Wednesday morning I tweeted this on the NY Rep. Race: Mediscare wrks as Dems take NY Rep House seat. Lesson: nvr put a plan fwd tht can b criticized. It wrked in 2008 and it works agn in 2011.
Here's the scoop on Social Security, Social Security Disability and Medicare.
In order, they run out of reserves on 2038, 2018 and 2024. Currently, they are paying out more than they take in and to cover the shortfall they drain their excess reserves. Let's say they are overspending by around 20%. This means that on those dates, the funds can only pay out what they take in from current taxes. This means they have to cut payments or services by 20%. This is Rep. Ryan's point on entitlements: you have to change the structure now or by law, the benefits will be cut anyway on those dates.
I'm not sure what the current Democratic strategy/plan for entitlements is as they have not yet put out a plan to deal with the issue. The cynical crowd says their plan is to not put out a plan before the 2012 elections, hammer the Republicans in the House for voting for the Ryan plan (Mediscare tactics) and then adapt some form of the Ryan plan after the election. This is analogous to what happened in the 2008 election when McCain provided specifics on taxing benefit plans, got hammered on it by Obama, and then Obama used it as part of his Obamacare program.