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January 12 2011

We're "Entitled" to More National Debt

Hadley Heath

After Christmas is over, I'm ready for spring.  Springtime brings with it a feeling of newness.  I'm ready for some new activities, new weather, and new sights to see.  I'm also ready for some new ideas from the new Congress.

In 2010, we spent a lot of time talking about the national budget.  The debt is still climbing, make no mistake.  We talked about raising taxes to give the government more money to spend (which ultimately we didn't do).  We talked about reigning in spending (haven't done that yet either).

But one idea that we haven't heard enough about lately is entitlement reform.  Medicare and Medicaid are both huge unfunded liabilities.  Here's a good visual on how they compare with other spending:

 

(This is a great graphic from the Heritage Foundation, but I'm afraid the numbers are becoming slightly dated.  You'll note that our national debt is closer to $14 trillion now, for instance.  But the visual comparison from the biggest circles to the smallest ones persists.)

On top of that, entitlements (especially Medicaid) eat up a huge portion of state budgets as well.  And thanks to the health care reform from March 2010, we'll be adding millions of people onto the Medicaid rolls.  (And we're hoping to fund all that with cuts to Medicare, and new taxes?)

Today in a short Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal video, Paul Ryan talks with Paul Gigot about why now is the right time for entitlement reform.  Entitlement reform is not a new idea.  But it's time to take a new approach in order to avoid the "day of reckoning" that Ryan mentioned.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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