U.S. must address two programs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

Where is E.F. Hutton when we need him? Years ago the investment conglomerate became a household name due an ingenious marketing plan centered on the phrase, &8220;When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.&8221;

Generally, the phrase followed someone saying, &8220;Well, my broker is E.F. Hutton, and E.F. Hutton says &8230;&8221; A sudden quiet would fall over the room and the narrative would say in a booming voice, &8220;When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.&8221;

Eventually, due to a number of shady deals and money laundering charges, the brokerage house disintegrated.

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But wouldn&8217;t it be great if someone with a brain really had the power to harness lots of people&8217;s attention?

Case in point: Last week rookie Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Social Security and Medicare need to be revamped before the soon-to-be retiring Baby Boomers strain the U.S. economy.

But few people took note.

Here&8217;s the guy who heads the Federal Reserve issuing a pretty stern warning that the sky is falling.

&8220;The fiscal consequences of these trends are large and unavoidable,&8221; he said, referring to the ever-increasing amount of government spending required to cover Social Security and Medicare.

By 2050, Bernanke predicts more than 15 percent of all government spending will go to those two programs.

That&8217;s a staggering amount.

If we don&8217;t do something soon, if no one listens to the warnings of Bernanke and others, our government may wind up just like E.F. Hutton &8212; busted and out of business.