Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Alter: Democrats Need to Get Smart on Entitlements

Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Alter argues that his fellow Democrats need to think more seriously about entitlement reform. Alter disagrees with the Republican approach to fixing entitlements, but chides his own side for not thinking about reform at all.

“Anyone reaching retirement age in the next 20 years (including me) will take more than three times as much out of Medicare as he or she contributed in taxes. By 2030, the U.S. will have twice as many retirees as in 1995, and Social Security and Medicare alone will consume half of the federal budget, with the other half going almost entirely to defense and interest on the national debt. It’s unsustainable.”

“If Democrats don’t want to talk about these programs, they can say goodbye to every other pet program. We can preserve Medicare in amber only at the expense of investments in prekindergarten programs or cancer research.”

While I’ve got some factual quibbles with Alter’s piece, it’s nevertheless a good read.

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