Free Markets, Free People

Charles Blahous

Quote of the day–Social Security edition

It comes from Charles Blahous, one of the two private trustees for Social Security and Medicare explaining what has to be done for SS to “save” it in light of the release of the recommendations from the co-chairs:

Bottom line: You’re either for changes to the benefit formula, or you’re for big tax increases on the next generation. If you oppose benefit formula changes on the grounds that they are “cuts,” then you are for big tax increases. Period.

There it is.  While all this “outrage” and declarations of the panel’s recommendation being “unacceptable” circulate and build, the “bottom line” doesn’t change.  Blahous provides all the facts necessary to understand his statement.

Also keep in mind, as you see this discussed, that when the word “cuts” is used, it refers to not spending as much as projected, not necessarily actually cutting current spending.

While it is obvious that spending in defense and other discretionary spending is necessary, it is also just as obvious that the the major area of cuts has to come on the non-discretionary side.  The reluctance of politicians to address that notwithstanding, there isn’t a more perfect time than now (and one that may not come again in a generation) to actually do something. 

There is no “middle ground” concerning Social Security.  Either benefits are changed to accommodate revenue or incoming revenue has to be drastically increased.  That decision isn’t one which can’t be ignored.  At some point one of those two things must happen.  Why we won’t face that point head on and do what is necessary remains the most asked question.

The answer, of course, is political will.  And the bottom line there is our politicians have none when it comes to making hard and unpopular decisions.