Responding to this week's release of the Congressional Budget Office's 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook report, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker reiterated their longtime calls for reforming national entitlement programs.
The nonpartisan report projects that though U.S. deficits are likely to shrink in the next few years, costs are expected to balloon in decades to come. The primary driver to the increase is anticipated withdrawals by baby boomers from programs including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The report also states that "between 2009 and 2012, the federal government recorded the largest budget deficits relative to the size of the economy since 1946, causing federal debt to soar." Publicly held federal debt is now at roughly 73 percent of U.S. annual gross domestic product.
In a news release, Alexander and Corker said if reforms to the programs did not occur, future generations would be left on the hook. They also emphasized a recent bill introduced by the senators that would aim to reduce U.S. entitlement spending by $1 trillion over 10 years.
"Runaway entitlement spending is going to leave young Americans forever known as the debt-paying generation if Congress and President Obama don't fix the problem with a plan like the Fiscal Sustainability Act," Alexander said. "We'll have watched America pass from the hands of the 'greatest generation' to the 'debt-paying generation' with nothing to show for it but the bill."
Corker said the report "once again" validated the current entitlement structure as unsustainable.
"As CBO notes, the typical Medicare beneficiary today receives about $200,000 more in benefits over their lifetime than they have paid into the Medicare system," Corker said. "Fixing this imbalance and others in Medicare and Social Security so they are strong and solvent, as Sen. Alexander and I propose in the Fiscal Sustainability Act, is the only way to put our country on a sound fiscal path that will allow for continued growth and prosperity."
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