A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 18, 2011
Big Three (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security)

The “Big Three” entitlement items in the federal budget of the United States are Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Many political observers believe that the “Big Three” must be cut to balance the budget, but that cuts to the “Big Three” are political suicide for a politician.

The term “Big Three” has been cited in print since at least February 15, 1992, but became more frequently used in the 2000s as the federal budget deficit became a popular issue.


Wikipedia: Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. The original Social Security Act (1935) and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs. The larger and better known programs are:

. Federal Old-Age (Retirement), Survivors, and Disability Insurance
. Unemployment benefits
. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
. Health Insurance for Aged and Disabled (Medicare)
. Grants to States for Medical Assistance Programs (Medicaid)
. State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Wikipedia: Medicare (United States)
Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the United States government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria. Medicare operates similarly to a single-payer health care system.

The program also funds residency training programs for the vast majority of physicians in the United States.

The Social Security Act of 1965 was signed into law on July 30, 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson as amendments to existing Social Security legislation. At the bill-signing ceremony, Johnson enrolled former President Harry S. Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card, and Truman’s wife Bess, the second.

Wikipedia: Medicaid
Medicaid is the United States health program for people and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and is managed by the states. Among the groups of people served by Medicaid are certain U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including low-income adults and their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the United States.

15 February 1992, Chicago (IL) Tribune, Perspective, pg. 21:
But the vast bulk goes for the Big Three entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.
(From the Raleigh, NC, News & Observer—ed.)

USA Today
11 August 1993, USA Today, “Call Congress’ bluff on cuts” by Carol Cox Wait and Susan Tanaka, pg. 11A: 
You cannot cut federal spending without cutting entitlement spending. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are the “Big Three” entitlements in the budget. You cannot slow the rate of growth in entitlements without touching all three.

Google Groups: sci.econ
Newsgroups: talk.politics.theory, sci.econ, alt.politics.reform, alt.politics.economics
From: (Gary Strand)
Date: 24 Mar 1995 16:09:19 GMT
Local: Fri, Mar 24 1995 11:09 am
Subject: Re: Balanced Budget Amendment and Social Security

Figures that you’d see it as a partisan issue. Democrats have more than a little blood on their hands. Besides, the big three entitlement programs, SS, Medicare, and Medicaid, will do far more damage to the government’s finances and the national economy than the 1980s DoD buildup did.

Google Books
After the Boom:
The politics of Generation X

By Stephen C. Craig and Stephen Earl Bennett
Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
1997
Pg. 133:
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up the “big three” of entitlement programs (adding up to 40.5 percent of all federal spending), but they hardly exhaust the list.

Google Books
The Twilight of American Culture
By Morris Berman
New York, NY: Norton
2000
Pg. 31:
The “big three” entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — will grow rapidly burdensome because the costs are directly linked to an aging population.

Google Books
Long-Term Care:
Your Financial Planning Guide

By Phyllis R. Shelton
New York, NY : Kensington Books
2003
Pg. 19:
We are already spending 44 percent of total federal revenue for net interest but primarily for the “Big Three” entitlements - Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - and if we do nothing, the US Comptroller General predicts it will be nearly 75% by 2030, and that’s without a new prescription drug program under Medicare!

Google Books
Forgive Us Our Debts:
The intergenerational dangers of fiscal irresponsibility

By Andrew L. Yarrow
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2008
Pg. 21:
THE BIG THREE
This brings us back to spending, but the big three entitlements— Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—are in a class of their own.

The Atlantic
The Spending Obama Should Freeze
By Max Fisher Jan 26, 2010
(...)
. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security National Review’s James Capretta runs in the opposite direction of health care reform. He decries “doesn’t apply to entitlement spending, which is set to bankrupt the federal government in coming years.” The most well-known programs are medicare, medicaid, and social security, which Capretta calls “the big three.” Without cutting these, Obama will be “doing nothing, or very little of consequence.”

Chicago (IL) Tribune
Obama’s Social Security snow job
March 14, 2011
By Charles Krauthammer
WASHINGTON — Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — Social Security is the most solvable.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, April 18, 2011 • Permalink