So they did some projections and found that if they keep stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for planes that the Defense Department doesn’t want at the current pace, it will be "exhausted" four years earlier than projected — in 2037.
In honor of this remarkable event where the government suddenly cares about paying for something with money it won’t have thirty years from now, because after all the security of old people is not as critical as the security of the banking system, Secretary Geithner releases a statement:
"Despite projections that Social Security can continue to pay full benefits for nearly 30 years, the sooner action is taken the more options for reform will be available and the fairer reforms will be to our children and grandchildren.
"To ensure that these critical programs are there for future generations, the President and his Administration are taking the following steps.
"First, we are intently focused on bringing the current economic and financial crisis to an end and getting on with recovery. The return of robust growth will help solve some–but by no means all–of the financial problems of Social Security and Medicare.
"Second, we are reforming the health care system to get costs under control and improve quality, which will strengthen the Medicare program and improve the long-term fiscal position of the U.S. government. Just yesterday, the President worked with major health care providers to secure a commitment to reduce costs of care by more than $2 trillion dollars. These voluntary efforts will complement the President’s efforts to enact comprehensive reform to assure quality and affordable health care for every American. The Administration is committed to working with Congress to find ways to control runaway growth in both public and private health care expenditures while ensuring that all Americans receive the high quality, affordable health care they deserve.
"Finally, after we have passed health care reform that puts our nation on a path to lower growth in health care costs and expanded affordable coverage, this President will work to build a bipartisan consensus to ensure the long-term solvency of Social Security. The President explicitly rejects the notion that Social Security is an untouchable politically and instead believes there is opportunity for a new consensus on Social Security reform.
Translated: Anyone who bought that ten-dimensional chess crap about the administration having no plans to cut Social Security benefits: psyche!
Despite getting shitcanned from his lofty keynote speaker perch at the Fiscal Responsibility Summit, it appears Pete Peterson still has quite a bit of influence on Timmeh:
GEITHNER: Of course, we are all fiscal hawks now because of Pete Peterson. (Laughter.) There are no doves left on the fiscal side. (Laughter.)
Was it Peterson or Bob Rubin who passed that bit of wisdom on to Timmeh during lunch at the Four Seasons?
Anyway, the upshot is that little old ladies get to eat cat food because Republicans have hated the New Deal since before they were born, and Pete Peterson doesn’t want to pay his taxes.
And now let us commence another round of "kiss the hem of Peter Orszag’s gown."
(image h/t Yglesias)