(Page 2 of 2)
CBO estimates that under the rosiest of scenarios (which include highly unlikely cuts in reimbursement rates to Medicare providers), spending as a percentage of GDP on federal health care programs and Social Security will double between now and 2038. In fact, if current trends continue, spending on just Medicare and Social Security alone will account for half of all federal outlays by 2030.
Both Republicans and Democrats acknowledge as much. President Obama’s willingness to use a “chained CPI” in his budget to reduce growth in Social Security payments is one sign. So is the blunt language used by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. “We know [Medicare and Social Security] are important to tens of millions of Americans,” said Boehner, who also noted that the mass retirement of baby boomers will continue for another 22 years. “If we don’t address the underlying problems, they are not sustainable.”
In Obama’s and Boehner’s shared recognition that change must come, you can at least see the beginning of a debt-limit deal. But it’s going to be dirty. In fact, in an ideal world—one in which today’s young and those not yet born inherit a world of opportunities rather than one littered by their elder’s IOUs—it will be positively filthy.
This article ran at The Daily Beast on October 9, 2013. Read the original here.