Today the federal government is looking at nearly $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities largely revolving around Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The government now issues more IOU’s that it could ever possibly pay.
The classic liberal answer is to soak the rich for more tax revenue. The classic conservative answer is to cut spending. But what if we enacted a simple first-step compromise on entitlements that theoretically combines the two ideologies? I believe we could get the ball rolling on real reform.
Means-tested benefits for Medicare and Social Security would not significantly impact the overall budget, however, it would remove America’s wealthiest from the government dole and begin the process of shifting these programs back to ones of assistance from ones of entitlement.
There’s no doubt we live in a wealthy country, and there should always be safety nets for those Americans who cannot help themselves including children, the disabled, and the elderly. But the taxes required to subsidize all Americans in the liberal utopia of universality are too onerous and would subject us to a managed decline, ultimately ushering in a slow-growth European-like economy and moving us even closer to the tipping point where the majority of Americans become dependent upon government for their subsistence.
A frustration among conservatives is that entitlements have become social welfare for the middle class that consumes a larger share of government spending every year. Means-testing is the first step in refocusing these programs as safety nets protecting actual need, thus releasing them from the liberal grips of universality.