Daschle Says Bush Tax Cut 'Raided Billions' From Entitlement Programs

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) says by giving taxpayers more of their money back - the Bush administration has "raided billions" of dollars from Social Security and Medicare.

"It's ironic that while the administration is feigning concern about the outlook of Social Security and Medicare tomorrow, it has raided billions from those programs to pay for tax cuts for millionaires today," Daschle said in a statement.

Daschle was commenting on a Medicare trustees' report, released Tuesday, which said Medicare's finances have "taken a major turn for the worse."

The report said Medicare will have to dip into its hospital trust fund later this year just to cover expenses. That hospital trust fund, the trustees said, will run out of money in 2019 - seven years earlier than they predicted last year.

Daschle pounced on the trustees' report, accusing the Bush administration of deliberately trying to damage Medicare in the effort to privatize it.

"Medicare has lost 13 years of solvency since George Bush took office, in part because of this Administration's mismanagement of the economy and their deceptive prescription drug bill, which gives tens of billions of dollars in bonuses to HMOs and insurance companies," Daschle complained in a statement.

"Rather than addressing Medicare's long-term funding challenges, the Bush administration opted for tax breaks that cost as much as the total needed to keep both Medicare and Social Security solvent for 75 years," he said.

Daschle argues that privatizing Medicare will cost money, not save money.

"The Bush Administration should stop misleading people and stop exploiting the challenges facing Medicare to advance its privatization agenda," he concluded.

Daschle is among the lawmakers who want Congress to re-consider the Medicare overhaul bill it passed last year.

E-mail a news tip to David Thibault.