Unfunded liabilities for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will amount to $50 trillion over the next 75 years, Comptroller General David Walker said in an appearance on the "Fiscal Wakeup Tour," which includes Walker and an "eclectic group of think-tankers" who are "criss-crossing early primary states to sound alarms about rising health care costs and retiring baby boomers," the St. Petersburg Times reports. The group -- which also includes Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition, Alison Fraser of the Heritage Foundation and Jason Furman of the Brookings Institution -- appeared at a forum on Wednesday at the University of South Florida by the invitation of Sen. Mel Martinez (R).

Walker said, "If we don't get our act together, my generation will be the first generation in our nation's history not to discharge our stewardship to the next generation." Panel members disagree on specific solutions, although all believe that "putting Social Security on sound footing" will be easier than bringing down the long-term costs of Medicare, the Times reports.

John Rother, policy director for AARP, said the panel was accurate in pointing out fiscal problems, but he cautioned against placing too much attention on the federal budget and neglecting the effort to reign in health care costs, the Times reports. "We are not getting good value for health care dollars compared to other countries," he said (Nohlgren, St. Petersburg Times, 5/31).

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