It’s the Entitlements, stupid!
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interesting bit of information online this morning. In summary, it appears as though self-identified “tea party” folks are generally disinterested in making significant cuts to Entitlements.
And while I could write volumes about how the “tea party” is less of a policy-based movement and more of an emotional reaction to the concept of “big government,” I’ll focus my efforts on this post to Entitlements, which will be the downfall of our nation.
And I’ll start with this: I don’t want my Social Security. Uncle Sam, you can keep the payments I’ve already given you over the course of the last eight years. I don’t want them back. In fact, I’ll even let you continue take 10% of what I’m currently paying into Social Security as my part to keep funding this monstrosity for the legions of Baby Boomers who are retiring in the next twenty years. (And that 10% is negotiable.)
Can I just opt out, please?
I, for one, am glad Republicans are looking through the budget and cutting things. But these cuts are miniscule when compared to the actual size of the entire federal budget. Need a visualization? This path is unsustainable. For those of you who like charts, the Heritage Foundation has a lot of pretty ones. In the 2010 fiscal year, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security made up over 40% of the total federal budget.
Americans need tough love if we want to come out of this looming fiscal catastrophe on any semblance of sound footing. Obama’s “Deficit Commission” proposed raising the retirement age for Social Security… very slowly. The average life expectancy in the United States in 1935 when Social Security was established hovered at about 62 years of age. Today’s life expectancy is about 78 years of age, which adds 16 years of Social Security payments to the average retiree.
Immediately, Congress should raise the retirement age of Americans under the age of 18 or 21 to 78 and tie Social Security payments to average life expectancy. Of those between 21 and 30, raise the age 20 72 or 74 or so and cut the losses. Between 31 and 40, 70. Cut the losses.
Most importantly, allow people to opt out. I’m under no illusion that I’ll get any Social Security payments, and I don’t plan on relying on the government for retirement income.
As former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said, we’re a nation of whiners. Cutting federal spending is going to hurt. A lot. And people aren’t going to like it. At all. But we have to do it.