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Tuesday, March 08, 2011

US Deficit Panel Official: Congress Must Tackle All Entitlements

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--Any move by Congress to overhaul the Social Security program without addressing the shortfalls in the other entitlement programs wouldn't come close to resolving the fiscal crisis the U.S. is facing, the co-chairman of a White House deficit commission said Tuesday.

Erskine Bowles, who was White House chief of staff during the Clinton presidency, told a Senate panel that moving forward with changes to Social Security without also tackling Medicare and Medicaid wouldn't make any sense.

"If we only do Social Security, we don't come close to solving the problem," Bowles said in testimony before the Senate Budget Committee.

Bowles, along with former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson (R., Wyo.), led a commission established last year by the White House to compile recommendations to deal with the potential fiscal time bomb the federal government is confronted with.

He told lawmakers on the panel that addressing just Social Security would be akin to only dealing with discretionary spending by the federal government.

"If you got rid of all discretionary spending, you would still have a $1 trillion deficit this year," said Bowles.

-Corey Boles, Dow Jones Newswires

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