Government trustees report this week reveal that Social Security and Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected. Medicare is looking at a shortage beginning 2024 but Social Security for Disabled (SSI) will be out of funds just around the corner in 2016. All agree that by 2030 there will only be enough money to cover 75% of the need.
The closer Baby Boomers get to retirement age the more worrisome these gloom and doom headlines become. For the most part we pay into these retirement programs with the expectation they will be there to supplement our future needs. We should be taking note. Something has to be done. And now.
Last year Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented a plan to reduce the debt and continue retirement programs well into the future. You recall, he was greeted with a barrage of criticism from the left and seniors were given the impression that they would suffer severely. (Remember, throw Granny off a cliff?) Nothing ended up being done by Congress last year except to further kick the can down the road. This year Ryan again has presented a budget and appears better prepared to argue his plan.
Many will argue that this “Path to Prosperity: Saving Medicare” has faults. Many will argue that there are other solutions. Others assure us that removing the FICA cap (which would be a cost increase for those making over $106,800) should be a large part of the solution. There are questions how moving funding from federal to state governments will affect low income Medicaid recipients. Additionally, there is discussion whether the new Affordable Health Care law is funded in part through cuts to the Medicare budget.
All the above are good questions. The type that should be debated and compromised on in open meetings in Congress. And yet… there is no plan from the Obama administration. In fact, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reacted to the funding shortfall, not by offering an answer or compromise, but instead to further criticizing the Ryan Plan. As a reminder, it is over three years since the Democratic controlled Senate has even produced a budget.
There appears no attempt to find a resolution. It’s hard not to agree with Stuart Varney on this issue. The government says: We don’t like your plan. We don’t have a plan but we know we don’t like yours. Is it any wonder people are looking for a change in administration?