I wrote an extra column for Arkansas News Bureau Sunday. Jason Tolbert, who usually has that space, is busy with his day job as a CPA and needed a break. My column praised Mark Pryor for telling the Little Rock Rotary Club that something has to be done about Social Security and Medicare. Here it is.
It takes political courage to mention Social Security and Medicare because the issue is so easily demagogued and misunderstood. Two readers emailed me: one accusing me of wanting to “get rid” of Social Security, the other from a senior citizen who (correctly) pointed out that he has paid payroll taxes all of his life and (incorrectly) that other areas, such as congressional salaries, are where the real cuts need to be made. That’s pennies. You have to cut Social Security and Medicare – not for current recipients, but for future ones like me – because that is where the money is. According to the Debt Commission, ALL projected tax revenues will cover only Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the national debt by 2025.
That means you have to cut everything else completely, including national defense and highway construction, in order to balance the budget. Or we could raise taxes far higher than they are now. Or we could just keep borrowing from China until it takes us over.
The other choice is to have a mature conversation about Social Security and Medicare and then come up with a responsible plan.