In case you missed it, Social Security and Medicare are going bankrupt faster than originally thought.
Click here for the story: Social Security And Medicare Going Broke Faster
So what does this mean for us? Well it should mean that these two programs are closely examined and phased out over the next few years/decades to minimize the impact of their insolvency. Unfortunately, logical thinking isn't abundant in Washington. So of course they are looking at ways to "raise tax revenue".
Conservatives know that the way you do that is by getting government out of the way, letting the economy heat up, and then revenues increase as a result of the new wealth that is created. Unfortunately, Obama and company are not conservatives. So their first response is to tax and spend their way out the problem.
For instance, there is talk in Washington of taxing employer provided medical benefits. This is not a new issue as it came up during last year's election campaign. In fact, Obama derided McCain over it, whom they positioned as wanting to tax those benefits. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Obama and see if he flip-flops on the issue.
There is also talk of raising Social Security taxes to 14.5%. This would impact employers as well as employees since employers pay a portion of that tax. Not really a good idea when an estimated 15 people are already losing their jobs every minute in this country.
Then there is Obama. When he wants money he eyes the wealthy. He is talking about raising the Social Security cap. In 2009 that cap is already increasing to $106,800. Who knows what it will be if Obama gets a hold of it.
There are further rumblings that Obama is looking at other ways to take wealth away from individuals to fund his radical plans. With Obama it always seems to come back to class warfare: fire up the middle class and poor against the wealthy.
Now, wouldn't you think that this news about the government being so terrible at running Social Security and Medicare would kill any discussion of socializing health care? After all, if they can't properly manage those programs, how is adding another social program going to help? Remember what was said earlier: we aren't dealing with people that think logically.
Many commentators think just the opposite will happen. That Obama and company will now use the insolvency of Medicare as an excuse to push through socialized medicine. They'll work the middle class and poor into a frenzy on the issue and those people will be disillusioned into clamoring for socialized medicine. May heaven help your bank account if that happens.
The problem with all of these social programs is that once you have them they are almost impossible to get rid of. As time passes, they become ingrained into the fabric of our society and people just accept them as reality. FDR never envisioned public Social Security existing in its current form for as long as it has. But since it is all people today have ever known, even normally right-thinking people become uneasy about getting rid of it.
Medicare is the same way. Talk about doing away with it and people, even some proclaimed conservatives, start asking: what will happen to people 65 and older? The answer lies in a number of areas, but as long as the government is there taking care of it no one will be motivated to explore those answers.
And as the mentality that the government is taking care of that, whether it be Social Security, Medicare, or socialized medicine, becomes the norm, then it becomes nearly impossible to get movement to phase-out and replace a social program.
The result is that 80 years later the program is still there no matter how deficient, and any discussion of doing away with it is met with ridicule.
Welcome to the U.S.S.A.