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article imagePawlenty: Obama 'irresponsible and reckless' on financial crisis

By Michael Krebs     May 16, 2011 in Politics
After a new annual report was issued that demonstrated a more urgent need for Social Security and Medicare reform, Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty urged the White House to act.
The annual report on the financial status of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds was released last week by the trustees of the fund, and as the Washington Post reported, the figures pointed to grim conclusions for both entitlement programs.
The Medicare fund is now projected to be exhausted by 2024, and with the Social Security fund expected to make it to 2036.
Citing a sluggish economic recovery, the revised figures present a new urgency for congressional lawmakers and the White House to take action.
Republican presidential candidate and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty used the report's findings as an opportunity to remind American voters of President Obama's "irresponsible and reckless" inaction with regard to the financial threats facing the nation.
"Today's report brings new urgency to the need to reform out-of-control entitlement programs," Pawlenty said, in a statement released on his web site on Friday. "The truth is that Social Security and Medicare are on a pathway to insolvency and Washington must act now. President Obama's refusal to address this fiscal crisis is irresponsible and reckless. We know what we have to do to save these programs -- we just need leaders with the courage to tell the truth and make tough decisions."
Pawlenty, who trails among Republican candidates in early polls, retains appeal among wealthy donors, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. And his message of entitlement reform is likely to attract more of this strategically important base.
Pawlenty's comments will likely also appeal to Tea Party Conservatives who are tethered to the questions of taxes, spending and large government.
The entitlement reform issue is at the center of the US debt ceiling debate, as congressional Republicans do not want to raise the nation's debt ceiling without commitment to meaningful spending cuts.
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