Flying under the radar this past week was a new government report that forecasts that the national debt will double over the next decade. The White House has projected a cumulative $9 trillion deficit between 2010 and 2019, while the Congressional Budget Office estimates a more optimistic $7.1 trillion, based upon the expiration of Bush tax cuts. What this means is that Washington's out-of-control spending likely will turn the nation's already-staggering $11 trillion in debt into an astronomical $20 trillion.
But there are at least two ginormous expenses that are excluded in these projections. First, the projections from both the White House and CBO incorporate their belief that the deficit will decline quickly over the next three years, as they assume fewer bailouts are needed and the economy will grow rapidly. But isn't there also the real possibility that the economy will not recover as quickly as they hope? Every additional bailout or stimulus (large or small) and every margin of error in their three-year prospective climb out of the economic pit will inflate our nation's debt balloon even more.
The second expense is far less speculative -- and it has to do with about a fourth of America. The 72 million baby boomers (people born in America from 1946 to 1964), members of the largest generation America has produced, are going into retirement over the next two decades and will face the golden years of declining health and rising medical costs. Under current law, if the government were to add the projected baby boomer costs of Medicare and Social Security to its debt tab, it would send deficit projections into the abyss.
Here's the primary problem. Medicare is bankrupt. Medicaid is bankrupt. And Social Security is bankrupt. Though boomers have paid into these programs via their taxes for decades, there are not enough benefits to offer them now -- and even less in the future. The problem is compounded when one understands that the number of people in the United States who are 65 or older is expected to double by 2030, and so is the amount expected to fund their retirement and health care in their twilight years, which relatively few are prepared to handle themselves.
So what is the U.S. government to do, especially when it already is projected to have $20 trillion worth of debt in 2019? (Let alone what it will be in 2030!)
That reform is needed in health care is not a question, mostly because Americans are being raped by the insurance companies. But Obamacare in its present form is not the answer, because it progressively would cut (yes, cut) the care for baby boomers in the future, if not through the reductions and costs of private options then through the mandatory benefit cuts the government would have to make in Social Security and Obamacare (formerly Medicare). Think about it. If government can't handle the costs of the elderly now in retirement via its Medicare and Social Security programs, do we really expect they will offer the baby boomers better (and more costly) benefits in the future?
According to a CBO report called "Baby Boomers' Retirement Prospects": "Present trends are unlikely to persist indefinitely, however, because total payments to retirees are expected to grow much faster under current law than either the total incomes of workers who pay Social Security and Medicare taxes or the revenues earmarked for those programs. That widening gap will place increasing stress on both programs. Narrowing the gap could involve slowing the future growth of benefits."
Notice the words "under current law" and "slowing the future growth of benefits"? That is key. The only way around this future financial dilemma (according to this administration, at least) is to change "current law" and to "slow" or lower the benefits for baby boomers. That new law (or basic legislation upon which such changes can be amended) is Obamacare.
Look closely at the political prescription from the CBO's same boomer report: "The extent to which baby boomers are providing for their own retirement -- and (SET ITAL) have time to react to policy changes (END ITAL) (emphasis added) -- is thus an important consideration in evaluating proposals to reform the Social Security and Medicare programs." The only way the boomers will "have time to react to policy changes" is if they are enacted before they go into retirement! (Are you catching another reason for the White House's rush to pass this legislation?!)
This is dirty secret No. 4 in Obamacare that our government isn't telling you: Obamacare ultimately is designed to force retiring baby boomers into a much cheaper version of socialized medicine than Medicare, which already is being positioned to be cut to the tune of $500 billion. Obamacare is not merely about reforming health care to aid 47 million Americans who are uninsured. It is about reforming "current law" to ax 72 million retiring Americans, whom the government can't afford to support over the next two decades.