During last month’s bizarrely partisan ambush of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis), President Hosni Obama (D-Chi) said the Republican budget plan would “end Medicare as we know it.” Since then, Democrats have been demagoging seniors, blatantly lying, and jeopardizing national security, in a naked bid to reclaim control of the House of Representatives.
Obviously Ryan’s plan, which isn’t scheduled to begin for ten years, won’t force current retirees to face a bleak future bereft of nice young doctors who’ll sit down and talk with them about their neuralgia, fibrositis, or their inability to sustain an erection for more than four hours. It may be obvious, but it doesn’t play as impressively as “Republicans want to force seniors to die painful, protracted deaths in order to continue financing their tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”
What the President didn’t tell us during his hatchet job on Ryan is regardless whether we adopt Ryan’s reform, Obama’s IPAB scheme, or somebody else’s plan, in ten years Medicare as we know it will come to an end. The only question remaining is whether Obama understands this and is lying about it, or whether he doesn’t understand this, and is blithely skipping down the path of the Big Government Tooth Fairy.
Medicare as we know it has a $30 trillion unfunded liability. Medicare, and its companion Ponzi Scheme, Social Security, cannot be sustained under any sense of economics. When the President and his band of hacks talk about funding these “entitlements” by raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” they are playing an ugly populist game, resorting to class warfare to obscure the fact that “millionaires and billionaires” couldn’t fund Medicare and Social Security even if their income were taxed at 100%. They couldn’t fund the programs even if their assets were subject to confiscatory taxes.
By all honest accounts, in twenty years, in order to continue to provide Medicare and Social Security “as we know it,” it will be necessary to tax all wage earners at the rate of 60 - 70%. This is just to fund Medicare and Social Security, It doesn’t include money for the defense department, for SEC Investigators’ internet porn accounts, air traffic controller’s Nyquil, or TSA gropers’ rubber gloves.
It is a mystery why people in their 20's and 30's aren’t up in arms over this blatant theft of their future. The unbelievable thing is virtually all of them realize what is happening. The know Social Security is a joke, that there is no hope of them ever receiving a dime of benefits. They know this, but they don’t choose to hold their elected representatives’s feet to the fire. It’s as if there is some disconnect between the world and their place in it.
The fact is, anybody under the age of 50 should be outraged. We should be witnessing our own “Arab Spring” in Washington, with hundreds of thousands of people calling for the ouster and imprisonment of the men and women who have been shamelessly looting the national pension plan for decades. If they were in business instead of politics, they would be in jail.
There is still time, only just, to make a difference, to begin necessary reforms, to begin means testing Medicare and Social Security benefits. To begin making good on the social compact and to preserve the framework for civil society. Obama had a chance to address “entitlements” with his first budget plan this year, but he punted. Most pundits nodded approvingly, noting that this placed the onus of raising the subject on the Republicans; it forced the Republicans to touch the “third rail.”
Ryan recognized the trap, but walked right into it, because it was the right, the necessary thing to do. He made his proposal, and thought it would be, at the very least, a starting point for serious, long overdue but adult conversations. Instead, he got a bitter, nasty, dishonest verbal beat down by hypocritical “uniter” in the White House. Now Democrats are running on lies, while continuing to refuse to pass a budgets (it has been more than 750 days since the Democrat-controlled Senate has pass a budget–a lapse unprecedented in our nation’s history).
Politics is a nasty business, but there must come a time, when a nation’s economic security hangs in the balance, that our leaders should act in the interest of their constituents. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case today. Democrats are playing to win the short term game, which is tantamount to telling young Americans, “You can go to hell.”
After losing the special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District, Republicans are starting to ease back from the budget plan they had already approved. Having once again been given the trust of the American people, they are on the verge of once again proving they don’t deserve it. They need to understand that the mission the American people elected them to fulfill was not running for reelection. If Republicans fail this time, where are the people to turn? Surely not to the Democrats, who have proved themselves either incompetent or criminally venal, or possibly both. Perhaps it is time for social-media-savvy young Americans to form a new party. Perhaps it is time for them to begin to vote, to vote for hope and change, to vote for someone intent on keeping his promises, and not just to use the Oval Office as a cudgel with which to bludgeon the American dream.