Home Daily Blitz Editorial: Who Cares about Entitlements?

Editorial: Who Cares about Entitlements?


The following is an excerpt from Weeklystandard.com | June 7, 2018 |

Well all will—in about eight years.

On June 5, Medicare’s trustees published a report warning that the health insurance program will be unable to pay scheduled benefits, not in 2029 as previous thought, but in 2026. The same report maintained the previous year’s estimate that Social Security will become insolvent by 2034. These two programs, Medicare and Social Security, together with their correlative for low-income Americans, Medicaid, are far and away the largest recipients of public money in the federal budget. They bear overwhelming responsibility for the federal government’s $20 trillion debt and nearly $700 billion yearly deficit.

But who cares?

We ask the question literally. Who actually cares? Left unchecked, these programs will swallow the federal budget and require dramatic tax increases to sustain them, leading in turn to permanent economic lethargy. But almost no one cares. For elected officials in Washington, the problem is never sufficiently urgent actually to do anything about it, and in any case, the assumption holds that tampering with benefits is a pretty certain way to lose your next election. For Americans outside Washington, the problem is too abstruse and too complicated to get exercised about. If no one was alarmed by the prospect of an insolvent Medicare in 2029, no one will care about its insolvency in 2026.

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