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The Issue of Entitlement Programs and the funds to keep them solvent
First there is no question that funding for entitlement programs from the government is in trouble. There two questions. One is how did they get this way and the other is what qualifies as an entitlement program. The information in this article may have some surprises while others may not. The subject of entitlement programs is a hot topic this election year and both political parties are making statements about what they will do to save them for those who need them. The discussion has been focused on Medicare in recent weeks but is Medicare an entitlement program. The answer to that question is yes. Entitlement refers to a fact that it is something people have earned.
For those who do not know the funds allocated in the past to entitlement programs have not stayed within the designated accounts by several news reports. Another fact which is hard to ignore is those who are now enrolling in Medicare exceed the number putting money in the fund. This is a result of a population growing old and not enough younger individuals paying money into the fund.
While Medicare has been the main focus in recent weeks other entitlement programs such as Social Security has the same problem, older Americans on Social Security exceed the number of individuals paying into the fund. The situations identified in this paragraph and the preceding ones have been approaching a point where difficult decisions need to be made by Congress now not in the future. Granted there are different approaches to resolve the funding situation for entitlement programs but it is clear the time for decision is now not later. It is beyond doubt that the programs cannot continue to exist under the current path they are on and changes need to be made. The question becomes what changes need to be made to make them solvent for today’s and future generations.
I did some research as to what have been called entitlement programs in the past as late as 2011. Many on the list that I reviewed which total conservatively over 1,500 based on the definition are not entitlement programs. Granted there are probably some programs that warrant the funding which has been provided in the past but not as an entitlement program.
The economy today is making the funding issue worse as there are many individuals who are out of work and therefore not paying into accounts funding entitlement programs. Another point to make is with the unemployment rate as it is more people receive funds from entitlement programs for various needs one of which is unemployment. While creating jobs will positively impact some funding issues it will not solve them.
We are a country that takes care of our own when they are in need and we should continue to do so. One of the things which needs to occur in relation to funding issues for various entitlement programs is the criteria individuals must meet to receive specific funds from the government. It is well known but not necessarily reported that some individuals receive funds for which they do not meet the criteria for them. Other examples identify that individuals meet the criteria but the criteria is so loose that you could drive a truck through it. This does not imply that all entitlement programs are in this situation. It is also well-known that there continues to be fraud in relation to some government funded programs and these instances need to be addressed and the individuals who are involved with fraudulent activities should be punished.
Entitlement programs are important to many Americans and in some cases it is the only income they have or at least a major portion of their income level. Those who receive funds they have no right to keep the funds from those who really need it. Another well-known fact is government run programs are in many cases not well managed exhibited through examples of funds which have disappeared in various government departments and agencies. When these type of issues surface little to no explanation is provided to Congress.
The primary entitlement programs which individuals are most concerned about are Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. These programs affect every American whether they partake of these programs or not. The lack of funds for these and other valid entitlement programs must be addressed. Government cannot provide the funds or should for all the entitlement programs currently on the books. What must occur is an evaluation of entitlement and other programs to determine their valid need and the funds necessary to keep them solvent. The current election in November will have a direct impact on entitlement programs as we know them today.
We know that there is no way that programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security must be put on a path to solvency through appropriate funding decisions. Funds allocated to these programs must come from other areas of government operations. The question which must be answered by Congress in the current session and future is where the make the cuts to place valid entitlement programs on a solid financial foundation. It will not be easy/