There are two main reasons for this resistance -- one strategic, the other ideological. Neither is persuasive, even from a progressive point of view, at a time when trillion-dollar deficits are the norm and publicly held federal debt is projected to reach 150 percent of gross domestic product...
Here's the problem with means testing for entitlements. It means that you are going to be taxing a group of epople for a service which they will never qualify for. Why should the rich pay anything into social security, medicare, or medicaid if they will never be allowed to draw anything from those programs later? All you do by means testing is to guarantee that the money they put in gets redistributed without any chance of them getting anything for their money.
Since Republicans are pushing entitlement reform and Democrats like taking money from rich people, you might think they could agree on means-testing Medicare and Social Security as part of a deficit reduction deal. Yet many Democrats are surprisingly hostile to the idea of tailoring these programs to help people who actually need them.
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