Social Security Disability and the future
I can't recall where I read this information (I came across it about a week ago); however, the subject of the article was the federal government's possible future approach to dealing with its obligations.
Of course, this meant tax increases and spending cuts, which seems logical to most people, though not necessarily to all, particularly those who are of the mindset that America, simply because it is America, can simply go on spending beyond its means because, inevitably, the destiny implicit in the nation's perceived birthright will lead a way out of the mess that's been built up on several decades. That seemed to be the mindset of past republican administrations who saw no need for federal regulation in the banking and finance industries, and likewise little need for environmental and health regulation. I doubt today, though, that very few people believe you don't have to, at some point, just pay the check.
What was interesting about the article was that the idea balloons being floated indicated that medicare, medicaid, and social security (and with that comes social security disability) would be spared from much of the chopping block while certain other things would be pared, such as defense spending. Any talk about cuts in defense spending tends to get a rise out of some people, but "defense spending" is not simply money allocated to national defense in the strictest sense. Much of it, according to a recent NPR chart, is allocated directly to the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the personnel costs of active duty military, and the cost of veterans benefits. All of those, by the way, exceed the cost of servicing the debt of the United States, which is, by any way you look at it, utterly huge.
Other balloons that were floated had to do with raising taxes on top earners above 250k and with getting rid of the fica limit for those who make more than 106k per year.
So what's the point of this post? To debate the article? No. But the article struck a chord with me for this reason: it may be politically unlikely for any current or successive administration, or congress, to really go after medicare and social security, particularly since these individuals tend to...vote. It's unlikely that taxes on the wealthy will begin a continuous cycle of rising year after year, or that the defense budget will be reanalyzed for its sanity you say? Yes, those things would ordinarily be considered unlikely as well. However, it may well come down to which things have the most clout politically in terms of feet on the ground (voters) and how bad the projections will be the country if some re-balancing is not done. And, personally, I would think that, eventually, if you put all these items into a cage-match, the ones that come out the winners will be social security and medicare. Simply because the country is graying, and older people vote.
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