|Rep. Paul Ryan|
We expected President Obama to downplay the problem. He’s got a re-election campaign to win and the hugely unpopular entitlement cuts and tax increases that are going to be necessary to address the problem would be his doom if he proposed them. There were exactly two paragraphs in the president’s speech that dealt with this nations entitlement crisis – as if it should be treated as an afterthought rather than as the 3-alarm fire it is. What’s worse, the president made it seem as if fixing our entitlement problems will be a lot easier than it is surely going to be.
He claimed that Obamacare would “slow these rising costs” for Medicare – an extremely dubious claim unproven by the facts – while assuring seniors that we must “strengthen” Social Security without “putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”
Newsflash: All the easy fixes for our entitlement nightmare have already been tried several times. We’ve raised the retirement age, raised the eligibility age for Medicare, raised Social Security and Medicare taxes – doubling them over the last 30 years. We’ve fiddled, we’ve tweaked, we’ve performed all the dishonest accounting possible, hiding the truth from the American people for as long as we could, and yet – here we are at the gates of fiscal hell, the devil is opening the door and hells fire is the debt that is ever growing and there’s nowhere to run.
|Protection For the Elderly|
Cosmetic gambits like “spending freezes” and “doc fixes” can’t even begin to address the danger. This is political gamesmanship and it should anger us that the politicians know it but do it anyway. It’s not that the crisis is hidden, or has come upon us suddenly. We’ve known for decades where we were headed, but
• To summarize, we see that taxpayers are on the hook for Social Security and Medicare by these amounts: Social Security, 1.3% of GDP; Medicare part A, 2.8% of GDP; Medicare part B, 2.8% of GDP; and Medicare part D, 1.2% of GDP. This adds up to 8.1% of GDP. Thus federal income taxes for every taxpayer would have to rise by roughly 81% to pay all of the benefits promised by these programs under current law over and above the payroll tax.
Is it any wonder that President Obama or Rep. Ryan chose not to mention how serious the problem really is, and that addressing the crisis is going to be extraordinarily wrenching?
It took our politicians four score and five years to begin to address the evil of slavery. In truth,
We have spent a quarter of a century tinkering with Social Security and Medicare, stretching out the day of reckoning without addressing the fundamental math that underpins both programs: that someday, they would become unsustainable and drag us all to economic calamity.