Most people agree that government spending must be reduced, but few elected officials—Democrats or Republicans—are willing to admit the hard truth about cutting the budget. Democrats want to cut the budget on the back of the military. Republicans—with a few excellent exceptions—either avoid the issue or go to great lengths to assure people collecting government entitlements that any solutions proposed will contain grandfather clauses that protect them.
The hard truth that all Americans and their elected officials are going to have to face—and sooner rather than later—is that any effort to reduce the budget and the national debt is going to have to include reductions in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid/CHIP. In August 2011, President Obama talked about recommending “modest adjustments” to Medicare. Modest adjustments? Making modest adjustments to Medicare is like handing a teaspoon to the captain of the Titanic. Just tweaking social spending will not save America’s economy.
No nation can substantially reduce its budget without reducing the big ticket items in it. The biggest big ticket items in America’s budget—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—must be tackled head-on to make a difference. Slowly but purposefully transforming Medicare by adopting alternatives such as the premium support plan offered by Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican is an absolute necessity. Raising the eligibility age for Social Security is another necessity. Elected officials on both sides of the isle understand the need to cut Social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, but few have the moral courage to admit it.
What America needs at this critical juncture in its history is a presidential candidate who will make getting a grip on government spending the defining plank in his or her campaign platform. That candidate must be willing to look voters in the eye and tell them the debt problem cannot be solved without making intelligent cuts to the three most expensive federal programs: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid/CHIP. This candidate will have to be adept at setting the record straight when liberals use scare tactics to frighten the elderly and the poor into supporting programs that will eventually bankrupt the country. He or she will have to have the courage to tell Americans of all ages and stations that business as usual no longer works and that it will soon leave our country bankrupt and them with nothing.