“Over the next 25 years, more than 75 million boomers will begin collecting Social Security checks, drawing down Medicare benefits, and relying on long-term care under Medicaid,” the Index authors point out. “No event will financially challenge these important programs over the next two decades more than this shift of the largest generation ever into retirement.”
How could Congress address this problem? “The solution is to turn these programs into 30-year budgeted programs, subjecting the budgets to debate every five years,” the authors write. That would force lawmakers to make difficult choices, instead of leaving problems for future generations to solve.
Another problem highlighted by the Index: Fewer people are paying taxes. Roughly one in five filers paid no taxes in 1980. Today it’s one in three. More and more Americans are pocketing “free” government benefits.
One simple, fair fix would be a flat tax with a low rate. The total amount paid could remain the same, but more people would be contributing. When they had skin in the game, they’d be eager to depend less on government.
To make good on all our government promises would cost $56.4 trillion, or $184,000 per American citizen. That’s a mortgage our children and grandchildren will be expected to pay -- without getting to live in the house.
It’s time to restore fiscal sanity. Let’s get America off the dole.
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