandering to special interests for the sake of votes or money.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  139. jane

    cut my ss. I will cut cable. See you Jack.Oh may by not !

    February 24, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  140. Alan Krueger

    You can stop calling Social Security an entitlement program. It has been and is being paid for. The only reason this is continuosly brought up now is that our government needs to sell bonds to replace the money that was stolen from Social Security. There have been addons to medicaid that should be looked at for possible cuts. I have no solution to the medicaid program. We need to take care of those that do not have the means. That leads to this question. How many people that need medicaid squandered the life's income not caring who might need to take care of them in the future? I do not have answers to these problems but once again–Social Security has been paid for–it is not the taxpayer's fault Washington blew the past contributions.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  141. Annie, Atlanta

    It's time to tell the American people the truth about Social Security. If Republicans are aching to hand it over to Wall Street for privatization, it has to be huge. Come on people, you couldn't come up with this on your own?

    February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  142. Ara Jean Carbonnea

    No! No! No! What's wrong with the GOP or the Teaparty? You don't touch Social Security, You don't touch Medicare. You don't touch our Unions.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  143. Ron Russell

    No, taxes on the top 1% are half of what they were prior to Reagan. It was in 1982 that the Deficit began exploding and it's time to repeal all the tax cut damage from Reagan to last year We also must lift the Cap on Social Security Earnings subject to Withholding and there wouldn't be a problem I'd also gladly pay the percentage in income tax I paid in 1979 and we wouldn't be leaving debt for our kids But in today's corporate media, where news is slanted to serve the top 1%, I'm not holding my breath on this option being discussed.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  144. Jay

    Would we be discussing the lack of desire to cut the Entitlement Programs and a $1.6 trillion deficit had we not given the top 2% of people, the "rich", tax cuts, which they did not need and definitely wouldn't be hurt by, that amount to a third of a trillion dollars in the current proposed budget?

    After all, what are cuts of $60 billion, or more like $25 billion as you said is more correct, compared to the $350 billion wasted on those who wouldn't be hurt at all by paying their fair share. Were it not for the tax cut extension for the upeer 2%, wouldn' the projected $1.6 trillion budget be a $1.25 or $1.3 budget? That's a sizable difference to me. It's very hard to ask the poor to bear the brunt of changes that need to be made when the rich, who could make a huge difference in our finacial problems, are not asked to make simalr sacrifices.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  145. willie

    No. Not until you start with the tax cuts for the wealthy. Most Seniors depend on that money. Cutting it would be disastrious.
    Pay attention to the cost of medical procedures. The medical field is out of control.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  146. David

    Social Security used to solvent with its own money reserved for its own use. Then the politutions could not stand all that money in a seperate fund that they could not spend. They dumped the money in the General Fund so it could be spent. Now the money is gone but no one talks about that. Let put all the politutions on Social Security and Medicare like the rest of us and this big problem will suddenly go away.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  147. Bob Field Estero

    The average American sees all federal spending as wasteful except for the spending on programs which benefit him directly.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  148. Tom D

    Only if the other elephant, the defense budget , is also SERIOUSLY addressed. Then I might consider it honest. Otherwise, this is just another well disguised money grab by those who will profit from these specific reductions – the private healthcare industry and Wall Street – and the political party they own.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  149. Dennis

    I do not believe the US debt is as critical as the Republicans and Tea Partyers would like us all to believe. The President outlined a plan to bring our debt under control, make adjustments in Social Security over the next couple years and allow the health care program to bring needed change that will bring the reduce the Medicare crisis.What this country and it's people need is a little Patience...and the "Right" to stop trying to scare everyone to death by constantly shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. .

    February 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  150. Louise Shirl

    No, do not cut medicare and social security. The recipients are the backbone of this nation. Instead cut the spendng for upkeep of prisoners and have them earn some of their three squares a day.
    Cut government waste and cut out the trips for Mrs. Obama to vacation around the world.
    There are plenty of places to cut a ton of WASTE that goes on. The seniors do not waste, they pinch to make it, and they spend their social security checks as soon as they come in and therefore add back to the economy.
    The very worst place to cut the budget is social security, please don't advocate doing that. Seniors are having it hard now making ends meet after working and supporting this country all their lives.
    Stop giving to foreigners who do not even appreciate our hard earned TAX dollars.
    If we woiuld drill offshore and get away from depending on foreign oil, this would not even be discussed. Times are getting more scary every day for the seniors, don't let them down now.
    God bless you Jack,
    Louise

    February 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  151. Tom N Virginia

    Jack,
    For too long the rich have lined their pockets off the sufferage of the poor. Should congress cut into the social security system?. No, not his Republican Tea Party set, but yes there are areas to look at. Social security isn't needed by the rich, so why have it-because they paid into it? Paying taxes by the rich and supporting the government is what gave the greedy rich the opportunity to become the greedy rich in the first place. It's up to them to keep this government afloat. If they don't, there may be a revolution brewing in the near future– right here in the USA. Tom N

    February 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  152. JOAN D. AGE 71

    YES, YES, YES CUT SS, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID.

    There is fat in all these programs...i.e. SS disability payments of over$1000 monthly to ADD, ADHD children, alcoholics, drug addicts, alcoholics. Immigrants over the age of 65 receive pension benefits even though they've never paid in a penny.

