Barney Frank Questions the Questions at NPR.
Q: The biggest part of the federal budget is entitlements… FRANK answer: No, wrong. I’m sorry. The Defense budget is bigger than Medicare, and Social Security is, in fact, self-financing, still is.
INSKEEP: Congressman, if I can, we’ve just got a few seconds. You have mentioned defense spending. You’ve mentioned tax increases. Those are two areas of disagreement. The biggest part of the federal budget is entitlements…
FRANK: No, wrong. I’m sorry. The Defense budget is bigger than Medicare, and Social Security is, in fact, self-financing, still is.
INSKEEP: Let’s stipulate for this conversation: a very, very, very, very, very big part of the budget is entitlements. Democrats are seen as resisting cuts. Is your side–in a couple of seconds–going to appoint people to the special committee who are ready to make a deal?
FRANK: I am not going to tell an 80-year-old woman living on $19,000 a year that she gets no cost-of-living, or that a man who has been doing physical labor all his life and is now at a 67-year-old retirement–which is where Social Security will be soon–that he has to work four or five more years.
But I disagree with you that in terms of draining on the budget, Social Security is largely as self-financed…
FRANK: …and the military budget is larger than Medicare. So demonizing entitlements and saying that–in fact, here’s the deal…
INSKEEP: Congressman, I really have to cut you off there. But I do…
FRANK: Well, I wish you wouldn’t ask these complicated questions with five seconds to go.
INSKEEP: We’ll come back and bring you back for more. Always a pleasure to talk with you.
From Reddit comments:
Medicare FY2010: $458 Bn. http://dhhs.gov/asfr/ob/docbudget/2010budgetinbriefl.html
Defense FY2010: $633.8 Bn
Social Security is self-financing social insurance, not a government outlay.
Frank said: Defense is bigger than Medicare. True. He also said Social Security is self-financing. Also true.
Now, if he’d said Medicare AND Medicaid are less than Defense, that would not be true.
EDIT: Defense Budget FY2010 link: http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=12652