Sunday, January 21, 2024

It’s Time to Put Social Security, Medicare, and Taxes on the Table

Republicans can avert a debt crisis, but only once they’ve faced some harsh truths.

By Brian Riedl, The Dispatch, Jan 18, 2024 - Republicans have long branded themselves as deficit hawks. From the floor of Congress to the screens of Fox News to candidate town halls and rallies, they attack “Joe Biden’s spending and deficits” and pledge to cut spending, reduce waste, and balance the budget. Nearly all of this talk should be dismissed until the Republican Party, which I have advised for years, finally backs up this rhetoric with a serious yet plausible anti-deficit agenda.

... even when Republicans sweep elections, they tend to drastically expand budget deficits with tax cuts and new spending. ... 

Annual budget deficits have surpassed $2 trillion, and they’re on their way to $3 trillion within a decade. The Congressional Budget Office forecasts about $119 trillion in budget deficits over the next 30 years—$116 trillion of which is attributable to Social Security and Medicare shortfalls—and that’s under a rosy scenario of expiring tax cuts, no new spending initiatives, and low interest rates. ....

Republicans Drove Up Deficits, Too ... Even when Republicans last enjoyed a unified government (the House, Senate, and presidency) in 2017 and 2018, they did nothing to rein in soaring entitlement costs and instead busted the discretionary spending caps by 13 percent in one year.  ... Republicans Lack Serious Proposals to Rein in Deficits ...Social Security and Medicare shortfalls are responsible for 97 percent of projected budget deficits over the next 30 years. Without reforming those two entitlement programs, there is no package of remotely plausible alternative spending cuts or tax hikes that could cover this shortfall. ... Serious Republicans Must Put Taxes on the Table ... Delay Brings Even Larger Tax Hikes ... Time to Be Credible (read it all)

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