    If all of these programs spent $'s to track down those who cheat...especially some medical groups who submiit fraudulent claims on Medicare and Medicaid.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  153. rose

    No, Please do not cut our SS or Medicare. My husband and I only have SS for our income and we both have a lot of health problems.
    If any cuts should be made, cut the politican's pay down to what we get every month and see how well they will live. Take the money away from the richest of the rich. We do not big home's like they do.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  154. Calum

    How about the hundreds of billions of dollars corporations are being awarded in outrageous tax cuts and returns, while they continue to show losses, send jobs and capital to desperate nations (at a rate of pennies per day), and pay themselves disgustingly large bonuses and salaries, larger this year than every year previous? Of course the government would never want to upset their corporate sponsors, but this would, without question, solve the deficit problem without sacrificing all of the things that make America great. The middle east is putting Americans to shame, proving themselves the true supporters of actual democracy. Look to Wisconsin for inspiration!

    Virginia Beach, Virginia

    February 24, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  155. Richard

    Someone needs to point out that Social Security is fully funded until sometime into the next decade They even cut the Social Security contributions just 2 months ago to a 4,2 % deduction from the 6.2% that we have paid for years. So, Social Security is not the problem. The real uncontrol cost to the government is Medicare/Medicaid item. We were hoping that the healthcare debate would had corrected this portion of our economy that is completely out of control. The health care industry will charge whatever they desire and nobody in place to contol the prices. Hence, healthcare will destroy our economy and the Medicare/Medicaid cost to the government is out of control.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  156. Lynette in California

    I get really upset when I hear talk about cutting these entitlement programs. If there's fraud involved; that's one thing. But why should the poor and middle class suffer because of corporate greed–namely the BIG banks in this country. I didn't hear any Republicans object when George W. Bush and Hank Paulsen pushed Congress to provide the $7billion to bail out the banks or when tax cuts for the rich were on the table.
    I think we need to cut military spending and foreign aid first to reduce our deficit.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  157. Anita in Omaha, Arkansas

    Hell no we shouldn't be cutting medicare or social security or any program that helps the poor, disabled and elderly. End the wars, close about 99% of our overseas bases, end corporate welfare, starting with subsidies to big oil and big pharma, end the Bush tax cuts for anyone with an income over $100,000, stop taxpayer financing of outsourcing, add a 5 cent tax on every stock transaction! Then INVEST in education, infrastructure and renewable energy.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  158. Ted Lawler,LMSW

    Hello, when will everyone wake the hell up, it's income not cuts. The GOP has helt us hostage over the hugh Bush tax giveaways. You can't run a country without taxing 90% of income at a fair rate. We need officials who won't sell their votes and pass bills that pay the welthy not to invest in our economy. They will only invest when it gives them a tax advantage to do so. Tax the welthy 70% with 100% deductions on capital investments and job greation at home.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  159. ron

    You who want SS and Medicare cuts and keep calling SS an entitlement just do not get it..If you were entilted to intrest on bonds you bought or on a savings account , yous would be the firt in line to belly ache about it and demand it..The SS fund is made up by 100% of those who put THEIR money into it for their future and retirement. The government gave 0, nada, nothing. All they did was take. Call it entitlement programs or what ever you want. It still belongs to us, all of it and we would not have to worry or be concerned about it if they had not bob us and the SS fund and have never made one attempt to pay any of it back. We ARE ENTILTED TO IT, its ours to begin with....

    February 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  160. Paul In California

    We as a people have forgotten the lessons of our grand parents. If you don't have the cash you can not buy it. The government credit card should be cut up like the rest of us that have had to tighten our belts to get by with less so should our elected representatives. Both Demacrates and Republicans need to get off their high horse as hard as it will be and fix this now before we sell the future of the next generation to the greedy power hungry.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  161. Don

    Those programs need to be reined in and cleaned up. Too many Americans have learned how to abuse them. Their original intent was to provide help for the truly needy but American greed has taken over. But Social Security should not be included because it's funding has been abused by the politicians or it would be fine.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  162. Clodene

    No, Social Security is money that goes right back into the economy and is an insurance policy that was pre-paid NOT some welfare "entitlement"

    This emphasis on the deficit is false. If the worry being shown now was real the the Bush tax cuts would have been allowed to expire.

    The health and welfare of a country's citizens should be paramount not be cast aside for some ideological fantasy. Social Security's debt is held by the US Treasury. We owe China, Japan and other foreign governments; do we plan on reneging on that debt?

    Grow up and raise the cap and cut the Defense Department.

    February 24, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  163. A.

    "Rich people' are already paying their fair share. They are the ones working and paying salaries and paying taxes and hiring people! If they've paid into these entitlements for all these years, they should reap the benefits as well!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  164. Alex in Va.

    Jack, before we cut programs that people need to get by on a day-to-day basis, we should close many of the nearly 200 military basis the US operates on a world-wide basis. Why are the American people paying for all these bases, including bases in some of the most prosperous countries of the world? President Eiserhower told us more than 50 years ago why: the military-industrial complex, who together with the international oil based in Texas run this country. Some day, the American people will wake-up too, just like the people in Egypt and Libya!

    February 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm |