That is not what the Wall Street Journal was saying. Here is the original Wall Street Journal article.
What they are saying is that the $7 Trillion number was simply the annual accrued expense for 2011 for those two programs, Social Security and Medicare combined.
This is what the Wall Street Journal said about the actual cost of these programs:
The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP.
This is why the Wall Street Journal was saying that the real annual deficit is more than 5x what is being openly promoted to the public as the actual deficit.
This is what the Wall Street Journal said about the $7 Trillion figure:
For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion.
That was the annual accrued expense of those two programs only for 2011. Now, lets look at what the definition is of an ‘accrued expense’.
ACCRUED EXPENSES (ACCRUED LIABILITIES)
Accrued expenses are expenses that have been incurred, but not yet paid for.
To put it another way, an accrued expense is paid after being recorded on
the books. Every adjusting entry for accrued expenses debits an expense
account, increasing expenses on the income statement and reducing net
income, and credits a payable account, increasing liabilities on the balance