What’s Driving Our Debt & Budgeting Fairness

Here’s the Wisconsin Congressman, Paul Ryan, head of the House Budget Committee, speaking last weekend to Mike Huckabee on Fox News:

Huckabee: “What does this debt mean to America’s future?”

Ryan: “If you’ve already retired or you’re about to retire and you’ve organized your lives around Medicare and Social Security, what we will do is preserve those benefits for you just like they are today and then reform them for future generations so that they can actually rely on them, because they are going bankrupt. If we do it now, we do it on our terms, meaning we don’t change anything for people in and near retirement. But if we wait, if we keep delaying and kicking the can down the road, then it will look like Europe — bitter austerity. Cuts will happen to current seniors, and that’s what we want to avoid.”

Ryan here expresses two important good government ideas: Phasing in major changes gradually and with lots of notice and acting in advance of a crisis, not during a crisis.

But let’s add a third essential element: Acting in ways that minimize the shock to the most vulnerable.

For the under-40s who will be exposed to the fullest impact of entitlement reform, the past half decade has been an economic disaster. Now we are about to load an additional burden on a generation already struggling with under-employment and (in many cases) heavy student debt. We also are about to ask them to simultaneously pay the taxes to support current retirees and save for their own retirement, while receiving less help from later generations than earlier generations will receive from them.

Read the full story: continued here
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