Do you remember where you were and what you were doing in 2005? Although much has transpired over the last 8 years, in many regards 2005 seems like just last week. As I think most would attest, if we think the last 8 years went by quickly, the next 8 will go by even quicker. Why is that such a concern?
For the very simple reason that if we do not prepare NOW, the future for our nation and ALL citizens of the United States will be decidedly more challenging. Why so? As the Financial Times addresses today,
It is the 2020s when the big spending will start. The baby boomers, into their 70s, will start getting sick; the Social Security retirement age will stabilise at 67 in 2022; and the CBO is unwilling to assume that certain controls on medical costs will stick for more than a decade. The revenue and spending paths will become irreconcilable. Debt will pile up – and quickly.
Not preparing for this “imminent” problem strikes me as the height of irresponsibility. Thinking that we might simply devalue the currency as a means of financial artifice, this “screwing the kids”, is equally disingenuous but regrettably all too common.
I would propose right now that if President Obama is adamant about generating increased revenue then he start the adult conversation by addressing means testing across all government entitlement programs. What should the means testing cutoff be? Sufficiently high enough so that nobody might believe that the individuals in question should be concerned about their future security.
I do not think that President Obama should be worried that this means testing will be a significant drag on Democratic Party prospects. At the margin, I would venture to guess that more Republicans than Democrats would be impacted. But the question should not be which groups are impacted more or less. The question is simply that our nation as a whole will be impacted. Future generations will be most negatively impacted if we choose not to address the deficit NOW!!
If President Obama wants to talk about fairness, nothing comes close to this topic of entitlement reform and addressing the deficit.
What do we need in order to address rather than ignore the deficit?