From the November 2008 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

A $41 trillion whammy

After the $700 billion bailout in October, we're also painfully reminded about the $41 trillion from unfunded Social Security and Medicare costs.

Brian M. Riedl of the Heritage Foundation writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, "The mortgage meltdown is cheap compared with the coming fiscal firestorm fanned by unfunded Social Security and Medicare costs ... Together, these programs hold unfunded obligations totaling $41 trillion -- 60 times larger than the proposed Wall Street bailout. And even this understates the difference, because $41 trillion is the current net value of the unfunded obligations over 75 years. The actual cumulative yearly deficits these programs face over the next 75 years are several magnitudes larger than $41 trillion."

The tidal wave of retiring boomers is inevitable, Riedl points out, and like the bailout fiasco, the public will demand to know why Congress twiddled its thumbs while things got out of control.

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