THE question was actually asked in the Vice-Presidential debate: “Social Security is expected to run out of money in 18 years. What will (your) administration do to solve this problem?” Neither candidate had a good answer, but it was a great question. It is the biggest question that will impact the largest number of Americans if not answered with action. However for now, it’s still just a great question begging for a pragmatic answer.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are among government entitlements that are taking over the federal budget. Entitlements are established in law for ever and ever with no changes, except by an act of Congress with approval of the President. They are not re-written each year, they are entitlements until the law is changed. The law requires money be provided to these entitlements year after year after year.
That means there is less and less control by the President and Congress over the budget because there is less and less discretionary money to be spent, more available dollars are being spent, by law, on entitlements. From a fiscal responsibility perspective, this is likely the most important issue facing our nation, not only from a budget perspective but from a promise made and keeping that promise to the American people. This is the bigger issue in this election cycle and no one is talking about it!
The longer we don’t talk about this issue, the longer it goes unfixed. This means that the problem grows exponentially each and every day. That’s the concern of many that have the vision to think beyond the next election cycle. Our government has a responsibility to make the budget work including national defense, welfare, education and entitlements. I’m not suggesting cutting this or tax that; I’m advocating fixing the problem.
This isn’t a new problem. We’ve known about it for decades, but every time someone in the White House or Congress starts to talk about it, the other side starts fear mongering to senior citizens and nothing gets done. Social Security is known as the 3rd rail in politics, referring to the electrified third rail on many subway systems. After the November 8th election, the country needs to start a serious dialogue about this problem. In a pragmatic sort of way, if a reasonable solution is found, both sides of the political coin (which is not front and back, but rather right and left) can share credit and victory. Sadly, if nothing is done both sides deserve full blame.
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