Saturday, November 08, 2008

No one ever told me

Okay people, if you never read another word I write, please pay attention to this.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are heading for economic collapse, and they will take America along for the ride.

That isn't meant to unduly scare you or sensationalize a situation, it is not a Republican fact or a Democrat fact, it is just a fact.

If you are thinking, so what; if they go broke the government will bail them out just like they did the banks, you don't understand the fundamental problem. Think of the current 700 billion bailout as a one time infusion of cash to get the economy back on its feet. The problem with the looming entitlement crisis is a long term one. These programs are growing so fast, as the boomer generation comes into its retirement years that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will soon outspend their revenues. They will need more money and the government will have to cut spending on other programs or raise taxes to keep up with the costs. Not just once, but each year they will have to cut something or raise taxes, every year. After a decade, there will be nothing left to cut and no one left to tax.

At first it will only be a billion here and a billion there, but if you are in your late 30's or 40's, by the time you retire, the current tax rates across the board will have to be doubled to keep up with the spending for these programs.

Think of it as your household budget. If you have an adjustable rate loan payment that increases every year, with this increased burden you either cut your spending on other things, or get a second job, and then a third job to increase your income. This certainly not the time to buy a new Lexus or take the kids on vacation to Hawaii. The time to act is not when you have have maxed out all your credit cards to keep living in manner that got you into the mess, the time to act is a soon as you see crisis coming. That time is now.

President elect Obama has a golden opportunity to act now, to lead, to show that sometimes you have to endure a little pain in the short term to avert a long term crisis that threatens our very viability as a nation. Will the Democrats walk the walk? They have certainly talked a great deal about fixing Social Security. I am not optimistic. I see Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid rubbing their hands together figuring out new entitlement programs to spend even more of our tax money on. Oh you can be sure they will raise taxes, but they will spend every penny and then spend even more. That is what they do, that is who they are.

The greatest danger in acquiring power is the fact you are accountable. You cannot stand on the sidelines and point fingers, you have to lead. No more blaming Bush and the Republicans, although they will for a year or two. In 2010 this will be Obama's economy, a Democrat economy. They will have been in charge of Congress for 4 years and have held the White House for 2. They will not be able to hide behind 'W' any longer.

So who will finally take on the AARP, the Labor Unions, the Defense industry and every other lobbying interest that feeds at the government trough? I am waiting for a new breed of Republican to step forward. A Republican with the courage to tell America the Federal government is not Santa Clause. That government is too big and controls too much of our lives. A Republican who is not afraid to tell us that we need to get back to fiscal conservatism. I really like a young Republican I saw on election night, Paul Ryan. I would love to see a young Republican like Ryan lead the GOP back its principles.

We need to cut spending on everything. Nothing is sacred. If the old guard Republicans complain about cutting certain Pentagon projects in their districts, let them. When the Democrats howl over cutting back on social programs and putting the bloated government bureaucracies on a diet, let them. We need to get our financial house in order now, we will need to have a game plan in place when the boomers hit the system will full force. We will need a track record of setting priorities and cutting waste when the boomers get in their 80s and head into long term, full-time care. Getting an SSI check is one thing, getting an SSI check and sending the taxpayers the bill for the nursing home is quite another. These bills will simply overwhelm us.

When the entitlement crisis 'sneaks up' on America in a few years, people will say, no one ever told me. Well folks, I just did.

P.S. - Barack Obama has been President elect for three days now and I have yet to find a Unicorn in my garage. What's the deal?

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