The American public, fresh off of trading one set of corrupt, incompetent politicians for a new one, is still not ready to hear the sobering truth about the future of this country: if we do not significantly reduce or eliminate entitlement spending, the government will become insolvent to the point of crippling the economy.
Many a politicians have made a living making promises with other people’s money, often the money of a future generation. In the process, the federal government is currently running a deficit so large that we would be kicked out of the European Union. Often referred to as the third rail of politics, Social Security and Medicaid are the worst offenders of this. If this country is ever going to be economically strong or free, we need to eliminate Social Security and Medicare.
While I, a 20 year old college student, would be ok with eliminating benefits overnight, to do so would be to unleash the world’s largest death panel upon the elderly, and would be devastating for the old people who rely upon them, and the televangelists who prey on the old.
They have spent their whole life planning for their retirement under the assumption that they would get a substantial check every month. Ideally, we would hold those responsible (the politicians who created and perpetuated this scheme), but with 38 million people over the age of 65 receiving an average of $1164 a month, FDR’s ancestors would have to sell a lot of commemorative wheelchairs to cover that bill. The first thing we have to do is stop making new promises to people. Young people know that the odds of them seeing Social Security last until their 65th birthday are slimmer than Vanderbilt winning the SEC Championship Game, so lets not keep up the illusion and tell everyone under forty that they won’t be getting any social security benefits. People between 40 and 65 would receive benefits on a sliding scale.
Medicare could also be phased out. While expensive, this would decrease our total spending obligations over time, which is what this country needs to do. Would this be painful? Yes, but quitting a bad habit cold turkey always is. Raising taxes to try to cover shortfalls is like waking up with a hangover and drinking a Four Loko (while you still can) when you need a glass of water and a nap.
The long term benefits of eliminating these program are obvious. As people have to provide for their own retirements, the national household savings percentage could actually creep into the black. People would keep more of their money in each paycheck, incentivizing an increase in productivity.